Anita Sarkeesian Is Not Jack Thompson 2.0

In an ABC News segment last week, feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian again hit the media circuit with her crusade against “misogynist” video games. For many gamers, her appearance was reminiscent of odd-ball moral crusader Jack Thompson, who in the late 1990’s argued for regulation of violent games like Grand Theft Auto on the theory they were corrupting the youth of America. Thompson, who was ultimately disbarred for his abuse of the legal system, made numerous media appearances claiming teens used the games as “murder simulators” before committing school shootings and other acts of violence.

While there is some overlap between Thompson and Sarkeesian, their ideologies, support networks, and potentials for success couldn’t be more different. Conflating the two is dangerous because it underestimates the severe threat Sarkeesian poses to free expression in gaming culture, which until now has managed to remain relatively free of political hijackings.

"Know thy self. Know thy enemy." - The Art of War

“Know thy self. Know thy enemy.” – The Art of War

The most fundamental difference between Thompson and Sarkeesian derives from political visions – Thompson being a Christian conservative, and Sarkeesian a progressive feminist. Thompson was clear throughout his campaign that he was trying to protect young children and took no issue with adults enjoying the content. Sarkeesian’s mandate is more sweeping, based on the notion that  the culture itself is misogynist and that most popular games today are a problem. Thompson, for all his faults and fumbling, was guilty of taking an otherwise agreeable concept too far: that we have a responsibility to protect still-developing minds from harmful influences. Sarkeesian instead infantilizes all gamers and injects demonstrably effective victimhood messaging and identity politics into her arguments. As a self-anointed culture elite, progressives like her feel obligated to dictate acceptable content for the rest of us.

Another key difference is that while Thompson remained a buffoonish object of ridicule and never gained mainstream support for his beliefs, Sarkeesian is successfully waging a proxy battle in the larger culture war, tactfully exploiting political inroads with nearly the entire progressive and feminist movements backing her cause. Sarkeesian’s company, Feminist Frequency, has hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers and has raised over $160,000 through sympathy donations in the past year alone. Unlike the skepticism Thompson often received from interviewers, The Colbert Report, ABC Nightline, and other programs have lent Sarkeesian a sympathetic ear and granted her free platforms to broadcast her propaganda wholesale. Thompson, an extremist within his own broader circle, never enjoyed the support of any significant number of conservatives, Christians, or any other movement. Sarkeesian cuts a clear contrast, being cheered on by progressives as the face of feminism in gaming, and the misrepresentations of game events in her videos mirror the “rape culture” hysteria and false statistics appearing on any mainstream feminist blog.

Most troubling of all is the 5th column element that has arisen within the gaming community itself, undermining the GamerGate backlash and opening the gates for social justice reformers. Geek celebrities Wil Wheaton, Chris Kluwe, and Seth Rogen have joined Sarkeesian in condemning “gamer” culture, as have some game developers like Tim Schafer. The same gaming publications that staunchly opposed Thompson have, for the most part, cast lot with Sarkeesian via the “Gamers Are Dead” articles and subsequent pieces tarring resistance as a misogynist hate mob – a standard Alinskyite smear tactic.

As TNV has pointed out before, gaming has a progressive problem that needs addressing. Sarkeesian and other “social justice warriors” aren’t going to abandon their endeavors until gaming is no longer a fertile ground for exploitation. Only when this threat is correctly identified, rejected, and marginalized through a united front will gamers again be able to enjoy their hobby free from the pernicious shaming and oppressiveness of political correctness culture.

Why GamerGate Needs to Address SJWs

It’s been four months since GamerGate kicked off its efforts, and proponents remain just as dedicated to the cause entering 2015. There is wide agreement on the goal of restoring ethical standards to gaming journalism, but opinions differ on whether GamerGate should concern itself with “social justice warriors” (SJWs) such as Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Leigh Alexander, Arthur Chu, Chris Kluwe, and other public figures lambasting gamer culture and seeking to sanitize games by scrubbing “offensive” content from the medium.

This isn’t really a conflict; as a grassroots movement, each of us can prioritize efforts as we see fit. But for those viewing SJWs as a distraction, I urge you to venture further down the rabbit hole for a bit and to consider how SJW behavior fits into a larger, troubling attack pattern across different components of society.

“We got ourselves a progressive problem.”

This is the first time many in GamerGate have faced down the “progressive” political animal, so the viciousness and tenacity of those espousing “tolerance” may come as a surprise. Similarly, they may be ill-prepared to deal with the extreme Alinskyite tactics progressives have used since the early 20th century to isolate and intimidate targets into submission.

GamerGate itself is not a political movement in a partisan or governance sense, boasting membership from all across the political spectrum, but the progressive objective is to politicize gaming to advance their agenda, which makes them a political enemy of gamers. It’s a fine distinction but an important one to make to avoid mistaking opposition of politicization as politicization itself, and to avoid confusing identification of progressive tactics with the identity politics progressives use exploit various social identity groups. Another key difference is that, while progressives use intense negative social pressure and intimidation to suppress content they dislike, GamerGate favors traditional market mechanisms to assess value and provide utility to consumers.

Those who dispute progressive ideology as the source of the cultural rot are hard-pressed to explain why journalists at the heart of the corruption all identify with this particular far-left-wing political orientation. They are all progressives – yes, all of them – which strains the credibility of those ascribing the homogeneity to mere happenstance. To understand why this is the case, a useful conceptual framework comes courtesy of economist Thomas Sowell in A Conflict of Visions (summarized by Wikipedia):

“The unconstrained vision relies heavily on the belief that human nature is essentially good. Those with an unconstrained vision distrust decentralized processes and are impatient with large institutions and systemic processes that constrain human action. They believe there is an ideal solution to every problem, and that compromise is never acceptable. Collateral damage is merely the price of moving forward on the road to perfection. Ultimately they believe that man is morally perfectible. Because of this, they believe that there exist some people who are further along the path of moral development, have overcome self-interest and are immune to the influence of power and therefore can act as surrogate decision-makers for the rest of society.”

Remind you of anyone you know? Like their Marxist cousins, progressives subscribe to a Utopian vision of mankind in which the inherently good nature of man is corrupted by damaging environmental influences around him, whether they be racist institutions; the trappings of poverty; or misogynist, ableist, homophobic cishet video games. To the unconstrained visionary, the solution to all of the above is simple: remove the offending content and the less desirable qualities of mankind will disappear – we’ll all live together in perfect harmony in a world free of privilege, prejudice, violence, and oppression.

If your eyes are rolling at the idealism, then you probably fall somewhere in the “constrained vision” camp, which holds a more tragic and classical view of mankind – ambitious, flawed, and resistant to social engineering. GamerGate is, at its heart, a constrained-view social movement, enthusiastic about video games as a healthy outlet for exploring through fantasy and recreation humanity’s natural compulsions toward lust, greed, violence, and power. As such, GamerGate is incompatible with progressive political philosophy, and the two sides are destined to butt heads over values and visions for the future of gaming.

Progressivism is also, at its core, a utilitarian philosophy, achieving its designs via the Machiavellian principle that ends can justify the means. This is the source of the often atrocious and hypocritical behavior progressives engage in when confronted with obstacles to their vision – when the opponent is racism or sexism incarnate, it’s acceptable to be a little racist or sexist yourself if it means vanquishing your foe; hence, coordinated attacks on #NotYourShield minorities as “Uncle Toms,” or on female GamerGate members as “whores” of males in the movement. Similarly, gaming journalists have no moral qualms about using the power of their positions to advance their progressive cause. If a game uses “tropes” against women, or is too violent for the reviewer’s taste, then it deserves a bad review for being damaging to society, i.e., corruption is an acceptable price to fight the even greater corrupting influence of negligent social messaging. Whatever other value games may offer is eclipsed by the social justice mission to the self-anointed agents of human evolution and progress.

GamerGate can ignore SJWs and succeed in limited aims, but it would do so at its own existential peril. We the constrained face an enemy hellbent on tearing down our very identity and culture in the name of human “progress.” The progressive sees video games as yet another territory to be conquered and used as a launchpad for further political conquest. If you wish to see the result of capitulation, you only need look at the washed-out cultural wasteland Hollywood and academia became when they fell to political correctness decades ago.

Gamers Don’t Need NFLer Chris Kluwe

Subcultures tend to latch onto celebrity recognition for inroads into popular appeal. In the chess world, “chess-playing” celebrities like Dustin Diamond and Will Smith have written forwards to study books in place of those with tournaments named after them for decades of devotion to the hobby. So has been the case with minor celebrity and “gamer” Chris Kluwe, who was punter for the Minnesota Vikings until he was thrown out of the NFL for his constant verbal abuse of managers and fellow players, and for turning the NFL into a referendum on gay marriage after the league asked him not to do so (Kluwe erroneously claims such actions violate the First Amendment – he is not a legal scholar).

Kluwe enjoying a stale rehash of a AAA title.

Kluwe recently wrote an article called “Why GamerGaters Piss Me the Fuck Off,” which parallels so many of his other poorly written rantings and ravings, laden with juvenile potty language and self-righteous indignation towards those not as socially progressive as Kluwe. This particular screed is remarkable only because it targets one of the few groups still interested in Kluwe’s association with them, which is the gaming community. To be fair, after white millionaire Kluwe complains of “patently obvious white privilege,” he only calls “ignorant,” “slopebrowed,” and “shitgoblins” those gamers participating in an online social movement called “GamerGate,” which – to make a long story short – is a grassroots, leaderless backlash against politicization of gaming by social activists, and the collusion and corruption in gaming journalism that inevitably accompany progressivism, of which there are numerous examples. Kluwe now spends much of his days insulting gamers on Twitter and blocking the many female participants in GamerGate who challenge his Alinskyite smear campaign that the movement is a platform for misogyny.

For GamerGate, incurring Kluwe’s wrath is a reliable indication of being on the right track. Following his pattern of atrocious behavior in the NFL, Kluwe is exploiting gaming to advance a progressive agenda and assaulting the un-politicized escapist value that has made gaming meaningful for so long. Those reluctant to see gaming go the way of television and the movie industry – “exploring” the same politically correct themes over and over again – should welcome Kluwe’s ostracism (or ragequit) from the gaming community as a positive development.

Society’s Polygraph

A writer for the Washington Post describes the harrowing experience of receiving stares when collecting welfare benefits in her husband’s luxury car. Her true self-awakening occurs only after deep reflection reveals what a devastating effect collective judgment has had on her feelings of identity and self-worth. The greatest injustice of all, she realizes, is that she has been made to feel ashamed for having a mortgage, car, and children she can’t afford.

In the following passage she describes the utter humiliation to which she was subjected in the process of receiving her WIC and Medicare benefits:

I had to fill out at least six forms and furnish my Social Security card, birth certificate and marriage license. I sat through exams, meetings and screenings. They had a lot of questions about the house: Wasn’t it an asset? Hadn’t we just bought it? They questioned every last cent we’d ever made. Did we have stock options or pensions? Did we have savings? I had to send them my three most recent check stubs to prove I was making as little as I said I was.

 

Proof of identity! Verifying financial status! Horror of horrors!

Isn’t her giving her word enough? Who knew getting your hands on free money would be so difficult?

 

The question-mark guy on TV never mentioned any of this!

Back to the titular Mercedes:

That’s the funny thing about being poor. Everyone has an opinion on it, and everyone feels entitled to share. That was especially true about my husband’s Mercedes. Over and over again, people asked why we kept that car, offering to sell it in their yards or on the Internet for us.

“You can’t be that bad off,” a distant relative said, after inviting himself over for lunch. “You still got that baby in all its glory.”

Sometimes, it was more direct. All from a place of love, of course. “Sell the Mercedes,” a friend said to me. “He doesn’t get to keep his toys now.”

If you look closely, you can see some faint indications of properly functioning cultural norm. Being on welfare is supposed to suck. People are supposed to question your expenses and offer you help and advice. You are supposed to feel ashamed about not working and living off other people, regardless of whether or not you are primarily responsible for your financial condition. These are all components of a healthy society with incentives properly aligned toward working, managing expenses properly, and getting off of public dependence.

All of this is supposed to be the case because the alternative is having a system that encourages dependency and inaction. The other option is having people on welfare who drive Mercedes-Benz sports cars going totally unexamined. Is that the world you want to live in?

Banishing the Progressive Golem

Three of the most successful social movements in American history have been the women’s rights movement of the early 20th century, the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, and the gay rights movement of the late-20th and early-21st centuries. Each movement brought with it a mixed bag of equal protections under the law and expansions of the nanny state, and as a result, liberty advocates have often fallen into a limbo of qualified support and justified hesitation.

Setting aside whether the positives outweighed the negatives in each case, the pressing matter today is what to do when the machinery of a movement has outlived its usefulness. At the outset, there might have been the implicit assumption that operations would naturally cease or scale back once objectives had been achieved. But through a combination of mission creep and basic human reluctance to relinquish power, organizations like the National Organization for Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, national labor unions, and even Mothers Against Drunk Driving have persisted long after achieving their once noble goals. Worse, many of these groups, in their attempts to hold sway and relevance, now actively undermine the causes of equal opportunity and social harmony they once sought to promote.

“Social Justice… Unghhhhhh”

In many ways, social movements are like the Prague golem of Jewish/European mythology, brought to life to protect its creators from harm at the hands of vile oppressors. After completing its duties, the golem became uncontrollable in many accounts, even harming those it was once sworn to protect. Only by scratching the word “truth” off the golem’s forehead were the townspeople able to crumble the golem back into the earth from which it was formed. If the analogy holds to its conclusion, only by standing up to our golems armeds with the courageous truth when they are no longer necessary can we prevent them from becoming the monsters of legend.

“Blaming the Victim”

Earlier this week, I happened upon a blog article trending on Twitter (courtesy of a progressive who retweets anything reflecting poorly on men or white people) in which a young woman details two experiences she had with men at an EdTech conference. She posted the stories as part of the #YesWeCan – sorry, #YesAllWomen – movement, which is short for “Yes, all women live in fear of male violence,” or some variation on that theme.

One of the stories involves a man being overly forward with her and not getting the hint she wasn’t interested. We all have to deal with creeps and jerks of various stripes (and genders) in our lives, so there isn’t much to comment on there, unless we’re going to dredge up every upsetting or awkward encounter we’ve had with the opposite sex, of which I’d say I’ve had the typical amount.

The second story is the one I found meriting serious discussion in that it involved a messy social situation full of mixed messages and gray areas that goes all kinds of wrong in the end with what may have been a sexual assault (there are two sides to every story and we only have one here, but we’ll assume she reported accurately for our purposes).

Now there is a type of person who would prefer to stop the discussion here. The fact that a sexual assault occurred, to such a person, becomes the only relevant fact one should ever consider or discuss, and any scrutiny or attention paid to the surrounding events or context constitutes “blaming the victim.” To engage in any thoughtfulness beyond out-and-out condemnation would be condoning rape, and so on. If you are of this mindset, please don’t bother reading any further because it will only waste your time. Tell yourself I am a “victim blamer” and feel free to move along. Oh, I could go on about how much I deplore rape (consent is the core principle of libertarianism), or about how I began my legal career prosecuting rapists and child molesters and helping victims in the sex crimes division of a District Attorney’s office. This type of person doesn’t care about any of that, and playing defensive really isn’t my style in any case. Victim Blamer. Rape Condoner. Got it – happy trails.

For those who are genuinely interested in a discussion about responsibilities and consequences of behaviors, be warned in advance, the story reposted below is painful. Although there is nothing funny or entertaining about it, in many ways it’s like the often brutal dramatic ironies that develop in series like Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Office, where characters unwittingly dig themselves deeper and deeper into a oncoming social catastrophe as the audience knowingly cringes in expectant horror. The author said she hopes her piece will be shared and spur discussion, so I’m taking her at her word and attempting to accomplish that here.

The story begins innocently enough with an invitation:

As I was standing outside the convention center waiting to help my friends pack up their booth, a man I had chatted with about his company approached me and asked if I would be interested in grabbing a beer with him that night. I said yes, we exchanged contact information, and went our separate ways.

There’s a familiar level of ambiguity here. Is this business, or pleasure, or both? At a minimum, nighttime + invitation + alcohol + opposite sexes means this could *potentially* turn romantic at some point. If the woman isn’t aware of that potential, we’re already tipped off that her social radar might be a bit limited. But even so, as a free and independent adult, she should absolutely accept the invitation if drinks or dinner sounds like fun.

That night, we met at a restaurant and talked over a couple of beers about some of the major challenges in EdTech, fund raising, and our personal startup journeys.

Is this a date? Yet unlear, but it’s becoming more like one the more they hit it off and the later the night drags on. Ambiguity serves an important function here as a safe means of testing waters, affording each party the opportunity to save face through plausible deniability in the event of being rejected. But with ambiguity also comes the risk of unpleasant misunderstandings; it’s a double-edged sword to wield to be sure.

When the restaurant closed (since everything in downtown San Antonio closes early), we went to a dive-y metal bar he insisted was open and a good place. We got another round of drinks and talked about cultural differences, startup life, and politics.

For any of our visitors from Alpha Centurai, this now officially counts as a date on this planet. It doesn’t mean sex is necessarily in the works, but the situation is screaming romantic possibilities to anyone who is listening for them (and you can be sure the man is). If the woman wants to clear up any justified misunderstandings by her devoted late-night companion, now would be the perfect time to do so. But alas:

After round #4, I started to fell unwell. Drunken sickness was coming. I went to the bathroom, threw up, rinsed out my mouth, and returned to the table. He had ordered another round. I cracked open the beer partly out of politeness, and partly because I was hoping the beer would wash out the bitter acid taste in my mouth. I attempted my best to continue the conversation, but after five minutes of nodding, deep breathing, and worrying “If I open my mouth to respond, will I throw up?”, I excused myself and went back to the bathroom to continue my routine. When I reemerged from the restroom I found him sitting at the table with two oversized shots of whiskey. “I can’t drink this,” I told him. “I should go home.” “We can leave once you take the shot” he said. I grimaced, took the shot, and immediately went back into the restroom.

Actions send social signals, so it’s important to be aware of the signals you send, especially in a heightened-risk situation, such as a dive bar you’ve never been to before. Wherever alcohol is involved, the potential for Bad Things to happen is greatly elevated, warranting a higher standard of caution and care. Drinking to the point of extreme intoxication causes risks to grow exponentially, especially if you’re out alone without any friends or family to look out for you. Not a good idea for anyone, man or woman.

As we walked out of the bar, he said “We should get you some coffee.” I agreed, and asked him if he knew anywhere that was open. “I know a place, just trust me. As we wandered around the Riverwalk for what felt like hours, I asked him “Where are we going?” “My hotel,” he said, “It’s nearby and they have a coffee bar.” I kept following him. I was so intoxicated and ill feeling, I couldn’t wait to sit down and have water and coffee.

The lack of social awareness in this scenario borders on autistic. If the woman doesn’t realize that “coffee” in a man’s hotel after barhopping at midnight doesn’t actually mean “coffee,” somebody failed to provide her with a crucial social education a long time ago.

We went through the side entrance of the hotel and he pressed the button for the elevator. “Where are we going?” I asked again. He didn’t respond. When the elevators opened, he lead me down a hallway and inserted his key card to what I discovered was his room. This is weird. Maybe he realized how late it was and that the coffee bar would be closed. Hotels have coffee makers in their rooms; it’s not that weird. 

The freight train is barrelling down the tracks at 100mph. I can feel the audience cringing. This mismatch of expectations can only end badly with some sort of physical or emotional confrontation. It never should have gotten this far.

“Here’s the coffee maker, but I don’t know how to use it” he told me. I went into the bathroom got a glass of water and started fumbling with the coffee maker. It finally started brewing, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, coffee. By the time I finish this cup and walk back to my car, I’ll be fine to drive home. “Why don’t you sit down?” he asked, motioning to the bed. There weren’t any chairs that I could see, so I sat down on the bed.

On the bed. His bed.

He scooted in close to me and started kissing my neck and then my face. His kisses were sloppy and tasted overwhelmingly of cigarettes. He leaned into me and backwards, so we were soon lying on our sides. He started trying to undress me.

This is where the story gets truly sad.

He kept fumbling with my shirt buttons and trying to slide my shirt over my shoulders. Every time his hands moved away from my chest, I pulled my shirt back on and started buttoning. I repeated “no” as he kept attempting to undress me, with each “no” he became more aggressive.

Things have gotten far out of hand. The man should stop now and make the best of the humiliating situation he finds himself in. Instead, he makes the worst of it.

“Can’t you just take your skirt off?” he asked. I refused. He climbed on top of me- straddling me- and fumbled with my skirt some more. Thank god even my skirt is being uncooperative. He eventually became so flustered trying to undress me that he gave up the task and just pulled my underwear to the side. I kept repeating “no” as I started to cry. I turned my head during the whole encounter so I couldn’t watch him and he couldn’t watch me cry. After what felt like an eternity, I started feeling more sober and forceful. I mostly composed myself as I started repeating “you have to stop.” He finally relented right before he finished. I went into the bathroom and turned on the sink so he couldn’t hear me cry or heave again. I blotted my skirt to remove any traces of him, and washed my face of my crying stains. I grabbed my purse to leave, and he insisted on walking me back to my car (because a girl walking alone at night might be raped or murdered, and I clearly needed his protection from that). He spent the walk back to my car talking to me about his travels and telling me that he hoped we would run into each other again. He told me that my interest in politics was the sexiest thing about me, and joked about meeting my parents. His words made me feel sicker than I already felt. I realized when I got back to my car that I forgot the coffee. I gave him a ride back to the hotel because that was the polite thing to do. I hadn’t made eye contact with him throughout the walk to my car or the drive back. When I pulled into the hotel driveway, we finally made eye contact. He paused for a moment and then apologized for being “so aggressive.” I told him “It’s okay” because I frankly had no idea what to say, and I was always taught to answer politely.

One reason I’ve highlighted this story is because I have been that man a few times in my life right up until the first “no” was uttered (she kissed me back instead). I doubt any red-blooded American male would *not* have been utterly confused and frustrated by the woman’s behavior and the mixed messages she was sending that night, even if she didn’t mean to send them. This is why social awareness and taking basic situational precautions are so critical.

Individual responsibility, at the end of the day, means taking ownership of one’s behaviors, no more and no less. The woman is responsible for putting herself in a high-risk scenario. The man is responsible for not stopping when he should have. I don’t blame either party for the actions of the other – only what was in his or her direct control. Certainly there is more than a single valuable lesson here.

A popular feminist slogan is: “Society teaches don’t get raped, not don’t rape.” I happen to think both are solid wisdom.

Millenials the Most Anti-Liberty Generation

On many Objectivist and liberty blogs, it’s almost as if Charlie Sheen has been writing the narrative: individualism is decisively #winning. To those for whom hope truly does spring eternal, Obama and his evildoers are perpetually one scandal away from impeachment (surely the VA scandal will be the one to topple his house of cards). The American people, meanwhile, are just one election cycle shy from taking back their government in a Fifth Great Awakening for liberty.

Stark reality, however, tells a different story in a new report from the Brookings Institute. Based on surveys of thousands of individuals, the report concludes that millenials will bring to the workplace and political scene a major shift in attitudes and voting behavior toward progressive values. Millenials (born 1982-2003), if you believe the data, might very well be the most anti-liberty generation in American history. Reading their responses to questions on America’s culture, politics, and economy, one gets the distinct impression that the culture war has not only been long won by progressivism – it wasn’t even a close contest.

Particularly striking is the growing hostility toward business and for-profit activity generally:

“About two-thirds of the Millennials surveyed in 2012 also agreed that “businesses make too much profit,” which was the highest level of agreement among all generations. At the same time, less than half of Millennials thought “unions had too much power”; by contrast, a majority within all other generations agreed with that statement. Even more telling from a generation noted for its general lack of trust in institutions, 72 percent of Millennials, compared to only 61 percent of Xers and Boomers, agreed with the statement that “labor unions were necessary to protect the working person,” a level statistically significantly higher than that of older generations.”

Millenials are the generation most comfortable with regulation of private market activity, with roughly three quarters agreeing that the marketplace needs government regulation. Telling also is where millenials say they want to work: the CIA, FBI, and NSA were high-ranked across multiple surveys, with the State Department coming in second on one survey and government agencies placing second after high-tech companies like Google and Facebook.

Most troubling is the degradation of societal trust that has occurred across the generations:

In its latest study of the Millennial Generation, Millennials in Adulthood, the Pew Research Center found that America’s youngest adults were the least trusting of any generation. Only 19 percent of Millennials agreed with the statement that “most people can be trusted,” a percentage that was about half of all other older generations.

This is the millenial voter in a mutshell. You make too much profit, you can’t be trusted, and you need to be watched. Liberty has its work cut out for it.

The Rise of Rapism

A preposterous new meme has been snowballing through the progressive blogosphere in recent months: the charge that America fosters a “rape culture” that normalizes, excuses, tolerates, and condones rape and violence against women. Don’t bother pointing out that rape and sexual assault are by all credible accounts way down in the United States – rape culture is stronger than ever, festering under the surface, the progressives will tell you. Not only that, something has to be done about it as a compelling public policy issue of our time.

While the false statistic often disseminated by women’s groups that 1 in 4 women survives rape or attempted rape has been widely debunked (it derives from a series of 1980’s surveys in which women were asked if they ever had sex when they didn’t want to, not if they had ever been “raped”), the White House has jumped in the wagon train recently with its own bold-faced lie that 1 in 5 women is sexual assaulted while in college.

 

Life imprisonment – a slap on the wrist in rape culture.

 

Radix Journal has an excellent piece that sheds insight into what lies behind the “rape culture” accusation reaching a fever pitch in op-eds across national media. Besides the tried-and-true progressive strategy of pitting social-identity groups against each other with government set up as savior, the “rape culture” hypothesis operates on an even more fundamental level by totally subjugating the individual to collective judgment. Unsurprisingly, the campaign is about power and control:

When anti-rape activists tell men they simply want to “teach men not to rape,” that sounds reasonable enough. When they say that there is a “culture of rape” that perpetuates rape, men are hesitant to disagree because they don’t want to be regarded as forgiving of rape or accessories to rape. It is precisely because most men are already against rape that women are able to use rape as a kind of personal holocaust. Anti-“rape culture” advocates are exploiting male disgust for rape and using it as a tool to silence criticism of women and exert control over men’s sexual behavior and conceptions of their own masculinity.

Where have we seen this strategy employed before?

Rape culture is a lot like racism. Maybe they should just call it “rapism.” It’s an abstract “evil” that a certain group, in this case women, reserves the right to identify and use to manipulate another group, in this case men, into increasingly defensive and impotent positions. As long as they can keep men apologizing, they can keep controlling them.

While the idea of a “rape culture” in the United States may seem laughable to any sane man (or woman), it would be a disastrous mistake to dismiss this latest attack as naive alarmism. If nothing else, progressives have demonstrated that they are extremely skilled at spreading propaganda and turning demographics against each other for political gain. How to fight this pandemic is yet unclear: the facts don’t seem to be effective medicine.

Reparations – Wouldn’t It Be Worth It?

Admission: I didn’t read The Case For Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which appeared in The Atlantic on May 21, 2014, and has since been liked and shared in my Facebook news feed by nearly every progressive or black person I know. I recognize the “reparations” argument as little more than socio-political trolling at this point, which doesn’t warrant serious intellectual attention. Furthermore, breathing life into these ancient racial issues over and over again ad nauseum does incredible damage to what little social fabric and trust we have remaining in American society, which is exactly the sort of social-identity fodder progressives need to fuel their national political machine.

But the subject matter did get me thinking this time around – wouldn’t it be worth it? Just imagine: one lump sum payment and we’re done with the slavery and white-privilege issues – forever.

How much would you pay to never have to see or listen to social-identity troll LZ Granderson ever again?

 

Like most litigation, the vast majority of discrimination lawsuits in this country are settled out of court. Most of them are predictably bogus on the merits and amount to little more than a disgruntled employee striking back at an employer out of spite with whatever weapons are legally available to them – race, sex, age, and disability being the most difficult to disprove and therefore most likely to survive the summary judgement phase of litigation. Employers settle nearly all of these lawsuits in the low five figures because A) it’s cheaper than proceeding to trial, B) it avoids any further bad publicity, and C) there is typically a non-disclosure agreement which bars the litigant from ever suing or discussing the matter again under penalty of voiding the settlement. Think of it as the simple cost of doing business in America because that’s what it is.

Wouldn’t it be *glorious* to structure a one-time nation-wide settlement in this manner with every black individual who signed on – say, in the $10,000 – $20,000 range (roughly 3% the cost of the Iraq War) – and never have to listen to “slavery reparations,” “institutionalized racism,” or “white privilege” rehashed ever again under penalty of settlement forfeiture and repayment?

No more affirmative action. No more Title VII litigation. No more MSNBC race panels or LZ Granderson CNN op-eds. Done. Forever.

How much would that be worth to you?

Rhode Island: A Case Study in Progressivism

From the New York Times:

Poor Little Rhody. Not only is it the smallest state, it is often a punch line. And in many state rankings, it comes out on top for the wrong things, like having the nation’s highest rate of unemployment. Now comes yet another blow to the state’s fragile self-esteem. A Gallup poll found that of all 50 states, Rhode Island was the least appreciated by its own residents. Only 18 percent of Rhode Islanders said their state was the best place or one of the best places to live.

Rhode Island is heavily Democratic, heavily Roman Catholic and heavily unionized. Some say the state is beholden to its unions, as evinced by its generous pension system. But the high cost of government, said Robert D. Atkinson, the former executive director of the defunct Rhode Island Economic Policy Council, is not matched by a high quality of services. “Rhode Island has the high-cost structure of Minnesota but the low-quality services of Mississippi,” Mr. Atkinson said.

Over the past 80 years of continuous Democratic control of the state, an unshakable alliance of organized labor, progressive social interest groups, and corrupt politicians have tanked the culture and economy of Rhode Island. In addition to having the highest unemployment rate in the U.S., as mentioned above, over the past five years, the state has consistently ranked as the bottom state for business in the U.S. The Providence commercial tax rate is the highest in the U.S. Welfare benefits pay over $12 per hour, among the highest in the U.S. State temporary disability insurance payments costs are among the highest in the U.S.

Welcome to Rhode Island.

In the last three state election cycles, unions donated more money than all businesses in the state combined. In 2011, the state education board granted illegal immigrants in-state tuition at public universities. One in seven Rhode Islanders are on food stamps. In the shrinking private sector of the state, politically directed public loans and tax breaks have created a planned economy where businesses break bread with the governor, house speaker, and senate president before seeking private investment. Bolstering Rhode Island’s existing reputation for political corruption, progressive-endorsed House Speaker Gordon Fox recently resigned after being raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Progressive-endorsed House Speaker Gordon Fox is raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Bringing up the rear in nearly every national ranking there is, Rhode Island is a damning case study in the social and economic effects of longstanding progressive politics. The state serves as an important reminder that, however far liberty has eroded in most states, hand the keys over to progressives and things can get so much worse.