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Apr 13 2014

But How Do You Know the MRAs Are Atheists?

Note: This is one of those posts you really want to read all the way through before commenting on or characterizing.

I think this question is mostly a thing of the past, but at one point, it was a favorite of those who didn’t like to see the atheist movement criticized were all over wanting to know how we could knew that the harassment and anti-feminism coming our way was coming from atheists. Typically, we pointed to the communities from which the bulk of the harassment came. Now, we can point to some numbers in yet another community that suggest we’re on the right track.

Or at least they make me laugh.

The Men’s Rights subreddits ran a demographic survey of their members recently. Courtney pointed me to the results. They’re listed here. The survey is still open, but as of the time I loaded it, there were just over 3,000 responses. While that is a self-selecting sample, 3,000 responses from 88,000 subscribers isn’t a bad return.

So what does the survey tell us about Men’s Rights redditors?

What is your gender?

Male: 2,941 or 98%
Female: 34 or 1%
Other: 13 or 0%

Not much in the way of surprises there, though I’m curious about the non-binary responses.

Which best describes your race?

White:  2,911 or 98%
Black: 6 or 0%
Hispanic: 9 or 0%
Asian: 19 or 1%
Other: 17 or 1%

Again, no surprises. It’s a common critique that MRAs ignore issues that predominantly affect non-white men except when they can use those numbers to say we shouldn’t talk about women. It is difficult to tell which comes first, though. Does the lack of concern reflect the overwhelming whiteness, or does it drive men of color away?

What age range do you fall in?

13-16: 102 or 3%
17-20: 2,605 or 87%
21-25: 178 or 6%
26-30: 44 or 1%
31-35: 26 or 1%
35-40: 13 or 0%
41-45: 6 or 0%
45-50: 2 or 0%
51+: 11 or 0%

I laughed. I laughed a lot. For comparison, here are some general Reddit demographics (pdf) from Pew Research.

Which religion do you most closely identify with?

Christianity: 145 or 5%
Islam: 6 or 0%
Buddhism: 1 or 0%
Hinduism: 1 or 0%
Judaism: 6 or 0%
Taoism: 0 or 0%
Shinto: 3 or 0%
No religion (atheist/agnostic/indifferent): 2,811 or 94%
Other: 14 or 0%

When you think about this, it isn’t that surprising. Religious men don’t need to look to the state to give them dominance. They can just claim it comes from the bible and talk about women’s holy duties.

Which best describes your political affiliation?

Strong liberal: 51 or 2%
Liberal: 62 or 2%
Independent: 314 or 11%
Conservative: 59 or 2%
Strong conservative: 2,497 or 84%

Welp. Now I guess we know where the conservative atheists are.

Which of the following issues do you support?

Marijuana legalization: 2,895 or 94%
Homosexual marriage: 218 or 7%
Trans peoples’ rights: 204 or 7%
Abortion remaining legal: 260 or 8%
Socialized medicine: 322 or 10%
Minimum wage increase: 296 or 10%
Increased gun control: 160 or 5%

If you look at the survey, the percentages listed for these are wrong. Because the survey was set up with this as one question rather than many, it’s reporting the percentage of total responses to this question, which includes multiple responses. I’ve corrected that here. Then I laughed.

How SOCIALLY disadvantaged do you think men are compared to women?

Men are largely more disadvantaged than women: 2,620 or 88%
Men are slightly more disadvantaged than women: 198 or 7%
Men and women are equally disadvantaged: 70 or 2%
Women are slightly more disadvantaged than men: 45 or 2%
Women are largely more disadvantaged than men: 49 or 2%

I’ll just leave this one here.

How LEGALLY disadvantaged do you think men are compared to women?

Men are largely more disadvantaged than women: 2,770 or 93%
Men are slightly more disadvantaged than women: 127 or 4%
Men and women are equally disadvantaged: 31 or 1%
Women are slightly more disadvantaged than men: 23 or 1%
Women are largely more disadvantaged than men: 31 or 1%

Uh-huh.

There are three possibilities when looking at this data. The first is that the average Men’s Rights subredditor is a very young, white, irreligious man who leans libertarian to conservative. The second is that the Men’s Rights subreddit got trolled hard. There are certainly people in the subreddit who think that’s the case. The third possibility is that this was trolled but that the trends, if not the numbers still stand up. That looks to be the case if you compare these results to results obtained about nine months ago.

If we carve out 2,400 responses from the most popular answers and 100 responses for people who didn’t fill in the form (who presumably clicked through to see the results), that brings us down to 590 surveys, close to the same number as in the prior survey. That’s a lower response rate than in the prior survey, but the new survey is only a few days old. More importantly, that puts the numbers for “nonreligious”/”no religion” plus “other” very close in the two surveys, as well as race and gender percentages. (The wording is different between the two surveys because it was suggested in response to the old survey that “nonreligious” might be pushing people toward choosing “other”.) That’s as close as we’re going to get to estimating the valid responses to the survey.

So where does that put us for most popular answers?

  • 92% male
  • 87% white
  • 35% aged 17-20 (estimated overall median age 20)
  • 70% no religion
  • 53% politically independent (the only most-popular answer that changed; 26% any degree conservative)
  • 84% favoring marijuana legalization (only other issues with bare majority support: socialized medicine, minimum wage increase)
  • 37% men largely socially disadvantaged compared to women (71% any degree disadvantaged)
  • 63% men largely legally disadvantaged compared to women (84% any degree disadvantaged)

So the average Men’s Rights subredditor is a very young, white, irreligious man who leans libertarian to conservative except as the law affects him directly. Do we actually know that they’re atheists when they show up from there to try to shut us down? No, we don’t know, per se. But we can do the math.

62 comments

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  1. 1
    Robert Hansen

    Apparently that particular survey was largely filled out by bots, so it’s not really indicative of the actual MRA userbase – it looks like someone just tried to full it out as a stereotypical MRA.

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    I’m really just letting this comment through because no one would believe me if I described it to them.

  3. 3
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Apparently Robert Hansen’s comment was largely written by a bot, so it’s not really indicative of the actual MRA userbase – even the most reflexive of denialist arguments usually show at least some attempt at grappling with the subject matter.

  4. 4
    Robert Hansen

    ?

    I’m not an MRA by any standard. I found out about the poll on reddit’s againstmensrights sub, which talks about it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/againstmensrights/comments/22v3mo/you_cant_make_this_shit_up_rmensrights_is_88_1720/

    I completely skipped your paragraph covering a potential bot attack though – complete brainfart on my part. I agree that “the average Men’s Rights subredditor is a very young, white, irreligious man who leans libertarian to conservative except as the law affects him directly”, I just don’t agree that this particular poll is any good, especially with regards to marijuana being the most important issue.

  5. 5
    Al Dente

    There was nothing in the survey which surprised me. Young, conservative or libertarian, white men with little experience in the world. While the question would be difficult to phrase, I suspect many of them are dissatisfied with their lives (or prospects for their lives) and somehow think women are to blame for this dissatisfaction.

  6. 6
    Xanthë, Amy of my threads

    Apologies for my snarky response then. However, it seemed like you skipped the end of Stephanie’s post where she reassessed the poll results in the light of it having been trolled; did you read that bit before posting a comment that didn’t add anything beyond what Stephanie had already written? Which is why I wrote a snarky comment about automated bot responses.

  7. 7
    Stephanie Zvan

    Actually, the responses on marijuana aren’t that much higher than general responses among “millennials”, which have been rising rapidly in the last few years. Given a tendency observed elsewhere for an overlap between MRAs and libertarians, given that this group tends younger than millennials overall, and given that two U.S. states have recently decriminalized marijuana with no downside yet reported, those numbers don’t surprise me at all. The question does seem like bait once you know the results were trolled, but both the inclusion and the answers make sense.

  8. 8
    Robert Hansen

    Xanthe, no apology needed, I can see why you would assume I was a troll, especially since I haven’t commented here with this user before. And it doesn’t help that I completely put my foot in it first.

    Stephanie, that’s reasonable. I’d personally be much more careful when dealing with this particular poll, though. I hope they make a new one soon, and that it isn’t trolled in the same way – then we can point and laugh at a poll that will undoubtedly be just as bad (more or less).

  9. 9
    brucegee1962

    The age bit doesn’t surprise me at all — well, maybe a little. Based on my own experience, I would have guessed more at 20-25, which was when I started seriously attempting (and failing) to date. But yeah, back when I was young and a virgin and hugely frustrated all the time and acquainted with very few actual women, and when those acquaintanceships were totally colored by “Why don’t you want to go out with meeeeee?”, I probably would have become an MRA for a while too.

    Sex is good, but intimacy is better. I suspect that even the MRAs who have had sex have never had intimacy. It changes you in a big way; it certainly changed me.

  10. 10
    magicthighs

    Wait, this means that there’s a grain of truth to the whole “libertarians are just republicans that want to smoke weed” thing?

  11. 11
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    And there’s always a place for the angry young man
    With his fist in the air and his head in the sand
    And he’s never been able to learn from mistakes
    So he can’t understand why his heart always breaks
    And he’s proud of his scars and the battles he’s lost
    And struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross
    And likes to be known as the angry young man –Billy Joel (lyrics slightly rearranged for this thread)

  12. 12
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    I’m surprised they are THAT young. I assumed most of the animosity towards women would show up more in early-mid 20′s.

    When you think about this, it isn’t that surprising. Religious men don’t need to look to the state to give them dominance. They can just claim it comes from the bible and talk about women’s holy duties

    Yup. I often find non-atheists (or atheists/agnostics who just don’t participate in any way) asking me about the misogyny/MRA problem in the community and I usually point to the fact that there are a whole lot of the same in any organized religion, they just don’t stand out as much because their views are usually supported by the official doctrine. I’d be curious to see if there’s any good data on how sexist/misogynist attitudes compare between different belief categories. Please FSM, don’t let us be WORSE than fundamental Xians! ;)

  13. 13
    kalirren

    The thread that Robert Hansen linked to actually has a photo archive of the poll at an earlier stage, before it was bot’ted, at n=263:

    http://imgur.com/a/f6vxv

    That estimate puts the prevalence of atheism/agnosticism among reddit’ing MRA’s at about 65%.

  14. 14
    left0ver1under

    It’s like finding wood rot in part of your house. On the bright side, it’s confined to one area and not everywhere, making it easier to figure out what to do, and not have to tear down the whole thing.

  15. 15
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yep. The pre-bot numbers tally pretty close to what I ended up with, so that’s a nice second check. There are small differences, but I’d expect that in more than doubling the total responses. They don’t appear to have moved in a systematic way, either. Biggest difference is in political affiliation, but none of the other changes come close to that big.

  16. 16
    David Gerard

    The pie charts are wrong. There were only abiout 570 responses, not 3000+. If you click on the full data link at the top, you’ll see the spreadsheet has 2400 blank rows – so most of what’s in the charts is actually blank lines going to default responses.

    So the charts are wrong not because of a spambot, but because of a glitch. Someone needs to redo the charts.

  17. 17
    Dunc

    I’m surprised they are THAT young.

    I’m not. Your pre-frontal cortex (critical for executive control and social reasoning) isn’t fully developed until your mid-twenties.

    I really hope the (adjusted / pre-botted) age data is more-or-less accurate, as that could indicate that a lot of these guys might grow out of it. Of course, it might just be a reflection of Reddit’s demographics…

  18. 18
    M

    I’m not surprised at all.

    I’d exactly EXPECT the MRA’s to be the usual white libertarian douchebags.

    It’s always the same douchebags you see…

    And it’s also why the community of reason should apply reason to politics and economics too. Libertarians are the economic equivalent of creationists, so let’s have more atheist cram their stupid bullshit back up their ass sideways.

    By getting rid of the libertards and lolbjectivists, you get rid of the douchebags and atheism can actually GO somewhere.

    The rational movement should have ditched the libertards over a decade ago. They’re kooks, and worse they’re extremely douchy. I remember fighting their bullshit when they didn’t get much blowback yet, during the late Clinton/early Bush years. And a bit of positive news is that more people by now know libertarianism is a bunch of horseshit then they did back then.

    As for the libertards being so young… it’s because that shit (which unsurprisingly was actually heavily influenced by one of the Koch brothers (not kidding!) appeals to stupid middle class white teen ego. Makes them think they’re the special ubermensch.

    Fortunately half of them grow out of it actually. (And I also have definitely deconverted people who bought into that crap by showing them why it was crap, so it’s not hopeless.)

  19. 19
    Kaveh Mousavi

    This survey can actually make us hopeful, in some regards. If they’re so young, then there’s much chance that their views is rooted in a lack of contact with the real world, and real social life situations and struggles, so it;s possible that they (or some of them) will change when they have more contact with the world and in the work force and the like.

    I was never an MRA – I was a feminist as long as I remember, but nevertheless, when I was 17 I didn’t understand many things about sexism and how it worked.

  20. 20
    doublereed

    Wow. That’s way more conservative than I was expecting. I would expect far more to answer Independent. Also, 17-20 is an incredibly narrow range. What the hell kind of bell curve is that?

    Reminds me of the SRS saying that’s like “The only difference between Reddit and Stormfront is that you can’t use the N word at Stormfront.”

  21. 21
    Leo Buzalsky

    I was a bit surprised to see the numbers be that young. But I suppose I really shouldn’t be.

    I, unfortunately, remember being a teenager and holding angst toward girls. I was socially inept at the time and was a bit nerdy. That didn’t help. Add on top of that the social messaging that girls aren’t in to nerds and then seeing the girls swoon over the jerkish jocks (just like the stereotypes say), and it would be depressing at times. Of course, as I got older, I learned the reality that high school days don’t reflect long-term reality.

    If I had grown up in a more conservative family, then perhaps I would have been an MRA at that time had the internet been what it is today. That’s a rather scary thought. :S

  22. 22
    WithinThisMind

    I suppose the notion that they grow at least partially out of it is somewhat comforting, anyway.

  23. 23
    leftwingfox

    I was a bit surprised to see the numbers be that young.

    I’m not. That’s certainly when my own “Nice Guy” resentment was at it’s worst. I was never an MRA, but some of my attitudes at the time came within spitting distance. I can recognize the attitude, but I can’t sympathize with it.

  24. 24
    closedmyaccount

    Atheist + Strongly Conservative + Legalise Pot … Yes. No. Odd men out. You have been trolled.

  25. 25
    Stephanie Zvan

    It’s funny to see how obvious it is from the comments who read the whole post before commenting.

  26. 26
    Blanche Quizno

    These studies are both intriguing and encouraging. No matter how you slice it, they’re mostly in the 17-25 age range, which everybody has noted is young and relatively inexperienced. Note also that these are the people who came of age in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crash – during the most severe depression our country has experienced since the Great Depression. It may even have been worse than the Great Depression, but we aren’t getting any official acknowledgment of that.

    So anyhow, these are young men coming of age in a time marked by widespread unemployment and lack of opportunity. That’s terrifying. Fear drives people toward conservative ideology; studies show conservatives have a much more pronounced startle response than liberals, for example. When faced with a lean and difficult job market, white men become all the more aware and resentful of “affirmative action” policies, which they regard as giving less qualified others preference (instead of automatically giving the jobs to them as they should). Any time there’s economic uncertainty, you see privileged-majority resentment toward minority groups and women in the workplace definitely count, even though there are a lot of us women in the population at large.

    RE: the question of religion – at least one commentator has noted that this is the Millennial generation, which is marked by the lowest rates of theism, especially Christianity, and highest rates of atheism of any generation in history. Also, it’s the LARGEST generation in history – 77+ millions vs. the Baby Boom’s 75+ millions. It is telling that the largest generation is also the least likely to attend church or belong to a church. So the irreligious part is less relevant than the economic part, because so many of this age group are already irreligious. If they were highly Christian, that would be more notable because it’s a break from the overall trend.

    And finally, though I’m a woman, I’ve always had the soul of a teenage boy, and until I was about 25, I still had not shed my parents’ strongly conservative views. Since then? Screamingly progressive. So there’s still hope!!

  27. 27
    triamacleod

    With that age spread, it does sound like a lot of young boys/men who are floundering about trying to figure life out. They still seem to think the world revolves (or should revolve) around them and are getting angry over the fact that they can’t always get what they want. That someone would stand up to them and say ‘no, you don’t deserve this, you have to work for it, you have to put forth an effort’ that you just can’t take what you think you’re entitled to.

    Speaking of entitled, I would dearly love to see an additional category of economic class in the next poll. Odds in favor of it being basically middle and upper middle class families that these MRAs come from. Brought up with certain expectations but without the earnings to realize it on their own (without their parents $) and need to blame someone. It isn’t socially acceptable to blame PoC anymore so they take aim at the next best thing. Wimmins. keepers of the pootang they so desperately want and supposed gold diggers because how dare a woman have a career and earn her own money and decide who she permits into her bed.

    I would also like to see an education level (what level of HS or College or University) they are at/have achieved and it that corresponds to anything.

  28. 28
    Jackie

    Thanks for providing a link to the pre- glitch/bot/whatever.

    Still, there were no surprises in the results: White, atheist boys and young men who think that their ability to smoke weed is the biggest issue facing America today and that realizing gods are pretend make them super geniuses just like their hero John Galt.

  29. 29
    Blanche Quizno

    Why would John Galt necessarily be anyone’s hero? Who the heck is John Galt??

  30. 30
    LykeX

    Who the heck is John Galt??

    Was that intentional or are you seriously asking? I can’t tell.

    In case you really don’t know, you can go here to find out.

  31. 31
    noxiousnan

    I couldn’t tell if you were joking either, Blanche, but Galt is the odious protagonist of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, who removes himself from society to punish those who don’t appreciate him and all he has done for us. (Ayn Rand elected not to publish the chapter where society yawned and asked Galt not to let the screen door hit him on the way out.)

  32. 32
    Blanche Quizno

    Ah – I knew I recognized the name. Too bad she left out that chapter – it truly does sound like he was doing the world a favor…

    Sorry, gang, it’s been too long since I’ve had any contact with anything overtly Ayn Rand (not that that’s necessarily a BAD thing, mind you).

  33. 33
    Jason Thibeault

    Oh to be innocent of Ayn Rand’s nonsense like Blanche. :)

  34. 34
    rilian

    Where does the information about them being libertarian come from? since the survey only mentioned conservative.

  35. 35
    Uncle Ebeneezer

    To clarify: I’m not surprised that MRA nonsense would appeal to such a young group (for all the reasons mentioned by others here), I’m surprised at how much they would dominate any forum, because most of the political blogs I frequent and even my atheist hangs (mostly FTB) seem to have commentariats that are older (based on cultural references, recounted histories/personal stories etc. by the regulars) or at least appear to be based on their breadth of knowledge. I forget that there’s a ton of young people on the internet too (though I’m painfully reminded when I make the mistake of reading comments somewhere like Youtube or Yahoo.) I’ve never visited Reddit and from what I hear, I probably never will.

  36. 36
    A. Noyd

    rilian (#34)

    Where does the information about them being libertarian come from? since the survey only mentioned conservative.

    The data correction dumped most of them into the “independent” category, which is how libertarians like to identify. It suits their delusion that they’re independent thinkers, not just conservative stoners who want to legalize weed to keep their own asses out of jail.

  37. 37
    Blanche Quizno

    Uncle Ebeneezer, if you aren’t frequenting Reddit and 4chan and suchlike hangouts (and even these are likely already passé, given how fast “the street” changes nowadays), you’d never run into them.

  38. 38
    rilian

    Out of the ones on that list, libertarians would HAVE to pick “independent”. But I seriously doubt any MRA’s are libertarians. If they call themselves that, I call bullshit.

  39. 39
    A. Noyd

    rilian (#38)

    But I seriously doubt any MRA’s are libertarians. If they call themselves that, I call bullshit.

    Because?

  40. 40
    changerofbits

    But I seriously doubt any MRA’s are libertarians. If they call themselves that, I call bullshit.

    Really! That’s a pretty strong claim to say “any”. I do agree that “independent” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re libertarians as the age demographic (~60% below 25) would indicate political immaturity, where independent is also the best fit if you haven’t defined yourself politically. I’ll also agree that we have extrapolate from the other data to determine that libertarians are overrepresented. But the claim that libertarians are overrepresented does fit with the data, and far more so the claim that there are no MRA libertarians.

  41. 41
    Andrew Norris

    A question. Instead of making excuses, saying they’re just young, inexperienced, et al… has anyone asked them why they feel that way? Stats [I]suggest[/I]. All we know is a certain subset of respondents responded this way. We don’t know why. We don’t know their paradigm. Sure, it might be as some commentators have suggested. It might [I]not[/I] be.

    For all we know, they might be seeing things we’re not looking at and taking those into the paradigm they’re using, or they might actually have valid reasons for thinking this way. (I do not know.) Before we all start assuming they’re wrong, [I]which they might well be[/I], shouldn’t we find out the reasons for the responses?

    Even putting that topic of research aside, a interesting contrast I leave up to the reader, is check admission and graduation rates at 2 and 4 year colleges, broken by gender. It’s quite possible that the respondents are seeing this information on the ground, and responding to it. Is it accurate? I don’t know. BUT, I remind people: what stats reveal is interesting, no question… what they suggest is even MORE interesting.

    Given other statistical data, comparing that to the poll that Ms. Zvan ran here… I wonder. Average respondent age 20. Aka, COLLEGE age. Very curious. Very very curious, no? Ms. Zvan made no conclusions, above, in her article, as proper, leaving it up to the reader to think on it, but I’ve noticed no one’s asking in the comments, or stating “Why?” As Ms. Zvan clearly pointed out “We don’t know.” So. All we know is the math suggests! (does not prove, since there is no way to truly verify the data, but for the sake of this, I will give the respondents the benefit of the doubt, and Ms. Zvan’s methodology seems to be well within tolerance, and I will give her the same benefit of the doubt she worked hard to avoid bias) that the MRA’s are college aged. White. Irreligious.

    That’s it. Think on that.

  42. 42
    rilian

    A. Noyd and changerofbits

    One of the, I guess, corollaries of libertarian philosophy is “freedom of association”. A common thing in the manosphere is complaining that hot women won’t have sex with them and that they get “tricked” into marrying old used-up sluts. They might call themselves libertarians, and they might have some libertarian beliefs, but this difference is egregious enough that I wouldn’t accept them as libertarians. They seem to me like the teenagers who call themselves neo-nazis or Objectivists or buddhists or communists etc., without actually knowing what any of those groups stand for.

  43. 43
    A. Noyd

    rilian (#41)

    One of the, I guess, corollaries of libertarian philosophy is “freedom of association”. A common thing in the manosphere is complaining that hot women won’t have sex with them and that they get “tricked” into marrying old used-up sluts.

    What the fuck would “freedom of association” have to do with it? Libertarians just don’t want government to enforce or limit association with a group. However, they are extremely blind to any and all social factors that shape and control association, such as misogyny and racism. There’s nothing about “freedom of association” that would discourage entitled men from feeling they deserve to associate only with sexy and subservient women or from attempting to excoriate women who don’t live up to their misogynistic standards. In fact, in my experience, libertarians tend to get extremely pissy if you suggest they moderate their expressions of bigotry in order to promote or enable diversity within an association. Suppression of association is fine if it’s achieved through such means as calling women c*nts and whores.

    but this difference is egregious enough that I wouldn’t accept them as libertarians

    Their kilts have the wrong stitching and their cabers are too short, in other words. Just as I suspected. Thing is, if libertarians really practice “freedom of association” in the way you mean, why are men and whites so overrepresented among them? In 2011 in the US, men made up 67% of libertarians, and non-Hispanic whites made up 85%.¹ Compare that to non-Hispanic whites making up 63.7% of the US population in 2010.² So despite this supposed libertarian ideal, libertarians are actually pretty damn bad at associating “freely.”

    ………..
    ¹ Source: Pew Research Center.
    ² Source: Wikipedia.

  44. 44
    Stephanie Zvan

    The libertarian bent is also explicit in the earlier survey, the one I benchmarked my corrections to. The fact that they’re not perfect (“True”) libertarians doesn’t make them not libertarians.

  45. 45
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    rilian:

    One of the, I guess, corollaries of libertarian philosophy is “freedom of association”. A common thing in the manosphere is complaining that hot women won’t have sex with them and that they get “tricked” into marrying old used-up sluts. They might call themselves libertarians, and they might have some libertarian beliefs, but this difference is egregious enough that I wouldn’t accept them as libertarians. They seem to me like the teenagers who call themselves neo-nazis or Objectivists or buddhists or communists etc., without actually knowing what any of those groups stand for.

    They can’t bemoan the fact that hot women won’t have sex with them while still believing those women have the right to associate with whomever they choose?

  46. 46
    rilian

    I don’t think they’re just bemoaning the fact. I think they think they are *entitled* to other people’s bodies for sex.

    It’s not a no true scotsman, it’s part of the definition of libertarian. If you believe in self-ownership, you don’t believe you’re entitled to other people’s bodies. If you don’t believe in self-ownership, you’re not a libertarian.

    The only reason I said *I* wouldn’t accept them as libertarians, rather than saying they just aren’t libertarians, is that words don’t inherently have meaning so there’s nothing to stop them from inventing a new philosophy and calling it libertarianism. But it would be a different thing. And I guess that’s what they’ve done, so it is a different thing.

    I suppose a lot of prejudiced people are drawn to “libertarianism” because they don’t want to have to associate with the groups they hate and they don’t want lazy poor people getting welfare or whatever. They totally disregard that a libertarian society would tend not to have prejudice in it at all, because you’re supposed to treat people with compassion. It’s NOT just about “the government”, it’s about a different attitude of interaction. (Feminism (and other movements for equality) is needed in addition to libertarianism because the privileged are blind to their privilege.)

  47. 47
    Blanche Quizno

    No True Scotsman, obviously O_O

  48. 48
    Blanche Quizno

    Wow, rilian (#45), your comments re: libertarianism totally leave me WTF. Granted, all I know about “libertarian” is what douchenozzles like Ron Paul (with regard to this specific instance) betray – perhaps you remember this outrageous scenario:

    “At CNN’s Tea Party-indulging debate on Monday, Ron Paul, a medical doctor, faced a pointed line of questioning from Wolf Blitzer regarding the case of an uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care.

    Should the state pay his bills? Paul responded, “That’s what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to take care of everybody—”

    He never quite finished that point, letting the audience’s loud applause finish it for him. So Blitzer pressed on, asking if he meant that “society should just let him die,” which earned a chilling round of approving hoots from the crowd. Paul would not concede that much outright, instead responding with a personal anecdote, the upshot being that in such a case, it was up to churches to care for the dying young man. So basically, yeah. He’d let him die.

    Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager Died of Pneumonia, Penniless and Uninsured
    As it turns out, Paul was not speaking purely in hypotheticals. Back in 2008, Kent Snyder — Paul’s former campaign chairman — died of complications from pneumonia. Like the man in Blitzer’s example, the 49-year-old Snyder (pictured) was relatively young and seemingly healthy* when the illness struck. He was also uninsured. When he died on June 26, 2008, two weeks after Paul withdrew his first bid for the presidency, his hospital costs amounted to $400,000. The bill was handed to Snyder’s surviving mother (pictured, left), who was incapable of paying. Friends launched a website to solicit donations.

    According to the Wall Street Journal’s 2008 story on his death, Snyder was more than just a strategic ally: He was the only reason Paul thought he ever had a shot at the presidency in the first place.

    “It was Kent more than anyone else who encouraged and pushed Ron to run for president,” said Jesse Benton, a spokesman for Mr. Paul. “Ron would not have run for the presidency if it had not been for Kent. Ron was really hesitant, but Kent drove him forward.”
    And so, what started in February 2007 with one laptop in Snyder’s Arlington, Va., apartment, quickly grew into a $35 million campaign employing 250 people. In the fourth quarter of that year, Snyder raised a stunning $19.5 million for Paul — more than any other Republican candidate had raised at the time.

    After Snyder’s death, Paul posted a message to the website for his Campaign for Liberty — a pre-Tea Party organization which served Paul as both presidential marketing tool and platform to promote his non-interventionist, free market ideals.

    He wrote:

    “Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty. Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family.”
    And that, friends, is what freedom is really all about.

    *The Kansas City Star quoted his sister at the time as saying that a “a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive.” http://gawker.com/5840024/ron-pauls-campaign-manager-died-of-pneumonia-penniless-and-uninsured

    His own friend, the one who made all his campaigning possible, was a casualty of our broken health care system that Ron Paul recommends should be made even MORE broken.

    So, rilian, Ron Paul’s example demonstrates that we shouldn’t give a SHIT about anyone other than ourselves, if it means us having to pay anything to help them. I knew someone online who called himself libertarian who actually said he would pay DOUBLE health insurance premiums if he could be assured that none of his payment would go to help ANYONE ELSE. Could you please explain to me where you get “compassion” out of “libertarian”? Because that connection absolutely drops my jaw.

  49. 49
    rilian

    Blanche Quizno

    Oh my god, ron paul is not a libertarian! He’s a constitutionalist! Let me be clear on this point: RON PAUL IS TERRIBLE. He’s totally fine with people’s freedoms being taken away, as long as it’s the “state” governments doing it rather than the “federal” government. I couldn’t possibly add enough exclamation points to show how upsetting this is. He’s against abortion, and he’s ok with “states” banning it. He’s against same-sex marriage and he’s ok with “states” banning it. He says that sex is a “social issue” and he’s ok with “states” “regulating” it. He’s a million times worse than a democrat. The one time I voted, it was for a democrat, for president. A bunch of idiot libertarians and Libertarians supported ron paul, I guess because they thought he would bring them closer to their goal or he was the least of all the evils, but I don’t understand how they could possibly be that stupid. The constitution is not divinely inspired, going “back” to it won’t make things better, I mean god do they think that things were BETTER in 1789 or whenever?

    Here’s some libertariany ideas: Non-violent communication, positive parenting, self-ownership. Compassion! Libertarianism isn’t about the government not doing such and such. There’s not supposed to be a government. It’s not about doing whatever you can get away with, it’s about respecting people’s rights. If someone robs you, that’s not libertarian. If someone tries to coerce you into sex, that’s not libertarian. If someone lies to you to get money, that’s not libertarian.

  50. 50
    A. Noyd

    rilian (#45)

    It’s not a no true scotsman, it’s part of the definition of libertarian. If you believe in self-ownership, you don’t believe you’re entitled to other people’s bodies.

    Bullshit. Libertarians¹ are fine with de facto ownership of others—by businesses, at least. Definitions don’t mean shit if you don’t understand the implications of your praxis. Libertarian praxis supports massive inequity right up to de facto (or sometimes outright) slavery. Also genocide via poverty for those who aren’t even useful enough to be slaves.

    They totally disregard that a libertarian society would tend not to have prejudice in it at all, because you’re supposed to treat people with compassion.

    You know “separate but equal” was considered by its proponents to be compassionate? (And still is, though its proponents don’t tend to refer to it explicitly anymore.) So was/is forced or coerced conversion to Christianity. People—not just libertarians—are too happy to label themselves as compassionate while carrying out the worst kinds of prejudiced shit. A commitment to “compassion” means jack all.

    And then there’s the whole hairy problem of institutional power beyond government and how racist or sexist or whatever-ist people don’t tend to think they’re racist or sexist or whatever-ist. Rather than overturning that institutional power, they reinforce it. Libertarians, being mostly white, mostly male, and mostly wealthy (relatively speaking), are very privileged and, like most privileged people, want to preserve that privilege—whether they’re aware of it or not. They tend to actively oppose feminism² and anti-racist efforts, particularly in cases where they’re required, by convention or law, to change their own behavior. If they don’t overly discriminate themselves, they support the right of others to do so. “Freedom of association” becomes “business can ban black people from their premises if they want to.” To them, that stance wouldn’t conflict with compassion because they also believe the free market will step in to make sure everyone’s needs are provided for.

    You’re being naive and basing your definition of libertarianism on a fantasy that appeals to you rather than the reality.

    …………
    ¹ Keep in mind that this is about libertarianism as a political identity, which is dominated by economic libertarianism, with its attachment to free market capitalism and “small government.” Don’t confuse this with people who are socially libertarian. If they were socially but not economically libertarian, they would choose one of the “liberal” categories.
    ² Or subscribe to “equity feminism” which pretends that women are already equal because the law says so (even if it doesn’t) and any indicators of social inequality reflect innate sex differences rather than institutional discrimination. Lots of overlap here with MRAs.

  51. 51
    A. Noyd

    rilian (#48)

    The one time I voted, it was for a democrat, for president. A bunch of idiot libertarians and Libertarians supported ron paul,….

    So you’re what, 21? 22? You’ll probably wise up in a few years. You sound like you mean well, but you don’t seem to understand how your ideals work out in the real world or what libertarianism is in practice.

    There’s not supposed to be a government. It’s not about doing whatever you can get away with, it’s about respecting people’s rights.

    Like this. We have a government because too many people don’t respect the rights of others if they’re not required to by an authority. Obviously not all governments work to protect rights, but expecting people to voluntarily respect rights—even people who are committed to things like “compassion”—doesn’t fucking work.

    As for the rest of your comment, see note 1 of comment 49.

  52. 52
    rilian

    A. Noyd
    “So you’re what, 21? 22? You’ll probably wise up in a few years.”
    There’s no need for such condescension and ageism. Anyway, how does a guess of 21-22 follow from what you quoted?

    I’m 27. I’ve been a libertarian/anarchist/voluntaryist for about hm 6 years I guess? And I was headed that way for like 10 years before that. It’s not a short phase, at least. Not that it matters to the actual argument.

  53. 53
    A. Noyd

    rilian (#51)

    There’s no need for such condescension and ageism. Anyway, how does a guess of 21-22 follow from what you quoted?

    It’s not ageism; a lot of young people take on libertarianism but then grow out of the economic aspects in their early to mid twenties. You seem so naive about what other libertarians believe and what libertarian praxis achieves that I assumed 2012 was the first election you were even eligible to vote in. I guess, despite your insistence otherwise, you just like playing kilt and caber police.

    Not that it matters to the actual argument.

    Well, you could have addressed any of the rest of what I wrote, yet you chose only to respond to this.

    Anyway, to bring this tangent back around: any political philosophy headed by wealthy white men with a commitment to the boostrap myth¹ is pretty much doomed to be assholery of the first order, which makes it a very suitable habitat for MRAs. You can pretend all you want that Real Libertarians™ are the super-duper bestest best friends of social justice, but the data just don’t support it.

    ……..
    ¹ Final graph, this page.

  54. 54
    LykeX

    @rilian
    I grant that my perspective may be skewed by selection bias, but in my limited experience, your attitude is a minority view among people identifying as libertarians. Most libertarians I’ve run into care little for compassion or the rights of anyone but themselves.

    I’m happy to accept that you’re not one of those people, and that you think such attitudes are incompatible with libertarianism. However, beyond that simple point, I’m not sure what you’re hoping to achieve here. If you have a problem with such people calling themselves libertarians, maybe you should be talking to them.

  55. 55
    Nick Gotts

    It’s not a no true scotsman, it’s part of the definition of libertarian. – rilian@45

    Yeah, yeah. And part of the definition of Christianity is turning the other cheek and giving all you own to the poor.

    Oh my god, ron paul is not a libertarian!… A bunch of idiot libertarians and Libertarians supported ron paul, I guess because they thought he would bring them closer to their goal or he was the least of all the evils, but I don’t understand how they could possibly be that stupid.@48

    How you can write this crap, prticularly after the previous quote, is one of the world’s great mysteries. Do you really not see that the admitted fact that scads of libertarians voted for Ron Paul completely refutes your claims?

    There’s no need for such condescension@51

    When someone comes out with such ridiculous nonsense as you are producing, they’re lucky if condescension is the worst they encounter.

  56. 56
    Jacob Taylor

    So the average Men’s Rights subredditor is a very young, white, irreligious man who leans libertarian to conservative except as the law affects him directly.

    That assumes the initial survey was not trolled or highjacked by bots either. The men’s rights subreddit is frequently trolled by feminists and progressives, so it would not come as a surprise that any survey posted there would end up skewed. What makes the results particularly questionable is that if you read the posts and comments made by the average men’s rights subredditor, they do not match the results of the survey.

    More so, the initial men’s right survey received three times the responses than the feminist version of the survey, despite r/feminism having a much larger audience. That makes no sense at all, unless one allows for the possibility that people–in this case most likely feminists–trolled the men’s rights survey to skew the results.

    That in turn makes it impossible to determine the actual make-up of the men’s rights subredditor, let alone men’s rights activists in general. That will not stop anyone from stereotyping them. As shown here, many people are more than willing to engage in confirmation bias. And I agree it far easier to think that someone pushing for recognizing men’s issues is a whiny non-religious, conservative 17-year-old white boy than a 41-year-old black agnostic libertarian man with a legitimate complaint.

    Yet that does not make the results true. Given the situation, one cannot trust any of the survey results (and to be fair, the only reason the feminist version is somewhat trustworthy is because of the low response that compliments the comments and posts one reads in r/feminism). One would need an unbiased survey, one better controlled, in order to determine who makes up the audience of r/mensrights. We do not have that.

    That does not mean feminists have to take men’s issues seriously. No one is suggesting that you consider it important, for example, to acknowledge male rape victims. You do not have to, and as a male survivor and advocate I would prefer feminists stay out of that conversation because male survivors do not need more victim-blaming, shaming, and guilt-tripping. However, I do think feminists should be careful about so gleefully rallying to a clearly inaccurate survey.

  57. 57
    Stephanie Zvan

    And I think people who comment on posts should read them all the way to the end so they don’t embarrass themselves. What do you think?

  58. 58
    Blanche Quizno

    rilian, I think you’ve confused libertarianism with anarchism.

    Your definition of libertarian is absolutely *the opposite* of any I have heard to this point.

  59. 59
    Blanche Quizno

    Jacob, you keep saying feminisim. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Why would you think that someone who views rape as a horrific crime would make a distinction between rape of males vs. females, or rape of old people vs. infants, or any other this-or-that you might come up with?

    Where in “Rape is bad” do you get “Oh, but if you’re a MAN who gets raped, then blaming-shaming-guilt-tripping”??

    Feminists do not necessarily hate men. It is not a requirement of feminism that all feminists must hate men. Some do; most don’t, but that’s an individual thing, not a category criterion. Some feminists like beer; some don’t. Some feminists like to drive trucks, some don’t. Some feminists like to wear makeup and dresses; some don’t. See what I’m getting at? I don’t know where you get this idea that males will necessarily be denigrated.

    Many, if not most, feminists love men and are married to men and have sons who are or soon will be men. The fact that they love men etc. doesn’t mean that they have to be okeefine with the fact that there is so much blatant, obvious, overt discrimination against women and so much crime against women and so many attempts to legitimize the idea that women are second-class citizens (or less). The fact that women need help as a group against this human-rights onslaught doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t help and support an individual who has been victimized, regardless of that person’s description!

    Perhaps you could provide me with a link to an example – a REAL example – where feminists blamed/shamed/guilt-tripped a man who had been raped. Then I might be able to understand what you’re talking about.

    I guess parts of your post left me just WTF. Are you a closet MRA? Is THAT what this is really all about?

    heh heh – Stephanie, I commented that I thought rilian was confused about anarchist before I saw him cop to anarchist orientation himself! MEA CULPA!!

  60. 60
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, Andrew. It’s so cute how you come here from a site making that argument and present it as your own–and as though we’ve never been exposed to it before. Let’s have you try an original thought instead. Explain this to me: Why would young men get upset that they don’t need a college degree to make the same amount of money at their jobs as women fresh out of college?

  61. 61
    Crimson Clupeidae

    Hey, Andrew’s just JAQing off.

    Next time, Andrew, try to keep it to yourself, ok. Or better yet, if you feel like sharing, do the research first, THEN post the links to support your position.

  62. 62
    Martha

    I’m not. Your pre-frontal cortex (critical for executive control and social reasoning) isn’t fully developed until your mid-twenties.

    I’m also encouraged that these guys are so young and that life experience and brain development might work together to make them better people.

    Still, the main difference between these young men and boys with so little experience of the world and the average middle-aged, male libertarian I know is that the latter are probably okay with gay marriage and abortion, too. Not enough to defend the rights of anyone else, of course, but probably enough to check the other box on a survey.

  1. 63
    Elliot Rodger and the rise of hate groups online | Chicago Literati

    […] is more complex than understanding Elliot Rodger alone. Rodger was a member of an online community, very predominately white men between 17 and 20 years old, who shared his beliefs. To examine his motivations, we have to acknowledge, as the Southern Poverty […]

  2. 64
    publichealthwatch | Mass Shootings, Misogyny, And The Aggrieved Entitlement Of White Males

    […] they believe that white men are oppressed (according to a survey of men’s rights activists, 98 percent are white males). But instead of empowering men to become better men — or better […]

  3. 65
    The Santa Barbara Killer and Broken Cisterns | Cup of Joe

    […] Rodger’s godless atheism, which allowed him to become his own god who would exploit others on his way to his own illusory throne, is a growing trend and logical result of a culture that is becoming more and more hedonistic by the moment. Additionally, surveys reveal that members of MRA/PUA-type groups are overwhelmingly libertine and atheistic. (Source) (Source) […]

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