I am disappointed. Jaclyn Glenn makes an incoherent rant.
Her point: it’s terrible for feminists to
take an issue like this [the Elliot Rodger murders] and try to twist it around, and tells everyone to
look at the problems for what they are. It’s not misogyny, she says, it’s because Rodger was mentally ill. And then she reads a paragraph from is manifesto that is melodramatic, self-aggrandizing, and totally over-the-top, and announces that it
proves that he is mentally ill.
The standards for psychiatric diagnoses have really gone to the dogs, haven’t they?
So a guy writes a 140-page raving rant about how women owe him sex, how he hates them, and how he wants to lock them up in a concentration camp and starve them to death, and it’s not misogyny — it’s just random insanity, completely unconnected to the culture around him. OK. So much for looking at problems for what they are.
She should have stopped there — it would have been just stupid and wrong, but she had to get in one more bit of self-defense of her views that completely contradicted what she just said.
There’s an obvious counter-example: what about people who commit acts of terrorism in the name of god, or mutilate themselves or their children, or immerse themselves in absurd life-styles because their holy book says they must? Are they insane, too?
No, no, says Ms Glenn. People do evil things because of religion, not because they’re insane. Rodger killed people because he was insane, not because of the influence of a misogynistic culture that he joined and that flooded him with constant messages of contempt for women. But when religion floods people with constant messages of extreme lunacy, it must be held accountable. Ideological indoctrination only influences you when it’s something Jaclyn Glenn doesn’t like.
I think she noticed the conflict in her position, though, because she quickly starts making excuses, saying there are big differences between religion and patriarchy:
there’s not a rule code-book for men that says they are superior to women, she says. No, there’s not a single specific book — it’s just the whole default attitude. It’s an atmosphere of media bias. It’s a world that says, from the minute they are born, children must conform to gender stereotypes.
But we can now safely ignore everything Jaclyn Glenn says, because she also flings in a bizarre anecdote about how she was raised with a mother who freaked out over bugs, and she blames her upbringing on her phobia about insects. She shouldn’t be blaming her mad fears on her upbringing or her culture — she’s just taking this issue and twisting it around to avoid the unavoidable conclusion: fear of insects is a mental illness. How dare she blame her mother when the answer is so much simpler: there’s something wrong with her brain.
The one good thing about this attitude is that we now get to diagnose everyone with wild, stupid ideas as “mentally ill”. Is there enough room in American asylums to lock up Donald Trump, Cliven Bundy, the Wall Street Journal editorial staff, the entire Catholic hierarchy, those screaming pro-lifers lined up outside Planned Parenthood, and all the Tea Party membership? ‘Cause them folks is obviously crazy.
I’m a little worried, though, that it’s also beginning to look like we’re going to have to lock up a lot of the voices of the atheism movement on the same grounds.