Hi-dee-ho, there, FreeThoughtBorg. I know a lot of you are eager to-be activists and even more of you have a lot of philosophy under your belt buckles. But you may not know yet that being Philosophy Dudebro in a grassroots action is terribad form. And if you don’t yet know this, you need to know this. Thus, I am writing to address you today with why that is, using my experiences over the past year in pro-choice activism to provide a context. For anyone who can’t guess from the choice in terminology alone, a Philosophy Dudebro is any guy who walks up to either a demonstration being attended by a grassroots counter-protest (think pro-life and pro-choice in the same space) or a grassroots demonstration on its own (think isolated pro-choice demo) with the expectation of unlimited time, energy, and attention for playing around with thought experiments and endless debate (see also: not protesting; pointless exercise; mental masturbation). Both pro-lifers and men who consider themselves pro-choice (but who haven’t checked their male privilege at any time in the past decade) do the Philosophy Dudebro thing, and it’s equally antagonizing no matter where on the issue your politics align. Some so-called “pro-choice” Philosophy Dudebros can’t even stop themselves from their pointless exercise when they finally stop engaging the pro-lifers.
Trigger warning: This post makes brief mention of graphic depictions of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and abortion—one of these things is not like the others—in the context of these histories being blatantly misappropriated by “pro-life” campaigns to “unmask the genocide” and “end the killing”. It’s disgusting. It’s beyond words. In fact, it’s just plain obscene. This is why I treat the entire pro-life movement as a hate movement of Westboro Baptist Church calibre.
Tone Police warning: I’m using a fair amount of profanity in this post because I am aggressively challenging the blood-boiling sexism embedded in this issue. This choice is deliberate but well-controlled and not at all impulsive. I am not going to play nice with people who critique the tone of my delivery, so just don’t bother.
This past week, University of British Columbia was presented with an abhorrent and graphic display of a chopped up child from the genocide in Rwanda next to alleged fetal remains from an abortion. That was accompanied by equally graphic displays of mass graves at Auschwitz and Wounded Knee, child corpses in a killing field in Cambodia, and a Black person being lynched, each photo next to alleged post-abortion fetal remains. It’s a once-annual “campaign” by Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform called Genocide Awareness Project, which declares that getting an abortion is exactly the same as sending millions of Jews to the gas chambers. They have shown up every year on International Women’s Day (that was Friday) at the UBC campus for the past 15 years with these grotesque depictions of pornographied genocide and abortion porn.
It gets even better. These displays are also used in mass postcard drops by CCBR, which prints out tens of thousands of these same images and pops them into mailboxes at random across the country. If you’re in the United States and starting to feel left out, don’t worry — CCBR is just the Canadian sister organization of Centre for Bioethical Reform in the US. (You’re welcome.)
So I went to counter-picket this absolutely obscene bullshit. I simply could not sit on my hands and get upset about it without doing a damn thing. In the blog post I wrote about the first day, I directly engage from an actively decolonizing standpoint with my pro-choice politics. This particular university campus used to be a First Nation village before the band that lived there was nearly wiped right out of existence by smallpox at the turn of the century. These horrendous displays (one of which, I will remind you, featured a swastika flag superimposed over a pile of corpses in a mass concentration camp grave) were also in the plaza onto which the Jewish students’ building looks out. In the blog post I wrote about the second day, I probed deeper into the active process of decolonizing my politics on the subject, as well as into a psychoanalytic perspective of what was going on in this demonstration. Under the dominant, over-arching, colonialist cultural structures in this society, all oppressions are analogous to each other in some way, but they are also intersecting all the time. We can use this understanding of oppression to our advantage, so I did. Also, the issue (and colonialist mythology) of sex-selective abortion and the role of women in Chinese culture also came up due to a blatantly racist private member’s bill that is coming up for debate in Canadian Parliament. This is one of the times when simplistic analyses of abortion simply will not do. We need intersectionality in our activist utility belts, or when we answer this issue, we will simply be demoralising ourselves.
Last year, when no one was doing anything about the “genocide awareness” campaign, a student of the campus felt compelled to strip down to her skivvies and sit directly in front of it. She was promptly badgered by campus security (even though what she was doing was 100% non-violent and fully legal!), and she wrote this blog post about her experience. That blog post was the first I had ever heard about GAP, and it wasn’t long before I was counter-picketing the very same organization when it launched a blatant co-option of the original Abortion Caravan of the 1970s (which was started in Vancouver, BC and upon arrival in Ottawa, ON, successfully shut down Canadian Parliament for the first time in its entire history).
While I was at the UBC campus on the first day (from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), I observed several Philosophy Dudebros contending with the university’s pro-life club by engaging them in endless debate for literally hours. I was grateful for the buffer zone security was enforcing on this particular day, as usually, we don’t even have a sidewalk that wide, and I have to either tell them to take their conversation somewhere else or cut it the fuck out for everyone else’s sanity. Many men who passed by within ear shot actually started yelling and swearing at everyone on that side of the plaza. A couple of particularly enraged people knocked pro-life signage over, and one or two people who mistook my friend and I for pro-lifers yelled at us in the first couple of hours. Many women avoided the plaza all together, but some walked through the middle of the demonstration, trying to keep out of earshot but failing. Then one of the Philosophy Dudebros was shoulder-to-shoulder with all of us pro-choice grassroots, engaging in the very beginning of an endless debate within our allotted 15 square feet. When I told him to take his conversation somewhere else, he started a fight with me about it instead, while the man he was debating darted off somewhere. It is a result of thinking about this interaction for several hours (and nearly a year of observations of very similar behaviours), that has inspired me to write about this topic today.
In fact, I wrote most of this post before the second day, during which I observed several clusters of pro-choice women engaging with the pro-lifers. But as the issue is fully de-contextualized for men and fully contextualized for women, the effect of this tactic is radically different when women are engaging in it. First of all, groups of women tend to cluster around those women who walk up and attempt to engage alone, whereas Philosophy Dudebros will only engage the pro-lifer alone, and will actively ignore anyone who attempts to interject, even if they are obviously representing the pro-choice side. Literally, Philosophy Dudebros have actually stared me straight in the face when I ask them a point-blank question, and then turned to the person they had just been “debating” before continuing on as if I was not standing right fucking there waiting for an answer to a simple and direct question. While a Philosophy Dudebro will tend to engage in something abstract such as theological arguments that keep the issue fully de-contextualized and essentially meaningless, women generally engage in the matter of direct personal experiences of women who have had various kinds of abortions, been exposed to various kinds of sexualized violence, and/or had children (unplanned or intentionally). Thus, the comparison between men and women doing similar things is not valid for several reasons; so for the intents and purposes of this blog post, Philosophy Dudebros are basically always (pro-choice) cisgendered men who get off on pretending to play the Devil’s advocate. And before any hand-wringing or pretend crying starts, that is not an insult. It’s a comment on unchecked male privilege.
1. Abortion Is Neither A Debate Nor A Thought Experiment
It’s simply not a debate. It’s not a thought experiment. It’s real life, and women are the ones living it. Full stop. It is a human rights issue when anyone attempts to interfere with a woman’s decision to prematurely terminate an unwanted or non-viable pregnancy. On August 3, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared that access to the best available sexual and reproductive healthcare (including abortion) is a basic function of several human rights. You can read about it here (where you can also download the UN General Assembly report). I only ever see men treat the subject as though it were a legitimate debate, and it’s only ever men telling me that even though it weighs dramatically in favour of women, it’s still somehow a debate. This isn’t a coincidence, since exactly 0% of them will ever be pregnant and faced with the decision of what to do with their own bodies while they are stigmatized, shamed, and stalled in every direction they turn. If you are pregnant and don’t want to be, you can’t simply get an abortion at the snap of your fingers. Much of Canada is without any abortion clinics at all, meaning that women frequently find themselves fighting against the clock between ultrasound appointments just to find someone who will provide a safe abortion before an unwanted pregnancy either ruins their life or threatens it (such as when they take a coat hanger to a public washroom to give themselves an abortion). Abortion is not a debate. As unfortunate as it is that women ever need abortions, it’s a choice between actual rights for women and hypothetical rights for fetuses (that have yet to even be conceived). Canadian law decidedly removed its hands of the issue in 1989 (which also means that it isn’t a protected right under Canadian law and is subject to constant undermining by the hate movement that is called pro-life).
2. You Can’t Wear Them Down Or Change Their Minds
What a lot of Philosophy Dudebros think they are doing by directly engaging with these bigots is taking up their time, energy, and attention, so that the pro-lifers can’t spend it talking to other people who are not thinking critically about the subject, passing out pamphlets, or attending to the needs of their equally disciplined fellow picketers. But this is stupid and small-minded. People who are already not thinking critically about the subject just move on to the next person or interrupt your little debate session. That is, when they aren’t just walking up to pro-choicers at random and spewing heinous shit at them. They are already on the mailing list for this organization and multiple others. They are already following CCBR on YouTube and may actually come armed with a tablet and a pre-loaded CCBR propaganda video to heckle an abortion rights press conference (this actually happens — I was there for it). On top of all of that, you’re trying to “debate” someone who has been trained specifically to perpetually derail, deflect, topic-change, and answer yes/no questions or concise statements with loaded questions, in order to perpetuate endless “debate” that isn’t even marginally sincere. They aren’t listening to anything that you’re saying and they aren’t prepared to ever change their minds. They are listening for things they can exploit with their tactics, and just waiting for their turn to speak and bring up some random red herring that you can’t answer concisely. They are actively trying to antagonize you by doing this, because they think that once you start to go apeshit, that’s their window of opportunity to change your mind and convert you to take up their cause. This is all part of their demonstration protocol. You are merely demoralizing and depleting yourself (to accomplish sweet fuck all for it) and if you happen to be doing this within earshot of pro-choice activists, you’re doing it to them too (your non-consenting audience).
3. You Are Not An Original Genius
There is no argument that you can come up with that several decades of feminists prior to you have not already thought of, written about, spoken about, painted onto a sign, and challenged pro-lifers with. There just isn’t. You are not an original genius, Philosophy Dudebro. There is no code phrase that you can say to a pro-lifer that will magically make them stop their brainwashing programming and CCBR protocol to go think somewhere. There is no pass phrase that spontaneously converts pro-lifers to the pro-choice side. We’ve tried it all already. For the sake of fuck, we shut down Canadian Fucking Parliament for the first time in its history over this very issue. You think maybe we might actually know by now what we’re doing and who we’re dealing with? Not to even mention, they know exactly what they are doing by framing their entire perspective in the particular manner that they have. No matter how you attempt to engage their views, your answer will be rejected on the principle that you’re “pro-death” for disagreeing with them. And no matter how sophisticated or straight-to-the-point your views are, what you have to say will be rejected on the principle that you’re failing to acknowledge or appropriately adhere to this “pro-life” versus “pro-death” dichotomy. They’ve stacked the deck and sandwiched it between brainwashing and groupthink. Sure, it’s appetizing in theory to take a bite out of that, but in reality, it’s not very fulfilling. Trying to de-bunk their shit to their faces is a lost cause, and feminists have known this already for several consecutive decades. We don’t protest to de-bunk their views—we protest to challenge everyone else to think critically about the issue and the way it is being presented by pro-life groups.
4. You Are Also Not Smarter Than Several Decades Of Feminists Collectively
Philosophy Dudebros always seem to think they know everything that’s been going on behind their backs at all times while they’ve been spending hours upon hours moving from one person to the next in meaningless Make-Work debate that really accomplishes a heaping portion of Fuck-All. They also seem to think that feminists and pro-choice grassroots who refuse to engage directly with pro-lifers are just not doing so because they aren’t smart enough to keep up the debate. Well, they’re wrong on both counts. While Philosophy Dudebro from day one of the Genocide Awareness Project counter-picket was busy with his back turned to the pro-choicers, several pro-lifers walked up to anyone who either seemed eager to say something to anyone who would listen or seemed easy to physically isolate. They then tried to bait every one of those people in circular, demoralizing, and emotionally depleting debates. One of those pro-lifers had even already been standing for hours with the camcorder next to the obscene displays before skulking around on our side of the plaza, trying to listen in to what people were saying. He was fishing for a way to bait anyone who would start with him into an endless debate, and his preferred targets would be those whose arguments are bordering on completely uncritical or who are easily physically isolated from the group. He wound up picking me because I was staring him down after I informed everyone within ear shot of exactly who he was. Before, during, and after all that was going on, there were also several men with cameras taking multiple consecutive pictures of our entire protest without asking anyone but me if it was OK to take our pictures. But would Philosophy Dudebro know any of this was happening? Of course he fucking wouldn’t, because he doesn’t even know to pay attention for these things and yet thinks he’s smarter than someone with as much experience as I bring. I am quite content to yell at someone like him until he gets too uncomfortable and just goes home, because frankly? His presence is more taxing than it’s worth to keep him around, and I’m not there to tip-toe around his delicate feels.
5. A Grassroots Protest Is Not A Debate Club Or A Megaphone For Your Shit
So what did Philosophy Dudebro get into an endless debate about, while shoulder-to-shoulder with pro-choice grassroots who had no room to get out of earshot from him? I heard fragmented snippets. What I heard sounded like an angry anti-theist who reads too much fucking Dawkins and is missing significant social justice concepts such as racializing and colonialism (evidently, Dawkins is missing these concepts too). After just a few minutes, those snippets genuinely sounded like a racist tirade about how all Muslims are Islamist jihadists. I told him to take his conversation somewhere else, and that’s when he started a fight with me. Over his “choice” to… stand there and start a fight with me, I guess! Because he sure wasn’t going to accomplish any fucking thing else! I also neglected to mention it in my blog entry about that day, but I was completely covered from head to toe, except for a very narrow strip of exposed flesh on my forehead, but he just assumed it was OK to be heard sounding indistinguishable from a racist if you were too busy protesting to listen close enough. You know. About ten feet from several graphic depictions of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and mass murder being co-opted for an attack against women’s rights. Because I guess that just wasn’t racist enough. Apparently I just needed an extra helping of bigotry (whether perceived or actual, it doesn’t make a difference) from snippets of Dudebro’s conversation. One of the things he attempted to counter with was “Well if you actually heard what I was saying…” It’s as if, in his mind, I hadn’t come there to counter-picket these bigots ten feet away from us, but instead had come there for the express purpose of being lectured by a man whose very existence was unknown to me until he started debating the existence of God in the middle of a grassroots protest. Don’t be this asshole.
6. The Real Grassroots Won’t Trust You
On the second day, I overheard a woman concisely explain to some Philosophy Dudebro that she was fiercely staring him down and deliberately trying to avoid speaking to him. Quite simply, after observing him spend more than an hour “debating”, she didn’t know whether or not she could trust him, and couldn’t tell him apart from the sneaky fucking pro-lifers taking our pictures and trying to bait us into their bullshit. It reminded me instantly of a time I watched someone I obliquely know walking up to a demonstration outside the abortion clinic. He just so happened to have attempted the previous year to police my identity and tell me I’m not Jewish because I’m not Hasidic like him — or like, Hasidic at all, but not that this has any bearing on my ethnic make-up (there’s that intersectionality thing again!) Well, that day, he approached the pro-lifers first (as both Philosophy Dudebros and pro-lifers pretending to be Philosophy Dudebros tend alike to do), and I overheard him attempting to police the emotionality of one of the picketers (also called tone-policing). I hate tone-policing, and find it incredibly patronizing, even when it’s not directed at me. So when he walked up to me after a few minutes and started addressing me immediately in the same tone of voice he had just used to be a patronizing asshole to one of the bigots, I was reaching my boiling point already. He just so happened to be “on our side”, but I just about tore him 17 new assholes because I couldn’t fucking tell the difference. Don’t be this asshole either. He thought he would talk them out of using their sandwich boards, one at a time, until they had no options left and stopped showing up. He got one person to stop using one, but they just put it on someone else, and he never came back anyway.
If you’re going to become involved in grassroots activism, keep your expectations of entitlement to unlimited attention and emotional availability from every woman around you at home. And check your privilege at the bus stop down the street so we don’t have to do it for you. We’ve got enough going on already, in case that wasn’t yet apparent. Or put another way: Oh, hello, useless waste of time and energy—we meet again. Well, fuck off. I’m not in the mood for giving metaphorical handjobs in the form of back-patting. I’m too busy actually accomplishing shit.
There is a strong need for male allies in pro-choice protests, but absolutely zero need for Philosophy Dudebros. If you want to help, start by understanding where you fit into the abortion conversation. Use this understanding to inform the slogans and tactics you utilize. Use it to take up the right kind of space, rather than (for example) taking up as much as you can while the wimminz disappear behind your attention-whoring for feminist points. Even better yet, check back next week for my next blog article here. I’ll be publishing about specific grassroots counter-tactics that have proven effective, so that relatively inexperienced activists looking for a way in to the front lines (regardless of whether it is pro-choice or something else) can do their homework and come equipped with (some) ideas about effective methodology.
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(Some dudes can be pregnant, and some of them can be dude-bros)
But otherwise, yeah. Campus atheist/freethought/etc clubs are full of these dudes, too, and they are super-aggravating. It’s hard not to be suspicious, too, of someone who’s entirely comfortable arguing “both sides” of an issue like this.
What pro-lifers and philosophy dudebros alike seem to neglect to notice is that, despite my gender-ambiguity and dudevoice, I actually spent ten years of my adult life trying not to get pregnant.
🙂 Point well made on that note.
Whoops, went back and read your profile from the page linked in your name. Guess you didn’t really need me point that out. Sorry for the pedantry.
“It’s hard not to be suspicious, too, of someone who’s entirely comfortable arguing “both sides” of an issue like this.”
This. Because self-proclaimed allies who are perfectly comfortable playing devil’s advocate with my bodily autonomy (or any facet of my life, really) more often than not will turn on me the second my lived experience contradicts their thought experiment.
Indeed. These guys are not actually paying much attention to what anyone else is saying, which is why they miss the obvious: when they “play devil’s advocate,” they sound exactly like a “devil,” and should not be surprised if someone mistakes them for one.
Not to mention, there’s hardly a lack of devils advocating for themselves. If you want to drag the metaphor out unreasonably.
F [nucular nyandrothol] says
Good fucking point(s)!
Fuckin’ rights, eh?
In my experience, I’ve found that the Philosophy Dudebros and the “I’m pro-choice, BUT” people overlap quite a bit. I have little patience for either type even when there is a separation.
I am a person with bodily autonomy 100% of the time. Not 60% of the time. Not 73% of the time. Not 99.95% of the time. 100% of the time.
Totally agreed on that point.
Yes. Thank you. I am now going to link to this post every time I have to deal with the philosophy dudebros in online abortion debates. Holy crap, they are so annoying. And since loads of them seem to be first year philosophy students, they’re not even delivering quality philosophy dudebro-ish-ness. And god, it cheeses me off when they assume that they’re more educated than I am (because I don’t try to debate prolifers) and talk down to me accordingly. From now on, I’m just going to say, “No, dudebro. You are not a super genius who is magically more intelligent than the feminist philosophers who spent years actually researching and analysing an issue that you’re treating like a hundred-level homework assignment.” Also, they’re intellectualising (in the Freudian sense) the issue because deep down they’re uncomfortable with the idea of women having autonomy over their own bodies and minds, right?
PS thank you for baring your soul about your cousin’s story. Powerful.
? What’s this referring to? Something caught in moderation that the rest of us can’t see?
There’s a link to a comment on another post in comment 8, that I went and read. I recommend everyone go and read it.
Giliell, professional cynic says
What makes me want to punch something is when they start with analogies.
They never manage to find any in which I’m not either reduced to an object (a house, most prominently) or me having sex being a morally objectionable thing or criminal act (drunk driving…)
Thanks, Haifisch. My cousin is recovering well. She did not end up having any brain damage due to her seizures, fortunately. The baby is well, and living with his adopted parents. This couple has provided my cousin with some money for counseling and drug rehabilitation services. I’m hopeful.
I despise the use of analogies in arguments. Analogies are good teaching tools for someone that’s not informed about a subject. Using one in an argument is effectively the same as saying, “you don’t understand this, you need me to explain it”. Fuck that.
Mythbri, I’m really glad and will keep her in my thoughts as well, hoping for her recovery.
Yeah I couldn’t disagree with you any more. Analogy is an excellent method of exposing inconsistencies in logic, which is an important component of refuting bad arguments.
Crommunist said (#18):
Excellent point; quite agree with that.
And, as a case in point, you might wish to try – I wish you luck – explaining that to Ophelia Benson who seems unclear on the concept that when she said “As Jews in Germany circa 1936 might have created ‘a climate where Jews — who otherwise wouldn’t — end up feeling unwelcome and unsafe’” she created an analogy between TAM and Nazi Germany – essentially a comparison between those groups. Even if she wasn’t trying to argue that TAM had imminent plans to invade Poland which she seems to think must follow ….
I don’t care about your problems with Ophelia. Nor do I care for your attempts to derail this thread with Slymepit talking points. And words cannot adequately express how little I care about TAM, or who said what about it. If you don’t have anything relevant to say, maybe just keep whatever this is to yourself. K, punkin?
The analogies tend towards insulting and objectifying, it’s true. The other thing that really bothers me about the Philosophy Dudebros is their insistence that the abortion “issue” has nuance, and that taking an unequivocal stance on one side or the other somehow demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the nuance.
Sexist! No shots at “Philosophy DudessSis”? Are you arguing that “[Philosophy Dudeness], it’s more of a guy thing”?
Interesting. I might refer you too to the Wikipedia article on analogies (1), an essential element of which is this:
Just because people make an analogy that does mean that they are saying all elements of each structure or group are the same.
So your contention is that the relationship between embryos and abortion is the same as the relationship between Jews and the gas chambers? If not, then congratulations the info from your Wiki citation is already baked into Jamie’s rage-cake.
Crommunist said (#23):
Depends on what you mean by “Jews”. If we are talking about entities which are biologically distinct, unique, and “alive” – the definition of which is a little problematic – in each case then I would say that the relationship holds. No insistence that abortion providers are planning the imminent invasion of Poland.
But a typo on my part in the previous post – it should have been:
And as for “Jamie’s rage-cake”, one is tempted to say that it is rather self-indulgent at best. While one can quite reasonably understand the causes for anger in general, that some people allow it to get the better of them, that it becomes a case of the tail wagging the dog, that it clouds their judgement, isn’t particularly admirable. Not to mention the possibility that an over-indulgence in it is a ticket to “The Dark Side” – so to speak ….
My take on this – If someone’s interfering with YOUR protest, that’s your problem. I haven’t been one to go up to pro-lifers and argue with them, but if you try to tell me when and how I’m allowed to confront someone else about advocating something I disagree with, or argue my point with them, I’ll politely ignore you completely.
Had you been duly deputized by the campus police? If not then what makes you think you had any right to expect that he would be obliged to do so? Do you have a tendency to piss against the wind?
Ever consider the possibility that they might have decided that to answer your question would have derailed the conversation they were in. You might want to “check your privilege” ….
Ipse dixit; so sayeth HaifischGeweint, so let it be done. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but then so is everyone else to theirs. However, as a point of reference, I happen to be, generally speaking, pro-choice. But I’m not sure that it is particularly wise to be making it an absolute as you appear to be framing it as – very few, if any, rights come without any obligations and responsibilities.
I would be interested in seeing whatever evidence you have that that is the case. You’ve infiltrated their “Philosophical Dudebros for Choice” inner sactum? Done an exit survey?
Really? You have evidence of that as well? That you might perceive things that way is very little justification for leaping to that conclusion – at least for those with a more skeptical turn of mind.
So who put you in charge of the entire anti-pro-life movement for the entire Western Hemisphere? If those, arguably, benighted “dudebros” wish to try cutting their philosophical teeth on them then who the hell are you to deny them that opportunity?
YOU hate tone policing! That’s bloody rich coming from someone who complains about his tone of voice, not to mention the entire set of behaviours said dudebros had been engaged in. What freaking arrogance.
In your freaking opinion. Some more arrogance as if you were the grand high Poobah of the pro-choice movement, its Napolean charting a campaign to invade the vast Russian steppes of pro-life ignorance. Last time I checked this was still a free country, and if “Philosophy Dudebros” wish to throw in their two cents, to exercise their own freedom of assembly and association, then I figure you’re seriously barking up the wrong tree if you think you are entitled or able to prevent them. About all you’ll do is discredit the pro-choice movement and your own opinions and philosophies.
Ah-huh. I’m sure you’ll be doing it politely. *roll eyes*
My, my, steersman. You’ve written your own blog post with that. Why don’t you go post it on your own blog, where I’m sure you are guaranteed a larger audience.
Hoo boy. I’m out.
Don’t have one yet; generally find I get more bangs for my buck by posting on other people’s blogs.
How unfortunate for the people providing ads on this particular post.
It’s the Eric Cartman defense:
‘I don’t care, I do what I want.’
Thanks for the object lesson. Steersman and Ganner are plants to illustrate the points about entitlement, privilege, disrespect, and arrogance, right?
Correct me if I’m wrong, dear author, but isn’t the premise here that you’re speaking to men who at least claim to want to support abortion rights and equality for women? So, then, obviously, nothing here is directed at ALL men. Steerman’s faux outrage is, as per usual, overwrought and missing the point.
I don’t understand.
Your point #1 is that abortion isn’t a debate.
But you further claim: “it’s a choice between actual rights for women and hypothetical rights for fetuses.”
No matter how self evident you or I find this to be, it’s still a philosophical point, one that you can’t just expect everyone else to agree with. I mean, pro life people take issue with the notion that a fetus’ rights are “hypothetical,” correct? Hence the “debate.”
I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but it just seems like these contradict.
I’m sympathetic to the idea that perhaps a protest or action isn’t the right venue for intellectual discussion, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going to an event where there will be a gathering of people with strongly-held beliefs which are antithetical to your own with the intention of engaging them and exploring those differences. I don’t think that’s “blood-boiling sexism” (the other boorish and insensitive behavior notwithstanding).
It’s also interesting to me that you actually started identifying with the pro life activists who were the victims of “tone policing,” despite characterizing the “entire pro-life movement as a hate movement of Westboro Baptist Church calibre.” Maybe some of them will identify more with the pro-life movement after reading your dressing-down of rogue activists, despite characterizing our whole movement as “pro death?”
How’s that for an analogy 😉
Translation: Steersman is pro-choice, but…
Thanks. I didn’t click on the link because I mistakenly assumed that since it was on Pharyngula and by mythbri and on the topic of abortion, I’d probably read it already. I was wrong! And yes, it is worth reading.
Crommunist said (#29):
Why? One can definitely see that it is a little bit of an uncomfortable analogy. But only if you refuse to consider what similarities and differences are present. And in the latter case I would say the biggest one is that Jews, as paradigmatic autonomous individuals rather than a race that has been notably though not exclusively subjected to genocide, are humans who have been born, in contradistinction to fetuses who have not. But the similarity – at least apparently for those championing the pro-life position – is that they too have a right to life.
While that is, of course, the premise that their arguments are predicated on, it is, I think, decidedly arrogant to dismiss it as null and void without addressing the question of whether there is some justification for it. Personally, I think it is a case, at least to some extent, of triage: frequently a bit of a tragedy, but a necessary one, particularly given our current set of values and resources.
SallyStrange said (34):
Well, I’m glad you didn’t say something like “Shorter Steersman: ….” Putting words into other people’s mouths frequently tends to backfire ….
But why is that such a hard thing to wrap your head around? Can you only handle categorical statements and conditions? Subscribe to the “four legs good; two legs bad” method of judging moral turpitude? Can’t entertain the possiblity that some “two legs” are better than some “four legs”?
More specifically you might want to check out the Pit, this comment (1) in particular from a woman who has had an abortion and who feels quite ambivalent about it even though she had been very dogmatically in favour of it previously. Listen to what PZ says (in some cases): “Listen to the women”.
It’s certainly good to know that there are people in the world who think that I pretty much have bodily autonomy, mostly, but have no problem debating whether I should lose that autonomy in circumstances that make them feel “icky.” I’m sure it’s important to them that I know that I have control over making decisions about my own body, except for when they feel like I don’t.
I regret having majored in Technical Theatre when I went to college the first time. So I think that we should create legislation preventing women from majoring in Technical Theatre to protect them from having the same regret.
I address the question of whether there is some justification for anti-choice arguments: there isn’t. And that’s the starting point for this particular conversation. Not interested in rehashing the “do women really get to have human rights 100% of the time, or not?” argument.
Not this time. Am I not accurate in summarizing your position? You’re GENERALLY pro-choice. Which means there are specific circumstances in which you would feel comfortable substituting YOUR choice for that of a pregnant woman’s about what happens to her body. Nope. Not happening.
punchdrunk said (#32):
You have some evidence to justify that charge, that accusation? Or are you just blowing smoke out of your ass?
Everyone’s irrational but you, Steersman. Time to go home. It’s futile. We’re lost causes.
That’s my assessment of your character. What are you talking about ‘evidence’? Your words, attitudes, and opinions are right there.
Anyone can come to whatever judgements they want about what kind of person you are.
Yes, actually, I can expect everyone else to agree that Savita Halappanavar should still be alive right now, and that there was absolutely no reason to deprive her of urgently needed sexual and reproductive healthcare, to protect a fetus that had already miscarried.
Yep, seems like a pretty simple conclusion for me to make that isn’t at all a philosophical debate the scale and magnitude of which you seem to believe I’ve made here.
You may not feel there’s anything wrong with it, but I know I’m not alone in how I feel about it after watching this happen over and over and over and over and over and over and over again for a year every single week. A grassroots protest isn’t some magical context-free space where privilege doesn’t factor in. My own bed (or what I sleep on that might be described as a bed) isn’t a context-free space, even when I’m all alone in there. People are not context-free spaces where there’s “nothing wrong” with insincere debate over whether or not women should have human rights.
You know why I got mad that some Philosophy Dudebro went from tone-policing some people whose ideas are diametrically opposed to my own, to walking over to me and addressing me in the same patronizing asshole tone of voice? Because it’s tone-policing, and no one deserves it. Most certainly not from someone purporting to be some sort of philosophy expert, who ought to have stronger arguments in their repertoire than “You’re not being as nice about being right as I am about being wrong, so that magically makes me more right than you.”
Regardless of the fact that these people have diametrically opposed ideas relative to my own, they are still human beings deserving of being treated with a basic level of dignity and respect. Or did you forget that somehow when you wrote your “analogy ;)”?
mythbri said (#39):
Not sure where the “icky” comes from, but, pray tell, what do you mean by “bodily autonomy”, and how far do you think it extends? And, considering that a fetus is a genetically distinct entity, why should you be entitled to think that your “bodily autonomy” outweighs its? You have some proof that it isn’t entitled to any or is that just a self-serving article of faith? Isn’t that what you are charging others of doing with regard to yours?
In addition, do you think that you are also entitled, for instance, to kill someone else – anyone apart from the supposed “someone” of a fetus – because, hey, it’s what you feel you want to do, that it is part of the scope of your “bodily autonomy”?
“Bodily autonomy” seems to me to be anything but an absolute, the limits in each case being somewhat open to debate – not to mention any number of other laws.
The thing is, as suggested, a fetus really is most emphatically not the mother’s body or even a part of it, even if it happens to be heavily dependent on it for at least nine months. It is something, I think, rather much more than a wart to be excised without a qualm.
Sally Strange said (#42):
I had been looking for a classic case of a false dichotomy (1), and there you are to provide one! Mon Dieu! Ask and it shall be given!
More specifically, where do you get the idea that I’m arguing that MY choice has to carry the day in that situation? The most that I would suggest, at least at this time given the limited amount of knowledge that we have, is that some consideration be given to the argument that the fetus might also have some right to life, even if I’ll agree that the woman has the final call.
Several of my relatives have had to deal with the situation so I can see that it can be a traumatic choice that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But I don’t think it helps society in general for it to have such a cavalier attitude about the issue.
Ace of Sevens says
What exactly are we talking about here? The people who show up to pro-life protests to argue witht eh protesters rather than counter-protest or something else?
Steersman, we’re talking about abortion politics here, not pro-life politics. Most people think it’s “icky” to allow sex-selective abortion, because their interpretation comes from a colonial framework of the western observer looking down upon Chinese society.
I say it doesn’t matter what reasons a woman has an abortion unless I am that woman. You are never going to be that woman, so… Jog on or something. Your philosophy dudebro approach to this matter reveals how green you are on the subject, and that makes you the worst kind of them.
Ace of Sevens
That’s one way of concisely putting it. Some of the people who fit your description are pro-life. In fact, that’s one of their tactics.
punchdrunk said (#45):
Sure. Yes, you’re right that my “words, attitudes, and opinions are right there”. But you also characterized them – judged them – as exhibiting or manifesting “entitlement, privilege, disrespect, and arrogance”. And absent any evidence or even argument to support that interpretation, that opinion, I expect many people are going to reach the conclusion, as indicated, that you’re only blowing smoke out of your ass.
I don’t recommend putting up an ad on a fetish website looking for someone to blow smoke out of their asshole, but it certainly seems to be a fixation in these comments.
Come to think of it, this steersman reminds me of a guy who was all “not all liberties are utilitarian”, and then said he doesn’t “believe in” negative rights. At which point I reminded him that freedom of speech is one of those rights and walked away.
Because he’s a blithering idiot.
Ace of Sevens says
I don’t see what about this implies one thinks one is smarter than generations of feminist theorists. Most pro-life protesters are unfamiliar with any pro-choice arguments beyond a vague idea that pro-choicers think convenience is more important than human life. Have you read Libby Anne’s account of how she became pro-choice? Most pro-lifers have never really thought through their views and a protest is a good place to find them and see if you can get them to do so. I don’t see what’s wrong with engaging people in conversation, which only works in ones or twos, instead of holding signs and chanting or whatever it is you’re advocating. I’m not really clear on what you’re saying people should do at a counter-protest. Or have I misunderstood what you are complaining about?
Ace of Sevens, you can’t wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.
And apparently, you can’t tell the difference between someone who is asleep and someone who is pretending to be. If you could, you might not be coming at this conversation from your current standpoint.
Tell me, Steersman, how many pregnancies have you gone through?
Currently, I am denying consent to any potential embryos/fetuses by taking birth control and asking my partner to use a condom. If either of those two precautions should fail, this will not change the fact that I have already denied my consent.
Regardless of whether an fetus needs my body to survive, it is not entitled to it. Having an abortion is enforcing my denial of consent.
You’re not talking about respecting a fetus’s bodily autonomy, or even giving it equal rights to born persons. You’re talking about giving it more rights than any born person, because no one has the right to use my body against my will, even if it would save somebody’s life.
I cannot compel you to donate an organ to save my life. You cannot compel me to donate my entire body to save someone else’s. Even the bodily autonomy of corpses is respected more than the bodily autonomy of a pregnant woman. It is illegal to remove the organs of a dead person – even if they would save multiple lives – unless consent has been established.
But thanks for proving my point, you Philosophy Dudebro.
HaifischGeweint said (#51):
You were the one who brought up “pro-life” politics by arguing that they were using invalid analogies between abortion and genocide. All I did was to point out, by the definition of analogies, that seemed to be an untenable argument.
And whether the premise of that analogy – that fetuses have as much, or a similar, right to life as those victimized by genocide – is valid or not, it seems also to be a question of the principles undergirding those politics. Seems to me that you’re not likely to make much headway against the latter without addressing the former.
And it was the subsequent comments from others which attempted to question and discuss that premise – which may or may not have some validity.
Ace of Sevens says
So what about former pro-lifers like myself, Libby Anne, Dan Fincke, Vyckie Garrison and many others? How did we turn pro-choice if pro-lifers don’t listen? You seem to think that pro-lifers don’t really believe their soundbites and are just using them in bad faith as some sort of strategy. Most of them do. I’d estimate about the only ones who don’t are the leaders feeding them soundbites. Some are willing to think and listen, but it’s not like these generations of feminist thinkers have made into the popular discourse. The only way for people to be exposed to them who aren’t inclined that way in the first place is if someone tells them.
No, no one is required to tell you before you straighten your own head out.
No one bears the bonus of educating you before you start to do the work of educating yourself.
That’s something you either do on your own (it’s not as if there isn’t some sort of tool connecting you to billions of voices on the subject), or you’re being disingenuous (whether or not you want to admit it to yourself).
All I can do is write and keep making waves, but you? You can either respect yourself enough to consider investing your time in exploring the validity of your ideas, or continue being disingenuous.
Steersman you seem to think that pro-life groups have politics. They are a hate group. All they have is their anger and hatred. There are no politics to be found there.
If anything in this entire conflict is comparable to genocide, its their collective complacency with the genocide that continues against indigenous peoples. When confronted by this matter, they change the subject.
That’s not politics.
Ace of Sevens says
A lot more people are going to get their heads straightened out if someone takes it upon themselves to make them rather than sitting back and figuring people should straighten their own heads out. I thought trying to engage people and change minds was what protesting was all about. What you are describing doesn’t sound much different than what Zinnia Jones does at anti-lgbt protests. I don’t get what you are talking about when you say “respect yourself enough to consider investing your time in exploring the validity of your ideas” because you seem to be complaining about people who are doing exactly that and I’m not even clear what you’re sayign they should be doing instead.
Once again, you cannot wake someone who is pretending to be asleep.
If you want to explore the validity of your ideas, you don’t walk up to a hate group and expect to be genuinely challenged. You don’t walk up into the people counter-picketing them and expect them to sacrifice their undivided attention and emotional availability to you (I.e., expect them to stop protesting because you don’t care to) when there is other shit going on all around them at all times as long as they are out there protesting.
For a former pro-lifer you sure seem to have absolutely zero experience in protesting. Either that or you have zero experience during protests, distinguishing between passersby and pro-life plants.
Or did you think that after spending a year at this with as much discipline as my opponents, thinking and writing and standing out there receiving threats and being baited and antagonized every time I went with the intent to speak, that I somehow still don’t know as well as you do?
And we come full circle to how you just “don’t get” that the behaviour described by the post implies that someone thinks they are smarter than the several decades of feminists prior to them. I see disingenuous, you see cognitive dissonance preventing you from seeing how stupid this conversation really is. It’s fucking magical.
Ace of Sevens says
I was completely confused as to what plants, or the other stuff you said has to do with I was talking about. After reading you a few times, I think we are talking about completely different things. I wasn’t sure what you were talking about in the first place, which is why I started with a request for clarification. I think you misread my misreading and it all clusterfucked from there. I was talking about pro-choicers who show up at pro-life rallies not to take part in an organized counter-protest, but to engage the pro-lifers in ones and twos and challenge them about the implications of their position and try to make them come up with real arguments rather than catchphrases.
You seem to have been talking about people who come to talk to the pro-choicers about how they agree and are pro-choice, but they think that their sign makes any argument which doesn’t hold up to intellectual scrutiny. I agree that this is bad form. Not that we should let bad arguments slide if we agree with their conclusions, but there’s a time and a place and at the protest is generally not it. That’s what complaining later on the Internet is for.
Do I have it straight now? I take it you don’t have a problem with the first group?
Ace of Sevens says
Though if you think pro-lifers are just pretending to be asleep, you are seriously overgeneralizing at best.
HaifischGeweint said (#60):
You have some evidence of that? Although considering their premise – apparently that fetuses have a right to life and that abortion is therefore murder – one can at least see a plausible “reason” – in the sense of a cause – for at least the anger. But considering Crommunist’s characterization of your post as “Jamie’s rage-cake”, maybe your comment is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
And, considering also the descriptions by Ace of Sevens of his (?) experiences in the pro-life movement, I would say you’re mischaracterizing it. Maybe you’ve only seen a narrow section of it.
Maybe because they think the topic is a complete non sequitur?
But you also said (#59):
That seems to be more a case of “you can think anything you want as long as you agree with me”.
@Ace of Sevens
No, Jaime is talking about people who address the pro-life protesters instead of doing whatever it is that Jaime wants them to do.
If you consider abortion to be beyond debate, then you’re just as closed minded as the pro lifers.
Ace of Sevens says
On further review, Jamie seems to be casually conflating people who argue with the pro-lifers with people who troll the pro-choice counter-protest.This is why I was so confused. The article seems intent upon otherizing pro-lifers and painting them not as people with bad and dangerous ideas, but as a slavering, unreasoning horde who can’t be talked to because are just lies and hate and can’t hold a real conversation like people. I hope I’m misreading again, because that kind of tribalism is worse than ridiculous. Having spent time on the pro-life side of the protest barrier, I can tell you they think similar things about pro-choicers, which is a big part of why many (though not nearly all or even a majority) think death threats are a totally valid tactic.
mythbri said (#56):
Not quite sure what relevance that has. Do we each need to have known someone who was murdered before we are able to reach the conclusion that murder is morally wrong? Seems all or most of us have an innate moral sense such that we don’t need to fully experience the situations before being able to make those types of judgments (1).
That is a plausible, well evidenced, and quite credible argument, one that I don’t see a strong counter for. About the only one that springs to mind is related to the question of entitlement. Seems to me that there are a great many cases or moral questions where we are not obliged, or cannot be compelled, to perform certain actions, but where we frequently have a moral obligation to do so, for examples, charitable donations, or caring for infirm parents.
Similarly with abortion: quite agree with you that a woman cannot be compelled to carry a fetus to term, but one might also argue, assuming that the fetus has some right to life even it is not absolute, that since the woman frequently bears some responsibility for, was the cause of, the existence of the fetus in the first place, she has some moral obligation to at least weigh that right to life in the balance, although she has the final call. Essentially as I argued with Sally Strange above (#48).
My pleasure; thanks also for an illumination of an aspect I hadn’t thought of.
Nepenthe said (#66):
And exactly why is it that those “Philosophy Dudebros” should be “doing whatever it is that Jamie wants them to do”? What obligation do they have for doing so?
Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
Ace of Sevens #67:
That’s a rather slippery slope, considering that pro-choice groups do not engage in the same tactics by any means, nor were such tactics ever treated as valid much less endorsed in the post. Which makes you one to talk about tribalism, considering that your logic boils down to “we can’t do this, they do that, and if we do it we’ll become just like them” without any evidence of that actually happening.
You having the spoons to deal with hate groups does not make it wrong for others to draw a line and not go there. Especially not when experience shows that such actions are more often than not useless.
And, personally, I don’t get why we should go after the haters when they’re part of a declining minority already. Seems more useful to just get people talking and engage passers-by, so that the real weight of public opinion can start overriding the haters’ noise.
If you consider slavery to be beyond debate, then you’re just as closed-minded as the slave owners.
Abortion is a medical procedure – it is morally neutral, and therefore exactly as moral as the pregnant person in question believes it to be. If they believe it to be wrong, they have the choice not to have one (although they might need one should the pregnancy go wrong). If they believe it to be right for them, they have to choice to have one.
And I would contend that in most, if not all, cases of unplanned pregnancies, the person who unexpectedly finds themselves pregnant does weigh the potential life of the fetus. It would be a logical part of the decision-making process. That does not make this person obligated to emotionally torture themselves for having an abortion for the rest of their lives, or even to profess guilt in making the decision. Just because someone who has had an abortion does neither of these things doesn’t mean that they made the decision lightly, and regardless of any of these things, no one is better-qualified to judge someone’s decision to have or not have an abortion except for the person whose body is on the line.
Giliell, professional cynic says
So, pray, tell me, what obligations and responsibilities does your right to bodily autonomy carry with respect to blood donation, bone marrow donation or organ donation? What responsibility do you get in exchange for the right that you get to decide what happens to your organs even after your death?
So, in that case, where’s your problem with removing it from the pregnant woman’s body?
Either you grant the fetus the right to use said body for its own benefit without the consent of the person whose body it is, something that is never granted elsewhere, or you accept that the woman gets to decide if, when and for how long said resources can be accessed.
But, but, but mythbri!
Are you saying that women (and trans* men) do have more at stake in this discussion than cis-men? You are positively silencing them! You’re a misandrist sexist! A cis-man’s opinion on how pregnancy affects your body and how much labour hurts is just as valid as that of any person who has ever been pregnant or could be so.
Now you made him take out the analogies.
Now being pregnant (regardless of the outcome) is like murdering somebody.
So, now we have:
Giving money = risking your health and life and putting in 9 months of your life
Wiping somebody’s ass (and being paid for it) = risking your health and life and putting in 9 months of your life
And then you think that there’s a problem with guys who never have been and never will be pregnant claiming that they’re totally able to understand what pregnancy means and therefore can make a moral decision.
Hey, we made it to comment #68 before we get to “you spread your legs, bitch, now suck it up”
So, what moral responsibility has the father in that regard?
Oh, and how much responsibility does the woman have if she was raped, if her contraception failed or was manipulated?
And finally: Why do you think that women don’t already take those factors into account when they make that decision? You’re arguing as if women who have abortions (most of them before week 10) were not aware of the fact that this does mean the end of a potential baby.
Pfff, I already made the decision not to have any more children and I’m taking steps to prevent any further pregnancies. Any embryo to settle in my uterus does so 100% against my will and will be removed ASAP. Which means that I’ll remove something which has about the same capacity to suffer as the prawns I bought today. But there’s less eating on an embryo.
@Ace of Sevens
Presumably where-ever Jaime lives, there is no parallel economy of fundamentalists to isolate forced birthers from contact with the outside, every person has unlimited access to information and has the tools to understand it, and people who have been lied to–often from birth–are morally obligated to figure that out without any outside help.
It sounds nice. I wonder what the immigration policy is like.
Yes, but that’s not what this article says. It says that if you have the spoons to deal with forced birth protestors it is wrong for you to do that.
And of course its useless because forced birthers are slavering idiots and we know none of them ever change.
Kim Rippere (President of Secular Woman) says
“Abortion Is Neither A Debate Nor A Thought Experiment”
This point is completely lost on so many. There is no “theoretically” when it comes to abortion = because you are ultimately talking about a women’s right to her own body, to make decisions for herself, and to have control of her life.
When you say theoretically X is right (like fetus pain might have more weight than a women’s right to her own body), that is what you think should be manifest in the world. Otherwise, you would think something else is “right.”
So let me get this straight.
Pro-lifers will resort to death threats, and of those I have been dealing with, they HAVE ALREADY RESORTED TO stalking me for a block and following me into a public washroom, telling me I’m disgusting and should be ashamed of myself, calling me a coward, telling me I deserve to be raped and am asking for it, and getting visibly angry with my very presence multiple times now.
There’s also the question of just how many of the people are pro-life plants, who have walked up and threatened to “smash my fucking head in”, or who have spat on me, or who have called me and other protesters faggots, who have speculated about what body parts are under my clothes that day and which ones are “fake”, or who somehow inspired gravely reputed local extremist Gordon Watson to show up and start taking everyone’s pictures, presumably for another one of his “pro-choicers should all be lynched” open letters on the internet somewhere (and he actually DID smash someone’s fucking head in, yet is still walking about intimidating and harassing people to this day).
But it’s somehow MY responsibility, even when I’m all alone, to engage with them individually in order to try and break the magical spell of brainwashing over them, because I’m supposed to believe that’s possible? And not on,y that, but also worth the risk to my personal safety and anyone within ear shot who starts going PTSD on us like I actually tend to when someone else does it in front of me?
Are you fucking serious?
You do know there’s this thing called the internet nowadays, that connects people to billions of articles and blog posts and videos and voices on the subject, and that there really is nearly no excuse left to carry this ignorance all the way into adulthood?
(Being totally honest and sincere and not trying to troll or be a Dudebro of any sort, please don’t attack me for this)
Haifisch, if you can’t “wake someone who is pretending to sleep”, what is the point of counter-protesting? Just curious, I think your answer could be insightful to those who might not quite understand all of your points.
In case I failed to make that point clear in this article, which is about a specific phenomenon rather than tactics and why they work, the purpose of counter protesting is consciousness-raising.
A lot of people seem to think that these people are just a joke or are not doing the things the have been doing while I’ve been counter picketing them. A lot of people seem to think they are open to a genuine conversation, rather than what they’ve been doing while I’ve been counter picketing them. And a lot of people go apeshit on them when they don’t see us first and calm the fuck down, just knowing that someone is out there standing up to them.
invivoMark: The purpose of counter-protesting is to bring a contrary voice against slander and hate. It’s not about the opposite “side” it’s about the people who were enjoying their day until they saw violent, hate-filled, (in some cases totally false) images. Imagine happening upon a giant display like that and finding NO ONE protesting it. Think how your day would be ruined. Think how troubled you’d be to learn of the depth of apathy of a people who simply allow this hate speech to take place openly and publicly. Are you familiar with the banality of evil?
And, yes you can wake somebody up who’s pretending to be asleep. You can pinch them in a sensitive spot. You can make annoying noises. You can smack them in the face. Heck, you can whip it out and start whackin’ it right over their face. But calmly shaking them awake is pretty well off the table. They’ll normally just play dead in that scenario.
Thanks. I’m still not sure whether you hope to (or whether you imagine it’s possible to) change anyone’s mind. If you don’t think it is, then I’m not quite sure what the point of consciousness-raising is (other than calming people down).
I freely admit that I have not been to a counter-protest of any sort, so this is unfamiliar territory for me. Forgive me if it seems like I’m slow to understand.
And if I may say, in response to your comment @77, it doesn’t seem to me that anyone is suggesting you ought to (much less are obligated to) individually engage with pro-lifers. Keep doing what you’re doing! We all appreciate it and support you in it absolutely! I think some people are suggesting, however, that if they prefer to engage in dialogue with pro-lifers, then that’s okay, too. Am I completely off base here?
Ivy, your comment wasn’t up when I was typing. What you say makes sense. Thanks for the response.
I don’t necessarily agree with you re: “calmly shaking them awake” – I think all approaches are helpful to some degree, as others in this thread have personally noted. Analogously, I think most skeptics on this site agree that dialogue is useful when dealing with the religious. But I get what you’re saying.
Robert Hansen says
Holy. Shit. If I didn’t know what a Philosophy Dudebro was before, I sure as shitcakes do now.
But yeah. Fighting evil things is more important than discussing why those things are evil when they are taking place right now. Giving bread to the poor is more important than discussing why the poor should be fed- there is a time and a place for that, and the time is not now and the where is not in the fucking soup kitchen. If you’re engaging in some sort of pro/anti-soup kitchens debate, that’s fine (especially if you’re ‘pro’), but if you’re doing it when everyone else is just trying to get the fucking soup over the table, you’re just in the way. Especially if you’re just doing it to prove how good a debater you are (see; Philosophy Dudebros)
The marketplace of ideas is not located in the fucking soup kitchen.
Ace of Sevens says
@Jamie. I’m not saying it’s your responsibility to engage calmly with protestors. I’m sayign that you shouldn’t complain that other people are doing that. Keep in midn it was specific peopel, nto the pro-life movement in general that stalked you and threatened you, so you can’t use that to conclude they are all beyond reach.
When PZ was complaining about Mooney, he wasn’t complaing that Mooney was being nice to believers. He was complaining because Mooney was saying everyone needed to be nice to believers. Your complaint doesn’t seem to be limited to people asking why your signs are so strident, but to people who are trying less agressive tactics and leaving you the fuck alone. Different people have different strategies they feel comfortable with and different strategies are effective on different people. i thought this was a non-controversial point.
@Crommunist. Slavery is a good example. Slavery isn’t a debate now because the debate has been won. There are no pro-slavery people to argue with. Slavery has been very much illegal in the US for 150 years and longer in Canada and there’s approximately 0 chance of this changing. Even the pro-segregation types are a lunatic fringe. In 1850, abolitionists didn’t have the luxury of saying slavery was beyond debate and they weren’t going to engage anyone who supported it.
You know, this little rant would make a lot more sense a) if anyone had suggested that b) if you’d written an article about how you won’t deal with forced birth protesters and not one about how other people shouldn’t deal with forced birth protesters.
I’m unsure why you don’t believe that Ace of Sevens and Daniel Fincke and Libby Anne etc. are real people who really were anti-choice and are now pro-choice just because they don’t fit into your idea of forced birthers.
I’m a little confused about what you’re attempting to say, but if you’re suggesting that the onus is on other people not to engage forced birthers because you may have a violent reaction, you have a very strange sense of ethics.
Robert Hansen said (#83):
And if you’re engaging in getting “the fucking soup over [to] the table” because you really feel for those at it, and if you’ve done a credible analysis that that’s the “best bang for the buck”, then “that’s fine”. But if you’re doing it only because it makes you feel good, and you are only trying to prove how much more moral you are than every one else, and you haven’t done that analysis then “you’re just in the way”.
And relative to the last point you might want to take a real close look at this (1) Wikipedia article on perverse incentives which has these salient and amusing observations:
@ Robert Hansen #83:
Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell.
@ Everyone else: a summary of HaifischGeweint’s post regarding Philosophy Dudebros may read as follows–
If someone shows up only to hear themselves talk about how important they/their ideas are and not to join in any actual work, they’re not helping, they’re getting in the way.
As both a former pro-lifer *and* someone who’s participated in organizing a counter-protest, the most effective way to get through to someone is to be present and visible. The anti-choice protesters want people to engage with them angrily and to argue, it lends them credibility and a larger soapbox. When I was a pro-lifer there was pretty much nothing that the opposition could say to me that I’d give credence to– it was the hateful rhetoric of my own camp contrasted with a real life situation in which I had to make a decision to support a family member or cling to my dogma and lose her which eventually pushed me out the door.
Ymmv, but IME, a public protest is not an appropriate time to engage in a battle of wits with opposition. That’s best done one-on-one, when people don’t have the same defenses up and the reinforcement of a group behind them.
Ace of Sevens says
On the soup analogy, I shoudl poitn out that everyone else isn’t trying to put the soup on the table. There are a bunch of protesters outside trying to get public support to shut the soup kitchen down. I’d think dissuading them would be useful in such a situation if there was any significant chance they would succeed. (Also, I can see how volunteering to escort people is putting soup on the table, but I don’t get any analogy to counter-protesters.)
Giliell, professional cynic says
Especially if that someone can walk the fuck away from it because they’re not going to get pregnant/ are straight/ cis/ white/ able-bodied etc.
Ace of Sevens said (#88):
Probably the same element in both cases. And one might argue that in each case they’re just “getting in the way” ….
Giliell, professional cynic said (#74):
Probably or possibly that as a semi-autonomous member of society who derives more than a few benefits from my association with that society I have an obligation – even if only based on “enlightened self interest” (3) – to contribute blood, bone marrow and organs where I’m able to. If I don’t do that when I’m able to then what right do I have to expect that others will do that when I might need to avail myself of those products?
Generally speaking, before “venting your spleen” I would recommend reading the entire post you’re responding to or quoting from, as well as related ones, and reflecting on them in some detail. More particularly, you quoted from my #69 wherein I said:
Does that much look like I’m arguing that I have a “problem with removing [a fetus] from the pregnant woman’s body”? If you wish to thrash the hell out of a straw man then fine, go big, fill your boots. But don’t blame me for your peevishness and inability or unwillingess to read what I’ve said.
You really should spend some time reading up on the topic of analogies (2), although you do seem to have some difficulty with “thinky work” … [See, I can be snarky too; sauce for the goose and all that …].
But, more particularly, in (2) I might point to the paradigmatic example of the “analogy between the atom and the solar system”. In case you might not have noticed it or have read about it in your obviously exhaustive surveys of science, the solar system is actually somewhat larger than most atoms – a significant difference, but there are also some significant similarities, i.e., small objects going around larger objects.
In addition, not to put too fine a point on it, this (1) graphic shows two triangles (first and third from the left) that can be construed as being analogous: the included angles are the same, but the sides are different, although they bear the same relationships (a hallmark of analogies). And – more particularly by labelling the triangles 1 and 3 with sides a, b, and c – a1 is to a3 as c1 is to c3, or, algebraically, a1:a3 = c1:c3 = b1:b3.
I’ll leave it as an exercise for the student to apply the concept to your examples of its repeated misapplication.
Giliell, professional cynic says
I mean, apart from you.
Those decisions are respected by society as very personal matters on which you are encouraged to pay forward. You are still not denied a blood transfusion should you need one in case you never donated blood and you are still treated like the champion blood donator in the hospital.
While the analogy of blood/organ donation is a good one since it touches the issue of bodily autonomy, it completely fails at this point since there is no general “paying forward” on womb usage. It is something that can only happen to roughly 50% of the population so there can be no moral obligation to risk quite serious consequences to one half of the population solely based on their sex.
Yeah, I know, it’s more of a guy-thing.
Also my uterus is sleepwalking again.
P.S. You fail at snark, but you succeed at misogyny.
So, what is the significant similarity between spending 5 bucks on a charity and having your body invaded and used against your will for 9 months?
That’s why you fail at analogies. It’s not about quantity (i.e. the solar system and the atom), but about quality (i. e. the solar system and your kitchen light)
Giliell, professional cynic said (#92):
That I might think some woman is wilfully blind and ignorant if not congenitally stupid is no reason – at least for those who have some familiarity with the technique – to think that I hate all women – i.e., that I am a misogynist – or that I think that no woman is capable of “thinky work”. Do try to differentiate between the individual and the group; try not to wrap yourself in the feminist flag whenever your butt gets hurt.
The similarity is that both are costs; the difference is that one is significantly larger than the other. The even more significant difference is not at all analogous because you’re trying fraudulently to slip something in under the radar, i.e., the question of volition: to repeat, for those slow on the uptake, I am most emphatically not arguing that women should be forced to carry a fetus to term. The similarity in my argument is that it is your choice to spend the 5 bucks, and it is your choice to abort or not. Your strawman is somehow that I’m arguing that your choice to spend the 5 bucks is the same as you being forced to have the kid. Do note the difference between your strawman and my argument. If you’re capable of that much “thinky work”.
WTF is that supposed to mean? Reminds me of nothing so much as the feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray who argued (1) that “the problem of turbulent flow” can not be solved by (masculine) physics because of its “privileging of solid over fluid mechanics [because of its] association of fluidity with femininity.”
That’s what feminist dogma does to science, logic, and rationality.
Gee whiz. Now we have two former pro-lifers in this comments section. One who fundamentally disagrees on several key points (either implicit — the existence of systemic sexism is one example — or explicitly stated) of this conversation (and who continues to engage in the same tactic of circular dialogue that they were once trained to use in the streets) and one who gets the drift and agrees with what I’ve taken the time to write (adding their own, IMO, brilliant analogy for further thought).
Which one am I more willing to listen to or engage any further with?
Wow. I can’t believe you said that out loud. Amazing.
One person disagrees with you and one person agrees with you, therefore you’re going to listen to the person who agrees with you. Way. to. go.
Giliell, professional cynic says
I see ni need to do so as long as you are unable to differenciate between somebody saying you’re doing misogyny and somebody saying you are a misogynist.
(@Crommunist See, that’s why I think your approach is noble yet futile).
Anyway, you used a sexist stereotype against a woman. Whether you intend it or not, that feeds into a larger culture. There’s many ways to call me stupid, but you went for a loaded phrase.
Yes, and they both happen on planet earth. And to humans. So is snogging in public and mass-murder. They’re both activities people engage in. (reductio ad absurdum. See, two can play that game) That’s why I said you don’t understand the difference between a qualitative and a quantitative difference. The argument about pregnancy and bodily autonomy cannot be made by comparing people to things.
Your argument was about moral obligation, not about choice.
Since you seem unable to remember what you yourself wrote, here it is again. And I’ll highlight the relevant parts for you:
Although, reading it again, you seem to have troubles deciding the relationship between being obliged and obligation.
And you’re still missing the point that even talking about “choice” posessions cannot be compared to somebody’s body and access to said body. The costs are of a different category.
Yes, I noticed that you don’t understand that.
Do you think that there is a significant difference between corporal punishment and a financial punishment? Do you understand and agree with the reasons why most western countries have one kind and not the other though both of them are punishments?
If yes, congratulations, you might now start to criticise the argument.
If no, come back when you do.
Nice try. But Gish is dead, so, nope, not biting.
Nepenthe said (#95):
I can see it now: Echo Chambers for Dummies. With a Foreword by PZ Myers ….
Uhhh, sure. [sarcasm] That’s all that’s going on, you brilliant hyper genius. [/sarcasm]
You guys all know I generally counter-picket silently, right? And you’re only now realizing I tend not to engage people whose politics and public endorsements are diametrically opposed to mine, my rights, and the rights of all women?
This entire comments section is a perfect example of what an enormous waste of time and energy doing the philosophy dudebro thing really is, and those of you who insist that it’s productive (despite a mountain of experience detailing several reasons why it isn’t) just keep heaping more evidence onto the pile. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.
You might want to reflect on the aphorism, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. When push comes to shove the latter might well have a place, but I expect most realize it should be the last resort and not the first ….
You might want to put your strategy where your fight is, instead of tooting your own horn as if you know a goddamned thing about what you’re lecturing.
Giliell, professional cynic said (#96):
To prove or demonstrate that I was doing misogyny you would have had to show how what I had said was actively hating women – in the plural (2). Perchance I missed that analysis of yours?
But, analogously, maybe you can explain to me how saying that someone else murdered a third party isn’t calling them a murderer. Seems to me to be a coy and disingenuous way to rationalize making an accusation against a person without actually having to put your money where your mouth is – or to deal with the consequences of such accusations.
You seem unable to comprehend that moral obligation (1) is largely or significantly a question of choice:
So, moral obligations entail a substantial level of choice. That is unless you’re prepared to argue that your “desires and conscience” are entirely outside your control, that you have no choice in the values you subscribe to and support.
It is quite fortunate that not everyone is quite so dismissive of criticisms of various feminist ideologies, and that more and more people are recognizing the flies in that particular ointment. Not surprisingly, it is only those who are most dogmatic who respond to evidence by putting their fingers in their ears and yelling “Nyah, nyah; can’t hear you”. But always happy to take whatever opportunities that are serendipitously provided to disseminate those criticisms to all and sundry.
During the struggle for abolition, I’m sure there were times when the abolitionists wanted a space to have a discussion where the starting point was that slavery was wrong.
HaifischGeweint said (#101):
Don’t quite see that it qualifies as “tooting my own horn” when my arguments have generally been supported by readily available documents and facts. As for “knowing” what it is that those sources are actually saying, you’re entitled and welcome to show me where they are wrong and where my own interpretations have gone off the rails ….
Ace of Sevens says
@SallyStrange: Sure, at abolitionist meetings when they were discussing what to do about slavery. They couldn’t adopt that position when dealing with people who didn’t think slavery was wrong and say they were giving up on convincing anyone of this fact. Exposing the evils of slavery to demonstrate it was wrong was their main tactic.
@Jamie: I’m not sure where you got the implication that I don’t think there’s systemic sexism. Of course there is. I don’t see how you get from there to the idea there’s no point engaging pro-life protesters and anyone who tries knows this and is just doing it to hear themself talk unless you also think systemic sexism is completely insurmountable.
My gods, you guys. You are all equally as bad at this as pro-lifers are. P.s. I am typing this in silence.
Jaime, would it be possible for you to identify the person who has criticized your personal protesting style so that we can all see who you’re talking to?
Is this satirical?
I don’t know if you’re paying enough attention. My presence alone enrages several local pro-life groups. That tells me I’m doing something right; and the fact that this issue of Philosophy Dudebros came up among several other pro-choice protesters last Summer (and again recently), and received such an initially supportive response from complete strangers, all tells me that I’m doing something right by writing against the practice.
I love getting into philosophical debates. I love them! I’m also a very impulsive male by nature and it’s a life long battle.
But I think what HaifischGeweint is expressing here is spot on good advice. Why? Because when the other side thinks that they are trying to save lives a protest situation slams down the mental cognitive channels that you could use to get to dialogue land. A protest is an act of primarily VISIBLE DISSENT. That is the worst time to challenge someone on something deeply believed.
Be visible and let them hate. Try to corner one in a coffee shop before or afterward. You should realize that letting the ones with the right to the choice take the dominant role is the best thing you can do to make the other side look bad. Let the women talk if they want and SUPPORT THEM.
Pro-lifers want to grind their gears at someone during the protest. Deny them! If someone tries to bait you have a few short shut downs ready to go like “There is no argument. You do not own their body. I’m not talking to you because you have no sense.”
Why would you hurt the pro-choice side by taking attention away from the people who need the social support in this conflict?
Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
Way to set a strawman on fire. Haifisch backed that up with lived experience; ie that the pro-life protesters are generally unfazed and give all the appearance of not arguing in good faith, at all. I’ve seen calls for counter-demonstrations against white supremacist groups and no one ever suggests engaging with the white supremacists — because they’re not going to listen and they indicate so all over the place by the way they approach and conduct themselves in discussion. The same goes for the slymepitters; they may have some good points, and maybe you’ll convince them, but by and large their actions show that their interest lies in intellectual victories that they can lord over their opponents as proof of “rationality”.
There is also the problem that philosophy dudebros will, in the process of debate, pull the same erasey shit as pro-lifers, preferring to argue from the reality-free ivory towers of philosophical thought experiments than to treat this as an issue involving Real People. This not only hurts demonstrators who have to listen to their humanity get tossed around as a debatable point, it undermines the cause of making humanity explicitly not debatable.
What you have amounts to, at best, an exercise in banging your head against a brick wall. At worst it makes you part of the problem by holding the conversation on regressive, dehumanizing terms =/
Brony said (#110):
But, just out of curiousity and in passing and as a point of reference, you do agree that those “Dudebros” had the right to engage those pro-life demonstrators however they wished, or at least as they did so? That their actions were within the ambit of their free-speech rights?
Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
And here, in the italics, we observe the mating call of a Philosophical Dudebro seeking intellectual victories to lord over their opponents.
“Shut up, wimminz! Who cares about your right to have a say over what happens to your own body and at what degree of risk when my right to freeze peach is being threatened by your strongly encouraging me to just shut up and listen to someone with more experience!”
And, at a certain point, a tipping point was reached when anti-slavery advocates stopped waffling and beating around the bush. When do you think that was, and do you think we shouldn’t attempt to aim to reach that point as soon as possible vis-a-vis abortion? Do you think that pretending to see value in their positions when I really don’t is helping us reach that point? Because I really, really don’t see value in their positions. I used to, and then I thought about it more, and then I encountered the bodily autonomy argument, which seems to be the most compelling of all, and now I see ZERO value in their arguments. So what? What are the negative consequences you see coming from that? Do you think something is lost because people don’t engage in philosophical discussion with the Westboro Baptist Church when they’re out with their GOD HATES signs?
Also, I tend to agree with them on the broader point, there’s little chance of changing minds when people are in groups. Just basic human psychology there. Personally when I’m at a protest I’d rather have people standing shoulder to shoulder with me, not playing intellectual games for their amusement or out of pure curiosity, again, like Steersman.
I am seeing a pattern emerge here:
Advice is offered as a conditional: IF you want more women at conferences, IF you want to support pro-choice protesters, IF you want to be a feminist ally (see Miri’s recent post on that topic), THEN you can do X, Y, and Z.
The response always ignores the IF part and pretends as if the rest of the clause is pure command or restriction. “Are you saying I am OBLIGATED to do X? Are you saying that I am BANNED from doing not-Y or not-Z?”
No. Nobody has the power to enforce that anyway. Look back to the conditional. IF this is your goal, THEN here is advice on how to accomplish it, from people with a useful perspective or relevant experience.
For some strange reason I’m skeptical that Steersman’s actual goal is to ensure that 100% of women who want abortions have access to them. For that reason, his arguments and inane. He’s just power tripping and grinding his anti-feminist axe. He’s useless except as an object lesson. Seeing him disdain Jamie’s advice is therefore not a surprise. Seeing Ace of Sevens do it IS a bit surprising though.
Setár said (#112):
[I see you’ve responded to my #113, but I’ll post my response to your #112 as a point of reference before responding to your #114]
Aye, there’s the rub! Assuming for the moment that that characterization is even partly accurate, would you prefer to be open to the possibility that your opponents might “lord it over you” because they’ve proven you wrong, but that you might learn something true in the process? Or would you prefer that they didn’t say anything and you continued to act on the basis of a false premise, maybe even irrationally? That is, of course, somewhat of a false dichotomy as there is at least the possibility that you might in fact be right. But how else are you going to know that if you don’t engage in a discussion on the topic in the first place? And to close off the possibility of “intellectual victories” – by either side – because of that potential looks rather much like anti-intellectualism – not a particularly credible position for supposed skeptics and atheists to be associated with.
But I’m happy to see that you concede that the “slymepitters … may have some good points”. Coupled with Sally Strange’s similar concession that “the few isolated good points that MRAs have are indeed good points”, one might even hope for some eventual rapprochement or the finding of some common ground.
As in, “Steersman’s arguments ARE inane.”
Nope. It wasn’t a concession, dipshit. It never was. It was an observation, and it always has been, that MRAs identify legitimate problems and then completely misdiagnose the causes and therefore have completely fucked up solutions which don’t actually solve the problems. As long as they persist in their misdiagnosis (i.e. it’s feminism’s fault) there can be no rapprochement.
Setár said (#114):
Really? How is it trying “to lord over [our] opponents” to ask what are the premises of a set of arguments? One might more reasonably argue that your assertion there is just a smokescreen and a red herring so you don’t have to admit that you think that those “Dudebros” are not entitled to free speech in those circumstances. If that is your position then I expect you might want to give some serious thought to the attendant consequences.
HaifischGeweint said (#101):
That is a very serious mangling of my statements and arguments – I would recommend a little closer reading. But maybe that is intentional so you don’t have to consider that you might be wrong. Or because you’re just playing to the crowd.
But for me to say that those “Dudebros” have a free speech right to talk to those pro-lifers has absolutely fuck-all to do with me agreeing – as I did – that every woman has the “right to have a say over what happens to her own body” – the right to abortion. Which I might add doesn’t really seem to be in serious jeopardy, at least in Canada, except maybe in the fevered imaginations of those hassling some pro-life wing-nuts. And to conflate those two rights – even to the extent of trying to circumscribe the former which, I might emphasize, seems flagrantly illegal – has to qualify as disingenuousness at best and demagoguery to the point of criminality at worst.
Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
No assumption is required; there exists almost two years’ worth of evidence to this effect.
Except that the point is not to establish ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ by logical means, but rather by treating discussions as a sport where one is ‘right’ by ‘winning’ more ‘points’ than one’s opposition. Which often manifests in this sort of rapid-fire, interrogative demands to explain absolutely everything down to basic principles and then some in an attempt to catch the opponent in some sort of logical inconsistency…
…while insisting that the trivial line of questioning is somehow valuable…
…and attempting to weaponize rationality so as to emotionally abuse one’s opposition into arguing on one’s own terms, drawing attention away from the decidedly tactical application of ‘rationality’ meant to undermine one’s opposition rather than support one’s own position.
Another common tactic is to treat every single discussion as though it occurs in a vacuum and must begin from first principles, as if no past discussions on the subject have ever occurred. This creates the false balance necessary to give positions that rely on playing rhetorical games with their opposition the appearance of legitimacy.
This false balance becomes a useful platform from which to accuse one’s opposition of being anti-intellectual. Skilled applicants will make this accusation by implication, giving them plausible deniability should an opponent try to catch this.
And here we see an example of lording, with the false balance and insisted importance combined to create the impression that some valuable point has been ‘conceded’ topped with the implication that most opponents do not make such ‘concessions’, creating the impression that said opponents are unreasonable given that the ‘concession’ is nothing more than “a stopped clock is right twice a day”.
And finally, we see the defense mechanism: redirect, redirect, redirect. The Dudebro is now in full damage control mode, trying desperately to use whatever means possible to rhetorically browbeat their opposition back onto the Dudebro’s preferred line of argument, preventing the Dudebro from having to assess their own actions and where they might be going wrong.
This concludes our Philosophical Safari Adventure for today. For those who are disappointed to have learned little of value, fear not; we’ve returned just in time for happy hour at the bar.
Sally Strange said (#119):
In comparison to PZ Myers’ virutal characterization of all those who criticize his brand of feminism as having the name Marc Lépine, I would say that your statement qualifies as a concession – you stupid twit.
You have some evidence to justify those claims? And, considering the documents I’ve cited earlier, I would say that there is more than enough evidence to suggest that there are more than a few flies in the feminist ointment. Curious how so many feminists – with at least 17 different ideologies who make claim to the name (1) – are like so many Christians who say when they are confronted by people like the Westboro Baptists, “Oh no! Those aren’t Real Christians!” Curious also that a great percentage of the some 38,000 Christian sects seem to say that about everyone else.
Setár said (#122):
Which I note that you haven’t actually provided – just a bit of hand waving. In which case one is justified in thinking you’re only pulling it out of your ass.
What unmitigated horseshit – “weaponize rationality” – Christ in a sidecar. You’re simply blathering there – “talking in tongues”, Setar, and through most of that post.
I asked a simple question in #113 whether Brony accepted that the actions of “Dudebros” “were within the ambit of their free-speech rights”. Which you responded to (#114) by going off on a tangent about some “mating call of a Philosophical Dudebro”. And which I pointed out looked like you were refusing to accept those “free-speech rights”. And you say that I am guilty of “redirecting”? I would say that you’re crazier than a shit-house rat.
Giliell, professional cynic says
Your dictionary, it’s out of date.
You still suck at analogies. Ian has a wonderful post somewhere on this blog on the difference between saying “what you did/said was racist/sexist” and “you’re a racist/sexist”. IIRC, at that time I made the point that while this is a useful distinction, I made the experience that when you say the former, people still hear the latter. Thank you for making my point.
That goalpost, it stays right where it was. While moral obligation has an element of choice (you notice that your own quote also talks about “external obligations”), talking about obligations is not the same as talking about choice. It is especially mood if you make the claim that women have a moral obligation towards the fetus and then try to weasel out by saying that it’s just internal desires and conscience.
You are right, a woman may decide to take on a moral obligation towards the fetus. That happens when women decide to carry it to term. They choose to restrict their liberties for the benefit of the fetus. That has nothing to do with the external obligation you were arguing about.
What you did there was basically the same as some christian throwing “Stalin” into a discussion about evolution and thereby trying to either get the other one to spend time to explain why evolution is still true even if Stalin believed in it and was an atheist or claims victory because the other person doesn’t answer that question and goes “nananana”.
Your attempts at playing gotcha are…pathetic.
@HaifischGeweint: I was going to find an online abortion debate invaded by pseudo-philosophy dudebros to link to so that people here who didn’t get what you’re saying could see the mentality demonstrated in print. But now I’ve come back to find that I don’t need to do that because the comment section here has turned into a demonstration of the pseudo-philosophy-hyperskeptic-dudebro appropriation of the abortion issue.
@Steersman: You are not more intelligent than generations of feminist philosophers who have actually taken time to research, analyse and philosophise about abortion. You are not a genius. You have nothing original to contribute to the conversation. You do not possess a magical Rational Thinking Superpower that allows you to come into a discourse without any knowledge of the subject at hand and just wing it, thus “lording it over” the people who have done the research, thinking and writing. Also, (and I can’t emphasise this enough), you have *nothing* original to contribute to the conversation. The reason Giliel was able to see you coming for miles is because all of us here have heard your unoriginal, sloppy lines before so we know what comes next in the script. Having failed to dazzle us with your “genius,” why don’t you take all the energy you’ve invested in being a hyperskeptic and use to actually read up on the issue. Read some feminist philosophers.
Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
Oh look, it appears that we have time for a bit more observation…
This is perhaps the most intriguing tactic in the Dudebro repertoire. Despite their claims to “rationality”, and indeed their eschewing of such tactics by making this very statement, Dudebros are very fond of simply ignoring that which topples their arguments. They then treat this ignorance as though it were reality, and hand wave away evidence by accusing their opponents of handwaving!
Experts are unsure of how Dudebros expect this tactic to work. It is theorized that the tactic is unconscious; meant moreso as a last resort to protect the Dudebro from self-evaluation than to be actually convincing.
Now we have reached the final stage of Dudebro behaviour, where they act like they’re simply correct. Please resist your temptations to throw your garbage at them; this can make them turn violent.
And as we finally leave the jungle we can observe the Dudebro engaging in yet more interrogation, finishing the diatribe by acting as though they are entitled to imply ad hominem attacks by accusing their opposition of being mentally ill (this is often justified by pointing to similar statements made by opponents, regardless of how dated these statements are).
Again, happy hour! And do also enjoy our wonderful hot tubs in the back.
That they have the right goes without saying. This is about pragmatism and the utter stupidity of undermining the cause they pretend to believe in. These people are largely authoritarians. There is a cognitive style at work here.
It was a bit insulting actually. What could have given you any reason to think that I would deny someone else’s free speech rights?
Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says
You see, someone said something like “Hey, IF XYZ is what your desired outcome is, by doing $THISTHING you’re fucking it up”. That obviously eans that soon the femistassi police will arrest and torture anyone who does $THISTHING – whether $THISTHING is asking out a woman at 4am in an elevator or ivory towering the real lives and struggles of real women who are right there in earshot, next to you, busy struggling.
By speaking these words of advisement against a specific action, this advice given has automatically become a force of law (international, absolute law, even!) that forbids philosophizing inappropriately and/or flirting and asking women out on pain of severe punishment or death.
FREEZE PEACHES, WHERE ARE MINE?
Loved this post. It brought to mind a lovely quote from Anita Sarkeesian’s latest video”: “In the game of patriarchy, women are not the opposing team, they are the ball.” Philosophy dudebros are the people who are totally comfy with using women’s rights to bodily autonomy as a ball to be kicked around while they play Abortion Debate.
Interesting. I didn’t realize that your objective was simply to provoke rage in local pro-life groups. You could probably enrage them further by shitting on their lawns.
Do you base all your opinions on whether others validate them or not?
Which part was the strawman? Did this post and the follow ups not say that forced birthers can’t have their minds changed? Did it not say that one should not address forced birthers because it gets in the way of the real protesters?
And others have chimed in with their “lived experience” of having their minds changed by pro-choice arguments. But clearly Jamie’s lived experience trumps their “lived experience”.
But maybe the point of counter-protesting isn’t to change people’s minds. I can’t see why else one would bother if, you know, advancing one’s point of view wasn’t the goal, but whatever. Clearly I’m not a proper “grassroots” person.
Yeah, so white supremacists, the skinhead edition, they’re a distinct minority. One has to find them or be one of the precious few unlucky saps born into it. Forced birthers? About half the population, giving out plenty of propaganda, raising plenty of children to know nothing else. One’s strategy might take that into account.
Heh. It’s interesting that you say that “humanity” is not debatable when the conflict is precisely over what rights merely being human grants a being. Does the fact that you could flip your statement around and by doing so justify the forced birth protester’s actions give you pause?
If sex-selective abortion is “colonialist mythology”, where did all the women go?
@ Gen, Uppity Ingrate.131
I see it in a lot of places. There was nothing in my words to say anything about my opinion on free speech in general, and I do not believe in human nature being random. Even if people are not consciously sure why they asked a question, there is always a reason.
That was not a question since nothing in my text was offered as reason to think that I may have problems with someone’s speech rights. Therefore until evidence to the contrary is offered I choose to believe the question was an accusation in disguise.
@ Nepenthe 133
What is your argument for that assumption? If one is opposing a group of people and one perceives that they are correct, the oppositions unhappiness is in fact evidence that they may be doing their job as the see it.
What is your argument for this assumption as well? It seems obvious to me that multiple people saying they have the same problem is farther validation of one’s belief.
Not the protestors minds anyway. The main point is to show opposition to the protestors. The message is aimed at fence-sitters. The protestors are in a state of increased stimulation and vigilance. That streams cognitive processes away from rational consideration of the arguments of people who disagree with you. The only reason to argue with them that I can see would be to hear them spout their catch-phrases, but you can get that online so it’s a waste of effort that could be spent holding a sign.
This ignores their point. It does not matter that the supremacists are a minority. She is making the same point as me. Forced birthers will also not be cognitively reachable in the adversarial atmosphere of a counter-protest.
Heh. It’s interesting that you say that “humanity” is not debatable when the conflict is precisely over what rights merely being human grants a being. Does the fact that you could flip your statement around and by doing so justify the forced birth protester’s actions give you pause?
Flip the statement for me. I want to see you demonstrate the logic instead of assert it without evidence.
^The second to last paragraph should be quoting Napenthe
I don’t understand why you think telling lies about PZ’s opinions is any sort of effective response to what I, not PZ, wrote.
Yes, I do, but this is getting way off topic. This is about Philosophy Dudebros and why they are incompatible with grassroots activism, not how MRAs are really fucking wrong about ALMOST everything.
That there are flies in the feminist ointment does not change the fact that feminism is not the causal agent behind the vast majority of things MRAs blame them for. But, again, not the topic at hand.
Sorry, insufficient previewing–this bit is my commentary.
Like I said, just grinding your anti-feminist axe. That there are multiple strains of feminist philosophy doesn’t change the fact that MRAs are wrong to point the finger at them for problems such as lack of shelters for battered men or lack of resources for men who are raped. Nor does it make your analogy true–believing that women should have equality in all respects–political, social, and economic, but disagreeing about the specific ways to get there is in no way akin to believing that magical supernatural beings care about what you eat, who you fuck, and will punish or reward you for following their rules.
Am I correct in surmising that you do not agree with the goal of having abortion be accessible to 100% of the women and trans men who want them? Because if I am, then I am correct in saying that your contributions are worse than useless here, they are an obstacle to the actual discussion that was supposed to be happening here. Except in the sense that they are an excellent object lesson in why Philosophy Dudebros always fuck it up for everybody except themselves.
Brony said (#129):
Curious then that neither Jamie nor Setár are prepared to concede that that is the case. And, in passing, equally curious that Crommunist, who gives some indication of being a responsible scientist, is willing to have his blog used by people who want to deny that right to free speech (2) possessed by other people and granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1). Odd, if not actually career-limiting, that he apparently wishes to play Fagin to a bunch of pickpockets ….
Whether one’s presence enrages someone is not evidence of doing something right unless your goal is to enrage them. Whatever you’re doing could be effective or not. I mean, these particular forced birthers have enraged Jaime. Does that mean that they are doing something right? No.
My argument is the statement quoted, plus 94, plus a long history of Jaime going apeshit when someone dares disagree with his precise and ever coherent arguments. And no, multiple people saying they have the same problem is great validation of one’s belief, but doesn’t have much bearing on whether that belief is true. A million MRAs wanking over how their ex-wives are oppressing them with child support doesn’t make their belief in misandry true. Or is lazy thinking okay when our side does it?
And arguing with them does not show opposition to them?
And if you yell at religious people, they’ll never be nice to atheists. Except for all those who write in to Pharyngula to say that getting hit with a rhetorical clue-by-four made them start thinking and eventually change their minds.
Obviously you’re not going to get forced birthers to throw down their signs right then and repent.
Fine. Have a bucket ready. *puts on birther hat*
There is also the problem that philosophy dudebros will, in the process of debate, pull the same erasey shit as pro-deathers, preferring to argue from the reality-free ivory towers of philosophical thought experiments involving Gandhi and Einstein than to treat this as an issue involving Real People, real babies, and real genocide. This not only hurts demonstrators–some of whom may be pregnant!–who have to listen to the very humanity of the unborn get tossed around as a debatable point, it undermines the cause of making their humanity explicitly not debatable.
*takes off hat* *vomits into bucket*
And I expect that Setar will roundly chastise anyone who brings up the violinist thought experiment in their vicinity again.
Brony said (#130):
Well, you did say (#110):
And one of the salient things that Jamie said in the original post was this:
Which more or less set the tone for his subsequent rant, not to mention for many of the comments. And which looks to me rather much like he was trying to deny that “Dudebro’s” right to free speech. Something that he’s amplified in subsequent comments, notably in #115 with his rather disingenuous “strongly encouraging [them] to just shut up and listen to someone with more experience”. So, which is it? That “what HaifischGeweint is expressing here” isn’t particularly intelligent, rational, or legal? Or that said “Dudebros” don’t have a right to free speech? Either, or; mutually exclusive …
1) doing some tactic like philosophy dudebro at a protest and being told several reasons why you’re doing it wrong so please stop that, I would reconsider my tactic.
2) doing some tactic such as silent counter-picketing, and not only observing how effective it is but then being told several reasons why it works so please keep that up, I would not reconsider my tactic unless I was given some reason to, such as it stopped being effective or someone came up with some reason it is problematic so please stop doing that.
It’s about as basic to skepticism as you can get, to weigh the feedback of other people in your decisions to continue or abandon a strategy for your counter-presence against a hate group. THIS is why I said you’re all about as bad at this as this pro-lifers are. That there is any confusion on this matter at all is exactly why someone would call you a dipshit or disingenuous. It’s not fucking rocket surgery.
HaifischGeweint said (#142):
So, where did you pick up that really cool Cloak of Infallibility? Vatican fire sale?
You are certainly and entirely entitled to think that you’re right and that they’re wrong, but they are under absolutely no obligation to agree with you, particularly in the absence of any credible evidence. On either the best way to deal with those pro-lifers or with the way you frame the abortion debate.
In addition, even if you happen to be on the side of the angels with absolutely bullet-proof arguments in your pocket, that says absolutely dick-all about the right to free speech which is possessed by everyone, and which is granted and mandated by the Government of Canada.
So. Do you or do you not agree that those “Dudebros” have that right to free speech? And that they are entitled to express their opinions to those pro-lifers in the way and time of their chosing, not yours?
Right. Soooooo what you’ve stated several times now is that what I’ve written is illegal, but you’re now perfectly entitled to disagree with me, and yet I’m not equally entitled to say things you disagree with because thasts somehow illegal?
Does that about wrap it up, dudebro?
Not at all; not in the slightest; rather odd that your reading comprehension would lead you to that conclusion. It isn’t about what we’ve written and said – perfectly legal in all cases. It’s about whether you have any right to circumscribe in any way the right of those “Dudebros” at those demonstrations to express their opinions, their right to free speech.
You must think it is rocket science to address that question, given your refusal to give a “yes” or “no” answer. Either that or doing so doesn’t fit too well with your narrative about yourselves as fearless social justice warriors championing the rights of poor damsels in distress.
Rather odd that you would interpret someone saying “look, can you take this conversation somewhere else?” was a threat to their right to freedom of speech.
Next to a giant display of obscenity and hate propaganda.
Sure seems like you haven’t heard of the right to freedom of assembly…
Just keep peddling your cheap version of dialogue, there, dudebro.
Just as there is nothing obligating you to agreeing with me, there’s nothing obligating me to give you a straight answer in a conversation where you’re clearly just here to blow smoke about freeze peach. And there’s nothing about the racist snippets of a conversation I heard in the scenario described briefly above, that obligates me to obedient silence while it continues on within a limited space from where he he is free to just walk away like his conversation partner did as soon as I opened my mouth.
So, once again, “yes”, or “no”: Do you or do you not agree that those “Dudebros” have that right to free speech, that they are entitled to express their opinions to those pro-lifers in the way and time of their chosing, not yours?
I don’t give a shit what they want to express. If they are interfering with my right to choose what I will and will not put up with while I’m protesting, I’m going to tell them to cut the shit.
Go ahead and wring your fucking hands or cry to a therapist over the fact that I refuse to give you a straight answer. Look at all the fucks I give.
Seems to me that what you won’t put up with is someone else exercising their right to free speech. Not a particularly credible position to be taking; not likely to add much lustre to your reputation and opinions, or to those of Crommunist.
Although I do note that he seems to have some sensible observations on the question of free speech which you appear to be flouting rather badly – I would suggest you read the article (1), and quite closely – if you’re capable of that without letting your dogma and bigotry get in the way.
Sally Strange said (#137):
Not really a lie about “PZ’s opinions”. He said in an article about that mass murderer incident (1):
Looks to me to be fair justification for my comment about him. And relative to that rather dogmatic if not totally ignorant and bigoted view about anti-feminists, I would still say your “concession” is a virtual quantum leap, if not actual apostasy. I’m surprised he hasn’t thrown you in his dungeon as well.
Yes, I agree that it is getting quite a bit “off topic”, but it would help if you don’t make claims without providing evidence to justify them at the time you make them. I’m supposed to let all such claims go by without a challenge? Somewhat disingenuous at best.
As for what this is really about, I, and apparently several others here, see it not as a question of whether “Dudebros are incompatible with grassroots activism” – which I will actually concede is probably the case, at least that version of it which Jamie apparently styles himself as its Marx, Lenin, Trotsky and Che Guevara, even if Stalin is more accurate – but a question of whether those “Dudebros” have a right to express their opinions in the way they chose at those demonstrations.
But I am glad that you said “ALMOST” – I can almost see a glimmer of light ….
The more you grasp at this one little straw that you think you have, the dumber you look. Writing a blog ranting about dudebros doing protests wrong does not equal violating someone’s free speech. Telling someone to shut the fuck up doesn’t violate their free speech either. You can confirm this fact with any attorney.
Try it. Ring up an attorney right now and say you want to sue Jamie for violating your free speech by telling you to shut the fuck up at a protest. And then listen to that attorney laugh down the phone at you.
And: “bigoted view about anti-feminists”?
lol lol lol. Ok, Rush Limbaugh.
I’m glad Steersman is here to champion the cause of the non-opressed. The good you are doing is immeasurable.* If it were not for hir, I would not know I could so easily violate someone’s Charter Rights, like this:
Steersman, shut up and take your nonsense elsewhere.
HELP! HELP! STEERSMAN IS BEING REPRESSED!
*because it’s zero.
I have no idea why the Slymepit thinks I give a rat’s arsehole about their perception of my “credibility”. I’m not selling you anything, I’m not a constitutional office, I’m not a “leader of the atheist community”. I’m just a dude with a blog, who invited another dude who brings a perspective and experiences to issues that I don’t have.
Also I’ve got tears streaming down my face over the line “dogma and bigotry”. DON’T YOU SEE HOW YOUR ABSURD HYPERBOLE UNDERMINES YOUR CREDIBILITY, STEERSMAN?!?!?!?!
Setár, genderqueer Elf-Sheriff of Atheism+ says
Am I the only one who sees a problem with comparing Pharyngula, a private, designated atheist-friendly space, with public demonstrations?
So…you can draw the exact same false equivalence between woman and fetus as pro-lifers do. Am I supposed to be impressed, or something? Because this was the exact ivory tower erasey shit I was talking about when I pointed out the risk of rampant philosophizing, where the fetus and woman are painted as equals even though to any observer it’s pretty damn obvious that they’re not =/
Dr. Cheeselove said (#152):
Well then he’s just blowing smoke out of his ass then. With the same substance and credibility. Right? And I did not say that he had actually violated someone’s right to free speech. But there is, I would say, an implicit threat, an “or else”. Yea, or else what?
And the very fact that he absolutely refuses to concede that they were well within their rights to be expressing themselves that way is only further evidence of a fascist frame of mind. What’s next after they tell him to fuck-off after he’s told them to take their conversations elsewhere? Is he going to “put up” with that when he’s clearly said that he won’t even put up with them expressing their opinions? Or will it be fisticuffs? Waving some box-knives about? The time to nip such insanity is in the bud.
Dr. Cheeselove said (#153):
You too – along with PZ Myers and a great many others – seem unable to wrap your head around the concept that some people are quite reasonably and justifiably anti-some-facets-of-feminism without that in any way justifying the conclusion that they are anti-all-facets-of-feminism. Even Sally Strange has managed to do so in the analogous case of MRAs.
Same sort of stereotypical and categorical linking that unlies sexism and racism. Bigoted? Fucking indeed ….
Oops: Same sort of stereotypical and categorical
linkingthinking that unlies sexism and racism. Bigoted? Fucking indeed ….
Crommunist said (#155):
Here all week, folks; be sure to tip the waitress on the way out.
But curious how you don’t see that Jamie’s does the same to his, or that his opinions actually manifest that. For instance, relative to the latter, you might want to pay real close attention to what Nepenthe has said about pro-lifers, notably this (#85), among several others:
Looks to me like he (?) is arguing that Jamie is guilty of a categorical characterization of all “forced birthers” – i.e., stereotyping and bigotry. And then we have Jamie’s own words (#60):
Something that is categorically refuted by the examples that Nepenthe provided.
Yea, I would say that “dogma and bigotry” is a reasonable call ….
So let’s review your awesometastic Rational thinking. Jamie = a fascist Stalin because he told some dudebros to shut the fuck up. Then we had to watch you repeatedly ask for clarification on whether or not the dudebros had free speech or not. But then when it was pointed out that what Jamie wasn’t violating anyone’s free speech, you say you weren’t saying that Jame was violating anyone’s free speach after all. So why were you grasping at the free speech thing? Oh, because there was some kind of threat that could have happened if we accept your slippery-slope-style thinking. And you think PZ Meyers is a “bigot” because he said some mean things about anti-feminists. And that, according to you, is totally the same thing as sexism and racism.
Except it’s not. You really have nothing to contribute to the conversation. Nothing. You’ve got nothing. Why are you here? What are you hoping to accomplish? You want to prove to us that your sexism fries your brain so much that you it disrupts your ability to think rationally? Because that’s the only message I’ve gotten out of all of your comments.
Dr. Cheeselove said (#161):
You might want to take your thumb off the scales if you expect me to buy what you’re trying to sell.
No, Jamie is not a “fascist Stalin” just because of that, but because he went apeshit writing a 3700 word rant – rather “hyperbolic”, I would say – about what “dudebros” could and could not do and say, and to whom and how often, at those demonstrations; because he thinks he’s smarter than they are; because he’s telling them to check their “privilege at the bus stop down the street so we don’t have to do it for you”; and because of, well, 3700 other words manifesting the same bloody-minded arrogance, dogma, and bigotry.
Curious though, is it not, that both he and Setar absolutely refuse to concede that? Maybe suggestive of a fascist way of thinking, that he should be in a position to impose standards of behaviour, actions, and words on other people?
You really should spend a little bit more time trying to understand what I’ve said before responding; you know, “brain in gear then mouth in motion”. More particularly, do take a look at the definitions for sexism (1), stereotype (3), and bigot (2):
Myers is a bigot – and an egregious dickhead – because he insists on characterizing an entire group by the behaviours and attributes of a small segment of it, i.e., stereotyping, i.e., the essential element of sexism, analogous to racism. And manifesting “hatred and intolerance” – unless you think calling every anti-feminist “Marc Lepine” is a manifestation of love and brotherhood – towards that entire group because of the supposed attributes of some segment of it, i.e., bigotry.
You mean the way that “dudebros” have nothing to contribute to the conversation about abortion? “Dudebros” who may have had some influence in bringing over from the dark side people like those Nepenthe described? Or maybe how evolutionists have nothing to contribute to the conversation about creationism?
Why is it that when someone disagrees with me (and anyone who agrees with me), they think I’m some sort of merchant or vendor using slimey… No… You know what? No one is making money here. Cut the shit, Sonny.
Wow. Do you EVER have that backwards… which team do you think you’re playing for here?
Technically I am. By now, Steersman’s hits alone have probably made me a shiny new dime.
Ace of Sevens says
I think we may be running into a fundamental disagreement about what protests are for. To me, counter-protests are fundamentally about countering the protest. That may mean countering their message with your own protest or it may mean countering the protester’s will to be there or their visibility. I don’t see how it’s any of my business how people go about it so long as they aren’t protesting in favor of something harmful and they aren’t advocating violence or something. (If they are making really bad arguments that are in danger of undermining the credibility of my position, I wouldn’t confront them at the protest, but I would try to call attention to the problem.) Some people may want to to fight for choice by staging a protest at the capitol. Other may want to find anti-choice protests and counter them. Still others may want to hold a bake sale with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood and some may work by trying to convince people that pro-choice is the correct position. Or, they may decide to go a more practical route and volunteer to escort women at clinics or drive them to clinics if there are none nearby, which is the case for a large chunk of the US. It’ not my business to tell people they have to advocate for choice in a specific way and they don’t care about the cause if they don’t do it right.
As for the abolitionists, I am not aware of any influential abolitionist who tried to argue that everyone knows slavery is wrong, so no one should even attempt making arguments as to why it’s wrong. When dealing with non-slaving-owning Yankees, many argued that their audience knew slavery was wrong to try to shame them into doing something about it, but that’s not really an analogous situation and I’m not aware of anyone telling their fellow abolitionist to stop trying to convince to pro-slavers. Perhaps a tipping point where that would have happened would have been reached at some point, but the concerns went pretty quickly from stopping slavery to stopping lynching without much chance to let the arguments develop between.
With abortion, the reality is that most people opposed to abortion really do think it’s wrong, even if they have unspoken biases leading them in that direction. It’s not just a matter of convincing people it’s a big deal and they can do something. These people vote and have political influence. History shows even bigots can have their minds changed. Look at the huge shifts on gay marriage over the last decade. The idea that we should give up on convincing people because they are bigots and won’t listen isn’t supported by history and doesn’t win political victories.
Glad you’ve figured out what you think any counter-protest is for. You sure come off a hella more conservative than either I or my politics are.
You also seem to have a hella lot more faith in renewing or repairing the system, whereas I see it as fundamentally broken from the point of European contact on this continent.
Now if you don’t mind, I’ll continue on holding the public accountable to do more than buy some cookies at a bake sale while a hate group shows up on university campuses year after year.
And I’ll continue on showing people who literally avoid leaving their houses once a week during the day, on account of the hate mongering just a couple blocks from their front door, that there is someone out there taking a stand for them, without being asked first.
And I’ll continue to expose extremist groups like these to the public whose affections they attempt to pander, that they are a fucking hate movement that campaigns the government to take away women’s rights in this country.
Go ahead and enjoy the thought of how harmless your little debates are at these protests — until someone tells you to cut the shit, at which point I hope you listen instead of picking a fight with them over it, because they have enough shit to deal with.
Ace of Sevens says
You keep trying to turn this around. I’m not saying what the point of all counter-protests is. I’m saying what the point is to me. Other people can have their own with their own goals. I’m not trying to tell other people they have to advocate for the positions I support in ways I approve of. That seems to be your position. When you say you have enough shit to deal with, how are you having to deal with these people at all? By your own account, they are going out of their way to ignore you. Your complaint seems to be they are doing it in earshot of you. If they aren’t disrupting your protest and they aren’t trying to undermine abortion rights, I don’t see how it’s any of your concern.
I don’t get where the idea that I’m a conservative out of this. Faith in democracy is not a hallmark of conservatism. Besides, I never said I have any faith in the system. It exists whether I have faith in it or not. Saying fuck the system won’t help any woman get access to abortion. Unless you are advocating that we somehow take what rights people have in practice, rather just theory, out of the realm of politics somehow, working to change people’s minds and reform what we have as best as we can is all we have.
I also get the impression we are talking about different kinds of protests. I was thinking of the protests at clinics, which are usually pretty small since they are held every day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than 20 protesters at a time around here. I think the churches have worked out a rotating shift system. This is also the sort where Libby Anne used to protest and now escorts. A large annual protest at a venue chosen for public visibility would be a bit different. I’ve never actually seen one of those in person, but suspect it would a lot harder to talk to anybody, plus they get attended by a more hardcore crowd, including leadership, not just people who signed up on a sheet in the foyer at church because the pastor pulled some heartstrings about dead babies and their friends were doing it.
Yes, stalking me for a block and following me into a washroom is a stellar example of them going out of their way to ignore me.
Congrats on that completely astute observation.
Ace of Sevens says
You seem to be conflating several unrelated groups of people here into a poorly-defined “philosophy dudebros” category. Didn’t you say that was a pro-lifer plant? At any rate, they definitely were trying to disrupt your protest and undermine abortion rights, so they clearly aren’t who I was talking about. How do they belong in the same category as people who show up to argue with the pro-lifers instead of participating in the grassroots counter-protest? I realize plants often pretend to be pro-choice in order to mingle and get intel to be used for retaliation later, but trying to talk pro-lifers out of their position doesn’t seem to be an effective way of doing that and I don’t see any reason to single them out as possible plants over any other kind of counter-protester. Your stalker’s behavior was way beyond the pale, but I’m not seeing what it has to do with people who show up at protests to argue with pro-lifers. What about them makes them the same?
Ace of Sevens says
I talked to another friend about this and have a point of clarification: Is this a complaint about people who argue so they can feel important for “winning” and getting feminist points that they hope to cash in later or is it an assertion that anyone who argues with pro-lifers must be such a person?
No, unlike yourself, I am very much clear on the distinction between a dudebro and someone who is a plant and walks up to listen to the propaganda without the intent to challenge it at all.
I am also very much clear on what the actual subject matter of this current conversation is, and the difference between “relatively speaking, you’re a lot more conservative than I am” as compared to “you’re a conservative”. Jesus Christ. Give it up, will you?
Since the topic has been de-railed… By some of the very same rather dudebroishness I feel was covered well and finely above, let me instead re-rail it.
I very much liked this article. I feel it covers one of the strange and peculiar facets of our society – protests, group efforts, and the idea of being seen and heard have become mainstream – without any of the consciousness that such efforts usually require. This is no more surprising than, say, the commercialization of earlier strains of thoughts from the reactionary to the revolutionary… But it does lead to the fact we have a great many ‘dudebros’ who think they are the gods greatest gift to philosophistry and we should be honored by their mere presence.
Should we not stop everything and immediately recognize that greatness, then many of them demonstrate a high proclivity for ‘flipping’ political and philosophical sides, which I think is tragic – and the result of many of them being more interested in raw anger and using it to bolster their image and appearance as opposed to the content of a protest – which case is a very real thing, happening daily, hourly. As was covered in the above piece!
Wow, Steersman. You sure told me. Not. lol. But thank you for illustrating Jamie’s point. You have nothing to contribute to the conversation and you’re not here to have a conversation. You’re here to misuse the word fascism and grasp at straws.
See, kiddies? This is why you should “trample on the rights” of dudebros at protests by telling them to fuck off instead of engaging with them.
@Aceofsevens: How are you still not getting it? It’s like you’re patting Jamie on the head and trying to convince him he just didn’t understand his own experiences. And yet so many other people (like myself) read this piece and recognised the situation straight away.
Ace of Sevens says
@ Dr. Cheeselove. I’m pretty sure Jamie is a she. At least, I’ve never known right-wingers to threaten men with rape outside prison threats.
I’m not saying Jamie doesn’t understand her life experiences. or patting her on the head for being a good pro-choicer or anything. I’m just objecting to the idea that that pro-lifers as a whole can’t be reached with reason and that anyone who tries is a bad choice advocate. My own life experiences say different and I’d rather not have them dismissed because other people argue with pro-lifers for bad reasons. If that’s not what she meant, that’s why I’ve spent this whole thread asking for clarification.
Wow, thanks so much for your super disgusting display of binary gender enforcement.
Jamie is a trans. Jamie is a gender queer and a gender bender. Jamie is a gender fucker.
Fuck your ideas about right-wingers and rape threats. I didn’t ask them what they think I am because there’s no excuse for that kind of behaviour from anyone. Ever.
Ace of Sevens says
I’m not a binary gender enforcer. I had been careful to be gender neutral before this and only said something because Dr. Cheeselove seemed to have misgendered you. I apologize that I did so as well.
As for my lived experience: My dad is one of those guys who, while he wouldn’t shoot anyone himself, has lots of nice things to say about guys like Scott Roeder and, while he would prefer blowing up abortion clinics at night while they are empty, would never vote to convict a killer if he somehow slipped through jury selection.
He’s convinced that the “abortion lobby” doesn’t care about women’s rights and only uses this as a cover to get gullible rubes to do their dirty work. They are either really in it for the money (I have tried to press him on how they make this money to no avail) or because they are unwitting pawns of demons or because it’s under-the-table eugenics. Every time a counter-protester shoves a pro-lifer protester in an argument, you can bet he hears about it in church and uses it as an example of how depraved the alleged pro-choicers are.
Talking to him won’t get you anywhere, though it won’t be obvious for some time as he sounds superficially reasonable. He thinks that a few pro-choice people (the ones he’s met) are nice and reasonable, just naive and swallowing the bullshit their charismatic overlords feed them and most really do support that baby-killing agenda. Talking to him won’t do much to help the pro-choice cause. Talking to other people is more fruitful, especially those who haven’t settled into typical conservative “thought” patterns where you can’t do anything practical ever. I and most of my siblings were different.
I commented because this post seemed to be advice. I couldn’t tell if the advice was, in short, don’t act like Thunderf00t where arguments are about winning and showing how you are the rightest person ever, or that philosophy and persuasion through rational arguments are bullshit. I’m all behind the first thing. I haven’t seen pro-choicers doing that at protests around here, though I’ve seen it in plenty of other contexts (for instance, any relative on anything political or those people at atheist clubs who want to talk about how Christians are retarded instead of doing anything) and it’s annoying as fuck. If anyone knows something I can do about, I’d like to help. The second thing seems terribly defeatist and anti-intellectual though and sounds way too similar to the conservative narrative that I got fed growing up that there are good people and bad people and all you can do with the bad people is push them out of society because they are hopeless.
Jamie, if you are only saying that the Thunderf00tesque aren’t helping anything and shouldn’t pretend they are and furthermore should either leave the real activists alone or shut up all together, I’m with you. If you are saying arguing is in itself Thunderf00tesque, I’m not, but I suppose you feel no need to convince me it is.
Basically, folks, it’s a good idea to follow Jamie’s advice, because if you don’t, you look pretty much exactly like Steersman. Like, when people start out with the philosophy dudebro thing, it sets off alarm bells in my head because more often than not, it ends up with them doing this silly anti-feminist thing. You want to use tactics that won’t get you mistaken for the opposition.
When someone tries to expend hours doing the “rational persuasion” thing in front of Genocide Awareness Project, let me just say. I don’t care how rational your arguments are. You look like thunderf00t doing it.
Ace of Sevens says
Perhaps we have different problems with Thunderf00t. My problem with him had nothing to do with him tilting at windmills and everything to do with him thinking that he was the only rational person and only his experience mattered and problems he didn’t care about not only didn’t matter to him, but shouldn’t matter to anyone else. If he had made responses to every video Richard Coughlan and Ali made instead of mounting quote-mining campaigns fueled by mental-illness shaming and racism, respectively, I would have still unsubbed him, but I wouldn’t have made the huge fuss I did about him being invited to blog at FTB.
That’s all pretty much exactly what dudebros do.
In case you failed to observe by virtue of the comments.
Dr.Cheeselove said (#174):
In your opinion – the simple repeating of which doesn’t make it true.
As for “the word fascism”, let’s see what the dictionary (1) says [I would recommend you purchase one – if you even know what it is or what they look like]:
Considering Jamie’s 3700 word rant – a “rage-cake” – to dictate what “Dudebros” are to be “allowed” – such autocratic (2) arrogance – to do and say at those demonstrations, I would say the word has some applicability.
Ace of Sevens says
If dudebros are only people who do that and not everyone who tries to argue with pro-lifers, futile as it may often be, then we don’t disagree.
Crommunist said (#165):
Maybe you missed the sarcasm? It was an analogy in which I was putting Dr.Cheeselove into the same class as pro-lifers and creationists, both of which, one might argue, themselves might say about their respective opponents, “You really have nothing to contribute to the conversation”. Kind of the hallmark of dogmaticists of all stripes, is it not, to say, “Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is made up”?
HaifischGeweint said (#163):
Not entirely sure which point it was that you went off on that tangent from (hint: it helps to quote what you’re referring to), but assuming it was my use of the word “sell” that was such a shocking hurdle for you, you might want to consider that that is actually quite a durable metaphor, a type of analogy – a concept that you apparently need to delve into in some detail – sonny. For instance, “selling an idea” has some 392 million Google hits, a salient one of which is a CBS article titled “How to Sell an Idea” (1).
Crommunist said (#155):
And I have no idea why you brought the Slymepit into it or think that I somehow speak for all of them – for one thing, as someone there noted, any two Pitters are likely to have three different opinions on any subject you could name.
As for “not selling anything”, I would say that qualifies as disingenuous or false modesty as just your “About” indicates objectives, of sorts, of “bringing anti-racism into the fold of skeptic thought, and promoting critical thinking”. And while you might think that “selling” has some pejorative connotations – “filthy lucre”, which actually has some Biblical antecedents – not everyone is so biased as indicated by one defintion of the word (1):
And those objectives, shared by many bloggers, really seem to be related to the question of the proverbial “battle for the hearts and minds” of the public – or some Internet-savy subsection of it. In which case I would say that your “credibility” is likely to have some effects on the number of people reading your blog, and on the number that could be influenced by your opinions and arguments. And I can’t say that your credibilty is likely to be enhanced much by having a guest blogger categorically refuse (3) to say that other people at a demonstration have the same right to free speech as they do, particularly in light of your quite credible article on the topic (2) – one you might want to try prevailing upon both Jamie and Setar to read in some detail as they both seem to be unclear on the concept.
Jamie telling dudebros to shut the fuck up = “a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control”?
Nope. This argument is just not going to happen for you.
But let me just pretend for three seconds that I’m as dumb as you and will accept that kind logic. In that case: Steersman is on this blog telling Jamie that he can’t tell dudebros to shut the fuck up. Steersman is telling Jamie what he can and can’t say to dudebros. He’s trampling on Jamie’s freedom of speech. OMG, guys, Steersman is a fascist. Fascist, I tell you! FASCIST! Steersman is also a bigot because he’s prejudiced against people (like PZ) who are prejudiced against people who are prejudiced against women. And we all know, from having read Steersman’s thoughtfull, convincing comments, that all of these prejudices are equal.
Remember that youtube video that came out a little while ago, where this fellow went, with his cameraphone running, to ask the pro-lifers how much prison time they think a woman should do for getting an abortion? Since abortion is, according to them, murder, it logically follows that one ought to be prosecuted for committing such a serious crime. He did this because his wife was, at that moment, inside the clinic they were protesting, aborting a very much wanted fetus because of some serious health problems.
That’s not a Philosophy Dudebro thing to do, in my opinion, because a.) there was no counter-protest at that time and b.) he was directly, personally involved and c.) he wasn’t engaging them on abstract philosophical points like “what is a person” but rather challenging them to think their premises through to their logical conclusions.
And let me point out, once again, that all of this advice is CONDITIONAL, and the premise is that you want to show as much solidarity with pro-choice protesters or counter-protesters as possible. If that’s not your highest goal then guess what? This advice isn’t for you.
Steersman has provided ample material to work with as an example of what not do to. Between that and Jamie’s advice I feel like this has been pretty helpful. For me, anyway.
I just have to say that I read the “Depends on what you mean by ‘Jews'” statement the day it came out and I’m still so mindbogglingly horrified by the wild co-opting of genocide alongside the dehumanization of Jews that I can’t adequately put it into words.
I initially thought, “Hey, give it a few days and you won’t remember it anymore. It’s not like someone who made that statement will change their mind, and surely other people will be on it. You focus on the things you need to do away from the internet.”
But no, here I am days later, I’m still horrified and disgusted, and I still can’t find the words to express it the way I want to.
From one (part) ethnic Jew to yourself, I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.
Also Sally Strange I am glad you found this article helpful,and I hope you shake some cages until the bars come off.
Eristae said (#189):
And I think you’re letting your emotions get the better of your reason – at best, being charitable. Do try to at least consider what might follow IF the salient premise of the pro-lifers was in fact true, i.e., that fetuses – from whatever arbitrary point of their development you wish to select – are human and have the same right to life as does every other person. And IF that is the case then it would seem to follow that abortion would then be mass murder and the same as the genocide perpetrated against the Jews [and by the Jews], and many other racial groups.
And in that case my “what you mean by ‘Jews’” was, as I took pains to elaborate, only to represent the paradigmatic case.
But personally, I don’t think that that claim – that fetuses have the same right to life as does every other person – holds all that much water, although I think it does hold some. But the point is that those pro-lifers do think that, and their displays reflect that premise – all of which is protected by their rights to free speech.
@ Nepenthe 140
The portion I italicized indicates that there is other information and it is specifically being withheld to make a point about how easily these people get upset. You either did not understand that, or you ignored it. Which?
Because your response that I quoted was,
Interesting. I didn’t realize that your objective was simply to provoke rage in local pro-life groups.
Given the italicized part of her words that I just quoted, defend the bolded part of your words. You misrepresented her.
Also I quoted you,
I think I’m starting to see your problem. You can’t take criticism. You see no one here has expressed that these people don’t have the right to be doing what they are doing. All I have seen out of the people you are arguing with is CRITICISM of their the time and place and manner of speech. You look like you are robotically ignoring the content of their speech in order to pretend they have a problem with free speech.
You also don’t understand that they are letting you go on and on because you make your side look really really bad.
This is not improving my view of your disposition or intentions.
In other words, you’re doing the exact thing that this blogpost is talking about: dehumanizing in an attempt to be philosophical.
Allow me to let you in on a something that seems to be a secret to people like you even though there is no actual reason for it to be a secret: women are dehumanized enough without having people decide to play at it as some kind of mental masturbation technique. If you think that actual pro-lifers haven’t explained all this shit to me before, then you insult the pro-lifers. They do not need you to spread their hate for them; they are more than capable of doing so themselves.
So, two points.
1) The Jews were not occupying someone else’s body against that someone’s will. Your attempt to remove this factor from the equation is horrible beyond all expression. The whole point of abortion is that a woman has the right to control her own body in regards to medical procedures. The mass murder of the Jews (and all the other people who were killed in the Holocaust who we tend to forget) had nothing to do with this.
2) Given that you’ve already godwined this shit, I’ll go with your disgusting analogy: You might as well be arguing for the Nazis by insisting, “Do try to at least consider what might follow IF the salient premise of the Nazis was in fact true, i.e., that Jews weren’t people . . . ” and going from there. It’s vile and I will have no part of it.
And I don’t understand why you are blathering about free speech. Has someone called for the arrest of pro-lifers based on their speech alone and I somehow missed it?
Aaaad I managed to leave trans-men out of that previous post. [sarcasm] I am brilliant beyond all measure [/sarcasm].
*sighs at herself*
Off topic but amusing I hope (given the quality of ontopicness here). At the imageboard I help moderate we have institutes a sartalics. You tag with [sar][/sar] and the words tilt up/right-down-left (inverse of the italics) to represent sarcasm.
Brony said (#192):
Not quite sure why you would bring group think into it – bit of a red herring at best.
But, as a matter of fact, I did point to YOUR words, specifically in #113 as follows:
So. You said that. And I asked, as a point of reference among other reasons, whether you thought that those “dudebros” had the right to be doing what they were doing. Because the clear implication of that statement – at least to me – was that you thought that those “dudebros” were “hurting the pro-choice side” – an ipse dixit opinion which, of course, everyone else should bow down before in awe and abject slavishness (“yas, massa”) – which would, supposedly, justify Jamie’s rather dictatorial and autocratic command to those “dudebros” to “take their conversation somewhere else”.
And, as you subsequently agreed that those “dudebros” did have that right, I inferred that you would then agree with me that there was no moral or legal weight behind that command of Jamie’s. And in which case I also figured that you would agree that said dudebros were entirely within their rights to tell Jamie where to go and how to get there, i.e. that Jamie was just blowing smoke out of his ass, that he was only providing further evidence that he had no gravitas, no money to put where his mouth was.
Somewhat inconsistent with your rather general assertion that “what HaifischGeweint is expressing here is spot on good advice”.
P.S. I’d recommend the use of the “Preview” function ….
It seems to me like the sort of protext described by HaifischGeweint bears a lot of resemblance to the old addage of “Don’t Feed the Trolls”, meaning don’t engage with them in any way, only in the context of an in-person protest, doing this is not rendering someone no-longer-present, like it does on the internet, but in fact actually reinforces the message through standing out so clearly and distinctly against a backdrop of sound and fury. In the same way, it seems similar to how during the Civil Rights movement, protestors didn’t fight back or speak but were just present in an undeniable and ultimately powerful (though int he moment abused and terrorized) way.
I have to admit, I’m much more on the sound-and-fury side of things in general because I really enjoy the intellectual engagement of argument and the idea of being physically present with large crowds of protestors, even if I agree with them, makes me uncomfortable, but the nature of this sort of protest (If I’m assessing it accurately! I’m not sure I am.) has given me some serious food for thought.
Eristae said (#194):
It is only “dehumanizing” if you did not do as I asked you to do as a thought experiment, i.e., to consider what would follow IF the salient premise of the pro-lifers was in fact true, i.e., that fetuses – from whatever arbitrary point of their development you wish to select – are human and have the same right to life as does every other person.
In which case, most of your subsequent comments are a result of you going off the rails at that point; you might want to try again. However, a couple of points to emphasize as points of reference in passing. You said:
That might follow IF the pro-lifers’ premise is false; I asked you to consider what follows IF it is true. While I’ll agree that a woman generally “has the right to control her own body”, the question which follows from that thought experiment is whether the woman has the right to control the body of the fetus.
In addition, while I think the “bodily autonomy” argument carries quite a bit of weight, I don’t think that it is an absolute, that it necessarily outweighs every other factor and consideration. For counter-examples: “religious parents who are forced to submit their children to medical care”, “being caught with a recreational drug”, and “selective service”, primarily for men, which “was slightly infringed upon in Vietnam, to the tune of 60,000 dead, 300,000 wounded” (1).
But you also said:
And IF that premise was in fact true then the Nazis would have been right to do what they did. BUT most of the rest of the world disagreed with that premise – rather violently, one might add in case you hadn’t noticed – and spent no small amount of blood, sweat, and tears to disabuse them of that notion.
And most of us reject that premise because, in part anyway, the Jews exhibit pretty much the same set of attributes and behaviours as do the rest of the races and groups within humanity. In which case, allowing that one group should be subjected to genocide opens the door to doing so for all.
So the question then is whether fetuses also qualify as a subgroup of humanity that should be protected from genocide. Again, allowing it for one group opens the door to allowing it for others; shall we now consider whether, for examples, the aged, the inmates of mental institutions, and other “useless eaters” are infringing on our “bodily autonomy” so that we should be entitled to withdraw our support of them, i.e., kill them also? Slippery slopes, indeed.
It is, I figure, the crux of the discussion, the keystone of Jamie’s entire argument and rant. He apparently told some “dudebro” to “take their conversation somewhere else”. Which is, in its intent, only a little short of actually abrogating their right to free speech. And considering the fact that Jamie categorically refuses to concede that said dudebros have that right, I would say the distance between words and actions is uncomfortably short.
1) Hyperbole much? Awe? Abject slavishness? Dictatorial? Autocratic? Do you even know what those words mean? Because let me assure you that they are not about one person saying, “Don’t do that,” to another.
2) Note the should in the above statement and refer to the weird leap you made below.
3) Oh for the love of everfuck. “Yas massa?” Was it not enough for you to co-opt the Holocaust and the mass slaughter of Jews? Now you have to co-opt thrice-be-damned slavery of blacks within the United States for the sake of backing up your peevishness that one person dare hold another accountable for their actions?
And here we come to the root of one the massive errors in your arguments.
You, sir, are conflating legal rights with moral rights The fact that the dudebros indisputably have the legal right (in the USA; don’t know about elsewhere) to say whatever they want within the bounds of that which is guaranteed by free speech, that doesn’t say anything about the morality of what they are saying.
Furthermore, free speech doesn’t just go one way; just as dudebros are legally free to say what they like within the bounds of law, so too is Jamie. If Jamie wishes to criticize dudebros and tell them what they should and should not do, that too is protected by free speech. The right to free speech doesn’t include freedom from criticism or freedom from being told to knock it off.
No, it is dehumanizing no matter how much you might try to dodge the moral implications by labeling it a “thought experiment.” The fact that you cannot see this is why you are told to take it elsewhere. We are not interested in being dehumanized for the satisfaction of your philosophical mental masturbation fetish.
Are you trying to be subtextually sexist or is it inadvertent? This is not a rhetorical question; it’s like you’re trying to be the physical embodiment of veiled bigotry.
The rest of your post is merely more of your attempt to get off at the expense of dehumanizing a group that you don’t belong to and will never have to face the effects of dehumanizing. I am not interested in obliging you. I am well versed in thought experiments, having encountered and engaged in many while getting my degree in philosophy. Having done so has made it very clear that some people engage in thought experiments as an attempt to learn, whereas others do so as an excuse to make themselves feel better about themselves striking out at and dehumanizing vulnerable and oppressed groups and then waving their hands wildly while insisting that no one criticism or judge them for the harmful, bigoted crap that they just spouted. There is also the third group that is interested in feeling intellectually accomplished and is willing to objectify unwilling, oppressed, and vulnerable people to do so; this group and becomes upset when they are not granted the praise that they so desire.
It’s abundantly clear that you have no desire to do the first, which leaves the second or the third. I doubt it is the second, so I must conclude it is the third. You have been running around from the first acting as if what you are saying is original, unique, and novel. It is not. I have encountered your argument more times than I can count. I’d wager that this is the same for everyone on this blog. I am sick of it. We are human beings, and what you are saying has real consequences for us. To think that we are somehow obligated to engage you while regurgitate the same tired, cliched arguments that countless people before you have presented is ridiculous. We’ve heard it before. We’ve argued it before. We see it for the mental masturbation it is and see the lack of interest in honest learning. we’re not interested in going through it again with you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to bed.
Eristae said (#194):
Of course I do. Why else would I use them when there probably thousands more that might have been better. The fact that it conveyed my meaning and intent – mocking the imposition of opinions as if they were holy gospel – should prove that.
It is if there is no rational justification, evidence, or proof for the command.
Accountable? What a laugh! Accountable to someone’s opinion for which there is absolutely diddly squat in the way of justification, evidence, or proof? Dictatorial if not fascist, indeed.
The incident happened in Canada which has its Charter of Rights and Freedoms which makes free speech a legal right. But you might want to try impressing that difference upon Jamie who categorically refuses (1) to concede that those dudebros have that legal right besides which his opinion, his view on the moral rightness of their actions, is worth absolutely SFA.
Never disputed that, at least the “freedom from criticism” part. But being told to “knock it off” is shading into converting a moral right into a legal one by fiat – as strongly suggested by the aforementioned refusal.
Eristae said (#201):
Still looks to me like a refusal to consider the possibility that there might be some justification for the claim of the pro-lifers that fetuses do have some human rights. A rather dogmatic refusal one might argue, one that shows more than a few passing resemblances to those of various religious fundamentalists.
Pray tell, how is that sexist? That you apparently have a female avatar is no guarantee that you are one, and no proof that I would have responded accordingly. And, in the absence of proof that it is, and in the absence of a withdrawal of the accusation, I won’t repudiate the statement. In which case I think I will be entitled to conclude that you’ve called me a sexist – again with diddly-squat in the way of evidence. Classy.
I’m happy for you. But that is no particular guarantee that your arguments are sound. Particularly when emotions play a hand as they obviously do in your case.
Says she as she wraps herself in the Cloak of Righteousness. The argument on the table is the question of whether fetuses have any human rights, whether they too are “human beings” – and who, I might add, suffer even more dire consequences. But an argument which you haven’t even addressed, much less refuted.
Good night ….
I refuse you a straight answer. That’s not even related to whether nor not I refuse another person the same charter right as I also possess. Which, for the record, is a democratic freedom and a legal right under the constitution act (I.e., no one has the right to force me into silence, but no one is required to help me exercise that right, and I am not required by any authority or law to exercise it either), but is not some sort of judgment or imperative of morals or ethics.
This event also happened on unceded Coast Salish territory, which means that I can refuse to be held by the constitution act (and lose all charter rights under the same), because indigenous law is still the highest authority here. But I bet you didn’t know that last part.
I’m a details person, myself.
Jonathan? Is your name Jonathan, by chance? You sure sound exactly like him, except he prefers the “it’s a problem of age discrimination” argument.
@ Steersman 197
I guess I have to do the whole thing. You are asserting and implying that people here are denying the speech rights of others and all you are pointing to is CRITICISM of the time and place of speech. Did she say she did not want him arguing with that person at all? Not at any point. The entire context of her piece shows that she did not want them arguing at the counter-protest SPECIFICALLY.
Holy crap you are a lazy arguer! You need to properly defend your points and stop trying to get other people to read your mind. That is why your point looked like an accusation.
You said in one comment, with ZERO other statements attached,
If you have something in mind that gives you a reason to think that I want someone’s speech rights suppressed, fucking quote it and explain it or my next comment will be ”I will stop suppressing your free speech rights when you stop fucking animals in the neighborhood.
When you ask questions like that without presenting a rational basis for why you are asking the question it comes off like an assumption. That is why I accused you of thinking I was engaging in group-think. With no evidence indicating reason your concern, you appear to be implying that I think the same as you perceive them to think even though we have never interacted here before.
So basically I don’t give a shit about you posting this,
…because if you really thought that was a real connection you would have put in in comment 113#. You did not and I have no way to believe that you did not pull it out of your ass after the fact.
You will continue pissing people off until you actually defend your claims of fact when you make them, and reasons for your “questions” when you ask them.
Now as for this bullshit,
The root of the fucking problem. Again, what is being criticized is the place, time, and manner of the speech. Not the existence of it. Every example you posted was place, time, and manner CRITICISM. Every one of your hyperbolic paraphrasings is complete fiction. You can claim someone is implying suppression of speech until you are blue in the face, but unless you see talk of actual legal banning of content you are full of shit. Its why students are not allowed to get up and preach in a classroom even though they have free speech as well. There is a fucking time and place for it.
The advice one more time expanded,
When asking a question that contains an assertion “When are you going to stop blowing your dog?” You :
1. Ask the question
2. Offer a quote containing evidence
3. Explain why the quote gives you concern
IN THE SAME COMMENT. All else is empty insulting assertion.
When making a fact statement “X seems to be suppressing free-speech”:
1. Make your statements
2. Offer a quote supporting the statement
3. Explain why the quote supports your argument
IN THE SAME COMMENT. All else is empty insulting assertion.
Replace “agree” with “pointed out your baseless assertion”. Again if you do not completely demonstrate your reasons for making the question, all you are doing is making assertions or implications.
Legal and moral are separate issues. Conflating them is dishonest and HaifischGeweint
and others are only dealing with the moral. If you want to claim they are dealing with the legal fucking prove it because so far this has been nothing but slimy and pathetic.
None of this other crap matters until you start actually making well-supported arguments honestly, and actually properly referencing the arguments of others. There is no reason to take your words or intent seriously.
@ Steersman 202
No one has to concede a damn thing until you actually demonstrate your accusations that anyone here has a problem with freedom of speech.
When are you going to concede that punching people randomly on the street is wrong?
You out and out admit that you made those statements with the full awareness of their sexist implications? I confess that I hadn’t anticipated that you would admit that.
As for what you can conclude, my previous statement would allow you to conclude that I was calling your actions sexist. I am not interested in debating the ultimate foundation of a person’s being, so for the most part I try to avoid talking about what “you” are and instead talk about what “you” did.
However, if you are willing to make sexist statements with the full knowledge that they are sexist, then I’m not interested in continuing this conversation. Besides, you’ve said what you have to say, I’ve said what I have to say, and we’re entering into the phase where we both reiterate our same points in slightly different terms with slightly different sentence structure, a type of interaction that is ultimately pointless.
Oi. That must make this debate even harder for you. Not only are you being dehumanized, dismissed, and objectified based on reproductive capabilities, but also on ethnic heritage. I’m sorry you have to experience that.
That’s really cute. ^_^
Q: How many Steersmans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: That depends on what you mean by ‘lightbulb’.
Eristae said (#201):
How on God’s green earth do you get that I “made those statements with the full awareness of their sexist implications” out of what I said? You haven’t even proven that they qualify as sexist, much less that I was aware “of their sexist implications”. All I can suggest is that you went off the rails – once again, and surprisingly given your supposed qualifications – over a misinterpretation of my use of the phrase “would have responded accordingly” which is, in fact, a construction to express a possibility (1), a conjecture, a subjunctive (2) expressing the “various states of unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, necessity, or action that has not yet occurred”; certainly not any expression of guilt. You say you have a PhD in philosophy – from where? China? Iran?
And while it is a tenuous connection, one might at least suggest that those misinterpretations of yours are, apart from suggestive of a hypersensitivity to real or imagined sexism, possible evidence of what a feminist reviewing (3) the book Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women’s Studies called the “virulent anti-science, anti-intellectual sentiment” driving or influencing significant sections of the feminist movement. Virulent feminism – indeed.
Brony said (#207):
Not particularly impressed with your reading skills or levels of comprehension. Jamie has, as I indicated – here again (1) since you also seem incapable of following links, as well as here (2) – categorically refused to concede that right to those dudebros. I would call that credible evidence of someone “here [who] has a problem with freedom of speech”.
Should I ever happen to write a 3700 word screed ranting that no one has a moral right to be out and about in public without my express and written permission I promise you – cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die – that I will be sure to preface it with a disclaimer that I don’t mean to imply, in spite of my rant which is actually worth SFA, that I think that they have any less legal right to do so nor that that justifies punching them as a way of enforcing my moral dictats.
@ Steersman 211
Again. You are making the accusation.
The proper thing to do when person A goes on about person B “refusing to concede they have the right to X” is to refuse to answer unless person A actually demonstrates they have a reason for thinking that person B does not think they have the “right to X”.
Again you post links and expect people to think for you.
I applaud HaifischGeweint for treating you like the Joseph McCarthy wannabe that you appear to be. The proper thing to do in the face of insinuation if mockery and ridicule.
Hence your treatment.
1. Statement of argument/Assertion/Question
2. In-context quote(s)
3. Explanation of why the quote(s) support the argument/assertion/question, with reference to the appropriate part(s) of the in-context quote.
Q: How many Steersmans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: I’m not screwing in anything until you conceed that the lightbulb has the right to speak freely.
Brony said (#212):
You can supposedly lead a horse to water, but getting a brony to think is well neigh (sic) on impossible. Was your last gig as a creationist?
I presented some evidence to the “jury”; it is up to them to decide whether it supports the charge.
@ Steersman 214
Fuck no, Molecular biologist. I’m now in public education and seeing you pull the same behavior routines as the middle school kids when I’m pinning down their behavior issues.
I cut my teeth on creationists.
Q: How many Steersmans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: None if for the sake of argument we assume that lightbulbs never go out.
HaifischGeweint said (#204):
You might want to check with your lawyer on the details of that. For instance (1), and for those unable to follow a link or two, and who need to have pictures drawn for them:
Some preliminary evidence that the Charter in fact constitutes some legal “imperatives of morals and ethics” – your refusal of which might reasonably be construed as “having a problem with freedom of speech” (7). In addition, this site (2) describes the Charter in more detail, a salient element of which is this:
And the related section 2b (3) describes the case law that confirms those rights have legal weight that can impose certain standards of behaviour on all Canadians. And one of those cases, for example, ruled that:
So, once again, some actual legal imperatives. In which case I expect that your chances then of actually getting those “dudebros” to “take their conversation elsewhere” are somewhere between slim and none. And if you think otherwise then I would say you have or are likely to have an even bigger “problem” with the right to free speech than that “not some sort of … imperative of morals or ethics” of yours strongly suggests.
As for your rather problematic and not particularly credible or creditable attempt to hide behind aboriginal rights:
So. You’re insisting then that you are aboriginal or sufficiently so to claim that you’re not subject to the Charter and to the rest of the laws of Canada? Considering the fact (5) that you claimed to have some Jewish ancestors, I would say that the chances of you being able to claim the benefits of a “Status Indian” (4) – such as, presumably, not being subject to the Charter – are also rather remote.
However, even assuming that status, while I will readily admit that aboriginal rights are a rather complex issue, my impression is that whatever “special privileges” – apparently a rather odious concept in itself, although a quite problematic one (6) – that status provides, it is rather unlikely that they would extend to serious and categorical exemptions from that Charter. However, if you have any evidence to the contrary then I would like to see it. And if not then I look forward to you actually dealing with the even greater problems of challenging it in a court of law by, say, trying to abrogate anyone’s rights to free speech. Which you apparently think is well within your aboriginal rights. Bit of a problem, I would say.
Being a status aboriginal person doesn’t exempt you from the charter, you fucking dumbass. Renouncing your citizenship and living in a sovereign territory on unceded land does. Fuck, you’re a special case of stupid.
Yea, well, possession is nine-tenths of the law – asshole. Or maybe you hadn’t noticed that the “Coast Salish” and all of the other “sovereign Indian nations” – sovereign more in their deluded imaginations than in reality – really aren’t calling all that many shots within the Province. Or, if that is not the case, then maybe you’re prepared to detail all the many cases where they are ….
But, out of curiousity and as a point of reference, you have a passport, some proof of “citizenship” in that particular “nation”, some evidence that that particular “nation” is going to stand behind you if you try to abrogate anyone’s right to free speech?
QFT. This is why I interact with Steersman very little at all anymore, except to point to him as an example of what not to do.
And of course your very first comment to me was the very model of “making well-supported arguments honestly” and “actually properly referencing the arguments of others”, to wit(1):
Such erudition! Such well-reasoned, well-evidenced, and cogent arguments! I stand in awe!
What a fucking joke. What fucking hypocrisy.
Steersman your inexperience is showing in spades. Please just shut the ever-loving fuck up.
The Coast Salish are multiple indigenous nations on whose ancestral territories I live, circulate about, and protest on with due respect for what it means to be a guest among their ancestors’ graves. They may be fucked around by government bureaucracy and The Indian Act and many other pieces of legislation that only indirectly impact my life, but don’t kid yourself on what social and political power they possess here.
They exercised it last Summer when a condo developer tried to build on top of a nationally protected historic site that has been known to contain several intact graves since they successfully terminated archaeological digs of their former village (that site) 70 years ago. They stopped an entire condominium project, for the sake of fuck.
The Coast Salish and many other indigenous peoples from hundreds of nations across the continent also pretty well tell the cops what they should be doing when organizing mass demonstrations — not the other way around like what happened with the completely Eurocentric Occupy Vancouver the previous year.
I’m not going to waste any more time trying to communicate to you how far up your own ass your head is, though. Proctology wouldn’t be my preference if I ever became the doctor I once aspired to be, and you’re not going to get that medical degree the way you’re approaching it either.
I might consider doing so when you answer my questions. More particularly, rather bloody arrogant and pretentious of you to be suggesting – without evidence – that you are a “member in good standing” in those “nations”, and that they would even countenance any attempt by you to abrogate any body’s rights to free speech – and to claim membership in those nations as justification to boot.
More pretentious clap-trap and demagoguery. More self-righteous wrapping yourself in the flag of a “nation” you haven’t proven yourself to be a member of.
[Wave goodbye to Steersman, everyone. I am bored with him, and tired of cleaning up after him. – C]
Good point. There is no point in interacting with someone who is like a robot who just repeats the same delusional opinions over and over again despite these opinions having no grounding in reality. But it is interesting to see this kind of mentality captured in writing, beyond denial.
Steersman’s comments demonstrate just how deep sexism in our culture runs. Jamie hasn’t broken any law or infringed on anyone’s free speech. Yet for Steersman, the idea of a woman or trans man talking back to a cis man is so infuriating that his irrational mind insists on believing some law must have been broken. His imagination has become so obsessed with the idea of someone getting out of their “place” and talking back to a man that he’s been on this thread for days, rationalising to himself that he wants to have a rational conversation, and yet spewing the most illogical, silly, sexist stuff.
I think Steersman’s comments also show us why social justice is so important to the atheist movement because they demonstrate how his prejudices corrode his ability to think rationally. Just how deeply do his delusions run? Does he really think that if he simply repeats his delusional opinion over and over again that Jamie will suddenly be like, “Wait. I see the light now! I am a fascist who trampled on someone’s freedom of speech.”??? Or does his privilege make him believe that if he simply repeats his delusional opinion over and over again, that we will give in so that the cis man can take his rightful place on the soapbox?
“you haven’t proven yourself to be a member of”
You keep insisting that people here have to prove something. Nobody has to prove anything. You’re the one trying to convinve us that Jamie has done something wrong by writing this post. The burden of proof is on you. And so far, you’ve got nothing. You’re convinced we have to work for you, to convince you, to “sell” something to you. But we don’t work for you. Nobody cares what you think. Nobody is buying what you’re selling. You have no authority over us (I know, that deep down, this is what really kills you).
You haven’t been able to prove that you can do some thinky stuff or come up with a coherant opinion. Therefore, nobody cares what you think.
I have to disagree. By not interacting and pinning down the dishonest style of “argument”, others don’t see what happens when you argue in bad faith. Also others don’t see examples of rooting out dishonest argument tactics. It’s how I learned to do this (in creationism/evolution arguments ironically).
We are an imitative species and the emotionally immature among us will see things in terms of having the last word, or the one who is the “loudest” getting the attention “winning”, or in this case if someone were to fall for the “guilty before proven innocent” tactic. Less experienced debaters see that and learn from it. I have gotten better at turning it into a routine because there are only so many moves in primate chess.
So in addition to the sexism, there is also the illogical bullshit. With the increase in the numbers of people in the atheist movement, the movement did not spend enough time making sure all those newly organized atheists had the same cognitive skills that represent legitimate critical skepticism. I don’t think any of these “Pitter-type” atheists/skeptics have the first idea how to compare what they believe to reality, and kill their own beliefs if necessary.
Marcus Ranum says
I just wanted to say “thank you” for posting this (and your previous postings) – I’m learning a lot from them and I really appreciate that!
Thank you for the acknowledgement. I hope the post that publishes in two days, which is actually about tactics that work, is also helpful and informative.
I think both approaches are useful, but whether they are appropriate or not depends on the setting. To take it back to the OP, Jamie is saying that on the street, at a protest, is not an appropriate setting. And I agree.
This was a really good post, and I do worry about inadvertently being a Philosophy Dudebro type. I don’t have experience of pro-choice activism, but I’ve been involved in the immigrants’ rights movement and in rallies for immigration reform, and I’m sure many of the pitfalls you identify apply in all types of activism. It’s really important for people like me, who are speaking from a position of privilege, to avoid taking over the discourse or shouting over people. In the case of activism for immigrants’ rights, my role has to be about actually supporting undocumented people and listening to their voices, not talking over them.
Thank you for acknowledging that, as well as for your activism. That made my heart smile, as I have hopes that a bill proposal to ban sex-selective abortion by discriminating against immigrant women falls flat on its racist face. The world needs more people who are willing to listen.
Thanks Crommunist, that putrid smell is beginning to dissipate!
Thank you Jaime, great article. I don’t encounter pro-hate demonstrators often, but articles like this go a long way to helping me understand what reactions are and are not effective in undercutting the haters’ influence.
I think you’ll find tomorrow’s post helpful as well, when it goes live.
Markita Lynda—threadrupt says
I’ve been reading the discussion about analogies and whether they are useful or not. I think they are–but they must be carefully chosen so that they correspond to the point being discussed–which abortion = murder/genocide does not.
For example, people will say that women shouldn’t be “allowed” to have abortions if they were having sex for pleasure, they must risk pregnancy and accept the consequences. This seems to come from an assumption that sex is for procreation and any other use is frivolous and unintended results must be accepted. In that case, I like to compare sex to skiing. People used to use it only to travel in winter, as we used to do before snowmobiles and as a few nomads still do. But these days people often ski just for the fun of it. Are you saying that if a person is injured while skiing, they shouldn’t have medical attention if they were just doing it for fun? Or will you admit that a broken arm is a broken arm regardless?
Problematic. Anyone can break an arm, not just people who have a fully functioning uterus.
It’s also completely missing the jump on the issue of pregnancy resulting from rape/incest.