Project 84: Why suicide is a political issue


Has a charity campaign ever carried such a powerful punch as Project 84? Indeed, one would struggle to name an artistic statement in any medium which bears such a profound weight. All of humanity’s deepest emotions – sadness, love, beauty, remorse, loss – are packaged into the 84 fully clothed male figures standing at the edges of the rooftops of the ITV building in London, as commissioned by CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably.

 

The figures themselves would be haunting enough if they were indistinct everymen, like Anthony Gormley’s haunting statues on Crosby beach perhaps, to represent the 84 men whose lives are lost to suicide every single week in the UK.

But no, the figures are not indistinct. Each one represents a real man with a name, a life story, a real family and friends left behind, all of whom courageously volunteered to help the artist Mark Jenkins create the statue. Some of their heart-breaking stories can be read on the Project 84 website.

When photos first appeared on social media on Monday, I spent an inordinate amount of time simply staring at the images, processing what I was seeing, trying to make sense of the constricting power of the artwork. It took me a while to process, before I understood what was so immensely powerful in the images.

Suicide, as we invariably conceptualise it, is the most profoundly lonely phenomenon. Had CALM commissioned a single figure, standing alone, contemplating his final step, we would all have nodded sadly and looked away. But those 84 men are not alone. They are shoulder to shoulder, a crowd, a team, a community. Each one might have ended his life at a moment of terrible isolation and separation from the world, but here he is one of far too many, standing as if alive, trapped together, united in time.

When we talk of suicide we talk of individuals. We talk of individual problems, individualistic solutions. If only that man had talked more maybe he’d have survived. If only that man had accessed mental health care he would still be with us. If only that man weren’t so crippled by toxic masculinity he might have sorted himself out. If only he had done something different. If only he had done something different.

If only he had done something different.

Project 84 demands that we ask a different question: what if we had done something different?

Suicide is a direct consequence of social, political and economic conditions and decisions. It is no coincidence that the global economic crash of 2008 was immediately followed by a global spike in suicide rates, with males representing over three quarters of all cases. Suicide is an issue which extends far beyond health and mental illness, indeed around half of suicide casualties have never been in contact with mental health services. Those who have will find themselves in a system which has been stripped to the bone by NHS cuts. In the House of Commons yesterday Jeremy Corbyn not only confronted the Prime Minister with the facts on male suicide as highlighted by Project 84, but noted too that the UK’s mental health trusts have been underfunded to the tune of £105 million compared to six years ago.

It is not just mental health services either. Efforts to reduce suicide rates will certainly involve reversing cuts to drug and alcohol treatment services, the prison service, trauma recovery services, adult social care services, youth services and all the other strands of social fabric which weave together to create a safety net.

There are broader political considerations too. CALM rightly demand that there should be national quality standards for suicide prevention and bereavement support, which at present are left to the lottery of local authority provision. There needs to be better implementation of local suicide prevention plans and better information recording and data around suicide. These are all practical, political steps which could and should fall under the authority of a specific government minister.

The solutions must also be social, however. Our efforts to dismantle patriarchal habits and create a more fair and equal society seem to founder when it comes to raising boys to value themselves and each other. Too many of us, as men, measure our worth and value as protectors and providers in a world where that is not always possible or necessary. Male suicide rates will not fall until men learn to value themselves and we learn to value men as loving fathers, as friends, lovers, human beings, in ways that go far beyond a paycheque.

Those male figures, standing high on the edge above London, represent tragic loss, heartbreak and bereavement and our overriding reaction must be sadness and grief. But I like to think they offer something more. They offer a glimmer of hope, hope that people want things to change, need things to change and are prepared to fight at the highest levels to ensure they do.

Please sign the petition in support of a Minister for Suicide Prevention, here.

———————-

Need to talk?  CALM for advice, support lines and webchat.

You can also contact the Samaritans or call 116 123.

Samaritans In the US 1 (800) 273-TALK.

 

Comments

  1. Carnation says

    Hi Ally,

    All of the points that you’ve raised are pertinent ones. What I’d add, though, is the over-representation of men in avoidable and preventable deaths. Smoking, excessive drinking, excessive/addictive drugging, even dangerous driving.

    Pretty much every man I know has had a “phase” – booze, drugs, drugs, gambling, combinations of all the preceding, sometimes with violence. Communities of men can be many things; supportive, caring, nurturing. But they can also be riven by one-upmanship, competitive to dangerous degrees and at times oblivious to struggle.

    A friend killed himself. He’d been abused as a teen by an older man and kept it to himself for a decade. It all came out after an intense bout of depression exacerbated by heavy, heavy drinking. He’s missed.

  2. Marduk says

    I thought this was a very powerful piece of public art and like you, I had to think about what it was that really struck me about it because while the Anthony Gormley influence is fairly obvious, it really doesn’t feel the same at all. For me what it actually was is that they are wearing clothes and wearing different clothes. Even without knowing that these are representations of real men, the individuation is powerful in itself in a way that a set of undifferentiated silhouettes wouldn’t have been.

  3. Jim Doyle says

    “Male suicide rates will not fall until men learn to value themselves and we learn to value men as loving fathers, as friends, lovers, human beings, in ways that go far beyond a paycheque.”

    As we say in America, dayum! This comes down to male utility and male disposability for the most part. This also links back to an earlier post on male violence. Suicide is self-directed violence.

    And even when it isn’t obviously about the way men are and aren’t valued in our societies, it still is. In the US suicide is high among specific groups – medical people and veterans. I can’t speak to the issue of medical personnel, but I have paid attention to the issue of veteran suicide for some time. Interestingly it is not conditioned by actual combat experience. It seems to have more to do with difficulties in readjusting to civilian life, and in this one instance female rates are higher than male rates.

  4. Carnation says

    @ StillJG

    I thought this was a fairly comprehensive account;

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/inside-court-12-the-complete-story-of-the-belfast-rape-trial-1.3443620

    This entire case depressed me in many, many ways. I think if there’s anything positive to emerge from it, it’s that a very parochial and patriarchal society has been shaken and is being forced to listen to women in a way that arguably hasn’t happened before.

    This is an interesting footnote; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/06/irish-rugby-player-cleared-of-rape-says-he-feels-shame-and-regret-paddy-jackson

    The usual internet trash are Tweeting bile about lying women, but that’s typical of their pathetic, inadequacy plagued lives, and it’s to be expected and is easily dismissed.

    The spontaneous burst of female anger and empowerment wasn’t expected and has shocked.

  5. ajay says

    @StillGjenganger “t was quite a surprising verdict, so it would be good to know some more facts.”

    The only reason to be surprised is if the threshold for conviction of men of accused of rape is changed so that there is a presumption of guilt rather than of innocence. This often does seem to be the case paticularily when the men have been involved in disreputable behaviour.
    Ched Evans is an obvious example where the balance of evidence was strongly in favour of innocence but a guilty verdict was iniitally obtained. In these sort of cases no one can be sure of what happened. The key factors of consent and whether a belief in consent is reasonably held are subjective so it is possible that all parties genuinely believe mutually contradictory things. In this case we have a woman accusing 3 men of serious offences and against that 3 men testifying nothing untoward happened. The men’s evidence wass bolstered by a female witness who came into the room and did not perceive the situation as one of assault or rape. The woman’s evidence is not totally definitive and conflicts in some aspects with the men’s but is broadly aligned to the men’s evidence. All of the men and women involved are of previously good character.
    In order to convict the jury would have to prefer the complaint’s evidence over that of three men supported by a woman’s evidence that when she entered the room and saw sexual activity nothing seemed untoward. Judged on the evidence that would be an outrageous decision if perhaps sadly not a totally surprising one.

    The real question should be why such a case was taken to court in the first place. The weight of evidence was clearly against a guilty verdict. In such a case how does it benefit anyone to go to court? The defendants certainly suffered as did the complainant. The net effect on the public perception of judgement and the court process was negative whether you take the view that men were prosecuted unreasonably or that the woman was subject to an unreasonable ordeal. If a guilty verdict had been obtained would that have been a good result? There would in this case be a significnat risk that innocent men had been jailed and, as in the Ched Evans case, the nature of the evidence would have given rise to a perception that there is a strong bias against men in the courts. The complainant may rightly have been upset if the case was dropped but that would be the right thing.

    There must be a balance point when prosecutions are undertaken when conviction is not certain but it can’t be right to undertake a prosecution of a crime however serious when the weight of evidence is clearly against conviction.

    Negative comments and an assumption the complainant was lying are wrong. No one except the participants, and perhaps not even they, can be sure of what happened but it is just as likely that the men are the injured party subject to an unnecessarily tortuous and life changing legal process as the woman. It is possible that all involved genuinely believe their accounts contradictory as they are. The concern is all based on teh treatment of the cpmplainat and a supposed unfair judicial process.
    The failure to recognise the possibility of male suffering or ill treatment is opposed to female suffering and ill tretament is one of reasons I occasionaly read this blog. Simply assuming male guilt is wrong.

  6. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 5
    Thanks.

    Well, the men are presumed to be innocent, since they are not found guilty, and of course it is the jury who knows the entire story. But on the available information I still do not see why they decided on that verdict.

    As for the ‘interesting footnote’, it is of course the right thing to say. If he had said that from the beginning one might even have considered believing that he meant it. As it is, he does not deserve to be taken seriously. It stinks of a man trying to retain his place on the national team, and following advice.

  7. StillGjenganger says

    @ ajay 6.

    I strongly disagree with you. I’ll stick to Ched Evans as an example, since we can argue that one without risking to libel anyone.

    It is true enough that “The key factors of consent and whether a belief in consent is reasonably held are subjective so it is possible that all parties genuinely believe mutually contradictory things.” So what should we do? We could decide that an accusation of rape always requires corroboration (witnesses, marks of struggle, or something) – some countries do or did. Which would be clean and consistent, but would make it rather easy to rape with impunity, as long as you left no marks. But we have not done that. So, like any other legal decision, it is a matter of probability. The system is biased in favour of the defendant, and rightly so. It may be tough on the complainant, but if the accused can provide a halfway plausible explanation why this woman would first consent to sex with him and then accuse him of rape, he should go free.

    The thing is, the rugby players’ account does not strike me as particularly plausible, any more than DSKs, or Ched Evans’. Threesomes with strangers are surely a bit out of the ordinary. Ched Evans barged in, unannounced and uninvited, to a woman who was heavily drunk, and had gone home to have sex with someone else, asked his mate, not her, if it was OK, and then proceeded to do her. It is highly implausible that anyone would consent to that, and quite likely that they would either be too drunk to react, or be unable to get their act together to say a clear no (because their ‘yes’ had been taken for granted, never asked). So, when she woke up hung over, alone, in a bed full of piss, she drew the not unnatural conclusion that she had been raped. The jury believed her; I would have done the same.

    Of course, since the appeals process we know that she quite likely did consent at the time, having form in this regard, and that she was at least likely to have been sober enough to know what she was doing (though, note, she never made an untrue statement that I have heard of). Still, I do not feel sorry for Evans. After his actions it was highly likely that the woman would feel violated and shattered next day. That is not a nice thing to do, for starters. There was a high risk that she might go to the police and accuse him of rape, and a very high risk that a jury would refuse to believe his account of events. He knew that, or ought to. If you choose to stretch the elastic that far, you cannot complain if it breaks in your face.

  8. Jim Doyle says

    Excuse me; what do 4 – 8 have to do with this article?

    It’s quite clear that almost no one really cares about the issue.

  9. StillGjenganger says

    @Jim Doyle 9
    4-8 are off topic – it says so in 4. But then nobody had commented on the topic for several days – if there are only three comments on topic and five off, does that mean that nobody cares about the topic either? It would not be the first time that topics have meandered a bit. Anyway, I asked a quick question and it went from there. If you (or, of course, Ally) want me to stop arguing on irrelevant things, just ask nicely and I shall of course comply.

    Or – did you mean that no one cares about the suicides? Unlikely. But maybe people can find nothing to add or challenge, or feel that quibbling about political details would be in ratehr poor taste.

  10. Carnation says

    I actually do feel quite sorry for the rugby players. I also have absolutely no doubt that they believe in their own innocence.

    This, to me, is one of the absolute tragedies of cases like this. The alleged perpetrators truly do not believe that they are guilty. The alleged victims are absolutely sure that they are.

    Jackson, Olding et al used fairly despicable language; that’s unequivocal. And individual agency is important. But they didn’t create this problem, they are perpetrating it. It’s sui generis. What is vitally important to happen is that a new discourse is heavily promoted that changes the discourse and makes consent vital and intrinsic to sexual encounters, and, more widely, women not to be seen as “prey.”

    And, dear HetPat readers, this is where you have to do a bit of soul searching. Where do you stand on this? Many of you have antipathy towards feminists and feminism. Can you get past that and recognise that they have started something important?

  11. That Guy says

    WRT the belfast rape trial. I haven’t followed it closely, but I had a scan of the WhatsApp messages in the trial. Even if the rugby players didn’t ‘rape’ anyone, it’s pretty clear that the way they behaved (LADS LADS LADS) caused someone considerable distress and hurt.

    The one thing I found really shocking was the complainer gave evidence from behind a screen without the courtroom being cleared. She was apparently able to hear jeers, scoffs and suchlike from the audience of the court, leaving her in tears. My understanding is that this only happens in non iron, that in Ireland, and the other UK home nations, the complainer would be giving evidence either to a cleared courtroom (behind a screen) or via video link. It’s this kind of re-victimisation that puts people off reporting.

    TO BRING US BACK ON TOPIC, suicide is a multifaceted issue, and yes, we absolutely need to address it from a policy approach. The other prong we should be looking at is the social, cultural side, as Ally says. The thing is, I’m at a loss at what kind of action would bring about the cultural change required. Does anyone have any ideas?

  12. ajay says

    @StillGjenganger

    “I strongly disagree with you. I’ll stick to Ched Evans as an example, since we can argue that one without risking to libel anyone.

    It is true enough that “The key factors of consent and whether a belief in consent is reasonably held are subjective so it is possible that all parties genuinely believe mutually contradictory things.” So what should we do? We could decide that an accusation of rape always requires corroboration (witnesses, marks of struggle, or something) – some countries do or did. Which would be clean and consistent, but would make it rather easy to rape with impunity, as long as you left no marks. But we have not done that. So, like any other legal decision, it is a matter of probability. The system is biased in favour of the defendant, and rightly so. It may be tough on the complainant, but if the accused can provide a halfway plausible explanation why this woman would first consent to sex with him and then accuse him of rape, he should go free.”

    Every case is different and a decision whether to prosecute must be made.

    In this rugby case and the Ched Evans case the evidence was strongly in favour of the defendants. In Ched Evans case there was a video of the women and one of the defendants that showed she was conscious, capable of communicating and walking unassisted, there were the two accused’s testimony and medical evidence of a relatively low blood alcohol level and against all that simply a testimony of failure to remember. This is what shocked me at the time there was no direct evidence of lack of consent at all. In this rugby case we have three men, all accused and therefore potentially discountable, and an independant woman’s testimony all set against the complainant’s testimony. How can one woman’s testimony overrule that of three men and an independant woman? The men’s account may not strike you, or as a matter of fact me, as paticularily plausible*. If it was their testimony alone I see a great difficulty in saying that you could be sure of guilt but perhaps prosecution would be reasonable, with the woman’s testomony that she entered the room saw them having sex and noticed nothing amiss it is surely impossible to give anything but an innocent verdict and prosecution becomes innappropriate perhaps improper.

    There certainly appears to be a rather unpleasant entitled and arrogant attitude to women by the male sports stars in these two cases. I suspect that this attitude is why Ched Evans was convicted but if slut shaming is wrong when applied to women then arragont entitled pig shaming should not extend to prosecution and conviction of men however unpleasant they may be.

    *I think the plausibility of the men’s account has to be set againstt he evidence of the general relationship and sexual mileau in which these male sports stars seem to exist. It seems imoral, sordid and abnormal to me but it seems to be the norm for them. The plausability needs to be assesed in this context. I think it would be a big mistake to think more than a tiny number of men or women inhabit this sort of world.

  13. ajay says

    @That Guy says

    “The one thing I found really shocking was the complainer gave evidence from behind a screen without the courtroom being cleared. She was apparently able to hear jeers, scoffs and suchlike from the audience of the court, leaving her in tears. My understanding is that this only happens in non iron, that in Ireland, and the other UK home nations, the complainer would be giving evidence either to a cleared courtroom (behind a screen) or via video link. It’s this kind of re-victimisation that puts people off reporting. ”

    I understand why she found it distressing and therefore why you found it shocking but the level of concern is very gender specific. The men concerned are publically named and have bene widely shamed and embarassed by the publication of their private messages. There are many who cast doubt on their innocence sometime sin veyr strong terms and will undoubtedly be affected for all their lives. I think this is an nevitable and necessary consequence of justice being seen to be done so being something done in public but this being the case it shoudl be so for both parties. The well meaning attempt to shield complainants risks injustice. Exactly this did happen in the Ched Evans case with the complainants sexual history being of critical importance as it must be in all cases with a dispute over consent. This information is however only admissable with special permission and even that was attacked after the Ched Evans case despite it being instrumental in correcting a miscarriage of justice.

    Talking of revicitimisation is very problematic. there is no certainty that she was victimised in the first place and her expereience in court was unpleasant but she was not victimised. If painful cross examination controlled by a judge is victimisation then all of the men in this case were victimised and much less consideration and protection given to them.

    Many argue that neither the complainant or accused should be named prior to a conviction of some crime but I think this is a mistake. Publication of the names gives an opportunity for other witnesses to come forward favourable for the defence or the prosecution. Involvement in a rape or sexual assault case is going to be deeply unpleasant for all those involved not least because of publicity but that is part of the price of a fair justice system.
    If there is to be anonymity then the presumption of innocence and the far greater impact of being accused of rape as opposed to being the victim of rape suggests that the accused anonymity is the one that should be preserved but I think the risk is that this would prevent all the potential evidence being found.

  14. That Guy says

    ajay, I’ll try and be concise.

    understand why she found it distressing and therefore why you found it shocking but the level of concern is very gender specific. The men concerned….

    This is whatabboutery.

    The well meaning attempt to shield complainants risks injustice. Exactly this did happen in the Ched Evans case with the complainants sexual history being of critical importance as it must be in all cases with a dispute over consent.

    This belies an ignorance of the history of rape trials. In cases where complainants have had their identities disclosed they have become targets of threats of violence, and received large amounts of abusive messages, often of a sexual nature. It used to be a ‘thing’ that defence lawyers for those accused of rape would happily bring up a woman’s sexual history, or the manner of her dress, or other details that right-thinking people would conclude to be irrelevant. The principle is that (as you seem to be arguing) that if a woman was ‘slutty’ enough, then consent was implicit, and she wasn’t raped. This is commonly referred to as ‘asking for it’.

    The downside of this, is that having your sexual history paraded on front of your community, and being humiliated in the process of recounting a horrific crime that happened to you tends to be pretty traumatic. The end result is a system where women having been through this process have described it as worse than the rape that the trial was about. In some notable cases, the complainant committed suicide following such a cross examination.

    (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/2184457.stm)

    Talking of revicitimisation is very problematic. there is no certainty that she was victimised in the first place and her expereience in court was unpleasant but she was not victimised. If painful cross examination controlled by a judge is victimisation then all of the men in this case were victimised and much less consideration and protection given to them.

    1) cross-examination in itself need not be victimisation, but the inclusion of a baying mob in the process makes it so. 2) whatabouterry

    If there is to be anonymity then the presumption of innocence and the far greater impact of being accused of rape as opposed to being the victim of rape suggests that the accused anonymity is the one that should be preserved but I think the risk is that this would prevent all the potential evidence being found.

    Is this a typo or are you just deeply socially maladjusted?

  15. Carnation says

    @ That Guy

    I get ajay has a ready packaged answer to “prove” the “far greater impact of being accused of rape as opposed to being the victim of rape.”

  16. StillGjenganger says

    @ ajay
    I think you are quite biased on this (though logical and coherent) – and I am probably the most misogynistic of the regulars here. So, point by point:

    – For the rugby case, the independent witness had a quick glimpse and saw three people having sex. She did not hear any cries of ‘No!, Stop!’, but she did not hear or see any signs of enthusiastic participation either, that I know of. Her testimony makes no big difference either way. And the three men ‘of good character’ were in it together and count as a single person for evidence purposes (otherwise no mulitdefendant rape case could ever lead to a conviction). We are back to plausibility.

    – It may be quite plausible that the players think their behaviour is normal, but that is the wrong question. The question, also for them, is whether an arbitrary person coming home from a nightclub is up for a threesome as a matter of course. Which is not the case. As you say, the world of sports stars and ‘Belfast sluts’ is tiny; they cannot apply those rules to third parties without making sure that they are OK with it.

    – There is no requirement for corroboration in law. In the Ched Evans case there was no evidence for the presence of consent (or of Ched Evans even checking) in the original trial, any more than there was evidence for its absence. Given the rather marginal situation, rape sounded a lot more likely than consent, on the data.

    – It is true enough that (whatever feminists say) sexual history, dress, behaviour etc. of the complainant is potentially relevant information. In principle it is always better with more information than less. But we need to look how this works in practice. If any defence lawyer has a license to cross-examine on former boyfriends, favourite sexual positions, and the last ten times you had sex it means 1) that no one will be willing to put up with the ordeal, 2) it proved to be too easy to paint a complainant as a hopeless slut who surely consented and deserved no better anyway. In practice allowing in that information was deemed to lead to worse verdicts, not better ones. I believe that current UK rules allow this information in when it is felt to be specifically relevant – we need to keep that but it ought to be sufficient.

    – I am sure it is dreadful to be suspected (let alone accused) of rape and not being able to clear your name. Is it worse than being raped, though? Are you speaking from personal experience, here? And yes, it looks like some people are convicted without looking properly at the evidence. There are some real worries. But the accused men (innocent and guilty both) are largely protected by the fact that you need proof beyond reasonable doubt to convict. Most rape accusations never see a court room. I abhor the idea that you can get convicted (even unofficially) of rape after just normal sexual behaviour with no way of defending yourself, and I shall certainly argue to keep the presumption of innocence etc. But women (and occasionally men) can end up getting raped, after normal innocent sexual behaviour, with no way of getting redress. We do need to apply a bit of perspective here.

  17. Jim Doyle says

    @16 “I get ajay has a ready packaged answer to “prove” the “far greater impact of being accused of rape as opposed to being the victim of rape.”

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=855&ei=RWfOWsXYKca-ggezorGwBQ&q=lynching+photos&oq=lynching&gs_l=img.1.1.0l10.205.2152.0.4141.9.8.0.1.1.0.317.831.2-2j1.3.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..5.4.838.0..35i39k1.0.fLP4FcSxQqM

    This one specifically is of a man accused of rape:

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=855&ei=RWfOWsXYKca-ggezorGwBQ&q=lynching+photos&oq=lynching&gs_l=img.1.1.0l10.205.2152.0.4141.9.8.0.1.1.0.317.831.2-2j1.3.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..5.4.838.0..35i39k1.0.fLP4FcSxQqM#imgrc=Ijyrfgq65ORmHM:&spf=1523476299720

    He was alive when they lit the gasoline.
    Oh, absolutely – being accused of rape is a mere bagatelle.

  18. That Guy says

    @ Jim, are you new to t’internet?

    Do you really want to start the game of posting pictures of extrajudicial crimes in an effort to win some kind of oppression olympics?

    Nobody’s said that being accused of rape is *big fun time* but you *really* don’t want to start us on an escalating journey of the worst examples of rape we can find.

  19. Carnation says

    @ All

    “Get” should have said “bet”, and I’d have won my bet. But Gingko has decided to go full Elam by posting what he did.

    *Slow clap*

    Idiot. And a crass idiot as that.

    @ StillGjenganger

    You know, the only one on here who refers to you as a misogynistic is you. Have you ever noticed that? Identify crisis, perhaps?

  20. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    Nobody is calling me names, and I am not feeling persecuted. I just wanted to say that I was the regular contributor on the face of it most likely to be sympathetic to ajay’s ideas. Don’t you think I have a point, there?

  21. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    But I think you *do* feel persecuted; you have alluded to accusations of misogyny in the past and have also said that you feel the only place for you online is with the Alt-Right (or words to that effect.)

    And quite frankly, StillGJ, that’s nonsense and dangerous nonsense at that. You get a full & fair hearing here. I would dare say that I get a lot more abuse directed at me than you do.

    There is a myth that people of a right-wing bent are stamped down on, leaving nowhere to go except further to the right. This is just nonsense. Don’t buy into it.

  22. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    You get a full & fair hearing here“. No disagreement there. And I do appreciate all the time people spend on engaging with me, including telling me not just where, but why I am wrong. I did say that it was getting to be where the alt-right might be the only place for me, but that is not because people are excluding me or being mean to me. It is because everybody else seem to take it as a given that women have an innate right to half of all desirable jobs, by virtue of being women. And are not receptive to any arguments that differences in life choices, interests, or qualifications might be 1) legitimate, 2) legitimately cause gender differences in output. If you are a creationist at an evolutionist conference (or vice versa) is it not sensible to conclude that you cannot be a full member of the local consensus?

  23. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    Erm, I think you’ll find that the Alt-Right are most definitely NOT the only people taking “it as a given that women have an innate right to half of all desirable jobs, by virtue of being women.”

    In fact, I’d go as far as saying that not even a majority on this blog would take that as a given.

    What *is* interesting is that deluded, angry reactionaries *believe* or *want* to believe in such wild assumptions.

  24. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 24
    I would love to re-run this discussion, I might learn something or end up happier. But I think we had better wait till some time when it fits better into the topic. Otherwise people will really start to complain.

  25. Carnation says

    Well StillGJ, until Ally reintroduces the Friday Open Thread, these will get derailed..

    Ally, how’s about it?

  26. Jim Doyle says

    @19 “Do you really want to start the game of posting pictures of extrajudicial crimes in an effort to win some kind of oppression olympics? ”

    Oppression Olympics? Lynchings based on false accusations are “oppression Olympics”? Oh fuck your white ass.

    Here. Does this carry any weight with you?
    http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/16134049.Gay_man_falsely_accused_of_rape_says_he_has___39_lost_faith__39__in_justice_after_liar_avoids_prison/

    This is the kind of destruction of normal life that rape victims report. “Oppression Olympics” my ass. Pain is pain.

    And by the way, Carnation calling anyone a crass idiot is pretty rich.

  27. StillGjenganger says

    Look, Jim, do calm down if you want to actually discuss anything. I have been unhappy with Carnations style on occasion, but your post frankly makes him look like Nelson Mandela, in comparison. We are supposedly talking about social mores and justice systems in Western countries.And we all agree that false accusations happen, and they are very bad for the victims. The question is how to balance the varoius considerations. Lynchings in post-slavery USA are no more relevant than the Al-Quaeda version of Sharia, burning of heretics at the stake, the rape of Nanking, or war-time massacres in the Congo.

  28. ajay says

    @Carnation
    “I get ajay has a ready packaged answer to “prove” the “far greater impact of being accused of rape as opposed to being the victim of rape.”
    I meant that the impact of being accused of rape is far greater than the suggestion that you have been raped. I thought this was obvious in context but it was ambiguous.
    @StillGjenganger
    I am disturbed you describe yourself as the most misogynistic. I don’t think anyone here is misogynistic and the fact you describe yourself this way shows how hard it is to express scepticism about the dominant gender narrative of women as universal victims deserving of support and men as victimise rsvps emerging of oprium and punishment. My argument is not at all that rape does not exist, it does. Nor that rape should not be punished severely, it should. My belief is that the dominant narrative mentioned earlier has changed the law, and the way the law is applied so that men are prosecuted and even convicted when the balance of evidence is that they are innocent.
    You are wrong that there was no evidence centre of consent in the ched Evans case. In fact the two accused both testified to consent being explicit in fact ched Evans said the woman requested sex with a distinctive phrase which subsequent evidence shows she had used in other similar encounters. Something that should have been allowed to be explored in the earlier cases.

    The reason I object to then description of the woman as revitalised is not because I do not sympathise with her courtroom experience. I am not saying her accusation was necessarily malicousted, such accusations can be false and not malicious and whatever the balance of evidence we do not know for sure what happened. My concerns are that the phrase implies guilt of the defendants and the concern is always for the women and not for the men. There is no balance. Appearing in such a case will always be very stressful but this is unavoidable if a just process is followed and both sides will be subject to this. Seeking to remove this stress from the accusers will and has resulted in an unjust process. There is no harm in reducing this as far as possible but cross examination where reactions can be seen is essential and talk of a baying mob is simple fantasy. The judge protects the accuser and she had protections not accorded to the accused.

  29. 123454321 says

    Well of course let’s not forget all those men who regularly get raped for their sperm. Yes they do. Deceived, lied to, pumped and dumped, no sympathy for the man who should have kept it in his pants, alienated, child support, 18 years, stopped from seeing his kid. Not rape in the sense of being forced to have sex but in the sense of being duped into having a child and trapped into paying because of her devious tactics. Happens all the time. Needs another word for it as I know technically it’s not rape but it’s an abhorrent act of mistrust and the damage to the child, father and mother can be huge, often leading to suicide. Yeah he should have put a codom on, yeah, yeah, yeah. I agree, but why isn’t there more awareness raised to help save these men from the pain of having their sperm deceitfuly stolen without their consent?

  30. StillGjenganger says

    @ajay 29
    I agree that there has to be a balance, but I think your use of the word ‘evidence’ is quite unbalanced. The fact that Evans and MacDonald both say they had consent is not evidence of anything. It is merely their story. What else are they going to say? .
    If you think that their story alone should be enough to let them go free, you have to say that we should believe the man over the woman, or the accused over the accuser, or simply that you cannot convict without external evidence. We could argue those. But I do not think you can say there was evidence as to consent- not until they brought in the third party depositions, at the appeal.

    As for the ‘misogynist’ it seems to be too confusing – I shall put it in inverted commas in the future. According to the dictionary definition I am obviously not a misogynist, which would be someone suffering from an irrational “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women”. But then most of the people called misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc. are no such thing either, if you go by the dictionary definition.Essentially, those words have been hijacked by the left, and it rather too late to fight it. People with opinions similar to mine are routinely described as misogynist in e.g. the Guardian debating pages.I prefer to say up front that ‘I am on the opposite side from you lot, I am not ashamed of it, and I do not care what you call me’ rather than get into surreal discussions whether I fall within the definition of ‘misogynist’I or not.

  31. ajay says

    @StillGjenganger

    “The fact that Evans and MacDonald both say they had consent is not evidence of anything. It is merely their story.”

    I am shocked that you say that the testimony of the accused does not count as evidence. This is a shocking and to me outrageous suggestion, frequently it will be the only defence evidence an accussed has and not just in rape cases. The accussed’s testimony should be reviewed and weighed against all the other evidence, but it IS evidence. The strengh of the bias against men accused of rape implicit in the assertion that the testimony of the accused as to consent is not evidence is enormous. This is in many ways the essence of my concern and it is a bit shocking to hear this view in this sort of generally well considered, rational, liberal forum.

    I wondered do you consider the testimony of the accuser as evidence or is that just their story? Would this rule apply to women as well as men? Is it only in rape cases or all cases that the accussed’s testimony does not count as evidence?

  32. StillGjenganger says

    @ajay 32
    What the accuser say is also just their story. And it is the same for men and women.

    To some extent this may be a question of semantics – how do you define the word ‘evidence’. But I think it is misleading to say ‘the evidence suggests that Evans had consent’, if what you mean is ‘Evans claims that he had consent, and the complainant cannot remember what happened’. If you want to put that much weight on the story of the accused (or, for that matter, of the accuser) I think you should say clearly ‘I choose to believe the story of X’.

  33. ajay says

    @StillGjenganger

    Neither the accusers or accussed statemenst are just stories this is what is going to decide whether someone goes to jail. Your previous statement discounted the accused statememts as just a story if you do the same to the accuser there would be no case.

    In the Ched Evans case there was information from video cameras, the hotel receptionist, both accused’s statements and a report on the blood alcohol (and drugs) in the alleged victims medical reports. The only evidence against Evans was his statements. I struggle to see the logic in assuming he spoke the truth about the act in order to be sure any sex took place at all but that he lied about the request when the only other evidence was weak confirmatory evidence that backed his story (the video, receptionist’s testimony and MacDonalds testimony) and as you say a statement that the alleged victim did not remember.

    Overall I do not know how to go further with this discussion. My concern is that extremely weak cases are being prosecuted in court and they risk as in the Ched Evans case convicting innocent men. You seem to think that this is not the case and that the cases had sufficiently strong evidence that you would be quite comfortable with a conviction where as I think that both cases but paticularily Ched Evan’s original case had a balance of evidence in favour of innocence. I can’t understand this difference except perhaps for a strong bias and believe in innate male criminality and female victim hood.
    I can understand why a case which is just he aid/she said can properly be prosecuted but when it is just he said and no she said, or when there is an independant witness which at least partially backs the men’s account and there is no similar corrobative evidence for the prosecution case I just cannot see how this is reasonable. My concern is that this shows a shift in which men must frequently proof innocence rather than the prosecution demonstrate guilt. I think we are going to continue to disagree.

    Interestingly at the time of Ched’s conviction I expressed a belief it was unsafe and Ally expressed a view that he was comfortable with the verdict in a different forum. Interestingly at last part of Ally’s reason was that he thought that Ched had acted in a sordid and disreputable manner. This is undoubtedly true but I believe that the justice system should not be concerned with peoples morals except in so far as they relate to breaking the law. The fact that in hindsight I appear right in my belief about the case is not an argument for the general case, all justice systems will occasionally make errors. My contention is that there is a systematic problem. However you should review the reasonableness of your position given that in Ched’s case he was wrongly convicted and his life has been more or less ruined or at least very substantially degraded with no compensation as a result.

  34. That Guy says

    Holy shit what happened to this thread?

    @Jim Doyle

    Aye, pain is pain. I never said being accused of rape is harmless. I’m well aware of the cases like this, where rumours spread or accusations made can end up ruining someone’s life. I’m aware of the case of the man that was burned alive because of false claims that he was some kind of sex pest- and I’m also aware that a lot of these serious events intersect on a racial basis. You’ll see it was black people being lynched on your google search results. I’m not diminishing that.

    I’m also aware, that being raped isn’t much fun either! I don’t get why this issue is contentious. I’m aware of horrific cases like that involving Ted Bundy, the case in India where a woman was raped with an iron bar, I’m aware of the Bulger case, which arguably contained a sexual nature.

    The point I’m making is this- There are many cases where people are accused of rape, or even actually rape people, and don’t suffer much in the way of consequences. These people are often white, have some form of socioeconomic and generally occupy some position of privilege. But it does happen. See Jimmy Saville for a case study. By contrast, however, all rape victims have been raped, and suffer the consequences of that. There isn’t much argument to be had there, and if there is an argument you want to have, you can have it with the above Venn diagram. I’m not so interested.

    The reason I said we don’t want to start this bullshit top trumps game of humanity’s worst moments is a) it’s an infantile game that benefits nobody, and b) if you’re actually contemplating the suffering these people go through, often in their last moments and I mean genuinely engaging with these facts on a intellectual basis rather than using them to score points on a Mancunian Penis forum, then it’ll damage you.

    Like you said, Pain is pain. If you’re really interested in assisting those who have been falsely accused, there’s many points to make, but using their case as an “aye but…” isn’t one of them.

    ajay- it must be an interesting experience to be devoid of empathy- Whats your favourite film?

    Please do some background reading on why the court systems treat rape accusers as they do- like I said before, it’s because the way things *used* to be was particularly damaging to the accuser’s mental health. IIRC, this isn’t some kind of ‘woman only’ bonus, so all you seem to be doing is weighing in on the side of those accused of rape, which is sketchy ground to be on, considering the content of your previous posts.

    @123454321

    ?????????

    @StillGjenganger

    I wouldn’t worry about surreal discussions, most threads here tend to devolve into loopy bullshit and personal name calling anyway. u big smelly hed ill fite u m8.

  35. ajay says

    @That Guy says
    “ajay- it must be an interesting experience to be devoid of empathy- Whats your favourite film?”

    Where did that come from! It is beneath the general standard in this forum, no more than an attack on the character of someone you disagree with. I could throw it back and ask where is your empathy for those wrongly accused. We need empathy for both the alleged victim and the alleged victimisers.

    The argument that seeking an judicial process which is fair and adheres to the principle of presumption of innocence shows a lack of empathy is dangerous because carried through to its conclusion we would have no trials at all but a presumption of guilt. I suspect that your argument stems from the lack of empathy for men and male disposability which means that the suffering of those allegedly raped is taken as significant and that of the accussed as not significant or perhaps the sexist stereotypical view of women as victims and men as victimisers.
    Women should be taken seriously, they should be offered support. In court however while they should not be abused or asked irrelevant things, they should be cross examined. Their names should be published so that if anyone knows of relvant evidence or previous acts they can come forward. this is why men are named when accused.

  36. lucythoughts says

    Ajay

    I think in the case of the rugby players the evidence was a lot stronger than you are making out. For a start, the defendants accounts really can’t be taken as one version of events juxtaposed to the complainant’s version of events, because they aren’t remotely consistent enough, and don’t support each other well at all. The witness, who you see as the linchpin of the defence case and who is at least likely to be telling the truth, didn’t really support the defendant’s accounts either. The support that she lent their case was the statement that she didn’t perceive what was happening as rape, but she certainly didn’t provide any evidence that there was consent. It is her opinion, based on the idea that she would expect to know a rape when she saw it, not based on anything more specific. On the other hand, she said she was 100% certain that one of the defendants was having penetrative sex with the complainant, which he denies ever happened. So just on that point we have three accounts: the complainant says that this defendant penetrated her and that it was rape. The witness says that the defendant penetrated the complainant but she didn’t think it was rape. The defendant says he never penetrated the complainant at all. So, either 1) the defendant is telling the truth, the complainant is lying and the witness is mistaken about the sex act (fairly unlikely in my opinion); 2) the complainant is telling the truth, the defendant is lying and the witness is mistaken about the consent (hard to say how likely or unlikely this is), or 3) the witness is spot on, and both the complainant and defendant are lying (most unlikely of all, and really not up for consideration, given that nobody is making that claim).
    The second defendant is the only one who has an account which is consistent with the evidence: everyone agrees that there was oral sex, and the question is whether it was consensual or not. The third defendant has the weirdest story of all, claiming he was involved in this threesome when everyone else says he definitely wasn’t: the complainant, other defendants, witness, everybody. So including the witness, you don’t have two versions of events, but five, which don’t stack up. I think the idea that this could be a misunderstanding where everyone thinks they are telling the truth is a bit of a stretch in this case, even allowing for dodgy memories.

    There was other corroboratory evidence as well, most importantly a tear in the complainant’s vaginal wall and the evidence that she was extremely distressed after the event (the taxi driver), which is all consistent with the complainant’s account. The messages the various rugby players sent and then deleted also suggests they were trying to cover their tracks, which they might do even if innocent of course if they thought a rape enquiry was about to be launched, but it doesn’t tally with their claim that they had no warning that the shit was about to hit the fan and never discussed the possibility. All in all, it seems like a fairly strong case and even if you think an acquittal was appropriate, it seems totally unreasonable to me to say that the case should never have been brought and was only brought because the justice system is corrupted by anti-man bias. The bias here seems to be yours.

  37. That Guy says

    @ ajay

    My comments largely come from a combination of your ignorance and inability to put two and two together- you seem to be viewing any considerations made for people who are most likely victims of a traumatic crime to be some kind of affront to justice.

    Please note- I am not averse to similar or complementary measures being made for those accused, whereas you seem to want some kind of ‘justice’ that punishes victims for the audacity of speaking out, and bears all the pitfalls for the falsely accused that currently exist.

    You are seeking a ‘justice’ that chews people up in the name of an intangible and meaningless ideal- which is typical of those with empathy issues.

    This, combined with your conflation of rape victims with women and men with those accused of rape (women can be false accused of rape, and men can be rape victims too, dontyknow) leads me to believe that you are not possessing the intelligence, education or insight to provide any useful contributions to this discussion.

  38. ajay says

    @That Guy says

    No one who read my commenst could possibly come to any of the conclusions you have come to. As all your statements about what I am supposed to have said are in contradiction with what I have actually said I simply suggest that anyone interested reads my actual comments.

    I will not reply to further comments from you.

    I suggets Ally decies whether your misrepresntation and suggestions about my believes/character are within the bounds of behaviour permitted on this board.

  39. ajay says

    @lucythoughts

    You are right we have many accounts all of which contradict each other but only one of which is that rape occured.

    My point continues to be that this was not a case that should have been brought because the weight of evidence was for innocence. The public, the complainant’s or the accused’s interests are not best served by taking cases this weak to court.

    You may be right that at least one witness is deliberately lying although I would not underestimate the fallibility of human perception and memory. That does not affect the weakness of the case nor does the fact that someone is lying mean that whoever they are is necessarily guilty.

  40. That Guy says

    ajay cracked his knuckles, relishing the squeaking of his leather gloves, the glow of a laptop screen reflected in his eyes.

    Who was this man- this intellectual featherweight to call him ‘empathy impaired’? he wiped his forehead with the miniature flag of Vinland he kept inside his authentic military trenchcoat. So what if a few weak members of society are driven to suicide and traumatised by reliving their ordeals? If they didn’t want to get raped, they shouldn’t have had sex with men, or worn provocative clothing- and if having that pointed out to them in front of a sneering crowd drove them to top themselves, well what was the price of justice.

    Surely whoever ran this excuse for a board could only agree? Maybe wearing all this leather indoors was a bad idea. He shrugged out of his coat, scattering a pile of replica iron crosses from his desk. Surely this degenerate woman-sympathiser would cow to a superior authority? After all, that was the root of civilisation, authority and rigid rules.

    He typed out a sick burn, demanding that ‘That Guy’ (probably some undercover soyboy or pro-slut activist) be sent off to the (((camps))) before pointedly asking if doubting the innocence of these proud sportsmen, these martyrs of masculinity that served as beacons of inspiration was the kind of behaviour that whomever ran this blog would allow. This simply couldn’t stand! who could look into the eyes of Ched, staring proudly out of the frame of his Panini sticker album, and ever doubt his behaviour was less than moral? To add insult to injury- That that GUY– would question his empathy- how could he be lacking in empathy when he was so concerned about these many young men?

    he scratched the side of his shaven head, before appending a pointed refusal to respond to further comments, landing him the last word, and therefore winning the argument. That’d show him.

    Now that was done, he checked his phone to see if he’d had any bites on his tinder.
    No dice.
    Checking his profile, he couldn’t imagine why- he cut a handsome figure in his combat boots and hugo-boss military fatigues. He wondered if it was something in his bio?
    RIECH thinking gentleman looking for his Eva. WHITES ONLY, NO SLAGS.

    “Hmm, what an enigma” he said to nobody in particular.

  41. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 37
    Thanks for the info – you clearly had a better summary of what happened than I had. Which makes it even more curious how the jury reached that particular conclusion.

  42. StillGjenganger says

    @ajay 38
    Par for the course, I am afraid. I would recommend not answering anything you find insulting, not even to say what you said. Just ignore – it is what I do.

  43. StillGjenganger says

    @ajay 34,40
    Full marks for sticking to proper debating. But I wonder if you would reason in the same way if the cases were about fraud, or terrorism, etc., or whether you are applying a particularly strict set of rules in this case. Let me say where I think you are getting it wrong:

    If we had five neutral independent witnesses who disagreed as much as the people in the rugby trial, we might decide that there was no way of figuring out exactly what happened. But we do not. The three accused had a strong motive to say there was consent; the accuser had a strong motive to say this was rape (once she had decided to go to the police, at least). Only the witness was (probably) neutral. So we evaluate the credibility of the witnesses in the light of their known biases.
    There is a standard way of doing that. It is hard to tell a complex, consistent lie in the face of interrogation. People who tell the truth are more likely to be consistent, both internally and with other witnesses. People with inconsistent or impossible stories are likely to be lying, deliberately or not, and the parts of their stories that do not clash with known facts become hard to rely on. As it happens, this is more often used against complainants. As Ally put it: “a rape allegation is made by someone who provides a load of background detail – no, I hadn’t been drinking. No, we hadn’t been flirting or kissing. No, we didn’t exchange texts.
    Then on investigation, here’s the barman who served you six vodkas, here’s the CCTV of you kissing, here are the recovered text messages. The rape case has collapsed, the complainant-victim was lying, case dismissed.
    “The feminist side goes rather too far, IMHO, in insisting that you may be telling the truth about the rape even if you are lying about everything that can be checked. But at least they have the point that undergoing a shattering experience may well make it hard to remember properly. Having normal sex does not smash you up in the same way. Anyway, the rugby case gives us three accused whose stories are inconsistent, both with each other and with the one neutral witness. Whereas the accuser is consistent, both internally and with the witness. If this was a case of theft, three accused robbers against the house owner, what would you conclude?

  44. StillGjenganger says

    @ajay contd.
    The other reason that I take sides so clearly is this threesomes business. Some sex acts are just very unlikely on a first date between strangers. Imagine that MacDonald had never been there, and Evans’ story had been that he found the door of the hotel room open and the woman in there in an obvious state of excitement, so she immediately accepted his offer of sexual assistance? Or imagine someone into heavy BDSM who tells how he invited this 19-year-old home from the night club, and she consented to everything, including being bound, gagged, and heavily whipped? Those stories are not believable. Neither is Evans’ or the Rugby players’ IMHO. It is not that there is anything wrong with gangbangs, or heavy BDSM. I understand that they can give mindblowing experiences, for those who want to try. But er few people would consent straight away, and so it is much more likely that anyone who believes he has consent is fooling himself, or that the ‘consenting’ person is just too scared to protest, or unable to come up with the ‘NO!’ in time, or at all. There is also a much higher risk that even if the act is consensual people may be psychologically damaged afterwards, whatever they say yes to on the night. Which is why the heavy BDSM crowd makes such heavy weather out of explicit negotiation, safe words, and the Top’s responsibility to care for the Bottom.

    Again, there is nothing wrong with these activities, including threesomes. But it is fair to say that you need more than ordinary semi-implicit consent to make sure the other person is OK with it. And that a jury is entitled to demand more before they believe in such a tall story. And that is the message the law should send to all the other men, athletes or not.

    I feel quite strongly that it has to be possible for a man to run an active sex life without having to be a mind reader or risking to be put in prison if he acts in good faith. But there is nothing unfair in saying that if you want threesomes you have to be a lot more careful than those ball players were, or accept that a jury will not believe you otherwise. And anyway, we should not forget that a woman who goes home with a man with the fairly obvious intent to possibly have sex, has very little defense in law afterwards if she changes her mind and says ‘no’, and the man chooses to go ahead anyway.

  45. That Guy says

    @12345654321

    Where did you get a copy of Trump’s style guide? I’d quite like one too

    :3

  46. 123454321 says

    I thought this thread was discussing suicide. But I guess the lack of empathy for men as demonstrated in this thread when it comes to false accusations kind of shows why men feel so isolated. It all fits into place really. Fuck men and their problems; who gives a shit! I think I might join the big pink bandwagon along with Carnation and That Guy and plan my next strategic operation of shiiting all over men. It looks to be much easier than actually trying to help them. Doesn’t take much brain power or political redress, less backlash, easy pickings, more support, more money, mainstream media attention, no battles with indoctrinated feminist bigots and fuck me I get to call people misogynists every day and I just love that word. That Guy, are you driving? Can you pick me up on your next pass, I’m converted!

  47. That Guy says

    123454321

    I thought this thread was discussing suicide. But I guess the lack of empathy for men as demonstrated in this thread when it comes to false accusations kind of shows why men feel so isolated.

    I will unironically induct you into my sooper sekrit kool klub if it means you won’t draw a line between supporting victims of rape and male suicide, if that’s what you’re asking.

  48. 123454321 says

    I would always support victims of rape. But I recognise that just like women need protecting from dirty scumbag rapists, men need help when it comes to women who are known to sometimes tell little porkies that they know will get men into a lot of trouble. And where’s ya band wagon, I need to get on for an easy life, and you’re late!

  49. That Guy says

    @123454321

    What about the men that need protection from the scumbag rapists? Or are all the prison rapes and child sexual assaults on boys just men telling little porkies too?

  50. lucythoughts says

    A few points:

    #45.
    This. Not all testimony is equally credible. And although yes, lying doesn’t necessarily make you guilty of rape (or any less the victim of rape) it does undermine your credibility as a witness, which a jury would be expected to take into account when they are trying to establish the truth from different accounts. Also, telling lies under oath is a serious matter. For example, it is quite common for a defendant to claim upon arrest that they have never had sex with X, and then when their DNA turns up change their account to a claim of consensual sex with X, and in most cases a jury will give them the benefit of the doubt over a lie like this. However, when (as in this case) there is good reason to believe someone is lying under oath about the details of what happened in that room, it is pretty damning in my opinion.

    In my opinion the vaginal injury was a pretty compelling piece of evidence as well, especially as the defendants deny vaginal sex took place.

    Ajay

    I meant that the impact of being accused of rape is far greater than the suggestion that you have been raped. I thought this was obvious in context but it was ambiguous

    I don’t think any of us understood you there, so thank you for clarifying. I would say it is very difficult to say because the impact of each can vary so much. For example, the complainant in the Ched Evans case who was named illegally received so many death threats that the police had to put her into witness protection, and even then she was tracked down repeatedly, so she has had to be repeatedly relocated to new areas with new identities. Those are devastating consequences. In the social media era I think cases like that would become much more common if complainants were routinely identified, with very negative consequences for justice. The least you would expect is that they would be hammered by social media trolls, which in the aftermath of a traumatic experience would be enough to tip the balance away from reporting or pursuing a complaint for a lot of people. The benefits on the other hand are very questionable.

    #44.

    Again, there is nothing wrong with these activities, including threesomes. But it is fair to say that you need more than ordinary semi-implicit consent to make sure the other person is OK with it. And that a jury is entitled to demand more before they believe in such a tall story. And that is the message the law should send to all the other men, athletes or not.

    Demonstrably, juries don’t agree with you. Look at the Workington case for example: as far as plausibility goes, I think you could go a really long way before you found a 15 year old girl who was willing to lie down in a dark, muddy field in January and let four boys she didn’t know take turns having sex with her. Nevertheless, they were acquitted.

  51. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 52
    You are so right.

    No time to check the details on the Workington case (it took long enough to find out enough about the Rugby players), but it does sound quite implausible, yes. Anyway, if juries do not agree with me, I do not agree with them. I’d be in favour of a well-publicised change in the law or legal guidelines on this one. Sounds to me like you could save a lot of pain at a fairly low cost in sexual freedom. Just how many do instant threesomes with strangers anyway?

    PS. Still have not found time to revisit our earlier debate (likely will not change my mind, but I ought to look). One of these years, …

  52. 123454321 says

    “What about the men that need protection from the scumbag rapists?

    Good point, but come to think of it, scumbag rapists can be women too don’t ya know.

    “Or are all the prison rapes and child sexual assaults on boys just men telling little porkies too?”

    You’re absolutely right, men can make false accusations too. But there are probably a lot more women making false accusations, or at least engaging in consensual sex and then regretting it later, than men. You got any stats? Nah, course you ain’t, you’re too busy driving your pink bus.

  53. That Guy says

    @123454321

    Good point, but come to think of it, scumbag rapists can be women too don’t ya know.

    yes. And?

    You’re absolutely right, men can make false accusations too. But there are probably a lot more women making false accusations, or at least engaging in consensual sex and then regretting it later, than men. You got any stats? Nah, course you ain’t, you’re too busy driving your pink bus.

    Internet arguments for millennials

    1)*make wild claim with zero evidence*
    2) YOU GOT ANY STATS TO PROVE ME WRONG?
    3) *confusing mixed metaphors*

    I honestly hope you never stop posting

  54. 123454321 says

    Lol not a millennial, been around long enough to sniff out a feminist poo stinky poo, I think I’m onto one right now. The shit people sling at you for being such a dullard must really stick.
    Anyway, can we get back onto male suicide please….pretty please….because I’ve noticed that when anyone brings up the subject of male suicide, people either ignore it, ask ‘but what about the wimmin whataboutery or change the subject completely. Very inconsiderate considering suicide is pretty darned serious. Oh well, back to my Easter egg, finally on my last one, yay!

  55. That Guy says

    @123454321

    Okay Cool! let’s be on topic.

    Whats your assessment of the causes of male suicide, and what are the steps that can be done to reduce the rate of male suicide. Aside from calling women liars and gold-diggers, obviously.

  56. Carnation says

    @ That Guy

    You have to remember that 123454321 seems to genuinely believe that lobbying politicians is pointless, and that the only way to effect real change is to “make some noise.”

    For those of us who remember attending raves, this would seem like an especially fun method of activism, but, alas, I think he means commenting on blogs and newspaper articles. Which, quite by chance, is what he does.

  57. 123454321 says

    “ Aside from calling women liars and gold-diggers, obviously.”

    Yay, cool skapegoat terms and conditions dude! Clap clap for enabling for yourself an easy debate. I’m getting the hang of this – but yes I must remember we can’t apply this rule to men whom you can call wank stains and dead beat Dads and scumbags etc. Cool tactics.

  58. 123454321 says

    Have you seen the noise building up of late, Carny? There appears to be an exponential increase of awareness of men’s issues, even the BBC are latching on. Nice to see the limelight is finally widening its focus. And it’s all because of people like you, Carny, and your silencing tactics. Oh Yeah, and people like Alison Saunders and those of a similar calibre who quite rightly put women first, often by tactfully pissing all over men from a great height. These tactics have really worked a treat. Well done, a pint on me again.

  59. Carnation says

    @ 123etc

    “I must remember we can’t apply this rule to men whom you can call wank stains and dead beat Dads and scumbags etc.”

    Is this what the girls said to you in the playground, 123etc?

    “Have you seen the noise building up of late, Carny?”

    I’ve taken a fair amount of psychedelic drugs over the drugs, but I haven’t “seen” noise, no. I did once see blades of grass on a field grow as tall as me, but that’s a story for another time.

    “There appears to be an exponential increase of awareness of men’s issues”

    Not really. What are you basing this on? I suspect the concept comparative media analysis are beyond you, so I’ll give you an example. F4J made lots of “noise” and what did they achieve?

    Remember, use solid, tangible examples, or else you look really stupid.

  60. 123454321 says

    “I’ve taken a fair amount of psychedelic drugs“

    Lol, we have on here a couple of feminists on here who frequently confuse the fuck out of everyone with their non logic buffoonery – a self confessed troll and someone who has taken a fair amount of psychedelics. Hahahaha…not had this much fun since watching the first episode of the muppets. All the jigsaw pieces fit together, eventually 😉

  61. Carnation says

    @ 123etc

    We have *on here* a couple of feminists *on here”

    Are you OK?

    Anyway, as I said:

    “There appears to be an exponential increase of awareness of men’s issues”

    Not really. What are you basing this on? I suspect the concept comparative media analysis are beyond you, so I’ll give you an example. F4J made lots of “noise” and what did they achieve?

    Remember, use solid, tangible examples, or else you look really stupid.

  62. That Guy says

    @123454321

    You didn’t answer my question. What can be done to reduce male suicide? I’m interested to see what methods you support.

  63. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 24

    It is a bit self-indulgent, but at this point people can hardly complain if we have an off-topic discussion.

    everybody else seem to take it as a given that women have an innate right to half of all desirable jobs, by virtue of being women.
    AFAIAC this is actually true, but it is clearly a biased way of putting it. But then I am not sure what a neutral wording would be – Ally even objects to ‘positive discrimaintion’, even though e.g. Google’s hiring practices would seem to be a textbook example. What we have is that women – only women – all women – are given preferential treatment, from special women-only conferences to discreet pressure on managers to hire more women. Those in favour, like Ally, justify this by saying that women suffer from discrimination, and these measure only (partially) make up for that. But for that justification to hold, you do have to answer a few questions: How are women discriminated against, and by whom? How do we know that a particular individual suffers from discrimination? And what will it take before the problem no longer persists, and preferential treatment is no longer justified?

    It took a lot of work to get any answers out of Ally, but they were clear enough when they came. To him it is by definition impossible that women as a group could end up having other interests, desires, or qualifications than men for any legitimate reason. If they are different, it is because they were socialised differently. So, they are discriminated by the very fact that theye are socialised differently, and the people doing the discimination are their parents, schoolmates, teachers, in short all the people they meet. As for how we can know they suffer from discriminationn, any difference in outcome is proof of discrimination, so only by guaranteeing identical outcomes can we show that nothinng bad is going on.
    In oher words, justifying preferntial treatment by ‘discrimination’ is a circular argument. Differences in outcome are seen as wrong in principle, and women, as a group, are indeed given the right to half the desirable jobs by virtue of being women. Progressives just avoid saying so directly by choosing to assume that there can never be any acceptable justification for gender differences. If you can give me a better argument than Ally, please do.

    That was the main poinit, but there are several auxiliary arguments.

    First, women are not explicitly excluded because they are women (the way they were once). The major part of any ‘discrimination’ would be that society favours traits that individual women are less likely to have than individual men. But if that was the reason for preferential treatment, the remedy would be to give extra advantages to people who were e.g. less assertive or less comfortable giving orders regardless of sex, or to change job requirements, as Damore proposed. Not to favour all women relative to all men.

    Another reason given by Google was the need for diversity. But, again, if that was the real reason, the remedy would be to push extra hard for diversity in parts of the business where it made a difference, like user interfaces or algorithm development, and less elsewhere (like server maintenance). And, for that matter, to give a much higher priority to hiring Africans and Asians at the expense of Americans. Choosing to favour women (all women, only women) everywhere rather weakens the business case argument.

    There is also the issue of who shouold do the redressing. Google employs women in the same proportion as women are found in the pool of software engineers. It is not obvious why Google should employ people with iniferior qualifications and experience, just because in a parallel universe these people would have been better qualified.

    In honesty I must admit that various kinds of discrimination against women surely do exist.There is just a large area where it is impossible to find out the actual reason for any differences. Sticking to gender-neutral actions and redressing of proven discrimination would indeed leave more space for subtle discrimination to survive. But explicit gender quotas, which is what Ally’s poltics ultimately boil down to, does mean dividing up jobs by group membership, much like the old Lebanese constitution apportioned jobs between religious sects.

    As for the Alt-Right, they are a nasty lot and I am sure that I would not find myself well among them if I tried. But we need an actual debate on positive discrimination. There is a clear need for someone to say openly that women as a group do not have an automatic right to half the good jobs, and to get us back to anti-discrimination policies based on treating people as individuals. And I really do not see them anywhere outside the Alt-Right. Mainstream conservatives keep their heads down and hope it will all go away, because they have no coherent ideas and are afraid of loisng female votes. And progressives, universally, accept an ideological obligation to favour women over men.Indeed they have succeded in establishing as a mainstream opinion that anyone who fundamentally disagrees with them (like Damore) is by his very existence harmful to minorities, so that being asked to work alongside him is grounds for a lawsuit on the grounds of ‘creating a hostile climate’. Where in all this could I look for what I would see as sensible proposals?

  64. WineEM says

    “women have an innate right to half of all desirable jobs”

    For me, this is actually a rather too mild way of putting it.

    What feminist progressives clearly want (actually, most of the political and media class clearly wants),
    is to have a model of equality whereby women should have at least half of all socially prestigious and desirable jobs for everything to be equal.

    Logically, this can only cause socio economic harm to men, if this plan is followed through.

    And unfortunately, this whole philosophy was vividly illustrated last week in an ‘urgent question’ in parliament on the ‘gender pay gap’. The debate was happening in order to respond to the bogus ‘gender pay gap’ figures which have been in the press earlier this month (and whose seriousness has been rubbished by a few good souls, such as Fraser Nelson and Kate Andrews).

    The house was pretty full, lots of MPs there (not just a handful, as you might expect with such a niche issue), and yet nobody, but nobody, called the ‘gender pay gap’ figures out as being bogus. On the contrary, everyone was standing up, one after the other, to insist that the government, companies etc. should go further and faster in enforcing policies that would ensure parity in terms of these absurd measures they had arrived at.

    And then to top it all (oh God, this is really good – this is wonderful), when it was pointed out at the Conservative Party actually had a 16 per cent gender pay gap in favour of women the front bench minister leading the debate, stood up and started braying that this was a ‘good thing’, and that this was ‘progress’.

    People really need to wake up to the fact these people really do not f*cking want equality, it’s the absolute f*cking last thing on their minds.

    I would even argue, in fact, that this minset is not at all unrelated to the issue of suicide discussed above.
    For if our ruling media and political class base all social policy on this crass, reductionist algorithm that women should have, in effect, ‘at least half’ of all good things, then it also stands (since there are always going to be some rich and powerful male outliers at the top),that you can only achieve this by further trashing and excluding all those ‘sad, weirdo, losers’ at the bottom. And then when they’ve lost everything, where else might they have to go?

  65. says

    @WineEM 67
    Yes, the pay gap (apart from not being grounded in reality) shows the same logic. It seems to be accpeted now that women in any company ought to have at least the same average salary as men, without having to consider things liike relative job roles or qualifications. I am somewhat sceptical whether this is really the main cause of male suicides though yet?).

  66. lucythoughts says

    53. Gjenganger

    I don’t know, it seems like you are capable of the most bizarre moral gymnastics on this issue. You spent the whole of the last thread defending the right of men (and for you this is men versus women) to use any coercive tactics to have sex with someone who they know doesn’t want to have sex with them. Nothing short of violence or blackmail was too manipulative, aggressive or intimidating to be acceptable if it overcame the woman’s (always a woman’s) resistance and got you that compelled, passive acquiescence to sex. Yet for some reason I can’t wholly fathom, this one method of coercion – coming into the room when they are having sex with someone else and getting your dick out – should be criminal. Maybe that moral distinction makes sense to you but it doesn’t to me.

  67. lucythoughts says

    66. Gjenganger

    Well, I have no special inside knowledge but silicon valley seems to have a terrible reputation for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, “bro” culture, equal pay disputes etc. I don’t know what “proof” you would require but there seems to be enough anecdotal evidence to sink a battle ship.

    Ally even objects to ‘positive discrimaintion’, even though e.g. Google’s hiring practices would seem to be a textbook example. What we have is that women – only women – all women – are given preferential treatment, from special women-only conferences to discreet pressure on managers to hire more women

    All women? Really? You are saying that Google send every single female staff member to the Women in Tech conference? That seems so extraordinarily unlikely that I have a lot of difficulty believing it. It seems far more probable that what they do is select a few female delegates to send each year. I suspect that what people are really miffed about isn’t that all women indiscriminately get given this leg up, but that the Women in Tech conference exists at all. It is a slap in the face to an industry which has determined in its wisdom that it is totally meritocratic.

    And only women? Really? I believe they have special programs for other groups as well, including (a quick glance at their impossibly glossy promotional material) veterans it seems. But leaving that aside, the more essential point is this: if a man is seen as having high potential, there is a traditional path up the ladder. How many careers do you think have been made on the golf course? Women are excluded from that network on the whole. So part of “positive discrimination” has been creating alternative career building and networking opportunities for talented “high potential” women, to get them up the ladder by a different route. Is that fair? Hell no. But neither is the squash court / golf club / bring the wife and we’ll have dinner on my yacht route. If you are a man or woman who just can’t do that networking thing, you will not progress far in your career no matter how good you are at the rest of your job. It is also loaded with subtle class discrimination, just like the Gentleman’s Club networking / career building scene. The question isn’t “is this fair” it is “is it more or less fair than what we had before” and also, is it even possible to deconstruct the existing unfairness? The playing field is not level, it is sloping towards men and even more towards a very specific kind of man, and it is also peppered all over with hidden dips which people of both sexes get stuck in.

    The reason people don’t like the expression “positive discrimination” is partly because it is used precisely as you are using it, to describe a practice of hiring or promoting less qualified candidates over the head of more qualified ones, which is illegal in most situations. There have been dark hints that google’s hiring policy has crossed the line into illegality but I don’t think you or I have any evidence of whether it is true, so I wouldn’t really go there. What is evidently not true, is that changing your hiring / interviewing practices is automatically “lowering the bar.” That assumes that you were always and infallibly hiring the best candidates to begin with, which is a very big assumption. There have been all sorts of more or less explicit excuses used for hiring less qualified candidates who you happen to like, or who happen to be like you, of which “cultural fit” is the mother of all weasely buzz-words. Google has been improving its female and minority representation from what was a pretty low base, and it is quite possible that they have been getting better quality candidates along the way, not worse. Sooner of later presumably they’ll tap out the resource or highly talented female and minority candidates, but your insistence that they will blindly increase these numbers until they reach 50% regardless of ability seems to be based more on inflammatory rhetoric rather than evidence.

  68. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucuthoughts

    OK, ‘all women – only women’ was a bit imprecise. The point is that these advantages are not designed for groups of women with particular characteristics, or for mixed groups that happen to be mostly female. The advantages are aimed at women as women. Full stop.

    You are quite right that there are lots of unfair promotion practices, self-promoting networks, etc.but explicit preferences for women serve also to help people like Chelsea Clinton or Cherie Blair, who have quite enough advantages already, while leaving behind lots of men who could also show unexpected talent and great promise if they were chosen for a rapid promotion stream and told that they were really much better and more deserving than anybody gave them credit for. The people complaining here are not those who already have their networks made through Eton or Harvard or Daddy’s law firm. They are the people who are trying hard, unsure if they will make it, and see women parachuted in above their heads. In fact you can legitimately wonder whether a large part of the exercise is not to build a shortcut to the top for Mummy’s daughters, to match what we already have for Daddy’s sons.

    Positive discrimination means preferentially hiring people on group membership, not for issues related to job functioning. And that is exactly what Google is doing, what the equal pay movement is working on etc. Whether it happens to be illegal or not is a legal technicality. Would you accept it if a major employer openly and explicitly favoured white men, justifying it by some platitudes out of his pet sociologist that this improved long-run productivity? If you are not hiring the best people for the business, the solution is to improve your hiring practices. Not to make an arbitrary decision that certain groups need their minimum share of the cake. Damore had a number of ideas for how you could improve the participation of women and minorities without resorting to positive discrimination. As i recall it was considered illegitimate and discriminatory to even raise the point.

    You may well be right that there are untapped resources of female or minority candidates that a bit of positive discrimination will bring on board. And so far so fine. But again, if ‘untapped talent’ is what this is all about, that would be the official purpose of these programs, and it would be clear from the discussion that when those female high-flyers proved to no longer bring additional value the programs would be scrapped. I expect that people will push on till you get 50% female representation exactly because there is nothing in the arguments for the current practices that mention qualifications, or talent, or actual discrimination. All we hear is that women need preferential treatment because they are under-represented. And I see no reason why that argument should ever run out of steam, or why it should suddenly become acceptable to be against preferential treatment for women tomorrow when so much cultural capital has been sunk in making it unacceptable today.

    Once upon a time women were so openly and obviously discriminated against that it would be kind of silly of me to ask these question, but that is no longer the case. If you can tell me, now, what specifically justifies preferential treatment for women, and what it will take before that treatment will no longer be justified,then I will at least know your goals, and we can possibly agree on something. If all you can say is ‘it is obvious’ and ‘of course it will right itself over time’ I will be hard to convince that this is not a simple grab for 50%+ of the cake.

  69. WineEM says

    @68 Yes, agree – tho, of course, I never said it was the *main* cause of suicide amongst men. It’s just that if you have our ruling elites shaping policies on the basis that the only true ‘equality’ is where men are at a disadvantage (or completely mathematically equal, which is never going to happen), then this can only cause socio-economic harm to men as a group. And then the link between degradation on a socio-economic level and suicide hardly needs to be made – after all, it’s not all that abstract, tenuous or obscure really.

  70. lucythoughts says

    71.

    They are the people who are trying hard, unsure if they will make it, and see women parachuted in above their heads. In fact you can legitimately wonder whether a large part of the exercise is not to build a shortcut to the top for Mummy’s daughters, to match what we already have for Daddy’s sons.

    Yet from what I have observed those men who are “trying hard, unsure if they’ll make it…” will generally accept the idea that the public school boy in the next office is being promoted on talent and deserves his place in the hierarchy. They, and clearly you, find it much more suspicious if a public school girl is being promoted, or any girl, whether or not she has been through a special program, and whether or not she was selected for said program because of her talent. One you can live with, the other you can’t.

    Positive discrimination means preferentially hiring people on group membership, not for issues related to job functioning. And that is exactly what Google is doing, what the equal pay movement is working on etc. Whether it happens to be illegal or not is a legal technicality

    Actually it does matter. Because although I don’t know the legal situation in different American jurisdictions, in the UK it is generally only legal to use protected characteristics as a hiring criterion when choosing between two equally qualified candidates. It can be used as a tie-breaker, but cannot be prioritised above qualifications or experience under any circumstances. If an employer does what you have vociferously claimed people are doing – hire a less qualified candidate over the head or a more qualified one because of gender or race – they are breaking the law. When your candidate pool consists of a number of excellent candidates, you can choose someone from an under represented group. This also applies to men in primary schools and nursing, where I would be frankly astonished if being male wasn’t used as a tie-breaker in exactly these situations. From what I have observed it is often seen as a bit of a USP in those professions, for some valid reasons (although that doesn’t mean that anti-male bias doesn’t exist also). I don’t have any problem with that. I think that having gender ratios closer to parity comes with inherent advantages, one of which is that if the job is attractive to both men and women you have more potentially talented employees to choose from. A less restricted candidate pool is generally better than a more restricted one. I have also found that you get better, more inclusive dynamics in mixed groups, but that is based on my personal experience and undoubtedly reflects my own preferences to some extent.

    if ‘untapped talent’ is what this is all about, that would be the official purpose of these programs

    For goodness sake, it is. Have you looked at the way these diversity programs are promoted? Every bit of it says explicitly that it is about exactly this. The other half of that argument is the desirability of bringing diverse talents and ideas to the table. I rather thought you were talking about ulterior motives here, not face value. On face value, this is what it is about. The idea, reinforced over and over again, is that where potentially gifted and innovative programmers or teachers or physicists or whatever are overlooked or veer away from the profession because the gender match isn’t seen as “suitable,” the talent pool is depleted to everyone’s detriment. You may disagree. You may think that there are quite enough talented male programmes and female teachers out there to keep things ticking over quite nicely. But whether you believe it or not, this is the take home message every single bloody time. I doubt you’ve missed it, which makes me think that you are just being duplicitous. You insist not that you disagree with the arguments, but that the arguments don’t exist.

  71. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts

    A couple of small points first:

    – The ‘if all else is equal’ principle suffers from the problem that it is fairly easy to decide that two candidates are equally qualified – if you want them to be. If company reputations or the promotion prospect of managers depend on hiring more women, more qualified women will be found. All it means is that you cannot be so blatant about it that even a court that might be sympathetic to promoting minorities would be forced to find against you.

    – I know that the talk is all about how hiring more women will widen the talent pool and find more brilliantly qualified people. The point is that nobody ever makes even a token attempt to show they are there to be found. It is all just taken for granted – ‘of course we would get more brilliant programmers if we hired more women!’. How do you know? And given that any brilliant women are still out there, and likely using their brilliance to be good at something else, how important is it that they should be moved to computer science, instead of law, medicine or English Lit? The talk about talent is simply progaganda. The logic is clearly not ‘we need better programmers, where can we find them’?, it is ‘women need a bigger share, how can we best justify it?’ If you were talking about getting more girls to study computer science that would be one thing. But when it is seen as scandalous that e.g. Google has a gender balance that reflects the applicant pool (ca. 20% women in both cases), the drive for more women is clearly not motivated primarily by an atttempt to get the best talent.

    But let me try to take a step back here. Reading through your previous post I have (not for the first time) come to understand things slightly better. It does position me and my friends as objects rather than subjects of analysis, but, flattering or not, here it is. Basically, men are losing out. There are a lot of new people coming in that did not use to be there, and places are getting scarcer. It does not matter whether we are talking about promotions or high-paid jobs, specific industries, or just the world of computer gamers, if we are talking about money and power, or simply the comfort of being in a like-minded group where you understand each other and have shared manners and interests. For this argument it also does not matter whether the previous situation came about from blatant discrimination, pure meritocracy, or just cultural self-selection. One way or the other, men are losing out, and we need to deal with the situation. Now. it is one thing if there is some reasonably specific reason for having more women, in each case. If you are seen to be getting more top talent by having women-only entrance streams, if there are people who have been visiblly discriminated against, if you need more women to cater for female internet users, or you can sell more games if you make them more girl-friendly, well fair enough. One might not like it, but we are still all one group together with one set of rules, even if men take up a smaller space in it than we used to think. We always thought the system was reasonably fair (when it favoured us), and the rational response is to stay with the system, accept that it ought to be fair and that these things are justified, and trust that the system will look after us too, at need.

    When you decide to favour women without any obligation to bring up specific reasons, when it is just seen as a fact that ‘there should be 50% women’, it is another matter. It is no longer a common system with rules of fairness that apply to all. It is intertribe warfare, where women promote each other and have got enough power to grab a larger share. There is no longer any reason to stay committed to a shared system, or to expect that the rules that favour women today will also be appplied to you tomorrow. Why should they spend their hard-fought gains to help a competing tribe? The thing is that it does not even matter if the actual changes in society are the same, in the short term, under the two scenarios. If neither side is bound by some shared rules, including that you should treat idividuals on their merits and should have actual and specific reasons to favour people based on group membership, it will ultimately become a question of who has the power and gets the spoils. And the rational (and, indeed, morally acceptable) choice for men is to forget about shared values, form their own brotherhood, and deliberately favour men over women whenever they can get away with it. After all, that is what the other side does. This does not sit particularly well with me. It is not how I grew up, and if I had any power in such things (which I do not) I would not be comfortable with wronging some individual woman in the interest of favouring the male tribe. But unless someone can offer me an alternative future, it would be the logical thing for me to do.

    I see the situation a bit like the Black Police Association. Notoriously they are a self-help group, for black people to gang up and apply political pressure to get their own members promoted in the police. I am sure that they would not worry about relative qualifications or whether they already had sufficient representation if they got in a position to get one of theirs promoted to a top post. That does not make them bad people though. I am convinced (as I am sure they are) that the rest of the police worlds in exactly the same way, just that white people have their own freemasonries and self-help groups. That is just how the UK police works, there is no realistic prospect of changing it, and the best you can do is to play the game to the hilt and win as much as you can. Unless you can show me someting better, the same goes for gender politics.

  72. lucythoughts says

    Gjenganger

    There is more than a grain of truth in what you say. But, to be suitably juvenile for the occasion, you started it. You guys wrote the fucking rulebook on this stuff. Through centuries, millennia, of philosophy, religion and politics your “tribe” defined desirable characteristics as male, and male characteristics as desirable. You defined female characteristics as weak and unreliable. Then you gave us a condescending pat on the head and told us it was really better to let the men make the decisions in everyone’s best interests. That is root and branch of the system that you say “seemed reasonably fair (when it favoured us).” You clearly see the irony there.

    You are looking at this all wrong: you see this new era of women grabbing power as us changing the rules of the game to favour ourselves. We absolutely aren’t. We are playing the game by your rules to favour ourselves. And we’re getting pretty good at it. After all, we learnt from the best. The joke here is in the fact that you actually think that this nest-feathering exercise is appreciably different from what you guys do. You follow the rules that you happened to design and the rules appear to be superficially fair. Well, so do we. When it comes to affirmative action, we have put safeguards right there in the rules to protect you from unfair discrimination: women and minority candidates can only be preferentially hired in a tie-break situation; special recruitment and skilling programs can only be implemented where there are institutional barriers to access. Well, that seems fair and proportionate to me. What’s the problem?

    The problem, you say, is that the rules have been written with too much room to be fudged, and anyway you don’t trust us to follow the rules in good faith. I simply can’t imagine what you can be talking about. These are the rules, how could they fail to protect you?! And if someone breaks them then of course you can appeal to the guardians of the rules and get justice and fairness. Just like women, BAME people etc who are discriminated against, harassed or assaulted at work can go to the guardians of the rules and get justice. Which is why we can be confident that workplace discrimination has been all but eradicated from our lands in these enlightened times, or at least is so rare and insignificant as to make no appreciable difference to our success or life chances. Don’t let your faith in the rule of law fail you now; I’m sure it is needless anxiety.

    Let’s address directly your complaint that progressives think “women deserve half of the desirable jobs by virtue of being women” or “will endlessly dedicate themselves to the task of benefiting women.” It is a childish interpretation. Your (conservatives) fundamental axiom is this: men (white, upper class) have most of the wealth and power; the system is fair; therefore men (white, upper class) deserve most of the wealth and power. QED. That is just how things worked out in the fair system that you happened to design and administer. It sounds a little like those independent evaluations, carried out in their own offices, which just happen to find that MPs deserve even bigger pay rises, and the MDs bonus structure isn’t at all exorbitant, but is actually slightly too small. It is laughably, obviously unfair on every level, and yet you defend it anyway. On the other hand, the progressive axiom is: a fair system would produce a distribution of wealth and power proportional to the demographics in the population. The talent pool, so to speak. That seems a lot more logical than yours frankly. The problem is that “a fair system would produce these characteristics” is not the same as “a system which produces these characteristics is fair.”

    Tinkering with the current system (your system) to even out the wealth distributions between demographics doesn’t make it fair, it moves the unfairness around, producing some winners and some losers along the way. This is because you can’t polish a turd. Our economic system has unfairness baked into it; it undervalues socially useful work, done mostly by women, while it rewards cruel, exploitative, reckless and socially damaging behaviour and allows wealth and power to accumulate in the hands of the people who demonstrated the least capacity for social responsibility or compassion. You would have to raze it to the ground and rebuild it on virgin soil to get anything remotely close to fair. I think the real reason you are panicking is because your nice, safe, fair-for-me system has had the façade ripped off it. You never acknowledged that you were playing the game as long as you were winning the game. Now you have lost a couple of hands and you don’t like it, so you threaten to turn ugly. And for some reason you demand that I present you with a solution. Now.

    So, do you really want to parley now? For me, this is the tragedy of the thing, because I like to think I’m a reasonable person and I value informed, rational debate, but I am also old enough and ugly enough to know that it never does what it claims to do. Self interest and internal narrative will trump rational argument every single time. Trying to get even the smallest movement or agree the tiniest compromise is impossible most of the time. You say that you could accept some affirmative action, and make more space for women and other groups, if only you were presented with a convincing case. That’s bullshit. Let’s look at what really happens when men generally and you, Gjenganger, specifically are asked to give a little space for women for really solid, valid reasons. Look at the rape debate we had a few weeks ago. This is an issue which devastates lives, and yet when you are asked to support any little move to change attitudes and behaviours in order to create an environment which is more supportive of consent and more hostile to sexual coercion, your response is, “don’t want to, can’t make me.” Why? Because you think you might lose something by it. Your ability to get sex from people who don’t want to have sex with you might be compromised, and you value that too highly to give it up while the harm is affecting someone else. Why should men change to benefit women, right? That is the kind of shit we are up against. So do you seriously expect me to believe that any reason or argument, no matter how good, could ever persuade you that it was right to make more room for women and risk loosing your chance of promotion, or your comfortable (for you) male dominated working environment? Like hell you would. You would do what you always do: you would listen, say, “sorry you haven’t convinced me,” and demand your right of veto. You might say you want to find a compromise and work together, but what you want is to appear reasonable while consolidating your power, because you are afraid that it is slipping. Well, I don’t like the modern feminist / progressive movement all that much, and I don’t really trust them. But I really, really don’t trust you and your lot. Give me one good reason why I should?

  73. Carnation says

    @ Lucy, GJGanger

    “I think the real reason you are panicking is because your nice, safe, fair-for-me system has had the façade ripped off it. You never acknowledged that you were playing the game as long as you were winning the game. ”

    What never really made sense to me was that the men most concerned with the ceding of even the most tiny amount of privilege were invariably NOT beneficiaries of the system that they seemed to support. I don’t think, GJGanger, with all due respect, that your life has turned out the way you wanted it to professionally, financially and perhaps personally.

    Others who have benefitted from the systems of privilege in place, and I count myself among them, seem to be quite relaxed about the system being tinkered with.

    Now, why is that? I think the ugly truth is that disenfranchised men don’t suffer losing out to other men anywhere near as acutely as they do to women.

    The wretched piece of trash murderer in Toronto seemed to suffer from a very extreme version of what I just detailed.

    And fellas, it’s vile, vile, vile.

  74. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation

    You have a very slimy way of dismissing the opinions of other people as the ravings of lunatics, embittered failures etc.

    Anyway, I think the ugly thruth is that people who strongly feel that they will keep winning no matter what (even if they know intellectually that this may not be the case), have no reason to feel threatened by any changes.

  75. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts
    Thanks, as always, for being willling to engage.

    The most noticeable statement in your post I find to be this:

    the progressive axiom is: a fair system would produce a distribution of wealth and power proportional to the demographics in the population.

    The logical consequences are obvious: Any system that does not produce such a distribution is unfair; There is a moral obligation to make the system fair; Therefore (in the specific case) we have a moral obligation to make sure that women get half of all desirable jobs – if not this year then as soon as possible. In theory that need not mean that women must get half of each kind of desirable job. One could imagine a fair system where some desirable areas were dominated by one sex or the other as long as the totals added up reasonably well – but in political practice any difference in any area is seen as proof of an unfairness that must be redressed. So it is all very well to say that “special recruitment and skilling programs can only be implemented where there are institutional barriers to access.“, but if there is no requirement (moral or legal) to demonstrate the existence of the barriers, and any difference is ipso facto considered proof of unfairness, that no different from saying “special measures can only be used to make the distribution of benefits match the demographics”.

    As it happens the ‘progressive axiom’ depends on the assumption that all parts of the demographic are functionally identical (unless, of course, we consider qualification irrelevant compared to equality). How many people would insist that wealth and power should be distributed completely independently of IQ, for instance? Between races that probably holds – there is no reason to assume that Africans and Europeans from identical backgrounds should be statistically different. Between different cultures it surely does not – there seems to be a clear trend that East Asians do better than other groups academically, with a fairly obvious explanation in the high cultural emphasis on studying in this group. And men and women have not only different cultures (vide Deborah Tannen, as usual) but enough uncontroversial biological differences (pregnancy, breastfeeding, average physical strength, growth and development profile, hormone levels) to anchor and direct the cultural differences. So if you take equal outcomes as your goal (and you clearly do) you will ultimately have to either force the two sexes to merge into a single culture, or deliberately disregard at least some significant differences in the interest of equality.

    But even if you did manage to make men and women indistinguishable, the system would still not be fair. People’s desires, skills, mindset (and of course resources and contac ts) depend on their background. I could quote sarka (BTL in the Guardian) who points out that even after 40 years of explicit and heavy-handed discrimination in favour of the children of industrial workers, Chech universities were still overwhelmingly dominated by the children of highly educated people. Or I could simply point out that it is probably not a coincidence that the sons of Niels Bohr, Peter Schmeichel, Kirk Douglas, and Tony Benn rose to prominence in the same field as their fathers, rather than somewhere else. This is not just a matter of nepotism, these people have a better start and are simply better than a lot of the competition once they are grown up. You could not get a Nobel prize or play for Leicester on recommendations alone. So even if you could cut down on the nepotism, you would still not have a system where your life chances did not at all depend on your birth family. The best you can do is to put in some counterpressure to avoid the whole thing getting too ridiculous. Or, of course, you can select a limited number of favoured groups and give them mandatory quotas. Which, whatever limits you put on current tactics, seems to be what you are aiming at. And at that point the best I can do for my fellow men is to forget about equal treatment and fairness and insist that men, too, must have 50% of the jobs, money, university places etc. in any given field.

    I am not particular shocked or upset that women should try to favour their mates at the expense of other groups, it is a common enough human endeavour. What I do object to is the claim that the competition has a moral duty to consider their interests, even as they acknowledge no obligation to consider those of the competition. Tribal warfare I can live with, but if that is what we choose to do all those equality arguments are crap and I have the same right to favour my mates at everybody else’s expense as women have.

    Do I really expect you to believe that any argument you make might convince anybody on the other side? And can I give you any reason you should trust us? Basically you have the same choice as I have. If you are sure you can win a total victory, or feel you will be no worse off for trying, then we are enemies, and you have no reason to concede anything. If you want ultimately to collaborate on the result, or fear that you can not get to a sustainable victory by force, then you will need to work with the other side, and to offer enough that the other side wants to work with you. Like American politics, the choice is between argument, collaboration and compromise, or shouting, polarisation and all-out war. Personally I think polarisation is the most likely future, but I would be happy for an alternative choice.

  76. lucythoughts says

    78.
    Honestly, it’s like you read the words and understood none of the content. Forget it, I can’t really be bothered anyway.

  77. lucythoughts says

    78.
    One thing I’d like to clarify though in the light of this:

    Do I really expect you to believe that any argument you make might convince anybody on the other side? And can I give you any reason you should trust us? Basically you have the same choice as I have. If you are sure you can win a total victory, or feel you will be no worse off for trying, then we are enemies, and you have no reason to concede anything

    I don’t consider men to be my enemies in the least. I don’t compartmentalise people quite the way you do, nor do I see gender politics as a one-size-fits all, all or nothing thing. I have lots of men in my life who know I would always look out for them, and who I would always trust to look out for me. I don’t distrust men generally; I usually assume people have good intentions unless a preponderance of evidence suggests otherwise. I am also supportive of a number of men’s issues, such as those discussed on this blog. I believe that we should be putting serious effort and funding into men’s mental health services and raising awareness about those issues. I think the same is true when it comes to violence and victimisation of men. I believe that we should be trialing programs aimed at tackling the problem of boys under achievement in school, to generate the evidence we currently lack about how to address that problem. I have my own opinions about where the biggest hurdles are there, I think the primary curriculum has a lot of answer for, but that is another debate. I would like to see a decent regional industrial strategy. The point is that I do not see society as a board game in which men and women are, or should be, fighting for dominance. I think there are real problem areas for both sexes and I would like all those areas to be addressed. And I will continue to want all of those things addressed, and advocate for that, no matter how many men form alt right trolling networks, or spout poison on red pill sites, or host nasty misogynistic blogs, or publish ignorant op-eds in right wing papers or simply disagree with me on the internet.

    What I will never expect though is for men en masse to turn around and say that they really want to see significant changes instituted to address sexual harassment, or gender discrimination, or rape culture or the wage exploitation of working class women. It hasn’t happened yet and it won’t. By now the evidence is overwhelming that most men will continue to say either that these aren’t real problems or that maybe they are problems a bit, but, you know, shit happens. Therefore I will not rely on going around and around the same debates trying to generate a consensus, I accept that it simply will not happen without the application of political power to push it along. It is never possibly to bring everyone with you, even if that is ideally what you would like to do. If you want to call that a gender war, then go right ahead.

    Gjenganger, you personally, on the friend to enemy scale, I have to consider an enemy really. I didn’t always, I don’t particularly want to, but I’ve seen so much of your reasoning by now that it seems an inevitable conclusion. You really do see it as one size fits all. If you feel that WOMEN have wronged you on one front then you see no reason not to punish them on another front. You won’t “help you enemies.” Well then, as a woman, I accept that you are my enemy. I have no further interest in trying to argue you out of that position.

  78. Carnation says

    @ StillJG

    What exactly is “slimy” about what I said?

    “Anyway, I think the ugly thruth is that people who strongly feel that they will keep winning no matter what (even if they know intellectually that this may not be the case), have no reason to feel threatened by any changes.”

    Not quite sure what you mean? I welcome change. I think that greater access to people who traditionally have not had such access is a positive thing. I applaud, for example, employers who automatically guarantee an interview to a qualified candidate with a disability.

    Now, as it happens, regarding gender parity on boards, with MPs, as CEOs of major corporations; I just don’t care. I am not *against* it. Neither am I vociferously *for* it. If it was guaranteed that women MPs, board members, CEOs would raise the minimum wage, outlaw zero hour contracts and initiate high quality, low-care childcare, then I’d applaud it. But I don’t think it would bring about the societal changes that I’d like to see, so therefore, I just don’t really care.

    It doesn’t threaten me. If a highly ambitious, fanatically capitalistic boardroom position needs filled, it matters not a damn to me the gender of the person filling it.

    But what *IS* striking, StillGJ, and call me “slimy” all you like, is that my point stands. Those least invested seem most threatened by a perceived loss of privilege.

  79. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 81

    What is wrong with dismissing what people say, and their motives for saying it, by claiming they are raving idiots (123454321) or sad, embittered losers (me)? As Louis Armstrong said “If you have to ask, you will never understand the answer.”

    For your actual point, we are not talking about making a revolution here, razing the system, killing or banishing the old winners, and sharing everything out anew. If you were promising the dictatorship of the proletariat, the proletariat would have some reason to join. We are talking about taking the existing system and reserving half the spoils for women (with additional shares for various ethnic and sexual minorities). If you happen to be the son of David Cameron or Richard Branson you have absolutely nothing to worry about, you will be part of the top 0.1% after the change, just like you were before. It is when you do not have that much, a decent job with a decent salary, a comfortable environment, a council house, that you have something important to lose from huge numbers of newcomers that are officially supported to come in and compete for your place (and tell you that you are privileged to boot).

  80. 123454321 says

    Carnation, there are none more privileged than women. I’m not saying women don’t have their issues, but at least women’s issues are being openly addressed and embraced. Men’s issues, conversely, are just swept away, perhaps to be addressed on a rainy day in the future when women’s issues are all fixed and people are bored and have nothing else to do. Even then, I’m sure you’ll find reason to throw more dirt at men using your slimy tactics. I can’t be arsed to argue with you anymore.

  81. StillGjenganger says

    @123454321 83

    Carnation, there are none more privileged than women.

    Sorry, palindrome, but any neutral observer would conclude that as it stands this comment is wildly biased, Or, less politely, rubbish. I agree we do have things to complain about, a number of them quite serious, but you would do more good for the cause if you found a more balanced way of expressing them.

  82. Carnation says

    @ 12345etc

    I’m still waiting for your suggestions on how to reduce male suicide?

    @ StillGJ

    Does your point amount to “you object to having to compete for the spoils of capitalism?

  83. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 85
    I do not object to competing for the spoils of capitalism, nor for having a government to tilt the playing field away from the more exaggerated inequality, nor for having women participate in the competition. I do object to half the spoils of capitalism to be taken out of the pool and reserved for women, while men compete for the remainder.

    As for your question on male suicide, you, I, ajay, and Lucythoughts have been discussing on unrelated subjects for days. How about cutting the crap about staying on topic?

  84. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “I do object to half the spoils of capitalism to be taken out of the pool and reserved for women, while men compete for the remainder.”

    Is anyone with any serious power actually trying to make this a reality?

    As for male suicide, this harks back to 12345etc. I shouldn’t, because he is embarrassingly dumb, but asking him to step outside his intellectual ghetto is amusing.

    @ 12345etc

    “Men’s issues, conversely, are just swept away, perhaps to be addressed on a rainy day in the future when women’s issues are all fixed and people are bored and have nothing else to do.”

    Oh. I thought all the “noise” being made was having the opposite effect. You appear to be as consistent as you are intelligent.

  85. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 87
    Well, it is a progressive mantra that any system that does not distributes advantages according to demography is inherently unfair, more or less as Lucythoughts puts it. So, who is trying to make the 50:50 split a reality? Progressives generally, who want a system they consider fair. Do they have any serious power? The vast social changes they have promoted over the past 50 years would suggest that they do indeed.

    The principle is widely used in practical politics. There is the proportion of women among Google employees, which apparently must be pushed towards 50% regardless of the number or qualifications of the applicaint pool. There is Harriet Harmans new rules for publishing average male and female salaries by company, with the unexamined premise that any company not paying out the same amounts to both sexes is doing wrong and should correct this forthwith. Then there are all-woman shortlists, boardroom quotas, etc.

    Are you really going to argue that the policies that you and your friends are so eagerly pushing are irrelevant, because you are supposedly incapable of ever achieving anything against the all-powerful (and male-dominated) system however much you try?

  86. Marduk says

    Well. I saw some figures yesterday that suggest suicide is a white heterosexual male problem primarily so a bit of nuance might be required here while at the same time not immediately reaching for the usual conspiracy theories used to routinely defame that group in society. In the US at least, black men kill themselves at, if anything, a lower rate than white women do. However, Native Americans are locked to the white male rate and even show similar yearly variations.There might be some clues here as to what is really going on, its clearly not about absolute levels of anything in particular (whether its losing/gaining/ never having privilege, suffering, wealth, testosterone, masculine stereotypes etc).

    While the rest of this article about recent events in Canada reveals Zoe has been trolled utterly by dank memes (she has form on this), there was a nice quote from an interviewee who wrote an anthropological study of 4chan:
    “The answer is not simple,” Nagle says. “We end up talking about, say, gun laws and all these very surface things. But in America in particular, the root of this is very, very deep. It’s my view that the kind of cultural revolution that came to fruition in the 60s, where people were questioning older institutions, was very successful in the breaking down of those institutions. But I think it’s fair to say, if you look at contemporary American society, that there has been a failure to replace those institutions with anything new to hold society together. So they would say: ‘Women are just out for themselves, so the way to respond to that is to get some muscles and trick them.’ Love never enters into it. Trust in other people, it’s all gone. It’s a very, very bleak worldview. And they’re not getting that from nowhere.”

    In other words, I think Durkheim might be worth another look and in particular, the idea of anomic and egoistic suicide.
    I think what white males and Native Americans might have in common is the country under their feet changing and leaving them puzzled about how they are supposed to live at all. This might be because of ‘lost privilege’ but this has to have a more constructive response than ‘wah wah poor baby’. Native Americans have no more right to get Manhattan back than the white male has to have his old job in Manhattan back but they are both still bereft for the loss in the end.

  87. 123454321 says

    “Oh. I thought all the “noise” being made was having the opposite effect. You appear to be as consistent as you are intelligent.”

    Raising awareness, Carnation, IS having the opposite effect ie less and less is being swept away, much to your dismay, and we’re already beginning to see some positive outcomes for men and boys. I’m not saying that men’s issues are fully out in the open and being dealt the attention they deserve yet, but it’s coming. Stop trying to be smart, you bigoted dullard, you know what I’m saying.

  88. lucythoughts says

    89. Marduk

    I don’t know, I am always very wary of ascribing sociological explanations to suicides because it is just very, very hard to identify causes even in one person’s suicide, let alone thousands of totally different people with totally different lives. Risk factors are complex and uncertain enough. What I do know though is that the differences in suicide rates between black and Hispanic people and white people in the USA has been true for 40 years at least. Native Americans and Alaskans have always had high suicide rates, but are at most risk when they are young rather than in middle age. Just glancing at some up to date data, I don’t think the pattern has changed significantly, but suicide rates have been rising across all the demographics in the last 10 years or so.

    I looked at some raw data from the UK, a long time ago now but my memory is that the picture has also been quite complicated. Male suicide rates have been pretty stable since the about the 50s but the age group of men most at risk has jumped around. In the meantime suicide rates amongst women have declined slightly across the board but plummeted amongst elderly women. It is really hard to pin down causes and I always feel a bit uncomfortable whenever anyone says it is “about” X, Y or Z.

  89. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts

    I have sort of expected this since our rape debate, and I really regret it. After all, If I cannot convince you, a reasonable person who values informed, rational debate, that at least I have a point, I will have to conclude that there is something wrong with my presentation (or, God forbid, with my point 😉 ). On the rape debate we are likely never going to get to any agreement. But on this point I really think you are misunderstanding my position. Do you mind if I try again?

    Apart from the final paragraph, I agree with all of your post #80, specifically including the point that you cannot expect men to be just talked around to make major sacrifices for the benefit of other groups, but will need to apply power to make them. People do tend to favour their own if they can, I will not deny that I do it myself. But then there is no contradiction between fighting for your separate interests and being able to talk and compromise, see any well-functioning system of labour relations, national, or international politics. I did not get all apocalyptic and start talking about enemies in our rape debate much as we disagreed, did I?

    You are quite right that the current system has a lot of unfairness and damaging behaviour built in. I am not sure how much of this can be avoided, rather than merely kept in check, though. I am also quite sceptical about people who plan to raze the entire system and rebuild it on virgin soil. It has been done several times (by people like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, and Robespierre) and those were not unmitigated successes. But surely you would agree that the current plans for promoting women are not trying to rebuild the entire system, and do not promise to make something entirely new and fair. It is just a matter of ensuring that women have an equal share of wealth and power without adding any social responsibility or compassion either.

    It is not, either that the I have any particular problem with most of the specific measures we are talking about. Women in Tech conferences? Preference for the least-represented group at equal qualifications? Some mild pressure to equalise gender numbers? They are not going to make the sky fall down. Women starting to (even vastly) outnumber men at some University studies, in professions like medicine or the civil service (I am sure that is coming)? Well, why not, if they make those choices, do the studies and get the qualifications necessary? I might find it cause for some concern and consider what was holding the men back, and apply some mild pressure in the other direction, but as long as you can get in if you are specifically motivated and talented, and that all groups have a reasonable range of ways to advancement I am not that fussed, also not if it is the women who are winning in some field.

    The thing I find unacceptable is the ‘progressive mantra’, the idea that a system can only be fair if it distributes rewards according to demographic – or bluntly: if half the spoils go to women. That may not be your dominant thought, of course, but you did say it. And it is implicit, if rarely stated clearly, throughout the entire debate. Ally’s arguments on this topic do not make sense unless you assume this premise. And the entire debate around the UK gender pay audits is nonsense unless you accept that companies must by hook or by crook find a way to pay women, as a group, as much as men. Whether or not qualified female personnel (as with airline pilots) is available. I think Damore had the same point, I certainly noticed that he was arguing for ways that you could boost the number and career prospects for women, just without favouring them explicitly on grounds of their sex. I guess that as a loose guideline among others,the idea that the system should deliver equally to all is quite sensible. But that is not how it is used. Rather, it nullifies all arguments about fair process, employee qualifications, the rights of the individual, the acceptability of culturally different choices and replaces them with a question of group share. That is why these arguments are so powerful politically, because they allow you to avoid the complex discussion of what is actually happening and which parts are unacceptable, and win the argument by a simple count: Is this desirable? Check. Do women get less than half? Check. Then we have been wronged. Gimme!

    It does seem a matter of elementary logic that if a system is unfair, then we must and will keep changing it until it is fair, i.e. until women get half the benefits. My problem with the current policies is not that they are too easy to fudge, but that, unless they deliver 50% to women, they must and will be replaced with other policies that deliver a ‘fair’ result. Why is this illogical, or childish? Would not progressives be in bad faith if they accepted any system that unfairly did not deliver to women the share that is their right? Maybe I see this point much like Israelis see the question whether Israel has a right to exist. People can be ever so amenable and their proposals ever so sensible – for now. But if they will not accept Israel’s right to exist, Israel takes it for granted that they will eventually do their best to ensure that Israel stops existing. And so Israel refuses discussion and resorts to missiles.

  90. lucythoughts says

    92. Gjenganger

    I am always willing to give you a hearing and I will do my best to explain where I think you are mistaken. This is just my take on it though; I am not a spokesperson for the progressive movement. It may surprise you to learn that I don’t even consider myself to be a “progressive.” I am on the broad left but otherwise ideologically non-denominational (I never agree with anyone often enough to sign on the dotted line). Nevertheless I am willing to discuss the arguments despite the fact that I don’t always agree with them.

    Firstly, if it isn’t too narcissistic, I’m just going to quote myself…

    the progressive axiom is: a fair system would produce a distribution of wealth and power proportional to the demographics in the population. The talent pool, so to speak. That seems a lot more logical than yours frankly. The problem is that “a fair system would produce these characteristics” is not the same as “a system which produces these characteristics is fair.”

    This seemed perfectly clear to me. There is no such thing as a fair system as we might understand it. I am not proposing that we raze anything; it isn’t possibly to start again with a clean slate, and it isn’t possible to get rid of our prejudices and assumptions or alter the fundamentals of capitalism. I am not proposing that manipulating the figures until women have half the money and power will transform our system into a fair one. I quite explicitly said that it won’t. We have a system which is inherently unfair in many different ways, and many of those ways cause damage. All we can do is work from what we have got and ask whether we can make the system a bit fairer, and how.

    To restate the case as I understand it, it is a fundamental tenant of progressivism that a fair system will tend towards equality in terms of the broad distributions of wealth and power, and that the fairer the system, the closer to equal distributions it will produce. This is NOT the same as saying that any system which produces equality of outcome is necessarily fair, or is even necessarily fairer than any system which doesn’t. It is NOT the same as saying that every job must achieve a proportional distribution of employees otherwise it’s discriminatory. Most people can easily envisage systems which produced equality of outcome but are nevertheless much less fair than what we have now and no one thinks that is desirable.

    If you aren’t willing to acknowledge those distinction then there is simply no progress that can result from discussing this with you because this is always the end game of your arguments on this subject. You say that this principle will inevitably lead to a “by hook or by crook” method of achieving equality regardless of all practical considerations. So in a few easy stages we have gone from a Women in Tech conference, which pretty much all progressives would support, to quotas set at 50% for every job, to be filled irrespective of qualification, which no one supports, ever. If you believe in the first, you will inevitably end up wanting the second, it is only a matter of time. This is the point when any actual progressives get fed up and stop discussing it with you. This is like the argument that democratic socialism will inevitably lead to communism because the internal logic demands it, or that it is the secret agenda of every conservative to entirely eradicate the welfare state. It relies on the idea that people will always proceed unchecked towards the most extreme version of their own ideology, which has been proved not to be true in the great majority of cases.

    You are not fundamentally wrong, in that the logic does dictate changing things until such a time as the economic resources are equally distributed, but that doesn’t mean that anything goes, it mean that it will take a very, very long time to happen and will involve lots of small changes of behaviour at the top, at the bottom and throughout. These might include promoting more women and training more female airline pilots, it might include encouraging more girls to study science and engineering, it might include restructuring the care sector to give better pay and career development and it might include more childcare facilities, flexible working policies and retraining opportunities. What it doesn’t mean is that we slap on a load of quotas and go for tea. You seem to acknowledge very little nuance when it comes to this. Progressivism is not one uniform set of opinions any more than conservatism is; it isn’t a hive mind, people disagree on which methods of achieving greater equality are vital, good, acceptable, dubious, or set dangerous precedents. However, when faced with reactions like “Women in Tech be damned – this is war!” they will tend to close ranks. Can you honestly blame them?

    As far as individual measures go, I take them on a case-by-case basis. I don’t doubt that there are influential people who will be pushing for changes I don’t much like, but that is politics. I also think that it is very hard to predict the outcomes of certain measures from the rhetoric around them. The publication of the pay data for example could have any number of consequences or none. Some possible consequences I would quite like to see, such as a compression of the pay scales that some of these private sector companies are operating on, with pay rises for the lower paid employees and some moderation at the top. Equally if there are bodies buried such as discriminatory pay grading or promotion practices, as I think there almost certainly are, then I fail to see why it should be made easy for companies to hide them. Transparency is generally a good thing and the corporate world has always lobbied pretty successfully to insulate themselves from it. I will wait to see what happens, if anything, before I decide whether the result was a net good or not.

    Finally…

    I did not get all apocalyptic and start talking about enemies in our rape debate much as we disagreed, did I?

    There is not much point going over old ground but I would say you kind of did, indirectly. Or rather, you went into your whole thing of saying that women want all this nice stuff, like not to be violated or subjected to sexualised bullying, and why should we men have to give any ground, blah, blah, blah. Maybe I’m being unfair, but it certainly appeared to me that lurking behind that thinking was something along the lines of “why should we stir ourselves to stop sexual violence when you keep trying to take our STEM jobs?” Frankly, I didn’t think it was your finest hour.

  91. Marduk says

    91.
    I think you have to look at sociological reasons, it seems remarkably systemic. Or to put it another way, it would be pretty amazing if these differences were caused by chance alone.
    I don’t actually think the Durkheim (or Durkheim style anyway) notions are really super specific although the empirical things he observed are, as far as I know, still true over a hundred years later which is interesting. If nothing else its a useful exercise to entertain these ideas because I think the default ‘progressive’ perspective is to assume “Fatalistic suicide” is the only kind of suicide worth caring about, presumably because it aligns with their general agenda (i.e., the suicide of the oppressed because they are oppressed). In some cases I think there are at-risk groups who very clearly describe anomie but because they are categorised as being oppressed persons are actually ignored when they say this. This is not to deny the obvious individualistic element of it all though.

  92. lucythoughts says

    95. Marduk

    Sure, I obviously don’t think this is a random phenomenon, clearly it occurs within a social and cultural context, and I don’t say that Durkheim didn’t have some worthwhile insights but I find his suicide “types” just exclude more factors than they explain. They consciously leave the subjective experience and the individual motives and conditions which lead to suicide out of the analysis. We all have pressures acting upon us which can affect our mental health, we have protective factors in our lives and we also have deeply ingrained patterns of thought and behaviour which affect how we react in times of great distress. Those things aren’t distributed randomly, they aren’t a matter of pure individuality, but neither do they correspond to the kind of overarching societal themes that Durkheim was concerned with.

    The other thing I don’t much like is the pop sociology instinct to attribute very serious and complex social issues like this to my pet peeve, whether that happens to be oppression, toxic masculinity, family breakdown, the diminishing influence of organised religion or indoctrination by evil feminists. So, while I don’t really know if progressives think that fatalistic suicide is the only kind that counts, I really don’t think that looking to 4chan for insights is likely to get you any closer to the truth, TBH. Suicide is a phenomenon which has been quietly dogging our footsteps through huge social upheavals and it is likely to remain with us whatever the political landscape looks like.

    Which is why my preference with this issue is to put sociological explanations to one side0, stop trying to be clever, and address it like you would any other major public health issue. We have a map for that; it involves coordinating resources, public education, controlling risk factors, community outreach, targeted services for high-risk groups, collecting the data, refining the approach…

  93. Marduk says

    96.
    I would normally agree but this is an exception. I think violence (domestic and public) should be treated as a public health issue for example and have taken flack for saying so. However in the case of suicide, I think people imagine there is an evidence base that doesn’t actually exist. Consideration of this subject really isn’t clever enough and tends towards almost self defeating conservativism and incredibly literal thinking. I am familiar and have been involved with policy in this area and you might be a bit surprised by what it ends up being about – mostly infrastructure spending. And by infrastructure I don’t mean hospitals or care facilities, I mean fences, gates, barriers and locks. In fairness there is a sort of contextual suicide bid that this prevents but these are a small proportion of what happens and usually associated with drugs (either illegal or prescribed). Obviously an impossible quest to cover the world in cotton wool is somewhat missing the point though. By restricting exploration of the subject to this, it really avoids engaging with the complex and messy because, you know, trying to have a society where people feel connected to others and that their lives have meaning is so much harder and disruptive than writing a Carillion contracts for some barbed wire or getting NICE to add an extra anti-depressant to the dispensary list. I think the consideration of social context is at least equipotential to a medical model of this.

  94. lucythoughts says

    97.
    Okay, you obviously have some experience in this area which I don’t share. I am aware of risk factors for suicide as being quite complex but including things like homelessness, substance abuse, relationship breakdown and social isolation and I think those things are addressable, although not easy to address. You can’t necessarily stop people’s relationships breaking down but you can try to make available some community based support instead of isolation. There are a few charities in the UK and programs in Australia I think, which have some success with this. If you look at it purely as a medical problem then I agree that you won’t make so much progress, but preventative public health programs don’t necessarily start and finish in a doctor’s office. If you think of something like family outreach (now being quietly starved off) there are layers of support, which in some areas are pretty well coordinated and have had moderate success in keeping families out of crisis. Some of it is delivered through health services, some through social services, the rest through voluntary organisations and children’s centres. Suicide is a bit less predictable, I don’t say it is easy, but I would have thought that the same basic logic would apply.

  95. 123454321 says

    “You can’t necessarily stop people’s relationships breaking down but you can try to make available some community based support instead of isolation.‘

    Well all the positives brought to us over the last few decades throughout the female empowerment, girl power era are vast – for women, that is. They are strong, independent, intelligent and resourceful….all of them, every single woman out there, according to the media, which has the capability to fully indoctrinate an entire nation. Even following a relationship breakdown, women can easily garner the support and sympathy of family and friends. If kids are involved, and a house, they have the support of the family courts as well. Fab. But what about the man? Who cares that he’s now lonely, isolated, feeling lost, unwanted and considered a useless bum? No one really. But then there is the suggestion of some community based care as an afterthought? Ok, so that makes everything fine and dandy, a token gesture to offset the fact that in reality you can’t (or won’t) attempt to do anything about the root cause of today’s relationship breakdowns by addressing the widespread mass indoctrination by the media that women are superior and don’t need men and should chuck ‘em out cuz they smell, can’t cook, can’t change a nappy, can’t choose the right loan or insurance etc. So women in effect are encouraged to be disappointed by men and the stats show exactly that – women terminate their relationships more and more these days and men become more and more isolated and start topping themselves. Female empowerment supported wholeheartedly by the media has done a great job on behalf of men. But don’t worry, just chuck a bit of community care in at the end and all will be well. Yay.

  96. That Guy says

    @123454321

    So if community care does not work to reduce male suicide, what are your suggested measures to reduce male suicide?

  97. uences. says

    @Lucythoughts 93

    I cannot leave this one hanging. I do see what you are saying, the progressive goal is simply to move towards greater equaliity, and being sensible people they are not going to do anything disastrous. But there is a bit of a hole in your logic. You accept that a society can easily be unfair even if outcomes are demographically equal. But you say it can not be fair unless outcomes are demographically equal. As you admit, the logic leads to keep changing society until you have achieved your goal. That is very different from people who suggest that conservatives have a secret agenda to eradicate the welfare state. If asked, conservatives will say that welfare is good to have, they will say why they think so, they will say which kinds of welfare are right and justified and would never be removed. On other things they might say, at least, that asoem kinds of welfare may be good, but there is a trade-off with other things, independence and initiative, for instance. Progressives, on the other hand, say simply that all numerical inequalities are wrong and must and will be removed, eventually. That is not a secret agenda, that is an open one.

    This kind of abstract argument has great (and well-known) political consequences. It is standard progressive tactics to state an abstract principle, establish it as unassailable, and then use appeals to that principle (and, at need, the courts) to squash counterarguments and stifle debate is specific cases. The debate on transsexuals is a prime example. Sensible people on both sides would have a decent chance of coming up with something reasonable, but the starting point would have to be that e.g. trans-women are in some respects like men and in some respects like women. Few people would seriously contemplate the idea that it was discriminatory to transsexuals to talk about ‘pregnant women’, or to refer to the children attending a girls school (where you have to apply explicitly to get in) as ‘girls’. But our social services bureaucracy is nevertheless promoting both ideas. I am convinced that this is the reason e.g. trans activists choose to push the debate onto the abstract ideea that if you identify as a woman you are a woman, only a woman, wholly a woman, to the extent that (as one BTL commentator put it) their penis was a female sex organ, because nothing about them was male. This strategy allows you to win arguments even where 95% of the population think you are talking nonsense. On gender equality, the principle that any inequality is by definition wrong means that it is pretty much impossible to even argue against any move that would lead to greater numerical equality – as the Damore example shows.

    The questions I would ask of you, or anyone else in favour of enforcing equality is
    – When can numerical ineqality be justified?
    – What other trade-offs would make continued inequality acceptable, even if not justified?
    – How equal do things have to be before you think it is enough?
    – What valid arguments can be made against a given company or area trying to force greater equality?
    The answers I got out of Ally were, ‘Never’; ‘None’; ‘At least 50% for all groups except cis white males’; and ‘Forget it buddy, you have not got a hope’.
    Unless someone has a different answer I do think the progressive position is pretty absolutist.

    So, you ask with some anger, do I want you to start parleying now, when you are just about to win? Well, I would like to establish if the two sides are to aim for an agreed solution at all. If yes, it is time to start talking about it. If no, I have no reason to talk, no reason to assume that feminists will stop at getting 50% (why should they, men have dominated for millenia, why hold back if you can get some female domination for a change?), and no reason to care for the interests of groups other than my own. “i if nobody cares a joit for us, then not a joit care we”

    I also have a less all-encompassing problem. Personally I think it is important that there are some areas seen as male, where men do better and have greater numbers – simply for the self-respect of men as a group. Anything else will leave men inferior to women, unless and until things change so taht men can get pregnant and breastfeed, and are as eagerly sought after for sex as women are now. So I need to decide whether to argue for the kind of society I want. Or to give it up a a bad job and insists on 50% representation everywhere for men, from kindergarten, to nursing, prisons, and for equal pay in all jobs and companies, also for models, porn actors, etc. It would be kind of silly, as i see it, but if it is the best I can get at least it would be a damage limitation exercise.

  98. StillGjenganger says

    @uences 101
    That one was mine (as you might have guessed) , just the name got messed up.

  99. lucythoughts says

    Gjenganger

    Ah, I was wondering if you had a twin out there…

    Let’s go back to first principles a minute. The difference between progressives and socialists on the one hand and conservatives and libertarians on the other, is in their basic beliefs about what society is for and who’s interests it should serve. Progressives / socialists believe that society is a collective enterprise to produce resources and distribute them in a fair way; it should therefore serve everyone’s interests as equally as possible. Conservatives / libertarians believe that society is a mechanism through which individuals maximise their productivity and compete for resources; it should therefore primarily serve the interests of the most competitive members. They believe that competitiveness (within the established system) is the ultimate virtue and should be rewarded above everything else, and redistribution is therefore inherently bad and anti-meritocratic. So, when you say that conservatives do believe in some parts of the welfare state, I will say that individually they undoubtedly do but that the fundamentals of their believe system runs contrary to the principle of redistribution. Equally, you might say that individual progressives might be opposed to job quotas but their believe system nonetheless predisposes them in that direction.

    The principle that a fair society is one which distributes resources equally is as unarguable as the principle that the most competitive deserve the biggest slices of the cake. There are arguments for and against both, but it is essentially a moral question. Both can tend towards extremes (communism and libertarianism for example), but in practice most people will hold back from that, stick with whatever basic social and economic architecture we already have and fudge the details, while aiming to bring it as close as possible to what they believe it should be. So, when you say (to a progressive) “how do you know that things are fairer if women control half of the resources?” they can only reply “how do you justify men, who make up less than half the population, controlling more than half of the resources?” It’s a moral and philosophical impasse. Society doesn’t objectively exist for everyone equally and it doesn’t objectively exist for the 1% more than everybody else. What I don’t honestly see if why one belief system (progressivism) is being defined and rejected in terms of it’s underlying principles, while the other (conservatism) is being defined and accepted in terms of the way reasonable people prefer to fudge it, while the underlying principles are simply taken for granted. I think this is an especially distorted assessment, given that conservative/liberal economic policy has been dominant for so long and has presided over ever increasing wealth inequality, privatisation of public assets and punitive welfare reforms, all of which is perfectly in line with its fundamental principles and demonstrates that their not-so-secret agenda is alive and kicking. The principle of meritocracy, and the myth that we are actually living in one, is the position that conservatives have established as unassailable. So much so, that they no longer even feel the need to directly reference it in there arguments for the status quo.

    So, you ask with some anger, do I want you to start parleying now, when you are just about to win? Well, I would like to establish if the two sides are to aim for an agreed solution at all. If yes, it is time to start talking about it.

    Yes, I am a little bit angry. Or maybe I should say I’m not angry, just disappointed. Because I have heard you, and other apparently reasonable men, make the case for the importance of sticking to universal principles when it comes to policies to tackle inequality, and yet simultaneously say that they reserve the right to fight for men’s interests in preference to women’s whenever and wherever you consider that our interests diverge. So what becomes apparent is that our policies can only ever be as “universal” as our circumstances are, and you see no incongruence in arguing for universality in the policies while reserving the right to bias the circumstances in your own favour. To go back to the tech industry as an example, over the last thirty years it has become steeped in a mythology about the programmer as a particular kind of man, with a particular set of characteristics, including a very special kind of man-brain and a rare, uniquely male skill set. Sorry girls, that is just what the job requires. And the increasing acceptance of that mythology has coincided with the rise in status, pay and soft power in the industry and a nosedive in the number of girls studying computer science. Now we have girls entering computer sciences at the rate of only about 17% and every indication that this number is still falling. So then you tell me that any efforts to increase female participation beyond 17% constitute a breach of the principle of universality, because the pipeline just sadly doesn’t provide enough women. Five more years and principles of universality will presumably require no more than 10% women. But, according to you, that doesn’t matter because obviously talented girls are just choosing to enter other fields. Their talents aren’t being wasted, just… redirected. Well, I’m not buying it. Universality in principle is very easy to advocate for, but it isn’t worth the paper it is written on when you simultaneously argue that the implicit biases and subtle discrimination which allows you to keep a firm grasp on the reins of power are also legitimate and socially valuable (because men need their space, and what better spaces for them than wherever most of the money and power happen to be). That isn’t a parley; that is an ambush. So, yes, I am kind of angry because I would like to solve these differences by constructive debate, but I don’t feel that you are coming to the table with anything intellectually honest to offer.

  100. That Guy says

    @ Lucythoughts

    Universality in principle is very easy to advocate for, but it isn’t worth the paper it is written on when you simultaneously argue that the implicit biases and subtle discrimination which allows you to keep a firm grasp on the reins of power are also legitimate and socially valuable

    +1,000,000 points

  101. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 103

    I, too, would like to ‘solve these differences by constructive debate’. But if you put two abstract moral principles against each other, like “[society] should [] serve everyone’s interests as equally as possible” against “redistribution is [] inherently bad and anti-meritocratic”, there is nothing to discuss. Since the principles are incompatible, all that is left is a power struggle to see which side wipes out the other. If that is not what we want, we need to get away from the absolute moral principles, and look for something we can use to argue towards some kind of deal. On my side, I think that inequality and discrimination are both serious problems that need to be dealt with (even if there are other considerations in play too). On your side: will you accept that equality of outcome, while important, is neither necessary not sufficient for having a fair society, accept that there are other considerations it can be balanced against, and tell me what you think they are? If you can do that, we have a basis for discussion. If you cannot or will not do that, you are asking me to accept your goals and your priorities as a precondition for talking – and I am refusing to comply.

    I have to say that progressives and conservatives are by no means equally ideology-driven. I hardly know any conservatives who think (let alone say) that redistribution is inherently bad. and that they have a moral right to keep whatever loot they can get safe from the taxman. I do not deny that they are around, a few here and now, more in the past, more in the US, let us say. But I rather disapprove of them, and certainly do not share their views. On the other hand, there are lots of nice, sensible, progressive people (Ally, for one) who seem to sincerely believe that any outcome differences are inherently wrong (even if in practice they tend to apply their principles only to favour groups with officially recognised victim cred). And who use that belief as a trump-all argument in debate.

    The definition that convinced me that I was indeed a ‘conservative’ was the person who said that conservatives believe that society consists of groups with legitimate and conflicting interests that were likely to persist. And the job was to manage things so you got a decent result overall. As opposed to progressives, who seem to divide us into the good guys, who legitimately want the right things, and are changing society in the right direction, and the bad guys who insist on fighting against the good changes that will come. Another distinction might be that conservatives tend to think in terms of the rights of individuals where progressives think in terms of group rights. To me, whether you, individual, e.g. deserve a job at Google depends on your qualifications, skills, and talent, the needs of the job, the strength of the competition, and your personal history of experiencing discrimination, in some combination. To a progressive, apparently, these things all pale besides the main criterion, which is the proportion of other people in your demographic that have a job at Google already. If you think that too few girls study IT, by all means try to entice in more of them, but until they are there, let Google hire on the basis of available candidates, not on who might have been available in an alternative reality.

    I see no fudging in my position. The principle of reward for contribution, and hiring the best people for a given job are important, but then so are the principles of giving everybody a reasonable share in society. Having different groups and individuals fight for their share is unavoidable, and in some ways beneficial, but it clearly needs to be limited or counterbalanced in some way, for society to work. And even if we cannot completely follow them, we need some kind of shared moral principles to guide our decisions and allow us to discuss where we want to go. It is messy because the real world is messy – it is only when you are dreaming up utopias that you are free to follow abstract principles to the exclusion of everything else. Which, presumably, is why progressives go that way.

    So, how can I justify that men, who make up only half the population, control more than half of the resources? Let us start with something easier. How can I justify that men make a disproportionate share of people in prison? I think they are there becasue of their own actions – they commit more crimes – so I see no problem in that. How can I justify that women tend to get preferential access to children, after divorce? Again, men tend to spend less time (and work) with the children beefore the divorce, which accounts for a lot. The resulting idea that ‘women are better with children’ may not be true in every case, which is tough on the men who lose out, but that is just the way it works. How about why black people are overrepresented in the prison population? Well, we would really have to look at why they are. If they commit more or different crimes that sounds fair rnough. We should then look at why they do so (poverty? broken families? different cultural nlorms? …) and try to do something about that. If the reason is discrimination, either explicit or ‘implicit and subtle’ we would need to do something against racism. But one way or the other we need to diagnose the problem first, not just say ‘institutional racism’ and set up what amounts to a numerical target.

    Back to the control of resources. Is it fair that people like Bill Gates and Elon Musk get so disproportionately rewarded? Quite likely yes, they may have been in the right place at the right time, but they did bring something new and useful. Is if fair that John Humphries and Gary Lineker get so much money than the men and women who work at their side? Well, just the fact that I cannot name any of their competitors suggest that it may be so. You could argue that it is unfair that the most famous or best in a field get so much more than those who are just about as good, but that is showbiz. JK Rowlling, could go in either group, but either way she deserves her dosh. Is it fair then, that maybe 1600 CEOs get such a disproportionate share of salaries in UK companies? I would say no – they may work exremely hard for years to get there, but neither their effort, their skill, or the value of their contribution justify current salary levels, which are rather a matter of rent-seeking and capturing the salary-defning processes. But who is it unfair to? Not to the 800 women who might have got half of that loot. It is unfair to the thousands and millions of individul people working in their firms and paying for their products, whatever theri sex.

    So, if you want to discuss these things, let us look at that is actually happening in each case and see what we can come up with. WIthout predetermining the conclusion, please.

  102. Marduk says

    103.
    The problem is that you’ve bought into a false discourse that confuses lavish privilege with oppression.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/

    “The upshot of this research is neither especially feminist nor especially sad: It’s not that gender equality discourages girls from pursuing science. It’s that it allows them not to if they’re not interested.”

    “Some would say that the gender stem gap occurs not because girls can’t do science, but because they have other alternatives, based on their strengths in verbal skills,” she said. “In wealthy nations, they believe that they have the freedom to pursue those alternatives and not worry so much that they pay less.”

    If you are indeed committed to equality of representation, it would require a Swiftean programme of barring women from what they want to do, the removal of the social safety net and a general programme of the state deliberately setting out to make them less happy. I assume this isn’t actually what you’d like to see and it isn’t that much of a necessity after all.

    In general I think everyone should have career options that offer them fulfilment and meaning. Western countries are getting worse at offering this sort of work and automation is not helping. Surely this is what we should really be concerned with. I don’t care if women want to be writers and artists more than they want to be computer programmers, I am concerned if all they have on offer is stacking shelves.

  103. Marduk says

    And, although the authors don’t address this, perhaps the real problem is that too many men are going into STEM who’d be happier painting water colours or whatever it is. How can we liberate them from this? If we assume men and women are the same in aptitude and interests, this would suggest that the expectations on men in western countries to earn large amounts are roughly equal in force to the real pressures of poverty a woman would face in Algeria or Vietnam.

  104. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 106

    There were some related results in the Economist a few years back. Somebody had compared boys’ and girls’ PISA exam results across a range of countries. Basically, girls did the better compared to boys the more gender equal the country was. But across the entire range, girls did 15-20% better in languager subjects than in maths subjects, relative to boys. This ranged from Turkey, where the sexes were equal in languages but boys were 15 % ahead in maths, to Sweden, where the sexes were equal in maths but girls were 15% better in languages.

    One consequence, as the Economist pointed out, is that even if girls were better in every subject, the principle of relative advantage would still concentrate boys in STEM subjects. Girls would preferentially choose language subjects where their superiority was the greatest, whereas boys would gravitate towards STEM where they were least crap.

    Another conclusion is that this is not a simple matter of gender inequality distorting the results – if it were the results should have converged as countries became more equal. Rather there must be some differences between the sexes deep-seated enough to remain unchanged over a range of societies from Sweden to Turkey.

  105. Marduk says

    108.
    I think everyone should be encouraged to do anything and everything. But I’m less moved when that discouragement is some sort of perceived vague and specious thing about ‘society’ though, I had people kicking the shit out of me for years on end for actually wanting to be educated so I think people can ignore a raised eyebrow from time to time. Actually their parents were worse. I remember my friends dad stopping his car, getting out and screaming abuse at me for the crime of being seen exiting a library. I wouldn’t mind but I was renting Iron Maiden CDs (but of course he wouldn’t have known they had that sort of thing). What would make a grown man spontaneously behave like that?

  106. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “I don’t care if women want to be writers and artists more than they want to be computer programmers, I am concerned if all they have on offer is stacking shelves.”

    What I find actually quite maddening is that nobody seems to give tuppence for shelf-stackers (or cleaners, janitors, carers, retail staff, service industry staff.)

    Why can’t feminists correctly point out that a major cause of the pay gap is women being primary (often sole) carer for children, thus having to rely on low-skill, part-time employment. Apply pressure for a significantly increased minimum wage, abolition of zero hours contracts, properly subsided and high quality childcare, and everybody wins. The part-time working mother, the economically marginalised young man, the immigrant, and even, for good measure, the students working at Asda during the summer.

    You may say that I’m a dreamer…

    PS – Have you been to many art exhibitions? Gender hierarchies, dare I say patriarchal attitudes, are firmly in place. (Mostly) rich men patronisingly surveying the works of (mostly) poor female artists in one part of the gallery, whilst (mostly) male and established artists discuss their work in an obviously more equal footing. Had I not had something of a feminist inspired awakening, I wouldn’t have noticed these things. But I did and I do. (And all of the usual class divides are in place, as per.)

    Oh, and the art world will have a #MeToo moment; nothing’s surer. Some of the stories I’ve heard…

  107. Marduk says

    110.
    I’m sure you’re right although it would seem to depend on who buys art perhaps.

    This actually reminds me of something, another privilege-based-oppression story.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/01/books-by-women-priced-45-lower-study-finds

    This might be wrong but my friend who was an intern at a publishers told me that this is actually a positive. Any old idiot can get a book nobody buys out at £59.99 or even £159.99 (an academic monograph or something). If you are doing OK you can get it into Waterstones for £9.99. If you are a complete rockstar you can get it into ASDA and Tesco at £3.99.

    Pricing isn’t the same thing as value in a volume market.

  108. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    I don’t doubt it. Most people are completely unaware of how publishing, both literary and musical, actually works. Royalties are a factor, but not in many cases, and even where they are, they are generally nowhere near as lucrative as people assume.

    Jordan/Katie Price will be paid a *lot* for the latest instalment of her memoirs, for example, and it will be printed en masse and flogged everywhere for a very affordable price. The books will hold zero value once purchased and the price will decrease rapidly upon release.

    In the music world, New Kids on the Block, for example, were massive, sold seriously impressive numbers of albums and singles (and merchandise), but their back catalogue will be worth close to zero now. Led Zep, or the Doors on the other hand…

    A&R men who find the Next Big Thing are sought after; but there doesn’t seem to be a recognition of the Continuously Well Selling Thing.

    Publishing House A (or Record Label A) will bid for a manuscript/album, own the rights to it, and then market and sell accordingly, in a lot of cases. Many musicians end up buying back their own music.

    Margaret Attwood made nothing off the first TV series of Handmaid’s Tale and, famously (or infamously) George Lucas missed out on merchandising for the first Star Wars film.

    I sell books online, fairly niche subject matters. The price of certain titles rise and fall all the time, and sometimes I’ll spot very sought after titles on EBay for a fraction of what they go for on Amazon, for example, and vise versa (but not as often).

    Off on a tangent there!

  109. 123454321 says

    “I sell books online…”

    Oh my freaking good God, you are warping even more minds than I originally thought!

  110. lucythoughts says

    I will say at this point that I don’t actually, personally, particularly want or seek equal representation in fields of employment or even broad economic equality per se. Gjenganger’s posts saying “progressives want all the good jobs to go to unqualified women… gender wars… ahg!” have been getting ever more frequent and insistent for a while now so I thought someone had better address the arguments. I personally think they have some good points and some bad ones, but I will maybe come back to that in another post. For now…

    Marduk

    I have heard these arguments before and I find them only partially convincing. I think the difference in aptitudes is very likely to be one of the reason that more boys go into STEM fields than girls overall. However, the idea that the international differences are caused by the fact that western girls are more free to “find themselves” and pursue their interests regardless of economic considerations I find wholly unconvincing. My main problem with it is that in countries were gender equality is really bad, on the whole the only women who go to University are from very wealthy, privileged backgrounds and really, the idea that they are making these subject choices because of a need to escape hardship just doesn’t reflect the reality of their lives. Most of them are already far more economically secure than your average working class American girl. Also, I can’t see any good reason why highly educated and academic girls in the middle east would choose well paying engineering careers rather than similarly well paying careers in medicine or law like western girls do, if those were their preferences.

    I think it is much more likely that the opposite is true; that when having any career at all means entering a man’s world, there is less of a stark contrast when choosing which field to enter. A middle class western girl has the very great privilege of being expected to do a degree and have a career. Looking around her she will see that some subjects and careers have a male stamp on them, and she can then choose to do things the easy way, the way which is expected of her and where she will be welcomed, or to do them the hard way. On the other hand, if you are a girl embarking upon a career in Algeria, I suspect there is only the hard way, so your options are much more ubiquitously constrained.

    I actually think there is a bit of a positive feedback thing that happens when a job or subject becomes seen as male or female, which progressively reduces the level of interest the other gender will show in it. That seem to have quite visibly happened in computer science, where the ratio of men to women started off at about 2/3 to 1/3 in the early days (which was actually a pretty good level of female representation for the time), and stayed that way even as the numbers of people going into it soared. Then it started to drop until it is now down to 17% and probably still falling. It has dropped 10% in the last decade alone and I don’t think that is because girls have become appreciable more liberated in that time frame. My concern really is that these choices which affect your long term future are actually being made by children who have very little direct experience or balanced information to draw on and who are going to be heavily influenced by the need to fit in with their friends and survive school. You are welcome to dismiss vague social pressure if you like (it certainly isn’t horrible like being beaten up), but I think our social training is pretty much built in to the human condition and school is a ruthless hothouse for it. Children around puberty tend to go through a phase of extreme conformity-anxiety, and the pressure can be quite acute. Even in the absence of physical violence, the threat is always there, because being different, even in quite minor ways, can easily lead to social exclusion and social exclusion can leave you very vulnerable. In that context it is a legitimate thing to choose a subject or career partly or largely because your friends are doing it rather than because it is what you most like or are best at, but I do think that is what is happening a lot of the time, and I think it is a shame.

  111. That Guy says

    HEY EVERYONE DID YOU SEE THAT EPISODE OF CORONATION STREET WHERE THEY DID THE BIT ON MALE SUICIDE I THOUGHT IT WAS AN INTERESTING IDEA BUT PERHAPS LEFT A LITTLE TO BE DESIRED.

    Of course, as much as soaps are tackling the Big Issues (see also the male rape storylines), we shouldn’t be looking towards them as manuals on how to behave.

  112. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 115

    1) You made some very god points to Marduk about girls and STEM. Be interesting to see how that discussion develops.

  113. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 115

    2)

    I will say at this point that I don’t actually, personally, particularly want or seek equal representation in fields of employment or even broad economic equality per se.

    Sounds like we pretty much agree on the substance then. That may be why your arguments have not been as ferociously effective as usual (ouch!) this time. As always, I apprreciate your taking the trouble. Can I address a small point, in case we have a long break coming up?

    I have heard you, and other apparently reasonable men, make the case for the importance of sticking to universal principles when it comes to policies to tackle inequality, and yet simultaneously say that they reserve the right to fight for men’s interests in preference to women’s whenever and wherever you consider that our interests diverge.

    Well, yes. But as I see it, there is nothing either strange or wrong in wanting your in-group to do well, and wanting the overall norms of society to match your own. Everybody does it. The thing is that if you admit honestly what you are doing, that puts things into perspective. “I want” is not an argument, so when it comes to sorting it out between the different groups, you have to fall back on universal principles, ‘the greatest good of the greatest number’, protection of minorities, etc. It is when you insist that what you and your friends want happens to be an absolute moral necessity that other groups must bow down to, that debate becomes impossible. Women have come a very long way over the last couple of centuries. There may still be things to do and a need for special meaures here and there, but we are beyond the point where you could take for granted that anything that favoured women was automatically just and necessary. Which means that people have to accept that they should argue to justify those special measures, rather than raise the banner of equality, shut their ears, and get people fired when they dare to disagree.

  114. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts
    3)

    I actually think there is a bit of a positive feedback thing that happens when a job or subject becomes seen as male or female, […] our social training is pretty much built in to the human condition […] In that context it is a legitimate thing to choose a subject or career partly or largely because your friends are doing it […]

    I totally agree. But why is it a shame? As you say, that is how culture and social roles are transmitted, and those are a large and important part of what and who you are. As someone put it “You could say that the life project of a young human is to find a social group and learn to fit into it”. The anxiety and the fitting into a role is not just a way to avoid the gender police (though I do not deny that plays a part). It is also a way to deal with an unlimited world with unlimited choices when you are not yet fully formed, let alone strong enough to build your own identity in isolation and dare the world to disagree. I would claim that young people actively choose to adopt a pre-existing role, if they can find one taht matches, and that the comfort and security you get from being part of something could well be worth more than the difference between a career in medicine or computer science, for most people. Which is why I think that getting rid of gender roles (or watering them down till they become invisible) would not leave most young people stronger and freer, but with fewer means to deal with thee anxiety and confusion of growing up in a complex world.

  115. Marduk says

    115.
    I’m not sure about this, I think women outnumber men in nearly every university system in the world with only a handful of exceptions (Iraq, where its 40:60 and, no idea why, Switzerland). Even Gaza or Panama have more women than men studying. This is important know for other reasons, not least of which is our rather strange British take that HE is unnecessary and over-subscribed when we are ranked between Slovaki and the Czech Republic in industrialised countries, but actually between African states (Ghana is above, can’t remember the one below) if you look at the whole world. Is that who these “Degree in Common Sense from The University of Life” types think our natural competitors are? The rest of the planet got a memo in the last fifty years about education and national development that the UK didn’t receive or seems to want to bin. If that status quo is maintained after Brexit, we are truly screwed.

    That said, a close look also shows you get western gender-subject patterns in countries I don’t exactly associate with liberation either so the trend is statistical rather than an iron rule. Interestingly, in Iran they used to have 50/50 quotas for all subjects but have backed off from them following feminist campaigning as it was viewed as a way of restricting women’s dominance of various subjects (they now have 30/30 quotas and 40 competitive entry, in practice then its really a 30% quota for men). A bit “through the looking glass” but then Iran is a far more unusual and distinct place then we are typically encouraged to give it credit for.

    And it turns out the Work Foundation has (kind of) accepted my suggestion in the general sense that equality might have more than one side to equalise out.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/10/help-men-work-less-to-close-gender-pay-gap-says-thinktank
    Its interesting how grudgingly this is argued for and sad that nobody mentions it might be nice for men to have more choice and quality of life in their lifestyles and relationships with family and community. Apparently making men’s lives better isn’t a valid selling point even when it would support what you want to happen for women. Just on a PR basis surely it would have been an interesting to angle to push rather than “this is a depressing report”. Can’t help but relate that the original topic of this thread.

  116. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 120

    Well, if men actually wanted to work less, negotiate less, and spend more time on child care, nobody is stopping them. Men choose to work more. This is about preventing men from doing what they prefer to do, in order to help women. Just like all this promoting fatherhood leave and househusbands is mainly about making it easier for career women to get ahead – and get a wife to look after the home while they do it.

  117. lucythoughts says

    118. / 105. Gjenganger

    Sounds like we pretty much agree on the substance then. That may be why your arguments have not been as ferociously effective as usual (ouch!) this time

    I haven’t actually attempted to defend progressive ideology, what I have attempted to do is address this idea you have that progressives are all extraordinary ideologues while conservatives are nice reasonable people who just want good things for everyone. Your quote about what a conservative is bares no relationship too reality. It makes no sense to claim that conservatives care about all groups but see them as different with different needs to be addressed, and also that conservatives care only for individuals and not for the characteristics of different groups (most conservatives would be happier with this definition I would imagine). Your position contains way too many contradictions like this to hang together. Both progressivism and conservatism have an underlying ideology but both progressives and conservatives as individuals also want to maintain the existing architecture and put it to use towards their own goals (I’m just about to post something about this actually…). Conservatives have been winning on the economic front for years and have employed the most underhand and divisive tactics along the way, but you choose to ignore that while making wild generalisations about what ALL the progressives think. It is too in-groupy thinking to be penetrable by reason.

    I have to say that progressives and conservatives are by no means equally ideology-driven. I hardly know any conservatives who think (let alone say) that redistribution is inherently bad. and that they have a moral right to keep whatever loot they can get safe from the taxman. I do not deny that they are around, a few here and now, more in the past, more in the US, let us say. But I rather disapprove of them, and certainly do not share their views. On the other hand, there are lots of nice, sensible, progressive people (Ally, for one) who seem to sincerely believe that any outcome differences are inherently wrong (even if in practice they tend to apply their principles only to favour groups with officially recognised victim cred). And who use that belief as a trump-all argument in debate.

    I have never personally met any progressives who actually think that all jobs should have an exactly equal numbers of men and women in them. I have never met anyone of any political persuasion who thinks that people should be given jobs they aren’t qualified for. As far as I have seen Ally has said that he doesn’t believe these things, but you choose to consistently misquote your discussions with him so as to support your own view of what “the enemy” thinks, in directly contrast to what “the enemy” actually say. As for conservatives not really believing that redistribution is inherently bad… I’d say you need to look about you. 20 years ago libertarianism was right on the loony fringe, which no half way sensible person supported. Now it is a big part of the right wing mainstream in the USA; it has the freedom caucus, a bunch of billionaire backers, a whole host of internet personalities and a lot of popular support. That is not some kind of backlash, it is a logical extension of the economic status quo and a demonstration that the overton window has shifted substantially towards the economic right over that time period. If conservatives don’t openly advertise their agenda as much as progressives do, I don’t personally consider that to be one of their virtues.

  118. lucythoughts says

    Okay, I wanted to post something a bit more descriptive of what I actually think about modern progressive politics, so it will be a bit long and possibly boring. I think broadly there are things which they have right and things which they have wrong, but there is also a big picture that needs to be looked at when considering progressivism. Starting with what I think they have right:

    On social equality, discrimination and gender roles I think they are more in the right than in the wrong. Discrimination and stereotyping are still big issues which impact upon the lives of people from a lot of minority backgrounds and also upon men and women in different ways. The ways that boys and girls are socialised so very differently I also think has a lot of very negative consequences.

    I also think that some of their complaints about patriarchy are valid. It is true that our capitalist society has evolved from one which was very patriarchal, and you can’t dismantle the institutions or to a large extent the attitudes that are derived from that history. That affects the way we treat men and women and the different kinds of work that they do, but also the way we treat children and old people for example. We often seem to me like a culture which doesn’t really like children and has no use or respect for adults after their economically active years. Those things I attribute in large part to a history which placed the male head of household and wage earner as the sole representative and controller of the family unit, and placed very low value on the contributions or expertise of all the other family members.

    This leads me to what I think is the wrong with progressivism / progressive feminism as a manifestation of left wing politics. The problem they want to address is the economic inequality between men and women, and the root of that is the way that we have valued and rewarded different types of socially and economically valuable work. This is very much tied up with gender roles and gender status, with women doing the bulk of unpaid and a lot of the most poorly paid, low status work, while high status, well paid work was done by men. That is a historical fact, and you can’t wish it away. That has caused women a lot of problems, because their social role leaves them particularly financially insecure and vulnerable to exploitation. Housework has become much easier due to technology, but child rearing is still, and always will be, a labour and time intensive enterprise, and while the everyday costs are born by the whole family, the long term financial costs are born primarily by primary carers (mostly women) in the form of lost earnings, low wages, poor or non-existent pay progression, diminished savings and lost pension contributions. People on the right will tell us that having and rearing children is a lifestyle choice, so the burden should fairly fall on the person who chooses to accept it, most often the mother. While for the individual that may be true, for the society as a whole replacing our citizens and labour force is not a choice but an economic necessity and so, due to our gendered division of labour, women are effectively providing society with the human infrastructure it needs to function and shouldering the financial cost for doing so. People are paid to build roads and program computers but no one is paid to build and program humans.

    This is at the heart of the economic inequality between men and women. There are basically three choices you can make about what to do with this situation, and which you prefer says a lot about your political worldview:

    1) Leave the gender roles and consequent economic inequality alone. Your typical right-winger will opt wholeheartedly for this one, because it throws the responsibility firmly back upon the individual to make what they can out of the existing system. This is the position of the US administration, the republican party, the libertarians and most conservatives.

    2) Work towards reducing division of labour, and therefore outcomes, between men and women, both at work and in the home. This means that the short and long-term costs of things like childrearing would be spread more evenly between the genders (and, if you care about men’s issues, the social benefits of closer integration in the family unit would also be shared more fairly, although I won’t pretend that this is what most progressives are concerned about). This can be combined with adjusting our economy towards the idea of shorter or more flexible working hours and more childcare provision. This is the option your average feminist / progressive prefers, because they see it as two birds with one stone, evening out economic inequalities and also liberating people from restrictive gender roles.

    3) Leave the gender roles alone but get the state to pay for, or subsidise, the cost of childrearing and other unpaid care work via taxation. This is actually the model the socialists envisaged and is why they instituted family benefits. Maternity pay / allowance, child benefit, state education and more recently subsidised childcare and child tax credit have all basically been serving the function of subsidising the production costs of the human infrastructure and compensating women for their work in the home with some financial security. In Europe, where we have more history of socialism, this is more or less normal, but in the USA it never really took root.

    So, here is a theory for you: when the socialist economic model collapsed and the Thatcher / Regan era began, progressives, who had seen economic inequality as being primary concerned with the class struggle, found themselves on the wrong side of history. Out of the ashes of that rose a new form of progressivism which was still concerned with inequality, but which had tactically eliminated the need to employ taxation and redistribution, which was considered a dead duck in that economic climate. The thing about focussing on inequality between demographics, based upon discriminatory practices or gender roles, is that it actually allows you to make some progress towards equality while still claiming the same principles of fair and free competition which your right wing competitors are using, and the dominant neoliberal economic climate demands. Progressivism is therefore the left wing politics of the neoliberal age, and as such it is a very unhappy hybrid, which pleases neither right nor left. It leaves too many people behind because it mostly skirts around individual economic inequality and shifts focus onto demographic inequality. For those of us on the old fashioned left who believe that neoliberalism is pretty much the enemy of the people, it is deeply frustrating and unsatisfactory. However, I don’t think there is a lot of point in condemning it because it is a child of its time and circumstances.

    If you look at it this way it goes a long way to explaining why this political position has been so much more popular and pushed so much more forcefully in the US than in Europe. There is a history of socialism in Europe which the US lacks, and which means that the urgency amongst European women to seek greater access to the better paid, male dominated employment markets is partially counteracted by a better system of social compensation for their childrearing work. It also explains why progressivism has had a boost in popularity since the economic crash, because austerity has caused big holes to be ripped in the social safety-net which women were more reliant on. It has become apparent that a system which uses social security to compensate women for their unpaid labour in inherently fragile. New Labour brought in child tax credit and surestart and various programs to reduce child poverty, but it only took a couple of years of a tory government to dismantle all of that. In that situation, progressivism looks like the only game in town and is likely to continue to dominate left wing politics until we see either a resurgence of economic socialism or someone comes up with a new clever alternative.

    In the US it is far worse, and that is where the real gender wars are raging. American conservatives have consistently refused either to pay more taxes and increase social security, OR to take seriously the disadvantages facing women there in the workplace (be that discrimination, sexual harassment, lack of maternity pay, inadequate leave, long hours, expensive and poor quality childcare etc, etc), OR to accept a need to make gender roles less polar. Their fightback against feminism really is a demand that women shoulder all of the economic cost of providing future workers and citizens without any compensatory financial security. It is an attempt to keep women in their accustomed place, which is financially insecure and dependent upon the good will of their menfolk. That is a shitty, shitty deal for women, it always has been, and it isn’t surprising they are rejecting it. When you add to that the fact that many also take issue with women / girls accessing contraception or sex education and then condemn abortion as murder, it frankly seems like a campaign of persecution rather than a political position.

  119. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts
    That requires thought, but a quick reaction:

    I a mixed-economy man myself (hey, I am Scandinavian), which makes me type 3) (socialist). I think I am more conservative than socialist, but that is a reasonable framework, and within that you can discuss what anti-discrimination measures or state support are reasonable in each case. As you say, you cannot offload the whole burden of reprodusing the workforce on individual women. I take no responsibility for Americans (or Saudi Arabians) and their crazy politics, and faced with someone who thinks it is right that the poor or unlucky should do without healthcare, and immoral to ask him to pay taxes to help, I would shake my head and give up any chance of agreement. You cannot argue with absolutism.

    Similarly, I cannot argue with anyone who thinks that equality between demographics is an absolute good. And that is what is implied in Allys arguments. You do not need to justify the need for demographic equality, because it is beyond question. The argument never goes ‘these are the causes, maybe this particular inequality is justified’, it can only go, ‘these factors cause inequality, therefore these factores must be changed’. I would venture to say that the reason people avoid proposing quotas for ordinary job applications is that they are too smart to seek unnecessary trouble, and believe that they can achieve the (pre-determined) goal without them. Not that they would refrain from quotas if it was the only option. After all, we have boardroom quotas, all-woman shortlists, etc.

    Marduk’s link, above, is a perfect example. The article title notwithstanding, nobody is considering what men might want or helping them with anything. It is all abotu the goal of equality, and if people make choices that do not lead to the desired goal, those choices must be blocked. To me it looks like someone who thought that it was wrong, on equality grounds, that girls keep doing better in education that boys. And who then, while refusing to employ gender quotas, systematically looked for ways to prevent girls from studying so much, in order that the boys coud get the univerrsity places that your ideology says they should have.

  120. StillGjenganget says

    @Lucythoughts 123

    Quite a thoughtful analysis, that. You are much more convincing when you are pushing what you actually think.

    To me it sounds like you are not that happy with [progressivism, but see it as an acceptable strategic choice. After all they are promoting the interests of women (your group), you are not too unhappy with their moralising, and you do not mind too much if they raze and rebuild the current cultural roles – which were not born woman-friendly after all. Anyway, it is not going away, and it is the best deal on offer. There are some similarities between us, then – I, too, have to chose between the available alternatives. It is certain that I shall choose a group that fights against yours, after all your progressives offer me nothing but the moral obligation to change in order to help other people at my expense, not even a hearing before losing the debate. The choices are not too attractive, though, There does not seem to be anybody who has a serious alternative to identity politics. So: The Alt Right, to do identity politics and win? Overgrown toddlers like Trump? Rigid and heartless people like Rees-Mogg or the Republicans? Or the various deceitful and lightweight populists? Eitehr would have the advantage that they would give a serious challenge to the progressive group-think, but you kind of shudder at the prospect. Ah well, at least I shall be free to fight for my interests and ignore the views of my neies, just like everybody else does.

  121. lucythoughts says

    120. Marduk

    I’m pretty sure I’m right about this as far as the Middle Eastern / North African states go, but I didn’t mean to imply that it was only true of women: access to tertiary education is very class based and the wealthiest portion of the population takes nearly all of the university places AFAIK. Other cultural factors will undoubtedly be at play as well though. I believe that engineering has always been held in higher prestige in the Middle East that it has been here, where historically it wasn’t an upper class profession. It looks from the data on that paper that the South American states have very few women in STEM, which maybe suggests it is more likely to be cultural influence.

  122. lucythoughts says

    Gjenganger

    Look I’m finding your reiterations of this stuff pretty tedious by now. You can support whatever politics you like, it’s up to you, no one cares. I don’t personally support progressive politics or feel any need to choose between the available alternatives; I don’t particularly feel bereft if I don’t have a political homeland, I would rather be one person on my own with my own set of ideas than on anyone’s team anyway. I agree with them on a number of points. I think some of their arguments are quite good, for example I would like to see better representation in tech because the industry is going to be instrumental in determining what all our futures are going to look like, and I’d rather that wasn’t left completely up to a small group of very similar people. You choose to pretend that there aren’t any specific arguments when it comes to say computer science, board membership, political representation or whatever. There are argument in each of those cases. Find them convincing or don’t, it is up to you, but stop this constant complaining that you want to be presented with arguments but the arguments you are presented with don’t count, so therefore no one has given you any arguments… It’s just pointlessly circular and stupid.

    On gender roles, unlike you I think the way we polarise the male and female gender roles in this culture causes a huge amount of the unhappiness that people encounter in our lives. I don’t think it is a healthy system which leaves so many people dependent for their happiness on someone they were brought up not to understand properly, or even to want to understand properly. It isn’t culturally universal either, there are cultures were men and women have far closer, more similar lives and seem to get on better as a consequence. I also think that to say that these gender roles work really well for men is pretty obviously rubbish when you look at the level of desperate unhappiness that so many of them live with all the bloody time. They work for you maybe. They actually work fine for me too, largely because I only comply with the bits I like and ignore the bits I don’t. And as for progressives razing and rebuilding them, unless you can describe a mechanism for that I would suggest that you are is just being deliberately obtuse.

    And finally, you always have fought for your own interests. Pretending that this is something you have been pushed into is just crap. Sorry to keep harping on about this, but any credit you ever had with me for having the least concern for “the greatest good for the greatest number” was irretrievably lost when you stated that the needs of men to get laid was more important to you than the needs of women and men not to be raped. You can say this stuff until your blue in the face and really believe it about yourself, but talk is cheap and I don’t have the least tiny bit of belief in your good faith.

  123. lucythoughts says

    125. Gjenganger

    As I said before, you are perfectly welcome to join the alt-right or whoever you want. You are certainly correct that it would put us on opposite sides, but that isn’t because I am a progressive (I’m not) it is because I am a woman, and they hate my kind. If you are okay with that, how can I be otherwise? You are responsible for your own ethical choices and crying “look what you made me do” doesn’t cut any ice. Nevertheless, there is one point I made earlier that stands repeating and you might benefit from considering: if you want to see progessivism loose momentum, you shouldn’t be looking for a right wing alternative, you should be looking for a left wing alternative. That is the only way the debate will move towards a new consensus rather than increasing polarisation. That is my advice, and you are free to take it or leave it.

  124. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 129

    A left-wing alternative? As the astronomer said when asked about UFOs: Show me one!.

    Avoiding polarisation is, as always, a job for both sides, If we share that goal I suppose I could look for a left-wing alternative to progressivism, while you look for a right-wing alternative to Trump and reddit. But it looks a bit back-to-front. Would it not make more sense if we both tried to improve our own side?

  125. lucythoughts says

    Gjenganger

    What?! So why the hell are you here talking to me or Ally or Carnation? Why aren’t you off trying to improve your own side? I have given considerable thought and debate space over the years to proposing alternatives for my own side. How much time have you spent trying to convince the Trump block? Or for that matter, trying to convince the tory party not to further cut disability benefits? I rather got the impression that you are here precisely because you want the other side to change their ways while yours stays exactly the same.

  126. Marduk says

    123. I would certainly agree there is something rotten in ‘progessivism’ (identity politics). A horrible melange of critical theory, ‘third way’ nonsense and the attempt to rationalise the Democratic client voter base in a way their corporate sponsors could live with.

    What is most noteworthy about it is how it has been embraced by the middle classes and the institutions, public and private, precisely because it isn’t a threat to anything that matters – and consequently won’t change anything that matters. Would-be revolutionaries have turned themselves in clients and creatures of institutions. For all the rhetoric, if you end up lobbying and writing strongly written tweets, you are less fighting on the barricades than petitioning the Parish Council over a right of way. Its influence but in the end, it done with someone else’s power not your own and it can be taken away extremely easily as a result.

    If it didn’t already exist, a Koch brothers think-tank would have to invent it.

    As to its influence, it depends what you count. I disagree that it has any real traction, if anything it has neutralised any progress at all. Inequality grows, Trump is in the White House, Brexit won at the ballot box. But its certainly led to a chilling effect on speech and its led to a lot of people being yelled at and made unhappy.

    The thing that sums it for me is that Caroline Criado-Perez puts up a statue and the Guardian refers to her as part of an “immigrant family”. So maybe thats a brave win for someone who suffers intersectional oppression. On the other hand, her dad Carlos was the CEO of Safeway, Board member of Walmart and Makro, her mum was a journalist working for Vogue and House & Garden. Its hard to think of someone who had more opportunity to globally influence the working lives of women. You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this incidentally, but maybe its not such a great win after all for someone who turns out to have vast independent means, excellent establishment credentials and immigrated on a private jet rather than the Empire Windrush and used it all to get taxpayer’s money spent on things most taxpayer’s are indifferent to (because again, its about commanding institutions, not changing them or building your own).. She could probably have got more done holding her breath and refusing to eat her dinner until her dad actually changed something. Maybe this is unduly personalised but its the whole thing in miniature for me – you can have your bloody statue you’re going to pay for anyway but the zero hours contracts are staying.

  127. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts
    You have a couple of good points. Not least that I ought to do something constructive instead of just moaning on other people’s web sites (I am sure that you have already done a lot more than i am likely to ever accomplish). Also that a left wing alternative is critically necessry. Not because it would wean the left off identity politics, but because there are all kinds of problems in how to make a decent society under current economic conditions that no one seem to have an answer for (except the Tories I suppose, but their answer has been pushed so far now that we really need some alternative policies and a good kick to the pendulum in the other drection).
    It just sounds a little strange to expect me, a more-or-less right-winger to come up with a solution to how to do left-wing politics when the left itself has failed. If I do not even share half your goals, how am I supposed to come up with a way of accomplishing them? In fact, I do not mean to insult you, but you almost sounded like me for a moment, there: “If you want to avoid polarisation and keep me from following this disastrous direction, it is up to YOU to come up with a policy that my side could accept!

  128. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 127

    stop this constant complaining that you want to be presented with arguments but the arguments you are presented with don’t count, so therefore no one has given you any arguments

    If you can still be bothered (though I cannot see why you should) I think that is slightly unfair. Because you, in this very debate, are AFAICS the first person to present me with any arguments that do count.

    The general reaction to Damore was that oh horror, he is saying women cannot be engineers, he is creating a hostile environment, anybody not in favour positive discrimination for women or engineering positions is by definition so wrong that you need not bother to read his arguments. Which is nonsense. Ally, after much prodding, provided the idea that any upbriinging, culture etc. that led to women opting for different careers than men was by definition discrimination. Which is also nonsense. It is also manipulative, because ‘discrimination’ is something that is by definition bad and we all acknowledge an obligation to redress. At this point it is a logical conclusion that these progressives are claiming, without providing arguments, that gender differences are in and of themselves evil, because they just are, which principle can be expanded at will to cover pretty much any measure you care to name. You certainly cannot argue against it.

    You, on the other hand, argue that we need more women because you want equal representation in sectors that have such a great impact on the development of society, and because you favour effacing gender differences on general grounds. Which are perfectly good reasons. Importantly, you are not setting them up as beyond argument or by definition true. It is possible to disagree with them (I do) and argue against them without doing violence to either logic or morality. That makes it harder, of course, to mobilise the self-righteious fervour that is so useful to shut up people with non-PC opinions. But for that very reason, it means that even if your side eventually wins that argument (which I sure do not loook forward to), we will still all be part of the discussion – and there is at least a chance that you might be sensible about the implementation.

  129. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this incidentally.”

    Will you, aye?

  130. lucythoughts says

    133. Gjenganger

    In fact, I do not mean to insult you, but you almost sounded like me for a moment, there: “If you want to avoid polarisation and keep me from following this disastrous direction, it is up to YOU to come up with a policy that my side could accept!“

    That made me smile. I didn’t actually mean that you were personally responsible for designing a solution. It is quite challenging after all. I rather meant that you should be on the look out for alternative left wing solutions to the fundamental problems that progressives are concerned with. The right will never provide any because to do so would be ideologically anathema, they will only ever say that these things aren’t problems at all, and only stupid misguided people think they are. That is not the basis for a compromise. The Tories and Trump certainly don’t have the answer; their continued faith that low interest rates and tax cuts will translate into investment and innovation instead of higher dividends and corporate bonuses reminds you of the cliché about the definition of madness. Meanwhile shrinking the state is an end in itself for them, which disproportionately affect women and the poor.

    If it was up to me I know where I’d start. I have been arguing for years that we need to fundamentally reform our approach to the care sector, how it is organised, delivered and paid for. Every area from care homes to social work are in a perpetual state of crisis, which is bad for vulnerable people, bad for social cohesion and very bad for the overwhelmingly female workforce, who try to hold things together under immense pressure and on wages which in no way reflect their skills or responsibilities. Unfortunately this is a sure vote loser: no one wants to argue the case for increasing taxes in order to reform care, or pay women better in the public sector, where most of them actually work (and more would work if social care was taken back in house, which it should be). Much easier to pass the buck onto the private sector.

  131. lucythoughts says

    134. Gjenganger

    Okay. As far as I am aware there are several arguments for better representation. I guess I kind of assumed you had encountered and discarded them during your perusals of the subject matter, because you have clearly been upset about this for some time. I can give you a few off the top of my head, I don’t say it is an exhaustive list but I’m sure I haven’t made them all up so I guess they are in circulation. They come in two broad categories: the “because diversity makes things better” category and the “lack of diversity is due to unfairness in the system” category.

    And on a technical point, “better” representation really doesn’t have to mean 50%. Most people consider 30-40% quite sufficient in most contexts (political representation is an exception) so generally once you have one third all but the most hard core are reasonably satisfied and the pressure eases off. There is kind of a practical reason for that, because a third is about what you need to have a block which wields enough clout to be taken seriously and influence the workplace culture. Anyway, a list as promised:

    Lack of diversity is due to unfairness / produces unfairness:

    1) Workplace discrimination: the effects are hard to measure, but wherever you have a heavily male dominated environment, you usually get a wealth of anecdotal evidence of sexism and discrimination which makes the working environment hostile to women and perpetuates or amplifies the gender imbalance. In the reverse situation, lots of women, few men, the effects seem a bit more complex. You can get a lot of the sexist stereotyping and “banter” stuff, but you also get the glass elevator effect. Tech has been savaged by accusations of gender discrimination, harassment, complaints ignore, retaliation etc.

    2) Sexual harassment: this is an aspect of 1. There are at least two phenomena here: one is that where there is a big differential of power, the people with power use it to coerce sex from the people without. This happens everywhere but seems to be particularly prevalent where a) there is a lot of other sexist stereotyping, b) the power differential is great, or c) it becomes normalised within a male exclusive (or potentially female exclusive) group of power holders. All of these seem to have been prevalent in tech. The other aspect is the phenomenon where men or women in groups use sexist and sexualised bullying to show off to each other, as a bonding thing or a way to signal their status to their group. Better gender balance within the group and in the power chain changes the dynamics and makes both kinds of harassment less likely to happen and more likely to be addressed.

    3) Invisible barriers: also an aspect of 1. This includes things like networking, where all the guys are going out doing blokey things (or girly things) and teambuilding. This can be more or less explicitly based around team building and work discussions and more or less inclusive / exclusive. Another invisible barrier is unconscious bias.

    4) Retaining skilled staff: women leaving male dominated fields often say that the culture, or a sense that they were hobbled by their gender, was part of what made them go. This has an obvious economic cost.

    Diversity is good:

    5) Natural aptitude: this argument is based around the idea that some people are naturally gifted at some things, and those gifts are more or less evenly distributed across the population (even allowing for some small innate sex differences) and can be nurtured or stifled. Men who have the potential to be brilliant early years teachers get steered away from those jobs, leaving the vacancies to be filled by all the brilliant female ones, plus a bunch of mediocre ones. The same in tech, not all male computer programmers are all that good, and a lot of women who would have made brilliant programmers have been steered away into something else.

    6) Diverse viewpoints: in a lot of fields diverse viewpoint and attributes are considered to be of benefits. Not all field though. Female bricklayers? Can’t see it’s going to make much difference to the final product. Female architects however might bring significantly different design ideas. Which brings me naturally to:

    7) Soft power: some fields, and tech is a big one, come with a huge amount of this because, as I said before, what the future will look like is going to depend on technology to such a large extent. If we want the future to be fairer than the present, then we need to let more diverse people influence it. One small example has been an issue in tech start-ups, where the venture capital firms seem to have an abiding love for throwing money at their old college mates and ignoring (unless trying to shag) everyone else. As women are more likely to be pitching ideas aimed at a female market, it is kind of doubly peeving that they get treated so badly.

    8) Future proofing: tech and engineering are growth fields. Right now the potential pool of boys who might want to go into tech is pretty well utilised (e.g. they are mostly already going into tech) but the potential pool of girls is almost untapped. If you want to grow the supply chain in order to be able to fill more posts in the future with good employees, you have to act now to change the culture which impresses girls with the idea that tech is a male domain.

    Those are eight reasons, and they are all more or less true and real but they can all, and have all, been argued with as well. If you accept the weight of these arguments, it still doesn’t determine what strategies you might use to address it, and there are separate arguments to be had about the relative effectiveness and fairness of those. A good place to start is: put clear and effective systems in place to deal with discrimination and harassment; make networking and socialising events more gender neutral; encourage more girls to study computer science. The tech industry has had a bit of a rude awakening with a lot of scandals about the treatment of female employees and the realisation that the number of female CS graduates has declined so much. It is bad PR, but I also think many of them genuinely care about it: they believe that there are benefits to having more women on board and feel uncomfortable about the fact that they’ve created an environment that good female professionals and co-workers don’t want to work in. They are now kind of flapping and trying to reverse the trend. That doesn’t mean they will hire or promote women who are not qualified or capable; no one who runs a business is that stupid. As far as I can see a lot of the industry strategy is actually about hiring and promoting qualified, capable women at every chance they get, whilst making a bloody great song and dance about it so as to appear super-duper woman-friendly and welcoming. In the process though they have upset a lot of men who don’t see a need for it and feel they are not being treated very fairly.

    PS Just as a personal favour, could you not keep referring to “my side”? I keep looking behind me to see where the fuck they are…

  132. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 136
    Those are the most important problems, yes.But since I do not feel I have much to offer here, I have chosen to concenrate my inactivity on other things. A lot of this lies in what in a political dvision of labour traditionally falls to the left, while the right concentrates more on keeping wealth generatoin going and the books balanced. I woulld be happy enough with a any solution to those problems, though, not just a left-wing solution. Neither side seems to have good answers, to lack of resources, lack of jobe and opporrtunities, inequality and exclusoin, how to deal with the effect of AI and automation etc. In fact one complaint about progressives is that they have chosen a different set of priorities, such as
    – Removing statues and renaming streets that refer to colonialists,
    – Getting more women on banknotes
    – Changing language use to remove expressions that reflect offensive attitudes, such as ‘pregnant women’, which implies that somebody capable of becoming pregnant must necessarily be a woman.

  133. StillGjenganger says

    @Lucythoughts 137
    Thta is quite a sensible set of arguments. I do not claim I have not heard them before, but the case for workplace measures is very rarely made in those tems in debate. It is all about ‘discrimination’ ‘sexism’, etc. I do think that some of them are weaker than they seem, and are in practice used as justifications, where the real underlying reason is “We are women. And we want more!“. For instance brilliant people are rare, in any field, most bright people have talents that could be used to good effect in several different fields, and people with a brilliant talent limited to a narrow field would have a much-above-average chance of trying and getting in anyway. One reason that venture capitalists tend to privilege old classmates is that they hail from places like MIT that are a magnet for talented people and have fiercely competitive entry requirements. And, if different groups tend to do things in different ways, surely there would be fields where you would *want* to have one group heavily overrepresented. You know the joke: “The worst of all worlds is when the cooks are English, the lovers Swiss, the organisers Italian, the clothes designers Norwegian, the drivers Spanish, …” But there is much to what you are saying.

    I have two major problems, though. One is that discrimination, stereotypes, etc. works rather differently from the way it is presented. Diversity may or may not be more efficient, but it is certainly a lot more demanding on the participants. If left to themselves humans will form groups, distinguish themselves from other groups, set up group norms for attitudes and behaviour, and live comfortably with each other, sharing each others’ jokes and assumptions. When emigrating to a new country, you do not choose to live in the places where there are fewest people like you, in order to experience maximum diversity. And, as you say yourself, there is a natural tendency for boys to flock to ‘male fields and girls to ‘female’ fields. In order to avoid ‘discrimination’ effects, you must either push people into homogeneity against their tendency to coalesce into groups, or push them to live with people who do not share their norms, or laugh at their jokes, You seem to be proposing both, but it is going to require continuous pressure to keep up the result. In practice, if you are the only one with Aspergers in a neurotypical society, the only gay/trans/black in a straight/cis/white department, or the only European in an all-japanses company. you are not gong to fit in naturally, and many things that are good and normal for other people will not be so for you. The idea that everybody should have the same quality of life and the same sense of belonging regardless of their starting point is simply misconceived. Whether you call it ‘discrimination’ or not, it is unavoidable that the different will be worse off, at least a bit. The question is who should take on how much of the discomfort and effort of adapting. Would you really expect that an all-japanese department should do all their work in English and follow the social mores of say, Berlin, so that the one Englishman there did not feel discriminated against?

    The other point is the simple of question of what men are for. What is their place in society? Which I find important, emotionally, and which I think future generations of boys will also find important. I suspect that the gender equalisation plan is strongly enough entrenched that it will likely succeed. At which poinit women will have conquered the advantages that belonged to men, while keeping their own particular advantages and style, while men would be like Britain, having lost an empire and not found a role. And I wonder how we should deal with that.
    Let me elaborate a bit.
    Men have traditionally bonded around work and shared activities, while women have been more about sharing intimacy wiith their female friends. With work limited to gender-neutral culture and at least a third women everywhere, and with rules in place to prevent gendered socialising (as you propose), there will be no way of building a work-related male identity. I suppose men might flock to areas that are too unattractive and powerless for women to want them, like the building trades, but “Men? Well they are good for building walls” is not really much better than “Women? Well they are good for washing floors.” Besides future job growth is unlikely to be there.
    Meanwhile, women will keep two strong and important building blocks for a gender identity. There is obviously children, which you are the ones to give birth to and breastfeed, and where you start as the strongest bonded and the most authoritiative. That is a role that women can retain at will, until such a time as technology allows procreation in vitro, and that I see no prospect that women as a group should choose to relinquish. The other one is as purveyors of sex, and to some extent intimacy. As things are now, sex is something that (young) men desperately push to get, and that women grant. Of course sex is something that both sexes want in principle, and where both sides seek status from being chosen by the more desirable members of the opposite sex. But just plain sex is certainly in women’s gift, as of now, and I cannot see how that would change. Men would stop wanting sex?? Women would start desiring it so much that most men could get a shag simply by going down to the pub and being available?? Heterosexual saunas, anyone??

    So, the question is, if you are a woman and are building a home, why would you want a man in it? As a breadwinner? Not any more. For sex? We have covered that. To have children? Ever heard of sperm donation? For companionship? What is wrong with your friends? As a father? Here the problem is that you only need a father if he is offering something different from a mother. Different role, different contribution, different something. If all you need is help with the workload, while you, the *mother* still remain the key person, what you need is not a father but a nanny.
    You might say here that this is a totally wrong attitude. People are not making transactions, they live together for love and friendship. Sex is not something you earn or buy but something people freely share. All of which is both true and lovely – when it works like that. But in any relationship it seems important that you have something to contribute that makes you worth having around in those periods where the spontaneous love flags a bit. And for any group it would seem important to be able to say “We are the people who do xxx, and it is an important contribution” even if you personally do not do xxx. It is certainly better than saying, “we have nothing to offer that other groups cannot do at least as well, but sometimes they choose to share their lives with us regardless”.

    I do not believe we will ever be able to say “Men need women like fish need a bicycle”. So I feel that men really need something that can serve as their contribution and role, now that mammoth hunting is obsolete. And that is where I will concentrate what little constructive thinking I can muster.

  134. lucythoughts says

    138. Gjenganger

    In fact one complaint about progressives is that they have chosen a different set of priorities, such as
    – Removing statues and renaming streets that refer to colonialists,
    – Getting more women on banknotes
    – Changing language use to remove expressions that reflect offensive attitudes, such as ‘pregnant women’, which implies that somebody capable of becoming pregnant must necessarily be a woman.

    The thing is, “How dare you care about what you care about instead of caring about what I care about!” has always been a supremely lousy argument. This is just another example of wanting it both ways. We live in a world where campaigning for a woman to be put on a banknote is such a trivial, pointless activity that it apparently merited thousands of abusive tweets and treats from “your side,” and, forgive me, but here you are still moaning about it. Something doesn’t quite add up there. Is having representations of women in the public domain a good thing, a bad thing or an irrelevant thing? If it is a good thing I can see why someone somewhere might be moved to promote it; if it is a bad thing, I can see why someone might be moved to oppose it; but if it is an irrelevant thing? Then surely you can’t be exercised about it. Which is why you have to make up an excuse to be irate – it isn’t that feminists want more representations of women that makes you angry, it is that they aren’t working towards world peace and economic prosperity instead. Or, perhaps it is like the excuse given after every domestic argument: “it isn’t what you said, it’s the way you said it!

  135. lucythoughts says

    139. Gjenganger

    That is quite a sensible set of arguments. I do not claim I have not heard them before…

    Ah, so when I said:

    stop this constant complaining that you want to be presented with arguments but the arguments you are presented with don’t count, so therefore no one has given you any arguments

    I was actually spot on (if less than polite), and you just induced me to waste my time reiterating stuff you already knew, but which it served you to pretend you didn’t know. Which is what I said was happening in the first place. Oh well…

    As for the rest, I don’t think there is anywhere further for this to go, so I’ll respond to some points quickly and then I think I’ll probably drop out here.

    One is that discrimination, stereotypes, etc. works rather differently from the way it is presented. Diversity may or may not be more efficient, but it is certainly a lot more demanding on the participants

    Again, you can’t have it both ways. You want to be able to say on one hand that there is a universal principle that you treat people according to their merits irrespective of “diversity issues” and simultaneously, that it is okay to favour your own group because it is more cosy that way. You can try to fence it around with ambiguity but there is only one place that this leads: it is okay to favour, hire, promote, positively discriminate towards someone who fits in with your in-group (exactly what has been happening), but it is a heinous breach of universal principles to do the same thing to increase diversity. I won’t even ask you to see how two faced that is because you have failed to do so every time the same point has come up. You say that the progressive bottom line is “we are women and we want more!” (ignoring all arguments to the contrary while pretending you never heard them). Well, your bottom line is quite overtly “I don’t like working with women and you shouldn’t be trying to make me!” Well fine. Nobody will try to stop you feeling that way, but you have absolutely no right to take that position and also claim any moral high ground, or to pretend that it is not you or your side or your attitudes which have pushed this issue to crisis point.

    Oh, and FWIW, I have worked in many groups which were about 50 / 50 male and female and it caused no issues whatsoever. Close friendships were more likely to form between people of the same gender, but everyone could work together and socialise together and even, believe it or not, laugh at each other’s jokes in perfect comfort. That is because the great majority of men working with women, and vice versa, actually don’t feel like they have been dropped in Japan without a translator. They grew up in mixed sex households, they went to mixed sex schools, and they are not culturally challenged by mixed sex workplaces.

    And, as you say yourself, there is a natural tendency for boys to flock to ‘male fields and girls to ‘female’ fields.

    I said nothing of the sort. I said they are pushed and often bullied into it because we live in a culture with very polarised gender expectations. That isn’t to say that there isn’t a natural tendency to assume a gender and copy the gender specific behaviours you observe around you, while rejecting things your gender appears to reject, but there is no evidence I know of that a gendered division of labour enforced by social shaming is inevitable, “natural” or preferable. In fact, I know of at least one culture where it doesn’t seem to happen, and they seem to manage fine, still know whether they are men or women and suffer no crises with their identities or interpersonal relationships as a result. So what evidence there is suggests that it is not natural or inevitable; that if children observe men and women treating work as gender neutral, they copy that instead and are none the worse for it. Your desire to keep men and women in the exact roles they already have (or better still, the ones they had when you were growing up) reflects your own desires, and that, as you said yourself, is not an argument. The only support you have offered for that position constitute arguments against extreme hypotheticals (e.g. complete enforced homogeneity).

    As for the rest… well, I will leave it up to you to work on this problem. If you tell me this is indispensable for men’s self esteem then I can hardly argue, but I’m certainly not convinced by your claim that men collectively need a special field of male-specific expertise to make women want them. I have been with my bloke for nearly 20 years and I have never once looked at him and thought “Well, you might personally be a bit rubbish, but some of your sex can program computers and that must count for something…” The things I like about him are rather more him-specific. Also, a father really isn’t only valuable if he can do special things that only men can do. People are different, parents are different, two parents of the same sex are different and children will always benefit from having two loving parents. But then, a few posts ago you actually called a man who looks after his children and home a “wife,” which is the closest thing to unabashed misandry we’ve seen here for a while, so I guess this is just another thing we won’t agree about…

  136. Marduk says

    135. Put it this way, I got banned for criticising Toby Young and pointing out he was trying to dismantle what his own father had built and wasn’t it a bit strange nobody ever mentioned that policy changes were taking place in a country of 70 million people on the basis of what appeared to be a family disagreement. Perhaps if his parents hadn’t divorced we’d be allowed good quality comprehensive education and a welfare state and wasn’t that a shame. On the one hand, I’m sure they’d say its just personal abuse to start going on about people’s families, but on the other, it is relevant context sometimes and just because people with names like Toynbee are a bit sensitive on such subjects, that shouldn’t take them off the table.

    I also called him a rat-faced cunt which probably didn’t help.

    Still, Cohen is on the money this week:
    “The right has triumphed by playing on white identity politics; explicitly so in the case of Trump, Orbán and the Brexit campaign. In other words, the worst of the right has aped the worst of the left. A successful political strategy would combine the fight against white racism with a contemptuous dismissal of liberal-leftists who engaged in racial sectarianism and the separation of ethnicities. It would ask them to think about the possibility that cries of “white privilege” drive away poor whites, who are anything but privileged, and who might once have given the left a hearing.”

    This is seriously what I think we should do.

  137. Marduk says

    143. I should add, this was before the Office for Students debacle and at that rate Gove’s tenure at DoE. Back in the olden days, the right of the labour party was surprisingly open to “The Toadmeister” as an educational theorist, particularly when he told them free schools were all the rage in Scandinavia. Turned out well didn’t it.

  138. Carnation says

    @ 143

    So, what you wrote was blatantly not true then?

    Cohen is a (very) poor man’s Hitchens. The latter parts of both men’s careers are embarrassingly awful.

  139. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk 143
    I like that article too, but you would need rather more detail to find out how he intends to do it. Surely one man’s “fight against white racism” is another man’s “racial sectarianism and separation of ethnicities”? Did you see Piketty’s analysis – that the rich had split in a left-wing group of people rich in human capital v. a right-wing group of people rich in physical capital, while the poor had split in a left-wing group of ethnic and other minorities, and a right-wing group of indigenous (‘majority’) people? Unfortunately this cannot be reduced to a question of politically correct hairsplitters with a culturallly dominant position. Different groups split up because they have different cultural positions and different interests. Personally I think that the ‘majority’ and the various minorities both have legitimate positions that need to be settled in the middle – other people might think that one group was right and should prevail while the other group was wrong and should abandon their bigotry – but either way it is hard to see how you can avoid trading the opposed interests off against each other.

  140. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Whether you realise it or not, you, and people like you, are so obsessed with “identity politics” that you simply don’t realise when you lie. What you believe isn’t true.

    You claim the Guardian banned you for speaking the truth, and likely felt that your “freeze peach” was being threatened by those identity politics ogres, but, in reality, what happened was that you were deliberately rude, crude and reduced the discussion to personal abuse.

    You’re the type of clown who probably sees getting banned off CiF as a great victory.

    The “silenced” assortment of right-wing, bigoted trolls and narcissists who appeared in London on May 6th are simply more advanced specimens of your type.

    “Tommy Robinson” and Milo were banned off Twitter, but still get a regular hearing in the press and media. .

    That isn’t an attack on free speech; it’s a company clearing up a bad smell at its front-of-house.

    You’re hard to read; sometimes I think you’re a decent, fairly bright person. Other times I think you’re just an alt-right Goon. Still other times, I think you’re a slightly less traumatised (and verbose) StillGJ, though you don’t inspire the same pathos.

    Have a lovely day, in any case.

  141. Marduk says

    148.
    I think you treat this stuff like you’re supporting a football team. Actually what is happening is that you are going along with things you know are wrong, you’re like any other follower of a bully in that regard.

    Even if it wasn’t wrong, it doesn’t work. Remember when people were like you were high on “punching nazis” because your commitment to liberal values is always negotiable and contingent. How did that actually end for you? You met people you’d emboldened who were now prepared to start fighting in the streets (‘self defence’ against you), the violence got worse and eventually, inevitably, someone died. A seven year old could have told you it was always going to end that way, but you and your mates knew better.

    It will go the same with attacking free speech, it will go the same way with “gammons” for that matter, you never learn. There is a reason people have principles, they aren’t just being boring for the sake of it.

    I think of people like you as having the same relationship with things as I believe in as it seemed to me a ‘football firm’ had to the football team I support. Its a good analogy because you’re using things I care about as an excuse do things you know are wrong (and you really just want to do for the sake of it) and dragging me into it. Other people might imagine we’re on the same side but we’re really not, I hate your tendency more than they do.

    I claim the Guardian banned me for a personal attack on someone that may or may not have been actionable (I’d imagine they were worried it was, they don’t actually tell you, just link you to the policy page). I also claim they might not have even been wrong to do so. It is true that subsequent to this, the Young family psychodrama has been written about ATL in largely the same terms and I think Stewart Lee was actually ruder about him than I managed to be. But of course, times have changed.

  142. Carnation says

    You originally claimed the Guardian banned you for mentioning the privileged position of Caroline Criado-Perez’s father. You were challenged on this and then claimed something else.

    What actually happened is that you live in a world where brave truth tellers like you are routinely censored.

    Weak, lazy and/or stupid (or angry) people usually require an enemy and to feel under attack. Whether that’s immigrants, Muslims or feminists, it doesn’t really matter. Weak, lazy and/or stupid (or angry) people have always existed and have always required and sought out enemies. And these enemies have friends, don’t they, Marduk? The Guardian! They say they’re all for free speech but they censor! They’re fanatics! Aren’t they, Marduk? Why, they censored you…

    These enemies are often provided by people or organisations with an axe to grind. And usually, these people and/or organisations are better educated and more resourceful than the weak, lazy and stupid legions who follow them.

    What is happening now isn’t new. You, and people like you, are of the opinion that things “have gone too far”, that “political correctness has gone mad.” Those of us of a certain age remember Spitting Image lampooning that idiotic phrase.

    For 20 years, vitriol has been poured on Muslims and immigrants. Feminists have been derided by tabloid goons for decades.

    NONE OF THIS IS NEW.

    Otherwise strong, engaged and intelligent people haven’t, finally, been pushed too far by the Metropolitan Elite, Weak, lazy and/or stupid (or angry) people have been handed a manifesto that’s easy to understand, familiar (so very familiar) and easy to repeat.

    You spout this manifesto endlessly. Identity politics ruins everything. Free speech is not negotiable. Things have gone too far.

    The truth, Marduk, is that you’re just another follower. Another victim. Another person who is too weak, lazy and/or stupid (or angry) to realise that this is just more of the same, but even more of it.

    Right-wingers create and perpetrate enemies, and fools jump on the bandwagon. Gay men and black men have been the enemies in the past, but the main scapegoats at the moment are, as I’ve already said, immigrants, Muslims and feminists.

    To blame “identity politics” for Trump and Brexit requires a stupidity to intense, so blinkered and blinded, that it’s quite remarkably immature.

  143. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation

    That is the beautiful thing about being a progressive. You know for a fact that anyone who disagrees with you does it because he is Weak, lazy and/or stupid – or in some way mentally disturbed. After all, were he not, he would obviously agree with you.

  144. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    Nobody. This time. But that is what words like misogynistic, tranasphobic etc. mean, according to a dictionary.

  145. That Guy says

    @ StillGjenganger

    You know they removed ‘gullible’ from the dictionary, right?

  146. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “Nobody. This time. But that is what words like misogynistic, tranasphobic etc. mean, according to a dictionary.”

    From the Oxford dictionary;

    Misogyny – “Dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”

    Transphobic – “Having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people”

    You realise you’re in the same emotional and intellectual state as Marduk? Your obsession with the evils of identity politics detaches you from reality and diminishes your ability to tell, and see, that which is truthful.

    And with what you just wrote, you’ve vindicated and supported my message to Marduk.

  147. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    Full circle:

    That is the beautiful thing about being a progressive. You know for a fact that anyone who disagrees with you does it because he is detached from reality. After all, were he not, he would obviously agree with you.

  148. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    Dude, you *are* detached from reality. You claimed, and you truly believed, that the dictionary definition of a word involved mental disturbance. You believe this for the same reason you believe that people constantly call you a misogynist. You believe this for the same reason Marduk lied about why he was banned from CiF.

    You believe all of this easily disputed nonsense because you have constructed a hostile reality. This reality isn’t real, but you choose to believe it anyway.

    It’s why you are so sure of your lies; you believe them.

    You constantly demonstrate your adherence and blind belief in this reality and are constantly corrected.

    But you just retreat back into it.

    And why is that?

    Who do you believe you’re constantly being called a misogynist?

    Why do you believe that dictionaries are now so PC that they ascribe mental illness to bigotry?

  149. Marduk says

    Carnation, I didn’t lie about anything and in any case, I’ve mentioned it before.

    I’m not obsessed with identity politics, thats kind of the point. Unlike you, who believes feminists are best served by being silenced, and that muslims are aided by being ‘othered’ as far as possible (the only possible conclusion I can draw from your attitudes), I think most people if they can get over varying forms of false class consciousness would understand we have many problems in common that will only be solved by acting together. How that has become in your mind reactionary fascism, I don’t really understand.

    Here is a prime example.
    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/may/14/eight-out-of-ten-women-stressed-why

    Your fellow travellers would conclude from this that patriarchy is the cause etc etc etc.
    I conclude that if 67% of men and 81% of women feel the same way, its probably a bigger problem with a bigger cause and siloing this in ‘gender’ is the best possible way of making sure the situation is never helped or improved. If I were the Koch brothers, I would pay someone to write the very article Chitra has written – issue neutralised.

    And why you would be so poisonous about it, well there is no explanation other than this is what you are really in it for.

  150. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    You believe that identity politics ruins everything. That’s a big enough statement to suggest a level of obsession, no?

    “Unlike you, who believes feminists are best served by being silenced, and that muslims are aided by being ‘othered’ as far as possible (the only possible conclusion I can draw from your attitudes)”

    Justify your conclusion? Unsure whether you believe such utter nonsense, or you’re having another truth slip.

    You do realise, Marduk, that the clickbait article you linked to is aimed at *you*, don’t you? You must surely understand the nature of media and the nature of columnists, who are paid to provoke?

    That article is literally too boring and stupid to read fully. I scanned it, simply because you posted a link to it, and understood immediately that it isn’t worth my time.

    In much the same way that MRA blogs attract mostly feminists (including many perma-outrage- issues-riven online-inactivist ones) looking to be outraged, I think that the Guardian’s feminist columnists provide clicks galore to those, like you, with a paranoid and deluded mindset.

    You, and not me, suffer acutely from your obsession with identity politics. I don’t lie on this blog because my cognitive ability has been so distorted by my beliefs; you do. And you did lie, Marduk, it’s a few comments up and everyone can see it.

    And StillGJ lies. And he doesn’t realise it either. You both lie because you’re blind. And there are none so blind than those that refuse to see.

    Identity politics has ruined *you*, Marduk, and you let it happen. And that’s what’s really sad.

  151. Marduk says

    159.
    Carnation, in all seriousness, can you quote the ‘lie’ that seems to have upset you using cut and paste of the actual sentence in plain text because I can’t see it.

    How ironic of you to go for the ‘no True Scotsman” defence, so you actually agree that the piece takes a serious issue of national social importance and turns it into an identity politics dead end, but that it doesn’t count because…. well I don’t understand why. You’re going to need to explain to me the rules of what counts and what doesn’t, you can’t just wave away a given example at random and then claim people are imagining things. Thats “gaslighting” Carnation, a high crime!

  152. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “Carnation, in all seriousness, can you quote the ‘lie’ that seems to have upset you using cut and paste of the actual sentence in plain text because I can’t see it.”

    Sure.

    Marduk: “You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this (Caroline Criado-Perez’s father) incidentally”

    Carnation: “will you, aye?”

    Marduk: ” Put it this way … (blah blah blah) …I also called him a rat-faced cunt which probably didn’t help.”

    Carnation: Oh, so that you wrote was a lie?

    Marduk: No I’m not lying, because reasons, because identity politics, because feminists, because Guardian, whawhawhahwhawha etc

    “How ironic of you to go for the ‘no True Scotsman” defence, so you actually agree that the piece takes a serious issue of national social importance and turns it into an identity politics dead end, but that it doesn’t count because…. well I don’t understand why.”

    No idea what you mean by this. Usually when someone says “the No True Scotsman defence” they’re a half-witted anti-feminist wingnut. I literally didn’t read the article and said I didn’t read the article.

    But I *did* read what *you* wrote, and this is it;

    “Unlike you, who believes feminists are best served by being silenced, and that muslims are aided by being ‘othered’ as far as possible (the only possible conclusion I can draw from your attitudes)”

    So, I’ll repeat my question;

    Justify your conclusion? Unsure whether you believe such utter nonsense, or you’re having another truth slip.

  153. Marduk says

    161.
    I made a simple request, please do it or shut up about it.

    If you refuse to look at evidence of things, how can you deny their existence? You’re being very childish. Can you define a class of evidence of something that you would pre-agree to look at perhaps? Or else nobody could ever argue anything with you obviously.

    You are against free speech as a principle. You are in favour of identity politics. People being silenced and people being othered and isolated are inevitable consequences. Or did you actually think you’d get to choose who gets silenced and who gets separated out and on what terms? Oh bless! No Carnation, you won’t, the point of universal principles is that everyone maintains them so everyone gets the benefit of them and it doesn’t just depend who won an election last or whose economic or political star is in the ascendance. We do this because it harnesses enlightened self interest and it works, I don’t have to like your speech, you don’t have to like mine, but if we both agree we can have it, we can both use it on equal terms. I think we know full-well what kinds of people were against “freeze peach”, young people who’d decided after two terms of Obama, it was inevitable that things would continue like that forever. Well they got a nasty surprise didn’t they and for the most part seem to rather quieter in their efforts to lobby Pence to tear up the first amendment, which he would, make no bones about this, fucking love to do.

  154. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “I made a simple request, please do it or shut up about it.”

    Oh, Marduk, you are a stickler, aren’t you?

    OK:

    Marduk: “You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this (Caroline Criado-Perez’s father) incidentally”

    Carnation: “will you, aye?”

    Marduk: Put it this way, I got banned for criticising Toby Young and pointing out he was trying to dismantle what his own father had built and wasn’t it a bit strange nobody ever mentioned that policy changes were taking place in a country of 70 million people on the basis of what appeared to be a family disagreement … I also called him a rat-faced cunt which probably didn’t help.”

    As you can see, from literally your own words above, you claimed that talking about Caroline Criado-Perez’s father will get you permanently banned from CiF. When I asked you to prove this, you talked about Toby Young and his father, adding at the end the rather pertinent part about calling him a “rat-faced cunt.” In doing so, you were able to present zero evidence to support your assertion that mentioning Caroline Criado-Perez’s father will get you perm. banned from CiF.

    It really isn’t hard, is it?

    Your paragraph of emoting is difficult to follow…

    “You are against free speech as a principle.”

    Am I? Oh, I hadn’t noticed. There I was thinking that I wasn’t. Explain to me how you arrived at this conclusion?

    “You are in favour of identity politics.”

    Am I? Oh, I hadn’t noticed. There I was thinking that I wasn’t. Explain to me how you arrived at this conclusion?

    I’m in favour of being fair to people. Just like Stewart Lee – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99s19HBs-6A

    He’s talking about people like you, Marduk.

  155. Marduk says

    So you can’t actually show me a lie anywhere.
    You always lose Carnation, why do you even try at this point?

  156. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    The lie is the one I pointed out, several times now. People won’t get banned from CiF for discussing Caroline Criado-Perez’s father.

    You claimed people would. You lied.

    You’re a liar.
    You also lie repeatedly about me.
    You lie about lying.

    You’re so obsessed with the spectre of “identity politics” that you literally don’t know when you’re lying.

    You’re a fool. A fool right out of the antifeminist wingnut handbook, and a lazy one at that.

  157. StillGjenganger says

    @Marduk.

    Drop it. You are better than this. You are well-informed, polite, and interested in argument rather than insult. The other side is neither. Every time you answer, you just give Carnation another welcome opportunity for being a prick. Why keep doing it?

    Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy and the pig enjoys it

  158. Marduk says

    Er no mate, an assertion you happen to disagree with (for reasons you refuse to state at that) isn’t a lie.

    Stop wasting everyone’s time, we both know what you are accusing me of is in post 150: “You originally claimed the Guardian banned you for mentioning the privileged position of Caroline Criado-Perez’s father.” Strong evidence that I claimed this please, shouldn’t be hard if its there although you haven’t managed so far.

    166.
    True I guess but it is funny. He misread something, barked out a hateful accusation as usual and now refuses to backtrack. He knows this, I know this, he knows I know this, but foolish pride won’t let him admit it in a dignified manner. I’m fascinated to see where it goes next.

  159. Carnation says

    @ Marduk, StillJG

    FFS, are you actually that stupid? Like, seriously, I’m starting to feel like I did when I challenged kids at school who still believed in Santa.

    “The thing that sums it for me is that Caroline Criado-Perez puts up a statue and the Guardian refers to her as part of an “immigrant family”. So maybe thats a brave win for someone who suffers intersectional oppression. On the other hand, her dad Carlos was the CEO of Safeway, Board member of Walmart and Makro, her mum was a journalist working for Vogue and House & Garden. Its hard to think of someone who had more opportunity to globally influence the working lives of women. You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this incidentally”

    Those words again “You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this incidentally”

    I poked fun at this obviously false claim, and you responded with evidence that in no way related to the idiotic claim that you made.

    Once again “You will get perma-banned by the Graun if you mention this incidentally”

    Marduk claims that saying A will get you banned from the “Graun.” When challenged about this, he responded not by citing A but by citing B, which bears no resemblance to A.

    Following this, you cretin? You said stating A will result in a ban. I accurately called you a liar, and you attempted to prove you weren’t by saying that B got you banned.

    So, Mr Dunce, you LIED because you claimed A will result in a ban, and offered NO relevant evidence.

    A is vastly different to B.

    You are either very, very stupid, very deluded, or trolling.

    But you have a pal now, Mr I-Hear-Voices-Calling-Me-A-Misogynist-So-I’m-Joining-The-Alt-Right-And-That-Will-Show-Everyone-Won’t-it.

    The two of you should be happy you’ve found each other.

    12345etc could join you for a picnic of word-salads, served with a helping of I’m-a-victim-fetish sandwiches, and polished off with mummy’s homemade Good British Lemon Bitters.

    I actually think that you’re all incarnations of Sid. In fact, maybe I am too.

  160. Marduk says

    168.
    As I said, a claim you disagree with is not a lie and that wasn’t what you were talking about anyway until you realised you’d made a mistake.

    I think this demonstrates the problems with your thinking Carnation, it doesn’t matter how triggered or abusive you become, the facts remain. Reality does not bend to your feelings however much your ‘feels’ tell you that it should. “I don’t agree so he must be a bad person and dishonest and wrong”. Well, not necessarily the case matey.

    I recommend you calm down, practice self care on your blood pressure and maybe visit a safe space with puppies and crayons.

  161. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    This is the funny thing; in your sad little world, people who disagree with drones like yourself get “triggered”, and they aren’t in control of their “feels.” And then you accuse me of abuse… You’re a precious little snowflake, aren’t you?

    That you use such terms tells anyone still reading this more about you than it does about me. You like to stereotype, don’t you?

    You lied. You lied about lying. You lied about my attitudes to feminists and Muslims. You are caught out in a lie so blatant that it’s embarrassing.

    You stated something as fact. That fact was demonstrably wrong. That’s not opinion. You made a claim, you keep making the claim, and it’s so obvious that there’s a hole that you’ve dug for yourself.

    StillGJ lied about the dictionary definitions of misogyny and transphobia. You lied about what gets a person banned from CiF.

    You both lied for the same reasons; your victimhood fetish. Your sense of being under attach.

    You’re both wrong, dishonest and silly.

    I disagree with you politically and question your humanity. But I simply pointed out where you lied and will continue to do so as long as you post on this site.

    I have done with same with Sid and with 12345etc

  162. That Guy says

    @ StillGienganger

    Drop it. You are better than this. You are well-informed, polite, and interested in argument rather than insult.

    Incidentally, none of these qualities are mutually exclusive with being an abhorrent human being. In fact, you’ll often find those that value these qualities above things like empathy, critical thinking, and compassion tend to be monsters in waiting, using “I’m not going to listen because you were mean to me :”'( ” as a dodge to avoid criticism of their repellent ideas by (often working class, ethnic minority, women and other disadvantaged groups).

    just my too sense.

  163. StillGjenganger says

    @That Guy

    none of these qualities are mutually exclusive with being an abhorrent human being

    No disagreement there. If I was looking for someone to represent me or for a girlfriend I would probably put more emphasis on empathy, critical thinking, and compassion. But when I look for someone to discuss politics with, the fact that they are ignorant, rude, and mostly interested in swapping insults is enough to disqualify them. When people have something interesting to say I have been known to answer specific points (like here), and to discuss at immense length with people who say openly that they find me pretty abhorrent. But I refuse, on principle, to spend time discussing who is an idiot – or, for that matter, who is a liar.

  164. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    I’ve demonstrated where you have lied.

    Demonstrate where I have?

  165. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    Dude, *you* and not I have been exposed as a liar.

    Your persecuted mindset separates you from the truth.

  166. Marduk says

    171.
    You believe free speech (or “freeze peach” as you cal it) is a joke. It isn’t and the people most likely to be hurt in the long term are the powerless who will be denied speech. Its so obvious and widely accepted I’ve never actually had to explain this to someone before and so pervasive that what you complain about is a syllogism based on it (“those who are denied free speech are victims”). For the vast majority of their existence, feminists (and prior social movements leading to it) have fought very actively for free speech. This idea that governments should start shutting people up is a very backward and dangerous idea from very young, very complacent, very foolish people in a brief time period where they had a bit of power and influence and their first thought is to abuse it. They didn’t realise anything could change. In many ways I think they’ve already had a nasty shock and don’t seem to quite as keen for the President and Vice-President to sponsor a constitutional alteration anymore or for the British government to walk away from what limited human rights we have. Of course everyone thinks they can shape things so only people they don’t like get silenced, forever, but if you rider the tiger, don’t be surprised if it ends up eating you sooner rather than later. One can put this down to the fact young people often have to re-learn old lessons about why we can’t cheat history and instantly have what feels right, but in your case its harder to understand.

    The problem, famously, with defending free speech is that you have to also fight for fascists, communists and pornographers and nobody wants to talk about the vast majority of socially useful speech it produces. But that doesn’t mean that the principle is unsound, just that its worth the effort. If your society is so unsettled that it can’t hear (and reject) certain types of speech, the problem isn’t really the speech is it.

    The politics of identity is by its nature divisive and the doctrine of bigots and racists. Martin Luther King’s vision was not for a society where people are grouped, catalogued and judged on the colour of their skin, it doesn’t matter how many weasel words you try to sprinkle on it. Its another recent, stupid, shortsighted idea, the inevitable consequences of which are starting to be reaped and I’m hopeful we can chuck it back into the rubbish bin of history where it deserves to be.If nothing else, its structurally incompatible with modern multiculturalism. Its telling that the countries in the world that aren’t very interested in it are those who have had the most civil conflict, its only in the complacent west where we pretend we could somehow set people at each other’s throats for fun and nothing bad will happen. Its all false class consciousness and opium anyway. As I’ve pointed out, the reason you know this is completely harmless to the real bases of power in society is that they cheer it on and get an ever more unequal slice of the cake, that really is a fact whatever your feelings might be.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_consciousness

    As Frodo thinks in the Lord of the Rings, spies of the dark master would surely “look fairer and feel fouler”. If nothing else, don’t all these fripperies and novelties seem all a bit too easy somehow? Is the world really as simple a place as you can condense into tweet? Come on, you know this deep down.

  167. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    I hope you feel better, post-emote.

    Life being short as it is, I stopped reading halfway through your first overly long paragraph, basically because, like all good little angry-internet-men, you seem to be including people-you-disagree-with in the “enemies-of-free-speech” category.

    Without the slightest piece of evidence.

    What chancers, bigots and fools like you fail to realise, is that the cause of actual free speech has been hijacked by complete trash like Tommy Robinson et al.

    The net effect, on me anyway, is that, currently, those loudly espousing “free speech” are basically the same people loudly espousing for “men’s rights.” That is, the scum of the internet, with a few mascots leading marches to sooth the vile internet nobodies.

    Of course, I don’t oppose free speech any more than I oppose men’s rights.

    I just look on with contempt and disgust at the humanity-deficient dreck indulging their prejudices with even greater ease now-a-days.

    It’s worth noting, again, that you are utterly unable to back up any of your increasingly wild and stupid accusations.
    PS – YOU, and yours, are the identity politics obsessives. Not me and mine.

  168. Marduk says

    178.
    Free speech cannot be “hijacked”, that you would suggest such thing really illuminates the nature of the misconceptions you are labouring under (“Of course, I don’t oppose free speech”, yeah right, you might not be able to remember what you bang out here under the influence of drugs and Heavy but I’ve read it all). I stand by his right to free speech mostly so I can retain my own right to tell him to fuck off. This system generally works in an open liberal society against the enemies of an open liberal society, its essentially self-regulating. Where it goes wrong is when people try to cheat and do the easy thing instead of doing the harder but more worthwhile thing, preserving the rules of the game is more important than the outcome of any given single match which can in any case usually be reversed. When you start to corrupt that and let it degenerate, its not a pretty picture.

    I’m certainly not angry and as ever I’m being a lot more patient and polite than you ever manage. Scum, vile, contempt, dreck… you’re not exactly the voice of moderation are you.

  169. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “Free speech cannot be “hijacked”

    The *cause* of it can most certainly be hijacked, as it has.

    You’ll note that I’m not saying that Tommy Robinson should be prosecuted for saying the things that he says, but what I *am* saying is that it should be stated plainly that the far-right are totally opposed to free speech and are in favour of curtailment of civil rights and liberties.

    They just hijack the cause, and fools fall for it.

    Give me a single example of when I have opposed free speech? Or is this yet another lie informed by your stunted, paranoid obsession with identity politics?

    Funny, isn’t it; I’ve taken drugs, off & on, heavily, moderately and occasionally, for 20 years and I still make far more sense than you do.

    When you aren’t playing the victim, you can make some sense. When your obsessions get the better of you, I can embarrass you with absolute ease.

    Oh, and let’s just be plain. Robinson, Milo, Molyneux, McInnes, Sargon of Akkad et al are dreck. Basic, wretched dreck and their supporters are the scum of the internet.

  170. Marduk says

    180.
    They haven’t hijacked the cause, complete imbeciles gave it to them on a plate and refuse to take it back while all the time reasonable people plead with them. If they’d been left alone, treated with scrupulous fairness and given every opportunity to be heard, they’d have long since vanished just like every preceding version of those people. The British public and the American public are not on the whole interested in such people but oh no, there are people with purple hair who know better what the rest of us should be allowed to hear because we aren’t “intellectuals” like they are. All those people you name, there isn’t much to any of them, it very much plays to their strengths when you give them an excuse to only be heard in fleeting soundbites. You know you’ve fucked up when you make the wrong choices so many times it lets Gavin McInnes pretend he’s a dissident. I know you desperately want to say everything they claim to be victims of is false, but it isn’t – not entirely, and thats whats keeping them going long beyond the point they’d have otherwise burned out. They have been treated unreasonably and it was a mistake. Activists turned Milo into a public figure when he’s just a bloke with a Powerpoint presentation (and great hair), how could you be so stupid.

  171. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    So, as I suspected, you are unable to give me an example of when I opposed free speech?

    What did the truth do to you as a child?

    The people with purple hair, huh?

    Classy…

  172. Carnation says

    @ Marduk?

    Been watching Handmaid’s Tale?

    Your takeaway from the most recent episode (First Blood) would be that Gilead was basically caused by campus protesters

  173. Marduk says

    183.
    No but I’ve read the novel. It was based on Atwood’s view of the behaviour of the American puritan settlers who regarded themselves as victims. They claimed they wanted religious freedom and were being oppressed, what they really wanted was freedom from anyone being allowed to disagree with them so they could dominate them entirely. If thats what you are talking about and it plays out in the same way on the screen, I agree with Margaret Atwood, you’ve got to be careful with those kinds of ‘victims’ who have ideas about how everyone else needs to live (as opposed to how they would like to live which is entirely legitimate).

    I’m not against protest and dissidents in general. I’m a big fan of Albie Sachs for example. If you look at how he used the South African constitution to protect gay people and implement gay marriage before the western democracies were taking it seriously, you see a good example of principles winning out over identities, because the ANC really didn’t want him to do it. Actually, now I’ve typed this out, it addresses the Atwood point, its adopting principles for everyone that stops the liberated becoming the new oppressors and the cycle continuing. Its the different between progress and may identity group just swapping positions with your identity group.

  174. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “If thats what you are talking about and it plays out in the same way on the screen, I agree with Margaret Atwood, you’ve got to be careful with those kinds of ‘victims’ who have ideas about how everyone else needs to live (as opposed to how they would like to live which is entirely legitimate).”

    I haven’t read the book.

    *SPOILER ALERT*

    Mr & Mrs Waterford attend a campus event, where Mrs Waterford is to speak. There, she is loudly heckled and prevented from speaking. Protesters – at least one of whom has purple hair – called her a Nazi and (accurately) a fascist and so on.

    I’m assuming you aren’t a Niemöller fan? Because, left unfettered, “they” would most certainly love to come for the Muslims, and then for the feminists, and maybe people with purple hair after then?

    That disgusting troglodyte hooligan has been arrested and his knuckle dragging goons are protesting “freeze peach.”

    Business as usual for the Identity Politics adherents who are actually dangerous, then.

    But, of course, Marduk, it’s the ones with purple hair that are the problem; not the “fash” cut.

  175. Marduk says

    185.
    You sound like a Clantonist:
    https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/antifa-activists-anti-fascist-movement-trial-college-professor-w519899

    I take a different view. I have faith in ordinary people and liberal democracy, this is where I part ways with ‘progressives’ who think ordinary people are fools and need their elite leadership which will operate by principles neither liberal nor democratic. Eric Clanton is as much an enemy of society as the people he was attempting to murder. Even a remarkably sympathetic portrait in Rolling Stone, itself an icon of bay area radicalism, points out that his main achievement was to further radicalise conservatives into the alt-right and spread increasingly worsening violence until someone, on his own side, died. None of this needed to happen and its no different from Millwall Bushwackers fighting the West Ham Intercity Firm. Neither of them represent the ordinary supporters who like football (even Millwall must have some, unlikely as it sounds) but they do have the influence of making things more violent for both sets of supporters and raising the risks that they could get sucked into something and themselves become radicalised.

    You think one side is better than the other, I don’t, do your talking on the pitch where you can actually change things. Instead of trying to brain people with a bike lock (and by the looks of the video, at least one of his victims was actually an Antifa who had his mask pulled off trying to escape) he’d have done far more good by registering voters in his neighbourhood. But that isn’t glamorous and we don’t all get to see what an intellectual titan and natural leader of the revolution Eric Clanton is he just did that.

  176. 123454321 says

    Hi,
    This is actually fucking hilarious. Carny, you gotta send me a link to your book, dude, best fucking comedy EVER!
    Bye!

  177. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “his main achievement was to further radicalise conservatives into the alt-right and spread increasingly worsening violence until someone, on his own side, died”

    There are no “conservatives” in the alt-right. That’s a common misconception.

    You seem to think that I am defending campus protesters. I’m not. And in fact, I don’t know whether or not I “approve” of them or not. But what I’m saying is that they (neo-fascists, alt-right, Islamophobes, racists and their cheerleaders) are the *actual* problem and to blame people with “purple hair” is stupid and unaccountable.

    Nigel Farge and his wretched band of oddballs gave voice to an alarming number of weak/stupid/lazy/inept/angry (delete as appropriate). Who enabled him? The BBC. Mostly through Question Time, which has had some questionable practises; https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/bbc-question-time-producer-britain-first_uk_5846dfabe4b019db8c11add0

    Not the people with “purple hair”, Marduk. And as I’ve said before, there’s an addition of “identity politics to the lexicon containing “loony left”, “political correctness gone mad” and “man-hating feminists.”

    None of this is new, Marduk, none of it. Including your weak, insipid blaming the protestors for the actions of the protested.

    For a moment in time, Marduk, I looked at the UK and thought I’d read about this in the history books. Demagogues rise in power, violent street movements scapegoat a religion. Thugs take part in protests. Politicians are murdered. The mechanisms of the state are under threat. The organs of opinion are supinely complicit in the scapegoating.

    All of this is happening, Marduk, and you’re claiming it’s the fault of students with purple hair for reacting in a certain way to what’s happening. That doesn’t make much sense.

    @ 12345etc

    Good to see you again. What are your policy ideas to reduce male sucide?

  178. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation.

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying:
    – That the current conflict is caused entirely by a small band of nasty, disturbed, and violent people (fascist, alt-right, etc.), whipping up a rather larger group of stupid, lazy and angry people, loathsome but basically sheep, to join them.
    – That the other side, your side, is not only intelligent, nice, and basically peaceful, but is only and unavoidably reacting to the disturbance caused by the nasty side.
    – And that the solution to the problem is to silence the small band of evil rabble-rousers, so that the rabble, too stupid and angry to understand what is happening or react in a decent manner, but too weak to act on its own, will no longer be led to challenge the superior judgement of their betters.

    Without challenging your moral judgement (waste of time) I would suggest
    – That a more subtle analysis ought to consider the possibility that some of the people you disagree with might also have clear and (to them) legitimate interests, as well as the basic wit to define them and the capacity to act on them without external prompting.
    – That stupidity, selfishness, anger and the lust for violence may not be entirely unknown even among some of your friends.
    – And, especially, that your friends are not merely reactive but take initiatives and cause effects of their own, just like your enemies are not purely driven by external agitators and inner moral rottenness, but may also be reacting in their turn to what you and your friends are doing.

    As for the idea of silencing your political enemies, I shall not be too consumed by horror. It is characteristic of representative democracy that a culturally dominant layer has some degree of dominion over the popular will (otherwise the UK might still have the death penalty). It is also normal that small marginal groups can be morally rejected and excluded from the public arena. Nazis, paedophiles and open racists today, heretics, sodomites, and commies in other times. The problem is that in a democratic society simply suppressing those who disagree only works (morally and practically) as long as the suppressed groups are indeed small and marginal, and that the larger groups feel basically on board with society. Once you have large groups who feel ignored, unrepresented, and looked-down-on, you eventually get to the point where they opt out of the consensus and reject your guidance, the sensible together with the biased, and indeed the system as a whole. The interests of social cohesion and functional democratic society are better served with open debate than with failed efforts at repression. Simple exclusion from the mainstream works no better for flyover America than it does for the french Banlieues.

    Scandinavian immigration policy is a school example. Denmark and Sweden both started where the ‘we’ was uniformly tolerant, open, and friendly to foreigners, and only nasty racists would dream of speaking against immigrants (of course it helped that the people you had to tolerate generally lived somewhere else). The first time that Danish TV allowed the racist opinions of some tower block youths to appear on air, even with full negative commentary, all right-thinking people were unanimous in condemning giving this space to racists. But given the widespread problems with immigration, cultural and social, objective and perceived, it ultimately became impossible to keep the lid on. Sweden held out for longer, in part with some quite heavy-handed social control and suppression of certain undesirable facts like the racial make-up of accused criminals or troublesome neighbourhoods. But even with Swedish respect for authority this ultimately had to fail.

    Finally, it is quite convenient for you to picture your enemies as well on the way to imitating the Nazis and starting an endloesung of their own, and your friends alongside the heroic and unimpeachably good resistance against them. But you might consider that – minus the hindsight – the rise of fascism was at least helped by the fact that mainstream politics totally failed to look after the interests of large groups of the population in a way they could appreciate. And that the other side, Stalins communists, could appear no less violent and scary than the fascists. And anyway it is boring to listen to. I have on occasion been accused of being apocalyptic and seeing gender war and other nasty things behind every hedge (possibly with some justification). But at least I have not called for extreme and violent resistance against the socialists and feminists on the grounds that they were likely to follow in the footsteps of Pol Pot, start year zero, and move the city population out to live in the fields.

  179. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “If I understand you correctly, you are saying: BLAHBLAHBLAHETCETCETC”

    You don’t understand me correctly.

  180. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    Would you care to enlighten us then, about where I am misrepresenting you?

  181. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    Literally every point you make in your opening paragraph is wrong, and a deliberate misrepresentation, based on nothing except your own prejudiced and stunted worldview.

    Let’s turn this round. Justify even one of the points you made with reference to what I wrote myself?

  182. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation
    Actually, I think my post reflects your points pretty well – apart from my snarky wording of course. If you want to debate, this, to clarify what we are each saying and what the weak points are, you should make a start. I have done that before, with others. If you make it clear what you are actually arguing, I shall stop being snide and exaggerating and give a decent answer. If you just want to prove me wrong, go ahead and show us where, and I shall see if it is worth while answering. But I am not playing your usual game of “Tell me what I said! Where did I say that? Prove it! No I did not! You are liar!.

    Meanwhile there is your post 188 and my post 189. Third parties can read both and judge for themselves.

  183. 123454321 says

    Seriously, StillG, I admire your prose and trying so hard but at this point you will surely agree that telling Carny he/she is a turd-head fuckwit who should go blow bubbles out of his/her ass for a living (would get a far greater following and be far more lucrative) is the easier option and protects your sanity?
    Go for it, mate, you’ll feel so much better.

  184. 123454321 says

    Sorry, Carny, did you keep asking me a question which I refuse to answer? Now who in the world would do that? !

  185. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    “That the current conflict is caused entirely by a small band of nasty, disturbed, and violent people (fascist, alt-right, etc.), whipping up a rather larger group of stupid, lazy and angry people, loathsome but basically sheep, to join them.”

    I didn’t describe a “current conflict”, nor did I describe those “whipping up” the masses as violent. Neither did I describe those voting for Brext/Trump as “loathesome.”

    “That the other side, your side, is not only intelligent, nice, and basically peaceful, but is only and unavoidably reacting to the disturbance caused by the nasty side.”

    I said none of this.

    “And that the solution to the problem is to silence the small band of evil rabble-rousers, so that the rabble, too stupid and angry to understand what is happening or react in a decent manner, but too weak to act on its own, will no longer be led to challenge the superior judgement of their betters.”

    I said none of this either.

    But I’ll very briefly state my thoughts.

    A reactionary press has engineered, over a process of at least 20 years, a situation where many people in the UK feel on the defensive; under threat from the EU, from Islam and, currently, from restrictions to freeze peach.

    The EU is no threat to anyone, and the main threat to freeze peach is if the right-ward political swing continues, as what will surely follow is a curtailment of freeze peach (and civil rights.). The supposed threat from Islam is different to those two subjects, in that terrorists claiming to be Islamic commit atrocious murders. And, whilst vile, threatening and frightening, these murders do not amount, as the then Home Secretary John Reid said, to “the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of world war two.” That is classic right-wing scaremongering, but it went down well with the weak (EDL types) and the stupid (Daily Mail believers).

    The narrative spun by the right-wing media is that “political correctness has gone mad.” From this inane statement, so much follows, including the “Identity Politics threat” nonsense.

    The “loony left” (for the most part, harmless students from affluent backgrounds) has been scapegoated along with the EU and people who have been “other’d” (immigrants, people of colour, Muslims) for decades now.

    None of this is new.

    The radical right isn’t new. Racism isn’t new. Scapegoating isn’t new. Hatred of women and feminism isn’t new. It’s older than me, it’s older than you.

    The Brexit referendum, unsurprisingly, emboldened the nastier elements of society into becoming even nastier. Islamaphobia does the same. I am horrified to live in a country where 600k sign a petition to demand the release of a former BNP member, a football hooligan, whose bigotry seems to be greater than his diminutive frame.

    Idiots look at the current political landscape and blame leftys & “identity politics” for the current mess we are in.

    People with a sense of history, perspective and compassion understand that people are angry, often justifiably, but that that anger is directed in entirely the wrong direction.

    And people like you, StillGJ, just like feeling persecuted. You hear accusations that don’t exist. You dance to the tune of a narrative that you’ve imagined exists.

    You thrive off it. You get off on it, in all likelihood.

    I’ll ask you again.

    Why have you claimed people have accused you of being a misogynist when nobody has? And why have you claimed that the dictionary listed bigotry as a mental disorder?

    You earnestly believed this nonsense, StillGJ.

    Why?

    Your beliefs vindicate, in every sense of the word, mine.

  186. Carnation says

    @ 12345etc

    Hello again. What are your ideas for policies to prevent male suicide?

  187. 123454321 says

    “Racism isn’t new. Scapegoating isn’t new. Hatred of women and feminism isn’t new….”

    ….misandry and hatred of men isn’t new…
    …..yawny yawny yawnies.

  188. 123454321 says

    Sowwy there, oh righteous one, do I detect you are getting a lickle bit flustered because I’m not anserwing your lickle question? Neder mind, we share your fwustations! Not vewy nice innit. Nasty howwid lickle people owt there!

  189. Carnation says

    @ 12345etc

    No, not flustered in the slightest. That you don’t realise just how stupid you look deflecting and avoiding a perfectly reasonable and relevant question says much about you.

    You are, simply put, an amusing distraction. Rebuking you requires minimal effort. Occasionally, I feel a measure of guilt about criticising a person so clearly lacking intelligence, but you always approach me.

  190. That Guy says

    @123454321

    (C:W,

    OK, cool, so you come onto a thread about male suicide, then complain about how nobody’s talking about male suicide, then when asked (repeatedly) what can be done to prevent male suicide you laugh it off?

    Here’s what I think. Your repeated refusal to engage on this or answer the most basic-entry level question leads me to believe that you do not care about the problem of male suicide. Or, more accurately, you care about it, but you don’t consider it a problem.

    You see, male suicide is the perfect vehicle for you to bash feminists with, and the minute that we start talking about how to save lives, you disappear, because you don’t want male suicide to be solved, because then how would you talk about how nobody talks about male suicide?

    Please, prove me wrong, tell me, what can be done to help the many, many desperate, hopeless men who die needlessly because people aren’t helping them. Maybe then some net good can come out of this, and I pinky promise that I’ll have a big boy discussion about how to prevent another son, brother, boyfriend or friend being lost.

    If you don’t want to engage, that’s fine, at least we’ll all know that you’re not just thick, but you’re a vile ghoul who’s happy to fuel your internet hate machine on the corpses of boys and men who’ve suffocated on a rope necklace or bled out in a public toilet after slicing themselves open.

    So, tell me, what can be done, (by individuals or society) to reduce and prevent the rate of male suicide?

  191. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation 197

    OK, This deserves an answer.

    So you are saying that the “current political landscape” includes many people feeling on the defensive (what I called the ‘current conflict’ as it happens). But that this is something that has been ‘engineered’ by the right wing press. The preoccupations these people have are entirely baseless (the EU, free speach), or clearly overblown (Islam). People are angry, but their anger is directed in entirely the wrong direction. You do say that people’s anger is ‘sometimes justified’ – it would be interesting to hear what you think people are ‘justified’ to be angry about or (if one wants to be unkind) what you think they ought to be angry about instead of the things they actually are angry about.

    So why, do you say, are people reacting like this? The arguments that are being used are ‘inane’, and ‘nonsense’. People come on board because of the right wing press with its ‘scaremongering’ ‘narrative’, which people believe because they are ‘weak’ and ‘stupid’. The targets of the anger are chosen because of ‘scapegoating’ and ‘hatred’, and because they are ‘nast[y] elements of society encouraged be become even nastier’. People levelling various criticisms against the left, and partially blaming it for the political situation do not have any kind of point – they do it because they are ‘idiots’. Of course I, personally, you say, hold my opinions because I ‘like feeling persecuted; hear accusations that don’t exist, dance to the tune of a[n imaginary] narrative’, in short becasue I am deluded, soft in the head, or both.

    So:
    – You did not describe the people who voted for Trump as ‘loathsome’, only as ‘weak, stupid, idiots, nasty and getting nastier’ and easily swayed by inane nonsense. Not a huge difference, is it? So why not sum it up in one word?
    – You did not explicitly describe your side as ‘intelligent, nice, basically peaceful, and only reacting’. But by not mentioning them, putting all the blame on the right, and claiming that anyone who blames your side for any part of the current situation is an idiot, you are doing it implicitly. If you do not accept that, you can get out of it by telling me what significant part of your side you think is stupid, nasty, aggressive, and causing trouble.
    – You did not say that the solution to the problem was to silence the small band of evil rabble-rousers, merely that the problem would not exist were it not for the evil influence of the right-wing press.
    – OK, you did not say that the people whipping up all this hatred were, themselves, ‘violent’. I should not have used that word. But if that is all you have to hang your hat on, I submit that my original description was pretty damn close, if maybe a bit exaggerated in the wording,

    Why have you claimed people have accused you of being a misogynist when nobody has? And why have you claimed that the dictionary listed bigotry as a mental disorder?

    I shall answer you. Again.

    Your choice is to call people with opinions closer to mine than to yours words like ‘nasty, weak, stupid, idiot’. That is actually a bit primitive. More often we are called words like ‘racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, bigot’. It does not happen that often to me personally. In part because I choose my debating forums carefully, in part because I am pretty careful with my wordings, in part because the people who do want to dump shit on me (like yourself) seem to prefer Anglo-Saxon insults. But the point is the same in either case. People with opinions close to mine are nasty, deluded, irrational … Were we not , we would of course agree with you, like all nice people do. The -ist, -phobic words are a more sophisticated way of putting it, though, because on one level they mean someone with opinions like mine, and on another level they mean someone who is evil, irrational, or unreasonable. They are used explicitly to deligitimise your opponents, because if his opinions spring from ‘misogyny, transphobia, or bigotry’, you can dismiss them out of hand. Words like these do *not* just mean ‘dislike’, no matter what the one-line Oxford definition says. If someone is strongly opposed to boxing or nazism, you do not describe them as pugilophobic or naziphobic, and if someone has been abused and therefore distrusts and dislikes men you would not describe her as ‘misandristic’. Exactly because in those circumstances you accept that these dislikes could well be rational.

    So, to summarise, I answer to ‘misogynistic’ in solidarity with the people with similar opinions who are called that, and to show that I reject the definitions and the judgements made by people who use that word. If you want to discuss with me be aware that I do not care if you find me or my arguments misogynistic or not.
    Also, I have not claimed that the dictionary listed bigotry as a mental disorder. I have made the argument I made here above, but in rather shorter form, with the result that I may have been too inaccurate to close all holes against a (guardhouse) lawyer looking for things to misinterpret. If you want a discussion, try to address what I am actually trying to say. I am not perfect, but other people have managed. If you are looking for ‘proof’, to your satisfaction, that I am deluded, nasty, or whatever, by all means go ahead, but do not expect an answer. I shall let my record, and yours, speak for themselves.

  192. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    You see it as a conflict because you are one of the ones that feels under threat. That’s why you assume people call you a misogynist, even though *nobody actually calls you a misogynist*

    Write screed after screed all you like, on this blog, the only named person that I can remember being called a misogynist is Paul Elam, (a once well known misogynist.) Even his hapless and tragic deputy, Dean Esmay, wasn’t (IIRC) called a misogynist. It’s all in your persecuted mind.

    “Also, I have not claimed that the dictionary listed bigotry as a mental disorder” (StillGJ)

    Having re-read the exchange, it’s confirms even more the point I am making. You claimed that “That is the beautiful thing about being a progressive. You know for a fact that anyone who disagrees with you does it because he is Weak, lazy and/or stupid – or in some way mentally disturbed. After all, were he not, he would obviously agree with you.”

    I asked “who mentioned mental disturbance” to which you replied; “Nobody. This time. But that is what words like misogynistic, tranasphobic etc. mean, according to a dictionary.”

    Dude, just own it. Seriously. I’m not going to let this go.

    “Your choice is to call people with opinions closer to mine than to yours words like ‘nasty, weak, stupid, idiot’. That is actually a bit primitive. More often we are called words like ‘racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, bigot’”

    Maybe in your mind, but that’s it. What’s far more common is that racists say “I am not even allowed to say *insert racist generalisation* without being called a racist. It’s an attack on my freeze peach.”

    You write; “You do say that people’s anger is ‘sometimes justified’”

    Of course. Deindustrialisation, austerity and the cuts destroying lives and communities, the lies peddled about all of us “feeling the pain”, property prices rocketing, growing inequality, expensive further and higher education, unfair taxation systems, racism, sexism, terrorism, on-going UK military involvement abroad, crime (including child abuse and sex crimes) etc

    You know who isn’t responsible for any of this? Muslims, feminists, the people with the “purple hair” and the EU.

    So why is anger directed against them so disproportionately?

    If I was a man, unable to afford nice things for my family, because there were no jobs, I would be angry. And I think this is what it all comes down to. There are lots of unhappy people. Unhappy people are angry. Angry people look for a scapegoat.

    153. StillGjenganger says

    May 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    @Carnation
    Nobody. This time. But that is what words like misogynistic, tranasphobic etc. mean, according to a dictionary.

  193. StillGjenganger says

    @Carnation

    If you are looking for ‘proof’, to your satisfaction, that I am deluded, nasty, or whatever, by all means go ahead, but do not expect an answer. I shall let my record, and yours, speak for themselves.

  194. Carnation says

    @ StillGJ

    Oh, dude. You get confronted with the truth and then back off… Back into the den of persecution that is your mindset.

    I do wonder about our respective lives. What makes me want to protect the scapegoated and correctly identify threats, and what makes you identify with the persecuted?

  195. Carnation says

    @ That Guy

    In your comment to 12345etc you succinctly, and rather brilliantly, summarise not only what is wrong with the entire online MRA movement, but also just why decent people hold them in such complete contempt.

  196. Marduk says

    Fascinating…
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/09/love-island-dating-men-masculinity-tv
    Less for itself than wondering what the correspondence between Gaby and the editor must have been around this revolutionary hot take on a popular tv show.

    “Perfectly nice boys make mistakes but grow up into perfectly nice men, capable of dealing maturely with disappointment, with lives every bit as real as those that make the news.”

    There are differing perspectives on the progressive zeitgeist. Carnation insisted earlier in this thread that many a full-on hack is writing dishonestly to stir controversy and doesn’t for a second believe anything that they say. Believing this has the pleasant side-effect of insisting that progressive politics hasn’t gone stark raving mad and cannot be criticised (phew!). I submit that the fact anyone thought this was publishable shows just how bonkers this stuff has become. Check out the weird section that insists that only “parents of boys” (a much pitied demographic) might, but only sometimes, detect humanity in young men. Its an actual “Dog bites man” article.

  197. Marduk says

    I should add, since I made that post above, a grass roots revolt has broken out under the article demanding the return of Ally Fogg to the pages of the Guardian…

  198. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Just wondering when you’re going to explain this tissue of lies?

    “Unlike you, who believes feminists are best served by being silenced, and that muslims are aided by being ‘othered’ as far as possible (the only possible conclusion I can draw from your attitudes)”

    “Carnation insisted earlier in this thread that many a full-on hack is writing dishonestly to stir controversy and doesn’t for a second believe anything that they say.”

    That’s an exaggeration, but isn’t so wildly inaccurate a representation of my views as you usually make.

    In your opinion, are the “Free Tommy Robinson” protestors who popped up in London at the weekend just misunderstood freedom of speech advocates, driven to violence by the relentless attacks of purple haired types?

  199. Marduk says

    210.
    “Unlike you, who believes feminists are best served by being silenced, and that muslims are aided by being ‘othered’ as far as possible (the only possible conclusion I can draw from your attitudes)”

    >You (still) haven’t thought through the implications of your views. Start dicing with this stuff and it is the vulnerable who will suffer first not last whatever your original intentions were.

    “Carnation insisted earlier in this thread that many a full-on hack is writing dishonestly to stir controversy and doesn’t for a second believe anything that they say.”

    >I agree, it is a fair summary of what you said earlier, it was your “no true Scotsman” bid.

    “In your opinion, are the “Free Tommy Robinson” protestors who popped up in London at the weekend just misunderstood freedom of speech advocates, driven to violence by the relentless attacks of purple haired types?”

    >No, they are the unironic far right. TR was doing his best Christiano Ronaldo impression, dancing around the box begging a penalty from a defender. On the contrary, I actually think the left has shown a bit of sense on this occasion, his attempts to become a martyr aren’t really working, but they will do if people in black masks start whacking people with bike locks. Similarly, Geert Wilders was allowed to speak and given a police escort and found to not to have anything interesting to say as usual. The British people remain uninterested in this bullshit. It would have been a different story if he’d been prevented in my opinion but as it is, it might as well not have happened which is surely the optimal outcome?

  200. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “You (still) haven’t thought through the implications of your views. Start dicing with this stuff and it is the vulnerable who will suffer first not last whatever your original intentions were.”

    How exactly do my views lead to feminists and Muslims being silenced?

    “it was your “no true Scotsman” bid.”

    That bid that simply doesn’t and didn’t exist? Try and explain what you mean instead of using typical MRA goon attempts at gotcha?

  201. Marduk says

    212.
    I have explained myself several times already. Given you refuse to read sources, refuse to engage with replies, etc. there is no point you making demands like this, you have demonstrated you act in bad faith many times already and I’ve indulged you quite enough. I don’t mind people that disagree with me, I do mind your dishonesty, you don’t really want anything explained because you don’t really want to understand.

  202. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    Nope, it’s because you can’t link my views with the dire outcomes you’ve accused me of supporting.

    That’s because they don’t exist. That’s because I don’t oppose free speech.

    There isn’t a free speech crisis in the UK. It’s all in your tiny, paranoid, stunted brain.

    The “unironic” far-right are on the rise, given a jolt of energy by wounded snowflake imbeciles like yourself.

    And now you’re rage-quitting. Cheerio.

    PS – I will keep asking you that question. So why not be a big boy and retract your obviously stupid and deluded accusation?

  203. Marduk says

    214.
    It doesn’t actually matter whether there is a free speech crisis or not, there is a principle that needs to be defended. You cannot deny that there has been a lot of extremely unwise talk in your progressive circles about free speech being ‘outdated’ and of little importance when compared to the offence that protected identity groups may perceive. It is my view that the principle is so vital to a liberal society, so vital to the protection of marginalised people, so essential to our humanity that I do not give a fucking inch and I don’t care if its merely theoretical or actual, I’m zero tolerance on this issue. That is not an unrespectable position even if you think ‘freeze peach’ is a joke. Yes, it comes with costs, we can talk about what we do about those costs, but they are price worth paying although I’m not casual about that either.

    >tiny stunted brain…snowflake imbecile
    Ah, the language that is the hallmark of a good faith debate right?

    And I don’t support the far-right, I oppose them bitterly. Enough that I would rather that they didn’t exist, whereas your progressive friends seem to quite enjoy their existence as something to play with to justify unacceptable behaviours.

  204. Carnation says

    @ Marduk

    “You cannot deny that there has been a lot of extremely unwise talk in your progressive circles about free speech being ‘outdated’ and of little importance when compared to the offence that protected identity groups may perceive.”

    I can very easily deny that. The only time I hear free speech being discussed *in the real world* is when sadsack political-correctness-gone-mad types rue the day that being openly racist/sexist/homophobic in the workplace was no longer tolerated. That’s rare, since most of my colleagues are generally pleasant, happy people. But it has happened. “You can’t say anything anymore, can you?”

    Anyway, let’s assume that you earnestly believe that there *has* been “a lot of extremely unwise talk … about free speech being ‘outdated’ and of little importance when compared to the offence that protected identity groups may perceive.”

    So where has this talk been taking place? And of what consequence has it been? Have those talking been powerful individuals?

  205. WineEM says

    Oh God, only on the BBC could you have a discussion entitled ‘Are Men’s Rights Neglected?’ end up concentrating pretty much entirely on: fixing the gender pay gap (for women) ; ‘toxic masculinity’; the importance of supporting #MeToo (which, we are informed by Rose Mcgowan, even extends to merely looking with desire at a member of the opposite sex); and then giving the ‘Women’s Equality Committee’ the chance to sound sanctimonious, when all of their policy proposals have been rejected anyway.

    God save us from the BBC’s faux concern for equality.

  206. 123454321 says

    WhineEM, I know what you mean, it’s almost as excruciating as reading one of Carnation’s or ThatGuy’s posts. Almost.

  207. That_Guy says

    @ 123454321

    So every time a man or boy kills themselves, do you have a big celebration, like a birthday party? or do you just keep it low key, like a quiet beer as you smile to yourself?

  208. Marduk says

    216.
    Carnation, remember to give a clear indication of what would and would not be acceptable evidence to you together with a promise to read any sources produced. Unfortunately, owing to your past behaviour, we need to have rules now. Thanks.

  209. 123454321 says

    Yeah, it’s like every day is party time at the moment, dude, flags, banners, party poppers, the lot. Pissing myself laughing having a whale of a time.
    You do realise it will take 2 or 3 decades at least before we start seeing a reduction in rates? All the shit society throws at our under tens has already taken a hold. You think a political solution will reverse the damage with respect to what we have already put into their heads? They don’t listen to politics you big buffoon! What do you think young men listen to? Why do they become so disenfranchised? Why do they feel so useless? Why do they feel like they can’t share their feelings? Why do they feel unsupported? Why don’t they go to the Doctors? Why are they falling behind in education? Why are all men potential rapists? Why are men so evil? Why do they end up doing all the shitty dirty crappy dangerous jobs? Why do they have to take it like a man? Why do they keep getting man flu? Why are room fresheners only designed to eradicate dog and man smells? Why this why that why why why? So many whys. None of which can be addressed in any way, shape or form by a political solution. Especially as politics is so crammed full up its own arse with looking after the interests of women. Oh yeah, just like all the shitty big fuckoff businesses out there jumping on the bandwagon trying to score brownie points by telling their employees how great women are and that they must hire more and that they must have a splash page intranet every fucking week reminding men that they are unequivocally the fucking top dog winners at being the no.1 ignored gender. So nah, can’t really think of many ways we could make life a bit more tolerable for men. We need to keep fucking them over with all sorts of shit (as you know, I haven’t even scratched the surface) so every time one of them kills themselves I can crack another bottle of bubbly and pull another popper at my regular party. Bet you wanna come, but I’m very sorry, it’s no entry for buffoons who procrastinate knowing full well that a political solution is impossible from where we stand at the moment. Pulls another popper….bang…

  210. That_Guy says

    @123454321 OK, finally we’re getting somewhere.

    None of which can be addressed in any way, shape or form by a political solution.

    OK you brainless idiot- what’s your solution to reduce male suicide?

    Tell me explicitly, and clearly, what your opinion is on what can be done to reduce male suicide? I don’t care how outlandish your solution is, how many political lines it crosses, how unworkable or nonsensical, just tell us what can be done.

    You clearly have strong feelings on what the causes are, so tell me, what’s the solution?

    Mandatory sex dolls for all boys over the age of fourteen? Concentration camps for feminists? Legally binding restrictions on what can be said about men? These are all solutions- probably very bad ones, but it’s a starting place.

    Whats yours? or are you going to unconvincingly fob us all off with ‘there’s simply nothing that can be done’ so you can simultaneously absolve yourself of responsibility and grant yourself an indefinite license to be a shithead on the internet?

    I look forward to your well considered reply.

  211. WineEM says

    @223 That’s interesting Marduk. I heard that the government were considering getting rid of most short sentence stays for the general population, so where is the asymmetry still arising in your view? My general expectation is that there is very much a two tier system and that those calling themselves progressives (including progressive Tories, i.e the Cameron style Tories who are still in power) tend to support this, but I guess it’s good to be clear about the details.

  212. Marduk says

    224.
    Its all based around this idea that the prison system is ‘designed around the needs of men”, so women need special treatment. The argument falls at the first fence because if there is one thing we know about the prison system, its that it doesn’t address the needs of anyone.

  213. WineEM says

    @ 225 Ah, ok thanks – yes it’s been the slogan of our governing elites ever since 2007.

    It will always remain a mystery to me though: left, right or ‘progressive’, they all accept the same idea of ‘equality, but only when it suits’ – and nobody but nobody, except that bizarre maverick Philip Davies, kicks up a fuss (which doesn’t always help, as he often just wants to flog and hang everybody in any case!)

  214. StillGjenganger says

    Actually, Ally, are you OK? We have not heard from you in a while. Of course, if you just got turned off by the level of the BTL debate we could hardly blame you 😉
    All the best.

  215. Marduk says

    226.
    I’ve got no problem with the claim that a default might be designed for one group and needs to be adapted for others (e.g., mental health services).

    However when its false, as in the case of prisons, a situation where we have frankly harrowing data, the problem is that it would appear to imply the feminists are quite happy with men being as kept in brutalising conditions we wouldn’t accept for animals and that this should be normalised as “what men deserve”. And the really dark part of it is that I’m not 100% certain this misrepresents their views either.

  216. Ingmar says

    “And the really dark part of it is that I’m not 100% certain this misrepresents their views either.”
    Maybe true for some extremists, but it’s quite the opposite if you examine any thread about male rape in “We hunted the mammoth”. The manosphere is apparently instead even more divided than feministsm about this issue, especially on women on men rape.

  217. StillGjenganger says

    This one makes interesting reading:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/14/identity-politics-right-left-trump-racism

    I think it also fits in with some of our (my) discussions on Damore etc. If we make policy based on arguments that are in principle genderless we can all get behind them — even if they most ly will favour women in practice. If we make policy based on explicitly favouring women as a group, those of us who happen not to be female see that this is all about other groups advancing at our expense, opt out of the discussion, and look for a way we can fight for our own against those pesky women.

  218. Marduk says

    Wow. Worth posting because they desperately want you to miss it… Brexiteer/remainac yelling aside.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/13/companies-brexit-supply-shock-fewer-eu-citizens-arrive-uk

    The story is actually that British employers for the first time in a generation (possibly since the abandonment of 100% employment policies) are being forced to raise pay and offer better benefits to entry-level unskilled manual workers. It is also noteworthy that the government considers “the pressure is on employers to not only offer an attractive salary, but also additional benefits” as a problem that will need to be urgently addressed in order to ensure the British peasant remains impoverished and vulnerable.

    I can’t think of a more fundamental issue for the Labour movement and that your soaraway Graun would try to hide this as a minor bad news story blows my mind.

  219. Marduk says

    Oh yeah, of course. I knew there was a reason my hackles were up.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/13/chemring-profit-warning-explosion-salisbury-factory

    Of course the other main issue for the Labour movement has always been safety at work. But not in Viner’s rag where the story is a man died, and the problem with that is the share price for the employer has fallen. I bet that man wouldn’t have died if he’d realised how it would affect refinancing options for the majority shareholders!

    Higher prominence in the same edition is a story about the Tate gallery’s buying policies (not progressive enough) and video games (not progressive enough).

    Can we stop pretending that progressive politics has anything to do with proper left wing politics, its clear they have no relation at all. Even The Daily Telegraph found the labour (small “l”) angle in both those stories where The Graun couldn’t.

  220. Marduk says

    Nobody is reading this but at least I can find it here. Another quarter: “stronger rises in activity and new sales…employment growth at its highest in six months…robust and resilient rate of expansion…must come as some relief to the Bank of England”,

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/sep/05/uk-services-sector-struggling-to-find-workers-ahead-of-brexit

    But once again the risk that the lowest paid in society might see modest pay rises is what they pick up on and report as bad news.

  221. WineEM says

    He, he, such good writing from Laura Perrins:

    https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/shame-on-you-two-man-pitchfork-mob/

    ” I always find it fascinating when men want to dispose of due process. I can understand why the women will do it, why they go around with their ‘I believe her’ T-shirts (if they haven’t been printed yet they will be soon) but the men? It leaves me dumbfounded. The cynic in me believes that perhaps it is a cowardly attempt to ingratiate oneself with the new feminist power base, or perhaps it is some kind of mating strategy, or perhaps pure idiocy or plain old immorality – enjoying kicking a man who is down. Who knows, but it is telling.”

    Have you & your mates, by any chance had a “I believz her” T Shirt printed Ally, for occasions like the Kavanaugh hearings? Could be handy! 🙂 #LOLZ

  222. StillGjenganger says

    @WineEM

    Well, I too have problems with the idea that an unproved (and unprovable) accusation of unwanted touching (not rape) from your high school days would be enough to disqualify an otherwise eminently qualified person. After all, you are allowed to become wiser with age. But your conservative woman glosses over a number of good reasons why people might be against Kavanaugh. Such as
    – His accuser seems rather more believable than he does.
    – He is a highly partisan choice, and many (democrats, to be sure) have good reason to abhor him for what he is likely to do.
    – He has surely been a competent judge, but with his association with Kenneth Starr you could also describe him as a well-established, party-political hack.
    – His career does not really suggest that he has the bottom, the balance, the intellectual depth, or the equanimity that you would require of a Supreme Court judge whatever his politics (and that for instance Antonin Scalia had), and his performance at the hearings makes it painfully obvious that he is not up to the task.

    Whatever you think of the morality of it, it is really very tempting to choose to believe his accusers, since that seems to be the only way to keep this biased lightweight off the bench.

  223. WineEM says

    Hello there, Mr Gjenganger,

    His accuser seems rather more believable than he does.

    Well I think you’d accept that credibility is as much dependent on context as emotional tone.
    Part of the problem, here, is the incredibly poor performance at the hearing by the GOP’s lawyer, Rachel Mitchell.
    Top lawyers like Andrew McCarthy have said her questioning at the hearing was incompetent, and Harvard Law
    Professor Alan Dershowitz has even gone as far as to call it “completely and utterly incompetent”.
    Really, she set out all of the inconsistencies and holes in Ford’s testimony in a retrospective ‘memo’, when she was meant to do this at the hearing! The only people who are likely to have read Mitchell’s memo, after the event, are almost certainly GOP supporters already (i.e. you are very unlikely to have seen the liberal MSM address or mention its contents.)

    Andrew McCarthy went through this in a podcast he did recently, and pointed out that there was no need for drama or posturing, just a reasonable attempt, at the hearing, to put the facts in a coherent narrative context which could highlight the flaws in Ford’s account.
    And if one dwells upon these, there are really quite a few: all of the witnesses she cited (including her long time, close friend), deny having any knowledge of the event described (Keyser even goes as far as saying that she’s never knowingly met Kavanaugh).

    When Ford was asked about why Keyser might deny knowledge, Ford cited Keyser’s ‘health problems’, but this was never followed up on. Well, it turns out that Keyser’s ‘health problems’ have been neck surgery, which, (ok, I’m no Doctor), is not generally considered to wipe out memory in a similar fashion to say, severe concussion, or having your drink spiked with rohypnol!

    Further, Ford’s credibility as a witness also seems potentially undermined by the way she said she had no knowledge of the offer to hold the hearing in private or at her town in California (the only alternative is that her lawyers didn’t tell her about this, but then how likely is that, given that the GOP chair had made this offer several times over in different ways!)

    Then the number of people who were meant to be at this party has not been constant, either, with Ford apparently changing the number and sex ratio of the gathering at various stages.

    I will confess, I know very little about Kavanaugh’s judicial abilities and philosophy, but it’s clear that Ford’s testimony stretches the concepts of credibility and plausibility to their very extreme (and to be honest, in my opinion, rather beyond that).

  224. StillGjenganger says

    @WineEM
    Admittedly I have only followeed this second hand. If you have a link to hat memo or anything else relevant please give it. Bur I am not convinced by your version.

    On Fords side, it seems she reported a clear, vivid and consistent memory of a highly emotional experience. What second hand complaints I have heard seem to be niitpicking. The fact that she cannot remember the details of house layout, drink consumption, people present etc. at a high school party 36 years ago is not exactly evidence against her – who could? It is one reason why you should probably not make convictions for such old events – memories fade – but is seems perfectly consistent under the circumstances. Of course she could be exaggerating or even lying – any Democrat would have a motive – but it takes more than some holes in her memory to invalidate her credibility.

    Kavanaugh, on the other hand, has been caught in a number of little lies under oath (I am quoting the Economist). About his drinking habits, about whether he was of legal drinking age, about the things he said and put in his yearbook and what they meant.He has also shown that he believes in democrat conspiracies against him.All of which fits perfectly with his career as an Republican attack dog. What exactly happened back then is undecidable, and being an asshole as a teenager is not necessarily enough to disquailfy you from responsible positions for life. But his behaviour in front of the Senate hearing showsthat he is not fit to be a Supreme Court judge, whatever he did or did not do in high school.

    And yes, on what I know so far Ms Ford is rather more credible than Mr Kavanough.

  225. WineEM says

    Psst, Gjenganger, there’s also quite an interesting story developing about the relationship between Ford and someone called Monica Mclean. Mclean’s a former FBI agent, and was there at the hearing, and no one disputes that she’s a long time friend of Ford.
    Ford’s ex boyfriend has sent sworn written testimony to the Judiciary Committee, saying that he witnessed Ford helping Mclean prepare for a polygraph test, which is significant because Ford had testified under oath that she’d never done any such thing.

    There are also suggestions that Mclean may have tried to persuade Keyser to revise her testimony.

    Again, it’s not hard evidence, but it’s an interesting, (still) developing story all the same.

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/10/05/report-fords-fbi-friend-monica-mclean-pressured-witness-to-modify-testimony-and-statement/

  226. StillGjenganger says

    @WineEM

    Thanks for the link. But I see nothing in that memo that could change the mind of anyone.All it can do is confirm your preconceptions.

    Mitchell says, quite correctly, that this is not of a standard that would justify trying for a conviction. True enough, but unsurprising.It would be hard to achieve after 36 years. The rest is nitpicking, AFAIAC. So she does not remember the details, or express herself with forensic precision in her therapy notes. So what?

    I am *NOT* saying ‘I believe her’. She has an obvious motive to lie (any Democrat does). So has Kavanaugh (anyone accuseed of assult does). And Kavanaughs testiimony is not just imprecise or partial, but clearly at odds with reality, at least in the details. The information is simply not there to decide what did and did not happen. But I maintain that Ford seems more credible than Kavanaugh does, from what I have heard.

    Anyway, all that stuff about the Republican senators aiming to produce a safe environment to bring forth the truth is so much hogwash. What is at stake here is the future US policy on all kinds of highly controversial issues. It was suggested (in the Guardian, but credibly) that the Republicans might be willing to risk their Senate majority in order to make sure that Kavanaugh got onto the bench. Obviously they selected person who would do her best to get the result hr hirers wanted. And obviously her memo is written to prove what she was supposed to prove.

    Anyway, even Fords story is a complete invention, Kavanaugh has proved by his own testimony that he does belong on the US Supreme Court.

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