This concerns two common errors of thinking which most feminists stumble into while they are scrambling to decipher what is happening to their world, why things are slipping out of their control, and how they might regain that control. I call these two errors the crosshairs fallacy, and the moral perfection fallacy.
When I call them fallacies, I do not mean they are strictly logical fallacies in the academic way. That is, I do not pretend to add them to the likes of ad hominem, circular argument, strawman, and so on. No, for my purpose, these new items are fallacious simply because they are mistaken; because they initialize thinking upon a foundation of error and trigger downstream error in conjoined regions of understanding. I am keen to call attention to them because they so strongly mark the behavior of feminists in particular — especially those who are describing or attacking the non-feminist revolution. So my motivation to write is political.
I will speak first of the crosshairs fallacy.
Feminists fall into this mistaken thoughtway owing to their confusion and consequent desire to simplify. In a word, they oversimplify. Beset by hostile forces which they cannot fathom, they try to align a narrow target, as it were, in the crosshairs of a sniper scope. Their deluded hope is, that the sum and substance of what threatens them lies within that constricted radius, and that if only they neutralize the target area, their troubles will go away andperpetual revolution will resume its course unhindered.
Among feminists, the crosshairs target of choice is the cyberspace group known as “MRAs”, or Male Renaissance Agitators. Feminists are obsessed with MRAs as a kind of “red menace.” They sense, quite rightly, that larger social forces are mobilizing against feminism and what feminism has inflicted on the world, and with utmost naïveté they have undertaken a shorthand analysis that would make these things mentally easier to cope with.
Things are never “bad” for independent local reasons, but for reasons which feminism arrogates sole authority to enunciate.The crosshairs fallacy springs from a childish belief that the vital force of the non-feminist revolution concentrates in a point source — for example, a certain community of websites — and that if you neutralize this particular “head”, then the “snake” will expire. But that is a gross misunderstanding — akin to attacking a prominent mushroom in complete ignorance of the underlying mycelium which spreads for miles. For even if you kill, imprison, or pinklist every suspected “MRA” on the planet, you will not have made a dent in the cultural forces which generated MRAs in the first place. Furthermore, you will have overlooked a host of otherthreats to feminism from other directions.
Accordingly, it will not do to sit around in feminist echo chambers mocking the bizarrities of presumptive MRAs who have posted comments on the internet. For such words are not spoken in a vacuum, nor do they enter the universe through a side door from nowhere. It should go without saying that such unsavoriness is the consequence of something — even a feminist could agree on that much. But what a feminist cannot hope to fathom without ceasing to be a feminist, is that these things originate from a source in the objective world which the feminist narrative is not competent to explain.
So the feminists have arrived at a false simplicity. The problem is not that the facts of the case are unduly difficult to comprehend, but that they are difficult for a specifically feminist mindset to process without a prerequisite self-knowledge and the sense of guilt this knowledge would instill. It is to avoid guilty self-knowledge, then, that the feminists project their anxieties onto an abstracted and quasi-mythical group of people — as onto a lightning rod.
To be sure, MRAs do exist in various forms. But “the MRA” as anarchetypal construct, is largely a figment of the feminist imagination. And MRAs, whether concretely or archetypally, are only one piece of a much larger jigsaw puzzle. The more advanced non-feminist philosophers, by the way, do not make the equivalent error in their thinking about feminism or feminists. Rather, they have evolved a sophisticated conceptual model of feminism as a sociopolitical organism — a subject which I have treated elsewhere.
I will speak next of the moral perfection fallacy.
The feminists wish to discredit their enemies as simply as possible, and so they look for anything that is morally amiss about their enemies in order to expedite that project. This is fallacious mainly because it is shallow. For there is no way that any sizeable demographic sector can be a vessel of moral purity straight through, and the non-feminist sector is no exception. You will find the complete moral spectrum of human nature among those who oppose feminism, because we are talking about humanity en masse — and when did humanity en masse ever include less than a complete moral spectrum?Furthermore, you should understand that feminism is a utopian worldview. It upholds the abstract ideal of “progress” and holds the rest of the world accountable to a certain programme which it dictates in the service of this ideal.
So when the rest of the world is slow to measure up, it counts as proof (in the feminist mind) that the rest of the world is morally invalid and, thus invalidated, without warrant to challenge feminist claims. This mode of thinking is entirely circular and self-referential.In practice, all feminist assessment of human fallibility is made according to a feminist yardstick, meaning that no case of moral dysfunction is permitted to operate within its own frame of reference. Things are never “bad” for independent local reasons, but for reasons which feminism arrogates sole authority to enunciate. And in the feminist utopian worldview, all things are either progressing toward a projected feminist future, or rebelling against that future in some way. No alterity is admitted, and by default, any possible theory of “sin” or “transgression” can only be a feminist theory, imposed by feminists and for feminists, upon the rest of the world.
And so the feminists cannot see the world as it exists in itself, but only as it appears through the lens of feminist theory. In consequence, feminist dealings with the non-feminist sector amount to a coercive falsification of reality injuriously imposed on others. For it ought to be obvious that all manner of folk may be aggrieved at feminism for all manner of reasons. It is not a bit obvious, however, that ALL of these reasons are invalid merely because SOME of them are proffered on questionable grounds by questionable people. Coercive falsification is therefore a cardinal sin upon feminism’s doorstep; it is first imposed, reacted against by an aggrieved world, and imposed once more in rejoinder to that aggrieved reaction — which to the feminist mind is deemed a transgression. But with each round the falsification grows — always at the expense of any feminist claim to moral authority. This claim — or rather pretention — crumbles relentlessly.
In sum, feminism has a toxic moral agency within the social ecology. And so the moral perfection fallacy should inspire us to quote the Gospel verse which advises plucking the beam out of thine own eye before thou pluckest the mote out of thy neighbor’s eye!
A concluding word: The crosshairs fallacy and the moral perfection fallacy are interrelated; they intertwine; they have territory in common; they illuminate each other. But I will leave it to the reader to work this out for himself or herself.
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- The Biggest Question of All: are you a Feminist, or are you Not? - August 26, 2015