We have over the last couple of months presented full transcripts of all the presentations at the International Conference on Men’s Issues 2014. Here we bring you the final session of day 2 of the conference proper–essentially, the closing. It was a long, rambunctious, sometimes heated, often funny discussion. Our thanks as always to Rick Westlake for doing most of the work on this amazing set of transcripts. –DE
(Attila Vinczer:) Ladies and gentlemen, we are now going to enter into our panel discussion, but before we do so, we have a presentation to make—an important presentation to make. If we could have Terrence and the General?—Commander! My apologies.
(Terrence Popp and Post Commander Tim Litz approach the stage.)
(Paul Elam:) Boy, does that open the door to a lot of the wrong jokes.
We wanted to take a minute, before we have the panel discussion on activism, and the future of activism for the Men’s Movement, whether it’s Men’s Issues or Men’s Rights …
Our veterans served us with more than most people in this room can imagine. And they still didn’t forget us in our moment of need, here. It was veterans that stood up; it was veterans that worked Security; it was veterans that made sure that free speech, that they had fought defending, was allowed to continue.
I’m not going to bore you with a long speech, but it’s time for us to give something back. And for this we want to present a check for the VFW Bruce Hall, for $2,000, to serve the veterans that come to this facility.
(Tim Litz:) I am, ah—I’m glad that, on short notice, we were able to accommodate everybody … (Mic troubles) … Like I said, I was glad that, on such short notice, that we were able to accommodate you. I hope you found us accommodating. We are glad you are here. It just wasn’t me, it was our hall manager, Annie, over there, who did a lot of the work. And the caterer, in-house caterer, last night; I hope you enjoyed your meal. I want to thank you for the check; this helps us help our veterans, and we truly appreciate it. We have a lot of veterans’ programs, and this is where it will go. Thank you very much.
(Robert O’Hara:) My name is Robert O’Hara, I’m the US News Director for A Voice for Men. We’re going to end this conference with a panel on activism. Men’s Rights Activism has had an obscure past, to say the least, and many perceive it as being “checkered” and even somewhat ineffective. And while this is true in many cases, it is certainly not true for every group or individual that has championed one or more of the causes addressed during this conference. There have been many instances of successful strategies and initiatives which have achieved broader awareness, recruitment, and even legislative change. The goal of this panel is to present a handful of people who have a proven record of success in Men’s Human Rights Activism. Each panelist will share their experience with initiating awareness and change, as well as their thoughts on the most effective way to do so.
An eye on the future is key. Clearly, the MHRM is entering a new phase, where broader awareness of the issues facing men and boys must be accompanied by positive efforts to make a difference in the broad range of arena in which they face challenges and discrimination.
I’m going to briefly introduce each panelist by their name and title, and a little bit of information; and after that, I’m going to allow each panelist a brief introduction of themselves, their thoughts on activism, what they think has made them effective activists, and what they think the future of activism is. Then I’m going to turn the panel over to you, the audience. Please keep your questions directed—I’m sorry, please keep your questions brief, keep them limited in scope, and please—the subject is activism. We’ve been talking about ideas all weekend; now we have to talk about activism because this is what’s going to bring us into the future.
So, I’m going to go ahead and start by introducing Carnell Smith. Clearly a very effective activist, he’s the founder of Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, successful in lobbying for legislation in Georgia for paternity-fraud reform.
Next we have Diana Thompson, political—this is not necessarily in order—we have Diana Thompson, political analyst, lobbyist, and spokesperson, and former chairman of the Family Law Reform community in Los Angeles, California. She’ll give a more complete introduction of herself in just a moment.
We have Greg Canning, Australian News Director for A Voice for Men, a really, really big name in Australian Men’s Rights Activism. He’s here to represent what’s going on Down Under; definitely a great addition to this panel. The panel would not be complete without him.
And of course we have Adam McPhee. He’s on the Board of Directors for CAFE, the Canadian Association For Equality, which has been successful in starting men’s groups on colleges and universities in Canada. Of course, we all know what happened in Fall 2012 that really, really put Men’s Rights in Canada on the map. It was a great time—no, it really wasn’t a great time, but it was really a tough, great expanding awareness for Men’s Rights, as chaotic as it was.
And of course, we have Warren Farrell. Warren Farrell is a renowned author and educator, as well as a long-time veteran of the Men’s Rights Movement. He’s spoken several times this weekend; now is your time to ask him even more questions about, again, activism.
And we have Michael Buchanan. Michael Buchanan … He’s founder of the UK Justice for Men and Boys Party. Hopefully he’s going to give us some insights on political activism.
And we have Robert Franklin, who’s with us today … where’s Robert? Oh, there he is! Robert Franklin is a long-time fathers’ rights and legal activist, and member of the Board of Directors for the National Parents Organization. We’re hoping that he can give us some pointers on some political activism as well. He spoke to that, about that, in his speech. I’m hoping that we can talk a lot more about that, because I think it’s important.
And we have Anil Kumar. Anil Kumar is founder of the Save the Indian Family Foundation, a high-profile member of the Men’s Rights Movement in India. I just want to say personally, I think Anil’s a wonderful man, he’s a very smart guy, he has loads of things to say, all of it very interesting, all of it very pertinent. I’m glad he’s here.
And we have Jonathan Taylor with us. He’s the founder and publisher of A Voice for Male Students dot com, the motto of which is “Educational Opportunity for Men and Boys.”
Okay. So, I’m going to go ahead and start with Carnell Smith. As we go down the table, again, please keep your remarks to under two minutes—(Paul Elam interrupts.)—Oh, I’m sorry! You weren’t originally on the list! I didn’t think you were going to be here! Everybody, this is my boss, Paul, the Invisible Man … and I didn’t think he was going to be on this side, I’m sorry. And JB? I didn’t think she was going to be on this either, I’m sorry …
(Janet Bloomfield: “I don’t have a voice!”)
I didn’t know you were here! I just turned around and she insisted upon appearing out of nowhere! … Okay, I’m going to end with Paul.
This is Janet Bloomfield, of course, JudgyBitch … wonderful … she is going to tell us all about Twitter activism; she’s been ceaselessly Twittering during this entire conference, about everything that’s been going on. And Twitter, of course, is an amazing tool for activism, we’ve found. And she’s going to talk about it a lot more—I hope.
Stefan Molyneux … thank you so much for coming, thank you for so much for talking about circumcision. I’m sure you’re going to be talking about … that … but again, he’s an Idea Man, I’m really glad he’s going to be talking about activism, and what he thinks and what he perceives to be effective activism.
And now, of course, Paul Elam. The founder of A Voice for Men. And I don’t think we need any more description of this guy right here.
So—if you could, please start with Carnell Smith, at the end of the table, and briefly describe yourself, what you think is effective activism, and where you see activism going in the future.
(Carnell Smith:) Okay, can you hear me? Hello, hello, testing … all right.
I’m Carnell Smith, Rebel with A Cause, as you’ve already heard. But one of the first things I know about activism is that you have to first believe that you can change it. You may not have all of the answers, but you have to be willing to connect with people who have already done what it is you want to do; be coachable; and not try to re-invent the wheel. I took a page out of the playbook on the Civil Rights era, and Dr. King said, “Demonstrate the suffering.” So I didn’t think of paternity-fraud and family-law issues as purely just Men’s Rights issues; they were Human Rights issues, Civil Rights issues.
Involve yourself also with learning about how to get the academia community involved … the legal community involved. There are many people who are willing to get involved with social justice. So when they saw me at the Capitol, they didn’t see Carnell Smith alone. They did not see just a man of African descent, alone. I started out, standing in the rain, in front of my Capitol, by myself, with the media, asking other people if they knew someone that was affected like me; and if they knew somebody, to come join me. One was the guy starting. That grew to twelve. That grew to hundreds … to where we packed the Senate, the House of Representatives. And my legislator said that “When we first started, talking about this issue, I thought you were only going to show up with three people.” But when he saw Black, White, Hispanic, Asian … he saw military, in dress uniform; we saw men and women who were affected … he said, “Man, this is really a bigger problem than I thought.”
We have to be inclusive of people who will support us, and not exclude people just because maybe they haven’t been personally affected. A key of success for the Civil Rights reform was that it wasn’t just Black people that got the laws changed. People got involved because they said it was wrong. I invite you to do the same thing. Connect with people who already have the experience that you desire. Save yourself some time. Find out some best practices. Find out what has already worked. And then, modify it and put it into action.
(Adam McPhee:) I don’t even know where to start with CAFE. My name’s Adam McPhee. With CAFE, the biggest thing we’ve done is helping students start up groups on universities, and the biggest success for those is having university students willing to embrace Men’s Issues, to help do the legwork. We help them set things up, tell them what has worked in the past; and the way you can help, too, is helping these activists who are doing the legwork. This conference here, that Paul Elam got started, it wouldn’t be a success if we didn’t have people showing up and we didn’t have butts in the chairs. So, I would give us all a round of applause, just for being here; you’re already supporting the cause.
Place is what is needed, we need people, supporting groups … One of the things that I find, it seems to be kind of in opposition to what some people here believe, where I’m more politically correct. It’s not our anger that has drawn attention to CAFE, it’s the anger of our opposition that comes. When they come and they argue against the issues, incoherently, and we react with nothing but passive, pacifist tolerance, and just say, “We just want our moment to speak, we just want to speak to the issues that we feel men are facing today,” it’s not us that looks bad, it’s them that looks bad. Their anger does more advocacy work for us than our anger would ever do. Thank you.
(Robert Franklin:) I’m Robert Franklin. I’m on the Board of Directors of the National Parents Organization, formerly Fathers and Families. Over the years, we have stopped more bad legislation and passed more good legislation than most; literally dozens and dozens of bills we’ve been able to pass, or stop, at the state level. Myself, over the years, I’ve engaged in street activism; electoral politics; and of course, writing and doing radio interviews, television interviews, and other media.
How is it—how do we make change, in this country? If being right, and having right and justice, morality, equality on your side had won for you, we would have already won. But it doesn’t, so how do we make change? A couple of different ways; with legislation and, Warren mentioned earlier, litigation. And with regard to legislation, as I said in my presentation, we’ve been trying that for a long time regarding shared parenting, and it hasn’t worked. What that means is that those legislators don’t respect us. They know we have the truth on our side, but they’re not doing what we want. And that means we need to start doing electoral politics. That sounds—maybe that sounds like, “Oh good, we get to raise a million dollars and start a PAC.” No. Most of what—most of the office-holders that hold the keys to our success are pretty low-level people. They’re state legislators, they’re judges, and things like that. And the thing they fear the worst is an opponent. And we can provide them that; and it doesn’t cost a lot of money, and it doesn’t take—it takes volunteers, and a good message. And once you do that, the great part is you don’t even have to win! You don’t have to depose an office-holder; all you have to do is scare the pants off of him, and the next time you come in with your bill, they’ll listen to you.
One other thing—I’m going too long, I know I am—in addition to legislation and litigation, is just showing up. Like he said, it’s just showing up. And you can show up in a million different ways. You can write a letter to the editor when you see the wrong type of article. You can call the editor of a newspaper or magazine. You can make your voice heard without anybody but you, all by yourself … I’m just going to shut up.
(Diana Thompson:) Hello, can you hear me? Hello, my name is Diana Thompson, and I’m a former lobbyist, political analyst, and spokesperson. I’ve spoken all over the country on shared parenting, paternity fraud, child support issues, and other family-related issues. And the first thing I want to say is that there’s really no quick-fixes. We all heard of a lot of issues over the last few days, and we know that the issues are there; now we just have to figure out how to change them.
There’s no quick-fixes; change does not happen overnight. A lot of people walk out of court and they think, “I’m going to get this changed in no time, and I’m the only person that’s dealing with it.” I’m here to say, 25 years doing this, that it just doesn’t happen that way; it takes a lot of dedication, commitment, and very hard work. And it is often a very long process. And one thing is, you may not be able to do everything, but everybody can do something. And I just have a few steps—we aren’t allowed to talk that long, but I just have a couple of items that I think would be very helpful in activism. And one is research.
When you first have an issue that you’ve never faced before, you feel very devastated, very lost, you feel like you’re the only one out there that’s experiencing that. I assure you, you’re not; many people have experienced the same things you all have, for many years, and people have been working on these issues for many years. Reach out to those people that have been working on the issues, because they know a lot of things that have worked in the past, and they know a lot of things that have failed in the past. And it’s so important that you reach out to people who have proven track records, not people who are trying to sell you something, or … you know, people that actually, you have seen change.
Another thing is legislation. The key to making change is changing legislation. So many people are intimidated by the process, thinking, “How could I do—you know, how can I make change? I’m just one person.” Well, the first step is to learn who your legislator is. I’ve often had guys come to me, even women come to me, and say, “Well, I don’t think my legislator wants to make change.” And I say, Sell, who is your legislator? “Well, I don’t know … I’m not sure who they are.” First thing you have to do, is you have to get in contact with your legislator. You need to introduce yourself. You need to, first of all, plan before you go. You cannot inundate him with a million—him or her—with a million different problems. Start out with something that is really important to you, your main focus that you want to change. Talk to them, and get to know their aides especially; that is the most important, because you’re not normally just going to walk in and get to speak to your legislator. It doesn’t happen that way. You need to talk to the aides, develop a relationship with them—to this day I have relationships with the legislative aides in California, so that I can call them when something goes up for help. I can get their advice on things, find out where a bill’s at. They’re very, very helpful in that respect. Just don’t be intimidated by that.
Another thing is, before you even talk to legislators, what about learning about candidates before they get into office? Finding what their issues are—do they care about your issues at all? Why not try to encourage people to vote for people that are interested in these issues, that might be able to help?
Another thing is communication and the media. When you see negative articles out there, why not write a letter to the editor? Why not write a comment? These are all important things because if the media writes negative articles, and no one says anything that it’s bad or wrong, they’re going to continue to do it. You have the right to say, “No, this is not my experience, this is not the way it is.” And also, what about the campaigns out there—like the “Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them—” Who are the people buying this merchandise? You need to go against this kind of stuff. Make your voice heard.
And the last thing is social networking. This is such an important tool. When I first started out, we didn’t have all these social-networking things, and it was a lot rougher. But now, there’s so many different Facebook groups, there are Facebook, Twitter, all different types of social-networking. And it’s a good way to find people who care about the issues, and let them know that you’re there. That’s a good way to connect.
And then, in closing, I just want to say, the most important part of activism is to realize that you can make a change. You all are capable of doing it. You just have to believe that you can do it. I mean, I have been called names, as a woman; a traitor, maybe worse; but that’s not going to stop the work that I’m doing. You just have to look past that. I’m not telling you that change is easy; it’s not, it’s a lot of work; but I’m telling you that our children are worth fighting for.
(Jonathan Taylor:) A wise man once said that the difference between an artist and an academic is that an artist takes a complex idea and presents it in a simple way, whereas an academic is someone who takes a simple idea and presents it in a complex way.—Oh, yes, I should probably say who I am, be a good idea … Jonathan Taylor, founder of A Voice for Male Students dot com, the motto of which is “Educational Equity for Men and Boys.” And I like to view activism and advocacy as both a science and an art. One of the things that I think is fundamental and indispensable, in activism, is good research. You have to have good research, otherwise—especially in academia—no one’s going to start a conversation with you. And that’s one of the things that I really hope to provide at my website; and that’s why I create these huge warehouses of resources for students, and not just—students, parents, teachers, advocates, anyone who wants to work to create a change … whether it is just a warehouse of statistics and graphs that I make in-house. But there’s other for students as well that I try to make, such as A Voice for Male Students dot com also hosts the largest online database of male-only scholarships in the world. It also maintains a regularly updated list of men’s issues conferences, webs—excuse me, workshops, symposia, webinars, things like that. And also a list of guides to activism, and education policies, things like that. But that all goes into that fundamental element of research, which you must have before you make a conversation, especially with anyone in academia.
So that being said, you must not only have good research. You also have to have passion. You have to find what gives you, what sustains you, in this movement, and you have to hold on to it, and you can’t let it go. For me, there are various things which have inspired me, whether to passion or sometimes to anger; we’ve all been angry at various injustices; but for me, what keeps me going … I don’t have any kids of my own, that I know of … no. No, actually, I’ve been pretty responsible in that regard. But what keeps me going are my two little nephews; and I want to know that by the time they reach 18, 19, 20 years of age, that something will have changed, something major will have changed, in the conversation on educational equity. And that is what I work for. And—I feel like I’m racing against time, where, you know, as they grow older—I want something to have changed. And so that’s one of the things.
So you have to have good research. You have to find what sustains you, sustains your passion. And also—I think also you have to be able to build and maintain good working relationships. That is another indispensable element of activism. And that is why conferences like these are so very important; you get to network with so many people around you, you get to put a face to the name, you get to just reach out and find people that you’ve never talked to before. You’ll find a lot of people who will be interested in what you have to say. But that is another indispensable element. I’m probably going over, but thank you so much.
(Warren Farrell:) I’m Warren Farrell … I’ve always said the Men’s Movement is in its embryonic stage. I’m no longer going to say that.
I said that through 44 years. Now this is a hell of a big embryo … so this baby’s going to be huge! And so the question is, How did this go from an embryo to what happened today? And it happened by many of the ingredients that AVfM have put together. It has allowed for that anger and upset; it has allowed for scholarship; it has allowed for activism; it has allowed for volunteers. It has brought many people with many different talents together. So the first thing to understand is, this is a good model for what it takes to birth the baby.
Number two is really number one. Number one is, if you want to be an activist, the number one most important thing is take care of your health. When you’re in a plane and they say if there’s a problem, pull down the oxygen mask, and put it on yourself before you put it on your child, because you can’t take care of your child if you haven’t taken care of yourself. You cannot make this embryo into an infant that grows well if you don’t take care of yourself.
Every one of us has weaknesses physically. Know that. Know food, know exercise. Pace yourself. I used to run track; one of the first things I learned is, when I got out in front in the beginning and went with my full-steam-ahead, I always lost the race. I had to learn to pace.
Number two: Yes, be strong and articulate these issues; but you’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason. Every time you talk about men’s issues, you will touch people’s need to object to you. The more we need you, the tougher it will be to share these issues. Every single person with whom you speak—you must listen more than you speak. And when they feel heard, they will begin to be able to hear.
Third: If you’re a guy, or a woman—but especially if you’re a guy—partner with a woman who has compassion for you and for men. And find her not by paying for the first three dates, then hoping she’ll know how to pay for herself. Find her by being yourself right from the beginning, and let her reject you so that you can get on with finding a woman who’s more appropriate for you. And when she works and earns, remember every moment you support her, you are supporting yourself, and you’re supporting men’s issues and your freedom to be able to work on those issues.
Finally, talk from your experience, not from just data. And when you talk from your experience and don’t have that experience, talk from real-life stories, find the stories, find the heart, and you will reach other people’s hearts.
Finally, find the area where you can make a contribution. I gave 10 examples of possible men’s issues to focus on today. If you have a son or a daughter—um, if you’re a son—focus maybe on boys’ issues. If you have a daughter, maybe focus on equally shared parenting. If you have an interest in economics or statistics, focus on the “pay gap.” If you have an interest in education, focus on getting Men’s Studies into the university. If you have an interest in anything, focus on communication.
Keep the health and the communication as something that you master, and you master those two things. On that you can build a foundation, based on your interests, and contribute to the movement at a pace that will keep you around when you’re in your eighties. Thank you.
(Paul Elam:) Well, it works. Okay. I’m Paul Elam … Thank you. And I think if we just banded together and destroyed the Patriarchy, all of these issues would be resolved, and we could just have some more pizza and beer, and our problems would be over. Oh, wait a minute, that was the—I was doing drugs then. Never mind.
Warren has said many times, and I agree with him, that there needs to be not just a diversity in this movement, which there is—I mean, racially, religiously, gender-wise, orientation-wise. There’s plenty of diversity. But there needs to be a diversity of styles as well too; a diversity of the ways we approach ideological opponents, and the public at large, and each other. I’m a firm believer, from—and I—haven’t had the opportunity to bring it up so far at this conference, this is my last chance. I’ve got two words for you: Angry Harry.
Angry Harry showed me what was possible; that the Internet was very much a potential vehicle to create social change in ways that no one has ever previously imagined. And I would argue, right now, that the presence of all these fine people in this room, this collection of thinkers and activists and advocates, is proof that the Internet is ONE effective tool. I also agree that legislation, that litigation, as Warren has talked about, is very, very important. All these different approaches—social media—speaking to your family can be a form of activism; letting them know what you believe, and not hiding from them.
What I want to address for just a couple of moments, before I finish up here and we’ll pass this next to Dr. Canning, is that I get contact regularly from people all the time saying, “What can I do to help?” And my answer to them, without—hoping not to be sarcastic at all—is to say, “I don’t know. What can you do?” What skills do you have? Do you have computer skills? Do you have graphic skills? Do you have programming skills? Do you have the ability to give speeches, to write speeches? Are you willing to stand in front of a courthouse or a government building, with a sign, along with other people? What can you do, and what are you willing to do?
I could say, right now, that if you have tremendous skills with computers, talk to Carnell Smith, talk to Jonathan Taylor. See what you can do to help. There’s nothing stopping anybody from becoming an activist, ’cause there is a thousand ways to do it. And one way may not be great for everybody, as a matter of fact it shouldn’t be. But I’ll again go back, and I think that Carnell addressed this quite well—Passion. Passion.
Remember who we’re talking about. We’re talking about—right now, we’re seriously talking about—just soldiers alone, killing themselves at 25 a day. We’re talking about men whose … the disparity in the suicide rate, during divorce, goes up astronomically because of the way they’re treated. We’re talking about people that are in prison on false accusations. We’re talking about academic careers that have been ended.
I talked about Caleb Warner, in my earlier talk; he’s a young man at the University of North Dakota that was absolutely railroaded, after police had determined that his accuser was false and issued a warrant for her arrest, and the university still said, “Too bad.” He finally got it cleared up, but right now Caleb Warner has given up his dream of being educated, and he’s driving a delivery truck. And there’s nothing wrong with honorable work. But this was a future destroyed. If that doesn’t give you passion, you’re not going to be an activist.
So, with that I want to pass it to one of my favorite people here, Dr. Greg Canning, who I got to meet for the first time. I want to thank you all for coming out here and participating—Oh, last thing: Your butts in these chairs at the next conference, all of you. That’s an order!
(Greg Canning:) As we say in Australia, G’day—I hope you can understand my accent. I’m Greg Canning, I’m a family physician in Australia. I started in private practice in 1989, as a solo practitioner, and now my business partner and I own a clinic that has ten doctors. I’m also a father; I have two sons, a stepson, and a daughter, who are all adults, grown up, making their own way in the world; and being a father is my proudest achievement in life.
This men’s issues conference has been fantastic, but I only have one issue with it, and that issue is that I don’t think we’ve given away enough books. I have a book here called The Complete Book of Blokes’ Sheds by Mark Thomson, and the reason I’m showing you this book is because I want to give it to Mister Robert O’Hara over there.
(Stefan Molyneux: “Finally won something there, Robert.”)
The reason I want to give it to Robert O’Hara is because in about 2011 I started reading A Voice for Men; by November of that year, I was submitting some articles; and later, Robert invited me to become News Director for Australia. It was that encouragement that led a 50-year-old introvert to find a voice to speak out for men and boys. And one of the things I think we need in this movement … is to encourage others to find their voices. And once you find your voice, you can speak out. I’ve been speaking out in Townsville, in my local community, writing letters to the editor, signaling out misandric professors at our local university. I got involved in a group called The One in Three Campaign, which aims to raise awareness of male victims of domestic abuse, and to encourage governments to provide services for them. And that was simply by an invitation to join an email group; and what that email group does is, whenever we see anything anywhere in the media to do with domestic violence which is wrong, which is about twenty times every day, someone in the group will take responsibility to write a letter, try and get it corrected. And we’ve had a lot of success—so much success that the feminist academics hate us, they denounce us in their articles—and every time they denounce us … every time we’re denounced, we kick that up as another win.
So, I think networking is important, and that’s one way of networking. I’ve been really pleased to see people gathering little lists of other people’s emails so we can all keep in touch. Facebook is a great way to network; I get so many links to things that I might not have otherwise found, by little groups on Facebook, that lead me to some information that’s important in my conceptualization of this problem.
I have to echo, as a physician, what Warren said: We do need to look after ourselves. Physicians are no better than anyone else at looking after themselves. It takes constant work to do that. I’ve been a little bit quiet on A Voice for Men for the last six or so months because I’ve had a few problems, so I’ve just pulled back for a while; but this conference was what I was looking forward to, and having come here, I’ve been re-energized, and I’m going to go back with renewed gusto.
So, here are the points I had: Encourage people to speak out, network with others, look after yourself. Thank you.
(Anil Kumar:) Hi. When we started in 2004, we were, in India, 60 guys in a Yahoo group. And we had a lot at stake. India has two domestic violence laws, and what was at stake is very simple. If a woman is going to separation, and if the husband and his family are not ready for a huge sum of alimony as an out-of-court settlement, she’s going to unleash one of those domestic violence laws against the husband and his parents and his siblings. So when a woman says, “My husband, his mother, his father, his sister, his brother, and maybe even his friend, subjected me to physical and mental cruelty.” Okay? Because this law was enacted at a time when the word domestic violence was still not there, in 1983. So they used to have the word called cruelty: “So he subjected me to physical and mental cruelty.” No evidence is seen. And the law says you are prejudged by sexes, you are prejudged guilty until proven innocent; it is quoted in the law. And the whole family, in 2004, used to go to prison for 10 to 15 days. The parents, the women, the pregnant sister—or lactating, with her child—everything. So what we had at stake is huge. The whole family, the business gone, the parents are like shattered—it was huge.
So we had no time to think, to do anything. And we were in touch with Glenn Sacks, and (inaudible), and (inaudible)—everything, right? So we got all this stuff and we got into action, and we created chapters in two years’ time all over India, with help lines, so men can get to the support groups. And we had meetups every week, in Bangalore, in Delhi, in Mumbai, in Nagpur, in Kolkata, in Lucknow—all over India, in two years, we got the chapters, and we started protesting. We started protesting.
And, we got, in eight years … initially, media, of course, did what it is supposed to do; but eight years, we got more than 8,000 newspaper articles in newspapers, online and also print, across all the languages in India. We got more than 500 TV debates, many of them in the prime time, in the national television, like the CNN-supported channel in India, called CNN-IBN, like that? And we have lobbied with the Parliament members; so in the last one year me and my teams have met more than 300 Parliament members in their houses. About all these issues of fathers’ access to children—in India, fathers never get access. For a couple of years, they don’t even get to see the child in the school.
And India’s Parliament took it seriously. And they had a petition in the Parliament’s Committee on Petitions; it had a session; it sat and invited us, and the feminists, and the Women’s Ministry—everybody—to testify. So I testified about the misuse of the Domestic Violence Act, the Dowry Act called Section 498, in front of a Parliamentary Committee of 15 Parliament Members. And the report was finally submitted to the Upper House of Parliament. We said, “Any woman who is misusing the law, you have punishment. If you don’t do that, then soon we have to repeal the law.” That’s what has been written and given to the Parliament. And Indian Supreme Court warned of legal terrorism; they are saying that this is going to be legal terrorism.
And what we are up to is we used to meet and have—we used to have these meetups in the parks; now we have the community centers opening up with a small membership fee, and we are now working to get part-time staff and full-time staff. So we are working on the funding because we know we won’t get money from the government and we do not want money from the government.
And our help lines are better than the women’s help lines. And I know, I know, because sometimes women call us because they said no one’s picking up the phone and they’re not … sometimes … okay, I know. We have hundreds of help lines, and we have a training process for that, we send our staff to put it, and it’s a lot of effort. And I would like to say, the formula is really simple, I would recommend. I agree with all the other panelists, what they said, they’re 100 percent right.
Now here is the formula. It is, be in action, be in action, be in action. Okay? And the barrier is your mind. All the analysis, all the opinions, all the ideas, they’re fine; but there’s a particular point, you say, let me sweep all the thing aside, let me get down to ground, in front of the court. You distribute the flyers, you gather people in a big city like New York or San Francisco or big—Chicago, or Detroit—and you protest. And you need 50 people, 100 people. You protest. That’s it. It is not costly at all. It is uncomfortable.
Initially, it is going to be uncomfortable, but I would like to say this with every single guy who comes to us, that: “If you are facing injustice, you protest. If you are not protesting, you are promoting injustice.” Right? And we tell to the guys, don’t look at the videos, do your duty. Because we follow “Don’t look at the scoreboard, you have to hit the ball. If you keep looking at the scoreboard and (pantomimes a miss), you are going to lose.” And I tell to each one of the activists in India and everywhere, that it’s the ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Okay, so you are the ones.
And when I started, I was an ordinary guy—I was a software engineer, shy and “I don’t know…” I was scared when I talked to my customers in Germany; I used to work for Bosch, and I would rehearse five times before I’d speak. And I never imagined that I can testify in front of Parliament one day. So everything is possible, and it’s the ordinary people who are going to do extraordinary things. That’s what I have to say. Thank you.
(Mike Buchanan:) Mike Buchanan, leader of the British political party Justice for Men and Boys—and the women who love them. People are always dropping off that subtitle.
The Men’s Human Rights Movement needs to have a political wing, and this is the time. I believe there’s a need for Men’s Human Rights parties right across the political spectrum, because—now—when you start a political party, donations start coming in very quickly, media attention starts to come in, and the movement needs both of those. I look forward to the day in particular when the US and Canada both have Men’s Human Rights political parties.
Given that Canada seems to be the world’s biggest generator of Honey Badgers, wouldn’t it be great to see a Honey Badger lead a Men’s Human Rights Party in Canada?
That’s all I have. Thank you.
(Stefan Molyneux:) Hi, and I’m Stefan Molyneux, the host of the philosophy show, Freedomain Radio. I don’t do a huge amount of activism, I guess, because it’s a crazy life, right, to try and pursue virtue in the face of social ostracism and calumny and attack. I mean, it’s a ridiculous thing to do—I mean, with the caveat that it makes you enormously happy in the long run, and makes the world a better place. So my basic feeling is that I want to have, like—I want to have a closed-coffin funeral; and the reason I want to have a closed-coffin funeral is, I’ve lived a life of dedication to virtue, and I’d look like this: (Huge grin) And nobody could stand that I died so happy.
Yeah, you’re going to die either way; do the right thing, and you’ll die with a smile on your face. I think that’s a life well lived.
(Janet Bloomfield:) I’m Janet Bloomfield, and most of my activism takes place in 140 characters or less. I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that anyone can be a Twitter activist. The bad news is that all the advice you just heard, it’s useless. It’s not going to work. Do your research, don’t reinvent the wheel, pace yourself—that doesn’t work in Twitter. Not at all.
There’s two things you really want to accomplish in Twitter, if you’re going to be an activist. One thing is “reach,” and the other thing is “response.” When you’re talking about “reach” in Twitter, it doesn’t really matter how many followers you have; it matters how many followers your followers have. That’s a really important point. If you look on my Twitter feed, I have about a thousand followers; but, just this morning, with three re-tweets, I reached over three million people.
What I go after on Twitter is, I chase after voices that are slightly open. I go after a younger crowd that I think is open to what we are talking about. I tailor my messages to reach people, especially young people, who might be willing to stop for one nanosecond, which is about how long people will read a tweet for, and consider clicking on a point of view, watching a video. Tailoring the message is really important on Twitter; know who your audience is, and go after them. And you have 140 characters, so you can go on quite a bit and make your point, you know.
I’m also starting to publish on Thought Catalog. This is another way of tailoring the message. And again, on Thought Catalog, what matters is how many times your message is shared. So I have five articles on Thought Catalog; I didn’t check today, but I believe those have been shared over 100,000 times. Thought Catalog is a website of just sort of random stories, publications, pop culture, political analysis; you sort of boil down—it’s the TL-DR, too long–didn’t read, version of news. And you just bring that down into a really simple message, and if people like your message they will re-tweet it. And that’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to tailor your message so that it will reach a lot of people.
Here’s the big mistake people make: they only re-tweet stuff they agree with. No, no, no: re-tweet stuff you think is absolutely fucking horrible. That’s great—that gets people to respond. That’s the second part of what you want to do. Re-tweeting something doesn’t mean you endorse it; so when you find something absolutely appalling on Twitter, go ahead and repeat it. Go ahead and follow those people; the more people you follow, the more people will follow you. This is something anyone can do, sitting at a bus stop.
Find stuff on Twitter. The more people you follow, the more information you’ll start getting. And you can start reaching out—it is almost impossible to get a reaction on Twitter. There’s millions and millions of tweets being sent every single second, and it goes so fast, it’s just a blur, and they’ve forgotten what they read two seconds after they read it. But—things will stick, over and over again, if you keep sending the same information out and keep collecting followers; and re-tweet stuff that you don’t agree with, and try and get a response on Twitter. It’s an excellent form of activism, because it’s communication, activism as communication. And I think that’s really where we are. We still need to get the word out about what we do. We’re confronting a horrible set of stereotypes in the media. I mean—I made some comment on Twitter that “we were going to spend the money we collected on hookers and blow.” Under 24 hours, we got the Motor City Muckraker reporting that “A Voice for Men admits they will be spending the funds on prostitutes and illegal drugs.” But you know what? That brought us a lot of traffic. It got us a lot of attention. A lot of people looked at that headline and said, “What?!—Okay, I’m going.”
(Paul Elam: “And I want to say, for the record, that’s not true.”—Sniffs loudly)
So, even if you’re not willing to get up with a sign and march around, and you don’t have time to write long articles, sign up for Twitter. It takes two seconds to re-tweet, add your hashtag—I love “NoMRA.” Just add that to everything. It’s fantastic. And—voila! You’re an activist. And you can die happy.
(Robert O’Hara:) All right, now we’ll open up the panel to questions, and please just raise your hand if you have a question. We have a mic runner; please wait for him to approach you, then speak, because till the mic is in your face, it’s not going to be recorded, it’s not going to be broadcast in the feed or anything like that. We have one question here, and please keep the questions brief; and if you don’t have a question for a particular panelist, I will direct your question to one or more panelists who I think might be able to answer your question.
(Question:) Okay, this question’s for Janet. It seems one of the main, greatest duties as activists is to protect children, all children, from warped gender ideologies, which are possible strongest in school systems. So as a mother and an activist, would you give your advice to other parents, to defend their children from the influence of a misandristic education system?
(Janet Bloomfield:) Ideally, home-school them. Unfortunately, I live in a small community. I did home-school my daughter for the first few years of life, but I live in a small community where the only home-schooling people are wing-nut, tinfoil-hat-wearing Christian Armageddonists. So they were being mis-socialized there to begin with. I did put them in the school system, but I just talk honestly about … and I try to frame it in terms of styles of learning; that the school system is set up to benefit one certain style of learning, which mostly girls are good at—but lots of boys are too. And it demonizes another way of learning, which is mostly boys but some girls too. That splitting the school system to benefit only one style of learning is ultimately destructive; and I try to make it clear to them that this is wrong; I am trying to help stop that, I want that stopped, and they should never feel guilty about preferring one style of learning over another, even from one subject to the next. That they’re both right, and anyone who says there’s only one way to do this is wrong.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay. Jonathan, do you have anything to add to that?
(Jonathan Taylor:) Yeah. I would just make sure that you’re constantly engaged with your children, and constantly following up with them on what happens in the classroom. And in regard to learning styles, you know, educators have long been schooled in the notions of multiple intelligences. I mean, there’s, what? Seven or eight different types of intelligences? There’s abstract types of intelligence, kinesthetic types—you know, that corresponds well with learning styles. And the approach to education should be that although there are ways, distinctively, ways in which girls and boys learn, you also have to come to terms with the fact that at the end of the day, every child is an individual learner. And really, you have to maintain that parent-teacher connection. And if the teacher’s not teaching—if the student is not learning, the way the teacher teaches—then you need to communicate with that teacher, so that the teacher teaches the way the student learns. And your feedback, your constant communication with those educators, will help that process very much. And of course that’s going to be much easier if you’re in a stable two-parent family.
(Question:) The question is that there are, in this context, two ways of drawing attention to your issue. One is to present statistics, facts, experience; the other is to use hyperbole and to be unreasonable, but to get the attention as a result. I think most of the people here, on the panel, use the first way more, if not exclusively. I’m wondering if the people that don’t use that way could justify the hyperbole method, and why it works well.
(Robert O’Hara:) The man to ask about that is Mr. Elam, right there.
(Paul Elam:) I wonder why he thought of me? … It is difficult for me to answer this without being blunt. The hyperbole that we employ from time to time at AVFM is—just so everybody knows, the first explanation is that it is calculated. I don’t sit in my underwear in a living room, up to my knees in beer cans, screaming for my partner to get me a sandwich as I slam away the keyboard with all these harsh, hateful feelings … anymore.
One of the things I brought up in the press conference—as a matter of fact, it was the core of my talk there—is that all social movements, all quests for justice, involve shaking a complacent society out of its coma. We have people dying over these issues. We’ve had some great talks, there’s been serious talks, there’s been talks that were funny; but in the end, we’re talking about people dying, we’re talking about destroyed lives, and we’re talking about it going on in a society that is intent not only on just looking the other way, but on insisting that we look the other way as it happens. I don’t view my hyperbole as the problem in that scenario. I view the cultural problem of misandry as the real offense.
So, for those that don’t agree with my style, I say with all respect, don’t read my articles. For those who do agree with it, I appreciate your support. But there has never been a social movement in history at all, ever, that got anywhere without a direct and confronting expression of indignation for problems that were not being addressed. And we’re going to continue that, going on forward—thank you. And when—and it has always been in the plan at A Voice for Men, and those that follow the site closely already see it happening—when we can establish a meaningful dialogue with the media, and I know there are still some white lanyards out there … when we can establish a meaningful dialogue with the media, when we can establish a meaningful dialogue with this society, indeed when we can establish with feminists who say that their cause in life is for gender equity and for justice … We won’t need the hyperbole, we won’t need the rhetoric, because we’ll be having a dialogue. But sometimes we have to accept that bad breath is better than no breath. I hope that answers your question. Thank you.
(Robert Franklin:) Can I add something? First, the idea that there’s an opposition between fact and hyperbole is not always correct. Sometimes, facts are really awful, and it’s hard to do hyperbole. The other thing is—I can’t remember who on the panel said this—do what you do best. If I tried to write like Paul does, it’d fall flat as a pancake. He does what he does really well. But that doesn’t mean everybody can. I know that I can’t.
(Adam McPhee:) Can I add one more quick thing to that too? You’ll never actually know how fast you can get swept up in the movement. You may not even know what you’re good at. When I got involved with CAFE, there was a certain other panelist who was being protested against; and there was an email that went around the School of Social Work at Ryerson, saying, “Hey, there’s this Warren Farrell guy who’d going to be talking, we should all go protest him.” And I was like, “Wait, I’ve read his book, I actually agree with a lot of his ideas.” And so, I wanted to go see it, and I went to see it with my girlfriend, because someone suggested I take someone who’s supportive of these issues—and I’ve kind of already found that person.
So I went to the event, and there was a huge protest that was pretty disgusting to see. And afterwards, I contacted the Canadian Association For Equality and I told them, “Hey, just so you guys know, I know the School of Social Work was partially organizing to protest. But I’m also a part of that school. I don’t agree with that—just so you guys know, there’s also support from some of these groups that are protesting you.”
Throughout that year, now I’ve done multiple TV appearances, I’ve been in Sharp magazine, started my own blogging, and now I’m on a panel with that very man myself. And this is all of one and a half years later. So that’s how fast you can get swept up, even just trying to get involved with the movement, even if you don’t know what you’re good at yet. Approach some of these organizations that are already working to solve issues you’re interested in, and they may find where you’re good, all by themselves.
(Janet Bloomfield:) I have nothing to add to this discussion because I never use hyperbole or polemics.
(Question:) Jim … I’m a bum, I used to be a political science professor. I just want to mention I think this is a very exciting time, I’m so happy to be here. Thank you to everyone. Because I used to be a political science professor, I hadn’t heard this, this weekend, but I just wanted to mention—we have a big election coming up in 2016. I used to study this stuff. I know I look not very reliable, but I believe that Hillary might get the nod, and if so, we’re likely to see a very exciting public debate about this, again, coming up. So I wanted to let people know that this is an exciting time in the United States. I think in 2015 and 2016 you’re going to hear more war-on-women rhetoric, and I would hope some of us would be ready to rise to the challenge; because when that stuff comes out, that’s our time to come out and … I don’t want to say fight back—to help the public. I’m sorry, I know—kick me afterwards for doing this.
From my weekend here, I wanted to say: One of the things that I began to believe is how important—actually, I believed this before, but—really, how important women are to our movement. And I wanted to—For the women, for the women … And also I wanted to point out something that I thought of when I was first watching Girl Writes What’s videos was, one of the audiences that must be targeted is mothers with sons. And I’ve got your poster: “Hey, Mom, look what they’re saying about your boy.” And I hope we might make a special effort to reach out to mothers because I bet you, once mothers start hearing some of this stuff—especially mothers of sons—they will, and we’ve heard how effective they can be when they go to the government and ask for a redress.
And finally, my question—sorry for doing that. But my question is, to anyone on the panel, but probably mostly to Professor Farrell, or Dr. Farrell. About that men’s studies—I would like to bring a lawsuit against the university, under Title IX, to get a men’s studies program started. They probably won’t hire me, ’cause I’m an ex-con, but perhaps I could help get it started with the lawsuit. So can you tell me, how can I or anyone else start this process? Why don’t we have a men’s studies program, and we’ve got Title IX?
(Warren Farrell:) First of all, are there any students here who are interested in working with Jim in starting this process? … So, Jim, your question has just started this process. There are two students right here, right now, who will contact you right afterwards. And they are needed because you need to have standing. Standing means that you have to have a real person apply for a real men’s studies program that they are genuinely interested in and able to take. And ideally those students will get together two, three, or four other students. Yes?
(Question:) So, the student must petition the university to create the program?
(Warren Farrell:) That is correct. The law court needs to see a real, not a hypothetical—they need to see a reality that is not being able to be fulfilled. Now, there may be a university somewhere that will actually respond to the students, if they are real people that want a real program, and then you won’t have a lawsuit. But that’s highly unlikely. And you’ll need to try this once or twice, probably, and have a lawsuit on your hands. As I was mentioning in the workshop yesterday, and also in the presentation, if this happens at one university, particularly in a major state, you are talking about national fear, in universities, to NOT have men’s studies programs; and you are then talking about the possibility of national change. You are then talking about, instead of 150,000 female women’s studies graduates a year, that being somewhat balanced. And you are then talking about a ripple effect around the world.
Second, in the area of politics—oh, and then I’d also like to encourage the students and Jim yourself to write some pieces for AVfM’s website on the desire for this; also, write something for “Minding the Campus,” published by the Urban Institute on this. They are interested in what’s going on in the campus; solicit via an article in “Minding The Campus.” People who are interested in suing universities—these kids, or these young men and women, have to have guts, and they also have to present well, and they need to also be willing to stand up to the type of criticism that all of us get, when we’re here or when we stand up for these issues. So those are a few of the things.
But in relation to your comment about the 2016 election: in Iowa and New Hampshire, those are perfect places for groups of us to gather and organize and to show up. And here’s what I mean by that: you show up and ask a question of a candidate that’s at a town hall meeting, in a place like Iowa or Alaska where the security is much less than it will be in other places. You go to a town hall meeting, you ask a question. When you are pushed off or pushed away, somebody else backs up and says, “No, no, let’s hear a real answer to that question.” And when that person is pushed off or pushed away, somebody else in a different part of that meeting says, “No, I really am interested, Senator So-And-So or whoever so-and-so.” And then, the embarrassment from the staff, they’re going to come up to you and say, “We need clarity about what you’re talking about. What’s this stuff on men’s issues? What is—what do you mean by men’s birth control, what do you mean by men’s issues, what do you mean by a Men’s Health Day, what do you mean by a White House Council on Boys and Men?” You know, whatever you’re asking about. And then, the asking about the creating of that disturbance in a civil but forceful way will create national publicity because these candidates are being covered at the national level. Ask these questions two or three times, and mix up the clothing, and mix up the people who are asking the questions—you know, get the journalists a little mixed-up—you’re going to have yourself national news. It’s the easiest, fastest way to create national news.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay, Mr. Smith and Mr. Kumar want to answer. We’ll start with Mr. Smith, because he got my attention first; we’ll come back to you.
(Carnell Smith:) Can you hear me?—The gentleman had asked about a deliberate effort toward reaching moms with sons. 90 percent of the people who contact me are women, and some of them are the moms with sons; grandmothers of the guys; girlfriends, new wife, second wife, current fiancée. I’ve been inclusive of them from the beginning. And some of the feminists are—I’m on their hatred list because it’s very difficult for them to have a statement of men against women when I have more women on my side before the legislature than they have on their side with their ideology.
So, yes, we can be effective, but we also have to be inviting to them. I’m deliberate in my social media, Facebook, Twitter, my own websites. Wherever they are, I’m looking for them. I actually speak also in churches because there’s more than one venue to get to people who need your help. But some of us within the movement have made a mistake by saying, because we think it’s only a Men’s Rights issue, you girls should stay over there and leave us alone. Big mistake. To me, women are masters at socializing, and they will network like nobody else. So why not leverage that power, and get women who love us, who are affected by the issues, and then invite them to the table with us? And you’ll be surprised at how much it diffuses these idiotic notions that our opponents … and I like to invite them publicly, so they can get credit for their positions. And it’s very effective.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay, for Mr. Kumar.
(Anil Kumar:) Well, I will just add to what Dr. Warren Farrell spoke about the elections in 2016. If you see, we had an election recently, and more than 840 million people were the electorate; and one month it took … and we had a plan. We got into TV debates, and these gatherings of politicians that all of the candidates come to their town hall or someplace where they interact with the people. So we had our guys in the audience, and we always got a mic—we spoke with them about shared parenting and all that; we really sometimes heckled them, you know, like that. And it was sometimes telecast, got telecasted, in the national media.
Now that is very effective because after the show, the politicians spend some time speaking to you because you have an issue. And he sees that you are so serious, so that means this issue must be serious; otherwise, why will somebody be so passionate about it? Now, I must give unrelated news here, that the threw-down government—we have the Liberals, in India, like your Democrat Party—they lost so badly, so badly, that they were reduced to only 44 seats in a Parliament of 543 seats. That’s the historic low for them.
(Robert O’Hara:) There’s one question over there; we have another one back there—you can take him, he’s been waiting. Then after that, Tim, go to the gentlemen with the glasses after you’ve got to him, please.
(Question:) Yes, I think I have a basic and simple question, regarding activism, and my question is, how does an activist counter the opposition generated by the corrupt news media?
(Robert O’Hara:) Anybody want to take that? I would think that Paul would be, again …
(Paul Elam:) I didn’t hear the question.
(Robert O’Hara:) Could you speak the question again, please?
(Question:) Yes. I wonder how an activist can deal with the opposition generated by the corrupt news media?
(Warren Farrell:) Can you say your name, so we can speak to you as a person?
(Ewell Tolbert:) Ewell Tolbert.
(Paul Elam:) Ewell! Okay—I guess you’re so far away. I know who you are. Good to see you here … Here’s the deal. We’re the media … we are the media. This is an age where dedicated people can create very heavily traveled media websites, news websites. Depending … Everybody in the media, in one way or another, has some kind of agenda; and unfortunately, it’s frequently not journalism. I’m not picking on the journalists here—these guys are to be lauded that they showed up to ask questions.
But, to try to get a little more detailed about the answer, is that the way we’ve operated at AVfM, the whole time, yes; we’ve been criticized for some hyperbole and for … I think it’s the new version of being uppity. And we’re going to continue to do that. But what happens, and the reason that AVfM has grown so drastically, is that somebody in the media will go four years back, grab four lines of satire, repost it, and say, “Here’s what this is about,” and then they’ll say, “By the way, Elliot Rodger.” And what happens is that it sends a lot of people to the site; people who are just prepared and already have it locked into their minds that they’re going to come there and find a bunch of misogynistic kitten-eaters who want to turn back the hands of time and put women in the kitchen. That’s what they’re going to see; I mean, that’s what people will see if they’ve made up their minds in advance.
Where we grow is in intelligent, open-minded people coming to the site, reading enough articles, and saying, “You know what? I was lied to, about this place. This place is not about hating women. This place is not about being regressive. This place is about Gender Equity, as it was always meant to be.” Because that’s what it is.
What they will see, when they come to A Voice for Men, is men and women working together, treating each other as equals—really as equals, not the kind of “equal” that you don’t ever oppose what a woman says because you’re not supposed to argue with women. People there have to stand on their merits. They have to make rational points, rational arguments. Both sexes have to do that in order to pass muster, to be there. That is equality. And people that are genuinely interested in equality, people that are genuinely interested in men and women valuing each other as human beings first, come to A Voice for Men and figure out that’s exactly what’s happening. And they grow.
So don’t worry about the mainstream media. They’re going to eventually figure it out too. … Oh! And watch the ManStream Media.
(Robert O’Hara:) Stefan, do you have something brief to say? Please make it brief because we’ve got a couple of people coming …
(Stefan Molyneux:) Brief … brief, what’s that? The mainstream media is currently on the decline, as I think we’re all aware. People’s trust of the mainstream media is ridiculous; it’s like single digits, it’s like they trust it only slightly more than Congress. So I think that’s important to recognize and understand. Very few people in the world look for facts, and will change their minds according to facts; some will, and those are the people that we want to reach. I always try to figure out whether people are interested in facts, and if they are, fantastic, we’ll have a conversation. If they’re not, then, as the old saying goes, “Never argue with a fool, they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
I try to steer clear of them, recognizing that the media is in the business of delivering eyeballs to advertisers. They’re not in the business of delivering truth to humanity. And so the best way to deliver eyeballs to advertisers is not to offend people’s sensibilities. So the media is fundamentally conservative, and the truth is always radical. Whether that’s a match—if there can be a match, fantastic. I don’t tend to pursue it, but I think it’s important to recognize there is a misalignment.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay, there’s a fellow right there who needs to ask a question.
(Question:) Thank you, hi. I’m Tim Goldrich. This is a question I guess perhaps primarily for you, Dr. Farrell, about a White House Council for Men and Boys. What happened with that? Is there a lesson there? What are your thoughts about that, but also about “My Brother’s Keeper,” any thoughts about that?
(Warren Farrell:) Yes. The background on this is that—I think I mentioned in my presentation that I was asked to be involved with the White House Council on Women and Girls, at an advisory level. I suggested there should be a White House Council on Boys and Men. That suggestion went all the way up to—just about ready to go into the Oval Office. Five minutes before it went into the Oval Office, with the head of Government Relations with the Boy Scouts, with the Boy Scouts having endorsed it, suddenly the person who was supposed to present it was told that that was taken off the agenda. We could never … we got two or three times where we had a great deal of White House interest, and just before it was ready to move forward, it was chopped from the agenda; never being able to get through to the people who chopped it from the agenda.
And so, there is something going on in the White House, where we think we know who it is, and what it is, and the groups of people that there are. I don’t feel at liberty to say those names, per se, right now, but there is—but the people who it is have a view of the world which is that the White House Council on Women and Girls is one of the very few things in the world that understands women and girls, and the rest of the world is all men and boys; and so why should there be something for men and boys when the entire world is men and boys? And we all know why that’s not accurate. But there are a few people at the top level, close to President Obama, who take that view of the world. And from what we can tell, they have stopped this from going to, actually, the eyes of President Obama and having him consider it—or, he has considered it and he wants us to believe that it’s somebody else that is stopping him from considering it. I’m not sure which.
But the answer to the question, which is really the most important thing is, where do we go from here? Where we go from here is to Diana Thompson’s advice: get to know your congressperson. Ask him or her to write a letter to the president; ask him or her to copy me. There are some congressmen—Congressman Cleaver, the head of the Black Congressional Caucus, and Sam Graves, and a few other congressmen and women that are beginning to get on board, both conservative and Republican—I mean, conservative and Democrat, excuse me—that are beginning to get on board, and take an interest in this. And we have been told by the White House that if we get enough congressional support, they will reconsider this process.
So, if you want a White House Council on Boys and Men, we are the group to take a stand, to do something about it, write about it … Just look up White House Council on Boys and Men, you’ll see its website. Link to both it, and also to your congressperson, and also to AVfM, and write stuff about it. Begin to generate the underlying base. Politicians are basically followers, and they’re leaders; they start leading when they know there’s strong-enough followership to motivate them to lead with success. And that’s our job, to create that foundation and make that happen. As President Kennedy said to Martin Luther King, when Martin Luther King said, “We want you to support the Civil Rights Movement,” President Kennedy said, “Make it possible for me to do so.”
(Carnell Smith:) By the way, Dr. Farrell, was that Valerie Bowman Jarrett?
(Warren Farrell:) I’m … You’re too smart.
(Question:) I’m Murray Davis, National Family Justice Association, and I have a general question for the panel; and it has to do with activism. My question is this: From a political point of view, would you recommend that an activist in this movement designate themselves as a political independent, versus conservative Republican or liberal Democrat, in order to allow them to more easily maneuver in the political legislature, so that you don’t have that pigeonhole? I’m just curious as to what you might think. I have my own opinion from my own experience, but I’d like to ask yours as well.
(Robert Franklin:) May I answer?
(Robert O’Hara:) It’s up for grabs.
(Carnell Smith:) I’d like to jump on that.
(Robert O’Hara:) You, and Mr. Franklin on the end. Okay?
(Carnell Smith:) Well, I have my own political views. But what I’m advocating, in working with legislators, it is important to work with everybody because the issues themselves are non-partisan. And I think some of us make a crucial mistake by not willing to talk to everybody, including the opposition, to garner putting the issues out—completely out—on the table. If you are a person who is only of the Democratic Party, and you’re only willing to talk to Democrats, you’re pigeonholing yourself.
In my state, as well as other states I’ve worked in, we’ve gotten nearly 100 percent support from both houses of legislature as well as state governorship … with the exception of California, when the governor vetoed our bill because somebody told him he would lose $40 million in federal funding if he passed a paternity fraud bill, which was a complete lie. But the fact that we were able to get through both houses, and got majority support—myself, Diana, and other groups—we never allowed people to try to pigeonhole the issues as partisan.
Civil rights and human rights issues are non-partisan. And I would suggest keeping the focus there, as a human rights issue.
(Robert Franklin:) And let me add one thing. Carnell was talking about lobbying legislatures and how you identify yourself. Let me remark on the electoral process—who do you vote for. One of the most important things that we have to remember is, this has to be important to us in voting. There are always a thousand different issues in every electoral contest. This needs to go to the top of your list. If there’s somebody who votes the right way, give ’em your vote. It doesn’t matter if you identify as a Republican, Democrat, Independent. If they vote the right way on this issue, give them your vote; if they don’t, don’t.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay, let’s go on to the next question. I know there’s a gentleman up there that was—Was there someone inside the audience? Okay, go to him first, then James, then we’ll get to this gentleman here, and then Mr. Vinczer … Please keep your questions brief. We don’t want to take too long, we want to get as many questions as we can, so please.
(Question:) This question is to Paul Elam. I asked this question to him at lunchtime, and his answer was, he didn’t know; I hope he does now.
(Warren Farrell:) He’s a quick study.
(Question continues:) By show of hands, how many attendees are men from the United States? … And how many are from Canada? … I was just wondering. The US population is ten times the Canadian population. I’m from St. Louis; there’s nobody else from St. Louis. There seems to be a certain level of apathy, and to quote Paul himself, “coma” in the United States, and I’m trying to understand why. Paul, do you have any answers to that?
(Robert O’Hara:) Actually, I want to get Canadians’ perspective on this. We have three right here on the panel—oh, yeah, sure.
(Paul Elam:) He asked about why so many Canadians and not enough Americans, and you went to Canadians?
(Robert O’Hara:) Well, I just wanted to hear their—I do want to hear their opinions on it because—well, okay, yeah. Americans aren’t always …
(Paul Elam:) We’ll let the Canadians too. The partial answer to that is that … I don’t know. It could be a number of reasons. It may be that American men are more afraid, but I would also point out that there’s not somebody else from Houston here, other than me. But AVfM is an American, essentially American-based, website; and it is the most heavily trafficked website addressing men’s issues that’s ever existed. And the great majority of the traffic is from America. We do have Jonathan Taylor sitting here, that is an American activist. Tara Palmatier may not identify as an activist, but she actively works helping men in these problem situations.
I don’t think it’s really for the same reason that we have a policy at AVfM, we don’t accept advertising and we don’t align politically with anybody, we don’t align religiously with anybody, we don’t align with anything except people dedicated to men’s issues. I’m grateful, wherever people are coming from to address these issues. And that’s not to bypass your question. I just don’t know if an analysis of why Canada happens to produce so many great activists—I mean, the Honey Badgers are predominately Canadian; we’ve got Janet Bloomfield, and we’ve got CAFE, and we’ve got so much going on there. It may be because the ideological feminists in Canada are crazier than they even are here!
(Warren Farrell:) That’s the reason. I guarantee it.
(Paul Elam:) And it may be that they have pushed so hard in Canada, with ideological feminism, with the idea of Adele Mercier saying that young boys that are incarcerated and are molested by their female jailers are the perpetrators and the jailers are the victims. Our rhetoric out of America from feminists has been really bad, but I think … Stefan was talking earlier about alien brain invasion, or something like that—I’m sorry, I’m not trying to pick on Canada, but you guys have got some problems! And it may be why there’s so many activists. I don’t really know. But what I do know is that this movement is growing internationally, and that—you know what? It’s not going to hurt America, for once, to catch up to the rest of the world, instead of the other way around.
(Robert O’Hara:) Janet has something to say.
(Janet Bloomfield:) Well, I’m Canadian, and I do know why there are so many activists. It’s because we have a very long history of social programs in response to citizen requests. We have public health care, we have lots of paternity leave, we have generous benefits. And the reason we have that is because we don’t have to pay for national defense because you do. And I think maybe the reason there’s apathy in America, compared to Canada, is because y’all are working your asses off to pay for us.
(Robert O’Hara:) Whew—wow—Okay, did you have anything to say about that? … What about you, Adam?
(Adam McPhee:) It keeps us warm in the winter, marching around a lot.
(Robert O’Hara:) The next question’s going to go to James Huff, then it’s going to go to this gentleman here, and then to Mr. Vinczer. So please, James, go ahead.
(James Huff:) One of the forms of activism that we haven’t talked about is sort of the background psychological operations that are taking place. We’ve got dedicated men and women going into enemy territories online, talking to people who are in forums dedicated to parents—for instance, look at Mumsnet over in the UK. There isn’t a single person on this panel that hasn’t heard of the Fathers 4 Justice campaign against Mumsnet. And then, we have dedicated men and women moving in to those areas and actually addressing these issues. They’re doing it anonymously. They’re bringing it up right there, to these people—and gathering the feminist outrage that they have against us and our ideas—and then rebroadcasting that. And I think that is one area of activism that does need to be discussed.
(Robert O’Hara:) That’s open for everybody on the panel, really, because actually, James is really the greatest expert in this room on what he’s talking about. But if any of you all have any thoughts about that, please … free for all.
(Robert Franklin:) It’s just as I said, we need to show up. Every time you show up, that’s activism. That’s showing up.
(Jonathan Taylor:) In terms of online activism, in particular, I would recommend that whenever you see anyone, especially who has any official—I mean, I work primarily in academic issues—whenever you see, for example, whenever I see something hateful against men and boys posted on a university website, I screen-shot that immediately because later on they may take it down. But the fact of the matter is that even though they have taken down some of the things, the culture that produced that is still very much at that university, and people need to know who those people are. So that’s just something I would like to add. I really like James’s work—James Huff, standing over there, who brought the question; he is the infamous Agent Orange! And he exposed a lot of … And he really inspired me to kind of go off on my own, and to record some administrators who admitted to some very horrible things which we later discussed on A Voice for Men Radio. But yeah, infiltration is a necessary part of activism, and sort of playing the double agent. I think that’s a necessary skill. I think I remember … what is it, Sun Tzu, who wrote The Art of War, said that all war is deception. And there’s nothing wrong with being mischievous for a good cause. I think that’s something which we can, which some people can do well.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay, I was going to this gentleman first, but go ahead, take the question, then we’ll do him, and then we’ll definitely get to Mr. Vinczer.
(Question:) The last question pretty much touched on what I was going to talk about. I was going to talk about the technique of 3-D chess versus full-frontal assault, basically; sort of the post-Marxist critical theory in revolutionary strategies of the feminists could also be effective counter-revolutionary strategies, like the techniques of Saul Alinsky, who obviously influenced Hillary Clinton; things like the Delphi techniques, which cultivate groups’ consensus; those types of things. I wonder if anybody up there could comment on this type of thing? Maybe Stefan knows about it, or someone else.
(Stefan Molyneux:) The only strategy is conviction, passion, and truth. I try not to get too involved in “inside base,” all about how we’re going to take some bunker, or how many diagrams are going to look like my lower intestine before we reach our goal. I think you just want to ground yourself in as much empirical research as possible, you want to live your life as consistently as possible.
You know, when you live your own life with integrity—like a tree, you’ve got to grow down before you grow up. When you want to build a building, you dig down first. You learn about yourself, you learn about your own blocks; self-knowledge is the key to productive change in society. Like Socrates said, “Know thyself” is the first rule. So, you learn about yourself, you know yourself, and then you live your own life with integrity. And integrity communicates itself in a way that is intangible, right? I mean, 95 percent of human communication, or 90 percent of human communication, is non-verbal. So the degree to which you have overcome your own inhibitions, with regard to the truth, is the degree to which you will be able to change other people. If you want to go into a boxing ring, you spend years training, first, and then you go in.
So I think that pursuit of self-knowledge, once you fully accept the truth that you want to bring to the world, when you have accepted it and you’ve overcome your own barriers, you bring that truth to the world and you’re unstoppable, because you are just absolutely certain. And it has been one of the great tragedies of human history that the most knowledgeable tend to be the most tentative, and the least knowledgeable tend to be the most certain. I think we can correct that, and move forward that way.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay. Great.
(Adam McPhee:) I just want to touch on that too. I believe the second stage after “Know thyself” is “Know thy enemy.” I’m not necessarily anti-feminist, as a lot of people here are; one of my favorite places to go, I like Men’s Rights Reddit, where a lot of people are intelligent, but I also feel it’s an echo-chamber sometimes. So one of the other places I like to go is FeMRADebates, where there’s actually more moderate feminists who will actually discuss the issues, as opposed to just fighting against you and being vigilant in their position, which forces you to be vigilant against theirs. That second step of getting into the ring: You watch your opponent box; you want to see what he’s coming at you with.
So when you talk to these people who are actually level-headed feminists, or the kind that these would be good in the movement, who are sometimes like, “Yeah, I agree where you’re coming from”—and, surprisingly, you’re sometimes, “Yeah, I agree where you’re coming from.” And when we start to foster these mutual communications, which is a lot closer to what Warren Farrell has always talked about, we actually start to come closer to an ideal that both sides can agree on—and fuck the radicals, push them to the sides.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay. This gentleman, please.
(Question:) Hey. (Inaudible) is my name. A lot of this legislative activism is necessarily local; but the Evil Empire, that I was inspired by Erin Pizzey yesterday saying we need to fight the Evil Empire—that Evil Empire is a global Evil Empire, and we are the International Conference on Men’s Issues. Specifically, I’m talking about the Violence Against Women Act; the Istanbul Convention in Europe; the gender violence law in Spain, which has ruined two million men and their families; a new such law in 2012, enacted in Italy … same kind of thing. Italy had a very low divorce rate, actually one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe, but that law probably was enacted in order to get that divorce rate up. In Brazil, there’s the Lei Maria da Penha … My question is, as far as activism that has an international impact, what if we managed to get one of those exposed, highly visible countries, like the US with its Violence Against Women Act—what if we got one of these laws square struck down in Supreme Court, sending a message to the entire world that the basis on which these laws have been created is full of lies? What if we could get a Supreme Court in any one of these countries, in Europe or the US or Brazil or any one of those countries—what if we could get one of these Supreme Courts to agree with us that it is all based on lies, and strike down one of these laws? How could we do that? Is it possible?
(Robert O’Hara:) Website activists include Carnell Smith and Robert Franklin … I have some thoughts on it, but go ahead if you guys want to tackle that.
(Carnell Smith:) Yes, it is possible to tackle it, but you’ve got to find someone who is affected who’s willing to go the distance. My experience is that a lot of people suffer from a learned helplessness; and where they have a case that we could actually get to a state or a national Supreme Court level, some of them get weary along the way. And there’s a lack of funding because the expertise that’s needed to do that type of appeal is not just something you can just wake up today and say, “I think I’ll go and do some appellate briefs.”
One of the things that we saw, with not just paternity fraud, but with family law issues, men’s rights issues … without some way of a national funding for a legal defense fund, it would be very difficult to sustain a legal fight. And there are individuals that, like myself, have tried to get cases before the US Supreme Court, on issues that we can prove have national impact. In the United States, a large part of family law is no longer under a Constitutionally protected right to an appeal. So, when you find out that your cases are under discretionary appeal, and the court can make the decision, regardless of merit, that your case will not be heard … you can only really do, in my opinion, something else.
As I also pushed my own case through the US Supreme Court, my goal wasn’t because of me; I thought I had it made because I could afford to fight. I was looking out for the people who could not put up the money to make the fight. But at the same time, work with media to publicize the issues on a national level. Sometimes we have people who cannot go the distance. So part of our strategy, in my opinion, we have to come up with the means for a legal defense fund.
(Robert Franklin:) Yeah, I think that’s of course true. If you’re talking about invalidating all of VAWA on Constitutional grounds, friend, it ain’t gonna happen. It’s too large and diverse a law. Now, you can attack very important parts of it: unequal application to men and women, being one of the obvious ones. But of course, Carnell is correct. Remember the industry that you’re attacking; you’re not attacking a lawyer, you’re attacking an industry, and it is a multibillion-dollar industry. And that is not child’s play.
Let me say one other thing, and I’m not going to go into this in detail; but in the United States, one aspect of the history of litigation is that it leads to legislation. Legislators—see, when a judge, a court, expands rights for individuals, legislators freak out, and they pass laws that limit those rights that look like they’re going to get out of control. That’s another reason to do litigation, not only for its own sake, but for its effect on Congress. Workers’ compensation laws, civil rights laws, products liability laws, are all examples of that.
(Robert O’Hara:) Did you want to say something?
(Warren Farrell:) In relation to this fellow’s question about different styles, like Saul Alinsky and so on, one of the most effective—Saul Alinsky, by the way, if you’re not familiar with his work, you should get familiar with his work, it’s really—for certain types of people, this is a very effective way of protesting. But one of the most important protesters was Gandhi; and one of the strategies of Gandhi was to learn the values of the British system, and then take British-system values and challenge and say, “We believe in your values, but you’re not applying them to India.”
So we need to say to the courts, we believe in—you have to take the values that are most easily believed in. “Do you believe in equality?” Yes, most people do. And so you say what things are clearly not equal, that also don’t threaten the psychology of women being protected. So Violence Against Women Act, you can’t protest this at this point in history, even though it’s unconstitutional, because of the fact that no congressman or senator, or congresswoman or senator, would be willing to vote against something that they feel would signal to their constituency that they’re not protecting women. You can’t violate that, now, at this point in history.
But what you can do is say something like, there’s women’s studies, there need to be men’s studies; there needs to be equality. That’s equality that people can understand. Once there is people studying, more in-depth, what really constitutes equality, you can move down through the system to get to where you want to get to. And so that’s my response to that.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay, we have time for just—we’re over an hour now of asking questions; we have time just for a couple of more questions. And then Janet has something she’d like to add because there’s something very important. Just for two more questions; we’ll do Mr. Vinczer and that gentleman—I’m sorry, but we just have to stop. Mr. Vinczer, please.
(Peter Vinczer:) Paul, you are absolutely right in the view of some sick minds in Canada, especially when Ontarians approved, by the re-election of Kathleen Wynne for premier who not just mismanaged the $5 billion power station, this is one thing. But the other things, when she was a minister, she wanted to put into the curriculum that fourth graders, boys, should show physically that this horrid sexuality is not wrong with an artificial penis (should try sexualizing vegetables, experiment inserting them in their anus). The president of the Christian Society (Dr. Charles McVety) successfully fought against this to prevent that from coming into the curriculum of the elementary schools.
Now when I first saw you in Toronto, I saw a tall big man and I thought, This man must be tough and with a strong backbone, to hold up such a big body.
I also see that he has a strong-enough backbone to carry the weight of the many men’s issues, voices. All these issues that need to be fought, you are carrying on your back. Always we need a conductor because without a conductor, an orchestra will not play well. You are a good conductor. Listen to him.
Now just one more thing. Just two weeks ago, the famous goalie Grosics of the Hungarian Gold Team (led by Ferenc Puskás) passed away. Sorry, to the English fans, but Hungary beat England 6-3. Sorry, it is true. In a recent interview before his death, Grosics was asked, why Mr. Budai did not play in that game. His answer was because he was not a team player. He wanted to score alone. Puskás and the rest of the team were team players. None of them wanted to score alone, they each wanted the team to win.
Now this is what I am finding here, this is the team, an excellent work by the team. And don’t forget that which we put on the coin, a ripple in water. It’s all these in life, that everyone cast their own stone, their own rock into that body of water, to always keep alive those ripples.
That is what I am asking you, always to work together and listen to your leader, who is the conductor of the orchestra. We can be successful with the issues this way, that we need to get to through. Thank you.
(Robert O’Hara:) There’s one, I do have one guy back here, I want to get to.
(Peter Vinczer:) One thing more, I’m very proud of my son, when he became a member and supporter of A Voice for Men, and also as a Canadian Maltese Charitable Service also behind of him, and we are working together.
(Attila Vinczer:) Actually, it was my father who really made me who I am. It’s his drive, his inspiration, his direction, his leadership that enabled me to do the things that I do today. So … it’s really his doing, not even mine.
(Robert O’Hara:) We have one more question, and that will be the final question. I’m sorry, we only have time for one more question, please, it’s—Mark was first, I’m sorry. Can we give the … Mark was first, I have to—Mark, do you want to yield to her, or …
(Question:) This is really quick.
(Mark:) … National Coalition for Men, I’m the vice president of—and I feel like I would have been able to give a very important answer to the question about the lawsuits because we have overturned statutes on domestic violence in California as unconstitutional. I could have a lot to say about the VAWA; there are portions that are unconstitutional. I request that, next time, the National Coalition for Men be included on an activist panel because we’ve been activists since 1976, and I feel like we should be up there.
(Paul Elam:) Just so you know, Mark, Harry was invited.
(Robert O’Hara:) Please go ahead.
(Question:) Thank you very much. My name is Terry, and shared parenting works. Diana and I, and several other women here, are part of a group called Leading Women for Shared Parenting. On our website, we have a statement in support of shared parenting, and I’d like to invite every single woman here to go to the website, LW4SP.org, to sign this statement. I’d like to invite every single gentleman here to ask your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your co-workers, every single female social media friend that you have to sign it; and I’d like to ask Diana Thompson to join me in inviting all these people to come to the website and sign the statement.
(Robert O’Hara:) Okay. We’re going to close—Janet had one thing that she felt was very, very important. We’re going to close with that, to make it really quick …
(Janet Bloomfield:) I want to address the elephant in the room. I think we need to talk about the complete immorality and unacceptability of doxxing radical Islamics who say they’re going to fly planes into buildings and put pressure-cookers at marathons ’cause they’re just kidding …
I had the very great pleasure of reading Agent Orange’s files that he collected from the Radfem Hub. And just from memory, he said he collected screen-caps of things like “Men should be killed, their carcasses flayed and boiled for glue. They should be stabbed, they should be shot; they should be aborted at birth. We should consider developing a virus to exterminate them. Perhaps we could keep them in cages; just maintain ten percent of the population as sperm-donors.”
Yes, we exposed their identity. I think you need to be held accountable when you engage in hate-speech like that. What do we need to happen before it becomes okay to reveal the identities of hatemongers? Yes, we doxx people. And yes, radical feminists should be afraid. If you are going to go into chat forums, and advocate for the extermination of half of humanity, you’re going to answer for it.
(Robert O’Hara:) Paul has some closing remarks, and then we will end the show.
(Paul Elam:) This is somewhat of a moment of sadness. I hate to see this one end, but I’m already looking forward to the next one. Again, I can’t thank the AVfM staff enough. I feel like I have a load of karmic debt on my back from so many volunteers, sacrificing so much so that you could all be comfortable and so that this conference would work. Could I ask for one more round of applause for them?
Thank you for doing that. And there is—I am not even going to try because I don’t have time; there is a list of people so long, in addition, to thank. I just want to thank everybody for getting involved, and for making this thing happen.
I have a couple of ideas I want to express before we close. One is about anger. What we try to do—and I’ll take the heat for it, I’m not perfect at it—but what I really try to do with AVfM, and what our staff tries to do, is to create a safe place for men who have been utterly destroyed to express their frustration and their anger about what’s happening to them because people who can’t talk about it often explode in unhealthy ways. And at the same time, I ask all of you, and this goes for AVfM staff, and readers, and just in your daily lives—there’s a line where even wounded people’s anger crosses into something that is toxic and unhealthy and destructive. And we all have to use our heads to try to discern when somebody’s crossing the line between expressing righteous indignation and tipping the scales in toward hatred and self-destruction. So while we want people to express themselves, we want to help them channel that in a way that will ultimately benefit them and benefit this movement. Luckily, we haven’t had that much of a problem with that.
I want to also respond to something I heard even from the panel, and it’s—I have tremendous admiration for everybody up on this panel, and all the speakers, and the participants in the press conference. But I would disabuse anybody of the notion that there is a radical wing to the Men’s Movement. I would totally reject that idea.
There are certainly some nut cases out on the Internet. That’s no surprise. There are some small forums where people have some really bad ideas. But I have never seen anybody with a prominent audience on men’s issues—ever—make any kind of headway based on hatred or aggression or violence. I’ve never seen it once. This is the most peaceful, rational movement I have ever experienced; and I don’t want to feed into the idea that we have a radical wing that’s a problem. And I trust the people on this panel, and the people in this room, and the people that read our website, that if that started happening, we would come together and put a stop to it.
And, in closing, I just really want to thank all of you again for attending, and I want to ask you to think, as you leave here today—who can you bring with you next year? We want 750 people in attendance at the next International Conference on Men’s Issues. We want to double the size, and a little more, of the people that attended here. This is how we’re going to grow, by getting together.
We’re going to go out and—I went like an old man, went back to my hotel and slept last night, so that I wouldn’t fall asleep at this table during this talk. And I’m glad I did. But I’ve had my five hours of sleep … and I’m ready to have some fun. Dr. T, did you—what, there’s a …
(Tara Palmatier:) Yes. I’ve found a place, it’s down the road from our hotel. First of all, I want to apologize to anybody who went to the Dakota Inn last night; apparently, a small handful of people did, and then everybody else went to the tavern next to the hotel. I’m very sorry, I don’t know what happened.
But there is a place called Malone’s; it’s right down the road from the Marriott, it can accommodate up to 200 people. It’s, you know, traditional beer, pub food, and it would be great if everybody went there. And I’m sorry, but my battery died, so I can’t—and of course, I put the address on my phone, so I can’t pull that up for everyone.
(Paul Elam:) Well, this is the age of smart phones.
One last thing that I can’t neglect to do. We gave Erin Pizzey a Lifetime Achievement Award at our banquet. It was embedded with two silver coins. Many may not know it, but Mr. Vinczer, Peter Vinczer here, is a master designer, has created works of art with his hands in his trade for many, many years; and he dedicated his enormous talent to creating that coin and that award for Erin Pizzey. And I just wanted to say, thank you, sir, for your talents.
See you guys next year.
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