Last December I was pleasantly surprised when I received my annual tax bill from Dallas County. Wondering how much they wanted to charge me for the privilege of living in my own home in 2015, I opened the envelope and discovered that my tax bill had shrunk to almost zero. My new senior citizen exemption, when added to my standard homestead exemption for my modest residence, all but zeroed out my tax liability; my tax bill dropped from $1,600 to $70.
Well, the senior citizen exemption was apparently designed to protect retired people living on reduced incomes. No one wants to see old folks evicted from their homes because they can’t afford to pay their taxes. So the policy makes sense.
But I’m still working full-time. In truth, I can afford to pay my tax bill this year as easily as I did last year or the year before, or every year going all the way back to when I first bought the house. So in the interest of fairness and social justice, I wrote a check for $1,600 to Dallas County anyway.
I relate this personal anecdote as an introduction to the topic of passive or default feminism. It’s human nature to go along with what benefits you. For almost all people at all times in history, life is hard, so anything that ameliorates the human condition – or more to the point, your human condition – is desirable. If you don’t watch out for your own self-interest, by definition, nobody else can.
In my case, Dallas County didn’t respond to my pleas for tax relief because I didn’t make any. If the powers that be want to assume I am underprivileged because of my age, I’ll not argue with them. Clearly, I will be in a privileged situation till I choose to retire. In the meantime, don’t expect me to check my privilege. It wouldn’t be in my self-interest.
By extension, in the realm of identity politics, it’s unrealistic to expect any identifiable group to advocate anything that goes against its own interests. But it’s considered bad form for a “privileged” group to promote a policy that enhances its own self-interest. Tribes that are classified as victimized or protected classes are given more leeway.
Of course, which groups are privileged and which are underprivileged is a matter of perception, opinion, or habit. Groups and individuals who complain the most are not necessarily the ones who have the most to complain about. The squeaky wheels get all the grease, at least up to the point the wheels slide off and everything grinds to a halt.
For so-called oppressed groups, it’s good public relations to have outliers advocating for your tribe, so your advocacy doesn’t appear too self-serving. Denying your self-interest is the ultimate form of virtue signaling. That’s one reason the presence of manginas is so important to feminism. On the other hand, the presence of female MRAs is a big PR boost to the manosphere, accusations of internalized misogyny notwithstanding.
While it is helpful to have outsiders playing an auxiliary role in identity politics, it is even more important to wrap some social justice justification around a group’s advocacy policies. You know the drill, feminism will benefit men as well as women. Not just in our society, but globally! It’s a win-win situation! So how can you be against it?
Well, one of the tenets of realpolitik is that there are no laws or policies that are good for everyone. Some individuals and groups will always benefit more than others. So whenever a politician or spokesman asserts that a new law or policy is good for all of us, beware.
The overwhelming majority of people are not activists, political junkies, or policy wonks. They are too busy living their lives and would prefer to be left alone. As Thomas Jefferson put it in The Declaration of Independence, “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” In other words, inertia is the default.
Sometimes, however, those evils grow to be insufferable because the minority of people who are activists, political junkies, or policy wonks get their way and gain power over the masses, thus prodding them to push back.
The case of feminism is a curious one, since half of humanity is female, yet only a small minority of women identify as feminists. The majority of women don’t stage violent demonstrations, propagate agitprop, or engage in guerilla theater, but they don’t oppose any of the policies those activities promote. After all, those female-only scholarships or affirmative action policies or quotas might have helped them, or might help them some day. So a young woman will passively support feminism by doing nothing because it just might help her and couldn’t possibly harm her, or could it? Remember, there is no social policy that benefits every group across the board, or every individual in an “official” oppressed group.
For example, imagine a young married woman hoping to start a family. Her husband is up for a big promotion but the big shots at his corporation have a – pardon the expression – gentleman’s agreement that the job opening will be earmarked for a woman. So the hoped-for bump in family income doesn’t happen, and the young married woman has to postpone that bundle of joy.
Or consider a woman married to a man falsely accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. He loses his job, immediately throwing family finances into chaos, perhaps long-term, depending on how long it takes him to find a comparable job.
Particularly instructive is the famous case of Judith Grossman, a New York lawyer whose college student son was accused of rape and denied due process. She came to the aid of her son but didn’t stop there. Along with Allison Strange, Jean Barish, and Sherry Warner-Seefeld, she founded FACE (Families Advocating for Campus Equality). These three women also had sons who had fallen victim to the tyranny of feminism.
The tyrant’s old excuse is “If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.” Most women will respond to this Stalinist dictum with, “Not with my eggs!” In other words, not with my offspring. Feminism hurt the FACE founders individually by going after their eggs that had been fertilized and developed into young adult males. These women had a vested interest in the welfare of their sons, and maintaining (or enhancing) a vested interest is a powerful motivator.
A false accusation can get a beloved son kicked out of college and ruin his future job prospects, thus diminishing his ability to support a family. Even if a young man is vindicated, he will likely be wary of further involvement with women. Either way, the chances of his ever siring children will take a nosedive. Most mothers want to make the transition to grandmothers, and feminism is no help to them in this regard.
Also, the rah-rah women atmosphere at colleges has resulted in a majority of female students, which has hampered their campus social lives just when their sexual marketplace value is peaking. In a society obsessed with credentials, women who acquire the desired academic credentials will obtain more high-paying jobs, thus leaving fewer high-paying jobs for men.
To a great extent, family feasibility depends on a husband with resources or, at least, prospects of same. It’s always been this way. For men, their income plays a significant role in their sexual market value; for women, their earnings is a minor (if not negative) aspect of their SMV. So as the prospects for women’s professional lives soar, their prospects for a family life plummet. Older women desirous of grandchildren might want to rethink all that institutional feminism. The more men with good-paying jobs, the most potential husbands for their daughters, and the better their chances for grandchildren.
So how many individual women harmed by feminism does it take to cancel out the benefits they derive from being part of the collective? Feminism is far more helpful to well-connected, well-to-do, single, never-married, career women than to women wanting to get married and start families. I don’t see any groundswell of young girls seeking to roll back feminism. Eventually, there may be a tipping point, say, a critical mass of unmarried, childless women who have discovered that working for a living isn’t nearly as rewarding as they thought it would be. But for now, passive feminism rules.
And that brings us back to the issue of my privileged status regarding property taxes. My virtual removal from the property tax rolls for a year or two or three doesn’t make much difference in local tax revenues since there are more than 2.5 million people in Dallas County. My contribution isn’t even a drop in the bucket; it’s more like a molecule. The future of Dallas County is not endangered.
But suppose half the taxpayers in the county enjoyed my privileged situation. Then the county is in trouble. And when society gives special privileges to half its members, i.e., females, then society is in trouble. Once granted, privileges are difficult to rescind, from groups or individuals.
For sure, I wouldn’t be happy if Dallas County took away my privileged tax status. I guess I should feel guilty because I no longer pay my fair share to support the local public school system. Now my fellow taxpayers have to make up for my shortfall, and those social studies textbooks riddled with SJW propaganda aren’t cheap.
Maybe that’s why I don’t feel guilty.