Hillary Clinton and the Sexism Platform

Hillary_Clinton_SexismQuestion: Why is it sexist for men to not vote for Hillary Clinton just because she is a woman … yet it is not sexist for women to vote for Hillary Clinton just because she has a vagina?

The reality is that they are both the same thing.

Of course, that never stopped the media from blatant cases of double-think otherwise. Over at PBS Newshour, correspondent Daniel Bush argues that only if white men refuse to vote for Clinton is it sexism … even while arguing in the exact same article that people should vote for Clinton just because she has a vagina. The irony of using a sexist position to criticize others’ supposed sexism is beyond Mr. Bush, apparently.

This sort of stuff is all over the media right now, and indeed Facebook and Twitter as well.  Even if many people (like myself) don’t want to vote for Hillary because we think she is untrustworthy or conniving or has bad policy positions … none of that matters, refusing to vote for Hillary is an act of sexism. Because – wait for it – you should vote for someone based on what is between their legs. And that, my friends, is the very definition of sexism.

Women_for_Hillary_SexismWhether it be schadenfreude or just plain obliviousness, we have reached a point where being blatantly sexist (but in socially acceptable ways) to criticize someone else for being sexist is now part of the mainstream.  The irony is palpable.

Now, if you read this blog on a regular basis at all, you know I’m not big on using the various -isms as shaming language, it’s mostly a tactic for stifling legitimate debate and/or certain ideas. But the mere fact that the Progressives and SJWs are engaging in the exact behavior they claim to despise (e.g. “Sexism”) should tell you something.

Make no mistake, Hillary herself is playing on this current paradigm. Pulling out the Woman Card when needed to rebuke any man (whether that be Bernie Sanders or Trump or anyone else) who tries to criticize her. Her team is even pumping out the #ImWithHer hashtag. And I predict that will only continue, if not increase, during the general election this fall.

In short, Hillary’s is a sexist platform … built on the idea that we should judge someone based purely on their biological sex. People who vote for Hillary purely because she is a woman are, by definition, sexist. It is not a revocation of sexism, but the embrace of it.

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Feminism: Meaningless Words create Meaningless Ideals

Hitler_Socialist_SandersOne of the interesting things about dating a lot of women is that you very quickly come to realize the amount of verbal-sorcery and word-salad that comes out of many women’s mouths. They often don’t mean what they say, or the things they say are simply a reflection of how they feel at the moment.  Later they will tell you the exact opposite.

The problem is that they use a lot of words and phrases that lack a clear meaning – love, happiness, OMG LOL totes, etc. – you get the idea.

When the words we use have no grounded meaning, when they can be defined as anything by anyone, then we are no longer talking about a tangible thing or fact. Rather, we are talking about feelings.

In parallel, and perhaps not surprisingly, the words used by Feminists and Progressives and SJWs are much the same – common good, patriarchy, social welfare, equality – when we use these words we say nothing at all. We are not communicating meaningful ideas … we are simply expressing our feelings. Or what I like to call “Feels before Reals” …

Even reformed Feminists realize this. It becomes even more blatant when they redefine words with obvious meaning, like “violence”, in ways that render those words meaningless.

Public policy or serious discussion cannot be based on feelings … any more than I base my actions in the dating world on a woman’s feeling words. They are ephemeral and prone to change. They are a reflection of reality, but not reality itself.

In his book Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek pointed out the problem socialists and other collectivists (which the Progressives and Feminists largely fall into) suffer because of their use of meaningless words.  In their drive for greater “equality”, the policies they pursue often ironically create greater inequality. Because they abandon classical Liberal principles that create a self-correcting marketplace of freedoms that derive from competition, and replace that with central planning “committees” that decide what is important and who should get what.

Political freedom derives from economic freedom. Without economic freedom, without the resources to support yourself and your loved ones, none of us are free. And such economic freedom demands competition to fuel it. Or rather, the opportunity to compete.

In its stead, the Progressives and Feminists would dictate your opportunities, and impose gender and race-based quotas. They would strip your economic freedom. All in the name of meaningless words like “common good” and “social justice”. All in the name of ephemeral ideas that serve no one, but hurt everyone. Lest we forget, even the Nazis were originally the National Socialist party …

The first sign that someone has no idea what they are talking about is their use of meaningless words. Remember that.

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The Politics of Fragility

A couple weeks ago, author Michelle Goldberg wrote an excellent article for Slate about how conservatives uncomfortable over the Transgender bathroom issue are co-opting Left-wing rhetoric to push back … for instance releasing a video of female rape and sexual abuse victims describing how men in bathrooms, trans or not, is an instant “trigger” for re-traumatization.

political-correctnessIt’s an irony that even conservatives are now employing “victim mentality” tactics typically used by SJWs and Feminists against them … and in the process highlighting the contradictions of Feminism and Progressivism. To quote Goldberg:

Those contradictions, however, are real. There’s no coherent ideology in which traumatized students have the right to be shielded from material that upsets them—be it Ovid, 9½ Weeks, or the sentiments of Laura Kipnis—but not from undressing in the presence of people with different genitalia. If we’ve decided that people have the right not to feel unsafe—as opposed to the right not to be unsafe—then what’s the standard for refusing that right to conservative sexual abuse victims? Is it simply that we don’t believe them when they describe the way their trauma manifests?

Which underscores the very inherent instability of a strategy relying on the Politics of Fragility … when weakness becomes a corrupted form of strength, then we all suffer for it. Moreover, when our public policy is based more on feelings than logic, then we as a society become paralyzed in making tough decisions, being accountable for our own mistakes, or willingly changing course when needed.

The whole Transgender issue highlights the problem of basing your political platform on such an approach, as Feminists and Progressives and SJWs have done:

Some radical feminists believe that these contradictions should make people on the left reconsider their commitment to trans rights. Certainly, creepy men can and probably will take advantage of trans-friendly bathroom laws to try to prey on women. Shortly after Washington state allowed trans people to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond with their gender identity, a man barged into the women’s locker room at a local pool, announcing, “The law has changed, and I have the right to be here”

The point NOT being whether there is any merit to the risk of sexual assault due to allowing Transgender individuals bathroom access opposite their biological sex. That is debatable. Rather, the point here is that the language being used circumvents our ability to make sound policy decisions. It stifles rather than engages rational debate.

In short, it highlights how the tactics of Feminists/Progressives/SJWs undermine our Western Liberal principles.  Particularly from a Classical Liberal perspective.  In other words, Progressives are NOT liberals.

Another glaring example of the above is Oklahoma’s move last week to pass a bill that requires students in schools to use the bathroom of their assigned biological sex at birth, unless special accommodations are needed for their sincerely held religious beliefs.  Clever, really.

You see, right-wing conservatives are now arguing that people should be able to violate legal or societal norms based on their beliefs. Maybe it’s that they believe in a Christian God … or maybe it’s that they believe they are a woman trapped in a man’s body. There is no way to prove the validity of either belief. So if transgenders can use whatever bathroom they want, why shouldn’t, say, Christians be able to refuse to cater gay weddings or pay for birth control?  It would be hypocritical to argue otherwise.

The whole transgender issue is problematic for Progressives on the far left … because it exposes the weaknesses of adopting the Politics of Fragility as a platform.

politics-of-fragilityIt was interesting to see even President Obama criticize Political Correctness and the fragility of many college students to ideas they disagree with at a commencement speech at Rutgers a couple weeks ago, even though some of the President’s other comments were clearly criticisms aimed at Trump. Nonetheless they highlight the fact that even among mainstream Democrats like Obama, there is some understanding beginning to surface that Progressives and their Politics of Fragility are a real risk to Liberalism and Western Democratic principles.

You can’t simultaneously seek to stifle debate while maintaining that you are merely pushing for more “freedom” … because eventually those same tactics will be turned against you.

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Otherkin – The Transgender Conundrum

otherkin-transgenderThe Politics of the Fringe. Transgenders in public bathrooms, Otherkin, and the like. Despite what conservatives may say, the real problem is not about sexual predators or voyeurs … no the real problem is the practicality of accommodating every tiny minority without impinging on the freedom of the vast majority of people. It is a Classical Liberal problem.

While gays and lesbians make up about 5-7% of the population, those experiencing gender dysphoria only make up about 0.3% of the population, and only a fraction of those actually choose to live life as the opposite sex or undergo hormone therapy or surgical sex change.  As such, we are, in essence talking about an issue that effects maybe 1 out of every 2000 people. Which is a very very small minority.

It is reasonable to ask whether it is really practical for our public policy to accommodate every tiny minority out there. The reality is that it is probably NOT practical.

tocqueville-effectLumping transgenders in with the Gay and Lesbian community is a little intellectually dishonest. Gender dysphoria is a very different issue, and the number of those affected is a tiny fraction. Even many of my gay friends are uncomfortable with including transgenders in the LGB community, because they feel it undermines the legitimacy of their cause.

For instance, there is also a small minority of people who identify as Otherkin. They actually believe they are cats or mermaids trapped in human bodies. Would it also then be reasonable to force Target to put kitty litter in bathrooms for these people?

At some point, you have to accept the fact that we can’t accommodate every tiny minority. Not without disrupting life for the other 99% of people. It is just not practical.

Those who argue it is practical, are arguing for the Doctrine of the Minority.  They are placing vague notions of “equality” over the rights and freedoms of the vast majority of people. Because such “equality” entails measures that are disruptive or create inefficiencies.  It is a veiled yet subtle anti-Liberal stance. Or as Tocqueville argued two centuries ago:

“Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.”

The reality is that you cannot have both complete equality and complete freedom. Those two things are incompatible.

A simple commonsense solution would be to encourage more unisex bathrooms, where possible. Engaging in social shaming of who is “intolerant” of who, or arguing about who should be more “uncomfortable”, is counterproductive.

Moreover, it really shouldn’t be the place of massive corporations like Target and the NCAA to try to force people’s elected representatives to behave in ways they see fit. Such actions undermine the principles of Western Liberal democracy. That power belongs solely to the individual people who elect those representatives.

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Enemy Within – The Danger of a Single Narrative

A couple days ago, writer David Brooks wrote a piece for the New York Times about the Danger of a Single Story.  By that, he was alluding to the notion developing in recent years about the negative consequences of allowing a single dominant narrative to shape the way we view the world and the things we do.

PrintMoreover, he delved into the psychology of why certain individuals feel the need to publicly announce their allegiance to that narrative, what Brooks calls “identity markers”. In that sense, public outrage and SJW facebook memes are not so much about political ideas or oppression or equality, but rather ensuring one’s continued acceptance by “the tribe”.

The reality is that Mr. Brooks is in fact alluding to Virtue Signaling.

If you find you are continually frustrated when you point out the nonsensical double standards or contradictions expressed by certain political affiliations (e.g. progressives or SJWs), like this video about college students thinking it’s okay that a 5’9’’ white guy declares himself a 7-year 6’5’’ Chinese woman … then the problem is that you think you are having a political discussion, when really you are having a social psychology discussion.

It is not about facts and figures … it is about who is in who’s tribe.

Virtue-SignalingA perfect example is two articles published by the Chicago Tribune last week, on the same exact day.

Example 1: Chicago Blackhawks player Andrew Shaw was suspended for making “homophobic” remarks toward a referee after being sent to the penalty box during a heated playoff game. In short, he was upset and called the ref a “faggot” in the heat of the moment. The outrage was immense (including from the Tribune itself), and Shaw later apologized.

Example 2: Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) president Karen Lewis referred to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner as an “ISIS recruit”, inferring that he was a Muslim terrorist. Rauner is a Republican who is pushing for pension and other reforms to solve Illinois’ Bankruptcy crisis. The outrage in this case was minimal. There was no similar censuring from the Tribune as in Shaw’s case.

Here we have two very similar cases of people name-calling others, both at the minimum uncivil, and perhaps offensive to some. Both were uncalled for. Both were using other’s identities as a form of shaming language. Yet one case was seen as socially appropriate, and the other case a platform for moral outrage. Why?

Because one case (CTU Lewis’ comments) was seen as fitting the dominant Cultural Narrative: heterosexual white men are “bad”, guilty of historical sins, and should be labeled as such.

The real danger of such cultural narratives is that when one “single story” (to use David Brooks’ term from above) comes to dominate the discussion, then it warps our sense of right and wrong.  Political decisions and policy choices that need to be based on facts and figures can no longer be done as such. Because we are no longer having a fact-based political discussion … rather we are engaging in acts of social display.

But the real danger is much more insidious … because as any group rises to power, the extremists within their ranks will engage in Totalitarian behavior to try to shape and control the cultural narrative. Snake-eating-tailSocial displays and virtue signaling gradually displace and undermine the positions and ideals which brought you to power in the first place. The principles of your movement become fractured by caricatures and contradictions and increasingly extreme positions. In the end, the undoing of any political movement that achieves power is often its own Totalitarian behavior. Like a snake eating its own tail.

It is the enemy within.

Given the tendency towards such totalitarian behavior and virtue signaling within political movements and  “tribal” affiliations in the modern world, it does raise the question if this process is some sort of natural cycle in the evolution of human groups, nowadays manifested as ideas and political movements. A way for nature to continually shuffle the deck … perhaps the fluidity of human “tribes” both in modern times and prehistory served some evolutionary purpose for promoting greater genetic variance and avoiding the stagnation that might otherwise arise.

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Women’s Soccer – Equal Pay for Unequal Value

tocqueville-effectIt was interesting last week to see the blowup and outrage over the pay of the U.S. women’s soccer team relative to the men. The gist was that women were only making a fraction of what the men do, even though they bring in “more” money. People were furious … equal work for equal pay they raged. Some of the players even filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Of course, that comparison was based only on the 2015 year, when the women’s world cup happened and there was no comparable major men’s tournament for the U.S. team. Over the last 4-year cycle, the men’s team actually brought in more revenue.  Men’s pro soccer (MLS) in the United States also generates more revenue than the women’s pro nba-equal-pay-mythleague (WPSL), same as the NBA making more money than the WNBA, and thus paying its players more. John Smallwood from the Philly Enquirer actually wrote a great piece on this yesterday.  It’s all about market economics. Even the readers of the original USA Today article seemed to understand the discrepancy.

But there is a deeper underlying issue here: that Progressives and SJWs are determined to undermine the Free Market principles that are the basis of a Liberal society, because they misunderstand the difference between work and value.

As a startup founder, I can tell you one thing: People are not paid for the work they do … they are paid for the value they create.  And women’s sports generate less revenue, less value. The whole equal pay for equal work argument is misleading, when really the question is about equal pay for equal value. But the reality is that women are arguing for equal pay for unequal value. That is not equality … it’s just another form of inequality.

Susan-anthony-equal-pay-equal-work-value What was even more disturbing was seeing members of the U.S. men’s team, like Tim Howard, supporting the cause. Rather than standing up for the Liberal principles that America was founded on – the country that he gets paid to represent while playing a children’s game – they caved to the first Progressive rabble-rousers that came around. Is that really a show of respect for women … or merely a show of disrespect for the privilege of representing so many hardworking men and women who are paid for their value doing everyday jobs, value based on a free market economy. Players like Tim Howard apparently support equal pay for unequal value.

The white-knighting is strong with this one …

white-knight-knightingThe real issue is that Mr. Howard doesn’t seem to realize the unintended consequences of what he is supporting. In trying to be “good”, he is promoting new forms of inequality. Screwing over one group to benefit another. In the meantime, Mr. Howard likely doesn’t care personally, as he is at the end of his national team career. Other men will pay the price, and Howard looks like the “good” guy.

Except that he isn’t … he is simply a coward too afraid of the gynocentric female masses to stick up for his fellow man. Or perhaps he is too naïve to understand. Either way, he bites the hand that feeds him.

There is something called the Tocqueville Effect, posited by the great Classical Liberal Alexis de Tocqueville, which states that as social conditions and opportunities improve, social frustration grows faster. People become disconnected from the value of the work they do, or the safety they have. Outrage Culture takes over. In short, greater social “equality” often precipitates greater social unrest.

alexis-de-tocquevilleWhen we see people misunderstanding that pay is based on value (in the U.S. women team’s case), and that there are unintended consequences for supporting equal pay for unequal value (in Mr. Howard’s case) … we are in fact seeing two sides of the same coin.

And they both lie at the crux, the disconnect, between what is Liberalism and what is Progressivism. Both of them support a form of inequality – even though members of either group would vehemently argue that they don’t – the difference is simply that classical Liberals support a form of inequality based on value or merit (i.e. meritocracy) whereas Progressives support a form of inequality based on group identity.

And if you say, wait, don’t extreme right-wingers, Nazis and fascists and the like, support inequality based on group identity? I would simply direct you to Horseshoe Theory. The only difference between the extreme right-wing and the extreme left-wing (i.e. Progressives) is which groups should be made to suffer.

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