Posted by: bkivey | 20 May 2010

Rage Against the Machine

While noodling around on the Net a few days ago I came across a link to something completely unrelated to the reason for being where I was. But as many know, some of the most interesting knowledge comes from the journey as much as the destination. I followed the link and stumbled on a world inhabited by some of the most benighted people on the planet. I am talking here about self-identified radical lesbian feminists.

The blog I followed the link to is run by a person that describes herself as a multiracial lesbian feminist, which gives me three strikes right off the bat and, judging from her posts, unworthy of even the most basic civility. I read some of her posts and then followed some links on her blogroll to gain a wider perspective. Except that there isn’t really a wider perspective to gain. The half-dozen blogs I read were so similar in tone, use of political tropes, organizational involvement, political view, and personal background that they all could have been written by the same person. One doesn’t have to read for too long before the writer’s response to just about any challenge becomes entirely predictable. The phrase “white-male dominated patriarchy” seems to be the universal response/excuse/reason to any challenge or anything these folks don’t happen to like, and I couldn’t find any aspect of society that they agreed with. They seem to be universally angry at everything.

Some of the common elements in this subculture appear to be:

  • A hatred of men, especially white men. I’m not talking about a dislike, or the desire that most women have for men to stop acting like jerks on occasion, but passionate burning hatred. It takes a lot of effort to be this angry.
  • A belief that normal male-female relations: dating, marriage, friendship, hell, even work relationships, are all examples of male domination and oppression of women. This is probably news to the vast majority of women, but I’m sure that those women would be portrayed as politically unenlightened and socially naive.
  • A perception that every problem in the world is a result of the, say it with me, ‘white-male dominated patriarchy’. The bloggers I read live in Australia, England, and the U.S., three of the most liberal societies on the planet, indeed, in human history. None of the bloggers seems to have the slightest sense of irony about enjoying their liberties in societies founded and generally run by, um, white males.
  • The general solution for the world’s problems seems to be to replace the current white-male power structure with a woman-centric oligarchy. Like many radicals, they want to replace a system they perceive as oppressive with another oppressive system, except that different people will be oppressed, and they will be in charge, so that makes it OK.
  • They all seem to have at least an undergraduate education, and most of them have advanced degrees. Of the bloggers that mentioned their academic achievements, their degrees all had the word ‘studies’ in them. Degrees that have to do with ‘studies’ are not noted for their academic rigor or their ability to secure the holder a good job, or any job. And we know how hard it is for a woman to get into a good school and earn an advanced degree in a white-male dominated patriarchy; oh wait, that wasn’t the case for these folks.
  • They are all long-winded to the point of tiresomeness. The commenters especially spend a lot of time justifying themselves and belaboring their points. One commenter wrote a 2600 word response (I checked). They all write like they are walking on eggshells through a minefield in hopes of appearing supportive and inoffensive. It’s a hopeless cause. Unless you fit the blogger’s narrow interpretation of the world and their preconceived notions you’re in for a world of pain.

I mentioned that these folks are benighted because they truly do walk in darkness. They think that they carry a light and see further than others but they really live in a box of self-constructed walls. One could say that about any fringe group but I know of no other subculture that actively hates and does their best to alienate half the human race. Nor do I know of any radical group that has its values legitimized in the institutions of the very society they would like to destroy, in this case in the women’s, ethnic, and gender studies departments of universities.

And they are so earnest. There is no humor in these people at all, and I would argue that a sense of humor is necessary to maintain sanity in a world that quite often is not rational. I would further argue that a sense of humor is a sign of maturity. But for the radical feminists every word or gesture is a slight, every action an offense. They pride themselves on making a difference by attending rallys or women’s workshops or similar participatory but ultimately ineffectual efforts. I never see these folks taking on real challenges like going to, say, Saudi Arabia, and demonstrating against the oppression of women under Islam. Hell, they don’t even picket the embassies of countries in which real oppression of women takes place. Instead, they sit in their comfortable Western societies with their expensive Western educations and piss and moan about the very societies that afford them more opportunity than women have ever enjoyed.

I am not a mental health care practitioner but I have to wonder how otherwise intelligent people can become so irrational. My thinking is that they never learned to deal with change. The journey from child to adult is filled with change, much of it the shattering of illusion. There really isn’t a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. People and animals die.  Not everyone is trustworthy. You are not the center of the universe. The world was here a long time before you arrived and will be here for a long time after you’re gone. Change is a constant.

So perhaps some deep betrayal and the inability to cope with change causes some people to look for a scapegoat on which they can pin their anger at the world for not conforming to their wishes. I can’t imagine living a life where I am so angry all the time that I can’t enjoy God’s creation and the possibilities in it. I especially can’t imagine being that disaffected in a society in which the necessities of life are relatively easy to come by and opportunities abound.

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