12 Feb 2017

Karen Straughan's "Why I Am Not A Feminist"

Groundwork For The Metaphysics of MGTOW: In this video I respond to Karen Straughan's "Why I am not a feminist" which I consider a spiritual response video to my "On The Absence of Anti-Feminism in the Anti-Feminist community."
Hey everybody, Marcus here.
Not too long ago I put out a video entitled “On The Absence of Anti-Feminism in the Anti-Feminist Community.” This video received absolutely no formal responses from anyone within the anti-feminist community that I am aware of. Further evidence of this is that I have not had any detracting comments in my video. Had there been some response done by an anti-feminist that I was not aware of, I would have suspected that some train of anti-feminists would have appeared in the comments to, at least, accuse me of not understanding the anti-feminist community. However, nothing of the sort has happened.
Now, what is interesting is that Karen Straughan uploaded a video entitled “Why I am not a feminist.” Karen describes how another of the Honey Badgers thought it would be a good idea if the Honey Badgers each put out a video on this subject. When I listened to Karen’s video, I grew very suspicious as to the original motivating reason for its existence. The timing is appropriate for a response video. But what makes me even more suspicious is that the structure of Karen’s video is in very many places reflective of my own. She takes the same argumentative route of first establishing the foundational beliefs underpinning feminism as she sees it. Karen references the declaration of sentiments, quoting the same section as I did and uses that to justify a slightly different foundational belief than I did. She uses similar language in terms of formal argumentation. This language is so pronounced in Karen’s video that she goes so far as to number her premises; a practice I often do but do not recall her doing so.
Though the use of this formal argumentative language is nothing special to me personally, it is strange for a video from Karen as I do not recall her every using such language in her other videos. Another subtle hint as to the alien nature of this language is that Karen subtly hesitates and stumbles in one or two spots when using it. This is something that happens to me when I read out text that uses language I am not used to; such as when quoting philosophers. I perceived the same effect with Karen.
Next, she uses the same analogies as I did. More specifically, that of religion. Now, none of this necessitates that Karen’s video is a veiled response to mine. However, as her video so closely resembles my own and addresses the same subject, I consider it a spiritually valid response video. As Karen presents a case that, on the surface seems to undermine my own argument, I feel it is important to further bolster what I had established in my original video. As such, I will be conducting this video as a response to Karen’s video with the presumption that her video is not a response to mine but merely a coincidence.
As a side note, since I started writing this script, a MGTOW channel, entitled “The Backlash’ has put out a direct response video to mine. The argument in this formal response from “The Backlash” is similar enough to Karen’s video so what I am about to argue for in this video will be apply to “The Backlash” as well.
Now, the first thing to note is that Karen’s video offers a version of the argument I had crafted which seems to suggest that anti-feminists indeed deserve the name of anti-feminists and indeed are attempting to refute the foundational belief of feminism. Karen is clever in how she builds up her case. However, I believe and will attempt to demonstrate, that she ultimately fails in building a case that can avoids the conclusion that the premise “Women are equal to men” must be rejected by anyone claiming to be an anti-feminist.
Karen’s argument does not tackle this issue head on, nor does she even bring up this premise at all. What I will do is first present to you a short version of Karen’s core argument and then expand on its position within the grander scheme.
Karen begins by quoting from the declaration sentiments. “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.”
She uses this as the justification to support 2 conclusions. Firstly, that feminism, since the 1850s, has held the thesis of patriarchy theory. This entails that none of the waves of feminism are legitimate candidates for believing that their core belief is that “women are equal to men.” The second conclusion Karen draws is that patriarchy theory is the foundational belief underpinning feminism from the start.
Now, if this is true, then anti-feminists, to deserve the name of anti-feminist, would be attempting to demonstrate that the patriarchy as formulated by feminism does not obtain. Do anti-feminist argue against the feminist notion of the patriarchy? I would posit that they indeed do and would grant them this premise without any challenge.
Karen then goes on to provide a little more exposition and formally establishes the foundation of feminism with the following three premises:
1. That society, currently and historically, is patriarchal
2. That patriarchy is a social system wherein men hold the majority of the economic, social, and political power and women are largely excluded from it, resulting in
3. Systemic male privilege and the systemic oppression of women.
The remainder of Karen’s video does two things. Firstly, it derives some conclusions that are entailed based on these three premises she puts forward. Three of the entailments she cites are:
1. Advocacy for male genocide
2. Rape as part of a male campaign to keep women subjugated and terrorized
3. Women’s oppression of men as the blueprint for all other forms of human exploitation and conflict
Now, whether or not these conclusions can actually be derived from the original 3 premises is irrelevant. These 3 entailments from the foundational beliefs Karen sites are what Karen says feminists believe is entailed. Let us grant these 3 entailments. Their purpose in this video are less relevant in their substantive meaning as they are in terms of their structural position inside a formal argument. The second thing that Karen does in her video is to attack the 3 foundational feminist beliefs she has put forward.
Now, what I want to do now is show to you in a formal argumentative structure what these three foundational beliefs would look like when coupled with their entailments.
P1: That society, currently and historically, is patriarchal
P2: That patriarchy is a social system wherein men hold the majority of the economic, social, and political power and women are largely excluded from it, resulting in
P3: Systemic male privilege and the systemic oppression of women.
C1: Advocacy for male genocide
C2: Rape as part of a male campaign to keep women subjugated and terrorized
C3: Women’s oppression of men as the blueprint for all other forms of human exploitation and conflict
Now, there are two ways in which someone can defeat an argument. In the first case, one can demonstrate that the conclusions do not follow the premises which renders the argument invalid. However, if the argument is valid, then one may demonstrate that one of the premises is false. Karen takes the second approach. She attempts to demonstrate that premise 3 is false.
What is important is that we very clearly understand the structure of the feminist argument. Now, the question comes up. Where do premises 1, 2, and 3, of the feminist argument come from? Well, earlier Karen argues that they originate from the declaration of sentiments. Though it is true that these 3 premises are in a way logically entailed from the language of the declaration of sentiments, we are still left with the question; why would the declaration of sentiments contain assertions that lead to these 3 premises that Karen provides? What justifies those claims?
Well, we can say that they are supported by the 16 brute facts cited as evidence within the declaration of sentiments.
So, what we end up seeing is that the 3 beliefs that Karen asserts are the foundation of feminism were in fact the conclusion of another argument. Karen says something to that light when she describes feminist patriarchy theory as a diagnosis she does not agree with.
If this is the case, then we can reposition the 3 foundational feminist beliefs as the conclusion to the 16 brute facts contained in the declaration of sentiments as premises.
This will look as follows:
P1: He has not ever permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
P2: He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
P3: He has withheld her from rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men—both natives and foreigners.
P4: Having deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
P5: He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
P6: He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
P7: He has made her morally, an irresponsible being, as she can commit many crimes with impunity, provided they be done in the presence of her husband. In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master—the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement
P8: He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women—the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of a man, and giving all power into his hands.
P9: After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
P10: He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employments, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.
P11: He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction, which he considers most honorable to himself. As a teacher of theology, medicine, or law, she is not known.
P12: He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education—all colleges being closed against her.
P13: He allows her in church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.
P14: He has created a false public sentiment by giving to the world a different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but deemed of little account in man.
P15: He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and her God.
P16: He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.
C1: That society, currently and historically, is patriarchal
C2: That patriarchy is a social system wherein men hold the majority of the economic, social, and political power and women are largely excluded from it, resulting in
C3: Systemic male privilege and the systemic oppression of women.
Now, though the individual premises and conclusions are not strictly constructed in a manner to warrant a formal argumentative form, it is important to do so to communicate my point. You see, this formal form shows us something interesting.
The premises leading up to the conclusions that Karen wishes to assert as the foundation of feminist beliefs, in the way I have put forward, yield an argument that is both invalid and therefore unsound. However, if we add 1 more premise, a 17th premise, it could be demonstrated that the argument in the declaration of sentiments is both valid and sound. The 17th premise is what I have defined as the fundamental belief of feminism. Namely, the premise that “Women are equal to men.”
You see, the first 16 premises in the feminist argument for patriarchy are simply descriptive claims about the relation that has taken place between men and women throughout history. If you read these 16th premises as brute facts, they hold no significant entailment. You could read those 16 premises and say: ‘So what? I don’t get what the problem is.‘
However, if you add the claim that “Women are equal to men” as the 17th premise, you are immediately forced to ask the question “If it is the case that women are equal to men, then what is the justification for unequal treatment and outcomes?” After all, Aristotle made it clear that logically one ought to treat like as like. One gold bar ought to be treated like another gold bar as it would be irrational to treat them differently.
Now, the premise that “Women are equal to men” is also contained within the declaration of sentiments. In fact, like I said in my original video, it is the key premise upon which all feminist theory rests. The first 16 premises can be granted as true since they are true and are merely brute facts. However, when you add the 17th premise, the argument as a whole necessitates the feminist conclusion of the patriarchy. As such, feminist patriarchy theory necessarily follows from the brute facts of the 16 original premises and the 17th premise asserting equality.
If this is true, then you cannot accept the premises as true but reject the conclusions which are entailed from them. What Karen does is reject the conclusions of the feminist argument from the declaration of sentiments but makes no obvious attempt at a formal refutation. As we said earlier, a formal refutation requires you to either demonstrate that the conclusions do not follow from the premises or to demonstrate one of the premises false.
Now that I have outlined the structure of both Karen’s and the feminist argument, let us streamline the feminist argument and show how Karen’s argument relates to the feminist argument and how my argument relates to the feminist argument.
As we can see, where I go about showcasing the feminist argument, and taking the strategy of attacking one of the core premises of the feminist argument, and therefore attempting a direct refutation of feminist patriarchy theory. Karen, on the other hand takes the conclusions of the feminist argument as premises and infers further conclusions. After determining that the entailments of the conclusion of the feminist argument are absurd, she then attacks feminists for not sufficiently empirically demonstrating the claim of male oppression of women.
Now, how would a feminist defend against Karen’s attack? Well, she would need to present to Karen the feminist argument that as its conclusion has patriarchy theory. If the feminist argument holds true, then Karen is bound, under the punishment of irrationality, to accept the concept of feminist patriarchy theory and all those further entailments that follow from patriarchy theory.
Now, here is the thing. The feminist does not need to show any empirical evidence of patriarchy theory directly. She only needs to demonstrate that premises upon which patriarchy theory rests are true, and that patriarchy theory logically follows from those premises. As we have seen that the first 16 premises of the declaration of sentiments, as brute facts, are for the most part already acknowledged as true even by anti-feminists, it can be presumed that the necessary evidence Karen wants, she for the most part already agrees exists, and accepts.
After all, can anyone deny that it used to be the case that women were forbidden from voting in times men were allowed? Can it be denied that women, in aggregate, earn less money than men? No, the brute facts cannot be denied. What remains is the explanation as to why they obtain.
Feminists account for these brute facts through patriarchy theory. They argue that if these brute facts obtain, and women are equal to men, then it follows that only the oppression of women can account for them. Anti-feminists argue for a different account of why these brute facts obtain. As far as the wage gap is concerned, anti-feminists account for the different choices women make, years worked, hours spent at work and so on. For every brute fact of perceived inequality, the feminist asserts oppression while the anti-feminist asserts differences between the sexes.
But the anti-feminist strategy of arguing for an alternate theory to patriarchy has a common theme. Each anti-feminist argument for accounting for a brute fact of inequality is also an argument in refutation of the premise that “women are equal to men.”
Absent premise 17 of the feminist argument, namely, that “women are equal to men”, alternative accounts to explain the brute facts of premise 1 through 16 can emerge. The case remains, that it is impossible to keep the premise that “women are equal to men” and be able to provide an alternative account to patriarchy theory. MGTOW acknowledge this and I defended exactly this thesis in my video discussing the lack of anti-feminism in the anti-feminist community.
Anti-feminists must assert the statement “women are equal to men” as false as a necessary premise in order to build any alternative account to patriarchy theory of any of the perceived inequalities between men and women. And implicitly, anti-feminists do so; whether it is a difference in life choice, brain differences, the issue of pregnancy, or any other assertion of clear biologically driven differences between men and women.
However, they want to keep this implicit premise secret. Openly they are all some form of egalitarian and overtly and openly assert the premise that “women are equal to men” is true. However, their argumentation implicitly necessitates the opposite to be the case!
The feminist argument for patriarchy theory is valid and sound if and only if the brute facts of premises 1-16 are true, or some variant of them, and if “women are equal to men” is a true statement. Anti-feminists overly acknowledge some version of the first 16 premises of the feminist argument and they overtly assert the premise that “women are equal to men” is true. As this is the case, they necessarily must accept, under the punishment of irrationality, that feminist patriarchy theory is true. As anti-feminists are logically bound to accept that feminist patriarchy theory is true, then it follows that anti-feminists believe what Karen has described as the foundational beliefs of feminism and are in fact feminists and not anti-feminists of any sort.
To escape this conclusion, Karen and other anti-feminists would need to continue arguing as they have as to alternative accounts to patriarchy theory, but also overtly begin to reject the premise that “women are equal to men.” MGTOW do this. MGTOW accept the anti-feminist arguments which provide an alternative to patriarchy theory, but are honest in overtly expressing the necessary premises that justify anti-feminist arguments. Namely, that in fact, women are not equal to men. Alternatively, if anti-feminists wish to keep the premise that women are equal to men, they must supply an account of the brute facts that does not reach to differences between men and women as the justification. This alternative account must also not result in patriarchy theory. This I posit, is not possible. I believe that there is no alternative account of the brute facts than feminist patriarchy theory if the premise that women are equal to men holds true.
Now, I can anticipate one rebutting statement that I have heard come from Sargon before. He retains this idea of “equal does not mean the same.” I believe this is an exercise of double think on the part of anti-feminists as far as I can see anti-feminists use this sound bite. However, there is a way of exploring this concept without succumbing to complete incoherence.
Often it is the case that when we speak of equality between people, the question “equal in what?” comes up. Now, we can take on a variety of qualifiers to tack onto the word equality in order to narrow down and make this concept intelligible. We can say that women and men are equal in intelligence but not equal in strength or height and so on. However, when the term equality is applied to men and women, it tends to be used in the unqualified sense. As in, “women are equal to men unqualified.” But what is that sense supposed to convey exactly? Well, I believe the term “women are equal to men” is supposed to carry within itself the same sense we get from the statement “small eared people are equal to big eared people.” Though clearly big eared people are not the same as small eared people due to, if for no other reason, then one group has big earns while the other has small earns. In all the other important senses, we get from the meaning of the word equality, that big eared people appear to be equal to small eared people unqualified. In this way, big eared people are equal but not the same as small eared people.
This is exactly the sense I believe the term “women are equal to men” is meant to convey. It is meant to acknowledge the physical differences between men and women, but to place those physical differences into a category that in fact has no meaningful bearing on our judgement of whether or not one is equal to the other. This sense entails that for those things that are different between men and women, those differences are too trivial to warrant attention. However, there is a secondary sense in which the word equality is used which is implied simultaneously.
This second sense deals with descriptive attribution. When we say “women are equal to men” we are making a descriptive statement. We are saying something factual, something grounded in reality. This sense of the word equality is the same sense we have when we say that apples are red. We are stating a moral judgement free brute fact.
When you combine these two senses in the assertion that “women are equal to men” you can then infer other descriptive statements about the world such as:
1. Women are as intelligent as men.
2. Women are as motivated as men.
3. Women are as funny as men.
4. Women are as capable as men.
And on and on. These sort of descriptive brute fact claims about men and women can iterate across any and every qualifier to the word equality. However, reality won’t play along. Women cannot be asserted to be on par with men in a large number of qualifiers. Since reality will not play along, the unqualified use of the word equality begins to break down. MGTOW merely assert that for a large number of descriptive qualifiers one may apply to the word equality as it pertains to men and women, turn out to be completely false. In fact, the list is so long that there is no justification in asserting the unqualified statement of “women are equal to men.” Simply put, the word equality is inappropriate as it would lose all its inherent meaning.
Now, there is a completely difference sense in which the phrase “women are equal to men” can be interpreted. Instead of looking at men and women descriptively, we can look at them morally. In the moral sense, the statement can be interpreted “women are morally equivalent to men” where, moral equality can be understood as prescribing treatment of persons as equals. For example, with equal concern and respect. In other words, women ought to be treated as if they are equal to men.
Now, this moral sense has more merit to it than the descriptive sense. However, there are still serious snags to this interpretation. You see, the problem shows up when you mix atheism with the anti-feminist position. As most if not all anti-feminists are atheists, these problems will pertain to them in using the moral sense when discussing equality. You see, without God, there is no way of justifying a claim that human beings have any inherent moral worth at all. Since there is no inherent moral worth, as in, all human beings are created equal in the eyes of God is not a valid justification, then there is no reason to treat anyone at all as having moral worth much less that men and women should treat each other with equal moral worth. No, under a secular composition of morality, I am justified in discriminating against anyone for any reason and be perfectly morally justified in doing so. In fact, there would be no reason for me not to behave this way other than some fear of punishment. As the statement “women are equal to men” in the moral sense under the atheist position is merely asserted, it can be just as easily rejected.
But even if we do not reject the existence of God, we are not free to take the statement ‘women are equal to men’ at face value. God sets forth the natural order of things. God has authority over man, man has authority over women, women have authority over children. As authority flows from top to bottom, so does obedience flow from bottom to top. So, in the natural hierarchy, children obey women, women, obey men, and men obey God. The sort of moral equality that exists under the theist account is a metaphysical equality and not a physical one. This mean, that the souls that men and women have are equal in the eyes of God, but there still is no equality as it pertains to the corporeal manifestations of men and women.
So, we are left with the following situation. Equality between men and women cannot be justified in the descriptive sense. Equality between men and women cannot be justified even in the metaphysical sense absent God. Present God, metaphysical equality can be justified but natural hierarchy must be respected.
So, to summarize, my argument goes as follows. There is no account of the 16 brute facts presented in the declaration of sentiments that does not entail feminist patriarchy theory if indeed the premise that “women are equal to men” is true. As such, in order to reject patriarchy theory, one must necessarily reject the premise that “women are equal to men.”
Therefore, in order for someone to call them self an anti-feminist and deserve the name, they must reject the premise that “women are equal to men.” As anti-feminists overtly assert that the premise “women are equal to men” is true and that the 16 brute fact premises from the declaration of sentiments are true, they necessarily, under the punishment of irrationality, believe that feminist patriarchy theory is true. Therefore, anti-feminists hold the same foundation beliefs as feminists. Therefore, anti-feminists are identical to feminists.
Now, Karen did herself a bit of a disservice at one point in the video. She set out a standard of evidence for feminists to meet in relation to patriarchy theory that I believe is virtually unattainable given the subject matter. She does this at around the 18 minute 15 second mark in her video. However, as she has done this, and assuming she is not a hypocrite, I can in turn demand from her that same standard in justifying the premise that “women are equal to men.”
So, Karen, by your own words, I don’t believe the foundational premise that “women are equal to men”. The case has not been proven to my satisfaction. For anti-feminists to convince me that this foundational premise is true in its descriptive sense, this premises would need to be subjected to sincere, rigorous, unsuccessful attempts at falsification. To definitive disconfirmation of a null hypothesis and disconfirmation of any and all alternative hypotheses that could explain the universality of gender roles, and the pervasiveness of patrilineal family structures, and gender distribution of authority, and division of labor in all known societies that have achieved the status of civilizations.
And I will add one more burden into the mix. If anti-feminists want to dismiss that “women are equal to men” is true in the descriptive sense but retain this assertion is true in the moral sense, then, given the atheist disposition of most anti-feminists, I would also need to see some form of justification first establishing the objective moral worth of human beings to begin with, and then moral equivalency between men and women. And no, saying that men and women are both human beings is not sufficient in establishing anything as the category of human being is as arbitrary a point to pick as saying that humans and squirrels are morally equivalent because they are both animals; or animals and rocks are both morally equivalent because they are both matter.
Now, I expect that the defense of the premise “women are equal to men” will rally defenders from all factions equivalently. The reason for this is that the rejection of this premise has a much more serious consequence that just some bickering with feminists. The rejection of this premise undermines the modernist conception of justice. Modernity saw the synonymizing of the concept of equality with the concept of justice. Of course, such a conflation is artificial, but has served as a basis for both moral and political theory since at least the French Revolution. As such, the stakes are high as they put into question, once again, the modern project as a whole.
But that is a topic for another video. For now:
Thanks for listening,
Go Team!

My Original Video: On The Absence Of Anti-Feminism In The Anti-Feminist Community

Karen Straughan's "Why I am not a feminist" video:

The Backlash! Response Video


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