I was making my rounds of the internet cesspool tonight (I like to keep abreast of what is going on in the camps of my ideological enemies) and came across a few posts on a Men’s Rights Movement site that I will not name but that shares a name with a famous Fantasy Film (Peter Jackson should sue them for defaming the name of his magnificent creation) that made me stop in my tracks and literally laugh out loud.
First though, a quick aside. What is the “Men’s Rights Movement”? I’m glad you asked. The Men’s Rights Movement is the latest permutation of the ever present “community” (for lack of a better term) of men who enjoy to whine to each other about their lack of getting sex, their acumen at writing wikipedia sourced nonsense whose hilarious premises were articulated much more creatively by Rush Limbaugh 15 years ago, and their general fear of anything that would expose them as the scared, spineless insecure-in-their-own-skin-and-masculinity schlubs that they really are. Or in other words they are Tim Allen’s character on Home Improvement only better at Call of Duty and with more ‘roid rage (at least the ones who do not weigh 345 lbs after taking a dump).
But back to the point
I found two articles on the MRA website that caught my attention, much in the same way a freshly laid turd on a marble floor will catch your attention, and I was moved to respond on here because I love intelligently trolling fools. The first article was written by someone who calls himself “Roosh” whose Napoleon complex has reached the stage where he is growing epaulettes out of his shoulders. This piece of work has convinced himself he is the leader of a movement of abused and misunderstood men who are only trying to reclaim the “inherent” rights as men. Here is an actual quote that was not, I swear to Jebus, was not written by the Onion
“This is not the time to make a stand. Conditions are not ripe for an open-air battle. Instead we must continue finding men who already lean red pill instead of trying to convert blue pillers [sic]. There are many men in gaming and bodybuilding spheres that would be open to our message”
Another brief aside: the “red pill/blue pill” dichotomy on display here is a blatant rip off (and simplification to the point of inanity) of the plot device used in The Matrix films to visualize a choice between self-delusion and “the Real” (if you want to get all Lacan about it…and I love to). Roosh has turned this concept into a “with or against us” black and white moral choice that marks the distinction between “real men” (i.e. men who agree with his arguments) and “betas”, or, anyone who respects women as equals or do not see getting sex through manipulation as a goal worth striving for. Suffice it to say he has a good time tenderizing that particular deceased equine. “Roosh” is a decent writer, by the often sketchy standards of internet blogging, and he at least tries to remain consistent with his own ideological rhetoric, and he seems to see himself as the leader of a “movement”, a government under siege that may one day strike out against the boogieman he has created i.e. the rest of secular civil society.
I think you can see where this is going…this group is pretty much a space for men to engage in philosophical and political mutual masturbation. Nothing can prove their arguments wrong because their ideas are priori correct and confirmed by their own particular biases that they carry from hating and fearing a world that is slowly becoming less hostile to the interests of women. It is the same sort of mentality displayed by modern day Randian Libertarians and Austrian School economic cultists: if I cannot do exactly what I want, when I want to, how I want to and without any consideration for the needs and concerns of other individuals and the rest of society then I am being “repressed” and “persecuted”. There is nothing new here besides the novel popular culture inspired ideological language and internet savvy. Evidence against their points of view is discounted as “feminist propaganda” because it is evidence against them, and the less an argument is taken seriously by the rest of society is confirmation of its truth. This is pretty much the conspiracy theory mindset…which brings us to the second article in question.
In the wake of Elliot Rodger’s entitlement and misogyny fueled shooting spree in California the media, twitter, and the blogosphere took a second look (or even a first look in the case of the mainstream media) at the MRA world and how it fuels the resentment and pathetic desires of men who feel they have lost their privileged place as masters of the universe. Scores of essays, posts, and interview segments were devoted to tearing apart the arguments of the MRAs, with a special emphasis on “Roosh” and his toadies. The MRA responded predictably to being called out on their bullshit by closing ranks and setting up a wall of cognitive dissonance that would keep their opinions safe from the facts and from better constructed arguments. Self-delusion only survives in a vacuum; as soon as it is exposed to outside opinions self-doubt rushes to fill the void and the illusion of power and potency collapses. This why people with strange or wild opinions often speak only to each other and dismiss on its face all attempts by opposing forces to engage and debate. Call it the Faux News Paradox: the more convinced you are of your own rightness the less you are able to deal with other opinions that contradict your point of view and the more you retreat into your own delusion.
This process is on display in the second article, a conspiracy theory piece, written by someone who goes by “Samson Lamont” that tries to “disprove” the objective reality of the shootings in California. If reality does not fit the delusion, reject reality. The article itself is badly written and a retread of the sort of Alex Jones-esque “false flag” circular reasoning that can be easily debunked by Occam’s Razor and 5 minutes of research on somewhere other than chat rooms. I mention the article at all because of this unblemished Freudian gem, which I will now quote in full (you have been warned)
“Anyone who’s watched Elliot Rodger’s pathetic videos and read his manifesto can see that he’s playing a character to some extent. I’m not saying that he doesn’t have issues, but his delusions of grandeur are so over the top that it just rings false. It’s like watching a bad audition for a D-list movie serial killer from someone who can’t act for shit. You get the feeling that some Hollywood scriptwriter just created a character based on the “loser” template that feminists apply to all the members of our little community. Socially impotent, whiny loser that’s addicted to World of Warcraft and can’t get pussy blames all of his problems on women and wants to kill them all due to his own inadequacies.”
There is more projection in that paragraph then there was at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. Just let that soak in for a moment…If I TRIED I could I could not come up with a better example of psychological projection. Clearly these “men” are riddled with self-doubt and fear and it is tempting to ignore them completely as just another bunch of fools being “wrong on the internet”. Remember though that Elliot Rodgers bought into this sort of bilge and acted on it and that small, insular, self-deluded movements have been and continue to pose dangers to society and individuals. Let’s laugh at them but also keep an eye on them…a self-deluding idiot with a gun can still do a lot of damage. Just ask the families of the 6 victims of Elliot Rodger’s fragile ego.
In his Giles Hickory letters published during the debate on the Federal Constitution (and on whether it should include an enumerated bill of rights) Noah Webster wrote
I know it is said that other nations have lost their liberties by the ambitious designs of their rulers, and we may do the same. The
experience of other nations furnishes the ground of all the arguments used in favor of an unalterable constitution. The advocates seem
determined that posterity shall not lose their liberty, even if they should be willing and desirous to surrender it. If a few
declarations on parchment will secure a single blessing to posterity, which they would otherwise lose, I resign the argument and will
receive a thousand declarations. Yet so thoroughly convinced am I of the opposite tendency and effect of such unalterable declarations,
that, were it possible to render them valid, I should deem every article an infringment [sic] of civil and political liberty.
Webster was a true critic of constitutional systems and a strong proponent of a more representative and malleable form of government and governing charter. His was not a libertarian view of government, at least not the anarchic and all but lawless form of libertarianism subscribed to by modern conservatives and Free Market cultists. This is the sort of libertarianism that errs on the side of protecting human decency and using the mechanisms of government to protect and expand upon liberties and rights, and to protect their exercise in the public realm. Not an individuated liberty, but a societal and collective one based on the philosophy of the social contract.
James Madison, on the other hand, had a very different view on the subject of rights. In the National Gazette he wrote
In its larger and juster meaning, [property] embraces every thing [sic] to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage. In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandise, or money is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has property in his opinions and the free communication of them.
He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them. He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.
He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.
In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.
The equation of landed and capital property with intellectual, religious, personal freedom and the needs of common man for his welfare creates a system wherein the rights of man can be parceled, packaged, and negotiated over. Every court is a court of property, all law is property law, all rights are subject to constitutional justification, codification, negotiation i.e. all rights derive from a contract, being in this sense a contract concerning business affairs and services demanded and expected. The Enlightenment as applied through constitutional law by the founders turns man into a commodity and universalizes the notion of a liberal political economy. Man as merchandise, rights as property, laws as contract, life as waste land made civil and useful by exploitation…
Ben Stone is perhaps the best example in television drama of a true agent of lawful good; impartial in practice but morally consistent, passionate but measured in action, an intelligent theorist but a pragmatic arbiter in application. In conversation with his subordinate in title only partner Paul Robinette; the topic is the application of state laws across state lines regarding a serial murderer [Season 2: Episode 16]
Stone: “Maybe. But the New York State Court of Appeals says the death penalty is cruel and inhuman.”
Robinette: “And what do you say?”
Stone: “And I say we uphold the laws of this state!”
He is the sort of Republican Jefferson would have promoted and the Tea Party would denounce as a RINO. He is a Federalist of Ante bellum vintage, and a philosophical civil libertarian of the enlightened though stodgy faux-lksy Robery Kennedy sort. He will ride, but never crest with, the wave of social and political progress. He is indeed lithic in his staid but steady convictions and his ability to smoothly and methodically mold into a sympathetic state with the environment around him. If the Justice Department of the United States were staffed by Ben Stones the inevitable political disintegration of the same United States could be put off for another generation or more. But instead we have Ted Cruz’s and Samuel Alito’s so disintegrate it will, and on schedule.
Ben Stone is a Burkean conservative, a true conservative who seeks value in a society and attempts to cultivate the systems and ideas needed to create a healthy civic state. He does this through his everyday observations and in his fair, but vigorous, defense of what society deems good and just, and in his application of justice as a tool of preservation and not retribution. He is the sort of man, the sort of fixture of justice, one could hazard a guess, Burke had in mind when he said “It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.”
I love sports. If you are a frequent visitor to this site you will know that is the case. The World Cup (which I have been watching and interested in since the event came to Chicago back in ’94 when my dad worked downtown) is one of the most exciting sports events to watch alone or with friends. I try to watch as many games as possible and it will be much easier to do that this time around as the contest is in Brazil. Brazil is in the same timezone as most of the eastern and Midwestern US so for once the games will be on during the afternoon and evening! No more staying up until 4am to watch a game!
My sister is a huge fan of football (soccer to the uninitiated) and plays the game herself. She is a defensive player and is obsessed with the Latin American teams and with Portugal. She is in love with Christiano Ronaldo. She, and I, are pulling for the underdog Ecuador team. We are both 1/4 Ecuadorian and have relatives in the nation so it is a family affair!
One thing that always does bother me, as a person who tries to work for, and keep abreast of issues relating to, the betterment of all people and social justice, is how much is spent on the game these days. Brazil has famously been trying to get the cup for years now and now that it finally has it has gone overboard: new stadiums in the middle of the Amazon and billions for repairs and security. Police have been surging into the Favelas (“slums”) where much of the urban population of Rio lives and have been “pacifying” them…in other words making them pretty and “safe” for all the rich American, European and Japanese tourists who will inevitably come to purchase the tickets that cost more than most Brazilians make in a month. Many people have taken to the streets to protest what many consider the waste of public funds on a competition that could easily be put on for less and still be a great show. Millions of people lack jobs, healthcare and transportation and the “socialist” government has decided that the public treasury would be better spent on shiny new stadiums that will be abandoned as soon as the show is over and the cameras are packed away.
What is the solution to this problem, and how should a viewer in the US, Germany or Algeria feel about this? That is for each of us to decide but I know that I think that the corrupt FIFA organization should be abolished in favor of a body of representatives chosen from the football communities of all the nations who take part in the tourney and the richer nations should contribute to a fund that will be used in whatever nation fairly gets the game. Also, existing facilities should be used and a set amount of tickets should be set aside at fair, affordable prices especially for the locals of the nation who are putting on the Cup. This may seem pie in the sky but change only happens when we embrace the seemingly impossible. And in my humble opinion the games in Qatar need to be canceled outright and moved to a new destination, I suggest Japan or the UK. 800 migrant workers at least have died building the stadiums in the middle of the Arabian desert that the absolute rulers of Qatar have decreed are necessary for a successful games. This is obscene and needs to be punished.
On a much lighter note…So who are you pulling for? Are there any match-ups you are really looking forward to seeing? I am especially excited about the Ghana vs US game and any game involving the home team.
I hope this Cup goes off without a hitch and that everyone has fun and is safe. I hope that the people protesting are not attacked or harassed by the authorities and that their message reverberates and maybe leads to changes to the FIFA system. I also hope that the US advance past the first group…unlikely though!
TEAMS PLAYING IN THE 2014 WORLD CUP (by group):
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Cote d’Ivoire, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic
The Opening Match between Host Nation Brazil and Croatia will be at 2pm Central and 3pm Eastern on US TV.
World Cup Day One Results:
Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1 in a really sloppy effort that found the Croat team doing its best to keep the momentum bought from an early Brazil own goal. The Referees, three Japanese and one Iranian,officiated and overplayed their authority from the start; near half a dozen yellow cards were awarded and a crucial momentum swinging penalty was given to the Brazilian team after a call that seemed dubious even to some of the Brazilian players. This lead to another goal in stoppage, a goal denied to Croatia by a rather bogus goalkeeper foul. Overall the main Japanese ref was to blame for most of this. Oh well. Neymar led with 2 goals, 1 the aforementioned unearned penalty followed up by a goal from Oscar. Croatia’s only “offensive” production was a defense mistake on the part of the Brazilians; an own goal executed by an asleep at the switch Marcelo/ Oscar scored late into stoppage. Croatia was denied a goal that was a result of a botched save by Julio Cesar because one of the other players “jostled” the keeper. Another bad play by the lead Japanese judge. Tomorrow Mexico/Cameroon & Netherlands/Spain
According to Right Wing/Tea Party “logic”, if someone does something distasteful within a few miles of an Occupy rally then all Occupy rally people are terrorists. But if two members of the Bundy Ranch movement show up at a Pizza place, shoot two (armed) cops, another person, and leave Don’t Tread on Me flags at the scene while screaming “revolution” that is just a sign that the “Obama loving” media is manufacturing a crisis. You know, like they did with Waco. And Oklahoma City. And the Militia Movement. And violence and intimidation from the Rand Paul campaign. And Eric Rudolph. And sovereign citizen attacks on police and other law enforcement. And countless other incidents of political intimidation, hate speech and paranoia going back at least to the early 20th Century. Right Wing wing activism in the US has always been closely associated with violence, implied or overt. We ignore this fact as a society because the perpetrators have the “right” levels of melanin in their skin.
Swastika’s were found at the shooters home. The haunted the Bundy Ranch and seemed to be obsessed with guns and violent rhetoric. They saw tyranny and oppression all around them…but directed at the Tea Party and scared white people (but I repeat myself). How much more violence is it going to take before the US realizes it has a violent right wing fanatic problem, a movement obsessed with guns and convinced they are taking part in a revolution that in fact exists only in their paranoid minds. The Right is trying to roll back voting rights, minority rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, workers rights and have now moved on to attacking the very law and order officials they used to lionize. This is a movement that verges from activism in favor of limiting democracy on one hand to active politically motivated violence on the other. We must do something as a society. We must educate ourselves. We must demand that the media report the facts about right win violence and activism and stop the false equivalency games trying to manufacture a similar threat from the left to create “balance” in coverage. We must confront the fear and paranoia and violence in our midst before incidents like the Vegas shooting become a weekly, or even daily, event.