Tag Archives: feminism

Dylan Matthews

Neoreactionaries are obsessed with taking down what Moldbug refers to as “the Cathedral”: a complex of Ivy League universities, the New York Times and other elite media institutions, Hollywood, and more that function to craft and mold public opinion so as to silence opposing viewpoints.

Park MacDougald, in an excellent piece on Nick Land’s brand of neoreaction, describes the Cathedral as a “media-academic mind-control apparatus.” I actually think the best analogy is to the role the patriarchy plays in radical feminist epistemology, or the role of “ideology” in Marxism. Neo-reaction demands a total rethinking of the way the world works, and such attempts generally only succeed if they can attack the sources of knowledge in society and offer a theory for why they’re systematically fallible.

That’s how feminist scholars have (I think correctly) undermined pseudoscientific attempts to paint female servility as natural, or male aggression and violence as inevitable and ultimately acceptable. Yes, the argument goes, these ideas have had elite supporters in the past, but those elites were tainted by institutional sexism. Similarly, Marxists are always alert to how media produced by big corporations can be tilted to serve those corporations’ class interests. The philosopher Paul Ricoeur once helpfully dubbed this kind of argument the “hermeneutics of suspicion.”

Neoreaction takes this approach and flips it on its head. No, it’s not institutional sexism or bourgeois class interest that’s perverting our knowledge base. It’s institutional progressivism, and fear of the revival of monarchism, tribalism, and prejudice.

That makes it a lot easier for neoreactionaries to defend their narrative of Western decline and democratic failure. If you look at the numbers, the Whig theory of history — with some faults and starts, everything’s getting better — appears to be basically right. Extreme poverty is at historic lows, hunger and infant mortality are plummeting, life expectancy is going up, war is on the decline, education is more available, homicide rates are down, etc.

But what if those numbers are all lies produced by biased Cathedral sources in academia and propagated by Cathedral tools in the media like Vox? What then?

Dylan Matthews, ‘The Alt-right Is More than Warmed-over White Supremacy. It’s That, but Way Way Weirder’, Vox, August, 25, 2016

Janet Radcliffe Richards

Although people do usually seem to think of feminists as being committed to particular ideologies and activities, rather than to a very general belief that society is unjust to women, what is also undoubtedly true is that feminism is regarded by nearly everyone as the movement which represents the interests of women. This idea is perhaps even more deeply entrenched than the other, but it is a very serious matter for feminism that it should be thought of in both these ways at once. This is because of what seems to be an ineradicable human tendency to take sides. While it would be ideal if everyone could just assess each controversial problem on its own merits as it arose, what actually happens is that people usually start by deciding whose side they are on, and from then onwards tend to see everything that is said or done in the light of that alliance. The effects of this on the struggle for sexual justice have been very serious. The conflation of the idea of feminism as a particular ideology with that of feminism as a concern with women’s problems means that people who do not like what they see of the ideology (perhaps because they are keen on family life, or can’t imagine a world without hierarchies, or just don’t like unfeminine women) may also tend to brush aside, explain away, sneer at or simply ignore all suggestions that women are seriously badly treated. Resistance to the feminist movement easily turns into a resistance to seeing that women have any problems at all.

Janet Radcliffe Richards, The Ssceptical Feminist: A Philosophical Enquiry, London, 1980, pp. 2-3

Daniel Nettle

One of the key goals of feminism has been equity. That is, a man or a woman with the same set of aptitudes and motivations should have an equal chance of succeeding. We can endorse this without reservation. However, this does not mean that men and women on average actually have the same motivations, so we should not necessarily expect equal sex representation across all sectors of society. A second goal of feminism has been to celebrate and validate women’s values, which are often different from those of men. It is surely more important to value the pro-social orientation many women […] possess, than it is to lament that they are not more like men.

Daniel Nettle, Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are, Oxford, 2007, pp. 181-182

Daphne Patai

The university is in many respects a privileged setting in which social experiments are readily undertaken and can, for that reason, be most effectively studied and their consequences gauged. I will argue that the sexual harassment fervor now in evidence should be considered such an experiment, but an experiment that has failed. It has produced not greater justice, not the disappearance of discrimination against women, but it climate that is inhospitable to all human beings.

Daphne Patai, Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism, New York, 2000, p. 12

Roy Baumeister

One main theme that the Imaginary Feminist will bring up over and over is that society is riddled with prejudice against women and that the history of male–female relations consists of various ways in which men have oppressed women.This has become a standard view. If you question it, the Imaginary Feminist does not typically respond with carefully reasoned arguments or clear data. Instead, she accuses you of being prejudiced and oppressive even for questioning the point.

Roy Baumeister, Is There Anything Good about Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men, New York, 2010, p. 12