The Hidden Virtue of Victim Blaming

‘Victim blaming’ is a phrase associated with now antiquated views of sexual assault. In previous decades those now infamous ‘she was asking for it – esque’ attitudes haunted the victims of sexual misconduct, as they were dismissed as either liars or whores and shame was inevitable to follow. Naturally, allegations were often not pursued and victims were left alone and unable to seek justice.

Fortunately, we have progressed in our attitudes about gender and sexual assault. For the most part, reasonable people recognize the moral blindness that these horrendous dismissals of sexual assault unambiguously possess. Thus, victim blaming itself has now become a serious allegation, and those who are the recipient of it will find themselves shamed and reprimanded by society. It is safe to say that being accused of ‘victim blaming’ is something people try their best to avoid.

But in recent years, the attitudes accompanied by the phrase have grown exponentially. Victim blaming no longer exclusively refers to those jukebox era attitudes we all identify immediately; rather, it has come to encompass a wide range of attitudes and statements that are entirely reasonable. Victim blaming, as it is used to today, is an allegation hurled at anyone who even suggests that rape is something that can be prevented.

This attack on preventive attitudes is occurring because such attitudes hint at a certain amount of personal responsibility. These attitudes (specific examples will be given later on) tend to point out what is likely to increase the probability of a rape occurring, and thus seem to scorn victims of rape who find or put themselves into those situations. These preventive attitudes are now stigmatized because they attribute ‘blame’ to the victim, and seem to say ‘you should’ve known better and it’s your fault you were raped’. Presently, anything which does not completely admonish the victim of any part of the causal process is now considered victim blaming.

This new attitude also declares that all cases of rape should be treated and looked upon exactly the same. It argues that if we dwell on the specifics of cases then blame is inevitably administered, and rape victims will continue to be hesitant to come forward. If this viewpoint could be universally adopted and all rape cases were looked upon in the exact same way, it would certainly make victims of rape feel much more comfortable getting the help they deserve. However, if such an egalitarian investigative process were to take hold then we would lose our ability to actually prevent cases of rape from occurring in the first place.

In demanding that we stop finding a minimal amount of fault with the behaviour of some sexual assault victims we lose the essential tool that a) helps us predict sexual assault and b) helps us prevent sexual assault. Namely, the tool to identify contexts that increase rape probability.

With this essay, I will not be attempting to draw a definitive line in the sand about what is and isn’t victim blaming. I am simply trying to unshackle reasonable assessments from unreasonable stigma. To compare cases of rape and examine and critique the behavioural processes is not blaming the victim, rather, it is giving people the information they need to make informed decisions.

Actions and Consequences

To begin, a simple two part concession must be made. A) you are the author of your own actions, and B) your actions have consequences. Unless this essay turns into a metaphysical examination of free will, this concession should be one in which everyone is in agreement. If you are a smoker and you get lung cancer, it is reasonable to say that that consequence is a result of your actions. (determining the specific level of responsibility might be impossible, but there is responsibility nonetheless).

Relevant information is a variable which should certainly be included as well, as information is always playing a part in your decision making process. Being a smoker in the 1940’s is different than it is today; now we have a much more comprehensive understanding of the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. Though the smoker who acquires lung cancer in the 40’s and today did the same thing, their decisions varied in how much information they had.

So what we can conclude is that you make decisions and your decisions have consequences. Knowing this, informed decision making is superior to uninformed decision making because at least in the former you have some inkling of the impending consequences.

Gradations of Blame

Blame is a concept that is inherently tied to this discussion. Blame is defined by Merriam Webster as,

  1. To hold responsible,
  2. To find fault with,
  3. To place responsibility for.

The only thing clear about this definition is its ambiguity. It seems to cover the entire spectrum of responsibility; these three definitions don’t elicit a clear and specific concept of blame, but rather they cover any attribution of responsibility or fault. This is a problem, because there is a significant difference between a ‘sole responsability’ type of blame and a ‘minimal criticism’ type of blame, yet this difference is not captured by the uniformity of ‘blame’. If you fall down some stairs because you missed a step, you can be blamed for that consequence. If your friend who is texting you back falls down some stairs, you can also be blamed for that consequence. The difference in the amount of blame, however, is significant. In the former case, you are solely responsible, whereas in the latter, you are minimally responsible.

And blame, though it is a cousin of the word responsible, is the cousin that nobody likes to see at the family dinner table. It is a concept that is inherently linked to negative events and decisions. People will always say “Mike was responsible for his company’s recent success” instead of “Mike was blamed for his company’s recent success” even though they mean the same thing.

Thus, the problem I am facing is clear and formidable. The word blame covers the entire spectrum of causal responsibility. Though the different parts of the spectrum can be accessed through careful deliberation, the broad ambiguity of the word ‘blame’ makes it easy to misinterpret just which part of the spectrum is being discussed. Furthermore, I am dealing with this concept of ‘blame’ in the context of an incredibly horrendous personal violation. Thus, if misinterpreted, my association with the word blame can seem heinous and despicable. Clarity of writing on my part, and carefulness of reading on your part is therefore required if we wish to traverse this tightrope together.

Minimal Criticism

So, when discussing blame, what we are dealing with is a troublesome vocabulary. However, we clearly have the capacity to navigate this problematic environment. Until recently, victim blaming has only been associated with the “place responsibility for” type attitudes; the ‘she was asking for it’-esque mantras were distinguishable from the minimal criticism type of blame.

This distinguishment has been lost with the recent push to admonish victims of all responsibility, which is prima facia a just thing to do. But this loss takes away our ability to analyze and compare situations, and to critique and discourage certain behaviours. Though it may seem harsh to criticize the behaviour of rape victims, such minimal criticism is necessary to prevent it in the future. If at any point it seems like ‘sole responsibility’ is being attributed, it is most certainly not. To make it quite clear, let’s examine two distinctly different cases of a girl being raped by a stranger while blackout drunk.

Case a) Sarah, by herself, goes out to a rowdy, drunken frat house with a notorious reputation for sexual misogyny. She proceeds to get blackout drunk and is raped.

Case b) Katie stays home by herself with the doors locked. She gets blackout drunk watching her favorite TV show. In the middle of the night, a burglar breaks into the room and rapes her.

Just to make it crystal clear; in neither of these cases is the victim solely responsible for her rape. The fact that they (Katie and Sarah) were blackout drunk does not change the fact that someone else had to make the decision to rape them. They did not decide whether or not they were raped. That was an uncontrolled variable.

It is clear, however, that there is a controllable variable in both of these stories; this being the context in which Sarah and Katie placed themselves.

It’s important to be very careful here.

Let’s evaluate these cases as according to the spectrum of responsibility encompassed by blame. Imagine a straight line; on the right side of the line is ‘sole responsibility’, and on the left side of the line is ‘minimal criticism’. We can imagine this line as ‘amount of blame’ increasing the farther right you find yourself.

In comparing these cases, we are not dealing with the right half of the line. The girls are not majorly responsible for their rape in either of these cases. However, they are not in the exact spot on the line either. If the left side of the line is the ‘minimal criticism’ or “find fault with” definition of blame, it is clear that one case can be criticized more strongly than the other.

It is reasonable and empirically true to say that your chances of being raped by a stranger increase when you leave your house; they increase again when you go to a frat house; and they increase even more when you get blackout drunk at said frat house. Thus, Sarah committed actions that increased the likelihood she was going to get raped, whereas Katie committed actions that decreased the likelihood she was going to get raped. The independent variable is the same, but the dependent variables are incredibly different.

Victims and Blame

Now let’s connect everything we have said thus far;

  1. You are the author of your actions and your actions have consequences.
  2. The more information about the possible consequences of your actions the better.
  3. Some consequences are uncontrollable, (ie rape)
  4. But some variables are controllable.
  5. Some controllable variables are more likely to lead to certain consequences than others (ie rape)
  6. So comparing the controllable variables and informing people which ones are more likely to lead to which consequences is good information to have.

Now that we near the end, you may be wondering why it took 6 pages to explain why telling your daughter to not get blackout drunk at frat houses is a good idea. To most of us that is just common sense and hardly worth the time I dedicated to it.

But this common sense opens up the ability to administer blame to victims of sexual assault, and throughout history has been horribly abused to dismiss the most heinous of crimes. As soon as what I said becomes true, the ‘she was asking for it’ type arguments are given the tiniest shred of validity, and this alignment is not a comfortable one. Everything I said in this essay which seemed reasonable has most certainly used in the past to justify those despicable dismissals discussed in the introduction. It is important that we are aware of this. However, if we sacrifice the tools needed to prevent rape in order to make the victims of rape more comfortable then we have already lost the fight.

It is completely understandable why this topic is so vehemently avoided by most people. In a politically correct culture, any minimal attribution of responsibility to people who have survived the most horrible assault can be grossly misrepresented. And, indeed, the argument I have been putting forward does not have a happy ending. If what I said is true, then that means it’s likely that Sarah will receive less sympathy and more scrutiny than Katie, even though they both suffered the same thing. Thus, knowing that a terrible situation might get even worse, Sarah might be inclined to not come forward about anything at all.

But the truth is tragic and does not capitulate to feelings. The fact of the matter is that there is a difference between the cases of Sarah and Katie, and the differences are certainly significant. It’s an incredible burden to shoulder, but it is a necessary one.  If we refuse to talk honestly about the choices people make and the consequences they can experience then we are creating a much larger injustice. In order to prevent rape, we have to make informed decisions and that means asking the hard questions.

Against Free Will

The question ‘do we have free will’ is one that has throughout history been exclusively considered by philosophers and theologians. Only those interested in speculation of the most abstract sort would spend any of their time constructing arguments against something that is so intuitively obvious as free will.

And the intuitive feel that we do have free will is sufficient to convince most people of it’s existence. But given all the knowledge science has bestowed upon us in recent centuries, from psychology to physics, the idea of free will is one that is slowly perishing.

Our understanding of reality essentially grounds out at a) the atomic theory of matter and b) the evolutionary theory of biology. Both of these axioms suggest determinism. Objects can’t choose how fast they fall, and genes can’t choose if they survive the darwinian process.

The only other force of nature seems to be randomness. In evolutionary terms, gene mutations can be completely random. But determinism + randomness doesn’t get you free will; it just means that sometimes the causal process throws dice.

What we do know is that decision making (and consciousness and general) is largely reducible to brain processes. Damaging the prefrontal cortex results in increased sexual and aggressive behaviours; the capacity for emotional response is crippled when the orbitofrontal cortex suffers a blow; the examples of brain processes correlating with behaviour can go on seemingly endlessly.

And even more convincingly, our decision making is always beholden to whatever stimuli we are presented with. ‘Unconscious triggering’ documents the phenomena of being able to consistently predict people’s behaviour when providing them with correct stimuli: exposure to aggressive words makes people more confrontational; resumes are assessed more leniently when the asserer is holding a warm hug; pictures or words associated with the elderly make people walk slower.

What’s common across all these scenario’s is that you have have far less control over yourself than it might seem. You aren’t the architect of neuronal firing in your brain, and you don’t control how your brain reacts to external stimuli.

If you are religious, or for whatever reason believe in the existence of a ‘soul’, then this problem becomes much easier for you, as there is now some undiscoverable, intangible entity which can interrupt and manipulate the causal process of synaptic exchange.

But for the rest of us, we have to grapple with what we can empirically discover, and time and time again psychology and neuroscience have revealed that we are slaves to our brain, and puppets of our environments. Simply put, in a deterministic world there is no room for free will.

How Being White Became The New Original Sin

Most white people have nothing good to say about the social justice movement.

SJW’s (self proclaimed warriors of social justice) will attribute this to the fact that most (if not all) white people are racist and intrinsically opposed to the notion of equality. While there is undoubtedly a significant amount of racism lurking in America’s basement, and though it may be difficult for an SJW to imagine, people have reasons to disagree with their ideology that extend beyond xenophobia and bigotry. In general, people just don’t like hyper-sensitive political correctness; they don’t like race baiting and identity politics; outrage culture annoys them; they consider the assault on free speech rather revolting; and they then recognize that all of these despised phenomena find refuge behind the gilded halls of social justice

But there is another reason white people distance themselves from the talons of a toxic ideology, and that reason provides the bedrock for all the phenomena listed above.

Most white people have abandoned the social justice movement because it treats white people like children. And not just like any old kids, but silver spoon, Billy Madison style children, who have temper tantrums, are always used to getting whatever they want, and have no idea about how the world really works. Thus, white people find themselves in a peculiar position regarding social justice; if they reject it, a swarm of intolerant bullying can reasonably be expected; if they accept and join the movement, they’re forced to sit at the kids table whilst the grown ups do the actual talking.

This essay will seek to explain why ‘allies’ (white people who aligned themselves with social justice) are treated so poorly, and how that can explain the lack of support from white people in general. It will be informed by articles you can find here, here, and here.

What we will find is that, to SJW’s, ‘allies’ are people who know their place, hold their tongue, and stay out of the way. To explain why this is the case, a sufficient understanding of social justice thinking must be established. Examining the now infamous phrases “respect my experience” and “check your privilege” do a lot of the heavy lifting, as the underlying psychology can be accessed in a rather simple dialectic.

Social Justice Psychology

The first thing a social justice ally might discover is that their role in the movement is not heading debates, guiding discussions or even talking at all; and this is because their voice is worth less than the voices of other, more marginalized individuals. To explain this, the smouldering cauldron that is social justice must be filtered out, so that the ingredients can be examined and their respective roles in the end product identified.

Firstly, the social justice movement is one that is captivated with demolishing existing systems of oppression. Moreover, it is fuelled by the personal experiences and feelings of the oppressed. If you ever have the pleasure of attending a social justice rally, you might be bewildered by just how much time they spend talking about themselves. Prepare to be bombarded with a nearly endless parade of personal stories. To social justice types, what matters most is the feeling of alienation, of otherness, that perpetually plagues the marginalized groups of society. As long as these feelings exist, to any subjective extent, that is a gross injustice that requires maximal attention. And simply put, white people do not and can not share that experience.

This is because the social justice movement draws much of its inspiration from a school of philosophy known as postmodernism. This philosophy has much to say about seemingly everything us humans value, including aesthetics, linguistics, literature, and epistemology. But postmodernism as a social theory essentially boils everything down to power; the world is merely but a zero sum contest of various groups vying to control resources by exploiting and manipulating other groups. Suffering from a love of dualisms, they then divide the world into two categories; oppressor and oppressed. The next step is then simply identifying which groups are oppressed and by whom.

Viewing the world in this manner explains the game that is identity politics, as in order to figure out which groups are oppressed, you have to first divide the world into groups. Identity politics, at its most fundamental level, is the practice of reducing people to their societal affiliations. Basically, it says the most important part of your individual identity is the group you belong to. If you’re a black woman, the two most important parts of your identity are the black and the woman parts. If you’re gay, than being non-heterosexual is your defining characteristic. 

So, once they have divided the world into groups (be it by race, ethnicity, gender, etc), they can begin identifying which groups are oppressed and which groups do the oppressing.

This process of identification creates a hierarchy of oppression, because some people belong to multiple oppressed groups. White women are oppressed, but not as much as muslim women. Transgender people are oppressed, but not as much as transgenders who are black. Identity politics helps explain why social justice orators such as Yasmin Abdel-Magied, an Australian activist, are able to attain such astonishing success so quickly. Yasmin, being a black female muslim, can claim three separate victim identities and thus has the utmost experiential authority to speak on three distinguishable issues. As a woman, she can talk about sexism; as a black, she can talk about racism; as a muslim, she can talk about islamophobia.

For those of you who have lives that extent beyond thinking about the political mindset of college students, first, I envy you, and second, I understand that all of this can be a lot of take in. Here’s a quick road map to summarize everything I just said; 1. SJW’s use postmodern thinking, which views the world through oppressor-oppressed relationships. 2. They then divide the world into groups and identify whose oppressed and who isn’t. 3. This process creates a hierarchy of oppression, in which some groups are more oppressed than others.

“Respect My Experience”

The phrases “respect my experience” and “check your privilege” are loaded with ideological doctrine, but understanding the psychology of an SJW makes them much easier to discern. Once you understand the above process, you understand why SJW’s don’t really value the voices of white people. To put it bluntly, those dastardly white folk don’t share the genuine feeling of oppression that unites America’s minorities; and even worse than that, it’s because whites are the group actually doing the oppressing!

When a black or any other minority tells you to “respect my experience”, they are telling you that you do not have the authority to talk about what it feels like to be oppressed. It doesn’t matter if you are severely impoverished, discriminated against by police, and/or abandoned by society, because you are merely a constituent of your group. And your group is not oppressed. Therefore, you do not have the right to talk about genuine oppression; especially when there are people who whose voices are much more valid, because they belong to multiple oppressed groups.

What “respect my privilege” really amounts to is an ideological tool used to override arguments from white people. If I’m a white male and we’re debating affirmative action, whatever arguments I present, whatever statistics I point out, are invalid compared to the genuine feeling of oppression experienced by a black female muslim. If I’m an ‘ally’, it amounts to whole-heartedly conceding that I have no idea what it means to be oppressed and should put the voices of those who do above my own.

“Check Your Privilege”

The other demand one must satisfy to become a social justice ally is conveniently summarized in the phrase “check your privilege”. As with “respect my experience”, there is an extensive amount of hugely consequential assumptions packed into a single phrase here, and though they run on the same algorithm, they are designed to elicit different results.

Harkoning back to postmodernism, social justice types are convinced we live in a white supremacist society. Though equality before the law is protected, there are invisible societal forces that are exclusively designed to maintain existing inequalities. Since everything is power, and that power is zero sum, whites keep themselves on top by pushing everybody else down. Moreover, whites are only able to accomplish this insofar as white people actually act out these systems.

Thus, because we are living in a white supremacist society, white people, since the day they are born, are indoctrinated with white supremacist forms of thinking. They internalize certain ideas about blacks, about women, about the economy, without even realizing it, and thus perpetuate forms of oppression.

This is what “check your privilege” really means; you have implicit beliefs that shroud your thinking and guide all of your actions in the direction of oppressing minorities. The relationship this concept shares with original sin is quite striking; there is something inherently wrong with you; no matter how hard you try to be good you will fail, and all you can do is give yourself over to the faith. The faith, in this case, being the altruistic leadership of those with experiences of oppression, who want nothing else but to usher in an egalitarian utopia.  

It seems we are at a point where the shroud of nuance and incoherence that characterizes social justice thinking is beginning to fade away. “Respect my experience” says your voice isn’t worth much; “check your privilege” says it’s probably wrong anyway.

Now that these two concepts are understood, we can begin to piece together the puzzle that is the expectations placed upon a social justice ally.

Expectations of Allies

Firstly, to be an ally, you must admit that you get everything wrong. All white allies “in many ways fail at it everyday”. After all, the privileged life you have lived is founded upon the backs of all those oppress, and each time you move your foot you just dig your heel deeper into their spine.

The next step is attempting to empathize with those who are oppressed. Keep in mind, being a white person, you will never be able to have genuine empathy for those minorities you work with. But nonetheless, a good ally is one who is “constantly asking myself what it means to be white in this situation”. The social justice interpretation of ‘what it means to be white’, of course, simply amounts to ‘how is my skin colour benefiting me at this moment’. As an indoctrinated white supremacist who has become desensitized to benefiting from horrific societal oppression, you really don’t know and can’t know ‘what it means to be white’. Therefore, just assume “it’s always helping you”. After all, non-whites know what it really is like to be white better than anybody, right?

Thirdly, don’t try to actually to do anything yourself, since you will inevitably mess things up. Remember, everything you do and have always done in some way perpetuates systems of oppression. Since you might not recognize these systems, you should just assume that you are making things worse when you are merely trying to help. But why should I bother explaining this, when the National Association of Student Administrators (quite the title) put it so succinctly in 2006; “Some who genuinely aspire to act as social justice allies are harmful, ultimately, despite their best intentions, perpetuating the system of oppression they seek to change. Different underlying motivations of those who aspire to be allies can lead to differences in effectiveness, consistency, outcome, and sustainability.”

Since you shouldn’t do anything yourself, all you can do is enable and justify the platforms of those who have experienced oppression. It is important that whites “support the leadership of people of colour”. Be faithful to your social justice overlords; do not question them, do not criticize them, as only they have experienced oppression and only they know how to fight against it. If you feel tempted to criticize the tactics of a person of colour, remember that all you are doing is perpetuating oppression and that your privilege is obscuring your vision. Remember that “when the term ally becomes a way for privileged folk to determine how we grieve, when we should take action, what is considered worthy of national attention, and who is given agency, allies transform back into disempowering forces.” A true ally is one who realizes that they actually don’t know best.

Even if the recognition that you will make things worse by voicing your opinion fails to deter you, remember that your voice isn’t worth as much as those who belong to an oppressed group. Since you don’t have an experience of oppression, you lack the feeling of alienation upon which the social justice movement is founded. In a movement fuelled by experiences of oppression, you have little to offer. Thus, whenever you decide you think you should be heard, remember that a) you’re making things worse by talking, and b) you’re taking the platform away from someone who has a much more valid voice than you.

What white allies can do is recognize “that their place is at the margins, not at the center”. They need to “relinquish their seat at the table to make room for those with lived experiences” (postmodernism, anybody?). The only people with valid voices are the oppressed, and the only people who can be holistically opposed to systems of oppression are the oppressed. So what the whites can do is shut up and get out of the way.

Lastly, after doing all of this, “don’t expect a pat on the back” for merely “doing what you’re supposed to do”. A true ally doesn’t need gratification or validity, because a true ally recognizes that they can’t actually help the movement, but they can just try their best not to hurt it.

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The worldview of a social justice fundamentalist involves dividing the world neatly into manichean categories, and thus discovering that the whites are oppressive, tyrannical rulers who must be stopped. This is why white SJW’s are called allies; because all other white people are enemies.

One reason, among many, white people detest the social justice movement is because of phenomena such as this. The social justice movement has demeaning, racist, and paternalistic attitudes towards whites.

Most people are sensible enough to recognize that the social justice movement is not nearly as benevolent as it claims to be in the first place. But if they are tempted by the powerful anecdotal rhetoric of what it feels like to be oppressed, they are reminded that unless they kiss the feet of people of colour than they are still the enemy. The only people who can genuinely act altruistically in the name of equality are those people who belong to marginalized groups, and if white people refuse to accept that their role “is to support, not lead” than they are no better than their oppressive and insatiably greedy fellow whites.

Ironically, the social justice movement has succeeded in making white people become the ‘other’. And given their resentful attitudes towards whites, it really does seem like that was their intention all along.

“DWB: Debating While Black” Response

A new form of systemic racism has been discovered. Thanks to the brilliant detective work of Hansy D. Piou, an op-ed writer over at The Harvard Crimson, we now know that minorities have yet another mountain of inequality to climb.

Piou published a piece entitled “DWB: Debating While Black”, in which she articulates her concerns over the unfairness of the “rules of debate”. Her basic concern is this; us white people, in an attempt to keep minorities and women out of intellectual discussion, have developed informal rules that one must follow if they are to engage in legitimate discourse. This includes shunning the use of ad hominem (attacking the speaker instead of the argument) and argument from authority (declaring that your opinion is worth more because of your experience). The academic insistence that anecdotal evidence is inferior to objective arguments, to Piou, exists to weaken the arguments of minorities and maintain systems of oppression.

Piou believes that because “an argument’s strength is evaluated independent of its speaker”, she can’t use her “identity” for “good rhetorical fodder”, and this is not fair. Us whites have arbitrarily constructed “an ideal debate” within our minds, one which focuses upon “presenting the most objective evidence the most strongly”. But this insistence upon objective evidence is oppressive and racist, because it takes away Piou’s ability to just tell stories about her experience and win hearts instead of minds.

Now, I’m really glad this article exists. It spells out the actual position of the social justice camp that I had believed existed for some time. The refusal of SJW’s to engage in the “ideal debate”, as Piou puts it, has been perhaps the most frustrating thing I’ve encountered within that group, with refusal to accept evidence coming in close behind. If you ever watch a debate about feminism, or affirmative action, or black lives matter, you will notice a startling difference in manner and style between the two debate participants. One is objective and speaks in the third person, the other uses anecdotal evidence and rhetoric almost exclusively.

And the anecdotal evidence used by SJW’s doesn’t even have to be genuine, first hand experience. They just feel its okay to pretend that they themselves have experienced the oppression they are speaking about, even when they have never had those experiences! Piou actually opens up about the debate this causes within her conscious. She has “never been the direct target of racist speech or violence”, yet feels it’s okay for her to tell stories about her “racist encounters” because it makes good rhetoric in a debate. She admits it makes her “feel a little disingenuous”, but that won’t stop her from stereotyping herself for the sake of debate.

The problems with this sort of thinking is difficult to unpack, if only because there are so many. Let’s start with her implicit assumption here; it’s okay for you to attribute mindsets, experiences and attitudes to people solely on the basis of their skin. Piou is black, so she’s allowed to act like she’s been through the stuff some black people have gone through.

Obviously, this is an incredibly consequential idea, as the sinkhole it opens is inherently insatiable. If its okay to assume some things about black people, what is okay and what’s not okay? So it’s okay to assume that they’ve been harassed by police, but is it okay to assume that don’t have a great education, or that they’ve been involved in the drug business, or that they’ve been racially rejected at interviews? Doesn’t Piou seem like she is actually encouraging racism? She seems to think it’s fine to treat people of a group differently just because of the stereotypes about that group. She refers to MLK Jr in her article, but it’s obvious that his famous ‘judge a man by his character’ mantra didn’t quite sink in with her.

For someone who knows the latin phrase “argumenta ad auctoritatem et ad hominem”, Piou really doesn’t know much about history. If the onus is on me to defend the “rules of debate”, than I’ll just go back to the beginning.

The Socratic method, a dialectical method of discussion designed to find flaws and underlining assumptions is popularized by Plato. This method is important because it aims to a) make sure arguments can withstand criticism, b) discover the more important axiomatic presuppositions supporting such claims, and c) allow us to exercise our logic and reason in the pursuit of the truth. This is a method of dialogue that would shun both of the methods of debate Piou is trying to defend (ad hominem and ad auctoritatem), and yes, it was designed by old white men, but it was created so that our most reliable cognitive systems can be exploited in pursuit of the truth.

The assumption here is that the truth is something which lies beyond our mere intuitions, and we can access it dialectically. Since the days of Socrates, and renewed with a fervour during the enlightenment, consistency, scrutiny, and coherency have been respected elements of an argument. Only if your argument survives careful, honest, relentless dialectic then the truth is to be discovered.

And just to be clear, this insistence upon the system of dialectical thinking is not racist. Piou objects to this statement because stripping arguments of their subjectivity takes away her ability to make up a story about meeting a racist person at the supermarket, thus adding rhetorical weight to whatever argument she’s presenting. But if stripping subjectivity away from the pursuit of objective truth is racist, then what is the scientific method?

The scientific method is founded upon the dialectic model, just with a couple tweaks and modifications. The fundamental claim of science is that our experience is not enough to determine the truth, so we develop processes of assumptions, evidence, and peer review that filters out anything which is not coherent or factually accurate. No one is willing to claim that science is unjust, or racist, just because it’s strict methodology gets rid of personal experience. But apparently when the same insistence upon a dialectical method is applied to political discourse it’s racist.

 

Why Saying “You Can’t Be Racist To White People” Is Wrong

It’s impossible for fat people to bully skinny people.

After all, skinny people are supported and idealized by society, whilst fat people are thought of as lazy and unattractive solely based upon this one characteristic. Undeniably, skinny people have it easier in the workforce, in everyday encounters, and in interviews.  Even a lifeguard is much more likely to try and save the skinny person than the fat one. And if that’s not enough, fat people have to pay higher insurance rates, once again, solely because of this characteristic.

Given this extensive sociological analysis, can we not factually state that, since fat people bear a much heavier burden than skinny people, it is impossible for a fat person to bully a skinny person?

Fortunately, there are not many people that would agree with this conclusion. Unfortunately, however, there is a staggering amount of people who agree with this conclusion if you just replaced ‘skinny’ with ‘white’ and ‘fat’ with ‘black’ or any other minority. Get rid of the lifeguard bit (though I’m sure there’s some statistic proving more blacks drown more than whites and that this is evidence of racist lifeguards) and everything else provided in the second paragraph comes straight from the mouths of social justice warriors.

Such a provocative statement, (that you can’t be racist to white people) is not only accepted in the social justice community but it seems to be one of their fundamental tenants. This is why LGBT and BLM activists can get away with saying outrageous and explicitly racist things against white people. They have redefined racism to fit their postmodern philosophy, and moulded it in such a manner as to excuse and obscure their most absurd  statements.

For those unfamiliar with postmodernism, I really do envy your ignorance. It’s one hell of a philosophy to comprehend. But as it applies to politics, it basically boils everything down to different groups vying for power in a zero sum world. The social justice types, who memorize Madness and Civilization like it’s the Quran, view racism exclusively through an oppressed-oppresser lens.

To them, racism means possessing political, economic, and institutional power. To be clear, they equivocate racism with oppression; racism is merely possessing the requisite power to oppress. This is why only whites can be racist; because whites have the most power. And this general, abstract power is utilized only in malicious and malevolent manners, to the benefit of exclusively whites, and if the blacks could just get their hands on some more power they, with their big hearts and compassionate minds, would usher in a post-racial egalitarian utopia. This isn’t hyperbole, but the implicit assumption made by SJW’s.

And I’m not merely plucking this assumption out of a hat, but it reveals itself without shame whenever an SJW is asked to elaborate on their definition of racism. An article titled “That’s Racist Against White People” explains to us inherently bigoted whites that it’s not possible to be racist against whites because that “removes any mention of societal power, oppression and privilege” (see the postmodernism popping up?). “In reality”, certain words are “are backed by a history and current system of domination, violence, oppression, repression, dehumanization”  etc.. The author felt the obligation to run through their vocabulary for a little bit longer, but you get the point.

To social justice types, all of history is packed into everything you say and do. That’s why it’s okay for a black person to call a white a cracker; because the black person is not participating in a system that perpetuates oppression of whites. When I do something comparable (guess what guys, I’m white!) I am no longer Connor Chase the indebted undergrad, but a slave owner wielding the whip of institutional power for my own sadistic pleasure against those I keep beneath my feet. When a black person calls me a cracker, they are essentially a slave rising up against my tyranny, single handily abolishing the Jim Crow laws and distributing racial equality throughout the land like candy on halloween.

That’s why the social justice types not only don’t believe in racism against whites but defend it whenever it comes up (and sometimes even call for more). Whenever you treat white people differently because of their skin, you are acting righteously and claiming some of their institutional power for your community. After all, white people are privileged beyond comprehension so a little abuse doesn’t actually mean anything, right?

But let’s put aside common sense for a moment and take this definition of racism as seriously as the SJW’s take it. When you take the time to actually follow social justice thinking through to its logical conclusions, you arrive at a thrift shop displaying all kinds of quality objections and inconsistencies. In fact, there’s so many on sale that it’s hard to choose where to start.

How about we just consider the idea that racism is determined by institutional, economic, and political power as well as contextual history. Then let’s imagine some magical social justice heaven, in which the revolution has been achieved and the insatistable demand for equality of outcome has been satisfied. Every institution and political riding is dived proportionately to the population, with 50/50 men and women, 30% blacks, 12% latinos etc… Thus, every race has an equal amount of political and institutional power. Here’s the kicker; even if every race had equal power, it would still be impossible to be racist towards whites.

This is because the social justice types demand that contextual history and the prorogation of systems of oppression are inherently linked. Historically, blacks have been enslaved by whites and been discriminated against severely for hundreds of years. In case you did’t know, this is not a reciprocal history. So this means that, even if the racial power divide is levelled out, the whites have a history of genuine racism towards blacks that they have not been atoned for. Thus, in this equality wonderland, the word nigger would still be worse than cracker.

The only way to achieve true equality is to have blacks enslave whites for a couple hundred years then fight their way back to an equal society. Only then would all the aspects  of the criteria that define racism be met, as then and only then would both nigger and cracker have a history of racism attached to them.

And sometimes, it really does seem like that’s exactly what the SJW types are after. The amount of bitterness, resentment, and intolerance that boils out of social justice camps smells eerily of revenge. A “how do you like it, whitey” attitude seems to drift about in the air whenever they congregate to stop people they don’t like from speaking.

Another more obvious problem emerges when you define racism as inequality in history, politics, economy and institutional representation. If we return to our fantastical social justice land, there still exists the problem of economic disparity.

The reality is that even if racial equity could be achieved this would not bring about absolute economic equality. In a capitalist system, there will always be inequality. It’s inevitable. Some people work a little harder, some people save money better, some people know how to invest intelligently etc… And if institutions were to be divided, who’s to say they the specific constituents of that institution would be completely equal? If the profession of doctor were to be racially allocated, who’s to say that there won’t be a disproportionate amount of black pediatric neurosurgeons (as there are now)? Or who’s to say that the Japanese domination of STEM fields would flatten out? If the SJW’s think that having universities be proportionate to race is the final solution to equality, what makes them think that all races are the same? What makes them think that blacks and latinos and Koreans all have the same values and interests? What makes them think that every specific job will be absolutely equally represented?

What this reveals is the implicit communism hidden and obscured away from the spotlight. If racism can only be abolished when we have economic equality, then the wealth will have to distributed accordingly. Some authority will have to redistribute the money to make sure it’s equal, as it definitely will never be equal in capitalist system.

Maybe if you think communism is a great idea, then me pointing this little detail out won’t be such a big deal. But to those of us who have taken an economics class, a little communism goes a long way in destroying whatever it touches.

And building off the hidden communism, this definition of racism is divisive by its very nature. Defining racism in the social justice manner divides the world into manichean categories, with clearly identifiable indicators revealing your alignment with the good guys or bad guys. On this view, if a white person is a social justice ally, they are saint-like, benevolent, god-given gifts who act entirely altruistically and are willing to sacrifice their own privilege in order to make the world more just. They are all modern day Robin Hoods, stealing from the privileged and distributing it to everyone else. People like me, however, are either ignorant monsters who know not what they do, or white-supremacist demons who perpetuate slavery and other forms of oppression.

The left likes to parade how ‘tolerant’ they are other cultures and ethnicities, and they paint themselves as being accepting and reasonable. But in reality, they only tolerate you if you share their goal of abolishing traditional western society. To them, ‘diversity’ means a bunch of people who look different but think the same. As this definition shows, they believe there are good guys and bad guys, and this is determined by how much you support the system. Additionally, if you are a minority, your probably a good guy, because you’ve been horribly oppressed and anything you do acts to rebel against that injustice. If you’re white, you’re already a part of the problem, but you can do your part by shutting up and making sure other white people follow suit.

Once again, maybe you’re a fan of a black and white interpretation of the world, with identifiable good and bad guys. But the world is a complicated place, and any ideology which utilizes manichean categories misses a lot of the nuance that characterizes such a world.

There’s another axiom hidden in this definition you might have missed; it’s collectivist. Remember, according to social justice types, you do not act individually but are merely a puppet of the institutions which dictate everything you do. When a white is racist to a black, it is not an individual encounter, but a manifestation of all the white power and privilege attempting to keep all blacks down, a recurrence of hundreds of years of slavery, and a regurgitation of the white-supremacist ethos from which you are not yet ‘woke’. You are not an individual but merely a cog in a machine, and there is only one way you should be spinning.

One of the primary ideas of western civilization is that the individual is sacred and accountable, so it’s no surprise that the people who detest western civilization have abandoned the individual. In fact, this is another revelation pulled from the transcendent postmodernism movement. And then again, this might be another point that won’t convince you. Maybe you do think that group identity (your skin colour, gender, country of birth etc…) is the most important part about you. But I just wanted to point this out for everybody else; for all the individuals who like the idea of autonomy and freedom.

There is an undeniable problem with the collectivist mindset, however; this being that it makes it impossible to distinguish individuals. In accordance with the theme of racism, the social justice definition takes away the ability to notice who is a genuine bigot and who is just a conservative. If every racist act is a gauche propagation of institutional power, with the exact same goal of maintaining that power at the expense of everybody else, then we have a problem. Social justice types say that anyone who acts against their doctrine does this implicitly, whether they understand it or not. But what about people who do this explicitly?

What’s the difference between me, who says that this definition is silly, and Richard Spencer, who says that whites are supreme and all other races weigh us down? According to SJW’s, Spencer just says what I’m thinking subconsciously, and is merely just voicing the indoctrinated thinking that white society has pressed upon me. This is a bold and obviously ineffective political move. I would love to team up with the social justice camps and intellectually humiliate Spencer and his supporters, as his views disgust me. But the SJW’s see me and him as doing essentially the same thing; I’m just a little more careful with my words.

And lastly, I’m far from the first person to notice that this definition of racism is contextual and therefore incredibly complicated. Perhaps we could assume that the SJW’s never expected their new definition to be taken seriously, but if their logic is applied internationally its simplicity inverts on itself.

Let’s take the example of the Japanese. They hold an incredible amount of institutional and economic power, with Japan being one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Even in America, Japanese dominate the SAT’s in universities and the high paying professions in the sciences. So it seems that, proportionately, the Japanese, who account for less than 1% of the population, wield an unjust amount of power and influence. Simultaneously, however, Japanese Americans have a history of being discriminated against, from the 1800’s basically until the 1980’s. So is their history of oppression sufficient to exempt them from being racists? Or does their current power and influence make them just another oppressor?

It’s certainly impossible for Chinese people to be racist to Japanese, as these two nations have a history that consists of the Japanese abusing and exploiting the Chinese seemingly without any regard for human life in the 20th century (Rape of Nanking, anyone?).

And what do we call it when a Korean uses a racial slur against a Latino? Does the answer to this question change if it happens in America, or Brazil, or Korea?

And is it possible to be racist to whites in countries where they hold little to no power and influence? What about in Syria and Iraq, which is and has been undergoing religious cleansing of christians (who are disproportionately white)? In those countries, christians hold little to no power, and there is certainly a history of their abuse and oppression. So maybe you can be racist to whites, but you have to go to Iraq to do it?

I could go on like this much longer. All we have to do is change the location, change the people’s, change the minority, and suddenly the racism equals ability to oppress + history of oppression definition begins to crumble into sand. And just like a grain of sand by itself is insignificant, a sea of sand is enough to swallow an empire. No matter how harmless this definition may seem, there is one thing about it that is clear; it is in no way a passive or non-consequatial definition.

When you apply this definition internationally, you realize that it was constructed exclusively for the purpose of justifying the horrible things SJW’s say about the whites of the west. Most certainly, they have not even considered applying the definition in other contexts, as they are pathologically obsessed with abolishing our tyrannical, patriarchal, white supremacist society.

That’s why it’s important to understand the true danger that such ideological possession presents. Though it may be hard to see, because social justice types hide behind the emancipation of the oppressed, they are just as power hungry as the people they deem their enemies. And if the SJW’s were to acquire the power they desire, they have an excuse to act in a genocidal manner against white people.

I’m not exaggerating here either. We’ve had a century of marxist, collectivist revolutions where the oppressed overthrew their oppressors. While it sounds great, what it amounted to was the extermination of the bourgeois (for us it would be the whites) and the destruction of any capability to compete with a free market without the use of forced labor camps.

Thus, this idea of ‘you can’t be racist to white people’ is not just another brilliant liberal discovery. It’s a machiavellian power move, used to silence the fearful, condemn the opposition, and justify the horrible.

 

 

Why Murdering Women Is OK With Feminists

Perhaps you have noticed a rather odd political phenomenon, one that seems like it belongs in a Monty Python skit. Indeed, it would be funny if it wasn’t so consequential.

I am referring to the schizophrenic ideology of self declared feminists; by day, they are obsessed with nothing but tearing down the brutish patriarchy; by night, they defend and protect patriarchal systems with all their energy. The surprising alignment of feminism with practices such as Sharia Law and Sati call into question, at minimum, the true intentions of the feminist movement. In case your unfamiliar with these beliefs, Sharia Law, amongst other things, dictates that a woman’s testimony be worth half that of man’s, and Sati demands that a widow engage in self-immolation upon her late husbands funeral pyre. These seems like strange practices for people so obsessed with patriarchal forces of power to defend, doesn’t it.

In fact, we live in a time in which the Hijab is celebrated as a symbol of female empowerment. If this worldview has it’s way with our moral thinking, maybe we will live to see the burqa celebrated in a similar manner.

Though this sort of incoherence is easy to dismiss as nonsense, and though the temptation is tantalizing to do so, it is important to take this phenomenon seriously. After all, feminism is not an obscure political doctrine.

My goal here is to explain how feminists can consistently behave so inconsistently. The answer is rather simple, and it lies within the philosophical underpinnings upon which the ideology stands.  Let’s put it plainly; when it comes to western civilization, feminists have no problem identifying (and often imagining) systems of oppression, no matter how subtle. But as soon as they shift their focus to any population which they consider to be oppressed, such as muslims and natives, it seems as if their eyes begin to role into the back of their heads.

This can be explained because they reject moral objectivism, they recognize that objectivism is a source of oppression, and their ultimate goal is the destruction of the tyrannical west.

1: Moral objectivism claims that there are right and wrong answers to moral questions. Certain practices, beliefs, and intentions, are evil because they do not align with some universal moral code or law. It also means that intentions, however benign, are subordinate to the consequences. For example, moral objectivists can condemn the holocaust even though those carrying out believed it to be good.

But moral objectivism, historically, has amounted to mere power struggles. In the past, the goodness of an act was not determined by reasonably discussed, objective factors, but by those committing them. More powerful groups simply imparted their own values onto less powerful ones. The cultural practices of less powerful groups, no matter how benevolent, were always inferior to the practices of empires. The British were not exploiting a people when they colonized, they were spreading the superior values of the west.

In fact, history is a succession of conquering moralities. Without fail, whenever a stronger power conquered a weaker one, it had justification that always lied within the realm of morality. Those committing the deeds, whether it be slavery or pillaging, considered themselves righteous for exterminating the vile.

Thus, a leftist interpretation of history reveals that there is no such thing a objective morality, but merely whatever is deemed appropriate by the most powerful. When an SJW cries foul on man spreading and then defends the islamic right to prohibit women from driving, they can do this because they believe there is no transcendent morality.

One culture is not better than another, and it is wrong to condemn a culture of which you do not belong.

2: Another obstacle to clear moral thinking for the SJW types is the phenotype of those who typically voice support for moral objectivism. It is almost always true that, when discussing good and evil acts, it is the west who is condemning everyone else and proclaiming themselves as virtuous. This aligns nicely with the last point, as the west currently holds more power than the rest of the world.

So the left will look at history and discover that morality is just what the powerful say it is, then they will look at the world as it stands and notice that the west is the most powerful conglomerate, and they will hear the west condemning everyone else for not looking enough like them. And the social justice types, being the champions of the oppressed, have an idealogical duty to condemn such elitism.

When a white male condemns the practice of a foreign culture, he is not appealing to some universal morality but is merely exercising his cultural power.

The reason feminists defend the patriarchal practices of foreign cultures is because they find it wrong to condemn the oppressed, especially when the condemnation is coming from the mouths of the oppressors themselves. Such condemnation is not coming from a true belief in morality, but from the more innate desire to rule and excersise power.

3: Lastly, the most fundamental axiom of the modern feminist movement is not concerned with women’s rights, but the destruction and reconstruction of the west. At present, it is nothing but a tyrannical patriarchy. But with the right social control and societal setup, an egalitarian utopia can be achieved.

This is the most frightening element of the social justice movement. Above everything else, it demands revolution. We see this happening already, in the names of equality. Social justice committees, human rights tribunals, equity achievement groups, are popping at every university across the continent. These groups are united in exerting power and forcing their social justice interpretation of morality onto the campus.

Since the ideology is so obsessed with power, it is no surprise that they themselves want it more than anything else. Whenever an SJW has a moment of weakness, and their facade of benevolence fails, the truly machiavellian social policy makes a brief appearance. In such moments, you have professors celebrating the murder of a white male tourist in North Korea, you have BLM activists demanding that white people (men and women) quit their jobs, and you see bloggers who reveal to the world that cisgendered men are all mysoginst ableist racist unenlightened pigs.

Thus, modern feminist types refuse to condemn oppressed cultures because they have a goal that supersedes the well being of women. What they want more than anything, what really gets them foaming at the mouth, is the thought of tearing down the patriarchy (western civilization) and establishing an egalitarian utopia. In this pursuit, they find support wherever they can, and this support is best if it itself has a similar pursuit.

This piece was inspired by a ‘debate’ that really opened my eyes to the reality of this conclusion. In class, I made a statement which I thought would be universally acceptable; the Saudi Arabian practice of stoning female adulterers to death (and only female adulterers) is objectively wrong. To my temporary bewilderment, the people who objected to this statement were the feminists.

These are the types of people that wear t-shirts that say “we should all be feminists”. Well, perhaps feminism means something different to them. IF you call yourself a feminist and then defend the right to stone them to death, maybe anarchist would be a more appropriate title, since it seems you want nothing but to see the world burn.

 

Intoxication Via The Infinite

What is time?

Simple questions such as these seem to have the peculiar habit of being almost impossible to answer. Perhaps it’s because we have a conception of an answer that is good enough, sufficient for everyday life and reciprocal understanding of human concepts. Perhaps it’s because the answer to this question exists at a level of profundity incapable of being articulately expressed. Maybe the answer to this dwells deep within us, every single one of us, which is why we are able to communicate about it without to much difficulty.

But if the latter proposition is true, why has time retreated to the dark cave that is our inarticulable thoughts, our mutual understanding that can only be introduced but not addressed? Perhaps there is some evolutionary purpose for it.

IF you find yourself scoffing at my false profundity, or confused about the nature of the initial question proposed, allow me to elaborate and include you in my chaos. When I refer to the notion of time, I mean the phenomenology of time. The experience of time. What is it like to be a human, conscious that they are passing through time, reflecting on time they know will never manifest itself, imagining a time in which they are happy, fulfilled, suppressing the thought it’s antithesis. Remembering time that has passed, being thrown into paralyzing anxiety by a time that has yet to come.

Is time merely just experience? By that I mean, is time necessarily phenomenological? It seems that way to me.

Imagine a universe composed entirely of inanimate objects, entirely and completely devoid of consciousness. No animals, no living microbes, no viruses even. A universe consisting exclusively of matter which has no conscious experience. Is it fair to say this universe does not exist? Paradoxically, this thought experiment is actually incapable of truly expressing the desired psychological effect, for merely considering a universe we necessarily create it inside our minds.

When I tell you to imagine a universe that lacks anything which could possibly have conscious experience, what image emerges in your mind? Perhaps you see a lone comet drifting through space. Perhaps you see a star and it’s following of orbiting masses. When I ask you to create this hypothetical universe, the reason for which it was thought up in the first place necessarily disappears. For what I am asking, to put it clearly, is does a universe which cannot be comprehended exist?

If you imagine a universe populated exclusively by stars and comets and other exclusively ‘dead’ matter then you necessarily imagine such a universe in a manner appropriate to the comprehension of a living organism. This is because it is impossible for you, for I, for anyone, to imagine the experience of a star, of a comet.

Thus, I find myself at a distinct disadvantage. My goal is to explore the phenomenology, the experience, of time. Yet, I find myself necessarily incapable of getting rid of time, even in the absence of phenomena.

Anyone interested in philosophy of mind is likely to be unimpressed by this discovery, for they have already pondered the ‘what is it like to be a bat’ thought experiment and dove headfirst into the incomprehensible spectrum that is conscious experience. They understand that, though we will never understand what it is like to be a bat, sleeping upside down (rightside up for them?) and manifesting the world by utilizing echolocation, nevertheless such an experience exists. No matter how much empirical information we obtain about the phenomenology and behaviour of bats, we will eternally fail the simple task of stepping into their shoes.

But to those people I merely want to point out a distinction; I am not merely conducting another phenomenological thought experiment when I ask you to consider a universe depleted of experience. I am actually asking you to do something impossible. I am asking you to experience that which necessarily has no experience, to become conscious observers of a universe which is supposed to be exclusively unconscious.

So, with the initial question still within sight, let me ask another question. Does time exist  without experience?

If this question is impossible to answer, for which we will concede it is for the time being, then let us abandon it. (this presupposes that consciousness is something more than information processing. If, in this exclusively unconscious universe there lie a quantum computer that was calculating gravity and masses using nothing but automated algorithms, such information processing would not affect the scenario, for algorithms do not have an experience)