Monday, December 09, 2013

Carol Hay: A Feminist Kant

Hey, this is pretty good.

I'm not sure why these are supposed to be particularly feminist points...but nevermind.

Hay seems to suggest disagreement with DFW's claim that "...on the East Coast, politico-sexual indignation is the fun." But he actually hit the nail pretty much on the head there...though I'm not sure how geographical that problem actually is. It's the fun on the leftier reaches of the left, that's for sure. So there's that.

There's no doubt that the carnies in the story are asking for a punch in the nose, and it's a sad story in that they didn't get one...but not every injustice gets its due...

Hay's point--not an esoteric one by any stretch of the imagination, but a good one--is that we can make the liberal/egalitarian/feminist points we need to make with Kant's conceptual apparatus.

And I'd add: there's no need for Continental/po-mo/Foucauldian/Judith-Butlerian gobbledygook. If the point is respectable, and in this case it is, we'll be able to make it without resorting to the buzzword salad so popular on the lefty-left.


Blogger The Mystic said...

Yeah.. I dunno. I think people tend to recognize properly that one has a duty to preserve and promote one's rational nature, but I think they then tend to jump to conclusions about the manner in which they ought to do that.

I'm not saying she shouldn't, say, punch the carnies in the nose. I'm just saying she's probably not obligated to handle the situation in precisely such a manner given only a consideration of her duty for self-respect. Arguments against wasting one's time with the buffoons may not be entirely without merit.

Kant would probably ultimately agree that the determination of one's reaction to these circumstances must be a function of one's own judgment. It has caused me much personal strife in trying to determine whether or not I am being cowardly in not directly confronting all those oppressions which society's morons rain down upon many of us with regularity. The fact of the matter seems to me, I'm afraid, that only in a very shortsighted way does immediate confrontation seem to serve my duty to self-respect. With a long view which recognizes the cost of such action, it seems entirely reasonable to me to think that the vast majority of the injustices which I face are thankfully not deserving of my energies in direct confrontation, particularly when the efficacy of such confrontation is frequently heavily limited (such as is the case when fighting a one-man battle against entrenched institutional immorality, etc.).

A balance must be struck, of course, and extreme oppression must be fought. One cannot happily spend one's life in slavery, but one probably mustn't be compelled to abandon one's own freedom in pursuit of every minor oppression one faces, either. Reason mustn't become a tyrant.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

I totally agree, and that's why I agree with Hay when she suggests that confronting such assholes is an imperfect duty.

But I'd still be sorely tempted to punch some noses.

As Kant says, everybody cheers whent he villiage bully gets "a right good beating"...

8:50 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Well, that's what I get for abandoning the article in the second-to-last paragraph. That's kinda funny (to me) that she addresses that very complaint I lodge in the one paragraph I declined to read.


9:03 AM  

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