Thursday, January 14, 2016

Is Rape Motivated By A Desire for Sex or Power?

This is pretty good.
   Also the source, Quillette, seems dedicated to standing up to prevailing middle-brow groupthink.
   To my mind, the really important thing here is that the feminist maxim that rape is about power, not sex, is implausible and completely unproven. But, like so many decrees of feminism in my lifetime, it became orthodoxy simply because a vocal minority insisted that it was true and treated dissent as bigotry. I first learned about this strange doctrine when I said something (in high school? as an undergraduate?) that suggested that I was ignorant of it. I was promptly "educated" by a nearby feminist. At that time, I was still under the misapprehension that something was likely to be true if it was feminist orthodoxy, so I spent a couple of years believing and repeating that dubious theory. It didn't take all that long, however, for me to realize that it didn't really make a lot of sense, and probably wasn't true.
   But the really clear and important point is: the rape/power hypothesis is unproven, and there are clear reasons to doubt it. Sex itself is often mixed up with desires to dominate, so it may very well be that there are multiple motives in play.
   The closer feminism sticks to its core mission--to work for equality, the better, more reasonable and more reliable it is. The farther it ventures from that core, the less. It's pretty bad at empirical hypotheses largely because it's a political movement, and that's largely inconsistent with being scientific. And its doctrines tend to be held as articles of faith, not as hypotheses. Like so many odd feminist doctrines, the rape/power doctrine is based mostly on a kind of interpretive, speculative method, when what's needed is empirical investigation. It could turn out to be true, but it's not currently the most likely guess.

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