Thursday, September 07, 2017

Emily Yoffee: The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy

First of a three-part series.
   I've heard it all before...but this is still an exhausting read.
   Rape crisis hysteria and Title IX totalitarianism seem to capture something general about the derangement of the PC / "social justice" left. The politically correct but obviously false assertions repeated and repeated until they come to have the social status of truths...the entirely unsupported claims elevated to the status of virtual axioms...in fact, the near-total subordination of truth to radical left ideology...the patently crackpot ideals and policies that seem to have been dreamed up by creatures that had never met human beings... the "valorization" of victimhood...the complete disregard for reason, and for rights...  And, of course: the fact that the welfare of men (especially white ones) counts for nothing.* Worse: if you wanted to construct a policy specifically aimed at doing harm to university men, you could hardly come up with a more sinister plan.
   What drives me crazy about all this is the Kafkaesque madness of the whole thing. It's not the actual harm being done to people--I do care about that, but it doesn't grip me and infuriate me like the sheer bat-shit looniness of it all. It's as if Scientologists had taken over some institution and forced it to institute some of their daft sci-fi theories. But, since it all originates in extremist academic feminism--a cesspool of crazy that really does rival Scientology--it's all protected by the academic feminist force field.
   It's all total madness.


*Notice how often people revert to counterproductivity arguments. They realize that mere unfairness or harm to men is virtually weightless in such discussions. To have any effect, you have to make a case for harm to women (e.g. infantilizing them), or for undermining some aspect of feminism.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Worse: if you wanted to construct a policy specifically aimed at doing harm to university men, you could hardly come up with a more sinister plan."

I know this is epistemically shaky, but the claim that they are trying to constrain (university) men make for a fairly parsimonious explanation of PC feminism. The looniness is basically a smokescreen for a will to power.

This is often the explanation I see among conservatives who reach the end of their ropes with PC, largely because it is used to infringe upon their interests and so they are primed to impute sinister motives. I'm still not entirely sure, because PCs really do strike me as both crazy and stupid, and that has a lot of explanatory heft, but a ton of this is pretty obviously true as well. Accusations of bigotry are obviously lazy shortcuts to win political points, and it's basically been the entire message of the Dem party for as long as I can remember.

But also, and I've mentioned this a lot now, evil is dynamic. If a group wants to seize power unjustly, they couch it in terms that seem unassailably correct to the people of their time (like feminism or anti-racism). They don't publicly become Nazis, the widely known evil, unless they are unconcerned with achieving their ends. The perversion of norms is the MO of sinister actors, but of course it is not necessarily proof that an actor is sinister.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

The point is worth mentioning repeatedly: it's certainly taken long enough to sink into *my* head. For the love of God, keep saying it...

And I couldn't agree more: the imputation of sinister motives is commonly lazy...and it detracts from *more important* points. Theories and "ideologies" can be terrible and wrong, and they need to be considered *per se,* and refuted.

There's no doubt--in my mind, anyway--that there's a bunch of anti-male sexism mixed in with all this. There have always been a lot of women who hate men (sometimes, I'll note as a sidebar, for good reasons...) in radical feminism. And also those who don't so much *hate* them as have a variety of other negative attitudes about them. (In general, I think the left strategically conflates a bunch of different stuff with hate.) But even if their motives were pure, these policies would still be insane.

And, also: there's no doubt that a lot of people who are driving all this aren't motivated by anti-male attitudes. Maybe that's even scarier: they seem to honestly think all this bullshit is actually true.

But also: I think if you spend too long thinking about certain kinds of awfulness it an make you crazy. Too much staring into the abyss, and too much monster-hunting... Rape and *actual* sexual assault...thinking too much about them could legitimately push you over the edge.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And, also: there's no doubt that a lot of people who are driving all this aren't motivated by anti-male attitudes. Maybe that's even scarier: they seem to honestly think all this bullshit is actually true."

Note that is why you pervert a commonly held norm. Because you can rope people of good faith on your side, which brings undeserved credence to what is either lunacy or outright injustice.

"But also: I think if you spend too long thinking about certain kinds of awfulness it an make you crazy. Too much staring into the abyss, and too much monster-hunting... Rape and *actual* sexual assault...thinking too much about them could legitimately push you over the edge."

This is actually a really good point, and I saw it a lot with BLM. There would be people on twitter suddenly scouring the videos on the internet for police violence, of which there is tons. They would become progressively infuriated and then eventually just nuts. And there is nothing you can do about this, because in a heavily armed, quite violent nation of 300 million people, there's going to be tons of police violence under any possible world. I could see a lot of them were clearly decent, but they were being psychologically poorly contextualized information.

Now, notice this is exactly the raison d'etre of the Left: puritanical, ceaseless demon hunting, yet with no conception of forgiveness or grace that somewhat moderates the old Puritans, and it's no surprise rationality goes out the window in their politics.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

The Title-IX horror stories -- like the one that opens the Yoffe Atlantic piece -- just keep coming, each more horrific than its predecessor. It also occurs to me that they must be all basically true. Because if there were any seriously contestable details, surely the vigilant, vociferous Title-IX cheerleaders would be all over it.

But all they seem to have is smears. See eg Elizabeth Barnes at Feminist Philosophers referring to Yoffe as a 'known rape apologist' here.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, good point. Think about the baroque efforts to pick apart Kipnis...

I should not have clicked on that link. Nothing good ever comes of looking at FP.

12:18 PM  

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