Friday, January 5, 2018

Clash of Worldviews: The Sexual Harassment Epidemic

MODERATOR: Good evening, viewers, and welcome to another edition of Clash of Worldviews, the show that interrupts the consumerist propaganda to present you with a discussion of philosophical issues of interest mainly to alienated cynics who surrender their capacity for happiness for a slender chance at enlightenment.

Tonight we have with us Queeneta Woods, noted African-American lesbian progressive feminist, and Fred Gulpa, the radical alt right blogger, and they’re here to discuss the wave of sexual misconduct allegations that appears to be cleansing American culture, especially its entertainment industry. Queeneta, have you been surprised by these allegations that dozens of mostly older male Hollywood executives and actors have sexually harassed or abused women in the industry?

QUEENETA: I’m not surprised that so much misconduct has occurred, but for some of it to come out all at once is unexpected. We need to listen to women who have the courage to come forward not only to accuse their abusers but to stand against the patriarchal society that’s made excuses for this exploitation, because the abusers’ professional work happens to be profitable for their company. Women have been sacrificed on the altar of private profit, and it’s a wonder when morality takes center stage.

FRED: When you say the women should be “heard,” is that just a euphemism for saying that they should be automatically believed? Is it possible for a woman to make up a crime out of jealousy or to seek petty revenge against a man after their relationship didn’t pan out? Or are women always right and men always wrong because of patriarchy?

QUEENETA: Those deflationary scenarios are logically possible but unlikely, because American society is indeed patriarchal. Men are in charge, power corrupts, and so men tend to abuse women when they can, not the other way around. Sorry if the truth offends your masculine sense of entitlement, but the days of white male supremacy are numbered.

FRED: Isn’t it a little early for you to be contradicting yourself, Queeneta? If our days are numbered and women are coming out of the woodwork with charges of male sexual abuse, how can this also be a patriarchal society as opposed to a fading, postmodern nanny state for spoiled sentimentalists?

QUEENETA: The women who have publicly named their abusers are only the tip of the iceberg. The abuse happens in all businesses and even in ordinary households whenever a man feels entitled to dominate a woman.

FRED: Just for the record, you’re not religious, are you? I mean, you don’t believe there’s any God, afterlife, immortal spirit, or anything like that?

QUEENETA: Of course not. Those are elements of ancient patriarchal myths that have been instrumental in oppressing women by rationalizing the economic inequalities that benefit the male theocrats that supposedly represent their gods.

FRED: Right, so how could the prevention of social domination even be possible? Why shouldn’t we expect only cause and effect, force and submission in social relationships? Where is there room for freedom anywhere in nature?

QUEENETA: What are you talking about?

FRED: You said power corrupts, men have the power, and so they’re dominating women, and you want that to stop. But to what end? You can’t be against domination in general, since that would require an appeal to the supernatural. No, you just want the domination to switch directions: you want women to start dominating men, which is just what’s happening in our feminized, late-modern society. 

QUEENETA: You’re making excuses for tyrannical men, by implying that they can’t help themselves. Of course we have some natural degree of self-control.

FRED: So you want a society in which no one forces anyone to do anything, is that right?

QUEENETA: Yes, that would finally be progress.

FRED: Maybe, but it’s utopian by your own definition. You’re demanding the end of causality in social interactions. You think we’re so liberated from nature that we could consent to every piece of sensory data that enters our field of vision? Suppose a husband is having intimate relations with his wife. The wife consents to the sex at the outset, but does she have to verbally give him permission every time he intends to touch one of her body parts during the act. Or will she always retain the right to cry out afterward that she was assaulted, because she agreed to have sex but not specifically for her husband to touch her knee instead of her elbow? You say you’re not religious, but actually progressive ideology is as silly as any old-time religious myth. You’re holding people to an impossible standard just as Jesus did in the New Testament. That way, progressive elites can always say ordinary folks should feel ashamed of not measuring up. That’s what the Catholic Church did with its invention of original sin, and secular progressives follow their lead. It’s the same old con and only the jargon’s changed.

QUEENETA: So now progressives are guilty because of some imaginary association with the patriarchal Church? That’s inventive.

FRED: And that’s a nondenial denial. You know something? I don’t like the way you just looked at me. I didn’t consent to your looking at me with your left eyebrow raised. You did that without my consent and now I’m stuck with that unpleasant memory. You nonverbally signaled that you think I’m stupid, and that offends me. I didn’t agree to how you moved your body in my line of sight. So now do I get to call the police and say you harassed me with your left eyebrow?

QUEENETA: If you’re the biggest pussy who ever lived, I suppose you just might do that.

FRANK: Oh, so now it’s down to name calling. I’m shocked and offended. Words hurt, etc., etc. So now do I get to post this exchange to Facebook and YouTube to afflict you with an outraged mob of neo-puritans? I trust you see the point of this reductio argument. If you’re claiming to be against all forms of power, you’re a hypocrite because you just want to empower women so they can dominate men, and if you claim you’re not religious, your progressivism is incoherent to boot. Case closed.

MODERATOR: If I might interrupt for a moment, Frank, are you suggesting that men such as Harvey Weinstein have a right to sexually exploit young actresses?

FRED: I don’t know if you’re all ready for what I think about these sex scandals. Do you want the red pill or the blue pill?

MODERATOR: We’re here to discover the truth, so we’ll take the red pill if you don’t mind.

FRED: Okay, then what we have here is indeed, as Queeneta said, a clash between capitalism and morality, but not in the way she spoke of it. Power does corrupt, men have indeed dominated women for a long time, and so men naturally abuse that power inequality. That’s why men tend to abuse women and not the other way around, because men are physically stronger, on average, and that alone gives them a power advantage. So this entails that women have typically lacked much power in either theocratic or modern secular societies, notwithstanding the civil rights revolutions. For evolutionary reasons, however, women still need to find a mate, so what sort of man are they most attracted to? You know the answer from soap operas, women’s novels, and romantic comedies. Women are most attracted to the so-called bad boy, the arrogant swashbuckler who promises the woman danger but also adventure. And why is that? Because women are really attracted to the stability that comes with power, and power is typically held by men who are naturally corrupted by it and who therefore turn into the “bad boy,” the latter being a euphemism for the sociopathic alpha male.

MODERATOR: Intriguing! But I wonder where you’re going with this.

QUEENETA: You mean other than to hell?

FRED: Right, the hell that doesn’t exist. That’s just where I’m going for telling the truth that you don’t have the balls to recognize.

QUEENETA: Oh, I’ve got balls alright. My balls are bigger than your head, you fascist asshole!

MODERATOR: Please! Let’s not lose all sense of decorum. Fred, do continue.

FRED: Well, then, look what’s happened. Feminism has nevertheless recently impacted American society. More women than men graduate with college degrees, and many women are financially independent and don’t strictly require a male partner. They have to go online to try to meet men because they’re too busy with their corporate jobs. Even if American women aren’t all rich, the liberal women at least feel empowered because of the rise of feminist culture, which means these women are no longer attracted to the type of man who’s traditionally associated with concentrated, corrosive power. The question is: what type of man does the late-modern woman want? Freud was stumped, so maybe Queeneta can enlighten us. What do progressive women want in a male partner?

QUEENETA: But we’re not talking about couples. We’re talking about coworkers, since that’s where the recently revealed misconduct has occurred.

FRED: Ah, but they’re related, since the male coworkers were trying to seduce those women, to become their partners. These men see themselves as American winners, since they’re rich and famous and they offer the woman some advancement at work in exchange for sex. For a long time, women accepted that bargain and they evidently still do, not just because the women were helpless and victimized but because they were attracted to power and to the assholes who wield it. Not anymore! Now I suppose women want neutered, asexual coworkers, a safe space work environment where men and women can pretend they’re machines rather than animals. And what do women gain from that?

QUEENETA: We gain equality, thank you very much! We don’t want to put up with the gross sexual advances from sugar daddies that lure young women to their lair with promises of promotions, only to throw her aside to initiate their next sexual conquest. It’s the same old high school gambit: the jock seduces the unpopular girl, mocks her behind her back to his friends, and ruins her reputation. Then I guess she’s supposed to enter a convent to live out the rest of her days in exile? Nah, we’ve wizened up to male schemes. If women don’t get what we want, whether that’s a safe workplace or even the promotion offered as part of a consensual business exchange for sex, we’re not going to take the abuse anymore. We’re going to fight back. We’re going to make his perversions public and ruin his reputation for a change. That’s equality and that’s justice.

FRED: Tell me, then: What sort of man does the empowered woman want? I take it the power-mad chauvinist is off the table, so what types of men are left?

QUEENETA: I don’t see what you’re driving at. Is it too much to ask for men not to treat women like cattle or objects?

FRED: No, but it is too much to ask for the elimination of power dynamics in social relationships. As long as anyone is in charge, that person will treat his or her subordinates more or less like cattle or objects. Suppose women acquire more authority, so they no longer need to tolerate abuse from powerful men. But suppose these women are heterosexual so they still want a male partner. Will they be attracted to the sniveling beta male, the proverbial nice guy whom the girl banishes to the infamous Friend Zone because he lacks self-confidence or that thrilling but subversive spark of heroism? Or will she sink even further and pick up the ostracized omega male, the outcast loser who offers her less than nothing?

QUEENETA: Liberated women will have the power to pick whomever they want, just as powerful men now have that luxury.

FRED: Yes, they’d have that power, but feminism will steer them away from the bad boys even though their instincts were formed tens of thousands of years ago, in an amoral environment where pragmatism and jungle law ruled and there was no thought of liberty. Prehistoric men and women took care of the jobs they were best at, because those hunter-gatherers had to struggle to survive and had no luxury to stop and think about abstract issues of fairness. Powerful feminist women, then, will be internally conflicted. They’ll crave for the adventurous sociopaths of their dreams, but they’ll have backed themselves into a corner, so they’ll have to learn to be content with submissive, feminized men. Economic reality will conflict with their taboo ideal.

QUEENETA: If power corrupts, these women should prefer the sort of partner who thrives on being dominated by her. So in this fantasy the patriarchy would become a matriarchy.

FRED: Yes, it is a fantasy, but not exactly for the reason you think. Although American women are well-educated and represented in the workplace, they often don’t have equal pay with men. Even if that economic problem is rectified, one last inequality will remain: many women won’t have earned their job in the same way men do, by cutthroat competition. Women will have benefited from so-called affirmative action or from some man’s act of charity or horniness whereby he gives her a free ride in exchange for meaningless sex. Sure, some men also benefit from nepotism, but men’s competition with each other is more ferocious than is their competition with women. Men take it easy on women and make a joke of their rivalry with the opposite sex, because those men are in a no-win situation. If they lose, they lose to women who are known for being emotionally and physically weaker than men. If the men win, they’ve beaten the underdog and are accused of being sadistic. So the male rivals will be inclined to give women a free ride, to let the women skate by without much of a contest, since what man prefers to compete with a woman? The result is that although many women technically have power in the workplace, they haven’t earned the conqueror’s mindset; instead, they’re spoiled and soft-hearted. They lack the stomach for dominating anyone, so they turn the workplace into a therapist’s office, into a feel-good, happy-talking safe space, into a postmodern den of self-deception and progressive ideology that makes excuses for all manner of personal failures. Welcome to the decline of America.

QUEENETA: Is this what men tell each other in their safe spaces of locker rooms and Men’s Rights meet-ups? Men are losing out to women and to machines, but they can salvage the pretense that they deserve to rule because women secretly want to be dominated by men? Talk about a fantasy!

FRED: Face it: men don’t know what modern women want because liberal women don’t know themselves.

QUEENETA: We know we don’t want to be hit on by gross old men who feel entitled to grope us in the hallway. So just keep your hands to yourself, behave like a grownup and things will work out fine.

FRED: Oh, so women want no such advantages in business? No opportunities to exploit the male boss’s sexual appetite, for a free ride to a promotion in the workplace hierarchy? Women want straight-up competition with men, is that it? So when women have to take off from work for a year to give birth and to be with their baby, they’ll be fine with surrendering their job to the marketplace, right? No more subsidies for what capitalists can consider only a lack of female productivity? No crying about the amorality of business? A man can be fired for arriving late to work just once or twice, but a woman can have the legal right to keep her job even though she’s been away from it for a whole year! That’s affirmative action, that’s feminist regulation which would have to go bye-bye in a straight-up competition with men. But you’re okay with that because you want perfect equality between men and women. No favours or handouts, just kill or be killed. And you think women on average would beat men in that kind of social Darwinian struggle? Yeah, right! Better to take those bouts of groping like a champ for a chance at the free rides that accompany them.

QUEENETA: It’s unbelievable how a man can turn a conversation about men’s sexual abuse of women into one about how men are actually suffering at the hands of uppity women. Can’t you just face up to the fact that powerful men often behave appallingly and that women are sick of it? Can’t men just grow up and stop whining about how women want to take away their power? Just stop being a baby and act like a man!

FRED: But that’s my point! They are acting like men—like men with power. Power turns men into kids in a candy store. Like Donald Trump said, the powerful man can do whatever he wants. He can grab the fawning women by the pussy. The problem isn’t just that women are sick of the abuse; it’s that they’re sick of powerful men, which means they’re opposed to capitalism and to the power dynamics that hold throughout the animal kingdom. Feminists are radicals who want to usher in some progressive utopia even though they’re also atheists, so they can’t count on any deus ex machina. Thus, all these women are good for is whining. They’ll rant and rave about the gross, horny old men. But capitalism and the power dynamics will go on, men will continue to dominate and abuse women, and feminist women will be internally conflicted unless they can train themselves to prefer weak-willed men.

QUEENETA: No, we progressives think men can be trained to stop being assholes. If we can train a dog not to urinate on the carpet, we can train a Donald Trump to keep his tiny hands to himself.

FRED: Good luck with convincing the male titan of industry to see a therapist, when he thinks he’s already king of the world.

QUEENETA: Then we’ll just keep up the furor and have all those lechers imprisoned, since they’re breaking the law.

FRED: They’re not breaking the law if the women consent to the “abuse” as part of an unofficial business arrangement. On the contrary, the man could then sue the women for libel.

QUEENETA: Then we’ll try them in the court of public opinion so they’ll be forced to slink off in disgrace.

FRED: Good luck with keeping any story on the front pages for the long term in the postmodern world of mass media and low attention spans.

QUEENETA: How does it feel, Fred, to make excuses for male sexual predators?

FRED: I feel fine. And how does it feel to be in a position to get something for nothing, to be able to prostitute yourself in the workplace in such a way that you can keep calling yourself a feminist?

QUEENETA: You’re a world-class asshole, Frank.

FRED: Yeah, reality’s a bitch.

MODERATOR: On that wholesome note, we’ll leave you, dear viewer, to ponder this exchange of ideas. Until next time, keep on philosophizing until you’ve lost all hope and have nowhere to turn but to love your knowledge of horrific reality that consumes your capacities for happiness and sanity. But stay tuned for the vapid daily news. 

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