The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Bitter Fruits of a Bitter Seed: Envy, Feminism, Maureen and Meghan

Posted on | January 8, 2012 | 66 Comments

Time constraints have improved my ability to ignore Maureen Dowd. Many months now often elapse between my ever bothering to notice anything she’s written. Today, however, Pete Da Tech Guy called my attention to Ms. Dowd’s unseemly assault on Rick Santorum’s family. And then Pete sat down and wrote a rather stunning contrast of the parallel lives of Ms. Dowd and Mrs. Santorum, for the benefit of Meghan McCain.

The feminists will never forgive Pete for this, of course.

It is my experience that feminists, when angry, revert to predictable arguments about the ignorance and prejudice of their critics. Yet when I recommend to them books written by women critical of the feminist belief system, these supposedly knowledgeable and open-minded women can never be bothered to read the books I recommend.

No feminist can ever concede that any critic could have a valid argument. Thus the starting point of the debate is that there can be no debate: The anti-feminist critic is simply presumed wrong, and all that needs be explained is why the critic is wrong. The Soviet “show trials” of the 1930s were less predictable than the arguments of feminists.

If ever feminists permitted doubt to penetrate their ironclad worldview, the whole ridiculous egalitarian house of cards would instantly collapse, and they would be left without an ideology to justify their folly. They should therefore be hated less than they are pitied.

UPDATE: It is unfortunate that some of my conservative friends, including Dan Collins (in the comments below) and Sissy Willis on Twitter, insist on attempting to rescue the term “feminism” from its deserved opprobrium. Here we return to Little Miss Attila’s frantic efforts to define a conservative feminism — an oxymoron — and above all I regret that, having wasted part of my day taking notice of Maureen Dowd, I must now briefly reiterate an argument that all honest and intelligent people would concede I had already decisively won.

The originators and leading advocates of feminism have always seen themselves, and properly so, as part of the Progressive Left. Feminists have therefore contested any and all attempts by conservatives to co-opt and redefine the term “feminism” as something compatible with conservatism. Yet there are many soi-disant conservatives who, desirous of seeming fashionably modern and perhaps insufficiently knowledgeable of feminism’s leftist origins, persist in claiming that conservatives who reject feminism — as all actual conservative do — are guilty of throwing out the good feminist baby with the bad feminist bathwater. (Of course, true feminists would insist that the baby must be aborted, lest womyn be compelled to submit to the institution of partiarchal oppression known as “motherhood.”)

Conservatives who defend feminism are not merely wasting their own time, but wasting the time of those of us who are required to leave aside useful work in order to refute their misguided arguments. It’s as if free-market economists should be compelled to waste their time arguing with conservatives who claim that Keynesianism is not entirely bad. And I am weary of trying to talk sense to these peddlers of “conservative feminism” nonsense. My first extended iteration of this argument was in a November 2008 column about the hateful fury of gay-rights activists that accompanied the Proposition 8 controversy in California:

The gay rage in California can be traced directly to the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, which voided a Texas sodomy law because, as Justice Anthony Kennedy declared, “our laws and traditions in the past half century…show an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.”
The Lawrence ruling was the culmination of what Justice Antonin Scalia called “a 17-year crusade” to overturn the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick decision (which had upheld Georgia’s sodomy statute) and, as Scalia noted in his dissent, the Court’s “emerging awareness” argument was a disingenuous way to avoid actually declaring a “fundamental right” to sodomy. The legal effect was the same, however, and Lawrence was repeatedly cited in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision five months later mandating the legalization of gay marriage in that state.
If homosexuality is a right, and denying legal recognition to same-sex marriage is a violation of that right, then the rage of gay activists against their opponents is entirely justified. Proposition 8 does not deny tolerance, safety and freedom to gays and lesbians, whose right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is as secure in California as anywhere in the world.
Tolerance, safety and freedom are not the same as equality, however, and equality is the freight that liberals seek to smuggle into arguments via “rights talk.” Gay activists do not construe their “rights” in terms of liberty, but in terms of radical and absolute equality. They insist that same-sex relationships are identical to — entirely analogous to and fungible with — traditional marriage.
Common sense resists this assertion, perceiving something fundamentally false in the gay marriage argument. Yet it seems common-sense resistance can only be justified by resort to religious faith, through the understanding that men are “endowed by their Creator” with rights. Eliminate the Creator from discussion, and it becomes impossible to refute the activists’ indignant demand for equality.

This is what the self-declared “conservative feminists” refuse to acknowledge: Feminism has no meaning outside the context
of rights and equality. Once you begin defining the roles and relations of men and women in such terms, you have taken an irretrievable step down the slippery slope toward radical egalitarianism.  The very fact that people who call themselves conservatives are incapable of recognizing what should be self-evident — that the radical conclusion of the egalitarian argument is implicit in its premises — should profoundly trouble those concerned about the future prospects of conservatism in America. In January 2009, I expanded my argument in controversy with Conor Friedersdorf:

Are men and women equal in the fullest sense of the word? If so, then equality implies fungibility — the two things are interchangeable and one may be substituted for the other in any circumstance whatsoever. (La mort à la différence!) Therefore, it is of no consequence whether I marry a woman or a man.

Americans have been so rigorously indoctrinated about the sacredness of equality as a political, legal and social principle that one fears they’ve actually begun to believe that this kind of equality is possible or desirable, which is lunacy.

Men and women are different, and the differences are so obvious, intrinsic and profound that to prohibit “discrimination” between the sexes is to require people to pretend to believe in a transparent falsehood. No sane person could actually believe that men and women are equal — that is to say, fungible — in this way, and therefore the entirety of the feminist worldview is premised on a susceptibility to insanity.


  • alwaysfiredup

    Because we persist in our folly of believing that feminism = women are people, just like men.  Not “women are men.”

  • alwaysfiredup

    really? this has been going on behind the scenes for six months, only occasionally erupting into blog posts?

    I am on the wrong listservs. 🙂  

    I find the fight charming, together with the casual chauvinism with which he states his opinions as fact.

  • alwaysfiredup

    …over the top, maybe?

  • K-Bob

    Too jumpy-to-conclusion-y.  It’s not so hard to work with fuzzier definitions while maintaining strong principles. (Law enforcement deals with that aspect of reality all the time.)

    Also, this “the leftists started feminism first” insistence reminds me of the Ronulans’ insistence that Ron Paul “started” the Tea Party, or the left’s insistence that (insert favorite Godwin-avoidance ploy here) was purely a right-wing phenomenon.

    I chose my eccentricity from things less contentious.  (I decided never to eat blue M&M’s.)

  • Neo-Confederate Sex Panic

    the radical belief that women are people…who need unlimited abortion access to protect them against the patriarchy

  • Zilla of the Resistance

    You’re the one who showed up here having a “hissy fit” and casting derision on me. Don’t expect people to smile and take it when you attack them, because most folks won’t.

    You got all butt hurt because you take offense at a new word (invented in December 2010) and because I don’t want to cast my lot with a miserable hateful leftist movement and then you chose to be nasty and dismissive towards me when I had not said anything to you directly, Joy.

    You’re all over this thread jumping on people who had not engaged you directly simply because they happen to see merit in what Stacy had to say.  Do you think bullying people will make them see things your way, or do you just want them to be afraid to comment to Stacy’s posts about feminism so they can avoid having you harp on them?
    Feminists also seem to think that they should be held to a different standard, where they can behave however they want, insult whoever they want, and never experience any push-back. They may scream and rail against real or imagined “double standards” but they are more than happy to have a double standard for themselves.

    Don’t get nasty with people if you aren’t prepared to handle the inevitable push-back.

  • Zilla of the Resistance

    Yeah, me too! 

  • ThePaganTemple

    Agree with you there. I couldn’t help but think that was why a lot of people couldn’t get behind Bachmann. In fact, some of her Christian pastor supporters felt it necessary to put out a statement to the effect that she was “Biblically qualified”. Pretty sad.

  • Pingback: Too Clever By Half at Haemet()

  • Pingback: Can of worms, open!()

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Perhaps the answer is to merely be considered an individual?

    What both systems fail to do is look at and treat people as individuals — people become mere units of a group, slaves to its definitions (just look at Sarah Palin — she is neither feminist nor a truly traditional woman, yet everyone tries to put her in a group…and attack her for not belonging completely or treat her as a mascot, which takes her humanity away as well). If people in America are to ever be able to truly able to live with a modicum of freedom, then one of the ideologies will have to consider that a person can never be a unit of measure within some narrowly defined idea of “I am, we/they/you are” which also remains stultifyingly static; rather, we are individuals. 

    There are rules we all have to ascribe to in order to live in a thriving, peaceable society — a certain moral code — but we need to allow for the many variable ways the individual can be themselves within that framework…otherwise we stand to pigeonhole ourselves into some form of oppression, from either the right or the left.

    As a young woman who could never fit in with traditional female roles, nor progressive feminist ones (and thus being a bit ostracized by practioners of both, who might have no issue with fitting in because each lifestyle suits them perfectly) this has been a life lesson.

  • Pathfinder’s wife

    Sadly, there are men out there who very much do want (or think they want) that “little girl”.  They don’t want to do everything for themselves, which is why they find out what they thought they wanted really wasn’t what they needed — but by then the damage has been done (to themselves as well as others).

    There are women who are just as guilty of this sort of thing.  I find that a lack of faith and conviction in their own selves as something far beyond this or that group definition usually drives this sort of thinking and behavior; not being capable of seeing themselves as a multifaceted individual leads them to an incapability to allow others the same right.

  • Quartermaster

    Sorry, but Joy is more than just all wet, she is stupidly wrong. Stacy has this one nailed.

    It’s just a shame her ideology gets in the way of such a thing as truth.

    Of course, if you wish to engage in postmodernism, then she *could* be right, since words don’t mean much to a postmodern type.

  • Pingback: Beating The #Feminism Dead Horse Back To Life « That Mr. G Guy's Blog()

  • Pingback: Feminists Outraged Over Girly Legos! Why?()

  • Pingback: FMJRA 2.0: The Boston Molasses Disaster : The Other McCain()