The Other McCain

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

Evil Triumphs as @Clementine_Ford Misquotes Edmund Burke

Posted on | February 18, 2014 | 37 Comments

There are rumors that Australian feminist Clementine Ford has read books, but no one has verified this, and it may be idle gossip.

What Ms. Ford unquestionably has in abundance, however, is the certainty of her own intellectual and moral superiority, so that we — the unenlightened and flawed — are expected to be grateful that she occasionally condescends to share her wisdom with us:

The universal male decency we keep hearing about is largely a myth.
Sure, most men might not be bad. But it takes more than ‘not being bad’ to be ‘actually good’. . . .
Whenever conversation is raised about patriarchy, violence and the lack of equality that still permeates our society, I find myself inundated with messages or comments from men offended by the discussion of male perpetrated violence. Most men, they take ostentatious pains to remind me, are ‘decent’ — so why do I insist on tarring all of them with the same brush? It’s not fair and it’s not true. If I want their ongoing support, I had jolly well better start being nicer to them.
Leaving aside for a moment the arrogance it requires to listen to a conversation about the gendered violence suffered by women and make it about their hurt feelings, let’s define what they mean by ‘decency’.

The minute a woman invokes “patriarchy,” you know where the discourse is heading: Universal female victimhood by universal male oppressors. No man may question these claims except at peril of being labeled a hateful misogynist. Ms. Ford continues:

This is apparently what ‘being decent’ looks like. It’s a conditional expression of privilege that pays lip service to equality but doesn’t actually go out of its way to defend it, and whose benevolent support ends the moment it asks us to actually do something. Worse, it balks at this request for demonstration, as if it is enough for our decency to remain an impotent figurehead, and an insult worse than all the discriminations put together to challenge its legitimacy. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a man tell me that if I want his support to continue, I had better start being nicer to him…well, then I wouldn’t have to worry quite so much about the wage gap.
Edmund Burke once wrote, “In order for evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing.”

Except that Edmund Burke never actually wrote that, of course. The quote usually attributed to Burke is, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” but this is evidently apocryphal, and the nearest thing to it that Burke actually wrote is, “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” The quote’s nearest approximation by any famous writer is John Stuart Mill: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

So other than getting wrong the one (attempted) direct quote in her column, what else has Clementine Ford accomplished? Glancing over her archives at Australia’s Daily Life, I see nothing but column after column of feminist cant. She is one of these women, like Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti, whose only qualification as a “journalist” is a fanatical devotion to feminist ideology, and who are occasionally invited onto TV and radio shows to give The Woman’s Point of View (because, of course, feminists arrogate to themselves the authority to speak for all women). There is a sort of Gilded Ghetto of such Professional Feminists, where a certain number of columnists, authors and Women’s Studies professors are reasonably well-paid for their services to the advancement of this ideology. Below the top tier of visible Celebrity Feminists, toiling away in obscurity and comparative poverty, are the wannabes and drones, mostly grad students and women who staff non-profit activist organizations of various kinds.

It’s a racket, really, but once a woman decides to major in Women’s Studies, she is unlikely ever again to question the Critical Theory framework of historical oppression, no matter what humiliations and failures await her in the career scramble to obtain recognition as a Professional Feminist. No, to the feminist ideologue, her every disappointment is interpreted as evidence of male oppression, requiring still greater struggle against misogyny. If she spends 15 years in the racket only to find herself permanently struck as a mid-level drone in an NGO — well, blame the patriarchy!

If Clementine Ford wishes to quote Burke, here’s an excellent excerpt:

It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles, and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. . . . I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. . . .
Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone!

Never did ten thousand swords defend Clementine Ford against insult, and why should they? She scorns the “unbought grace of life,” and rejects “that subordination of heart” necessary to chivalry, so that she is left with nothing but bitter whining about equality, impugning all men for the lack of “decency” she alleges.



  • Dana

    If the lovely Miss Ford is able to write, with a straight — pun intended? — face, that since some men are bad, or even just Not Good, that all men may be tarred legitimately with the same brush, could we then say that since some Negroes are bad, and some others just Not Good, we can legitimately say that all Negroes are bad?

    I’m guessing that she would not accept such logic, and that my statement will generate cries of raaaaacism, — which is why I chose the word Negroes rather than a more politically correct term — which ought to, in itself, invalidate her arguments.

    This is, as you’d expect, a common failing of the left in general. They paint with an extremely broad — another intentionally offensive pun — brush whenever it suits them, but are absolutely aghast if others do so in a way which might hurt the feelings of a certified victim group they support.

  • Jack66

    I think “Clementine Ford” is a pen name. Clementine Ford was the illegitimate daughter of James “Sawyer” Ford on the TV show, Lost. She’s Australian too, so there’s the other “Lost” connection.

  • DavidD

    “The quote’s nearest approximation by any famous writer is John Stuart Mill….”

    There’s also “We must hang together, gentlemen…else, we shall most assuredly hang separately.” from Franklin, which seems in the same vein.

  • RS

    In the never ending war of Oppressor-Victimology, Aristotelian Logic is always the first casualty.

  • Quartermaster

    King George might have resurrected beheading for them had his troops been able to lay hands on them.

  • Quartermaster

    Consider: RSM is crazy, therefore all men are crazy. The first part is indubitably true, but not the second. Going from the specific to the general in that manner has a few flaws to it, to be charitable. For example, I have it on very good authority (my wife) that I’m a genius and very good looking. So, I’m not crazy. Wombat is an Accountant and has too much on his mind to be crazy, although he may be driven close to that state by the end of tax season. Smitty, in a similar situation with a toddler in the house may driven close to crazy, particularly when the WYB turns 13 up until the trials end when WYB turns 20 or 21 (perhaps 75, look at Dick Clark), but he isn’t crazy now. You can continue with anyone you like, except RSM whose job requires he be crazy.
    Just don’t get me started on Journalists. You might have to call the white coats while that’s going on.

  • Trespassers W

    Don’t you need a license to lard your discourse with so many unquestioned premises?

  • Adjoran

    Quick, now – list all the great Australian thinkers you can remember, in any field!

    And then the greatest Women’s Studies professors.

    There. Now, how many of you needed a second sheet of paper?

  • Trespassers W

    Not referring, of course, to Mr. McCain’s work…

  • Finrod Felagund

    It’s been my position for many years now that there are two jobs out there for which sanity is not required: writer, and international chess champion.

  • Finrod Felagund

    Seeing the words ‘Australian thinkers’ sent me immediately to the Monty Python Australian Philosophers sketch where they’re all named Bruce.

  • Mike G.

    Hell, I didn’t even need all the fingers on one hand.

  • Adobe_Walls

    The first Burke quote explains a lot: as in what we should have done but haven’t.
    Stacy as a dedicated Patriarchyist I’d like to take this opportunity to thank for your recent coverage of the feministabeast

  • Adjoran

    Good! – because you must remember to save one for Clementine.

  • Mike G.

    She’s so damn stupid, she deserves the two finger salute!

  • Danby

    “New-Bruce, are you a Poofter?


    No. Right, I just want to remind you of the faculty rules:

    Rule Number One: No Poofters!

    Rule Number Two: No member of the faculty is to maltreat the Abbos in any
    way at all — if there’s anybody watching.

    Rule Number Three: No Poofters!!

    Rule Four: Now this term, I don’t want to catch anybody not drinking.

    Rule Five:No Poofters!

    Rule Six: There is NO Rule Six.

    Rule Seven:No Poofters!!

  • Danby

    Any time a feminist uses the words “The Patriarchy” you may substitute “male freedom.”

  • jakee308

    Ol’ Clemmie doesn’t know what she’s missin’. She’s been hanging out with too many pooftas and wankas.

    C’mon over to the US of A honey and we’ll show you what patriarchy is really all about.

  • jakee308

    Ol’ Clemmie doesn’t know what she’s missin’. She’s been hanging out with too many pooftas and wankas.

    C’mon over to the US of A honey and we’ll show you what patriarchy is really all about.

  • Bob Belvedere

    That’s tough, Adj. Perhaps the fictional character known as ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ can answer you query – after all, he speaks Austrian, so I’m sure he speaks Australian.

  • Bob Belvedere
  • K-Bob

    trick my wife

    “No, really, it’s just to keep you from slipping off.”

    Like that, you mean?

  • cmdr358

    I didn’t even have to sharpen my pencil.

  • Jack77

    Crazed looking? Really? I wouldn’t go that far. And when you make good looks into a moral virtue, you kinda sound like a Nazi. Just sayin….you can criticize her ideology without bringing her physicality into it.

  • Kirby McCain

    David Chalmers

  • Kirby McCain

    Or maybe we could say I divorced twenty years ago vowing to never remarry because most women are sluts. Classy, huh?

  • Katie Scarlet

    Need I ask where “Ms” Ford stand on the great PIV debate?

  • Dana

    Most women are sluts? I denounce you!

  • Bob Belvedere

    One’s Soul is reflected in the appearance of one’s face.

  • Adjoran

    From her Tumbler feed:

    Don’t pretend for a moment you’re a decent person. You’re a professional troll, a hypocrite and a fucking disgrace to humanity. Your only contribution to the world is hate. It may put food on your table, but how you live with yourself is a mystery,

    But I don’t even need to put food on the table. I feed on hate, and then I vomit it back over the world in a display of misandry so glorious that all the male tears in the world can’t possibly wash it away no matter how hard they cry.

    In other places she portrays herself as a starving writer, but some of her pictures don’t look like it.

    And your link claims she is also in “broadcasting,” which I can only assume is some Aussie version of our old cable Public Access productions.

  • Adjoran

    Mandy?? Mandy Marcotte?? Can it really be yoooooooou?

  • Bob Belvedere

    Yeah, I read that. She’s just another Bolshe Bore.

  • Adjoran

    Just a hunch, but I would watch for from which direction the Ps are running, and look in the opposite.

  • Stogie Chomper

    Clementine Ford is a bigot, plain and simple. She hates all men, sees all men as somehow seriously flawed. She is at war with nature itself. She should stop writing and try teaching fish to ride bicycles.

  • Hanzo

    Ahhh ….. thank God for the universal male decency that thwarts my primal, patriarchal, oppressor instinct to thump feminazi’s right betwixt their eyeholes, just ’cause I get sick of hearing their drivel. There. I said it. I can move on now.

  • Hanzo

    Don’t even need a pencil.