Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finding our own truth?

Susan Walsh runs a site that's widely discussed in the manosphere. Recently she and Dalrock had a spat about the extent to which women divorce frivolously. It wasn't an argument I followed closely and I'm not sure where I stand on the specifics. I do, though, support Susan Walsh's general stance as she describes it here:

Any expectation on the part of men here that I use HUS [her website] as an MRA platform, discouraging marriage and vilifying American women as unsuitable partners is ludicrous. I believe that marriage is good for individuals, for society, for the economy, for civilization. It is not perfect, but it is a highly valuable institution. The divorce rate for college educated couples is only 17%.

However, Susan Walsh did make a particular comment in the debate that I thought noteworthy. She began by telling her opponents:

You do not know me at all, much less at an intimate level. You know nothing of how I live my life. I have my own truth, and you have no right to judge it as a lie, because you don’t know what it is.

And when this was criticised she wrote:

What does it say exactly? Do you not have a code of principles and beliefs that you live by? Are your ethics identical to everyone else’s? Or do they adhere to an absolute truth?

Every woman and man must find their own purpose, their own truth.

Do you believe that greyghost is qualified to opine on the essence of who I am at an intimate level? That is the truth I speak of, not the statistics of frivolous divorce, which may or may not be obtainable.

This appears to be an example of the "compromise position" in modern philosophy that I wrote about earlier this month. If you remember, I asserted that traditionalists believe in group essences (e.g. a masculine or feminine essence) whereas radical liberals deny the existence of essences altogether. But in practice there is often a compromise in which people think in terms of individual essences.

But look at the consequences of believing in individual essences. It means that there is no absolute truth existing outside ourselves and therefore no common purposes. We cannot know the "truth" that is someone else's unique essence, we can only leave them unimpeded to find their own.

It's not a good philosophical basis for establishing community norms or for holding together the shared understandings of purpose and value that bind a community together.

The traditionalist understanding is that individuality is an important and attractive feature of life, but that there do exist supra-individual essences which orient our identity, values and purposes in certain directions that can be known to us. So truth for us can be absolute and objective rather than personal and subjective.

Here's another way of looking at it. A traditionalist seeks to live through what is objectively meaningful or purposeful. A radical liberal who has rejected essences altogether might believe that meaning lies in the act of self-determining one's purposes. The person who adopts the compromise position might believe that purposes are other determined (given to us) but at a personal level, so that there is a truth to live by, but it is subjective and unknowable to others.

But if such purposes can be given to us individually, then why not accept that essences can exist supra-individually? If one is possible, then so surely is the other.

19 comments:

  1. Objective truth is truth that is derived from the, ever-changing, world of objects. Such a truth will always be relative to some set of given circumstances. I think you mean absolute truth, which is subjective, as God is the subject, par excellence.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This all goes back to the fall of man and the rebellion against God. Finding "one's own truth" is simply another version of the same never-changing, meme. To surrender to supra-individual reality and essences means the death of self and the sinful aspect of human nature doesn't want that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. But if such purposes can be given to us individually, then why not accept that essences can exist supra-individually? If one is possible, then so surely is the other.

    Good point.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm surprised you don't have an opinion on whether frivolous divorce is overstated. The first half of your post reads to me as "Nothing to see here, folks. Move along and marry as usual."

    Do you really not have a dog in the frivolous divorce fight?

    ReplyDelete
  5. The first half of your post reads to me as "Nothing to see here, folks.

    That wasn't the intention. It's an important issue, but unfortunately I came late to the comment threads at your site and Susan's. I therefore don't feel I have a good enough grasp of what was being argued to contribute intelligently to the discussion.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dalrock is a kook, one who does more harm than good to traditionalism or mens rights.

    I'd have more sympathy for him if he ever got around to simply criticizing our current divorce laws as being bad for everyone. How hard could that be? But what puts a bee in his bonnet is his apparent belief that women (and only women) use divorce to engage in widespread sluttiness.

    You don't have to read him for very long to get the impression that Saudi style divorce laws, where the husband can divorce the wife but not the wife the husband, would be his cup of tea.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Do you really not have a dog in the frivolous divorce fight?


    I notice that you like to ask questions but not to answer them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. However, Susan Walsh did make a particular comment in the debate that I thought noteworthy.

    You should really cite the entire back and forth, since her comment can only be understood within it. This is the remark she was responding to.

    For her to give the full answer and acknowledge the truth would violate the essence of who she is at a very intimate level. If you have been living a lie long enough it becomes the truth and the basis of your status as a blogger with a flock of readers


    (Note the bad manners, rudeness and ad homs which are so characteristic of Dalrocks readership)

    To which her entirely reasonable reply was:

    You do not know me at all, much less at an intimate level. You know nothing of how I live my life. I have my own truth, and you have no right to judge it as a lie, because you don’t know what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dalrock is a kook

    Disagree strongly.

    one who does more harm than good to traditionalism

    Not sure yet. Dalrock is travelling somewhere. We'll see where he ends up.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "I live my own truth" is a crock argument and also an uninteligible one.

    If I can borrow from game theory we ultimatly want both men and women to choose "win win" relationships with each other, where both parties are satisfied. Should one or both try for "win lose", I win you lose, there will be struggles. Left at its current trajectory society might be heading towards "lose lose" were relationships may not happen at all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Mark Richardson
    That wasn't the intention. It's an important issue, but unfortunately I came late to the comment threads at your site and Susan's. I therefore don't feel I have a good enough grasp of what was being argued to contribute intelligently to the discussion.

    Fair point. Susan's specific argument is especially difficult to point you to. She defends her comments while excusing them as being made while upset, denying making them, and accusing me of taking them out of context. This is old ground though.

    Perhaps what I should ask (when you have some time) is if you disagree with the fundamental point I was making. Leaving Susan out of it entirely, do you believe that women's far greater likelihood (2-1 or greater) of initiating divorce is best explained as women frivolously divorcing/committing divorce theft, or is this an indication that men are simply far more likely to break the marriage vows thereby forcing women to divorce them for cause far more often than the other way around?

    As to your other statement:

    Not sure yet. Dalrock is travelling somewhere. We'll see where he ends up.

    Brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Darlock explicitly states what he thinks of Tradcons. He doesn't agree or like you. So why support him?
    Also I could be wrong but isn't he the guy that when the debate gets to strong defaults on calling everyone he disagrees with a woman. Even if they a 6'8" bearded man.
    Cannot. Take. Seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dalrock said,

    "do you believe that women's far greater likelihood (2-1 or greater) of initiating divorce is best explained as women frivolously divorcing/committing divorce theft, or is this an indication that men are simply far more likely to break the marriage vows thereby forcing women to divorce them for cause far more often than the other way around?"

    I've heard it said that "women aren't supposed to be understood, merely loved." This of course puts the onus on men to put up with all sorts of silly behaviour from women, and gives women the personal justification to divorce the moment they don't feel loved. This is clearly not a sustainable state of affairs. I wouldn't consider the current divorce rate to be caused by men "letting the women down" but by the relative ease of divorce and a lack of realistic expecations about marriage, primarily from women.

    ReplyDelete
  14. ""I live my own truth" is a crock argument and also an uninteligible one."
    Sounds buddhist (or one of the far eastern religions)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mark, in truth I know not what Dalrock stands for.. He is a chameleon.

    Is he a Christian?..

    Perhaps a nominal one.

    I mean how can a Christian man let a comment through from a man who happily admits to cheating on his LTR. This man also said that this woman was marriage material.. Not a peep from Dalrock.

    Of course he had to get up on his soapbox and castigate me because I engaged in civil discourse with a feminist.. Much much worse a sin don't you think? Mind you , I made it clear that I did not support feminism or this woman's opinions.. Didn't matter.. Good old Dalrock had found a way to increase his blog traffic, with all those MRA's hopping on the bandwagon and sinking the boot in.

    He's a hypocrite..

    You cannot have a bob each way if you are a Christian..

    ReplyDelete
  16. There's a test to be done- any woman who looks at marriage as though the wedding day is the most important day of her life needs to be rethought as marriageable material. Not just because she thinks it's her day.

    How a woman should see it and as a young woman I see it, is as just a special day with the best still to come in the form of so many beautiful events and years that come after that one overhyped day. This is a good sign, not just a narrow minded obsession with a wedding as the height of the marriage.

    The onus in a successful potential marriage however does not simply form on the man but the woman to know he is genuinely interested in a traditional marriage as husband and wife.
    There's no point get married to discover that he's changed his mind and wants a working wife. With house prices as they are sans commodities, a normal working family can't afford a home with two incomes, so that excuse just doesn't wash. Don't appeal to the men who want careerists as wives, because unlike traditionalists, liberals are hypocrites who will do or say anything to close the deal.

    And anyone who thinks it's acceptable for a dual career and a five year wait after marriage for children is not marriage material. Who is to say after those five years, more waiting won't be required? I know my own gender can be terribly naive and think that it's just a want for financial stability or to enjoy married life. Men shouldn't take the five year 'excuse' either.

    Marriage is not a cruise or unending vacation in true love of the fireworks variety and it's this delusion really that undermines it.
    Yes, a husband and wife love each other but it's something deeper and more enduring than infatuation although the fireworks feeling can start the whole relationship.

    How else can you explain in the days of arranged marriages where parents chose their children's partners, why neither the husband nor wife would ever stray, why these marriages are traditionally more stable?

    Most modern liberal couples wouldn't know what love, much less true love was if it hit them on the head from outer space.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Susan Walsh is a genius. See that:

    I have my own truth, and you have no right to judge it as a lie, because you don’t know what it is.

    How can you summarize the cause of the decline and eventual demise of Western civilization in only one sentence? It's genius

    ReplyDelete
  18. Re: Kathy's comment about Christianity. I'd recommend you look at Dalrock's blog and make a decision for yourself.

    At first glance it appears to be promoting nice traditional conservative marriage and lifestyle. But in my opinion, there is an ugly side to the Dalrock blog, the dark underbelly of the extremist men's movement. (I'm all for men's rights in divorce, but this is not the same.)

    It is the side of the men's movement that defends wife abuse and domestic violence. Just search on these words: Dalrock domestic violence. Pages and pages come up. I'm not saying he's an abuser. He lets his fans do the talking. But notice that he doesn't stop them. Dalrock's blog is not in any way Christian. It goes against the teachings of Christ.

    For example:
    1. Shame. Dalrock devotees routinely try to shame women into marrying and staying married [regardless of the treatment they receive]. Look at the post where he implies that all single mothers are sluts. On Dalrock's planet, this seems to be the core theology.

    Even if a single mother was promiscuous, is the Dalrock blog consistent with the words and teachings of Jesus Christ? Hardly, Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more."

    2. Manipulation: Dalrock mentions the AARP 2004 data in many posts because he is trying to taunt divorced women over 40, saying they will not likely remarry (only 32% of them will). These stats are true but completely misleading because Dalrock conveniently ignores the reason. The same study says that 83% of women either don't want to marry, are reluctant to remarry, or are not sure they want to remarry. Notice that he also fails to mention that the top reason for divorce, according to that study, is verbal and physical abuse.

    3. Domination: Dalrock fans lament American women who are so difficult to dominate now. They complain that women have no respect for men.

    There's no doubt all men want respect (just as all women do), but all of us know you have to earn it. You cannot demand it. All I can say is "Men, it's time to grow up and become kind, nice, intelligent, reliable and responsible if you want a similar mate."

    4. Lack of integrity: Some Dalrock fans advocate never apologizing for anything. And Dalrock eggs them on. How does that reflect Christ's teachings? It doesn't, but it does give us a clue as to Dalrock fans' real "theology." Their comments reflect the lingo and attitudes of the worst "pick-up artists," gaming women, and "seduction culture." (If you don't know what these are, search them. BTW, I'm not against these in their innocent forms, but when they become brutal, they've gone too far.)

    5. Marriage at young age: Dalrock advocates this in spades. He also prides himself on his research ability. But although he quotes from 2002 CDC NCHS data, he ignores the same data that says low marriage age correlates significantly with divorce. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. But Dalrock's male fans are crazy-angry that the average women might wait a few years to get married. Why do they care? What's it to them?

    6. Not Christian. Christians who read the Bible know that following Christ may call for either marriage or singleness, and the Apostle Paul actually encourages singleness by choice. He says men and women will be happier if they do not marry.

    Finally, if you look over the comments, you will probably conclude that the typical male Dalrock fan is probably an angry bitter man who is both desirous and terrified to marry a pathetic woman he can dominate in order to feel good about himself. No doubt, he will find someone who will put up with it, for a while.

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.