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.