Sunday, November 12, 2017

A rich vein of insight into the liberal mind

Lisa Wade is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Occidental University in the United States. She is a leftist feminist who worries about the direction of America under President Trump. Her article on this is interesting, not only for the radical conclusions it draws but also for its insight into the liberal mind.

Before I begin on her article, though, I thought it useful to point out the way the Lisa Wade defines feminism. I have previously argued that feminism is liberalism applied to the lives of women. Lisa Wade agrees:
When prompted to define feminism, Wade answered that she considers feminism to be “the desire that our choices in life and feelings about ourselves are dictated by who we are, not our sex.”

“I just want everyone to be themselves,” she said.

Liberals have this worldview in which being a man or a woman is not being ourselves, because these are predetermined qualities and the liberal individual is supposed to be an autonomous, self-determining individual. So being a man or a woman is not supposed to matter. As masculinity and femininity imply that we are influenced in who we are by our sex, they too are thought of negatively as "prisons" or "limitations" that not only curtail our freedom, but in the leftist view have an even more sinister role of enforcing privilege and inequality.

Which brings us to Lisa Wade's article. She begins by noting that liberals have a faith in an arc of moral progress:
The first thing that must go is the belief among progressives that we are on some fateful journey to a better place. We know that America’s grand democratic vision of “all men are created equal” didn’t initially include all men, or any women, and that we have never granted the promised equality. Yet many of us still hold fast to the idea that America is a great nation, managing the cognitive dissonance by envisioning the country as on a journey toward perfection. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, echoing the abolitionist Theodore Parker, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

It is important to take this in. It is an example of how Western intellectuals "immanentize the eschaton." Rather than seeing history as recording the rise and fall of civilisations, with each civilisation struggling to avoid its decline, the leftist/liberal believes that he is participating in and helping humanity progress towards its ultimate end point of moral perfection. He believes that such a thing is possible and that it gives meaning to history and to those pushing the way forward to "social justice." This helps to explain the sometimes cult like nature of Western liberalism, in which individuals cling to a set of beliefs that to an ordinary observer would seem self-destructive.

But here's the catch. This faith in progress depends on society heading ever further along liberal lines toward the bringing down of men and of whites as "privileged" classes. But the success of President Trump shows that progress is not running in the direction it is supposed to. Therefore, thinks Lisa Wade, the older half measures adopted by the progressive left have to be jettisoned, as they aren't powerful enough to keep the revolution on track.

According to Lisa Wade, the liberal left once thought it sufficient, to achieve equality, for men to adopt their feminine half and women their masculine half:
Implicit in the metaphor is the idea that we will have reached gender equality when men and women alike embrace both halves of their humanity: masculinity and femininity. As a nation, Hochschild argued, we are halfway there. To fully revolutionize gender relations, we just need to get moving again.

Thirty years is a long life for a metaphor, and it’s still here because it’s been useful and descriptive, reflecting a lived reality. But we are in Trump’s America now. The metaphor of the stalled revolution, however useful it has been, posits a linear past and future. It assumes that stall is equivalent to stasis: that we are still in the driver’s seat, the path is still there, and we’re still aiming at something good. The metaphor doesn’t allow for the possibility that the world has shifted around us, setting us on a path that we may no longer want to be on. It certainly doesn’t contain the prospect that we are—that we have been—moving toward something terrible.

Lisa Wade senses (hopefully correctly) that the revolution has not just stalled, but that there is a reaction taking place in society. So the assault on the privileged class, namely males, can't any longer be anything so "soft" as "embrace your feminine half and become androgynous." No, it has to be something sterner, it has to be a total rejection of and attack on masculinity in its entirety:
The quaint balance of masculinity and femininity that the metaphor promised is no longer desirable, if it ever was. Instead of advocating that women compete with men on masculine terms and men mix in just enough femininity to distance themselves from the most toxic versions of masculinity, we need to start being honest about what being a man has come to mean. Trump’s rise has made it terrifyingly clear that his toxic version is not at all peripheral to 21st-century modern masculinity. It is central. It is authoritarian. And it is lethal.

If we’re going to survive both President Trump and the kind of people he has emboldened, we need to attack masculinity directly. I don’t mean that we should recuperate masculinity—that is, press men to identify with a kinder, gentler version of it—I mean that we should reject the idea that men have a psychic need to distinguish themselves from women...

In fact, we should be as suspicious of males who strongly identify as men as we are of white people who strongly identify as white...

We are here in Trump’s America in part because we have been too delicate in our treatment of dangerous ideas. The problem is not toxic masculinity; it’s that masculinity is toxic...It’s simply not compatible with liberty and justice for all.

If we are going to finish the gender revolution, then, we need to call masculinity out as a hazardous ideology and denounce anyone who chooses to identify with it.

People wonder why the West has gone the way it has. I would point out that one reason is that our intellectual class has adopted the worldview set out here by Lisa Wade. She isn't hiding anything, she has laid it all out for us.

It is not easy for an intellectual to give up what is effectively a quasi-religion. I would hope, though, that as the decline becomes ever more obvious that an increasing number of Western intellectuals will query the idea that liberalism is a philosophy that leads to social or moral progress.


  1. It's encouraging to see that these people regard the solution to a failing ideology as being a 'doubling-down' upon it. It should ensure the acceleration of its demise, although this latter will not be without destruction and casualties.

    1. Agreed. I have read a couple of articles by leftists arguing that doubling down is harmful for their side, but the general impulse on the left is just to go harder with the same politics. It will accelerate what is already happening politically.

    2. Michael, I'm more worried by the liberal right rather than the liberal left. The left is likely to keep doubling down. But some of the liberal right have taken a step rightward and are succeeding in building up considerable influence in the alt lite. It would be tragic if this wave of dissent was safely corralled by right-liberalism.

    3. But some of the liberal right have taken a step rightward and are succeeding in building up considerable influence in the alt lite. It would be tragic if this wave of dissent was safely corralled by right-liberalism

      Agreed. My great fear is that dissenters are going to be persuaded to ally with right-liberals in order to defend liberalism against Islam. Right-liberalism is a much much bigger threat than Islam.

      It's particularly a problem in the US where waving the flag and mouthing moronic slogans like Make America Great Again have so much appeal.

  2. YOu can see that liberalism like this is death. Liberals hate diversity when it diverges from their agenda of making everyone the same. ONly envy would demand this:

    Nobody is more inferior than those who insist on being equal.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  3. She has delusional visions of a great purge were people denounce their loved ones publicly as they are lead to the gallows. Their is no justice for class enemies in her world.

    It's comical on one hand to imagine women and effeminate men could take on masculinity and abolish it. But also terrifying. God is indeed dead to her. What a cold and horrific vision of society they want to create, free of natural affection.

    1. "free of natural affection"

      You do have to wonder about this. She is now leading leftism to a point at which any identification of men with masculinity is to be fiercely opposed. And yet men naturally identify as masculine and heterosexual women are naturally attracted to masculinity in men. Leftism is setting itself strongly against human nature.

      This is likely to mean, on the one hand, that leftism will continue to drift toward being the ideology of choice for low T (testosterone) men or homosexuals (though non-white men might pursue it for reasons of identity politics).

      I think too it shows how much ideology affects those who have relatively high levels of verbal IQ. These people can override healthy, natural impulses to follow an abstract ideology. They do so, in part, for the reason I suggested above, that the draw of a belief that they have a god-like role in perfecting creation is highly attractive to them and provides a quasi-religion like meaning for them that they otherwise lack (there is also the draw of the dopamine hit to be gotten from virtue signalling within the group).

    2. I think too it shows how much ideology affects those who have relatively high levels of verbal IQ. These people can override healthy, natural impulses to follow an abstract ideology.

      An excellent point. That's why it's dangerous to fetishise IQ. A high IQ is not necessarily a good thing. Too many people with high IQs and too much education can be disastrous for a society.

      This is why women should not be exposed to higher education. They don't learn anything useful, it makes them crazy and angry, they don't need it.

      How many Associate Professors of Sociology do we actually need? The answer of course is that we don't need any at all.

    3. Do you prefer a low IQ population with African style social development and infrastructure?

      A high IQ is essential for a high level of technological and cultural development. The higher the IQ and the higher the educational level of society, the more stable the society.

      High IQ is the ability to process information and analyse it in a logical manner. Mathematics is the indicator subject for the general assessment of intellectual ability. The academic quoted is not a person of high IQ. She lacks the ability for logical analysis which means one of two things, she is a liar or a simpleton and most likely both. Her prose is average, grammatically correct, but otherwise mediocre. Arts faculties in universities have been expanded to absorb people of average intelligence who would normally have performed manual work which has been outsourced to China. The marking of exams is usually subjective and can be dumbed down to pass idiots. This Lisa Wade is one such person, a mediocrity promoted over her ability in a subject which cannot really be defined as academic. Her role is, therefore, that of a propagandist.

    4. @dfordoom

      If K-12 matriculation provided what it once did I might agree with you. Women, especially as mothers, need to be literate and knowledgeable in order to bring up children successfully and to be able to discern a nascent husband in the first place. College attendance for learning rather than job market prep would be a positive in this regard I think.

      What is both silly and destructive is the modern drive to "emancipate" women in all ways, especially education, and to herd them into careerist trajectories solely as an alternative to the now-offensive traditional roles. Even as automation, lowered birth rate and job exports continue to reduce worker demand, women are encouraged to be workers. Whoever is promoting this nonsense does not have the success of individuals or families, or societies, in mind.

      Women were getting PhDs in chemistry before WWI so we know the system can accommodate a genuine, native drive for intellectual pursuits, regardless of sex.

    5. A high IQ is essential for a high level of technological and cultural development.

      You only need a small number of high IQ people for technological development. You only need a small number of highly educated people for that as well. That's quite aside from the fact that technological development is not always an unmixed good for society.

      You certainly don't need high IQ people for cultural development. If you look at the history of the West over the past century there hasn't been any cultural development. There's been cultural regression.

      The higher the IQ and the higher the educational level of society, the more stable the society.

      Actually the opposite is true.

  4. Fear and hatred of others this desperate is ultimately a sort of death wish. It reminds me of what I've been hearing from liberal acquaintances for years about how certain they are that man is doomed-- soon-- by war or some other self-destruction. They are virtually certain of this, without any supporting argument or even a glance at history. Within such an eschatology, how is it possible to offer an affirming or hopeful message?

  5. "All masculinity is toxic" is crookedly from dyke's mouth.

    1. No indication that she is lesbian, though I'm not sure. She appears to be a liberal true believer.

    2. Mr. Richardson...

      It does not matter where "radical autonomy" is operative.

      So just as a boy who thinks he is a "girl" is a girl under the terms of "radical autonomy," a female WHO THINKS like a dyke is a dyke under those same terms of MY "radical autonomy."

  6. Lisa Wade and her fellow blogger and co-author for many years, Gwen Sharp, don't blog or write or reveal anything about their personal lives. That may be a "professional" tactic, or they may feel it's no one's business. But, it does make you wonder. Most, if not all of the female feminist/genderist are homosexual. Some of the most notable and cited are trans. There is a very distinct trend among the female academics, scientists and intellectuals, but not among the notable males. What does that mean?