Is Freedom of Association Dangerous?

I’m going to comment on the article The Dangerous Rise Of Men Who Won’t Date “Woke” Women, published in January on REFINERY29 by Vicky Spratt. I’d say refusing to date woke woman was is entirely appropriate, if you don’t want want to date woke women. This is called freedom of association. So what’s the danger?

White man of the moment, Laurence Fox … told a BAME audience member that Meghan Markle has not been on the receiving end of racism before subsequently appearing on the cover of The Sunday Times to tell the world that he does not “date woke women” and then displaying an appalling understanding of history by calling the inclusion of a Sikh soldier in Sam Mendes’ film 1917 “incongruous”.

Markle is married to one of the English royal family. It’s hard to see how she could be much more privileged. Fox apologized for his error regarding the Sikh’s participation in world war I. At worst, that makes him ignorant.

Laurence Fox … does not date “woke” women who he believes are being taught that they are “victims”, irrespective of whether they are right or not. And he also doesn’t believe in white privilege, irrespective of the fact that he works in a painfully undiverse industry, was privately educated and comes from a wealthy acting family which is nothing short of a dynasty.

Feminists do indeed teach that all women are victims of the patriarchy, whether they are or not. White privilege theory is bullshit. There are plenty of homeless people who are white. There is plenty of diversity on British TV. The populace of the UK is much less diverse than one would imagine by watching the BBC.

Fox is denying racism and sexism, irrespective of whether or not they exist. It’s nothing short of gaslighting. It’s all very Donald Trump.

No, he is denying that they exist for all who claim that they do. Even if he were wrong, sincere claims that are wrong are not gaslighting, they are merely incorrect. When Trump is wrong, there is often a kernel of truth (like the fact that 80% of migrant latinas were raped on their journey to the American border) behind what he says. He is often being hyperbolic, though I suppose this could be considered gaslighting.

I could go over all the things he’s said; I could use data to prove how wrong he is.

Could you? Then why don’t you?

There’s nothing funny about the things Fox is saying. It’s dangerous. He is just one very privileged man, and as a result of said privilege, has been given a platform. And he has used that platform to legitimise a bigger backlash against diversity and progress which is unfolding every single day in less public corners of the internet.

People have a right to freedom of expression. If you think freedom of expression is dangerous, that makes you dangerous.

Not wanting to date “woke” women, far from being laughable, is actually one of the more insidious aspects of it. Spend an afternoon on any major dating app and you’ll come across (generally white) men saying openly sexist and misogynistic things. They might say “no psychos” or that they “fucking hate big eyebrows” in their bios. And, by and large, they also tend to hold extremely right-wing views and see themselves as victims of liberal thinking.

So what’s the problem? Just don’t swipe right.

In fact, as I was writing this, a dear friend sent me a screenshot of a guy she’s just matched with who describes Jordan B Peterson as his “dream dinner guest”. Yes, the same Jordan B Peterson who thinks that white privilege is a “Marxist lie” and wants millennials to drop their obsession with “social justice”.  

White privilege is a cultural Marxist lie. Millennials should drop their obsession with equality of outcome and identity politics, both of which are part of that cancerous ideology. 

I, meanwhile, recently had to block someone who after matching with me launched into a vile rant about how women are “evil”, “only want sex” and treat men as though they are “disposable”. When I asked him if he hated women he replied that he had “only moderate disdain” for us before asking me whether I didn’t want to date him because I’m actually “pretty rough”. 

I put money on you eliciting that response by being insufferable.

Hostility towards feminism is feeding directly into far-right movements online.

Smearing anti-feminsts as “far right” not only makes you look like an idiot, it has made the slur meaningless. After Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Carl Benjamin, who are all fairly centrist, are called out as the apostles of Hitler, no one with a brain is going to listen to those who cry “Nazi”.

All of this, of course, speaks not only to the presence of the very active online communities of anti-feminist incels but to the prevalence of the hideous and incorrect ideas they promote.

Most anti-feminists who have any audience are not incels. Peterson and Benjamin are married to woman, Ruben to a man. Smearing anyone who is anti-feminist as an incel makes you look like an idiot.

It doesn’t take magical thinking to see how men are radicalised by anti-feminism. As the saying goes: “When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

What a great example of projection.

Hope Not Hate … found that a third of young British people today believe that feminism is marginalising or demonising men and warned that these beliefs were a “slip road” to other far-right ideas.

It is a fact that men are being marginalized. Far fewer than 50% of those entering college are men. They are also being demonized by feminists claims of male privilege due to a massive patriarchal conspiracy. If realizing that feminists truly hate men is a slip road to far-right ideas, maybe feminists should stop attacking men with slogans like #killallmen.

This isn’t just speculation. We know that the number of far-right referrals to the British government’s deradicalisation scheme Prevent has dramatically increased recently. In the year from 2017/18 they jumped by 36%, while referrals for Islamism actually decreased by 14%.

What are the actual numbers of each? How are decisions to refer made? Are the people making them ideologically neutral?

Right now, Laurence Fox … is legitimising hatred and division.

Hatred and division is being caused by feminists. Fox is merely pointing it out. If you dispute his claims, bring a real argument.

And yet he cannot be completely unaware of the role he plays; he … turned up wearing a pro-Donald Trump MAGA (Make America Great Again) cap.

Doing something controversial while promoting a record is pretty much par for the course.

Playing devil’s advocate by wandering the streets in a MAGA cap to provoke “hipsters” can quickly turn into something more sinister. The far right itself can be difficult to pin down because it isn’t exactly a coherent global movement with a concrete set of ideas.

It seems like the “far right” is simply anything you disagree with. The fact that it’s impossible to pin down is fairly convenient. You can just point to anyone and scream Nazi, and they will do what you want.

It was 8chan that hosted the manifestos of three mass shooters who killed scores of people last year: the El Paso shooter (who left 20 people dead and many more wounded only a couple of weeks ago), the Poway shooter (who opened fire at a synagogue in California last April) and the Christchurch shooter (who killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand last March).

Yes, 8chan hosts very edgy content that mainstream sites will not. This doesn’t make them far right. They are free speech extremists. Unless you are saying that free speech is far right, that is.

Susan Faludi wrote about the link between violence, anger and anti-feminism prophetically in her book Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women back in 1991.

Faludi was a feminist. Of course she smears anti-femists.

For men like Fox, who feel they have been wronged somehow, that they are missing out on opportunities because, for once in history, they are being given to other people, women and people of colour become the enemy. 

Feminists and communists are the enemies of freedom, not women and people of colour.

You can see it in the abuse and threats received by women MPs and in the wildly different treatment of Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. While Middleton, who generally keeps herself to herself and says little, has become a pinup heroine for traditionalists, Markle, who has spoken openly about sexism and racism, trying to use her platform for good, has been – quite literally – driven out of the country, condemned for being an outspoken snowflake. 

All MPs receive abuse. Any privileged member of the royal family who attempts to act as the representative of the common man deserves to be roasted, much as Prince Charles is when he lectures us on the environment from the deck of his luxury yacht.

It’s important not to trivialise this anti-woke, anti-women backlash. In the end, it’s only by paying attention to it that we can understand it and do something about it. 

Except that you’ve shown that you completely misunderstand it. When someone tells you they find you oppressive, trying to force them to shut up is not going to make them find you less oppressive. To misquote Princess Leia, the more you tighten your grip, the more anti-feminsts will slip through your fingers.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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1 Response to Is Freedom of Association Dangerous?

  1. Women seem wicked, when you’re unwanted
    Streets are uneven, when you’re down… Jim Morrison

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