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“It’s about all of us”

There’s an interesting video story on the BBC website today:

Spearmint Rhino strippers fighting for the right to strip

Feminist[s] campaigners have secretly filmed at the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Sheffield. They claim the recording shows sexual acts taking place in the club, which breaks the licensing rules.

Ella, a stripper at the club, is furious with Not Buying It for secretly filming dancers naked and fears losing her job as the club may now lose their licence.

But Dr Sasha Rakoff who assisted the secret filming insists this was the only way to expose the dark side of the industry.

My immediate sympathies were with Ella, but I can see both sides. I support the right of women (indeed the right of all people) to do what they like with their own bodies. On the other hand, the Spearmint Rhino club agreed to abide by certain rules about what could be done on the premises, and it does seem to me as if the covert filming by “Not Buying It” made a good case that those rules were being broken. I did not find Ella’s argument that the investigators had misunderstood what they saw entirely convincing. And it won’t wash to say that the conditions of the club’s licence were merely another example of state repression; though it would be better if they were voluntarily entered contracts between private parties, zoning rules of that broad type would probably still exist in a libertarian utopia.

Still, I found this statement from Dr Rakoff problematic:

Feminism, kind of like the rest of society has been somewhat infected by these really neo-liberal, really dumbed down, simplistic, very selfish attitudes that it’s all about me, me, me and what I choose and if I choose something it’s my right. That’s not what feminism has ever been about, it’s about all of us. So even if these women do choose to be lap dancers, it’s not just about them, it’s about wider social attitudes which is breeding Harvey Weinsteins.

So, according to Dr Rakoff feminism has never been about women’s individual choices. I had heard otherwise but perhaps that merely reflects my ignorance of modern feminism. As I said in a recent post, ‘I’m still holding on to the idea that “what a feminist looks like” can include what I see in the mirror. But it is getting harder.’

I would also like to know exactly who is included in the “all of us” she mentions as having some right to override an individual woman’s choice to be a lap dancer. All of humanity? Just the female half of it? Self-identified feminists? Or just those feminists who meet Dr Rakoff’s standard of feminism uninfected with neo-liberal selfishness?

109 comments to “It’s about all of us”

  • it’s about all of us

    Modern feminism is so not about ‘all of us’ – unless ‘us’ is understood in a very exclusive sense. Dr Rakoff is of the ‘we’, and we are of the ‘not-we’. She whom you see in the mirror is most definitely of the ‘not-we’ as far as Dr Rakoff is concerned. It’s about how Dr Rakoff would/should pronounce it – not “It’s about all of us.” but “It’s about all of us!

    Assuming there’s nothing especially weird or coercive about the licensing agreements then +1 to your point that the club should abide by what it signed.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Niall Kilmartin,

    Modern feminism is so not about ‘all of us’ – unless ‘us’ is understood in a very exclusive sense.

    Very true. While you were posting I was expanding on that very point.

  • Swede

    “My body, my choice!” becomes problematic for feminists when that choice is seen as providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

  • While you were posting I was expanding on that very point.

    Me too – if I may steal the phrase and risk Dr Rakoff’s ire. 🙂 That “5 minutes to catch your comment’s typos” that samizdata now gives – and that I so often turn into 5 minutes to say it better, or differently, or (yet more) longwindedly 🙂 – has caused me to feel that, after previewing and checking and finally putting the post up, it’s OK to go on editing it for another 5 minutes, e.g. to add that last paragraph that makes just one more point. You too, I see. 🙂

  • bobby b

    I watched the video, and one women describes in disgust what she sees in the club.

    She says “it’s like prostitution!”

    But isn’t prostitution legal in England?

    So isn’t all of this simply some NIMBY zoning dispute?

    Hail modern feminism.

  • Agammamon

    On the other hand, the Spearmint Rhino club agreed to abide by certain rules about what could be done on the premises

    And it won’t wash to say that the conditions of the club’s licence were merely another example of state repression; though it would be better if they were voluntarily entered contracts between private parties, zoning rules of that broad type would probably still exist in a libertarian utopia.

    1. Why not?

    2. They *might* exist. But these aren’t those type of ‘mutually agreed upon’ restrictions. These are the ‘do what we tell you to do or we’ll kill you’ restrictions that are the hallmark of state repression.

  • Agammamon

    Niall Kilmartin
    June 21, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    Assuming there’s nothing especially weird or coercive about the licensing agreements then +1 to your point that the club should abide by what it signed.

    You mean beside the state saying ‘either sign here and abide by these restrictions we’re placing on you or don’t open your business – or else’?

    Just seems inherently coercive to me.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Agammamon said pretty much what I was thinking.

    Damn his nimble fingers! 😉

  • pete

    Feminism is no different to other progressive causes and is certainly not about freedom for individuals to make choices.

    It is all about demanding obedience from others and intolerance of dissent.

  • Fraser Orr

    Agammamon
    You mean beside the state saying ‘either sign here and abide by these restrictions we’re placing on you or don’t open your business – or else’?

    I wonder if you would be equally opposed to zoning restrictions if your neighbor decided to convert his property into a pig farm?

    My main question about this though is: why are strip club names always so ridiculous?

  • Roué le Jour

    I’m going to take a wild guess here Fraser and say it’s because any name suggestive of the actual activity would not be allowed by the local Puritans. Children might see it on their way to Sunday school.

  • John

    I wonder if you would be equally opposed to zoning restrictions if your neighbor decided to convert his property into a pig farm?

    @Fraser Orr, I don’t know what Agammamon would say, but for me…

    Answer is yes. Equally opposed. A. It’s the principal of the thing whether my ox is gored or not. B. If I didn’t want to be X distance from a pig farm, I should have bought more land. C. I start agitating for violence to stop his pigs, next thing you know he’s going to the law to complain about my sheep, chickens, and rifle range.

    Sorry, zoning, especially post facto — the only kind we get around here — is oppression and destruction of property rights.

  • Lee Moore

    I’m with Dr Rakoff.

    Feminism should not be all about “me me me” – there are some things some women may want to do that should be heavily criticised and even repressed.

    Top of the list – trying to ban what other women want to do.

  • Fred Z

    “I wonder if you would be equally opposed to zoning restrictions if your neighbor decided to convert his property into a pig farm?”

    Apparently some people do not know what a “Restrictive Covenant” is, or was. We used to agree with each other not to turn our adjoining properties into pig farms, until the government seized our right to agree about that sort of thing, as well as seizing nearly everything else worth having.

    Ceausescu them all.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Fred Z
    Apparently some people do not know what a “Restrictive Covenant” is,

    Yes, of course, private arrangements like that are far and away the best.

    But having said that I’m also not strongly opposed to local zoning by the government either. If you move into a neighborhood that has these sorts of laws in place then that in itself is a voluntary choice. If you want to live in a community that has people coming round giving you tickets because your grass is too long or your windows are too purple or your music too loud then I think that is perfectly fine. You chose to live there, and are entering into something not unlike a condo board arrangement. Maybe for example, you want to live in a community where there isn’t a brothel next door to your kid’s elementary school?

    The problem is where you can’t live anywhere else, where the regulations are sucked up to larger and larger areas of government. Honestly, I am mostly fine with most of the things little cities do — after all you can pretty easily move if you want to. I’m not sure I’d like to live in that kind of place — I find American’s obsession with their lawns and gardens completely weird — but I have no objection to you choosing to do so.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I would also like to know exactly who is included in the “all of us” she mentions as having some right to override an individual woman’s choice to be a lap dancer.”

    I think part of it is a protectionist argument. Think of women as like a labour union, and the industry they’ve unionised being about sex. The protectionist wants to keep the price high, and to do so therefore needs to restrict supply. Women demand a high price before they’ll agree to sex – romance, poetry, expensive dinners, diamond rings, modelling careers, starring roles in movies, … But it operates like a cartel.

    With this thinking, women who supply more in exchange for less are like union-busters, or outside competition. They increase supply, lower the price, and mean the rest of the women don’t get nearly as much as they could with the cartel in place. They’re crossing the picket lines, breaking the monopoly.

    It’s exactly the same argument as a socialist arguing for union solidarity, a protectionist arguing for enforcing trade barriers and regulations, a nationalist arguing for keeping out foreigners who are taking all our jobs, a traditionalist arguing for keeping out cultural change, … So the answer to your question in this case is that “us” is the female sex cartel.

    If you believe in free trade, then you’re clearly not in the union – you’re considered a traitor to your sex. (But only in the protectionist moral code.) You’re eligible to join the cartel, but by not doing so you’re hurting all the other members, and so an enemy. You’re “one of us” only in the same sense a traitor is – that you’re supposed to be on ‘our side’. You are morally obliged to your sisters in the union to join the union yourself.

    It’s like asking who exactly a socialist is talking about when they speak of “the workers”. I work, even while all the others are on strike, so does that mean I’m included?

    Protectionist thinking is a sickness. And sadly, not even women are immune to it.

  • Patrick Crozier

    The purpose of feminism is to destroy Western civilisation.

  • People like Dr. Rakoff are why I am not a pacifist.

  • I think part of it is a protectionist argument. Think of women as like a labour union, and the industry they’ve unionised being about sex. (Nullius in Verba, June 22, 2019 at 10:24 am)

    Modern feminism is an ideology whose overt interest in bargaining for male favour is low (noting that over the years I have occasionally met circumstances in which that seems as phoney as the rest). The Nazis did not kill the Jews merely, or even mainly, to reduce the latter’s commercial competition. ‘Cui bono?’ reasoning (here, as in other ideologies) can lead you to focus on benefits that we would think real (e.g. Nullius’ economic analysis). However an ideologist can care first and foremost about benefiting the ideology and its power. Dr Rakoff may be selfless – self-less in the sense of being ideology-full. She may be rather unmotivated by “want[ing] to keep the price [of her sexual favours to men] high”. Her “us” (herself and her ideological friends, perhaps as a stand-in for her ideology and its authority) may be more ‘honestly’ (in a sense) her motive that the economic argument suggests.

    I note in passing that, on the other side of the argument, presenting this competition/union argument as economic, implicitly presents Dr Rakoff’s behaviour as having an underlying rationality (in its own selfish terms) e.g. as against its being a more basic aspect of an individual ‘female nature’. Were anyone to challenge you on that side, I suspect a furious Dr Rakeoff would rally to your defence. 🙂

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Modern feminism is an ideology whose overt interest in bargaining for male favour is low”

    But they’re looking for political support from women, whose interest is (covertly) high.

    “The Nazis did not kill the Jews merely, or even mainly, to reduce the latter’s commercial competition.”

    No, they did so mainly because it was a popular move with their supporters, due to the pervasive stereotypes of them as rich foreign conspirators running things behind the scenes for their own selfish interests. In socialist thinking “Jew” was code for rich/owner/outsider. They thought of them the same way modern socialists think of CEOs. Seizing their property was justified the same way society today justifies taxing the rich. Hating them, likewise. It was never about Jews as Jews, it was always about harnessing the people’s envious resentment against outsiders perceived to be taking advantage.

    “However an ideologist can care first and foremost about benefiting the ideology and its power.”

    Sometimes. But they have personal economic interests, too.

    Do union members go on strike because they want to promote the union’s power to direct society and production, or because they personally want higher pay? Do they hate strike-breaking scabs because it defeats their political goals, or their economic ones?

    High Party officials don’t seek privileged access to wealth and luxuries because that promotes the party ideology, but because they like luxury!

    Now Dr Rakoff might or might not actually believe in the arguments she uses here to recruit support – there’s no easy way to tell for sure. But the specific argument she uses here in a campaign directed against the individual freedom of a group of vulnerable and disadvantaged women is not in conformity with their ideology (…for the workers to seize control of the means of reproduction… 😉 ), but very much is with their perceived economic interests as women.

    “I note in passing that, on the other side of the argument, presenting this competition/union argument as economic, implicitly presents Dr Rakoff’s behaviour as having an underlying rationality (in its own selfish terms) e.g. as against its being a more basic aspect of an individual ‘female nature’.”

    I’m not sure if I understand your point. Are you complaining because I’m presenting her behaviour as rational, or because I’m implicitly suggesting that she’s thought the economics through consciously? ‘Female nature’ is shaped by evolutionary pressures that are fundamentally economic, just as “male nature” is.

    I’m just looking at her argument: “That’s not what feminism has ever been about, it’s about all of us. So even if these women do choose to be lap dancers, it’s not just about them, it’s about wider social attitudes which is breeding Harvey Weinsteins.” If there are individual women who sell sex to men for favours, then there will be men like Weinstein who grant favours only in exchange for sex, and all the rest of women will suffer the consequence of also having to offer sex too if they want to get on. That is, it’s about the cost of having to match the competition’s price.

    There’s no point in grabbing power simply for its own sake. People want power to mold the world in a particular way. Power is only a means to an end, and the ends are their real motivation.

    And I hope you’re not suggesting that I think protectionism is economically ‘rational’! It’s only ‘rational’ in the sense that all fallacies are.

  • bobby b

    I suppose this could all be about lowering the supply of the female sexual offering so as to raise the price.

    But I’m inclined to give feminists – the real ones, not the newer ones – more credit than that. Being held back, in their minds, by eons of females being considered only as sexual objects – patronized in all other respects, passed over as serious human beings – they have much incentive to stop that part of our culture. These women doing these dances (gasp!) only make matters worse, by not just allowing, but encouraging, men to view women primarily as the holders of bawdy body parts.

    Personally, I think fighting against testosterone will be a losing battle for them, and in this particular instance, their best outcome will only be to move the dancers a few miles away.

  • Agammamon

    Fred Z

    June 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

    “I wonder if you would be equally opposed to zoning restrictions if your neighbor decided to convert his property into a pig farm?”

    Apparently some people do not know what a “Restrictive Covenant” is, or was. We used to agree with each other not to turn our adjoining properties into pig farms, until the government seized our right to agree about that sort of thing, as well as seizing nearly everything else worth having.

    Ceausescu them all.

    That the concept of ‘private covenant’ exists and is non-coercive does not mean the Spearmint Rhino situation is equivalent.

    There is no private covenant here. There is only coercion. That that coercion doesn’t have to exist doesn’t mean that it doesn’t.

    Would people say that making prostitution, drug use, internal combustion engine use, etc illegal is OK because, hey, in libertopia there might be restrictions on these things through other mechanisms?

  • Rich Rostrom

    Nullius in Verba @ June 22, 2019 at 10:24 am wrote:
    “Women demand a high price before they’ll agree to sex – romance, poetry, expensive dinners, diamond rings, modelling careers, starring roles in movies…”

    How about honor, respect, companionship, and, oh yes, attention to the woman’s own sexual needs? None of which a whore gets. The verb “to prostitute” is applied in areas other than sex – always pejoratively, even in fields where service for money is the norm.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    “Feminist[s] campaigners have secretly filmed at the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Sheffield.”

    Sheffield. SHEFFIELD, for goodness sake! Is that not the rather depressed place which was the backdrop for the movie “The Full Monty”, which featured — ahem! — MALE strippers?

    As a person who can proudly say he has never set foot in Sheffield, I guess that stripping is part of the culture in Sheffield. Thus, it would be entirely against the overwhelming need to respect other cultures for anyone to object to stripping in Sheffield. Maybe stripping has been part of Sheffield culture for centuries? England is a small country, so Lady Godiva must have done her historical thing not a million miles from Sheffield.

    It is disgusting that a group of “feminists” would have so little cultural sensitivity, so little respect for other culture’s traditions. They should hang their liberal heads in shame!

  • neonsnake

    But I’m inclined to give feminists – the real ones, not the newer ones – more credit than that. Being held back, in their minds, by eons of females being considered only as sexual objects – patronized in all other respects, passed over as serious human beings

    Me too.

    There’s a strain of feminism that is known as SWERF (Sex Worker-Exclusionary Radical Feminism) amongst my feminist friends. They do not approve of SWERFs, any more than they approve of anyone telling them what they can and cannot do, nor what they should and shouldn’t approve of.

    They recognise the “being treated as objects” as a real thing (which it IS, of course), whilst also noting that everyone has the right to their own bodies, work, and self determination.

    Feminism is more nuanced than many give it credit for.

    As for the rest over the last week, I’ve needed a time-out to think it through.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    To be a little more serious about this topic — what is the irrational mental process that a “feminist” has to go through (a) to be all-in for abortion since it’s a woman’s body to do with as she chooses, but (b) to be totally opposed to women choosing to do other things with their bodies, such as accept money for close encounters of a personal nature, or inject drugs into her body?

    It is tempting to conclude that “feminism” has no truck with rationality. But then “feminists” would take umbrage at that invocation of female stereotyping.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Rich Rostrom
    “to prostitute” is applied in areas other than sex – always pejoratively, even in fields where service for money is the norm.

    FWIW, I work as a software consultant and often proudly describe myself as a whore, I’ll do any software if you pay me enough money.

    BTW, there are some parts of the women’s movement that embrace the word “whore” and “slut”, much as some gay people embrace the word “queer”. It is an attempt to reclaim their sexuality, to challenge the “slut” shaming directly, reject the anachronistic notions of female reputation and chasteness as something to aspire to. I know many of these women, and I adore them, not because they are easy, but because they are awesome, open, self aware women.

    Sexuality within the realm of feminism is a really curious thing. There are some radical feminists who have the whole “all sex is rape” view, and the general view the sex, porn and strip clubs are bad, oppressive parts of the male patriarchy. But there is a whole other group who see feminism as a sexual liberation, where they can enjoy their own sexuality by rejecting the patriarchal bounds designed to keep them locked up in the kitchen, the idea that embraces the marital “tokens of virginity”.

    Of course there is a spectrum in between, but feminism is very much divided on this matter I believe. The ridiculous woman in the original link is a clear example of the first type, and it is surely pretty illustrative that, being locked away in her ivory tower, she didn’t want to debate the person who’s livelihood she wanted to destroy. She is no better than the preachers who’d tell little boys that if they masturbated that they’d go blind, notwithstanding, as Natalie points out, the veneer of zoning laws to justify her puritanism.

    When did “your body, your choice” become “your body, our choice”?

  • neonsnake

    (a) to be all-in for abortion since it’s a woman’s body to do with as she chooses, but (b) to be totally opposed to women choosing to do other things with their bodies, such as accept money for close encounters of a personal nature, or inject drugs into her body?

    They’re different people, basically, your (a) and (b).

    Simple as that.

  • Lady Godiva must have done her historical thing not a million miles from Sheffield. (Gavin Longmuir, June 22, 2019 at 6:38 pm)

    Coventry is an hour and three-quarters south of Sheffield if you keep to the speed limit in standard traffic conditions. Lady Godiva was countess of Mercia, which included both Coventry and Sheffield. The original un-latinised form of her name is Godgyfu (God’s gift).

    Lady Godiva’s ‘historical thing’ was to protest excessive taxes – specifically those imposed by her husband Earl Leofric on his tenants in Coventry. So I guess we on this blog would be in favour of her. Some grants of the time suggest she was charitable – and managed to persuade her husband to cooperate in some charitable deeds, whether by the means for which she is famous or otherwise. She was a widow by the time 1066 came round and is one of not so very many pre-conquest landowners who managed to retain their lands after the conquest.

    She is a possible candidate for historical female agency, so perhaps a bit of a challenge to Dr Radoff. Statists would not approve stripping against taxes, but perhaps feminists (and not only them) could distinguish betweens stripping to make money for oneself and stripping to avoid taking money from those poorer than oneself.

  • Researching (for my comment above) how far Sheffield was from Coventry and whether it too was in Mercia (it was near the border) reminded me that Sheffield is next door to Rotherham.

    You would think a feminist in that area could find something more important to fight than a mere strip club. I wouldn’t – but if one did not know modern feminism one would.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “How about honor, respect, companionship, and, oh yes, attention to the woman’s own sexual needs?”

    Men keep those in short supply for a reason… 🙂

    But seriously, men considering women as sex objects is akin to women seeing men as goldmines. True Love is better, of course, for both men and women; but it’s not always on offer. Many people settle for what they can get.

    “what is the irrational mental process that a “feminist” has to go through (a) to be all-in for abortion since it’s a woman’s body to do with as she chooses, but (b) to be totally opposed to women choosing to do other things with their bodies, such as accept money for close encounters of a personal nature, or inject drugs into her body?”

    Protectionism?

    But you could also say the same vice versa. How can a feminist be against (a) and for (b) and (c)? If they’re actually equivalent, that is.

    Different people have different opinions on morality. And everyone thinks their own opinions are totally logical and consistent. I’ve never met anyone who actually was.

    “You would think a feminist in that area could find something more important to fight than a mere strip club”

    If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about, that’s something they can fight anywhere there are men.

  • bobby b

    “FWIW, I work as a software consultant and often proudly describe myself as a whore, I’ll do any software if you pay me enough money.”

    You ought to try being a lawyer. I’m still not convinced that the term wasn’t applied to us before prostitutes.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . what is the irrational mental process that a “feminist” has to go through (a) to be all-in for abortion since it’s a woman’s body to do with as she chooses, but (b) to be totally opposed to women choosing to do other things with their bodies, such as accept money for close encounters of a personal nature, or inject drugs into her body?”

    This combination doesn’t strike me as irrational at all.

    Real feminists strove – strive? – to lift women up from being slave-sluts of men to citizens with agency and power and respect.

    Part of that involves control over self and path and destiny. Grasping the power to control whether to stay pregnant or not is central to that goal – it has to be, because what other circumstance has the potential to so drastically take control of a woman’s life than motherhood? Note that they don’t insist that women abort – just that women make the choice for themselves.

    That power and control is endangered when some women allow the old male system to maintain its grasp over women’s bodies by renting out their various body parts. It cheapens the concept of the feminine, and supports and perpetuates the old view of women as chattel.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    That power and control is endangered when some women allow the old male system to maintain its grasp over women’s bodies by renting out their various body parts. It cheapens the concept of the feminine, and supports and perpetuates the old view of women as chattel.

    So if I understand your point correctly, you are framing it as “It is wrong for men to take agency over a woman’s body, but it is right for other women to take agency over a woman’s body”? Perhaps it is not a matter of the action — the robbing a woman control over her body — but rather whether the reason for doing so is righteous? Which again comes back to the same think we have been discussing here for a while now — does the ends justifies the means.

    I’ll say it again, there are none so dangerous as those who are sure their cause is righteous and who believe that the ends justifies the means.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . you are framing it as . . . “

    No. They are framing it that way.

    I’m merely pointing out the feminists’ own internal rationale, in response to Gavin Longmuir’s comment. I personally have strong problems with both legs of that rationale.

    We can’t do a decent job of addressing arguments unless we know what they are, and that was my best attempt to lay out the feminist arguments on two issues. I don’t think their arguments involve anything contradictory or irrational in a dialectic sense. I think they are wrong in some respects, but that needn’t mean they are irrational.

  • bobby b

    Sorry, I hit “post” too quickly.

    “Perhaps it is not a matter of the action — the robbing a woman control over her body — but rather whether the reason for doing so is righteous? Which again comes back to the same think we have been discussing here for a while now — does the ends justifies the means.”

    We go through an ends/means analysis all the time, but you’re treating it as an evil in and of itself.

    As a libertarian, I choose not to interfere in the choices others make. But, I’ll stop you from murdering someone.

    In doing so, I violate a first principle – but I do so because the end justifies the means. I’m acting in a way contradictory to my beliefs when I stop you, but it’s okay, because I’ve done so for righteous reasons.

    I imagine that the feminists who would deprive a prostitute of her agency by denying her the chance to make a living that way are performing their own ends/means analysis, and are deciding that the aspiration of freeing all women of patriarchal ownership justifies their actions.

    I don’t think you’re viewing the ends/means analysis as wrong and evil and illogical in and of itself – I think you’re just getting a different result in your own analysis than the feminists get. We all define “righteous” differently.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    We go through an ends/means analysis all the time, but you’re treating it as an evil in and of itself.

    It is plainly true that we do, but I’m not sure if I agree that we do so justifiably. (And by “not sure” I actually mean, “not sure”.) But what I am saying here is not that different legitimate means may be chosen among for an end, what I am say, and the phrase means, is that I may not chose an illegitimate (by some definition of that word) means to achieve a legitimate end.

    As a libertarian, I choose not to interfere in the choices others make. But, I’ll stop you from murdering someone.

    But my principle is not that I won’t interfere in the choices of others, I always make an exception for choices involving violence, this isn’t a compromise it is just a clarification. So a “means” of “drop the gun punk or you are history” is not an illegitimate means, it is both a legitimate means, targeted toward a legitimate end.

    If instead I chose to say “some illegal immigrants kill people therefore we should put them all in jail”, the end is the same — preventing murders — however the means is not legitimate. This is encapsulated in the legal world in the principle let nine guilty men go free lest one innocent punished. Here the legitimate end is punishing the guilty, but it cannot be done with an illegitimate means that might cast the net too wide.

    (Having said that, my response to that is always: why stop at 10, why not let 100 go free, or a million: the only way to guarantee no innocent man is punished is to disband the criminal justice system, and the consequences of that are dire. Of course here I am arguing against myself, which is why I said I was unsure if I agreed.)

    I don’t think you’re viewing the ends/means analysis as wrong and evil and illogical in and of itself – I think you’re just getting a different result in your own analysis than the feminists get. We all define “righteous” differently.

    Like I said in another post, the problem is that there is no such thing as an end, until the final end six feet under. If you allow illegitimate means to a legitimate end, then when you get to the end, you just have another end to strive for, and if you are already in the habit of illegitimate action then every end will end up being sought in a similarly illegitimate way.

    The person who demands free speech for he who would would speak that which he loathes has rather more credibility to demand it for himself.

    Though perhaps that is naive, but you do have to live with the man in the mirror.

  • bobby b

    “I always make an exception for choices involving violence, this isn’t a compromise it is just a clarification.”

    This is where I see a flaw in what you’re saying.

    The feminists seek agency for womanhood, but always make an exception when the exercise of that agency by a woman will serve to set back the overall mission of increasing agency for womanhood. This isn’t a compromise, it’s a clarification.

    “The person who demands free speech for he who would would speak that which he loathes has rather more credibility to demand it for himself.”

    This isn’t a case where I’m telling the powers-that-be “stop her from speaking!” I’m telling them “if you’re going to enforce your rule against me, you must enforce it against everyone!”

    This resembles the evil old trick of pointing a gun at someone else’s head and telling me “do what I say or her death is on you.” My answer has to be, “No, it’s not, and it never will be. I’m not insisting that Brand shut up – you are, through your rules that you wrote and that you imposed. But if you impose rules, I demand that you apply them fairly.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby,

    “Real feminists strove….”

    Absolutely, “strove” is correct. Conjugation:

    Strive, strove, striven.

    Just like drive, drove, driven

    Or even shrive, shrove, shriven, although this was sometimes weakened to “shrive, shrived, shrived” (tsk!) as long ago as 1828, per Webster’s Unabridged 1828 online.

    .

    Similar: smite, smote*, smitten*.

    *Except at Samizdata, where it goes “smite, smited, smited,” as could be seen if only our Evil Hippo Leader 👿 😎 would bow to the will of the crowd (or at least of me) and restore the saintly Smite-Cats to their rightful duties as the most Honourable of Honour Guards.

    Returning to regularly scheduled programming. :>)

  • Julie near Chicago

    NOTE: On Topic. *g*

    Butting into the conversation between bobby and Fraser:

    bobby, June 23, 2019 at 12:17 am:

    This resembles the evil old trick of pointing a gun at someone else’s head and telling me “do what I say or her death is on you.”

    Absolutely, 100% correct. The Bad Guy in the bank stickup has a bunch of hostages held at gunpoint, and when Clint Eastwood comes in, Bad Guy pulls the old “I’ll kill them all and it’ll be on you!” (Course in that case, Clint gets the drop on him before he can fire, or slit a throat, or whatever, problem solved — although if it was Clint his own self, BG’s blood will definitely have been spilled.)

    Same situation as Saddam with his subjects vs. the Coalition. And other tyrants in other places and times.

    Or the little kid takes the last cookie in the jar without asking (against the House Rules) and his Mom tells him NO and to stand in the corner for maybe 65 seconds.

    Kid: “If you do that I’ll run away, and it will be your fault!

    .

    Many of us restate the NIF/NAP so that it allows force or coercion-via-threat in defense of self or innocent others.

    Almost no blanket rule is™. There are almost always exceptions. You can look at this particular one — the strict NAP/NIF — as a compromise on principles, just as you can (e.g. it is possible to look at the number 3 as an approximation of π close enough for Government work. Although some of your figgering may be a bit off). If you are genuinely committed to the principle and refuse to make the compromise, then you or your family member(s) or friend(s) or the people in the country next door are dead meat if Bad Guy so wills it.

    A better way to look at it, if you really care about your own life or that of innocent (or at least less-guilty — maybe — e.g. in wartime) others, is to consider it as a clarification (I don’t), or as a necessary refinement to the original strict statement itself — in essence an Amendment to the Rule. That is exactly how I see it.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    bobby b: “This combination doesn’t strike me as irrational at all.”

    I understand your inner attorney needs to be able to speak to whichever side of a case his client lands him on — but honestly, it is tough to make the case that “Feminists” are being rational when they attack strippers.

    A “Feminist” woman can say to a woman (any woman) — you are free to choose to have an abortion, because it is your body and no-one can interfere with your choice. And then the same “Feminist” can say to the same woman — you are NOT free to choose to earn some money by taking off your clothes, even though it is your body and yours alone. Those positions are completely contradictory, and it is therefore irrational for a “Feminist” to hold both positions simultaneously.

    This raises the interesting question about what our “Feminist” would say about the practice sometimes adopted by Chinese women who have been wronged. The woman seeks out her erring husband or boyfriend in the most public place she can find, and then strips off all her clothes. This brings shame on the man, not on the naked woman, and not on the passers-by who see the naked woman. Would our “Feminist” approve, because this is a woman choosing to use her own body to attack the patriarchy? Or would the “Feminist” disapprove because — “Feminists” don’t like other women taking their clothes off?

    And while we are talking about the evil Patriarchy — if anyone knows the guy in charge, would you please mention to him that my membership card must have got lost in the mail a long time ago. I am still waiting!

  • Roué le Jour

    Women (and other female primates) exhibit two distinct modes of sexual behaviour. Primary sexual behaviour, which is how they behave to men they desire, and secondary sexual behaviour, which is how they behave to men they don’t desire but have something they want.

    The feminist position is that women should not exhibit secondary sexual behaviour at all because it is demeaning, and women should just be given everything they want without having to wheedle it out of men.

    Ultimately this is just bog standard collectivism. Utopia will be achieved when everyone does as I say, and anyone who won’t must be forced to.

  • Fraser Orr

    Gavin Longmuir
    I understand your inner attorney needs to be able to speak to whichever side of a case his client lands him on

    FWIW, I find his argument quite compelling, including his argument against me. I don’t really think it is about the inner lawyer, I think it is more understanding the way your opponent thinks, and in doing so being in a better position to counter them.

    A “Feminist” woman can say to a woman (any woman) — you are free to choose to have an abortion, because it is your body and no-one can interfere with your choice. And then the same “Feminist” can say to the same woman — you are NOT free to choose to earn some money by taking off your clothes, even though it is your body and yours alone.

    But what if they are saying neither? What if in fact they are saying “It is your body, and your choice, as long as those choices don’t contradict a bigger principle.” After all, we do that all the time. For example, you are free to worship whatever god you want and practice any religion you want, however, you many not engage in the religious practice of sacrificing your enemies on the top of your Ziggurat. Certainly you have freedom of religion, but not if it violates a bigger principle.

    Now of course you are free to question the nature of the “higher principle”, but proceeding from the assumptions and moral axioms our feminist is coming from the logical derivation may well be quite sound. So you are no longer arguing about the logic but about the underlying moral principles. And underlying moral principles? Those are slippery fish.

    And of course, coming back to the point, were you to make an argument with our feminist interlocutor about the illogical nature of her argument you would not get very far. However, by understanding her position, you can actually debate the point where change may be possible — unlikely perhaps, but possible.

    I actually found a really interesting TED talk about how understanding the core moral meta-ideas from which a person proceeds explains a lot about how actual disagreements are really manifestations of those principles. He even categorizes those principles into five groups that I can’t remember, with a fairly sound scientific analysis. I’ll have to find it again.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Gavin, you better locate that lost card quick! If Hazy Mazie Hirono gets ahold of it, you’re a gonner. Even the positive testimony of your wife and all your acquaintances world-wide to the effect that you’re a prince of a guy who automatically obeys every command issued by SWMBO (for every value of She) will be of no avail.

    Oh! I forgot. We decided we’re not supposed to fool around Snarkily with people’s names. –Then again, is H.M. Hirono really a people? 😈

  • Itellyounothing

    You can’t change the mind of a zealot with rational argument.

    It’s the undecided who are vulnerable to that.

    Feminism seems to have gone from a civil rights movement to win the vote to a religion in a hundred years.

    One that decides you are a member if you are a woman and a slave to it if you are a man. Or any of the other identities the kids these days are into. I like attack helicopter.

  • Paul Marks

    People who use the term “neo-liberal”, apart from those people who use the term to attack it, are MARXISTS.

    For some reason it is often not liked when I point out that Marxists are Marxists – but I am going to carry on doing so, because one can not effectively oppose a group of people if one is scared of even correctly naming them.

    And, of course, MARXISTS are not interested in individual rights (indeed they deny that individual rights exist) – Marxists are interested in groups “classes” in the Marxist war to destroy civilisation which Marxists call “capitalism”.

    Modern “Third Wave” Feminism is Marxist dominated – specifically Frankfurt School of Marxism dominated. Women AS A GROUP are to be used in the Marxist against “Capitalism”.

    This is why Dominic Raab was correct to say that he was NOT a feminist – and the other candidates in the Conservative leadership contest (including Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt) were mistaken to fall into the trap of supporting modern feminism – which, I repeat, is dominated by Frankfurt School Marxism.

    By the way – on the BBC as I type these words, they are broadcasting propaganda about the need to end more men than women choosing to be engineers.

    They are now saying that even before primary school the socialisation of boys and girls should be changed to end “boys things” and “girls things” – this is the denial of basic biological differences between boys and girls (which can be found even in babies – with girl babies tended to look more at human faces, and boy babies tending to more interesting in mechanical processes).

    The rebellion against objective truth (for example in science) is what the modern left is all about – everything is rejected if it is against their egalitarian religion.

    It is, of course, boys and men who are discriminated against in modern (Frankfurt School) dominated society. Particularly if the men are white and heterosexual.

    And as I type these words the BBC (having finished, for a little while) its feminist propaganda has gone to pushing stuff about homosexuals (the two BBC employees involved in this story are black and one is in a wheelchair – so boxes are being ticked). Still at least they are attacking the corruption of New York Police 50 years ago – and there is truth in that, as the NYPD was very corrupt indeed 50 years ago.

    Will the BBC attack Fidel Castro and “Che” for their murder, and general persecution, of homosexuals? Well they have not done so in this broadcast – even though the socialist Mayor of New York City is a lifelong admirer of Fidel Castro and “Che”.

  • Barry Sheridan

    Breeding ‘Harvey Weinstein’s’, ah yes, and the women who entered into whatever with him had no agency whatever!

  • Snorri Godhi

    _Modern_ feminists, like all other SJWs, are tools of the ruling class. Whether their main concern is race, gender, sexual identity, or the environment, is of secondary interest.
    Several commenters have hinted at the above, but i thought it best to write it out explicitly.

    Paul Marks:

    People who use the term “neo-liberal”, apart from those people who use the term to attack it, are MARXISTS.

    Hear, hear!
    Of course, it is only recently that Marxists have started using the word; but i suppose that everybody here knows that.

    How about honor, respect, companionship, and, oh yes, attention to the woman’s own sexual needs? None of which a whore gets.

    A whore (your word, not mine) is in it for the money. Whether by choice or necessity, or any combination thereof, she thinks of money as a higher priority. She might be wrong, but who are we to tell her that she is wrong?
    Oh, OK, we have a right (maybe even an obligation) to tell her that she might want to think about the long-term implications of her choice; but not to impose a different choice on her.

  • Pat

    The club has of course the legal duty to abide by the terms of its licence. The terms are dictated by the local authority with assistance from Whitehall and Westminster. The club doesn’t have a say, and the ladies who those terms are allegedly provided to protect almost always object. Hence I see no moral argument for the following of the rules, only a pragmatic one of submitting to the power of the state.
    Whether what goes on is, or is close to, prostitution is rather irrelevant since prostitution happens between consenting adults and is in any case legal.I have never heard of it happening in a strip club, though there likely are instances. Girls who want to work as prostitutes do so, girls who don’t want to go all the way work as strippers.
    The law does proscribe however the running of brothels, prostitutes are expected to work alone, again allegedly for their own safety.
    As to the “feminists” , if they claim the right to tell strippers what to do, then strippers have the right to tell feminists what to do.I suspect Dr. Rakoff wouldn’t get many tips.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    “FWIW, I find his argument quite compelling, including his argument against me.”

    I am not trying to be obtuse, and have the greatest respect for bobby’s skills in argumentation — but all I can see is a rationalization for authoritarian angels dancing on the head of an untenable pin.

    This discussion reminds me of an incident from the days when California was the end of the rainbow, before the Ruling Class brought in feces and discarded needles. One of our techs was a real California girl — young, smart, pleasant, beautiful. One spring day, she walked into the bullpen where us males did whatever it was we did. She was in a very good mood, laughing about a flyer a clothes shop had sent her with this year’s bikini fashions. The flyer was a poster of young women as good-looking as she wearing different bikinis. Our happy tech was seeking the opinion of her male colleagues on which bikini she should buy.

    For something this important, we males willing set aside our keyboards. A healthy discussion ensued — but no consensus. Now that she had enlivened the morning, the pretty tech pinned the flyer to the notice board, asked us to do our best to reach a recommendation, and left with a smile on her lips. Everyone in the bullpen went back to work.

    Later that day, another woman entered the bullpen. This one was the reverse of our tech — frumpy, grim, unpleasant. From HR, of course. She noticed the pretty tech’s flyer, and demanded that us lads take it down immediately — because it constituted “sexual harassment”. Her wish, naturally enough, was our command.

    Rush Limbaugh famously described politics as ‘Showbiz for ugly people’. “Feminism” has become a full-fledged member of authoritarian politics. The only logic in “Feminism” is bitter women getting their jollies by telling other human beings how to behave.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “The only logic in “Feminism” is bitter women getting their jollies by telling other human beings how to behave.”

    Yes, but that’s still logic and rationality.

    They have a desired aim. They reason out how to achieve it. Given their prior beliefs, aims, and moral code, their actions and policies follow logically and reasonably. They come to different conclusions to you because they start from different beliefs, aims, and morals, but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid or irrational. Just that they have a different set of goals to you.

    Logic in mathematics starts with a set of axioms which you assume to be true, and then figures out what their truth implies. If you start with a different set of axioms, you get different truths. And logic makes no judgements between them. If you assume this, then it implies that. That’s all it says. It can’t tell you whether your axioms are true, except by retreating to a different set of axioms which must again be assumed without proof.

    If you take a consistent set of axioms, throw out any that are consequences of the rest so you have a minimal set, and then simply reverse any one of the axioms (replace with a new axiom stating the original axiom is false) then the result is generally (with few exceptions) equally consistent. If it isn’t, then you can use ‘proof by contradiction’ to prove the axiom from the remaining set and make it a theorem, which would mean your axioms were not minimal after all. Thus, mathematical logic recognises many different truths, each built up from their own minimal selection of axioms, and the chains of reasoning deriving the consequences of each are all ‘logical’ and ‘rational’, even while they come to different conclusions.

    This is of course a technical definition. The everyday meaning of the words is something more like “comes to the same conclusion I do”. Which of course given the above multitude of different systems of logic, does not describe humanity in our universe very well. Not that the everyday definition cares.


    Did it occur to you that your pretty tech might have had another reason for pinning the bikini advert to your noticeboard, besides seeking your expert fashion advice, and that the subsequent visit of the HR person was not entirely an unfortunate coincidence? Some girls have a wicked sense of humour!

  • Gavin Longmuir

    NIV: “Yes, but that’s still logic and rationality.”

    Not really, it is only “Feminist” logic. Given the axiom (which can be freely chosen), the logical consequences have to be consistent with that axiom.

    Let’s accept the axiom that “It is a woman’s body to do with as she alone chooses”. Fine! No problem with that.

    Logical consequences are that a woman can choose to have an abortion (implying another axiom that fetuses become human only once they transition to air-breathing). A woman can choose to strip and flaunt her body; she can choose to provide intimate services, for fun or for financial compensation; she can choose to inject drugs into her own body (all simpler cases, since there is no requirement for the fetus axiom).

    For a “Feminist” to be pro-abortion but anti-stripping requires her to apply her own axiom inconsistently. And that is illogical.

    (As an aside, some girls do indeed have a wicked sense of humor, but I doubt our tech set up the lads. The HR lady was the dourest of “Feminists”, and — back in those merry days — was quite out of step with happy liberated California girls).

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Let’s accept the axiom that “It is a woman’s body to do with as she alone chooses”.”

    But that’s not necessarily the axiom they’re using.

    A ‘strawman argument’ is one where you impute certain axioms to your opponent, and then tear it down by showing that those axioms lead to inconsistent or ridiculous conclusions. But their reply is that those are not their axioms, they’re yours. You have tried to figure out what their chain of reasoning is, got it wrong, and concluded that the error is on their part.

    As both I and Bobby explained above, there are alternative interpretations. One is that their aim is not to protect women’s individual right to decide, but their collective one in the interests of the cartel. Protectionist reasoning is common on all sides in many debates.

    Another is that they support women’s individual right to decide as part of a hierarchy of goals and principles, and that any principle can be trumped by another with a higher priority. The right to an abortion doesn’t impact the interests of the rest of the sisterhood, and doesn’t subvert the collective political goal of stopping men treating women as sex objects. The right to sell sex does. Thus only the latter is rightly trumped by the higher priority principle.

    You’re quite right that if she’s starting from the axiom “It is a woman’s body to do with as she alone chooses” then the observed actions are inconsistent with it. But where’s the evidence that she is doing so? Especially when she specifically rejects this ‘really neo-liberal, really dumbed down, simplistic, very selfish’ principle, telling that this is not what feminism is about? Is it logical to assume that’s her starting axiom after she’s said specifically that it isn’t? And is it any surprise if we get contradictory and irrational results when we do?

  • Fraser Orr

    Gavin Longmuir
    Let’s accept the axiom that “It is a woman’s body to do with as she alone chooses”. Fine! No problem with that.

    But this is your mistake. This is not their axiom. In fact to try to apply a mathematical process to human philosophy is not really a good strategy anyway, philosophical ideas are too soft at the edges to be amenable to that, and that is true not just for feminists, it is true for everyone.[*]

    But, as I already said, the axiom is “she can do what she wants with her body as long as it doesn’t violate a higher principle.” If that is their starting point, your logic doesn’t work.

    You might thing this is shifty, but you do it too. I’ll give my example again — I think people have freedom of religion, as long as it doesn’t violate a higher principle. You can practice the Aztec religion if you want to, however, you many not cut the beating hearts out of your enemies no mater how passionately you think it is necessary to keep the Sun riding in the sky.

    [*] FWIW nothing is amenable to the kind of “axiom + productive logical operations to derive a full system” as done in mathematics. Including, ironically, mathematics itself. This is why von Neumann on reading Godel’s incompleteness theorems said that he wanted to kill himself: specifically because Godel demonstrated that this idea was not even true in mathematics.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Nullius, Fraser — Congratulations for trying to square the circle and rationalize “Feminist” illogicality. But we have to start with what “Feminists” actually say.

    The great rallying-cry for pro-abortion “Feminism” has long been “It is the woman’s body, and she can do what she wants with it”. They even prefer the term Pro-Choice to Pro-Abortion. This is nominally a highly individualistic approach, with each woman being able to make her own decision without outside interference.

    Please correct me if I have missed it (I don’t listen to the BBC, for example), but I don’t recall hearing “Feminists” use the rallying cry “All women are mere subjects of our all-powerful Matriarchy, and can make only those choices which the Matriarchy has approved”. “Feminists” talk about Pro-Choice, not Pro-Subjugation. And if “Feminists” did try to push that subjugation line openly, they would probably not find many too women who would support it. What woman would want to escape the largely fictitious Patriarchy simply to enter peonage to an intrusive authoritarian Matriarchy?

    Now, if you assert that “Feminists” are lying to women when they talk about Choice, you may well be right. What they are doing is dishonest rather than illogical.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Nullius, Fraser — Congratulations for trying to square the circle and rationalize “Feminist” illogicality. But we have to start with what “Feminists” actually say.”

    Which feminists, in what context, and how long did you give them to explain all the nuances, complexities, exceptions, generalisations, caveats, and stuff that’s not relevant in this case but might be in others?

    Natalie says in the head post: “As I said in a recent post, ‘I’m still holding on to the idea that “what a feminist looks like” can include what I see in the mirror. But it is getting harder.’” So Natalie considers or possibly considered herself a feminist. Do you think she believes the same as Dr Sasha Rakoff? Does there have to be a single position called ‘feminism’? Do you think all feminists agree on it?

    And especially when constructing slogans and soundbites, people simply complex positions down to the most relevant essentials. I’ve done it myself. Sometimes I explain the Harm Principle by saying that society can only intervene to prevent harm being done to others. Only that’s not quite right, because there’s an exception when you give consent. And then there’s a requirement that it be informed consent. And then there are situations where someone is unable to give informed consent but where it may be inferred. And then there are cases where each option causes harm, and the goal is to minimise it. And so on.

    Most people’s moral systems and belief systems are extremely complicated, with many layers of context, and not reducible to soundbites. Our is. So is theirs.

    Some feminists have used the “my body my choice” slogan, where it was appropriate. *This particular* feminist is explaining it’s more complicated than that, and would say that while the complexities were not relevant in the case of abortion, they are here. We have to start with what *this* feminist says her views are, if we are to justifiably criticise her views.

    “The greatest orator, save one, of antiquity, has left it on record that he always studied his adversary’s case with as great, if not with still greater, intensity than even his own. What Cicero practised as the means of forensic success, requires to be imitated by all who study any subject in order to arrive at the truth.

    He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side; if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion. The rational position for him would be suspension of judgment, and unless he contents himself with that, he is either led by authority, or adopts, like the generality of the world, the side to which he feels most inclination.

    Nor is it enough that he should hear the arguments of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. This is not the way to do justice to the arguments, or bring them into real contact with his own mind. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them; who defend them in earnest, and do their very utmost for them. He must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form; he must feel the whole force of the difficulty which the true view of the subject has to encounter and dispose of, else he will never really possess himself of the portion of truth which meets and removes that difficulty.

    Ninety-nine in a hundred of what are called educated men are in this condition, even of those who can argue fluently for their opinions. Their conclusion may be true, but it might be false for anything they know: they have never thrown themselves into the mental position of those who think differently from them, and considered what such persons may have to say; and consequently they do not, in any proper sense of the word, know the doctrine which they themselves profess. They do not know those parts of it which explain and justify the remainder; the considerations which show that a fact which seemingly conflicts with another is reconcilable with it, or that, of two apparently strong reasons, one and not the other ought to be preferred.

    All that part of the truth which turns the scale, and decides the judgment of a completely informed mind, they are strangers to; nor is it ever really known, but to those who have attended equally and impartially to both sides, and endeavored to see the reasons of both in the strongest light.

    So essential is this discipline to a real understanding of moral and human subjects, that if opponents of all important truths do not exist, it is indispensable to imagine them and supply them with the strongest arguments which the most skilful devil’s advocate can conjure up.”

    JS Mill, Of The Liberty of Thought and Discussion, 1859.

  • Sonny Wayz

    I can’t remember where I read this recently, but, from memory:

    “Women’s rights have advanced to the point that they can do anything a feminist says they can.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sonny, right on! I am WOMAN, hear me roar!

    (Followed by, “Oy! I broke a nail!” –Swiped from one of Robert Tanenbaum’s Karp thrillers.)

    😆

  • bobby b

    And so we circle back to Brand and speech.

    I still firmly believe that seeing a contradiction between fighting for free speech and insisting that progressives apply their own rules to their own people and not merely to my people means that one is relying upon a “first principle” that really isn’t a “first principle”.

    The axiom that holds that {insisting that Brand be treated like Tommy R is a violation of free speech principles} is merely a poorly-phrased sub-axiom that works in the specific circumstances for which it was devised, but fails to consider allowable – necessary – exceptions. And so, it is NOT the true axiom under which we operate.

    If an alleged axiom has necessary exceptions, it’s not the true axiom. It’s not a “first principle.” It’s a situationally-dependent application of a “first principle.” A properly-phrased axiom will encompass and allow for true exceptions – they will fit into the axiom and thus there will not even BE exceptions.

    Thus, there is some so-far-unarticulated axiom underlying the feminists’ approach to the distinct situations of {empowering women to make their own bodily choices} and {discouraging women from feeding the culture of women-as-sex-parts}, and there is some so-far-unarticulated axiom underlying our approach to {speech should be free} and {progressive government must enforce its own laws fairly.}

    To communicate about these situations, we need to articulate those axioms. I submit that we* have not done so.

    (*And by “we”, I don’t limit myself to “those here on Samizdata.” I mean that we as a society cannot communicate and persuasively engage in dialect without understanding these true axioms.)

  • DKendall

    I can see the logical explanation for the seeming inconsistency between supporting abortion and rejecting women’s choice to strip.

    It’s things like “Slutwalk” that I personally find hard to reconcile with feminist campaigns against the sex industry. Many of the Slutwalk feminists stripped off in public, and the banners and slogans defended their choices using individualistic arguments. My understanding was that the march explicitly rejected the idea that they should be shamed for their sexual choices, and strongly condemned the idea that they deserve any blame for encouraging abusive behaviour from men.

    I don’t really understand how a feminist can march in underwear and body paint chanting “my body, my choice” one day, then demand a ban on strip clubs the next. Especially when the collectivist arguments against a stripper’s choice effectively blame and shame them as a cause of sexual assault against other women.

    It’s not the case that these are two distinct groups of feminists with no overlap between them. The femsoc at my old university organised a Slutwalk at around the same time they were also campaigning for a “nil policy” to ban strip clubs. The exact same feminists were involved in both events.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Gavin Longmuir
    The great rallying-cry for pro-abortion “Feminism” has long been “It is the woman’s body, and she can do what she wants with it”.

    But you keep ignoring the example I gave. When the state demands that some cross be taken down in the public park we will often hear a demand for “freedom of religion”. Are these people really demanding the right for some to stone to death a new wife who is found to be not “virgo intacta”?

    @bobby b
    The axiom that holds that…

    But perhaps herein lies the problem — this assumption that philosophy works the same way as Euclid’s Elements, reasoning from axioms by generative rules to a system of general applicability. But I contend that philosophy works nothing like that, in fact, almost nothing works like that. On the contrary philosophy is more like a cloud of ideas that are refined and purified into something less foggy over time. It is an evolutionary process of going from some sloppy, imprecise principles and refining over time to be slightly less sloppy and imprecise. Part of that is building some strands of logical connection from one point to another, but it isn’t some big fully connected graph of logical deductions, and most certainly not a tree rooted in some minimum set of axioms.

    In fact it is a lot like the common law. (Forgive me for my sloppy explanation of something I know little about, not being a lawyer.) There are some principles defined in statute, and then there is lots of case law that works these statutes out in particular cases. And it is all a bit disconnected, and sometimes contradictory, but there are certain internal chains of consistent reasoning.

    So really, in a sense the premise of the argument isn’t even correct. There aren’t axioms at all. All these is is a jumbled set of somewhat consistent, and disparate ideas. A decision is made by running the specifics of the situation through many of these chains, some of which come up with slightly different, and sometimes contradictory answers, which we then synthesize together. Can a woman take off her clothes for money? It goes through the “her body her choice” chain and the “submitting to the patriarchy ruins us all” chain, getting two different results, and some weighting rules are applied so that two “feminists” might well chose either argument based on those weighting rules. (Which, I suppose, is why there really is a division in the feminist, even the radical feminist, community about this subject.)

    I’ll give you an example from my life. At one time I had a guy who worked for me, he was on an H-1B visa, however, his visa expired, and he was desperate to keep working. He told me that he was about to marry this American girl and so would be all set from that. So he told me he would work as a free intern until he got that sorted out, to keep the job slot open. Something I foolishly agreed to. Well months went by and no marriage was forthcoming. Eventually I said, enough is enough. After he was let go he sued me for wages for the time he was working for us unpaid. As it worked through the courts (of course we settled, because the court system is too expensive and difficult to seek anything quite so extravagant as “justice”) it became apparent that we were going to lose. It seems that even though the Federal law makes it illegal for me to employ a worker without a visa, the State of Illinois has a law called something like the Wages and Compensation Act which made it illegal for me to not pay him. So Federal law banned me from paying him, and State law insisted I pay him. So two entirely contradictory rules, that all have their own set of logical pathways. And they were then united together by a completely different set of case law that reconciled in favor of state law over federal law (which of course makes no sense.)

    So there are no fundamental axioms with rules of logic to derive a whole tree of stuff. It is all a lot softer and less connected than that. The job of those who would try to be consistent is not to identify the axioms and produce a system of philosophy with generative rules, rather it is to take the fog and sharpen the focus a bit more.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    bobby b: “If an alleged axiom has necessary exceptions, it’s not the true axiom.”

    I am very sympathetic to your efforts to understand the reasons why human beings behave the way they do. Perhaps we — in this case, including “Feminists” — have failed to drill down deeply enough to uncover the axiom which explains why abortion is ok and stripping is bad. But we should also consider the possibility that there is no underlying axiom — What You See Is What You Get.

    The alternatives to the unarticulated axiom include illogic, dishonesty, or the natural human tendency to hold contradictory ideas quite comfortably.

  • bobby b

    “There are some principles defined in statute, and then there is lots of case law that works these statutes out in particular cases. And it is all a bit disconnected, and sometimes contradictory, but there are certain internal chains of consistent reasoning.”

    At law school, I discovered something that truly surprised me.

    I thought I was in for a long bit of rule-learning. I thought that I’d be seeing lots of unconnected case-specific reasoning.

    What I never expected – until I started into caselaw, from way back in England up to the present – was to find that everything was connected by one single thread of philosophy.

    It turns out that law – caselaw, judge-derived precedential law, which really makes up the bulk of the law (outside of the administrative regulatory state, which I exempt from this discussion) – followed one surprising (to me) first principle, expressed as a question: What is just and fair in this situation?

    It wasn’t what I was expecting, and realizing this made the rest of law school into a rather joyous exploration for me. The system I was entering was actually clear, well-intentioned, and well-designed.

    I used “axiom” in the above comments only because that word seems to have been adopted in this conversation. “First principles” is probably a better choice. Precedential common law follows its own first principle, and it’s as basic as: What is just and fair in this situation?. It allows for – it requires – no exceptions.

    As this branches out into individual following cases, the principle gets expressed in more instance-specific ways, for communication purposes. Usually, the stating of this new situation-specific slogan that supposedly represents the first principle is done inexactly, resulting in second-order expressions of that first principle that must allow for exceptions. They serve the purpose of the situation, but they no longer distill the entire first principle.

    I think everyone – me, “feminists”, Tommy Robinson followers – start out with individual first principles. We all have the capacity to recognize outcomes that either serve or dis-serve our own first principles. But then, as we apply those FP’s to specific situations, we build simplified slogans to substitute for our FP for use in that same situation, and they end up inexact and incomplete – requiring exceptions.

    That’s how we end up with “every woman controls her own body.” That’s how we get “stifle no speech ever.”

    And we won’t ever be able to actually communicate with people of varying philosophies until we know our own undistilled first principles, and those of the others. If we try to deal with people such as feminists and assume that their bedrock, core principle is “every woman controls her own body” – if others deal with us without understanding our bedrock, core principle – we’ll always be talking past one another.

    When a progressive looks at a conservative and assumes “you favor the rich, you don’t think the poor count”, it’s because we’ve not communicated our first principles to them. They’re seeing less exact expressions only, and so can’t ever understand what drives us. When we see a feminist and assume she’s driven by a first principle of “every woman controls her own body” without ever diving down deeper into her true first principle, she’ll seem irrational to us, and we’re not going to connect with her in any sort of conversation.

  • bobby b

    “I am very sympathetic to your efforts to understand the reasons why human beings behave the way they do.”

    You’re giving me way too much credit. I hardly understand why I behave the way I do. And, since others depend on my vocalization of my motivations, how could they ever understand me if I don’t? 😕

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    What is just and fair in this situation?

    And do you think it achieves that end? Of course part of the problem is that one man’s justice is another man’s injustice. I think that perhaps in the pursuit of cases between individuals this may be the case, for example in contract disputes or property disputes, but I’m not really sure if most of what the law does is particularly fair. I noticed, for example, a case of a man in Washington State, (FWIW an illegal immigrant) who was convicted of third degree rape, served 9 months, and then on release raped the same woman almost immediately. The fact that the woman was in a wheelchair perhaps serves to make that worse. And then contrast that with some rich person who wrote a few checks to get her daughters into a school of her choice, and who may end up in prison for forty years.

    I think everyone – me, “feminists”, Tommy Robinson followers – start out with individual first principles.

    But I don’t think they do. In fact what people do is deal with situations, case law if you will, and then, over time begin to distill out broader principles. So in reality it happens in the opposite direction you describe. Which is also why those “principles” are soft. They are derived from a distillation of specific examples, and so if another example comes along that contradicts this then the principle may well get adjusted correspondingly. For sure, as the principles ossify over time there is a bit of a reversal where one tends to reframe the contradictory situation to fit the ossified principle rather than the other way around.

    FWIW, there is also another mechanism at work where someone who is tending toward a particular principle can get locked in with a social group that offers them some social benefit in exchange for an adoption of their principles, and so that cost benefit analysis often overwhelms the deductive process described above, then it comes more principles by fiat. It strikes me as curious that if you tell me your views on gun control I can predict your views on progressive taxation with a fair degree of accuracy. The two things are completely unrelated, however, there is a tribal identity that bridges these two things together. To join the tribe you need to adopts the doctrines of the tribe.

    When a progressive looks at a conservative and assumes “you favor the rich, you don’t think the poor count”, it’s because we’ve not communicated our first principles to them.

    Is it? Or rather is it that their identity comes from their notion that their philosophy is righteous and so anyone who disagrees is sinful? And for that I don’t particularly mean to pick on progressives. There are few people who are quite so sure of themselves than libertarians.

  • bobby b

    “The two things are completely unrelated, however, there is a tribal identity that bridges these two things together.”

    I wonder if, instead of some tribal identity bridging the two, there’s an occulted underlying first principle that applies to – bridges together – both situations. There’s a lot of overlap between the ideas of a tribal identity and a shared first principle.

    “And do you think it achieves that end?”

    Well, I left the profession with a sigh of relief, so, no, I don’t. The teaching of the law’s roots reveals a pure thing. The actual practice adds people into that mix, which really plays hell with the nobility thing.

    “So in reality it happens in the opposite direction you describe.”

    I think that, from a very early age, we recognize “good” and “bad” in a way that indicates the presence of a first principle that we pick up quickly from our environment and tribe. I think we do also build other principles backwards from experience as you describe, but I think they need to not contradict our first principle in order to make the cut. The very principle that causes us to value the right to defend ourselves also causes us to value the idea of equal – fair – taxation.

    Of course, maybe we’re each speaking of the same thing, and giving it different labels.

  • neonsnake

    But we have to start with what “Feminists” actually say.

    Agreed – but there’s not really a “they” that has a solidly defined, homogeneous set of beliefs; under the headline banner of “equality of opportunity with men”, there’s many different strands.

    SWERFs like the woman in the headline post are, thankfully, no more than a small but REALLY LOUD minority. Problem being of course, that they give the more sensible people a bad name, and cause all feminists to be labelled as bad, which is especially harmful for those who don’t share the same beliefs.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Hmm…is Hoang Long’s comment designed to lure us to click on the link?
    I wouldn’t.

  • neonsnake

    Hmm…is Hoang Long’s comment designed to lure us to click on the link?

    The comment itself is mine – it’s a direct copy and paste from an earlier post upthread, so, yeah, I’m very much guessing so.

  • Pat

    What we have here is standard trade union policy. Strikes don’t work if the employer can get alternative labour. Hence blacklegs are unpopular.
    Women seek to control access to sex in order to gain a better deal. They can’t make that stick if other women are coming up with the goods.
    Unsurprisingly it is the most unattractive women (and personality as well as appearance determine that) who most need the “union” and hence come down hardest on sex workers of all sorts.

  • neonsnake

    Women seek to control access to sex in order to gain a better deal.

    Good lord…

  • DKendall

    @neonsnake

    I’m curious how you’ve come to the conclusion that “SWERFs” are just a “small but REALLY LOUD minority”?

    As far as I can see, the vast majority of feminist organisations share their views (at least in Europe), and that includes the groups that represent mainstream feminism in politics, e.g. the Women’s Equality Party (UK) and the European Women’s Lobby.

    The largest feminist conference in the UK recently held a workshop on how to campaign against strip clubs. Iceland was celebrated as a model feminist country because of its legislation banning them. Pretty much any strip club licensing consultation is swamped with feminist form letters demanding a complete ban.

    In recent years Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Canada, France, and Israel have all adopted the “abolitionist” Nordic model following feminist campaigns against more liberal prostitution policies.

    I don’t see any significant feminist opposition to any of that. If feminists who disagree with “SWERFs” actually are the majority then few care enough to even voice their disagreement. I don’t think they can really complain about being tarred with the same brush.

  • Snorri Godhi

    When a debate includes so many long comments, i feel a bit guilty about adding a comment without reading all that has already been said, but there is no practical alternative. What interests me in particular is the exchange between Bobby and Fraser, since it touches on issues that i have thought about previously.

    At the risk (indeed, the certainty) of oversimplifying, it can perhaps be said that bobby takes an “Euclidean” position: there are some axioms that underlie our ethics, and once we have them figured out, everything else follows. Except that it is not so simple: bobby does not clarify how we find out what our axioms are, and seems to imply that it might be a process of trial+error.

    Fraser has a more empirical approach; or perhaps a combination of 2 approaches. One is reasoning by analogy, as in the common law: no need for general principles (axioms). The other is an “inductive” approach, in which general principles are inferred from specific cases. Except that Fraser, too, hints at a trial+error process.

    I myself think that there is room both for reasoning by analogy and for a trial+error, hypothetico-deductive approach. The latter consisting in the formulation of general principles of ethics as hypotheses which can be suspended or replaced when they conflict with moral intuitions about specific cases. For instance, i am ready to suspend NAP and steal a car, at gunpoint, if that is the only way to save the life of a friend. (Natalie had a post about this, years ago.)
    When a principle must be suspended too often, of course we’d like to replace it with something better.

    I offer the above thoughts because it seems to me that they can reconcile Bobby and Fraser 🙂

  • neonsnake

    @Dkendall – I have nothing conclusive, I’m afraid. It’s more that all the feminists I know are of the “free choice for everyone, and I bloody well mean everyone including sex workers” persuasion, along with a cursory Google of the term SWERF bringing up a number of feminist sites which disagree with anti-sex worker feelings, plus SWERF is a derogatory term, and deregotory terms usually (not always!) are used for minority views.

    To your point about not caring enough to voice their disagreement, I would say that many minority views overshadow the majority who disagree with them, but the loud minority out-shout them. I’m sure many on this blog would agree, with sadness, with that sentiment.

    @snorri – good post. I agree, especially re. suspending NAP in certain circumstances.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “As far as I can see, the vast majority of feminist organisations share their views (at least in Europe)”

    This isn’t quite an answer to your question, since not all women may class themselves as feminists, but a poll here says:

    Would you support the full decriminalisation of prostitution, so long as it is consensual?

    Men: – Support 65%, Oppose 15%, Don’t know 20%
    Women: – Support 43%, Oppose 27%, Don’t know 29%

    So it appears it’s true that a minority of women oppose decriminalisation, but it’s not a tiny minority. And a larger plurality support it.

    Other numbers people here might possibly find interesting:

    Support for decriminalisation is strongest among the Lib Dems (61%), followed by UKIP (57%), the Conservatives (55%) and Labour trailing in last place (53%). Labour are also the least likely to use a prostitute.

    Asked what arguments for decriminalisation they found persuasive, one of those on offer was: “Consensual sex between adults should be free from state interference”. Only 44% of men and 22% of women found that argument persuasive, although among men it was the most persuasive argument on the list. Women were most persuaded by the argument that it enables women to protect themselves from abuse or harm.

    Among those arguments offered against decriminalisation, the most persuasive argument was that it would expand criminal activities related to prostitution, like sex trafficking, drugs, and violence. Given that our argument would be that legalising prostitution ought to decrease the associated crime, it appears the general public do not find our arguments persuasive.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thank you neonsnake for your kind remark; and yes, it is the fact that “Hoang Long” copied your paragraph verbatim that made that comment suspicious. I see that it has been removed.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    DKendal: “Iceland was celebrated as a model feminist country because of its legislation banning them [strip clubs]”.

    It is worth sparing a thought for the successes of the feminist (as opposed to “Feminist”) movement.

    Any woman born in the UK after 1907 (ie every woman alive in the UK today) has been able to vote for her entire life. Women have been elected leaders of the UK — and of many other countries besides, such as Germany, New Zealand, Finland, Brazil, India, Pakistan … just to name a few. Women are CEOs of major companies, such as Lockheed Martin, PepsiCo, Occidental Petroleum, and many more. Women are prominent in the professions and government. Women dominate the faculties and administrations of many universities, and females are the majority of students in Western higher education. It is illegal to discriminate against women in employment, and women work successfully in many different functions. Abortion is legal in most Western countries, and lesbianism is nowhere a crime.

    It seems that feminists — real feminists — have good reason to congratulate each other on ‘Mission Accomplished’, and get on with life. The remaining “Feminists” are just a bunch of authoritarian scolds, intent on restricting the freedom of other women. These are bad people.

  • DKendall

    @Nullius in Verba

    Thanks for that interesting poll, but even if it was restricted to people who class themselves as feminists it wouldn’t really satisfy me. I should have made it clear that I’m much more interested in the activists, academics and organisations that form feminism as a movement, rather than any and all people who happen to use the label. After all, it’s the active members who are writing papers and articles, representing feminism in the media, marching and lobbying for specific policies, and generally getting things done.

    That said, it is a pleasant surprise to see the poll indicate that so many British women are in favour of decriminalisation. I’ve seen feminists cite polls (generally from Nordic countries) that provide very different results, e.g. 83% of Icelandic women wanting criminalisation of both prostitution and strip clubs, or only 7% of Swedish women supporting decriminalisation of prostitution.

    An obvious question raised by that poll is why mainstream women’s organisations would oppose sex work decriminalisation if that doesn’t represent the view of the majority of women. For example, the Women’s Equality Party’s membership overwhelmingly voted for their “abolitionist” sex work policy, including recently passing a motion for a complete ban on strip clubs. Unlike the arguments about transgender issues (e.g. the WEP’s support for self-ID), their stance on sex work doesn’t appear to cause controversy. I find it interesting that there’d be such an inconsistency between the views of British women as a whole and those who actually choose to get involved in one of the country’s largest feminist groups.

  • bobby b

    “Except that it is not so simple: bobby does not clarify how we find out what our axioms are, and seems to imply that it might be a process of trial+error.”

    I think that the first of our prime principles comes to us innately, in the form of “I want to live!”

    I think that most of our other prime principles are derived through trial and error from that one, in attempts to serve that one.

    (Yes, it’s Randian. I think this is why she resonates so well for me.)

    I have a fairly crass and biochemically-driven view of morality. I think it’s merely the survival instinct writ elegantly, honed by complex brains over 300,000 years of development. The long-term trial and error has allowed us to see, for example, that short-term gain (say, by stealing) might make survival better for a bit, but in the long run, we survive more predictably if we can influence our fellow humans to avoid such behavior. Thus, we discuss “morality.”

  • DKendall

    @neonsnake

    Googling a few “SWERF” critical feminist articles (all from the US as far as I could see) reaffirms my impression that there’s an ideological split between American and European/UK feminism on this issue. In the UK I don’t think there’s even a clear association between opposition to sex work and radical feminism that the “RF” bit of “SWERF” would indicate.

    Most of the feminist activists and organisations that I’ve run into over here have taken an anti-sex work stance, including liberal feminists, and even ones who identify as “sex positive”. There certainly isn’t the same overlap with anti-trans ideology that there seems to be in America (based on articles where “SWERF” and “TERF” are treated as almost synonymous).

    For example, the Women’s Equality Party is one of the largest feminist organisation in the UK (around 65,000 paying members IIRC). It primarily promotes liberal feminist policies and members have been excluded for making comments that are viewed as transphobic. Yet their leader mocked the idea that they should even consider listening to the opinions of sex workers (dismissing them as pathetic “sex bots”) and the membership consistently vote for authoritarian policies of prohibition and criminalisation.

    It’s a similar situation when looking at the European Women’s Lobby. That’s an umbrella organisation representing several thousand different feminist organisations from across Europe. Their official consensus position is for complete abolition of sex work, and they’re proud of their success in increasing criminalisation. I’m less familiar with feminism outside the UK, but I’d be surprised if the EWL aren’t representative of mainstream European feminism when they’re literally the group formed to represent it…

    In contrast I see much more obvious and open disagreement in American feminism, e.g. feminists criticising groups like Equality Now and the National Organisation for Women when they’ve campaigned against decriminalisation.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby,

    Your last comment (9:40) resonates very well with me! :>))

    I hope to comment further on that later [UPDATE just before submitting: it’s already wa-a-ay later!), but just for now, what Snorri calls “trial+error” is an extension of what, in the realm of intellectual investigation, philosophy calls “the dialectical method.” Which, IIUC, boils down to,

    “Argue thus. Compare results with what you were aiming for (logical consistency). Change your argument, hoping to get a better fit with the results you expected or hoped for, and try again. Lather, rinse, repeat.”

    I would expand the notion to include acting and believing:

    “Do, believe, or argue this. Compare results with what you were aiming for (desired outcome of action, or of thought or theory). Change your action, belief, or argument, hoping to get a better fit with the results you expected or hoped for (logical consistency, on the realm of thought; logical consistency plus observation of results if applied in the physical world), and try again. Lather, rinse, repeat.”

    Of course there’s simple curiosity: “What would happen if …” I start flame-throwing on Samizdata, or come to the belief that the Earth is flat, or construct a proof that in fact, π = 29.7.” This is the starting step in any inquiry, and if having set the barn on fire you then cease investigation so you won’t miss the bus, there’s no dialectics involved — although we hope you have learned something.

  • bobby b

    Yeah, Julie, I thought you’d get a kick out of that one. 😀

    It could have been lifted from a d’Anconia speech.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby [O/T !!!],

    Your line “I want to live” brought to mind a vague memory that there was a movie by that name.

    Did you see it? I don’t think I did, but the review at Rotten Tomatoes makes it sound good & horrible. I don’t think Francisco would’ve told that story! (Although I think Miss R. would’ve done a bang-up job with the screenplay. I wonder if she ever said anything about it.)

    Grim, almost unbearably intense, I Want To Live is the story of the life and execution of Barbara Graham (Susan Hayward) a perjurer, prostitute, liar and drug addict. The product of a broken home, Graham works as a shill, luring gullible men into crooked card games. She attempts to go straight, marries the wrong man, and has a baby. When her life falls apart, she returns to her former profession and is involved in a murder. Despite her claims of innocence, she is convicted and executed. Robert Wise directs the uniformly fine cast with grim efficiency, telling Graham’s story in a series of adroitly crafted scenes….

    Read the rest at

    https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_want_to_live/

    .

    Speaking of Francisco, this from Breitbart about the 2014 movie (if anybody cares).

    https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2014/01/24/atlas-shrugged-3-gets-new-cast-begins-filming-will-conservative-themed-movie-franchise-hit-box-office-gold-finally/

    Given the general buzz on this version, and that Joaquim de Almeida played Francisco, I’m not particularly interested. So what’s wrong with Sr. de Almeida?

    I’ve seen him in 24. (I’m a big fan of S 1-5, plus S 6 just to satisfy curiosity. I give 6 a C- rating. And for the record, the closest any of the stories come to Muslim terrorists’ being the root Bad Guys, is once, and even then they’re not the instigators of the Plot. In the end of course some Big Businessman or -men is or are behind the whole plot.)

    Francisco is tall, handsome, and elegant. Going by his face alone, I don’t see how Mr. de Almeida could possibly play such a part. Just to begin with, he doesn’t have the look of Spanish elegance. He’s surely not handsome, and per Imbd.com he’s 5/7″, so tall he ain’t.

    (Of course, you can’t judge an actor’s overall skill from just one performance or TV show. Ed Harris was excellent as the whackjob in Just Cause and, contrastingly, as Gene Krantz in Apollo 13. Too bad he’s another flaming leftie.)

    No. The only person who should be allowed to play Francisco is Andy Garcia. Height I dunno, but he’s handsome and elegant and distinctly non-sleazy. (And not a fan of Castroite Cuba. See Roger Simon’s column at

    https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2010/3/31/forever-fighting-fidel-in-praise-of-andy-garcia/ .)

    That’s just my opinion, of course. Although anyone who disagrees is Wrong. :>(

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby,

    I can’t imagine why you’d think that Francisco would pique my interest. 😯 !!

    I wrote and submitted a long response. But I just left two comments that do show up fine, so I assume it was gremlins in the machine, or in my finners, or in my brain. I can feel them rooting around up there sometimes.

    I don’t have the energy to repeat it, but I see “trial-and-error” as an application of the philosophical method of dialectical investigation, i.e. of dialectics. I spent some pages on that, but this is a fair summary of my comment.

    .

    I went on to discuss the utter wrongheadedness of casting Joachim de Almeida as Francisco in the 2014 A.S. movie. Francisco is tall, handsome, and elegant, none of which are on evidence in the work I’ve seen by de J.

    Nobody but Andy Garcia s/b allowed to play Francisco, who is handsome (despite the slightly receding chin) and elegant. (Height I dunno.) Plus he carries on the good fight to free Cuba of her Castroite agony. (Helping the White Ladies of Cuba, and more.

    See, for instance, Roger Simon’s piece at

    https://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2010/3/31/forever-fighting-fidel-in-praise-of-andy-garcia/ .

    And, you lucky dog, that was only the first half of my reply. The second may or may not appear, in due course.

  • Julie near Chicago

    By the way, about the movie from Ayn Rand’s novel We the Living — to my mind it’s the best of her fiction in terms of her characters’ seeming reality, the plot quite believable, but also for me the book was too real, hence too depressing (I ached for Kira, Leo, Andrei) to re-read. That was well over 50 years ago….

    Anyway, most of A.R.’s fans probably know that a movie was made in Italy in 1942, starring Alida Valli and the young Rossano Brazzi. When she finally saw it, she thought it was very good.

    There’s a longish discussion of the film’s history at

    https://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/topic/12582-we-the-living-the-film-70-years-later/

    If you read all the way down in the comments on that page, there’s a 4-minute trailer from the movie.

    There are also two or three copies available on eBay, or you can watch the 3-hour version on UT:

    http://www.yoootoob.com/watch?v=YwWFsQOpGck

  • neonsnake

    Nobody but Andy Garcia s/b allowed to play Francisco, who is handsome (despite the slightly receding chin) and elegant. (Height I dunno.)

    I disagree with none of this statement 😉

    Also Godfather/Untouchables era Garcia had the self-assuredness that edges into whilst not quite crossing into arrogance that Francisco warrants. And the Cuba thing is just another point in his favour.

    You ever see the film he made about it?

  • Julie near Chicago

    neon, you mean “The Lost City”? If so, yes, I did see it. Good movie. And Mr. Garcia was excellent in it.

    You’re right. Francisco is indeed self-assured but not arrogant. Perfect description.

    Heh..thanks for reading what I wrote as what I meant, not what I said: Mr. Garcia’s chin is slightly receding. I’ve never actually seen Francisco — not even a photo. 🙂

  • neonsnake

    If what you meant was “He’s a very attractive man”, that’s the bit I’m agreeing with (receding chin or no)…

    Yes, “The Lost City” – great film. Unsurprisingly panned by those, non-Cuban critics, who wondered why he didn’t focus on the peasants who undoubtedly were fighting alongside El Che and Castro for, uh, the destruction of their way of life.

  • neonsnake

    @DKendall

    reaffirms my impression that there’s an ideological split between American and European/UK feminism on this issue. In the UK I don’t think there’s even a clear association between opposition to sex work and radical feminism that the “RF” bit of “SWERF” would indicate.

    That rings true, intuitively at least. Many of the friends I was referring to are either not UK based, or not UK-born, and have a different take on matters.

    I will tentatively hypothesise (with not enough deep thought to be sure) that the pro-sex worker stance in the US might be more to do with a clearer focus on “individual liberty” in the US; further, that a more negative stance in the UK might be class-based? Very tentative indeed, but maybe worthy of exploration.

    As an aside, I’ve noted a tendency in the UK (based on the vanishingly small sample size of “my mates and colleagues”) for feminists of the type we would typically support to refer to themselves as “equalists rather than feminists”, so as to distinguish themselves from the more extreme type of feminist. I think it’s a shame, but I think I can understand why.

  • neonsnake

    It is worth sparing a thought for the successes of the feminist (as opposed to “Feminist”) movement.

    @Gavin

    I note the use of capital-F vs small-f. This seems to me to be a great of distinguishing.

    I propose that small-f feminists are those who most likely believe that we’re 95% or 98% or 99% of the way there, and call it pretty much a done deal. I would not expect them to stop describing themselves as feminists (any more than if we ever got 99% of the way there, we’d stop calling ourselves libertarians).

    Capital-F Feminists, then, are the active ones, still fighting.

    My stance on this would be that of my better half – here in the UK, she would describe herself as a feminist. Back in South America, she would be a Feminist. Not only because “legally” there is still a way to go, “but culturally” there’s a loooong way to go.

    I think that in the UK (and the US, I guess), and she feels the same – we’re pretty much there. There’s pockets of sexism, sure – and I don’t and won’t dismiss those pockets, for the sake of the individuals affected – but yes, it’s been a success.

    In other countries, there’s still some way to go – most obviously in Middle Eastern and South East Asian countries, but less-obviously in Latin American countries, just to name a couple of examples. So I’m not quite ready to call it a success yet; but mainly because of my links to countries where it’s still not a success.

  • It is worth sparing a thought for the successes of the feminist (as opposed to “Feminist”) movement. (Gavin Longmuir, June 24, 2019 at 9:09 pm)

    Just for the record, I explain here the actual history of women getting the vote in the UK, and note the way in which activist historians have spun it to make the group they identify with – the suffragettes – the sole achievers instead of the least of the influences.

    While WWI deserves the lion’s share of the credit, the suffragists (despite their serious error of opposing a women’s vote in 1912) deserve credit for creating a climate of opinion in which WWI would (erase their mistake and) have that effect (plus they would have achieved their aim anyway in time). The contrast between the suffragists and the suffragettes perhaps fits Gavin’s contrast between feminists and Feminists. It would be unfair if the lower-case letter suggested the suffragists were the weaker or less committed. Arguably, self-discipline shows greater commitment. However if the capital letter just means loud – the equivalent of those commenters who always write in block-capitals – then the implication is accurate enough.

  • neonsnake

    Interesting post – not something I was wholly aware of.

    What is the mistake that you refer to, Niall – the refusal to pay taxes during wartime?

  • bobby b

    “I will tentatively hypothesise (with not enough deep thought to be sure) that the pro-sex worker stance in the US might be more to do with a clearer focus on “individual liberty” in the US; further, that a more negative stance in the UK might be class-based?”

    As an interesting (to me) aside, I note that prostitution remains illegal throughout most of the USA, and, IIUC, is legal in the UK.

  • What is the mistake that you refer to, Niall – the refusal to pay taxes during wartime? (neonsnake, June 25, 2019 at 9:31 am)

    No (though I doubt that achieved anything much). I meant their refusal to accept the challenge in 1912. (I realised my phrasing was poor and changed it – you must have seen a being-edited draft. I love the 5-minute chance to correct errors but you are not the first to catch a comment of mine in a not-quite-finished form).
    Along with the suffragists and suffragettes, the pre-war era contained a sizeable and vocal group of women who opposed the idea. It was these last who proposed in 1912 that women should vote on whether women should vote. I feel it was a major mistake for the suffragists to refuse to play. (That the suffragettes, like their modern imitators, would refuse to let women choose whether to accept or reject the suffragettes’ direction was also a mistake but a predictable one).

    A student at Oxford, tutored by a historian friend of mine, wrote her thesis arguing that the movement drove itself into a dead-end in the 1912-1914 period – one from which it would not have soon emerged without the war. My left-leaning historian friend (he’s the one who sent the Christmas card I mention in this post) was very much not the kind to suggest such a thesis to her but he felt compelled to mark it high because it was very well argued and justified. I already knew the history from other reading and agreed (less reluctantly than he) that her argument was strong.

    One way in which the war changed things was that these opposing women were all patriots who demanded women support the war effort – at first in feminine ways but gradually found themselves supporting women making shells, taking risks, enduring bombs, etc. To their credit, they realised that the happy picture they had had of women’s and men’s respected distinct roles in the world simply wasn’t in accord with the realities of modern war. So gradually, quietly, they stopped opposing.

    I suspect that student could imagine, perhaps better than her tutor, how those women thought.

  • neonsnake

    IIUC, is legal in the UK.

    I believe the status is muddy (and am not about to start googling while at work!) – I believe it’s legal to be a prostitute, but illegal to solicit for sex (eg. standing on a corner); I think that it’s illegal to “kerb-crawl” as well. I don’t remember who (and again, am not about to google right now), but I’m sure there was at least one high-profile case a decade or so ago – don’t remember whether it was an actor, musician or politician who got caught. I want to say politician, but that’s literally just because I want it to have been a politician.

  • neonsnake

    I meant their refusal to accept the challenge in 1912

    Even though they might have lost (if I understand correctly your older post)?

    And from your comment on the suffragettes view, I’m interpreting that as they believed that the subject wasn’t/shouldn’t be up for a referendum – that it was so obviously the correct path (no matter who might disagree) that the vote should be given to women without further debate?

  • neonsnake (June 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm), to adapt your remarks to modern times, we could have lost the Brexit referendum, and I certainly believe that leaving the EU should be done without further debate. 🙂 (We could have lost WWII. Lincoln could have lost the civil war. History is full of people who could have lost – and its marginal footnotes are full of people who did not risk finding out whether they would have won or lost.)

    The anti-suffragists could have lost the vote they proposed – and took an obvious risk in suggesting it, both philosophically and politically. “Please remember to turn up and vote against your having a vote” has both abstract and concrete problems, and wider discussion of the idea of women voting, ending in a decision made only by those women who actually voted, should have been good for awareness of the suffrage cause (which, if its opponents were proved right about UK female opinion at the time, was obviously going to have to plan long-term anyway). From memory, I think the practical political danger was hesitantly noticed by some of the proposers’ male sympathisers. Had the suffragists boldly accepted, it may well be no actual vote would have been organised before WWI both delayed it and changed the culture to ensure its victory. Also from memory, it may be the anti-suffragists were actually anti-suffragettes, in the sense that they evaluated their opponents by the latter group, correctly assessed the suffragettes’ mingled arrogance and distrust would give them the huge political triumph of a refusal, but got lucky in the suffragists not risking that they could start from behind – as the Brexit campaign did – and yet win. (A campaign would have enhanced the suffragists’ visibility as against the headline-grabbing antics of the suffragettes and that too would have been a PR advantage. Male newspaper editors ‘loved’ the suffragettes in the pre-war period.)

  • neonsnake

    Agree re. comments on Brexit etc – although I will note that the referendum was called with the intent that it was won – by Remain.

    Also from memory

    You’re older than I had previously imagined 😉

    it may be the anti-suffragists were actually anti-suffragettes, in the sense that they evaluated their opponents by the latter group

    Now – this is interesting, and calls back to your earlier comment on suffragists vs suffragettes, and comparing them to feminists vs Feminists.

    If I just say that the suffragists were more measured, and the suffragettes more strident, does that do well enough (noting that I’m generalising, but attempting to avoid having to tediously define what we both mean), that we agree that we both mean the same thing here?

    (It’s different from my earlier definition of F vs f, but I’m happy enough to go with yours. As I said, mine was based not on the UK situation, but in other countries).

    I think you’re saying that the more measured contingent actually did the material work of “winning” the debate, the battle, the war – quite possibly in spite of the more strident contingent.

    I’m trying to work out how we tie that in to our current situation, as libertarians, of how we win the debate. I am, as you know, in favour of a more measured approach. Historical precedent would certainly help…

  • neonsnake (June 25, 2019 at 2:49 pm), what I’m actually saying is that WWI “won the war”. It might have done so all on its own but it benefitted from (and may have essentially needed – Frenchwomen had to wait for WWII) the “battlefield preparation” work of the more measured contingent, whom it incidentally saved from a tactical error they had made (along with the more strident) not long before. Had WWI never been, I believe the more measured contingent would have carried their point in time, but only after taking a while to recover from their 1913/1914 situation.

    There are problems with a precedent whose primary lesson says, in effect, just wait for a world war to start. 🙂 This particular lesson from the UK’s past needs applying with caution.

    The secondary lesson is less about self-discipline versus stridency (though that matters) than about respecting the group you are patronising and having the courage to risk losing in order to win. In the film ‘Chariots of Fire’, Abrahams says “If I can’t win, I won’t run” and his girlfriend responds “If you won’t run, you can’t win.”

    The tertiary lesson is to beware of PC history.

    One may note that the history of how women got the vote varied everywhere, with the UK being as unique as any. In majority-male areas like 1870’s Wyoming and 1890s Australia and New Zealand, my impression is it was got almost without having to be asked for. In the US, my impression is that the political campaign was not eclipsed as a cause in the way it was in the UK. In the majority-female early-20th-century UK, I think WWI did more to change the minds of the ‘no thanks’ group (and the rest of society) than the political campaign.

    General lessons can be hard to derive from these specific histories.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Niall K: “… having the courage to risk losing in order to win”

    That may be one lesson from that period of history. Remember this was happening over a time period in which suffrage was also being expanded to include men who did not meet the prior requirements for property ownership, so the broader question of universal versus restricted suffrage was in play.

    But perhaps a more relevant lesson for today’s “Feminists” would be the value of grace in victory. By any objective measure, the real feminists have won, across the board. Yet the anti-female strident “Feminists” seem unwilling to accept their victory, and want to keep on fighting. Having got what they wanted from men, they now want to get what they want from other women too.

    The analog that springs to mind is the contrast between the end of WWI and the end of WWII. The victors at the end of WWI imposed humiliating conditions on the defeated Germans; the Brits maintained embargoes on the losers for several years after the end of WWI, causing dreadful malnutrition and worse. The consequence was WWII.

    In contrast, the end of WWII was marked by the Marshall Plan and other generous US efforts to put Japan and Germany back on their feet. The consequence has been decades of peace.

    Now that discussion of the anti-male bias in education and employment is starting to spread from the fringes into the mainstream, “Feminists” might want to remember that lesson, take pride in their victory, and now hold out a hand of peace. Because no-one can be certain of winning the second time around.

  • neonsnake

    @Niall – I’ll answer and respond tomorrow, am currently having dinner with the Lady.

    @Julie – the Lady insists that Francisco is Santiago Cabrera. He’s Chilean, apparently.

    I am not prepared to argue her point… I’ll leave you to Google and decide for yourself…

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thanks, neon. I’ve Investigated his website, and provided he lost the 3-day stubble look, he’d be a candidate; but I’m afraid that my One True Love is Andy Garcia.

    Probably wise for you not to get in between the Lady and me. Guy in the middle has a tendency to get drilled from both directions. 😆

  • bobby b

    A younger Antonia Banderas. Hands down.

  • neonsnake

    Despite having three day stubble myself, I’m still on the Andy Garcia side.

    I didn’t know I had a side for Andy Garcia until you suggested it, but still. We live and learn, right?

    (The Lady is unsurprised by my feelings, and finds them amusing, if, in her opinion, incorrect. Youth, right?)

  • neonsnake

    drilled from both directions

    Good heavens!

    Also:

    A younger Antonia Banderas. Hands down.

    Uhhh.

    Hm.

    Yeah. I’m ok with that. Interview With A Vampire era Banderas?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Good man, neon. :>))

    UPDATE: No, no, neon. bobby is wonderful in every way, but don’t let him turn you to the Dark Side! I’ve considered him (Banderas) seriously, but in the end….

    bobby, bring my Lamborghini (with the mead) on down here and we can discuss it. :>))

  • DKendall

    @neonsnake

    The issue of class is interesting and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t play some role in feminist positions on sex work.

    Watching TV discussions on things like stripping and modelling certainly gives me the impression that there’s a class divide. I’d say that the models, strippers, prostitutes, etc. tend to have “working class” signifiers, while they’re usually pitted against rather condescending and disapproving middle class feminists.

    It’s something I noticed last year when promotional models were removed from some sporting events following feminist campaigns. Here are a couple of clips from British TV that perhaps illustrate my point:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHQt79Z08os
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdbD7EF4Byw

    Of course part of that could simply be down to narrative choices made by show producers, rather than the participants actually being representative. I’ve seen some feminists argue that the media demonstrates its bias against their position by picking more “normal” and relatable women to argue against their activists and academics.

    Also, I’ve certainly run into proudly working class feminists who campaign against sex work, including some hardcore radfems who condemn other women as gender traitors over stuff as trivial as the choice to wear make-up.

  • bobby b

    “Interview With A Vampire era Bandera?”

    I’m thinking Desperado to 13th Warrior, so, yeah, exactly.

    Sorry, Julie. That’s my Francisco. 😎

  • neonsnake

    But perhaps a more relevant lesson for today’s “Feminists” would be the value of grace in victory. By any objective measure, the real feminists have won, across the board.

    Could be – but I’ll repeat from earlier: not everywhere, not yet. So for that reason alone, I’m unwilling to write off Feminist (as I much earlier described them as those still actively fighting) in countries, or from countries, where there is still reason to fight.

    Of course part of that could simply be down to narrative choices made by show producers, rather than the participants actually being representative.

    Agreed – and then, that would still lead one to the conclusion that it there is a class-based element to it, if the perception is that models, strippers, prostitutes etc are working class (ie. *sniff* lower class *sniff), then that’s as good as reality to those middle class folks who have others’ best interests at heart.

    Pondering bobby b’s comment earlier, re. it being illegal in the US, but more people want it legalised, and legal in the UK, but more people want it criminalised – maybe that’s also part of it; people are reacting unfavourably towards being told by their respective governments what is and isn’t ok.

    Finally, conversation wandered briefly into this subject with the Lady; she wondered what Dr Rakoff felt about the film The Full Monty.

    Or, she suggested further, whether Dr Rakoff would feel as passionately horrified by a gay man offering other men companionship for money.