However, upon visiting the site and realizing how the debate was going, I decided I'd had enough of staying largely on the sidelines during Shane's often epic rants about right-wingers and libertarians, which are often full of half-truths and generalizations, not to mention stunning levels of presumptuousness. I happen to be pretty conservative in my home and militantly laissez-faire outside of it. If you don't meddle with me, I generally won't meddle with you. The older I've gotten, the less I tend to believe in the state or ideology as the solution to what ails mankind.
Shane's posts on gender in particular tend to read like bad graduate student theses, full of musings on whether gender is real or an artificially constructed role perpetuated by the states. Shane has no professional training in either physiology, sociology, or psychology, at least to my knowledge and from what I could glean as a regular reader of his posts. There was one notable exception, to be fair, but I found the presumptuousness of the author cited here to be staggering. Moreover, his posts do not often appeal to any empirical basis; rather, they cite the work of this or that ideologue from the left who feels or intuits that gender roles are just another form of statist oppression.
That's the problem with Gonzo Times: it's a goddamned echo chamber for the most part. I didn't mind, because it was an audience to get my material more widely distributed, and it was also a way to read different viewpoints. As a result of my friendship and association with Shane, I started to gradually move away from statism altogether, for I had come to believe that the state was the problem. In a series of posts, I started distinguishing between the nation as the group of people who make up a country and the state as the government they establish to ensure their interests and rights. I started to self-identify as a minarchist libertarian. I believed in very limited forms of government centered on infrastructure, commerce, and the enforcement of contracts and laws against fraud in trade.
I did not agree with Shane's take on gender, which seemed to be that men and women were essentially the same but were conditioned to adopt roles of masculinity or femininity by some oppressive state bureaucracy lurking in the shadows. I did agree with Shane's parenting decisions as a matter of Shane's autonomy as a parent. One of Shane's sons had expressed an interest in a purse, and Shane bought him a purse as a gift. I thought it was the coolest damned thing I'd ever heard of, given my own upbringing with a father who expected me to demonstrate only the manliest of interests in the manliest of ways. There's nothing like being embarrassed by your father for an innocent query or question he takes as a sign of inappropriately feminine behavior or interest.
But back to that notable exception, an article and video interview of one Dr. Cordelia Fine, who wrote a polemic entitled Delusions of Gender that argued the science upon which current views of gender as the product of innate difference within the female and male mind was, in essence, junk. It's hard to buy the objectivity of an academic when she opens her views with the following preface:
"From an early age, I was incapable of reading Enid Blyton books (which I adored) without offering up a scathing feminist critique to anyone within earshot: “Oh, yes. Of course the boys go first! In case it’s dangerous.” I vividly remember coming across a sentence that so outraged me – a boy telling his companion that she couldn’t take part in some adventure because she was a girl – that I stopped reading and spat on the offending lines.
Even today when reading to my own children it’s hard not to want to edit Blyton. When I do, my eldest, even with his eyes closed, knows it immediately: “Mum, are you swapping the characters around again?” he’ll ask the instant I put a girl behind the controls of the toy plane that will fly everyone to safety.
But how is it that even before he went to school my son was already so well versed in the different ways girls and boys are expected to behave? And how do I, as someone who once proudly spat on an Enid Blyton book, feel about how well these easy cliches thrive?"
Clearly, Dr. Fine has an axe to grind, and grind it she does, challenging the work of Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, who has done a great deal of research suggesting that biology affects gender. She challenges his methods with supposition, alleging that this or that social factor or shortcoming in research methodology is responsible for Baron-Cohen's conclusions. The problem is that Fine's suppositions can be and were rebutted by Baron-Cohen, who in turn accused Fine of combining politics and science in order to reach her conclusions in his article in the November 2010 issue of The Psychologist.
Baron-Cohen first confronts the simple illustration Fine uses of women who are told before taking a math test that women traditionally score better. The women who then take the test then typically score better on the test than women traditionally do, and Fine cites the fact that a disappearing gender gap in test scores is possible through the power of suggestion as evidence of gender differences being solely due to the suggestion of society. For feminists who have never moved beyond victim myths, Fine's arguments were pure catnip.
However, Baron-Cohen's response was simple enough: he agrees with her that social influences can be relevant to disparate outcomes between the genders on tests. Then he goes on to note that sex differences due to neonatal or prenatal influences can't be explained away by social influences, and Fine's attempts to challenge the methodology of the studies measuring such differences are little more than flawed ideologically minded attempts to fit science to her pre-existing belief. He then notes that Fine overlooked counterbalancing measures in a newborn study to come to her conclusion that the findings were flawed. Fine's argument that the experimenters may not have been totally blind to the infants' gender is also debunked, because Baron-Cohen and his researchers included a panel of independent judges who only had videotapes of the infants' eye regions, thereby eliminating the possibility that they could know the child's gender. While noting that Fine is right that his newborn study needs to be independently replicated, his conclusion is damning: "...details are overlooked in order to fit her biology-free theory of human sex differences."
Moreover, Baron-Cohen rightly criticizes Fine's ad hominem attempts to link modern day researchers who conflate gender with biology in any way to 18th and 19th century sexists by placing her critiques of those researchers alongside quotes from those old sexists. Overlooking inconvenient facts and linking people you don't agree with to the sins of others in order to discredit them on some level is a common tactic at Gonzo Times, and I would know: Shane Thayer informed me that the only people who were defending me were all members of Stormfront, a white nationalist message board. "Look man...your arguments are so evil that only white supremacists agree!"
Additionally, I had commenters tell me that my type of woman was the sort of woman who had disappeared with the close of the 1950s: women who kept their mouths shut and did the housework. Despite the fact that I never advocated stripping women of their ability to voice an opinion, or of their basic rights, that's the response I received. Housework was never mentioned. Even though the post had nothing to do with race, I had individuals making allusions to my apparent racist overtones.
In retrospect, it's not surprising that Shane would have picked Cordelia Fine in order to give his views the imprimatur of empirical legitimacy. They're both polemicists and ideologues who don't have a problem with omitting evidence that might challenge their pre-existing notions of the way things are and the way things ought to be.
The reality of the matter is that Shane and his legions are bound and determined to hiss and boo at any suggestion that gender differences have a biological basis. Even if the evidence is there to bolster the idea of a biological connection to gender roles, ideologues like Shane simply refuse to acknowledge it. For gender fanatics, acknowledging a biological connection to gender is tantamount to admitting superiority for males and subordination for females. There is no such inherent risk, of course, because being different does not make one better or worse. There are women who are simply brilliant in their respective fields, and more brilliant than most or all of their male peers. The fact that they are women does not make them more brilliant. Likewise, there are men who are utterly stunning in their intelligence and ability within certain fields or areas of expertise, but no serious individual argues that their masculinity alone makes them more intelligent than their female peers.
And what is more, no individual who wants to be viewed with credulity by intellectuals can get away with suggesting that privilege before the law ought to accompany gender, unless of course that individual is surrounded by pseudo-intellectual ideologues at sites like Gonzo Times. These are the people who deign to tell you that you simply don't understand feminism if you disagree with it, as if no one who actually understood feminism could legitimately disagree. They'll usually ask if you've read this book or that author, as though enlightenment is just a matter of a book you haven't been exposed to.
As a general rule, I recognize when I am outnumbered and I tend to pick my fights accordingly. Gonzo Times was riddled with feminist nonsense and white male guilt. When Shane Thayer was queried as to why Gonzo Times didn't have any female or transgender writers, he didn't even defend himself from the implicit charge of sexism or bigotry, even though in my mind he was largely guiltless of any bigotry. The man is tolerant to a fault. No, like every other liberal man, he immediately issued the requisite mea culpa in the form of a missive acknowledging how ashamed he was of the fact that Gonzo Times didn't have female or transgender writers. He then proceeded to solicit writers who were either female or transgender solely on the basis of their female or transgender status, not because they actually had good content or anything notable to say. No, no, no...simply by virtue of the fact that they were female or transgender, they must have something valuable to say! Tautology passes as firm logic among leftists.
We then had the requisite influx of commenters and a couple of new writers, who proceeded to blather on and on about patriarchy and phallic influences in society. You would have thought they'd been slapped in the forehead with a penis repeatedly, as much as they whined about sexual degradation and phallic dominance. I decamped for a while, because the air was getting a bit too overwrought for my tastes. All the soothing talk of affirmation and support and self-congratulatory "aren't we all so tolerant over here at Gonzo Times" nonsense was a bit much for anyone with a gag reflex. I'm sorry, but I don't deep throat bullshit.
What brought me back was quite simple: I'd had enough of the misrepresentation and intellectual laziness. I've always been a proud libertarian. In point of fact, I don't think there's anything wrong with being a libertarian. Of the political parties out there, I'd never seen one that was more concerned with individual rights and more opposed to state abuse and overreach than the Libertarian Party. One of the seminal moments of my political development was watching Harry Browne on CSPAN during the 2000 electoral season.
At that moment, I was done with the Republican Party, even more done than I had been when it became evident that George W. Bush was on his way to the nomination. The man was proud of being stupid, and I've never liked that quality in anyone, and especially not anyone in a position of great authority or power. In my time as a libertarian, I didn't encounter the equivocation I often encountered during my time as a Republican. There were no subtle whispers or hints about race and inferiority, and no wink and a nod elbows to the side after the use of some racial pejorative in private conversation.
But over and over and over again, Shane Thayer assigned conservatism and libertarianism with ethnocentrism, racism, sexism, chauvinism, and the like. He accused people who refused to talk about these topics in the way that he framed the debate of being too afraid to have an honest discussion discussion about those topics for fear that some latent bigotry would be manifested. Well, let me make it perfectly clear why I didn't care to go into long treatises on race: I find the topic boring and ultimately irrelevant. I don't care about race.
I'm after a society in which the only race that counts is the human race, and I'm after practical methods of achieving this. For Shane, this was never going to be enough, as the following quote indicates:
"We tend to quickly address issues pertaining to race and gender with one word solutions. For those who are facing such issues one word is not sufficient. Our movement should be listening to those who have been impacted by these problems. The idea that we are just going to accept racism is absurd. The injustices of racism and sexism are the issues we should speak out against. We do not accept the injustice of rape, theft or murder. Why then should we accept these? If this is a movement that embraces oppression then I want nothing to do with it."
Well, duh. We can speak out against it, but I don't have anything to confess or divulge. I'm pretty strident in my views on equality, and my dislike of racial bigotry. The most tolerant people in the room visibly blanche when I talk about my Final Solution for racists by stating my position that the only good racist is a dead racist. Oh, no! We can condemn the racists, but we can't kill them or classify them as traitors for perverting freedom of speech to provide their ideology cover, even though success for that ideology in application means limited or non-existent rights for others outside of a favored class or group.
There are those individuals who might approach me in later conversation and nod approvingly, but their support diminishes when I condemn fashionable forms of racism like the Nation of Islam and Zionism in the same strong terms I use to lambast the Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity. It's okay to dislike and condemn the white racists, but not the black or the Jewish racists. They're from a historically oppressed class, and therefore they should be extended leniency to practice their hatred.
For me, the idea that racism is wrong and morally evil is just self-evident. I do not have to constantly demonstrate my bona fides by putting it out there over and over again. At some point, the constant confession of racial tolerance every time a person of color enters a room or logs on to a site becomes a form of gross patronization. I hate white people who feel the need to constantly advertise how open they are to minorities every single time they are in the presence of someone with darker skin. How gauche can you be? Don't make an issue of their skin color, just treat them like a human being! Would you make the same strained effort to address color if another white person entered the room? Probably not. And that's the crux of the issue, isn't it?
I don't care to put forth my testimonials from gay friends who can vouch for how tolerant I am. I don't have to constantly talk about how many gay or transgender people I've known or been friends with, or what I did in undergraduate as an SGA senator to help advocacy groups get funding. I'm secure in who I am, and I know that anyone who spends any amount of time with me will realize that I treat everyone the same way: with caustic humor and acidic pessimism. However, if you call me at 11 at night and need me to come pick you up off of the side of the road, I will.
And then there are the methods of addressing race and sex-based injustices, which was a fundamental bifurcation between Shane and libertarians. Shane couldn't understand why libertarians were so focused on economics as an explanation and a solution:
"Many right libertarians spend a great deal of time reading Austrian theories and delving into economic discussions only to get the same redundant sound bytes from Rachel Maddow fans in response. The frustration is there that people have not taken the time to learn about an issue or to truly comprehend what it is you are saying or where you claim the problems lie. They just come back with phrases that they hear recited daily in the news. The issue of race is often met with the same wall. Countless intellectuals have studied these issues and some libertarians almost steal the right wing responses to these issues they have not taken the time to research or learn about. Many libertarians can often become the sound bite replay they so often are frustrated with."
And then there was this bit, which really chapped my ass:
"We must not fool ourselves into thinking that they are issues we are immune to. I asked why certain people groups are less dominant in the libertarian and anarchist circles. This was often met with defense of what is. The libertarians seem to take an extremely right wing stance on the subject. They regurgitate the Rush Limbaugh take on racism. They wonder why people call them racist. If we are unwilling to discuss the issues how are we any different from the right wing who also refuses to discuss the issues?"
I'll put it in clear terms: motherfucker, I am not Rush Limbaugh. I don't know any libertarians who cite to his authority or viewpoints, and I know a lot of libertarians. In regards to the final query, all I can say is this: the right wing discusses the issue of race all the time, but they do so in a way that fundamentally conflicts with Shane's outlook. Shane isn't interested in an actual debate, he's interested in a conversation that he sets the parameters for in order to try and direct the outcome towards his desired end. Failing to meet Shane on his terms in a discussion is the same as refusing to discuss the issue at all. I'll put it in clear terms: no, it fucking isn't. It just means that I'm not going to be drawn into a debate over an issue in the context that you have framed it. I'll discuss a topic however I see fit, and if you don't like it, kiss my ass. The fact that I go off of your carefully crafted little script or map does not make me or my viewpoints wrong, it just means that I broke your carefully plotted course. That happens in life, especially when you have an honest discussion with someone who disagrees with you.
As for why libertarians focus on economics, I can sum that up rather quickly: we believe that capital ownership is the basis of individual power. Economics is the means by which we ensure that individuals can, through their own effort and genius, achieve individual power on their merits. It's key to the idea of libertarian emancipation.
I can also sum up why Shane Thayer has a problem with this approach quickly and succinctly: at his core, Shane opposes individual ownership of anything. He believes in collective ownership, whereby no one owns anything, they just use it according to their need. The reason for this is simple: Shane is an egalitarian, not just in his view that men should be equal before the law, but in his view that no man should ever be able to have more power than others.
Shane believes in equality of outcomes. A man shouldn't be able to achieve inequality or superiority even if his superior position is a result of his own labor and intelligence. No, we should all be consigned to the same uniform, homogenous existence, because inequality of any kind is obviously rooted in injustice and not merit. Even if it is merit, so what? It will lead to the perpetuation of injustice, and therefore it must be banned!
Collectivism isn't that bad at all! We must look to what unites us even as we stand on mutually exclusive ideals like individualism and collectivism. Shane appeals to Taoism, and other fashionable ideas to make himself appear well-read, even though those Eastern philosophies are riddled with ridiculous gibberish. I had a roommate in college who informed me that he self-identified as an Episcopalian Taoist because he agreed with certain tenets and aphorism like "Unlearn learning." I paused for a moment, lost in the haze of marijuana smoke, and replied that unlearning learning was itself a learning process, and therefore inherently nonsensical as a concept. He converted back to Episcopalian agnostic within five seconds.
We've all met the people who appropriate bits and pieces of such claptrap, from their Feng Shui bookmarks to their Te of Piglet books. They think that they're profound instead of convoluted. For a while, I lightly ribbed Shane about his overwrought view of the world. On Independence Day of last year, he informed me he wouldn't be going to eat meat at a Murder Fest. You see, Shane is an ex-Marine who really regrets his time in the Marines. Eat the apple, fuck the Corp, I'm told it goes. I razzed him a bit about taking it too seriously, and he later confessed that he attended a Murder Fest, but he redeemed his moral compromise by taking veggie burgers.
After a year of dealing with Shane's white penis heterosexual guilt complex, and hearing him misrepresent a libertarian movement he fundamentally misunderstood while slamming conservatism as an instrument of oppression, I'd had about enough. Initially, I made a few comments in provocateur mode. I asked a simple question: "What is so bad about patriarchy, anyway?"
The answer was as thunderously idiotic as any I'd seen on the comment boards over at Gonzo Times: "Because it's immoral." That was it. There was no evidentiary basis for the statement, no attempt to construct a logical basis, just "it's immoral," and obviously so because the author of the response said it was. It was then that I decided to do something more. I wrote a post entitled "Why I am an Anarcho-Misogynist," and I posted it and promoted it liberally under anarchist, libertarian, progressive, and Tea Party hashtags on Twitter. It exploded to become the number one post in terms of hits on Gonzo Times for four days running. Over 100 people clicked the Facebook like button on the post.
The feminists came out swinging after an initial period of wariness, telling me that they hoped that I would be able literally suck my own dick the way I had figuratively done on the post. Still others told me I should go to another site and post, and others lobbied for me to be removed from the site entirely. Despite the fact that the closing paragraph of the post explicitly said that I was not an misogynist, and that I didn't hate women, none of the Philistine commenters seemed to have read that far into the post:
"I do not hate women, of course, but to speak against feminism is often characterized as misogyny in and of itself, much like any query against the policies of Israel is reflexively labeled as Anti-Semitism. Such knee-jerk reactions are rooted in a surrender of intelligence and logic on the part of those who resort to such nonsense, but such is the way of our world. If opposing feminism makes me a misogynist, and seeking to tear down the state as a construct makes me an anarchist, then I am, proudly and forevermore, an anarcho-misogynistic capitalist."
The net result was the people actually began commenting and reading the site on a much higher volume, and my posts were over 30% of the traffic, which exceeded the hit totals of any reply post authored by those who supported feminism. There were others who threatened to cancel their email subscriptions to the site because it had committed the cardinal sin of allowing a viewpoint like mine to be posted. Shane Thayer became increasingly nervous in his emails and tweets to me, but the reality of the matter was this: on every single comment that denigrated me personally, assigning racism or wishing upon me powers of auto-fellation, Shane clicked the like button. I never cursed a single individual out, or referred to them with profanity. I never endorsed anatomically impossible sex acts as a method of combatting their rhetoric.
It was fine to curse, insult, and misrepresent the positions of the non-feminist, but if the non-feminist replied, well...that was another matter entirely. Shane asked that we keep the continuation of the debate confined to the comment section, and I was fine with that until he allowed others to post articles of rebuttal. It was a blatant double standard that would become more pronounced as time wore on during the debate. And to be honest, I laughed my ass off for the most part. No one laid a glove on me. Most of the individuals who replied with either comments or articles either revealed their inability argue without descending into ad hominem, or they just failed to make any real sense.
If showing feminists in a bad light was my goal, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams at that goal. Feminists, if the posts at Gonzo Times are to be taken as any indicator, are inarticulate sloganeers who can't construct an argument based on logic or evidence to defend their positions. Other than pat phrases and invective, they don't have much. If cut and paste weren't options, most of them wouldn't have anything in the way of an argument at all.
I'm no longer allowed to post at Gonzo Times, because I'm apparently a troll. Despite the fact that my posts generally only ridiculed the idiocy or vulgarity of the commenters, who dogpiled on with a gusto, I was the one who got the boot. I don't fit the purpose of Gonzo Times, which is to serve as an echo chamber for anarcho-leftism and its various pat phrases and battle cries: smash patriarchy! White male privilege! Ra ra ra, sis boom bah!
All I have to say is this: Shane, you've got a helluva constituency. They hate free speech, can't debate worth a damn, and have little if any capacity for comprehending what they read. But that's all right: some of them are women and gay, and therefore their opinions are automatically of equal merit to those of mine, no matter how badly written or substantively silly their content happens to be. But I suppose they fit their purpose: mutual affirmation on a pseudo-intellectual level. You aren't conceited at all; you're totally convinced. It was a good ride while it lasted, but I'll ply my writing over here from now on and promote this site exclusively.
To my regular readers, I hope you enjoyed the overview and found it somewhat informative both as to the subjects it touched on and as an explanation of the events occurring over the past four days at Gonzo Times. I'll see you next week, as I have a fifty page paper to finish. Well, I might see you Thursday night. I think we all know I write voluminously and quickly. Good night.