Yes, That Is My Position In A Nutshell

March 26, 2011 - 1:49 pm
Irradiated by LabRat
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Minus a lot of extra words and tangents to specifically address certain points and arguments, and from a point of view that is not mine, that is. Perlhaqr, from the comments to the last on the onrunning exchange between Peter and I:

There is (as with most things) more than one thread involved in “masculinity”. Re-reading the first post here (the response to Peter and North), I grasp (I think) the objection feminists have to a patriarchy that considers them chattel. I would object to a matriarchy that treated me as chattel too. I think I can see “elimination of the patriarchy” as a laudable eventual goal. (But I’m a radical individualist anarchist, so, I would tend to think so. *shrug*) There is likely some question to be worked out about whether that’s something we can do now, since there will be some positive things a patriarchy might do better than a truly individualist society (war, probably), and in the world we live in we may need to continue to be able to do those things efficiently.

It’s a lot like the observation I had when reading Peter’s posts about Africa, that much like some Native tribal societies here in America, where a subsistence level existence required the full cooperation of the tribe. One person being an individualist might not lead to just the death of that person, but the death of the entire tribe. Of course this leads to taboos about individualist behaviour. Thus, in a world in which we need to wage violent war, patriarchal attitudes and structures may be of survival benefit in the short term.

I think the problem that North was trying to touch on was that the feminists who have sought to reform masculinity didn’t really understand what they were looking at, and threw the baby out with the bathwater. That there was (perhaps) a feeling of “Men smoke cigars and eat steak and swear and smell funny after they’ve been under the car for a couple hours and batter wives and rape and generally keep women in a subservient position, so if we get them to stop smoking cigars, eating steak, etc, we’ll get rid of the other things we dislike too.”

And what’s really needed is a renaissance of the medieval Knightly Virtues, only, with a uniquely 21st century bent of applying them to everyone and not indulging in the peasant girl rape and peasant slaughter that generally gets left out of the storybooks. Yes, from the historical lens we can see that those guys were generally a bunch of fucking bastards, but there are good parts of their philosophy which can be cherrypicked, basically. Defence of the innocent and the weak. Personal honor dependent on being honest, and brave, and true, and loyal. Scholarship. Stoicism. And of course, being the 21st century, we can recognize that there’s no reason not to instill some humans with these traits, simply because they have ovaries and breasts.

So, while I concur with the premise that there’s nothing inherently related to testes that calls for steak and cigars and whiskey, there’s nothing really wrong with those things either, and leaving them while excising the “ownership of women” mindset is a more valuable goal.

No Responses to “Yes, That Is My Position In A Nutshell”

  1. alan Says:

    WHAT? No peasant girl rape? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…..

    I’ll put on my internerd twit hat and point out that the “medieval Knightly Virtues” were how best to kill someone and not much else.

    All that other stuff is romanticized nonsense.

  2. Just Saying Says:

    That is some seriously incoherent bullshit. The patriarchy is good at war, so let’s keep it. But it is about protecting the weak, as opposed to creating seriously damaged humans who are good at damaging each other. Oh also, in addition to destruction of civilization and education through warfare, the patriarchy is great at Scholarship?

    This is so confused it cannot possibly be your position even if you are a Yoga Master.

  3. karrde Says:

    I’ll have to agree with Perlhaqr on this one, too.

    Alan: are you talking Early Medieval, Charlemagne rampaging in one corner of Europe and Attila rampaging in another? Or High Medieval, with the new-fangled Universities, lots of new mechanical inventions, and the precursors of modern European nations taking shape? Or Late Medieval, post-Plague, during the Great Schism, and the beginning of the Little Ice Age?

    The sources I’m familiar with claim that the Code of Chivalry saw a slow development and progression during the rise of the nobleman-as-armored-cavalry in Europe, during the High Middle Ages. However, during the transition from cavalry to infantry-centered armies, the nobility kept the idea of Chivalry and let the military-focused part slip.

    Kind of like virtue-as-manliness, it may have been better in theory than in practice.

  4. LabRat Says:

    Don’t put words in my mouth or Perl’s, JS. It’s an observation on a benefit it may have provided tribal societies, and probably helped self-perpetuate itself- and in fact there’s a pretty long and fucking sad history of efficiently warlike patriarchal societies steamrolling more egalitarian and pacifistic ones. Add to that “there’s a long cultural history there, which did not come into existence by pure accident and is inextricably tangled up with a bunch of ideas that really are a net benefit”. That’s not the same as “herpaderp the patriarchy did some good so let’s keep it”, and if you were reading remotely honestly you’d know that’s neither my argument nor his.

    I will have no more hesitation to ask you to leave than I did Orphan if you keep it up.

  5. William the Coroner Says:

    LabRat–I’m glad you and Peter had this conversation, and it’s lead me to cook up a blog post of my own, with the underlying theme that it is morally wrong to treat people as a means to an end.

  6. bluntobject Says:

    I recently came across the idea of communism’s obsession with output targets (“we must produce X million tons of steel per year”) as cargo-cult social engineering: strong economic-industrial powerhouse countries like, say, the US produce a shit-ton of steel, so if the PRC can produce a shit-ton of steel it’ll be a strong economic-industrial powerhouse too. Insty seems to have discovered the idea independently — referring to “middle-class virtues” like home ownership and postsecondary education (“if only we can make it so that everyone owns a home, we can make everyone as productive and responsible as the people who tend to own homes now” — note that this starts to fail circa 2005).

    It seems to me that the same criticism can be applied to the caricatures (<- note that word) on both sides of this particular story — either "the sorts of men we fear-and-despise eat steak, drink whiskey, smoke cigars, and wrench on cars… so if we make all men tea-totaling non-smoking vegetarian cyclists we can eradicate rape", or "Audie Murphy and the Lone Ranger and John McClane drank, smoked, and ate meat, so if we make it socially acceptable for men to drink, smoke, and eat meat again we can build a society where everyone with dangly bits is a paragon of virtue".

    I realize that this argument comes with a straw-man fallacy built into its very core, which is why I'm not trying to apply it to actual people. Still, I think there's a fair bit of cargo-culting going on.

  7. Stingray Says:

    I’d just like to finally say something on all this. The comment threads over the past couple posts, those right there are shining golden examples of why as soon as I hear the word “patriarchy,” my brain just disengages and plays soothing music. I mean seriously, how fuckin’ long does a guy have to wait to get a sandwich around here?

  8. perlhaqr Says:

    Just Saying: I will agree that it’s moderately incoherent; it was a comment on a post, not really intended to be a full post in and of itself. If I’d been going for that, I’d have polished it a bit more.

    But yes, in the world in which we actually live, cultural patriarchy may have some value in keeping us alive long enough to evolve a less patriarchal culture. I would take a militaristic 1940’s America with a “doesn’t treat women like meat” modification, and a “doesn’t engage in ethnic discrimination bullshit” modification, over a bunch of Berkeley and Portland SNAGs trying to defend us from the next group of Nazis.

    And it wasn’t “the patriarchy” which I was saying should be about “protecting the weak”, it was masculinity. Though, culturally, there’s no reason to not have that be a hallmark of femininity as well.

    But hey, you appear to be arguing the side that North was railing against in his original post with “everything about the patriarchy is bad”, and thus, indulging the baby and bathwater ejection plan. Have fun with that. If I just want to get yelled at instead of discussed with, I can do that in my own LJ.

  9. perlhaqr Says:

    bluntobject: Sure, I can see how it might look like cargo culting, but I was more trying to point that out on the side of (some of) the feminists than indulge in it myself. I don’t think smoking cigars and drinking whiskey will make good men, I’m just trying to say that those are things which good men may happen to engage in, even if they look like horrible 1930’s throwbacks doing it.

  10. seeker_two Says:

    I’ve always found Ephesians 5:25 a good guide on how husbands should love their wives…would any of the misogynists be willing to sacrifice their lives for their wives?….

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+5:25&version=NIV

  11. Mousie762 Says:

    Well done, Perlhaqr!

  12. bluntobject Says:

    perlhaqr: You’re not the one I see cargo-culting; sorry if I was unclear. I read your argument as, in part: “there’s nothing wrong with cigars and whiskey; quit acting like they enable rape” — and I doubt you’ll be surprised that I agree with you. What I was complaining about was the attitude that “if we encourage men to smoke cigars and drink whiskey Like They Did In The Good Old Days, men will return to being gallant and chivalrous and &c. just like my rose-tinted memories”.

    Stingray: Are you sure you’re on the sudoers list?

  13. perlhaqr Says:

    bluntobject: Ah, gotcha. Having already had one mildly accurate accusation of incoherence, I suppose i was prepared to receive criticism of not being clear. :)

    Alan: Even if it is romanticized nonsense, it’s still got some good stuff in it.

  14. Tatyana Says:

    perlhaqr – what is your LJ? I’d like to “friend” you, if you don’t mind

  15. perlhaqr Says:

    So you can yell at me, too? ;)

    ‘ilcylic’ is my LJ username. You’ll be disappointed, though, I mostly don’t bother to post there, due to the aforementioned hostility from my ‘friends’.

  16. pun the librarian Says:

    The actual posts by LR, BRM and now perlhaqr have been great but I just read the comments on this and previous posts on the subject and perhaps “Civilized culture wars”-tag would be a bit too hopeful.

  17. robnrun Says:

    The medievalists among you take umbrage at the assumption that medieval = rape and pillage. Leaving aside the issue of rape during war, which is a problem from the Bronze Age to the 21st Cent., the medieval world actually isn’t all that violent. And, in considering war, has far fewer atrocities than the Early Modern period.

    Violent crime existed, but was recognized as such, and both men and women had recourse to the law. (proviso, I am considering Western Europe c1100-1450, since I know that period) Rape in this period was a capital offence in England, a sentence that could be extended to those who aided the assault. Elsewhere, punishment for rape varied, but that it was a serious crime was constant. ‘First night rights’, which is the perpetrator of much of the idea of the nobility as brutes, is a bit of nonsense cooked up in the 20th century, there is no historical evidence for it. While women were punished more severely for adultery, men could and would be punished often with excommunication. Which, contrary to popular assumption, had real social and legal implications.

    An argument could be made that medieval = rape/pillage is actually as much of a romantic creation as medieval = chivalry; with the former having far, far less historical support seeing as it is a creation of the 19th century Romantics as opposed to the medieval authors themselves…

  18. Tatyana Says:

    perlhaqr: done.
    I do feel the urge to yell, though – because of unfortunate white-on-black color scheme. my eyes! it hurts!

  19. Karen Myers Says:

    You may find the video in this link (my husband’s blog) to be apt for some related sharp sarcasm (at least, I hope so). If this is masculine, I for one don’t need it.

    http://neveryetmelted.com/2011/04/07/dear-woman/