The J4MB organization, which seeks justice for men and boys, declares itself “anti-feminist”. I think this is fine. After all, to be anti-feminist means simply to oppose or reject feminism – just that and nothing more. And I, for one, can see nothing pernicious about opposing or rejecting feminism. I believe it is my perfect right to do so, and I challenge anybody to make the case otherwise.
In fact, feminists are the only people who say “anti-feminist” like it is a bad thing. Nobody else does.
That is worth repeating, and sharing with the widest possible public: Feminists are the only people who say “anti-feminist” like it is a bad thing.
They say this and we don’t, and there are clearly more of us than there are of them. That is spicy food for thought.
Very well. The anti-feminist J4MB organization recently held a speaking event on the Cambridge University campus, and a lot of campus feminists were very unhappy about that. This hardly surprises me. If I were a feminist, I am sure I would feel the same way. But I am not a feminist. I am a critical non-feminist, with zero investment in feminism, and so far as I’m concerned J4MB is welcome to make anti-feminist speeches at Cambridge. What’s it to me?
The event was held on Friday, 24 May, 2019, but nearly a month of flakey drama played out prior to this. In the end, a crazed young feminist college student drenched J4MB leader Mike Buchanan with a milkshake, but right now we are interested in the days leading up to this.
Mike Buchanan has a clever saying: “How can you tell when feminists are lying? Their lips are moving!” Plenty of feminists were moving their lips (or pounding their keyboards) in order to keep J4MB away from Cambridge University – after all, they weren’t about to let opposing thought patterns invade their turf! So, were any of these feminists lying about anything? It’s an interesting question. They were certainly making defamatory claims about J4MB, and I think somebody should shine a harsh lamp of suspicion upon this. In fact, I will do it myself – and let me be clear: my purpose is to establish feminism’s character in the public mind.
The feminists made the opening move in the one-sided battle of Cambridge. This took the form of a co-called “open letter” with 240 signatures, asking the University to either cancel or relocate the J4MB event. The letter was addressed to Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope. It was arranged by Ph.D. students, and reached a handful of faculty in early April of 2019. As of this writing, the letter has not been released to the public. That’s not a good look!
However, portions of this secret open letter were cited in an April 25 article in the student newpaper, Varsity. These passages alleged that members of J4MB had “harrassed” various ”female academics” at the University. Yet there is nothing on record explaining what the supposed harrassment consisted of, or offering any evidence that it ever really happened.
What are we to make of this? For starters, “harrassment” is a spongy concept, prone to creative interpretation. Furthermore, a lot of people nowadays will useaccusation of harrassment as a form of harassment in itself – that is, they will harrass you by claiming that YOU harassed THEM! This too is highly creative, and it belongs to the realm of operations called “projection” or “reversal”.
At any rate, we want to know what really happened, or didn’t happen. The April 25 article (by Chloe Bayliss) opens with a statement that J4MB is anti-feminist and “controversial”. We have made it clear that anti-feminism should be deemed uncontroversial, but we ought to say something about the word “controversial” itself.
To call something controversial means only that there is a strong clash of opinion surrounding it. Despite this, the word has a covert meaning in practice, as when journalists, pundits and similar people label some objects “controversial”, but not others. Their purpose is to blandly stigmatize the labelled person or thing. Hence, we almost never hear feminism described as controversial – although it certainly excites heated clashes between “pro” and “anti”. Yes, feminism does in fact arouse controversy, yet it seems that only anti-feminism gets branded as “controversial”. Go figure.
The Cambridge feminists make additional claims about J4MB, along with their allegations that somebody got “harassed”.
For example, the Open Letter states that J4MB has suggested that certain academics “corrupt academia”. This has an insinuative undertone – as if J4MB were doing something shady. But the way I see it, if certain academics are corrupting academia, that is pretty serious stuff and the world ought to know about it. Accordingly, J4MB is free to suggest that academic corruption is happening, and if this eventually proves accurate, J4MB will have performed a laudable public service. Corruption ought to be uncovered, yes? So if the Open Letter people raise any objections to this, it must be that they would rather assist in a cover-up.
Another example: “The organization has consistently targeted female scholars at Cambridge in articles written by Buchanan on their website.” Here, the kicker lies in the phrase “targeted female scholars”. It sounds vaguely sinister to say that you have “targeted” somebody, however, we need to know what is actually going on, and the feminists are vague about that too. So we are free to infer that Mike Buchanan merely talks about certain people, perhaps in a critical way, but that nothing nefarious has taken place. Furthermore, if the “scholars” in question can’t handle criticism, they need to get out of the scholarship business.
Another example: “Buchanan believes that “men and boys . . . have clearly been the victims of an ideological ‘gender war’ fought against them over many years.” Very well. That is Mr. Buchanan’s considered opinion, and he is entitled to it. I happen to agree with him, but that is beside the point. The point is that all things are hypothetically possible, so we must be willing to entertain possibilities. No scholar or intellectual person can gainsay this. A gender war against men and boys sounds like a truly dangerous, immoral thing, and if such a war is happening we had better put an end to it. But before we can do that,we must talk about it quite a bit in order to get a fix on it. Mike Buchanan is doing this very thing, so good on him.
Another example: “This event exposes these individuals and others to the risk of further intimidation and physical harm.” This is only an unsupported opinion, which compels no belief and commands no moral force. It is arguably libellous, and furthermore, the only indivduals to have been intimidated or physically harmed, so far, have been J4MB members and attendees at the event. (J4MB is pursuing legal action.)
Another example: “There is a credible threat that members of the University will be subjected to further harrassment.” That statement is a flimsy bag with nothing inside to make it stand up. But substantiated or not, the inherent gravity of the claim makes it a very bad thing for triflers to be trifling with. I’m not fooling: they need to put their money where their mouth is. The credibility of this “credible threat” has got to be established on credible grounds.
Enough examples for the moment. I will deposit these claims in the same storage bin with UFO sightings, which similarly lack support in most cases. I am not being unnecessarily harsh here. I am being necessarily harsh. Medicine can be that way, sometimes. These words are medicine, intended to remedy a sickness in the body-politic.
The Varsity story, on the face of it, looks implausible. If I were J4MB, I would see nothing to gain by harrassing, threatening or intimidating people. It makes no sense on any level. It’s a lousy marketing plan that could profit me nothing.
Oh certainly, Cambridge feminists are free to make any claim their hearts desire. They can claim they saw a UFO, or they can claim that the J4MB organization “harrassed” them. Whatever.
But seriously: did Mike Buchanan or Elizabeth Hobson ever pound on faculty desks, brandish firearms, use intimidating body language, scream at academic feminists along the high street, or send them threatening e-mails? Sure, all of those things are hypothetically possible. Anything is hypothetically possible. So now, if they are able, let the Cambridge feminists spin their hypothetical straw into real gold before the eyes of a wondering world. Chop-chop!
A slightly more balanced account of the anti-J4MB debacle appeared in The Guardian, which made some pretense to journalistic professionalism. The Guardian at least lets Mike Buchanan get his voice in, a little bit, and that is something. Apart from this, the article cites many of the same quotations that appeared in the first Varsity article.
Other pertaining articles appeared prior to the J4MB event. These are much of a muchness, and I won’t bother discussing all of them. My over-arching purpose is to extract over-arching themes, so I will focus on what expedites that purpose.
On Sunday, May 2, self-confessed feminist Connie Pellet published a Varsity article where she strenuously objected to the J4MB event. Pellet misspells Elizabeth Hobson’s name as “Hobbs”. She seems to have been quite agitated, hence likely prone to carelessness. She also uses the word “meninist” at one point. Personally, I love unintentional humor, so I want to share this laugh with the public.
Connie’s article was hysterical gishgallop peppered with left-wing academic jargon. Apart from this, the article commits the same faults we noted from the earlier media releases, namely, defamatory statements unsupported by evidence. It also contains a good bit of dodgy, slippery argument.
In the opening paragraph, Connie intones with gravitas that “none of us are free to speak, think, and learn if we fear for our safety.” This tells us nothing we didn’t already know – she could have just said “fear disrupts normal
functioning”. It is a trite, uncontroversial generalization which applies to everybody everywhere at all times, not just people at safe, posh Cambridge. I should add that fear ought to be rationally based, and if it isn’t, the subject ought to seek counseling.
Connie Pellet’s generalization also applies to J4MB, their audience, and non- feminist people who make their political existence known. This was demonstrated first when Mike Buchanan got milkshaked, and later (in a more serious way) when a mob of Connie Pellet’s peers tried to block the public from entering the building where the event was happening. It looks like the only ones who should have feared for their safety were Mike, Elizabeth, and their audience. I am not exaggerating: a random member of the J4MB audience was accosted and violently beaten after the event. Connie Pellet is right: none of us are free to speak, think, and learn if we fear for our safety.
The foregoing makes a useful lens through which to view Connie Pellet’s Varsity article, which was an exercise in “blaming the victim”. (I dislike using that tainted phrase.) And as the record of history makes clear, feminism itself is a predominant aggressor who persistently pretends to be the victim. There is a piquant name for this: cry-bullying. Feminists and their political cohorts are cry- bullies par excellence.
Remember what I said earlier, about using accusations of harassment to harass people? Connie Pellet certainly makes these accusations (and insinuations) in her Varsity opinion piece.
Claims made without evidence may be dismissed without evidence. I could easily sweep most of Connie’s claims into the bin, because they are made without evidence. That alone would complete my task, and I could call it a day, But I want to drill further into this, because I want to give other non-feminist people some new ideas about how to grapple with feminist propaganda in the public square.
Connie tried to sign the Open Letter, by enquiring at the Varsity Facebook page. According to her, this spurred “a flood of harassment from the group’s followers”, which included “misogynist absurdities”.
I don’t doubt that Connie was unhappy to find outspoken non-feminists at the Varsity Facebook page. But I looked at the page myself, and I found that most of the non-feminist commentary was rather tame – so Connie must think that “harrassment” means disagreeing with somebody, or being snarky. I think that Connie ought to grow a thicker skin.
As for the “misogynist absurdities”, I found nothing that was either woman-hating or inordinately illogical. Mind you, Connie is welcome to voice her opinion about anything on Earth, but I am welcome to voice mine also. That is how equality works. Being feminist doesn’t put you in a protected class of people. Neither does it make every word out of your mouth pure gold. So if your words are less than gold, people will helpfully point this out.
According to Connie, none of the exchange was “faceless internet debate”. She clumsily describes it as “prioritization of a men’s rights group that questions women’s right to abortion, the legitimacy of their accounts of sexual abuse, and the value of feminism, over the right of women’s safe existence.’
Prioritization? I’m not sure what Connie Pellet is driving at. Don’t we all prioritize? Is she possibly wanting non-feminist people to embrace feminist priorities, or worse, swallow feminist claims without evidence? Well that is simply asking too much. Also, it is rich as hell to suggest that non-feminist men and women don’t care about “women’s safe existence”. Word to the wise: when feminists say such things, they license other people to say equally creative things right back at them.
As for the rest, Connie misleads us. In the first place, J4MB does not actually “question” the right to abortion. They merely propose a time limit for when an abortion should be performed. As a feminist you might not like what they propose, but you must remember that plenty of non-feminist men and women feel differently. These people too, have a right to speak their minds.
Connie also claims that J4MB questions “the legitimacy of women’s accounts of sexual abuse.” All right, what of it? They may question anything they please. When somebody proffers an account of anything at all, we are free to wonder if that indivdual is telling the truth. We are also free to make an assessment based on evidence. Every case is different, (hence, legitimacy varies) but we have no moral duty to take anything on faith. I suspect that some of the commenters were merely pointing this out.
By the way, I can’t help noticing that Connie won’t touch the third-rail issue of false accusation. Do such accounts have “legitimacy”, or do they not? Should we “prioritize” this issue, or should we not? Whose “safe existence” is in jeopardy here? Connie ought to state her position clearly.
Concerning “the value of feminism”: a lot of people frankly do question this, and for good reason. I am doing so right now, because I am a critical non-feminist. I believe that feminism, like any human enterprise, must be held accountable and must answer for itself. I realize that Connie Pellet and her peers might not enjoy this – after all, it’s their books which are being audited! All right, I challenge them to stand up and declare that feminism is above accountability and need not answer for itself. I wonder if they would have the audacity to try that.
Connie continues: “Theirs is a particular brand of misogyny only thinly concealed by the guise of a fight for free speech, and soon to be endorsed by the reputation of the University of Cambridge. . “ As of right now, J4MB has secured said endorsement, since their event proceeded according to schedule. Fait accompli! But Connie has got to elucidate that “particular brand of misogyny” with tight argumentation and solid evidence. She has done nothing of the sort, and that is why this quotation too may be dismissed out of hand. However, I still want Connie Pellet to tell Elizabeth and Mike, straight to their faces, that they are woman-haters. I’ll bet Connie hasn’t got enough guts to try that.
And further: although the university “prides itself on its academic rigor. . . .the ideas J4MB presents simply do not comport with those high standards”: To suggest that J4MB doesn’t comport with Cambridge rigor, lacks rigor. In other words, the thesis remains undemonstrated. What’s wanted is testing in the marketplace of ideas, and universities are dead center in that marketplace. Cambridge students, being the best and brightest, have got all the rigor they need to know rigor when they see it, so if they want Connie Pellet’s advice they will ask for it.
“Free speech is important to our societal values. . . but it seems it is a convenient mutation of this concept which fosters the hate speech of groups like J4MB. . . . .” Connie Pellet never once explains what “hate speech” even means. So I think we are free to disregard everything Connie says here, because it is vacuous rubbish.
“I inadvertently unearthed a seething mass of misogyny”. . . . No, she advertently unearthed it, when she chose to call it “misogyny” in the first place. Let me stress that it was her choice to use that controversial word. Yet I will testify that virtually no woman-hating (seething or otherwise) was present on the Facebook page. It was present only in Connie’s mind. Feminists love to throw the word misogyny around for no good reason, and when they do, we may rightfully send them packing for no better reason.
“The group’s followers responded to a kind of call to arms by Men’s Rights Justice UK, and met my original comment with abuse and theories of the responsibility of women for the historical atrocities of civilization.” This “call to arms” included a very clear instruction to be polite. That’s a peculiar way of calling people to arms, don’t you think? See below:
As for the abuse, you can discover it only through an act of creative redefinition. So in Connie’s mind, “abuse” apparently means strong disagreement or intellectually challenging statements.
Finally, we get to those theories of women’s historical responsibility. Look, let’s not be silly! Women are half the human race and they have played a super-sized role in history. It is radically implausible that women would bear no responsibility for the atrocities of history, for as any honest observer of life will tell you, men and women are equally toxic. So would Connie have us believe that women of all times and places were as pure as the driven snow? Well that’s a typical feminist for you!
“The group is being “publicly platformed by our own university:” This is true. The University administration gave it a green light, so clearly, J4MB has been publicly platormed – or if you will, legitimized. Feminists make this sound like a scandal, but I am in accord with the University on this point, and I look forward to J4MB’s eventual appearance at Oxford and other prestigious venues. Meanwhile, I invite stone-cold sore losers to pound sand in a distant galaxy.
“In their comments, the group attacked the validity of my education”: It is no crime, and no moral infraction, to “attack” the validity of a person’s education – especially not if that education looks questionable. If you are a sophistical, untruthful person who reasons emotionally, people are fully entitled to question the validity of your education or whether that education was wasted on you. They might even speculate audibly in this vein. If that troubles you, try presenting yourself in a better light so that people will percieve you in a better light.
“I began to wonder who around me also shared these beliefs about women.“ Here is Connie being deceitful again. She flatly misrepresents what was being said, since no “beliefs about women” were ever expressed or implied in most of the comments. Beliefs about feminism were surely expressed, as were, perhaps, beliefs about Connie. But beliefs about women were simply not to be found. Feminism is not “women”. Connie is not “women”. For a Cambridge student, this ought to be a no-brainer.
I think I have said enough about Connie Pellet and her various cohorts who commented on the J4MB event. I have recently heard that some of the demonstrating troublemakers are using a suspiciously brief video clip (all of two seconds long!) to drum up some manner of case against J4MB. We will see how their efforts go, and if it seems worthwhile I will write about it.
Meanwhile, know this: it is dead easy to make things up. Humans do this all the time, and feminists are undoubtedly human. They have a long track record of fibbing, fabricating, and telling stretchers, and there is nothing cute about that. Yes, they might rationalize their behavior as “expressing a larger truth”, however, the cold fact remains that they are making things up. We non- feminists, in our quaint, old-fashioned way, prefer to call it “lying” — and we find it odd that anybody should build a larger truth on a foundation of lesser untruth.
All feminist claims (or dogmas) may be doubted. Such doubt, being publicly and continually iterated, will undermine feminism’s power to assert feminist claims in the first place. In this way, feminism’s moral authority will begin to crumble. On principle, any feminist claim at all is open to question. That includes theoretical claims which undergird the feminist worldview, interpretive claims about behavior and motivation, and testimonial claims about “what really happened” in a given situation. And on a facetious note, if a feminist says “the sky is blue”, you are free to have a go at that also.
We need to be suspicious of feminism on principle, and turn that suspicion into a developed instinct. Every time a feminist speaks or writes, we ought to study that individual through narrowed eyes and ask “how might this person be decieving us? What is the real story behind the story they are telling us?” We should be aware that deception is an ongoing feminist method, absolutely central to everything feminism does, and that without a continual injection of untruth into the public conversation, the entire feminist project would roll to a stop.
As I stated early on, my purpose is to establish feminism’s character in the public mind. Hopefully I have made strides in that direction.
Here we have looked at things which are a microcosm for all feminist operations. Similar patterns will occur on different scales and in various theatres of action. Some of us have studied these things for years, and we are happy to point them out so that others too, will learn to recognize them when they pop up.
This critical attitude may be impressed upon the non-feminist public until people everywhere, including journalists and celebrities, decide to join the action. That is what it means to establish feminism’s character in the public mind. It means to establish feminism’s mendacious character, such that nobody doubts it and everybody makes it a staple of daily conversation. Massively.
In order to turn the table on feminism, we must take the initiative in a hands-on way (and I am aware of no other way). Feminism will not long remain impervious if a multitude of voices are publicly calling it out and cross-examining it. It should never occur to anybody to NOT be suspicious of feminist words and actions, for this will put all feminists on the defensive by throwing a cloud of suspicion over the entire feminist project.
We who oppose feminism should address every feminist scenario in the spirit which I have demonstrated here. Our lesson for the future is, that feminism owes the world an explanation and not the reverse. Never play defense, and never forget that we are non-feminist people, that we are the majority, that we are not going away, and that only feminists say “anti-feminism” like it is a bad thing.