The Refugee Crisis: Let’s Get Syrias


It is my opinion that the civil war in Syria is the most important conflict going on in the world right now. In terms of deaths per year it tops the list for present day conflicts; and in terms of displacement of individuals it’s apparently topped the list for all time conflicts.

So, as you have surmised, that is the topic of today’s blog post. I’m not going to try to cover every facet of the issue and expect most of you have a fair idea of what’s going on in the first place, because I’m trying to shorten the length of my posts to a more manageable size. I’m going to focus on establishing what I feel could be a persuasive argument as to why the US and the EU should take as many refugees as possible; in doing so, I will attempt to establish a few other points – terrorism is bullshit, borders are bullshit, nationalism is bullshit, probably lots of other things are bullshit too.

Discussion of the conflict itself 

So, even though I’m assuming y’all know the basics of what’s going on in Syria or even have advanced knowledge of the conflict, I’m going to explain at least my perspective on what’s going on.

Syria’s conflict is bad guys fighting bad guys fighting bad guys. Assad and his military are assholes, the majority of rebel groups with any power are assholes, and ISIS are assholes. The only controversial one there is the rebel groups. People try to glorify the rebels by bringing up atrocities committed by Assad, or defend them by saying that there’s many different groups and some are moderate.

Okay, yeah. There’s a ton of different groups in there.  And yeah, Assad is a dick. I’m a firm believer that when you have an oppressive tyrannical government, you are justified in fighting against it. But not by any means necessary, no way no how. With the radical Islamists in the region, when you have a country like Syria enter into a civil war it’s immediately flooded with opportunistic militants and any hope of a peaceful settlement gets lost.

The rebel groups vary from the al-Nusra Front; the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, to the Free Syrian Army – primarily Syrian military members who defected against Assad, to Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and more beyond counting, all with different goals and different sets of ideals. The US and various foreign countries have tried to reason that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups and we just have to find those and assist them. But it’s not that simple. For example, the media would often claim the Free Syrian Army is a moderate group and yet even back to the beginnings of the civil war they have committed numerous atrocities such as robbing towns they occupy of wheat reserves, forcing children to behead Syrian military men, eating the hearts of Syrian commanders, and countless other fucked up things.

Never mind the fact that for all we love to blame Assad, and yes he is unquestionably an evil asshole, rebel factions have also used chemical weapons against civilians and are responsible for a very large portion of the hundreds of thousands dead in Syria today. We even tried to create our own “moderate” rebel groups, training them and arming them – appropriating $500 million to the task of creating 5,400 rebels. Today we have only 4 or 5 members of the group left, no joke. The original group size ended up being way smaller than expected because they couldn’t find enough moderates to train in the first place – and then after that, the trainees were usually either killed or abandoned the mission, sometimes giving up large amounts of weaponry and ammunition to extremists.

Probably the group with the most legitimate claim to being moderate would be the good old Kurds. Everybody loves the Kurds. Well, at least, everybody in the West. But with the sheer amount of different conflicts, their own attempts to fight off ISIS and so forth, they are not going to be toppling Assad if that was even their goal. And flooding more weapons in has only added fuel to the fires of extremist militants in the region.

And it all kind of makes sense. Contrary to popular belief, “good guys” don’t usually run around with guns murdering people. When you have a conflict as complex, many-sided and downright bloody as the Syrian civil war, it’s simply not the kind of place that moderate groups that follow ethical codes are going to be able to survive. It’s not the place for anybody except killers to survive. So everyone is leaving! In the millions and millions, Syrians are getting the fuck out because there is no good that can come out of this war. Even if Assad was toppled, chances are whoever toppled him would end up even more dictatorial than he was. Or the spreading plague of ISIS will win primacy in the region and then everyone’s just fucked.

What could we have done?

I’m not a military expert but I know of no possible military action in Syria that could end what’s going on. And as much as we love to put blame on our leaders, it’s hard to imagine what we could have done that really would have stopped it.

I have always been outspoken and firmly anti-war and anti-US involvement in foreign countries militaristically. From the days as a kid protesting the Iraq war before I even knew what it was about. I wasn’t always informed about the issues but my gut reaction was always “US Stay out of it!” – In fact, it was one of the biggest factors that drove me to become a libertarian when I started learning about things myself. When I was younger I considered myself a radical liberal. Under Bush, I always saw liberals as being the doves, the voices for peace against the Republican warmongers. Then Obama got elected, and foreign wars continued and drone warfare continued and intervention continued, only this time liberals suddenly were into it. Like as soon as we had a democrat in the White House, foreign intervention was some kind of necessary evil, and Obama was just doing what he had to do. That was the first big thing that clued me on to the hypocrisy of modern politics and made me realize I might not belong in that group.

But today, as someone who’s been staunchly libertarian particularly in regards to foreign affairs for years, I have to say Syria is one area that has made me question my beliefs. Now I’m not saying military involvement in Syria is a good idea. Definitely not at this point. But there’s a certain level of intentional ignorance that comes with saying “foreign intervention = bad! Stay out of the middle east!” – mostly, I feel this way because that’s how I initially reacted to the Syria crisis. My whole thing was like, whenever we go into the Middle East, we fuck things up worse than they were before. And it’s true, for the most part. ISIS would probably not even exist today if not for the massive power vacuum left in Iraq after our involvement there. An obscene amount of radical Islamism today would never have even happened if the countries of the West hadn’t done such a shit job carving up regions for their own benefit after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. So on, and so forth.

But in looking at Syria as “just another war in the Middle East,” I initially failed to recognize the actual scale of the conflict and what the consequences of letting it go have been. It’s possible that swift, decisive action by the US military early on in the war, like back in 2011 or 2012 even, could have done a lot to alleviate the tensions. I know that sounds imperialistic. But honestly, earlier on in the war there was a far better chance of “moderate” groups actually being moderate. Extremism thrived under the ongoing conflict, and the inability of the rebels to make significant headway against Assad. If they had been able to succeed and end the conflict early on, maybe things could have been better. Maybe if we had struck harder negotiations with Assad we could have signaled to the rebels that the international community was on their side, and they wouldn’t have been as susceptible to co-opting by radical forces.

But on the other hand, who the fuck knows. We could just as well have installed a military dictatorship worse than Assad’s, or been as ineffectual as we are today. All I’m saying is, there’s no right answer to what’s gone on. We can’t just say stay out of it, but we can’t just go in and do whatever we think will work, because it probably won’t.

What can we do now?

Related to the conflict? Nothing. Honestly no idea what we could possibly do to end the conflict. Hopefully someone smart will come up with something and end up somewhere in power, but I doubt it. Perhaps it will come to an end with time. It’s honestly such a mess now, with so many Western forces involved, with Russia, with Iran – numerous competing foreign interests, not to mention the radical Islamist interests, all competing in one circle pit of violence. And as much as it may seem justified to perform airstrikes or drone strikes to take out terrorist targets – all of these things compound for the people living there. Whatever the intentions are, or even the results, it doesn’t change the fact that for the people living there, bombs striking their homes ruin their lives just as ISIS taking their neighborhoods does.

But what we can do and SHOULD do is to alleviate the fallout. Millions of people are fleeing the civil war in Syria, and violent conflicts across the world. Most developed nations have the ability to handle these refugees, at least a portion of them.

When I say that I mean the US, the EU, Canada, Australia, South American countries, East Asian countries, neighboring Middle Eastern countries, Eastern European countries. Everyfucking place can take refugees in.

What are the arguments against? Typically the arguments I have seen, many of which on their face have legitimacy, go as follows; 1. There’s no easy way to tell if there are ISIS members or other terrorists disguising themselves as refugees, and accepting them all leaves these countries open to the spread of terrorism; 2. Many countries are having difficulty staying afloat economically with their current circumstances, and adding in waves of new refugees would potentially put their economies in a further downward spiral; 3. Countries have borders for a reason, and are only responsible to the caretaking of their own public.

As I said, on their face there is some legitimacy to some of these arguments. First, addressing the idea of the spread of terrorism. Essentially, it makes sense to imagine that out of the millions of refugees fleeing Syria, even a tiny amount of them being terrorists means that you’re letting terrorists in. If you accept waves of refugees, you’re not really going to be able to rely much on travel documentation, and thus even the strictest policies will have trouble distinguishing between who’s a terrorist and who’s not. And so the argument goes, once you accept these waves of refugees without properly vetting them, ISIS militants will spread to the EU and to the US and spark further terrorist attacks in those countries.

There’s a few problems I have with this. First off, it’s simply not the goal of the vast majority of radical Islamist groups to spread into Western countries. ISIS’ goal is to set up their own caliphate in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria. They aren’t just randomly running around blowing things up, they are intentionally claiming territory and running their own system of governance in those territories. They have no chance whatsoever of claiming physical territory or extending the boundaries of their control in developed, Western countries that have no ongoing armed conflicts. If ISIS militants tried to set up territory in the US, just think about how fast they would get dismantled and destroyed by the US forces; SWAT, FBI, CIA, the military, Homeland Security. We’re a gigantic police state which collects massive amounts of data on every member of this country. How the fuck would any terrorist group establish a legitimate presence here?

That isn’t to say that there couldn’t be random acts of terrorism which wouldn’t still take a death toll, but it’s highly unlikely. After all, tens of thousands of the people in ISIS specifically left their home countries like the US, Canada, and various parts of the EU in order to serve the cause. That means we have terrorists leaving to go join ISIS. Any number of those thousands of people could theoretically be enacting random acts of terrorism in the US if that were their goal. It’s not. The truth is, even among groups like al-Qaeda, directly fighting Western countries has never been the goal. I highly recommend you check out this series on the rise of the politics of fear. Since the beginning of the rise of terror groups, the primary actions undertaken have been to gain fear and control over other Muslims. Even the attack of 9/11 was a freak occurrence – Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden conducted a fringe attack, with very little support from other groups, in order to pull in Western forces to expand anti-Western sentiment and empower terrorist organizations. In the fifteen years we’ve been fighting a war on terror since then, there’s been virtually nothing on US soil (Boston Marathon was a freak occurrence – being struck by lightning is a bigger concern).

So that is all to say that there is no risk of terrorism taking a widespread hold in any of these countries. The countries at most risk are those near to the region – Turkey, for example, has some reason to be fearful of the crossing of ISIS militants into it’s borders, though I still highly doubt that it would ultimately fall to such forces. This is also an important issue there because there is conflict going on with the Turkish military and Kurdish militants like the PKK, and growing tension between the Kurdish population as a whole. ISIS has also reportedly conducted a small amount of attacks there, which may very well rise. But even the little action that has been taken there is marginal when you consider they’ve taken in 1.9 million refugees.

The threat of the spread of ISIS is a legitimate threat when it comes to neighboring countries of Iraq and Syria, and those with power vacuums or armed conflicts going on. It’s not a threat to the UK. It’s not a threat to France. It’s not a threat to the US. In my opinion, the greatest danger terrorism poses here in the US is in our own reaction to it. By that I mean – if even a small terrorist attack happens on US soil, our civil liberties have a good chance of being trampled by politicians scrambling to get more information on American citizens, more control over international travel, and so forth. But even that isn’t going to do it for me. You can’t look at the families of people drowning in the ocean trying to escape a wartorn country and seriously tell them they can’t come to the ‘land of the free’ because if they do and a terrorist attack just happens to happen, the government might collect more phone records which it already does. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it. If our civil liberties are threatened, we can fight to defend them. And after all, the NSA still collects all this damn information about us. If they’re going to trample over our rights in search of terrorists, then at least there’ll be something for them to accomplish if ISIS or other terrorists do come over alongside the refugees.

And still. The sheer amount of people living in refugee camps or living nowhere at all, the sheer impact of the suffering they are having to endure, outweighs any marginal risks of terrorism or government overreach in my eyes. We can’t stabilize Syria, but we can offer a place to stay for millions of people who’s only option is to flee it.

Second – economic. At first it sounds reasonable to say hey, Greece’s economy is collapsing; how are they supposed to provide for all of these refugees? But there’s a couple things to keep in mind. First, economic downturns are not the same as collapsing. And yes, Greece might not be the best equipped to handle refugees. But the United States, Germany, the UK, France, etc are. You don’t have to have a perfect economy. Nowhere has a perfect economy. We’ve all got government debt, unemployment, inequality, blah blah.

But the foundational argument that the government is there to ‘provide’ for anybody is a misleading one. It’s not as if the government pays for people to live. Refugees and immigrants aren’t asking for handouts. They’re asking for a place to live, a place to work, a place to contribute to. This is the same line of argumentation about how immigrants “took yer jabs!” – they don’t. Syrian refugees encompass individuals from all levels of skills and education. Immigration, contrary to popular belief, is actually a pretty fucking sweet thing for the economy. They start up businesses and employ others. They work jobs that generally many privileged Americans are too bitchy to take (Mexican immigrants with the agriculture industry, for example). They contribute to taxes, and usually actually rely less on government handouts than natural born citizens. While it’s true that refugees from a wartorn country are coming in with no wealth and are going to have a harder time immediately settling in to the economy, in the long term I really do not believe that accepting immigrants or refugees from anywhere in the world would damage our economy. If you don’t believe me, there is strong economic research to support these ideas. I firmly believe that strict border enforcement and immigration control is one of the greatest myths and tragedies of modern nationalism, and it’s  fucking disgusting tragedy that there are 11 million individuals living in this country that have not yet been given citizenship. (Unrelated in a way – yes. Give them citizenship, and give citizenship to the refugees too.)

Let people the fuck in. Fuck your borders. Especially when they have nowhere else to go.

This ties into the third and final main argument I want to address about why we shouldn’t let people in. The idea that nations only have a responsibility for their own people, or that outsiders don’t matter as much. This argument isn’t usually expressly stated, but it’s certainly implied or subconsciously supported by a lot of people and politicians. The reason I say this is it’s a simple matter if you look at things. Whether a Syrian person is suffering or an American person is suffering makes no god damn difference even if you are an American. If 3,000 Americans die in a terrorist attack it does not matter more than 100,000s of thousands of Syrians dying in war. There are an estimated 60 million people displaced in the world today, a record high. Of course, many of those are displaced within their own countries and certainly not all of them are seeking refuge. But the fact remains that there are millions of refugees from various countries without anywhere to go. The European Union is squabbling over plans to let in a few thousand. The US might take in a few thousand.

What the fuck is that. If there were millions of American citizens out of their homes, we would not even be talking about plans to house 10,000 of them. Bring in hundreds of thousands! Maybe stagger it so you don’t bring in a million people all at once, okay. There are dozens and dozens of countries that could all take in hundreds of thousands of refugees and, spread out over all of them. Turkey has 1.9 million Syrian refugees! Lebanon has 1.2 million, approximately 1/5th of it’s population! Germany has stated they plan to take in 800,000. Does someone seriously want to tell me that the United States, with a population of over 300 million and a fucking gigantic swath of land, can’t take in a million Syrian refugees? That the UK can’t take in 500,000? That Japan can’t? That Brazil can’t? That we can’t provide somewhere to live for the hundreds of thousands of people risking dying at sea to get somewhere safe?

It sounds like pure idealism, and maybe it is. But it’s honestly fucking bullshit that we sit back and talk about taking in 10,000 refugees instead of 2,000 refugees over the course of a YEAR. An entire YEAR and we’re going to take in 10,000? The above article talks about how we took in hundreds of thousands of refugees during the Vietnam war each year. Did that destroy our country? Has our country not been enriched and improved by the substantial Vietnamese populations that came here? Are we so fucking paralyzed by the bullshit fear that surrounds 9/11 that we can’t for a second consider the lives of people outside of our own borders? I’m going to sound like an edgy anti-patriotic fedora-wearer here, but this country needs to get the fuck over 9/11 and the sooner we can do that the better for everyone.

The Refugee Crisis: Let’s Get Syrias

Smells Like Patriarchy

Hey there! I started this blog up, made one post, and now it’s been left fallow for weeks. I know. It’s not for lack of trying. I wrote up a post about gun control and mass shootings, but I wasn’t happy with it. So I deleted it. AS I DO WITH ALL THINGS I’M UNHAPPY WITH, SO DON’T CROSS ME.

I’ve been writing up this post on and off for a while, but the problem is each time I revisit it the subject I want to change it. Part of that is because it’s a very touchy subject. I am concerned with my capability to articulate my criticisms of feminism without alienating feminists who may be reading it or denying the lived experiences and marginalization that many women who read this may have faced. It’s the topic that I keep coming back to, though.

Let’s get this out of the way – I am not a feminist. I am also not an MRA (Men’s Rights Activist) or MGTOW or whatever other acronym, nor am I anywhere close to a traditionalist or social conservative as far as gender issue goes. At risk of sounding like a total hipster, I reject labels with regards to my views on gender. “Humanist” is a cop-out term that means nothing. “Gender egalitarian” is a bunch of new age bullshit, and Meninist is just… No. (See what I mean about alienating people?)

I decided to split this post up into two parts to make it more readable, and to provide myself some cues to differentiate discussion in each area. I want to use this first part to really just discuss some shallower topics on the issue. What I mean by that is I want to pick apart many modern arguments against feminism and make it clear which ones I think are bullshit. Then I want to present what I believe are legitimate criticisms of modern feminists. When I say shallow I mean that this discussion is not going into the deep annals of feminist theory or uprooting the foundations of feminism. If I do get around to making the other part of the post, it will be about actual criticisms of feminist doctrine rather than just the people that make up the movement. I don’t expect or hope that one who is currently a feminist to read this post and then be like “Oh, he’s right! I don’t believe in feminism anymore.” Not trying to persuade you out of it.

Rather, I hope to persuade you that in gender relations, it is not a matter of “feminist or bigot.” It is a more complex matter, and there needs to be more analysis from different perspectives. I am going to provide what I hope to be some fundamental concerns that I have with feminist doctrine and the historical narrative in my next post. You may also notice that I’m a little bi-polar when it comes to shit like this and switch around every paragraph or two. I can’t help it.

Brief pre-amble about citations: Unlike my last post, I will be making some use of statistics, studies and other forms of research at various points here. None of these citations are the final word on the matter. And when I do cite these sources, I’m specifically pulling the parts that are forming my argument – not the article in it’s entirety. I’m trying to avoid sources that come across as “”, but there’s also a matter where a lot of what I want to discuss goes against the popular narratives that are very common across social media platforms in this age. Take everything with a grain of salt, but don’t forget that that same standard should be applied to the stuff you’re used to hearing. There are a large number of flawed statistics that get tossed around and shared in the feminist movement (and in… every movement), but often no one questions them because they don’t want to discredit the movement or seem anti-feminist.

FINAL disclaimer: I fully admit that I am a privileged ass mofo. For typical reasons like being heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied, white, male, middle-upper-middle class, living in Southern California in the United States, and having no histories of abuse or assault or anything of the like. But also for the reason that I have lived with two incredibly loving and dedicated parents, have had my bills including tuition paid for all my life, and grew up entirely sheltered from what I perceive to be the absolute madness of school, through my unschooled upbringing.

I’m not saying all this as some kind of Oscar-nominee “thank you” speech, and nor am I saying it in an attempt to cowtow and remove my spine to place it on the avatar of social justice. I’m just acknowledging that there are ways in which my perspective is limited. I do, however, believe that everyone’s perspective is extremely limited, including those who have suffered the most at the hands of oppression – no one can claim to know what it’s like to be another person. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t give what I have to say an honest consideration before you decide what you think about it.

feminisim sux dog – Rebutted!

I’m not alone in the world of having issues with feminism. Vast swaths of people are quick to condemn “feminazis” and accuse American women of focusing on gender equality instead of going to >insert unspecified Middle Eastern country that supposedly women have no rights in< and doing whatever over there to make it gender equal. Still others say things like, “yeah, feminism had the right idea before, but it’s not necessary anymore.”

The truth is, my issues with feminism stem from none of these areas. Yes, I have seen numerous insane things said by radical feminists that pretty much advocate that all “PIV” (penis-in-vagina) sex is oppression, or that the only way that women can be safe from men is to selectively eliminate 90% of men from the gene pool, and so on. But the truth is that every movement has some crazies and some extremists, and while those people certainly deserve to be criticized – those parts do not represent the whole. It’s my opinion also that if gender equality is really being pursued in a constructive way, being a radical wouldn’t be a bad thing. Like being someone who is radically against violence – generally bad things don’t come from that. If pursuit of gender equality is a truly good thing, and it is pursued in a principled and holistic manner, then I don’t really see how someone could take it “too far.”

My view isn’t that “feminism is good in concept / good at the core, but some people do bad things with it” – my view is that feminist doctrine is, at it’s core, flawed, and that that’s the reason people taking it “too far” tend to get into such insane territory. Furthermore I assert that it is not only the radical outliers but the majority of feminists, the median, the social media feminists and the academics that promote a misleading worldview. I believe that when we merely criticize “feminazis” it entirely discounts the problematic or extreme things that everyday, armchair feminists believe, and essentially insulates them from criticism, using the “radicals” as scapegoats. And I think it’s important to establish what I mean by “feminism” before I continue. When I discuss feminism I am discussing the “movement” primarily – the groups of people that call themselves feminist, the large body of literature produced by feminists for feminists, and so on. I believe that “feminism” means more than just the dictionary definition of it. And I recognize that feminism means different things to different people, individual feminists may have very different interpretations and theories on gender and so on, as well as there being different forms of feminist ideology and factions. But nonetheless, I believe that there are underlying commonalities between the vast majority of self-described feminists – often based around widespread feminist narratives like patriarchy and the subjugation of women, and gender as a social construct and whatnot.

So next we have the idea that “American women shouldn’t complain because things are way worse in X country that’s not America.” This argument is usually steeped in the same generic, typically Islamophobic rhetoric that people use to try to justify intervention in the Middle East if they can’t think of anything else – that women in the Middle East or in third-world countries don’t have even basic rights that American women enjoy, so umm, yeah. It’s a stupid argument on many levels. First, the status of women varies substantially by the country and indeed by the regions and subcultures of each country in the Middle East or anywhere else. Second, these countries aren’t just hell-holes where women are denied all rights; Islam has a history of empowerment of women in education, property rights, and in the home, as well as in numerous areas, some of which were well in advance of Western countries like the US. Now I don’t claim to be an expert in this region, and I certainly don’t mean to diminish women’s experiences who do struggle with oppression in highly patriarchal households or areas, but the point is that you can’t paint everyone with the same brush. Third, it doesn’t even make sense – you don’t say to someone who’s sick “oh stop trying to get treatment for your injury, there’s someone else on the other side of the country who is bleeding from every orifice!” – like what. Women in America have every right to fight back against oppression that they experience in America, even if you may deem it to be less severe than it was in the past, or less severe than it is somewhere else.

That isn’t to say that it’s impossible to blow things out of proportion. I do believe that in general it is a worthy criticism of modern feminism that issues like the use of the word “bossy” or men spreading their legs on buses or the air conditioning being too cold that I honestly don’t believe are going to advance gender equality if they are pursued. There is undoubtedly a massive coalition of armchair feminists ready to hop on any social cause, no matter how trivial, and attempt to appropriate it into the umbrella of women’s rights. And yes I said trivial. Women do so much shit that is inconsiderate or rude and we don’t have a viral social media campaign for every (or any) action they take and label it as evidence of an over-arching sexist theory. For good reason.

Back on topic. I firmly believe that a discussion of gender issues is absolutely still necessary in the 21st century. Thinking that because now women can vote things have been basically solved is just a clear denial of reality in my opinion. Issues like body shaming, slut shaming, sexual assault, sexual harassment, the glass ceiling, endorsement of rape in popular culture, lack of female representation in politics and many forms of media, and much much more are all worth examining. Not to mention other discourse on gender, such as for non-normative gender identities and sexual orientations, which have ended up being appropriated in some ways by mainstream feminism and are also very important. Although I often will butt heads with feminists over how often these things happen or what the ramifications or solutions to them are, I do nonetheless feel that there is a good deal of truth behind a very large segment of feminist issues. But that’s how I feel about most things. People don’t just fabricate problems out of thin air, generally there is some truth that drives people’s beliefs. Commonly though, they may blow those out of proportion, disseminate exaggerated and misleading statistics, or attribute the causes of certain issues to being something that plays into their agenda when, in reality, it’s much less black-and-white. I do think it’s absolutely pertinent to have passionate activists working to resolve gaping injustices caused by gender inequality and to help understand who we are and where we fit in and what we can do to fix things. In fact, I think it’s so important that I think there needs to be more of it, and it needs to be less centrally controlled. It’s very hard to have any discussion on gender issues outside of the framework of mainstream feminists today (I do it all the time – and usually just end up getting called out for being “sexist” or “problematic” by people who haven’t even read what I said), and these social activists tend to act as the arbiters, the gatekeepers, of these discussions.

But what about the mens

Not only do I think there needs to be more de-centralized discussion of gender inequality, I think there needs to be more angles that it is acceptable to be viewed from. Here’s where I’m going to bring up men. Yes, the poor mens. HuffPost Women recently had a video which I saw shared on Facebook that talked about how “feminism isn’t about being anti-men – it’s about reaching equality for women!” and in the very same video, they stated: “Men are not systematically oppressed based on their gender. And that’s a fact.” – first off, please don’t follow a completely un-provable claim by saying “And that’s a fact”. Second and the reason I’m bringing this up is because I think it’s important to recognize that when feminism is allowed to have this sort of monopoly on discussion of gender issues, some of their implicit assumptions have to be questioned. I don’t believe that men are the primary victims of gender inequality in the US, nor do I think that the system is designed to oppress men specifically. But if you have so many feminists operating under the assumption that what little discrimination men do face is trivial or non-existent (or, the condescending “patriarchy hurts men too!”, with a prescription of more focus on women’s issues), you have a group that does not have a holistic view of gender issues, and thus should not be given the rights to all discussion on the matter.

What ways do men experience systematic oppression? I want to make it clear that I’m not here to say that men have it worse than women or that these issues are all caused by feminism or anything like that. I am just refuting her claim. Just a few examples off the top of my head (and generally the first links on Google that I could find); men are much more likely to be convicted of the same crime than a woman and receive vastly longer sentences for those crimesour domestic violence hotlines and shelters ignore and/or humiliate battered men (and the general complete ignorance on the actual prevalence of domestic abuse against men by women, which is much higher than we ever hear about), thousands of men are put in and out of prison because they can’t afford child support payments (this happens to women too – and that should also be addressed!), the lack of public awareness or concern for male suicide rates (more on this and how it relates to female suicide later) the way our public school system disadvantages and fails young boys and men, and far more than that. I tried to specifically find issues that I feel are systematic by picking mostly things that occur on an institutional level, such as with the criminal justice system or the educational system, or in some cases the media. How exactly HuffPost Women can confidently say “men are not systematically oppressed,” and mark it as a fact I’m not totally sure, but it’s an attitude I’ve seen shared very often. It’s to the point where the kneejerk reaction to someone exclaiming that men also experience oppression is to laugh at and mock them. Even from “moderate” feminists. Just because you don’t hear about these problems very often doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

So what can we take away from that? Men facing issues doesn’t disprove feminism, not that that’s even my goal in the first place. I often hear that feminists are the ones actually trying to help men deal with these problems. True, in a sense. Social conservatives certainly aren’t going around picketing about young men going to prison excessively. Feminists at least bring up these issues, on occasion. But I don’t wholly buy it, and there are several reasons. The first of which is that, in reality, feminists rarely devote any attention to these issues beyond minimal lip service. The second is that most feminists, in my opinion, mis-attribute the causes and solutions to many of men’s issues, and the third is that in some cases, feminists actively take stances harming the ability of these issues to be addressed.

So, on to the first. I talked before about how there’s a lot of trivial stuff that I believe is pervasive in social media feminist groups, manspreading being one example of this. The truth is that although I’ve seen dozens of these little mini-campaigns, on TV ads, on social media, at school, in virtually every facet of modern life – I will rarely if ever see one of these that addresses something that men specifically face, like unequal incarceration. In fact, I’ve never seen a single feminist source ever talk about the over-incarceration of men over women. I’ve even seen articles about how we should stop putting women in jail for anything, which somehow manages to make only passing mention of male prisoners while going on about how we need to work to rehabilitate women back into the community. The issues that affect men are cast aside and forgotten about because they are not as popular subjects.

The second is that feminists typically approach men’s issues with an attitude of “patriarchy hurts men too” that is just.. bullshit. Yes, a lot of these issues stem from traditional gender roles and pressures that are put on men. The difficulties many men have in expressing their feelings constructively. The hyper-agency that causes us to consider a man more responsible for his actions than a woman might be. The problem is that feminism doesn’t actually address it! Why? Because their response is to just keep supporting women! Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about. She presents a lot of the same issues I do about issues men face – and then finishes it by saying “men have issues, but it’s the patriarchy! So let’s help women!”

But the patriarchy is not some monolithic entity that is brought nearer to destruction each time a woman is elected office and a man shuts his legs on the bus. It’s a massive set of social and cultural and in some cases biological tendencies that drive how we think and act in more ways than we can even imagine. The only way you can come close to “dismantling it” is to root out and expose and heal these scars that affect members of every gender and sex. If men are told that we must simply wait for feminism to do it’s thing and bring down the patriarchy and then, in the ashes of that, our problems will go away too – what we’re really being told is that men’s issues aren’t going to be solved or even addressed in any meaningful way in anything close to the foreseeable future. And that somehow we should throw our support behind the movement so that we can eventually see change of the sort we’re looking for. It’s a facade of inclusiveness that really represents the co-opting of a complex set of issues in order to reinforce the existing agenda. You may feel that feminists shouldn’t have to address men’s issues because they have enough on their plate already. I get that. I respect that. I will address that in my next point. As long as you’re not claiming that feminism will solve men’s issues too, at least you aren’t lying through your teeth.

And third, and perhaps most important, is the fact that feminists do not acknowledge their own involvement in some areas of men’s issues. Historically, feminists have pushed for quite a few laws that have had a gender bias against men – such as the the implementation of the dominant aggressor policy in domestic abuse cases (a big part of the reason that abused men are more likely to be arrested when they call the police than the women who abused them), numerous instances in which the National Organization for Women fought for preferential treatment to mothers in custody cases, and more. Not to mention the speed limit, ‘cos how can men be free when we can’t go as fast as our HARD ASS MANLINESS compels us?!

But let’s step back for a second. I’ve been attacking feminists for quite a while now, and if you are a feminist and you’re still reading I appreciate that very much. This is by no means exhaustive evidence of some conspiracy on the part of the evil feminists to put the mens down. Even the limited set of examples I brought up were by no means concerted attacks on men’s rights – they were policy initiatives with numerous benefits. Nothing is that one-sided. So I’m not trying to place feminists at the center of the issue. I’m just stating that “the patriarchy” is not the sole source of men’s issues. There are certainly cases of feminist policies like these where women’s rights are prioritized over men’s rights. And that makes sense, considering “feminism” and “women’s rights” are typically synonymous – and they SHOULD be. That’s what feminism IS! It’s women’s rights! So can we get out of this dishonest perception of feminism as *the* gender equality movement? It should be one of many. Unfortunately it’s basically just one.

MGTOW – men gassing their own walruses

And that leads me into the biggest critique I have of feminists on this issue. The main reason that I feel that feminists hold some responsibility over these issues is that they have actively worked to silence men’s rights activists and any other organization that attempts to address these issues. You may believe that MRA’s are all hateful misogynists. I personally don’t. I previously stated that I am not an MRA, and that is true and there is good reason for it. Primarily it stems from questionable and yes, in some cases hateful rhetoric and practices on the part of many leaders of the movement, as well as employment of self-victimization tactics and rape apologist behavior. I’ll do more to criticize the MRM and other areas of the “man-o-sphere” shortly. However, the proportion to which these groups actually function as “hate groups” is VASTLY overstated by feminists in my opinion. For example, the famous University of Toronto protest against Warren Farrell from a couple years back (just bringing up this example ‘cos it’s the one that comes up at the top of my head), where feminist protestors did everything in their power to try to shut down a men’s rights writer and speaker named Warren Farrell from delivering a lecture at the school. They were protesting it because they don’t like Farrell, essentially saying he’s a misogynistic meanhead and has said some weird things about incest in the past. He has said some weird things, some of which was taken out of context and some of which is legitimately weird. And I don’t agree with him on much of that (still wouldn’t label it hate speech). But the actual content of his lecture was  about boys failing in schools. A direct discussion on issues that face men and boys. And the feminists on campus triggered the fire alarm, protested, screamed to their hearts content and stood outside of the lecture hall shouting to disrupt the lecture. This is just one example, and you may think it’s isolated. But virtually every time I hear about a men’s rights seminar being prepared to meet up somewhere, I then hear about it getting shut down or disrupted by feminist protestors.

They’ve done everything in their power to slander the MRM as a hate group, to the point where the Southern Poverty Law Center labelled MRAs as a hate group. Yes, there is a lot of fucked up and hateful shit on the “manosphere.” But it is also disgusting to me the way that reasonable calls for discussion on issues are completely subverted any time they occur. It’s not as if there isn’t also a ludicrous amount of hateful trash spewed out by large sections of the feminist movement. Here’s a few examples of feminist statements that are quite troubling in my opinion. And these statements are generally from influential feminist activists and writers, nothing compared to the vitriol that comes from Tumblr feminists every single day. People are angry. Many men who have had their kids taken away from them or were put in prison for child support payments they couldn’t afford are angry. Many women who have experienced sexual violence are angry. I’m not excusing MRA anger, indeed it is as I stated earlier the primary reason I choose to distance myself from that group and do not follow their sites, blogs, and speeches unless I find something that I really feel is fair. But what I’m saying is that there is anger all around, much of it justified but little of it constructive. And often the people who are actually scheduled to speak are far more reasonable than they are given credit for.

The issues that men and boys face get buried underneath the power struggles between MRAs and feminists. And so you’ll pardon me if I don’t believe that feminists should be given sole rights over discussion on gender issues. Because these problems facing men and boys, of over-incarceration, failing in school, suicide, and so on, are still there, and many are getting worse. If feminists really want to claim responsibility over men’s issues then they should also claim responsibility for the reality that there hasn’t been much done at all to resolve them. Even if feminists do have men’s best issues at heart, they have other priorities.

Enough about the mens!

Okay. That’s enough about the men. From all that I posted there it must seem like I believe women’s issues should be pushed aside. I don’t believe that at all. I’d very much like to see men’s issues come into the national spotlight without taking away from focus on women’s issues or on issues of the transgender and genderqueer movements and any other groups I’ve been ignoring so far. I’d like to see a change in the way that we discuss these issues. But it doesn’t change the underlying fact that I believe the issue of sexual violence against women is the most important and prevalent form of violence in the United States. That’s meaning sexual coercion, date rape, domestic violence, and other forms. I’d very much like to see all forms of violence decrease. I don’t think that any of these forms of violence will ever be gone, but they can certainly go down. And I recognize that there are many more issues than sexual violence for women that must be addressed. The thing is, though, everyone seems to have this belief that we need to just look at groups in the aggregate. They say yes, men have issues, but women have it harder so we need to help them. But that’s not how things work. Transgender people probably have it worse than most women, on the whole, what with targeted murder, massive suicide rates. You know, all that fucked up shit. But that doesn’t mean we ignore women’s problems.

It’s true that in some cases men’s rights and women’s rights do butt heads. For example, the issues I brought up earlier – like mother’s rights in custody cases versus father’s rights. In some cases, we can try to get an equilibrium (particularly if “equality” is the purported goal). But in many issues, such as with parental custody rights or domestic abuse cases, it’s a lot more complicated than that and there’s more at stake. But there are a hell of a lot issues where you can help men without hurting women, and the other way around. And there are issues where you can help both!

Let’s all hold hands and solve gender inequality togethurrr

Men commit suicide at four times the rate of women!

… And women attempt suicide as much or more often than men do. Compassion and caring go a long way no matter what the gender identity or sex of the person in question. Where we see an inequality there’s actually an opportunity. Seeing that women die from suicide at 1/4th the rate of men is a fucking good thing. It means there’s a model to replicate. A success story, so to speak. We can compare and contrast – why do women survive their suicide attempts so much more than men?

The answer is complex and there are likely multiple of them. It’s pretty well established that women use less lethal methods to attempt suicide with – poisoning, for example. With guys, more fatal methods are preferred, like guns. That’s the biggest reason. But the question is really why those things happen. This is where I’m just going to throw out my own conjecture, my own hypothesis – reminder: no experience in the area. I’ve had suicidal thoughts plenty of times but I never got close to actually attempting anything. But I do know, as a man, that there is an all-encompassing pressure on you to be somebody. To not be a coward. If you’re going to do something, go all the way. To attempt suicide and fail would not only make you a coward who couldn’t cope with life, it would make you a coward who couldn’t take his death into his own hands.

I do not by any means intend to trivialize suicide attempts by women. And this is by no means universal to all attempts. But I do believe that we have a culture that is less shaming of women who need help. If a woman is in trouble, if she is suffering, typically our society is much more likely to react to that when she asks for it. Men are less likely to report their depression than women. This extends to a lot of other areas – men are less likely to report when they are victims of just about anything, because the stigma of asking for help is so great. Not that there isn’t a huge stigma for women as well. This is an area where I truly feel like men could benefit substantially from being more like women. Yes, society needs to stop stigmatizing men so hard when they seek help. But men need to find the courage to acknowledge their own vulnerability and ask for help. These aren’t things you can change with legislation, or blame on any specific group. I truly believe feminists can and will get on board with things like this. This does not threaten women. Less men committing suicide will not cause more women to commit suicide. And as a side-note, I believe it would also help reduce occurrences of mass shootings. The lessons that we can learn from where women have it right can benefit men. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t also do what we can to raise awareness for women and girls who are suffering. 1/4th is still too much, and the fact that they are attempting suicide in the first place shows there is a problem.

This is just one example of an issue both genders can learn from each other on, but there are numerous others. Just giving women the respect they deserve when they have an opinion, for example at a corporate boardroom, tends to be something many men simply don’t bother with. I personally quite often find myself subconsciously interrupting other people – especially women who may be less aggressive when I interrupt them. Although I generally believe that the old rhetoric that women earn 77 cents to every dollar a man earns is a complete misuse of statistics, it is absolutely a legitimate concern that women do not get the same respect that a man gets in many career fields and this ultimately gets them lower pay offers and opportunities to advance. Awareness is a two-way street, and we need to recognize that whatever we think men are capable of, women are just as qualified for.

i choked on the toxic masculinity

But there is another issue I’d like to talk about as well, which so far I haven’t addressed. There is a breed of masculinity that I truly believe merits the term toxic masculinity. I also believe there is toxic femininity, however I think the results of that are less dangerous and probably less prevalent. I’m not defining what toxic masculinity is here, and numerous peoples will have different conceptions of what constitutes “toxic”. It’s not uncommon for me to see ordinary behavior that I think is actually perfectly reasonable or even positive classified as toxic or problematic. I believe that masculinity as a concept encompasses numerous values and ideals that should be retained and should be valued, by men and women alike, just as femininity does.

But when I see toxic masculinity I see behavior that hurts everybody. I see assholes that are so desperate to inflate their own egos that they will do anything to achieve sexual conquest over women. Lie to these women, treat them like dirt. Pump and dump. The guy that will get a girl drunk so that she can’t say no. The guy that will call a girl a whore if she won’t fuck him (which doesn’t even make sense). More often than not, these guys are assholes to other guys, too. Bitch ass white boys (and other races too) with their hats on backwards slinging out racial slurs and calling any guy who doesn’t act the way they act a faggot. And I’m not blaming these men for all of the bad things that all men do. It may very well be the so-called nice guy, soft-spoken, who spikes a girl’s drink with roofies. But the thing about these unapologetic fuckboys is that they muddle any dialogue you try to have.

MRA’s and other forms of men’s activists tend to portray feminists as self-victimizers who have no legitimacy to their claims. It seems as though there’s this twisted sense of male solidarity. That if a man is accused of rape, other men must jump to his defense and immediately assume the woman accusing him is a false accuser trying to ruin his life. Programs like the Don’t Be That Girl campaign (in response to the feminist Don’t Be That Guy campaign) were the first warning signs that led me to stop following MRA messages a few years back, when I first discovered some stuff that I still honestly think holds some merit (like Karen Straughan’s Feminism and the Disposable Male – actually the video that first peaked my interest in some anti-feminist kinds of stuff, years back. Now I don’t agree with her on a lot of things, but still find Karen to have much more nuanced and well-explained defenses of male issues than I usually think of).

The problem is that yes, having some solidarity and respect for your fellow men is cool. I honestly believe that. I have constantly heard women say shit about how all men are pigs or various other sweeping generalizations, my whole life. And I’ve been quick to say – fuck you, no we aren’t. I have met so many god damned men who were brilliant motherfuckers that would stop at nothing to help out a friend in need. They’re not jewels hidden among coals. They’re right the fuck in front of you but you ignore them and take them for granted. I hate to sound like a whiny “nice guy” but legitimately, the coolest dudes I’ve met were very often (but definitely not always!) the least likely to get the attention of women. Nice guys don’t always finish last, but many of the traits that correspond with emotional understanding – empathy, willingness to take it slow, a desire to not offend or make the girl uncomfortable – manifest as “awkwardness” and get the guy labelled a loser, or at best a “good friend.” And fuck it, who CARES. That’s a bummer, but it’s not women’s fault that they don’t always want to fuck the nerdy awkward guy who wants to treat them well and play D&D with them. You don’t choose who you find attractive. It goes without saying that no one has any responsibility to get with someone as reward for good behavior, or out of sympathy, or for any reason.

But back on point – I believe in solidarity with other men, to an extent. Mostly because I see so many good men get shit on and told how bad they are and it pisses me off. Feminists often accuse these nerdy awkward guys of being “nice guys” who are trying to bargain favors for sex, and exploit/abuse women, those slimy fuckers. But in reality it’s often as simple as unrequited love. Just as you don’t choose who you’re attracted to, the nerdy guy can’t help that he has fallen head over heels for a girl who’s never going to give him the light of day. So maybe he’ll go read some comic books and pretend that he’s a hero, flying over the clouds and winning women’s hearts and touching women’s breasts, and escape for a moment into a reality where he can be someone that he isn’t and will never be. At the greatest heights of my depression, it was when I felt so completely worthless because I had never been with a girl (that wasn’t the only reason ok!) That I was a loser, sexually unappealing and awkward. And I was so worried that I would make a girl feel uncomfortable or harassed that I wouldn’t meet girls’ eyes when they looked at me – I would sit several seats away and never talk to them – and I would generally only be able to share a conversation with them if they talked to me first or if I was drunk (or if we were friends already of course).

And the few times in college that I actually worked up the courage to ask a girl out, I would worry that I was bothering her. And then she would text me that she couldn’t make it, so I would try to re-schedule, and then I would worry that I was bothering her more, and then she would flake out again. Or there’s a girl that you like and you meet her and make friends with her and are trying to work up the courage to ask her out or something but you can’t, so you just try to be helpful and kind to her and hope that maybe she’ll feel the same way about you too. It’s pathetic, honestly, and it’s not behavior any girl in her right mind would find attractive. And I was bitter for a while, because all the time I saw the guy that a girl would get with out of any group would always be the biggest asshole in the group. Part of that is her poor judgment, and part of that is because the asshole is the only one who isn’t crippled by insecurities. Boo-hoo, right? Here’s two paragraphs of me talking about being awkward with girls. Too bad so sad. How does it relate? Well one thing I never got over was seeing all the viral videos and articles start popping up on every corner of the internet and social media claiming myself and guys like me were “nice guys” operating as sexual vampires trying to suck the life energy of women out of them and get sympathy sex.

Needless to say, guys like that exist. But god damnit, that’s not even close to the majority of them. And fuck you for taking a group of guys already on the fringe, who already feel worthless (not saying all nerds are this way, but I’ve talked enough out of bouts of depression and self-loathing to make a judgment here, not to mention my own experience) and are confused and don’t know what women want and are eternally lonely, and calling them predators. Fuck you, feminists who have no idea the sexual power that you wield over men and exercise every day, yet choose to play the courageous, outspoken victim card and pin all of these different guys as the same. That’s part the reason so many guys are so desperate to get laid. Because yeah, sex is great. But if your worth is determined by the number of women you’ve slept with, and if every day you have to be reminded by men and women alike if you’re a loser, virgin, “creep”, guys can get really unhealthy motivations to pursue sex. It’s ironic that half the time you try to argue with a feminist they will accuse you of being a loser stuck in your mom’s basement who doesn’t get laid.

BUT! What the stupid assholes behind campaigns like Don’t Be That Girl do, is they assume that all men are worth standing up for. That somehow since we all have dicks we’ve gotta protect one another. The truth is, there’s truth in almost every claim. There’s shitty guys abusing women, in groups, laughing about it with their friends. There’s desperate opportunistic shitheads that cross ethical boundaries to sexually exploit women that can’t say no. There’s nice guys who get shut down and ignored by women. There’s guys that get falsely accused of rape (though I don’t believe it is as common as MRAs think it is)! They all exist! Why the hell should we jump on board one boat, subscribe to one, buy a jersey and yell our support?

i did it! i saved the wymmins! i’m a hero

When someone is accused of a crime – innocent until proven guilty. But that goes for the accuser, too, damnit. Women who have worked up the courage acknowledge what was done to them, face harassment and death threats, possible steep legal fees, endless taunting and trivializing about who they are, accusations that they are somehow responsible for what happened, and the very likely verdict that they will see no justice after all of it don’t need another group of shitheads on the internet who don’t know a thing about them calling them lying bitches. Whatever mopey sob story I told you about being an awkward loser doesn’t fucking MATTER when it comes to having your self-ownership violated and your every behavior criticized and mocked and put on trial by older male judges and administrators and police officers, being put through physical and emotional trauma, and everything else rape survivors have to go through that I can’t even imagine and don’t care to pretend that I could. It doesn’t fucking MATTER that it’s irritating to have to be told what consent is when you already know it. When I came to UCLA, on the transfer student orientation day the lady gave us a big presentation about consent, and what to do if you suspect you’ve been a victim of sexual assault, and how to recognize when someone’s taking advantage of your friend. And yeah, there was a lot of “Listen up guys – if she doesn’t say yes, you do not keep going!” type stuff. And I’ve heard all of this before, at school, on media, in speech and debate, and I’m pretty familiar with what consent means. And I’m familiar with the arguments about how you can’t teach criminals not to steal or whatever metaphors about women being cars. But it still made me happier knowing that people out there would maybe, just maybe be paying a little more attention to the principles of voluntary interaction and women’s autonomy.

I’m not going to automatically condemn a man who is accused and I sure as hell don’t support the witch-hunting culture we have where a man will have his reputation destroyed before there’s even a shred of evidence that he did anything. But frankly, I don’t believe that the fact that that happens is enough to justify the attitudes of MRA, the /redpill/ers, or the random dudes on the internet with no real social beliefs except diminishing women’s experiences. When I say that there are elements of manhood that I respect and aspire to emulate, I say that there is a damn big set of requirements to be a good man, and the first and foremost is to be a good human. And guys who have violated that are the reason that so many feminists are so radical in the first place. They are the reason that I avoid walking behind women at night or take subtle actions specifically to make my presence known in nonthreatening ways. They are the reasons women can’t afford every man they encounter a degree of trust. Women harm and manipulate and oppress men in countless ways that they don’t even know. But as a man I don’t have to hold up my guard that a woman will physically or mentally remove my autonomy. I don’t have to plan my life around avoiding sexual exploitation. I don’t have to get groped when I go to get a drink at the bar. If I have something to say to someone I’m gonna say it and most people won’t jump down my throat and interrupt me and call me a bitch if I speak my mind (although they may call me other things (like Koolguy, master of Days)).

Let’s get weird (OH YEAH)

Ugh. This post is longer than it was supposed to be. If you think my message is muddled, you’re right. Because this shit is confusing. There’s no way that I am going to say that women’s oppression is anything but an utmost priority for the advancement of society and humanity. At the same time, there is no way in hell that I will let you laugh when someone brings up male oppression. As much privilege as males may have, females have their own supply of privilege that goes unchecked every day. And it’s not some pissing contest over who’s got it worse. If it was, men would win. Because we can pee standing up. Bitch. Having a dick is cool as hell. But really no we wouldn’t. But maybe we’d be closer than you think. And the loser should get a trophy too (not really that’s fucking stupid, goddamn libruls). We just need perspective. Guys and ladies need to just talk to one another more and actually say what they wanna say. I’ve been blessed to know quite a lot of women that had the courage to call guys out for our bullshit, and honestly I very much appreciate that. Guys don’t do it often enough, at least not in constructive ways, from what I’ve seen. And it extends to relationships very much! Ladies shouldn’t be afraid to speak up if their male (or female) partner is not satisfying them sexually or in other ways! If your partner is unwilling to compromise then leave them! Interpersonal relationships are only as good as they are voluntary, and you have no obligation to keep quiet and make him happy if he’s not making you happy. And that absolutely goes for guys too – you’re not an asshole if you aren’t happy with what’s happening. Stand up for your own autonomy and your own independence and the fact that you don’t have to put your partner on a pedestal and pretend they are “the fairer sex” or your “better half.” You both are just humans coming together and trying to figure out what works.

Men are the ones that need to liberate themselves from their own insecurities and troubles, moreso than anyone else could ever do it for us. Many women are working together pretty damn well to do just that. And meanwhile men are sitting around separate in our little cocoons. Some bitch-ass cuckolds call themselves feminist “allies” and ejaculate all over to their own self-glorifying martyr complexes (and some feminist “allies” are perfectly reasonable guys who are doing their best to make the world a better place). Some convince themselves that “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” and think women are some game to be played. If a woman is a game, she’s a fucking text adventure where every option but one means you die, so you better look carefully. I hope Alissa is reading this. I can only express myself through blog form because she has me in the spiral of silence. Talk about oppression.

FEEL, damn you. Heart is the most important power that combines to form Captain Planet. No man is an island, don’t sink into the sea. Don’t hurt yourself, don’t hate yourself. Your value is not determined by what you produce to women. And stand up for your damned self when someone calls you a privileged piece of shit. Maybe you are. But so are they, in some ways. And tu quoque is the fallacy of Champions. And most importantly, for every time we’re told that we don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, women need to realize they don’t know what it’s like to be a man either and stop conjuring a million assumptions that play into their own worldview of what things must be like for men.

EDIT TO ADD: I didn’t even get to talk about the MGTOWs (men going their own way) and the PUAs (pick-up artists) and the GYX (guys you eXxoneratexX) in this whole post. Shame!

My nuanced opinion of this large group of people that can’t all be painted with one brush:

  • They suck

LGBBQ community

I haven’t even talked about gay people or trans people or genderqueer people or anyone who doesn’t identify in the normative gender identities like at all in this whole huge blog post on gender. I’m socially aware and enlightend

Problem is honestly I’m too ignorant of the wide variety of gender identities and the struggles of non-gender conforming people to fairly bring it up in this post, and I would have to make this whole thing much longer and have it go way off the rails. I can’t even fucking say the words without feeling like someone’s gonna get pissed off at me for not including the Zorosexuals and the Quadrosexuals (that’s what the Q is for rite) in the list and if I call you demi-sexual it just makes you sound like a sex god and that makes me feel insecure.

So I just decided to be controversial and offensive in a different area (wanna hear a joke? women’s rights. AhuAAAAAAAA) and avoid bringing up alternate gender identities altogether. Because I’m an asshole, and honestly I apologize for that, but maybe it’s better than hearing me stumble over myself trying to apologize for it. Sweep ’em into the closet. Cross the rainbow bridge when we come to it. So if you’re like, trans, and you read this and you’re like, “wut about me” then, uh. YOU’LL GET YOUR DAY IN THE SUN. Stay in your hole until your hetcis white male overlord gives you your turn, shitlord. Stop making everything about you – people made fun of me for being awkward, okay? Do you even know what oppression is? Uck. So problematic. Uck. Uck. I’m triggered

Smells Like Patriarchy

Abortion and Planned Parenthood defunding!

The first thing that I will be hitting on with the blog is a very contentious one! Abortion!

I was prompted to write about this from seeing all sorts of discussion on Planned Parenthood and on defunding it. Even though I am against defunding Planned Parenthood, the rhetoric of many pro-choice people often irks me and I think is unfair and oversimplifying of the issue. But more than just talking about Planned Parenthood, I was trying to fall asleep and just had all of this stuff in my head rumbling around about abortion and what it really means. It’s at the center of all of this controversy, of course. It seems impossible to me that we could resolve an issue like this without first getting our ideas of what abortion really is out there. So that’s what I’m going to write about first. My ideas of abortion.

I apologize in advance for my confrontational attitude. I’m on the side of legal abortion without exceptions, and on the side of planned parenthood. However, most of my criticisms are focused on my side. This isn’t because I don’t disagree with Republicans and pro-lifers and so on, it’s just that I feel like in the liberal environment of social media today it’s easy enough to see criticisms of the right wing. It’s just about all I ever see when I log onto Facebook or browse many sections of the news. I often get more irritated by the self-righteous and pretentious attitude of so many progressives and liberals than I do about conservatives. I promise I’ll be meaner to them in the future. And if you’re a self-righteous and pretentious progressive or liberal, I hope that you can still at least consider what I have to say before you make your own judgments about it. (Not that I mean to villify or alienate progressives/liberals, I realize this sounds kind of harsh. I respect your views, I just get bothered when people don’t respect anyone else’s.)

Just a heads up, the abortion part of this post is very long and is much more my personal views and conjecture than it is really based on relevant literature to the subject. You may want to simply skip down to the Planned Parenthood part if you don’t want a long and convoluted non-answer to a somewhat unformed series of questions.


If there’s one thing speech and debate (and life in general) taught me, it’s that there’s rarely one easy answer to a given issue. In my opinion, abortion is one of the hardest questions to answer because it crosses on so many unanswered, and indeed unanswerable questions itself. I will use this space to develop and share my thoughts on abortion to the best that I can articulate, and hopefully make you understand in the end why I support abortion being legal in every scenario, though I personally cannot say whether I would be able to accept it in my own personal life. Further, I will continue to argue that ultimately I do not believe Planned Parenthood should be defunded, or at least not the way that the Republicans want it to be.

So, why is abortion so tricky? Many people seem to find it an easy issue to make a judgment on. To some, it is a matter of protecting the most vulnerable and innocent in all of human life from a gruesome death. In such a situation it becomes impossible to justify. For others, it is a simple question of a woman’s right to her own body and her own health. Both sides end up essentially bypassing the other, as implied in the rhetoric of “pro-choice vs. pro-life.”

A fetus is biologically reliant on the mother for it’s very existence, and physically occupies the space of the mother’s body. I’ve heard some go as far as to call a fetus a parasite, and that somehow that makes it completely justifiable to kill it off. After all, we don’t mourn over removing and killing a tapeworm that may have grown inside of someone’s stomach. Of course, a tapeworm isn’t a human life, which to me is a pretty big disanalogy between a fetus and a typical parasite. But from there, many argue that a fetus isn’t adequately a human life. This gets into the argument of life beginning at conception. I’ve seen a bunch of people say life doesn’t begin at conception, that it’s just a cluster of cells. When life does begin, if that is not the case, I don’t know of any convincing argument. Biologically a fertilized egg is a form of human life, just in an earlier cycle of development. As much as people try to say pro-lifers are anti-science, I haven’t seen any legit scientific argument for when exactly life does begin. So it’s almost like a smokescreen. “We don’t know when life begins! It’s just a cluster of cells! it’s okay to kill it!” Okay. I saw something like this in a video someone posted by Bill Nye. Sure, lots of scientists are pro-abortion. I am pro-abortion too. But it seems to me like another case of liberals accusing everyone else of being anti-science to justify their own beliefs, which are not any more scientifically supported.

It’s problematic to me when people make arguments that imply that, because a fetus is entirely reliant on the mother and cannot live on it’s own, it is justified to kill it off. To me, that same principle would justify killing an infant baby as well. The only real difference between the infant baby and the fetus in the womb, that I can see, is the development stage and the physical location (in the womb versus out of the womb). As far as development stage, there isn’t a hard line that I’m aware of where a fetus becomes a baby, and if there is, it certainly doesn’t seem like birth would be one. Merely expelling the fetus out into the world does not in my mind fundamentally change the value of that creature from OK-to-kill to a human deserving of rights and protection from infanticide. Furthermore, there are countless other situations in which a human life is dependent on another. The first example that comes to my mind is a person who is hospitalized from severe injuries or other disability. In that case, the person may be completely reliant on life support and continuous medical care from other people. If in a coma, the person doesn’t seem to possess the capacity to make choices. Would it then be justified to have a law that said we can terminate the lives of the comatose without punishment? You may think of this as a right-to-die question, but it isn’t really. Someone may be put into a temporary coma after a car accident. If the doctor then said “Well, this person is utterly reliant on me and incapable of surviving on their own, so it is ultimately my decision whether I kill them or not,” and killed that person, it would be a crime. And it wouldn’t just be a crime of violating contract and failing to do one’s job, that would be an actual case of murder in most cases.

And just about everyone would scoff at that example. Of course we don’t want doctors murdering anyone who is temporarily incapacitated. Those people will wake up eventually. Other doctors could care for the person instead. However, those same arguments apply, in a sense, to the unborn. A fetus will eventually become a human (“wake up”). After birth, that child could be put into adoption, and someone else could care for it (OK I know people don’t put newborn babies into adoption usually, this is just a mental exercise). The biggest disimilarity between them that I see is, once again, that the comatose person is not physically inside of the doctor like a baby is inside of it’s mother. Is that the primary moral reasoning between whether someone lives or dies? That they are physically occupying the space of another human? Is it that the baby is reliant on the body of the mother, feeding off of substances her body manufactures, whereas the comatose person is feeding off of synthetic substances? In that case, once again we are brought to the example of a newborn baby. A newborn baby feeds on it’s mother’s biologically produced milk, yet it is still not forgivable to kill it.

There’s also a common argument that, well, a fetus may fail to develop from a number of different things, and is not a guaranteed human life particularly at an early stage. This sounds legit, until you add that the exact same thing is true of pretty much everybody. Anybody might die. Children may die and never live to become adults, comatose patients may die or they may recover. It’s never 100% one way or the other. Even if a person might die on their own from a fatal disease, if you kill them prematurely you are still a murderer. In the same sense, I don’t see how one can justify killing a fetus because it might expire on it’s own. So I’m left wondering again – is the moral distinction between killing a fetus (depending also on the stage of development) and killing a baby or comatose person simply a matter of it’s physical location? If that’s the case, I’m sorry to you who have read this far, because I have an even more absurd example to provide. If a person was surgically opened up and another person was placed inside of them, would they be justified in killing the person inside? I know you’re thinking “this makes absolutely no sense who cares about what happens when someone is sewn inside of someone else” but please, humor me. Say that a baby or small child was put inside of somebody, perhaps in their stomach, and they managed to both survive. Could the person carrying the small child or baby kill the one inside of them? This question isn’t one that I think makes enough sense to even answer in the first place. Of course you could justify performing surgery to take them out. I think in some scenarios, killing them if it was a matter of life or death for the carrier could almost be considered self-defense. But even if this example seems entirely absurd, doesn’t it seem like the idea that we can kill those that physically occupy our space seem arbitrary?

Now I know these circumstances may all seem very arbitrary themselves. There’s rarely if ever a way to create a perfect moral distinction between any act. Instead, we usually use some of our common sense or utilitarian-style ethics or some combination of qualifiers to make the distinctions. Perhaps it’s not the physical occupation itself, but the combination of biological reliance upon the mother, physical occupation of the mother, and incapacity to make decisions of one’s own that ultimately fabricates a separate category of killing. Alternately, it goes without saying that if one finds infanticide morally acceptable, one should also find abortion morally acceptable. And there are some that would argue for both. However, as with the idea of a sudden death for comatose patients, it comes across to me as a little counter to the usual liberal ideals. After all, it sounds kind of Social Darwinistic to say that those that are powerless to take care of themselves may be killed without punishment.

There’s too much missing from this moral quagmire to make any kind of headway. Up till now we haven’t even addressed the question of the value of a woman’s choice in circumstances that will ultimately impact their life and health, and the additional very important considerations of the effects on society that abortion has, and of course the question of a ‘soul’. The point that I hope to have made with my musings above is mostly that you can’t easily categorize the taking of a fetus’ life as inconsequential while simultaneously holding that life is precious in all other areas, unless you have a moral justification I’m not aware of (in which case please comment it!).

One other thing I’ve heard is a parallel between abortion as murder and masturbation as genocide. Basically, the idea that if all forms of human life are sacred, surely sperm must be too. A fetus is a human life, just in a different stage of development. in this argument, it’s kind of making the point that we can’t treat all human lifeforms as equal even when they are in different stages of development, otherwise we end up with uncountable sins for some pretty common things like protected sex or masturbation. To me, there’s also not a totally easy answer to this question, because it gets into what the value of a human life even is. To some, the value of a human life is inherent due to the existence of a soul. That relies on a supernatural/religious argument, of course. As an atheist I conveniently sidestep that whole problem because I don’t believe souls exist. So, killing a fetus is not damning it to an eternal life in hell because it has not been baptized, for example. To avoid getting into another massive discussion about what determines the value of human life for an atheist, I’ll try to summarize that I think that whether or not we actually have inherent value as humans, we must live and structure society as if we do. Because a society where every life is not valued to some extent is a society that is not conducive to survival and continued human progress and existence, or at least that’s what I think.

Now, this argument creates a sort of utilitarian argument for the value of human life. It says that we need to value human life in order to create a society that’s good for humans to live in. We can debate all day about what exactly constitutes a human life. I would argue that sperm have yet to fertilize an egg and thus do not have all the parts that make up a human, although the same could be said in many cases for fetuses, babies, or even just regular people (Missing a kidney? You are no longer human. Prepare to die), but it lacks even the genetic structure to grow into human life without the addition of an egg. A fetus is at a stage where it needs basically only food and time to turn into a full-fledged human, unless there is some complication that occurs.

So we’ve established a bunch of arguments for what sort of isolates the killing of a fetus into it’s own category, or at least I hope we have. And here I hope the complications are clear. In the observable world, we don’t have a clear line to decide what is worthy of being called a human and what is not. We generally don’t include sperm in that, but many people include fetuses in that – and many people don’t, or at least not until later in development. So we really can’t say one way or the other that it’s justifiable to kill a fetus. The ultimate point that I am making here is that I do not believe that anyone can claim that killing a fetus is fundamentally different from killing a human, except through simple matters of degrees of development. Considering we don’t consider killing a child to be less worthy of punishment than killing an adult, that doesn’t seem a justification of it’s own. My point is that I don’t know of a pro-choice argument that would effectively brand an abortion that occurs after a few weeks as not murder. At least once a fetus has developed the capacity to feel and be at least somewhat aware of it’s surroundings, it seems to me that abortion is indeed murder, of sorts. I have certainly not put forth all moral arguments in favor of abortion that exist, that would be impossible and I don’t know of all of them. But I have yet to see one that was convincing enough that it could alone counter this point, unless it substantially differed from the morality of most of society (a moral system that did not view infanticide as murder, for example).

Of course, this may seem like I’m hitting abortion heavily against it, while still leaving the strongest arguments in favor of it untouched. But I’m simply trying to categorize different aspects of it. If we can categorize abortion as murder (which I’m sure many of you disagree with, and if you do I’d love to hear about why in the comments), then we can move on to discern whether it is justified or not. This part is also very hard. It strikes me that the most common exceptions for abortion are in cases of rape, in cases where the mother’s life is in danger, and in cases where there may be a complication in the child’s life. This all strikes me as a bit weird. If abortion is really murder, then why does it being done after a rape make it okay? Whether or not the child was conceived voluntarily doesn’t seem to me to be a condition upon which the innate value of human life is contingent. It seems to me that if you were to truly take the stance that abortion is the murder of a child, and that these children must be protected, it would be pretty un-principled to make exceptions in cases. When a mother’s life is in danger it makes some sense, if only because then it is a question of life versus life – and something like self defense, saying that she should not have to sacrifice her own life to sustain another, might come into play. It seems to me that people should generally be either in favor of abortions being legal or against abortions being legal, without exception for circumstance.

However, the exceptions for circumstance ultimately play into a very important part of the abortion debate. A mother’s right to her own decisions is the primary counter that comes up against a fetus’ right to life. Perhaps it is true that abortion is murder, but maybe we say that the value of the murder is somehow less than the value of the woman’s choice. To me, murder versus life choices seems like an evaluation that we don’t usually make for the rest of society. We don’t say it’s okay to kill someone because doing so allowed you to get enough money to go to college and have a good life, at least I don’t think we do. The value of a woman’s choice is extremely high, but the thing is – it needs more. It’s not enough to defeat abortion = murder trump card, in my book. In order for it to win the debate, abortion must either not equal murder or there must be additional reasons to allow abortion that propel it’s importance above the importance of murder of a fetus. This can also be accomplished by an important step that I haven’t gotten into yet – reducing the importance of murder of fetuses. That sounds horrible, but it’s what I may very well do later on. If we can get at exactly what makes a murder so bad, perhaps we can develop a model that will allow a woman’s right to choose to exceed the negative value of abortion.

I’ve certainly heard arguments that attempted to devalue the importance of killing a fetus. One such argument that I’ve heard is that the child may be born into a situation where the mother has no capacity to adequately care for it, such as when the father has left and the mother is still young and not financially secure. In this instance, it seems that people argue that letting the fetus live would mean bringing another person into the world who will only suffer. While this point may be convincing in some ways, to me it does not fundamentally counter the argument, still, and furthermore provides a very fatalistic view on humanity. I do not believe that a difficult life is one that should not be lived. We do not kill people who are suffering unless they ask us, which the fetus has not done. To me, this argument does not justify it. However, it touches on a very important point.

The approach that I take to justifying abortion from here on is the pragmatic one, the area that I feel abortion advocates have the strongest case. The problem with everything I’ve discussed until now is — even if all of my scatterbrained musings on whether or not abortion is murder and whether that is ultimately the most important thing are accurate — it still remains, so what? As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the construction of a humane society necessitates treating humans as though they have inherent value even though we don’t know if we do or not. The fundamental point to ethics and morality in my opinion is to create a society that is better adapted to serve human interests, progress and existence. Taking a hardline moral stance on any issue is questionable if it potentially harms society. The value that we attach to crimes is only what is necessary to facilitate better societies. Legal abortion means less unplanned pregnancies, less women losing their careers or potentially lives, less impoverished people being added to a country that already has massive inequality, less crime, less back-alley abortions, less overpopulation and resource consumption, and greater autonomy of women in controlling their own fates. All of these things serve to push society forward into one that is more capable of adapting to the challenges of the 21st century.Particularly, uplifting women and providing greater autonomy and access to education and economic opportunities may be the best way to save the human race from death by overpopulation. The level of education received by women in a country tends to be a great contributing factor in reducing the birth rate, part of the reason we have a much more stable population growth here than in many areas of the developing world. Access to abortion and contraception in general is critical to constructing a society in which women are valued for more than just their uterus.

Now I might sound like a hypocrite, because I already specifically went through some of these arguments and said why they don’t ultimately trump the value of murder. But here is where I argue that we put the value of murder into question. The reason that we must have laws against murder is because of the ways our society would be damaged were they not there. Families are torn apart by murder, companies are disrupted. One of the greatest goals of society in achieving progress is clamping down on sources of disruption to the wellbeing of members of that society. Now this may seem purely utilitarian, but there is a place for virtue ethics as well, albeit one that is subservient to utility. In the case of abortion, were it made illegal I do not believe that it would ultimately be reduced dramatically. Back-alley abortions would still occur, and more unplanned pregnancies would happen which may lead to a cycle of more dysfunction that would lead to even more abortions down the road as well. Of course, it’s a tough question still. If legalizing murder somehow produced a society where people murdered each other even less (perhaps because they were afraid of retribution or something like that), would it then be a good idea to legalize murder? I would still say no, though cautiously. Simply because even if the overall murder rate went down, there would still be cases where a person’s family member or friend was murdered, and there was no way to achieve justice without murder itself, which one may be opposed to doing. Essentially, even if an act occurs while it is illegal, branding it as legal may reduce the capacity for the concept of justice.

It’s hard to weigh what these concepts are. The best way that I can think of is to view the adherence to a virtue as a form of utility. The sense of justice is itself a creator of a better society. Now, where abortion comes into this is a mixed bag. If people do not value a fetus’ life to the same extent that they value another child’s life, then losing a fetus does not produce a large negative reaction in that society. We don’t care about fetuses, thus it does not harm us if they die. In that sense, murder then becomes justifiable simply because no one has any real attachments to the one that is murdered. This is a troubling concept as well, unfortunately. If a lone hermit is murdered in the forest, there must still be a trial. I’m missing something here. I think the thing that pushes abortion into the realm of acceptability is all of the societal benefits that I mentioned earlier. Murder is, in the vast majority of cases, detrimental to society. Abortion is not. This is if we view “society” as sort of the human race itself. Our struggle to survive as a species is, ironically, made easier by the elimination of the unwanted unborn. I understand that this more and more sounds evil. I don’t know how to say any of this in a way that doesn’t sound evil. I think maybe it is evil. It’s dangerous to view things as justifiable solely in the lens of what advances the species, it strays scarily close to certain forms of eugenics. (perhaps not a coincidence that the founder of Planned Parenthood was a strong advocate of eugenics?)

It’s why I ultimately think that abortion must be legal. Perhaps we could debate when exactly in the development stage we consider the fetus to be human enough for abortion to count as murder, based off of when awareness or certain organs or other features are developed. But it seems to me to be a moot point. I surrender to the immorality. I cannot justify abortion except to see it as a necessary evil in the survival of society. I do not believe that it should be taken lightly. Not that I believe most women who are undergoing the procedure would ever make the decision lightly. But it seems to me that when people are so quick to equate abortion as a question of women’s health, they sidestep the entire moral question of it in the first place. If I ever became an unintended father, and abortion was an option, I believe that it would be immoral of me to advocate for one. Ultimately it would be the woman’s choice, but I think that a choice to abort the child would be an immoral one. Perhaps it could be considered moral in the servitude of the common goal of society’s survival. To me that seems like a societal justification rather than a personal one. I believe strongly in the principle of self-ownership. A woman’s self-ownership is infringed when abortion is illegal. I said earlier why that may not trump a fetus’ self-ownership, it’s right to live. But it’s still damned important. Ultimately, the vast majority of the negative consequences of legal abortion that I am aware of are, essentially, abstract. Or supernatural. Because we do not as a society truly feel the loss of these fetuses, tragically we are left in a position where we must choose between tangible benefits to a society at the cost of an unknowable and unquantifiable moral evil.

My final point in this one is that there are also social elements of abortion. Both in having it legal and having it illegal. Ultimately I haven’t mentioned these as swaying it one way or the other because I am not a believer in legislation as an act of attitude control. But there are also obviously other consequences of abortion – like the way it may make the woman feel who had it. After all, she’s pretty much the only one (possibly the father) who’s going to feel the loss of the fetus, both physically and emotionally. The reason I don’t consider this is because I believe that, as autonomous beings, making a choice that you will later regret doesn’t mean that the choice should be banned. That’s for the woman to decide. And considering 95% of the women surveyed, from the source I read (Reuters) said it was the right choice for them and they didn’t regret it, it seems those women are probably making the right choice for themselves at least. Granted, I’ve often heard people say that having a child was the best thing that ever happened to them, and rarely have I heard people say they regretted it. But attempts to force women to get medical procedures and so on to show them the baby and try to guilt-trip them into not getting an abortion should not be mandated. Either let abortion be legal or try to ban it, don’t pressure women that are already likely in a vulnerable state in order to subvert actually challenging the law.

Planned Parenthood!

Now that the rest of that is out of the way, the actual politics at hand are much easier to talk about for me. If you were uncomfortable with the abortion stuff I talked about or thought it was just a bunch of random bullshit hypotheticals then you’re in luck, there will probably be less of that here, considering it’s much less of a moral quandary for me.

For defunding Planned Parenthood, as I mentioned earlier, I’m against it. The thing is, though, I understand it. Many people who are standing with planned parenthood declare that the defunders are “anti-women”. This bothers me for a few reasons. First off, however justified you may feel in making that accusation, it’s still just an attack of character on a very large group of people, many of whom are women. I’m going to first make my arguments against many of the arguments stating that the defunding attempts are solely an anti-women issue, before I argue why I support Planned Parenthood anyway – even though I’m a libertarian who generally opposes government spending.

So one argument that seems convincing that defunders are anti-woman is the argument that Planned Parenthood provides much more services than just abortion, and in particular – that abortions do not receive federal funding in the first place, due to the Hyde Amendment in the 70s. To really argue against this I think that there are some things to establish. Planned Parenthood statistics say that only 3% of the services they provide are abortions. Wow! Abortions are a very small part of what they provide, for sure. Except that that values all of the services equally. That values getting a contraceptive pill at the same level as getting a second trimester abortion. And what does that 3% number really look like? It’s about 330,000 abortions per year.

So what? Well. I talked about this under the abortion section. But if someone is pro-life and they really believe that the murder of a fetus is equivalent to the murder of a child or adult, then picture it this way – here’s an organization receiving federal funding that is responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Americans. That number is many multiples of deaths caused even by the largest armed conflict in the world today, the Syrian civil war. Honestly it seems to me that if you truly believe abortion is murder, then Planned Parenthood is a genocidal organization that needs to be shut down at all cost, no matter what other services they provide. Now, the point gets brought up, what I said before – federal funding doesn’t go to abortions. But that doesn’t really mean as much as people seem to think it does. Even if our tax dollars aren’t going directly to abortions, they are still helping to support Planned Parenthood’s other services, which helps the organization grow, spread it’s influence, and open more clinics and such. And if they weren’t receiving the roughly 500 milliion dollars we give them, they would likely have to shrink and contract in size. Even if it is indirect, it’s still the same organization.

If you had a violent government that killed millions of people, but also provided numerous services that helped everyone out, I don’t think you would say “well our tax dollars only go to the nice services and not to the genocide, so I’m fine with it.” You would want nothing to do with that organization. You would say this dictatorship needs to be shut down and we need to bring in a new government that can still do the nice things but not do the genocide. That’s essentially what a lot of the defunders are arguing – defund Planned Parenthood and put the money into other programs that can still help women’s health without performing abortions. Now this rhetoric may not be totally accurate, I’m sure many of the defunders wouldn’t put that money back into women’s health. But it still stands as a valid point to me that pro-lifers, given what they believe, are absolutely justified in not wanting to support Planned Parenthood. In fact, I think it speaks to a certain level of desensitization amongst our overall society that also afflicts even many of the hardest pro-lifers we have here, that this is ALL they are doing, and that they needed a bunch of doctored “sting” videos to propel them to action.

If you truly believe abortion is murder then it should be the most important issue affecting our society today. Massacre on an unparalleled scale. But many of today’s pro-lifers are content to just wait around, generally harrassing or disrupting or fighting against abortion clinics and organizations that provide them or politicians that support them. But they haven’t been trying to federally defund Planned Parenthood until now, after a bunch of videos talking about selling baby parts. Even if those videos weren’t doctored up, I would honestly have to say – does that even compare? Selling organs doesn’t seem nearly as evil to me as committing mass murder. But I digress.

The point that I wanted to make is just that you can’t accuse them of hating women. In essence, they are trying to protect hundreds of thousands of unborn women, which would heavily outweigh the good caused by Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, I do not think they are anti-woman, just firm adherents to a principle that I believe is misguided. In a way, I have more respect for the ardent pro-lifer than I do for someone who offhandedly dismisses any anti-abortion efforts as anti-woman and proclaims that a woman’s choice trumps everything, without even stopping to consider the true moral meaning of what they are advocating. Not that I’m saying everyone who is pro-choice is that way, or even a majority. But I do think the polarization of our society has led people on both sides of the issue to dismiss the other side too quickly. And there are certainly individuals in the pro-life movement that are anti-woman, there is no way I’m going to exclude that. I’m just stating that the movement itself should not be considered anti-woman in my opinion.

I also wanted to provide some arguments in defense of Planned Parenthood from the perspective of a libertarian that generally opposes government spending. I’m not a hardline libertarian against all spending, debate has made me a little more moderate. But as far as a lot of these services are concerned, I don’t believe that government is the most effective way to produce a good healthcare system. Nonetheless, government is in the business of healthcare now, and has been for a long time. We spend massive amounts of money on different healthcare programs. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood’s federal benefits are about 500 million dollars. That sounds like a lot. And yes, it’s a lot. The government deals in large quantities of money. The stats I found for 2014 said we spent about 600 billion dollars on just Medicare. The money we give to Planned Parenthood doesn’t even come slightly close to comparing to what we spend on a K-12 education system that doesn’t work, an imperialistic military that creates more problems than it solves, welfare programs to support those in poverty that often keep them in poverty (look up the welfare cliff as an example of this), and so many other things. And yes, other organizations could do the things that Planned Parenthood does. But why not have PP do it? Women’s health with a particular focus on contraception, family planning and abortion services are pretty damn important and worth having separate organizations specifically dedicated to them, particularly because I don’t have a lot of trust in large sections of our healthcare system.

Defunding Planned Parenthood is not any solution to the federal debt. If we want to start cutting excessive government spending I’m all for that, but I wouldn’t pick out PP as the lone target of those cuts when I believe that abortion and contraceptive access ultimately reduce the future costs to our system (how much more would we have to provide in services for over 300,000 new births a year, large portions of whom would be unwanted or grow up impoverished?).  I also just had to edit this post to add in an argument that I’ve seen in defense of Planned Parenthood that I think is pretty convincing – all the non-abortion contraceptive procedures they provide! If we’re going to effectively reduce the rate of abortions in this country, I strongly believe that we’re going to have to have a population that uses contraceptives more and is safer about sex. And PP provides a lot of those services, for women and for men, too. So even though they may get hassled for the abortions they provide, in the end it would possibly be counter-productive in the quest to reduce abortions to defund them.


I was re-reading this post and found that I missed or skimmed over some things that I think are more important than I gave them credit for. I’m just going to use this space to add a few more paragraphs of stuff so that I don’t have this incomplete feeling inside.

First one is on the point that I made under the abortion section about involuntary conception not reducing the value of human life (rape exceptions). I meant to add more about that in a later section but never did. I think the reason that abortions in cases of rape are more excusable are a few; first, an unwanted pregnancy being added to a woman when she has already been subjected to a traumatic and damaging event is compounding the way her life is affected. It doesn’t mean that the fetus’ life is any less valuable, but I still think it increases the importance of the woman having autonomy over her own body, considering her autonomy was stripped away in the act that conceived the child. I just wanted to add this part because I feel like I sort of underplayed the importance of issues like these, and where the mother’s life may be in danger or when the fetus has complications.

Second one I wanted to add was a kind of random argument about abortion/planned parenthood that I forgot to fit in anywhere before, and doesn’t really relate to the morality or planned parenthood but is just sort of a pet peeve of mine. And that is the argument that I’ve often seen that men shouldn’t be legislating women’s bodies. This usually goes like, “Oh, look at all these old white men telling women what they can do,” and to me makes no sense. First off, if we are arguing over whether or not abortion is murder, men have just as much say in preventing a murder from occurring. Obviously they do not have the concern of being pregnant ourselves. But it still is completely unfair to say “this doesn’t affect you,” when clearly, if abortion is murder, it should affect everyone. That’s like saying if a single mom kills her own child, men shouldn’t be able to say anything about it. I mean, not exactly. But it’s close enough.

But I actually have another argument to add to that point as well. When people accuse male elected officials of doing this, they are really subverting the entire process of a representative democracy. The congresspeople are obligated to represent their constituencies. As much as people like to give shit to men for being anti-abortion, it turns out women are in many areas more opposed to abortion than men.
Statistically more women call themselves pro-choice than men and more men call themselves pro-life than women. But when you get down to the specifics, women tend to take more extreme sides (legal in all cases, illegal in all cases) on issues like abortion than do men, who tend to take less radical stances (probably because men are less directly affected by the consequences of it). People love to advocate that men are waging a war on women, but protecting the unborn is something that is extremely important to many women. Considering that women voters make up a very large portion of the constituencies that get these politicians elected, if they weren’t acting in accordance with the female voters’ interests then they would likely not be elected. Saying that male representatives shouldn’t have a say over this is also saying that all the women who elected those male representatives shouldn’t have a say in it. And I don’t get that logic in the first place – it’s not as if we require our congresspeople to be somehow involved in every issue that they legislate over. That would be impossible, and trying to apply that principle ONLY in the case of abortion just seems dishonest.

Abortion and Planned Parenthood defunding!

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I have decided to start up this blog so that I have somewhere to throw out the wordvomit that comes into my head all the time, particularly when I am trying to go to sleep. I’m just gonna be posting about whatever I think about. If y’all find things you disagree with or think are just straight up wrong, it’s a great place to leave a comment. I don’t care if you’re anonymous or not, and I don’t care if you use swear words or accuse me of things.

I hope to present some of my ideas in an enjoyable to read format, but sometimes I just type up a bunch of stuff and don’t want to really mess with it. Kind of like a video blog or something, like I’m just talking. So in that same vein, you’re going to be seeing my opinions and what I think about things, and different posts will have different levels of supporting material or fact-checking. So take things with a jar of salt if you do stick around to read things.

I will be aggressive and post offensive stuff depending on what you view. And I also want to be clear that I will sometimes speak disdainfully of large sections of people based off of ideology or some viewpoint or other, but it’s usually an exaggeration and if you place yourself in one of those sections I don’t mean to misrepresent you or imply that I hate you. In reality, I don’t hate most people. A lot of people that I love very much I have stark disagreements with (most – I do not agree with very many people about very many things).

So like yeah and stuff. I might eventually start up a video blog because that way I can express my ideas better, since sometimes I can’t figure out how to write things in a way that adequately expresses what I’m feeling and sometimes I just have too much to say but don’t think anyone wants to scroll through a giant wall of text. Unfortunately, I have convinced myself that only terrible people vlog. Once I can overcome this irrational fear of looking like an asshole maybe I’ll do it. (For those of you that actually vlog, I don’t think you’re terrible! I admire your courage!)

Edit to add: Hey I forgot to actually explain what kind of things I might talk about. This blog will definitely be about politics and social movements and religion and stuff a lot, but I also probably will use it to talk about other things sometimes that I feel might be interesting.

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