Our values today are being driven not by morality, rationality or philosophy but by the harsh, crude and bitter outpourings of petulant and snarling individuals.
In her 1990 novel Mercy, Andrea Dworkin’s protagonist says: “I’ve always wanted to see a man beaten to a shit bloody pulp with a high-heeled shoe stuffed up his mouth, sort of the pig with the apple; it would be good to put him on a serving plate but you’d need good silver”. She had the decency to put the words into the mouth a fictional character. Today’s progressives don’t need to distance themselves from their hatreds. Vogue columnist Emily Lindin recently tweeted: “I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual/harassment allegations”, adding in a later tweet “if some innocent men’s reputations have to take a hit in the process of undoing the patriarchy, that is a price I am absolutely willing to pay”. Note the claim to victimhood here – absurdly, she thinks she is the one paying the price.
The title of a HuffPost blog from 2012: No country for Old White Men can now be seen on placards carried by young white women in rallies across the West. Old white man has become one of the most dehumanising insults of our time (https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/12/white-men-dehumanising-insult-times/). Any attempts at even pointing this out is “the primal scream of the straight white male”. (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/02/identity-politics-donald-trump-white-men). Old white men deny climate change; ;https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/22/climate-deniers-protect-status-quo-that-made-them-rich; should be excluded from political gatherings https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/12/young-labour-bame-lgbt-disabled-women-equal-parliament; and if a white man disappears in the jungles of Papua new Guinea, he deserves what he gets for his “meaningless, problematic explorations” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/17/benedict-allen-explorer-racist-british-colonial
I am not particularly old (this side of 60) and certainly not white. I observe with amused detachment the bitter hatred of some women, often white, against old, straight, white men and I wonder: how can one explain this? The glib answer of course is that old white men have power and hence are legitimate recipients of the hatred of those they have oppressed. However, the very same man haters remind us that bad people, including the beheaders and rapists from the ISIS, should be treated humanely and deserve equality before the law https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/15/de-radicalise-isis-reurnees-humanity-syria-bond-movie-bad-guys. How did ISIS fighters become deserving of moral consideration but innocent White men are fair game?
Surely these women, especially white women, must have had some contact with decent, kind, loving, affectionate, fair, non-oppressive, non-violent, non-rapist white men. Were they never read a bedtime story by a soothing and doting father? Were they never given a Christmas hug and gift by a gentle grandfather? Have they never experienced the affectionate embrace of a brother? Have they never been intimate with a white lover, soft and warm, gentle and tender? Have they never made friends with disciplined, restrained, compassionate, and benign white males, or known them as work colleagues? Surely they must know some men who treat women as equals? Surely this wholescale vitriol and opprobrium should not be heaped upon some human beings simply for having the Y chromosome and a lack of skin melanin.
Perhaps they haven’t experienced such moments. Perhaps their opinions stem from the deep psychopathology of the abused. Deprived in their own lives of male love and kindness, reports of male abuse unleashes rage and anguish in them, flashbacks of their own tragedies and deprivations. When they see a father tenderly holding his daughter’s hand in the park, or a young man devotedly looking at his girl-friend in a bar, they don’t see a norm; they either choose not to see it or they convince themselves that within that father and lover lurks a beast, currently hidden but lurking nonetheless, waiting for a moment to strike, oppress and victimise.
Or perhaps these women know that they are wrong in their blanket condemnations of men. But the attraction of indulging in orgies of sanctimony is far too powerful to allow morality to get in the way. They know that their own fathers, brothers, lovers and friends are not the men they portray all men to be, but, like the crowds attending the public burning of witches, the impulse to be the loudest cheerer in the crowd is irresistible.
There is a third explanation. Perhaps they simply haven’t thought through the logical outcome of their hateful outpourings. They are stupid. Not psychologically damaged, not wilfully blind, but simply daft. And no one around them can point out their stupidity.
Aristotle said: what society values become the values of that society. Our values today are being driven not by morality, rationality or philosophy but by the harsh, crude and bitter outpourings of petulant and snarling individuals, too disfigured by their own psychological deprivations, too lazy to self-reflect, or too dim to be able to self-reflect. It doesn’t augur well.