Friday, February 6, 2015

On Feminism, Power, And Groups, Yet Again

Milo Yiannopoulos's article at Breitbart about the dustup inside the Science Fiction Writers of America, stimulated by Larry Correia's “Sad Puppies” campaign to excite debate over the ascendancy of brutally enforced “political correctness” within that organization, has reminded me of a few things I wrote some time ago.

First, here's a snippet from a column about a year and a half old:

One of the intrinsic differences between the sexes is that between men's and women's interest in power over others....

The female psyche is oriented toward collective decision-making. All those nights squatting around Cro-Magnon campfires complaining about their mates' ingratitude and the impossibility of keeping a neat cave when Ug simply refuses to put his antelope femur away at the end of the day have left an indelible legacy. There are female individualists, of course, but they tend to be a minority, and are generally shunned by their more collectivist sisters. She who thinks sitting around and kvetching about the menfolk is a waste of time cannot fail to let the attitude show, and so will be made unwelcome in the larger circle.

Collectivism -- the assumption that "we" trumps "I" -- is indispensable to power politics.

Women who seek power will naturally attempt first to gain consensus support from other women. It's a female politician's fundamental "constituency." Within explicitly political women's groups, you will find few consensuses that are not near to absolute, for women are also naturally inclined toward the sort of emotional manipulation -- indeed, emotional brutality -- that's on display toward Malzberg and Resnick.

Even women who don't seek power for themselves are passionate about power for women, which of course translates to women's power over men; they see it as the one and only way to "straighten out" the rest of us. Thus, when a sister begins to "climb the ladder," they will rally behind her to an overwhelming degree, hoping that she will acquire the stature needed to beat some sense into our thick male skulls. The suggestion that this is more likely than not to evoke an adverse reaction tends to upset them; most women will dismiss it without giving it any thought. (Cf. women's reactions to Helen Smith's recent book Men on Strike.)

Then came this piece, which I posted last May:

Until the Left manages to seize totalitarian control of these United States, such "forbidding" will consist of the sort of vituperation and vilification the linked article exemplifies. The intent is clear enough: those who dare to offend against some Leftist mascot-group's grievances must be intimidated into abject apology and subsequent silence. The only voices permitted are those that are in perfect accord with the Left.

And finally, consider these thoughts, from last September:

I wrote, some time ago and in another context, that being a "joiner" is hazardous to one's health. Oftentimes, "joiners" are hazardous to others' health -- yours and mine -- as well. Regard the "joiners" of whom I speak in the above, and shudder.

That third piece was elicited by my ire at the Left's unceasing attempts to wrest Americans' privately owned firearms away from us. The most important components of the force pressing for citizen disarmament are groups that, if they aren't overtly feminist, are nevertheless dominated by women.

Has it ever been more obvious what the ruling ideology of the Left must be?

    Retief stood up. "I'm taking a few weeks off...if you have no objections, Mr. Ambassador. My pal Whonk wants to show me an island down south where the fishing is good."
    "But there are some extremely important matters coming up," Magnan said. "We're planning to sponsor Senior Citizen Groups."
    "Count me out. Groups give me an itch."
    "Why, what an astonishing remark, Retief. After all, we diplomats are ourselves a group."
    "Uh-huh," Retief said. "That's what I mean."
    Magnan sat quietly, his mouth open, and watched as Retief stepped into the hall and closed the door gently behind him.

[From a Keith Laumer story whose name I've mislaid.]

Bodies that practice collective decision making excite those who seek power: they target such bodies for infiltration and takeover. That's what happened to SFWA. It's also what's happened to both major political parties and quite a few less well known organizations.

The link between the female tendency toward collective decision-making and the power-seeking characteristic of the Left could not be more obvious. It drives some of the most outrageous behavior visible today. Consider, if you will, the execrable campaign by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to defame Columbia University student Paul Nungesser over a rape accusation, for which he's already been cleared twice. Is it not clear that Gillibrand would never have considered doing such a thing were the "rape culture" not a common theme among young American women? Is a motive other than the advancement of Gillibrand's power and prestige at the expense of an innocent young student even possible?

The problem is insoluble in the context of organized groups. Friedrich Hayek told us why in The Road To Serfdom, in the chapter "Why The Worst Get On Top." Given enough time, an organization with a defined membership and a defined decision-making process will always come under the hands of those who seek power above all else, regardless of that organization's supposed reason for existing. The dynamic is unopposed by an equal or more powerful dynamic; therefore, it will always "go to completion."

There is no escape except forgoing membership in any and all such groups. But therein lies the perfect countermeasure, as I wrote in the second of the articles cited above:

There's a form of Gresham's Law that functions here: A group that equally values its most civilized members and its most vitriolic members will soon possess a preponderance of the latter. The good, self-respecting members will disdain to remain among persons who hurl insults and epithets at them, leaving the group populated by only the insult-hurlers, plus a smattering of generally decent persons with inadequate self-respect.

The progression won't stop there. Such a group, now dominated by "the worst of the worst," will gradually fail to return an adequate "profit" -- in money, volunteer labor, prestige, fellowship, or anything else one might value -- to its members, most especially those who've taken control of it. The typical response to such enervation is for the leaders to strive to whip up the enthusiasm of the group by artificial means; i.e., to "keep the hate alive."...

So it is with the SFWA viragoes. Whatever success they have in "cleansing" SFWA will prove self-defeating. If they persist, it will degenerate to a backwater, an occupationally-oriented sewing circle of gender-war-feminist self-and-mutual-congratulation that bears no relevance to science fiction, its quality, or its popularity. But that's all secondary to the core mission of keeping the hate alive.

In particular, if feminism and the humorlessness, aggressiveness, and habitual vituperation of feminists sours your stomach, this is the antacid. It cannot be said too often:

Don't Be A Joiner!

Just don't.


igor said...

I *LOVE* Retief!

But I am befuddled beyond all recognition that you can write an extended quote (I refuse to believe that you wrote that from memory) and not know which which story it came.

By the way: I really am a robot.

Maletrope said...

Completely off-topic, I have to say it's been a long time since I've heard Keith Laumer referenced in any context. I think he was an under-rated writer; though he wasn't usually very deep, he was always entertaining.

I think A Trace of Memory was his most interesting (but I first read it when I was in the fifth grade, so I suppose my age might have prejudiced my opinion).

CGHill said...

Now I get to wonder which of the four groups to whom I pay dues will be the most likely to suffer virago subversion. I'm guessing it's probably not the NRA.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Retief quote is from "Aide Memoire" and possibly included in the Retief! collection.