Saturday, June 14, 2014

A practical lesson in what you, the conservative, are up against.

Are you socially conservative? Economically conservative? Hell, just conservative in general?

Then listen up. I have something to show you. Something truly educational and eye-opening, if a bit disheartening. I'm going to show you just what sort of people you're dealing with intellectually when you stand in opposition to progressive groupthink.

First, read George Will's column, posted Jun 6, about sexual assault on campus.

Take it in. Read it from top to bottom. Check his figures. Note what he's saying.

Immediately afterwards, browse the comments section. Prepare to have your eyes opened, if they weren't already.

I want to stress here: the lesson here is not that Will said something that got a whole lot of people angry. The mere presence of anger is not the point. Instead, I want you to notice how many times you notice George Will is accused of saying something ("He said that women want to get raped because it grants them high status!") that in no way reflects what he actually wrote in his column.

Also note those few times someone speaks up to correct someone's misconception, and not a single person who was attacking him is convinced.

Just... take it in. Realize what you're dealing with here. Watch as people rage incoherently against Will for things he not only didn't say, but which you actually have to work incredibly hard to delude yourself into mistakenly believing he said.

And then ask yourself... how do you deal with these people? What would change their minds?

If you have insights, please share in a comment.

33 comments:

Acatus Bensley said...

I didn't read it. It would have reminded me that intellectually stimulating discussion is starting to wane. Of course Crude you should be made aware that some progressives deliberately take statements out of context in order garner support for an agenda simply because it's easier to do so. For example I've witnessed one progressive try to claim that having a limited pool of job opportunities made him a slave to people who didn't pay him enough. Essentially he was claiming that him not being able to seek better jobs was a form of oppression that should be circumvented by means governmental force. Of course this fellow was well aware of the fact that this wasn't legitimate oppression. It was an example of the semantic gymnastics progressives perform to create talking points. Maybe this shenanigans is the same thing.

Crude said...

Of course Crude you should be made aware that some progressives deliberately take statements out of context in order garner support for an agenda simply because it's easier to do so.

Oh, I know. But it's just so widespread. How do you deal with these people, that is my question. I believe they come in different varieties, but 'how to deal with them' is central to me here.

Acatus Bensley said...

I don't think a white person can do it. That just gives them more ammo to do stuff like this. They'd never do it to a minority. They couldn't get away with it. They'd have to absorb the message or otherwise fall prey to the ridiculous accusations of racism from their own ilk. You know they put people they perceive as victims on an unearned pedestal. So if a victim criticizes another victim then it's it'll probably be viewed as just that criticism. Where as if a white person did the exact that then it'll result in the aforementioned reactions. Of course progressives have a way around that as well. They can just accuse the minority of being an Uncle Tom. That angers me to no end because it's usually white progressives doing that, but it exempts them from having real arguments.

I hate to bring race into this, but it's true white conservatives are an easy target. However guys like Thomas Sowell are damn near impenetrable because they're brown and just beyond the intellectual capabilities of progressives. Basically what I'm trying to say is it would take the lowest common denominator to really have discussions with progressives. Progressives have socially engineered people to view any white, male, and God believing person as the antagonist. It's a tactic catered to the feebleminded that's rapidly growing ineffective.

Tarun Menon said...

Yeah, many of those comments grossly misrepresent Will's point. Unfortunately, Will's article also grossly misrepresents the data.

Here's a useful corrective to Will's misuse of statistics. I encourage you to read it. Turns out that if you approach the statistics more responsibly the 20% number appears quite plausible.

Crude said...

Tarun,

Sadly, the article you refer to only exacerbates the problem. Let's put aside their use of statistics for now and their critical thinking, and have a look at a few choice quotes:

Therefore, the 20% statistic is far too high, thus women must be lying about assault.

He didn’t research the source of the data or determine if they were compatible, and instead, he willfully tried to minimize the assaults that 1 in 5 college women say they have personally experienced (which, for the record, comes from several. different. studies.). He looked for a loophole, rather than applying critical thinking.

Let's use some of our own critical thinking with regards to Christie Wilcox. How does she get 'willfully tried to minimize the results' and 'looked for a loophole' from Will's view? Say, for the sake of argument, that Will was completely wrong with his use of statistics.

That. Doesn't. Show. What. Christie. Insists.

I suppose I should call her 'Christie-Wistie' while I'm at it, since George Will becomes 'Willy' in the twit's blog entry. But the point remains: Will is being savaged, and consistently savaged, for things that have absolutely, positively nothing to do with what he wrote. And the irony is that Christie there is guilty of the same exact problem.

How are people like this to be dealt with? How?

Crude said...

Oh, and by the way - you really should have a look at the comments of that article and follow the thread jugheadnaut takes part in, if you're interested in the actual statistical side of this argument. For now, that's being put aside - George Will is being accused of things like 'HE THINKS WOMEN WANTS TO BE RAPED SO THEY CAN GET HIGH STATUS', which is absolutely fucking deluded, and yet which happens a tremendous amount in these comment threads.

Crude said...

Acatus,

I get what you mean, but I think that depends on the white person. And I think it's also situational - race presumably wouldn't and shouldn't come up in, say, the sort of dialogue Will is dealing with.

The Fez said...

What other group of people fly into raving, white-foam-around-the-mouth, exasperated rants after maliciously bending reality to their infantile will.

Lunatics.

They belong in lunatic asylums.

As you say, they are either compulsive liars who cannot and will not treat the given subject matter in a fair way (which is disordered), or they are literally deluded, and subsequently unable to process reality objectively (also disordered).

The unfortunate reality, if you are correct, is that some of these people may very well require psychological assistance in a place where they can eat jello with a plastic spork.

Crude said...

Fez,

I'm tempted to agree, except then we have another problem.

They seem numerous. The proportion of commenters in that Will thread who are doing what I'm talking about is not small.

Granted, not exactly a scientific sample. Is it just that ranting lunatics seem more numerous online? And keep in mind, they managed to provoke a response from multiple Senators to denounce Will (and denounce him regarding his 'ancient' views, etc - which means who knows what in this case.)

Something just isn't adding up here.

Acatus Bensley said...

Shouldn't, but you best believe they'll find some way to bring race into it. Somehow they always manage to no matter how irrelevant it is to the topic.

Acatus Bensley said...

This is why I didn't read it. It would have certainly angered me. I've seen progressives get angry about perceived injustices on numerous occasions. What angers me is that I believe they're doing it deliberately because it's just easier to get what they want without reasonable discussion. It's like they know what Will is talking about, but just choose to look at this from the wrong perspective to get some response from politicians or the media.

The Fez said...

Numerous relative to what, though? Good natured, sensible people on the internet?

You may be familiar with it, but there's an informal sociological theory called 'The Greater Internet-Dickwad Theory'. Essentially, granting anonymity, unlimited access to a vast social network, and a complete lack of actual consequences, people will tend to behave like genuine dickholes.

To the extent that this is a serious appraisal of anything, there is truth in the notion that the internet can effectively transform people (monstrously). Indeed, I would say that there are currently emerging, and unrecognized, psychological disorders that stem from the dissociative nature of continuous internet usage. Could that account for why such a seemingly large number of people seem unhinged on the internet message boards? I tend to think so.

Furthermore, there is something to be said about the particular ecosystems in which these comments are being made. Everybody knows the Washington Post is a liberal rag. Looney-toon liberals, the small number that there are, can use the comment section as an impromptu haven for their insufferable bullshit. That may explain why their numbers appear so inflated. Try Breitbart or National Review Online for the polar opposite.

The reality is, though, that this behavior is disordered. Unambiguously. Regardless of how ubiquitous the behavior seems, or how many of them it appears to be, it's still symptomatic of psychological impairment. Of course, that only makes all of this even more terrifying in its implications.

Crude said...

Fez,

Assholes, I'd expect. The problem is I'm seeing something else here. If they said 'George Will's stats are wrong, he's a fucking shithead' and all, well, yeah - that's some cocky, assholish behavior. But I'd shrug my shoulders at that. If their responses were to fire back mangled statistics of their own, or word of mouth.. okay, that's poor reasoning, but it's also a dime a dozen mistake when dealing with people. People are stupid.

But I'm not seeing mere assholery or poor reasoning here. I'm seeing a kind of mental jumping-through-hoops that to me either indicates out and out delusion, or surprisingly widespread and intentional lying about what Will wrote. And I'm not even sure which of the two is worse. 'George Will said that women like to be raped because it gives them power' is just insanity. Again, assume he's wrong about all his stats - there is no way to easily extract that from what he wrote. Maybe no one is reading the article and is instead showing up there in response to someone elsewhere intentionally misrepresenting it, which I suppose is possible.

You say they are small in number, but you know, I don't think a small number of lunatic liberals could prompt multiple senators to respond in condemnation of Will. Or could they?

The Fez said...

There are a couple of questions to be answered, then. Who are these Senators in particular? Secondly, is there anything necessarily incoherent about a potentially large number of people being both liberal and mentally deranged?

Concerning politicians, it is currently advantageous, given that whole 'war on women' thing, to appear absolutely submissive to the conventional liberal narrative concerning the treatment of women. It has a whole lot less to do with Will than it does with general public image. Most people won't take the time to figure out what Will is about. People are, however, generally in favor of women not getting raped, and the fallout from this editorial shall not ere well in Will's favor (probably). I would tend to see it as Politicians just hedging their bets.

Of course, you can't discount the possibility that a senator can be, just as their constituency, completely deranged.

I haven't delved too deep into the comments section at 'The Post', but it seems highly reminiscent of any other liberal backwater where group-think is common. I see a lot of sad people posting comments on a dying editorial.

Let me just put it this way. If they really are insane in the membrane, then there's not too much reason to give them any serious intellectual attention (and you probably know that). I mean, there was a guy on there that thinks Conservatives in the United States are kissing cousins with the Taliban. How do you deal with a person like that? How do you deal with that homeless guy on the street screaming about the coming alien invasion?

Crude said...

Actually, that's where I keep tripping up. You say not to give them serious intellectual attention and that they're insane. Okay. But I can't resist asking 'How did this happen?' and 'How to reverse it?'

Not to mention, I'm not sure they're all insane. Maybe this is active, intentional deception and misrepresentation. But then how to cure THAT.

Maybe it's a lost cause, but I like lost causes.

Mr. Green said...

Crude: And then ask yourself... how do you deal with these people? What would change their minds?

Prayer. (And if you know them personally, by all means try reasoning with them; but by definition we're dealing with people who aren't so good with logic, and without a friendship to give you a foothold, I don't see a lot of hope.)

But I can't resist asking 'How did this happen?' and 'How to reverse it?'

First we have to establish that it happened. I mean, obviously something happened at some point, but haven't people always been like this? It happened because Adam and Even screwed up, and mankind has been paying for it ever since. Sin makes you stupid. So perhaps the answer is simply that before the Internet, you just couldn't see this stupidity expressed on this scale. (There are all sorts of ramifications of this, of course: as a surrounding ocean regulates the climate on land, so the surrounding community moderates individuals' ideas; non-local communication now allows groups to band together that would have previously been drowned out, and so on.)

And we live in the age of advertising. People were never that good at being rational, but now there is less motivation — or just less awareness — that it should even be attempted. We're all sophists now. Or something like that. Which I guess brings us back to prayer.

Crude said...

Green,

Even if people have always been so inclined this way, they have to be getting put into the mindsets they have - having the specific opinions they have - some way, somehow, somewhere.

HyperEntity111 said...

Here are some things Will in fact wrote.

"They are learning that when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous...and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate. "

"Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses — by making everyone hypersensitive, even delusional, about victimizations — brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state that progressivism celebrates."

So he is saying here that a) colleges are promoting policies that cause hypersensitivity and make victimhood a coveted status b) this causes 'victims' to proliferate.

For something to be coveted people must desire it. So he is saying that people in these universities (mostly women of course) are yearning for the 'status' of rape victim.

He is also saying that these policies cause this mind set which in turn causes victims to proliferate ( in the first quoted paragraph). Of course the overwhelming majority of these reports come from women. So this cash out to "Many women are reporting rape because they covet the status of rape victim and the privileges it brings".

You appear to arguing that because the sentence "women want to get raped because it grants them high status!" does not occur in the article it follows that anyone who attributes this view Will must be lying or insane.

But there's this thing called implicature-people can imply things without saying then explicitly! Yes, this sentence did not occur explicitly in the article. It may not even be what Will himself believes. But to pretend that this is an outlandish reading of the sentences Will in fact wrote is truly bizarre.

Crude said...

Hyper,

You appear to arguing that because the sentence "women want to get raped because it grants them high status!" does not occur in the article it follows that anyone who attributes this view Will must be lying or insane.

No, I appear to be arguing that there is no sensible way to argue that Will said or implied that women want to be raped because of the status it brings. I am not playing some weird technicality game here where it's clear that Will implied this, but because he didn't explicitly say it he gets off on the charge. He didn't even imply it. And yes, to think otherwise is insane. Mental. A person has to be unhinged or spinning like the most crooked of politicians to think otherwise.

There's a tremendously straightforward and reasonable reading of Will's words regarding the coveted status of victims: some people will present themselves, even view themselves as victims, even if they really are not in any reasonable sense. What you're missing is that 'having the status of victim' and 'actually being a victim in a reasonable sense' are not the same thing - you can have the former while not truly being the latter.

I'm not saying this is just a possible reading of Will: I'm saying it's the mind-numbingly obvious reading.

In fact, the reaction to Will actually helps to underscore his point. Some people despise George Will for his political views - they would like him to be censored. One way to censor someone is to scream 'he offended this group!' So the status of 'being offended' is potentially quite a desirable thing - if it's easy to technically attain, if it can yield desirable results, then some people will naturally claim offense even if there is no offense, or even if the offense is meager. If you turn around and say 'Crude is saying that I WANT to wake up screaming in the middle of the night, crying and shaking because I was triggered by something George Will said', you're out of your goddamn mind. I didn't say it. No, I didn't even imply it. And all that's required to recognize as much is sanity.

But, as other commenters are arguing here - perhaps sanity is in shorter supply than I realized.

malcolmthecynic said...

The thing is, people who write on blogs like these are the exceptions. WE are the exceptions, if I may be permitted to be arrogant for a moment. Most people I know don't really care much about politics or even social justice. They'll have done the minimal thought required to form an opinion, then latch on to people who seem like they agree with it and unthinkingly attack those who oppose their view.

So we get George Will. Shallow liberal thinkers read and see that George Will does NOT, in fact, think college campuses are the most horrifying places on the planet. So, he must be wrong in some way, and because the issue is a controversial one like rape (and, sad to say, women) that means that if he's wrong he HAS to be an awful person.

And so we have the really radical ones who come out and say why they think Will is a horrible person. This generally involves, as you've observed, a reading that requires a complete perversion of what he wrote to fit their narrative, but there you go. Whatever it takes.

And the other people who have paid lip service to liberalism see the more radical, louder ones saying this and all chime in with agreement, because that's what good people do.

I don't like using the phrase "sheeple" or calling people "sheep", because people are more complex than that, but there's certainly a herd mentality going on here.

Crude said...

Malcolm,

Hey there. First off, prayers with you regarding the priesthood consideration.

Second... see, I get that. I really do! I understand most people don't know, don't care. I understand even that the people who blog are the exceptions. Perhaps what I am struggling with here are lingering views that most people, when you get right down to it, are quite reasonable. Strange to hear coming from me, but I believe it. Or I try to anyway.

But alright. Let's say I grant that these people are nuts. Unhinged. That there is a pattern present, the perpetuation of the tyranny of the aggrieved. Okay, some people are nuts, or malicious - granted as well. Then I'm stuck wondering what to do next: how to get through to them anyway. Sometimes, it's just not worth the effort, I understand. I deal with this with the Cult of Gnu a lot - some people are forever fighting against Christianity, evidence be damned, and some of them may be fighting against the ghosts of their abusive Christian father or the ghosts of retroactive shame at having been a young earther or who knows what.

Still, I want to learn from these, and see if there is a way to deal with it. See if there's a way to get someone who is wrapped up in this to have a kind of... you ever see The Stand? There's a point at the end where some people in the mob have a moment of clarity and start asking themselves, wait a second here, just what the hell are we doing anyway? I'm wondering if that's possible. I'm wondering what triggers this kind of swarm to begin with. Call it an investigation into the human sciences, as amateur as it is being done on a blog. That's why I say, okay, look at what we're dealing with here - now what? How do we analyze this, what do we do when we realize that this is what we're dealing with? It's not a question I ask to set up an answer I already have. I'm really asking, because this puzzles me in a lot of ways.

Do they come in varieties? Do they originate from common sources? What cues do they respond to? Does something ever trip them up? I've already noticed that they need - NEED - a group to pull this off, there has to be people to the left and right of them raging along.

Something to ponder, I suppose. In the meantime, the reactions are just amazing to watch. It's like being granted access to an insane asylum from the safety of the internet.

HyperEntity111 said...

Crude: "I'm not saying this is just a possible reading of Will: I'm saying it's the mind-numbingly obvious reading."

No it isn't. Will can be read as saying either "X covets the status of being a victim" or "X covets victimhood and its privileges". The former says that the status (in the sense of 'social standing') of victim is what is being coveted. The latter says that the state of being an actual victim is a desirable status (in the sense of 'state' or 'situation') because it confers privilege.

Both readings are plausible and neither is mutually exclusive. What George actually thinks is irrelevant. The point here is that there plausible readings of what George wrote other than your own. If this is unclear to you it's probably because your political views make you more inclined to read this kind of thing as charitably as possible.

I also think you're not giving an entirely accurate representation of the backlash against George. It's not just that people think 'he said women want rape for privilege'. It's also that many people agree with your interpretation of him and find it depraved. George seems to be saying a) the number of sexual assaults on universities is heavily overestimated b) those that we can verify are still inflated by women who aren't 'real' victims because they are i) hypersensitive lefties and/or ii) reporting sexual assault for victim privilege c) examples of not being a real victim include saying no and having someone fuck you anyway d) it is 'capacious' to classify non consensual sexual touching as sexual assault...and much more besides. In short, there's a lot of stuff in there that's going to offend people.

Crude said...

Hyper,

Will can be read as saying either "X covets the status of being a victim" or "X covets victimhood and its privileges". The former says that the status (in the sense of 'social standing') of victim is what is being coveted. The latter says that the state of being an actual victim is a desirable status (in the sense of 'state' or 'situation') because it confers privilege.

No, Will can't. Not in any reasonable way, since the status of victimhood is exactly what confers the privileges Will is talking about, and Will makes as much clear. He nowhere says - nor implies - that 'getting raped' is desirable. Nowhere. He didn't do it in the portions you quote, he didn't do it anywhere in his article or the response.

The point here is that there plausible readings of what George wrote other than your own.

No, there's really not. There is no possible way that 'George says that being raped is a GOOD thing and them girls are just asking for it because they want it!' is within the ballpark of a reasonable explanation, especially compared to the alternative. At best it's a logically possible reading, in the same way that it's also logically possible to read Will's column as a short piece on the history of baseball.

If this is unclear to you it's probably because your political views make you more inclined to

Perhaps you should consider that I'm correct here, and it's your own political views that make you inclined to bend over backwards to defend uncut insanity from people you politically favor - particularly when it seems like the insane aren't a loud but unfortunate minority, but quite possibly the majority in your camp.

I also think you're not giving an entirely accurate representation of the backlash against George.

I'm not trying to, because I'm focusing on one particularly strong strand of that backlash: people creating the craziest interpretations of what he said and raging against him due to that. As I told Tarun - say for the sake of argument that Will's numbers are wrong. Fantastic. You STILL are left with a tremendous number of people raging against him furiously for things he didn't say or imply. Oh, and let's not forget MSNBC saying that George Will basically 're-raped all the raped women' for writing what he did, which was enthusiastically agreed to.

examples of not being a real victim include saying no and having someone fuck you anyway

No, the example as described was a woman who said no once to a guy sleeping in the same bed as her, was asked again, and - to her recently ex-boyfriend - deciding that she was tired and didn't feel like arguing, so she said nothing while he had sex with her.

In short, there's a lot of stuff in there that's going to offend people.

People who are grievously offended by calm, reasoned questioning and counterarguments deserve to be offended every moment of their day. That is the point at which the person committing a wrong is the person being offended - society should demand they not have that reaction, and drop all the baggage that comes with it.

Mr. Green said...

if people have always been so inclined this way, they have to be getting put into the mindsets they have - having the specific opinions they have - some way, somehow, somewhere.

Well, I think the overall explanation is pretty simple: I blame Hollywood. (TV probably has the biggest single impact, but of course I'm using "Hollywood" as a stand-in for media influence in general. Throw in some wacky university professors too.) To be fair, it's not even just about people's being stupid or nasty — though it helps — because most people are not in a position to think everything through from first principles themselves. Society inevitably shapes our ideas, but society is no longer the community around you — the artificial community piped in via TV (etc.) has a disproportional effect. Then provide a forum for people who are especially unreflective and petty-minded and this is what you get.

HyperEntity111 said...

Crude: "No, Will can't. Not in any reasonable way, since the status of victimhood is exactly what confers the privileges Will is talking about, and Will makes as much clear."

If the status of victim is coveted and as a consequence victims have increased this can easily be read as implying that women deliberately become victims in order to claim victim status. This is consistent with reading Will as also asserting that a massive percentage of 'victims' are simply imagining things or lying (of course, both readings are going to provoke outrage). So I'm still puzzled as to why you think the former is insane or that the latter excludes the former.

"No, the example as described was a woman who said no once to a guy sleeping in the same bed as her, was asked again..."

Where does it say he asked again?

Crude said...

Hyper,

If the status of victim is coveted and as a consequence victims have increased this can easily be read as implying that women deliberately become victims in order to claim victim status.

No, it can't. Rather, it can't by anyone with an ounce of sense and honesty animating them.

Let's get down to the brass tacks: a woman is walking home from school. Three large men grab her and pull her into an alley. When she tries to scream, they smash her in the face with their fists and scream, "Shut the fuck up you CUNT!" They gang-rape her over the next hour.

You think it's a reasonable interpretation - quite easy and straightforward, in fact - to take George Will as implying that this woman is thinking, 'Oh wow! This is great! I get to be a victim!'?

Seriously?

This is consistent with reading Will as also asserting that a massive percentage of 'victims' are simply imagining things or lying

'Massive percentage' != 'Some'. Nor is it a case of 'imagining things or lying'. What's operative here is that Will thinks the definition of sexual assault (which in some cases includes 'being called a sexually derogatory name') is so broad that people will present themselves as victims even if, on rational analysis, they hardly qualify.

Where does it say he asked again?

"And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything — I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. "

Just so we're clear here: you believe Will was clearly implying that women want to be raped. But you don't believe implied querying for consent - or even implied consent - is present anywhere in that example?

HyperEntity111 said...

Crude

I think we should distinguish a) the psychological question of how rape victims feel after being raped from b) the semantic question of what reasonable interpretations can be gleaned from the sentences Will wrote. Both questions should be distinguished from the question of what George Will actually believes.

I agree that regarding a) it is psychologically implausible to suppose that this would be the reaction of someone immediately after being raped. But that isn't the point-the point under discussion is b).

Will can be reasonably read as claiming that a) victimhood is coveted b) victimhood is a status that confers privilege c) this has resulted in the proliferation of victims.

If victimhood is a coveted status that confers privilege then it follows that actual known victims have privilege and desire their victim status. If this is combined with the claim that victims proliferate out of a desire to appear victims then this can easily be seen as implying that actual victims deliberately become victims to claim victim privilege.

Clearly, this is not the only reading of what Will wrote. But it is neither indicative of evil intent nor indicative of mental illness nor akin to taking Will's essay to be a commentary on baseball.

Of course, the view that women want to be raped is psychologically implausible. But that isn't the issue. Nor is the issue what Will actually believes-even if this is not what Will believes it doesn't change the fact that we can infer this from the meaning of the sentences he wrote. At best you could argue that it's an uncharitable reading of Will.


"But you don't believe implied querying for consent - or even implied consent - is present anywhere in that example?"

Silence and not putting up a fight are not consent. Perhaps in some circumstances consent can be inferred from someone's behaviour even if it is not explicitly stated (though it's always best to ask IMO). I don't see that in this case.

As I read it, he started taking off her clothes and she said no. Then a few minutes later he took her clothes off anyway and had sex with her. I take it this satisfies the legal definition of rape. I think that a person who would fuck someone's silent motionless body after being told 'No I do not want to have sex with you' is probably a threat to women.

Some final comments:


Admittedly these questions are not entirely unconnected. After all, if one is aware that Will thinks such claims are psychologically implausible then it becomes dishonest to take him to be arguing this. But I have no reason to think that most people attacking Will believe that he thinks this.

You might think the question of psychological plausibility should guide the semantic investigation since the principle of charity dictates we should always pick the most charitable reading of our opponent. And it is uncharitable to Will to assume he is so stupid or depraved.

I think there are explanations of why many people chose this reading as the most obvious that don't appeal to insanity. One is that there is a perception among those on the left (not unjustified in my view) that Republicans (both the party and their supporters) tend to be stupid/delusional and/or morally depraved. In the case of George Will he already showed himself to be stupid and depraved when he observed that victims have privilege, that people yearn for their status (including victims), that having sex with someone after they've said no doesn't count as sexual assault and implied that it was a bad thing that the 'consent' of a drunk woman might not protect a male from a charge of rape.

The question then becomes whether they are justified in their perceptions of Republicans in general and George Will in particular. But since that is a substantive debate you can no longer use this assessment of Will, by itself, as evidence of insanity or dishonesty.

Crude said...

Hyper,

Sorry, it's not going to work.

First, no, let's not parcel out the grim psychological baggage of the sort of rape scenario I described versus what Will is being accused of here. That very same traumatic experience is precisely the sort of rape people are associating Will's imaginary approval with - hence all the 'Let me tell you about my privilege Mister Will' posts, which do go on to stress the damage and horror of their experiences.

Second, your own explanation doesn't work, because there is a vastly more likely reading on offer: instead of 'women want their teeth bashed in by a gang of men, then forcibly sodomized, so they can get privilege' it's 'women will plea that they were raped or sexually assaulted on increasingly frivolous grounds, such as a woman having sex with her recent ex-boyfriend because she's decided she's too tired to tell him no, much less tell him to leave her bed'.

Third, you are repeatedly conceding that even the view you're fighting tooth and nail to establish as plausible would in no way be the only plausible reading, or even the most. Put aside sanity for a moment, which is required to elevate your preferred reading to plausible. That leaves us with a dilemma - either Will meant your version, or the alternative. But, that also leaves open a clear way to resolve it: We ask Will what he meant. But there is no doubt in either my mind, nor likely yours, just what Will's reply would be if that were done.

So yes - I think I have easily substantiated the charges that the detractors in question are either crazy, or are malicious. Your interpretation doesn't get off the ground, and even if it does, it doesn't justify the reaction to Will. Not by a longshot.

As I read it, he started taking off her clothes and she said no. Then a few minutes later he took her clothes off anyway and had sex with her. I take it this satisfies the legal definition of rape.

You take it? By what legal definition? Supply it, because the ones I'm looking at don't get near that. There's no force or threat of force. She wasn't intoxicated. She wasn't disabled, impaired, or unable to communicate. She, in her own words, 'let him finish'. Yes, he did ask and she "basically said no". And then he made a move.

The only possible avenue you have here for "satisfying the legal definition" is if you say that women are unable to be expected to give or withdraw consent, passively or actively, if they are tired. Walk that avenue if you like. I look forward to seeing how the western world copes with a situation where every sexual act is potentially an act of rape.

I think that a person who would fuck someone's silent motionless body

You haven't had sex with disappointing women who've given their consent, I assume. Let me guess - you also find someone threatening to women who masturbates while thinking about them?

After all, if one is aware that Will thinks such claims are psychologically implausible then it becomes dishonest to take him to be arguing this. But I have no reason to think that most people attacking Will believe that he thinks this.

Wait, so you as a default think that people not on your political side are all "bitches just wanna get violently raped is the problem here" as a default? Seriously?

Crude said...

One is that there is a perception among those on the left (not unjustified in my view) that Republicans (both the party and their supporters) tend to be stupid/delusional and/or morally depraved.

And, we're done here.

I tried, Hyper. I made my case, I pointed at evidence, I explained the insanity. Your response has been as follows:

* George Will did in fact say, or at least implied, some women want to have their faces smashed in and then be subjected to brutal gang-rape for "privilege".

* You think the reading offered up - that victimhood is coveted, leading people to perceive or present themselves as victims even when they really aren't in a sane sense - is possible, but not the only one that's an option.

* But it's totally okay to assume the face-smashing-in version - no need to even seek clarification, much less be charitable - because a given political party and its supporters are largely stupid/delusional and morally depraved.

* This is your defense to shoot down the claim that these people - not even members of a political party, but a subset of the Left - are themselves insane or morally depraved. Which, naturally, you reject out of hand, because if you conceded that this was 'not unjustified' you'd just be conceding the very issue you were willing to fight, or at the least no longer making my own charge obviously wrong even by your own standards.

I will be blunt, Hyper. People like those commenters, and sadly, people like yourself? I don't think you care about rape much at all. I think you see victims - real and imagined - as potential tools in your holy war, and little else. Rape only matters to you insofar as it can be used as ammunition against the right people. I will hold my tongue on what I think you'd do if a woman was raped by a rising star in the Democratic Party, which would hurt what amounts to your Church if the details came to light.

It's unfortunate, because you were on a short list of political leftists I could talk to, converse with, and expect rational debate from even if we disagreed. But when you tell me what you've said here, you've made it clear that, once again, I was mistaken. At this point Victor Reppert is pretty much the only guy who saves my faith in the rational left, and I am forced to conclude he belongs to a minority at best.

Thanks for the evidence, either way.

Brandy Miller said...

What you're actually running into is cognitive dissonance and denial smooshed together into one hysterical mess. When people have formed a given world view - "All women are innocent, all men are guilty" - and then they are confronted with facts that seem to challenge that world view, their automatic reaction is NOT to re-evaluate their world view in light of the new facts they've received. It's to deny the facts are true, to deny that there is any change to their worldview that needs to happen at all. The more staggering the blow these facts make to their worldview, the more shrill and defensive they become. It takes work to reconstruct a worldview, and the brain does NOT want to have to do the work required. So, they will twist words, refuse to view evidence, and find ways to deny even the most obvious of truths in order to avoid change. The only group of people who do not naturally respond that way to new facts is small children. The small child just assumes that their information is incomplete and so they adjust their worldview according to the new information they've received without much trouble. It's only when we get older and start assuming that we know things that denial and hysteria over new information creep in, and the older we get the worse we get about it.

Crude said...

Brandy,

There's definitely a lot of truth to that take, and I'm sure everyone has their blind spots. It's bad enough, though I also worry that this is not a mere automatic response for many people, but instead some active deception - that a thought occurs along the lines of, 'Point X is valid. But if point X is accepted as valid, it means disaster for my political goals. Therefore, point X must never be accepted as valid.'

Syllabus said...

how do you deal with these people?

Depends on the person. Some, you can get to engage in a good faith argument (though, admittedly, they happen to be in the minority). The majority, though? You're pretty much stuck with ignoring them. Engaging them does pretty much no good, since by defending what they've read as a misogynistic or otherwise pernicious piece you're therefore a misogynist, which means that they'll just start insulting you.

I mean, you could ask them what piece of empirical data would change their mind, and then once they've committed to something, show them the data. (Though this isn't really anything like a cast-iron method, since data is usually susceptible to all sorts of transmogrifications when one is determined enough to make it fit a certain pattern.)

So, for my money, 90% of the time, ignore them if at all possible. If you absolutely have to engage them, well, it's like wrestling a pig in the mud. Since they immediately assume bad faith right off the bat, they aren't required (in their mind) to engage you honestly - you're just a representation of the greater problem, and therefore can be attacked with impunity.

And, as someone suggested upthread, pray for them.

What would change their minds?

I'm not sure you can, because, for the great majority of the type of people represented in the combox referenced, I don't think they're actually willing to change their mind. They have an ideological inclination which they'll hold to at all cost (for reasons which I'm not qualified or in a position to judge with a great degree of accuracy, but which I strongly suspect are more or less "this makes us different from and better than the unwashed masses"), and anything opposing it is by default wrong.

Crude said...

Hyper,

I'm afraid I'm going to have to stop things here, because frankly - I have a strict policy against allowing people to post hate speech or promote hate, violence or sexual assault against others. So until you disavow those things, there's just no more conversation to be had here.

Granted, you may say that you didn't mean to imply such things with your posts - but since your political sympathies lie with a way of thinking that indicates moral depravity, I'm afraid I can't give you the benefit of the doubt on this topic.

Put short, you have suggested that millions of conservative women -want- to be raped, and that they can't be taken at their word when they report rape or sexual assault, because you regard them to be 'depraved' in advance. Sorry - that doesn't fly around here.