How To Start a Fight in One Easy Step

Actually there are ten, but the first one is enough if, as a man, you follow the advice to 'confront men' about it. By the time we get to telling other men's sons how to grow up thinking about their 'male privilege,' you'll be lucky if you don't get worse than a fight.

I realize that with society structured as it is we need women to do this kind of thing. We even give female soldiers medals for it now. As well we might, given that fighting sexual harassment is now the Army's "primary mission." Why wouldn't you give out medals for the soldiers who are at the forefront of aggressively pursuing your primary mission?

Still, let's be clear about the limits of your 'male privilege.' What you're suggesting is well into the realm of female privilege. I'll listen to women talk about these things with great courtesy if they really want to discuss it. If you as a man come up to me and tell me I shouldn't prop my feet up in a chair at Starbucks because it might possibly make some woman somewhere feel uncomfortable, though, you're asking for trouble. I'd give the woman the chair I was sitting in, unasked, if chairs were short in supply. If she refused to take it, I'd stand anyway rather than sit while a woman stood. As Lewis Grizzard used to say, if I didn't do it my ancestors would come up out of the grave after me.

But if you as a man undertake to go about lecturing other men about it, that's a privilege you don't have. You'd better well know it.


Eric Blair said...

I dunno.

I've had to chase guys off of taking up an entire bench on the train while old ladies were standing, (and didn't have enough gumption to ask the guy to move themselves).

Although, certainly, one should be prepared for any sort of response should one actually care to lecture somebody in public.

Grim said...

I agree that some men are bad men, and it is the business of good men to constrain them. Still, while they may be just good enough to be embarrassed and slink away when called on it, just as you say -- you'd better be ready for the fight you're probably about to start.

Ymar Sakar said...

It's a regional and social economic cultural issue as well.

As for the Army's policies... well, they were crap back then too.

Ymar Sakar said...

One of the strategic turn over and conquest goals the Left needed to achieve for the US military concerned the tactical short term goal of promoting female officers and agents to higher levels of command, which required combat or some other pretext to justify it. In return for better promotion board and other benefits, loyalty to the Left was required to trade for better benefits. This bypassed loyalty to unit, country, or tradition.

In terms of theater and strategic turn overs of the past, the Left infiltrated and took over other institutions in similar fashions, with quite a success record. The Catholic churches in Latin America. Feminist suffragists, second wave on. Civil Rights movement, after MLK and Malcom X were (conveniently) dead. Plenty of others over the decades. The retired female leaders of the first generation, when they came back to their organization, found it unrecognizable, alien, foreign, and disgusting. But there was nothing they could do, the organization's leadership was 100% loyal to a specific faction.

Part of this isn't the Left being the Left. Part of this is because the Left assimilated Democrat strategies and traditions, including the KKK. Another example of a take over by fanatics or Robert KKK Byrd sorts.

douglas said...

Grim, how do you feel about people behaving as if the world is their living room? Is it proper? If not, aren't we to make note of it (and I suppose, to be prepared for the backlash)?

I actually think the list wouldn't be so bad if you could strip out all the supposed sexist undertones. That people should generally be cognizant of others around them and considerate is to me right and good. I just don't see how it's origins are sexist. The photo of supposed men taking up too much space on the subway made me chuckle- none of the men pictured had his knees wider than the width of their seat, and she had room for her knees that she chose not to use- how is that an indication of male privilege? I guess I'm just a Neanderthal.

Grim said...

How do I feel about it? As appropriately given Genesis 9:2-3, I suppose.

"The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

Of course the world is our living room. That's just what it was established to be. The problem is that we keep making too many tight places, where a man can no longer live decently and in comfort.

douglas said...

But "everything" in that context is nature. Are you saying then than you are not a proponent of private property- by extension of the idea that it is proper to take possession of that which is 'common' for one's uses as if it were your own?

The fact that the world is too cramped in the rat colonies we call cities is non-sequitur I think... other than it brings to the front these issues more readily.

Grim said...

Private property is a fundamental assumption of the way we've organized our society, so questioning it is very dangerous. Still, I don't think Locke's account (which was so important to the Founders) is very plausible at all. It relies too much on the 'state of nature' model, where no such state ever actually existed. Human beings don't come into existence as adults who encounter a state of nature; they are raised up in families that have already worked out some way to survive and prosper enough at least to successfully raise a child. That is a necessary condition for becoming an adult at all.

Now these families are doing something like what the Genesis passage suggests. What we come to think of as property has to do with trades that they make, such that you really must pass ownership of a cow (say) when you trade it for some other good or service from another family. That's where we get property rights: not from individuals operating in 'the state of nature,' but from trade between members of familial communities.

That model carries with it a number of ethical considerations about responsibilities of owners and validity of sales. There used to be a whole history of folk tales about the unwisdom of selling your family's heritage for some immediate gain, as the capacity to support the family and the child was necessary for you to come to be, and ought to be passed intact to one's children.

One of my standard mental examples is the Yazoo scandal in the early part of Georgia history. The state government elected to sell most of the state to a small bunch of land speculators at rock-bottom prices. James Jackson and others objected that there could be no right to make such a sale although presumably the state owned the land if anyone did, and thus had some sort of right to sell it. But such a sale destroyed the model of liberty that the state was designed to produce. Just as the family has a purpose -- to support itself and sustain its children during their time of growth -- so the state had a purpose, to whit, the support of a system of liberty. The state's right to sell its property had to be in accord with that ethical/political purpose, rather than some absolute right to alienate regardless of consequences.

So that's a view of property rights that is much less absolute than the one we've inherited (even though it has precedent in American, especially Georgia's, history). It ends up preserving some 'living room' in public spaces as a consequence: there are some things you can't sell, or terms on which you can't sell them, because the law governing sales is a product of political systems that have a basic purpose of establishing a space for human liberty. Sales in violation of that basic function are invalid (e.g., selling even one's self into slavery, as no law founded by a system with our system's basic purpose could be valid).

Grim said...

There's a move made in that argument that I want to clarify, when we shift from families to polities. Alienating family property is ethical in terms of trading surplus cattle for new wealth, but becomes ethically problematic when you are alienating the family's support system at such a level that you endanger the family's ability to do for the next generation what was done for you. That is ethically wrong, but it wouldn't necessarily be illegal: the family does not produce the laws, so the validity of the laws doesn't depend on the purpose/function of the family.

When we move to the polity, though, the laws themselves may be invalid because laws are produced by the state, and the state also has a purpose/function. (The concept I'm thinking of here when I use "purpose/function" is telos.) So a law permitting sales that would destroy the liberty whose production and defense is the purpose of the state are invalid laws, not just immoral ones.

douglas said...

I"m not sure if I'm just dense (which it may well be), but I'm not sure then what you're position is- and I probably was sloppy in asking the question in the first place- always dangerous when speaking to a philosopher!

I'm not really interested in the legal question of private property as I am in the ethical question of the propriety of assuming possession (even temporarily, as in the use of things in a coffee house) in a common setting, common meaning where we are sharing a space/place- so it may be truly public, as at the park, or a publicly accessible privately owned place, as at the coffee house.

I have a good real world scenario that came up just the other day- My Sister-in-law's Husband's family was in town, including his parents who are in their 80's and don't like to be standing around too long for the usual age related reasons. We were at the Museum and it was quite crowded, and we were waiting for seats to open up in a better spot (they had seats, but in the area where wind blew through the doors and made it quite cold- not the best place for the elderly to sit). My wife and her sister and the kids were in another area looking for seats when someone started to leave. As they got to the seats a young woman rushed in an claimed the seats with her presence. My wife asked her if she could spare just two seats for our elderly, and her response was that there were six of them (and six seats at that table- in other words, no). We meanwhile had been shepherding them over assuming we had seats waiting for them, only to discover that we did not. My Brother-in-law let them know that they would be giving up two seats (firmly but clearly) and so we had two seats for them. Did he do anything wrong? Better question, did the young woman?