Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Don't Have to Respect Your Opinion

What's that, you say?  You refuse to accept the literal mountains of scientific evidence that establish the factual nature of evolution because your religion says God did it all?  You mean you want to turn back the clock and oppress and deny someone basic human rights because their existence doesn't jibe with your personal prejudices?  You refuse to have your kids vaccinated because in your opinion an actress who never made it past High School told you there are poisons in most shots, and besides, what do medical professionals know anyway?   You refuse to accept the government's own numbers regarding male victims of rape and abuse, because everyone knows women have it worse and besides, men should just man up and be quiet?


And you refuse to listen to counter-arguments because you have a right to your opinion, and I have to respect those opinions?  That we'll just have to agree to disagree?


Well, in that case, let me just say:  you are seriously fooling yourself.


Yes, you have a right to your own opinions, and I must and do respect your right to those opinions, but I am under no obligation to respect those opinions themselves.  No obligation at all.  And as for agreeing to disagree, how about we don't do that either.  While you do have a right to your opinion, I have a right to point out that your opinion is stupid, and that your insistence on holding it -- especially holding it in the face of contrary evidence that clearly shows your opinion is wrong -- means you are a dumbass.


I see people say these sorts of things all the time when debating over certain issues.  Civil rights (especially for homosexuals), evolution, food safety (especially GMOs), men's rights and violence against men, vaccinating your kids, even history itself.  The problem is, these are not areas where there are gray spots.  People believe what they want to believe, and the facts can go fuck themselves if the facts disagree.


The problem is, these are not areas where there is a lot of room for differing opinions.  Civil rights, for example, should be universal and if you're in favor of denying other people rights because your holy book says you should, then your holy book is wrong, and so are you.  Evolution has been so well-investigated over the last 150+ years that there is absolutely no way its not true, so don't bother arguing against it.  If you think anyone getting raped or beaten is justified, or that the victims deserve to be ignored and marginalized, regardless of their gender, then you seriously need psychological help.  And if you think you are doing some good for your kids by refusing them their shots, then you need to have your kids taken away from you because you are a shitty parent who is endangering their lives.


And that's not my opinion.  All of those things I just said is backed up by hard, cold fact.


Which means believing otherwise is simple stupidity.  And why the hell should I ever respect simple stupidity?


Now, here is something I will concede:  there is no way to force someone to agree with a fact if they absolutely do not want to agree with it.  Doing so is just another form of dogmatic indoctrination, which is the very stupidity we need to cure.  People need to take the step toward education and knowledge themselves or else they'll never learn.


But remember that opinions can be wrong, even when they are baseless.  As for respect, that's a two-way street, folks.  This bullshit about "you have to respect my opinion" is really just a passive-aggressive method of attempting to avoid disagreement.  Its the polite way of saying, "I'm going to listen to you, but the truth is I'm going to ignore everything you say.  But have fun talking."  Sorry, but I think I'd rather have you argue with me, thanks.


People cement their opinions and hold them close, especially when these opinions are related to the individual's moral compass (such as religious beliefs).  Changing those opinions requires the person to acknowledge that their basic worldview is incorrect, and people generally don't do that easily.  I acknowledge this.  The problem is, due to there being so many different people and so many differing opinions, inevitably, some of those opinions will be just plain stupid.


The ability to form and hold our own opinions based on our knowledge and experience is one of the most fundamental freedoms human beings enjoy.  I will defend that freedom, even if I disagree with you, as far as I can.  But if your opinions fly in the face of logic, fact, and common sense, then while your right to hold the opinion is still sacrosanct, your opinion itself is worthless, and I feel no need to respect it at all.


And I have a right to tell you this, because I have a right to my opinions too.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The "R" Word

So it seems there is a formal movement to outright ban the word "retard" from public discourse, and to shame anyone who does use it.  When the subject came up amongst some of my friends, I told them that I absolutely would not support such a measure, because while I agree tormenting some poor mentally disabled person with hate speech is wrong, people have the right to say things that you or I might find offensive.


In response, I was told that banning this word wouldn't really be censorship, because its not really about the word, its about respecting other people.  Its about not hurting other people.  Its about being decent people.  And, I was asked, why am I so in love with calling people retards, anyway?  Because apparently, no one could ever desire to just defend freedom of thought and expression without wanting to insult someone.


Obviously


As the saying goes, believing in freedom of thought and freedom of expression isn't just being able to believe as you like and saying things you want to say.  Its also standing and defending the right of someone else to think and say as they like, even if what they like to think and say makes your blood boil.


That's freedom.  That's true freedom.  The right to disagree is the entire fucking point of freedom of thought and expression.  And that includes some jack-hole's right to be an offensive dumbass.  That other thing?  Yeah, that's censorship.  Simple, traditional censorship, in which one group wants to tell another group what to think and what to say against the wishes of the other group.


Sorry, but fuck that.  I won't tolerate censorship, even when its against someone using hate-speech.  Even when what they say makes me want to lay into them with a 2x4, I won't stop them from talking.  Because I respect the rights of others.  Also, while it might be "about respect" to my friends, there are others out there who are behind this "ban the R word" thing for whom its all about the censorship, the political correctness, and the urge to punish people they don't like for the crime of existing.  
I am not in the business of banning words to soothe the bruised emotions of other people.  And if you truly believe in free thought and free expression, then you shouldn't be, either.


"Its not about censorship, its about respect."  Horse shit.


I really get tired of people and their empty platitudes.


Yes, your intentions are good.  I've already acknowledged this.  But I've also already acknowledged that the worse offenses in history have always been committed in the name of "social justice".  That's why this "ban the R word" disturbs me so badly.  There is an entire section of our society who are quite willing to step all over other people if it means that they can be seen to be "doing good" about some social issue.  And they take to these causes with self-righteous fervor, especially when they can step on people en masse rather than one at a time.  And for some reason, this issue stinks of people doing just that.


What do I mean?


Ponder this question:  just what does banning the word "retard" from public discourse actually accomplish?  Is it going to end the vile behavior some people put the mentally handicapped through?  No.  Is it going to stop hate crimes against the mentally handicapped?  No.  Is it going to stop parents from abandoning their mentally handicapped children at orphanages?  No.  Will it stop such parents from abusing their mentally handicapped children?  No.


The only thing this will accomplish is allowing a bunch of self-righteous assholes to pat themselves on the back because they "made a difference" without actually doing anything important.  And then these same self-righteous assholes will go on to their next "noble cause" and the entire "R word" thing will be swept under the rug and no more will ever be mentioned, much less done, about improving the treatment of the mentally disabled.


The truth is, its all about context anyway.  You don't call mentally handicapped people "retards".  You call your friends retards when they are acting retarded. There is a difference between goofing around with your friends and intentionally hurting someone else with your words.  But even then, I don't think those words should be banned outright.  Doing so is the first step on the slipper slope that leads to having our freedom of speech rights taken away entirely.


The word "retard" isn't the issue.  Treating the mentally handicapped with human decency is.  Do something about that and you'll have my full cooperation.

Monday, April 20, 2015

NAFALT!

You know what I hear when a feminist tells me that not all feminists are like that (NAFALT)? Here's what I hear:
"Hey, I know we feminists are all on the same team, and wear the same 'uniform', and I know how even moderate feminists give tacit approval via their silence (and strength in numbers) to the radicals, but that doesn't mean you can paint us all with the same brush.  I mean, I know some of us are actively throwing our fathers, sons, and brothers under the bus, and I know some of us are actively taking away the basic legal rights of men, dehumanizing men, and demolishing their futures.  I know some of us are manipulating the system so it benefits women and demolishes men.  And I know that in addition to the ones doing active harm to men, there are a whole other bunch of us cheering them on from the sidelines. But not all of us are like that. Some of us stand around and do nothing but telling men who complain about the treatment those other feminists are giving them that not all of us are like that."
Believe it or not, I realize that, technically at least, not all feminists are like that. Feminists, like all human beings with a dogma, exist on a spectrum of belief like anything else. A few feminists, I am sure, believe as I do. They are truly egalitarian and are interested in things like a level playing friend before the law for everyone regardless of gender. The majority are only mildly toxic and self-serving in their rhetoric, agenda, and notions of female superiority. But the level of toxicity landslides quickly until you get to some truly evil, deranged people who are authentically calling for the mass murder (or at least the mass castration) of men. Rather than telling me that "not all feminists are man-haters, you'd be more accurate to tell me that not all feminists are actually interested in anything remotely resembling gender equality. Most feminists (especially most vocal feminists) absolutely believe they are egalitarian, but when push comes to shove they really, really aren't. And that's the problem, because these people are capable of justifying and promoting almost any sort of anti-male prejudice under the banner of "equality" in the same way that conservatives twist the words "liberty" and "freedom" in their rhetoric. When you scratch the surface of even the most reasonable feminist, what you find is some combination of gynocentrism, essentialism, misandry, and in some cases even misogyny. You find beliefs of female superiority and unchecked female privilege, none of which are compatible with the idea of "equality". That's what mainstream feminism is. That is what it has become. Once upon a time, I considered myself a feminist. Unfortunately the contradictions, fabrications, the fact-spinning, the outright disregard for the lives of men (except as they exist as privileged oppressors), and to put it bluntly the outright hate finally convinced me to separate from that movement. It convinced me that Feminists are no different from fundamentalist Christians in their inherent persecution complex and self-righteousness. Feminism offends my sense of what is objectively true, and I value objective truth more than I do subjective truths any day. Women only determine half of all subjective truth, and for that half to be imposed on men is not "equality". I still believe in the ideas that led me to feminism in the first place, but the movement itself no longer does so. And yes, I have "educated" myself, thanks. A far higher proportion of feminsts are "like that" than men are rapists, but this doesn't stop feminists from tarring all men with a broad brush that asserts that all men are potential predators. Male rapists do not represent, act on behalf of, or even claim to act on behalf of all men any more than female rapists represent all women. These vocal, hate-filled feminists, on the other hand, do claim to represent Feminism as a whole (and by extension, claim to represent all women, everywhere, because they can't tell the difference between "Feminism", a political movement that includes both men and women, and "Women" a demographic containing, for the most part, the genetically female population) These are not just a few bad apples in the barrel who are useful for stereotyping and demonization, like the rapists you use to demonize all men. These are your spokespeople. These are your heroes. These are the people you rally around. So do not begin to talk to me about how "not all feminists are like that." Conceded. I'll admit that not all of you are, in fact, like that. My point is this: so the fuck what. When the radicals are the ones driving the bus, the radicals are the ones deciding which way you're going. And lady, they're taking you with them because you refuse to get off the damned bus.