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Dr. Helen

August 2nd, 2013 - 5:41 pm

Andrew Ferguson at the Weekly Standard reviews Men on Strike.

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All Comments   (13)
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Well that was horribly myopic and slanted. Ferguson's woeful understanding of the men's movement is extremely paltry at best.

Already at least 20 years ago there were five different men's movements:

1) The mytho-poetic men's movement, loosely based on Jung's archetypes; seemingly confined to California, this is the only one he seems to be aware of, as it was the only one which has ever gotten any coverage in the freak show obsessed lamestream media. (BTW, I've watched PBS for a long time and have never seen "A Gathering of Men" go by.)

2) The male feminists.

3) The gay male men's movement.

4) The traditionalist men's movement (Promise Keepers, et al). Presumably 'Ferg' might like these guys better.

5) The men's lib and equality movement, composed of a lot of former feminists or originally feminist friendly men (notably Dr. Warren Farrell) which started splitting off from 2nd wave feminism in the early 1980's -- when it became clear women were always going to keep cutting to the front of the line and men's concerns were never going to get their turn at being addressed, notwithstanding much lip service to the contrary. All the nutcase radical rape theorists like Dworkin, Morgan, etc., as well as the "women's special ways of (not!) knowing" goddess worship crowd, didn't do much to keep men from getting alienated either.

This group could be broken out into both the father's rights and the more general men's rights branches.

Have I left anyone out?

It's ironic that critics predictably seem to harp on the lack of "hard data" and stats, when the whole point is few of those in the positions to do so give enough of a damn to study things which affect and matter to men. Fergie seems to be a type example of "man-as-victim just doesn't register" (W. Farrell).

Did you know there are more male victims of homicide at the hands of the police (1600) than there are women who are DV murder victims of their partners (1300)?

How about a massive multi-billion dollar Police Violence Against Men Act? Like that would ever happen.
48 weeks ago
48 weeks ago Link To Comment
Basically, the main complaint he seemed to have is that there was a lack of research and hard numbers to back up the anecdotes. That's a valid criticism - the way to challenge perceptions is with solid evidence.

The problem that I see is that he dismisses the possibility of legal bias in family law without even presenting any refutation. I'm not a devotee of the men's movement, but I think that equal treatment before the law should apply to men as well as women.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought the review raised some very good points about the Men's Rights movement being a counterpart to feminism, in both the sense of victimhood and the idea that the enemy is a vague force called "society" or "the media." It's possible to acknowledge the ways in which family courts, divorce, and other specific institutions disadvantage men without turning into a male version of the worst characteristics of the feminist movement.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll also note that Ferguson contrasts Men on Strike to The Art of Manliness. I thought it odd, since Dr. Smith uses the author of TAoM as a reference in the book. It makes me wonder if Ferguson even bothered reading the book.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
My letter to Andrew Ferguson:
Mr. Ferguson,

I wish you had taken Dr. Helen Smith's book, Men on Strike, more seriously putting no effort into understanding our point of view or even a cursory understanding of our principles. I think you are the one who has produced a product in haste. . You accuse her of producing a hurried product yet you didn't catch that the mixed metaphor she used regarding an Army of Davids is a sly homage to her husband, Prof. Glenn Reynolds, who writes the popular blog Instapundit and also a book by that name. Haven't you heard of him? According to the NRSC Instapundit was one of the top five conservative blogs.

What is most disappointing is that you don't seem to take any of the issues raised in Helen Smith's book seriously. Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly took up the injustices of family court four years ago. "Family Court Injustices to Men." July 21, 2009, Townhall.com. Other conservative writers, including James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal, have recognized that the men's rights movement have legitimate complaints. Long has the conservative movement lamented the decline of the family so I am a little vexed that when a conservative/libertarian writer suggests causes and solutions which fall within the conservative policy sphere you meet them with derision. The horrible insult of p

Finally, I spend a good amount of time trying to convince young liberal men that they ought to give conservatives a chance because we best represent their interests when it comes to matters of the family. Thanks for making my job that much harder.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks very much for writing the letter, great points!
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know how the formatting got screwed up but the first sentence includes the last sentence in the second paragraph. Should read, "I wish you had taken Dr. Helen Smith's book, Men on Strike, more seriously." And the last sentence of the second paragraph, "putting no effort into understanding our point of view or even a cursory understanding of our principles. I think you are the one who has produced a product in haste."
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
What a long-winded review that was--and 80% of what he said had nothing whatsoever to do with the book. His all-knowing tone and his attitude that men have nothing to complain about shows that he doesn't get out much. Him and Tucker Carlson are probably best friends.

The way this reviewer nitpicks and questions Dr. Helen's research made this review very laborious to read. For those that haven't read this review, you won't gain anything from it. This review adds nothing to the current conversation.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
From the article:

"The movement’s ideal is a person stripped of all responsibilities and constraints except those he freely chooses for himself. The ancient view that we are embedded in obligations that are not of our own choosing and which should not be quickly discarded?—?and which are finally the source of life’s richness and deepest rewards?—?is as foreign to her as it was to the theorists of feminism.

Going “on strike” is thus the way the American man, that pathetic loser, rallies from his victimization to become the autonomous being that men’s rights activists dream of....

Of course, there are alternatives?—?other dreams for young men to place themselves in. Whether they’re plausible, given the condition of American manhood, is a good question. In one of those pleasing coincidences that long-winded book reviewers can only wish for, the publication of Men on Strike coincided with the release of The Art of Manliness Collection, a two-book set packaged in a souvenir cigar box with a stack of coasters adorned with inspirational quotes for aspiring men. (“The courage we desire and prize is not the courage to die decently but to live manfully”?—?Thomas Carlyle.)...

...The second volume in the collection, Manvotionals, is a commonplace book of “timeless advice on living the 7 manly virtues,” with selections from Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Xenophon, Epictetus, and more Victorian moralists than you can shake a shillelagh at. The word chivalry is used often, without a hint of a smirk..."


Manly virtues? Give me a break! The guy is a white knight and mangina. He is blind. He doesn't realize how the fantasy world he lives in has been taken from him while he was looking the other way, so busy trying to live up to the role that society trained him into. Society has since moved on and left him trying to cling to a puff of smoke. He, and many others will see soon enough.


In Planned parenthood vs Casey JUSTICE O'CONNOR, JUSTICE KENNEDY, and JUSTICE SOUTER announced the judgment of the Court which, in part included...


"...At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. [505 U.S. 833, 852]

...Neither the Bill of Rights nor the specific practices of States at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment marks the outer limits of the substantive sphere of liberty which the Fourteenth Amendment protects. See U.S. Const., Amdt. 9. As the second Justice Harlan recognized:

[T]he full scope of the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause cannot be found in or limited by the precise terms of the specific guarantees elsewhere provided in the Constitution. This "liberty" is not a series of isolated points pricked out in terms of the taking of property; the freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; and so on. It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, includes a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints, . . .

...Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.

...Our law affords constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. Carey v. Population Services International, 431 U.S., at 685 . Our cases recognize the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child. Eisenstadt v. Baird, supra, 405 U.S., at 453 (emphasis in original). Our precedents "have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter." Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158, 166 (1944). These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. [505 U.S. 833, 852]"


AGAIN...
"
"...Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code."


If these are the constitutional principles for women, then they are also the constitutional principles that apply to men.

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nothing in that ruling imposing "duty", or "honor", or "obligations," or even, "devotion" on the part of the individual. Those types of arguments, in our materialistic hedonist society, have no 'rational basis' in law and are merely one control freak monkey trying to tell another monkey what they should do.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not impressed with his review. He made no effort, other than comparing MRA's to naked frolicking 'round a drum circle from the '70s, to even see what the actual problems that men face are, or the depths of the damage that they do.

Dr Helen's book is focused more on the actual words of men, about their experiences, feelings and conclusions, something many articles about culture, largely report only on what women have to say on it, (with some token redneck "wimmins should be makin sammiches" thrown in for color), and as such, this is one of the few books that consider men to be anything other than stoic, unfeeling drones that should just suck up to whatever some feminist wants him to be.

Other men have written about these things, but like "the war on men" or "War on Boys", and others demonstrate, male authors on these subjects are not listened too, and it's only because these issues are starting to impact women (as mothers, 2nd spouses, and sometimes as daughters), that its now important enough to consider as 'valid'. He completely missed that point.

Coming from the Standard, I suppose that's because conservative statists are largely to blame for the "shut up and man-up" indifference, where the liberal statists are largely to blame for the openly misandric culture and legal system. Acknowledging that conservatives have thrown men under the bus as fast as progressives have, in pursuit of a fickle women's vote, might be too much reality for him.

Since he sees the whole complaint as un-manly, he's dismayed that it's more on the conservative side of the spectrum. He feels that this is a bunch of hyper-sensitive, sandy vagina whining, and therefore, a lefty perspective. What issues that *should* fall under a conservative viewpoint, say Rule of Law, Due Process, The Rights to the Fruits of One's Labor, Equality Before the Law, the Sanctity of Family, which are essentially conservative concepts, he dismisses out of hand, as hearing men's voices about these issues shouldn't be gateways to actual, empirical studies of those problems.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ferguson's piece goes on for three pages without offering up much in the way of substantive criticism. He even responds to one of the points with the schoolgirl "Whatever." (literally). I guess when the neoconservatives of the Weakly Standard came over from liberalism, they made sure they brought their penchant for the smear job.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
When reading the Weekly Standard it is worth keeping in mind their editorial staff can't get erections unless young men are getting sent to die in meaningless wars.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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