I don’t have a Twitter account. Never have, and as today’s events further confirmed, never will.
I realize that makes me an Internet Neanderthal, but it’s not like I’m a Twitterphobe because I don’t know what Twitter is or because I don’t understand it. Quite the opposite. I understand it all too well. And the more I learn, the less I like.
My main beef with Twitter is that 140 characters is insufficient to convey most worthwhile notions. And the format is far too short to disentangle (in any meaningful way) political disputes. Consequently, the Twitterverse is inherently shallow.
And that shallowness corrodes our thought processes, and discourages both the creation and communication of well-formulated intellectual content.
Today’s trending of “#liberaltips2avoidrape” is the best example I’ve seen yet of why I avoid Twitter. Conservatives and liberals are at each others’ throats over this hashtag, and the argument is all based on miscommunication, hive-mind bubble-thought, and everyone’s complete inability (or unwillingness) to explain the origins of the joke and the logical fallacies underpinning the dispute.
Let’s dissect the situation (in far more than 140 characters) to show what I’m talking about.
The topic under discussion is the train-wreck intersection of feminist anti-rape activism and Second Amendment gun rights. The liberal position is that guns should be outlawed, and that includes outlawed for women as well. The conservative retort is that if rapists all know that women are all unarmed, then they’re more likely to attempt rapes; thus, by outlawing guns, liberals are very likely causing more rapes to occur.
Into this mess stepped Colorado State Representative Joe Salazar, who said while discussing how rapes will be prevented on college campuses if all women are unarmed,
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles.”
Now, upon seeing this statement, conservative pundit and humorist “SooperMexican” created the sarcastic Twitter hashtag “#liberaltips2avoidrape” and started pumping out a series of hilarious (if you’re pro-gun) or offensive (if you’re liberal) Tweets, such as
Well, the hashtag caught on, and started to “trend” as they say (“become popular,” for you fellow Neanderthals), as people on all sides of the political spectrum started using it.
But at this point the entire conversation went of the rails.
Conservative gun-rights advocates thought SooperMexican’s joke was a spot-on skewering of brain-addled liberal hypocrisy. But liberals took great offense, not because they didn’t like being mocked, but because they didn’t understand the joke in the slightest.
In response, liberals started tweeting things like
…and posting graphics like this:
OK. So here we are. Both sides think they are pummeling each other with what they think are the best arguments, yet every single punch is missing its target. Because the liberals and conservatives are talking about two completely different things.
Conservatives are addressing how to stop a rape in progress, or how to stop a specific incident of rape from occurring beforehand.
Liberals, on the other hand, are discussing how to stop rape as a concept in general.
“Stopping rape” and “Stopping a rape” are two fundamentally different proposals. But no one — until this post — has pointed this detail out. And the reason no one has pointed it out is because Twitter is quip-centric, and it’s not funny to point out that the entire dispute is based on miscommunication.
But it goes deeper than that. A completely bizarre belief has arisen recently on the progressive side, as clearly evidenced in my recent report on the “1 Billion Rising” anti-rape rally, that we can prevent ALL rapes by creating a “culture of consent.” It is from this worldview that the “offended” #liberaltips2avoidrape Tweets are coming.
The flaw in this plan is that, despite feminist claims to the contrary, we already live in a “culture of consent,” and rapes occur not because American society promotes or accepts rape, but because some men are mentally ill and amoral. (And no, those men did not become mentally ill and amoral because they grew up in a pro-rape culture, but because some people are just plain evil and/or crazy.)
But where could such a bizarre belief come from — that all rapes can be stopped by training all men to be respectful of women? Well, it goes deeper and deeper. At its root this belief derives from the very early communist fantasy that all human traits are cultural artifacts, that we are all born as “blank slates,” there is no such thing as “human nature,” and that as a result society or the government can mold people into whatever shape is desired — to create “the Soviet Man” as it used to be called. (And if you think it’s overblown to bring up Soviet communism in this argument, note that the liberal “Don’t Rape” poster above is based on a famous Soviet communist poster. Full disclosure always helps to clarify things.)
This tenet was essential to early communist theory because totalitarianism requires that people give up or suppress what up until that time seemed like in-born traits (such as individualism, competitiveness, etc.), and if one concedes that these traits are inescapable, then communism fails as a theory.
Fast forward a century or two and the same basic notion — that existing “human nature” is not in-born but is culturally constructed — has now been seized by feminists, who declare that rape is an artifact of living in a “patriarchal” society and that if we completely changed human culture, rape would cease to exist.
While that may seem very nice and utopian and peachy-keen, needless to say it is almost certainly not true; and even if it was true, the transformation of global culture would be so immense and take so long that no one alive now will experience such a rape-free society in our lifetimes, or likely for several centuries after that.
In the meantime, we have to live in the existing patriarchal rape-culture we currently have. That is reality, like it or not.
Conservatives will protest my analysis and claim that liberals know full well that they are “changing the subject” by suggesting a completely ludicrous “solution” to the issue of how to stop a rape in progress (i.e. “Don’t rape!”). Conservatives will say that liberals, facing an argument in which they know they have been defeated, use the tried and true debating method of then ever-so-slightly altering the topic under discussion and then making a devastating comeback on a different subject.
But I’m quite convinced that liberals are not doing this consciously or on purpose. They are so subsumed in liberal groupthink that they literally cannot even grasp what conservatives are proposing, and truly and honestly think that the solution to “rape” is to “Don’t rape.” And conservatives for their part look at this facile non sequitur and in return have no idea what liberals are even talking about.
Further, on a more prosaic level, most liberals never heard about Rep. Salazar’s statement, so they have no idea what SooperMexican is even riffing on, and can’t understand why he suddenly started ranting about rape. Liberals and conservatives to a great extent dwell in separate “fact-spaces,” and consequently can never have a conversation based on facts, since we don’t share facts.
Another key aspect never mentioned in the ongoing Tweet-War is that in the liberal worldview,
Rape = Men = Masculinity = Patriarchy = Conservatism = Conservatives
such that conservatives have no moral authority or even permission to mention rape, since they are all either rapists themselves or at a minimum the defenders of “rape culture” and thus the cause of all rapes.
Anyway, I could go on and on about this debate forever, with an endless stream of words, because it’s rather fascinating in a sociological way, but I think you get my original point, which was:
Try saying all this in a Tweet.
Sure, I could unleash 357 consecutive Tweets to get the same message across, but in that case why not just use the antediluvian form of communication known as “blogging,” in which there is no limit on characters?
The solution to the Twitter problem is “Don’t Tweet.”