One of my favorite philosophers, if one actually has favorite philosophers, is David Hume. If you don’t know David Hume, watch this helpful video.
David Hume was an Empiricist. Empiricism is the idea that you derive “knowledge” from EVIDENCE. EVIDENCE includes facts, information, and data that demonstrates that a particular belief is “true” or valid.
My favorite thing about David Hume is that he took ideas to their “logical extreme,” rendering them “batshit insane.” Of course, he wasn’t insane and he lived his life as a human does. But the idea that you need data to prove your beliefs, that you cannot simply state “I (am a Man) think(ing), therefore I am (right)” and expect people (Women) to believe you (I’m looking at you Descartes) is a powerful idea, one from which, Women, in particular, stand to benefit (because the Evidence of Women’s oppression is overwhelming. Seriously. Try not seeing it. It’s impossible, once you know the shell games used to hide it, unless you are willfully ignorant).
Radical Feminism is an Evidence-based philosophy. The Evidence suggests that there is a Class of Humans (Women) made subordinate by and to another Class of Humans (Men). The Evidence suggests that Men want to keep it this way, and employ tactics and establish systems to ensure it stays this way. The Evidence suggests that Men commit a disproportionate amount of Violence against Women (Male Violence).
A favorite tactic of Men’s Rights Activists and Trans Activists used to Silence Women who rely on Evidence to support assertions like Penis=Male, Male Violence against Women is an overwhelming problem and Trans Women are Men is the claim that Radical Feminists aren’t “Rational.”
Rationality: Reason, Reason, who has the Reason? Who has what my mother and yours calls “common sense”?
Men’s Rights Activists, Trans Activists, Manarchists and Atheist Bros (and Laydee Atheist Bros like Natalie Reed) all cling to RATIONALITY as the big club to demonstrate that THEY have the Reason and Radical Feminists have the Hysteria.
They haul it out and club away, comfortable in the “knowledge” that if they say it often enough, many Women will “shut up” because they don’t want to be accused of being an Irrational or Hysterical Woman.
In hauling out the Big Club of Irrationality, these Manly Observers willfully ignore Evidence that supports the claims of Women (and – gasp – many Men!) that Women suffer at the hands of Men, that Male Violence is a problem, that Men rape Women, and that only Women can get pregnant. Instead, they focus on “Evidence” like “I feel like a Woman,” “My Brain is Female,” and “It’s just mean not to cater to men’s delusions.”
Indeed, these “Rational Men” (ahem, and Laydee Men) are wholly disinterested in a empirical assessment of the Facts as they are. Instead, they create propaganda like Rational Wiki to catalog the horribly irrational men and hysterical women who disagree with them (not shockingly, many Trans Women, like Miranda Martell, participate in this disinformation project). I have a Rational Wiki page, as these “Rational Men” dislike me because I say illogical things like Penis=Male and only Women can get pregnant.
Ironically, it’s Transgender Ideology that is based on a lack of Evidence and, instead, depends for support on an Abundance of Feelings.
“I FEEL like a man, therefore I AM a man.”
“You are just mean to not call me a Woman”
“You are a mean Lesbian for not sucking my Ladystick.”
Feelings have their place in the world. Even David Hume had feelings, although he was kind of a judgey snob about them and clearly valued Evidence and philosophical inquiry more than Feelings, saying things like “The feelings of our heart, the agitation of our passions, the vehemence of our affections, dissipate all its conclusions, and reduce the profound philosopher to a mere plebeian.”
So it turns out that it’s Radical Feminists who rely on Evidence to support our assertions and it’s Lefty Bros and Laydee Bros relying on their feelings to club away at those of us who ask questions like “Do you know where babies come from?”
This fact-based observation reveals that the “Radical Feminists are Irrational” line is a Reversal. In other words, it’s pure horseshit, intended to prop up a Woman-hating ideology.
It’s not the only tactic these Manarchists and Trans Activists use to silence Hysterical Irrational Women. Indeed, these dudes claim that understanding Biology means that Radical Feminists believe that immutable characteristics derive or flow from said Biology. In other words, Radical Feminists, in the view of Trans Activists, are “Biological Essentialists” who believe that some other meaning is inherent in the ability of Women as a class to carry a fetus to term. Of course, it’s not Radical Feminists who ascribe some other meaning to this Biological Fact. It’s Right-Wing Assholes. But Trans Activists and Manarchists kind of stumble when asked to provide Evidence to support their assertions.
To illustrate, making the statement Only Women can get pregnant does not lead to the inference that All Women SHOULD get pregnant, or that All Women are happier when making a man a sandwich or All Women should kick Trans Women in the nuts. Those are false conclusions – and it’s not Radical Feminists making those false conclusions.
It begs the question, if you have Teh Logic on your side, why do you have to resort to such illogical tactics?
It does not compute.
A very good article. Yes, Radfems are the logical, rational ones in this debate. I have some serious disagreements with Hume and Locke, but public policy does need to be evidence based (although patriarchal control of what evidence is collected and disseminated remains the problem). Feminists have always been more given to facts and statistics and logic than our opponents. It is a cardinal rule of patriarchy, however, that all facts are invalid when it is a woman stating them.
Good points, all. The reason for this post is because the “rational” derail is a common one, probably the most common one I get. Like just now… https://twitter.com/PennyOfHedon/status/266600679370534912 – which I suppose is somehow in response to this: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.128952400550050.21246.100003058722942&type=3
Uh huh. Nice try but no. You claimed you were assaulted when you entered a trans friendly space and started screaming insults and obscenities at everyone through a megaphone and the video shows people politely standing up to your bullying. I pointed out that YOU were the aggressor. Then ignored you for months. Tonight I noticed you had replied with juvenile insults and I refuted your bile with facts. You tried to bully me into shutting up by misgendering me and belittling my life, even though I have a uterus, and I refused to let you. I calmly deflected your childish crap with fact and reality. Then I stopped playing your game and stopped talking. YOU blocked me a good 20 minutes AFTER I stopped tweeting to you, with a childish “ewww!” like a 4 year old touching a worm. And you blocked me because you couldn’t out-debate me.
This rational, calm and exceedingly truthful comment will be deleted. Because you’ve already proven you’re a morally dishonest cowardly bully. But you’ll see it before you do, and you’ll know I’m right, and it will make you burn up inside because all you’ll be able to do is say “Oh blah blah whine whine it’s just some man picking on meeeeeee!” when I’m not a man. I’m an intersexed FEMALE whose existence proves your every bigoted agument wrong. But you tell yourself whatever you need to if it helps you sleep at night knowing all the harm your bigotry causes.
Penny, you live in a world of delusion. Yey you!
“you entered a trans friendly space and started screaming insults and obscenities at everyone through a megaphone”
My legend grows and grows…
“you entered a trans friendly space and started screaming insults and obscenities at everyone through a megaphone and the video shows people politely standing up to your bullying.”
This is completely outside of reality. I was there. I was there when a crowd of people approached her.And the reason there is as much video of it as there is is because it seemed like the people in the crowd were potentially dangerous. Not because some of them were trans, but because they were yelling and screaming and gesturing and had veins popping out of their necks just because Cathy had the nerve to show up at all.
It was a fairly volatile situation. And I am not sure that without the person filming throughout that it would not have gotten violent on the part of the people who approached her and then spent the next hour or so yelling at her
It’s pretty creepy of you to be attempting to rewrite history here about that incident.(ITS ALL ON VIDEO FOR CHRISTSAKE!!!) And frankly it does nothing for the cause of showing yourself to be the “rational” one. In fact it makes you sound crazypants.
Seconding BMG. I was there. Cathy didn’t have a megaphone nor was she shouting things. She was talking about her dinner plans. I’m not sure why a lesbian at a lesbian march talking about dinner is so threatening to you, but those are the mundane facts. Cathy was swarmed. She wasn’t bothering anyone.
Thank you, Penny, for bringing pro-trans logic to this debate.
L O L
0_o… nope, you don’t sound like a man at all… /s
Hume paints a lovely critique of the prevailing metaphysics of his day. That said, empiricism is epistemologically bankrupt.
If one actually has favorite philosophers, I would place the epistemologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky on one side of my brain, and Martin Buber and Joseph Ratzinger on the other side of my brain. That said, don’t think I favor Ratz’ social and political views, nope, just his metaphysics.
Our senses are limited, so limiting our world view to that which we can experience directly is always flawed. Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses cancels out images in the red spectrum. The famous costume designer, Edith Head, often wore blue glasses in order to see the world in grayscale, as it would appear on the silver screen.
I think we are obligated to help others see those aspects of the world that are denied them, as well as those they refuse to see. Similarly, we ought consider that part of the world, which while crystal clear to them, is just a blur or shadow to us.
The contrapositive also applies.
“Truth springs from argument amongst friends.” (David Hume)
A thoughtful comment from my thoughtful friend. To which I respond:
Women who are Pirates in a phallocentric society are involved in a complex operation. First, it is necessary to Plunder — that is, righteously rip off — gems of knowledge that the patriarchs have stolen from us. Second, we must Smuggle back to other women our Plundered treasures. In order to invert strategies that will be big and bold enough for the next millennium, it is crucial that women share our experiences: the chances we have taken and the choices that have kept us alive. They are my Pirate’s battle cry and wake-up call for women who I want to hear.
I do not have deep philosphical thoughts. I do, however, have a joke.
One day my father had an appointment with his oncologist. In a slip of the tongue he said, “Today I saw my ontologist.”
Me: “So, do you still exist?”
Yet no matter how limited or bankrupt the system of thought, no coherent argument can be made for denying women their autonomy. It is an untenable position.
“Similarly, we ought consider that part of the world, which while crystal clear to them, is just a blur or shadow to us.”
I think the mansplainers of the world can’t even grasp this notion. They have no clue they are operating on faulty incomplete information.
Making things even more complicated, recent studies tend to demonstrate that “rationality” is not actually a tool of truth-discovery but a tool of rationalization- our brain is programmed to defend one’s beliefs even in the face of contrary evidence. This is why science relies on a community of people trained in empiricism who oppose each other and, through this opposition and constant testing of all hypotheses, eventually (at least after the first generation of true believers dies out) arrives at some sort of consensus. What is most important for truth-discovery is not intelligence but being exposed to a variety of beliefs and evidence (and paying attention to it).
What this means in terms of this debate is that radfems, having been exposed to liberal feminism from the youngest age and yet being more convinced by radical arguments, have inherently more credibility than liberal feminists… but that might just be my “rationality” talking. 🙂