Continued from 7 Staple MHRA Arguments.
8. Heterogeneity is not an excuse.
A common feminist complaint is that MHRAs oversimplify feminism by treating it as a homogeneous mass. I’ve discussed how feminism is defined as an institution in my previous “7 Staples” article.
Feminists appeal to the complexity of feminism as an ideology to avoid discussing criticisms of feminism as an institution, or the actions of feminists. But like other No True Scotsmans, this does not magically make damage that feminists have caused go away, and it does not give MHRAs faith in feminism. Believe me, we know feminism is big. But we also know that its followers prevaricate, and dodging accountability neither impresses nor rectifies.
9. Disagreement is not the issue.
It is a common misconception that everyone has to agree to make a difference. A feminist may try to connect with a MHRA by stating his or her agreement on men’s issues, which sounds great, but no one has to agree on everything to change the world. Bob can think that water is wet and Billy can think that water is dry, but if both claim to want to feed the homeless, Bob will be criticized for always staying home if Billy donates canned food.
So when AVfM, a flagship MHRA organization, does a better job of defending feminists and holding MHRAs accountable (and vise versa) than feminists do, then MHRAs will eventually be seen as better at activism than feminists.
If people place ideological consensus before action, then we are left with the impossible challenge of converting large groups to a single worldview before making a decision. It’s fine to put everyone on the same page in smaller, specialized groups with specific jobs. But when you get to big, varied cultures with equally varied problems, aiming for group-think requires a terrifying lack of ethics.
10. Feminism does not own equality.
Brand recognition tells people to think U.S. Republicans are about business, objectivists are about logic, and the NAACP is about brotherhood and civil rights. But brands do not own virtues, so there is nothing stopping a NAACP member from being logical, a U.S. Republican from advocating civil rights, and an objectivist from respecting brotherhood. And when an Objectivist boasts about being logical or a Republican trumpets about being pro-business, that is nothing more than marketing.
Similarly, feminism does not own equality, and needs to stop pretending that it is the only worldview that is cognizant of the rights and feelings of others.
Non-feminists and anti-feminists can have egalitarian ideas too.
11. A harsh tone is sometimes necessary.
The MHRA “tone” is often criticized for being harsh or even misogynistic (see #1 for a rebuttal to misogyny accusations). Men wanting to be treated like human beings with rights are reasonable, and anyone who would scoff at that notion can expect a reciprocally negative response. If the culture scoffs, then expect men and the women who love them to get loud, proud, and brutally honest.
MHRAs don’t need permission to sound however they please about things that are important to them, and the people who would act as if permission is required can expect a “go fuck yourself” in the near future.
12. Pragmatic pluralism beats pedantic non-pluralism.
All virtues are unreachable goals in civilization. Justice, equality, liberty, security, and all other valued aspects of life will remain imperfect because of people. The question is what to do given context. Emphasizing one virtue (i.e., equality) above all other considerations is the essence of ideology, which is precisely why the Men’s Rights Movement does not benefit from being dogmatically partisan, feminist, or even anti-feminist as a whole. The varied, conflicting positions full of disagreement and debate are what keep our finger on the pulse of context, the only reliable guide to reality.
13. No one can save the world.
You can run a bake sale, but you can’t end world hunger. Similarly, anyone who wants to “get everyone to fight for equality” has never heard of a budget or a feasibility report. Our species has waged war and crusades on this planet for so many thousands of years, and you can still find 19-year old Starbucks junkies on Memebase acting as if they figured out how to fix everything without even doodling on a napkin.
It is humbling and productive to ground oneself in an understanding of one’s own limitations, and work on attainable local goals.
14. If you really care, get off your ass and stop being a control freak.
This is for the feminists who try to convince MHRAs that they care about men’s rights. Don’t say you believe in equality and men’s rights, then sit there acting like the only thing keeping you at bay is the anti-feminist tone (see #11). Non-feminists and anti-feminists have a right to be mad at feminists if they damn well please. If they are right about feminists causing harm that needs to be corrected, then either own up to the situation and get to work or stop pretending that you care.
If you are not willing to make concessions for others and work to maintain a mutually respectful relationship, then you have no business pretending that you advocate for equality or men.