Editor’s note: This article is also available in Romanian.
The accumulated wisdom of the activated non-feminist sector finds feminism to be, on balance, pernicious. The reasons for this verdict are many and have been examined elsewhere. For a start, know this: we mean to draw a line against the encroachment of feminist power into the non-feminist world. Since we find that power pernicious, we naturally find ourselves at odds with almost every aspect of it. This brings us to the topic of the moment: post-argumentalism.
Post-argumentalism is the stage “beyond argument”, the stage you enter after you deplete the possibilities of debate or persuasion in a given setting. It is a kind of existential crisis in the face of an intractable other: the other may find your stance unacceptable but you find his equally so – and there you stand! Since argument has not settled the issue and apparently never will, you are excused from such activity and may henceforth either agree to disagree with the other, or enter a state of “war” with the other.
None of this holds any great mystery. If you have ever dealt with a fanatical cultist or an incorrigibly pigheaded person of any kind, you will perfectly understand the base dynamic. And what is true of a solitary individual can as well be true of an entire group or subculture.
The intractable other that now confronts us is the subculture called feminism. As said, we find feminism pernicious – and that implies that we have already settled the debate to our own satisfaction.
We see no reason to keep arguing in hope of persuading this intractable other – we’ve long since persuaded ourselves, and that should suffice. We know whose opinion we value, and whose judgment we trust. In all cases we cherish our own conclusion because we deem it best, and if we deemed otherwise we’d have concluded otherwise.
Argument is useless if it never ends, and worse than useless if it puts a freeze on necessary plans and actions. To tolerate such a freeze would seem to imply that we cannot act without a go-ahead from the intractable other. Yet a moment’s thought might reveal that the other is likewise constrained by us – and there we stand! How to break free of this impasse? Apparently not by further persuasion efforts.
What are we waiting for? Will another three, five or twelve years of argument finally clear the road so we can set plans and actions afoot? What force – legal, moral, physical or otherwise – prevents us from turning our back and going our way immediately?
Feminism has been a dynamic force in the world, and never shy about setting plans and actions afoot. Nor has it been dutiful about consulting others and securing their agreement to such plans and actions. The point is that feminism itself is post-argumental. Feminism has trodden upon the alterity of the non-feminist sector, and the non-feminist sector may now, by rights, serve feminism likewise.
We should add that feminism is an entrenched system which extends through the social and political fabric. It is a major power structure, individual feminists are stakeholders in it, and if we think the stakeholders in any major power structure will be talked out of their advantage by sweet reason alone, we delude ourselves.
The two sides do not gather in a clean, well-lighted debating chamber, and air their views in turn until one side says to the other: “Yes, you have convinced me of the truth of your position, and from henceforth I will adopt it as my own and rearrange my life according to what it requires of me.” No, that is not how the world works.
Such being said, our project is not to reprogram the deep ideological conviction of every purported feminist. Rather, it is to make such people modify their outward behavior so that the pernicious implications of feminist ideology will no longer translate into real-world consequences. They can believe any pernicious thing they want to believe, but they must stop acting upon such belief. In so stating, we exercise a mandate. Such is the power of post-argumentalism – it nullifies the presumptive moral authority of feminism and commandeers authority on its own account. In this way, post-argumentalism is a revolutionary procedure, the starting point for anything at all that you could rightly call a revolution.
Truly, to nullify authority is a rightful deed when authority is intractable due to fraud or villainy. Post-argumentalism makes no fuss about this. It does the job brusquely, unceremoniously, unapologetically. To make omelets, you break eggs.
Both war and revolution have this in common, that they spring to life when reason and negotiatory discourse prove unavailing. The difference is that war is a contest between parties purportedly equal at the outset, whereas revolution is a contention where an upstart knocks authority off a pedestal. In the end, both war and revolution are a fight, and both involve the element of violation. The rules of war dictate that the parties violate each other until one side gives up, while the rules of revolution dictate that one system of rules gets violated so another system can replace it.
The non-feminist revolution is both a revolution and a war, and is not undertaken for light and transient causes.
As non-feminist men and women we must ask ourselves: what did we originally hope to accomplish by arguing? Supposing we could have persuaded the intractable other, what did we hope to gain? What did we hope to obtain that we couldn’t have gotten elsewise, in due course? What prevented us from simply taking it?
If something belongs to us, it is simply a question of overriding or overruling the intractable other in order to secure what is rightfully ours. Correct? In that case, what is the good of persuasion – to talk the other into giving us what is rightfully ours? To talk the thief into handing back our stolen property?
We know that this intractable other, feminism, is a taker who never quits taking, and gives nothing back at the behest of mere persuasion. We ought to craft our politics in the light of such understanding. In other words, we ought to craft our politics post-argumentally. We do not argue with feminism, we simply tell it things – and if it will not listen or modify its course, we hold it accountable.