Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Uneasy Quiet.

I've noticed an increasing usage of manosphere terms in the mainstream media, particularly the terms alpha and beta male. The local left wing feminist rag will frequently use the terms and  has increasingly critiqued "player behaviour" all of which makes me think that the manosphere is being noticed by the mainstream press.

This is not a good thing.

The message of the manosphere is at total odds with mindset of our left wing baby boomer overlords and their thought police, the Media, Arts and Learning Establishment, a.k.a The Cathedral. I imagine that the reason they have not directed their energies to this section of the internet is simply because it was too small and too un-influential to matter. Yet the media is quick to pick up on trends and the usage of manosphere terminology in the press would seem to indicate to me that they have been taking notice.

Then there was the saga with the ABC story on the manosphere and its abrupt withdrawal.  Firstly, the story seemed to be a typical Cathedral hit job. As expected, they seemed to focus on the MRA groups, the most beta like group associated with the manosphere. What the ABC was trying to do here was classic psych-ops. Pick a loser and make him a representation of your enemy so that concept conflation occurs. i.e manosphere = MRA. The whole idea is to form a psychological association between the loserdom of MRA's and the concept of the manosphere through Pavlovian conditioning.
Next time the average Joe hears about the manosphere, a notion of "loser" is generated in his head and this psychological state makes it easier for the Cathedral to convince Joe that the manosphere is for losers and its ideas are not worthy of consideration.

The fact that they assigned two very junior "journalists" to the task tells me that ABC thinks that the manosphere is of only trivial importance and that a low level hit job was enough. What concerns me however is why they pulled the story. Something's not right.

Factual inaccuracy has never been an impediment to the mainstream media, especially when it comes to small easy targets.  So the fact that the reporters got certain facts wrong doesn't sound like a plausible reason to pull the show.  People love "battle of the sexes" stories so arguments based on viewer interest are implausible.  I suspect that the reason they've pulled the show is because they want to rework it and put a more senior person on the job. I think a lot of heat is coming the manosphere's way.

It interesting to note as to why the media is doing a story on this in the first place. Why should a bunch of guys yakking on some internet forums be of any interest to the media whatsoever? I mean there's plenty of other more interesting stuff out there.

I'm not being hyperbolic here nor do I have any enthusiast delusions but it's my personal belief that Game is the first coherent practical attack on the liberal establishment which has the possibility of reaching out beyond intellectual circles. It places conservative metaphysics (a.k.a the red pill) at the service of the sex drive, essentially linking ideology with reproduction.  If it didn't work it would be another intellectual curiosity, the fact that it does makes it unstoppable.

What the liberal establishment hates is the not the sexual hedonism associated with Game but its "red pill-ness" it's this latter feature which undercuts the Cathedral's liberal foundation of lies. Lies about men and women, lies about race, lies about economics, lies about the family, lies about love.  Game is essentially the use of truth in pursuit of sex.  Just as the experience of abject poverty pushed many a man to the cause of Socialism so does success with Game push men towards Conservatism. "Success with women is more disillusioning than failure" is more a metaphysical statement as much as it is a statement of fact. The "opening of the eyes" to reality is what the liberal Taliban hates.

The other issue which infuriates the Liberals is how Game is spread. They have no control.  Whereas traditionally, the Cathedral, by having a monopoly on media control could police what the public got to see, the internet totally bypasses the mechanism. The internet has become a sort of underground press where freedom of speech, both crazy and sane is beyond Cathedral reach and thus dangerous ideas can ferment there. 

This is why I think the manosphere is about to get a lot of heat. The preparatory work has already been done. Emily's list (Google it) has stacked the political establishment. Women with second and third rate feminist academic "qualifications" stack the Cathedral. The SPLC's has issued its fatwas, all it takes for the Cathedral to decide that enough is enough in order for them to start persecuting "hate groups". The trads, with their usual capacity for self destruction, will be with them.

Some practical advice:

1) Do not talk to the media. You don't need them. The manosphere is growing and that is why they are talking to you. They can read your blog. If you want to improve your exposure then concentrate on you writing, put up more posts, concentrate on presentation, link to other bloggers. Every blog post can be seen by the whole world. You have a bigger reach than the New York Times.
2) If you're still that stupid and want to talk to the media then make sure you have a recording of the conversation. Video preferably. YouTube and Vimeo are your friends.
3) Do not do interviews. See the recent Gavin McInness interview. Three against one. One of whom just happens to be a professor of a Law School. It was not an interview, it was a set up to take Gavin down.
4) Do not say anything stupid. I know a lot of guys like to make inflammatory comments just to get some controversy and traffic going, but it can and will be used against you. Most people do don't subtlety.
5) Disassociate yourself from obvious nut jobs. It will be guilt by association.  Gates of Vienna blog is not my thing, but the poor bastard there was in deep shit because Brevik used to visit the blog and quoted it.
6) The Left is beginning to engage in false flag operations. Beware of any new and extreme members to your blog. Once again, guilt by association. Ban any idiots mercilessly.
7) Roosh V is living overseas. Think about it.
8) Should you get libeled by the Cathedral. Sue. Sue mercilessly and vindictively. Bleed the bastards for every cent they have and they have a lot. A retraction is not enough, since once the shit is thrown some of it always sticks. You may be innocent but your employer may not want the attention.

Good Luck.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Some More Thoughts on the Pill.

On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever.
 Humanae Vitae.

The oral contraceptive pill is used for a wide variety of reasons. In my practice, its use as a contraceptive comes about fourth on the list of reasons why I prescribe it. I mainly prescribe the pill for the treatment of endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and acne in that order.  Paradoxically, and to my surprise, when used for the treatment of endometriosis it may, in fact, protect fertility! (Go figure!). Now, Catholic moral theology permits the use of the pill for medical reasons where the intention is to use the pill as a therapeutic agent and not as a contraceptive.  The moral logic which permits the pill's use in such circumstances is the principle of double effect.

The doctrine of double effect has come about due to the recognition of the fact that sometimes a good action may have unintended bad effects.  The classic case being the legitimacy of removing a bleeding fallopian tube in the instance of an ectopic pregnancy, and thereby causing  the loss of life of the fetus.

Cynics, looking at the doctrine of double effect, have claimed that it is possible to justify anything  by appeal to this doctrine. To protect against such abuse, in order for an action to be considered morally good, it must satisfy the following criteria:
  1. The nature-of-the-act condition. The action must be either morally good or indifferent.
  2. The means-end condition. The bad effect must not be the means by which one achieves the good effect.
  3. The right-intention condition. The intention must be the achieving of only the good effect, with the bad effect being only an unintended side effect.
  4. The proportionality condition. The good effect must be at least equivalent in importance to the bad effect.
Now,when I prescribe the pill for an issue such as endometriosis what I'm aiming to do is give a woman a pill to take to treat her medical condition. Taking pills is not morally illict so condition 1 is satisfied. As far as we are aware, the direct action of the hormones on the endometrial tissue modulates the expression of the endometriosis, so condition 2 is satisfied. My intention in these circumstances is to treat the endometriosis with no reference to contraception whatsoever, so condition 3 is satisfied. But where I get stuck is on how to satisfy the proportionality clause: condition 4.

How do I weigh a woman's fertility in relation to a condition like endometriosis? Or acne for the matter? Is suppressing a woman's fertility of the same order of gravity as making her go blind or is it the same order of gravity as an appendectomy?

If, as Humane Vitae asserts, the suppression of fertility is associated with grave sin, then must endometriosis be really-really bad before I can prescribe the pill? How bad is really-really bad?  Or make things even more complicated, sometimes the symptoms can be out of all proportion the degree of disease on imaging or laparoscopy? Is badness a measure of the patients discomfort  or the actual objective disease load? Where the dividing line is I don't know.

The problem with Humane Vitae lays in its evaluation that the the suppression of fertility is a very grave matter. This has practical implications on the treatment of medical conditions if one is to follow the full letter of the law and thereby be consistent with the principle of double effect. In order to satisfy condition no 4, the only way I could legitimately use the pill, as a therapeutic agent, is if the patient's medical condition is grave. Therefore the pill could only be justified in extreme cases. This, of course, would be a terrible outcome, since the pill is a very effective way to treat many medical conditions with minimal side effects compared to the alternatives.  Menorrhagia, a condition which affects many women, would have to be treated with other agents which are less effective and have more complications than the pill. Humanae vitae, strictly applied, effectively removes a whole class of therapeutic agents except for extreme circumstances.

As far as I can see, when it comes to its application, Humanae Vitae is asymmetric in its understanding. When it comes to sexual matters, the suppression of fertility is a grave matter, when it comes to the treatment of medical conditions it is not.

(Note. One of the weirdest things I ever had to do was put a Nun on the Pill for endometriosis!)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A Slow Toxin. Natural Law and Tradition.

Atheist warning. Another religious post.

The Church's teaching on the nature of the sexual has been strongly influenced by a natural law interpretation approach to the matter. Some people object to this approach, however, I'm not one of them. I actually think that the approach has much to commend to it but what's become apparent to me is that while this approach is a valid way of looking at morality, it becomes downright toxic when it becomes incorporated into an institution which values and venerates tradition.

Natural law is basically law which can be derived by a fair minded and reasoned look at the facts. For example, people usually get very upset when you take stuff from them. A reasonable man would conclude that taking stuff from people is liable to get a lot of people angry, and running a stable society is very difficult where there are a lot of angry people, therefore taking stuff away from people, when considered rationally, is bad.  It's an approach with a fair amount of intuitive validity. As C.S. Lewis shows in his Abolition of Man, the rules of morality are rather consistent across vastly different societies and cultures. It seems proof that a rational assessment of the facts of life can lead to a common morality.

The quality of natural law formulations, however, is totally contingent on the data from which it is derived and the intellectual apparatus with which to interpret that data. A deficiency in one or the other may lead to false conceptions of what constitutes the natural order of things.  It follows then, that should we get better knowledge of the facts, or a greater understanding of their interrelation through scientific achievement, our conceptions of what constitutes the natural order may change. The state of scientific knowledge and natural law derived morality are intrinsically intertwined. The laws of nature can be only be obeyed to the degree in which they are known.

The real problem arises when an institution starts venerating tradition as a source of infallibility, especially when it comes to natural law matters. For what that institution effectively does is entrench not just prior moral opinions but the contingent scientific understandings upon which they were based.  Effectively, what that institution does is set itself against new truths gained through scientific discovery.

Paging Galileo.

Natural law derived morality has the diabolic effect of conflating facts with morals. Mix in a veneration of tradition and you're setting yourself up for failure, especially when taking on the scientific establishment.  The traditionalist moral zealot--who is intuitively opposed to change--sets out to protect the faith from moral innovations never realising that he is also defending scientific ignorance. The harder he pushes the dumber he looks and hence the faith vs science struggle is born. Playing the "teaching authority" card only makes things worse since authoritatively teaching error only undermines the authority when teaching the truth. It's a lose/lose situation.

The Devil looks on......amused.

It's not that there is anything wrong with the natural law approach its just that the conclusions of natural law change when the facts about the nature of things do. Tradition stymies the perfection of knowledge by preferring the old to the true. When HV affirmed the "constant teaching of the church" it didn't just make a statement of morality but one of outdated reproductive physiology as well.

The advocates of Humanae Vitae like to paint those who criticise it as either stupid, in that they aren't bright enough to understand natural law, or malign, in that their intentions are evil.  But perceptive minds in the 1960's could already see that the the natural law arguments were in a bit of difficulty.

Back in 1964 a certain moral theologian wrote in a letter* to his friend;
First, it is simply a fact that the theologians' teachings on conjugal intimacy during the course of the centuries have undergone very considerable development. So it is legitimate to inquire whether further development is not possible and what direction it might take. Second, in the case of usury we say that changed economic conditions gave interest a new meaning it did not have before, or gave money a new character of fruitfulness. In the case of contraception we must remember that the doctrine of the church was formed and formulated at a time when little was known about the physiology of reproduction. The physiology has not changed but our knowledge of it has. This is one of the reasons why modern theologians have come to permit rhythm, which much of the ancients would undoubtedly have rejected, and which Augustine actually did reject, in strong terms. We now know that many, perhaps most, acts of intercourse are physically incapable of resulting in conception. The difficulties which this fact causes for natural law arguments against contraception have not been satisfactorily solved yet[ED!].-Do not conclude from this that I believe the Church can change her basic teaching on contraception or that she can retreat from the positions established authoritatively by the documents of Pius Xl and Pius XII.
The letter is one of the most extraordinary contributions to the subject of contraception and the nature of coitus. Namely, because the person who wrote it was John C Ford, S.J. was one the most respected moral theologians of the 20th Century and the leader of the anti-contraception faction in Pope Paul VI's commission looking into the matter. Ford, in my opinion, was a skilled logician and intellectually thorough. Ed Feser recommends his books. But though Ford was skilled in logic, he venerated authority and tradition more than he did the truth and, thus, opposed any moral innovation when it came to matters sexual. To his credit, he was intellectually honest enough to see that there were serious difficulties with the natural law argument.

Ford's main concern is that the Church remain consistent in its teachings. As Ford logically rationalised, any contradictory inconsistency would be proof that the Church was in error and hence not guided by the Holy Spirit, therefore, it's traditions must be upheld at all costs. But here again I feel that he made a conflation error. Into the his concept of the Church's "traditions" he bundled together the Church's moral principles and their subsequent practical application; two conceptually different things. To be fair, lots of others think exactly the same way. Conflation errors are very, very dangerous.

The natural law tradition which Humanae Vitae sought to uphold was right in upholding the traditional principle that coitus should not be privated  but wrong in its understanding of what constituted a privation.  In asking men to conform to the laws of nature they were asking men to conform to the understanding of the laws of nature as understood in the medieval period, not the laws of nature as understood by modern science. The document has the remarkable distinction of being right in principle but wrong in application due to an error of fact.

*Fair use quote from the book, John Cuthbert Ford, SJ: Moral Theologian at the End of the Manualist Era. Page 80. Bits of the book can be read on Google Books.