Emma Watson Starts HeforShe Campaign

emma watson at UNEmma Watson gave a formal invitation for men to support women, calling it the HeforShe campaign. Watson stated the high level of suicide in men as indication that sexism and misogyny hurts men as well as women. It’s not one side or the other but a unified front. Sadly too many do see it as an us or them situation. It’s not surprising that many men feel like it’s an over reach. When maleness so predominates in a culture the assumption becomes that it’s normal, has always been that way, or treat it as a quaint attack against what’s already been overcome.

It’s the not me, or not all men, syndrome; I’m fair, balanced, and equal; it’s them dudes. Of course it’s not. If religion poisons everything, its henchman gender inequality and opportunity are its relics that persist in poisoning after people have left.

Atheism has had a long issue with sexism in its ranks, and still debates whether its so called thought leaders are sexist or whether there has really been stated cases of sexual abuse–it’s not abuse unless it can be legally proven beyond doubt in a court of law, and the women are shown to  have drunk, drinking,sexism  abdicating any possible victimization. Women rightly point to how there still is even in small things like atheists wondering who the next four horsemen will be, not getting that the language itself implies it will be men (horse people?) and further promoting the patriarchal system of leaders, authority, and social status.

Of course, immediately afterwards 4chan threatened to post naked photo’s of her. Its not odd that when men say be equal there are no threats of posting naked photos of them. The Telegraph talked about her wardrobe choices.

Online abuse is a war zone, including oblivious sexisms. A blog follower was abusive and another blogger asked for support. It took several tries before a *stop that*  was issued but no direct action. Meanwhile other followers said it’s not his job to police his followers. But it is. That’s the point. When we see or hear of abuse it is really our moral imperative to stop it or we are accepting it as normal.

It’s a good video. It continues efforts to raise awareness and introspection.

Jim Newman, www.frontiersofreason.com

We Need Buffer Zones

anti-abortion-activists1SCOTUS in a duplicitous and pathetic pandering to fetus lovers has claimed Buffer Z0nes are unconstitutional. That they have their own buffer zone is accommodated because, after all, someone could harass or attack them. This is a bunch of Catholic, Jewish, and Protestants who see themselves as paradigms of their faith staunchly supporting the harassment of women and men.

I’ll start worrying about SCOTUS needing a buffer zone when their doors are bombproof, staff hide behind bulletproof glass, and all supporters-visitors of the court demand escorts to make it through waves of jeering, sneering, imploring, screeching, and threatening protestors, uhhh street counselors. Until then it’s clear that these threatened people need more distance from their hot-headed protestors who have shown a wanton willingness to escalate to violence to save a few fetuses.

As if buffer zones weren’t everywhere including on public property. Crime scenes, medical scenes, emergency scenes, construction scenes, moving scenes, parades, public art, and protest scenes all have used buffers successfully to keep people out of harm’s way, or potential harm, or harm to something else. It’s not that the risk is low. If you work or use some of these clinics your life is at risk. The beauty of buffer zones is that even a small space helps prevent escalation of violence. It’s why separating fighters works. It’s why lawyers caucus. The protection of privacy is an acknowledgment of the utility of preventing contact. … By this new measure or privacy Roe vs Wade is soon doomed.

Yet these lovers of fetuses say they are not protestors, they are street counselors. How does that go? Street counsel this asshole. Yelling in someone’s face is not counseling. It’s impossible not to be angry at the judges overturning this well-precedented tradition of safety. The court has proven it is not merely a respecter of religions but sees itself as the judicial arm of the new theocracy. It’s counseling, it’s about babies, it’s about speech. Bullshit, it is about following religious dogma regardless of law. It’s about using theology to inform the basic content of law. Until all of those texts where it says breed like flies, and the hermeneutics of fetuses as adult-person life, change, the rest is political maneuvering.

I can see SCOTUS now plotting, “we’ll get rid of buffer zones but keep cellphone data private.” I guess poor women, usually ethnic don’t count.

It would have been easy to leave this to local law and kick it back. What is a good buffer zone in one state could be different than another. Now all buffer zones to abortion clinics can be made to disappear.

There are no personal space laws in the US. It’s all based on contact. The provoker is not guilty unless they have actually touched the other person in threatening or harmful ways. Appropriate personal space is very different for citizens. I can be at a rock concert and people will do the most hilarious contortions to be sure they don’t touch knees or feet. In other cultures you can’t get them off you–you will achieve contact often. This is the heart against so called inter-human speech buffer zones. Yet it is often expanded in time of protests where one side lines up over here and that side lines up over here and there is space. My first spouse was a peacekeeper at Rocky Flats Missile Base, it’s all about keeping emotions down often with carefully planned buffer zones.

It’s sad as SCOTUS again showed it’s willing to do a Christianized version of Sharia where it’s less important to help people than to make their life difficult because they are sinners. Isn’t that the real point? To disguise their basic antipathy of rights.

It would make more sense if this were like a massive war or economic protest. It is nonsense that saving fetuses will save the family and  will save the country. If more children would help the planet it would be obvious. If fetus saving were a worthy symbol of anything but being religious it would be helpful. It’s just simple abuse to mostly poor women. It’s creating an artificially high bar to exclude people from their rich, religious, white club in one more way. You have to run the gauntlet to prove you’re worthy of getting an exam, doing some birth control, or having an abortion.

The value of protest ends when violence is served pretentiously without regard. How is it we can’t even get to some basic courteousness and civility? What about the women that are traumatized just be walking through this shit? We bear the cost of their negative experiences. Is this how the religious expect to gain converts? Is this what they mean by black evangelizing?

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Father’s Day is a Good day for Protesting Family Planning Clinics

buffer zoneNearly everyone agrees the Westboro Baptist church is out there. Even many of  the religious see it as extreme. Yet, protestors at Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics create a gauntlet of jeers, prayers, and singers sometimes every day. Many attempting to get medical service at these clinics have to deal with humiliation, intimidation, and harassment–there’s an incentive. They may just be going to the clinic for a check up. Can you see some young couple seeking advice or help in this environment? I bet a lot of kids would rather just risk it–hell, as a big, white, male adult I’d be intimidated.

Protesters at the edge of a buffer zone show what fun it is to get family planning aid. This group is the Catholic “Helpers of God’s Precious Infants.” Really makes you want to stay at home. While claiming they are peaceful protestors, too many employees remember Dr Tiller’s murder a few years ago. Now the ever-friendly bullet-proof glass greets you. It’s still not safe.

antiabortion protestors“I don’t wear a bulletproof vest, but I never go outside in my scrubs – not ever. I feel like that’s just smart,” said Leah Torres, MD, OBGYN and reproductive health specialist. “Every time I walk into a Planned Parenthood clinic, I have to be wary of the reality. I can’t pretend that I’m in Salt Lake City and everything is hunky dory. There are crazy people everywhere.”

The list of people murdered serves as warning.

Dr. George Tiller: May 31, 2009
Dr. Barnett Slepian: October 23, 1998
Security Guard Robert Sanderson: January 29, 1998
Receptionist Shannon Lowney: December 30, 1994
Receptionist Lee Ann Nichols: December 30, 1994
Dr. John Britton: July 29, 1994
Clinic Escort James Barrett: July 29, 1994
Dr. David Gunn: March 10, 1993

Creating buffer zones so protesters aren’t literally in your face is debated in courts. Protesting at clinics is like just something to do on the weekend–bring chips and salsa–heck, every day, all day, all night. Religious protesting is a lifestyle. And they say atheists are angry, militant, in your face?

Outside the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Boston on a recent winter day are the regulars — a small, devoted team of anti-abortion activists, handing out fliers and urging patrons to hear their message:
“Save that child.” “Every life is precious, protect that life within you.” “Please change your mind.” Several people pray silently nearby.

Clearly marked on the sidewalk, nearly 12 yards from the front doors, is a painted boundary, a line the protesters cannot cross. By state law, their First Amendment rights stop there.

What fun for all.

With a large cross around her neck, the 77-year-old grandmother often uses a baby stroller as a prop, along with a portable DVD player with images of a fetal ultrasound. On a recent day, she was seen standing at the edge of the yellow semicircle ringing the Boston clinic on Commonwealth Avenue.

In Winter Park, Fl protesters thought it would be cool to go to the homes of employees and protest there. Just so employees won’t forget their Christian love. The city created buffer zones, the police were confused, it went to court and the protestors lost. This story is repeating across the country.

Winter Park, Fla., passed the ordinance after 30 anti-abortion protesters lined up outside the home of Orlando Planned Parenthood CEO Jenna Tosh in August 2012 and would not leave until it began to rain.

They held signs with Tosh’s name showing graphic images and phrases such as “baby killer.” They shouted her name in between chants and songs.

Part of the ordinance passed the following month states: “It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to picket, protest or conduct any picketing or protesting activity within a buffer area of 50 feet from the property line of any dwelling unit in the city of Winter Park.”

The judge got it right.

“The object of the ordinance is not to infringe on the free exercise of religion, and though it may impact religiously motivated protesters, it impacts all protesters the same,” he added. “The object instead is the protection of the city’s residents in their homes from intrusive conduct, no matter the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of the protesters outside.”

In addition to denying both a restraining order and an injunction, Dalton dismissed the complaint with prejudice.

“With Prejudice” sounds so sweet. The case cannot be retried.

Here’s a video of what a client would see on their way to the EMW clinic in Louisville Kentucky today, Father’s Day, 2014

What a great way to observe Father’s Day. But if you’re religious and you miss today there is always next Saturday, and stay the night. Jerks everywhere claiming their business is your reproductive system. But hey soon the problem will disappear as heinous laws are causing the loss of clinics everywhere. This will ensure only the rich will be able to do family planning. Go on a health vacation to another country! The rich have better children anyway, right?

If god wanted these women to be saved with proper medical care he’d do it.

The needless death of Savita Halappanavar last year, after a Catholic hospital refused to terminate her doomed pregnancy, drew a worldwide outpouring of fury against the religious dogmatism that killed her.

But as I wrote at the time, Savita’s story was only the tip of the iceberg. What happened to her wasn’t a fluke or an aberration: it was and is the official policy of the church that if a pregnant woman’s life can be saved by abortion, it’s better to let two die than to save one.

As hospitals merge the percent of them that are religion based is increasing, from 16% in 2010 to ? in 2025. You have to be lucky and not live in the wrong area. In Wisconsin it is 30%. Often in rural areas there is no choice but to go to a religion-based hospital, with only their brand of care. Half of the OB/GYN staff at religion-based hospitals have issues with their demanded standards of care.

Is it any wonder that home-remedies, homeopathy, vitamins, diet, and just plain-ass staying sick and hoping for the best is the new standard of care? Not to mention being publicly and privately intimidated for wanting to use birth control or have an abortion. Yep, the religious are so peaceful, charitable, and kind–unless you’re a woman or a man trying to help a woman.

If I didn’t live so far from a clinic I’d grab a cooler, some food and beverage, and do a counter sit-in, or be an escort, but I can’t afford the gas. Luckily, I had a vasectomy. That must be really frustrating to the prolife-misery folks.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Appreciating Women

encourage othersZaron Burnett writes a really nice overview of rape culture and how men can dismantle it: “A Gentlemen’s Guide to Rape Culture.” Towards the end he lists examples of rape culture.

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape

Followed by a list of things men can do.

  • Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
  • Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
  • If a friend says she has been raped, take her seriously and be supportive
  • Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
  • Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
  • Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
  • Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.

Burnett elaborates a bit on what men should do which is basically confront, correct and if necessary tell xenophobic, sexist, or misogynist manspeak to shut the fuck up. Ending with the point that there are social standards for men, all men, and if you plan to deviate do it in private with consent.

I can’t find much more to say except for more specifics of this paradigm. Well, that’s not true. I would say the single most important thing men can do is to learn to like women. Odd that this has to be stated. The specifics of this vary. I say this, for example, because this piece seems to be written by a white, urban guy who doesn’t experience either poverty, commingling with people of color, or rural redneck culture, all of whom will have different takes and ways of expressing these issues. Not to mention the question of honor and its perverse issues that transcend even the desire for food and life in many men across the world.

As a specific example of cultural myopia, if Burnett feels safe walking alone at night he doesn’t share a number of male experiences where predation is near universal. Having lived in some of these circumstances I automatically scan every room I enter, always know an exit, and apprise everyone I meet carefully and track all movement. I can’t help it anymore though I learned it long ago and no longer need it so much now. Nevertheless, wherever it is bad for men it is worse for women.

My first temptation in reading his article was to translate it to “A Rude Boy’s Guide to Not Fucking with Women.” The word gentlemen always raises my shackles as it was used as a means of differentiating class, and putting women on a pedestal, an impossible gilded cage that choked the life out of women. Yet more euphemisms for silencing women.

Interesting that most of the advice, excellent though it is, reveals a male protectionist view where action is defined as a negative ontology of correction, what not to do, even when stated positively. This is good but I want more.

Men need to like women. This basic assumption sounds facile like “do unto others” or “don’t criticize until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes” or most simply “be good to others.” Yet, if men basically like women they will seek to support women and enjoy their relationships with women. On all levels if men find ways of enjoying women positively everything else follows. Yes, it is also about rights but the core of rights, their reason for existence, is a positive affirmation of their existence and presence.

It is too easy to view pretty much everything as competition and correction, even when bantering with “unconditional positive regard.” It’s not a competition, it’s a partnership. To counter this otherness it is popular to seek empathy. I’m saying go further and appreciate. It is far richer and more satisfying for everyone.

I don’t mean some superficial positivity. I mean something you truly and sincerely like and appreciate, and then act on it. Do it often and do it with care. It’s easy to muck about in finding common enemies or relating to horrible things as a means of garnering mutual sympathy and admiration. Go further. Appreciate what you admire and ascern that women, and others, all others, have done well.

Well, I considered using the term people for men, women, trans, and everyone so know that this process works for all relationships.

It has often been said that it is impossible to just be friends with the “opposite” sex(es). That really doesn’t matter. It’s not true anyway. Many things get in the way of relationships. As a man, getting a hard on, being distracted by nakedness, or stuttering when physically attracted does at least mean you appreciate them on a visceral and intuitive level. Take this further.  Women often have the same kinds of reactions. Get over it and find more. If you don’t feel attraction, fine as well, take your appreciation further. The point is to not let anything get in the way of forming relationships of appreciation.

Aaaah, I am correcting. Apologies. Learning to like specific women leads to liking women in general. Building positive relations with individuals allows you to establish relationships with groups.

I won’t discuss the mechanics of appreciation as their variance is manifold. We all have to figure it out based on where we live and what we believe. Of course there will be things that run counter to your core values that are difficult to appreciate. Seek bridges and means of relating to your own values in some way. Often we have more in common than we think.

The process of appreciation cuts through socioeconomic, class, race, and culture differences. It does means paying attention or being aware. A mindfulness towards others. Yet, the process becomes so engaging that you will seek it out naturally, instinctively and without effort .  The “goal” discussed often seems to be not to harm women but it’s really to appreciate them for themselves. Not for ourselves alone.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Elliot Rodger, Rationalized Murder

handmaidIt’s been awhile and I’m still disgusted at much of the public’s responses to the murders committed by Elliot Rodger. None of it is surprising if you have lived a few decades or are familiar with social issues but nevertheless it’s not enjoyable witnessing. Thank goodness so many women, and others, have risen to the occasion to insist this is not madness but the ultimate expression of male entitlement, a world view driven by patriarchy.

Any definition of patriarchy shows its near universal adaptation in the world after the development of agrarianism, animal herding, and city-state development. The structure to have power over women is the root meaning of patriarchy. Whether it’s benevolent or not is irrelevant as it’s never really benevolent. The concentration of resources requiring more time with the need to raise children for many years before they become functioning adults often creates a disparity of power against women. The loss of leisure time when egalitarian forager societies had to create infrastructures made male labor more valuable. Especially in the light of resource pressure where fighting in groups was valuable to maintain at first sustenance, then status, and finally honor where no resource issues need be present. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Everyone bears the responsibility of patriarchy but women get the worst of it by definition. Sympathetic men may indeed become misandrysts or even misanthropes by sheer empathy towards those abused. Misogynists can hate men as well for their implicit advantages in power for control over women. Too long have men coming home from war or hunting been rewarded by more food and wives. Especially as resources dwindled during extreme climatic events–what used to take 2-4 hours a day became all-day work.

The dehumanizing aspects of patriarchy has led some to call modernism madness. If you consider a society a social cell or organ then the fact that it attacks itself is irrational, madness, even if it is a calculated and sought for ideology. The only personal way out of this particular madness is through pure leisure, lack of any responsibility, something you find at both ends of the economic spectrum. You’re either so poor and disenfranchised that you don’t give a shit or you have so much money and power that you don’t give a shit. Either way, this out is still within society and exacerbates the problem.

Another way is to develop alternative societies. A difficult choice in technologically advanced areas or subsets of society where there is desire for mobility between them, such as the Amish with their 8th grade education. When homesteaders went West or North they still carried with them their patriarchy. The difficulty was also geographic. Hostile environments with low sustenance resources mean a contrary style can exist best in coastal areas of temperate climates where life resource is available on a near daily basis. For a description of this see Euell Gibbon’s “A Beachcomber’s Handbook” as well as Jared Diamond.

This doesn’t mean it is impossible to fight or change patriarchy but it will cost energy. Social justice, restorative justice, economic equality, and greater positive empathy go a long away to dismantling the dehumanizing aspects of patriarchy. The great challenge will be how to maintain capitalism as it is inherently biased towards competition, power, resource caching, and honor status. But it is only right to try and in the long run may allow us to endure longer before extinction. More importantly it will make life better for many more along the way, which is at least my goal and should be yours. This means dismantling patriarchy.

The next thing that feeds the absurd opposing reaction to Rodger’s misogyny fueling his actions more than madness involves responsibility for one’s personal text or narrative. An excellent practice when you feel groundless or have identity issues is to write down your personal narrative. It is a text of your world view. Often it does start as a memoir as did Rodger’s. Listing the events that made you what you are reveals the roots of your individual inculcation. I say inculcation because as Joyce Carol Oates points out we aren’t born misogynists any more than we are born christian. I could also call it acculturation.

This personal text displays your core values, the things you respect, the things you wish to be, and how you see the world affecting them. Some make 5, 10, 20 year, and lifetime plans to meet their stated objectives, goals and processes. Certainly with optimism bias, ego inflation, and confirmation bias this text isn’t wholly realistic but it does well serve to indicate how mad or calculated one’s actions are even when operating under an umbrella of generalized social madness.

Sorry to get all philosophical here but it’s important to understand that murder isn’t unnatural. It is often ideologically driven. Over and over again we see lucid people killing, harming, and slighting many for very rational but unnecessary reasons. If your ideology involves conquest of others it is not surprising when it become physical. It can even be called good faith to the ideology.

In criminal justice personal responsibility involves premeditation. An insanity plea means not knowing right from wrong. Sociopaths are an easy example as they have no empathy towards others whatsoever. But this loss of empathy has a long and finely divided scale. In a crime it doesn’t have to be very long: A couple fights, one of them runs to the car to get a gun, and shoots the other. This action and clarity of vision shows it was premeditated and thought out. The insanity plea is not an easy option. Punitive justice societies depend on free will and personal responsibility to a high degree. In this sense Rodger was clearly sane and rational and personally responsible.

As people understand that circumstances help support actions then the derivation of one’s personal text from a social text as a construction means we can point to causes beyond an individual’s choice. A patriarchal manifesto in a matriarchal society would not be possible except as an extreme outlier world view created as a possibility or supposition rather than taken from experience.

In this sense Rodger was also sane. He envisioned a world more like Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” on steroids, proving that fact is even stranger, stronger, than fiction. It was no fantasy. It is possible for us to see how such a world could be his logical extension of what exists now.

Yet, my personal text is so far away from Rodger’s that I only experience disgust and revulsion when reading near any part of it. In this sense it would be easy for me to say he’s a crazy bastard and has been most of his life. Yet, in respect to “Changing Lenses” by Howard Zehr I also get that I was not raised like him in any way that I can see so how could I possibly relate or do his kind of rationalization of the pros and cons of his value system? His actions were horribly wrong and I long ago lost any empathy towards his issues.

It is incorrect to say that he was just a time bomb waiting to go off; if he hadn’t done this action now he would have done a similar one later. Many kinds of interventions could have occurred that would have prevented his final action. From small to large effects our life trajectory is not fatalistic, even when planned. It is indeed our relations and small interactions with others that can make a huge difference. I have heard from others years later that a remark I thought was either random or of low import had a large effect. These pivot points where we make gigantic decisions are often a final catalyst and exaggerated. A slight or praise can be held for years and can define a large section of text.

The importance of the continued discussion of these horrors, aside from the unfairness to women who were dissed for speaking up, is the need to continually remind ourselves that what we don’t experience is hard to describe or value as lessons. Empathy towards women’s discussion allows many, including women, to understand what needs to be changed.

It would be a shame if every generation had to experience injustice in order to believe in restoration and maintenance of justice. At some point our social text has to be edited such that it serves as a positive guide for the future so personal narratives cannot winnow negative aspects so freely.

Even if you made it this far in this post I apologize for its overly intellectual style. The many posts and comments I have read are so egregiously vituperative that the only way I could maintain some semblance of compassion was to avoid it entirely. Otherwise I would be too tempted to say those bastards that hate women should rot in hell now and a just god would ensure it immediately. Indeed, one can see why theodicy, the issue of evil in so-called benevolent religions, creates a desire for justice in the next world because there sure as hell isn’t any here.

That’s our job. To change the world for the better. It seems hard but I suggest you write or consider your own personal text and see if it echoes the better or worse angels of society, and if necessary edit the hell out of it.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com

Don’t Wear Yoga Pants Unless You Want to get Raped

brother deanWhen I lived in Salt Lake City I often heard the advice to women to not wear skimpy or revealing clothing unless you wanted to be harassed or even worse raped. These were my formative young years but I dismissed this as lunatic advice since my own family said it was blatant bullshit blaming women for their abuse. Little did I know that this wasn’t just some Mormon expression towards modesty before god. Often conservative sects of religion emphasize modesty and asceticism as part of material denial, antipathy of pleasure, and revulsion of the body.

Astounding that in this peaceful, white, middle-class high school when I left a math book on a shelf in the school hallway for a minute someone stole it. Was it my fault that it was stolen? Why would anyone want a math book? A teacher said yes, it was my fault. Regrettably she said I would have to pay for it. Regrettably because I was a good student but the lesson remained; I was getting screwed twice. If you don’t guard, lock, and hide everything that is precious to you you should expect it to be stolen in some way. That was the moral. The assumption of crime. It’s banal, droll, to be expected.

My grandmother-in-law thought a woman’s virginity was the bargaining chip in marriage and I was quizzed on my intentions when I first talked to her on the phone. She was trying to protect the biggest asset a woman can offer in marriage. So nineteenth century I thought.

Going to the university I was able to meet and talk with more female students in a way that was impossible in high school and found they echoed the sentiment. Women who dressed revealingly were asking for it in two ways. They were either selling out to objectification or they were asking for it because a smart woman knew what the dangers were. Caught either way.

With the revival of awareness from #YesAllWomen and others I have read some 14,000 links on what women experience. It’s depressing but I owed it my time even as it aggravated my depression. A common experience is the problem women face in public. Where even being polite is a defense against further aggression. Women are not only supposed to be decorative objects they must be polite no matter what. Is it surprising that many women shelter themselves, go in groups, carry defensive items, or become aggressive. Whether flight, fight, or freeze the responses show a siege mentality prevalent in our public and private worlds.

I don’t get siege mentality. I don’t get protectionism. I don’t get the acceptance of predation as the norm. Rupert Read and Nassim Nicholas Taleb praise religion as successful heuristics in intergenerational risk management. How is this even remotely so? Religion has functioned to continue castle protectionism and denigration of personal rights and freedom. It’s the victim’s fault because they didn’t protect themselves the right way. Whatever happened to the freedom to not have to protect yourself? Whatever happened to religion supposedly helping with impulse control? Apparently promises of heaven and threats of hell are the best and only means of ensuring safety. Is it really surprising that religion encourages patriarchal men to fully cover women or not have them leave the house, a greater abuse to prevent abuse. As if home and coverings were safe when it’s privatizing abuse.

Brother Dean Samuel published a video justifying his claims that women who dress revealingly are asking to be molested. Worse is he said “you deserve rape”?

How in hell does anyone in any way deserve rape? Every woman in my family has been raped. I fear for my daughters. They didn’t even have to be wearing revealing clothing to have it happen. This idiotic argument protects our society from addressing the basic religious premise that women are inferior to men. It also promotes the basic religious belief that life is a binary battle of good and evil, where the evil must be punished and the good must be sanctified. Funny how that fits so well with gender binaryism. No wonder Oneism is so popular as a means of convincing that harming another harms yourself. No wonder Pluralism attempts to make diversity safe, moral.

The promotion of the subjective experience as the most important experience encourages a what’s in it for me attitude that extends far beyond any sort of selfish gene protectionism. I had to laugh at Pharyngula’s post, is there a gene for thinking everything is genetic? No, it’s the individualistic concept of personal responsibility for heaven or hell. If going to heaven or hell were based on whether you were kind to others that might help. Until then it’s your fault if something happens to you.

By this measure the only true freedom is to possess nothing. If you have nothing of value you reduce your chances. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” I don’t think Janis Joplin was kidding.

You would think with the high cost of raising families we would be more concerned. We aren’t Redwood trees where if one seedling in a million makes it that’s good enough.

Why do I have to teach my daughters self defense? Why do I have to warn them that if they are polite at a party it will be construed as saying yes, a further come on? Why do I have to warn them not to dress unless they are prepared for contest? Why do I have to make them hyperaware of their sexuality? Why do I have to tell them to let men down easily? Why do I have to tell them to always know who is  in their presence, near them? Why do I have to warn them that their Dr Jekyll boyfriends may become Mr Hyde when they least expect it? Why do I have to warn them they may be called cunts if they diss advances? To always watch their glass? Why do I have to tell them they always should have protection? To blame these considerations onto the world is to enable the dismissal that we aren’t responsible for our behavior to others.

Refraining from being cruel to people is not a high bar. Using appropriate words and actions is not difficult. Only ideologies of hate and revulsion can engender this kind of easy abuse.

We must shout down assholes like Brother Dean when they scream their hateful shit. When we hear these idiots on the streets, when we see a woman being abused in a bar by some rejected asshole, when we see a woman who shouldn’t be at the party anymore, we should do everything we can to help. Until then we’re part of the problem.

Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com