Friday, December 31, 2010


It has often been mentioned on this site that there is some deep and thick connection between ‘feminism’ and the Sex Offense Mania Regime.

I don’t want to politicize this blog, and my primary concerns are beyond the purely political.

But a couple of articles have surfaced that prompt me to say a few things.

First, a further tightening of the focus on what is meant by ‘feminism’ here. I am not using it as code for ‘anti-woman’ or ‘anti-women’, just to get that out of the way. Also, if I use the term ‘women’ with those quotation-marks it is only meant to indicate that there is some doubt as to how many actual female persons really support the full, or even primary, feminist agenda; no disrespect or snideness of any sort is intended.

Being more of a political movement than a conceptual one, it has come to be defined by those who have been trying to get it established, as quickly as broadly as possible, in American society and culture.

Unfortunately, having drunk deeply of a lot of the ‘revolutionary theory’ stretching from Marx and Lenin and up through anti-colonial ‘oppression’ and ‘liberation’ theories from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, the movement came to rely on a gameplan that sidestepped the slow and uncertain processes of wide (and democratic) public deliberation. Claiming, as sort of a piggyback on the American revulsion at both Nazi death-camps and Southern Jim Crow culture, that ‘women’ have been even more oppressed than either the Blacks under Jim Crow or the inmates of the concentration camps, the political strategy of feminism has been to cast it as a matter of undisputable ‘rights’, such that the ‘rights’ they asserted need not be deliberated or discussed, but rather must simply to be enshrined in law immediately.

Thus, coasting the Boomery wave that considered all ‘established’ stuff ‘bad’ and all ‘change’ as good and anything ‘anti-‘ as no doubt right and very good, the feminist agenda (meaning the radical and political elements) were force-fed into the American cultural and political bloodstream.

Most nowadays don’t recall that the first big boost, in 1964, was not through any wide public deliberation and consensus. Rather, since the Democrats were rather desperately casting about for new ‘demographics’ since they figured that they would lose the South through their Civil Rights legislation, and figuring even at the early stage that somehow the postwar economic employment miracle of American society would not be sustainable much longer, they were anxious to raise up new demographics, and thus came ‘women’ (as defined by feminism) as a huge (52% of the electorate) demographic.

Somehow, at the last minute, on the Floor of the House and with no deliberation and no recorded individual voting required of the Members (they did it by ‘teller vote’, which is anonymous), into the long-awaited Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was intended to undermine the Jim Crow regime’s genuine and carefully-constructed repression of Southern black civil rights through all manner of discrimination, a soon-to-retire Congressman who had – as Chairman of the House Rule Committee – had all the time in the world to raise the point in committee hearings, suddenly inserted “gender” as a second category of ‘discrimination’ into the text of the Bill. There was no debate (it was, after all, only ‘one little word’) and instantly ‘gender’ took its place beside ‘race’ as a major category of discrimination, to the surprise of most of the electorate.

I raise this bit of historical reality not to condemn feminism as such but to point out that its career as a major element of US social and cultural policy was effected kinda slyly (if not even sleazily) through legislation rather than deliberation (not only no public deliberation but no legislative deliberation either), and thus resulted in some verrrry bad habits on the part of organized feminist advocacies and the Beltway pols.

Because the SO Mania Regime legislation, especially in the beginning, sidestepped a great deal of deliberation precisely by such sleight-of-hand: proposed laws were rushed through the phase of committee hearings and debate (or perhaps that phase was skipped altogether because of the ‘emergency’) and – since by the 1990s the practice of manipulating public opinion through fear and outrage at selectively chosen and even mis-represented events and ‘facts’ was far more established than it was 30 years before – because the public was simultaneously ignorant of the true state of affairs and whipped into such a frenzy that folks would nod their heads to just about anything that was erected into law. Nor could any legislator, in such conditions of deliberately-induced public Mania, dare to voice objections on the Floor of a legislature.

So, un-boundaried by genuine and accurate information or by the necessity of having to survive skeptical scrutiny and debate (either in the legislatures or, through the media, in the forum of public opinion) these laws simply grew like poisonous kudzu, undermining solid legislative and jurisprudential structures and principles, including some verrrry basic Constitutional ones.

But the reality of the SO Mania Regime’s sustained hostility to ‘men’ and ‘males’ could not be hidden; nor – if you give it any thought – is it hard to see the dovetail with the more radical strands of the feminist agenda.

So much then, for the background.

We know that a decade or so after the explosion of ‘governance feminism’ in the 1990s – an innocent term for the sustained and organized effort to get various essential bits of the agenda erected into law (which resulted in the Domestic Violence and Sex Offense Regime legislation, among other things) – this type of sidestep-the-People gambit migrated to foreign policy: in the agitated waves of public emotion and confusion following 9/11, the government pulled out some old plays from the feminist game-book, misinforming, exaggerating, quietly doing what it said it would never do, and so on.

Thus the Iraq War. And the Afghanistan War as it has mutated in the past few years. And the ‘extraordinary rendition’ and the torture and now – the SO community will recognize it for what it is – the ‘preventive detention’ and ‘permanent’ detention’ at the will of the President, regardless of what any court has determined or beyond the authority of any American court to determine.

And if THIS last bunch of initiatives sloshes back and migrates into the SO Mania Regime, then things will get worse than they are now with the civil commitment procedures for SOs; which is a frightening prospect for the entire country, since the Rule of Law (traditionally opposed to the Rule of the Whim and Say-So of the Sovereign) will be effectively undermined.

There is now an article by the professor and author Christine Stansell.*

Stansell has recently written one of the several books recently published in the genre I call ‘victory-lap feminism’: here’s all the great stuff we did and here’s what remains to be done and ain’t we just grand?

My own thought is that this genre is flowering just now because the generation of feminists that supported what has been done so far is getting to a certain age and would like a) other people (including insufficiently respectful younger women) to know the ‘correct’ history of what they have done, and would like b) to go toward the Great Whatever with a burnished reputation for being the best and brightest of the feminist cause and c) to feel good about themselves as their handiwork reaches the point of being so far back in time as to be ‘historical’ and thus will be looked-at with an objective eye by historians the way feminism’s agenda has never been looked at by politicians and the mainstream media.

But interesting as that developing story is, it’s not my main concern here.

Stansell in this article speaks with a surprising candor. This is, I think, an advantage of ‘victory lap’ type writing: figuring the heavy-lifting has been accomplished, the author can reveal some of the trade secrets as to How We Did It and Where We Intend To Go From Here.

(You’d have to make your way into some of the rubber-chicken self-congratulatory dinners of the SO Mania Regime supporters to get this type of revelation about the Regime, or – I almost dated myself here – get onto the proper listserve.)

She starts with 1980 and Ronald Reagan’s election, which “brought the New Right to Washington” (which, she nicely fails to mention, had been the private deerpark of the New Left during the 1970s).

Curiously, she continues that “for feminists it was the culmination of a series of devastating setbacks”. Which is interesting because if the 1980s were a disaster, and that decade followed a series of “devastating setbacks” in the previous decade (the 1970s), then feminism hadn’t had a really successful decade since its inception as a recognized political player on the national stage (perhaps when the Democrats declared themselves “the Party of Women” in the run-up to the 1972 election – when they were repudiated by the nation’s voters 49 states to 1.)

“Feminist legislative and policy initiatives collapsed.” When she says legislative, she isn’t implying a really full and open sorta thing, and when she purrs policy-initiatives she’s talking old-fashioned smoke-filled room pressure politics without the smoke. Feminism has never been People-friendly, relying on courts and the federal bureaucracy, with the occasional but hardly inconsequential boost from legislators.

BUT THEN she lets this out: “Faced with blockage at home, one response of American feminists was to reorient their political ambitions to women’s movements abroad.” Which meant that the feminist agenda would now become part of the nation’s foreign policy. In other words, when ‘the Americans’ came to town, you weren’t only going to get tooth-wrecking candy-bars and the whiz-kids at the International Money Fund and their loan-officers and auditors; you were going to get ‘feminism’ – just as strong and sassy as the feminists could make it.

But she is Beltway-savvy and puts a nice, tasteful, and constructive spin on it – using deceptively high-sounding, abstract, and helpful phraseology: “A flourishing international women’s movement looked to be a hospitable venue for American energies and ideas”. These energies and ideas being the ones that the Americans themselves had pretty much rejected, back when they had the chance.

“Global feminism” was “enthusiastically endorsed and underwritten by U.S. foundations and women’s groups from across the political spectrum , from left to center – and eventually the New Right". (I’m going to say that the Right embraced the whole thing when it dawned on the Beltway that such a sensitive and urgent ‘mission’ would provide splendid cover for increasing American military intervention, as the US economy began to wobble with increasingly queasy intensity and it was clear that the forces would need to be sent out and get a hold of other folks’ stuff to shore the whole thing up.)

Thus, she quickly concludes and proclaims, global feminism “became from the American point of view a triumph in an otherwise vexed and clouded period”. Neatly, she evades the implicit question of how things looked from the other countries’ and cultures’ and societies’ point of view. Societal, cultural and civilizational arrangements that had structured their lives for millennia were going to be overturned with missionary zeal.

The missionaries need waste no more time thinking about the point of view of those other (‘target’) countries than they did thinking about the point of view of the American Citizenry (which had actually spoken rather clearly in 1972): after all, since they were all deliberately or unwittingly ‘oppressive’ and ‘patriarchal’ then their opinion didn’t matter (until it had been rendered Correct) and the principles and ethos of their governing structures need not be respected any more than the Constitution would be respected here as the Mania Regimes of Domestic Violence and Sex-Offense were to demonstrate so vividly and forcefully.

And now things start to come closer to home for the SO community. “The importance given to the subject of violence against women was the Americans’ signal contribution to expanding international discussions in the period after 1980". You may recall from the Victimology mini-series (which I promise to get started up again shortly) that even the international Victimology folks were concerned about the American preoccupation with criminalizing everything they could get a law passed about.

Thus (in the 1990s here, but a decade earlier internationally) American feminism was promising a criminal-law, government and police-heavy regime that – to add insult to injury – would have to be accepted as A) altogether righteous, just, and good and B) a long-postponed condign rebuke to every country on the planet’s millennia-long oppressions.

I can only imagine what this must have seemed like to governments and peoples newly-liberated from colonialism or beginning to emerge from the Soviet shadow: a new police-state regime replete with so many of the tactics and procedures long-practiced in Europe and around the world in darker days and times. The knock on the door, the removal on the say-so of a single party, the deprivation of property, family, and even livelihood, the courts already primed against you, the registration into police ‘files’ and even – a neat American twist that not even the Third Reich or Stalin thought of – the publication of your name as (not an ‘enemy of the people or of the state, but) a monster. And everything that flowed from that.


Covering nicely all the dogmatic bases, Stansell confides how “revelations about violence against women as a central component of oppression – whether rape, domestic abuse, or sexual harassment – had surfaced early in feminist consciousness-raising groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s”. These were groups of like-minded, mostly female folk who got together in a more serious version of a college bull session to tell ‘stories’ – currently dressed up as ‘anecdotal evidence’, besides which no other evidence need be sought or indeed should be sought, since to doubt the pain is to re-victimize the (self-proclaimed) victim. The possibilities for lethal mischief were sufficiently glaring as to be visible from space, as they will before long become clear to historians starting to look back on the last years of American hegemony and wonder how the Americans threw it all away and became so unbalanced and – not to put too fine a point on it – unserious.

It goes without saying that each of those terms – rape, domestic abuse, and sexual harassment – is broadly and elasticly defined, and indeed is always increasing. The current Julian Assange case – where the US government has apparently put the Swedish and British governments up to nabbing the Wikileaks founder on sexual innuendoes that are so mushy no charges have yet been brought, but that seem to center on some form of ‘sex by surprise’ (which, in feminist-soused Sweden is a sex-crime) reveals both the government-heavy implications of sex-offense law in the American mode and the government-friendly uses to which such engorged police power can be put if you’re willing to drill through the firewalls of truth and the integrity of Western principles of justice.

She burbles proudly about the UN World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing: the trope of violence-against-women proved to be “one set of issues that generated unity, even as so many other fault lines developed … sexual violence transcended race, class and cultures, and united women worldwide in a common cause”. None of the other issues presented – education, reproductive rights, employment, land rights, property rights – “could … do the same work”.

But it’s clear then that ‘violence against women’ is now something that feminism desperately needs in order to retain a grip on some centrifugal force that will hold the whole incoherent mass from spinning apart.

Which goes to enlightening the SO community as to why it is that even when evidence of the SO Regime’s irrelevant, ineffective, and profoundly problem-causing strictures is presented to them, legislators seem impervious to it. To some very real extent, the laws about sexual violence aren’t really about sexual violence at all; they are about helping a politically influential pressure group hold itself together. This, I think, is food for some serious thought.

Rather than being a ‘planet’ – if I may – feminism seems to be like an old military helicopter: ten thousand independent pieces of machinery doing their own thing together until they decide not to. And, of relevance to the SO community, ‘monster sex offenders’ have been assigned the task of being the glue.


But Stansell hasn’t finished revealing her revelations yet.

One of the problems that the international work has encountered is that “American feminists displayed little interest in the politics and problems that nourished violence in those other places”. That, and secondly the unhappy fact that the American feminists “displayed a penchant for hyperbolic and extreme depictions of universal male brutality”.

And so We have a noted feminist author and professor, in a passing by-the-by, acknowledging that the American sex-offense scene is and has always been permeated with American feminists’ preference for extreme and exaggerated depictions of that “universal male brutality” that I still can’t make out from the text whether Stansell deploys as a term of irony or whether she too actually buys into it.

So there’s been a lot of extreme stuff and exaggeration. No wayyyy! Wayyyyy!

But I don’t expect to see a rush to repeal these frakkulent laws or even for legislators to come clean at least to the point of admitting that their Findings that they said justified the laws were rather largely erroneous. That they did it all for political gain … I don’t expect to hear that until the final few minutes between the Last Trumpet and the gavel banged by the Unfool-able Judge, when I expect numerous desperate formerly official souls, honorable all, to be trying to confess and come clean while they still can. It should be a sight well worth the postponement of lesser recreations and honest folk should make plans to attend.

But that isn’t going to do much good for the many already caught up in the toils of these laws.

At this and that world conference, Stansell recalls with a decent ruefulness, “political arguments were missing yet none of the [conference] leaders minded”. Why should they? Achieving goals through any sort of democratic and deliberative politics was never part of the game plan. Revolutionaries don’t do ‘politics’ – the whole idea of revolution in the European and certainly the Soviet mode is to overturn politics because the oppressing classes are too entrenched to be voted out and the oppressed classes are too donkey-like even to realize they are oppressed. That’s Revolution 101.

You need enlightened cadres who have had their consciousness raised and who keep telling each other the stories that keep them juiced. That’s Revolution 101 too.

And so it was with the monster Manias and the laws of their Regimes here.

“It’s hard to talk in critical yet subtle terms to a panel made up largely of Third World sex-trade victims, older nuns, and moral champions.” Well, do you think it’s any easier to do so to sex-offense ‘panels’ in legislative venues in this country? (And are younger nuns more amenable to deliberation than older ones?)

So you get cartoon-thinking based on cartoonish-caricatures of the problem and, of course, the Necessary Monster who causes all of your problems. (Let me say right here that I am not seeking to ‘minimize’ genuine problems; but cartoon-thinking never provided an effective and lasting and just solution to any problem, although the usefulness of cartoon-thinking is Propaganda 101.)

She says, honestly enough then, that “the use of patriarchy as the one-size-fits-all paradigm and the dichotomy of injured-woman/male aggressor was totally inadequate”; she’s speaking here of the international conferences. Although I’d say the same has been true over here for decades, yet this fact has been ignored by legislators and most of the media.

It also seems like this kind of thinking that Stansell is proposing is going to take quite a bite out of that old 1990s chestnut, multiculturalism: clearly males and their 'traiditonal cultures' all over the planet are doing bad things. But that’s another Post for another site.

How, she asks, “did sexual violence become such a popular issue for global American feminism – arguably the dominant issue?” Notice that the global is also American. But it’s a good question.

She has some answers: “As a political theme, sexual violence was both sexy and sophisticated, unquestionably evoking a satisfying horror in Western audiences. It created an ersatz cosmopolitanism among feminists seeking international credibility.” And yet so it was over here too. And apparently feminists needed ‘credibility’ over here as well; in fact, though, given the moosh of unjustified or incoherent or mutually exclusive elements of their demanded agendas, the only way to get such credibility was to insist on public credulousness: believe the pain and the stories and don’t ask questions. One is reminded of the mantra repeated at the end of mid-1930s German broadcasts ‘proving’ that the Reich was doing a great job: “Mehr als dies braucht ihr nicht zu wissen!” – more than this you don’t need to know. And it was more than a mantra; it was an order.

She continues. “For one thing, it was an elastic, highly portable category that required no knowledge about the details of any one country, economic context, or political situation. Violence against women was instantly recognizable. Stories of brutality, escapes, captures, violations, torture, and dishonor, featuring many varieties of male villains … appealed precisely because they mobilized sympathy yet demanded little effort to understand … “

Elastic, oh yes indeed – nobody and no law has come up with a precise definition of ‘abuse’, which hasn’t slowed the laws down one bit. The concept of ‘rape’ has been expanded beyond any controlling reality at all.

And two or more decades of being soused with stories that don’t need to be and shouldn’t be ‘understood’ – let alone questioned – has undermined huge swaths of the American public’s civic competence. (Which became brutally clear after 9-11 when the public pretty much behaved , to use Abe Lincoln’s fine phrase, like a duck that’s been hit on the head.)

Stansell quotes an “activist”: “ … the omnipresence of violence in women’s lives provides them with a unifying agenda”. Always nice to have one. But males – it should come as a surprise to no one – are even more susceptible to violence and it remains a stubborn reality in the lives of all human beings, female or otherwise. So this is all a bit selective, more than the evidence would permit, I think.

And Victimologists (that mini-series again) in their more honest moments do admit the danger of persons who otherwise cannot seem to get their lives together being attracted like moths to a flame around the experience of being a ‘victim’: the victimization goes a long way to ease the burden of a life that has not fulfilled its potential. Not that human life has ever managed to fulfill its potential even when provided with all the abundance and opportunity available. The America of the pre-1975 period was, in the feminist telling, a cesspool of violent under-fulfillment, and there was a lot more abundance and opportunity around then than We are ever likely to see again.

And of course, every Victim requires a Victimizer – the Necessary Monster. As the poet Cavafy put it neatly: “the barbarians were a kind of solution”. The inferred question following that being: And what would we do without them?

She goes on, a bit more in the professorial mode: “A second less obvious reason was historical, I think. The preoccupation with sexual violence stirred up the passions of the feminist political semiconsciousness by transposing a Victorian dramaturgy of innocence and evil onto twentieth-century globalism.” (You can maybe see why feminism feels safer with cartoons and stories than with its own theoretical stuff.)

What she’s going for here is the Good-at-the-mercy-of-Evil scenario, which the Victorians did hold in high esteem. (Although Good-vs-Evil goes wayyyy back beyond them in Western and world culture.)

But the Victorians precisely embraced the Helpless-Good endangered by the Strong-Evil in order to encourage the third factor, the Necessary Hero who would come to the aid of Good. It was a way of giving males a more constructive role and a more socially useful outlet for their energies in an increasingly urbanized and industrialized society, where the old ‘Christian’ virtues were no longer robustly embraced. The ideal of the Victorian Male was an impressive effort in its way.

Surely the feminist ideal - if the term is acceptable in those circles at all – is of a totally autonomous person bound by responsibilities to nobody (family, husband, and children included); a person who is freed from the oppressions of piety toward any male sky god and even from the demands and limitations imposed by ‘character’ but who, for the sake of doing something useful, becomes a ‘moralist’: insisting upon her particular, deeply and sincerely felt conception of what is and isn’t universally moral, and considering herself empowered to go out and change what needs to be changed.

Which sort of sounds like a runaway version of a Victorian nanny in some dusty imperial backwater, spackling up the natives. And makes you wonder, maybe, if life among at least the better three-quarters of the Necessary Monster roster wouldn’t be more decently livable than life under the Red-Guard reign of such fearsome engines of morality.

But certainly, if Good is going to be cast as helpless victim, then you need that Necessary Evil Monster.

And the Hero in this case, would be the totally autonomous, enlightened, suitably field-dressed and booted cadres of feminist Heroines (if the term is still acceptable; I don’t get all the Memos).

Again it seems to me that the Sex Offense Mania Regime involves Sex Offenders only insofar as the equation calls for one part Monster in order to make the desired reaction work.

It stuns to think that such dynamics played a large, perhaps preponderant role, in the construction of the Regime, but there it is.

Stansell, again to her credit, disapproves of American women trying to forge a just-add-oppression ready-mix bond with their sisters in suffering around the planet: “[T]he claim to sisterhood was not entirely spurious. Yet conflating the situation of women in liberal democracies with that of women living under dictatorships or theocracies, while rhetorically effective in the United States, ignored fundamental facts.”

Who can disagree?

Yet again, it seems as if the Sex Offender of the 1990s became the Necessary Monster in order to provide the feminists of the 1980s with the ‘creds’ to go out for their international rescue missions while bonding with their sisters around the planet. (Do the dead civilians – men, women, and children – in Iraq and Afghanistan have no female relatives who might be oppressed by their sudden, violent, bloody and perhaps unnecessary deaths?)

And any astute reader who read Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” in 1963, where she compared the life of the American woman of that (now long-ago and never-to-return) era to an inmate at Dachau, realized that in order to have a Dachau you are going to have to have a Nazi – and sure enough males were cast in the role.

Just as Russian workers shook their heads in disbelief in the 1930s to hear that American workers drove to strikes in their own late-model automobiles, I am sure that women in villages and occupied countries around the world in 1963 must have shaken their heads when told of American women of that abundant and bustling American era driving to consciousness-raising klatsches where, over copious Chardonnay, they asserted their stories of woe.

But Friedan was “rhetorically effective” here, and for far too many that was good enough to get the job done. “Fundamental facts”, as was later declared to be dogma, “don’t matter”. After all, the donkey-like oppressed and the ape-like oppressors are too unenlightened to see beyond facts to the Great Revolutionary Reality. That’s Revolution 101 too.

And it all went into the construction of the Mania Regimes: Facts? We don’ need no stinkin’ facts!

That sort of thing.

And the Monsters rolled off the assembly lines like Model-T’s.

“Easy identification substituted for political debate.” Not only in the international forum of feminism. Starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that was pretty much the game-plan here too.

Stansell then explains things this way: “The crusade against global violence against women was tailored for a conservative age. It was the one form of feminist activism that proved able to draw right-wing support.”

So before George W. Bush made the mistake of calling a crusade a crusade …

And the whole thing was “tailored”. This was no accidental development; no sudden response to an emergency. There is a heavy flavor of premeditated strategizing, and of “ignoring fundamental facts”. (And can you say “Iraq War”?)

But worse is the satisfaction derived from imagining that if nothing else it was all a pretty good and shrewd bit of political stitching: putting together a ‘thing’ that could combine the New Left feminists (and their revolutionary content and method) with “Protestant Evangelicals” who also wanted to do their bit to make the world better as only Americans can do that job. I’m going to imagine that the Protestants wound up being junior partners in the international gambit.

But as it turned out the Fundamentalist law-and-order right in this country was more than happy to go after Monsters. Fundamentalisms, like revolutions, need their ‘barbarians’ (and ‘perverts’ and ‘incorrigibles’ and so on). And this made the Sex Offense Mania Regime irresistibly seductive to politicians who could, at a stroke, please their far Left and their far Right constituencies (while expanding the federal police power and getting the public to be complicit in the type of witchcrafty hysteria which, alas, did not die out with the Puritans of 17th century Salem).

But it gets just a bit worse.

A one page piece in the January 2011 issue of “The American Conservative” magazine** by William Lind, the noted international military affairs analyst, presents a warning that everybody should have seen coming.

The interesting question about the war in Afghanistan is: Why does it continue?

He will not credit the standard response: 9-11. Al-Qaeda is no longer a presence in Afghanistan and “its bases in Pakistan are more useful than any potential Afghan camps”, since the al-Q’s seem to realize that Pakistan is “strategically a vastly more important prize than Afghanistan”.

Wondering why, then, we are still fighting there, Lind considers an answer most folks haven’t considered: “feminism”.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he notes, was quoted in “one of the better recent pieces on the war”*** as listing among America’s remaining war-aims in Afghanistan the requirement that Taliban fighters “lay down their arms and respect the Afghan Constitution, including Western-inspired provisions to respect human rights and the equality of women in the public sphere”.

As Lind puts it without pulling punches: “All of these conditions are fanciful and together they represent a diktat that a victorious American might impose on a beaten Taliban – an unlikely situation."

But, he goes on, America has enough trouble on its own hands in this war without adding what “the White House regards as domestic political requirements”.

“No Democratic administration would dare say to feminists, who are a key component of the Left’s coalition, ‘Sorry, but feminism doesn’t travel well to Afghanistan.’ … The banshee wails would rise to heaven.”

Worse, Lind the military analyst concludes that “American feminists are no doubt willing to see the war go on indefinitely in pursuit of their fantasy”.

That is a stunning and numbing thought. But after what Stansell has said (last Spring) Lind’s recent comments do not appear outré at all. “We are at war for feminism.”

Surely, if the US isn’t going to pull out until the Afghans are forced to accept feminism, this is going to be a long war indeed.

And again, if I may raise a domestic issue after Lind has raised such a shocker of a war issue, I think the SO community can see just how powerful the pull of politics is now, on a Beltway so demoralized by decades of Identity Politics that nobody can see – or dares to try to see – how to tell one of the larger Identity Advocacies that its demands are too much and that the Beltway is going to Just Say No.

You don’t Just Say No in the era of Identity Politics. You can’t even try to explain the reasoning or facts that have led you as a political leader to decide to Say No. Facts don’t matter anymore. And there are now generations of Beltway pols who have learned that lesson.

Nonetheless, the SO community must continue to present facts and truth at every opportunity. Just as bad stuff ‘migrates’ in the Beltway, so does good stuff. There are no guarantees but it’s the best hope everybody has. And I define ‘everybody’ here verrry expansively: Americans on all sides of the SO Mania, Americans in general whose government is losing its essential competence to govern, all the troops who are kept over there under fire and the most lethal conditions, and all the human beings whose lives continue to be ‘acceptable losses’ in a dual crusade, from the Right and from the Left.

So much remains to be done.


*”Global Feminism in a Conservative Age”, in the Spring 2010 issue of “Dissent” magazine, pp. 49-53. It is available on the magazine’s website only to subscribers.

**”War for Women”, p.27. The site is here, but this issue is current and not yet up; until the next issue comes out the article is only available in the print version of the magazine.

***”Turning the Taliban Against Al-Qaeda”, in ‘The New York Times’, October 27th, by anthropologist Scott Atran. See here.


  1. Very interesting analysis of a highly controversial issue. However your post mainly reflects the image of "feminism" portrayed in the mainstream media - which in my view is totally unrelated to the ideals and goals of real life feminists. The reality is that the US government very effectively infiltrated the feminist movement (owing to the Marxist-Leninist influences you mention), just as they did the civil rights, anti-war, and student movement. They also (via CIA-front foundations) played a major role in creating the the angry, arrogant, anti-male stereotype feminism currently enjoys in the mainstream media.

    The US intelligence role played America's feminist poster girl Gloria Steinem is still largely invisible to most Americans. In 1976 Steinem blocked Random House from publishing details about her CIA past. A great pity - as its publication might have changed history for American women. Betty Friedan, the founder of NOW, publicly confronted Steinem for deliberately sowing dissension in her attempt to break up the organization. Steinem also very effectively used Ms Magazine to create massive divisions between professional and working class feminists and between feminists and sympathetic men.

    Finally evidence has surfaced that she ran some kind of FBI operation in which so-called "black feminists" were planted in civil rights organizations to break them up. In my recent memoir THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE (, I write about my own close encounter with some of these nasties. I currently live in exile in New Zealand.

    Two more good links:
    (about Steinem threatening to sue Random House over material regarding her CIA past):
    (about her FBI operation to break up civil rights organizations):

  2. Thank you for your Comment. It prompts the following thoughts.

    The image of feminism in the mainstream media can be whatever the beholder perceives. My sense, given the clear thrust of Political Correctness sustained over decades, is that feminism (meaning the political movement and its advocacies) is a good and great thing, necessary and justified in all its major aspects and the elements of its programme and its agendas. I respect the basic feminist insight and concern and, say, Christina Hoff Sommers’ concerns from the early 1990s that feminism was ‘stolen’ by somewhat rabid ideological elements.

    My own take on things is that when the ‘political wing’ of feminism, so much an inheritance of the Leninist vanguardism of enlightened cadres, managed to get into the driver’s seat – launched by that 1964 Civil Rights Act gambit – then feminism as a political movement (replete with Alinsky-ite pressure groups and ‘organizers’ and ‘consciousness-raising’ and all the rest) was suddenly injected into the national bloodstream.

    To the extent that feminism as a concern and a vision somehow arrives at the re-arrangement of such deeply-rooted civilzational structures as the Family and Marriage, then it could hardly be surprising that the Content – let alone the Marxist-Leninist Method – of political feminism was going to pose the challenge of huge cultural changes.

    This should have required the broadest and deepest public deliberation. But that is not the ‘revolutionary’ way; Marx and surely Lenin realized that ‘the masses just don’t get it’, which is how the Soviets necessarily slid down the path of vanguard elitism (and, ultimately, Terror).

    And I’m not quite comfortable with the general thought that the government – in its dirty-tricks mode – subverted the movement (which smacks queasily of the neocon claim in the mid-00s that invading Iraq was a good idea but it was poorly executed). The Democrats proclaimed themselves the Party of Women in 1972 quite publically. And suffered one of the worst national election defeats (49 to 1) in the nation’s history (which is not to say that the 1972 election was purely a referendum on political feminism or conceptual feminism but the fact remains).

    (Continued in next Comment.)

  3. While it seems logical that a democratic government would be nervous about the wholesale and rapid importation of Marxist categories and Leninist agitprop into a deliberative democratic political system, yet in the spirit of those times the Beltway – and in the beginning the vote-addled and desperate-for-new-demographics Dems – happily embraced multiple ‘revolutions’ without any discernible concern for possible or probable consequences to the American political (and social and cultural) ethos.

    The adoption of Identity Politics, erecting the Marxist-Leninist and ‘tribalist’ elements into ‘cutting edge reform’ and ‘progress’ was surely a huge regression. And each Identity required its Necessary Enemy. It might be a useful mental exercise to graph each Identity and then its ‘Enemy’ and see how the American people is thus fractalized and balkanized, with huge swaths (‘men’ being the largest, I think) of Citizens being cast as the oppressive enemies of this and/or that Identity.

    I don’t want to make it seem like I am anti-feminist, but in terms of the Mania Regimes of Domestic Violence and Sex Offense, the requirements of political-feminism were essential to the erection of those Regimes. I guess I would be anti-political-feminism as it has mutated – under whatever influences.

    I note also that in these ‘victory-lap’ histories, including Stansell’s own recent book, the Regimes are never mentioned by name or considered specifically. Vague nice-thoughts about the salad days of 1990s 'governance feminism' and ‘reforms’ – legal and cultural – in matters of violence against women and perhaps particularly sexual violence are as close as they get.

    And yet I think history will show a fact that is already true: these Regimes have played a crucial role in the erosion of Constitutional ethos and even the Rule of Law, which – hardly surprisingly – the Right took advantage of after 9-11.