How to Kafkatrap like the Joseph McCarthy of Montreal Feminism

kafkatrap, v. To accuse someone of some form of “ism” (sexism, racism, etc.) and to proclaim that their denial, or any attempt they make to defend themselves, is proof that they are guilty.—Urban Dictionary

STEP ONE: Insert yourself into online debate about anything: monetary policy in Bolivia, forestry practices in Bulgaria, salamander mating habits in Belgium, the placement of stop signs in Baie-d’Urfé. Truth be told, pretty much anything will do.

STEP TWO: Claim that the thing in question is a clear example of misogyny.

STEP THREE: When some poor sucker objects, attack them viciously; be sure to call them a misogynist, and, for good measure, refer to them as a hapless tool of the patriarchal order.

1docksPoking fun at Zionists who seem to believe that anyone who disagrees with them is an antisemite (or a self-hating Jew), Aaron Haspel once quipped: “Anti-Semite: A person whom Jews hate.” There are feminists who reason in a similar fashion: they seem to believe that anyone who disagrees with them is a misogynist. Hence, for this minority (and they really are a minority) we might quip: “Misogynist: A person whom feminists hate.”

The history of the struggle for social justice is filled with symbiotic relationships between radicals and reformers: radicals angrily insist upon the moon, and, as a consequence, make those asking for the mountaintop seem, by comparison, reasonable. But that’s not what’s going on here. The Joseph McCarthy of Montreal feminism isn’t a radical; he’s a buffoon. He doesn’t make more moderate feminists seem reasonable; he makes all feminists look ridiculous. After all, if an argument explains everything, it explains nothing.

A colleague of mine at John Abbott College worked with two different radical environmental organizations back in the heady days of the 1980s. These groups were being infiltrated by undercover agents often. But the spies were pretty easy to spot, he says, because (1) the spies were invariably those “activists” taking the most insanely radical positions on every single issue; and (2) the spies were invariably those “activists” who consistently advocated violence. The aim of these agents provocateurs was clear: to discredit environmentalism. The aim of the Joseph McCarthy of Montreal Feminism is far less clear. Obviously he’s not being paid to discredit feminism. I’m sure he means well. But with friends like this, feminism really doesn’t need enemies.

Like snake-oil salesmen, who need to convince you that you’re sick before they can sell you their cure, Nietzsche maintains that Christian missionaries had to first convince pagans that they were all born guilty—tainted, from Day One, by Original Sin—before they could sell them on the Jesus cure. The worldview of social justice warriors like the Joseph McCarthy of Montreal Feminism is strikingly similar. But does it really make sense to say that we’re all sick, that our society’s sick, that the Original Sin of misogyny and racism taints us all from birth? I don’t think so. A net that catches the whole sea isn’t much of a net. And an argument that explains everything, explains nothing.

Saturday Night Live needs to bring back Dana Carvey and resurrect his Church Lady character as an obnoxious social justice warrior. Aside from a new outfit, they’d just have to replace “Satan” with “misogyny” (or “racism”). Unlike Satan, racism and misogyny are real, and that’s an important difference. But it’s less salient than it might seem at first blush. What made the Church Lady character so funny in the late 1980s was, not so much her belief in Satan, but rather the fact that she blames everything on Satan. Everything she dislikes about the world is, directly or indirectly, a function of Satan. It is, then, not the content, but rather the form of the Church Lady’s argument—its stridency and circularity—that makes it so ridiculous. The same is true of the claims made by the most obnoxious of the social justice warriors. If there’s no way for you to be wrong, you’re not making an argument, you’re making a statement of faith.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2017)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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