As regular readers will know — thanks both of you for the continued support — I’ve wasted too much time over the last couple of months on pointless, nigh-on-interminable spats with members of the less intellectually gifted wing of Carl Benjamin‘s (and Philip Mason‘s) fanbase. Oh, and with Mr. Benjamin and Dr. Mason themselves, of course.
I’ve said previously that I wouldn’t be writing any more extended posts on the Cult of Benjamin/Mason/Kirk et al. And I won’t. But I did promise that I’d respond to comments on my previous critiques. And I have. Repeatedly. At length.
Alongside the rather overwrought and over-sensitive ripostes from Mr. Benjamin’s more devout disciples, there were a small number of well-written and intelligent replies to my critiques and criticisms. These included the response below from ‘Kargoneth’, to whom my initial “Dear Supporter of Carl Benjamin” post was addressed. It was refreshing to see that, unlike so many of Benjamin’s defenders — and, indeed, unlike Mr. Benjamin himself — Kargoneth clearly appreciated the sledgehammer satire and sarcasm in my original post.
I promised ‘Kargoneth’ that I’d make their response more visible by putting it on the “front page” of the blog, as it were. I thought it was only fair that they were given a right to reply that wasn’t buried in a lengthy comments thread. In any case, Kargoneth’s response is arguably the most thoughtful, and thought-provoking I’ve received and deserves to be widely read by Mr. Benjamin’s critics. While I don’t agree with many of his points, Kargoneth provides the type of intelligent response that Mr. Benjamin himself couldn’t muster in response to my e-mails to him.
[ Edit 14 Sept 2016: Disjunctive Media posted the following intelligent, perceptive, and very well-constructed response to Kargoneth a few days ago.]
Before Kargoneth’s post, however, and just to place my criticism of Mr. Benjamin in context (again), Disjunctive Media uploaded the video below last week. Note how Benjamin claims that telling a man he can’t get a girlfriend is equivalent to a rape threat to a woman. It’s not often that I recommend reading a YouTube comments thread, but in this case it’s well worth taking a look below the line of Disjunctive Media’s video for sharp insights and pithy commentary on Mr. Benjamin.
I have been away for several weeks because I started a new job at the beginning of August, I’ve been busy with family and friends, and pretty much forgot about this. I started writing a response before my job started and eventually slipped from my mind. Thankfully, I saved the progress that I had such that I can now resume it. I have been thinking about how I would respond to your response. Much of this has already been written. I’ve been editing the existing text and attempting to finish it. It’s nearly 11:30 PM so I apologize for
I am not a fan of debates because I can’t think quickly enough on my feet (for example, I’ve been typing for three hours thus far while adding onto the ~120 lines/paragraphs (both from quotes of you and from those that I had already written for this response before the start of August)). Perhaps Carl doesn’t like debates. In that case, I am rather disappointed that he did not invite you to have a conversation with him instead of a debate.
I can’t promise that I will give you such a large response as this from now on. I don’t even know if I’ll respond beyond this message.
You have indeed caused me to question my own position. I find that I still agree with the overall points made by Carl regarding the absurd behaviours he highlights in his videos, but I try to look more critically towards his own behaviours from now on (though I can’t promise it will be as strict; I know that I am biased).
That said, he is not the only one pointing out similar absurdities to the ones that he mentions in his videos. The disdain of the general public towards feminists and SJWs is increasing; people are starting to get sick and tired of it, especially when it comes from governments and universities. Inevitably, the pendulum will swing in some other direction and new factions will form. One that is authoritarian and one that is libertarian. One that is dogmatic and one that is more open-minded. One that supports censorship and one that defies it.
[Edit by Philip Moriarty, Sept 4 2016: In the following I have italicised where Kargoneth has quoted from my post. No other edits have been applied.]
Hello again, Philip,
I watched your accompanying YouTube video and read this blog post and I will attempt to respond. I found 16:30 and onward in your video difficult to watch because I know that you are an honest person who genuinely cares about what you speak about. And I do have empathy for those that I respect and care about, including you, which is why I found it difficult to watch because I felt like I was being criticised by someone I look up to.
“Kargoneth’s comment is also very well-written, ”
Thank you. This one will be less formal and contain more emotional language. I am not a robot (though I frequently feel like one).
“… notwithstanding the utterly depressing lack of empathy and consideration for others it represents.”
Allow me to correct you: “… notwithstanding the utterly depressing lack of empathy and consideration for a specific individual it represents.”
I am very empathetic towards those that I care about (friends and family). For others, my empathy varies greatly according to my opinion of them and according to my state of mind and a given moment.
I only have a finite amount of empathy (perhaps it is a personal failing) in that I have a finite amount of time that I can devote to caring about people.
Based on my opinions of them, some people deserve my empathy and some people feel entitled to my empathy (these are not mutually-exclusive). These form four possible situations:
a) a person deserves my empathy and feels entitled to my empathy
b) a person does not deserve my empathy and feels entitled to my empathy
c) a person deserves my empathy and does not feel entitled to my empathy
d) a person does not deserve my empathy and does not feel entitled to my empathy
Friends and family (generally) belong to (a).
Jess Phillips does not strike me as deserving of my empathy. I do not like her. I do not like her opinions. I do not like her actions. To me, Jess Phillips belongs to (b).
You, Philip, belong to (c), because even though I’ve never met you, I like you. I see you in videos. You seem familiar to me. It is merely an illusion, of course, that when you talk to the camera or to Brady/Sean it feels like you are talking to me. Nevertheless, this has caused me to care about you. Contrariwise, you do not feel entitled to my empathy because you do not know me (aside from the paragraphs of mine that you have read). It is for these reasons that Carl also belongs to (c) for me.
I have become sensitized to the demonization perpetrated by progressives towards their opponents (likely due to videos by people like Carl) and the mainstream establishment’s support of said progressives. I have also noticed the same demonization towards progressives from their opponents. It is a battle. The difference is that the progressives seem to have the political leverage at the moment and are trying to exert that leverage to quash their opposition (as one should expect from anyone with power). The pendulum has swung from the political right to the political left, and is continuing to swing in the direction of increasing authoritarianism.
“First, I will refer to “Sargon of Akkad” as Carl Benjamin throughout my response, because that is his name. … Moreover, given that Mr. Benjamin is in his late thirties and a father of two, I’m of the opinion that it’s a little more appropriate, particularly in the context of his odious behaviour, to refer to him by his given name. I hope you understand.”
So be it. I will do the same.
“I have watched a number of his videos (including this far-from-edifying performance from Mr. Benjamin ).”
It is good to know that you are not working off of hearsay.
To be honest, I recall finding that “debate” very uncomfortable to listen to. Not so much due to the content, but rather due its format. It would have been much more bearable if it was in the format of a written debate. Such a format would have given each debater the chance to review and address both the points and citations of the other.
I am terrible at “thinking on my feet”. I would much rather take the time to think about my response than to be put on the spot. I have little doubt that I too would give a “far-far-from-edifying” performance in Carl’s place.
“My decision not to link to his channel was entirely deliberate. … I would much prefer not to be responsible for driving any amount, no matter how small, of internet traffic to Benjamin’s channel.”
That is your decision. I would still link to the videos of someone that I despise if only to imply that “Please watch these videos of the person making an ass out of themselves and you’ll see why I despise them”.
“And you are justifying this? You are defending Mr. Benjamin’s decision to send a victim of rape a tweet which says “I wouldn’t even rape you?”.
You really think that’s appropriate and something that should be defended?
How about walking up to a woman who’d been raped and saying to her face, “I wouldn’t even rape you?” Would you do that? Is it defensible? Justifiable?
Or if a random person were to whisper in your ear on the Tube/subway/street (or send you a tweet out of the blue) stating “I wouldn’t even rape you”, would that be entirely acceptable behaviour? The type of behaviour we should encourage in a decent, caring society?
Or would you instead consider it to be rather threatening and disturbing?
And what if happening not just once, it happened 600 times? “I wouldn’t even rape you“. Over and over again.
Perfectly acceptable? Something we should encourage?”
I was unaware that Jess Phillips had been the victim of sexual assault (http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/mp-jess-phillips-sexually-assaulted-10845956). Does this make Carl’s words more hurtful to her? Probably. Did he know that she was the victim of sexual assault? I don’t know (I don’t think so, based on his video).
Is it appropriate? No. Does it make Carl an asshole? Yes. It is insensitive? Yes. It is justified? That depends on one’s point of view. Should one
It could be an act of retribution for Jess Phillips laughing at the idea of that mens rights should be up for parliamentary debate. Men commit suicide far more often than women? HA! Men die younger than women? HA! Men beat by their wives are more likely to be taken away by the police than actually helped by them? HA! Male victims of domestic abuse receive a tiny fraction of government support when it comes to shelters? HA HA HA HA HA!
Could that be why? I don’t know.
You ask me to put myself in Jess Phillips shoes. To have such contempt for half of the human population. To only value them in as much as they can be of use to me. Fine.
Men. Pfft. Pigs. Animals. Scum. Rapists. Fucking rapists. Preying on innocent women. Why the fuck should I give them the time of day; they’d all rape me if giving half a chance (hell, one of them has already tried). What? One of the filthy fuck-barbarians is responding to me… What? He wouldn’t even have the indecency to rape me? Who the fuck does he think he is, talking to me like that. How dare he! This is outrageous! This is reprehensible! What a misogynistic troglodyte! What a brute! What a fucking ingrate! How dare he say such things to the likes of me!? I’m a politician! He doesn’t own me. I own him. The police should lock his fat fucking ass in a jail cell and throw away the key. That would make him learn his place. Oh! But I can use twitter to get him… that didn’t help… This twitter exchange is not going my way. I need to save face. I need assistance. Help! help! I’m being repressed! An evil man threatened to rape me!
That’s enough of that. My portrayal of her is of course coloured by my observations and existing opinion of her. Even if she honestly believes that she is a good person and doing good, she’s still acting like a regressive member of the nobility.
Suppose that the media villified you. Laws were biased against you. Courts were biased against you. Police were biased against you. It is really so difficult to understand why you might be just a little vindictive and lash out when a politician repeatedly demonstrates that she is biased against you, doesn’t give a damn about you, and will happily support other such biases against you?
“Let’s remove the tinfoil helmet for a second and look at this beyond the usual tediously naive and uninformed rants from Mr. Benjamin.”
No tinfoil hat is required.
Emma Sulkowicz – Carried a mattress around her university and to her graduation to protest the university’s failure to punish her alleged rapist, a fellow student, Paul Nungesser. The university cleared Paul of wrongdoing. I’m not going to go into the absurdity of a university acting like a court of law. Paul did not rape her, but that didn’t stop her professor from supporting her based solely on her accusations nor did it stop the university from giving her credit for it as an art project. Nungesser was humiliated and the mainstream media had no issues with publishing the debacle as if Paul was a rapist.
Professor Melissa Click – joined a student protest and, when confronted by a journalist with a camera that was documenting the event, yelled for some muscle to forcefully remove the journalist. Click has since been fired for attempting to suppress the freedom of the press.
Black Lives Matter – calling for the deaths of police officers due to a narrative accusing police of racial bias when it comes to black people being killed by police, despite the fact that at least as many white people are killed by the police (I hate this race-based language).
Gregory Alan Elliot – Accused of criminally harassing three women on Twitter because he disagreed with and criticized them. He was prevented by a court order from using the internet for three years before a judge finally ruled that he was not guilty. Because he was an artist this severely affected his income, affecting not only him but also his family.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – Cancelled an event where museum goers could try on traditional Japanese kimonos because they were accused of racism.
GamerGate – Demonization of all gamers by not only the mainstream press but even games journalists themselves, calling them “neck-bearded, basement-dwelling, misogynists that live in their mother’s basements” because some gamers happen to be jerks and when a conflict of interest is pointed out in the journalists
Diversity quotas, positive discrimination, reverse racism (call it what you will) – mandating that people that are seen to be a member of a specific group of people should receive preference over other people primarily because they are seen to be a member of said specific group and only secondarily because of their abilities
Matt Taylor – Humiliated and shamed by the media during what should have been the greatest moment of his career — landing a spaceship on an asteroid — for wearing a shirt given to him by his female friend. This lead to his eventual tearful online apology.
Earl Silverman – Had to run a men’s shelter out of his own pocket because the government gave him the runaround and refused to give him funding unless he also made it a shelter for women, despite the facts that women shelters are not required to give (and in fact are dissuaded from giving) shelter to men, there are already several women shelters, and there are no men-only shelters. Earl eventually committed suicide.
Anita Sarkeesian, Briana Wu, Zoë Quinn – Partake in dubious endeavours funded by the donations of other, refuse to address or even engage with their critics, demonize gaming and gamers themselves through smear campaigns through their friends in the media, and then when the inevitable backlash comes back in the form of demonization and smearing, claim to be innocent victims and shove their patreon accounts forward asking for donations (for what, who the hell knows), literally making them professional victims (they live off of the donations they get for playing the victim). Much like their most vocal critics, and some of the people that they themselves demonize, they make money off of the controversies that they are involved in and if their income starts to drop all they have to do is up their game, cry that they are even more harassed, and the money starts flowing again. The biggest names of both of the major worldviews in said controversies make money, some of them make it hand-over-fist. The difference is that the mainstream media, large corporate entities, and even the UN take the side of the women.
Rich university students screaming and protesting that they have nothing to lose but their chains.
Graduates of gender studies courses disowning their families because they were taught that their families are oppressors (how remarkably similar to members of cults).
Women that graduate from women studies complaining about there not being more women in STEM (the irony being that if they really wanted more women in STEM they should have chosen STEM themselves).
Groups of online people that try to get the people that they disapprove of fired from their jobs by repeatedly calling their employers and complaining (i.e. social justice warriors). They will gladly harass the employers with accusations about the person being racist, sexist, bigoted, etc. The employer often fires the employee not because the employee has actually done anything wrong (especially since the accusations are often inflated or outright fictitious) but because the employer does not want their phone systems and email systems clogged by people making such accusations and it is easier to just fire the person to stop the influx. Rather ironic given that these same people are most often the loudest critics of online “harassment” but seem to have few issues with offline “harassment”. There are good reasons for anonymity. Especially if you have people that depend upon you (eg. (once again) the family of Gregory Alan Elliot).
The rise of cultural Marxism in the form of ideologies like intersectional feminism, patriarchy theory, the progressive stack.
The infantilization of women, blacks, university students, minorities, and anyone else who currently falls into the category of “oppressed person” in the worldview of intersectional feminists and other cultural marxists
The demonization of males, straights, whites, and anyone else who currently falls into the category of “oppressor” because they disagree with a cultural Marxist or someone that cultural marxists consider to be an “oppressed person”, or because, in the eyes of a cultural Marxist and due to guilt by association, they happen to fall into the same category as someone already considered to be an “oppressor”.
The list goes on and on and on, but there is a common theme here. Women are seen as victims and men are seen as oppressors. Non-whites are seen as victims and whites are seen as oppressors.
(The above points were from when I first started writing this comment (before the start of August). More examples have occurred since then, but the list is already long enough).
“I am, for example, a strong critic of the concept of safe spaces in universities.”
“As I also state in the “Preaching to the choir” post, I do not block, moderate, censor or edit comments here or elsewhere. (The only comments I remove are those that are clearly spam: “You are writing great. Please keep going. See my site…”).”
Glad to hear it.
“Moreover, I am firmly of the opinion that we do not “lock out” other points of view. We meet them head on, debate them, and show up the paucity of their arguments. (This is particularly straight-forward when it comes to Benjamin and his ilk). I discuss this at more length in a comment over at Steve Shives’ YT channel .”
Yes. This is why I am torn regarding Carl’s petition to suspend social justice courses. I see the harm that they cause so I want them to stop perpetuating their lies. I also despise censorship so I wouldn’t want their professors to be silenced. I do find that I agree with Carl in that these courses definitely need a large infusion of critical thinking and fact checking. Universities should not be propaganda mills.
Having written this, and watched your video, I have undergone a lot of introspection. You’ve made me realize that I too am subject to this “us-and-them” mentality, but I hope you can understand why I would be so cynical about a feminist politician decrying her harassment while continuing to fuel the propaganda about the very same thing.
– men that are the targets of false rape accusations by women are treated by the media and society at large with the same social ostracization and othering as convicted rapists (minus the jail time)
– there are little to no social or legal repercussions for false accusers
– men who are raped by women are laughed at or told that they should enjoy it or that they must be gay
– the raping of men by women is classified legally as a less serious crime than the raping of a woman by a man or even the raping of a woman by a woman
– feminists claim to speak for all women and that all women are the victims of misogyny but when confronted by women that disagree with them they will claim that the disagreeing women are the victims of internalized misogyny and can thus be ignored
– an entire group of people claiming (but not demonstrating) that they are victims can use their victimhood as a social and legal bludgeon against those that disagree with them
– a drunken women and a drunken man have sex it is the man that is held accountable
– police are less likely to intervene in criminal activities perpetrated by perceived minorities for fears of being called racists or bigots
– the mainstream media refuses to accurately report on events and choose to hide uncomfortable truths from the public
– a man and a women have consentual sex and the woman later regrets it she can accuse him of raping her
– it is claimed by feminists that men are much more likely than women to engage in domestic abuse when the fact is that men and women are approximately equally likely to engage in domestic abuse but nobody ever mentions this fact
– feminists can claim that 1 in 5 on college campuses will be sexually assaulted and the media will happily broadcast this “fact” when the statistics show that women are actually less likely to be sexually assaulted on a college campus than in the surrounding city
– signs saying “teach men not to rape” and “don’t be that guy” tacitly imply that all men are sexual predators and rapists are posted all over and people don’t even bat an eye, but if someone was to put up a sign that said “teach women not to lie about rape” people react with outrage
– social justice warriors consider all white people to be guilty of oppressing black people because some white people (not to mention black people) of the past were slavers, yet the same SJWs never acknowledge that many white people in the past were slaves themselves, never were slavers, and/or freed slaves, are blamed for slavery even if their ancestors never owned slaves or even actively fought against slavery
– the poor living conditions in some black neighbourhoods is entirely blamed on systemic racism by white people rather being a product of the culture of said neighbourhoods (i.e. gang violence, drug dealing, rampant crime, poor schooling, and broken families), yet not a word is spoken about the good living conditions in some other black neighbourhoods, the poor living conditions in not-entirely
– it is claimed by feminists (and even the president of the USA) that women earn 77 cents to every man’s dollar and this is evidence of a patriarchy but fail to mention that the reason for this apparent “gender pay gap” is that the most hazardous and back-breaking of jobs tend to pay much better than the safer and less physically-demanding jobs and that these jobs are filled primarily by men because most women aren’t interested in those jobs and most men are generally more willing to spend more time away from their families and children in order by working longer hours and farther from home than most women, such that the gap is more like women earn 97 cents to every man’s dollar when these factors are accounted for
– cultural appropriation, microagressions, intersectionality, patriarchy theory, rape culture, misogyny, and other buzzwords are bandied about willy-nilly and used as to support (often Orwellian) policies, rules, and laws
It becomes very difficult to be empathetic to what sounds like yet another instance of “the boy who cried wolf” (so to speak) on the part of Jess Phillips, when she cries misogyny. Should we really be surprised if, after continuously villifying a group of people, the villified people eventually try to fight back?
Of course, I’m sure this is the same thing said by feminists and SJWs. Everyone in each group believes that they are being attacked by specific groups outside of their own. The real question is, which beliefs are based on demonstrable evidence and which are not? I do not believe that feminists of the third wave have a worldview that is based on demonstrable evidence. I find that they have far more in common with dogmatic religion and pseudoscience.
In fact, this strikes me as eerily similar to the same battle that was going on ten years ago between atheists and creationists on YouTube, except that the creationists were replaced by the feminists and SJWs and the atheists have been replaced by anti-feminists. Thankfully, while the creationists eventually banded together, the feminists and SJWs have begun to turn on each other. Many creationists and feminists/SJWs disable YouTube comments and claim that they are persecuted by those that they bash over the head with their belief systems. Creationists and feminists/SJWs eschew demonstrable evidence in favour of statistics pulled out of their asses in order to continue believing their narratives. Creationists and feminists try to get their dogmatic belief systems taught in schools (unfortunately, the feminists/SJWs actually seem to have been successful).
P.S. I just watched your Computerphile video “Physics of Computer Chips”. Good stuff. I still love your enthusiasm. Keep it up!