Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Militarily Pivotal Presidency

Simple raw calculations are all that is needed to determine which president was the economically pivotal presidency. Finding out that Herbert Hoover was economically pivotal comes as little surprise to those that never fell for his false reputation as a do nothing president.

Trying to figure out which president is the most pivotal in terms of use of the military and foreign affairs is more complicated. Each particular war could, in theory, be considered the turning point in United States foreign relations. But there is one war in particular and also one president in particular that stands out.

Reading "Recarving Rushmore" by the Ivan Eland of the Independent Institute gives an interesting perspective to a usually overlooked president, William McKinley. It is commonly assumed that he wished to avoid war with Spain, but research by Ivan Eland shows otherwise. William McKinley played a very coy game of pretending to oppose the war while encouraging it behind the scenes.

While previous wars had some sort of arguable pretext, even though in the Mexican-American war the actual course of the war went far beyond the pretext, there at least was a case to be made for military action by the United States. There wasn’t always a good case, but there was some case.

The case for the Spanish-American war was imperialism, nothing less and nothing more. The sinking of the Maine served as an incident, but didn't serve as a cause. More than any other military action, it set the course for future United States military involvement around the world, setting the state for the many crimes of Woodrow Wilson.

The reason why William McKinley doesn't get the recognition he deserves is because while preparing for war, advocating war, and later waging war, his public statements were to the effect of opposing war. Why he spoke out against a war that he wanted is a very curious subject to examine, which can be read about in "Recarving Rushmore."

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The problem with Feminism

In a rather interesting conversation to observe, a skeptic confronted a feminist on what the word "feminist" means. The person claiming to be a feminist said that it was a person who supported gender equality. The skeptic replied in a rather interesting manner.

If that were all there was to feminism, there would be no controversy. There is a lot of controversy.
P -> Q
:: ~P

This response was apparently not welcomed because the skeptic was then compared to a misogynist trying to put women back in the kitchen.

The problem is, the skeptic was right. If feminism simply meant someone who supports gender equality there would be very little controversy except for a few very backwards people. There is, however, much controversy, and that supplies evidence that there is much more to feminism than simply seeking equality. This is the reason there are people who say "because I support equality, I am not a feminist."

The problem is that feminism, and feminists in general, refuse to own the radicals in their own movement.

Take the case of Westboro Baptist Church, famous for picketing funerals with anti-gay propaganda. Many Christians are quick to say that the members of that church aren’t "true Christians," a response that has caused Antony Flew to describe the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. A fallacy or not, it does show that the speaker believes that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church are not demonstrating the way a Christian should behave.

With feminism, there is a different response, and it is not even up to the level of a No True Scotsman fallacy. This response is so common it has even been given an acronym – NAFALT. When confronted with something radical said in the name of feminism, apologists will say "Not All Feminists Are Like That."

Take the case of Youtube Vlogger Femitheist, who made a video that appears to advocate androcide, reducing the male population to 10% of its current numbers. Rather than say "yes, that is a position taken by feminists" or "no, that is not a position taken by feminists" the speaker seeks to simultaneously embrace and reject the radical position.

It is this refusal to own the issue, by either acceptance or rejection, that confounds those who would wish to be allies if feminism was what advocates claimed it to be, because the positions taken by the radicals are clearly not positions that advocate equality. If the "mainstream feminists" were to take a position, for or against, the radical positions then those who do not consider themselves to be feminists and consider themselves to be supporters of equality can finally come down one way or the other with regards to feminism.