Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Boys Will Be Boys"?

No. Not all boys will attack girls when inebriated/high at parties they should not be attending.

Too many will, which is one very good reason neither boys nor girls should be attending parties where the purpose is to get drunk and have a time that somebody says is going to be "good" because it's forbidden.

Children will make mistakes. Teenagers will be teenagers. College kids will be college kids.

Elite schools, especially elite private schools do more to foster these kinds of parties and these kinds of mistakes than they should, both historically and presently.

Elite schools are evil, and elite private schools more so.

And politicians will be politicians, which is why political parties are evil. Every one of them.

I'm not in favor of banning private schools. I am in favor of using boycott-style pressure to push all the schools that attempt to be elite to give up on elitism, but I don't expect a lot of people to jump on that bandwagon. There are a lot of ironies in that campaign. And the result could easily be something worse than what we have now, where pretending to be anti-elitist becomes the new black, well, the new elitism.

I am halfway in favor of banning political parties, but I know what such laws would result in -- new organizations that call themselves not-political-parties, but fill the same purpose. They would be good for a year, maybe ten, before they would start going the same road political parties have gone. Fifty years max before they start having all the problems current political parties have.

Drastic solutions tend to have unintended consequences.

(I wish we could require everyone to study enough engineering in school to see why this is so, but the modern standard curriculum is already way overburdened.)

A couple of questions:

Are women less likely to mix power and sex?

Sure. Statistically, yes. At least, there are fewer women than men who resort to force when their advances are refused.

Are women more likely to find it difficult to defend themselves when attacked, or when someone is overly aggressive against them?

Yes. Especially with the social context we have had and now have.

That is, there are many things about our society back in the middle of last century that taught women to drop their defenses at the wrong times. Those elements of the social context had been inherited from way back. And the worst of those elements of our social context have not changed.

Unfortunately, a number of the defenses women used to have are being worn down now, by people who are more interested in their own power than in defending anyone else. But that is not the subject of my present rant.

Brett Kavanaugh. (Did I spell his name right?)

Christine Blasey Ford says he and another guy, whom she names as Mark Judge, cornered her and he tried to force his physical attentions on her. He was on top of her at one point, messing with her clothes.

Uhm, yes, the question, "Why was she there?" is an important question. Not in his defense, but in defending our young women in this present time.

Christine Blasey should not have been there. Neither should Brett Kavanaugh. Nor Mark Judge.

We cannot tell our children that raves are safe places to go -- not at any age. Not even if they are students at elite schools.

It wasn't a rave, but we really can't afford to tell them that dorm parties are particularly safe, either. Although, if they are properly chaperoned, they should be safer than raves.

Relatively safer. If properly chaperoned. Not safe.

We have to teach our children how to defend themselves from the pressure to get high.

We also have to teach our children how to defend themselves from the pressure to engage in sexual play.

(There's a connection, here.)

And we have to teach our children to find an adult who will believe them when they have been attacked, not so much to get revenge, but to help them avoid further danger.

But children go. Get drunk. Do stupid things.

I'm going to suggest that, if it turns out that Mrs. Ford's memories and her account are truthful and accurate, if it turns out that Brett Kavanaugh attacked her when he was drunk, and Mark Judge jumped on them, that Judge might have been trying to get Kavanaugh to back off because he could tell, even drunk, that she was not enjoying the attention -- that she was not participating voluntarily.

And that means I'm suggesting Miss Blasey could not tell at the time what Mr. Judge's intentions were because she was (quite rightly) too scared to stop to ask.

She says she got away, and that's what someone who has found themselves the object of sexual aggression should do.

I'm not saying that I know that Judge was defending her, I'm saying that she would not have been in a position to understand it if he were. And I'm not saying she would be at fault if she misunderstood.

Walk with me a bit longer on this.

Not enjoying the attention? Why should any woman enjoy such attention?

Does anyone you know read romance novels? There are many of those that are effective long sexual assaults against the reader. Some people, of both genders, seem to enjoy them.

How about pop music videos? Does anyone you know watch those?

There is that about our society which teaches both children and adults to expect such attentions to be enjoyed. Or to hope they will be.

There is something about our society that tries to teach us to at least make the attempt, even if the attempt is clumsy, even if we wouldn't do it when sober.

Our society still teaches young men to make passes at young women. Our society still teaches men of every age to be aggressive.

I'm not sure that teaching women to make passes at men they are interested in is a solution, even if balance would be desirable.

No, maybe we should quit trying to teach our children to be aggressive.

But we do generally teach our children who have an interest in politics, business, or management to be aggressive.

We still teach them aggression, that they should assert themselves before questioning whether they themselves are in the right.

Surely we can all understand that is what we are doing.

The next point is one a lot of people still sweep under the rug.

Aggression easily turns sexual.

Not every time, but the human animal does not naturally differentiate all forms of stress. And most people have at least a little sexual response to stress. (So much so, that I have often considered whether the response paraphrased as "Fight or Flight" shouldn't actually be paraphrased, "Fight, Flight, or Sex".)

The aggressor often sees that there is some response other than wanting to flee or resist, and may, all too easily, in the heat of pursuit, misinterpret that as interest.

This leads to social mistakes, and it leads to rape. We are effectively teaching some of our children to rape.

Making social mistakes is a necessary part of learning how to not make social mistakes. At bare minimum, you don't really understand what a social mistake is until you've made a few of your own and watched friends make a few, and seen the consequences of the mistakes.

Being drunk is one such social mistake, and so is trying too hard to be romantic. Trying too hard to be romantic when you're drunk is a really serious social mistake. All too often it ends up being indistinguishable from rape.

(Can I suggest something here? Mutual rape is still not a good thing. Much better to both be in condition to give proper mutual consent before getting physical. Hormonal duress is perhaps less reprehensible a reason than mood-altering and mind-altering substances, but if you don't like the idea when you are sober and rational, you probably shouldn't do it when you are irrational and/or not sober. If you are offended at what I'm suggesting here, sit down and think really carefully about your relationships.)

This is not to excuse attacks. But we are asking way too much of our politicians and government officials if we ask them to never have such incidents in their history.

If there were enough such men and women who were technically qualified, showed the ability to make sound judgements in the course of duty, and had no such history, yes, such would be preferred.

Looking at our present crop, it's going to be hard to find such people, no matter which party they belong to, no matter where they stand on the current hot-button issues, no matter whether you think sound judgement means being aggressively liberal on gender issues or not.

Yes. I am saying that most of the currently sitting judges, especially at the national level, and most of the members of Congress, and most of the top-level bureacrats, show the kind of quirks that I would expect of people who had gone, underage, to parties where alcohol and other mood-altering substances were beng served. Anyone who has done that is going to have a hard time claiming not to have become drunk. And anyone who has become drunk at such a party is going to have a hard time claiming never to have been inappropriately aggressive.

Near as I can tell, it's going to be a very rare politician or bureaucrat who has never been involved as an aggressor in a situation that becomes harassing, and potentially sexually harassing, especially when they were young.

I am not so concerned about what they did when they were young and trying to figure out the rules. I am concerned about what they are doing now.

I am far more concerned about the parties they currently have, where they negotiate laws, regulations, treaties and such under the influence. And too many of them currently engage in inappropriate conduct, both during and after, including forcing their attentions on people who do not want them.

There are no party lines which can isolate the problems of abuse of power.

At this point, Kavanaugh has been tried on this question without witnesses in the court of public opinion and found guilty by certain groups, innocent by others.

This is not a good thing, whether he actually did what Ford says he did or not. We can't really formally press charges and try him on this because the statute of limitations has passed, but we should be waiting to see whether further investigation brings up more recent incidents of this kind of behavior. (I've seen some things that do not look good, but I couldn't find unbiased information on it.)

There is a newer accusation, but it's still more than thirty years ago. If the accusation has any merit, if there is no exaggeration, well, that's not a good indication. But we do know about the pile-on effect. This is another place where we simply shouldn't just take the word of few individuals without witnesses.

But that is really beside the point.

What has he been doing recently? What is his record in court? He is a sitting judge, we can look at his decisions from the last year or so, or even the last ten years. Why aren't they talking about those?

(I'd like to see someone from any party provide a decent summary of his last ten years of decisions.)

The accusation that is being made the most noise over is not about what happened thirty-some-odd years ago. It's not even about the past ten years. It's about the future.

There are certain who say that, because he is being accused he must be guilty because -- since he has been accused, and he was appointed by, of all the evil people, Trump -- they can't trust him not to try to establish some balance between their brand of aggressive liberalism and the more cautious attitudes that the majority seems to currently want.

They are tangling his possible guilt in one thing up in assertions that their agenda is the only correct agenda.

That's bad logic and bad politics -- bad behavior. It's disregard for facts. And it's aggression.

I'm not sure whether the well has not been so poisoned as to undermine trust in Kavanaugh's tenure, even if he were approved.

Questions of fairness aside, where are we going to find candidates that can pass their tests?

They've shown their cavalier disregard for facts already. They have shown that they are quite willing to use any means to taint any person they perceive as an opponent. We assume that they wouldn't try to taint their own candidates, but does that mean we should trust their candidates?

(I really don't like politics that divide the polity into us and them. The vocal victims are not the only victims.)

In the meantime, with all this focus on bad behavior, let's take the opportunity to teach our children not to do things that way. Teach them not to attack each other.

Teach them to get away when attacked if they can, and to tell someone they can trust about it -- not for revenge, for protection.

And teach them that they must prepare to do what they can to clean the government up, because there will always be powermongers trying to use the law for their own agendas.

1 comment:

  1. An incredibly well thought out take on the current state of affairs. Required reading. Thank you.