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Culture War Roundup for the week of September 12, 2022

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PayPal has "demonetized" the daily sceptic, both the business's account and the founders personal accounts he uses to receive money for his other work.

Another point for red tribe needs its own payment processors (and banks, and infrastructure, and DNS servers, and domain registration...)

https://dailysceptic.org/2022/09/21/paypal-demonetises-the-daily-sceptic/

I've been doing some research into in-group bias and race and have been finding some fairly interesting results.

Let's start with a well known piece of evidence which is often used in the culture war. This article uses ANES 2018 Pilot Survey data regarding racial in-group and out-group biases, and shows the average differences in feelings of warmth (measured along a 0-100 scale) toward whites vs. nonwhites (i.e., Asians, Hispanics, and blacks) across different subgroups.

Here is the first relevant graph from the article. According to the article, the only subgroup that has an outgroup bias is white liberals (having an outgroup bias of 13 points). Even among white non-liberals, their in-group bias (11.62) is less than that of your average black person (15.58), Hispanic (12.83), or Asian person (13.84). Granted, the differences there can be argued to be pretty marginal in size, but if you take into account the outgroup bias of white liberals it would almost certainly make it so that whites' in-group biases are quite a bit lower than that of other races, and it flies in the face of the idea that whites are any more tribal than other races.

Here is the second relevant graph showing the biases of all the subgroups of whites. Those who are "very liberal" have an outgroup bias of a whopping 19.45 points, while liberals have an outgroup bias of 8.56 points. Moderates have an in-group bias of 9.42 points, conservatives have an in-group bias of 11.51 points, and very conservative whites have an in-group bias of 15.62 points. Very conservative whites have an in-group bias that's only as strong as that of your average black person.

This finding of an average lower in-group bias among whites isn't just an isolated anomaly. On L.J Zigerell's blog, he presents data reporting the mean ratings of races from Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians of Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, using data from the preliminary release of the 2020 ANES Time Series Study.

You can easily see from the graph in the blog post that whites' mean ratings of whites are not much different from their ratings of blacks, Hispanics and Asians. For all the other racial groups, their mean ratings of their own races are far higher than any other race. Every racial group other than whites also all rank whites the lowest out of the four racial groups.

Additionally, in another blog post he presents data from the 2020 ANES Social Media Study detailing racial feeling thermometer responses. Respondents ranked each race based on how warm, cold or neutral they were towards them, and the findings are in line with the previous results.

In the blog post, this graph compares the race evaluations of white respondents with black respondents. Among whites, the percentage of those giving warm ratings towards whites is only very slightly higher than the percentage of those giving warm ratings towards blacks and Asians. Among blacks, the percentage of those who give warm ratings towards whites (and Asians) is markedly lower than the percentage of those giving warm ratings towards blacks. This graph compares the race evaluations of white born again Trump voters with black respondents, and surprisingly, the pattern of whites being less biased in favour of their own race than blacks still holds (albeit less strongly).

The relative lack of white in-group bias found might seem surprising, but it is not only found in ANES - it is also in line with some other work. This study "reports results from a new analysis of 17 survey experiment studies that permitted assessment of racial discrimination, drawn from the archives of the Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences. For White participants (n=10 435), pooled results did not detect a net discrimination for or against White targets, but, for Black participants (n=2781), pooled results indicated the presence of a small-to-moderate net discrimination in favor of Black targets; inferences were the same for the subset of studies that had a political candidate target and the subset of studies that had a worker or job applicant target."

Anecdotally, I can say that these results do jive very well with my own experience - whites are as a group less likely to place primacy on race and are also less likely to classify themselves as a group with united interests.

whites are as a group less likely to place primacy on race and are also less likely to classify themselves as a group with united interests.

Whites aren't really a coherent in-group for a lot of white people. Because whites are the majority, it largely doesn't make sense in my day to day life to treat whites as a unitary group with united interests, to see another white person and say "Oh, we'll have much more in common." My actual in-group may contain a different racial mix than the overall population, and inasmuch as it does my biases will be different.

Personal example, my very large high school was 90% white; but because I was an AP kid the small classes I was in were basically 60% white and 40% Asian/Indian. So if the only thing you tell me about someone is their race, telling me they are white doesn't really indicate that we'll have more in common than the average student and we probably had no classes together (the white kid might be my best friend, or he might be a votech kid or a burnout stoner kid or a football player); telling me they are Indian meant there was a better than 75% chance we had a class together and mutual friends.

So imagine I'm a white liberal who considers their ingroup "Democratic Voters." In most states the majority of Dem voters are white; at the same time minority voters are much more likely to be Democrats while whites are more evenly split. So even though the majority of my in-group is white, if I see a white person it's a coinflip if they are in my in group; meanwhile if I see a Black person they are 87%, overwhelmingly likely, to be in my in group.

Because whites are the majority, it largely doesn't make sense in my day to day life to treat whites as a unitary group with united interests, to see another white person and say "Oh, we'll have much more in common."

Interesting. But it seems clear that any such reasoning based on group differences could be applied both ways regardless of numerical majority/minority status. Even if whites are a numerical majority and see their own race as being the norm, when they see a non-white person their reaction could be "We'll have much less in common" due to a lack of shared background. The same cultural differences that could be the driver of a strong in-group bias among non-whites also has the potential to create a strong in-group bias among whites, however, in practice it doesn't seem to occur to the same extent considering whites' lower in-group biases.

Then there's also the fact that there's plenty of countries where the racial and ethnic majority seems (at least on a surface level) to be quite a good bit more tribal than those in the West (e.g. Japan), so clearly being a numerical majority doesn't preclude a group from having a strong sense of unity.

The explanation I'm leaning towards at the moment is that there's some external factor tempering the in-group biases of whites and/or exacerbating the in-group biases of non-whites, and people being raised with woke ideology does seem to be a plausible candidate. I think it's beyond the realm of possibility that being repeatedly exposed to these types of ideas doesn't end up affecting real-world perception and behaviour.

But it seems clear that any such reasoning based on group differences could be applied both ways regardless of numerical majority/minority status.

We don't get the chance to because the graph gives us "Blacks" and "Hispanics" without giving us "Conservative Blacks" and "Evangelical Hispanics" etc. Only whites are broken down by politics. A lot of commenters don't even notice the sleight of hand, because it makes intuitive sense: whites come in all kinds of varieties, while minorities are expected to meet the basic template for their group. Electioneers worry about working class whites and college educated whites and evangelical whites and urban whites, but when they talk about Blacks they just talk about Blacks. And to a certain extent that is accurate!

Then there's also the fact that there's plenty of countries where the racial and ethnic majority seems (at least on a surface level) to be quite a good bit more tribal than those in the West (e.g. Japan), so clearly being a numerical majority doesn't preclude a group from having a strong sense of unity.

To my knowledge, correct me if I'm wrong, there are no politically important ethnic minorities in Japan, so it's not the same game. But in my town, I wouldn't see another white person and think "oh we'll have a lot in common" any more than any other person on the street, because 80% of them are white. In Japan, it would be the opposite, any white person would be likely to have much more in common with me than the average person on the street.

But a white liberal in my town, if they see a white person and a Black person, and they want to talk to the person who is likely to have voted the same way they did in the last election, they should obviously talk to the Black person. They are 87% likely to have voted for Biden. The white guy is just as likely to have voted for Trump as for Biden.

the audacity to immigrate to a country and hate the people who built it and let you in...

Are all these studies only about explicitly asking people about these things? Because then you don't measure who has in-group bias but who says that they have it. Maybe whites overall have been told more over childhood an later life that being a good person requires not having racial biases and when filling out surveys people may (perhaps subconsciously) not describe themselves but instead their good-person-ideal, or what they know they should be. Self knowledge is hard.

I'd be more convinced by studies that somehow measure people's behavior in the real world (I don't know, hiring stats or something, as an example) instead of just asking questions on paper.

I’m partial to this explanation.

Given our culture and the fact we’re all brought up learning about the history of racism, civil rights, etc., it makes sense that a white person would be very conditioned against responding something like “yes I feel unfavorable towards black people” on a questionnaire. I feel icky even writing that sentence, for example.

But, that’s just a questionnaire. Look at who people hang out with in their daily life. Look at how in schools people tend to group up based on self-similarity. Look at the research on innate biases, like those studies measuring threat response while looking at pictures of a white person vs a black person.

There very well may be unconscious in-group preference that doesn’t get captured by these methods.

I'm quite aware that the studies I linked about explicit measures of racial bias are not the end of the story, it wasn't meant to be a comprehensive assessment of the literature. I simply wanted to post some interesting results most of which haven't attracted much mainstream attention (probably because "whites at the moment have less in-group bias than other races" contradicts the popular view). And I will say that a good portion of the experiments covered in my final link - which on the whole found no in-group biases among whites, but did find in-group biases among blacks - did not seem to directly ask people about their racial perceptions, instead many of them attempted to more covertly assess biases by manipulating characteristics of the target (e.g. showing a photograph of a black person instead of a white person, or using the name "Jamal" instead of "Greg").

In any case I think it's very possible to reconcile racial grouping-up behaviours with the findings I posted, since whites on aggregate still do have a slight in-group bias according to a good bunch of the data (albeit one that's quite a good bit smaller than that of other races, as Zach Goldberg demonstrates in his twitter thread here), and even assuming a complete lack of any white in-group bias the strong in-group biases found in non-whites could create the same outcome of racial self-segregation. Additionally, it should also be entertained that other attributes that happen to correlate with race such as cultural similarity could be what is driving the grouping-up behaviours.

I'd also add that many of the innate/unconscious bias studies on race certainly have their own problems. As an example, the innate bias measure which has garnered the most attention in the mainstream is the Implicit Association Test, or the IAT, and it has been used to demonstrate the existence of omnipresent implicit racism. It is based on differential response times to pairing a certain race with positively or negatively coded words and it is a very questionable measure at best. To start, here and here are articles with dozens of citations overviewing the plethora of problems with the IAT. There's a lot of evidence debunking it as a scientifically and psychometrically acceptable test, and the creators of the test themselves have been very inconsistent in their statements on the topic of whether the IAT can actually predict behaviour or not.

EDIT: added more

Maybe whites overall have been told more over childhood an later life that being a good person requires not having racial biases and when filling out surveys people may (perhaps subconsciously) not describe themselves but instead their good-person-ideal, or what they know they should be.

But this still constitutes a real signal, doesn't it? The guidelines imparted by society generally do not have explicit racial clauses in them. While open racial camaraderie or preferences are often tolerated if done by non-whites the general societal script still prescribes universal tolerance, politeness and equality of opportunity, and this is taught to children of all backgrounds. That whites are the only ones to publicly commit to that (even if they don't live up to the ideal) is still something.

I'd be more convinced by studies that somehow measure people's behavior in the real world (I don't know, hiring stats or something, as an example) instead of just asking questions on paper.

In the context of outgroup-ingroup bias that raises the question of how to account for society-wide behavior. While it might be the case that white business owners hire people with the surname "Zapata" (or "Abadi" if we're talking about Europe) less often than people named "Anderson", how would such a study account for the fact that it's rather uniquely societies like the ones that brought forth these white business owners that allow a situation such that there are millions of Zapatas, many of them equipped with citizenship, available to be hired in the first place.

Maybe whites unconsciously or consciously feel more powerful and feel that they need more conscious high-brain-levels restraint on their animal instincts. A bit like how a strong large man needs to learn to control himself because he can inflict real damage, while a small woman lashing out is seen as harmless and maybe even endearing and cute/funny. Meaning, when non-whites do some in-group biased thing, whites may think it cannot have any consequence, it's just like a lion cub doing some cute roaring. But when whites get into that style of thinking it leads to very professionally and industrially-scientifically orchestrated and engineered genocide, like the Holocaust.

In other words it could be a paternalistic attitude. That a white person must know better or something, while non whites don't quite grasp it yet and anyways don't have the necessary power to do too much damage so just let them play.

A bit like how a strong large man needs to learn to control himself because he can inflict real damage, while a small woman lashing out is seen as harmless and maybe even endearing and cute/funny.

I wouldn't attribute the entirety of the gender effect found to this factor quite so quickly. Respondents condemn violence by men against women more harshly than violence by women against men, and this disparity persists even after controlling for perceptions of greater injury of women. "Our findings suggest that real or perceived differences in injury or potential for injury provide some explanation behind differences in attitudes regarding domestic violence across perpetrator or victim gender, but it does not fully explain this difference. Rather, across all three measures, respondents evaluated violence by men against women more seriously than they did violence by women against men. We find that third parties (a) rated men’s violence as more injurious, (b) were more likely to label men’s violence as a crime even after controlling for injury rating, and (c) deemed men’s violence as more worthy of police contact, controlling for injury rating and criminal labeling."

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15564886.2017.1340383

When it comes to male/female relations, a good amount of the prioritisation of female safety (and the cultural norms regulating male behaviour around them) are likely influenced by factors unrelated to a simple evaluation of women as being physically at risk. I believe we view harm done to women as inherently objectionable on a more fundamental level and reflects an underlying "empathy gap" of sorts.

For example, this paper notes that "Gender differences were investigated in the experience of empathic sadness towards same- versus other-sex targets. ... In both studies, female adolescents reported more empathic sadness than did male adolescents. Female targets also received more affective empathy than did male targets, and, more importantly, gender differences were observed in same-sex versus other-sex affective empathy." They also note that the finding of female targets receiving more empathy, especially from male adolescents, is consistent with previous research.

Meaning, when non-whites do some in-group biased thing, whites may think it cannot have any consequence, it's just like a lion cub doing some cute roaring. But when whites get into that style of thinking it leads to very professionally and industrially-scientifically orchestrated and engineered genocide, like the Holocaust.

I actually do believe that this could be true to some extent regarding race (which is evident whenever white liberals talk repeatedly about prejudice + power as a reason why only whites can be racist). That really doesn't change the fact that the tolerance for prejudice when non-whites do it is a benefit offered to non-whites.

By acting as a powerless victim that is only ever downtrodden by society, it is possible to gain help and provision on an individual level, as well as to game society to get financial, professional and social benefits, which is why you see so many non-whites and women and [insert other protected class here] capitalising on the very social justice narratives that paint them as having little power. It's notable that all of those complaining about being "looked down upon" continue reinforcing that narrative themselves through repeated claims of victimhood instead of asserting one's agency.

I am not of the opinion that it is inherently beneficial to be seen as powerful, or that it is a perception that you necessarily want (which is an assumption inherent in the comment you wrote). In all honesty, I think the less power you can convince people that you have, the more benefits you can actually milk from society at large. There are a huge amount of incentives to seek out a perception of yourself as weak, and in fact that is indeed what you see people willingly doing for themselves now - trying to attach the weak, abused victim role to themselves to exploit double standards and place greater responsibility on their out-group while dressing it all up in the guise of empowerment.

If it was truly so undesirable to be viewed in that way, you probably wouldn't be seeing the proliferation of these kinds of woke movements en masse.

When it comes to male/female relations, a good amount of the prioritisation of female safety (and the cultural noms regulating male behaviour around them) are likely influenced by factors unrelated to a simple evaluation of women as being physically at risk. I believe we view harm done to women as inherently objectionable on a more fundamental level and reflects an underlying "empathy gap" of sorts.

Could this be linked to the Women are Wonderful effect?

Man hits woman: she almost certainly did not deserve it, Women are Wonderful

Man hits man: who knows, maybe he deserved it? Men can be so cruel.

Woman hits woman: probably a misunderstanding that could be resolved if they would talk and their mutual Wonderfulness was apparent to each

Woman hits man: since Women are Wonderful, he probably did something really bad to deserve it


Like all stereotypes, there is some truth in this and some falsity. It's true that almost all women are unconfrontational and need a lot of provocation to be violence. However, it's also true that almost all men are that way too! Only a small minority of men tend to be violent with little justification. But, as usual in relations between the sexes, minority groups seem to have a disproportionate impact on people's cognition.

Could this be linked to the Women are Wonderful effect?

There could definitely be some relation, the Women are Wonderful effect itself is a pretty substantiated finding after all (source 1, source 2 for proof) and it's plausible that it has an effect.

And I would agree that the mindset you've outlined ("well, he must have done something to deserve it") is very common.

Like all stereotypes, there is some truth in this and some falsity. It's true that almost all women are unconfrontational and need a lot of provocation to be violence. However, it's also true that almost all men are that way too! Only a small minority of men tend to be violent with little justification. But, as usual in relations between the sexes, minority groups seem to have a disproportionate impact on people's cognition.

Yeah I wouldn't say there's much merit to the stereotype at all. It's actually very possible to flip the argument in the other direction and state that since people are generally averse to hurting women in the first place, if they do so, there probably must be some reason why (note that I do not endorse the adoption of this attitude whatsoever, this is just an argument to show how easily this logic can be flipped on its head).

Regardless of whether behaviours that are protective of women are instinctual or sociocultural (as previously stated I lean heavily towards the former having at least some impact), the unwillingness to hurt women can't just be chalked up to being an artefact of socially desirable responding, since it is also verifiable in experimental, real-world contexts.

The article "Moral Chivalry: Gender and Harm Sensitivity Predict Costly Altruism" details a few small studies concerning the topic. Study 2 is probably the most interesting of the studies to me, because it moves out of the realm of the hypothetical and into an actual experimental situation where participants actually believed people were being hurt. They gave participants 20 dollars, and told them that at the end of the experiment the money they still had would be multiplied by ten-fold. However, they'd have to go through 20 trials where a person would be shocked, and during each trial they could opt to give up an amount of money in order to reduce the shock the target received. They were broadcasted videos of either a male target (Condition 1) or female target (Condition 2) responding to the shock, and the results were:

"During the PvG task, deciders interacting with a female target kept significantly less money and thus gave significantly lower shocks (n = 34; £8.76/£20, SD ± 5.0) than deciders interacting with a male target, n = 23; £12.54/£20, SD ± 3.9; independent samples t-test: t(55) = −3.16, p = .003, Cohen’s d = .82; Figure 2B. This replicates the findings from Studies 1A and 1B in the real domain and under a different class of moral challenge, illustrating that harm endorsement is attenuated for female targets." Note also that the videos broadcasted were prerated by an independent group to be matched across condition, such that both male and female targets elicited similar body and facial pain expressions.

Male robbers downright express a reluctance to target women. "Overall, the men in our sample tended not to target women, or, if they did, they did not admit it. Overwhelmingly, the cases discussed here involved men robbing men or men robbing male/female couples; in the latter case, the robbers focused their discussions on gaining the males 'compliance, not the females'. ... Mark described robbing two females under the influence of an alcohol/valium cocktail. In the interview, he expressed considerable shame for his actions: 'I robbed a girl as well so it makes it so much worse … I was heartbroken … I gutted her … I don’t do shit like that.’ The other male, Thomas, who robbed a lone female, also said that he was ashamed of having robbed a woman. In fact, he went out of his way to suggest that such activities were not typical of his modus operandi: ‘I never done anything like that before, that’s not really me …. I feel terrible that I robbed that woman so I don’t want to talk about it really … I am so ashamed of myself.’"

"A number of other men in our sample offered up explanations for why one should never rob women. In outlining how he chose targets, Mark2 interjected: 'You must be thinking I have no morals. I wouldn’t go out and rob an old person. I would look for a bloke …. It wouldn’t be right to be robbing women and little kids or anything like that.’ When asked if he had ever robbed a woman, John2 replied: 'Yeah, but not violently … generally I don’t want contact with women because I don’t like to be violent with them … I never hit a woman in my life. ’Then he expressed empathy with the potential female victim: ‘It’s just that if it was my mother or sister … it is all right to nick their bag, but not alright to hit them [women].’ Similar philosophies have been described by male street offenders in United States-based studies (e.g. Mullins 2006 ; Wright and Decker 1997)."

Additionally, this study surveyed a sample of 208 Israeli couples examining their tendencies to escalate aggression in eight hypothetical situations where they were provoked. What they found was: Men’s intended escalation to female partner aggression was lower than women’s escalation to male partner aggression. Men’s escalation to male stranger provocation was higher than women’s escalation to female stranger provocation. Men’s escalation to female stranger provocation was lower than women’s escalation to male stranger provocation.

In other words, men, if anything, are actually less willing to escalate aggression with women than women are with men. The results here are congruent with much domestic violence research where results of gender symmetry and often greater female perpetration are the norm in properly-conducted research.

IMO what you're seeing is that within America "not white" implies some amount of cultural commonality that isn't there with white Americans (I'm not saying it's always there but it more often is, especially for Black American descendants of slaves.). For all the racial hype American culture war is pretty much a contest between conservative whites and liberal whites. The latter are a minority among white Americans so of course they have a negative in-group bias concerning their own "kind".

Speaking for myself, and we're leaving politics out of this, I as a white working class Southerner have far more in common with my black counterpart here than I do a wealthy white liberal from one of the coasts.

Speaking for myself, and we're leaving politics out of this, I as a white working class Southerner have far more in common with my black counterpart here than I do a wealthy white liberal from one of the coasts.

Among the very few things worth watching on SNL in the past 20+ years:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=O7VaXlMvAvk

Part of me suspects that the movement of the US radical left (especially "intellectual" left) from a focus on the working class to a focus on LGBT and race was driven by a terror that, when the revolution came, one of the main consequences would be a redirection of public funding from opera and theatre to the kind of things that are stereotypically working class entertainment, e.g. sports and crude comedies.

I suppose one of the under-emphasized/analyzed aspects of 21st American History has to be the reality-TV-fication of things.

There's a second part to the story. Whites are clearly pursuing a different strategy. Some might say that Whites are simply more enlightened; that they have learned key moral truths that led to the success of Western civilization. The other interpretation is that the strategy is doomed in the long-run, given that it is exploitable by alien defectors.

Whites will signal by proclaiming how non-racial they are. At any other point in history, this behavior would have been regarded as anti-social and ignorant. But through the alchemy of Hollywood and popular culture, these healthy instincts are denounced as taboo.

I am white and I do not value my race. I value my culture, my morals, and my beliefs. You could say I've abandoned my genes and declared my loyalty to my memes.

Of the available ethnic groups in the US, the ones I most align with are East Asians (particularly Korean and Vietnamese) and Latin Americans. White people seem to either reject the culture I love or embrace a hollow parody of it.

If someone told me whiteness would die out tomorrow but my core values would resurge, I'd go to sleep a very happy man.

I know that complaining about Reddit is an old thing here, but I am still surprised how Reddit Brain, the one that always pop up in subs like politics and news, react when there is some news about Hungary.

Apart from the total ignorance about Hungary and the fact on the ground, how is possible that posts about third-tier countries (no offense to Hungarians) are so upvoted in /r/all?

Is there is some sort of algorithm, or the average reddit man is totally on on the neocon train "whatever we do not like is a threat to democracy?"

There's probably a great deal of manipulation going on. Many of those upvotes are probably from bot farms and click farms. There are entire subreddits that obviously seem to be astroturfed, and/or their moderators are FBI/CIA, or adjacent actors.

Hungary is run by a populist right wing authoritarian, Viktor Orbán.

It's also where one of the most prominent internationalist activist left wing billionaires is from, George Soros. He still gets involved locally.

So posts about Hungary end up being proxy fights about Soros and his agenda.

So posts about Hungary end up being proxy fights about Soros and his agenda.

Or proxy fights about Trump/De Santis and popularism vs. technocracy.

Leave the rest of the internet at the door.

Or could you at least have something more substantial to talk about than, "redditors upvote dumb shit, news at 11"?

Reddit is one of the most trafficked sites in America and arguably the most read “news” site for young Americans. It has greater influence than the NYT and WaPo combined.

And the default setting and /r/all is 50% propaganda at any given time. It really does need to be talked about. The next generation will be more zealous than the last. Labeling Reddit “the rest of the Internet” is hiding one’s head in the sand in the face of a tsunami of cultural manipulation.

Isn’t it just because Hungary represents a European country which went right wing authoritarian, and that’s important if your worldview values western liberal democracy?

(Or if you’re a socialist it’d be salient too. Liberals and socialists make up the core mainstream Reddit users).

'They enriched us.' Migrants' 44-hour visit leaves indelible mark on Martha's Vineyard

I encourage people to read the article before reading my impressions.

Incidentally, this article made me really wish for the Bare Links Repository back.

There is so much about this article that is just amazing to me. I don't know how to describe it. Maybe "witlessly mask off"?

First, I want to note the tic where every time the author notes an age, he specifies that the migrant in question looks younger. It's just so artlessly manipulative.

Second, the people patting themselves on the back for the casual, mild, one-off generosity. Wow, a Martha's Vineyard homeowner reached into his wallet and gave a migrant a $100 bill. Then there's the guy who spent $100 on candy for the kids, which is extra Wholesome 100 because he lives in his car because the rent is too damn high. It's like Ray Sanchez crammed an entire scathing allegory about life and housing in the blue zones into a sentence and didn't even notice.

Third, I'd really like to see the argument for how offering people a plane ride to a rich resort town is a human rights violation.

But the thing that really gets me is the detailed, yet uselessly vague, descriptions of the incredible dangers the migrants had to overcome to get to the US. Murderous mud and murderous cartels, and floods and cliffs. Coming from Venezuela, it's 2,684 miles by plane. Map software can't even calculate a route by land, I'm guessing it's something more like 4,000 miles, going through at least seven other countries. The article quotes the migrants clearly describing themselves as economic migrants, but repeatedly calls them asylum seekers. No one seems to notice that these people trekked, apparently on foot, halfway across the hemisphere, losing something like 2/3rds of their number to the assorted lethal dangers for exactly the storied rewards they want these people to get, quoting the article, "access to services including legal, health care, food, hygiene kits, and crisis counseling" along with housing.

The MV people celebrating themselves in this article seem to bear a large portion of moral blame for creating the exact incentive for people to take these risks and find themselves in these situations. Imagine if some billionaire was offering people a large sum of money to take their children and hike across a deadly desert. I think there would be mass outcry at how incredibly fucked up that was. And the few people who reached the other end are instead greeted with a king size Snickers bar and a crisp Benjamin to fuck off. Do you want people dying to get to you or not?! How many dead kids is worth a few hours of cultural enrichment?

I'm at a loss for how to categorize this, but it all just strikes me as appalling. This is the most cruelly champagne socialist shit I've ever read, and it's being presenting as flattery by CNN!

The article quotes the migrants clearly describing themselves as economic migrants, but repeatedly calls them asylum seekers.

In fairness, when it comes to people from Venezuela, they are arguably both, and I can't exactly begrudge them for braving the absurd risks to come to America.

They enriched us, and then we packed them off to keep them from cluttering up the place. They're someone else's problem to get them accommodation, money, jobs, etc.

Posturing in one direction will lead to posturing in another. Everybody knows that these migrants will mostly eventually return south to the large Central American communities in the sun belt, Florida and elsewhere where many already have family members / friends / people from their village or whatever. The residents of Martha's Vineyard know they won't be spending the winter there (there's zero work in the off-season and like most migrants who don't speak much English they'll want to be in a community with people from their origin country) and afterwards they won't return, so it's little loss to them.

In a wider sense the GOP knows that nothing is going to change with regards to mass immigration and the US essentially has free movement with Central America until at least some Democratic representatives turn hardcore anti-immigration which seems unlikely in the current political climate.

Your hatred is clouding your thinking. What, exactly, would you have considered the appropriate response?

  • Engage in charity individually

  • Coordinate aid to minimize the chaos

  • Lock the doors and hope they go away

  • Call their lawyers/politicians and make them go away

  • Hunt the most dangerous game from their thoroughbred horses

Choose according to your personal valuation of community vs. charity. All but the last would have been valid--if this weren't an active political maneuver. By framing the whole program as owning the libs, DeSantis added a giant publicity cost to anything which could be reported as pearl-clutching. It's only natural to choose the options least likely to give him the headlines he craves. If that's cringeworthy or tone-deaf, so be it.

Oh, but you've got to have something to froth about, so it's time to pick apart the execution of that option.

The MV people seem to bear a large portion of this moral blame for creating the incentive

So "Republican governors" can organize a plan to ship them cross-country. And red states can pay tax dollars for the travel. And DeSantis can bluster and make political hay and otherwise ensure that it gets massive news coverage...and you're blaming the residents?


Say your roommate brings in a homeless guy from the street and tells you he needs to sleep on the couch you just bought. Maybe you put your foot down; maybe you decide to be a good Christian. If you're feeling really charitable you might even try to offer aid of your own.

The calculus changes if your roommate calls your friends, coworkers, and pastor and hints that you're going to lose your shit. Might you feel a little...constrained? A little incentivized to prove him wrong in front of your social circles?

Either way, it's not ambiguous who's to blame.

So "Republican governors" can organize a plan to ship them cross-country.

If people are putting up posters all over, posters that they saw elsewhere and copied so they could virtue signal, about how they welcome migrants -

  • and then when real migrants turn up, they send them off to be Somebody Else's Problem -

  • yeah, this was a stunt by DeSantis, but it's 'put your money where your mouth is time' and the Martha's Vineyard 'this is my second or even third home' owners (not the native locals, who earn their living by being, let's be blunt, service workers for the rich holidaymakers) are very, very lacking.

It would be very easy for me to put up a nice poster in my window claiming I welcomed all Zarazelans, when there isn't a Zarazelan within three hundred miles of me. When real Zarazelans turn up, then I have to put up or shut up.

What, exactly, would you have considered the appropriate response?

  1. Keep them, or

  2. Admit "we want them to go away"

"You are racists if you don't keep them, but we don't need to keep them" doesn't count.

I’m fine with either of those. “Put up or shut up.”

What sticks in my craw is the insistence that the residents are morally blameworthy for “creating the incentive”!

What, exactly, would you have considered the appropriate response?

Pool some of the massive amount of wealth available. Put them up in hotels for a week. Give them (and the MA authorities) an actual chance to figure out a real plan for them moving forward.

Honestly, I can even imagine a version of that article that didn't offend me so much. But the actual article reeked of poverty/suffering porn and self-satisfied fart-huffing over what is objectively extremely minor amounts of aid.

So "Republican governors" can organize a plan to ship them cross-country. And red states can pay tax dollars for the travel. And DeSantis can bluster and make political hay and otherwise ensure that it gets massive news coverage...and you're blaming the residents?

I'm obviously talking about the incredibly dangerous hike of 4000 perilous miles, not the last thousand traversed in a commercial, first world airplane. I am positing that people who support lax (or non-existent) border security bear some moral responsibility for the suffering endured, and the 2/3s who died along the way. Every "In this house" sign is a marginal incentive for people to risk their lives.

The calculus changes if your roommate calls your friends, coworkers, and pastor and hints that you're going to lose your shit. Might you feel a little...constrained? A little incentivized to prove him wrong in front of your social circles?

I would probably let him stay for more than 44 hours, in that case. And the calculus changes yet again if I've been openly championing "Unhoused Persons Rights", and supporting my city accepting homeless people from other areas. If the best I could do to "prove him wrong" was a single night before I had the homeless guy escorted out by the police, while I wailed for the reporters about how deeply I was moved by the experience, I would fully expect to be slammed for being a huge hypocrite.

Yes, the article was cringeworthy and the overall aid was mediocre. Slam them for being champagne socialists; I can argue degree but not direction.

I don’t see how that cashes out into moral blame for incentivizing migration. Those migrants made their 4K mile trek on the promise of steady work in Texas or California, not a full-size snickers. There was no expectation or plan to come park on an island and eat $26 hamburgers until certain politicians got involved. DeSantis wants to stunt make his opponents pay their “fair share,” fine. Assigning that blame to the residents for being too nice (while also complaining that they ought to have done more?) is ridiculous.

Those migrants made their 4K mile trek on the promise of steady work in Texas or California, not a full-size snickers.

Right, and who is making that promise? If people were met at the border with a wall, and told to go back home, very quickly no one would be risking a 4000 mile death trek. If you are encouraging people to make the trek, you deserve some blame for people making the trek. If you didn't know the trek was dangerous, you deserve scorn for being ignorant about your own policies.

What, exactly, would you have considered the appropriate response?

Empathy for the states that deal with this everyday.

Say your roommate brings in a homeless guy from the street and tells you he needs to sleep on the couch you just bought. Maybe you put your foot down; maybe you decide to be a good Christian. If you're feeling really charitable you might even try to offer aid of your own.

The calculus changes if your roommate calls your friends, coworkers, and pastor and hints that you're going to lose your shit. Might you feel a little...constrained? A little incentivized to prove him wrong in front of your social circles?

You realise this could apply to either side?

Yes.

Not really arguing with the general practice of bussing migrants to blue cities. At the very least there’s work and maybe infrastructure in place. Migrants (legal or otherwise) clearly choose that on their own sometimes.

My problem is with the OP trying to assign moral blame, in this case specifically, to the residents. If he finds it ridiculous for Dems to impose such costs on red states, maybe he shouldn’t try and claim they did it to themselves when the tables are turned.

Say your roommate brings in a homeless guy from the street and tells you he needs to sleep on the couch you just bought. Maybe you put your foot down; maybe you decide to be a good Christian. If you're feeling really charitable you might even try to offer aid of your own.

The calculus changes if your roommate calls your friends, coworkers, and pastor and hints that you're going to lose your shit. Might you feel a little...constrained? A little incentivized to prove him wrong in front of your social circles?

Either way, it's not ambiguous who's to blame.

Let me help tie your analogy to the view of the right. Every night for the last 40 years, you've been inviting homeless people to stay in your roommate's room. Whenever he objects, you loudly and publicly denounce him as a bigot who hates the less fortunate, and correspondingly congratulate yourself on your depth of character. Sure he's been stabbed a few times, his belongings have been stolen, and his room is used as a stash house for a drug trafficking ring, but, as you are constantly reminding him, that's a small price to pay to make the world a better place.

On the night in question, you greet the homeless person graciously, tell them how much you appreciate them being there and the struggle they are going through, offer them a few jelly beans and then, as soon as the pastor leaves, you have the police escort them from the premises. You then post to facebook that your roommate is history's greatest monster for using a human being as a prop in your little domestic spat.

What, exactly, would you have considered the appropriate response?

Coordinate amongst themselves to find a place for migrants to live in, in the town. Instead they, successfully, demanded deportations and declared an emergency.

Being as generous as one demands others are, is the least one can do.

Reasonable. Or--more reasonable than the OP, I guess. I do note that deportation is not the same as "willingly" transferring them out, though the difference may only be superficial.

Aside from the irony of Republican lawmakers demanding token gestures of equal outcomes, and/or deciding that this is the proper implementation of a social safety net, there are a couple interesting arguments to be had.

First: are these folks the ones demanding others be generous? Trivially, yes, in the sense that they more likely Democrats, subscribe to (or own) left-wing media, and thus might have some culpability. Perhaps not in specifics, since having enough money to live on a luxury island is a great way to become grillpilled and studiously avoid the issue. One wonders how many MV residents have made a public statement on the matter, rather than nodding along at family dinners...It's certainly much easier to them to be sanguine about lax immigration knowing that the main costs will be paid by someone else.

Which brings us to the second point: why do so few illegal migrants end up in the Martha's Vineyards of the country? There are about 330 million legal Americans and almost 12 million illegal immigrants. Your link claims a population of 20k. If those 12M migrants ended up equitably distributed among the legal population, we'd expect at least 727 illegal immigrants living in the area. The lack of such a population is due to the isolation, yes, but also to an irregular job market and ridiculous competition for housing. It appears that migrants don't generally find it worthwhile.

This makes for an asymmetry. If illegal immigrants can't afford the $26 hamburgers, but can get by in San Antonio or even mainland Massachusetts, how did the MV residents become responsible for paying the difference? It's one thing to argue that by voting Democrat they have "demanded" others, in the general sense, make room. I am not so convinced that affirmative migrant action is commensurate.

why do so few illegal migrants end up in the Martha's Vineyards of the country?

For the same reason that the ones who got sent there got kicked out.

Literally the only thing I want to hear from the MV residents who were so 'enriched' after this experience is whether they want to accept more migrants or not.

If so, Texas can start sending them trainfuls. Should turn out great. Win-Win-Win for all.

If not, then at least stop playing at being a 'sanctuary' city if you are unable or unwilling to provide sanctuary.

I don't think ANYONE actually believes they support these people in anything more than the abstract sense if they only take action when migrants are brought directly to their doorstep. It's just standard NIMBY behavior.

The reality behind "santurary cities" I think is bringing more heat than light. The policy is surprisingly reasonable in the actual specifics. The policy is point is to et local prolice actually be able to interact with illegal immigrants to solve and prevent crime. If they have to work with ice they will be avoided at all costs by the likes of victims and community members. If you don't want sychopath serial criminals hiding out with a population that cannot reasonable expel them then you need something like this. There are plenty of ways that the ability to prevent illegal immigration are hampered by the denizens of MV, but this is not the important one.

The policy is surprisingly reasonable in the actual specifics. The policy is point is to et local prolice actually be able to interact with illegal immigrants to solve and prevent crime.

IMO those sorts of policies are defensible, but the broader "anti-immigration enforcement" sentiment (the bailey, as it were) includes state judges sneaking immigrants out literal back doors to avoid ICE custody and San Francisco trying to avoid the deportation of felons wanted on federal murder charges.

I'm not opposed to real immigration reform, but fighting over enforcement is, I think, a pretty bad look.

The reality of Dallas becoming a sanctuary city because otherwise the large community of undocumented El Salvadorans will allow MS-13 to shelter among them for fear that the police call ICE is fairly reasonable. Same for LA, Phoenix, San Antonio, Houston, etc. That’s because otherwise law abiding illegals and their children make up a large percentage of those cities’ underclass and are willing to talk to the police if it isn’t a deportation risk.

Martha’s Vineyard becoming a sanctuary city when it already has functionally no illegal immigrants and no gang presence is pure political signaling, and the same thing can be said for other cities that lack the specific condition of ethnic gangs trying to hide among otherwise pro-law and order undocumented coethnics.

Yes, but this still implies that the migrants are actually able to stay in the city itself.

The implication has always been that they want migrants near them.

But the people who are most in favor of allowing illegal immigrants to stay are, conspicuously, the ones who never have to live in and around said immigrants. There's consistently a lack of skin in the game with this particular policy prescription.

But the people who are most in favor of allowing illegal immigrants to stay are, conspicuously, the ones who never have to live in and around said immigrants. There's consistently a lack of skin in the game with this particular policy prescription.

Do you really think if we polled people in major metro areas (the place where the vast majority of illegal immigrants actually live) on what they think, they'd be in favor of large scale deportation? They have skin in the game and also generally don't care. Conversely, why is it that some of the most intense xenophobia comes out of places in the interior of the country that attract next to no migrants?

True, but for those of us who do live around them I prefer the police that be more effective.

Yup.

Although we could go off on the tangent about the people pushing 'defund the police' and most likely to believe that police officers are a danger to minorities turn out to usually be those who least depend on the police for protection.

It's just contradictions all the way down if you dig into it.

If Martha's Vineyard supports open borders or at least is okay with large amounts of migrants coming across, I'd love to hear their coherent reasons for explaining why those migrants can't stay in their town.

Wow, a Martha's Vineyard homeowner reached into his wallet and gave a migrant a $100 bill. Then there's the guy who spent $100 on candy for the kids...

Let's not forget one guys says a $26 hamburger is "much more" than he could earn in a month in Venezuela (if he could find work). Four months salary worth of candy, passed out by a guy who seems relatively poor. Yeah, I'd try too.

22 out of 60 survived traversing the Darien Gap. That's rough.

What, in your opinion, would have been the appropriate journalistic tone for CNN to take with their coverage?

DeSantis sent a bunch of asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard, where they received befuddled but basically well -meaning help, and were essentially told "careful, it gets super cold up here and it's hard to find work."

CNN is trying to make human-interest lemonade.

Martha's Vineyard

Was it legal what DeSantis did? As far as PR stunts go, it was a huge success and way boosts his odds for 2024, assuming he isn't criminally charged for this stunt.

If he’s charged then we live in a banana republic. You can’t use courts to arrest political rivals.

If he were criminally charged, I think it'd become an even more successful PR stunt.

What exactly would the crime be? And why wouldn't it apply to every NGO, congressional staffer and lawyer doing similar things to get people to and over the border in the first place?

It is almost certainly illegal in some capacity to fly illegal immigrants further into the country. I’m almost certain the federal aviation code, at least, has something against flying around people who have no legal right to be in the country. There’s probably also a law against inducing people to travel under false pretenses and you can no doubt get some of the migrants to testify that they did not know they were going to Martha’s Vineyard.

Now getting charges to stick is probably another matter but I would be very surprised if the DOJ can’t find something, assuming it wants to.

The Biden administration has been doing exactly this for years.

It is almost certainly illegal in some capacity to fly illegal immigrants further into the country. I’m almost certain the federal aviation code, at least, has something against flying around people who have no legal right to be in the country.

It is not. Obama started a program to relocate illegal immigrants deeper into the country back in 2014: https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/289742-just-before-election-obama-doubles-down-on-illegal-immigrant-fly/

Biden restarted and expanded the program.

His administration went farther, now illegal aliens can use their arrest warrants as ID for TSA purposes.

From https://www.theepochtimes.com/tsa-backtracks-on-allowing-illegal-immigrants-to-use-arrest-warrants-as-id-to-fly_4229583.html

"When illegal immigrants and other non-citizens and non-U.S. nationals “do not otherwise have acceptable forms of ID for presentation at security checkpoints, TSA may also accept certain DHS-issued forms, including ICE Form I-200 (Warrant for Arrest of an Alien),” a TSA spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times in an email."

Just yesterday I met a Turkish man who came to my church asking for a place to stay for two days. After I downloaded Google Translate, he said he’d come up through Mexico and has been in a camp just outside of town for a month, and on Monday, he has a flight to New Jersey. He’s using his ICE paperwork as his ID.

After he and I were both unable to find local church resources, I started looking up hostels, and he interrupted, asking if we’d just drive him to the airport instead. So we gave him a ride.

It was the oddest encounter I’ve had in years.

But none of these people were illegal immigrants, were they? They have all requested asylum, if I am not mistaken, and hence they indeed have the right to be in the country pending adjudication of their asylum cases. See discussion here.

Nor, contrary to what some on the left have opined, is he guilty of human trafficking, which requires the purpose of using the victim for commercial sex, labor or services.

it helps that those NGOs and staffers have the establishment on their side

I know that politics isn't supposed to makes sense, but this news cycle has made extra no sense. Everybody seems to be at peak rhetorical incompetence, from the left with stuff like the above, and the right with "Democrats are once again the real racists!"

I don't know about incompetence. The way I understand it is that Southern states do not have legal ability to deport illegal migrants - that is federal government responsibility. There are sanctuary cities up north supposedly willing to help these immigrants. So sending them over there should be win/win situation. Southerners are racists and Sanctuary cities will take up on the burden.

This BTW reminds me of a reverse situation from EU migrant crisis. Except all immigrants wanted to go to Germany/Sweden which were the countries that were most vocal about helping them. Only for the situation to be turned around with all the negotiations about quotas for migrants for different countries and so forth.

Well, what should the right be saying about their political stunt which seemed to work?

I recently came across something while listening to a crime podcast that I have heard many times before. The adage that "rape is about power, not sex". I have literally heard this since teachers told me this in school. The most recent context as I mentioned was a crime podcast. Specifically the hosts were covering a case committed in Thailand I believe, and they were saying that the suspects favored by the police were likely wrongfully accused/targeted because they were illegal immigrants. As a point of evidence in favor of their innocence, the hosts remarked that the confession extracted by the police gave the motive as uncontrollable lust at seeing the victim behaving in a promiscuous way (making out with her boyfriend in public). The hosts pointed out that since science has proven that rape has nothing to do with sex, and only with power, this explanation was obviously false and the product of a coerced confession.

But upon thinking about this, how does this make any sense at all? If rape had nothing to do with sex, shouldn't we expect men and ninety year old women to be raped just as often as twenty year old women when attacked? After all, wouldn't it be an even greater assertion of power to assert your power over a male than over a female? Of course rapes of males by males happen, but to my knowledge generally in a prison or explicitly homosexual context, in either case where women are off the menu. I can't tell you how many cases I have heard where a couple is attacked, the man is killed and the woman is raped then killed. I don't know if I have ever heard of a case where a heterosexual couple is attacked, the woman killed (without assault) and the man raped then killed. Furthermore, doesn't rape require some level of sexual interest from the perpetrator (assuming he doesn't use an object or something else)?

I just can't believe how often this "fact" is trotted out as if it is completely proven. I can't even begin to imagine how such a thing could even theoretically be proven, except maybe by observing that heterosexual perpetrators were just as likely to rape men as women (which is not the case to my knowledge). How did such a fact come to be accepted without challenge? Is there some persuasive argument for this that I'm not aware of? What would the purpose of making this up be? Is it just to distance the woman's behavior/dress and general victim blaming from the crime?

One major problem that hasn't been mentioned yet with the idea that "rape is about power, not sex" is that this ignores, or deliberately downplays the fact that men and women actually commit rape at fairly comparable rates. Part of the motivation behind conceptualising rape as about power was to use rape as part of the ideological framework of feminist patriarchy theory - that men, and only men, commit rape, and do so as a tool of power to subjugate and oppress women. The violent 'enforcement mechanism' of patriarchy. Of course, this falls apart if you acknowledge the reality that women can and do commit rape against men in non-insignificant numbers.

The CDC periodically conducts and releases data on the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. In the latest report on data from 2016/2017, 2.3% of women reported being raped in the last 12 months. In the same report, 0.3% of men reported being raped during the last 12 months. Case closed, right? Women get raped significantly more than men. No, because there is a significant slight of hand going on. The NISVS uses a specific definition of rape:

Rape is any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes when the victim was too drunk, high, drugged or passed out and unable to consent.

Men who are made to penetrate a woman are excluded from this definition of rape. Instead they are listed under a far more innocuous sounding category of 'made to penetrate'. 1.3% of men reported being made to penetrate in the last 12 months. In other words, what most people commonly understand as being rape (that is, nonconsensual sex). In some years, men have even reported a high rate of made-to-penetrate than women have of rape (e.g. in 2011, men reported 1.7% made-to-penetrate in the last 12 months, women reported 1.6% rape in the last 12 months). However, this has not prevented dishonest or ignorant actors constantly taking the 'rape' statistics of men and women at face value and comparing them to one another to make generalised statements.

(Note - there are plenty of other ways to dissect the CDC data, and as a generally speaking the numbers are probably inflated across the board compared to reality. I will also add that these male and female victimisation rates are not even considering the fact that men are far less likely to conceptualise an experience as 'rape' or sexual assault, while women are far more likely to do so.)

Why does the CDC use what is apparently such a biased and misleading definition of rape and made-to-penetrate. Because the CDC's definitions and research were and are heavily influenced by Mary P. Koss, one of, if not the leading researcher on sexual assault and rape, and feminist. Koss has served as a long-term advisor to the CDC, and the CDC has pretty much adopted Koss' definition of rape wholesale. Koss essentially believes that men can't be raped, and that it would be inappropriate to call men who are raped, as raped:

"Although consideration of male victims is within the scope of the legal statutes, it is important to restrict the term rape to instances where male victims were penetrated by offenders. It is inappropriate to consider as a rape victim a man who engages in unwanted sexual intercourse with a woman." (Koss 1993 Detecting the Scope of Rape)

Interview with reporter Theresa Phung:

Phung: "Dr. Koss says one of the main reasons the definition does not include men being forced to penetrate women is because of emotional trauma, or lack thereof."

Koss: "How do they react to rape. If you look at this group of men who identify themselves as rape victims raped by women you'll find that their shame is not similar to women, their level of injury is not similar to women and their penetration experience is not similar to what women are reporting."

Later:

Phung: "So I am actually speaking to someone right now. his story is that he was drugged, he was unconscious and when he awoke a woman was on top of him with his penis inserted inside her vagina, and for him that was traumatizing."

Koss: "Yeah."

Phung: "If he was drugged what would that be called?"

Koss: "What would I call it? I would call it 'unwanted contact'."

Phung: "Just 'unwanted contact' period?"

Dr. Koss: "Yeah."

Koss has been involved with advising many other prominent organisations like the FBI, the WHO and World Bank. Koss is also the origin of other feminist sexual assault and rape myths, including the claim that 1 in 4 college women have been raped, using extremely poor and biased research methods.

Koss may be just one (highly influential) person, but the bias in the conceptualisation and reporting of rape as exclusively or near-exclusively a men-on-women crime is much greater than that. In many jurisdictions, it is legally impossible for a woman to rape a man. This is because the laws in many countries or states specifically define rape as a crime that only a man can commit against a woman. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 in England and Wales defines rape in a similar way to the CDC, where rape is the nonconsensual penetration of the victim by the offender's penis. In India (Section 375 Indian Penal Code), rape is a crime explicitly defined as a crime that a man commits against a women. In the US, it varies state by state, some being better than others. In practice, some of these jurisdictions prosecute women-on-men rape (made-to-penetrate) under sexual assault laws, but even when they are theoretically equivalent to rape prosecution 'under a different name', they still often carry far less social sigma and often lesser sentencing guidelines. 'Sexual assault' sounds less heinous than 'rape'.

So in conclusion, rape is not only not about power, but it's also not exclusively a male perpetrated crime. However, there are significant social and legal barriers to recognising the reality of rape and the existence of male victims and female perpetrators. It's easy to think of rape as only something men do when institutions and society at large have explicitly defined rape as only something men can do, and then this is used to dishonestly support false narratives around sexual relations.

Certainly some rape is about power. Someone rich and famous can easily hire the best call girls on the market. They can easily find enough women who will eagerly have sex with them. If they coerce a woman, then it's the coercion that is important to them, getting someone to do what they didn't want to do. Of course it's not solely about power, there are lots of things you can force people to do if you hold power over them. Why sex? Let's look at four situations:

  1. Mr. Big summons Alice into his office, tells her her friend and subordinate Carol is a lousy worker that must be fired if she wants to keep her job. He summons Carol into his office and forces Alice to berate and fire her friend.

  2. Mr. Big summons Bob into his office, tells him his friend and subordinate Dave is a lousy worker that must be fired if he wants to keep his job. He summons Dave into his office and forces Bob to berate and fire his friend.

  3. Mr. Big summons Alice into his office, tells her she is a lousy worker that must be fired. If she wants to keep her job, she will have to give Mr. Big blowjobs every morning.

  4. Mr. Big summons Bob into his office, tells him he is a lousy worker that must be fired. If he wants to keep his job, he will have to give Mr. Big blowjobs every morning.

Situations 1 and 2 are equally likely to happen. But it's hard to image situation 4 if Mr. Big is heterosexual. Or situation 3 if Alice is 65 and overweight. Or situation 3 if Mr. Big is gay. Is it just the sexual appeal of the victim? No.

If Alice is known around the office to be an easy lay, forcing her to fire her best friend is probably better than a blowjob. But if she's religious, married, a lesbian, has refused Mr. Big advances before, then exercising your power to get what you would never get otherwise is a real rush.


Does this apply to every rape? Probably not. Marital rape and date rape are mostly about getting what is "owed": I wined you, I dined you, I am owed sex in return. Or I married you, this means we both gave irrevocable consent to have sex with each other. "Her skirt was too short" rape is similar: she wore provocative clothing that night, laughed at our jokes and touched our arms, she agreed to go to Jake's house to continue the party, she must be a slut, and sluts owe people sex by definition.

Of course, if you squint hard enough you can kinda merge these two rape types: "I am taking what's rightfully mine, either because there's a framework I can use to justify that it is mine, or because might makes right, and I have might aplenty"

If they coerce a woman, then it's the coercion that is important to them, getting someone to do what they didn't want to do.

OR sexual attraction isn't totally fungible and therefore people will pursue an object of attraction even if it costs more than finding other, attractive people. (And/or people are lazy)

This would also explain why porn stars even exist in the first place. Or why some men pay a premium for certain Onlyfans models when free porn is so abundant. Or why celebrity sex tape leaks or the Fappening - the leaking of the nudes of multiple famous Hollywood stars - was such a big deal.

All these match up perfectly with sexual attraction not being totally fungible but not necessarily with power being a significant attractor (I have no power over Kim Kardashian because I went out of my way to watch her sex tape)

In any discussion of rape, I think it is important to zoom out on homo sapiens as a species and ask if humans commit more rape than other species. Just to reach a baseline.

Because I think some of the default assumptions and first principles of feminism are not grounded in reality, evolutionary theory, or science, generally.

The feminist response to this is to dispute definitions. Since rape is specifically a show of power over another, animals without the cognitive machinery for complex culture, consciousness, and morals are simply engaging in mere forced copulation.

Any non-homosapiens species which may have the cognitive machinery capable for rape, clearly also has the machinery for patriarchy etc. and so the smoking gun is found.

There could be a real empirical disagreement here. It could be the feminist believes there is a sizable portion of rapists who, upon learning that their victim wants it would just completely change gears because the rapist's real goal is to be mean, not to get laid.

This definition has the hemlock problem where we can't say a person is raped unless we knew why the perpetrator engaged in the forced copulation.

A big part of that belief is that progressivism is uncomfortable with declaring sex off limits under any circumstances and so tends to define sex acts it’s uncomfortable with as being about power, instead.

And every ideology to some extent or another does something similar; some religious people frame their tax complaints about being opposed to government funding for planned parenthood because they’re uncomfortable with opposing taxes.

Is there some persuasive argument for this that I'm not aware of?

I think one you're not really considering is that this argument was made countering a prior argument about what motivates rape. That prior argument being primarily the "Hydraulic Theory of Rape":

There is a simple and surprisingly durable myth about what causes men to rape women. It goes like this: if a man is too horny, from sexual deprivation or from being constitutionally oversexed, he will lose control in the presence of an unguarded woman. Through the early days of psychology as a science, this basic assumption remained the same. When Richard von Krafft-Ebing wrote Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), he assumed that rapists suffered from either ‘priapism and conditions approaching satyriasis’ or a ‘mental weakness’ that allowed lustful urges to escape their control. It was a simple matter of hydraulics. If the pressure was too great, or the vessel too weak, a horrifying crime would burst forth.

Man gets too horny and can't get off, so he commits rape. Or to put it differently, Rape is about sex: men need sex, if they can't get it honestly they'll steal it violently. How can we test this?

One way would be to see if Rapists have a below-average number of partners prior to the crime, so they can't get an "honest" release. That doesn't hold up consistently, lots of men who are prolific rapists have numerous opportunities to have consensual sex but choose to commit rape anyway. Numbers are seriously sketchy by nature, but have found that rapists typically have more consensual sexual partners than the average non-rapist. So that's a strike against the hydraulic theory, and points to there being a non-sexual element to rape. Which probably comes out as power, since on the list of human desires it can't be food or shelter and we've already ruled out sex.

Personally, I doubt we can attribute all rape to a single cause, and I'm not sure examining "rape" as a category makes sense as currently defined. Any more than trying to come up with a single category of motivation that explains shoplifting, embezzlement, wage theft, not returning a wallet you found on the ground, overcharging on utility bills, and taxation. To say that specific-act consent violations in an ongoing sexual relationship are motivated by the same thing as violent stranger rape as drunken date rape as mass rape in wartime. Some are probably more motivated by things like power or a sense of control or hatred than by anything in common with consensual eros.

...If I'm understanding this passage correctly, the people advocating the "hydraulic theory" are treating rape as a deterministic phenomenon, a medical condition that can be cured or prevented. This seems almost exactly as stupid as claiming that rape has nothing to do with sex at all.

Two Aggies are working on a house. One is hammering in nails, but every second or third nail he looks at in disgust, and throws away. "What's wrong with those nails?" asks the second Aggie.

"They made 'em backward," says the first. "point's on the wrong end."

"Well quit throwing them away, you idiot! We'll use those on the other side of the house!"

That's what this dispute reminds me of: people getting the question obviously wrong, and then other people correcting them with an alternative that is also obviously wrong.

Numbers are seriously sketchy by nature, but have found that rapists typically have more consensual sexual partners than the average non-rapist. So that's a strike against the hydraulic theory, and points to there being a non-sexual element to rape. Which probably comes out as power, since on the list of human desires it can't be food or shelter and we've already ruled out sex.

I don't think you can really make this leap. The most prolific pirates of copyrighted media and music tend to be the most passionate fans of that media/music and spend more on it than the average person. I imagine a similar phenomenon could be taking place here - if an individual man has a much higher sex drive than average that would explain both sexually-motivated rape alongside a higher number of consensual partners.

This is my take, too. Rape obviously has something to do with sex -- it is forcible sexual contact, after all -- and I think saying that sex, sexuality, sexual proclivities, and horniness have nothing to do with rape is mad.

But it also in many cases has to do with power -- like in the case of an elite Hollywood executive who shall remain nameless using his position of power to coerce attractive women into sleeping with him. They definitely had to do with power, but did the exploits of the originator of #metoo have nothing to do with sex? I wouldn't say that.

I think ultimately, like you said, rape is a collation of many disparate acts with multifarious motivations. Trying to say, "rape just happens when men get too horny," or "rape just happens bevause men want to exert power over women" is in both ways reductive. And I'd argue they're both borne of the same sort of modernist "we can solve all social problems by altering society" mindset. The Hydraulic theory says, "rape is the inevitable result of a man placed in specific situations with specific biopsychological conditions" (notice they didn't say traits), while the rape-as-power theory says "rape is the inevitable result of a society in which men have power over women." Both see rape as something that happens regardless of the personal traits, morality, and empathy of the man in question, and therefore something that can be eliminated given a sufficient enough intervention.

But I would assert that individual morals and personality play a huge role: a virtuous man is able to say, "yes this woman is my subordinate at work, and yes I find her very attractive. But my commitment to human dignity and empathy for this person is firm, and regardless of how much I might be able to coerce her into sex, I will refuse to do so." Morality often consists in restraint: the stalwart refusal to do evil even when one could do so. When men responded to the #metoo movement with #notallmen, this is precisely the point they were making.

Further, I would argue it is inherent in sexual virtue not to be attracted to forcible sex or even reasonable simulacra of forcible sex. (Yes, I think having a rapeplay fetish is immoral, or at least indicates a tendency towards sexual evil, though this is not an ideological commitment and I would be open to good data that contradicts it.)

That's not to say social changes don't help reduce or prevent rapes: that too would be insulting and reductive. If you're living in a society in which marital rape or, hell, even dark-alley rape are acceptable, obviously a personal inclination towards pro-sociality or virtue won't stop you from raping someone given the desire or opportunity.

Where I think feminists get this wrong -- and here I go being a mistake theorist again -- is because they believe we live in that kind of a society. I think they're wrong, in part because they're relying on self-reported rape statistics that I see as seriously flawed, if not entirely dubious. They would also point out the difficulty of successfully prosecuting rapists as a sign that the system tacitly supports rape, but in this case I think the problem isn't that society is broken or evil, but that rape, in the circumstances in which it usually occurs, is incredibly difficult to prosecute because of evidential burdens without throwing away the rights of the accused. Many sex crimes activists believe rape is a serious enough crime to throw away those rights -- in part because, just as they overestimate the frequency of rape, they underestimate even more severely the frequency of false accusations. Innocent-until-proven-guilty is the fundamental foundation of a liberal justice system. Discarding it, no matter how serious the offense, is a deeply illiberal suggestion.

Ultimately I think rape is a hard and multifarious problem, and I believe it is better to deal with hard and multifarious problems the best we can rather than discard our most cherished civil rights and protections chasing after an impossible utopia founded on faulty data and reductionist theories.

It's true that we can't attribute any of those crimes to a single cause. There's not really any reason to reduce crimes to causes is there? People steal because they want things, and people rape because they're horny.

I've never heard a coherent defense of, "rape is about power not sex" that appealed to truth. They all appeal to something orthogonal, like, "it's good therapy" or "it brings positive social change." The slogan is not even wrong, it's just a tool.

I don't go as far as to say it's a tribal signal though.

In an old thread about this, someone linked to Steve Pinker's AMA, in which he had this to say;

It's the "moralistic fallacy," the idea that we should shape the facts in such a way as to point to the most morally desirable consequences. In the case of rape, the fear was that if rape has a sexual motive, then it would be natural, hence good; and instinctive, hence unavoidable. Since rape is bad and ought to be stamped out, it cannot come from "natural" sexual motives. My own view is that these are non-sequiturs -- rape is horrific no matter what its motives are, and we know that rates of rape can be reduced (in Better Angels I assemble statistics that US rates of rape are down by almost 80% since their peak). One surprise that I experienced upon re-reading Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book "Against Our Will," which originated the rape-is-about-power-not-sex doctrine, is that idea was a very tiny part of the book, thrown in almost as an afterthought (Brownmiller said she got the idea from one of her Marxist professors). Most of the book is a brilliant account of the history of rape, its treatment by the legal system, its depiction in literature and film, the experience of being raped and reporting it, and other topics. It's also written with great style, clarity, and erudition. Though I disagree with that one idea, I would recommend it as one of the best and most important books on violence I have read.

https://www.old.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1a67x4/i_am_steve_pinker_a_cognitive_psychologist_at/c8ug2in/

Anyways, years ago there was a thread in AskReddit, in which someone asked rapists why they rape. It was a long thread, but one component that was noticeable was that it clearly had nothing to do with power. This, of course, pissed off a ton of people, and the thread was shut down and later scrubbed because it was deemed harmful. I think some 'psychologist' had come out to say that the thread could encourage more people to rape? Anyways, that seemed like a significant moment where the tide began to turn for open discourse on Reddit.

I remember reading the archive of that askreddit. The dominant theme was that almost every one of those rapists was 1) male 2) young and 3) not seeing himself as committing rape. That tends to add up to it being about horny and not power.

Much of the backlash to the thread was that other commenters responded with sympathy. The stories had convinced many users that some cases were in a moral gray area. This was connected to a feminist opposition to rapists being allowed to communicate with the general population in an affirmative space, and some disgust at hearing the stories and the misogynistic views implied by them.

[The psychiatrist response] (https://old.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/xf5c2/reddit_are_you_aware_how_dangerous_the_askarapist/) makes an overly-sophisticated point (contrary to the more commonsense opposition described above) that was eaten up for some reason. Arguing that rape is about power and that raping a conscious person means you get off on hurting or horrifying people (I'd argue that this is partially true but is itself sexual), he claims that the rapists in the thread were getting off on horrifying an imagined audience.

Isn't this all just a weird twist on the apocryphal quote falsely attributed to Oscar Wilde that "everything is about sex except sex, which is about power"? That's just a pithy little saying about the importance of sex to various kinds of power.

I always understood the meaning of the phrase that 'rape is [often] about power' to be about explaining why rapists don't typically seek the services of a prostitute, or find someone to have consensual sex with (since many are in relationships/aren't incels/etc). That they may get an additional thrill from their exercise of power over an unwilling victim. Someone saying no is a popular fetish, there are subreddits dedicated to it and it's a popular porn category.

Many second wave feminists would agree with your point that rape is about sex or lust, but they would argue that a lot of heterosexual sex is also, by their definition, rape.

A lie repeated over and over becomes truth, that adage is self evident too, given that there is no evidence that Goebbels actually said anything of the sort. This my favourite rebuttal of this myth. An excerpt to add on to what you've described in the 2nd paragraph:

Furthermore, if rape or sexual harassment were indeed motivated by the desire to feel powerful, then one would expect them to be less common among those who already feel powerful, and that they would more often go against the power gradient rather than along it; that is to say, raping or sexually harassing someone more powerful would have greater appeal than sexually abusing someone less powerful.

There's something similar on stalking as well, its often not due to any consciously learnt behaviour as it is an act of impulse and primal instinct.

I think that while most(?) people do take this as fact, despite the efforts to "unlearn" the supposed entitlement have yielded no tangible results, a part of the effort is to regurgitate this trope that "men in power" is always a bad thing, even dangerous and predatory towards women.

Furthermore, if rape or sexual harassment were indeed motivated by the desire to feel powerful, then one would expect them to be less common among those who already feel powerful, and that they would more often go against the power gradient rather than along it; that is to say, raping or sexually harassing someone more powerful would have greater appeal than sexually abusing someone less powerful.

I find this paragraph to be incredibly naïve at best and kinda dumb at worst.

Of course people who are already powerful, who have had a little tase, will want to express that urge throughout their life. It is blindly obvious when you look at how the elite operate.

Of course raping someone who is of lower status than you fulfills this urge more perfectly; the lower status makes it better, not worse.

This whole passage seems to come from someone who has never actually had a fraught social interaction in their life.

I feel like the train of logic might be:

  1. Rape is bad,

  2. But sex is good, (at least, we can't say otherwise without sounding uncool, like old-fashioned prudes.)

  3. So rape must be rooted in something bad (power) instead of something good (sex.)

People will readily believe flimsy and implausible theories that make the world seem to work in a more just way. (See also: Todd Akin.)

Notice that, if rape is about power and not sex, the rhetoric can push on the notion of deconstruction of the hierarchy, and not on concepts like self-control like religions of old (that are bad because they are hierarchical).

Rape is about power, not sex = another instance of academics trying to do their distruption of eternal fascism.

What does "push on the notion of deconstruction of the hierarchy" mean? I'm familiar with left-leaning ideologies saying "hierarchies bad" and calling everything fascism, but what does the power-sex question have to do with it?

The main focus of the New Left is the analysis of hierarchies, power and how different groups and concepts and words interact with each other in the creation of hierarchical organization, born from the desire of finding, analyzing and deconstructing every structure that can remotely generate fascism again.

While sex is a biological function, and so is extremely difficult to dismantle without sounding as a crazy ideologue, power was the perfect word to use.

If rape = power we switch the focus from "maybe males biologically leans to lust, sex and degeneration, and that is life" to "Patriarchy and male dominancy derive only from the fact that exist a hierarchy of male power that provokes rapes, oppression or discrimination"

If it is the second case, this hierarchy can actually be deconstructed through education, word-renaming and all the usual instruments, causing another crack in the Hierarchy.

The one could instead simply say, "sex is good, if its consensual" without resorting to sophistry like, "intercourse without consent isn't sex."

Now, there are very important aspects of sex where the consent and desire is important. For example, I would not expect incels to get off on rape for the same reason they don't get off on prostitutes: they wish to be desired. I don't think those are the kind of considerations feminists have in mind when they say "rape isn't sex."

Focusing on consent might be counterproductive though, if another goal is to e.g. taboo age-gap relationships between older men and younger women. "Power differential" discourse has all of the tools necessary to simply declare such relationships rape.

For example, I would not expect incels to get off on rape for the same reason they don't get off on prostitutes: they wish to be desired.

While we're at it with the whole "deflate common feminist talking points taken as fact" thing: I'm dubious about this as well. Obviously human connection matters to people, but I think this is emphasized for the same reason "rape is power" is - i.e. the ruling ideology prefers stories that downplay sex differences.

Here's another theory: incels are more likely to be less socially adroit, anxious, avoidant types who rationalize their general avoidance of risk via the most socially palatable (almost virtuous!) explanation.

If you've gone multiple decades without any sexual experience why be adamantly opposed to paying for it just to get the monkey of inexperience off your back? It makes much more sense if you're just scared.

If a man is reluctant to ask women out because they can't take the fear or risk of rejection, why would I need a separate explanation for why they don't take part in a likely illegal process that ends at the same place?

First, let me clarify my invocation of incels: I wasn't making an empirical claim about the real community. My sentence should be read as tautological: "There are some people who wish to be desired" and I used "incel" as the closest-match within inferential distance. I think enough incels fit this profile that I wasn't being dishonest. Since my post was arguing that "consent is not an important aspect of sex aka intercourse," I thought it honest to give a case where consent was the vital concern.

Now onto your reply: I think risk-aversion fits the incel profile exactly. What did you mean by virtuous? Normally, I consider "moral" and "virtuous" to be synonyms. I'm not sure if "I wish to be desired" is really moral, but I would say it is flattering, because it doesn't require admitting cowardice. I think most incels claim to be smart (forbidden knowledge, woke/redpilled, etc.), but do not claim to be moral.

I think you're right that incels don't take kindly to the idea that they are cowards, so I do feel a little confused. My current best-guess is that by calling incels cowardly, you are making empirical claims (for example: that they have agency and can change their lives), and so you are contradicting incel orthodoxy. I'm not sure if incels even can get offended, by anything.

I'm not sure if "I wish to be desired" is really moral

It's relative: "I don't go to prostitutes cause I wish to be authentically desired" comes across far better than "I'm too scared to ask out a woman so I'm probably going to be too scared to risk the illegal sex market and that's the only main reason I'm not objectifying someone".

One involves a positive (though not exceptional) trait and panders to the ideology of the biggest incel critics. The other is just - to use your word- cowardice.

My current best-guess is that by calling incels cowardly, you are making empirical claims (for example: that they have agency and can change their lives), and so you are contradicting incel orthodoxy.

TBH: I wasn't even aiming at "incel orthodoxy" so much as the mainstream orthodoxy that prefers and promotes this particular explanation. As I said: I think that orthodoxy is driven by the same thing behind the "rape is power": a refusal to reckon with sex differences and the messy issue of distributing sex.

"Incel orthodoxy" is quite rightly seen as the silly product of depressive and polarized thinking and ignored in other places (e.g. the idea that looks are all that matter or that average men have no hope in the sexual marketplace). I didn't even think I had to debunk it, since most people take it with a grain of salt.

My skepticism is precisely that we're being asked to take avoidants at their word that - conveniently- the risky thing they're too scared to do actually doesn't interest them at all and wouldn't help in the slightest. But only in this case.

When they say dating is hopeless cause women rate 80% of men as unattractive or their chins condemn them to genetic oblivion everyone suddenly agrees with me that maybe we can't just believe such people and they may be rationalizing their failure/avoidance.

Now I'm confused because you added objectification to the mix! Are you saying incels believe "we don't see prostitutes because objectification is wrong?" Because I certainly never have heard them say that. I think incels mostly say (a) "we don't see prostitutes because they aren't authentic." An alternative reasoning, (b) "we don't see prostitutes because objectification is wrong" seems mututally exclusive, completely incompatible. I do agree that (b) panders to their critics, but I've never seen it. And of course, professing (a) lets them hide from perhaps the true reason, the aptly-lettered (c) "we don't see prostitutes because we are cowards"

everyone suddenly agrees with me that maybe we can't just believe such people and they may be rationalizing their failure/avoidance.

Ah now I understand! You're saying that since mainstream orthodoxy is already in the business of calling incels deluded and (perhaps unconsciously) running from the truth in some cases (chins), why would we take them at their word for other cases (prostitutes)! That's a good insight I've never heard articulated before.

If I had to guess, it's because you're assessing incels from a descriptivist POV. You identify psychological factors (avoidance) and see how those cause the relevant behaviors.

The mainstream position is normative, saying, "incels deserve their lot in life." The easiest way to fit the chin issue into that narrative is to call them liars; but the prostitutes issue isn't really an issue. I don't think most people think about the nuanced beliefs of incels.

Maybe I'm wrong about the mainstream position and I've actually described an "anti incel" position -- I'm not sure.

Oh, yes. I'd say that it's probably best if "consensual" is a necessary but not sufficient condition for sex to be good. (Of course, I care less about avoiding sounding like an old-fashioned prude about this, which may explain my strategic freedom here...) Otherwise one ends up playing word games with "consensual" in order to take sex acts which would seem to meet the straightforward definition of the word but are nevertheless bad and condemn them based on the only criterion considered valid, and make that criterion seem less and less sensible in the process.

I've expressed the sentiment before that I'm afraid that overloading good-affected concepts may lead them to collapse, and I would rather not have such a thing happen here.

The reason rape is worse than murder is because a women's value in society is her body. When feminists say, "a woman is worth more than her body" they are speaking normatively, or more accurately, saying "a woman ought to be worth more than her body." Undoubtedly, feminists will deny this, and say that no, they really mean a descriptive to be. "Rape is about power" therefore asserts the worth women.

When opponents of sexual redistribution say "sex is not a commodity" they are also speaking normatively. They will deny this, but prostitution's position as the oldest profession implies that descriptively speaking, sex simply is a commodity. Women intuitively understand the value of their sex appeal, as any cursory glance at social media reveals. I also have funny anecdotes of female friends volunteering egregious details of their sex lives (apparently women talk to each other about this) and once she figured out I wasn't gay, she was imminently disgusted at me. The implication here is that since I enjoyed hearing it, I was being a free-rider.

"Men undergo some experience and feel raped" is just about the most pathetic anecdote ever, so I might as well go all in and give an example of that, too. One time I gave money to a panhandler and I felt unsafe. It's unclear to me if feeling unsafe was important to my overall vibe, but it bared remarkable correspondence to a drunk college girl:

  • he didn't use force

  • I regretted my actions afterwards

  • I felt like a chump

I think the last bullet point here is very important to "the feeling of being raped." What's extra funny is already having crystalized these beliefs, I came across this clip (Did you know Chris Hansen had another show about catching a different kind of criminal?), so clearly jaded men like me aren't the only ones trivializing rape. (To those not aware of the context: the woman was a victim of identity theft and lost a lot of money).

To recap, if rape is about sex then an uncomfortable truth would come to light: that a woman's value is her body.

The reason rape is worse than murder is because a women's value in society is her body.

Why the link to TvTropes? In fiction, there's a much clearer reason why rape is considered worse than murder - the readers are, unconsciously or not, prudish in nature and find violence more acceptable than something of a sexual nature.

Another reason why it intuitively feels worse than murder is that I could imagine myself (if the conditions were sufficiently extreme) perhaps killing another person with my own free will. Not so with rape; even though the act of murder itself is worse in my ethical calculus, rape categorically reveals the base nature of the perpetrator in a way murder doesn't.

I'd compare it with somebody who has their pet cat put down so they could cook and eat it. Morally not much worse than cooking some calamari, but it really says something about how messed up the person is.

I don't understand your objection. Are you saying people who read in particular find rape worse than people who don't?

I see TvTropes as being about fiction in general, so does your claim also apply to be who watch or play their media?

Although TvTropes is "about fiction," it is cataloging real phenomenons. I was making the (not so controversial, in my opinion) claim that society sees rape as worse than murder. That works of fiction portray this truth is downstream of real societal attitudes. "Why link to X" feels like a wrong question, unless you provide an alternative Y or have a compelling argument to leave it in plaintext.

Although TvTropes is "about fiction," it is cataloging real phenomenons. I was making the (not so controversial, in my opinion) claim that society sees rape as worse than murder. That works of fiction portray this truth is downstream of real societal attitudes.

Yes, I understand that. I just don't think TvTropes is a good source for those saying what is or isn't an attitude. It feels a bit too...removed? Yes, removed.

There’s another explanation, which I think is preferable: a person’s social value is linked to their reproductive potential, a woman’s reproductive potential is 100x more important than a man’s biologically due to pregnancy (which we grasp intuitively), a woman’s psycho-sexuality is more sensitive to acts of aggression, and society must control mating in order to function.

We don’t have to say “a woman’s value is her body”, we can say “a woman’s body is especially valuable, and the damage of rape is uniquely evil to a woman’s mind and her society”.

a woman’s psycho-sexuality is more sensitive to acts of aggression, and society must control mating in order to function.

Since spousal rape was legal almost everywhere (the definition of rape included that perp isn't the husband), it's evident that society cared about certainty of paternity, not woman's emotions. They didn't have paternity testing, or even pregnancy testing nor postcoital contraception. Now we have all that, but customs are old and even feminists keep parts of it.

First, I want to note that my use of "body" here is a kind of metaphor for reproduction, which it sounded like you understood.

Next, I want to make sure I understand your point, so I will paraphrase what I heard:

You are making a fallacy of the converse. You claim (a) "all a woman is valuable for is her body" but really your facts only imply (b) "a woman's body is far more valuable than a man's body"

Certainly, (b) is correct, because we don't make a big deal out of male rape victims.

The reason we also know (a) is correct is because rape is worse than murder, because most people get mind-killed about the subject and low-decouplers write extensive mental gymnastics (masquerading as arguments) asserting that rape is a special case that has no analogue.

In an alternate world where the same emotional valence was not applied to any rape but was instead only applied to, say, domestic abuse, we could say (a) is false.

Rape is obviously about sex. Date rape wouldn't be the most common form of rape if it wasn't about sex.

As for why people claim otherwise, a few theories:

  1. Sex is a basic human biological drive. If a starving person steals a loaf of bread, we tend to consider their actions at least partially justified, because they were driven by biological need. If rape is about sex, this opens the door to potentially justifying or exculpating rapists in certain circumstances.

  2. If rape is about sex, this implies victims who dressed or acted sexy increased their odds of victimization, and this is too much like victim blaming.

  3. An inability to model how male sexuality works, or an unwillingness to acknowledge major differences in male and female sexuality. Most women, regardless of circumstances, could never commit rape. History shows that many men, under the right circumstances, could. Look at the aftermath of almost every successful military conquest in history, for instance.

As a further corollary to #3, imagine you could somehow do a study where you asked the following question and got a totally honest answer from the study participants: "Imagine you have just committed rape. What do you think was your reason or motivation for doing so?" I think the average female answer would be something like "I hated that person and wanted to ruin their life and make them feel violated." I think the average male answer would be something like "They were just so incredibly sexy and I was just so turned on I lost control of myself." I think men and women will therefore tend to model the motivations of rapists differently because they get different answers when they try to introspect about what could possibly drive someone to commit rape.

Most women, regardless of circumstances, could never commit rape.

remember that the current FBI definition of rape is

"penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."

So if a woman were to tie a man up and have sex with him against his will, it would not legally be considered rape by the FBI, unless she penetrated his anus.

However, "made to penetrate" sexual assault, which is how the CDC defines women having sex with men without their consent is apparently much more common than previously acknowledged.

Indeed, in my own experience, I find that I have been "raped" (i.e. made to penetrate without my consent,) by four women in my lifetime. Always while I had been asleep. In one case, a new girlfriend mounted me while I slept without a condom, even though I had been meticulous in my use of condomes. In a second case, a different girlfriend tried to put a condom on me after I had passed out drunk. She woke me up with sex and the condom fell off at some point. In a third case, a girlfriend invited her friend to perform fellatio on me while I was sleeping.

#metoo functioned as a major redpill for me because I had a close friend falsely accused of rape. As I began to understand exactly how feminists now define rape, I gradually became aware that according to the feminist definition of the term, I had been raped by four different women in my life, and sexually assaulted by others. The absolute hypocrisy and lack of awareness deeply disturbs me to this day, since all of those same women who raped me are strong feminists who jumped on the "believe all women" bandwagon.

I don't know what the answer to the social problem of rape is. However, I do know firsthand that modern academic feminism is built upon glaciers of bullshit over decades and their approach to the problem consistently make society worse because of a deep rooted denial of reality.

An inability to model how male sexuality works, or an unwillingness to acknowledge major differences in male and female sexuality.

I would blame it mostly on this tbh. In order to prevent claims of sexual difference from being used to justify disadvantaging women feminists have crawled into a dangerous hole: denying them altogether.

This "problem" can be seen in many other places - most notably in the claims that men are "shallow" in their looks-based preferences or are, even more fantastically, predators who want nubile young women for purposes of emotional manipulation.

If that shocking failure of cognitive empathy is showcased with vehemence amongst feminists every day I'm not surprised they'd deny claims of sexual difference in desire or the role it plays in assault.

From a purely rhetorical and tactical perspective "this is an evil abomination" is a better sell than "this is an aspect of male sexuality we need to watch and keep under control". Because the latter has been associated with not just limits on men but on women especially, for prudence's sake. After all: they are the party at risk.

With regards to (1) there is some equivocation between the biological meaning of a drive (in which case sex is a drive, as any scientist would tell you) with the spiritual or moral meaning of drives. If "sex is as important as food" really was an axiom of most people, then prostitution would be legal and sexual redistribution would be in the overton window. So I don't think bullet (1) is valid. Your other points seem solid though.

The point I am getting at is roughly the "sex is good/important" progressive viewpoint @YE_GUILTY stated above, though perhaps he articulated it better.

This sounds just like a discussion we had in the Motte a few months ago: https://old.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/u66abs/comment/i5hi84w/

Here's what I had to say about it:

The reason I was surprised to hear you say that "sexual desire plays no role in rape" is provably false is that I've heard this my whole life, and from many not-so-feminist sources. It's just something I never even really thought to question. I feel like it's just common knowledge that rape is about power, not about sexual desire. But the fact that it's common knowledge doesn't mean that it's true, and it doesn't mean that it hasn't been helped along or put in place by feminist or other progressive advocacy.

So now that you talk about it, it is interesting that feminists simultaneously:

  • say that rape is about power, not about sexual desire
  • advocate for increasingly lax standards of rape, like even if a guy gets his girlfriend to say yes to sex after she said no the first time. Or if a guy goes home with a drunk girl from a bar.

Like, if 2 is rape, then it obviously wouldn't be about power any more than any normal sex would be. Because from the guy's perspective, it is just normal sex, he's not going out of his way to rape anyone. So either there's more than one type of rape, one of which can be driven by sexual desire and one is not, in which case we should acknowledge that the two are different. Or else sexual desire does play a role in rape, in which case we need to accept that that carries additional baggage that many feminists don't want to admit.

Rape is obviously about sex, which is why the most popular targets of rape are the most popular targets of sexual desire, that being pretty young women, and not Jeff Bezos or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who would both be vastly more impressive conquests in terms of the power displayed.

To be fair though, Bezos and the rock are vastly more impressive conquests in part because they would require a lot more power to victimise than pretty young women. I think power is one dynamic at play in that sense, but it can't be the be all and end all - it requires more power to target a pretty young girl than a feeble old woman too, but victims of rape are way more likely to be under the age of 35 than over 65.

"Rape is all about power, not about sex" always seemed kind of callous to me though. It feels like a cope, although an incredibly disturbing one - you often hear it said after a person sees the victim for the first time, and to me it comes across as something like "Wait what? This ugly person got raped and I can't get a date? Rape must be about power, there is no way the rapist found her sexy." Which is also why I think people just go along with it - they don't want to even consider where this meme came from or why it's so popular, because they don't want to learn it is that cope.

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