Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Look At Me, I Disagree with the Establishment, I must be Hysterical. . .

Below you will find the quote from Mound of Sound on Marie Snyder's Blog A Puff of Absurdity attacking her and myself. Another typical attack that lacks any actual argument or logic. Typical of Mound, he insists that anyone who disagrees with him is "steeped in his emotions" while, presumably his positions are cool and calculated. It is a charge that has been thrown at anyone, women in particular, who dares to question the male-dominated narratives of society, particularly in politics. It was the very foundation that was continually thrown at the suffragettes when they demanded votes for women, and it is the kind of rightwing argument that is continually thrown at anyone on the left. People are, such is the contention, must be hysterical if they disagree with the establishment. 

There is rich irony in all of this. The first order of irony is, perhaps that all politics is rooted in emotion in the first place, that is to say certain faiths in normative and ethical beliefs. Anyone who contends that any political position is  somehow based upon something else is either a fool or he is selling something. We don't need to go back to Hume's "is-ought problem" to understand this either, one needs only be vaguely self-aware. The second order of irony here is that I contend that it is, in fact, Mound who has strayed wildly into his emotions. I think it is fair to say while behind all politics there are certain beliefs, beliefs about normative standards and ethical principles, and that these are intimately tied up with our emotional lives. On the other hand, one might get particularly angry about something and your arguments, and even the consistency of your positions, might suffer in the process. The reason I refute Mound's condescending claim is simple - I consistently actually made arguments and suggestions about how the legal system might be improved, arguments he asked for, but he consistently failed to address. In fact he had several chances but instead of answering what were entirely reasonable suggestions suggestions that more than one lawyer has admitted are perfectly reasonable (albeit unoriginal), he just fell into diatribes of name-calling and condescension. These actions seem to be to be the very epitome of being 'steeped in one's emotions.'

Another level of irony is that Mound has consistently failed to point out how my suggestions are evidence of my failure to "understand the justice system." In fact the direct opposite seems to be true. My suggestion that justice systems, like other political institutions, evolve is demonstrable and perfectly reasonable. It is pure folly, or historical foolishness to contend that justice systems are singularly consistently objective systems of a trans-historical nature. Instead, justice systems are expressions of normative assumptions of classes, political bodies, and civil societies. Furthermore, justice systems often aim at more than one over-arching goal. They seek to enforce the law, of course, (and those laws, it should be remembered, are themselves normative expressions), but they also seek to create justice (also a normatively derived concept). I gave more than one example wherein political bodies attempted to adjust elements of the justice system in order that justice might be done, or at the very least be seen to be done. My detractors largely chose to ignore these historical facts and instead attempted to paint me with a brush or ignorance and/or irresponsibility (suggesting that any effort to make the justice system more responsive to the endemic and unaddressed epidemic of violence against women can only consist of some pre-Magna Carte return to savage tyranny). When the British government was attempting to populate Australia with an eye to a rather unique form of colonization, they significantly affected the judicial system in order to make it easier to exile petty criminals. The notorious Castlereagh, along with men like Eldon, Loughborough, and William Pitt the younger, made dramatic inroads into the justice system in favour of there political agendas. In contemporary society, people have attempted to make more positive changes, trying to get courts to take into consideration things such as battered-person syndrome, as well as the systemic biases of justice systems that, though difficult to address, must be faced. These arguments are rooted in normative claims about right and wrong, but they are not, I suggest, overflowing with irrational, out of control hysteria. Instead, they represent a view of the justice system that is obviously significantly more nuanced than Mound's. 

But for the sake of cool clear logic let's look at it this way - A) Sexual assault is one of the most significant criminal acts in our society, both in effect and number, B) Sexual assault is, arguably the least prosecuted and convicted crime existing today, C) "A" coupled with "B" suggests that the justice system (as well as society at large) is radically failing thousands of victims a year, D) Since there are, as demonstrated by myself an many others (more effectively than I) perfectly reasonable possible ways to at least begin to address these deficiencies, it would be irresponsible not to do something. 

That is straightforward and logical. 

This is done now, but I felt it necessary to expose this attack (one that in style and content has deeply misogynistic overtones) because for too long middle-aged white men have consistently called anyone who disagreed with them crazy and/or hysterical while simultaneously, and ironically, failing utterly to address the actual issue at hand in a discursively meaningful way. 

(I must say, though, that at the very least, this has given me an excellent insight into what women have experienced for centuries. No matter how well formed, how informed, or how reasonable, their ideas, whenever they challenged the establishment,  have consistently been marginalized with claims that they "don't understand" or that they are "too emotional." It is something every man should experience.) 

Mound's Attack. . .

I've finally realized that it's utter folly to get into this. Do it and you're going to church whether you want that or not. You're either with the saints or you're with the sinners. And if you dare point out any blemishes on a saint that's absolute proof that you're the first cousin of Satan himself.

Kirby is so steeped in his emotions that he can't grasp the fundamentals of criminal justice. I'm steering clear of Kirby too. Good luck to you both.


Anonymous said...

There are many professional lawyers and law professors, as well as folks in Justice ministries and department across the country, looking at substantive ways to improve the justice system for sexual assault complainants. So, it's not really a fringe idea.

Perhaps the problem is that the Ghomeshi trial was a very atypical sexual assault trial. It is an outlier. It's not a good example to look at and draw conclusions from.

Anonymous said...

The Mound has no respect for women or even his fellow bloggers. He has never written about women's rights, and he never stops trying to takeover Progressive bloggers. He seems to believe that it belongs to him so that only he should get published and all others forced off the front page. His massive ego knows no bounds, his obvious misogyny is horrid and by attacking real progressives he will end up destroying Progressive Bloggers.

Kirby Evans said...

@ Anonymous 1 - In some ways I think you are right. But I also think that a big public trial like this can be a turning point because it can help to make people more aware of the issues.

@ Anonymous 2 - I think you nailed it. It is something I really didn't want to believe but after these events it seems to me that you are right. There is no problem having certain opinions but when you attack people in the manner that Mound has me (and Simon), and people who should (theoretically) be political allies, it demonstrates a serious disrespect. It is sad and makes me somewhat more jaded. I have had disagreements with other progressive bloggers but they have always tried to actually make arguments instead of simply regressing into name-calling and condescension. And this kind of marginalizing people with classic misogynistic labeling is really sad and disturbing.

Simon said...

Hi Kirby...I am sorry to see that you have been forced to respond to the Mound's campaign of condescension. But good for you for not backing down, and for trying to explain why violence against women is a societal problem, and why the issues go far beyond that trial. And as always your arguments are persuasive and as always you can count on my total support. I honestly don't know what's got into the Mound. How a progressive can dismiss emotion is simply incredible. Because we need a revolution without a soul like we need a hole in the head. Which is what you generally get from the Mound and his type of inhuman cadres whenever they seek power. No doubt he would disapprove strongly of Emma Goldman for writing this:

If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution.

And of course for being a woman.

But then the Ghomeshi trial has brought out a vile misogyny, judging from some of the sick comments I have received. And that previous commenter is right, there is a cancer growing on the progressive blogosphere and unless its halted in its tracks it could very well destroy it. Keep up the good work brother, and keep your head down. It's getting crazy out there....