Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Shallowness Of Intersectionality


Ethnicity & Sexuality

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An unexamined but glaring double-standard looms over anyone who traverses racial and sexual politics from uniformly non-traditional angles. This is not to suggest that the traditionally minded are unthreatened by the same double-standard. They are easily susceptible to it. No one is foundationally immunized from the oversight, no matter their ideology. It just so happens that the particular blinders I'll be focusing on here are less likely to take hold once traditionalistic dogma enters the fray. How can this be? The reasons I give are stretchable and mazelike, intended for the temperamentally mature reader who fires no shots at the messenger and who assesses what the post is getting at incrementally.

It is commonly believed that, amid depoliticized human affairs, associational selectivity enjoys a cordial amoral status under generic progressivism. The setup goes something like: There are rights and there are responsibilities. Civic norms operate on the give-and-take between the two. The more progressive a society becomes, the more roominess it affords to arbitrary favouritisms within apolitical domains. Trying to outrun the inescapability of choice, once all responsibilities are fulfilled, is a fool's errand. Objectors who seek to stultify societal progress are met with reminders that what goes on consensually behind closed doors is no one's business dammit. Alright then.

This post will allege that today's progressivism, just as many other political tribes before it, endeavours to play fast and loose with this amoral status. Certain favouritisms go unjudged, and certain others get chastised indignantly. The relayed axioms make for catchy rhetorical devices, but that's where it ends. In fairness, this is par for the course in political philosophy. The loftier an axiom, the more polemically impressive its applier will look. As such, enough exposure to majestic axiom-speak leaves progressives visualizing an ideally advanced society as one that accommodates non-judgmentalism into the personal lives of law-abiding citizens, while still finding a way with which to squeeze in the scolding of manifold bigotries.

Is it doable? I have my doubts, all driven by the seemingly incessant quests for racial and sexual equities. Propelled by the clumsiness of intersectionality theory, progressives now construe pathways to such equities as being concentric and cumulative. I take the opposite view by harping on the ricochet effects of mutually-exclusive partialities unleashed behind closed doors. I do this because much has been made of the interplays between shunned sexualities and shunned ethnicities. I see no evidence of any such interplays. More broadly, when it comes to nepotisms [agent-relative biases] and what motivates/demotivates them, I see unstructured dissimilarities and all-around haphazardness. 


Take s
exist complementarians who are passionately opposed to racism, or racialists who have no time for sexism of any variety. Standard online racialism is driven by obsessions with bundled I.Q. test scores, whereas standard online sexism has its roots in jilted lover syndrome to one degree or another. There are exceptions on both fronts. Both isms can be personal or impersonal. Both can be instigative or reactive. Both can be malevolent or benevolent.

For example, the genderism embedded in complementarianism is veritably benevolent. Espousers of this doctrine do want what's best for men and women on their view. This, despite the near seamless misandry/misogyny that such a view coincides with, given the considerable distance between a stereotype-themed belief and a belief conceived in ill-will. The same goes for many other (arguably unjustified) pejorative isms. Far too many moving parts here for any overarching motif to make sense of why sexism and racism have been societal mainstays.

I think the jury is in, and every pejorative ism is an island. It should be obvious to detached observers that there are no Conjoined Historical Forces giving rise to unevenness of this sort. The forces at play, dreaded though they may be, do not intersect. They are boringly unanchored.

To deny this much is to deny that (1) unmeritorious partiality is woven into everyone's post-responsibility life, (2) at least one facet of the battle against bigotry targets this partiality. Recall that groundless discrimination encompasses interactions that are beyond governmental and institutional reach. We are far from an angelic species. The oft-invoked Structural Obstacles are but appendages, giving form only to half the story, if that much.


D
oubt it? Consider whether notoriety and fame suddenly or gradually shift from talentless hacks over to the lastingly talented in entertainment industries that are untainted by top-down crookery. A popularity shift may happen, here and there, but is it the norm? Nope, and this speaks to the common penchant for cotton candy at the expense of depth, quality and merit. It is not a top-down problem. It is not a Power Structure problem. Not when it comes to celeb-worship or idol-worship, and not when it comes to much of what drives interpersonal relationships.

Since we are probing social/recreational interactions of all stripes, human partiality is just a polite way of saying "naturally endowed discriminative choices ordinary people make and have arguably always made".

Once you make peace with the fact that unmeritorious choosiness exists and is on display routinely, it will be difficult to portray non-systemic inputs as complementary to egalitarian aims. The inputs are unwaveringly erratic. We often hear how they are stirred in inegalitarian directions by pre-existing systemic inputs, making them something other than inescapable. To the contrary, the system does what it does because it is a by-product of humanity's pre-existing (non-systemic) desires and aversions. It would scarcely survive otherwise.


Reasonable people can differ on whether unmerited partialities are largely swayed/unswayed by top-down influences. By largely, I mean somewhere in the ballpark of two-thirds and beyond. I myself am not fully settled on which one of the two middle boxes I'd side with if my life readily hinged on the right answer. Regardless, many of us can find common ground in our recognitions that likes and dislikes are a mishmash of socialized mimicry and inborn innateness. They are not 100% this or that. I remain distrustful of anyone who promulgates either of the 100% verdicts. Modern social constructionism is as mistaken as hardcore essentialism has always been.

But what about The Future and its ultra-enlightened citizenry? Even if meritless favouritism is a bottom-up problem in 2017, things stand to change drastically by 3017 or much sooner.

Underscoring the likelihood of superlatively advanced societies misses the point, as much of the favouritism and disfavouritism is evo-imprinted and bound to remain unmerited and ignoble. Insofar as future generations end up not augmenting biological inputs to a severe degree, humans' personal affairs will continue to be ruled by the natural endowments of yesteryear. To that end, one can't help but previse that human [all-too-human] selectiveness will not turn charming with the passage of time. It will be as unearned and as inegalitarian as it was before. Well-meaning individuals will find themselves sexually or racially sidelined no matter what. Estrangement is but one disconforming quirk too many. Alienation is in the cards.

I charge progressives with having no weighty counters to this, given their original emphasis on non-judgmental attitudes in private affairs, coupled with a defanged judgmentalism in public. This is what happens when morally binding intrusiveness starts and ends in the public square. In spite of that, intersectionalists maintain that the ideal is accomplishable and the main thing getting in its way are the various political ideologies that stand unaligned with intersectional analysis. Their simplicity is ultimately uninteresting, and would not be worthy of our exploratory efforts had they bluntly disclosed that the espoused first principle is in no way thoroughgoing.

I say all this as a virulent anti-traditionalist. My untraditional values don't just vastly outnumber my traditional ones. I have no traditionalistic values to start with. Literally zero.





Traditionalism: Now With Less Medievalism!



I'm big on modernity. Traditionalists are conscious neo-medievalists at worst. At best, they are axiologically disoriented. None of this reflects positively on progressivism, as we shall see.


Qualifying Labels


I am using the “progressivism” moniker rather lazily, and unapologetically to boot. This one ism is the nearest thing to a legitimate Sweeping Term for the gamut of socially liberal, radical and intersectional stances touching on the predicament at hand. I am going about it this way despite knowing that the progressive/regressive divide is, for the most part, analytically useless (due to its vagueness). So I'm hardly lost on the possibility that Usage May Vary depending on the corners of the internet one inhabits. Even so, I shall rely on the formulaic lingo throughout this offering. Doing so spares me some caveat-based headaches and will probably make the post’s contents more consumable for the ordinary reader.

I've been told that I need to pander more to those ordinary readers, so I will. Attentively, whenever the term regressive is used from here on out, it is to cue regressive or retrograde in the chronologically palpable sense, not the faddish internet sense. Ditto for all invocations of the progressive label. It's chronological, all of it. Having a blind spot (or two) doesn't turn a lover of progress into a lover of regress, or vice versa. You could say that this is the internet and that Sloganeers Gonna Sloganeer, but none of this means we have to make due with sloganeering or play along. I picture the ordinary reader as someone who is shrewd enough to steer clear of sites where enthused political hooligans
–– who overturn or overcomplicate the established lingo –– enjoy considerable influence. Sway that exists for reasons that escape me.


Qualifying Bias


I realize that you don't need to be a fan of intersectionality to raise an eyebrow the moment words like "naturally endowed" hit your screen. While I insist that Unmeritorious Partiality is naturally enshrined in humans, I happily acknowledge that Meritorious Partiality does not warrant any such paraphrasing, since being biased toward merit or virtue is something else altogether. Evo-implanted primordial dispositions make no contributions on those fronts. Nor do we succumb to any mode of bias by striving for truths-over-falsities, unless you are prepared to say that embracing cognitive strain is just more bias at work. I won't be echoing you on that.

As long as we are controlling for better and worse characterological traits (Cognitive Strain > Cognitive Ease) when considering whose company we prefer, words like "partiality" would be the wrong ones for the task, as the discerner is inching squarely closer to impersonal examination; further away from personal (i.e. nepotistic) pressures.

Here I refer only to
non-cognitive, meritless partialities; ones transported by organismal realities. Also known as the norm. The everyday type you run into; the people-pleasing social butterfly whose concern for intellectual compatibilities is greatly outweighed by a concern for unintellectual compatibilities. It is those social mindsets that constitute the highly personalized, unreflective and unmerited partialities I speak of. And they dominate.

Some believe that a significant number of relationships do not form
–– or flourish –– precisely due to ideologies or realpolitik giving way to terminally divisive disagreements. If you hold this view, and if you agree with me that meritorious partialities are no partialities at all, you will call foul on my ascribing unmeritorious partiality as the superstructure upon which recreational relationships are built. While we agree that there is nothing unmeritorious about discriminating along doxastic grounds, as allies/foes are wont to do, we disagree about the raw numbers.

So then, do ideologically-charged people sever social ties due to one value-laced clash too many? I don't see it. For the majority, there is always some degree of separation between a Frenemy and an Enemy. It is here that the gears of modernity succeed in making cooperation among Ideological Frenemies a foremost virtue. If the enemy is beyond reproach, any talk of cooperation becomes a category error. Your mortal enemies are rarely within an arm's distance anyway. Your ideological frenemies, not so much. They're often in the neighbourhood, or at least in the county. As such, cooperation with the frenemy is inevitable, and it usually fosters mutual understandings over why select disagreements remain unresolved. This eases tensions.

The result? Nearly all social relationships are maintained, to one extent or another, in the face of persistent disagreements (i.e. over public policy) among Ideological Frenemies. The company of an Ideological Frenemy whose non-ideological (social) sensibilities are compatible with yours will be preferable to the company of an Ideological Friend whose non-ideological (social) sensibilities are wholly incompatible –– or just comparatively less compatible –– with yours.

The proximate company of a Mortal Enemy, meanwhile, has the makings of a warzone.


Qualifying Ambushes


Note that I will not dwell here on all the things I consider to be false and inane with traditional or regressive takes on sexuality and ethnicity. Those viewpoints miss the mark more straightforwardly and therefore don’t suffer fascinating internal contradictions the way progressive perspectives do. The billed easygoingness of progressivism is the key contradistinction here, as traditionalized outlooks carry no pretence of a commitment to open mindedness and social latitude. Tradcons' rekindled uproars over degeneracy and fifth-wave declinism being prime examples of that. For the prototypical progressive, sexual degeneracy is always a nonfactor, because apolitical degeneracy is always a nonfactor.

Except when it isn't.


Private Responsibilities


One final qualification: When I quote progressives emphasising the voluntariness of something in private settings, I do so cautiously and charitably, being mindful of notable exceptions such as CPS which they justifiably support. That's not the contradiction I had in mind. Because it's not a real contradiction. I'm not after some philosophically juvenile gotcha here. If you are wowed by oratorical manoeuvrings of that bent, feel free to consult a self-ownership theorist or any "sovereign citizen" rabble-rouser yelling into a megaphone. They never flub an opportunity to complain about pseudo-contradictions. If you enjoy challenging wonky goal-posts, knock yourself out. I won't tag along. Been there and done that. Just know that nothing in this entry comes remotely close to making niceties with that noise.

Supporting the existence of CPS, or eco-friendly policies, or policies enforcing herd immunity, or policies against animal cruelty, or policies mandating Foreign Aid... none of it forecasts dissonance for the choice-loving progressive, though all of it inhibits something a handful of private citizens would've been able to do on their own turfs had the policies not existed. Anyone who understands the trickiness of ricochets will not need spoon-feeding on why neglecting all-things-private is a potentially lethal move both ethically and civically.

The keynote: Subjecting localities and municipalities to a bulky measure of federal oversight is no quandary, but merely the outgrowth of the recognition that a few private responsibilities are known to exist, all of which turn moot unless resolutely enforced across the nation. Rights still manage to cover freely-chosen partialities (for Person A over Person B), minus the spillover. Private, in this sense, can be thought of as so-called private. Those outliers aside, responsibilities are public-square demands.

With those qualifiers out of the way, on with the juicier stuff.


The Contents:


1. The Aesthetic Zigzag

2. The Derogated

3. Evaluatively Hierarchal Sexualities

4. Sexual Generalism vs. Sexual Particularism

5. Ethnic Generalism vs. Ethnic Particularism

6. Closing Remarks / Philosophical Challenge




The Aesthetic Zigzag



The double-standard I've promised to spotlight arises from an ingrained custom within our milieu here in the West. At least by my radar, it is a decidedly Western phenomenon; a snaky zigzag act between aesthetically choosy behaviours validated by attitudinal sex-positivity, and aesthetically anti-choosy expectations validated by attitudinal anti-racism. The former holds permissivism in high regard, even when permissiveness produces prejudicial behaviours in the social terrain. The latter holds permissivism in low regard (or has zero regard for it) whenever the permissive baseline is host to prejudicial behaviours in the same social terrain. The two strands of individual choice are nonetheless evenly grounded in exclusivity.


An asymmetry is never explicitly defended, or even outwardly believed to exist, despite being unwittingly intuited by the zig-zagger. For the lapse to remain unnoticeable, the emergence of an aesthetic asymmetry is simply a must. Of the two permissive baselines, only one is thought to have the potential to give way to the enablement ethnic distrust, or worse yet, to facilitate tragedies like ethnic cleansing. Meanwhile, attitudinal sex-positivity is perceived as having no such similarly-situated drawbacks, so an alliance between attitudinal sex-positivity and attitudinal anti-racism comes across as fairly coherent.

To one-line it: The complexion of human [all-too-human] pickiness has progressives seesawing between non-judgmental amorality and moralistic irascibleness.

I have to stand in awe at how effortlessly they manage this. The duplicity has existed along the fringes for several decades, if not centuries, having risen to prominence only recently. This is because intersectionality was confined to crank status until fairly latterly. Now it's all the rage, having found a sweet home in mainstream progressivism. [Update 2017-09-30: I am sure there are numerous progressives who remain patently unconvinced of its offerings. This includes all eco-friendly and class-conscious progressives for whom non-ecological and non-economic issues matter little, if at all (i.e. people who'd like to see capitalism wither and die, despite strongly opposing revolutionary violence and supporting gradualist reformism. The whole "Not quite Marxist, not quite capitalist" crowd).]


If you identity as 'progressive' but have no use for either [attitudinal] sex-positivity or [attitudinal] anti-racism, be assured that you've nothing to defend here. My samplings of progressives suggest your cohorts are growingly intent on both and that you are increasingly atypical. This much is clear; the Seesaw Act can be pinned on all intersectional progressives. If you know this farcical act to be prominent elsewhere, let me know where and I'll amend the post to include any non-western region I'm potentially overlooking.

A clinical snapshot of the organismal mare's nest facing us:







The same snapshot after a blanket progressive editorializes it:






In a way, the blistering imbalance isn't the fault of progressivity per se, nor its cleverest practitioners. The double-bind is here to stay, no matter who you are. How we handle it is what's truly of note. The zigzag is hollowly ignorable if we just declare that topics immersed in choosiness don't mandate comprehensive rumination, and that a fragmentary patch-job will do. Well sure, carrying on as if there is nothing to grapple with here will be a cakewalk. That is, if no one calls you on it. But dissonance and make-believe are like that in general.

Q: Who'd be so naïve as to try whitewashing the existence of this doublethink?

A: Anyone spurred by the desire to (1) avoid subjecting erotic lust to the moral domain, in tandem with (2) avoid granting an amoral status to the types of choosy behaviors that might normalize racism as colloquially understood.

In everyday parlance, I encounter two plain usages of the word racism. No, no, no. The voguish "White Racism Is The Only Tangible Racism" usage doesn't make the cut. It would've made the cut had three core racisms surfaced in common-speak. Thankfully, I've observed only two. My samplings are sufficiently replicated, as I've got nearly three decades of exposure to folk-speak under my belt (across two continents!). I also try to keep up with what some of the more renowned academics are up to, so I consider myself a reliable intermediary for making sense of who's talking past whom at any given point.

About those folksy uses: There is thought-crime-racism, and there is racism-as-wrongdoing (the latter being the only one I take to be civically or ethically useful). Why yes, I am being cheeky with my titling of the former. This is inspired by my whacky belief that there is no such thing as a thought crime under any circumstance. I would go further in saying that any desire to ascribe moral statuses to inconsequential thought types is a telltale sign of medievalism masquerading as moral reasoning.


Now, it has long been a truism to point out how wide swaths of western intelligentsia peddle scaremongering about this and that non-racist thing being subtly racist. A dog-whistle under every rock and so on. It's quickly becoming the tritest of truisms. What's less trite, however, is to contend that many laypersons also take to problematizing unproblematic things. Thought-crime-racism is one such unproblematic thing, and it's not compacted within the academy only. If I had permission to be grotesquely general as a freebie, I'd say urbanites are far more likely to buy into this muzzy moralism than rural folk are.


I take it we can all agree that world-affecting views fail and fail hard. All value is value for. You cannot harm or worsen the world, you can only harm or worsen an individual who happens to exist within the world and who qualifies for personhood. The point? Probity is mainly behavioral, with thoughts and intentions playing deputy. The act-oriented essence of probity will not annul the subordinate role of the deputy, but neither will it let the deputy run the show to the chagrin of the (now subordinated) Sherriff. Stuff like thought-crime-racism steals the keys from the Sherriff and hands them over to the deputy.

Thoughts themselves are never morally condemnatory, be they pure vs. impure, respectful vs. irreverent, brave vs. cowardly, syrupy vs. hateful, et cetera. Thoughts can be reasonable or unreasonable, but that's about it. Moral condemnation necessitates acts or utterances
–– or their omissions –– that negatively alter a state of affairs. Telekinesis aside, thoughts alone fall infinitely short of this feat. Which is not to suggest that thoughts cannot be morally informative. They indisputably can be. More often than not, a reasonable thought hints at forthcoming decency while an unreasonable one hints at forthcoming indecency. But all this is, is correlative noise. Acknowledge it without conflating moral information with moral adjudication. [Update 2017-09-30: To get a clearer idea of where I'm coming from on this, look to SEP's article on The Ethics Of Belief which distinguishes between prudential and moral forms of evidentialism (among others). The standards I've set in this paragraph and the one above it are harmonious with prudential evidentialism and inharmonious with moral evidentialism, more or less.

So unless you actually believe in thought crimes as such, or in mere wrongful thoughts, you'll join me in looking upon thought-crime-racism as harmlessly unreasonable at worst (and thus amoral or non-evaluative), and racism-as-wrongdoing as demonstrably harmful and thus immoral. If you are unready to accept that a belief can be unreasonable and morally uninteresting at the same time, I must ask you to identify the specific transgression(s) adherents of Jainism are guilty of on account of their faith-based unreasonableness. I'll save you some time; there are none. Jains are less reasonable than nonbelievers in many ways, and this hasn't stopped them from being ethically better than the average nonbeliever. If racism is worrisome, it is only so under Heading Two: racism-as-wrongdoing. A clear example of this can be allowing race to play a role in one's nepotistic decision-making. 


It would be absurd, after all, to equate the racist who behaves despite her lingering racism with the racist who misbehaves in spite of her lingering racism. A heterodox take, absolutely, but such moral heterodoxies hold regardless of the potentially identical (or different) reasons the two individuals might cite when asked why they harbour racist views.

So what does intersectionality have to say about Heading Two specifically?

Even on this account, their construal of racism stretches well beyond legality/illegality and other behavioral effects. I'll stress that the scope of legality/illegality covers public and private sectors all the same, meaning intersectionality's racism-as-wrongdoing eclipses any institutionally crafted discriminatory practice. Rather, it is understood to problematize personal quirks like (1) Implicit Bias, (2) aphilosophical or sentimental hatred, (3) denial of white privilege or whites' denial of racism broadly speaking, (4) utterance of racial slurs in acutely benign contexts, (4.5) utterance of racial slurs in arguably quasi-benign contexts, (5) humoristic derogation, (6) cultural, memetic or mythic appropriation, (7) aversive racism / day-to-day associational freedom.

I plan to probe many of these in depth at some point in the future. For now, I'll reference a couple in passing, as concrete examples offer no wiggle room for the undecided. Follow through on any of the hyperlinks above. They do wonders for showing how the problematization project sets its sights on non-legal, unacted headspace matters. For the proper inclusivist, Heading Two is not just about demonstrable impact or conflict. That is; racism is not just about wronging someone by commission or omission, it's also about believing the wrong things or being irreverent about certain sacred things. Click the instantiations and you'll know what I mean.


I fail to see how an anti-racist template so calcified manages to not spit on the separation of Heading One (thought-crime-racism) and Heading Two (racism-as-wrongdoing).

Doing. Thinking. The act. The thought. It's all blurred, in the end.

What makes the blurriness interesting are subsequent comparisons between racial, sexual and several other injustices and oppressions. If these reliably intersect, it would be myopic of us to focus on one type of unfairness without devoting plenty of time to the other ones. If you hold that whites who succumb to aversive racism have moral obligations to step out of their comfort zones and familiarize themselves with or even befriend decent non-whites, what hope do you have of invalidating the sexually frustrated concerns of involuntarily celibate individuals who believe they've been done a moral disservice analogous to that of aversive racism? Absent special pleading, intersectional analysis does no argumentative work here.

Following the analogy to its end, while keeping the thought/act blur in tact, inflicts sexual obligations on the aesthetically gifted for the benefit of the aesthetically ungifted. If you are unsettled by this, the corollary should be every bit as rattling. Posing smart-alecky questions like "So how many black friends do you have?" to rural whites should be seen as morally addled and as tacky as asking a supermodel how many Incels she has bedded. To snicker at the rural white's "none" answer is to snicker at the supermodel's "none" answer. To scrutinize the rural white's track record is to scrutinize the supermodel's track record. If their track records are equally choosy, so be it. Nothing of ethical interest has been revealed. Drop the idyllic view of the human condition, and it becomes dandily easy to skirt the trappings of the pleading sort mentioned above.


Under intersectionality, pouncing on one track record and ignoring the other smacks of inconsistency. For true consistency entails accepting that individual choosiness is substantially powered by bottom-up factors, often boiling down to brute cosmetics; race-appeal and sex-appeal alike.

By indulging these oppression analogies, and by conceptualizing their root cause(s) as being more structurally unvaried than varied, progressives set themselves up for moral disaster.


The Derogated


The aforesaid standards for identifying racist behavior and/or beliefs are elongated standards, in that they'll find fault with mere jokes that are racially charged, because they're racially charged. I'm talking unambiguously downward-punching humor. This apparently needs saying, but the racist punchline works because it “punches down” chaotically and elatedly without hesitation. Subversive comedy scores novelty points in doing so, and without a trace of concern for whose status is "high" or "low" as that would make the joke anything but transgressive.


In rallying against this, purveyors of racial sensitivity do untold damage to their cause. I have no idea whether they continue to do this knowingly or unknowingly. I'd like to think that anyone with scant knowledge of the human psyche could grasp why it's counterproductive. There is a certain allure to every subset of dark humor, and this includes crude disparagement humor. Pushback is poised to only intensify those alluring features; feeding them the very “forbidden fruit” elements which so many people love having in their comedy. The more finger-waggy indignation displayed at the last punchline, the funnier the next punchline stands to be.

I can attest to this personally; there are racist and sexist punchlines I wouldn't have found funny (or as funny) had I not been keenly aware of the humorless drones who are made upset by them in the same moment. The ticklish elements of my psychology are like a shark that smells sheltered blood. Dronish humorlessness under the banner of pseudo-morality tickles many a funny bone. This should never be mistaken for bravado. Progressives know better than to mistake sacrilegious speech around the devout as a cheap attempt to impress fellow disbelievers. If you take The Lord's name in vain, you do so because such speech comes naturally to the tongue and, presumably, because it's mildly amusing. Admittedly, it's more amusing when a pious enough believer is around to be irked by it; to the point of feeling the need to let others in on how much offense you've caused. Nothing else to it. No swagger routine, no nothing; just a swift refusal to be deferential toward an adult's overinflated sense of entitlement.

For some reason, a different standard emerges when we turn to downward-punching ethnic humor. Offending an ethnic group is thought to be incomparable to offending a devout group. So much so, that even a consistent philanthropist with a twisted sense of humor can be told that his contributions to actual alleviation of distant hardships become ethically blemished in the wake of his mean-spirited humoristic disposition. But this is foolishness. To problematize it is to dive head-first into moral and tactical quicksand.

This observation is compatible with the insight offered in the linked Psychology Today article. The author may be correct about most consumers of disparagement humor having a painfully uncritical eye for meta-comedy, and thereby failing to spot meta-disparagement humor at work. Even if this is so, the fact remains that educating uncritical masses on the sneakily packaged "self-esteem boost" components of a downward-punching joke will not render the joke unfunny. Just as educating people on the health benefits of celery does not wondrously make celery taste better than Oreos. Grasping the meta-backdrop of a popular downward-punching joke will not strip the joke of its comedic value.

Regardless of how we might evaluate the joke's quality at the base level, intersectional thinkers believe that something about its racialized nature leaves the joke-teller open to moral scrutiny. Not comedic scrutiny, but moral scrutiny. The author doesn't make mention of all the uncritical readers who are being led down this slovenly path. I'd say there are more social mishaps waiting to be found there than there are with what she emphasized one-sidedly.

Moreover, if this is sound ethical theorizing for the enlightened world, we are essentially saying that a certain degree of repression (i.e. comedic repression) is a fair trade-off to recommend because the summed interests of the mocked are in such a dire state that they outweigh the summed interests of the mockers.

So consider these paralleling counterfactuals:

The Future 1: Shed no tears for the ones who'd prefer to continue doing the mocking but are pressured into repressing their nastiest comedic urges. In the widened fight against all underdogs' oppression, comedic repression is a small price to pay.

The spillover implications of The Future 1: Aesthetically choosy behaviors encouraged by attitudinal sex-positivity are not prima facie validated, nor will they be validated on the threat of “sexual repression” resulting from their invalid status. Proponents of sex-positivity must say something more in order to bring about a sex-affirming culture.

See: The grievances of Elliot Roger and numerous other Incels.

Q: How are their grievances relevant here?

A: The more giddily we celebrate lusts and infatuations, the worse off those Incels stand to become. It's not their fault they're charmless and/or aesthetically hideous.

Or:

The Future 2: Shed no tears for the derogated groups and individuals who dislike being mocked by the insensitive. The freedom to offend is non-governmental. This demonstrates that the collective interests of the mocked do not outweigh the collective interests of the mockers.

The spillover implications of The Future 2: Aesthetically anti-choosy expectations via attitudinal anti-racism are morally unnecessary at best or morally insufferable at worst.

See: The many grievances of modern anti-racism.

Q: How are those grievances relevant here?

A: The more we champion disparagement humor and derogation, the worse off some of the disparaged stand to become. It's not their fault they're hypersensitive and/or ethnically mockable.

Now you tell me, which future is better/worse? Which one would you have manifest?

Most progressives would disagree with the paralleled setup itself, often vehemently. But the only way to unglue the countervailing facets of "The Future 1 vs. The Future 2" is by relying on a poorly conceived moral asymmetry between the (arguably justified) benefits of erotic lust versus the (arguably unjustified) benefits of racially charged humor and/or ethnic insensitivity. I could throw in the possible benefits of ethnic solidarity to these parallels, as the possible benefits of everything linked to sexuality are already understood to be on the table.

In both futures, the enjoyed benefits are unevenly doled out. The accompanying harms are endured unevenly. This is always swept under the rug.

So I'm curious. What makes the benefits of sexual enjoyment
–– say, for individuals with high libidos –– more justifiable than the benefits of ethnic solidarity for individuals who, through no fault of their own, obtained propensities for in-group ethnic preference? We can strengthen the oppositional nature of the harms and benefits by making the high-libido crowd 100% apathetic to all things ethnicity (i.e. they have no Implicit Bias whatsoever and are convincingly colorblind) while making it so that the ethno-obsessed crowd all have low-libidos and are content with it.

Hang on. If we are to make the sex-obsessed crowd colorblind, we should make the ethno-obsessed crowd asexual. For sameness' sake. Or, to make it more feasible, go a notch below colorblindness for the sex-preoccupied crowd and a notch below asexuality for the ethno-preoccupied crowd. No matter how you slice it, we'd be left with two groups whose native endowments have them caring about drastically different things. And they care passionately, on both sides. Modality aside, only one of the two futures will come to fruition. The interests of one group will lose out no matter what.

Progressives hold that it would be more justified for the low-libido crowd to lose out to the high-libido crowd, and doubly so once you factor in the corresponding color-blind/color-focused bits. Whereas I'd just flip a coin, because preferences are preferences are preferences at the end of the day. Both equally unearned. Both equally primitive. Both equally non-rational.

Where. Is. The. Justificatory. Force. Behind. Valuing. One. Over. The. Other.

Nothing is different here. We've been sold a bogus asymmetry, banking on the fuzziness of moral convention. As always: Beware the docility of convention whenever it is being peddled as a terminal value.

If convention is not the driving force, it will be guilt-ridden fearmongering about the genocidal overtones of ethnic solidarity, none of which is a concern when it comes to sexual enjoyment. Except... you'd have to ignore the likelihood of sexual jealousy increasing or skyrocketing due to a fresh praiseworthily sex-affirming atmosphere. It's not a stretch to look at today's disgruntled incels ––  some of whom already post about having nothing to lose, or about the virtues of going out with a bang –– and draw conclusions that this violent vengefulness would be amplified if sexual jealousy surges due to sex-positivity turning more brazen. Not exactly a sagacious move, but let's set it aside anyway for argument's sake.


From there, we walk straight into the problem of ethnic solidarity boosting fears of genocide for any given out-group. It's only human to notice how these worries are reserved for white solidarity only. It is no ordinary solidarity, it would seem. Their logic is twisty, but anti-racists do believe that whites are exceptional after all. Exceptionally dangerous. Denying this makes you ahistorical. Also, you're parroting neo-Nazi talking points (by not toeing the line). 

White solidarity inevitably morphs into supremacist fascism or a fascist-leaning mutation of the real deal. Believe it, lest you be ahistorical. Even if it's a most refined solidarity-with-a-smile ideology, it promises to be just as expansionistic and just as genocidal and just as icky as it was in the 1930s/1940s. The kicker: Innocently ask "Isn't this why Godwin's law is a thing?" and find yourself suspected of being another clueless and/or malicious appeaser of covert fascism.

Guess I'll say it now: I am not a fascist-appeaser and this is no alt-lite pander fest. If it seems otherwise, you're not thinking slow enough. Unfortunately, slowed deliberative thoughts are out. The art of bypassing haste is increasingly passé online. What's even worse is that commitments to slow down are wrongly associated with 'centrist' spinelessness. When in doubt, invoke the arbitrariness of the political axis.

But the joke is on me, apparently, because people who are consumed by their animus toward internet shitlords and bro-flakes prefer to delegitimize my input by paraphrasing it in tonally snarky ways, intimating that the points behind it are flawed. All this means is that committed anti-shitlords (mostly anti-racists) have noticed how some very unoriginal people caught on to Godwin's law and how they parrot it in their complaints against the anti-racist's overambitious fears of creeping fascism. This does nothing to pardon the phobic mind that gives ammunition to those parroted complaints in the first place.

To analogize: The smart cookie refuses to jump off a skyscraper, even after learning about the shitlord's refusal to jump off the same skyscraper. To equate what I'm doing here with what shitlords regularly do is to let your Fast Impulsive Thoughts drown out your Slow Deliberative Thoughts. I'm sure it will be as effective as it is tasteful.

No doubt many people genuinely fear white supremacist revivals as a nontrivial risk not to be taken lightly. But then it's also true that many people genuinely fear a mere whiff of anti-capitalism because they believe said whiff will bring about gulags and mass starvations and technocratic brainwashing for all. People fear lots of things. There comes a point where you just stop caring about the authenticity of the phobic mind, and start yawning at it. I'll do it with heterodox economics, and I'll do it with heterodox takes on intergroup relations.

Stalinism and socialism are not tied at the hip, just as in-group solidarity and out-group hostility are not tied at the hip. It's true that in-group solidarity will ipso facto deduct a measure of moral concern previously afforded to the out-group, but that's still not out-group hostility. That's out-group apathy or something bordering on it. Such apathy is not morally negligible in my view, but then neither is our unwillingness to help out as many distant strangers as we surely can. Occasionally glancing in their direction –– as they undeservedly rot in squalor while we purchase luxuries –– is not ethically dismissible, especially not under agent-neutral theories. But that's not the bloody point here. The point is; consuming countless non-necessities doesn't make us hostile to a single destitute stranger we've chosen to periodically neglect (or fully neglect, if you're like most people). It means we sometimes (or often, or always) lack the willpower required for moral sainthood. If this passes muster on an individual level, the same reasons pertain to the group level for those who obsess over their heritage or racial purity or group identity. It's not hostility-inducing.

The love-affair with "group identity" is a nugatory one, to be sure, tending to offer mock glories to individuals struggling with substandard self-esteem. There are probably some exceptions, but it's hard to fathom a single non-esteem reason that makes someone gravitate toward deindividuation so passionately and melodramatically. Any predilection for groupism has to entail, in substantial part, looking to one's group(s) for the much relished self-schema boosts. Whereas having the cerebral chops to know that your group won't do it for you
–– because it's about your qualities at the end of the day –– you'll have nowhere to turn for improvement and self-fulfillment but to yourself.

This recognition doesn't rest on methodological individualism, and any ethno-fetishist who insists otherwise simply conflates methodological individualism with the separateness of persons. Whether this is done deliberately or not is besides the point, though I imagine some of them know the score and don't mind blending apples with oranges insofar as it advances the agenda. Anyhow, it is possible to recognize all this and still end up understanding that shaming aphilosophical obsessions with racialized group identification is neatly analogous to sexual shaming. Don't for a second think that ordinary sexual pursuits aren't every bit as aphilosophical and exclusivity-reliant as ethnic solidarity pursuits are.

How so? By the same metric; a growing number of people are now outing themselves as (1) having major personal issues, (2) seeking sexual thrills and poppy fuckability quotas because they feel that doing so will help combat those issues. If they pass the Sexual Test, they enjoy a reprieve from their low self-esteem or even self-hatred. Their autobiographies do not mince words on any of this. Promiscuous sex puts a damper on the depressive routine, however transiently, because they've secured themselves a "Love Me" cookie for the night. Note that the "Love Me" cookie must come from a person who is sexually compelling to the chaser for the self-esteem boost to materialize. If the ethno-nationalist [ethno-separatist] is guilty of fleeing personal demons via primitive "group identity" lifestyles, the same can be said of the fuckability-monger fleeing personal demons through sexual escapades.

Both drives are non-rational in terms of motivation and exclusivist in terms of execution. Both are absorbed by base bio-mechanisms, absolutely, but that alone doesn't make them unethical. Plenty of things can be unreasonable without being unethical strictly speaking.

I'll repose the question: Shall it be The Future 1 or The Future 2?

I'm still flipping the coin. You should too.



Evaluatively Hierarchal Sexualities

 

Before examining the gaps that follow, I’ll need to iron out some minutia regarding the spectrum of sexual perspectives one can hold. It is a much wider spectrum than the usual positive/negative split will have you believe.

For starters, it’s helpful to draw fiery lines between legalistic sex-positivity and attitudinal sex-positivity. Everyone should be “sex-positive” in the legal sense. That’s a less interesting argument (i.e. statistical trends reflecting badly on prostitution abolitionism) and I won’t bother with it here. I’ll just focus on the spectrum of sexual perspectives that scale in legal latitude from the outset. Any view favouring decriminalization can also be referred to as sex-lenience, assuming sex-positivity is too attitudinally stained to be responsibly invoked in legal contexts.


So take me for example. When I say that I'm sex-lenient, it is to say that I've done enough statistical homework to know that bans or constraints on porn/prostitution come with more harms than benefits for nearly everyone involved. I can hold this view without buying into the idea that puberty bestows minors with an all-things-considered benefit, as the minor is now fortunate enough to experience spectacularly lustful feelings. That's a nonsensical view, but it's one that attitudinal sex-positivists are wedded to if they take their axioms at all seriously.

To believe that puberty is good news –– or a blessing-in-disguise –– is to believe that puberty releases the heretofore unsexual minor from the cobweb of asexuality. As in, you'd have to explain how an asexualized orientation leaves prepubescent minors bereft of anything in the first place. I vividly recall most of those asexual years, and nothing about them left me deprived of the alleged benefit of sexual cravings, directly or indirectly. When I bring up this point in conversations with sex-positive locals, they seem happy to acknowledge it, only to carry on believing that sexual appetites are qualitatively gainful regardless of our non-deprived original states.

Expose yourself to this mindset for long enough and it starts to mirror the mindset of a 1950s nicotine addict who is convinced that people who don't touch anything with nicotine in it are indeed missing out on something wondrous. All because of a narrow-minded refusal to acquire a taste for nicotine. Sweet, harmless, beneficial nicotine. Why, it sure seems so once you're hooked on the stuff. YOLO. But consider how, as a lifelong non-smoker myself, I am missing out on nicotine in the same way that my prepubescent self missed out on sexuality thanks to my then asexuality. If the analogy comes across as superficial or weak, it does so because status-quo bias is doing some of your thinking for you.

Nicotine is devilishly artificial, whereas sexuality is angelically natural. In other words, sexuality is a gift from Bastard Nature Mother Nature. There, all fixed.

So nature is blind. Big whoop. Does attitudinal sex-negativity automatically follow? I'm inclined to say no. Casting doubt on sexual affirmation doesn't carryover to sexual disaffirmation. Like I said, there are unexplored alternatives between and beyond the polarities.

The less said about sex-negativity via religious or irreligious chastity, the better. There's low-hanging fruit, and then there's below-the-crust-hanging fruit. Chastity is beyond low.

On the progressive side of things, radical and mainstream takes alike are rooted in sex-positivity and stand opposed to sex-negativity. There are exceptions, mainly on the radical end, but nothing particularly pattern breaking. Something like a supermajority of progressives tout celebratory attitudes toward freewheeling promiscuity and won’t hesitate to let you know how much they abhor sex-negativity in all its forms. Confine the conversation to adults who are educated on the importance and methods of STD prevention, and voila; sex-positivity is the way around dogmatism.

If a proponent of sex-positivity is enthusiastic enough, they'll go a step further by picking a bone with sex-neutral outlooks; positions that openly shun sex-negativity. So it’s insufficient to passively avoid being sex-negative. Substantive insight lies in being actively sex-positive over detachedly non-positive. Promiscuity as the norm isn't just "meh". It's super!

There is a rationale behind this. If there are still cultural wrongs in need of righting, progress will require coordinated action on the part of responsible civic agents everywhere, meaning passivity on stuff like slut-shaming is just not good enough. You must actively oppose it. Speak out against it or partake in SlutWalks to signal unanimity and so on. Laughing at blatantly whorophobic comedy doesn't help either.

The same resistance to apathy probably applies to some advocates of sex-negativity, though I’m unable to recall any examples from experience. I can’t say the same for impassioned sex-positivity advocates, per experience. They don’t like it when the politically mindful turn out to be apathetic and passive on this (i.e. “How could they possibly vote for a creep who said Grab them by the pussy?!”). In other words; blatant sexism is my Electoral Pet Issue, so it should be everyone else’s wedge issue.

If you’re in the sex-positive camp, this is probably a rational concern to have, because even a seemingly innocuous apathy or attitudinal disinterest towards the alleged cultural problem can breed a hostile environment of dismissiveness when said issue gets big enough to be ripe for civic life. Firebrand anti-sexists are still having a hard time understanding why the crassness of “Grab'em by the pussy” or "I moved in on her like a bitch" wasn’t a deal-breaker for voters in an election with geopolitical high stakes. Sit back and let that percolate for a bit.

The politics of sex, lust, infatuation and libido have indeed been popularized, yet every position on the menu strikes me as a bit reductive.

What I’m seeing is Sexual Generalism in three manifestations:



1. Sex-positivity = It is good to have positive and non-judgmental outlooks on lust and sexuality in general.

2. Sex-negativity = It is good to have negative, skeptical or judgmental outlooks on lust and sexuality in general.

3. Sex-neutrality = It is good to be neutral or apathetic about lust and sexuality in general. Sexual topics have no place in the political arena. But we still have to talk about them the way we do at present, because that’s the only way the first two crowds will pipe down and revert back to obscurity where they belong.

Pretty sure that I just coined # 3, so it’s a bit of a contrived tripartite. But it doesn’t end there, because I’m tempted to include as # 4 the Sex Ambivalence position, also coined by yours truly. The ambivalent view holds that we should have powerfully conflicting feelings (and analytic takeaways!) about the nature and prescriptive desirability/undesirability of human lustfulness.

The snapshot adjusted to include # 4:



Maybe I'm mistaken to officially include the ambivalence view. This is hard to believe, but I’ve never encountered anyone whose analysis of sexuality led them to conclude that having intensely conflicting feelings and attitudes is the most valid way to go. Not once. Sex-positivists in particular like to drone on about how rigid unsettledness is a sign of sexual confusion, whereas for those of us who don't mind espousing pessimistic takes on the human condition, enjoying and loathing one's sexuality won't seem a strange ordeal at all. But is philosophical pessimism a prerequisite for that? I don't see it. Even optimistic people predictably freak out after realizing that they were spellbound without permission at the hands of some skillful agent. Which beggars the question; what is sexuality but a biological spellbinding force that no one signed up for? Only the asexual escapes its peculiar spell.

But most people aren't exactly analytical about the human condition. So it is with their sexual philosophising; it’s usually just yay, nay, or whatever.

As mentioned, I find this majorly disappointing. If I had to pick one form of Sexual Generalism, it would definitely be # 4. The one no one holds; an outwardly pro-ambivalence perspective.

A truly self-aware ambivalence shouldn’t be difficult to relate to, I think, because people already know what it’s like to be physically attracted to someone they despise at the level of personality or character. Many complain about this vocally, at least when you get to know them well enough (or if you’ve known them at a distance for long enough). Outward ambivalence seems the most sober view to have, at least if we have to side with a type of Sexual Generalism.

But I don’t subscribe even to that view, seeing as I refuse to just roll over and pick my poison. Prescribing a generalized ambivalence entails proscribing a generalized openness toward sex-positivity, sex-negativity and sex-neutrality. This antagonism still endorses a somewhat decontextualized approach to our evaluations of what drives infatuation and lust in a bunch of non-comparative circumstances. Generality implies that a sapiosexual attracted chiefly to intellect and a normie attracted to basic-bitch/basic-bro qualities both have equal standing in their positive (or negative, or ambivalent) assessments of their respective sexual tastes. Should they have equal standing? I don't think so. After being acquainted with sapiosexuality, we should be able to admit that our sexualities would be improved if they were more like the sapiosexual's. An analogy to nutrition makes the equal-standing piffle transparent:

A sizable chunk of American blue-collar folk enjoy the taste of unhealthy (even ultimately deadly) fast foods over the sort of foods a more affluent person or an elitist would find tasty. Generalized food-positivism entails pretending that the person with unrefined taste buds has just as strong a reason to be positive about being a foodie as the person with refined taste buds does. But this is not so. People with cruder taste buds should, at minimum, be less positive about their likes/dislikes compared to the person with elegant taste buds who has the healthier diet. There's no catchall standard by which to judge the dietary habits of billions of people.

Why should it be any different with sexuality? I suppose you could argue that non-promiscuous individuals have less of a reason to view sapiosexuality as an amelioration of regular sexuality than do highly promiscuous individuals. There is no act/thought blur, after all. I applied it in my dismissal of thought-crime-racism, and I'll apply it here. Still, the point is hardly a devastating one, given how often sex-gurus implore reluctantly reserved people to come out of their shells and try promiscuity. In other words, to turn the thought into the act. If it dislodges the sexual-agent from sexual repression, the guru will recommend it. Anything but repression!

Given the breadth of amorous proclivities, I have to think that contextualism and an appreciation for particularity is well suited for the evaluative task.

Indeed, I’ll endorse what I’m about to coin as Sexual Particularism in rejection of the generalized four. The underlying conundrum, then, is between the generalist and the particularist.


Sexual Generalism vs. Sexual Particularism


On this account, all “sex-positivity vs. sex-negativity vs. sex-neutrality” frameworks succeed in missing the forest. As with competing aggregation schemes in ethics, there is no one-size-fits-all formula that can be applied to all or most sexed cases. At most, we can try to rank-order competing verdicts based on how frequently we think some apply as compared to others.

So why hasn’t the neutrality view –– not to mention the altogether excluded pro-ambivalence view –– managed to rise to the prominent status enjoyed by the yay vs. nay polarity? I think I know why. Seems fairly obvious what’s really going on here…

I believe the main driving force behind the positive vs. negative clash stems not from the arguers having done analytical heavy-lifting on the topic of sexuality, but rather from their respective inclinations to Erotophilia and Erotophobia; the psych-characteristics shaping our positive/negative overviews of all things sex.

If you land on Erotophilia, you’ll probably be drawn to the sex-positive stance. Land on Erotophobia and you’ll probably be drawn to the sex-negative stance.

Now, if radical statements like “the personal is political” make more sense than I like to give them credit for, this typological gotcha would be impertinent. Erotophobia/Erotophilia, as groundwork diagnoses, would deserve a seat at the dialectic table. After all, why shouldn’t dispositional elements be politicized if the personal is indeed political? It only follows. To be sure, I believe the personal is firmly apolitical when all is said and done. Individuals who score high on Erotophobia or Erotophilia have no special insights to confer on account of their normal or abnormal diagnoses. A compelling argument will be an impersonal one.

Relatedly, the political is the analytical. Or at least it needs to be. Denying this lands us in the civic sewer that is modern political discourse. Deny it at your own peril.

I'm sure regular readers of this blog will have no difficulties setting aside their Erotophobia and Erotophilia dispositions so as to engage the topic at hand. I'm only referencing the curveballs of Erotophobia/Erotophilia because most people fail to prevent their native constitution from clouting dispassionate judgment. The only way to make sense of a generalized sex-negativity is by allowing your Erotophobia to leverage the topic. The only way to make sense of a generalized sex-positivity is by allowing your Erotophilia to leverage the topic. Barring such laziness, non-generalized alternatives look pretty persuasive.

Before I explain the ins-and-outs of my particularistic position and how ethnicity ties into some of this, it’s crucial to provide some padding for it by further distinguishing between legalistic and attitudinal sex-positivity. The former reveals nothing about where one might stand when it comes to the latter.

As mentioned, being “sex-positive” in the legal sense is a must, given how anything less is usually paternalistic and harmful to prostitutes (among others). But permissivism in the legal world doesn’t mean that our agent will be unqualifiedly sex-positive in the agent’s non-legal (dispositional, ethical, philosophical) overview of promiscuity and lust. Nothing necessarily follows on the converse end as well (i.e. a total nympho can technically fall for the propaganda of prostitution abolitionism).

A particularized handling of eroticism will be (1) outcome-attentive, (2) grounded in the scalar properties of betterness and worseness, similar to a modernist's fastidious approach to Normative Ethics and Applied Ethics.

There is no controversy here, even for the advocate of attitudinal sex-positivity, because human sexuality encompasses iffy orientations contaminated by bestiality or pedophilia. People who aren’t afflicted by this understand perfectly the involuntariness of it all, and many sympathize with the unlucky few who are plagued by it. Despite this, society treats such orientations as unacceptable and no (sane) advocate of legal or attitudinal sex-positivity will try to overturn societal norms on it in the name of non-judgmentalism and pedophilic interests. No.

Whether we say it in an upfront way or in a roundabout way, make no mistake, we are saying one unvarnished thing to pedophiles the world over; Tough shit, but hands off.

This response is a form of soft sex-negativity via sexual shaming. Low-hanging fruit, sure. Highly selective, sure, but rearing its pesky head in the social sphere all the same. Under categorical sex-positivity, sternly instructing pedos that they must repress their lusts or augment their libidos has the odour of a concession; a regretful acknowledgment that good erotic vibes are not universalizable after all. It's like a sexual bullet was nearly bitten, but then it wasn't.

Now, placating virtual-only pedophilia would be instrumentally appropriate whenever its existence doesn’t depend on demand/supply chains involving actual minors. And this minor-free content is possible to pull off (i.e. anime), but people still scoff at the prospect of a society in which animation for pedos is normalized or encouraged... or even celebrated.

Just how much of that strictness is in line with consequentialist overviews, I’m not really sure. Consequentialists more than any other moral faction refuse to buy into the malarkey that is “victimless crimes” or “thought crimes”. This evidently includes “orgasm crimes” and I see no reason as to why the availability of digital indulgences wouldn't deter pedos from diddling victims in meatspace more often than not.

So there is a skirmish to be had here, at least if you’re a consequentialist who takes seriously the challenge of being an exemplary moral tactician. As you should.

But suppose that, for every ten pedos who go on to be deterred from "seeking more" directly through exposure to pedophilic anime, the same product prompts nine other pedos to seek more offline. Here we’d have something akin to a net benefit, strictly numerically, but then there’s the possibility that the minors targeted by pedos who were prompted to seek more would have been more vulnerable to the horrid aftermath of their molestation compared to the type of minor who was counterfactually spared thanks to the combined “relief” effects of the anime for the (now counterfactual) non-offending pedos. It’s a crapshoot, in a sense.

Given how irritatingly speculative the whole ordeal is, it’s tempting to just play it safe and conclude that even a sturdy consequentialist ought to manifestly discourage deviation from the cultural status-quo. At least for now. If child-molestation rates start skyrocketing under the status-quo, then we shouldn’t rule out some such risky game-plan for deterrence, including a newfound giddy cultural attitude treating pedophilic anime as relief. But last I checked, the stats on child molestation and child rape don’t indicate a flux or a spike or anything of the sort.

Anyway, I don’t want to get bogged down on boring methodologies for impact. The pertinent point was: No one involved in the sex-positivity movement is attitudinally euphoric on the existence of sexualities contaminated by pedophilia. Even in their minimalistic, victimless or non-offending incarnations, pedophilias get a bad rap. The unmissable follow-up query asks why attitude-laced (non-legal) sex disaffirmation should end there? Why can it not apply to other sexual tastes? Why assume all non-pedophilic sexual tastes are equally good?

We did just rule out the idea that sexual repression is always a worse thing on a societal level, so how can the mere threat of sex-negativity-leading-to-repression necessarily get in the way of social betterness?

It can’t. The sexual agent has to go case-by-case just as the moral agent does.

Shun sex-positivity. Shun sex-negativity. Shun sex-neutrality while you’re at it, insofar as the sex-neutralist strives to be as categorical and as all-encompassing with their evaluative passiveness as the affirmers and disaffirmers strive to be with their evaluations.

Embrace, instead, the ordinal workings of Sexual Particularism.

If you are something of a demisexual or a sapiosexual, you have every reason to be sex-positive about your sexuality. This advice is expressly customized for sapiosexuals and the good they can do given the abysmal state of youth culture. Sapiosexual tastes are anchored to above average volumes of intelligence displayed by the objects of their affection. This is how you rebuild a vigorous intellectual culture; encouraging a social landscape where people’s intellectual and erotic lives often manage to converge.

This is working off the assumption that sapiosexuals can be taken at face value, removing any trace of reasonable doubt about the possibility of being amorously drawn to intellect per se, with conscious and subconscious sincerity. I am a teensy bit skeptical that such an orientation is a real thing, especially at the subconscious level. If my incredulity is unwarranted, great.

Some might worry that praising certain sexualities over others is juvenile, what with sapiosexuals having done no real work in selecting their orientation. But that's as immaterial as is the fact that pedophiles don't select their own unworkable sexuality. They are bludgeoned by it. Furthermore, the most praiseworthy moral agents in the history of humanity did not encode their own brains. Possessing the most beneficent brain of all time makes you a recipient of moral fortune. None of this is to say that the possessor shouldn't be met with praise following each good deed. Apply this to the equally unearned moral benefits of being a sapiosexual.

Contrarily, if your nether regions aren't exactly moistening in the presence of sophisticates and geniuses, what cause do you have for affirming your own sexuality the way the intelligence-lover can? Why contrive a positive spin for an attraction to unsophisticated or oafish or dimwitted people. Extend the same point to anyone whose sexuality is the polar opposite of the demisexual’s. This means anyone who is unbothered by their attraction to individuals whose personalities resemble tumbleweeds.

One of these things is not like the other.

If demisexuals and sapiosexuals don’t have a sturdier claim on sex-positivity compared to the lad who gets off on bimbos, or the lass who gets off on himbos, or the nightlife junkie who doesn’t mind having sexy times with strangers whose character he cannot reasonably vet… well, then your progressive utopia winds up with a contemptible sybaritism in many of its social dimensions. This is a death knell for any cerebral culture, and we’re neck deep into banality as it is. Young people still respond to peer pressure, so if there are no particularized rankings of better and worse sexual tastes, the deck will continue to be stacked against the more brainy influences.

Perhaps there are compelling counterarguments that show Sexual Particularism to be wrong on all this; arguments revealing that once we exclude pedos and sadists/rapists, each individual’s giddy view of their own sex drive is equally self-justifying irrespective of whether the sexual-agent is a demisexual vs. the polar opposite of a demisexual, or a sapiosexual vs. the polar opposite of a sapiosexual.

My pitch for Sexual Particularism might not be able to withstand all critique. I've no qualms admitting this. But I can’t predict what an actual counterpoint might look like, so I will not be addressing hypothetical counterarguments right now. What I will do, and what the post’s title already indicates, is argue that accepting arguments against sex-positive generalism (about equally self-justifying sexual tastes) leads to the collapse of Ethnic Diversity as a robust value, and with it the racial politics that promulgate attitudinal anti-racism.


Ethnic Generalism vs. Ethnic Particularism


If Sexual Generalism leaves much to be desired, what about Ethnic Generalism?




Must we choose one of these four? Or can we go case-by-case as particularism would have it?

The generalist assumes one of these four will be correct. The particularist says not so fast; examine all four in line with the gatherable configurations of all the morally relevant features.

Predictability says abandon particularism at this juncture, seeing as generalism offers in-group neutrality and I'm already keen on agent-neutrality when it comes to ethics. But we are not, I'm sad to say, a soaring organism with a bird's eye view. We're on the ground. Neutrality is befitting when we're explicitly talking normative (first-order) ethical theories. Abstractions and hypotheticals. I very much like those, but fondness for them calls for a reminder to Beware Of Things That Are Fun To Argue.

Our normative theories are like highly controlled lab experiments. They do not elegantly march to the beat of moral know-how and applied ethics some (most?) of the time. If they did, I'd be pushing for legally enforceable sterilizations of injudicious humans aspiring to be mommies and daddies. If you're pragmatically seasoned, you'll understand why that'd be a hasty move at this stage in the game. These workarounds apply to intergroup dynamics just as much. On the moral know-how end, it takes an idealist to believe that in-group neutrality covers everything under the sun. I think it probably covers more everyday cases than the other three, but that doesn't mean it's tailored to outperform the other three panoramically.

Rank-ordering the four options for how frequently they apply for us here in the West:

1. In-group Neutrality

2. In-group Solidarity

3. In-group Ambivalence

4. In-group Hostility

Yes, in-group hostility is dead last in my book. Worse than ambivalence. Worse than solidarity.

Whites and westerners appear to be simmering down with the masochism. It's not as bad as it was a few years ago anyway. But it's still out there. For one, Western Europe's persistent failure to cut the cord on its overstayed "making amends" projects brought about the normalization of de facto blasphemy laws and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals. Let's not do that anymore.

Sidestepping masochism doesn't mean omitting the task of rebutting ethnic generalists who subscribe to # 2 (in-group solidarity) only; as if solidarity is pertinent to 100% of the cases or anything close. But it does mean departing from in-group neutrality whenever the adversarial out-group holds worse belief-sets on average. If we agree that the gravest out-group's theocrats and other slightly less devout coreligionists do hold worse views on average, the happenstance of their being an out-group is precisely that. This settled, departure from in-group neutrality operates as an instrumentally grounded departure.

Next up, it's crucial to distinguish between prudential in-group neutrality and naïve in-group neutrality. Prudentially neutral concerns are temporally-sensitive. Neutrality qua neutrality stays high-minded as a master ethic, but the world is too tangled and bizarre to have the agent conflate first-order prescriptions for uniform decision-procedures. The detachedness of neutrality cannot, in and of itself, be decisionally informative. A westerner who strives to be the shrewdest moral tactician is burdened with the (situational) task of discerning whether disloyalty to the West in any given case is prudential or naïve. When it's naïve, it is more masochistic than neutral. Parting ways with these barely noticeable forms of in-group masochism can be managed without substituting in barely noticeable forms of chauvinistic sadism. It's hard and arguably impossible to pin down prudentially neutral policies that guarantee lasting effects, but that doesn't make prudential neutrality any less worthwhile conceptually and foundationally. This is because disloyalty to the West can, under the right set of conditions, serve beneficent ends. A controversial example would be siding with Putin over Merkel in an all-things-considered way. Contentiousness surrounding the point need not be motivated by Western Masochism. Still and all, I suspect the differences between Western Masochism and Cultural Relativism are skin deep.

Had the above paragraph been circulated across progressive blogosphere land, many readers would perceive what I've outlined as a ruse for the ethno-state, or for nativism, or for some type of western-adjusted identitarianism. This is part of The Problem. Grimacing or snickering when someone says "The Problem" is another part of The Problem.

Let me be clear: Assimilation is not indomitably superior to integration. It just so happens that there are no Vulcan hoards trying to integrate westward. And if the civilizational quality of the newcomer isn't even in the ballpark of a Mr. Spock, there is nothing unethical in pressuring the newcomer to assimilate, rather than to integrate. By "quality", I don't mean an average/above-average I.Q or skillset, just an average/above-average belief-set.

Earlier I reasoned that generalism comes up short in the case of sexuality. That is; accepting sapiosexual and demisexual tastes as better than the rest leaves the accepter with a contextually centered evaluative template, and thus with Sexual Particularism. Similarly enough, acknowledging the disharmony between prudential and naive forms of in-group neutrality, and indeed between assimilations and integrations, leaves acknowledgers with the same intermediate lens as it pertains to intergroup ordeals. The disharmonies will strike out Ethnic Generalism and prop up Ethnic Particularism.



Closing Remarks / Philosophical Challenge


At bottom, ethnic and sexual preferences are aesthetic preferences. The challenge I leave all readers with is to show how this is not so. If you can't be bothered to read over the whole post, just debunk the following:

It's cosmetic. Racial biases. Sexual biases. It's all surface-level. Their non-rational and exclusivity-reliant similarities are scantly perceived as a barrier to all-inclusive treatments of derogation and oppression. Raise the non-rationality and exclusivity around a fervent intersectionalist and you'll be told the cosmetically conjoined pieces of it all are just plain different, or that they are, if nothing else, prejudicially asymmetrical.

This dodge is furbished by an agent-centered guide to ethnic conflict where the anti-racist is convinced that he is uniquely obligated to keep an eye on the worst members of his own ethnic tribe, even if the misbehavior of the worst members of other ethnic tribes results in more deleteriousness for all involved. A new-and-improved way to focus on groups-over-individuals. Seems that the old NIMBY mindset is more pluralistic than I ever gave it credit for. With mentalities like "As a white anti-racist, I'm responsible for the bane of White Racism first and foremost!" we're basically looking at a moral version of NIMBY.

The oft-mocked accusations of "ethnic guilt" arise due to such agent-centered mindsets and the stubborn refusal to prioritize social agendas in accordance to the gravity of each social problem. Arguments that ethnic guilt does most of the thinking for intersectionalist-minded whites are doubly mocked, because then said arguments make the more pointed White Guilt accusation. White Guilt is a punchline in just about every anti-racist circle that's aware of the accusation in the first place. Should it be? I mean, is "Arabic Guilt" a punchline anywhere? If so, point me to that section of the internet. I've only ever seen the concept of White Guilt get mocked, typically by white anti-racists who are wise to the fact that White Guilt has been a go-to polemic for white segregationists spanning over decades. But that's just more correlative noise, not an automatic indication of white bigotry, just as the prospect of "Arabic Guilt" being counterfactually invoked by some Arabs wouldn't pass as an automatic indication of Arab bigotry against non-Arabs.

If you think it's possible to glean something decisive about a random white's motives simply because they've unironically complained about White Guilt, I again encourage you to Think More Slowly. It's doubtful anyone will. Things stand to remain as they are, thanks in part to Critical Race Theory. And so, the aversive racism of a rural white remains a point of focus while open hostility to whites qua whites remains a point of mockery.

Arguing for a coherent reprioritization of the betterness/worseness of all social ills brands you a "useful idiot" for neo-Nazis and other icky figures. This, thanks to some Very Sophisticated historical factoids shaping intersectionalists' priorities. And since I happen to be white, I'm not merely objecting to shoddy reasoning on impersonal grounds. I am "lashing out" because I feel personally attacked by intersectionality and fear societal change... 

What gets lost in the mist is the manner in which a robust prejudicial asymmetry is intuited to begin with; Picking and choosing one's company on the basis of sexual drives is met with non-judgmentalism and giddiness, while picking and choosing one's company on the basis of ethnic or racial wants sees the chooser shoved into a moral continuum with the malevolent racist who strives to politicize his racism and revamp lawful discrimination.

The erotic preference is met with a giant yay (in pop-culture anyway) while the ethnic preference is met with a giant moralistic boo (usually in the same pop-culture, and strictly in the West). The honest observer needn't be tribally motivated to spot the shakiness from a mile away. If acknowledging this much means I am doing the bidding of fascists, and if there's simply no way around the unintended consequence, well then your powers of clairvoyance will be the furthest thing from the desperate alarmism I allege them to be. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

The amorality/choice clause is not backed by all progressives, but this is immaterial. A similar enough dissonance haunts the few progressives who might be willing to admit that unabashed selectivity surrounding ethnic and erotic preferences can result in moral dubiousness in the soft sense. This quasi-judgmental position would still be partly inconsistent because morally dubious activities do not spell moral impermissibility in the hard sense, just as moral sub-optimality doesn't. We can use dubious and suboptimal and minimally imperfect interchangeably here. Racism is not billed as any of those softer things. It is flat-out impermissible, while fleshy preferences are, at worst, begrudgingly shoved into the conciliatory dubious category.

Example: Applying social censure against the sexually active who are sexually picky, in an attempt to combat involuntary celibacy, would be seen as too judgmental and thus unjustifiable. So while amorality and choice walk hand in hand in the preponderance of cases for a few progressives, and in all cases for most progressives, the edge-cases that see them torn asunder would still be morally permissible and correspondingly non-actionable. [They'd treat it like they treat factory farming: It's great to oppose it and to call for stricter regulations, but if banning it outright means people wouldn't get anymore easy access to meat products, it would come at too high a cost. For all the noise intersectionalists make about oppressed groups being treated inhumanely, they sure as hell don't mind the extreme suffering of non-humans as long as said suffering conveniences some of those oppressed humans.]

You might say that the sexual preference is of a solidly positive nature and is therefore non-discriminatory, while the ethnic preference is solidly negative. Or that we shouldn’t even call it a preference in the first place. There are no ethnic preferences, you might say. There are only ethnic dispreferences.

This positive/negative divide for bigotry is 100% mirage. For every Ying, there is a Yang. It’s all finicky and visually based. Notwithstanding Sapiosexuals and Demisexuals, as noted previously, nothing makes sexual pickiness physiologically distinct from racial pickiness. Neither is equipped to control for anything resembling MLK's character baseline.

So what differentiates them on the ethical and evaluative levels? Human nature? Spend a few minutes with an outspoken ethno-nationalist and you’ll see just how enveloped their preference-set has been by what they perceive to be the core of their being. Human nature is alive and well in both instances.


So by the same token; ethnic dispreferences and sexual dispreferences are both aesthetic dispreferences.

Call them aversions, call them dislikes, call them whatever you please. Identify them as hateful for all I care. The analogous bit remains analogous.

If Sexual Generalism wins out over Sexual Particularism, and if sex-positivity is justified in the name of non-judgmentalism, we are left validating sexual preferences/dispreferences. We recommend ample leeway here because ordinary people value the ability to indulge certain aesthetic aspects of life, despite this making it impossible for them to dislodge themselves from the bigoted aspects of life.

Q: Why is it fine or amoral for sexual dispreferences (prejudices) on an apolitical level, but not ethnic dispreferences (also prejudices) on the same apolitical level?


A: ???

The doublethink is insurmountable, and I’m not convinced it’s all that interesting on the [first-order] ethical level. Things turn tricky iff the sexual or ethnic agent already subscribes to an agent-relative theory of moral action. Or, in plain speak terms, iff you’re already a fan of moral tribalism.

Once we settle on impartial legal systems premised on colorblindness, personal discrimination in all depoliticized social environments can be squeezed in on purely instrumental grounds, just as a Rule Consequentialist can believe that obeying deontological rules is always morally good but not for the reasons the deontologist believes is always morally good.

So, as a rule, I would say lax attitudes toward choosiness in the private sphere stand to do more good than bad. A condemnatory attitude towards choosiness in private is counterproductive and breeds silent resentment, followed by a not-so-silent resentment (see: America circa 2017). This brews and brews until it's eruption time, at which point it's slim pickings for ethnic opportunists and assorted bad apples to pick up the pieces and rebuild things their way.


In an upcoming post, I will go over some powerfully non-tribal reasons detailing how atoning for American Slavery or Germanic Expansionism, while neglecting the more protracted horrors of the Arabic Slave Trade or The Ottoman Empire, is much more than a paltry or innocent gaffe.

Or, as critical race theorists would put it; more useful-idiocy for the Worst Thing That Can Happen.

[Update 2017-10-21: This post presents person-affecting views in a positive light, but this requires further clarification from me, given the varying ways of arriving at those views and the competing subsections therein. For now, I'll just link to SEP's Section 2.3 "Counting Welfare Differently Depending On Temporal Or Modal Features" and say that I side with the actualism position as described in that section. This means I shun person-affecting views iff they come in the form of comparativism, presentism and necessitarianism. The only version I am on board with is the actualist one. More on that down the road.]