A Whole Lot of Lunacy

There’s a whole lot of lunacy out there folks, and it doesn’t get much loonier than an article posted recently on the South African instance of the Huffington Post, a website that never fails to either offend or amuse me every time I temporarily lose my sanity and visit it.  They really should dispense with all of their myriad categories of blogs, articles, and posts with cute names like “Voices” and label it all “comedy”, or at best “satire”, but I digress, back to the article at hand.

Feminist and philosophy student Shelley Garland penned an article titled “Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?“.  I hesitate to recommend you follow the link and read the article, but as long as you have someone around to pick you up off the floor after you pass out laughing, go ahead and read it – that way you can see first hand how crazy the premise of the article is.  I warn you – this is top-shelf feminist ranting and it is so oblivious to its own failings of logic that I have no real need to tear it apart here.  But I needed a topic to write on and this one jumped out at me full force.

Where to start?  If you spared yourself the pain of reading the article, here are the author’s main points:

  1. Men, particularly white men, have dealt the “progressive cause” the biggest blows, apparently since the beginning of time.
  2. Everything wrong with the world was caused by white men.
  3. White men are violent, reckless, and toxic.
  4. White men should “temporarily” lose the right to vote, but don’t worry, only for 20 or 30 years.
  5. The loss of voting rights will allow everyone else the freedom to make laws to redistribute the wealth of white men, whether they legally and honorably obtained it or not.
  6. White men owe the world a “debt” for slavery, colonialism and war.  Taking their wealth and distributing it to others who didn’t earn it would repay this.
  7. Individual responsibility is a bad thing.
  8. White men own everything and almost always get their wealth through theft and violence.
  9. The unfairness of denying white men their vote is a small price to pay for a more perfect world, where everyone has more stuff.
  10. White men suck.

Ready to vomit yet?  It gets better – after a massive backlash to the article, the editor-in-chief of the South African edition of the Huffington Post tripled-down and said that not only was there nothing in the article that should have shocked or surprised anyone, because feminists have been talking about this for decades, but then proceeded to suggest that those who were surprised or shocked just didn’t read the article correctly AND, get this, the ideas in the article, particularly those concerning “undue power”are “blindingly obvious”.  Herein lies the very reason I ascribe no validity whatsoever to anything on the Huffington Post.  Hang on – I’ll be right back after I throw up.

I’m going to refer to a well-circulated set of sayings attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although I’m not positive that attribution is 100% correct.  They’re called “The 10 Cannotments”.  I only need six of the ten to make my point, although the others deal with personal responsibility which apparently is also a terrible thing in the eyes of the author of the article.

Cannotment number two says “you cannot help small people by tearing down big people”, while number three follows up on that by stating “you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong”.  Setting aside the connotations of “big” and “small”, let’s put this in terms of people, who by either luck, providence, or planning, are successful in the eyes of the world versus those whose status in life is not as well off.  The main idea of the article is that the best way to help everyone else (all those who are not white and male) is by weakening and tearing down the strong and successful, specifically by taking away their right to vote.  This is a silly idea and not only unjust and unfair, but it violates the very core idea of representative government.  What good it would do is debatable as even the author of the article states that white men are only a small percentage of the world’s population.  So how does denying them voting rights help everyone else?

The goal behind white men losing the vote is apparently to make laws to redistribute their wealth to those who have less.  This will, of course, make the world a better place, because it will be much more equitable.  Cannotment number four says that “you cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer”, and number five says “you cannot help the poor by destroying the rich”.  How very true in both cases.  Where will wages come from if the person who pays them no longer has the means to do so?  I know, this assumes that people should earn what they are given, which is such a backward, conservative idea.  Surely it would be better just to forcefully take money from the rich and give it away to those in need.  Right?

The author drives home the fact that all of the problems of the world are the fault of white men, which is not only demonstrably false, but racially biased.  Cannotment number seven states that “you cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class/cultural hatred”.  This idea of class division, effectively used by our previous president, does nothing to further cooperation between different people.  It only manages to instill distrust and apprehension of others.

Finally, the ninth cannotment states “you cannot build character and courage by taking away a person’s initiative and independence”.  Taking away rights from a class of people will not help improve their behavior or demeanor, nor will it promote a more equitable and just society.  Disenfranchising a group of people will only cause the seed of anger and resentment to grow and finally blossom into a potentially disturbing reaction once those rights are restored.

Full disclosure – I have to mention, for those who don’t know, I am a white male who, shockingly, has no power beyond that afforded to him by those he cares about, by his employer to do his job, and given to him by his government to cast his own vote in favor of the people and policies he believes in.  I’ll ask that you not suggest I lose any of that power.

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