If you’ve ever taken a philosophy course, or at least had the misfortune to talk to someone who has, it’s likely you’ve heard of the trolley problem. It poses us this moral dilemma:

A trolley carrying five people is barreling towards a barrier erected by the dastardly Snidely Whiplash. You, our intrepid hero, can save these five people from certain doom by pushing a button that reroutes the train onto a different track, but alas! Snidely Whiplash has tied someone else to that track, and in rerouting the train, you will be killing that one person. What do you doooooooo?

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That mustache is so prominent, it really distracts from the fact that Snidely Whiplash wears a dress.

Most people’s first thoughts are going to be utilitarian. Morality can be reduced to a simple mathematical formula: five people is more people than one; you should press the button. Here’s the problem: first impressions are wrong; utilitarianism is wrong; you are wrong. Consider this second example:

You are a brilliant surgeon. Snidely Whiplash has been at it again, and has, through some dastardly plot, caused organ failure in five separate individuals who are now in your operating room. Their situation is dire: their deaths are imminent. Just at this moment, a box arrives with a note that says, “Each patient has a separate failing organ, and your assistant is compatible with every single one of them.” In the box is a gun. As a brilliant surgeon, you can save those five people by killing your assistant and using his organs to save their lives, or you can do nothing and allow them to die. What do you doooooooo?

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Come now, Utilitarians! T’is simple maths, m’yessss?

Despite the framing, both problems are identical in content. In both cases, you can either passively allow five people to die, or actively kill one person in order to save them. I expect that most people’s first impression of the second example is to not murder their assistant, even if they would push the button in the first one, but what causes that discrepancy?

Lt. David Grossman analyzes the nature of killing in his book On Killing, and part of what allows regular human beings to kill, who otherwise wouldn’t, is a distance from the target. It’s easier to kill someone at range than it is up close. It’s easier to kill someone through a scope than it is through your bare eyes. It’s easier to kill someone with the press of a button than it is with a gun. The consequences of our actions become diluted the further we get from our deeds. If we consider life in the abstract, life becomes worth measurably less.

Part of the reason that a nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima was that nobody wanted to send in ground troops. It’s easier to kill from far away, and the horrors of a nuclear blast became justified. We care more about being ghosted by somebody off Tinder than we do about the collective deaths of the entire Syrian civil war because what happens to us up close will always matter more, no matter how ridiculous the comparison might be. We don’t want to kill our assistant because we assume that we have a relationship with that person, but we’re fine with killing a stranger tied to some train tracks, never stopping to wonder if that person might be someone else’s medical assistant.

Ethics is obviously an ongoing conversation, but the importance of the trolley and surgeon questions are what we as human beings are capable of. Are we killers? I mean killers in the sense of killing people, regardless of how far away (literally and figuratively) from the victim we are, or how little we value their lives. We are in control of our actions; that’s what we must decide.

When considering the trolley problem, think to yourself. What would Batman do? He would obviously swoop over to the train and work some kind of bat-strategy to save everyone, but he would never push that button. Know why? Because Batman is a God damn hero.

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You know how Muslims are the new communists? Lurking insidiously in the shadows, just waiting to impose Sharia law or clitorectomies or whatever onto the hapless, civilized population of the West? Muslims are the new and improved version because they look and dress differently from us, which is about the absolute worst thing a person can do. There are, however, analog purists out there who never quite gave up on the red scare, furious that McCarthyism is being used against the president with wiretaps instead of against liberal arts majors. Just as with the wiretaps, and McCarthyism in general, anyone who believes that there is anything legitimate to be found in any of these claims is a moron.

As with all morons, they come up with catchy names for their moronic ideas. Enter Cultural Marxism, the belief that every progressive idea has its roots in Marx, and that a sinister cabal of Jews (yes, Jews. It’s always the Jews) are trying to destabilize the world with their commie Jewish ways. Marx’s end game, as interpreted by these Jews, was to infect the culture of society rather than the economy. Kinda seems like a nice way of blaming Marx for gays and women’s lib, on top of the Cold War and Obama. Cultural Marxism is the moron’s way of not having to think too deeply about anything, since all the problems in the world can be blamed on a single, simple thing: the Jews… I mean, the commies.

Well, morons, you’re in luck. You know those damned socialists wanting government reform to implement higher welfare rates? Those dirty Cultural Marxists! Fortunately, according to famous actual communist Rosa Luxemburg, anyone who wants the government to implement social change is not a true communist, because “State control is penetrated with the exclusive interests of the ruling class.” No communists is going to want government intervention; the entire premise of communism is a worker’s revolution against the whole capitalist system. The government is too influenced by corporate interests to be of any value to the communist cause.

How about those 99%ers who want a $15 minimum wage to help the poor because of their Cultural Marxist leanings? Turns out, one should not “struggle against the mode of distribution, … [but] against the mode of production.” Thanks for clearing that up, Rosa! Communists want workers to own the means of production! Redistribution of wealth… ain’t communist! So relax.

Luxemburg calls these folks “Opportunists”, and her ire is directed at one chap in particular, Eduard Bernstein. This is my gift to you: the most popular dude in American politics, “Bernstein” Sanders. Get it? He’s not a communist; he is, at best, an Opportunist, according to real-life Marxist sources.

“But… but…!” you might stammer, “All that talk of capitalism being the worst! That’s gotta be Marxism!” And you’re right. Marx was not particularly fond of capitalism. You know who else isn’t fond of capitalism? Donald Trump. Trump wishes to eliminate NAFTA, something that created wider markets for American businesses. Under NAFTA, companies can sue governments whenever those governments try to implement regulations that get in the way of profits. This mostly happens against Canada, usually whenever we try to implement environmental protections. Companies having more power than governments is like the capitalist’s wet dream, and Trump wants to get rid of that. He wants to regulate markets! Isolationist policies stay the invisible hand! Trump is about as Culturally Marxist as anybody, given the amount of evidence and intelligence it requires to use that label, and if Donald Trump is a Cultural Marxist, then nobody is.

At this point, it should be clear that if anyone unironically says Cultural Marxism, you can just stop listening to them, and move on to other, more productive things.

What might cause you some concern, however, is a poll of Americans in 1987 which showed that about half believe that, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is in the American constitution. Here is what it really says:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now I know what you’re thinking: it mentions welfare; the constitution must be Culturally Marxist! What it doesn’t say is, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” which is actually Marxist. People just thought it sounded like a truth that we hold to be self-evident, and figured it must be in there. What this tells us is that even if people don’t like Marx because morons keep attributing his name to nonsense, they tend to like Marxist ideas. Guy just needs some rebranding, I suppose.

Stop worrying, Cultural Morons. All those things you think are Marxist, like welfare and gay rights, aren’t, and all the things you love, are! So grow a beard, throw on your nicest red sweater, grab your hammer, find someone with a sickle, and go forth to seize the means of production. Workers of the world, unite!

Post-script: On second thought, Karl Marx was Jewish, so maybe there’s something to this whole “Cultural Marxism” thing after all…

Even if everyone doesn’t love feminism, everyone loves talking about feminism. It’s so in right now, and everyone has an opinion. Hell, I have an entire section of my blog archives dedicated to it. However, as with many things that pervade cultural dialogue, nobody knows what the fuck they’re talking about. I am guilty of writing under the assumption that people actually know what feminism means when I write about political implications of feminism beyond gender and sex, when in reality, making those arguments is pointless if nobody has a clue about my basic premise. There are those who proclaim “feminism is cancer” because some overweight woman with blue hair wants Lorena Bobbitt’s face sculpted into Mount Rushmore or whatever, because carving dicks into jack-o’-lanterns is the bedrock of feminist ideology. These people then go on to use that same “sharp wit” to condone pedophilia, because it’s better to pork little boys than it is to demand better treatment for women. I’m not saying everyone who criticizes feminism is a pedophile apologist, but when your argument relies on trolling, then you’re not making an argument, and I have no qualms dismissing all of what you say outright.

Picking out the most insane diatribe from agitated people making unprepared statements in order to condemn an entire ideology, and then not really attacking anything outside of their appearance (granted, petty insults about appearance aren’t exclusive to the alt-right, and it’s dumb as hell wherever it happens. “Your face is stupid” is not the complex rebuttal you think it is), is like looking at Stalin and saying that Communism is a failed and terrifying social experiment.

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“Communism is a failed and terrifying social experiment.” …oh wait, I fucked that up. At least no one will ever target people as “communists” for their appearance

…I realize now that those who worry about feminism as a pestilent epidemic are probably equally worried about “cultural Marxism” as a similar contagion, and my example might not have been the most appropriate. How about this: you know how gun owners are always saying that mass shooters are the exception, and how most are decent and responsible people? It’s like that. Next time you watch those “Rekt Feminist” videos, defend with the same vehemence her blue-haired right to commit murder with unregulated semi-automatic weapons, figuratively-speaking.

We’ve established that people who say that feminism is a cancer are malevolently disingenuous or malignantly idiotic, but what is it? What is feminism?

I feel it’s a safe assumption to say that people have at least heard about the waves of feminism, so that’s a good place to start. The feminist waves are a very broad and murky way of understanding the history of feminism. I mean, there were feminist anti-suffragettes at the turn of the 20th century who were employing what we might call today a postmodern critique of democratic structures, and 2500 years ago Plato was saying that women ought to have the same rights as men, because regardless of ability, we’re all angling toward the same common good, and we need all the help we can get. Which waves would those fall under? None, really, but don’t worry about it. The first wave, as it’s described, was the quest to achieve basic legal rights, such as the right to vote or the right to own property. The second wave focused more on interpersonal imbalances, like sexual violence, discrimination and inequality, marriage laws and divorce, etc. Third wave feminism is about broadening the conversation to include the disparate predicament of women of colour compared to white women, as well as gender and sexual minorities compared to cis-gendered and heterosexual women. Those who typically complain about third wave feminism are in fact complaining about second wave feminism, since usually their complaints aren’t directed toward the woes of queer women of colour, but toward women complaining about the wage gap even though there are already laws against workplace discrimination, so it must be reverse sexism! What they mean to say is that their views of women have been shaped by the progressive discourse of the early 1900s, and are just as relevant to feminist conversations today.

Unfortunately, “feminism is cancer” has got that catchy vibe to it that makes it super endearing. It’s short, to the point, and tells you everything you need to know about that person’s deeply researched and well-thought out position. Luckily, real feminism has an equivalent maxim that is equally candid and memorable: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” This is from Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal work, The Second Sex, and conveys everything you need to know about feminism. What she means is that what determines ‘womanhood’ is defined by the world around her, rather than anything she was born with. Consider the gender reveal parties that parents celebrate when babies are imminent:

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I’ll give a more serious critique in a minute here, but first things first: that stud muffin looks like bran. Who would wish that upon their child?

Girls are sinfully sweet, like a cupcake, and boys are macho sex machines, like a… bran muffin with raisins. Ambiguous cake decorations aside, it’s easier just to delineate between pink and blue. Pink is the colour we ascribe to girls; what feminism is talking about is what it means to be pink.

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Note how all the Barbie ads are super white and super blond, for all you wannabe third wave feminists out there.

This shit matters. Epigentics shows that environmental and lifestyle factors impact people on a genetic level. Even addressing children as their gender (eg. “Settle down, boys!) rather than as individuals will imbue them with the social stereotypes. Bombarding kids with propaganda at a young age is going to impact them biologically, which explains, at least in part, the widening divergence of male and female brains as they age.

If feminism is addressing pink, what is pink? It’s basically what you’ll probably think about if you hear the word “feminine.” You know, dainty, submissive, meek, emotional. What it means to be pink is obviously much different today than what it was when the paragon of womanly virtue was an unironic Stepford Wife, but despite all the progress in pink that feminism has made, there are still dingleberries of stereotypes hanging on that continue to tinge our perception of women.

Pink is to be pretty. We start telling girls that they’re pretty, a measure of physical attractiveness, at an age when it is actually very illegal to consider them this way. To be pretty is so paramount to femininity that progressives would rather tell ugly people they are beautiful than admit that being pretty isn’t an absolute necessity for a well-balanced life. There’s a reason they do this, and it’s because a woman’s worth is almost entirely in her looks: from as far back as early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft saying that, “Tears are only eloquent when they flow down fair cheeks” to contemporary Youtuber ContraPoints showing that trans-women are only acceptable when they look like what pretty cis-women are *supposed* to look like. If you’re a woman and you’re not pretty, nobody gives a shit. This intense pressure, exacerbated by impossible beauty standards, leads to eating disorders being the mental illness with the highest mortality rate, leads to the commercialization of unneeded beauty products and anti-aging gimmicks, leads to a deluge of beauty-related effusion each time a girl smizes for her Facebook profile picture, reinforcing the cycle all over again. Consider my earlier point about how people frequently criticize feminists almost exclusively on their looks, their point being that these women aren’t real women because they don’t conform to pink standards, and if they did, they’d be happy with the way life had already set their path for them along the road to being beautiful at any costs. Life must have been fantastic for women back in those days, that’s why no one ever complained about it!

Featured: no one complaining.

Continuing the theme of pink being pretty is that pink is property. Women are still “given away” by their fathers at their wedding, since she has now transferred ownership from one man to another. Women are prizes to be won via sexual conquest, exemplified by a certain man who says that once you have a certain amount of power, “they let you do it” and “you can do anything.” Think of all those movies where after all the dust has settled, the male protagonist is rewarded with a beautiful woman. It’s most glaring in the movie Pixels where a female character, who does not have any spoken lines, is given as an actual prize for a male protagonist completing what amounts to a video game. He wins a beautiful, silent woman that he can have sex with. Sure it’s an Adam Sandler movie, but it was out in 2015, and it’s definitely not alone. “Getting the girl” makes a hero successful. This is because pink women do not possess autonomy, and therefore exist only at the whims of their blue counterparts. It’s what those feminazis means when they talk about male entitlement.

Wollstonecraft’s thesis of her book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, is that society has determined what it is to be virtuous, and then denied that virtue to women. If you’re going to say it’s super virtuous to be educated, for example, then refuse to even try to educate women, and then say things like, “Man, women are sooooo dumb! What hambeasts!” then Mary Wollstonecraft thinks you’re a moron. I do too, just to jump on the ol’ Wollstonecraft bandwagon. Consider the “myth” of the gender pay gap that refutes the wage disparity between men and women by saying that the average female wage is less because women choose more feminine careers like teachers and nurses instead of high paying jobs like engineers and lawyers. Women also put in fewer working hours, which reduces their average wage even further. Why are feminine jobs paid less than masculine jobs? It’s certainly not because engineers face greater personal risk than social workers who must deal with removing children from dangerous homes, because that’s a God damn lie. And why isn’t domestic labour, an area where women put in far more hours than men, considered when measuring the output of a human being? Could it be because society considers things that are pink to be inherently worth less than things that are blue? Economic value is determined by social value, that’s the entire premise of supply and demand, and pink jobs are worth less because society values them less. The wage gap, even with all its “debunking”, proves that society literally values women less than men. We actually tend to deny women social virtue by telling them that they shouldn’t even bother trying to bridge that gap to get into the successful fields today. Consider that women essentially began the computer programming industry, and then were slowly wedged out of it until Silicon Valley inevitably became a septic cesspool hostile to women. Women are forbidden, based on bad science, from the blue tech jobs because women are supposed to be pink, just as Wollstonecraft describes blue education being denied for the same reason in the 18th century. The same applies in the much vaunted society of economics. We’re stuck in a loop where we say that we respect women, but then we deny them the most respectable positions in society, and then berate them when they try to address that imbalance, again reinforcing that cycle of conformity to what it means to be pink. Are current blue virtues truly the most virtuous? Weeelllllllll, probably not, but my point is that whatever society seems to decide is most virtuous ends up being something that society decides women can’t be a part of.

There are some anti-feminists that say that since men receive harsher prison sentences for the same crime as a woman, and that men are discriminated against in child custody cases, that feminism is bunk because women are clearly privileged in these scenarios, and advocating for men would mean abandoning the sliced-dick imperative of the feminist agenda. Except, women receive less of a sentence because they are considered meek and inoffensive. They win a greater share of custody cases because women are seen to be more nurturing and caring than men. These imbalances are due to the perception of women as being pink, which means that criticizing these cases is… feminist? I guess we’re all a little SJW after all!

Is there something to being a woman beyond the pink that society dumps on her? Oh, who knows. Women have different hormones than men, and there are definitely biological differences in the brain that can be interpreted in many different ways. The thing is, society preventing women from possessing autonomy and prescribing behaviours and appearances is a bad thing. Yes, it happens to men too. There are problems with blue, but that’s the point. Defining human beings based on an impossible and demeaning dichotomy is a bad thing! Fuckin’ stop it! Tell girls they are other positive attributes besides pretty. Don’t assume you have access to a woman’s body just because Adam Sandler says it’s okay. Assume for the sake of decency that women are capable of succeeding in fields that are hostile to them, and that it’s the hostility that is holding them back rather than their capabilities. Women have historically always succeeded in areas that nobody thought they could succeed in before because they were not “feminine pursuits,” and I don’t see why that would end today just because the 1960s happened and women can get abortions now.

Even if you still can’t grasp that women just might be something more than the pink that society demands of them, you should at least admit that allowing greater freedom to women is a good thing. Do you hate freedom? It kinda seems like you do. Since I’m an MRA at heart, I’ll leave you with a quotation from an early male feminist, John Stuart Mill, who said that, “It is a benefit to human beings to take off their fetters, even if they do not desire to walk.” So stop with your dumb bullshit, and let the women dye their God damned hair.