I wasn't kidding when I said it provides a window to that kind of mind - you get to see the filters at work. Is he a living strawman or a representative sample? I don't know, but it does seem like at least two of the feminists here - who probably wouldn't consider themselves particularly radical - seem to have eaten it whole without a single grain of salt, not only taking no issue with such filters but see them as entirely truthful.In the bar, insulated as we are, when he begins talking about "just wanting human rights," I can only see his face, hear the exasperation in his voice, connect, instinctively to that face and voice in part because they are well-mannered and in part because they are like my own. In that moment I can, if I like, forget that these issues, legitimate enough on their face, are carried out from a place of one-upmanship, that their expressions, except in rare cases, are solely as debating points, hurled between invective and harassment and the oldest hack tropes about women's bodies and choices.
More importantly, I don't think it matters. Those that tend to become activists, devoting their money, time, energy and sometimes entire careers to the cause, those who join, rise in, write for, donate too or form organizations made to promote that cause, are usually not the ones that are most able and willing to question it. Sunken cost, it's a bitch. It could be that only 5% of feminists think this way, but the ones that do are a lot more likely to be lobbying congress in the name of NOW or teaching students in gender studies classes. When leadership and idealism become intertwined, well...
"I was even a reform politician once…but only once: Reform politicians not only tend to be dishonest but stupidly dishonest —whereas the business politician is honest.”
“I don’t see that Lazarus. History seems to show—”.
“Use your head, Ira. I don’t mean that a business politician won’t steal; stealing is his business. But all politicians are nonproductive. The only commodity any politician has to offer is jawbone. His personal integrity —meaning, if he gives his word, can you rely on it? A successful business politician knows this and guards his reputation for sticking by his commitments—because he wants to stay in business—go on stealing, that is—not only this week but next year and years after that. So if he’s smart enough to be successful at this very exacting trade, he can have the morals of a snapping turtle, but he performs in such a way as not to jeopardize the only thing he has to sell, his reputation for keeping promises.
“But a reform politician has no such lodestone. His devotion is to the welfare of all the people—an abstraction of very high order and therefore capable of endless definitions. If indeed it can be defined in meaningful terms. In consequence your utterly sincere and incorruptible reform politician is capable of breaking his word three times before breakfast— not from personal dishonesty, as he sincerely regrets the necessity and will tell you so—but from unswerving devotion to his ideal. All it takes to get him to break his word is for someone to get his ear and convince him that it is necessary for the greater good of all the people. He’ll geek. After he gets hardened to this, he’s capable of cheating at solitaire. "
Time enough for love by Robert Heinlein