Monday, March 07, 2011

Conservatism and cowardice

Whether it's nature or nurture, or some mix of both, the protective imperative  is a powerful thing with deep cultural resonance. There's a thousand films and stories out there about men putting themselves through all sorts of ordeals to save women from some fate or another. The patriarchal heteronormative family structure with the man is provider and safeguarder , popular with conservatives of varying stripe, indefensible in its inequality, nonetheless harbours an a moral code whereby the male is compelled to drive themselves into the ground to protect and provide for his family and offspring or consider himself less than a man. Setting aside the practical and long-term dysfunctionality of that arrangement, the intention behind it isn't terribly negative and I would argue related to, but substantively different from misogyny. There is within an ethic of responsibility that says 'do not harm' and 'protect at all costs'.

Somewhere however, a few boys got it terribly wrong. Hegemonic heteronormative patriarchy in these weaker men instills not an ethic of responsibility, but a crass and vulgar misogyny that has a police officer and a judge, supposed men dutybound to protect, unforgivably blaming women for their own rape. 

These beastly enablers of one of the most heinous violations of mind and body ought to face the same punishment as would normally suit the rapist. Perhaps worse, as it requires distinctly a sick mind to use a position of authority to rationalise defilement. How did it come to this?

It is no surprise that the judge in the court case is a Conservative donor and appointee if one considers what contemporary conservatives are: Intolerant of difference, punitive, bullying, tribal, and dishonest. Women are different, difficult to understand, yet attractive and compel an emotional reponse. Does this, I wonder conjur anger in a mind socialised by ideology to frown on soft feelings? It's been said before that today's men respond to emotional pain with anger and resentment. Is this what happens when a mind like that encounters beauty and sex? Do they feel vulnerable and soft, and respond with anger and aggression?

Is this why when they hold office, they set about destroying any and all institutions that extend some form of compassion or care to other human beings? Sure, they construct elaborate political, social and economic theories and philosophies about human nature and behaviour. These are usually rooted in some notion of the individual, either in denial of society or in pursuit of the ultimate society free of anything they don't understand or control. Yet, at the end of the day they are just spinning the destruction of their fellow humans into an ethical legitimacy because it's better copy than acknowledging primal rage response to human diversity, and feelings of empathy, compassion, and affection.

Peradventure, this encourages a culture of individual irresponsiblity no matter how much they make claims about 'personal responsibility'. Responsibility for oneself  means taking responsibility for your actions when they impact others, which also means cultivating an awareness of the potential outcomes of your actions and acting accordingly. There were once conservatives that embraced their class and power, yet understood that with this noble privilege came obligation. Society is complex and composed of many unequal parts. Some of these dinosaurs might have understood that maintaining a sustainable balance between these parts was necessary for a society that allowed them to maintain power and position. Too much inequality, and problems develop. This is social physics; there are stress limits to society. Exceed those and you burn.

The present generation of acute conservatives have forgotten this. They rule their own lives, and the lives of others from the emotional centre and lizard brain. Their social brand of selfish misanthropy does not easily encompass nuance. They aren't interested in what their opponents might think is fair, only what allows them to out-manoeuvre and dominate that opposition. 'Opponent' of course means anyone or anything incompatible with a misanthropic rage complex masking as a political ideology.

No wonder that this perspective is now seen as legitimate in present socio-political discourse. Popular media now conveys an ethical message where such actions are legitimised. Big Brother, Survivor, and Jersey Shore, hugely popular examples of the evermore aptly named genre of 'reality TV' all have individuals lying, cheating, double-crossing, and otherwise manipulating their peers for personal gain. And then you have Lost which takes reality TV and replaces the unscripted action with actors and special effects.  I'm still unsure about which is more fantastical in nature. Or, take the hugely popular The L-word and its cast of grown women behaving like a sophisticated incarnation of hyperperforming Jersey Shore thugs. I'm sure an analysis of these shows would show similar levels of skulduggery for sex, power, and privilege over friends and associates. And similar examples of complete irresponsibility for one's actions.

In all cases only the subjectively well styled, chiselled, waxed, gelled, highlighted, and permed exemplars of the species are shown to audiences. The association of physical beauty with sociopathic behaviour couldn't be more apparent (why do I think of Jason Kenney and John Baird when someone mentions Jersey Shore?). This association is far more complex and insidious than beer ads and hot women.

No wonder then that we see these qualities represented in our conservative political class, and accepted as legitimate by enough of the public to get them elected. Break the law with Elections Canada? Fuck you, it was a difference of interpretation. Break the law regarding prisoners and don't want answer questions about it? Fuck you, we'll shutdown the government. Opposition starts talking about coalitions? Fuck you, fuck parliament, and if need be fuck the Constitution and Governor General. Climate scientists tell you something you don't want to hear? Fuck them and their funding.

Find yourself investigating or judging the indefensible crime of rape? Well, fuck that cockteasing bitch for dressing like that.

Whatever they used to be, today's Canadian conservatives are consumate cowards, ruled largely by uncontrolled self-indulgent anger and the possibly consequent utter lack of any sense of responsibility for themselves and their actions.

The irony of course is that this cowardly class wields such occupations of duty - judges, police, and military - as their weapons of negligence. "Projection" is the word I think the experts use.


Jim said...

Misogyny is a psychiatric condition, regardless of the social position of the misogynist.

When I read the "get tough" rhetoric (Jails for unreported crimes! Canel the bail programs!) my initial thought (doubtless unworthy) is, "I am so sorry to hear about how tiny your penis is."

WILLY said...

Written like a piece of music: a crescendo of rage. Brilliant post Boris.

Rev.Paperboy said...

Screw the olympics, Boris - you should turn pro!

Dr.Dawg said...

Well done, son.

Edstock said...


The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.

Boris said...

Ed, it's an academic term: