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Equality = inevitable?:

 1 Bonsai Forest, Mon, 24th Feb '14 1:59:07 PM from anywhere it rains
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
The Good Cop/Bad Cop trope is pretty well known, but throughout history, I've noticed that civil rights movements of all kinds have a certain flow to them. There is often a "good cop" movement and a "bad cop" movement. Oftentimes, the "bad cop" movement tends to start things off, and the "good cop" movement is what achieves the goals.

Lemme explain by providing a few examples.

During the racial equality movement here in the US, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were the two biggest and most visible faces of the movement. And they were very different from each other. Malcolm X was famous for saying things like "You are better than the white man!" and encouraging blacks to see themselves as better than whites rather than equals - he was the "bad cop". Martin Luther King Jr. was famous for saying that people should be judged "not for the color of their skin, but the content of their character" - he wanted equality, and was the "good cop".

Racist whites who laughed off King's plea for equal rights were afraid of Malcolm X - King, the moderate who simply wanted equality, was a safe haven. People who hated X's extreme views viewed King more positively. In the end, King, the "good cop" of the racial equality movement, got what he wanted and the movement was successful.

However, without Malcolm X, it likely would not have been pushed in that direction. See, just like in Good Cop/Bad Cop, there are those who see the "good cop" as a pushover, while there are those who fear the "bad cop" and run into the arms of the more reasonable "good cop". I believe the racial equality movement would not have been successful if not for the opposing views of both leaders.

Look at the gay rights movement. The Stonewall riots were the "bad cop" of the movement - gays wanted to show the police of San Francisco that they weren't going to be indimidated and pushed around, and they fought back. It didn't create sympathy for gays, but it did reduce the harassment they received in San Francisco. The "good cop" movement is what we see now - organizations like Freedom to Marry, the coming out movement, and so on, all aimed at achieving equality and addressing people directly. The movement is paying off.

The same may be playing out with "Men's Rights Activists". There are apparently two flavors of them - there are the "alpha males" who see women as inferior and want to push rigid gender roles on society - they are the "bad cops", and they are vocal. Their anger at misandry in society, such as domestic abuse laws that are inclined to see women as always victims and men as always abusers (when there are many abused men), divorce laws that favor women (instead of being gender-neutral), etc., has led them into an extremist frenzy where rather than wanting equality, they want to take us back to the dark ages.

The "good cop" of the movement is those who simply want equality.

History teaches me that while the "bad cop" and "good cop" are both needed in order for a rights movement to be successful, it's the "good cop" who ultimately makes it succeed.

And here's the other thing - because of these opposing movements, I'd have to say that society is, assuming no collapse (e.g. economic) that makes this impossible, headed towards equality in general. Did the "bad cops" get what they wanted? No, those who wanted equality got their wish. And since no-one wants to lose their freedoms, their rights, they'll keep them. If they ever did lose them somehow, there would be hell to pay, and the Good Cop/Bad Cop of the rights movments would flare up again.

I'd been thinking about this for a while. What do you all think?
 2 De Marquis, Mon, 24th Feb '14 5:54:10 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
It's more like the two work together (if they work together, sometimes they dont) to jointly accomplish their overall aim. Another example were the IRA and the Sinn Fein- they were both working toward Irish independence, and it's at least arguable that each played an essential role, one in which neither would have succeeded without the other (the IRA alone would have degenerated into futile violence, SF without the IRA would have been ignored).
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 3 Wolf 1066, Mon, 24th Feb '14 6:37:22 PM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
I think you've got a point about the Good Cop/Bad Cop thing.

I also think that, so far as legislation goes (rather than general acceptance by people in the street), you can't ignore the "Smokescreen Factor" - when legislation on a contentious/divisive social/equality issue is mooted and then made into law to mask other legislation being pushed through that has wide-reaching repercussions.

As an example: while New Zealand citizens were arguing whether or not the Civil Union Bill should be passed into law, allowing same-sex couples to become officially "hitched", the "Foreshore Act" - which affects the rights of all NZ citizens - was silently mooted and passed into law at the same time as the Civil Union Bill became an Act.

It's a standard tactic, used pretty much everywhere there's a supposed "democracy". They did it again with the updated "Marriage Act" that basically means that same-sex couples cannot be denied the right to "Marriage" under NZ law, and now they're mooting the oft-discussed "Changing the Flag" as a consideration for new law (makes me wonder what they're wanting to pass into law unnoticed).

So, while there's the Good Cop/Bad Cop thing swaying public opinion, the actual legislation side of it is dependent on there being something that the gov't wants to slip through unnoticed (which is usually the case, anyway) and the issue still being sufficiently divisive/contentious/controversial to ensure the prospect of egalitarian legislation is the only thing in the media for a few months...
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
 4 Meklar, Mon, 24th Feb '14 11:34:10 PM from Milky Way Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
Racist whites who laughed off King's plea for equal rights were afraid of Malcolm X - King, the moderate who simply wanted equality, was a safe haven.
This dynamic (at least as you describe it here, I'm not too familiar with Malcolm X's role in the civil rights movement) reminds me a lot of the concept of thesis/antithesis/synthesis from the philosophies of Hegel and Marx. Is that the kind of thing you're trying to get at here, or am I misinterpreting what you're saying?

Raven Wilder
I'd say society is heading towards equality, but not for those specific reasons. Rather, it's that the original reasons for racial and sexual inequality were based on practical considerations which are no longer relevant.

Men had (on average) greater physical strength than women and were less likely to be laid up with pregnancy, which was important when most people's lives were filled with hard physical labor. People with different skin colors were almost invariably from faraway lands, meaning they could be mistreated without fear of their kinfolk retaliating. And it's quite likely that the prohibitions against homosexuality found in the Abrahamic religions were originally a means of combatting ST Ds and/or ensuring the "be fruitful and multiply" mission statement was upheld.

But then technology advanced. Physical strength isn't as important as it once was. It's possible to travel across a continent in a day, and communicate across the world almost instantly. Condoms vastly reduce the risk of STD transmission, artificial insemination allows gay people to have children, and resource depletion means being fruitful and multiplying is no longer such a hot idea.

That's not to say people don't cling to their prejudices even when they don't make sense. But social constructs that serve no practical purpose tend to fade away over time, especially when they antagonize a great many people; inertia can't sustain them forever.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 6 Aw Sam Weston, Tue, 25th Feb '14 1:07:52 AM from Minnesota Nice Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Okay, so far in this thread we've covered the social reasons (Bansai Forest's Good Cop/Bad Cop argument) and the historical reasons (Raven Wilder's thoughts). But what about the more deeply-ingrained issue?

I'd argue that true equality will never happen. If you look at these movements, every force that wants equality is part of some minority. As far as popular thinking goes, they weren't "normal."

Of course, things change and more people are accepted into the "normal" fold, but as more differences are accepted, I think people will go out of their way to find more differences to persecute.

I'd imagine some of those differences could be people with disabilities (both physical and mental, especially the severe ones) or the elderly (here in the US, there's a growing attitude that caring for your old parents is a burden).

Now, that's not to say I want that. I don't. But I honestly think that humans are hard-wired to hate anything that seems "less" than them. It probably stems from our early predator days, and it would also explain why we as a species are constantly at war.

So no, I don't think equality is inevitable. I think equality can never truly happen. But that doesn't mean we can't try to make it happen.

Raven Wilder
What about when we get to the point where everyone is plugged into their own virtual reality system and no longer need to interact with other people or the real world in any way?
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 8 Aw Sam Weston, Tue, 25th Feb '14 1:33:17 AM from Minnesota Nice Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
[up] At that point, we won't technically be human anymore. Or at least not biologically.

 9 Achaemenid, Tue, 25th Feb '14 2:19:48 AM from Mitakihara Town, Copenhagen Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
I don't think equality is inevitable. History does not work that way. It isn't deterministic or teleological. It's random, driven by human processes, and humans are stupid as hell. The comparatively enlightened Persians never anticipated that they would fail to conquer the barbarous and savage Greeks, yet they failed to. Suleiman the Lawgiver never thought he would fail to take Vienna, yet fail he did, just as Kara Mustapha Pasha would fail one hundred and sixty years later. The Victorians never anticipated or realized that their supposed mission to spread Christian civilization and British parliamentary rule to the "savage" Asians and Africans would ultimately fail, just as the infinitely arrogant Chinese Emperors never anticipated that a tiny band of "barbarians" would crush the Celestial Empire. But they did. Twice.

Every society in history that thinks it has reached a moral or political pinnacle has been utterly wrong. The Marxists and socialists of this time last-century thought that they were the harbingers of the next great epoch of human civilization, in 1999 Francis Fukuyama reckoned that we'd reached "the end of history". But he was no more correct than Lenin and Luxemburg were. I have no doubt that the humans of 2114 will look back on our age and shudder with horror, just as we look back on some of the cultural mores of 1914 with a similar disgust.

And that's even before we get to the idea that the current moral zeitgeist will persist. The fact is, humankind has seen great regressions in our condition before. The enclosure of common land during the Industrial Revolution. The counter-Enlightenment. Nazism, Stalinism, and Maoism. The rise of the village system, which was initially a tool of control for the aristocracy. Or the recent wave of homophobia in Russia and Africa. Arguably, the politcal and economic freedoms which we've enjoyed in Western democratic societies are under threat: the NSA, the endless conservative class-warfare and the poisonous corporate influence that infests Anglo-US politics. Every single victory for equality and the values of the Enlightenment is fragile and has to be fought for. In history, nothing is inevitable.

That isn't to say ideas don't have astonishing power. It was impossible for the conservatives and reactionaries of the last century to put the genies of socialism and anti-colonialism back in the bottle, just as the Soviet Politburo found they couldn't destroy the demands for individual and economic freedom in the USSR's client states and imperial possessions. But that doesn't mean they stopped trying; and it doesn't mean that their heirs and successors haven't fight back, savagely, to try and reclaim the power they have now lost.

edited 25th Feb '14 2:27:12 AM by Achaemenid

Sie gönnen mir nicht Schleisien und die Grafschatz Glatz,

Und die hundert Millionen in meinem Schatz!
Men had (on average) greater physical strength than women and were less likely to be laid up with pregnancy, which was important when most people's lives were filled with hard physical labor.
That was hardly the main reason for sexual inequality. Physical labor on farms (on which 80-90% of people lived) was done by men and women alike and there's no physical reason whatsoever to exclude women from merchant guilds and similar things. Physical strenght only played a role in keeping women where they were but it was a means for sexual inequality not the reason. Pregnancy played a bigger role. It is more devastating to lose a female in a war than a male concering population growth and getting pregnant during a military campaign is inconvinient. That meant that mostly only men were warriors and from the warriors emerged the nobility.

The other reason then was inheritance. To make sure the warriors gave their loot to their offspring they had to control women's sexuality and thus the whole life of women. (It also requires heirs and thus explains where homophobia has it's roots.) But this is hardly necessary and the only option as you could just inherit in the female line with no need for chastity and control. Inheritance throught the male line is, was and never will be a "practical consideration".

It had to do with necessity to uphold a certain society and not necessity to survive and thrive. And to justify this inequality they used theological and other reasons who where either proven wrong or were just imagined to begin with. I it were necessary or even practical they would have claimed those reasons. But they didn't because it wasn't.

At the time, hereditary inheritance through male lineage was (thought to be) pragmatic because child mortality was common.

Men could have children through multiple women...or, if a woman turned out to be incapable of children (because, you know, it was almost never the man's fault), he could divorce or otherwise eliminate her and start again with another woman relatively quickly and with less risk to himself. A maternal lineage at the time required that a woman be (1) extremely fertile and (2) being able to cope with multiple pregnancies to offset child mortality rates.

This, itself, also interweaves with societal surplus. With a surplus, a society is always looking to expand and improve, which inevitably means that certain tasks are going to be specialized. Instead of everyone being a hunter or farmer, or knowing how to sew their own clothes and make their own weapons, those jobs will be meted out to specialized hunters, farmers, seamsters, and smiths. And that means you're going to need to pass those skills down to someone.

Raven Wilder
[up][up] I was including warfare and other forms of violence under the banner "physical labor".
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 13 Bonsai Forest, Wed, 26th Feb '14 6:20:06 AM from anywhere it rains
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
With robotics technology getting more and more advanced, robots might be replacing some of our "physical labor" jobs, including warfare.
 14 Blue Ninja 0, Wed, 26th Feb '14 7:06:53 AM from The Middle of Nowhere Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Plotting my Escape
civil rights movements of all kinds have a certain flow to them. - Bonsai
While that may be true, I don't think you can say that equality is "inevitable." There's still a strong tendency in human psychology to "other" people based upon any perceived difference.
The same may be playing out with "Men's Rights Activists".
I don't see that here. The thing with the Good Cop/Bad Cop is that you have to be able to see/hear both of them for the tactic to be effective. The MRA movement comes off as Bad Cop Worse Cop. This may be because the good cop ones are too busy doing actual stuff for equality, or it might be that they've just been marginalized and overwhelmed.
the original reasons for racial and sexual inequality were based on practical considerations which are no longer relevant. - Raven Wilder
I don't think there's really been any good "practical" reasons for racism. I wouldn't call any of your listed reasons practical.
It isn't deterministic or teleological. It's random, driven by human processes, and humans are stupid as hell. - Achaemenid
You got that right.
The mark of a place joining the civilised section of the Internet is when it starts banning people being assholes in their space-Silas W
 15 Ramidel, Wed, 26th Feb '14 9:07:57 AM Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Regarding MRAs, the movement, and the concept of "men's rights" as something to fight for, are identified with a bunch of trolls and idiots who are more of a comedy troupe than something anyone takes seriously, even as an enemy. Bad Cop Worse Cop and Good Cop/Bad Cop don't apply here.

There are some debatable ideas associated with the movement (such as a male right to opt out of child support), but it's a combination of pickup-artist meme and cesspool, not an actual political faction (and there aren't any visible MRAs actually involved in distinguishable political activity).

A maternal lineage at the time required that a woman be (1) extremely fertile and (2) being able to cope with multiple pregnancies to offset child mortality rates.
There were cultures with maternal lineage, it's not impossible. It's not like a majority of women died in childbirth. If 20% died, that still leaves 80% were it would be more practical to practice maternal lineage.

Instead of everyone being a hunter or farmer, or knowing how to sew their own clothes and make their own weapons, those jobs will be meted out to specialized hunters, farmers, seamsters, and smiths. And that means you're going to need to pass those skills down to someone.
You can have specialization without heredity. You know, like us.tongue It's even more efficient. Feudalism is rigid and not very practical. Creating professions out of tradition instead of demand is just stupid. A blacksmith cannot give his business to three sons anyway, meaning you have always people who don't just inherit a profession.

I was including warfare and other forms of violence under the banner "physical labor".
And pregnancy, not physical strenght, is the deciding factor in this too. But pregnancy is only a real problem if your going to invade others. Defending your own country/city whatever would go better if you gave women a weapon too(and they did so on occasion). And war is mostly practical for the powerful who got the spoils of war.

Those arrangements (sexism and feudalism) were practical for a small elite of people but hardly for the whole society.

That being said, I don't think equality is inevitable. It's something people have to consciously fight for. And it requires a base concept of the equality of all humans. That could be replaced by a special role for everyone in, for example, a theocracy or a social darwinist dictatorship.

 17 Bonsai Forest, Wed, 26th Feb '14 10:11:47 AM from anywhere it rains
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
The idiots and trolls that make the movement into a comedy troupe suck, but I think ALL of them are the "bad cop". The "good cop" will be the group that engages with and possibly joins forces with feminists to oppose misandry and rigid gender roles while fighting for gender-neutral laws regarding domestic violence (when men are victims, it tends to be ignored or not believed in), divorce (as a male coworker told me in a tone of voice that indicated that it was just the way things were and he accepted it, "if there's nothing wrong with the mom, she gets the kids"), etc.

Thing is, the "good cop" is very much drowned out by the assholes. But they'll surface at some point.
 18 Tobias Drake, Wed, 26th Feb '14 10:17:24 AM from Colorado, USA Relationship Status: Married to my murderer
Black Dragon
Not necessarily. Success for any given civil rights' movement is not guaranteed. If MR As are meant to be the Bad Cop, they've done their job spectacularly well, as Men's Rights Movements are now considered to be on-par with White Supremacy groups; the only people who take them seriously are the people actively fighting for them, most of whom are regarded by outsiders as having some serious issues with entitlement and prejudice. They've created a very strong impression that - as the dominant party of the civil rights debate - men's rights don't need to be fought for and, indeed, to do so is considered a sign of a self-centric, highly misogynistic worldview.

Someone made a comment elsewhere that I absolutely adored: the male equivalent to feminism is feminism. As MR As continue to make any form of male-focused civil rights activism unsavory, more and more men are finding themselves in agreement with this, and signing on with feminism rather than associate themselves with that cesspool.

That's the problem with the carrot-and-stick approach to civil rights activism: playing Bad Cop can just as easily turn everyone against your cause. Civil Rights boil down to a popularity contest: the way to get more rights is to convince everyone outside of your group that you deserve them. Living down to the awful stereotypes and embracing unsavory tactics only hardens people to the message you're trying to send and makes them less willing to believe that you deserve anything but a slap in the face.

Using MRAs as an example, one legitimate problem men face is the awardance of child custody being biased in favor of the mother. Demonstrating that men can and are capable and loving fathers is critical to men claiming an equal right to single parenthood. Acting like misogynistic dipshits only reinforces the idea that these men would make terrible parents. When you are a civil rights activist, you are the representation of your cause: if people can't stand you, then it weakens your cause by association.

Nobody would have listened to MLK if he was shanking white people and stealing their wallets between speeches.

edited 26th Feb '14 10:25:18 AM by TobiasDrake

 19 Fighteer, Wed, 26th Feb '14 10:25:23 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Boiled down: being a righteous prick doesn't win you civil rights.

edited 26th Feb '14 10:26:00 AM by Fighteer

Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
 20 Bonsai Forest, Wed, 26th Feb '14 10:48:15 AM from anywhere it rains
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
I still think the Righteous Pricks are the first step - by themselves, they don't stand a chance, as they are essentially supremacists and assholes. But the moderates alone would be ignored.

But, a very good point was made in that proving you deserve the rights you're fighting for helps create sympathy for your cause. The Good Cop/Bad Cop analogy totally ignored that.
 21 Fighteer, Wed, 26th Feb '14 11:10:20 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
To borrow the example that was being used, if the MRA folks want to be heard, getting themselves banned from every discussion they enter because they act crazy and don't debate rationally isn't going to help their cause to be thought of as legitimate.
Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
 22 Bonsai Forest, Wed, 26th Feb '14 11:14:00 AM from anywhere it rains
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
They get banned from discussions they enter?

I agree that they're scum. From what I've seen of the "manosphere", it's totally disgusting and hateful against ANYTHING that isn't "manly man" males and "girly girl" females. I've seen snide comments made about autistics/Aspies a lot as well - and considering people on the spectrum tend to be rather androgynous, they won't accept us (and our apparently growing numbers) any time soon.

But what's going on with MRAs?
 23 Bonsai Forest, Wed, 26th Feb '14 11:18:43 AM from anywhere it rains
This tiny forest is where all the action is!
As MRAs continue to make any form of male-focused civil rights activism unsavory, more and more men are finding themselves in agreement with this, and signing on with feminism rather than associate themselves with that cesspool.

What do you mean by this? The word "feminism" really does have more than one meaning. I was always told it meant equal rights for the sexes, which I'm all in favor of. But the movement seems to have split in multiple directions.
There were cultures with maternal lineage, it's not impossible. It's not like a majority of women died in childbirth. If 20% died, that still leaves 80% were it would be more practical to practice maternal lineage.

Oh I know. Please understand that I'm massively playing Devil's Advocate, and that these "pragmatic" reasons for gendered institutions are not being advocated for me in any way. Nor are they really all that pragmatic. For example, in Hebrew civilizations, both polygamy and infidelity were condemned, but they were still patriarchal and male heirs still took priority.

You can have specialization without heredity. You know, like us. It's even more efficient. Feudalism is rigid and not very practical. Creating professions out of tradition instead of demand is just stupid. A blacksmith cannot give his business to three sons anyway, meaning you have always people who don't just inherit a profession.

Well, hold on a second.

First, castes are not synonymous with feudalism. Castes have existed throughout all of humanity society and arguably still exist now. Feudalism is a specific form of caste system.

Second, having a hereditary trade had both pluses and minuses. The plus was that if your family was dedicated to a particular trade, you were almost guaranteed job security, as well as the training necessary to excel at whatever trade your family traditionally did. Compare that to the modern day, where one of the biggest problems with our youth is not knowing what they're "meant" to do with their lives. The downside was, of course, poor social mobility, and if you weren't good at your chosen trade, you were just fucked. The modern occupational system offers more social mobility, but with the problem that there's so much freedom that you can almost drown in it.

As for a surplus of heirs, that was only really a concern when trying to decide which one would be in charge of the family business. A family of blacksmiths, for example, could still raise two or three sons skilled at smithing and have all of them either continue working at the family business until the father died or have some of them try their luck on their own.

edited 26th Feb '14 12:12:08 PM by KingZeal

 25 Fighteer, Wed, 26th Feb '14 1:48:40 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
@Bonsai Forest: They get banned from discussions they enter?

They get banned here. And from the things I've read on their own commiseration sites, they get banned a lot of places.

edited 26th Feb '14 1:48:48 PM by Fighteer

Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
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