Monday, June 2, 2014

Not all men, not all rich people, not all Japanese, not all Jews or Muslims...

If you're new to the #NotAllMen development in the gender wars, try Not All Men: A Brief History of Every Dude’s Favorite Argument | TIME.

When I talk about socialism, I'm sometimes met with "You hate rich people" or "not all rich people". By the logic of #notallmen, I should respond by mocking them.

But that response tells me I've failed to communicate. If I don't think all rich people are the same, I need to be clearer. The failure is not with the listener. Even if the listeners are too committed to an ideology to hear what I'm trying to say, even if they believe Satan or Xenu is really at work, the failure is still mine if I can't make it clear that I like many rich people, and when I criticize capitalism, I'm speaking about a system, not about people. It's my obligation to make my meaning clear.

Now, identitarians tend to think the rules for speaking to and about the socially privileged are different, so let's take some examples.

In Japan, Japanese people have the greatest social privilege. Yet if I say something that makes a Japanese person respond, "Not all Japanese," I've been unclear—unless, of course, I'm a bigot who thinks all Japanese people are alike.

In Israel, Jews have the greatest social privilege, and in Morocco, Muslims do. Yet if I say something that makes a Jew respond, "Not all Jews," or a Muslim respond, "Not all Muslims," I've been unclear—unless, of course, I'm a bigot who thinks all Jews or Muslims are alike.

If I say something about women that makes a woman respond, "Not all women," mocking her would suggest—

Ah, well, A generalization about people tells you nothing about people in general, but it tells you everything about a generalizer.