- Politics and Social Issues
I'm Anti SJW But Still Reject Traditionalism: Here's Why
For a while now, I've been in the Atheist Anti-SJW community on YouTube, not as a video maker, just as someone who is a fan of content creators in that category generally. But some of them have ideas that a conservative return to "traditional values" is necessary to help fight the rise of fundamentalist Islam and generally to make the West (generally code for majority-white countries in North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand) a better place.
Some have argued that belief in a deity should be upheld because it's tradition, and that a rise in Western godlessness was also a major era of cultural decline for the West. Some people will go as far as to attribute a Jewish conspiracy behind this supposed decline or degeneration. Well, there's been anti-Semitism since the Bronze age so, nothing new there. At least they're keeping alive that all too important traition; using the Jews as scapegoats, blaming them for problems they had nothing to do with. They also have no reason to undermine the West, since it is America that protects Israel from her hostile neighbors, and the West is more likely to protect the Jews from persecution than any other place in the world.
So, no, Miley Cyrus' horrible VMA performance was not likely part of some larger conspiracy; Jew, Illuminati, alien, or whatever. It was just a singer experimenting with a new style and expressing rebellion from her former, contractually obligated, wholesome Disney image. People who can't accept that fact just come across as nuttier than squirrel poop.
But, I can see why some people want to believe in conspiracies behind everything they morally find repulsive. They can't just say, "this offends me", because the answer to that is, "who cares, that's just your opinion", and "she can dance and dress however she likes, you are not her boss". But certain people want to be the morality police and sit in judgment of people they find repugnant. They take themselves out of it, turning personal statements into objective, neutral sounding ones. "I hate that provocative dress that actress is wearing.", or maybe even, "I am jealous of that woman's confident brazenness in showing her body because I am insecure about my own" becomes, "Oh look how gross it is and what our society has become, that we allow this kind of trash to be a role model for girls (Think of the CHILDREN!)." All they're doing is trying to turn their personal sense of disgust into an objective overarching narrative about what ought and ought not to be.
So, I think that, while I am morally outraged and disgusted by the behaviors of the more illogical and insane SJWs on the extreme left, and I do not mince words when tearing them a new one over social media, that doesn't make me a conservative traditionalist either. So, here are my reasons that I still oppose traditionalism, even with all the negative behavior I've seen from leftists.
Traditionalism is Too Restrictive
I couldn't be a traditionalist if I wanted to be. Why? There's no room within it to be an atheist/skeptic, to be a woman who does not want to have kids, to be an anime fan. To wear makeup, I'd be seen as slutty, and to wear pants, I'd be seen as immodest or unfeminine.But I'm not super interested in being what some religion prescribes as correct female behavior.
I just want to be me. Not some fantasy ideal traditionalist woman who adheres to religion, strict femininity standards, has a bunch of kids because she is supposed to, seeks not her own pleasures, raises her children traditional, and holds her mate to strict masculinity standards. That kind of life would be unfulfilling to me, and I know it is not the right lifestyle to impose on everyone. I don't think it's wrong for a woman to say, be a housewife, but I do think it's wrong the way housewives often think it's wrong for women to work. Your choices may be right for you, but that doesn't make them best for everyone, because we're all different.
Tradcons Overreact to Non-Conformity
I think the funniest thing about the rise of the "alt-right" traditionalists is how their memes reflect anger and hatred that's triggered by the tiniest of things, much the way radical left SJWs' anger is triggered by what they call "micro-aggressions". In the mind of the SJW, a person calling a girl with a short haircut, who describes herself as "genderqueer", "miss" is an expression of hatred for women, transsexual people, and gender-non-conforming people. On the opposite side, we have people who think that that same girl getting a short haircut in the first place is literally a sign of the end of civilization.
Politics in the U.S. show a sort of psychological unhingedness on both sides. Why not let people be people? Why do you care if a stranger does something that doesn't conform to your personal taste when it comes to beauty or gender? Why do they act like whatever the latest fashion trend is is literally killing civilization? Giant earlobe rings not your thing? Don't get one. Think male rompers are ugly and too feminine for a man? Don't wear them. But it's not your business to stop other people from doing those things.
And all this does is focus on the worldly and superficial, which to me isn't even the point of traditional values in the first place. I think, in terms of my experience with traditional Christian values, that the real beauty in traditionalism is that one should focus on soul and character, not whether some woman is showing too much elbow, or some man has a "gay" haircut. Modest clothing is not supposed to be a fashion statement, it's supposed to conceal the superficial so that what matters about a person becomes much deeper than their appearance. And yet, everywhere I see Christians and Muslims acting like "modesty" is another kind of designer brand.
Do you really expect to die, go to the gates of Heaven, and say, God, please accept me, sure I might have poisoned the class I was teaching and then killed myself but Jesus... hear me out...
The whole time I was doing it, I wore a sweater, a long jean skirt, and no makeup!
Fighting Fundamentalism With Fundamentalism
The argument I hear a lot is, in order for the west to win, we need traditionalism to return to the west. The argument goes like this:
- White populations are reproducing at around replacement value or below, meaning their populations in the future will decline or stay the same.
- African and Middle Eastern populations are rising, because traditional women in those patriarchal societies are not pursuing careers and therefore having more children.
- This means that eventually, white people will simply be outnumbered by nonwhites, leading to a gradual overthrow of white societies by nonwhite immigrants. Then, as a new majority, they will change white societies to make them more culturally similar to their home societies.
- Basically, this means western values like reason, liberty, etc. will die.
But there are actually several problems with this theory. For example:
- Because of technological advances, warfare and defense really don't have as much to do with population size.
- Western values are inherently good, and are being embraced more and more by non-westerners every year. You can't really expect me to believe that an end to the white race would mean an end to things like science, rationality, skepticism, empiricism, etc.
- Women in previously patriarchal, traditional societies are showing signs of becoming more "westernized" and modern, choosing education and careers.
- Demographic transition. As a country modernizes technologically, and women become more educated, birth rates decline. A country that had 7 children per woman ten years ago might have a rate of 2-3 children per woman now.
- Trends are not the inevitable course of future events. They're trends. Population growth changes too much to be fixed.
Even if the "save the west with traditionalism" hypothesis were true, and I think it's incredibly flawed, in my opinion none of it matters. The individual still has a right to judge morality for themselves, to find what lifestyle is best for them. It's also a moot point because, even if I sincerely believed that Western values were in crisis, and acting on that belief, I had 8 children, do you think my decision alone to have 8 children makes any difference? That would sort of be pissing into the wind. I have no reason to have 8 children other than that the happiness I would get from having them outweighs the cost of raising them in terms of money, time, energy, and sleep. And it does not, at least, not for me.
And why is it that they're trying to instill some kind of Biblical patriarchy in order to fight the threat of Islamic patriarchy? That's as if slave owners back in the day were making an argument like "we better be allowed to keep slaves in the South, to keep our slaves from being stolen by slave trading pirates and sold to Arabs". It just makes no sense, and is a poor excuse for an argument against personal liberty.
Women Wanting Careers, or Eschewing Motherhood, Is Not Wrong
Honestly, I'm sick of hearing this. Stephen Molyneux saying "it's your job to have babies" to a woman calling in to his YouTube show. I thought you were a libertarian? Which should mean, it's your job to do whatever the fuck makes you happier than not. I've heard a lot of anti-feminists who make a case that the sexual liberation movement of the 70's was actually a bad deal for women. It led to a rise of "porn culture" that made women into sex objects and praised sex appeal over anything else about a woman, pushing women to conform to the demand to be sexy, even at younger and younger ages, which they see as psychologically damaging.
Many also believe that the rise of the career woman was actually a step backward for women, because what all of us supposedly want deep down in our little uteruses is to settle down with a man, have babies, and not do anything important outside the home! Of course that's ridiculous. Fighting that outmoded belief was the very core of my earlier feminism. I knew from an early age that I probably didn't want kids. A lot of this had to do with the stress I saw my mom go through, having two oopsies right in a row when I was 14 and 15. What they say is, women almost all want babies, a woman's fertility goes down and her chance of conceiving a child with autism and Down's and a host of other yucky things goes up around 35, so pushing women to choose careers and education and put those things first makes it less likely that they'll be able to have kids when biology says they should, which is between the ages of 20 and 30.
Well for one, having freedom to pursue careers, for some women who feel that's right for them, does absolutely nothing to diminish the prospects for women who want to settle down after high school and become housewives right away. The point of modernism is not to push a role on anyone, but to advocate for the right of people as individuals to make their own choices.
Feminism was never about "condemning" women to the supposed misery of a diaper-free, man-free office job life, it was about liberating women, so they could choose the diapers, or the office, or both, or neither. And again, just because you are happy being a mother and couldn't imagine how shallow and empty the lives of women without kids are, that doesn't really mean they're not happy with it.
Men Being Feminine Is Not Wrong
On the other side of the coin, I'm just about as equally sick of people telling men it's wrong to be feminine in any way, seeing all those memes about "real men" and posts about what "alphas" do vs. what "betas" and "cucks" do that is supposedly shameful and wrong. Just because someone's behavior personally disgusts you or you find it distasteful again, does not make it wrong for them. You're just being a judgmental, close-minded asshole.
One of the biggest failures of traditional thinking is its inability to handle gender non-conformity. There always has been and always will be some people who are genetically wired as masculine women or feminine men, and society will always need to be flexible and adaptable enough so that its gender standards allow for certain exceptions. Yet it often seems as though traditionalists give a much harder time to unmasculine men than they do to unfeminine women. Men have to do so much bullshit, and not do so many feminine things, to be "real men", and these same traditionalists are less likely to bat an eye over women holding political office, being in sports, or wearing short skirts. Ann Coulter probably thinks men who wear eyeliner are fags, but does she see herself as a dyke for being a lawyer or being so politically outspoken? J'accuse!
Freedom of Choice is a Chief Western Principle
To me, one glaring issue with the "save the west with traditionalism" argument is, the only thing that actually MAKES the west worth saving at all is that it gives every man and woman a vote and a say in their own destiny. Everything uniting the Western intellectual tradition from Jesus to Socrates to Michelangelo to Luther to Shakespeare to Einstein is about human freedom, the triumph of the individual will over the will of society. Chinese philosophy focuses on the state, telling the individual to concede their individual desires to the needs of the government and the many. Every intellectual advancement the west has had, it's had because a new generation desired greater freedom for individuals than the previous one.
And all our scientific and architectural achievements are very much a product of our society's cultural value of individualism. Just compare Soviet bunkers to a New York skyscraper. One is a symbol of slavery, the other a symbol of the triumph of the individual will of man. (Obviously, architecture is collaborative, but it still reflects the spirit of the head architect.) None of the virtues or great advances of the West would have arisen in a theocracy, and the west abolished her own theocracy for good reasons. The reason the west ascended in prominence at all was because individuals wanted to maximize the profit-making potential of capital they controlled, not merely because of the wishes of kings or priests. Westernism is a revolution that is still continuing. If we go back to traditionalism, even if it's to save lives, we are forsaking centuries of the new tradition, the skeptic tradition, the modern tradition, the liberty tradition. I will not.
Cultural Change Is Not Inherently Wrong
While not all change is progress, society cannot be good without progress of some kind. And, traditionalists are very inconsistent about which changes are tolerable and which are not. In Afghanistan, women do not show their faces. In Saudi Arabia, they commonly show their faces, but nothing else. Mormon women believe modest clothing can include pants and showing the hair. Other women believe that traditionalism should say nothing about clothing, and instead focus more on lifestyle, monogamy, and personal morals. What all traditionalists say, however, is that their culture is the one God-given way to live, and that others are sinners and degenerates and disgusting and so on. But the thing is, almost all of them do and say certain things that are the result of social progress, whether they like it or not. A pure traditionalist is basically a unicorn. All societies change, and change is part of growth. Cultural stagnation is not good. Preserving history and honoring the past are great things, but they should not come at the expense of changes that need to take place for the greater good, ie, progress.
I feel like most of the anti-feminist and anti-SJW people are still liberal, they're just horrified at the freak show some of today's more out there liberals have been putting on at street protests and college campuses. I don't see conservatism or traditionalism as a needed antidote for the problems facing Western society. Progress is like learning, and stagnation is like repeating the third grade over and over again. For me, traditionalism is stifling, and the best thing about the West is its cultural esteem for individualism.
You have a right to choose whether to share this article or comment on it, but I hope you will!