Saturday, I criticized an op-ed Senator Tom Cotton posted at The New York Times. I was not the only one to criticize this piece; The New York Times’s opinion editor resigned because that op-ed was published.
Tom Cotton says that he never said military should be used against protesters, only rioters; to which I respond: Once we bring in the tanks because there are some rioters at a largely peaceful protest, it’s pretty easy to end up with a massacre like what happened in 1968 in Mexico.
While I did and still do strongly disagree with what Tom Cotton wrote, I also feel having the chief editor of The New York Times being forced to resign over it being published is an over reaction. I don’t think a reputable journalistic outfit should give every crank a soapbox, but I also think publishing a US Senator’s opinion on a current event should not ever be grounds for termination.
Six years ago, well-known blogger Scott Alexander published an essay called Radicalizing the Romanceless. In this long-winded nearly 7,500 word long essay, Scott Alexander argues that feminists mock socially awkward men trying to get dates with women, and that those socially awkward men will, as a result, go to the then-prominent right-wing “Red Pill” online dating communities.
To support his arguments, he found a few pieces from “feminists” which he used to claim feminists have no empathy for and mock men who have a hard time getting a date. This is an example of what I consider to be an important corollary of Poe’s law: It’s trivial to find an idiot somewhere on the Internet who espouses an otherwise straw man argument we then tear down. For example, it’s possible to find a good number of openly racist Republican voters on Twitter, but finding such racists does not mean that supporting Republican positions makes one a racist.
Likewise, just because Scott Alexander was able to, in 2014, find four examples of “feminists” mocking socially awkward men does not mean this is a position mainstream feminists espouse.
Let’s look at the four examples Scott used:
Point being, the articles Scott Alexander used to argue that feminists lack empathy for sexually frustrated men were either published by sites which are now offline or written by someone who engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct that got him fired. They do not represent the attitudes of most feminists, even if it looked that way a few years ago.
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