Tag Archive: freedom


The Failings of Modern Western Feminism


Recently I finished reading Nomad by one of my idols, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. While the book is not focused on feminism, per se, it does go into what I agree is the major problem with modern Western feminism — in a word: egoism. However, I, being a white male, have no right to comment on this, or so the modern Western feminist reasoning goes. So, fine, I won’t comment on this. I will let Mrs. Ali, a non-white female, comment. Below is an excerpt from Nomad which I think demonstrates the wasted energy and selfishness of modern Western feminism:

“Feminists began to define white men as the ultimate and only oppressors. White men had engaged in the slave trade, apartheid, and colonialism as well as in the subjugation of women. Nonwhite men were, almost by definition, seen as members of the oppressed….

My colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, Christina Hoff-Sommers, calls this “the feminism of resentment.” This is the position of “feminists [who] believe that our society [read, Western society] is best described as a ‘male hegemony,’ a ‘sex/gender system’ in which the dominant gender [read, white male] works to keep women cowering and submissive.” These feminists of resentment refuse to appreciate the progress Western women have made, from the right to vote to the punishment of those who try to harass women at work. They see only the iniquity of the white man and reduce such universal concepts as freedom of expression and the right to choose one’s own destiny to mere artifacts of Western culture….

 Western women have power. They are now firmly established in the workforce. They have access to contraception, to their own bank accounts, to the vote. They can marry the men they choose, or choose not to marry at all, and if nature allows it, they can have as many or as few children as they want. They can own property, travel wherever they choose, and read any book, newspaper, or magazine they wish. They can have an opinion on the moral choices of others and express that opinion freely, even publish it….

If feminism means anything at all, women with power should be addressing their energies to help the girls and women who suffer the pain of genital mutilation, who are at risk of being murdered because of their Western lifestyle and ideas, who must ask for permission just to leave the house, who are treated no better than serfs, branded and mutilated, traded without regard to their wishes. If you are a true feminist, these women should be your first priority.”

I’ve believed exactly this for many years now, but being a white male, of course whenever I asserted something like this, every feminist would just shout down my argument because I couldn’t understand how tough life is for a woman growing up in a Western country.

When I lived in Canada, to be honest, I just accepted this line of reasoning because, perhaps there are many things that I don’t notice in the lives of women in Canada.

However, I’ve now lived in South Korea now for about 6 years. When I first arrived here, within a couple months I could see the subtle and not so subtle discrimination against women here. Me! A white male! I was able to notice this! How is this possible?? I am supposed to be blind to the suffering of women, right? Wrong. I realize now that the belief that men are oblivious to the suffering of women is simply a kind of prejudice, like all other prejudices. Further, I now believe that many feminists in developed Western countries are using feminism not as a way to elevate women and women’s rights, but as a way to say, “Oh, my life is so hard! Feel pity for me! You should be ashamed white male!” This is, in a word, egoism. These women are empowered in ways their ancestors and sisters in undeveloped countries would have trouble fathoming. It’s time for empowered feminists to work on empowering truly repressed women around the world!


Why did I decide to write this blog post? I am not quite sure, precisely. I could say it’s because I’ve read Sam Harris’ book “Free Will” or because I’ve had somewhat recent encounters with people who hold steadfast to the belief that we have free will. However, truthfully, I have no idea why I actually decided to write this. I cannot know this. It came from a part of my brain which I cannot access.

It seems that the default position is to believe in free will. I did until I read Harris’ book. I am sure most people believe in free will. However, there was one scientific study that pushed me away from believing in free will. Apparently, via fMRI machines, subjects are told to raise either their left or right hand, and seconds or milliseconds before they actually raise it, the desire to raise the selected hand is spotted in the subject’s brain. The scientists know which hand the subject will choose before the subject does.

I told this to someone recently (an atheist, so their views weren’t clouded by religion), and he stated something that I didn’t expect. He said that the unconscious part of our mind is a part of us, and therefore, we still retain free will. I didn’t expect this argument, and I hadn’t finished Harris’ book by that point, so I didn’t really know what to say.

However, Harris does deal with this counterargument. Your unconscious brain is not “you” in any sense that we can conceive because your unconscious mind is also doing things like creating red blood cells and making sure your heart beats. We are not in control of these things, in the same way we are not in control of our subconscious thoughts. I could suddenly say, “Putting spaghetti on my head feels strange,” and I’d have no way of accounting for why I didn’t say, “Putting puppies on my head feels strange.”

So why do we do what we do? It’s simply a highly complex amalgamation of our life history, our DNA and our current circumstances. Think about anything you do. Why did you do it?

For example, I drank two espressos today. Why did I do that? Because I’m addicted to coffee.Why am I addicted to coffee? Because it keeps me awake. Why didn’t I drink tea? My experience with tea is that it doesn’t have the same kick as coffee. Why does it give me a kick? Something in human DNA causes me to react in this way to caffeine.

The details of every decision can be explained in every detail ad nauseum. There is no mystical “me” that fits into this equation.

Just because it feels like we are making decisions, doesn’t mean it’s not an illusion.

I am not an expert on this subject, for sure. I am quite a tyro, in fact.

As Michael Shermer states, “Sam Harris has the unique ability to translate difficult subjects into really crystal clear writing”

So, for a better, more in depth understanding of what I’m talking about, check out this speech by Sam Harris:


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Being raised in Toronto, Canada, I didn’t realize that there could be any questioning the concept of multiculturalism. It just seemed to work, in Toronto. Now, I have not been to every part of Toronto, but I have been to most parts, and even the neighborhoods most afflicted with poverty — Regent Park and Jane and Finch — are multicultural and there seems to be no serious problem with the mixing of cultures in these areas. In fact, it seems to have made the residents quite tolerant of one another — again, going from the biased perspective I have as an individual and the opinions of my friends who live in these areas.

There are of course predominantly more of one race in certain areas than others, but there is no place in Toronto where a person of any color would step into and feel out of place merely because of the color of their skin.

I didn’t realize until I started traveling that this is not the case around the world. When I first started traveling, I decided to get a hostel in Brixton, England because I figured, London is London. When I stepped out of the subway station in Brixton, I was quite taken aback. I don’t know what the proportion of black people is in Brixton, but for a Torontonian, it was quite surprisingly high. Please, do not confuse this with racism. I would be taken aback by seeing such a high proportion of any minority in an area, regardless of the country. If I were in an Nigerian city and I stumbled upon an area with predominantly whites, I’d be equally taken aback. To me, this seems unnatural. There should be a large degree of intermixing of people in a cosmopolitan city such as London. The reason that this kind of situation was somewhat shocking to me is because there must be a reason why this intermixing is not occurring or at least, not occurring much.

Traveling around Europe, I noticed similar ghettoization. Paris and Rome were two cities that I recollect as having some serious issues.

Why is this? Why is Toronto such a multicultural utopia in comparison to other parts of the world?

I have always believed in the ideals of multiculturalism and as a result, I never really questioned the idea of it even after these experiences abroad. Recently, however, I watched this documentary by Douglas Murray and it has started to change my mind.

I am now starting to believe that in a perfect world, multiculturalism is of course a good thing. People move to a new country with their traditions and beliefs and slowly adopt the traditions and beliefs of their host country. Why would you move to a new country if you don’t like anything about that new country?

Yet, it doesn’t seem to always work this way. Many times nationalism or pride of religion or culture prevents the immigrants from adopting the ways of the host country.

Do not get me wrong, I am not saying this is the only reason for racial division in different cities around the world. In fact, in the Brixton case I mentioned above, I would argue that it was the bad behavior of the English government that caused this ghettoization in the first place. However, times change, and so should demography. But, we are now living in a much more tolerant Europe, yet these divisions remain. I think the reasons are manifold, but I believe that a big reason that segregation exists in these different cities could be an unwillingness to adopt the lifestyle of the host country.

In this case, it is the immigrants who are being racist: quite an ironic twist since racism from the host country would have been the original reason for the establishment of these kinds of ghettos.

In short, I still do believe that multiculturalism is a goal which we should strive for; however, I now realize that it is naive to assume that all people in our society have the same goals of harmony, equality, freedom and so on. Therefore, I think that teaching needs to focus a little less on multiculturalism and a little more on universal human rights. The fact is, our system of government, law and society in the West is something to be proud of. Concessions cannot be made in favor of Sharia or other such primitive conceptions of society. Bluntly, our societal values are superior and we should not be embarrassed or feel guilty about stating this. We feel shame for the ideals of the Enlightenment at our own peril.

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