Valentine’s day encouraging us all to realize the love we long for and honor the love we have, but sex is a conversational taboo America. Sex is supposed to be exciting and fun, but if we can’t even talk about something that’s supposed to bring us joy, how are we supposed to braze topics like STD’s and Sexual Assault? When something is taboo it leaves a lot to be hidden. The media sexualizes everything while stigmatizing sex but rarely discusses safety or etiquette, portraying orgasms as just another consumer product to be bought. Meanwhile nationwide controversy between Sex Ed and abstinence only education spins red tape around school districts trying to accommodate diverse cultural values, and by default, Porn has become the sex education of today. Thus our collective silence leaves this conversation in the hands of pornography producers and advertising executives. Today we dispel cultural myths and jump start an open, healthy, honest conversation to propel us toward the truth.
The community of Missoula, MT has led by example on the issue of sexual assault, and Krakauer’s newest book chronicles the story of the brave women that stood up and made their voices heard. With a $240,000 settlement to Jordan Johnson on behalf of the University in the wake of a budget crisis due to falling enrollment as a result of the University’s mishandling of sexual assaults, denial and minimization of this issue are finally behind us, and a long-overdue discussion can finally begin. Why is our criminal justice system more traumatic for rape survivors than the assault itself? How do stereotypes surrounding this issue of consent create myths that hurt survivors? Is the adversarial legal system the only way to deal with this problem? Why are victims accused of being simplistically “anti football”? The hyper-competitive, every-man-for-himself, dog-eat-dog worldview of individualistic confrontation seems to be the root of the problem, and ignoring it has only made it worse.
Why are football players allowed to rape with impunity? Why does football exist in a realm of pervasive entitlement? On the field, every single mistake a football player makes is pointed out and criticized until corrected, but on the field of real life athletes rarely face similar accountability. A dangerous precedent was set this month when Montana punted a quarter of a million dollars to former Griz quarterback Jordan Johnson, who was found guilty of rape by a University civil court on three separate occasions before being acquitted in District Court. But being found “not guilty” by a jury does not mean the victim lied. If the OJ Simpson trial of 1995 is any indicator, legal innocence does not necessarily equate to moral innocence. Our system promotes chicanery, outright deceit, and egregious misconduct by trial lawyers who are unanswerable to society for behavior that is morally questionable elsewhere. Thankfully, films like “The Hunting Ground” are shedding light on this problem.
An eye-for-an-eye leads to the blindness of all, suggesting why the statue of justice is blindfolded as she holds up her scales. The hierarchical hubris of our present legal system only deals with offenders. It cannot discuss their relationships with their family, victim or community. It defines everything in terms of possessions and money; restitution, compensation, jail time, or community service. How can the force of police, coercion of lawyers, threat of jail and intimidation by judges ever produce harmony? Punishment may actually contribute to the continuation of abuse. Conversely, Restorative Justice works not as a procedure of determining punishment, but as a process of healing. Peacemaking is not concerned with revenge, punishment, control, or moral superiority to apportion blame, but to examine the wider reasons for the wrong. It’s a way of handling disagreements that help mend relationships and provide solutions, addressing the underlying causes of disagreements.
Power corrupts, but hierarchies attract the corruptible. Western insistence for creating hierarchies for everything is a major cause of our problems. Men at the top often show no sense of responsibility whatsoever to the people they are elected to serve, so why do we put them there? We wouldn’t compare the value of a tree with that of a bird, so why do we treat some people better than others? The challenge of reform does not involve creating checks and balances within existing hierarchies, but recognizing that hierarchies are liabilities in and of themselves. Instead of vertical systems that use force to implement decisions, why can’t we return the responsibility for problem solving back to those directly involved with the issues rather than handing it over to powerful strangers? Do we want to take responsibility for our lives together, or exist as helpless subjects individually? No man is an island, and we’re only as strong as our weakest link.
We think that the cutthroat competition of survival of the fittest is the overriding force in nature when cooperation plays at least as big a role. In disasters, most people shed their selfishness to come to the aid of others. Yet everything we see, hear, and read tells us we are not our brother’s keepers, but our brother’s oppressors, and the thought of helping others becomes a foreign concept. What if the violence we visit on one another is not the result of a natural dog-eat-dog predisposition, but the result of being taught to behave in antagonistic ways? To what extent have we been trained in adversarial stances and away from mutual support? Could our institutions be forcing us to deny who we really are? Once we confer the status of law on any worldview we immediately start building it into our institutions. Within the justice system, it is because we have declared survival of the fittest to be the primary law of nature that we elevated legal combat to a high status.
Liberty means responsibility which is why most dread it. If society is determined by popular majority, why are we constrained to obey laws we don’t understand and never approved of? Some might say that such talk will lead us to anarchy, but lawlessness is everywhere. Governments break the law all the time, as do corporations, police, judges, politicians, priests etc. The problem is selective enforcement. It would take a brigade of lawyers several weeks to determine if you are a criminal or not; to discover if you are in violation of one out of the skillions of statutes currently on the books. If what we consider that the law is largely arbitrary, selectively enforced, and frequently hacked, what then, is freedom? If we’re really free, why can’t we do anything without money? For many crushed beneath the Prison Industrial Complex, getting arrested is less expensive than a law degree. They are the Jailhouse Lawyers for whom the pen is mightier than a lock in a sock.
Law is an invention of the strong to chain and rule the weak; it preserves inequality; it is the darling of the dictators and the plague of the people; it jails some for petty technical offenses and keeps others out of jail for enormous crimes. Our challenge is not to create checks and balances within existing hierarchies, but to recognize that hierarchies are liabilities in and of themselves. Mumia writes of a self-made intellectual even more obscure than the jailhouse lawyer who represent themselves in court rooms that seem determined to ignore their unorthodox methods of liberation. They face the derision of career lawyers, the contempt of prosecutors, and cool disdain from judges. They’ve learned the coveted secrets of the law society and use them to combat exploitation and injustice. And there is a growing movement characterized by brave individuals whose inspiring words and actions subvert corruption. They affect tangible results for the concepts they draw upon are authentic.
The power to tax is the power to destroy, and the Income Tax represents the most pernicious and Mafioso form of tyranny. In 1894 the Supreme Court ruled that a tax on your labor is unconstitutional. When an Income Tax was established two decades later, the Supreme Court ruled it granted “no new powers of taxation.” The 16th Amendment was never legally ratified, there is no law requiring the average citizen to pay it, and if you file, you wave your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination. Income taxes don’t even pay for government services, since government existed prior to the launching of the Income Tax in 1913. Furthermore, the Grace Commission concluded in 1984 that, “All individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services taxpayers expect from government…100% of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal Debt.” To comprehend this scam, we’re joined by IRS whistle blowers Sherry Peel Jackson, Joe Banister, and John Turner.
With American student debt surpassing $1.2 Trillion, today’s youth have lost faith in our systems of higher education and millions of graduates aren’t making payments on their loans. Education is not job training. Creativity is more important than technical ability. But today’s economic conditions reemphasize that a rich man goes to college and a poor man goes to work. Economic segregation fuels anti-intellectualism while conflicts of interest and insider influence run rampant in University bureaucracies who now face a crisis of policies as they try to budget cut their way out of the enrollment crisis. Rewarding failure at the top is finally taking its toll. The university system has to be restructured. Student loans must be forgiven, and financial aid needs to be created. If an education makes you a better person, the hurdles need removed. To help us envision and secure the shared dream of Debt Free Degrees, we’re joined by professor Doug Coffin of the University of Montana.
Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid. Is the purpose of education indoctrination or self-empowerment? Throughout history the owners used education as a tool of exploitation by which the intelligent minority could be protected from the trampling of the bewildered herd and keep meddlesome outsiders from interfering in the affairs of the wealthy. Today students purchase degrees instead of receiving educations. But true education awakens creative impulses. Education does not mean to pour bits of information into empty vessels, but to open minds to new perspectives and lead them into a lifetime of learning. Against the grain of schooling, education becomes our defiant refusal to allow the tools of intelligence to be taken away from us; to be dispossessed of our capacity to learn, think and understand. Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I’ll remember; involve me and I’ll understand.
With student loan debt over $1 trillion, it’s clear that higher learning has become a platform to attract consumers rather than necessarily serious students. While it is motivating that higher education is no longer only available to a privileged few, it begs the question: is College an intellectual pursuit or a clever ploy of big business culture to further indebt the people? College tuition has increased more than any other good or service in the US economy since 1978, increasing more than 1000%. The average student racks up $28,950 in debt prior to graduation. And what are those students paying for? Furthermore, how many college grads retain skills they can apply to life if they’re only cramming for multiple choice exams? Perhaps our devotion to college degrees is rooted in the drastic dumbing down of primary and secondary schooling. To establish a foundation for higher education, most college freshman must unlearn much of what they absorbed in secondary school.
Focusing on outliers, the media tend to ignore all that is well, especially when it comes to Missoula’s flagship campus. Not only is it the most beautiful campus in the nation, it offers courses and degrees not available anywhere else, with an overall quality often better than many Ivy League universities. Brandishing the state’s best Art program, the US’s 3rd best English program, 8th best Journalism school, a UM experience entails the same courses available at MIT, taught with the same rigor as Berkeley, with unique opportunities available nowhere else, including the nation’s only Climate Change Studies Minor. UM leads the way in demonstrating that Imagination and creativity are as important as knowledge, opening minds to previously unknown perspectives and developing critical thinking skills enabling a lifetime of self-reliance. This is exemplified by Missoula’s rich art and music culture, strong activism community, and the courage of Missoula’s women to speak up against injustice.
Is the purpose of education to prepare for a life of service to humanity or to become eligible for a job? The business models of higher education continue to cloud our perspectives about what the value of a quality education is. Every year state governments invest a smaller proportion of funds into higher ed, Universities build more buildings to expand their growth models, and students have to make up the difference by going into debt at ever-higher rates of interest. By attempting to build and cut their way to success, administrations make college prohibitively expensive. Our students have become customers, and customers need to be pleased – not challenged. Meanwhile, students become indentured for life while the nation is put in jeopardy. The $1.2 Trillion student-loan debt bubble is a national problem just as serious as the housing bubble. Like housing, student loans are guaranteed by the government, and when this bubble pops, the American taxpayers will be left holding the bill.
To learn who rules over you simply find out whom you are not allowed to criticize. Political Correctness is the oppression of intellectual mobility to silence unpopular views. Disguised as fairness, it attempts to control language and thought. It’s tyranny with a happy face; our newest form of intolerance, insidiously disguised as tolerance. We’ve become so enamored by PC that we’d rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom. We’ve actually begun embracing the idea that an economy in which 1% of the population that controls 90% of the wealth can be construed as ethical and just, provided that 1% is racially and sexually diverse. So the rich can continue to loot so long as a equivalent percentage of them are minorities and women. And to speak out against this obvious coopting of social justice is now deemed inappropriate. But the right to free speech always includes the right to offend, and these rights weren’t designed to make us comfortable; they were designed to keep us free.
Traditionally men proved themselves by procreating, protecting and providing. But these archetypes are no longer relevant, leaving modern men feeling biologically unnecessary. With five times as many men committing suicide as women, custody laws that favor mothers, and the barbaric practice of circumcision on infant males, the assumption of male dominance is dubious. Meanwhile constant headlines about domestic violence, rape culture, and a gender-based wage gap create a climate of indiscriminate intolerance against all males. Boys are treated as defective girls in elementary schools. They’re encouraged to hide their feelings, growing into insecure men living under constant pressure to prove themselves in a world that no longer values their existence. Worst of all, warlike nations subject males to harsh initiations to turn civilian boys into expendable military men. To end violence and gain equality, we must understand the wounds around which masculine character is constructed.
The battle of the sexes is arguably the most effective divide-and-conquer strategy to date. Pitting man against woman creates the maximum possible damage by exploiting the most universal of social relationships. The fallacy of polarity consciousness posits an either/or for gender dominance, allowing misandry (cleverly disguised as egalitarianism) to mimic the worst aspects of patriarchy. But men sit at the very bottom of our dominance hierarchy. There is no group of people for whom there is less sympathy. Equality is always aimed at the top, where a very small number of men are certainly very dominant at the top of a very small number of the most powerful professions. Most men have little power. A few men have lots. Conversations of equality tend to aim toward women in the middle climbing to the top of the most powerful positions of the Imperial order. It has nothing to do with aiding the millions of men barely clinging to the edge of existence. They’re completely ignored.
Today’s fashion suppresses both the true masculine and feminine, so we have a large population of wimpy men and polite women. We have all been unconsciously playing assigned roles in a drama that we were not aware of having created. THE SYSTEM is running us all, and this system does not benefit from the existence of real men. It prefers lap dogs that are eager to please and easy to break; tame, limp men lacking in thunder. This man is not man in any full sense of the word, but a neutralized consumer of corporate tyranny. Many of the personality characteristics that have traditionally been considered “masculine” such as aggression and rationality, are not innate or biological components of maleness, but are products of a historical era in which men have socially assigned the chief roles for themselves in warfare, and now in the qasi-military world of the economic system. The danger of economics is not that it turns women into men, but that it destroys the fullness both genders.
Do western men really make more money than western women? If women make $0.79 for every dollar a man makes, why would any company ever hire men to do anything? Oversimplified wag-gap statistics are repeated with hypnotizing regularity but fail to account for the reasons why they exist. On average men take jobs that are higher pay while women take jobs that give them better lives, and one reason the jobs men work pay more is because they are more hazardous: firefighting, logging, trucking, mining, roofing, garbage collecting, construction; Men work where there is a greater potential for death, 94% of occupational deaths occur to men, and modern men live 8 years fewer than their female counterparts. Furthermore, many men pay for children they never see, homes they no longer live in, and alimony payments to their former wives, which in-turn forces them to work additional jobs that are often dangerous so they can make that extra money, but these aspects of the conversation go unspoken.
Today, the prevailing ideology among contemporary feminist leaders can be termed Ideological/Gender Feminism, and unlike the Humanist Feminism of previous centuries, it lacks a grassroots constituency. Its ideologues are united in a principled hostility to all males who are perceived as clutching to patriarchal privileges. Humanistic/Equity Feminism demanded for women the same rights for women that men enjoyed, concentrated on legal reforms, and sought specific and achievable ends. It did not promote a gynocentric stance, and early feminist leaders like Susan B. Anthony grounded their demands on enlightenment principles of individual justice and the importance of the human being. They never emphasized the importance of the women’s point of view as the whole picture, nor did they exploit the power of victim status to justify superior entitlements. NeoFeminism is badly in need of scrutiny, and exposing its hypocrisy will not jeopardize the achievements of yesteryear’s Humanist Feminism.
Why did Feminist icon Gloria Steinem work for the CIA? Why did the CIA fund Ms. Magazine? Why did the Rockefeller Foundation fund Women’s Lib? To double the taxpaying workforce and force children into schooling at a younger age, in turn also deconstructing families and stripping men of their civil rights. Before WWII, women could choose to work or not. Now they increasingly have no choice. They must work for a wage. This social engineering disrupts family life with the resulting negative effects on children and relationships. NeoFeminism is a clever divide-and-conquer attack on the masses that is disastrous for relationships between men and women. Gynocentrism seems to be the ruling ideology of today. Its NeoFeminist ideologues resort to violent bullying and authoritarian tactics to police language and silence opposing points of view, thereby discrediting genuine human rights issues. The SCUM manifesto and #KillAllMen twitter campaign exemplify the toxicity of this poisonous ideology.
When we think of Domestic Violence, we think of the battered wife. We never think of the battered husband. Despite shallow misconceptions and constant propaganda, a thorough analysis of the data reveals that women beat up their male partners just as often and are more likely to employ weapons. Men don’t voice the abuse due to embarrassment and fear of not being believed. Forbidding violence against women is part of the male code, but the Duluth Model espoused by mainstream institutions dogmatically states that violence is inherent to only male biology and women are always innocent victims. This bias against men buttresses the Abuse Industries (counselors, prisons, police) which maintain themselves by defining innocuous behaviors as domestic violence. This trivializes actual instances of physical attacks, belittles legitimate victims, and mystifies the masses with the blatant lie that women are incapable of violence. But the facts, data and testimonies reveal a very different story.
Mother is the wellspring of life from whom our operating systems are programmed and our conceptions of the world are shaped. If mother is psychologically abusive, profound social problems emerge. Maternal Narcissists can be described as sadistic emotional vampires who manipulate you then feed off your pain, and the baby boom generation produced a huge number of them. Divorce drove a wedge into families and made tug-of-war children. A burgeoning population of narcissistic mothers had children for the wrong reasons, as accessory extensions of her ego. They share many traits with sociopaths and borderline personalities. They lack empathy yet always play victim. They are cruel yet astonishingly hypocritical. They’re charming in public yet terrifying at home. Guilt is her favorite tool, and she never apologizes. She is a parent in name only. Her children only exist to supply her material needs as she is disconnected from their emotional needs. This phenomena produced a tormented generation.
Honest struggle between men and women is less comfortable but more loving than false peace. When we do not express our anger, we simmer in silent hostility and hone our defenses against each other while talking about peace. For men and women to love each other we must respect each other’s anger as a part of the dance of love. We think that for humanity to come into balance, that masculinity must be diminished and femininity elevated, but rising to power for women has nothing to do with diminishing men because the historical subjugation of women did not increase the power of men. But modern feminism believes that now it is the feminine’s turn to take advantage of men. The natural step is into anger and revenge, so the western culture has stripped masculinity out of men. So long as we do not break out of the ideological way of dealing with human alienation by assigning blame, we perpetuate a diagnosis that leads us to treat the disease in a way that makes it worse rather than better.
Sexual advances remain a male responsibility leading boys to be mistrusted and rejected by women. For men, rejection and sexual identity go hand in hand. Rather than taking rejections personally, men objectify women because it hurts less to be rejected by an object. But objectification alienates women. Reinforcing men’s addiction to women’s bodies and then depriving men of their fix only makes them feel less than, and powerless against women. The result is sexual paralysis. Many men are now too afraid to advance but are still expected to initiate. At the same time, exaggerated claims of the increase of rapes and minimizing the number of false sexual assault reports magnifies women’s distrust of men. False reporting is what led to the inevitable circus that became the pages of Krakauer’s Misoula. It is because 60% of sexual assaults reports are statistically false that the Missoula justice system acted the way it did, but it’s easier to play the blame game than it is to dig for nuance.
Following a deep analysis of Jon Krakauer’s newest publication, we’ve emphasized the importance of Restorative Justice programs as a succinct answer to the question, “Where does Missoula go from here?” It seems obvious that merely throwing people in jail is simply not a realistic or ethical solution to sexual assault if our goal is making our communities safer or ending longstanding patterns of abuse. Now a comprehensive restorative justice program is being built in the Garden City thanks to the efforts of a few determined Missoulians, one of whom is Brenda Erdelyi, a licensed clinical social worker and president of MSOTA: the Montana Sex Offender Treatment Association. She’s worked with persons convicted of sex offenses since 2009 and has spearheaded the effort to organize an historic opportunity, assembling two of the nation’s leading practitioners in the field of restorative justice striving toward a world with no more victims, where no one is disposable, and no one does it alone.