Article by H. Farrell that Muses About the Possible Reasons For The Extreme Push Back Against Equality and Feminism, Particularly by Conservative Men
I believe the following is also applicable to many conservative Christians and most Christian Gender Complementarians (with emphasis added by me at various points):
Bari Weiss, an opinion writer and editor at the New York Times, created a stir this week with a long article on a group that calls itself the “Intellectual Dark Web.”
The coinage referred to a loose collective of intellectuals and media personalities who believe they are “locked out” of mainstream media, in Weiss’s words, and who are building their own ways to communicate with readers.
…The truth is rather that dark web intellectuals, like Donald Trump supporters and the online alt-right, have experienced a sharp decline in their relative status over time. This is leading them to frustration and resentment.
To understand the unhappiness of dark web intellectuals, you have to go back in time. The past few years have seen extraordinary changes in how left-wingers, liberals, and liberal centrists understand themselves. But go back a bit further and marriage equality for gay people was a controversial issue, and women’s rights and the status of African Americans in American life were the targets of intellectually lazy speculation.
Precisely because we have changed so much, we have forgotten how bad things used to be.
For decades, contrarianism on questions of race and gender — ranging from opposition to certain feminist projects or to affirmative action, to flirtation with the idea that black culture and even black brains were intrinsically inferior — was part of the intellectual mainstream of the center.
…. Sullivan, Saletan, and others justified themselves by claiming that they were disinterested inquirers pursuing the scientific truth, even if it led them to deeply uncomfortable conclusions. Their enthusiasm for discomfort did not then extend, however, to examining the awkward politics beneath their own contrarianism.
As Philip Kitcher, the famous philosopher of science, suggested back in 2001 in Science, Truth, and Democracy, there is an “epistemic bias” in favor of the sorts of arguments these thinkers embraced.
The repeated outbreaks of fascination with the question of whether women and racial minorities are inherently unequal were not quite the product of the disinterested pursuit of the truth, Kitcher argued; otherwise, the same unpleasant questions would not keep appearing in radically different pseudoscientific forms. Instead, the recurrent interest stems from public and elite eagerness to believe that discrimination against women and minorities was justified.
…Not only was it considered acceptable for pundits to speculate about the limitations of other races or women, or to engage with the nastier corners of the intellectual right, but it was often seen as a good thing — a sign that one was tough-minded and decidedly not beholden to 1960s-era leftism.
Hence, intellectual centrists prided themselves on their political independence from both sides of the political spectrum but were often more at pains to distinguish themselves from the left than from the right.
Now, this has all changed radically. Centrist liberals still have many political blind spots. But writers who suggest that black people are relatively more likely to be stupid are likely to have a much rougher time of it than in the 1990s or the aughts. The same is true for men who call for women who have had abortions to be hanged by the neck until dead.
A group united mainly by its disdain for “multiculturalism”
These changes explain why Weiss and her arm’s-length comrades in arms feel so embattled. What they all share is not a general commitment to intellectual free exchange but a specific political hostility to “multiculturalism” and all that it entails. In previous decades, their views were close to hegemonic in the intellectual center.
….There is also an irritating but genuine grain of truth deep beneath the layers of whining. Campus leftists and their allies in the media are often no more open to alternative perspectives than the New Republic white male elite of two decades ago; they can behave badly too.
But where dark web intellectuals veer from analysis of that phenomenon into self-pity is in their consistent tendency to treat all skeptical criticism of their purported commitment to truth-seeking as further symptoms of political correctness gone mad.
…Dark web intellectuals too have seen their culture invaded by women and minorities. They also have resentments to be capitalized on, and a commitment to rationality that can all too easily be transformed into a commitment to rationalizing their less salubrious political desires.