Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Naturalist Fallacy

VoxDay writes:

Rodger was, quite literally, beneath Moio [Monette]’s notice in junior high school. Like many pretty, popular girls do, she probably expressed her amusement and disdain when Rodger, a gamma at best, attempted to interact with her in some clumsy manner. There would be no reason for her to remember doing so, she probably treated every boy of insufficient socio-sexual rank at school the same way. Nor can she be reasonably criticized for behaving in that manner, as it is as much a natural aspect of establishing and policing the socio-sexual hierarchy as the alpha boys pushing around the deltas and the low deltas tormenting the omegas.

Vox is too philosophically astute to conflate "natural" with "good" or "right".  But the alternative meaning -- "Sh!t happens." -- isn't very useful.  One might as well assert that every alleged link in the long, sorry chain leading up to this tragedy is "natural".  Certainly the population variance in stability, sociability, and even narcissism is natural.  The low-intensity torment inflicted on him by everyone who came across him, male and female alike, was natural.  Given these priors, perhaps even his violent lash-out was natural, as certainly as were society's late efforts to hunt him down.

So, "natural" isn't much help.  Alternatively, would "virtue" have made a difference?

By way of analogy, let me turn to the SAPR slides from last week.  One of the qualities that sexual predators allegedly look for in potential victims is social isolation.  I don't claim to know how many women are actually isolated socially (at least, women the sight of whom any level of intoxication would induce me to think, "Mmm, sexual assault . . ."  YMMV.)  But unfortunately, the program was so focused on scoring points against feminist's enemies that it missed the obvious point:  loneliness and despair are terrible places to abandon people, yet all too commonly this is exactly where they get abandoned.

Steve writes, "Maybe they [women] could kinda tell."  Sorry, Steve, but I'm calling bullsh!t on this one.  The prisons are full of convicted serial killers getting sacks of love letters.  Women don't reject psychopathy and narcissism.  Women reject weakness, and it is weakness that every aspect of Elliot's sorry life broadcast to the world.  It is weakness that got him picked on by his roommates and dismissed by total strangers.  And it was the aura of weakness that his orgy of violence ultimately sought to dispel.

So, to hell with "natural".  If you want to combat sexual assault (and mass murder), practice virtue instead.  Expand the circle, don't constrict it.  If you are female, use your social standing to include that friendless girl in the group, not exclude her.  If you male, use your charisma to invite that awkward boy in, not bully him away.  Would this have made a difference in Elliot's case?  Probably not; Elliot's was a particularly difficult case.  But it sure beats another round of whining about guns/misogyny/movies/FPSGs.  Because that definitely won't work.

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