Dress Code Ethics: The Jet Blue Affair

Maggie flying (above) and performing (below)

Maggie flying (above) and performing (below)

JetBlue has a line in its contract of carriage that gives its employees the power to refuse to fly passengers who try to board a plane wearing clothing that is “lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.” Based on that vague standard, Seattle-based burlesque performer Maggie McMuffin was refused seating on a JetBlue flight from Boston’s Logan International Airport last month when the airline’s gate agents refused to let her board  until she changed her shorts. Maggie told a local CBS affiliate that an airline employee said her outfit was “not appropriate” according to the flight crew and pilot. Now Maggie is taking advantage of the situation to get some cheap publicity and maybe an interview or two, while embarrassing JetBlue. You can read more details in Slate’s story here.

Ah, dress codes! They are conduct rules put in place by businesses and institutions because some people have no manners, sense of place, consideration for others or respect, and these codes never, ever, work in the long run, because some people have no manners, sense of place, consideration for others or respect.

Once upon a time, children, adults going out into public dressed with taste and modesty as an expression of respect to others, including strangers, that they might meet. The Sixties destroyed this cultural consensus by questioning manners, decorum, conformity, dignity, and respect for others, especially anybody over thirty. Do your own thing! Let it all hang out! Today, a half century later,  people nonchalantly wear flip-flops to the opera and church, while the obese passenger sitting next to you on an airplane may be wearing a tank-top, and hasn’t  bathed in a week.

Of course Maggie McMuffin—I’m sure that’s her real name—wasn’t dressed appropriately to fly. (That’s her outfit above to the left–I assume she was wearing her head…) She was definitely dressed appropriately to draw attention to herself as burlesque performers (a.k.a “strippers”) are wont to do, and that was her intent. The JetBlue agreement, however, doesn’t say its employees can kick you off the plane for dressing inappropriately—like in a scuba suit, a bunny costume, or as Dracula. It says “lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.”  Whatever you can say about Maggie’s travel garb, it isn’t “lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.” JetBlue was wrong: unfair, incompetent, foolish. Unethical.

Of course, Maggie was also wrong, but wrong in a way that carries scant and inadequate social consequences today. Thus others less tasteful than Maggie will stretch tolerance a bit further and a bit further yet. Recently women have been parading in public bare-breasted, protesting for the right to do so. I am sure they’ll win this battle, if they persevere. (That will be bad for Maggie’s trade, I’m guessing) Manners and good taste can’t be legislated or enforced except by peer pressure and social consequences.

Even if JetBlue tried to enforce its dress code reasonably, publicity-seeking rebels would be able to shred it with ease. WHY is a bikini “obscene”? If the same amount of skin can be seen in commercials and TV shows around the clock, how can anyone claim they are patently offensive?

We can’t make people be considerate, respectful or modest. All we can do is make fair conclusions about those who are not. Among those fair conclusions is that their judgment and values can’t be trusted.

[ Note: I can’t pass up this opportunity to say something positive about Donald Trump. He always dresses appropriately. In this day and age, that’s something.]

___________________

Pointer: Fred

Facts: Slate

30 thoughts on “Dress Code Ethics: The Jet Blue Affair

  1. “burlesque performers (a.k.a “strippers”)”

    Sorry Jack, this just shows your ignorance about burlesque. If you think that burlesques performers are strippers then you haven’t been to a strip club or a burlesque show recently.

    As to the shorts she has on , no one should ever fly wearing shorts. I always wear long trousers, usually jeans, and a cotton shirt or two plus heavy leather shoes. Why? Because in a case of a fire I wont something between my skin and the flames.

    • Oh, don’t keep us in suspense, Bill, what IS a burlesque show performer named Maggie McMuffin?

      From her own website:

      Drawing inspiration from past and present pop culture, Maggie combines comedic flair with the gritty dance moves of 1970’s strip clubs. Known as The Pelvis of Justice, she’s here to hip-thrust her way into your heart. Maggie has performed repeatedly in Portland, Oregon (including the 2nd Annual Oregon Burlesque Festival) and has been featured in the Great Burlesque Exposition in Boston (Main Event 2014, Friday Night Bordello 2015). She is the 2015 winner of ‘Dirty, Dirty Stripper’ at the Seattle Burlesque Games. Iva Handfull awarded her ‘Best Overall Performance’ at the So You Think You Can Iva Competition, an informal dance off that Maggie took very seriously.

      OK—“glorified stripper.”

      • You need to do some in person research.

        I will reluctantly accompany you to a strip club and then to a burlesque show so you can acquire the proper perspective.

        With strippers they come on take off what little they are wearing and then commence to display themselves in such a way that would make their GYN blush.

        With a burlesque performer its all about anticipation and then the revel using classic burlesque moves, music and comedy. The revel is usually just a flash, if that, and never complete nudity.

  2. Jack,
    The general thrust of the article is fine, but this — “while the obese passenger sitting next to you on an airplane” — sparked my ire (a little). Why does it matter if (s)he is obese? The attire is either appropriate or it isn’t, one’s physical appearance or body time should make no matter.

    I understand that this was an off-handed comment, but it would be akin to me complaining that the bald (wo)man sitting next to me wasn’t appropriately covering their head.

    • I guess you don’t fly. I have, many times, been stuffed between two 300 lb + passengers requiring my shoulders to be folded together so they touch. Nice people, but they also need to pay first class, or find a non-full flight. I didn’t complain. But it is horribly uncomfortable, and not my fault.

      However, the post was about clothing, not weight. “may be wearing a tank-top, and hasn’t bathed in a week.” was the key part of teh snetence. If I had written “while the teenaged passenger sitting next to you on an airplane may be wearing a tank-top, and hasn’t bathed in a week”, would you assume I was complaining about teenagers, given the context?

  3. I am ambivalent about this obesity reference. As someone who is, by actuarial standards as well as appearance, considered obese, I found that my “size-ism” radar became activated when I read the statement. It should have been sufficient to mention the tank top and extended lack of deodorant use. Size discrimination is perhaps the last relatively acceptable form of discrimination. However, I work hard at protecting my family, friends, and random strangers from being forced to look at the less appealing aspects of my size, and many times I wish that others of my body type would do the same as I don’t particularly enjoy looking at them. I know that’s my choice, and others may choose to do otherwise. And as Jack knows, this is not a lack of self confidence on my part. I happily choose other avenues to express my individuality of appearance. (But we won’t discuss the time I dressed up as Groucho Marx and went around singing funny songs.)

    You wrote: “The attire is either appropriate or it isn’t, one’s physical appearance or body time (sic) should make no matter.” Again, my own opinion, but certain articles of clothing may be “appropriate” on some people and not on others. The balance between decorum and personal choice is delicate, and depends upon so many factors. Appropriate is in the eye of the beholder? Yep. Patently offensive? Same. Cultural standards for lewd or obscene clothing are a bit more objective.

    • Patrice: “It should have been sufficient to mention the tank top and extended lack of deodorant use. Size discrimination is perhaps the last relatively acceptable form of discrimination.”

      I expect Jack would agree in general. However, where size is a legitimate issue is on an airplane. In a cramped space, size matters. I am generally not one to complain, but my last flight involved sitting next to someone while holding an infant. That person probably qualified as obese; her size invaded my space; I think she also had short sleeves (not like a tanktop though), so physical contact was inevitable.

      I don’t recall any smell issues, though. 🙂

      So, I think Jack’s comment about size is a fair one. Some suggest that a large person should purchase two seats out of consideration for the personal space of other passengers. I am not one of those people, but, at the same time, I did not enjoy that flight very much.

      -Jut

      • I agree. When I fly, which isn’t often nowadays as I am now too terrified to fly unless it’s unavoidable, I work very hard to smoosh my ample body into the space allotted to me, hoping that I will be the only one in my aisle who is uncomfortable. But I am also diligent about deodorant.

  4. I think I’d rather have Maggie sitting next to me rather than some 300 lb slob who stank wearing a tank top. One time many years ago I had to sit next to a young man who was probably developmentally disabled at a Broadway Show who stank to high heaven. Apparently, the adult who was accompanying him didn’t care about the problem and how it might affect other people.

  5. Jack writes: “Whatever you can say about Maggie’s travel garb, it isn’t “lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.” JetBlue was wrong: unfair, incompetent, foolish. Unethical.”

    Based on the photo you posted I’d disagree. It looks not like shorts but like she is has stripped down to her panties. I can tell you that in the Jewish community, the religious community, I grew up in that get up would be seen as appallingly vulgar and obscene. (I grew up wearing skirts down to my ankles). But I am certain that many other people, religious and not religious, both men and women, would consider her outfit over-the-top. All over Latin America that I can say for sure. I would argue the airline was in the right to be concerned for the sensibilities of other people. Pure common sense.

    I know that you may be able to come up with some gymnastics to avoid the comparison, but the teacher’s contract discussed a few posts down, that is a valid legal contract, right? And it states specific things, though vaguely described, that the teacher mustn’t do because it might embarrass the school and inhibit their teaching effort. And you stand behind those who wrote this contract and say that the teacher has to respect it.

    Here, the airline includes a totally common-sense clause that, up till the very recent present, would be understood by most everyone, likely over 8/9ths of the Earth. In order to get on their transport you have to agree to the contractual terms. So far so good.

    The pilot, who is the captain and the authority, seems to have decided that her attire bent the rules too much, and the request was made merely that she change her shorts. I see no wrong at all.

  6. When my mother wasn’t in the car, my father always blew a kiss in the general direction of The Hudson, the last operating old-time burlesque theater in the world (he said, without having recourse to Google in the 1950s) every time we drove past Union City, NJ on the way to the Lincoln Tunnel or the GW Bridge. I asked if I could go when I grew up and was sidetracked by being introduced to the incomparable Abbott and Costello act Who’s On First which the duo had premiered at Minsky’s Burlesque Theater. We tried to do it ourselves but it cracked us up so badly that I don’t think we ever got through the whole thing. Nothing that funny, my dad said, could ever be associated with anything bad. Well, he was wrong. I caught some acts later on and they were pretty sleazy but the truth was that burlesque, a successor to vaudeville, had outlived its usefulness.

    The history of this fascinating theatrical form shows it to have been a potpourri of music, comedy, drama and sex (it must be said: not generally of the highest caliber and strictly for men) and it did its American best to entertain as it evaded the police and the killjoys. Here’s a brief background: http://www.musicals101.com/burlesque.htm

  7. What an interesting experience it has been and is to participate in this ethics discussion blog. On one hand I notice a *defect* in myself: I take ideas seriously. Ideas Have Consequences (Richard Weaver’s famous title and an entire philosophical perspective in a nutshell). I am quite deeply affected by what people say.

    Here, on this blog, I am learning what happens to people when they lose their moorings, and having become unmoored, lose the ability to define a solid principle, and one that can be lived in accord with, one that moulds how they live life. What I notice is that if a person cannot define a metaphysical platform, cannot make concrete statements about the nature of this reality, about this *stuff* in which we are occurring, about purposes for life, and all the rest, then that person is adrift. The conceptual structure that a person has is like a rudder. That person, while still an author of his or her life, is no longer a principled director of it, and this is what it means to become subject to ‘contingency’. In my view, and without wishing to offend or to say anything to be taken as untoward, this is Jack’s position. What I mean is that you, Jack, do not seem to have a solid platform. The ethics you define is the relationship of a people in a given moment to norms and usages. But these are always changing. It stands to reason that were you to have been writing on ethics say 50 years ago that the content and focus of your ethics would be, as it were, a snapshot of that ethical moment in time. Now, in 2016, it is that of 2016 in America. In 2026 who knows what ethics you might define? I say this with all the respect I can muster. But you could not put up such a blog and not expect for people, or a person, not to attemot a crititique (or eulogy) of your ethical position. What I say I say with respect.

    Your ethics are defined not so much through definiton of principles but more or less strictly, or solely, through ‘the laws of the land’. Yet because this is so I do not see how you could define your position as ‘conservative’. What has defined conservatism, and certainly one notices this in paleoconservatism, is the clear enunciation of a platform of values. I now understand better how confused and unsure all of this is. But what I am evermore clear about is that ‘progressivism’ is an across-the-board unmooring from restraints that are defined philosophically. A liberal-progressive culture defines itself through the processes of unmooring.

    I now understand with more clarity that, if push came to shove, I’d have to say that, for me, I could not and don’t want to live out of either contingency or an unprincipled philosophical perspective, and I am noticing with clarity I did not previously possess, that it is within this conflict that the so-called ‘culture war’ rages. A polarity can be defined and it is helpful to do so. Although only a simple-minded person would not recognize many layers of complexity, I sense there is a certain simplicity to the issue overall. I am speaking to much larger issues than merely some unconscious, sex-dreaming woman who wants to get on a plane dressed in underclothes (which ridicules and mocks the whole concept of ‘right’ which must have to do with the soveregnty of the individual in far more important questions and social problems), and to a whole structure of decadence and degeneration that is, in my view, ripping through the body-politic. Yes, I will be laughed at for showing these concerns, and in that reaction – the ridicule, the critique, the wall of defense – one notices a core element: coercion. To participate in a hyper-liberal forum, and so many fora are dominated by hyper-liberals (‘unmoored progressives’ is a better term), and let’s suppose you do not have or cannot define a solid base within your own principles, you will be asked to ‘go with the flow’ that carries them along. But it is more: you will be guilt-tripped and mind-f**ked through their sophistries and their rhetoric to be swept down in the current that pulls them.

    So, you want to get all nostalgic about burlesque shows? (Sorto of speaking to Pennagain here). To trace, even with a structured website, the path by which you sexually corrupt your women? It is precisely that and nothing more. It is not ‘liberation’, and it is not ‘freedom’, but it is the male eye and the male will that abandons its internal structure of self-control and, step by step, turns the women in his life into pornographic performers. It starts minimally at one point in time, and bit by incrimental bit, it evolves. It might take 50 or even 100 years but the effect will manifest. And then you have the glorious porn culture which you cannot any longer resist. One wants to ask, a little bitterly, a little rhetorically, ‘But what do you care?’ Why should you care. When people start to live in the moment, that is exactly what living in contingency means. They cease to care how even their small actions, the attitudes they give off and which are noticed by others, instructs others in how to behave. Then of course we hear the lamentations. ‘What has been lost!’ ‘What’s happened to our values?’ Oh woe is me. And by investing in corruption and – to be quite specific – in perversions, it seems that people are unable to make the connection that if it is allowed in one area it will inevitably creep into all areas.

    Seduction.

    The thing is, it is maddeningly difficult to define a platform that makes sense and can be articulated to oppose it. It can be done, let’s say, through a rationalistic Platonic discourse. But since few have been raised up within that structure, and the education system unless it is a private institution, seems to have become unmoored from such philosopical grounding such that to speak in such terms is to speak gobbledeegook. I am reminded of Brave New World when citations of Shakespeare are interpreted – can only be interpreted – as an invitation to OrgyPorgy. ‘Oh come now, Alizia, we are serious people here! Professionals! Leaders and guides of culture! You don’t come here and give US a moral lecture!’

    That is pretty much what it comes down to when speaking to a corrupted intellectual culture, and this is of course my quandary. Far younger (apparently) than most of you-plural, you are the ones that have it all figured out. The ones with the authority of years. I should come to you for instruction. I should come to you and receive moral instruction. You should provide me with the tools and inspiration to reclaim solidity in principles. But *you-plural* don’t have it to give. Essentially, following your directives, I will be led toward the contingency which claims *you*. (This *you* is an unfair and misapplied – as are all generalisms – attempt to speak not only to *you* but to a trend that is occuring not only in my own culture of America, but worldwide).

    Apparently, though I do not have this all figured out, one of the first orders of seduction is sexual seduction. The erotic pervades afterall the entire world in which we live (speaking in Greek philosophical and metaphysical terms). Now I begin to understand that there is a reason why tremendous restraining power is applied to human sexuality. But when the male will, and that will was and has been the author of restraint in social and cultural systems, when that will gets unmoored what exactly happens is that man turns his wife and his daughters into porn whores. The Hugh Hefner effect you might call it. And when the women of a culture have been seduced and corrupted, I suggest that that culture can be said to have really lost its way. Sure, everyone laughs if you mention ‘purity of women’ and such. Yet it appears to be true. You desire your women to serve culture, to fulfil a role at the center of the family, to show what it is to be upstanding and incorruptable, and then you intentionally and wilfully set corruption in motion, and the corruption os of the body, and of the social body, and of the spirit and the mind. It is all written on the wall.

    Laugh at me, ridicule me all you want. I am stronger than you. In the end you will, of course, get what it is you are willing. This is what interests me: How corruption enters in, does its work, and – not to be too romantic and exaggerating – lays waste to everything that is of value. But this corruption takes many years to do its work. That’s the historical lesson, isn’t it? Or is all that a mere story?

    The lesson I get, taken overall, is to resist and counter-propose to what I largely see happening in my own culture. In all fairness to those who want to pigeon-hole me (I always try to help my ‘enemies’ to beter *locate* me, then at least their attacks make more sense), am likely philsophically, and our of religious solidarity, sharing the perspective of Pat Buchanan. Not so much in specifics (I cannot see Ronald Reagan as a moral leader and Buchanan eulogized him in ways that make no sense to me), but overall, as he defines his vision in his various books. ‘Suicide of. Super Power’, ‘The Death of the West’, ‘A Republic Not an Empire’ (I have not read them, just glosses, and I don’t know much about Buchanan really).

    Jack said to me some weeks back that my ideas will lead to conflict, enmity and to civil war (I am paraphrasing). This threw me a curve ball and I had to think it through. Yes. Now I understand better. The more solid and the more founded are one’s principles, the more one becomes responsible to them. It is a rule of life I guess. The one who cannot define values, canot live in accord with them, and by definition drifts away …

    I know that this seems like the wrong place for this diatribe (not quite Jeremiad!) and it must be seen in the context of all the writing on all the various topics I have done here over the last year of more. Take it for what it is worth.

    • (Sorto of speaking to Pennagain here). And just when I was beginning to think you had something perceptive to say. Instead, you mouth (albeit in your usual obscurantist manner) the mantra of the ever-victimized feminist, missing (deliberately, I wonder?) every point made. You certainly missed the fact that I made your main point for you, without being sexist about it and rather more succinctly.

      You give pedantic lectures; I tell stories. The point of the story — pay attention now! — had to do with the connection of two different pastimes, baseball and theater, by means of an unlikely catalytic reaction: baseball as embedded in a brilliant piece of comedy and the humor embedded historically in a particular form of theater.

      I was relating the background leading up to the famous routine which I do still enjoy – as does every child introduced to the rudiments of the sport who has learned to appreciate word-play; it was my father’s memory that waxed nostalgic — he was born at the turn of the century … the last century … about which popular culture, apparently, you know nothing. Your loss.

      • I suppose I just have to accept that my perspectives come – to rob your metaphor – from out of the ballpark if not out of the solar system. ‘Pedantic’ hurts but when I think about it ‘puritanical’ might hurt even more. But anyway I was really speaking to things that extend beyond any particular immediacy.

        Here’s the deal: the people I have been hanging out with are mostly of a philosophical orientation and are quite serious about their thinking. Also, they are mostly all Europeans and there is much more inclination to deal in and speculate in philosophical terms.

        I said in what I wrote that (it seems to me) one has to be able to make statements about the *stuff* in which we are occurring, and that means ‘material nature’. In Sanskrit that is ‘prakriti’. This is an Indo-European philosophical and existential nomenclature. You can though find it mirrored in Greek philosophy. The Phaedrus specifically. And there is an interesting allegory with the Katha Upanishad.

        I would rather define the essence of what I attempt to communicate in more exalted philosophical and also metaphysical terms, though I know that the sound of this grates. I have come to understand that the ONLY WAY to recover real and bona fide conservatist principles is the redefine, from the ground up, the nature of the Reality in which we are manifest. One REQUIRES a metaphysical basis upon which to construct a praxis. I am sort of sorry that this must sound so outlandish. But the (I admit) idealistic people that I hang with see things in these terms. I guess you’d have to say that ultimately we are religionists of a sort.

        But what I was talking about – heaven forbid – was not a result of a feminist philosophy. Ultimately, the philosophy that interests me is masculinist, even ‘patriarchal’. The higher impulses, and in platonic terms the ‘spiritual self’ that directs the ‘chariot’ that a man drives (his body within this manifestation) is masculine. It is the material nature – the world – that is feminine. In this metaphor man is seduced away from duty by the material nature: that is, the erotic. However, the erotic pervades Reality, that is just a fact, and so the ‘properly oriented man’ consciously directs eroticism within appropriate cultural channels. Man must control the material nature in himself, and if you really took this down to the brass tacks it means to control the female and the feminine.

        Feminism (pushing the metaphor) can be seen in Vedic terms as demoniac. When the feminine nature begins to direct the masculine nature it leads to all sorts of unhealthy and ultimately destructive impulses. Woman serves herself by serving ‘man’ in this sense. And it is properly oriented man that has constructed the entire world that we value for woman (essentially).

        I am sorry if this appears pedantic or totally off the wall. But at the very least please understand that I am taking my Ethics seriously, and I am attempting to locate the metaphysical bases. It is quite difficult because, and as you note, it all touches on authoritarianism. Platonism, in The Republic, is (to our ears today) almost a fascistic proposition. And it is true that if you really followed forward aspects of what I am writing about, you would rapidly discover a very serious side to it. In the medical world, as you know, there is such a think as ‘poisonous medicine’. But the same is so in the cultural world. Radical or hyper-liberalism will and does eventually lead to social decadence, and decadence to destruction. Spenglarian perspective. To cure hyper-liberalism will require radical postures. We will either choose it consciously or it will come upon us as a result of our unconsciousness.

        The undermining of Value comes about through the undermining of intelligent relationship to a sound metaphysics. The undermining of the feminine and the female – desacralizing to put it concretely – has come about through distorted metaphysics. It touches on nescience. To bring this back to The Phaedrus: man has to revisualize his situation all over again and understand how to take it seriously. That is what I am attempting to communicate. It has to do with higher principle, and to get it, I think, requires work. It is not a game. (This is how I understand ‘imperatives’).

        I know this is outrageous sounding. But there you have it.

      • If you don’t find it too irritating I wanted to include a song that I think expresses a far more ‘proper’ attitude toward woman. A Kurdish friend of mine who lives in Germany is a fan of this band from the 60s and is often sending me links. This is a Celtic band I understand and the message seems, to me anyway, very ancient, very European-pagan. (https://youtu.be/xZ8Lyd8wRHQ)

        But the important line is:

        The seasons they change
        But with a gaze unchanging
        Oh deep-eyes sisters is it you I see?
        And the seeds of beauty
        That you bear within you
        Of unborn children
        Glad and free.

        Within your fingers
        The Fates are spinning,
        The sacred binding of the yellow grain.
        Scattered we were
        When the long night was breaking,
        But in bright morning,
        Converse again.
        __________________

        If with these various posts, and the rhetorical charge of lyrics as this, I have not succeeded in communicating the specific *value* I’d hoped to, then I never will and it is hopeless.

  8. This paragraph needs correction:

    “The lesson I get, taken overall, is to resist and counter-propose to what I largely see happening in my own culture. In all fairness to those who want to pigeon-hole me (I always try to help my ‘enemies’ to beter *locate* me, then at least their attacks make more sense), I am likely, philosophically and out of some religious solidarity, sharing the perspective of Pat Buchanan. Not so much in specifics (I cannot see Ronald Reagan as a moral leader and Buchanan eulogized him in ways that make no sense to me), but overall, as he defines his vision in his various book: ‘Suicide of. Super Power’, ‘The Death of the West’, ‘A Republic Not an Empire’ (I have not read them, just glosses, and I don’t know much about Buchanan really).”

    • Alizia, instead of assuming people who disagree with your ideas of appropriate dress and human sexuality have no “solid principles,” maybe you should consider that they do, and that those principles are very different from your own.

      You are right that there are certain universal, unchanging moral truths. But dress codes quite obviously have nothing to do with those, and are completely defined contextually within a given culture.

      • That is an example of a sophistical argument in my view. Various groups of predicates support every element of what I wrote, and these are common predicates, not outlandish ones. For example they are common predicates of Platonic and Aristotelian discourse. In almost every ethical and moral system of which I have looked into the same general principles are articulated (put in straight terms it is that ‘a man does not turn his daughter into a whore’ or give her up as sexual merchandise, etc. etc.)

        The ‘different principles’ that you would send up, and their predicates, are naturally ones that could be debated, that is true. Yet I suggest that my argument and the principles I value and articulate would win over yours since, as it appears, you are not really making any sort of argument, just asserting that relativism exists. You ‘argue from circumstance’.I don’t think that this is the place, nor the proper format, for the fine-tuning of the philosophical and existential arguments or there extended debate. My posts, and this recent post, is nothing more than a *response* as it were to a general atmosphere, not only here but generally, to what I see going on around me. It is, if you will, an articulation of my reaction. As I say I am interested in articulating a solid philosophical position of conservative reaction.

        The arguments supporting liberalism, hyper-liberalism and the strains of ‘progressivism’ that I have come in contact with are not very substantial, and therefor I have concluded overall that they are weak arguments.

        What is the base of these ‘universal, unchanging truths’ you speak of? I mean, how do you support them? Would you say that the ‘preexist’ or are they invented? Agreements as it were?

        • “Yet I suggest that my argument and the principles I value and articulate would win over yours since, as it appears, you are not really making any sort of argument, just asserting that relativism exists.”

          Very rich. You aren’t making any sort of argument either–you’ve done nothing to defend the ethics of your position, you’ve simply made an appeal to tradition.

          • I wrote what I think is an articulate essay on the topic. What I’d like to see from you is a similar, independent, full-bodied essay of your views on that or any other topic. We are not going to work out our differences here, you have to dismiss that as impossible. In this environment the best that one can do is to try to exteriorize one’s thoughts and views.

            The format of this blog does not allow the development of long arguments, and it is as if one is writing on a wall that continually sinks away. Also, my essay was largely rhetorical since I consider most of the principles I defneded as more or less established. I do know that they are certainly contested and challenged, and I am aware of other positions, even within feminism (‘sex positive’, etc etc.) Certainly I am articulating a traditionalist ethics. That’s just a fact. But if you have a different view why don’t you take the time to write a thoughtful and considered piece?

            What I am trying to do – and I will do it as respectfully as I can and hope that what I do does not seriously bother Jack or anyone else – is use this Blog and the topics that come up in it as something to confront. The project of defeating hyper-liberalism and a vast network of mistaken ideas an misconceptions, I see this much more clearly now, is one that takes a great deal of time and energy. I mean to really overturn the ‘arguments’ on which it is based (it is by and large emotionally-based and supported by vague value-assertions IMV). I am both inexpert at this and simply not experienced enough to succeed as I feel I can succeed at my project. I don’t think I need to feel embarrassed by my limitations though. And trust me on this point: I am making serious efforts to gain understanding.

            I start from a bold premise though: That ‘liberalism’ and neoprogressivism is, in many different ways, a disease of thinking. If that is so I can then proceed to the next axiom: that the structure of ideas people have established for this psuedo-ideology, this mistaken ideology, is substantially built on lies, distortions and falsehoods. But that this structure of falsity has a certain cogency, and ‘convinces’ many, but on the basis of emotional appeals. I HAVE to do this at this point in order to have the distance to build up my ideas. Many of these ‘ideas’ I myself have bought into. I am going to dig my way out of that hole.

            You mentioned that you think there are ‘universals’: How would you speak of them? What are they? How did you arrive at them?

          • “We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way out. Our duty is to hold onto the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of the door at Pompeii, who, during the eruption of Versvius, died at his post because they forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honourable end is the one thing that cannot be taken from a man”.

            —Oswald Spengler

            • One universal moral truth I hold, Alizia, is that all people have inherent equal rights.

              You don’t believe this, since you are an authoritarian who believes your own gender to be inferior to mine. I don’t think there is any chance of a productive conversation happening between us; it isn’t as if I’ve never heard your arguments for inequality before, or as if they haven’t been tested and found wanting.

              • Why does THAT declaration not surprise me? I would very much like to hear you explain why that is true, and what makes it true.

                Still, in numerous but not all senses I do not as an apriori – I mean if the Universe is our model – accept that ‘all people have inherent equal rights’. It is the conversation ABOUT all that that is interesting, Chris. It is what makes a site like this worthwhile: to see how people organize their ideas on things.

                You don’t know what I ‘believe’, and you likely will not ever find out, because your listening equipment is damaged. It is an intentional or an applied defect. You desire not to hear. You block your ears. I cannot say that it is a specifically ‘liberal’ or progressive defect exclusively, but it is a shameful one, IMHO.

                The notion of authoritarianism is very interesting and the entire idea and problem of how we determine authority is super-interesting, but again: There is no one home chez Chris. No interesting conversation to be had.

                But to say that I think the female gender is inferior to the male gender is quite far off the mark. I orient men and women within a Cosmic context differently that hyper-modern you, and I think I can say that I understand the nature of the shift from older orders of thought to the modern order of thinking. But as you have clearly indicated: there will never OCCUR the conversation I am interested in and capable of because you take a high-faluting attitude: You assume you are ‘right’ and thus no further thinking is necessary. Progressives have a notable belligerancy and are strangely close-minded. But God’s own children have that right …

                ::: yawn :::

                That is a major problem and one that is ever-more common.

  9. Damn it. I think I have the same leopard dress. I always thought it looked a little trashy — although I don’t pose like that.

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