Power Imbalance: A Sign of Marxist Faith

When you hear someone describing exploitation in terms of “power imbalances”, you have probably encountered someone whose view of the world is profoundly conditioned by Marxism.

[Bolding added:]

But even if that weren’t the case, the commentators’ response would be misguided. The law didn’t come out of nowhere. It emerged as a response to a status quo that has proved to be an all-too-powerful tool for sexual predators, because it enables them to claim to see consent in everything except continuous, unequivocal rejection. That status quo puts women in the position of having to constantly police their own behavior to make sure that they are not giving the appearance of passive consent. That’s not only exhausting; it’s limiting. It reinforces power imbalances that keep women out of positions of success and authority.

Amanda Taub, “‘Yes means yes’ is about much more than rape”, 13 Oct. 2014, Vox, 13 Aug. 2015 < http://www.vox.com/2014/10/10/6952227/rape-culture-is-a-tax-on-women-CA-yes-means-yes-dierks-katz >

Note the reference to “power imbalances”. Of course, if you are convinced that “power imbalances” are the cause of oppression and exploitation, then no amount of reasoning is going to convince you otherwise. It’s a belief about the way the world works. Beliefs are primarily changed by changing the belief-holder’s association. That is why proper Vaishnava communities — temple ashramas, grihastha ashramas, and so forth, are necessary for our own protection and for the upliftment of others. Otherwise, it is very difficult to save ourselves and save others. They are supposed to be safe-spaces to help us spiritually heal others and ourselves.

Marxism: The Bastard Child of Christianity

In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Richard Engels observed,

Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.

What can be added to this list of similarities is the parallel between Christian eschatology (study devoted to God’s final coming, mankind’s final endpoint) and the Marxist belief in Communism as the final form of social organization that mankind is destined to embrace. Both are forms of eschatology, with the Marxist belief being a secularized version of the Christian notion of the “end of times”. Indeed, the former Christian preacher’s zeal has been transferred to professional sociologists and so-called “social justice warriors” warriors of our day.

In this regard, there is an interesting radio interview that raises the subject of Cultural Marxism, in which the interviewer and interviewee both proceed from an unwarranted conviction in the superlative, objective goodness of Christian ethics and American Exceptionalism, which they correctly attribute to America’s origins in Enlightenment thought and, as far as American Exceptionalism is concerned, is also correctly identified as a set of secularized and evolving Christian morals which the economist and sociologist Gunnar Myrdal called “the American Creed” and which has been widely identified as the American Civil Religion.

Here is the problem the interlocutors in the radio interview fail to grasp: Since Christianity itself has been so malleable in terms of changing its theology according to time, place, and circumstance, it was inevitable that Christianity would give rise to secular social movements and philosophies like Communism. Christian scripture is quite sparse in itself and had developed over time, borrowing heavily from other religious and philosophical traditions along the way. Hence, it’s sparse scripture and reliance on other philosophical traditions made it susceptible to speculation.

Thus while the radio interviewers bond with each other over the assumed evils of Marxism and Communism, the question simply does not arise in them to ask how it is that a formerly Christian civilization gave rise to a secular belief system like Marxism, which would in time come to disestablish the Christian values the interviewers are so attached to.

Campus Rape Expert Who Misrepresented His Work Faces Powerful New Criticism

Dr. Mary Koss—a scientist, feminist, and acclaimed expert on the subject of campus sexual assault—says the psychologist who popularized the serial predator theory of student-on-student violence has misrepresented his research for years.

Robby Soave, “Campus Rape Expert Who Misrepresented His Work Faces Powerful New Criticism”, 11 Aug. 2015, Reason, 11 Aug. 2015 < http://reason.com/blog/2015/08/11/campus-rape-expert-who-misrepresented-hi >

Do American ISKCON college preachers ever deal with this topic?

What a varnasankara society looks like

What extensive data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Vital Statistics Reports show is that the black family was in deep disarray well before America’s prison-population increase. As the 1960s began, 20% of all black births were to single mothers. By 1965 black “illegitimacy”—in the parlance of the time—had reached 24% and become the subject of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s prophetic but ill-fated report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”

Yet the figure that so worried future Sen. Moynihan turned out to be the ground floor of a steep 30-year climb. By 1980 more than half of black children were born to unmarried mothers. The number peaked at 72.5% in 2010 and is now just below 72%. . . .

As the family unraveled, crime increased—the homicide rate doubled between the early 1960s and late ’70s, with more than half of the convicted being black—leading to calls for tougher sentencing to place more bad guys behind bars. In other words, family breakdown was followed by increased crime and more-crowded prisons. . . .

None of this means that incarceration policies aren’t ready for an overhaul. The country needs a vigorous examination of mandatory-sentencing laws, the war on drugs, and racial disparities in arrests and sentencing. But that debate shouldn’t be used to evade the realities of family life in neighborhoods like Ferguson and Baltimore’s Sandtown. Evasion has been the preferred modus vivendi over the past 50 years, ever since Moynihan’s warning of rising fatherlessness drew sharp condemnation. Look where it has gotten us.

Kay Hymowitz, “The Flawed ‘Missing Men’ Theory”, 9 Aug 2015, The Wall Street Journal, 10 Aug. 2015 < http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-flawed-missing-men-theory-1439159236 >

Minding the Campus: We do indeed live in different times.

O, Utopia. Why must your sweet governance always turn so quickly from the Edenic to the Stalinist? The college revolutions of the 1960s—the ones that gave rise to the social-justice warriors of today’s campuses—were fueled by free speech. But once you’ve won a culture war, free speech is a nuisance, and “eliminating” language becomes a necessity.

Caitlin Flanagan, “That’s Not Funny”, Sep. 2015, The Atlantic, 9 Aug. 2015 < http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/09/thats-not-funny/399335/ >

Economics journalist Megan McArdle has an interesting take on the current social science on moral behavior in the American cultural context (bolding added):

But if this result holds up, it brings us back to the first point I raised: It may not be so much that liberals don’t care about sanctity, authority, and so forth, as that they are culturally encouraged not to admit that they do. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, of course, but I don’t think that it is, because our stubborn moral intuitions about what is right and wrong are much more powerful than our logic when we make decisions. (Just try to get the average person to sit down and coolly reason through the discovery that their spouse enjoys the occasional fling at a conference with people they never see again.) Coming at someone with utilitarian math when the problem is actually that you’ve desecrated their sacred space is a recipe for bitter and unresolvable conflict — and perhaps, for a culture war that no one is going to win.

“Liberals Can’t Admit to Thinking Like Conservatives”, 6 Aug. 2015. Bloomberg View, 8 Aug. 2015 < http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-08-06/liberals-can-t-admit-to-thinking-like-conservatives >

This is pretty much what we say when it comes to faith. Faith usually trumps fact, which means that people’s tendencies for thought are determined by their disposition–their shraddha, their faith acquired from the three modes of nature. The practical application of this is that in preaching, whether to the uninitiated or initiated, logic and reason are secondary in importance to establishing a friendly relationship.