Inside the mind of the indoctrinated

Radical feminist Greta Christina is hopping mad about the Center for Inquiry’s recent statement dismissing the concerns of her and her rad-fem faction regarding CFI CEO Rod Lindsay’s opening comments at the Women in Secularism II conference.

So mad, in fact, that she is cancelling her magazine subscription. That oughtta show ’em!

Well, she also broke off all professional ties with them. CFI is a better organization today.

What I found most interesting about Greta’s “parsing” is that it appears she uses the term parsing as a euphamism for re-writing. Notice she uses the term “Translation” no fewer than 10 times. In doing so, she manages to re-write the entire statement.

This sort of thing is instructive, as it provides the means to see inside the mind of a dyed-in-the-wool, fully indoctrinated radical feminist.

Observe CFI’s statement:

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

The Center for Inquiry, including its CEO, is dedicated to advancing the status of women and promoting women’s issues, and this was the motivation for its sponsorship of the two Women in Secularism conferences. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the controversy surrounding the recent Women in Secularism Conference 2.

CFI believes in respectful debate and dialogue. We appreciate the many insights and varied opinions communicated to us. Going forward, we will endeavor to work with all elements of the secular movement to enhance our common values and strengthen our solidarity as we struggle together for full equality and respect for women around the world.

Here is how that statement was translated in Greta’s mind:

The CFI board is going to start right out of the gate by declining to speak clearly and directly about this matter, and by prioritizing spin control over content. Also, we’re not going to make it easy for people to Google this.

Gee, we’re awesome.

Gee, we’re awesome. We are especially awesome when it comes to women’s rights. See, we put on this conference and everything! We therefore are totally feminist and stuff. So stop yelling at us about how our CEO acted like a sexist asshole and treated the feminists in this movement with contempt. The CFI Board wishes to express its unhappiness with the people who raised a shitstorm about this incident, and with the fact that so many people got so pissed off about it. This has been a huge pain in the ass for us, and we’re really irritated about it — but we don’t actually understand why people are so angry. Either that, or we don’t care.

The CFI board wishes to use misdirection, equivocation, obfuscation, and corporate bafflegab to deflect attention away from the anger at Ron Lindsay, and to re-direct it towards the conference itself. The CFI board is taking the cowardly position of valuing debate on important issues that concern the community, without being willing to actually take a stand on these issues. To assist us in this endeavor, we are going to create false equivalencies and use the golden mean fallacy.

Fuck the divisive feminists who want us to disavow the abusively misogynist element in this movement. We are willing to work with all elements of the secular movement — including the ones who have been targeting a persistent campaign of hatred, harassment, abuse, and threats of violence, rape, and death towards feminist women in this movement. And including the ones who respond to this hatred, harassment, abuse, and threats with dismissal, denial, trivialization, hyper-skepticism, false equivalencies, derailing, changing the subject, and accusations of divisiveness. After all — some of these people are big names, or big donors to our organization, and we can’t afford to alienate them! We expect the feminists in this movement to make peace and play nice with the people who have been harassing, abusing, and threatening them — as well with the people who have been ignoring, denying, deflecting, and trivializing this issue. And we expect the feminists in this movement to stop making us uncomfortable with their demands that we take a stand on this.

But really — we’re awesome! We’re in favor of women’s rights and stuff! We’re just not willing to actually do anything about it that’s in any way difficult.

Then she again translates – this time the entire statement as a whole:

We don’t see anything wrong with what Ron Lindsay said, or the context in which he said it. At any rate, we’re not willing to publicly acknowledge that we see anything wrong with what Ron Lindsay said or the context in which he said it. We are deeply unhappy that we have to deal with this controversy. We really wish this whole thing would just die down and go away. But we’re not willing to do anything at all in response to it. We are not willing to take even a symbolic action of censuring Lindsay, or asking him to apologize, or apologizing on his behalf. We are not willing to make any gesture at all indicating that Lindsay’s words and actions in this incident do not represent CFI, and that this is not the direction CFI intends to take in the future. So we’re going to issue a bland, equivocating, weaselly, double-speak statement that doesn’t address the issue in any substantial way, or even in any insubstantial and symbolic way.

See? Message received, clear as a bell.

I found this example very instructive, because it applies not only to radical feminists with an axe to grind, but to all who have drunk the kool-aid of their dogma. Keep this in mind when you are engaged in dialogue with the dogmatic.

To paraphrase my wife’s description of this sort of exchange: When you are talking to them, there are always two conversations taking place – the one you (both) are having, and the one they (alone) are having.


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