Sunday, January 1, 2012

Alpha Mail: a category error

I received a few emails asking me about my opinion concerning a difference of opinion between Susan Walsh and Dalrock concerning a discussion of frivolous divorce. To be honest, I have to admit that I haven't been paying any attention to what appears to have been a bit of a kerfluffle even though I linked to the original post, which was a rather good one. Based on perusing the comments and the various responses, it seems fairly apparent to me that both sides have been talking past each other.

Susan's response to Doug1 was clearly one of a blogger dealing with an annoying commenter pushing an agenda, and therefore, her response is best understood in that context. I don't believe she had any intention of issuing a general challenge; I certainly didn't perceive one. Moreover, her core assertion was correct. A woman choosing to file for divorce due to her husband's infidelity isn't frivolous under any meaningful definition of the word, in fact, such an action is the exact opposite of frivolous. As Susan has rightly pointed out, once the marital contract is broken by infidelity, it is broken and divorce is the logical, if not the only possible, consequence. End of story. While it's possible to imagine situations where a woman has stage-managed the destruction of her marriage in order to play the victim, one cannot possibly assume this is the case in many, much less most, divorces for which the husband's infidelity is the proximate cause.

However, I don't think it is possible to either agree or disagree with the statement that "wife initiated frivolous divorce is exaggerated and overblown in the manosphere echo chamber" because it is first, an opinion, and second, it utilizes three subjective terms. Note that "exaggerated" and "overblown" are both unquantifiable terms, as is the adjective "frivolous". Were I involved in the discussion, I would have requested definitions of all three words before even attempting to determine what my own opinion was.

Now, I will say that I tend to think too much energy is devoted to bitching about female behavior that is the obvious consequence of the current legal regime. Yes, the zoo animals will tend to run wild if the cage doors are left open. But it serves little purpose to complain about the animals, it's the zookeepers and the open door policies that are the relevant controlling factor.

That being said, I completely support Dalrock's perspective concerning his right to hit anyone as hard as he sees fit, for any reason that suits him, including personal amusement.
So long as women demand to be taken seriously, I’ll reserve the right to take them at their word. If they put themselves in a position of leadership and/or make direct challenges to me or a group I’m part of, I’ll reserve the right to respond. I’ll do this understanding full well that many will feel that I’m unfairly picking on a poor defenseless girl in doing so.
Equality means never having to apologize. While I haven't gone over the numbers in any detail, I recall sufficient statistics to know that there simply isn't enough male infidelity to potentially account for the majority of female-triggered divorces. How many of those divorces are frivolous, I could not say, in the absence of a definition that can be quantified. Regardless, Susan is a big girl and she's got a better grasp of economics and statistics than most men, so if she's not fair game, then who could be? Her arguments are fair game, of course, nor are they going to be correct all the time for the obvious reason that no one's are, not even those produced by a coldly charming superintelligence with a certain je ne sais quoi.

What I think both parties are missing here is that there is absolutely nothing personal about intellectual debate. The facts are what they are, regardless of how well or poorly we happen to understand them, and so it is a category error for anyone to even talk about "pulling punches" or "piling on" because neither Susan nor Dalrock can be reasonably confused with either their opinions or their arguments.

8 comments:

R. Bradley Andrews said...

We live in a society where we gladly kill the messenger. It doesn't matter to many if the message is true or not. If they don't like it, they will gladly kill or main the messenger (even if only verbally).

IndyGuy77 said...

"So long as women demand to be taken seriously, I’ll reserve the right to take them at their word."

Damn straight. Don't ask the questions if you don't want the answers.

And don't step into the arena if you're not prepared to have your ass handed to you.

Mike43 said...

I got interested in the "kerfuffle" as you put it, because it does really key on the primary term of "frivolous divorce."

I have friends and acquaintances that have divorced and after several years, the guys still cannot figure out why it happened. I had one friend, get filed on and his wife told him that he was holding her back.

So she dumped a guy with a Master's degree, a good state job, and a side business that doubled his salary. And she's a community college dropout.

He did fine; she struggled and the kids were hosed.

And she still can't explain why she dumped him.

Sounds frivolous to me; and it happens more often than women want to admit.

Anonymous said...

@: "Now, I will say that I tend to think too much energy is devoted to bitching about female behavior that is the obvious consequence of the current legal regime. "
_________

Absolutely true. I also think there is too much on the other side, meaning those who tell men to "man up" or "be more alpha" in the married situation.

We've done the equivalent of giving one party a loaded weapon and the bias of the justice system should they chose to use it. Telling the unarmed party to "stand up to the other person" is like telling a married father to "be more alpha." Most good men aren't willing to walk out on their children, which is exactly what will happen if their wife pulls the proverbial trigger.

It would also surprise more than a few wives just how much more attractive their husbands would seem when he has the power to withdraw all he provides. Entitlement is the mother of dissatisfaction and disdain, whereas having to keep up ones side of the bargain to keep the benefits of a husband is far more likely to result in appreciation.

Der Hahn said...

I've at least skimmed through both posts and comments, and I pretty much agree with your take on the situation with one reservation.

I think there is an unspoken chain of assumptions that's fueling part of the argument. If you accept that divorce for infidelity is not frivolous but then make the (debatable) assumption that more men are unfaithful then you can arrive at the conclusion that most divorces are not frivolous because you believe most divorces are caused by male infidelity.

The way Dalrock is presenting a very well supported case that male infidelity is factor in only a very small number of divorces is really knocking the stuffing out of those assumptions.

Trust said...

@Der Hahn said...If you accept that divorce for infidelity is not frivolous but then make the (debatable) assumption that more men are unfaithful then you can arrive at the conclusion that most divorces are not frivolous because you believe most divorces are caused by male infidelity.
________

I agree with you. Plus, I don't think men cheat appreciably more than women, if they do so more at all, but they are far more likely to get caught.

I also think a lot of the divorces that are the result of female infidelity appear in the statistics as frivolous reasons. Women cheat with great ease than men, because the trust we afford them gives them both increased opportunity and a decreased risk of getting caught. However, women who cheat don't want to betray their image (they cannot control their husbands through shame if they do not hold an image of moral superiority), so the typical route is to make their husbands the culprits. This holds true both when her cheating is unknown (paint him as the cause of conflict) or uncovered (paint his neglect as the cause for the infidelity).

Statistics are tough, since there is perhaps no topic more commonly lied about than sex in general and adultery in specific.

Susan Walsh said...

Vox,

Great post, and the constructive criticism is welcome and valid.

I'll be putting up a post soon that is a sort of Marriage 2.0 Primer for single women. Women need to understand why men are marrying less, and Eat Pray Love divorces are not only real, they are rewarded in American culture.

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