Listening to differing opinions

«If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you.»
Larry Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt

I like the quotation above. It’s a powerful statement and one of the reasons why I am not concerned when I hear positions I deeply detest. Well, as long as they are detested by society as well. Because if these people are heard, we just might have something similar to freedom of speech (we don’t have that first amendment in Germany).

But, damn, it’s not easy to listen to positions you don’t like.

I was recently reminded of that issue when I tried to listen to a “Culture Wars with Andrew Doyle” episode, in which he had Julie Bindel as a guest. She’s a feminist, lesbian, and judging by what I have heard of her, does not like men very much. It’s all patriarchy, men & violence, the whole narrative. At least that how that episode appeared to me.

And after less than half of the episode, I had enough.

I might agree with (part of) her criticism of trans-activists, but the way she talks about men — damn, she appeared to have been stuck in the past. Or rather, in an extremely antiquated view of men. It’s strange how in many other areas we talk about the overlap between men and women being greater than the differences (not in physical strength, but you get the idea), but when it comes to power somehow we are talking about two distinct populations.

Yeah, no.

That stick-in-the-mud perspective lost its appeal years ago. Just look at the number of homeless, suicides (actual, not attempts), murders, and much, much more. And sure, when it comes to murder, most of the murderers might me male, but would you really care about the sex of the murderer when you get murdered? I wouldn’t. I found her attitude appalling. And I am — again — very glad I am not a woman. If I had people like her ostensibly speak for me … I’d be mad as hell. Like when it comes to what makes a woman, or whether sex work is demeaning. Seriously? Why not let each person decide for themselves what the fuck that means and how they see that work?

I thought people — and that includes women — should decide for themselves?

And yeah, on another level, it was really funny (for a part of me) to hear that all those unfair strategies, all this emotional reasoning feminists used against men (and women who disagreed), is now used by trans-activists against feminists.

You’ve made your bed, you’ve used those strategies, now how do you like them apples?

But yeah, I take no pleasure in watching the world burn. So no, I don’t really take pleasure from seeing those kind of feminists tasting their own medicine. But even so, I found her views so appalling that I stopped listening. Which I also found interesting. I thought of myself as someone who is willing to differing perspectives, but I guess I found my limits.

And that is actually something valuable I will take from this “conversation”, well listening to that podcast: Nobody listens to you if you disparage their person, no matter how much they might agree with your point.

So, it was surprisingly educating.