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Friday, July 15, 2005

The Return Of A Feminist Nutbar

I had (blissfully) forgotten all about Catharine A. MacKinnon, the demented ultra-radical feminist law professor who has equated marriage (the institution) with rape (the violent crime). Alas, she has emerged from her cloistered hideaway at the University of Michigan Law School to once again inflict her totalitarian views on readers. Here's an excerpt from a blurb on her new book, Women's Lives, Men's Laws:

"By making visible the deep gender bias of existing law, MacKinnon has recast legal debate and action on issues of sex discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, pornography, and racism. The essays in this volume document and illuminate some of the momentous and ongoing changes to which this work contributes; the recognition of sexual harassment, rape, and battering as claims for sexual discrimination; the redefinition of rape in terms of women's actual experience of sexual violation; and the reframing of the pornography debate around harm rather than morality. The perspectives in these essays have played an essential part in changing American law and remain fundamental to the project of building a sex-equal future."

A "sex-equal future"? I shudder to think what that might actually mean to someone like MacKinnon who believes that sexism and racism permeate every level of American society. Here's a passage from her book (from here, Adobe Acrobat required):

"[Over the last 30 years] sexual abuse, found commonplace and effectively widely condoned by laws against it, began to be understood as a systemic form of sex discrimination. Pornography was unmasked as a practice of misogyny masquerading as a constitutional entitlement to freedom of expression. Prostitution was exposed as a violation of the human rights of the prostituted misconceived as a crime they committed. The racism and sexism of law and society emerged as often mutually constituting."

But then something changed, she wrote, and

"The expendability of those used by the pornography industry was the new bottom line, dividing the politics of abolishing male dominance from doing better under it."

At least she unmasked herself. She is all about "abolishing male dominance," whatever that means. Here's a separate passage in the same chapter in which she deliberately misrepresents a Supreme Court ruling to make it fit into her argument:

"To illustrate, United States v. Morrison's adjudication of the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), substantively interpreted, is about male dominance in physical relations between the sexes, specifically about the state’s position on and in the exercise of physical force by men over and against women. Interpreting the doctrine of federalism to hold that intimate violence was necessarily under state not federal jurisdiction provided abstract cover for finding the VAWA unconstitutional."

No, no, no. When the high court found that the offending provisions of VAWA were unconstitutional, it reasoned that "violence" is not "commerce," and therefore the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution cannot be used to give Congress jurisdiction over the subject matter in the legislation. And what's this about the doctrine of federalism providing "abstract cover for finding the VAWA unconstitutional"? Is she saying the high court is filled with misogynistic male judges who conspired against women? I find it amazing enough that law students actually pay money to be indoctrinated by this intellectual dwarf, but what really blows my mind is that MacKinnon has such a wide following among legal scholars.

<cross-posted here>

Posted by Matthew Vadum on July 15, 2005 in Books | Permalink


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Another winner by MacKinnon:

"Nothing in [Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Decision] Hudnut explains why, if pornography is protected speech based on its mental elements, rape and sexual murder, which have mental elements, are not as well."

Try to get your brain to accept that "logic".

Also on the honour roll of out to lunch legal "scholars" is Brenda Cossman, who in an absurdly long piece called "Bad Attitudes on Trial", insists that lesbians (and others with non-traditional sexual orientations) should have different laws governing their sexual practices and pornography because they occassionaly take on a "consensual nonconsensuality" which us heterosexuals cannot understand. Umm, okay...

Posted by: markdsgraham | 2005-07-16 9:47:43 AM

The Return of the Ripper

It is not enough, as the British Army has done, to look on at this mayhem from the outside in, blinded by the illusion that these executions are just one more quaint ethnic practice that the guilt-ridden West has no right to criticize; that it is one more expression of identity that one is obliged to tolerate, whether these sanguinary events happen in British-patrolled Basra or the British city of Leeds.The wellsprings of terrorism arise from certain tendencies within Islamic society itself; and unless the weeds are pruned the flowers will never grow, until we find ourselves alone at midnight in the Garden of Evil.

posted by wretchard


Comments number: 381. Wow.

Posted by: maz2 | 2005-07-16 11:14:23 AM

"Thank heaven for freedom of speech. It makes it easier to spot the idiots."

Posted by: Pete E | 2005-07-17 12:02:48 AM

Hmmmm...as usual, poor timing for a revival movemnt from the fringe left. Ms. MacKinnon has forgotten that the rest of the world has moved past the self loathing of deconstructive gender politics....It would appear that she has still not gotten a life beyond nurturing the anger of her own demons...sad really.

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2005-07-17 11:44:35 AM

You're right, WL. What I can't understand is how she can be (reportedly) married now, given that in her formulation MARRIAGE = RAPE.

Posted by: Matthew Vadum | 2005-07-17 11:49:09 AM

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