The Truth About the Truth
The truth does not seem to matter
very much these
days. It seems that our lives in the supposedly-democratic west are very much
governed by forces that have far less to do with the truth and far more to do
with the over-riding power of various strong interest groups that are forever
seeking special favours and advantages for themselves and for their members.
is this something new? Or has it always been this way?
my guess is that it has always been this way; and, further, that it will
continue to be this way from here until eternity.
this is the case, then effective activism for a particular cause requires far
more than the mere presentation of the 'truth' - if such a thing exists.
in this article I simply propose to outline why the 'truth' - on its own - is
not enough. And my arguments herein are specifically to do with activism that is
directed at social change - with, of course, particular reference to the men's
What is the 'truth'?
1. What is the
Perhaps the most important
point - and the most difficult one to grasp - is that, for the most part, there
is no deep-seated 'truth' when it comes to many of the issues commonly discussed
by those concerned with social issues.
are some varied examples of this.
the 'truth' when it comes to how much money should be spent on researching
cancer? (How much is a life worth? How many resources should we forgo in other
areas in order to increase funding for cancer research?)
is the 'truth' when it comes to deciding the speed limits for motor vehicles?
(How much can the economy bear to lose as a result of lowering transportation
speeds in order to reduce serious accidents?)
the spreading of inter-gender 'disharmony' a good thing or a bad thing? (For
feminists, the greater is the gender divide, the better - because, allegedly,
this empowers women by removing them from the clutches of men - and, of course,
into the clutches of feminists and government.)
smoking be illegal?
be illegal? (The science certainly shows that this damages your body over many
years. But who should be in charge of your body? And what if you decide that you
would much rather live for today than aim for a long life? Who has the right to
dictate to you on such a matter? And what are the further implications if you
can, indeed, be dictated to on such an issue?)
single mothers be given more money? (The evidence clearly shows that the
children of single mothers currently do worse than those who have two parents.
And so it could be argued that single motherhood should be discouraged by not
providing much in the way of extra welfare to single mothers. On the other hand,
it could be argued that it is precisely because the children of single mothers
have poorer outcomes that these mothers should be given much more help -
financial and otherwise.)
10-week foetus a human being? What about a 1-week embryo?
a curry taste good? What about a pineapple?
is the correct tax rate?
There is no 'truth' that will answer
the above questions satisfactorily.
is no 'truth' that will answer the above questions satisfactorily. And there are
two main reasons for this.
Firstly, people believe different things and they
have different attitudes and feelings toward different ideas, notions and
outcomes. Secondly, many of the issues addressed by the questions above are so inordinately
complex that no simple comprehensible truth can be extracted from them.
There is no real 'truth' that activists can count on to buttress most of their
points of view about the matters that concern them. For every 'truth' there is
likely to be an alternative 'truth', and for every solution there is always
likely to be a cost incurred that, in practice, exacerbates many other problems.
the most part, when it comes to those issues that concern social activists,
there is no absolute 'truth' that they can point to. And what might be a truth
for them, is not necessarily a truth for someone else.
order to bring about social change, therefore, expounding the so-called 'truth' is not
enough; because, in large measure, there is no such thing when it comes to most
social questions. The 'truth' is, quite simply, better regarded as a point of
Over this coming
year, many millions of children across the planet are going to lose their homes,
their parents, their health, their limbs or their lives. Indeed, this is one of
those simple truths that most of us can both understand and accept as true.
do you care about it?
Will you be
unable to sleep tonight? Will you wake up tomorrow morning and start to devote
your entire life to fighting against this truly appalling state of affairs? Will you
hand over your savings to a charity that helps to alleviate the suffering of
No. You won't.
10 minutes of reading this piece, you will have completely forgotten about those
And the reason for this is that, basically, you do not care.
the truth is not enough to motivate people to take action even when it entails
knowledge about truly terrible situations.
the same applies when it comes to those social issues that activists are usually
concerned to address. Unless they can tap into the emotional systems of those in
their audience, they will achieve very little. In fact, they will achieve
It is no coincidence that
the most successful of campaigning organisations impact hugely on the emotions
of people. For example, the NSPCC consistently portrays adults as horrible
abusers of particularly vulnerable children. The racial activist groups and the feminists
threaten and intimidate those who do not support them. The eco-warriors appeal
to our love of nature and to our fear of impending global disaster.
the 'truth' and the 'facts' are not enough.
these successful campaigning groups do not do is simply provide people with the
'facts'. And this is because the people who run these groups know full well that
the 'truth' and the 'facts' are not enough.
of course, unless people already have some 'interest' (which is mostly an emotional
aspect of their natures) in a particular issue, then it is not very easy to
engage their attention on any matters concerning it. For example, very few
people are going to read articles or watch TV programmes that simply detail
facts ('truths') about matters that interest them not in the slightest.
upshot of all this is that activists not only need to affect the emotions
of people in order to encourage them to bring about change, they also need to do
this simply to gain their attention in the first place.
And with particular regard to 'men', it is
quite clear that one of the main reasons that precious little is done for them
is that people, in general, do not care about men. And this, of course, includes
It does not trouble the population that men are
killed in wars
It does not trouble
the population that men are killed in wars or that they can be deprived of their
homes and families with ease and without reason. There is no concern over the
thousands of men every year who are falsely accused of some kind of sexual abuse
despite the fact that this often damages their lives horribly. (And in the UK,
for example, my own view is that something like 80% of all those men convicted
of sexual crimes are either completely innocent, or their behaviour has been
'misjudged'; e.g. see Most Alleged
Sex Offenders Are Innocent)
Indeed, time and time
again, we have seen how government officials are quite prepared to prosecute
and/or imprison men whom they know to be innocent simply in order to advantage
For example, here in the UK we have recently seen how Warren
Blackwell was prosecuted and imprisoned purely on the basis of the testimony of
a woman who was known by the police to be a serial liar, and how corrupt and
dishonest were those police officers who carried out Operation Ore - prosecuting
thousands of innocent men for viewing illicit child material when they had done
nothing of the sort.
And, in the USA, we have recently seen the government
prosecutor, Michel Nifong, being caught out trying to have incarcerated three
men from Duke University whom he actually knew to be innocent.
many government officials ... behave towards men in the most disgusting
manner in order to achieve their aims.
many government officials who are desperate for promotion are far too often very
prepared to behave towards men in the most disgusting manner in order to achieve
And I well recall one of the very first cases of false rape accusations that I ever
came across. A woman alleged that a man had raped her. He was imprisoned for 12 weeks while police officers
investigated the matter - i.e. he was placed on remand prior to trial. During this time he lost his job, his wife and most of
his friends. DNA tests later revealed that the sperm inside this woman was not
his, but that of her boyfriend. He was released.
She had lied.
he went to complain to his Member of Parliament about what had happened, he was
simply told by him to look upon the whole affair as an unfortunate 'life experience' and to
'get over it'. In other words, there was no political interest at all in doing
something to prevent the appalling way in which men were being treated merely on
the basis of an accusation.
further current example demonstrating the almost total lack of concern for the
well-being of men (in the UK) lies in the legal acceptability of selling the All Men Are Bast*rds knife block.
If this block
depicted any other group of human beings (women, gays, blacks, Jews, Muslims
etc) it would be illegal - because, it is argued, it would promote violence
against such groups.
promoting violence against 'men' is
violence against 'men' is just fine - and so it is legally acceptable.
nutshell: No-one cares about 'men'.
Furthermore, as I have
outlined in my piece Fathers Groups Miss The Big Picture,
too many powerful groups actually have a vested interest in heaping trouble on
is no fundamental 'truth' that MRAs can rely on - or even discover - that,
in and of itself, is going to affect the way in which men are continually being
disadvantaged, demonised and discriminated against. And even if there was such a
thing as the 'truth', simply attempting to present this truth to people would
have very little effect; because in order to affect change, people's emotions need to be
swayed and moved.
But when it comes to 'men', these emotions are not going to be
very much swayed or moved by trying to portray men as victims - because people
do not care for 'men'. The fact that men are very often treated badly - often
horrendously so - troubles most people
not a jot.
Indeed, it is very
difficult for 'men' to be seen as victims and for them to engender much in the
way of sympathy.
So what is to be done?
can MRAs do to counter all those negative forces that bear down upon men? If
people do not care about men's problems and their unfair treatment, then what
emotion can be inspired in people to make them change their minds?
the answer seems obvious, because there is one emotion that can, indeed, be
ignited through men's activism.
of the repercussions that will befall those who continue to ignore the
well-being of men.
Fear of losing
their jobs. Fear of losing their votes. Fear of losing their customers. And so
fear of being the target of men's activism.
In other words, fear of being
the target of men's activism.
And this fear of activism is, in fact, the very technique that has been employed to
great effect by all the various privileged minority groups that have so much
power and so many privileges today.
Indeed, so effective has this been, that one
can barely risk uttering a word of protest or dissent against their views.
groups did not gain their enormous power simply by iterating 'truths' or
They generated heat.
And they generated fear.
see, Generating Heat and Where's The Men's Movement?)