02: History

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The Conspiracy

Remember, at the beginning of each chapter is the section called The Conspiracy, which uses one or two books as an example of how the Masculinity Conspiracy plays out in the chapter theme (in the present case, history). This section is about presenting the conspiracy on its own terms, rather than exposing the problematic nature of the conspiracy (this comes in the second section of each chapter, The Problem). The point of this section is to give a fair presentation of what the writers who exemplify the conspiracy intend to communicate.

You might think this was standard protocol when referring to other peoples’ work, but unfortunately this is not the case. Writers who exemplify the conspiracy have a habit of offering a particular interpretation of the data to fit their own argument. So we need our bullshit detectors functioning at all times. When a prestigious writer communicates an historical “fact,” or summarizes the arguments of another prestigious writer to bolster their own argument, it might be perfectly true; but it might equally be dishonest to varying degrees. I’ll unpack an example of this later in the chapter. Of course, in all the books to which I refer there is a lot more going on than that which I discuss. I have, though, endeavored to be fair, but nevertheless focus only on the topics at hand, rather than summarizing the entire territory covered by the books. In this chapter I’m going to look at how the Masculinity Conspiracy appeals to history via two books: Manliness by Harvey Mansfield, and Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution by Ken Wilber.



Written by Joseph Gelfer

June 5, 2010 at 11:15 am

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