It happens every day. In fact, it is pretty hard to avoid it. There are some things that can only be understood with a slap on the forehead. Things so mind-boggling that one wonders how humans managed to evolve thumbs while being this mentally inept. Case in point:
This wonderful dose of illogic comes from David Futrelle. He decided to post Typhonblue’s tweets about men in power and the fallacy of assuming those men are concerned about men’s interests in general. Here is what Typhon wrote:
To which Futrelle responded:
When confronted with the simple fact that men hold the overwhelming majority of positions of power in the world – in government, business, culture, and pretty much everything else – MRAs like to pretend that the actual gender of those in power makes no difference because, well, the men in power are probably a bunch of manginas doing the dirty work of the women who really run the world. Or something like that.
Indeed, some MRAs have even managed to convince themselves that the very basic historical and sociological fact that men in power, by and large, tend to represent men’s interests more than women’s interests is some sort of locical fallacy – something that they’ve labeled “The Frontman Fallacy.”
Let us have a look at that fallacy:
“The Frontman Fallacy” is a term I invented myself. What happened was that someone on the Usenet newsgroup alt.mens- rights asked for help in devising a term. The term was to encapsulate the wrongheadedness of a common Feminist assumption. This was the assumption that the fact that men held most of the positions of power in the world meant that men ruled the world principally for their own benefit — i.e. they “oppressed” women.
My suggestion, which was accepted by the person who had asked for the help, was “The Frontman Fallacy”. So the Frontman Fallacy is the mistaken belief that people (men, specifically) who are in positions of authority in democratic systems use their power mainly to benefit the categories of people (the category of “men”, in particular) that they belong to themselves.
If we look at society, it becomes very clear very fast that those in power have little interest in benefiting anyone but themselves. While some individual powerful people might care about others, the majority are concerned only with maintaining their own positions and prestige. We saw this last year during the debt ceiling debacle, and we have seen it over the last four years with the unemployment rate. Many powerful businesses could create more jobs in the United States, but they refuse to because they would have to pay their employees a fair wage and possibly provide health insurance, which would lower the amount of money those power people could pocket. It is much easier for them to ship the jobs overseas where they have less regulations and restrictions, longer work hours for smaller wages, and no real oversight.
Business and government are the broadest levels we can get to, and we see that whether it is business or government, those in power are not much concerned about those who are not. Why then, would this differ with men in power?
Well, it does not. The majority of men in power have little concern for the rest of men. Men make up the majority of high school and college dropouts, crime victims, health risk victims, the unemployed and underemployed, the homeless, and inmates. If one looked at the bottom rung of society, one would see more men than women, with fewer services and support groups geared towards helping them.
If powerful men were more concerned about men’s interests, why is it that men face harsher prison sentences, receive fewer degrees, face greater on-the-job risks, and occupy the largest swath of the bottom rung? Would not those so concerned with men’s interests elevate those men?
Perhaps the reason that does not happen is because, contrary to what many feminists think, powerful men are not concerned about men in general, just their own power and those who can threaten or take it. Perhaps the reason it appears to feminists that powerful men “tend to represent men’s interests more than women’s interests” is because feminists so narrowly defined their conspiracy theory of “patriarchy.”
I agree with Futrelle that it is improbable that powerful men do not think of themselves as men. That they most likely do. However, it is also improbable that powerful men are so pro-male that they will support any man over any woman. Again, a simple check of society proves that untrue. There are far more female CEOs than black male CEOs. One would assume that if powerful men were so concerned about men’s interests that they would favor the most disenfranchised male group over all women, yet that does not happen.
So while powerful men may think that men would be better leaders than women, that does not mean they think any man or all men should have that position, nor does it mean they are at all concerned about men in general. That logic simply does not follow.
Of course, logic has never been Futrelle’s forte.