Coffee Thoughts: Patriarchy and Extremism

I need something for a word that is commonly called “patriarchal”. However, almost every society is called patriarchal, which renders it rather useless as a classification term. If 99.9% of societies are deemed “patriarchal”, then it isn’t really a useful term for those wanting to make distinctions between one “patriarchal” society where men have harems, beat their wives, and execute rape victims, and another “patriarchal” culture where men are paid 50% more in wages than women. Clearly, neither are gender-equal, but there is a rather large difference between the two.

I think the lumping together of the two systems is part of the increasing polarization of today, where if you believe that women should primarily be homemakers, you are automatically lumped together with people that set girls on fire for not being chaste enough.

Besides, if you are interested in analysis (rather than polemics), you need a more refined vocabulary. “Radical” and “moderate” are helpful, but are still prisoners to the two-dimensional model where there are only two extreme poles and everything falls between them on a continuum.

I think that is entirely unhelpful, as first of all, (1) I feel like most of the time there are about 3 or 4 extremes in these issues, rather than two (think of a square in the “world’s smallest political quiz” here:)

Note that there are 2 continuums in here, making a total of 4 extreme positions (rather than just 1 continuum with two end point extreme positions).

Now take that pic, and make one more continuum (you will now have a cube with 8 faces/extremes rather than 4. I think that is the most helpful).

OK, and the second reason that I think that the “moderate” and “radical” and “extremist” terminology (even if modified with the above cube!) is unhelpful is that there is a place where east becomes west. There is a place where leftist communism becomes fascist Nazism, there is a place where anarchism and statism kiss eachother in their mutual hatred of the established order, there is a place where “holy warriors” gang rape in the name of their sexually pure and holy God. It’s the downfall of the human race. But you can’t just call it “extremism”, because the opposite of all those things (e.g. an unswerving devotion to human rights and human dignity and a good God) can be labelled “extremist” just as much. So…

[To be continued]

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