Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Wacko Parade. Next up: MacKinnon

'(Catherine) MacKinnon's answer to her book's title, Are Women Human? is no. She writes: "If women were human, would we be a cash crop shipped from Thailand in containers into New York's brothels?', Guardian, 14th April 2006

Note her use of the royal 'we'; when is the last time she was shipped in a container from Thailand to a New York brothel?

Assuming that migrants do travel from Thailand to the USA concealed in shipping containers as Ms. Mackinnon claims, there are a number of questions one needs to ask.

1 Are all of these migrants women? That they are all female is almost inconceivable. They are bound to be men, women, and probably children too; in other words, a mixture of families and young single adults of both sexes.

2 Are they all from Thailand? It seems unlikely, but it shows us the status that Thailand occupies in the feminist world-view. Why is she not concerned about East European prostitutes?

3 Why is Mackinnon not concerned about the plight of male illegal immigrants? It simply doesn’t fit her case to talk about them, so she chooses to ignore them. She needs her gullible readers to believe that women are singled out for special abuse, special discrimination; it is only women who are shipped in containers in a way clearly (and no doubt deliberately) reminiscent of the Afro-American slave trade of former centuries. If one stops to consider that men may also be travelling in this way, the radical feminist case begins to lose its appealing simplicity and clarity.

4 Are all of these migrants, even just the female ones, destined for jobs as prostitutes? One would think not. As belle de jour points out in her letter to the Guardian, immigrants come to the West for many reasons. Some women may simply be coming to join husbands or other relatives already in the country, others will be coming to do a wide variety of jobs. Some will be intending to work as prostitutes, in full knowledge of what they are doing.

5 Why is Mackinnon not concerned about those who will not end up working in prostitution? Again, just because she is trying to manufacture a feminist cause celebre, and counter-evidence is a political inconvenience for her, so she simply ignores it and hopes that no-one will notice.

6 Why are these people travelling in shipping containers rather than on deck with everyone else? Do sinister Western interests think so little of them (or the females anyway) that a shipping container is all they deserve? No. The fact is they are travelling concealed in this way not because of Western institutional structures, as Mackinnon suggests, but in spite of them. They do it precisely because they are attempting to circumvent Western institutional structures. They are travelling illegally, and if Western (in this case US) authorities find them, they will not be permitted to enter the country. Mackinnon clearly implies that the US somehow condones the practice, tacitly or otherwise, when in fact all Coast Guard and Immigration services are doing their best to prevent it - the immigrants are only in the containers in the first place in a deliberate attempt to frustrate US government efforts. What exactly is MacKinnon complaining about? Coast Guard inefficiency? I'm reminded of John F Kennedy's statement when asked what he was doing for women. He replied, "Well, whatever it is I'm doing, you can be sure it's not enough"

7 Why are these people travelling to the USA at all? The answer is that they are economic migrants, travelling in search of jobs and a better life.

If any of these migrants end up being forced into prostitution against their will, this will happen only because the gangsters who run the people-smuggling operation - who are generally from non-Western countries, it must be noted - are the ones doing the coercing, not Western governments or corporations, and not 'men' as some kind of generic group.

Needless to say, the fawning Guardian interviewer doesn't bother to ask any of these questions.

Prostitution is a complex issue, as is economic migration. On Planet MacKinnon, however, it is as if some Blofeld-like arch-Patriarch sitting behind a huge desk at the top of some Manhattan skyscaper picks up his phone and says 'Send me fifty more slave-girls...Yes, just stick them in a container as usual. That'll be fine'.

Mackinnon’s statement is a gross misrepresentation bordering on flagrant dishonesty. It is disingenuous scare-mongering of exactly the sort one has come to expect from feminists.

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