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Stefan Molyneux, Men’s Rights icon, straight up embraces white supremacism (though he won’t quite admit it)

Stefan Molyneux wants you to “aspire to admire” white men

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By David Futrelle

It’s been clear for some time that YouTube philosopher-thing Stefan Molyneux is a huge racist. But until recently, he’s tried to be a little bit coy about it.

No more. Last week, he announced he was open to white nationalism. This week, on Twitter, he made his white supremacy all but official.

On Monday, he offered this weird paean to his caveman ancestors, portraying them as prehistoric heroes cast out of Africa by its resident caveman meanies:

https://twitter.com/StefanMolyneux/status/1069730906535936000

Yesterday, he demanded that people of all races express their gratitude to white dudes:

https://twitter.com/StefanMolyneux/status/1070181045331349505

Like a lot of white supremacists, Molyneux still insists he’s not a white supremacist, noting that when he talks about race and intelligence tests he acknowledges that “whites score lower than East Asians.” But his denials are a bit hard to square with his insistence that white guys are basically responsible for everything good in the world.

I think it’s kind of a big deal that one of the biggest icons of the Men’s Rights movement is now openly spouting white supremacist talking points.

Wait, some might say, Molyneux isn’t really an MRA, is he?

No, Molyneux doesn’t identify primarily as an MRA — he’s usually described as a “libertarian philosopher” or something like that. But he adopted the label back in 2014, explicitly declaring himself an MRA during a very well-received speech at a conference organized by Men’s Rights hate group A Voice for Men — and since then has been warmly embraced by the movement. The admiration is mutual.

He’s made numerous videos with people who are big in the small world of Men’s Rights activism, among them AVFM head boy Paul Elam, documentary director Cassie Jaye, “Honey Badger” Karen Straughan, and  “Myth of Male Power” author Warren Farrell, the ideological grandfather of the Men’s Rights movement and someone Molyneux calls a “good friend.”

Molyneux’s videos and internet radio shows have been featured dozens of times on A Voice for Men, where a regular contributor once gushed that “[m]y respect for Stefan Molyneux knows very few bounds. …  He is incredibly smart.” He’s been linked to even more often on the Men’s Rights subreddit, currently the biggest and most active MRA forum online.

Bigots rarely stick to only one kind of bigotry, and so it’s hardly a shock to see the viciously misogynistic Molyneux — who’s been railing angrily about alleged “female evil” for at least five years now  (and shows no sign of stopping) — fully embracing his worst racist instincts.

Molyneux is hardly the first Men’s Rights activist to do so: “Crying Nazi” Christopher Cantwell was an A Voice for Men contributor before he became a violent white supremacist.

Most MRAs have never had a problem with Molyneux’s extreme misogyny. It remains to be seen if any prominent MRAs step up to criticize his ever-more-open white supremacy. So far I haven’t heard a peep.

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Mexican Hot Chocolate
Mexican Hot Chocolate
2 years ago

Wow! You could fill the nonfiction section of a big city public library with what this joker doesn’t know about history and anthropology. Why are right wing pundits always so eager to show off their ignorance?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
2 years ago

97% of the world’s scientific advancements occurred in Europe and North America

97% of made-up statistics use the figure “97%”.

hvjkvkjv
hvjkvkjv
2 years ago

And he’s still allowed on youtube?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Did racism HQ just order all their public figures to start talking about white people enduring cold temperatures better? I will not be surprised to see Tucker Carlson followed by Trump spouting this nonsense.

F is for 'Fro'
F is for 'Fro'
2 years ago

@wwth

I was thinking this, too! It’s like some sort of memo went out.

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

Someone seems unfamiliar with maths, astronomy, chemistry, and medicine.

Pen
Pen
2 years ago

If I was a white supremacist I think I would at least try to avoid saying things in public which are so completely and utterly moronic that nobody even knows where to start with them.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
2 years ago

In addition to espousing white supremacist and MRA views, Molyneux has been accused of encouraging his fans to break off all contact with their families if they experience push-back or criticism of any beliefs they might have picked up from him. Cult, much?

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
2 years ago

Just to add: I really hope someone like ContraPoints does a takedown on Molyneux at some point (she’d be ideal because I imagine she’d knock his philosophical pretensions down without breaking a sweat), he deserves it

Karalora
Karalora
2 years ago

Even to the (limited) extent that it’s true that most of the celebrated prominent scientists have been white men…why do these jokesters always assume that there is something inherent to whiteness and maleness that makes for good scientists and inventors? Do they seriously think that if the accidents of history had gone a different way and (for example) South Asian women were the demographic who had taken control of most of the world’s wealth and power and used their position to bar all others from institutions of learning; that humanity would therefore have remained in the Bronze Age?

Dr. Thang
Dr. Thang
2 years ago

White Man Who Has Contributed Nothing To Society Besides Being A Toxic Waste Of Organs Wants Credit For All Of The Good Things White Men Have Done Throughout History While Accepting None Of The Blame For The Bad Things – Read more at whatelseisnew.duh

Tovius
2 years ago

@Karalora
I doubt that their stunted imaginations could possibly conceive of any such scenario that didn’t put white dudes like themselves on top.

Bina
2 years ago

“Libertarian philosopher” — now THERE’s an oxymoron for ya.

Also, “driven out of Africa”? No, dopey, they LEFT. Nobody “drove” them. Always with the white-persecution narrative, these clowns.

Dr. Thang
Dr. Thang
2 years ago

@Cat Mara

That would be amazing, I love how contrapoints makes tearing down garbage like this look so effortless while also being hilarious. If you haven’t heard of the youtube channel Some More News (in which case I’d strongly urge checking it out, and if you do, your welcome), I think he’s very similar to contrapoints, not in the style of his videos obviously but in that he makes brilliant arguments and is hilarious in the process. It would be awesome if he did a video on MRAs too, but I think the only reason he hasn’t is because they just aren’t relevant enough.

magnesium
magnesium
2 years ago

lol these people live in a poorly designed video game https://twitter.com/StefanMolyneux/status/1070322039792103424

Kaczynski_Did_Nothing_Wrong
Kaczynski_Did_Nothing_Wrong
2 years ago

@karalora

I’m not sure I agree 100% with that. While I agree that white Europeans mainly did as well as they have due to simple accidents of history rather than any inherent superiority, I think science and technology, not to mention the very concept of civilization and “progress” is inherently masculine. It’s an expression of the instinctive male desire for conquest. That’s not to say women can’t participate, but I doubt they could have developed in a truly matriarchal society because women (barring a few rare mutations) have very different drives than men.

That’s not to say women are inferior. On the contrary, history has already proven that “civilization” was a terrible mistake. Everything on the planet is going to die due to the effects of global warming within the next few hundred years (if that), unless somebody starts a nuclear war first. Everything science promised, colonizing outer space, functional immortality, etc. all turned out to be a pipe dream.

A female dominated society would have given us billions of years of mothers raising and loving their children, elders sharing stories with the younger generations of their tribes, arts and crafts, music and people living meaningful lives before the sun finally turned into a red giant and ended it all. Instead humanity got a few thousand years of bloody war and slavery with nothing to show for it but lots of high tech toys only a small percentage of the population ever got to play with and a lot of pointless facts there was never time to do anything practical with. Then death and desolation for the rest of time.

Rus Block
Rus Block
2 years ago

chief manatee- vox day had the brilliant idea that if they could get people to associate cold weather with white people, they could trick sjws into fighting for global warming

tim gueguen
2 years ago

Molyneux thinks immigration is bad, which is amusing given that he’s an immigrant to Canada. And an Irish one to boot. It wasn’t that long ago in the scheme of things that the Irish were considered unacceptable immigrants by many North Americans.

Austin G Loomis
Austin G Loomis
2 years ago

If I was a white supremacist I think I would at least try to avoid saying things in public which are so completely and utterly moronic that nobody even knows where to start with them.

But how else could they get the jaw-dropped silence that lets them pretend they’ve won the debate?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I think science and technology, not to mention the very concept of civilization and “progress” is inherently masculine. It’s an expression of the instinctive male desire for conquest. That’s not to say women can’t participate, but I doubt they could have developed in a truly matriarchal society because women (barring a few rare mutations) have very different drives than men.

Oh, good. Evo psych.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
2 years ago

@Kaczynski_Did_Nothing_Wrong
I know I shouldn’t mock a person’s username since mine is nonsense, but I think I got the right to since I don’t have a title that says “a domestic terrorist bomber did nothing wrong.” And considering this troll is spouting similar nonsense as Ted Kaczynski that doesn’t say good things about our new “guest.”

Catalpa
Catalpa
2 years ago

I think science and technology, not to mention the very concept of civilization and “progress” is inherently masculine. It’s an expression of the instinctive male desire for conquest. That’s not to say women can’t participate, but I doubt they could have developed in a truly matriarchal society because women (barring a few rare mutations) have very different drives than men.

Oh please Mr. “The Unabomber did nothing wrong”, tell me more about how I’m biologically compelled to care for babies and do cute little arts and crafts and not worry my silly little head about anything scientific. I sure love being told about what my internal motivations and drives are by some dickhead who’s pulling hypotheses right out of his ass.

Hey how about you engage in that “inherently masculine” practice of scientific method and actually provide me with peer-reviewed studies that show that women inherently have different motivations than men do. And make sure that they account for the social pressures applied on people according to the gender which they have been assigned.

Oh, and while you’re at it, how about you show how science is to blame for the disaster course that the world is set on, rather than, oh, I don’t know, greed and selfishness and nearsightedness. Because I’m pretty sure that the scientists have been telling polluters to cut that shit out for a long long time now. So please, show me how science is to blame for the rapacious actions of rich assholes.

Or, y’know, fuck off. I’m good with either of those options.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

@WWTH:

Oh, good. Evo psych.

With a heaping side-order of gender essentialism!

Tovius
2 years ago

Welp, looks like Karalora got a first hand answer to their question.

Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
Valentin - Emigrantski Ragamuffin
2 years ago

Oh good – a weeaboo for a domestic terrorist. Stop role playing – you are embarrassing yourself.

Bina
2 years ago

LOL, David Pakman is roasting Stefan Foodprocessor as we speak…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E29QyG_uH_Y

I’m loving this.

reggie, the neighbour's cat and rare mutant
reggie, the neighbour's cat and rare mutant
2 years ago

@Kaczynski_Did_Nothing_Wrong

What long-winded and boring garbage. But yay that I with my lowly ladyparts might sometimes get to participate. Although tell me, do I need ribbons in my hair to go with the pompoms and rara skirt I wear while I cheer the manly men with their manly brains doing manly brain things?

Weatherwax
Weatherwax
2 years ago

Leaving to one side the astounding idiocy of his premises, even they (when applied with a modicum of knowledge and logic) lead us to admiring the indigenous populations of Australasia and South America. Those people travelled! In comparison, indigenous Europeans merely moved next door.

JessicaRed
JessicaRed
2 years ago

From 800 BC to 1950 AD, 97% of the world’s scientific advancements occurred in Europe and North America.

As a lifelong avid student of actual history: HORSE SHIT.

Also, whiteness didn’t even exist when people left Africa. White people originated in central Asia only around 10,000 years ago, they weren’t driven anywhere.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
2 years ago

@Karalora:

Even to the (limited) extent that it’s true that most of the celebrated prominent scientists have been white men…why do these jokesters always assume that there is something inherent to whiteness and maleness that makes for good scientists and inventors?

Exactly, it’s a variant of the same erroneous “fine tuning” argument that creationists make for the existence of their deity (“look, the values of the physical constants of the universe are so precisely set that if they varied more of a couple of a percent in either direction, life wouldn’t exist at all! Therefore Jesus!” Yes, but there would be no-one to make that observation either. If the physical constants of the universe were conducive to the evolution of sentient purple cephalopods, there would be a lot of wide-eyed purple octopi remarking on how much Calamari Jesus, bless His manifold pseudopods, must love them). The late Douglas Adams had a great parable about this kind of thinking.

Funny also how Really Smart Guys™ like Molyneux can spot when a creationist is making a fallacious argument, but not when they’re making the exact same one…

KG
KG
2 years ago

I’m wondering if David should pass the IP address of our Unabomber fan to the relevant authorities. Probably a blowhard fuckwit, but one can’t be sure.

Molyneux’s defence against the charge of white supremacism – that he recognises that East Asians score on average higher than whites on IQ tests – has been around a long time in white supremacist circles. It doesn’t, oddly enough, lead to them begging China or Japan to rule the planet. If they were as rational as they think they are, it might, in combination with their absurd notion that almost all innovation has come from white people, lead them to question whether IQ tests really tell you anything about the innate abilities of population groups (the Flynn Effect is in fact sufficient evidence of that).

The “our ancestors were driven out of Africa by ebil Africans” line is particularly amusing. Why he takes this line and not “Our ancestors were bold pioneers who strode forth to explore and conquer the world!” is an interesting question in the psychosociology of white racists, who currently seem to prefer whining about imagined persecution to any other approach, although as Molyneux shows, this can be combined with ahistorical claims that whites invented everything.

Gijoel
Gijoel
2 years ago

It’s amazing how many of these arseholes are libertarians.

Pie
Pie
2 years ago

@Alan Robertshaw

Someone seems unfamiliar with maths, astronomy, chemistry, and medicine.

Also finance. Bonus points awarded for arabic lending and investment history not being antisemetic as fuck.

Oh, and law. Middle-easterners famously not pasty white folk, modern conceptions of jesus notwithstanding.

Hmm. I think agriculture wasn’t invented by white folk either, and I’ve a suspicion that most of the animals that humanity has domesticated weren’t courtesy of Stefan’s fantasy pale ancestors.

And, whilst we’re on the subject, I wonder what colour he imagines ancient greeks and romans were. Hint: not homogenously pasty white, as it happens.

Anyway. Apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have brown people ever done for us?

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
2 years ago

@Kaczynski_Did_Nothing_Wrong (sic):

… I think science and technology, not to mention the very concept of civilization and “progress” is inherently masculine…

I imagine women like Émilie du Châtelet, Lise Meitner, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Margaret Hamilton would have whole ossuaries to pick with you on that score.

(PS I suspect your opinion of Ted Kaczynski would be somewhat different had you or one of your loved ones been the recipient of one of his parcels. But you’re obviously in the same class as the witless Proud Boy edgelord types who make jokes about Pinochet’s goons dropping people from helicopters.)

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
2 years ago

Also, whiteness didn’t even exist when people left Africa. White people originated in central Asia only around 10,000 years ago, they weren’t driven anywhere.

Not only that, there were back migrations into Africa, and existing populations of archaic hominids in Asia and Europe with which homo sapiens mingled and interbred. It was a messy process. Early migrations were driven more by periodic climate change (when north Africa temporarily became wetter and greener) than by the urge to invent mayonnaise.

I think science and technology, not to mention the very concept of civilization and “progress” is inherently masculine. It’s an expression of the instinctive male desire for conquest.

Too bad for your thesis that women have contributed a host of things to scientific progress, including Kevlar, the circular saw, beer and very probably agriculture itself. And those accomplishments came despite heavy social and institutional barriers. Just imagine what women could have done if they hadn’t been held back.

Technology is only held to be “inherently masculine” because historically, only men were permitted an education (and thus, access to previous accumulated knowledge) and allowed the social freedom to invent. You can’t claim that women wouldn’t have done the same if it were men staying home watching the babies and cooking.

The idea that technology and progress arise from the will to dominate is flawed. Much of technology, except for military applications, arose as a way to ask questions and solve problems, not dominate the earth. “How can we more easily move things from point A to point B?” “Is this curdled milk that sat in the barn all winter edible?” “Which plant will ease my headache?” Solving problems and manipulating the environment is not an exclusively masculine or feminine trait. It’s a human trait.

bluecat
bluecat
2 years ago

@ Buttercup

“97% of made-up statistics use the figure “97%”.”

Indeed.

Also dictators rigging elections tend to like that figure too.

It’s a cunning plan supposed to make it look credible: oh, 3% didn’t vote for ’em so it must be legit. Much more persuasive than an overwhelming 98% or a paltry 96%, which would throw doubt on the legitimacy of the whole process. For some reason.

Amtep
Amtep
2 years ago

Aside from his grasp of history… has he looked at a map?

Yes, Stefan. Your ancestors were driven out of Africa, into the barren wastelands of the Fertile Crescent, where you survived the short, cool winters with grit and determination.

Chris Oakley
2 years ago

@David Futrelle

SPOILER ALERT: They’re not going to say diddly-poo about it…unless it’s to cheer Molyneux on.

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
2 years ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Just imagine what women could have done if they hadn’t been held back.

So much this. I don’t even want to think about the centuries of wasted effort, how many lives could have been richer, or many lives could have been saved because someone decided it was a better “investment” to have half our species making babies instead of using their full intellectual faculties[1]. Stefan Molyneux points to all these achievements as and I go, “yes, and? That was done by the equivalent of flying on one engine: you and your ideological fellow-travellers have wasted centuries because of your stupid prejudices, and caused untold suffering. You have succeeded in spite of, not because of, yourselves. You need to STFU now.”

[1] It went both ways, of course. There were plenty of men over the centuries who died illiterate and before their time, in pointless wars or worn out in back-breaking work, their potential squandered by a vicious, inbred kyriarchy that the the forces of neoreaction like Molyneux love to idolise, but there’s no doubt that women had the worst of it.

Katamount
Katamount
2 years ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Just imagine what women could have done if they hadn’t been held back.

Just to underline this point further, it’s one of the implications of Stefan’s very tweet. This is the thing I’ve noticed about these alt-right skaters is that they’re very good at just throwing out “statistics” that either “sound legitimate” or actually are and just devoid of context, but are meant to play into the existing biases of the actual factual racists. You see this anytime a clown like Molyneaux tosses out “black on black crime” statistics. What they then don’t say is “therefore blacks have a crime bone in their brain”, but that’s the implication they clearly want their audience to conclude, just as Molyneaux wants to conclude here that whites are the superior race.

There’s also a clear tug-of-war going on within the brain of Molyneaux and those like him who want to vicariously live through the achievements of the colonial powers, but don’t want to be held accountable for the plunder that made it possible. So on one hand, they’ll say “white men built the world, aren’t we great?” but if you mention the legacy of oppression and slavery, they’ll say “shut up, that’s all in the past!” Which way, Western man, which way?

Let’s also not overlook the monopoly on literacy, which has only become widespread in the past 200 years or so. Before that, the ability to read and write was practically a luxury.

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
2 years ago

I imagine this has been discussed…

From 800 BC to 1950 AD, 97% of the world’s scientific advancements occurred in Europe and North America.

THE FUCK!?!?!?!?

Until “the Enlightenment”, most of Europe was mired in Catholic intellectual repression, and most of the scientific advancements were made in Islamic schools.

Moon_custafer
Moon_custafer
2 years ago

A female dominated society would have given us billions of years of ….arts and crafts

Other commenters have already taken apart the rest of this argument, but I’d like to ask why people so often think “arts and crafts” and “technology” are separate categories.

Catalpa
Catalpa
2 years ago

why people so often think “arts and crafts” and “technology” are separate categories.

Well, that’s because arts and crafts are silly, pointless hobbies that don’t contribute to society in any meaningful way, nothing like technology.

There’s no technical skill involved in something inherently feminine like knitting, and everyone knows that clothes and fabric aren’t technology anyway. Nothing like computer programming, a field which has famously primarily involved men from its very inception.

There’s no kind of theoretical framework and historical progress to understand behind the creation of music or painting or illustration or animation or sculpture. (Unless of course a famous white man has done it, and then he’s a genius, obviously.)

No kind of training or practical understanding goes into arts and crafts, it’s just something that females do instinctively, without any thought.

/sarcasm

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
2 years ago

Also, “driven out of Africa”? No, dopey, they LEFT. Nobody “drove” them.

Because they didn’t have cars back then. Sorry.

Every time I get into a discussion with a Molyneux fan, I get the feeling I’m battling with an unarmed opponent. It’s kind of sad.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

@ Pie

Cue Brian and fellow ‘revolutionaries’ (good satirical model for Molyneaux and his ilk) nodding sagely.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
2 years ago

@Katamount:

Let’s also not overlook the monopoly on literacy, which has only become widespread in the past 200 years or so. Before that, the ability to read and write was practically a luxury.

And don’t forget, the printing press was invented in China. Europe was way behind the curve there.

Thanks to the Church, Europe was comparatively backwards for a long time, playing catch-up with more advanced ancient civilizations: China, Egypt, the Incans, the Mayans, etc. Far from being the spearhead, Europe was more of a crossroads/colonizer that borrowed technologies from many different cultures. You have to erase an awful lot of history to think whites have always been front and center for human progress.

@Moon_custafer:

Other commenters have already taken apart the rest of this argument, but I’d like to ask why people so often think “arts and crafts” and “technology” are separate categories.

It’s annoying how women’s creations are dismissed as “crafts”, while men’s creations are labeled “inventions”. Women experiment with food and they’re just another pioneer housewife/artsy food blogger. Men experiment with food and they’re hailed as chefs and get TV shows and Michelin stars. (With some exceptions, like Rachel Ray and Ina Garten).

Moon_custafer
Moon_custafer
2 years ago

@ Catalpa, Buttercup Q. Skullpants:
For all I respect Elizabeth Zimmermann for reviving interest in knitting, popularizing circular needles and seamless techniques, etc., I really *hate* her term “unventing,” for playing into this mindset as well as for being cutesy.

(thinks about it some more)

I think some people may draw a less-sexist but still inaccurate division between technology and crafts, where anything invented in their own lifetime is technology, and anything around when they were born is just part of the established universe. People seldom think of tables and chairs as technology, frex. Sort of a variant on Douglas Adams “anything around when you were a small child=normal/anything invented when you were between ten and thirty=cool/anything invented after that=horrible newfangled stuff that’s wrecking society” division.

Button
Button
2 years ago

@cat mara, other people wishing for a ContraPoints video on Molyneux

Shaun semi-frequently debunks Molyneux, which is why I knew about him. The white supremacy isn’t actually new – he’s been on the Great Replacement train for some time now.

Shaun’s Molyneux videos in chronological order:
1. Stefan Molyneux’s Fall of Rome – A Response – https://youtu.be/BHW3Y_p2llo
2. Immigration & the Fall of Rome – https://youtu.be/WqCCx4wj79o (This isn’t so much about Molyneux, but it is a follow-up to his previous Molyneux video and also quite entertaining.)
3. Stefan Molyneux’s Native American Genocide – A Response – https://youtu.be/Xd_nVCWPgiA
4. The Truth About “The Truth About Wonder Woman” – https://youtu.be/33FH1Jl62cY

Scildfreja Unnyðnes
Scildfreja Unnyðnes
2 years ago

For being such an intellectual ponce, Molyneux needs to get his self a copy of Guns, Germs and Steel or something. I’m not an anthropologist, just an interested layperson, and even I know that humanity spread from Africa due to the Saharan pump, the cyclical desertification and fertilization of the Saharan desert. Humanity enters from the south during the fertile years, and then spreads in a diaspora during the desertification phase. He might also learn that there was nothing about the humans living in Europe that made them special inherently, it was geographical luck that gave them political dominance – and that dominance came much later than he supposes.

I’m just a dummy, and even I know that.

Ahem. Now, then.

@Kaczynski_Did_Nothing_Wrong

comment image

Welcome to WHTM! Where we talk about the sorts of things we like, laugh at the foibles of misogynists, and flay trolls alive over pits of hot coals. I’m sure that doesn’t apply to you, though, ha ha, no, entirely safe.

Tell me, why is it that the world run by women would be so devoid of scientific or technological understanding, as your lurid depiction of the gynocratic dream-time depicts? You allude to the idea that science and progress are male concepts but if you could just be explicit and hit that nail square on the head, that’d be nice. Because – y’see, I don’t entirely disagree with that thought, but at the same time I also vehemently disagree with parts of it. So it’d be nice to know what you mean specifically.

takes out notepad and pen

Thank you and welcome!

Katamount
Katamount
2 years ago

On the point of arts and crafts as an extension of technology, I’m reminded of a pair of historical tidbits I came across in my studies.

The first comes from a very fascinating humanities course I took in Engineer School, which was “Science and Technology in the Realms of Islam.” The “Realms of Islam” part was critical because it wasn’t so much that the religion lead to those breakthroughs, but the power structures in place that offered scientists and scholars the support necessary to make their breakthroughs. When they weren’t at war with each other, the Caliphs were always out for the latest big scientist to draw to their court so they could brag that they were the real center of learning and commerce.

Case in point, Al-Jazari’s Robot Band. Ismail Al-Jazari was the court engineer for the Artuqid dynasty and while he is remembered for his numerous mechanical wonders, he was employed to do so almost entirely for the amusement of the Caliph and his court. The Robot Band, while an engineering marvel, was simply another thing that the Artuqid Caliph could show off to his rivals and say “Haha, do you have a Robot Band? I think not!”

It was the same reason they built universities and enormous libraries: not for the altruistic reasons of knowledge generation, but to show up the neighbouring Caliph for not being as wealthy/cool.

In short, dick-measuring contests.

The second thing I’m reminded of is the fact that a lot of the “arts and crafts” being spoken of were created from craft materials themselves, and those crafts involved a lot of scientific work.

Look no further than the creation of dyes. Mass production has skewed our understanding of dye fabrication, but these colours that we see in old tapestries were not easily created.

Again, huge props to Sir Tony Robinson for his Worst Jobs In History series. There are two segments where he interviewed Ancient Dye Researcher John Edmonds, who demonstrates dye extraction techniques used before the Industrial Revolution:

In this clip, he makes blues from woad:

https://youtu.be/8QUd-cTNT8o?t=1840

In this clip, he makes Tyrian purple from crushed Murex rock snails:

https://youtu.be/J_TEiWkzQXM?t=2558

Both techniques required a lot of informal chemistry to get right. We take these things for granted because they’re just coloured fabric, but a lot of work went into it.