A Cosmopolitan Morality

I posted a piece over on RAW / ROAR, a new website of feminist writing from Australian women from the Left, on the stoush between Melinda Tankard Reist (MTR) and blogger Jennifer Wilson (No Place for Sheep). It’s not about MTR’s threats to sue for defamation, which I abhor. It’s about the ethics of dismissing an argument because of somebody’s religion.

You can read it here.

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Tammi Jonas

The infrequent and imperfect yet impassioned musings of a farmer, meatsmith, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and cultural commentator with a penchant for food and community…

2 thoughts on “A Cosmopolitan Morality”

  1. There are arguments in Jennifer’s post:

    • We should ask where someone who is morally prescriptive — MTR’s moral values are the moral values of fundamentalist christianity — is coming from.
    • Why does she deliberately conflate women and girls?
    • If occuring outside of marriage, female sexuality is something to be pathologised. Why?
    • What motivates her to campaign against expressions of female sexuality in a repressive and dehumanising manner?

    You should be very careful when attempting to dismiss an argument as ad hominem without actually engaging the argument. Because irony.

  2. Disclaimer: I am an athiest concerned what about the children? I would like to see less commodification of children. I would like to see less commodified, less repressed, more positive expressions of sexuality (not children).

    Tammi and Sam,

    My premises:

    • An insult coexisting with an engagement of your argument, while insulting, does not make for an ad hominem argument.
    Argumentum ad hominem does not have sub-clauses dealing with religion.
    • 100% of those making the ad hominem argument have not read, or have failed to understand the OP, and have a shaky grasp of the concept.
    • Many of those involved in the argument have religious membership and/or antipr0n conflicts.

    Dr Jennifer Wilson’s premises; that Melinda Tankard Reist:

    • pathologises female sexuality outside of heterosexual marriage
    • campaigns against expressions of female sexuality in a repressive and dehumanising manner.
    • deliberately conflates women and girls
    • believes that you didn’t make that choice, you know; you are a victim.
    • is anti-abortion
    • is a practising Baptist

    Regarding Wilson’s premises you only mention two of those, your thoughts on the others would be more illuminating.

    I am very amused by Sam’s risible semantic arguments. The title of Wilson’s post, after all, is: The questions Rachel Hills didn’t ask Melinda Tankard Reist.
    Wilson goes on to ask those questions and argues why women should be aware of those questions; why there should be something inherently wrong with female sexual expression; how MTR convinces from authority by the invocation of morality. By doing so, Wilson helps to put MTR’s past and present behaviour in context and helps us to evaluate information.

    You don’t for example point to the evidence that MTR has to support pathologising expressions of female sexuality. Wilson provides a compelling answer, if you accept the premises. The closest you get to arguing Wilson’s post was poorly argued or wrong, is because it wasn’t done on your arbitrary terms, not because you showed it to be wrong.

    As homework, which of the following, if any, is ad hominem?

    Sam doesn’t understand what ad hominem means, therefore his belief in unicorns is wrong.

    Sam doesn’t understand what ad hominem means, therefore he shouldn’t lecture others on its use.

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