FEMINISM DEBATE: Naomi Wolf vs. Crowder
This starts off very well – although Wolf’s insistence on shooting the entire interview like a selfie soon gets a bit weird – with the concession that we all need to challenge our own bubbles, and so on. I was also amused to spot a Captain Underpants book on the floor behind her.
Wolf began by making some good points about tribalism, the narrow, parochial focus of Western feminism, and so on. I found myself thinking, hmm, maybe I’ve judged her a bit harshly in the past …
But Wolf’s basic intellectual dishonesty inevitably outed itself, and soon enough, I remembered why I thoroughly dislike her.
Now, Crowder is a conservative Christian, and he doesn’t hide that, so his biases are out in the open. But that doesn’t mean that his arguments are, ipso facto, worthless. So, when he tries to lead Wolf into talking about what so many feminists seem absolutely determined to avoid, the overweening misogyny of Islam, it’s a fair point.
Sure, Crowder is leading the questioning, and it’s obvious, and Wolf by her own admission sees it coming. But, instead of answering honestly, or at best, doing the intellectually honest thing and admitting that that’s a topic she’d rather not touch (after all, Crowder has already talked about the Islamic death threats hanging over his own head), she immediately resorts to the most transparent and intellectually dishonest fudging.
Now, it’s important to note that Wolf specifically says that she studied Islam in college. So it is difficult for her to plead ignorance, here. Which means that some of the more egregious sophistries she peddles would seem to be deliberately mendacious, rather than honest ignorance.
For instance, when she says “hadiths are not the word of Muhammad” – this is absolutely false. Hadith are collections of reports of the sayings and doings of Muhammad. They are often literally reports of his words.
Even if Wolf means they are not Muhammad’s own, written word, well, so what? Jesus didn’t write anything in the Bible. But anyone with even a passing knowledge of Islam must know that the hadith are an indispensible part of Islamic scripture. Dismissing the sunnah, as Wolf tries to do, is like trying to dismiss the Gospels from Christianity.
Wolf then dodges the question of whether hadith are holy books. Again, she claimed to have studied Islam, so she must know that the answer is yes. In Sunni Islam, for instance, hadith like Sahih al-Bukhari are generally regarded as second in importance only to the Koran.
Wolf also parrots the common fallacy that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are “the same religion”. This is utter nonsense, as even a cursory examination of the core teachings of each will show: each specifically contradicts the other. Even the claim that each “worships the same God” is simply untrue: each religion believes quite different things about their God. Muslims, especially, are quite explicit that their God is not the same as the others’, and indeed, that the beliefs of Christians and Jews regarding God are a heinous sin.
All in all, Crowder successfully exposed the glaring blind spot running through so much of Western feminism. It’s all very well for Wolf to mouth blandishments about the lot of women in developing countries, but as we see, as soon as the rights of women in developing countries clash with Wolf’s cosy notions of multiculturalism, the blinds just slam right down.
As Jordan Peterson has said, in conversation with Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
The Western feminists who are possessed by post-modernism and cultural relativism are willing to sacrifice the freedom and equality of third-world women in places like Saudi Arabia to maintain the sanctity of their multicultural notion, because that justifies their attack on Western patriarchy.