The Techniques And Target Of Predatory Explanation

The primary technique of Predatory Explanation is to attribute all human wickedness, not to the general nature of human beings but to the specific nature of one sub-category of human, a category of which you yourself are not a member. It follows that you are not capable of this wickedness, you have no share in it, and it is nothing to do with you.

The necessary patterns of thought and speech are actually very simple. If a phenomenon has a negative value, insert “male” in front. For example “male selfishness”. This suggests that not only is all male action caused by selfishness, but that a woman who does something negative is motivated by “male selfishness” like a contagion. Now, if someone does this for thirty years, and then someone else tries to suggest that something they have done was actually bad, are they going to get through?

The second technique is to assimilate your own personal interests to the interests of a group that is generally agreed to be oppressed. Conversely, the concept of “liberation” of this group, and by implication the welfare of humanity as a whole, is thus assimilated to your private interests and wishes, and anything done against these wishes or interests is equated with continued oppression of that group or even the end of the world.

The third technique is to subjectivise and psychologise any objections to your actions, explaining them in terms of various mental or emotional distortions and disabilities on the part of the objector. In other words, anything you may appear to have done wrong is in fact the objector’s illusion and thereby his problem. If he doesn’t like what you do, he has bad “attitudes”, but if you don’t like what he does, his sin is attributable to the very same bad attitudes as cause him to object to yours. This makes it impossible even to talk about what you have actually done, much less condemn it.

All three main Predatory Explanation techniques I have analysed in terms of their use by women – collectively and individually – against men, but it should be borne in mind that they may also be used by ethnic communities, religious groups and sexual orientations. And are so used on a daily basis. Some conflicts between the various sub-categories who use the same devices are inevitable, as for instance between the men and women of ethnic minorities, or between women and gay men. However, since no Predatory Explainers have any real interest in letting cats out of bags, such conflicts can frequently be solved by concerted redirection against the “common enemy”. When conservatives talk as if white male heterosexuals are the new oppressed category, in terms of economic and political power this is obviously absurd; but that they are always on the wrong end of the moral judo of Predatory Explanation, this is nothing but the truth.

However, the proper target of Predatory Explanation is not all men, but the intelligent, liberal man of good will. This is because the coarse and ignorant man is not amenable to any influence at all. What passes for his mind was made up and closed long before he was old enough to drink and drive. The liberally-educated man, however, tends to the opposite extreme and is very easily swayed by intellectual fashions. Moreover, being civilised, he feels guilt for the centuries of oppression of women (and other groups), which inhibits him from objecting to any inconvenient or injurious behaviour by particular individuals of the oppressed groups. His fastidious horror of being publicly classed with the Ockers, rednecks and lager louts far outweighs his sense of psychological self-preservation.

Above all, this is the man with whom the adepts of Predatory Explanation will have most to do. It is this man who is their proper food, for the others are inedible. The others won’t seek female approval, accept women’s account of their own motives, tiptoe around their sensibilities or blame themselves for not measuring up to their expectations.

Predatory Explanation is a woman’s most powerful tool for getting other women on side, especially when she is up to no good. Telling an audience that they are better than they thought guarantees a favourable hearing – as peddlers of New Age mystagogy have long since discovered. If this involves telling them that a different category of people are worse than they thought, so much the better – as racists have long since discovered.

People want above all else to be told how stuff is not their fault. Show a woman whose boyfriend has left her how “men cannot sustain an intimate relationship”, and she will be glad to believe that she has not failed, but merely wasted her superior qualities on an unworthy object. This is much more fun than wondering what she did wrong. Contrariwise, anyone trying to tell a woman that her misfortunes are not entirely the fault of a category of people to whom she does not belong, but are at least partly her own doing as well, is likely to encounter sales resistance.

Predatory Explanation thus goes with the human grain. Music in other people’s ears means power in the hands of the musician. Invincible self-righteousness is not only a thing of beauty and a joy forever but also a valuable trade good.

Suppose, however, that the person standing in the way of what an individual wants, or trying to hold her to account for something she has done, happens to be another woman. Predatory Explanation may then serve to reconfigure the situation for the female opponent or objector and so redirect her indignation towards the opposite sex instead. The pretence that all conflicts are necessarily and invariably those between men and women may thus serve to distract and disarm a female opponent, even to shut down her apparatus for detection of danger and evil.

A human wolf should run with the pack as far as she can, for that is where the greatest safety and profit lies, but should not forget that her pack-mate is also food. And she will become food precisely to the extent that she fails to realise or remember that her own sex can be predators too. It is thus in a predator’s interest to encourage the belief that her sex guarantees benevolence.

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