A Philosopher's Blog

Trump & Misogyny

Posted in Ethics, Philosophy, Politics, Reasoning/Logic by Michael LaBossiere on October 12, 2016

Watching Trump is rather like an observing a submarine test: you wonder how low it can sink. Like an amazing sub, Trump keeps reaching new depths. An old recording of Trump was recently released which features the Republican candidate saying rather awful things. This has cost him the endorsement of some Republicans, but he still seems to be incredibly resistant to damage: he had managed to spew forth a stream of awful things such that any one of which would have been a career ending injury for almost anyone else.

While there have been some calls for Trump to leave the race, Trump has so far decided that he is staying in. As should be expected, Trump has presented a reply to the situation that includes his usual tactics.  While most would not consider Trump philosophical, he does say things that are certainly interesting to discus in this context.

Trump begins his response by pointing out that the recording is from 2005 and he asserts that he has changed since then. As such, he should not be criticized now for what he did then. This defense potentially has merit: if he has reformed, then while the recording shows that Trump was awful, that was then and this is now. From a moral standpoint, the main concern is whether or not Trump is still the same sort of person he was in 2005. Interestingly, Trump’s initial defense did not include claims that his remarks were out of character; presumably he accepts that this behavior was in accord with his character in 2005.

While there are no known recent remarks about women by Trump that exactly match his 2005 remarks, he does not seem to have reformed in any morally meaningful way. He casually and routinely engages in misogyny and sexism and this gives lie to his defense. As such, the 2005 remarks do reflect both who he was and who he is. If Trump had shown signs of moral growth, then this defense could have merit—there are certainly cases of people who redeem themselves and become better. Unfortunately, there seems to be no evidence of this in Trump’s case.

Trump also endeavored to use a red herring (a rhetorical device in which someone attempts to divert attention from the original issue) to switch attention from his remarks. Rather, he hoped to get people to ignore them and focus instead on his assertions that “We are losing our jobs, we are less safe than we were eight years ago and Washington is totally broken.”

It could be countered that this is not a red herring because the character of a president does not matter in the face of such alleged problems. This approach does have potential merit and will be addressed in the context of Bill Clinton, who seems to have been used in another Trump red herring.

In his response, Trump also asserted that “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course.” This could also be regarded as a red herring—the matter of whether Bill has said worse things or not is a different issue from the matter of Trump’s remarks. Even if Bill has said worse things, this proves nothing about Trump’s remarks.

As mentioned before, perhaps Trump’s defenders could make the case that Bill Clinton was an excellent president despite the things he allegedly said. Given that many successful leaders have had awful moralities in regards to their views of women, a case could be made here arguing that a leader who will do the job well should not be assessed based on such alleged failings. Put crudely, it does not matter what the leader wants to grab, because “it’s the economy, stupid.” While this does have some appeal, Bill’s behavior did have damaging consequences for him and the country, so there is clearly a downside to this quality in a leader. There is also the moral question of whether or not the tradeoff would be worth it, especially if a good leader could be found who was not a misogynist.

If Bill were running against Trump, then showing that Bill is just as bad would be a relevant response. This is because if Trump and Bill were equally awful in this regard, then Trump’s awfulness would not disadvantage him relative to Bill—at least under a rational assessment. To use an analogy, if a HP laptop and an Asus laptop had equally short battery life, then battery life would not serve as a reason to pick one over the other. But, of course, Trump is not running against Bill. He is running against Hillary. As such, it is no surprise that he also attacked Hillary by saying, “Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims.”

While attacking Hillary can also be regarded as a red herring in that it proves nothing about the matter involving Trump, it is certainly relevant in assessing the two candidates against each other. Trump is, in effect, trying to establish that Hillary is just as bad (or worse) than he is in regards to treatment of women. Trump does have some ammunition here—he can point to Hillary’s alleged role in the handling of the “bimbo eruptions” that plagued Bill in the 1990s.

While there certainly seem to be some legitimate concerns about Hillary’s behavior, she can point to an otherwise solid record on women’s issue. Even if the claims about her misdeeds are true, she can certainly make a much stronger case than Trump that she has changed since the 1990s. After all, the recording of Trump is more recent than the 1990s and Trump relentlessly affirms his misogyny, thus showing that he has not changed significantly. As such, while Hillary can, perhaps, be justly criticized for her actions in the 1990s, it would be a false equivalence to say that she is as bad as Trump in this regard.

Some of Trump’s defenders have asserted that Trump did not say anything that other men do not regularly say. That is, what Trump did was not a problem because this sort of thing is a common practice. The easy reply to this defense is that an appeal to common practice is a fallacy: even if something is commonly done, it does not follow from this that it is good, justified or right. All that follows from something being commonly done is that it is, well, commonly done.

It could also be argued that it is hypocritical of men to criticize Trump because men have, no doubt, said or thought things equally as bad. While it is surely true that everyone has said or thought something awful, these tend to be anomalies for most men. Everyone has their awful moments and this should be taken into account when judging a person. If Trump had but this one blight on an otherwise decent character, then it would be reasonable to judge him by his consistent character rather than an inconsistent remark. However, these remarks are not an aberration for Trump—they are utterly consistent with his character.


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  1. ajmacdonaldjr said, on October 12, 2016 at 9:05 am

    “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” ~ Jesus Christ (Luke 6.45)

  2. ronster12012 said, on October 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm


    BTW,what is your opinion of JFK? Would you discount him as a president because he screwed anything with tits and a pulse, automatically making him an adulterer? Or is he is excused on the grounds that he was ‘not Trump’?

    I find your arguments about Trump’s comments overly prissy. Have you never talked about women that way yourself, especially after a few drinks with the boys? Really? Honestly? And would you accuse a woman who talked that way about men a ‘misandrist’?…Or is it different?

    And why would talking about screwing women be considered misogyny in the first place? It wasn’t rape like Bill’s indiscretions, the victims of which Hillary allegedly threatened. http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/10/hillary-shocked-trumps-sex-talk-heres-video-hillary-threatening-sex-assault-victims-1995/

    I have trouble believing that you can honestly compare Trump unfavourably with Hillary in regards to morality when Hillary is clearly a war criminal for her actions against Libya alone. OK, no one is ever likely to charge her with it as long as the US is on the winning side(only losers are accused of war crimes) but that doesn’t stop anyone from putting two and two together and reacing the appropriate conclusion.

    • wtp said, on October 12, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      I find your arguments about Trump’s comments overly prissy.
      C’mon…Actually, I think “Overly Prissy” would be a much more fitting name for this place than “A Philosopher’s Blog”.

      have you never talked about women that way yourself, especially after a few drinks with the boys? Really? Honestly?

      I seriously doubt Mike has. I know I haven’t myself. But I don’t wilt like a lilac around those who do. I doubt Mike would ever speak up and confront someone who does but I’m quite certain he’d get all queasy-pants about it. Unless, of course, it was coming from someone on the left. Then it’s excusable, move along, nothing to be seen here. See pretty much anything written here (or more precisely not written here) about the Clintons or Joe Biden or etc. etc. etc.

      But more to your point, this absurdist virtue signaling (which is quite popular here) is quite tiresome. Especially in regards to word (Trump) vs. deeds (HillAndBill). But then modern philosophers* are all about words. Deeds are all too real. They interfere with the magical worlds that can only exist inside their heads. See masthead, re “…assuming it exists”.

      * I might also throw in a good chunk of Western “thought leaders” and such, e.g. Dem and GOP elites, many Libertarians, upper level corporate management, social climbers, etc.

  3. DH said, on October 12, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Back in the 1990’s, I spoke out against Bill Clinton’s misogyny – the stories about Monica Lewinsky, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaderick and all those women provided for him by the Arkansas State Police. I thought it was despicable the way in which Hillary Clinton put politics above morality, and exercised her own power to threaten and silence those who would accuse her husband.

    I was soundly told that this does not matter, that what mattered was his ability to lead; the economy was doing well, welfare rolls were down, employment was up, and we were not at war.

    Now here comes Trump, and it matters more than ever. What changed?

    In my view, this story in and of itself is the red herring – not his parry to accuse Clinton of lying and coverup in defense of her husband. I think that by making these accusations against Hillary he is just responding in kind. It’s inconceivable to me that she has the stones to stand there and accuse him, given her own history of bad treatment of women. An honorable (or at least a less arrogant) opponent would have simply said, “Let’s not go there”.

    So if this is the red herring, what is the real story from which we are being distracted?

    The economy. Taxes. The fact that we have been at war for the full two terms of a sitting president for the first time in our history. The Iran Nuclear deal. Billions of dollars in ransom to terrorists. Russia’s rise to power. North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. National security, and hacked government secrets.

    We all know that Trump is no angel, that he is outspoken, crude, and about as far as politically correct as anyone can be. Was anyone really surprised that he said these things? Is this news? The only thing that surprises me is the constant treatment this is getting, and the actions of the feckless weasels in the Republican party running for the hills for fear of damaging their own political future.

    It is embarrassing to watch the slugfest between these two.

  4. TJB said, on October 13, 2016 at 8:01 am

    So now male sexual impulses are being redefined as misogyny, but males with the correct political views are exempt from criticism.

    Message received.

    • DH said, on October 13, 2016 at 8:58 am

      What you are pointing to is a small example of a bigger picture. Democrats have always been more prone to circle the wagons and present a united front in defense of one of their own. They are a united party. They were united in defense of Bill Clinton, and are united in defense of every misdeed on the part of Hillary as well. If they can’t defend the action, they redefine the sin or redirect the question.

      They are very, very good at that – maybe it’s why they’re called the Democrat Machine.

      • TJB said, on October 13, 2016 at 9:33 am

        Agree. The old Will Rogers quip — “I don’t belong to any organized political party–I’m a Democrat!” — no longer applies.

  5. TJB said, on October 13, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I still believe we are living in a matriarchy, and have been for quite a while now.

    If we were living in a patriarchy, engineers would be running things, and journalists and movie stars would be mostly ignored.

    • ronster12012 said, on October 13, 2016 at 10:55 am

      That’s why marriage is called ‘matrimony’, not patrimony…

    • DH said, on October 13, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      Recent polling shows Trump in a landslide victory when counting only male voters; same polls show Hillary in a bigger landslide when counting only female voters.

  6. TJB said, on October 13, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I think the show “Big Bang Theory” is very revealing. Leonard, Howard, and Raj are all brought low by their desire for women. Sheldon is empowered because he does not care about women.

  7. TJB said, on October 13, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Soon Mike will be making his post asking what terrible things would happen if candidate X gets elected.

    Years ago I predicted that Israel would not survive an Obama presidency. Thankfully, for now at least, I was wrong (Obama’s Iran deal could still lead to Israel’s destruction).

    Now, I will predict that if Hillary wins the election we will soon be at war with Russia. Probably not a total war, but a proxy war.

    • ronster12012 said, on October 13, 2016 at 10:54 am


      I think Israel will survive quite nicely with their nuclear arsenal. The question is whether America will survive being used as Israel’s muscle to rearrange the ME. Sure, there are many agendas in play, not least of which is Saudi Arabia…now there’s a medieval shithole just begging for an Arab Spring, no? But we don’t hear any calls for democracy in Saudi, only that Assad is a very bad man because of ‘democracy’ or something.

      As for war with Russia, the US has been in a proxy war with Russia for years by supporting terrorists(ISIS and Al Qaeda) against Assad. The Maidan coup in Ukraine was another element in the proxy war against Russia that cost you taxpayers $5 bil I recall reading.

      Hillary wants to institute a no fly zone over Syria, as if it her right when in fact the US is an aggressor party in Syria, along with Turkey. Russia OTOH, is there at the request of the Syrian government. It is a very slippery slope(alleged fallacies notwithstanding) to start removing governments at will, where does one stop?

  8. TJB said, on October 13, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Another prediction is that if Hillary wins, our 1st Amendment right to free speech will be seriously eroded. It may even become a crime to criticise religious ideas.

    • ronster12012 said, on October 13, 2016 at 10:24 am

      Only certain religious ideas…..christian ideas will still be fair game.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 13, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      That seems beyond the realm of possibility.

      • ronster12012 said, on October 16, 2016 at 7:35 am


        Here’s how I would do it if I were president.

        1/ Handpick Supreme court judge who will see things my way. Note existing supreme court judges’ views, timing is everything.

        2/ Increase current use of the term ‘hatespeech’, avoiding explaining too much what it actually means. The proles will soon associate the term with evil. No one will have the balls to publicly get up and call bullshit on it all.

        3/ Using my influence through discrete backdoor channels get a friendly organization or individual to bring an amicus curae motion on a suitable case linking ‘hatespeech’ and action. Precedents can be found for anything if one is motivated to look hard enough for them….so I motivate them. Bankrupt anyone who can be found to pin some blame on for anything said that resembles what the public thinks of as ‘hatespeech’. That will have a huge chilling effect there and then….almost negating the 1st amendment. You can still technically say what you want but be prepared to lose everything for someone’s hurt feelings(except if you are white, male, christian, heterosexual etc then too bad)

        4/Bring up the argument that many types of speech are currently illegal, 1st amendment notwithstanding,(sedition, criminal libel etc) and announce that ‘hatespeach’ will be added to that list to fight ‘racism’, ‘bigotry’, misogyny’, ‘anti semitism’ etc etc, pointing to the alleged cause and effect of case in point.

        5/ Supreme court judges will go along with it if given the correct inducements, drawing a clear distinction between legitimate free speech and illegitimate ‘hatespeech’.

        6/Game, set and match to me…you want to argue about it? Off to jail for ‘hatespeech’!

      • ronster12012 said, on October 17, 2016 at 11:58 pm


        And right on cue, your ‘constitutional scholar’ (ffs, roflmao) prez has taken a position announcing the end of free speech.

        As reported by AFP:

        Pittsburgh (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Thursday decried America’s “wild, wild west” media environment for allowing conspiracy theorists a broad platform and destroying a common basis for debate.

        Recalling past days when three television channels delivered fact-based news that most people trusted, Obama said democracy require citizens to be able to sift through lies and distortions.

        “We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to,” Obama said at an innovation conference in Pittsburgh.

        “There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world,” Obama added.

        “That is hard to do, but I think it’s going to be necessary, it’s going to be possible,” he added.

        “The answer is obviously not censorship, but it’s creating places where people can say ‘this is reliable’ and I’m still able to argue safely about facts and what we should do about it.

        Just to remind you:

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

        Nowhere in there does it mention ‘conspiracy theories'( a term coined by the CIA to discredit wrongthink about the Kennedy wet work, an interesting fact in itself, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspiracy_theory)
        so what can Obama be talking about? Unless there are actual plans to ‘curate’ information and that can only mean censoring, what is the actual point of bringing it up at all? As I said above, it only tales the supreme court, with appropriate threats, blackmail or inducements to reinterpret the term ‘freedom of speech’ using 5000 big words that no one actually understands to separate legitimate free speech and illegitimate speech.

        He mentions a ‘common basis for debate’….I take that as meaning opinion leaders controlling debate.

        He says “Recalling past days when three television channels delivered fact-based news that most people trusted, “, now there’s a lie straight up. The MSM are dying and his job is to restore their profitability, given that he owes them for getting to be president in the first place.

        “We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to,” Obama said at an innovation conference in Pittsburgh.By people he means only some people and those some people will be very few but very powerful. The elites usually tip their hand about their plans and here they are doing it again.

        Full article here http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-15/obama-enters-media-wars-why-his-recent-attack-free-speech-so-dangerous-radical

        The elites are not one bit happy about the plebs being able to backchat and contradict them, so the first amendment will have to go.

        • TJB said, on October 18, 2016 at 6:56 am

          All you need is to put into place a few common sense restrictions on speech, just like they do in most other developed countries. It is needed to promote social cohesion.

          • ronster12012 said, on October 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm


            The problem with ‘a few commonsense restrictions ‘ is that in five minutes flat every special interest will be clamoring for their ‘common sense restrictions’ to be included.

            And if you think that because a few other developed societies apply rules then think about how you will get slung in jail in Europe for many things including questioning the holohoax(a story so full of holes that jailing heretics is the only way to maintain it), publicly question multicult…get slung in jail, question the Islamafication of Europe…get slung in jail,etc etc, all in the name of ‘social cohesion.

            I am all in favour of social cohesion myself, but not social cohesion based on lies. And how do we determine truth and lies? Not by slinging people in jail for asking questions but by free and open discourse.

            You Americans have something very special in your first amendment. Your founders were political geniuses. When our constitution in Oz was written, much inspiration from the US constitution was included but specific rights were considered implicit in the British legal system so did not need to be specified. Now that was a blunder…we have all sorts of laws designed to shut you up about many sensitive topics, sensitive that is to various agendas currently in play.

            So please, appreciate what you have got.

            • TJB said, on October 18, 2016 at 3:08 pm

              Ronster, I couldn’t agree more. I was just providing an example of the kind of language HRC will use when she guts the 1st Amendment.

  9. nailheadtom said, on October 13, 2016 at 10:22 am

    The 2016 election campaign demonstrates how fraudulent this faux democratic-republic actually is. One gets the impression that the whole affair is being scripted by a team of Hollywood writers employed by media companies. If these two are the best choices from 300 million citizens the country is ready to fall off a cliff. Luckily, in a way, the election results will be tempered by bureaucratic inertia but no matter which of these two sociopaths is inaugurated the results won’t be a positive for the country.

    • DH said, on October 13, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      I don’t believe for a minute that these two are the best choices. I think that Hillary Clinton has been the party choice since 2008 when the nomination was snatched from her in favor of Obama. The Clinton political power structure has insured that she is the “heir apparent” this year. I believe that she was “supposed” to be the candidate in 2008, but along came Barack Obama and the party decided that race would sell better than gender at the time. I personally believe that in ’08 the party thought her to be too strong, sought someone inexperienced that the likes of Ted Kennedy and his ilk could control a little better – the same machine politics that got Abraham Lincoln (“the rail-splitter”) nominated in 1860 – but those guys got a little more than they bargained for. In Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals”, the concept of the party leaders trying to control the presidency is well documented and developed, and I think it happened again in 2008.

      I don’t think her nomination has anything to do with qualifications, but rather payback, power, influence and maybe a little arm-twisting. I don’t discount the possibility of a little blackmail in there as well.

      However you slice it, Hillary’s candidacy was clearly scripted; the decision for her to be “up” was made a long time ago. I believe she resigned as Secretary of State so she could distance herself from the administration and from her own actions; I believe she did this with the full support (and possibly at the suggestion) of the forward-looking party.

      I think Trump represents an anomaly of the system. In the early days of the primaries, candidates were coming out of the woodwork. Trump was the only one whose support remained relatively steady; he had his base and it never left him. As others dropped out of the race, their support got diluted among the other candidates, but Trump’s lead could not be touched by then. Too many states had weighed in; Trump’s 30% lead was insurmountable against the 70% anti-Trump, spread out among sixteen others.

      I am in total agreement with you – that the fact that these two are the candidates increases the possibility that the country will fall off a cliff. “Sociopath” is a pretty good term. Neither is getting my vote.

      • ronster12012 said, on October 13, 2016 at 7:03 pm


        “I don’t discount the possibility of a little blackmail in there as well”

        I am sure that all mainstream candidates are blackmailable, why would an uncontrollable person be allowed to have power. That is why the establishment is throwing everything against Trump as they have nothing on him. If they did we would have heard about it already.

        I do not agree that both candidates are sociopathically equivalent…one is a sociopathic war criminal and one isn’t. But you americans are going to get Hillary regardless as it has already been decided by your oligarchs that she is their choice. The voting machines will simply be adjusted accordingly.

  10. ronster12012 said, on October 15, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    And in news just in, Michelle Obama says that she is “shaken to the core” by Donald;s comments, and that “Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough and enough,” she added. “It has to stop right now.” and“The men you and I know don’t treat women this way.”blah, blah blah.

    Using Critical Thinking 101(soon to be banned as not sufficiently respectful of Newthink), we can first of all assume that she is either mistaken or lying till shown otherwise.

    As is well known, the Obamas are friends with Jay Z who has visited the WH on many occasions. Interesting are the lyrics to his song “Big Pimpin’

    You know I – thug em, fuck em, love em, leave em
    Cause I don’t fuckin need em
    Take em out the hood, keep em lookin good
    But I don’t fuckin feed em
    First time they fuss I’m breezin
    Talkin bout, “What’s the reasons?”
    I’m a pimp in every sense of the word, bitch
    Better trust than believe em
    In the cut where I keep em
    til I need a nut, til I need to beat the guts
    Then it’s, beep beep and I’m pickin em up
    Let em play with the dick in the truck
    Many chicks wanna put Jigga fist in cuffs
    Divorce him and split his bucks
    Just because you got good head, I’ma break bread
    so you can be livin it up? Shit I..
    parts with nothin, y’all be frontin
    Me give my heart to a woman?
    Not for nothin, never happen

    So, we have established that she is either lying, a coward, stupid or racist. My guess is all four but that is just my assessment. I have no problem with her being racist because everyone is racist, she should just be honest about excusing Jay Z’s lyrics because he is black. She is a coward for not saying both Donald Trump and Jay Z(and by extension nearly all black rappers) are reprehensible men for what they say about women. She is also stupid for thinking that people won’t notice her lies, and she is racist because she is having a go at The Donald because of the colour of his skin.

    I think that any further comments from her can be safely dismissed merely upon knowing who said them.

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