The Billy Graham Rule and Self-Preservation

This puff-piece appeared on the Harvard Business Review website by Drs. W. Brad Johnson and David G. Smith, professors of psychology (mind-fucking) and sociology (Socialism) respectively. The article’s primary purpose to shill their new book, “Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women” (HA!), by excoriating who have enough wisdom to avoid putting themselves in compromising positions.

When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that he would never have a meal alone with a woman who was not his wife, he was invoking the well-worn “Billy Graham rule”; the evangelical leader has famously urged male leaders to “avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion.” Translation: Men should avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married. Graham has been known to avoid not only meals but also car and even elevator rides alone with a woman. The reason? To avoid tarnishing his reputation by either falling prey to sexual temptation or inviting gossip about impropriety.

Billy Graham also avoided handling the money of his ministry for the same reason. And guess what?


Have you heard of any scandals involving Billy Graham? Have you heard of Billy Graham doing meth or banging hookers? Have you heard of Billy Graham appropriating any unseemly amounts money from the ministry a la Creflo Dollar?

No, you have not because Billy Graham’s rule is successful.

Think Pence’s quarantine of women is unique? Consider a recent survey by National Journal in which multiple women employed as congressional staffers reported (and male colleagues confirmed) the existence of an implicit policy that only male staffers could spend time one-on-one or at after-hours events with their (male) congressmen. Cut out of key conversations, networking opportunities, professional exposure, and face time with career influencers, female staffers naturally are underrepresented in leadership positions and — not surprisingly — earn about $6,000 less annually than their male peers.

The Billy Graham — and now Mike Pence — rule is wrong on nearly every level. Lauded by some as an act of male chivalry, it is merely a 20th-century American iteration of sex segregation. When women are, in effect, quarantined, banned from solitary meetings with male leaders, including prospective sponsors and career champions, their options for advancement, let alone professional flourishing, shrink. The more that men quarantine women, excluding them from key meetings, after-hours networking events, and one-on-one coaching and mentoring, the more that men alone will be the ones securing C-suite jobs. The preservation of men and the exclusion of women from leadership roles will be perpetuated everywhere that the Billy Graham rule is practiced. Score another one for the old boys’ club.

Chivalry is not the issue. The issue is self-preservation, for your career and your mission. Billy Graham and his associates imposed the rule on themselves to protect the ministry they were building because they understood that they could not build a Christian ministry without the confidence of their parishoners that they were morally upright. And why? Because once a woman puts the mouth on a man, “He touched me/spoke to me/looked at me/paid me/etc.” that shadow hangs over him forever. See Casey Affleck, who can win an Oscar, but the rumor mill still churns up an eight-year old unproven accusation against him.

Let me put it even more plainly: If men do not choose to associate with women professionally, it is because women have become a professional hazard to men.

Whether codified or informal, sex quarantines are rooted in fear. At the heart of it, policies curbing contact between men and women at work serve to perpetuate the notions that women are toxic temptresses, who want to either seduce powerful men or falsely accuse them of sexual harassment. This framing allows men to justify their anxiety about feeling attracted to women at work, and, sometimes, their own sexual boundary violations. It also undermines the perceived validity of claims by women who have been harassed or assaulted. Although thoughtful professional boundaries create the bedrock for trust, collegiality, and the kind of nonsexual intimacy that undergirds the best mentoring relationships, fear-based boundaries are different. By reducing or even eliminating cross-sex social contact, sex segregation prevents the very exposure that reduces anxiety and builds trust.

A claim is not valid that is not supported by evidence or reason. But one has to love how the authors snuck that little attempt at creating an unjustifiable obligation. “A woman you don’t know what done wrong by a man who isn’t you; therefore you are obligated to give women you don’t know access to what you have, despite it being against your interests to do so.”

To build closer, anxiety-free working relationships with members of the opposite sex, thoughtful men will be well-served by having more, not less, interaction with women at work. In a classic series of studies, psychologist Robert Zajonc discovered that repeated exposure to a stimulus (such as a gender group) that previously elicited discomfort and anxiety helped reduce anxiety, and actually increased the probability of fondness and positive interaction. Termed the mere exposure effect in social psychology, the principle has been particularly useful in changing negative attitudes about previously stigmatized groups. Excellent leaders initiate positive developmental and collegial interactions with as many types of people as they can — deliberately, frequently, and transparently.

Can the “mere exposure effect” be applied to “rape” porn or even porn in general? Seems to being working in Japan.

Perhaps the most disingenuous and deceptive quality of the Billy Graham rule and other forms of sex segregation at work may be their superficially honorable and chivalrous nature. This “benevolent sexism” includes evaluations of women that appear subjectively positive but are quite damaging to gender equity. In their pioneering research on the topic, psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske discovered that women often endorse many benevolent forms of sexism (e.g., that women are delicate and require protection, or that sex quarantines at work help preserve women’s reputations), despite the fact that the sexism inhibits real gender equality. This may explain why many women applauded Pence’s stance as evidence of his character and commitment to his marriage. But sexism always diminishes and disadvantages women at work; even benevolent sexist policies, which lack transparent hostility and appear “nice” on the surface, lead to lower rates of pay and promotion, regardless of how many women support them.

As pointed out above, the Billy Graham rule has little to do with “chivalry” and more to do with “CYA” (Cover Your Ass).

Here is something most men fail to consider when invoking sex quarantines at work: What does their unwillingness to be seen alone with a woman say about them and males more generally? When a man refuses to be alone with a female colleague on a car trip or in a restaurant, owing to fear of something untoward happening, we must ask: Dude, do you, or do you not, have a functioning frontal lobe? Sex quarantines reinforce notions that men are barely evolved sex maniacs, scarcely capable of muting, let alone controlling, their evolved neurological radar for fertile mates of the opposite sex. Sex quarantines paint men as impulsive, sexually preoccupied, and unable to refrain from consummating romantic interest or sexual feelings if they occur in cross-sex relationships. The “sex-crazed” male stereotype is often reinforced in the process of male socialization, and there are plenty of men who, at least on some level, fear breaking rank and violating these expectations of male behavior. This is where moral courage comes in. The fact is, many men choose not to fulfill this stereotype; many men have close, mutual, collegial relationships with women and never once violate a relational boundary.

This whole paragraph is a stunning piece of academic shaming language, the trust of which is “we will call you names (sex maniacs, sex-crazed) if you do not give us what we want. But if you show ‘moral courage’ (give us what we want), we will not carry out the threat that we claim you should fear.” This is emotional blackmailing with excess verbiage.

The frontal lobe, as my “dudes” referred to it, is where problem solving takes place. Women accusing men of bad acts is a hazard. The most cost-effective solution to a hazard is to go around it. Some men have chosen to bypass the hazard of a false accusation by bypassing the typical false accuser (a woman).

Simple, logical, and practical.

Of course, the Billy Graham rule and other efforts at quarantining women suffer from a number of logical inconsistencies. For instance, there is the efficacy problem: Rigid efforts to eliminate cross-sex interaction in the workplace have not proven effective. Even in the most conservative religious denominations, nearly one-third of pastors have crossed sexual boundaries with parishioners. Then there is the uncomfortable truth that the Billy Graham rule denies the reality of LGBT people and that sexual and romantic feelings are not limited to cross-sex relationships. The logic of sex quarantine thinking would dictate that a bisexual leader could never meet alone with anyone! Finally, the truth is that sex-excluding policies are rooted in deeply erroneous dichotomous thinking: Either I engage with women at work and risk egregious, career-threatening boundary violations or I avoid all unchaperoned interaction with women.

Sirs, did these pastors accept the Billy Graham rule? Did they practice it? If the answer to one or both of those questions is “no” then they cannot be held as examples of its inefficacy.


So what’s an evolved male leader to do? In the simplest terms, become what we call a thoughtful caveman. Healthy, mature, self-aware men understand and accept their distinctly male neural architecture. If they happen to be heterosexual, this means they own the real potential for cross-sex attraction without catastrophizing this possibility or acting out feelings of attraction, to the detriment of female colleagues. Thoughtful cavemen employ their frontal cortex to ensure prudence and wise judgment in relationships with women and men.

Is “thoughtful caveman” the latest colloquiallism for New Soviet Man New Feminist Man?

Translation: Give females things, don’t ask females for things you want (sex), and don’t worry about females accusing you of things because…why would a woman ever lie about sex?

Here is a final reason why even devoutly Christian men like Mike Pence and Billy Graham should be dubious about isolating and excluding women at work: Jesus himself was known to meet alone with women (e.g., the Samaritan woman at the well). It seems that showing kind hospitality and elevating the dignity of women was more important than any threat of gossip.

That’s funny.

The Samaritan woman attempted to trickle-truth Jesus (lie by omission). It is only after Jesus calls her out on her bullshit (You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.) that she SUBMITS to his authority as a Rabbi and as the Messiah.


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Sabrina Rubin Erdely Notes Reveal That She Was Both Malicious and Incompetent

With the New York case against Rolling Stone up against a roadblock, the Virginia case against the rape hysterics at Rolling Stone and Wenner Media has hit a critical stage with lawyers for Rolling Stone moving for summary judgment (even if everything Eramo says is true, we still win because she has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted/insufficient facts). Eramo’s lawyers have also filed for summary judgment on several affirmative defenses Rolling Stone might raise later on (throwing parachutes off the plane so Rolling Stone can’t escape).

As part of the motions, some new information has become public. Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the architect of the thoroughly, completely, utterly discredited smear job entitled “A Rape On Campus,” published November 19, 2014 in Rolling Stone took copious notes during the five months she “researched” this bit of rape hysteria propaganda. She also sent emails during the “investigation” and after publication of the smear job. All of this was discoverable (Eramo’s lawyers had the right to request production and did so). One of those emails from December 5, 2014, from Erdely to Rolling Stone senior editors Will Dana and Sean Woods, breathlessly entitled “Our worst nightmare” detailed how Erdely no longer trusted Jackie Coakley and her 2012 rape fantasy of being drugged and raped on a broken glass table for three hours by the non-existent Haven Monahan and his evil cabal of frat-bros as part of an initiation rite.

But how did this loss of trust come to be? What did Erdely, in his tireless five months methodical of research miss? Well, she missed what the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity issued a statement on after Erdely published her hit piece: THERE WAS NO PARTY AT PHI KAPPA PSI HOUSE ON THE NIGHT JACKIE CLAIMED SHE WAS RAPED.

A plot hole so big you could drive an 18-wheeler through it.

But that’s not the fun part of these motions. The real fun is that, according to Erdely’s own notes and emails, Jackie Coakley’s story was inconsistent before she ever published the story.

But wait, it gets even better!

According to the motions, Jackie’s story shares significant elements with books about rape, specifically gang rape, and the plot of an episode of “Law & Order: SVU” that aired before Jackie Coakley spoke to Sabrina Erdely.

But wait, it gets even better!

According to Erdely’s own notes, Jackie mentioned these books, and the Law & Order episode to Erdely in their very first interview.

All of this came out of the 431 pages of notes that Erdely used to write the hatchet job she published in Rolling Stone. She interview Jackie Coakley six times. She even lied her way into the Phi Kappa Psi house to get a first-hand look at the place (interesting that she never bothered to ask whether “Haven Monahan” was a member of the fraternity, or if they had a party on the date in question, but feminists will never let a little thing like facts fuck up their narrative). The woman Jackie Coakley claimed had been her “friend” for years, did any interview that she had only known Coakley for a few months prior to the false rape. Jackie lacked any scarring consistent with being raped on a “broken glass table for three hours.” (A person would look like a country mile of bad road if they even laid bare-backed on broken glass, let alone rolled around in it for hours). Most damning of all is that notes indicate that Erdely was fully aware of the inconsistencies in Jackie Coakley’s store and decided to publish anyway.

A funny note in an entirely unfunny story, Erdely’s notes include a statement from Jackie’s boyfriend (Possibly “The Notorious Simp” Connor McGovern) that he hadn’t seen any marks on her back.

In an unpublished statement prepared by Erdely and Rolling Stone, they state the following:

“Obviously, we regret any factual errors in any story….But Rolling Stone believes the essential point of Jackie’s narrative is, in fact, true: a young woman suffered a horrific crime at a party, and a prestigious university reacted with indifference to her claim. This happens too often at college campuses all over America. Any mistakes we made were honest ones, trying hard to create a narrative and an investigation that would improve the prevention, investigation and prosecution of sexual violence. For that we would never apologize.”

Pay very close attention to what they just said. “We regret any factual errors in any story, but…” well, without the facts, what are we talking about? What are we discussing? Some shit you made up? Your delusions? Everyone is entitled to hold an opinion, how ever wrong it may be, but no one is entitled to their own facts, and certainly not to pass off their opinions as facts or worse, make up facts.

Then there’s that “but” which translates to “forget everything I just said” meaning that Rolling Stone does not, in fact, regret any factual errors in the story, only that other, more diligent writers caught their errors.

“Rolling Stone believes the essential point of Jackie’s narrative is, in fact, true…” Look at how much bullshit Erdely and Rolling Stone just packed into two sentences; “We regret factual errors, except we don’t, but the narrative, contrary to the facts, is true.”

The narrative trumps the facts. Or, as the equally disgraced Dan Rather pithily described the phenomenon that permeates journalism generally and rape hysteria entirely:

Fake, but accurate.


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Redditnacht: The Purge Begins

Yesterday, Reddit CEO and co-founder Steve Huffman posted this:

Hey Everyone,

There has been a lot of discussion lately —on reddit, in the news, and here internally— about reddit’s policy on the more offensive and obscene content on our platform. Our top priority at reddit is to develop a comprehensive Content Policy and the tools to enforce it.

The overwhelming majority of content on reddit comes from wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly communities. That is what makes reddit great. There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don’t have any obligation to support them. And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all.

Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen: These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.

We as a community need to decide together what our values are. To that end, I’ll be hosting an AMA on Thursday 1pm pst to present our current thinking to you, the community, and solicit your feedback.

PS – I won’t be able to hang out in comments right now. Still meeting everyone here!

Internet types have already pointed out that Mr. Huffman is clearly a lying piece of shit, at least when it comes to his co-founder’s perspective on reddit and free speech:

I agree with /u/unsolvedparadox. If you’re excited about learning something, doubledown on it – especially at your age.

I love that talk, actually, and reference it often.

Our why actually started pretty simply – we wanted to keep living like college students and working on projects we loved, indefinitely. So starting a company made sense for me and Steve. The “why” we quickly learned about reddit was something we’d both grown up with — online communities — the amazing things that happen between total strangers, possibly a world apart, when they come together in authentic ways. It happens every day on reddit, across thousands of communities on the platform, but we want to bring this to the entire world.

We’re working to spread empathy + understanding to as many people as possible — people aren’t just coming here because it sets the media agenda for the rest of the internet, it’s because of the connection that happen when diverse people from across the world can speak freely about things they care about.

I hear you — ideally, I’d like the rules to be universal. We’ve created a unique situation with defaults.

I’ve long said that I’ve wanted to see an alternative to ‘defaults’ entirely. We designed the network with the intention of it being dynamic, fluid enough that if one community happened to get lame, people would easily flow to a new one (the first case happening with /r/marijuana -> /r/trees many moons ago).

Obviously admins should encourage strict and timely reporting of illegal content or personal privacy violations

Thank you for pointing this out — protecting privacy is something we really care about since founding reddit — and it’s a standard we’re happy to set for the rest of our social media peers. And I also want to point out that we’re adhering to the USA laws of regarding “illegal content,” since we’re a USA company with USA servers.

We’re sticking to those principals for our admin team’s use only, though we’ll always rely on the userbase to help notify us (there’s just too much content).

We designed reddit to allow users to create the experience they want — subscribing to communities they’re interested in and creating distinct spaces with their own cultures, languages, and values. Any decision we make is always tested by: “Is this moving the reddit platform toward a place where it can be the best way for as many people as possible to find great communities to share freely and openly discuss the things they care about.”

This is not what we’re proposing. We made reddit so that as many people as possible could speak as freely as possible — when our userbase is telling us that harassment is a huge problem for them and it’s effectively silencing or keeping people off the site, it’s a problem we need to address.

edit: added citation!

You know what inspired reddit? Speakers Corner’s in London.

I studied abroad in London for a semester and it really inspired me (I came back States-side and started a phpbb forum and then a year later Steve and I made reddit).

It’s a place where literally anyone can get on a soapbox and talk about what matters to them. I listened to Iraqis (2003) argue for AND against the Iraq war, heard a really hateful speech by the Nation of Islam, was moved by a woman talking about the need for better mental health treatment in the UK, watched a man argue for Gay Rights standing across from a VERY conservative christian telling him he’d burn in hell.

reddit should be a place where anyone can pull up their soapbox and speak their mind, or have a discussion and maybe learn something new and even challenging or uncomfortable, but right now redditors are telling us they sometimes encounter users who use the system to harass them and that’s a problem.

You get the idea. Either Steve Huffman is a liar, or his partner misunderstood the point of Reddit. But let’s unpack some of this bullshit Huffman is serving up on the Eve of Redditnacht.

“The overwhelming majority of content on reddit comes from wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly communities.”

Already Huffman is deploying a common propaganda technique: marginalizing your opposition. The majority of content is “wonderful, creative, funny, smart, and silly” i.e. a bunch of fluff adjectives that actually means “things he personally approves of.” This implies that only the evil minorities are saying things that are not wonderful, creative, funny, smart, or silly.

There is also a dark side, communities whose purpose is reprehensible, and we don’t have any obligation to support them.

Ooga-booga! The Dark Side! And they don’t have cookies! Propaganda technique numbers two and three: fearmongering and appealing to the masses. Huffman doesn’t tell us what in particular is reprehensible about these communities or why they require HIS support. Just be afraid. Be very afraid. With regards to his appeal to the masses, he hides behind that most troubling of pronouns, “we.” You see, it’s not him who wants to purge Reddit of these undesirables. He’s just a humble vessel of the General Will. It’s actually your fault, as part of the WE, that Redditnacht will take place.

And we also believe that some communities currently on the platform should not be here at all.

More appealing to the masses, but he actually mixes it in with a valid point: Reddit is privately owned and is under no obligation, as owners to have users on their site that they don’t want. Of course, Huffman doesn’t possess the requisite testicles to actually come right out and tell r/fatpeoplehate to get off his lawn, so he will, again, hide behind the WE.

Neither Alexis nor I created reddit to be a bastion of free speech, but rather as a place where open and honest discussion can happen

As noted above, Alexis clearly disagrees. More importantly, what is the distinction between “free speech” and “open and honest discussion”? I’ll tell you. Free Speech entails people saying what they want, how they want, when they want, to who they want, so long as they don’t directly cause harm. “Open and honest discussion” limits speech to the chosen topic of the person in charge (Huffman).

These are very complicated issues, and we are putting a lot of thought into it.

No, the issue is pretty straightforward: Are people allowed to say what they want on reddit or not?

We haven’t had the tools to enforce policy, but now we’re building those tools and reevaluating our policy.

Note how utterly ridiculous this is. The co-founder of Reddit, claims he lacks the tools to enforce policy. I guess he and all of the admins are waiting for Chris Hemsworth to come along and wield the Banhammer of Thor for them. In seriousness, this is another propaganda technique: claiming to lack power in order to seize more power. Politicians do this all the time. They need more money to buy bigger guns to fight gangs, terrorists, right-wing militias, communists, hippies, whatever because the death machines they have now are just not killing the enemies fast enough. In this case, Huffman needs to wield greater censorship powers to protect us all from the community terrorists/gangs/right-wing militias/communists of r/fatpeoplehate.

We as a community need to decide together what our values are.

This is the most insidious shit that this piece of shit wrote. To ask a person to submit their values to the whims of the majority. And if your values don’t conform to those of Steve Huffman, you are not welcome on Reddit. Again, Huffman doesn’t have the balls to say that he will be imposing moral values on users, or to say this is what he himself wants. Look for the WE.

To that end, I’ll be hosting an AMA on Thursday 1pm pst to present our current thinking to you, the community, and solicit your feedback.

I take that back. THIS is the most insidious shit that the piece of shit wrote because it smacks of the kind of Vanguardism that would cause Lenin to shed a tear. “Sure! You get have an open and honest discussion about OUR thinking! Of course, we’ll present OUR thinking to YOU, the community, and solicit your feedback! You get to have feedback! You don’t get to actually make a decision! That’s not for you!”

Bye-bye Reddit. It was a hell of a ride while it lasted.