Social Justice Advocates Are Sadly Oblivious To Their Own Weakness

Over at one of my favorite blogs, Shadow to Light, you’ll find an insightful post from yesterday titled “Trying to Understand How Social Justice Advocates Think.” Blogger Mike there read through an essay from social justice advocate Nora Berenstain and found two themes to comment on:

  • Tribalism: “Berenstain not only demonstrates tribalistic thinking, but seems to revel in it,” being “hyper-focused on race” (which does not appear to be an overstatement on Mike’s part), and setting one tribe against various other tribes, including “woman of color philosophers,” Black women, trans women, Black trans woemn
  • Feelings: “It becomes clear to those of us on the outside looking on that emotion has become an essential component of postmodern philosophy. This is easily detected by the way Berenstain conflates words with actions.” Mike highlights frequent instances where Berenstain says there is “harm,” “violence,” “unsafe spaces” and the like in the words of an academic exchange. “Berenstain lives in a mental reality where words are violent,” he says, “where writing a peer reviewed article is an example of enacting violence.”

It brought to mind the question I raised in a Stream article last week: haven’t these social-justice-warrior academics noticed their solutions to racial tension and inequality won’t work?

In last week’s article I said their solutions were hopeless because they don’t adequately address the moral problems of guilt and future behavior. Not even close. This Shadow to Light article brings another problem to light: feelings-based tribalism is inherently weak. It’s really weak.

Self-Imposed Weakness

It’s weak because it fosters (“revels in”) divisiveness.

It’s weak because it can only bring one tribe on board at a time.

It’s weak because there are some very large tribes that remain out of reach of this kind of thinking. One might even say mercifully out of reach, since it’s such a divisive approach in the first place. Aside from that, though, there are large pockets of the population that will remain forever immune to this social justice advocacy, which leaves the warriors with no recourse but to stand at a distance and tell these nasty people how awful they are.

When You Run Out of Guilt, Pour On Shame

It’s weak because it’s so transparently self-righteous, as they stand at that distance shaming those who won’t listen to them, along with even those who do listen but happen to be white, male, straight, “cis” (a new word I can’t quite get used to, since there’s an old word that does the same job: “normal”), or … or … or …

There’s only so much guilt to go around, but when guilt runs dry you can always pour on shame instead. Then watch everyone who accepts the shame bow their heads — adding weakness upon weakness — and everyone who rejects the shame reacting in strength against them.

I could go on, but here’s my point: Do they really think they’re doing any good? How? Don’t they see how hopelessly divided — largely by their own choice — they are from the rest of the world; and if they can’t reach the world they’re not going to accomplish a thing?

Oblivious To Lessons Learned

How do their efforts even make sense? I’ve been told — I don’t know this from direct experience or observation — that the world of academic humanities is very self-contained. I know from research I’ve read that it’s extremely homogeneous. It makes me wonder if the only world they really know is so small, they think what they’re doing is making a dent in the actual world. If so, they’re oblivious to reality.

Besides that, I wonder just how much faux-gnostic-enlightened self-righteousness there is behind all this SJW activism.

I would think that if they really want to make a difference they would call this a lesson learned, and recognize that as bright and educated they are, they haven’t come up with anything close to a real way out of our racial problems, and that it’s time to look somewhere else.

Image Credit(s): sixteen05design (altered).

Comments

  1. Skepticism First

    Tom, your Stream article is titled “Only One Way Out of Our Race Problems: Jesus Christ”. Can you go into more detail about what exactly you think our race problems are, and in what specific ways Jesus Christ can help solve them?

    In addition: what exactly is a social justice warrior? I see the term thrown about a lot, and I’ve even been called one. But so have people who view social issues in a radically different way than I do.

  2. Tom Gilson

    There is a huge, rich tapestry of history and teaching, plus the work of the Spirit of God, that all fold together in answering your question about how Jesus can make a difference even in answering huge social issues. If you want an answer you should seek the whole answer, much more than I can provide here. I recommend Vishal Mangalwadi’s The Book That Made Your World as a great source.

    I don’t think there’s much need for me to wax long and theoretical on what I see as our most pressing racial problems.

    Nor do I think it necessary to get technical about “social justice warrior.” I don’t have a general theory for the term, but you can gather what I mean by it easily enough just by reading it in context here.

  3. Skepticism First

    I don’t have a general theory for the term, but you can gather what I mean by it easily enough just by reading it in context here.

    I really can’t. Can you just answer this, then: Am I a social justice warrior?

    And btw, I’m not sure why you’re having trouble getting used to “cis”. There’s no complicated technical definition here, it just means “not trans”. And it’s older than many other words you probably have no issue with, such as “vlog”, “Crossfit”, “facepalm”, and “emoji”.

    You say there’s an old word that does the same job (you’re wrong, but let’s leave that aside for now). That’s been said before, about guitars. Back in the day, all guitars were acoustic, There was no such terms as “acoustic guitar”. A guitar was just a guitar. Now, of course, we have electric guitars. So we retroactively renamed the old style of guitar. Companies change their names or the names of their products all the time too, and I doubt you have much trouble with that. Remember MSN? It’s now Windows Live. Twix bars? Used to be called Raider. Datsun became Nissan, then eventually Nissan decided to relaunch Datsun a few years ago.

    Of course, “cis” has a political aspect to it that perhaps you don’t like very much.

  4. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I really can’t. Can you just answer this, then: Am I a social justice warrior?

    I don’t know.

    The rest of what you’ve said, you may regard as “duly noted.”

  5. TFBW

    @Skepticism First:

    In addition: what exactly is a social justice warrior?

    Have you been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years? Just search YouTube for “SJW” and watch hours and hours of examples. Look for young, shouty people, frequently with dyed hair and hipster glasses, “de-platforming” people they accuse of hate speech by turning up en masse to a scheduled talk and chanting about white supremacy, racism, sexism, transphobia, etc., in a loud and disruptive manner until the event is aborted. Not all SJWs do that, but all who do that are SJWs.

  6. Skepticism First

    TFBW:

    Have you been hiding under a rock for the last couple of years? Just search YouTube for “SJW” and watch hours and hours of examples.

    You missed the point I was making, which is that the term has been applied to a group of people so broad, I can’t identify any shared characteristics between then.

    Look for young, shouty people, frequently with dyed hair and hipster glasses

    So, Milo Yianopolous is an SJW?

    “de-platforming” people they accuse of hate speech by turning up en masse to a scheduled talk and chanting about white supremacy, racism, sexism, transphobia, etc., in a loud and disruptive manner until the event is aborted.

    What’s wrong with that?

  7. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Wow. “What’s wrong with that?” he asks. As if it weren’t obvious.

    Don’t bite, friends. Don’t answer. Please do not answer. It’s not worth the electrons flying through the wires or the space on the screen here.

    Instead, note the tactic in play here. Skep asked a question in just four words. Easy. Simple. Provocative. And over for Skep in what, maybe ten seconds it took him to type it?

    But if you respond, you’re going to need to spend a whole lot more than four words explaining the obvious. You’re going to need to go into all kinds of background knowledge that everyone should know anyway, and if you don’t, Skep will be able to send you there with just another four- to eight-word question.

    In other words, he’s playing a game to get you to do all the work. The game includes the potential for him to raise endless challenges with few words, requiring endless responses of many words — if you let yourself get sucked in there with him.

    If Skep wants to make his question a subject of conversation here, he can do that, but only if he makes a real investment in it himself.

    In other words, Skep, if you want to talk about this, you go first. You tell us what’s right with it. Tell us why being loud, disruptive, even violent in some cases (Middlebury College, Berkeley) is good. Tell us why shutting down others’ opinion is right. Explain it in terms that don’t defeat your own purpose; in other words, explain why it’s okay to shut down some people in some contexts, but it wouldn’t be okay if I just shut you down here. Explain it in a manner that you think would be persuasive to people who don’t already agree with you

    Otherwise I’m urging the rest of us not to bother answering you at all, but instead to recognize your game for what it is, and refuse to play it with you.

  8. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    As for this:

    You missed the point I was making, which is that the term has been applied to a group of people so broad, I can’t identify any shared characteristics between then.

    I can’t see any reason it would be important for us to solve that problem in your life, Skep. You can probably live with the tension and the questions that raises for you. If you can’t you can accept responsibility on your own to find someone who can counsel you on it.

    I mean, really — what you’re doing here is not something that needs doing here. If you want to spin up a conversation, spin up one worth having.

  9. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    And then there’s this:

    Look for young, shouty people, frequently with dyed hair and hipster glasses

    So, Milo Yianopolous is an SJW?

    No, and it’s a patently stupid question. You cut off the description TFBW gave right in the middle of the sentence; and if you’d read the rest of the sentence you’d have had your answer.

    This is trolling, pure and simple. Cut it out.

  10. BillT

    I could go on, but here’s my point: Do they really think they’re doing any good? How? Don’t they see how hopelessly divided — largely by their own choice — they are from the rest of the world; and if they can’t reach the world they’re not going to accomplish a thing?

    But the point of their movement isn’t to reach the rest of the world. To them the rest of the world is corrupt beyond changing. Their movement is about what all left wing movements are about. Power. We’ve seen it over and over from the left. It’s about marginalizing, de-legitimizing and silencing your opponents. It’s about seizing the narrative, squelching all dissent and claiming the moral high ground. It’s about virtue signaling and bigot baiting. It’s been the same in every leftist movement in history.

  11. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I think you’re right, BillT. I would put special emphasis on “claiming the moral high ground,” because the rest of what they’re doing is so obviously wrong, they have to really, really, really persuade themselves that the end they’re aiming for is good and important enough to justify it. It’s an exceptionally self-righteous move on their part, and ugly as an old dump truck for being so self-righteous.

  12. Skepticism First

    In other words, Skep, if you want to talk about this, you go first.

    Ok. Let’s talk about deplatforming.

    First, I’ll admit that usually, in *most* cases, deplatforming is a bad idea. For example, Tom, I absolutely don’t think you should be deplatformed, as much as I disagree with you on many topics. However, there’s one exception and that’s fascism.

    Now, lots of people call a lot of things ‘fascism’ that just aren’t. I have in mind here a very specific political ideology. Features of fascism include authoritarianism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, selective populism, and palingenesia. Furthermore, fascists appropriate from many other ideologies, both political and religious, and are hyper-focused on war. For more on what constitutes fascism, you can read Roger Griffin and Umberto Eco.

    Now, the reason fascism should be de-platformed is that it doesn’t operate like anything else. It’s entirely dishonest. A fascist will debate you all day long, twisting your words and trying to make you think he’s less bad than he really is. He’ll praise your civility. He’ll even agree with you on some things.

    And then he’ll murder you. He’ll murder your family. He’ll tear down your church and build a cathedral to the new fascist state, covered in swastikas. And you’ll never see it coming.

    Fascists are actually counting on your commitment to western values. They will pretend to also hold those values, in order to attain power. When you debate a fascist, you’re falling into a trap, because they’re motivated by pure hatred, not any form of internal logic.

    When the fascist says, for example, “Jews are subhuman”, he’s not making a statement of fact. He doesn’t necessarily believe it, and he doesn’t need to. What he’s saying is a statement of *intent*. What he means is “I’m planning to murder all the Jews”. And they won’t stop there – if they hold power for long enough, they’ll kill everyone who isn’t white. And then they’ll start killing white people who aren’t part of their group, until their group are the only people left on earth. Once they gain power, the only way left to stop them is a world war.

    Fascists aren’t merely “people you disagree with”. They’re an existential threat to humanity. And that’s why they should always be deplatformed, because the alternative is far worse.

  13. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Would you please explain how this de-platforming isn’t a fascist move on its own? It’s a very strong power power grab, it assumes its own rightness and shuts disagreement down without a hearing, it’s often accomplished through mob violence and/or threats of violence, it’s supported (on college campuses at least) by the established powers that be, and it’s patently motivated by hatred.

    Your answer fails right out of the box: it’s self-contradictory.

  14. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I guess you weren’t thinking of apologizing for trolling? Or did I maybe not allow you enough time? Either way it’s okay: just remember you’re not going to get away with trying it here.

  15. Skepticism First

    de-platforming isn’t a fascist move on its own because fascism is a political ideology and de-platforming is a tactic. Conservatives can de-platform. Liberals can too. So can marxists or anarchists. Also, as I said, fascists *want* to debate non-fascists, it helps them weasel their way into power.

    Also, I wasn’t trolling.

  16. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You were trolling. See comment 10. If you can’t see it for what it is, that’s your own weak eyes failing you.

    I wasn’t asking about “Deplatforming … on its own.” I was asking about the deplatforming that we’ve been talking about.

    Maybe once again (as was also the case in what I pointed out in comment 10) you’d be better served by reading entire sentences. I wrote “this deplatforming,” and in the following sentence I went on to explain in specific which deplatforming I was talking about.

    I’m sure you know how pronouns work, but since you’re establishing a pattern of picking and choosing fragments you want to respond to, let me try to get it all in one sentence for you:

    Please explain why this deplatforming, with it assumption of its own rightness; its shutting down disagreement down without a hearing; its mob violence and/or threats of violence, it’s support (on college campuses at least) from the established powers that be, and the hatred that’s patently motivating it, isn’t fascist.

    There. Please answer the question I asked, not some other one ripped out of some fragmentary context. Thanks.

  17. Skepticism First

    Also:

    It’s a very strong power power grab

    It’s not. It’s stopping someone else from grabbing power.

    it assumes its own rightness and shuts disagreement down without a hearing

    Fascism already had a hearing in the 1940s. It doesn’t need another one. And, as I said, it’s not mere disagreement.

    it’s often accomplished through mob violence and/or threats of violence

    There’s nothing wrong with violence against fascists. That’s self-defense. Remember, fascists want to murder you and everyone you love. You really need to acknowledge that.

    it’s supported (on college campuses at least) by the established powers that be

    No it’s not. The established powers that be go on and on about free speech and being civil.

    and it’s patently motivated by hatred.

    Yes, I hate fascists, who, again, will murder you the second they get the chance. They’ll murder me too, probably before they get to you. I hope you’d start hating them after you watch them put a bullet in my head. I make no apology for hating fascists.

  18. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    It’s not. It’s stopping someone else from grabbing power.

    False dichotomy.

    Fascism already had a hearing in the 1940s. It doesn’t need another one. And, as I said, it’s not mere disagreement.

    This is the assumption of rightness I was talking about. You’re pronouncing it fascism. Some of us disagree. You just want us to shut our damn mouths — and you’ll use mobs, threats, and violence to enforce it — because Hitler was fascist. That’s illegitimate. It’s crazy. It’s self-righteous, and it’s a blatant grab for power over the debate.

    You’ve got your head in the sand about the powers that be. They could do a lot more than “go on and on.” They could actually take a stand for what’s right. See here for more on that. There’s more that could be said about administrators’ namby-pambyness on free speech; that’s just one article that came quickly to mind.

    I don’t hate fascists, and I never will. I hate fascism. And I hate the vicious stereotyping that suggests that the people who are being shut out of campus free speech will “put a bullet in your head.” That’s really twisted. It’s false. It’s obviously false. And it’s hateful language on your part.

  19. Skepticism First

    Tom #10:

    It’s true that my comment was written rather hastily, but it wasn’t trolling. I was trying to show by example that the criteria of SJWs as being “young, shouty people, frequently with dyed hair and hipster glasses” doesn’t make sense, and I gave one example of that – Milo meets that criteria, but I don’t think he’s ever been called an SJW. Another example would be Bernie Sanders – I’ve seen him called an SJW, and he doesn’t meet that criteria at all. He doesn’t meet the other criteria TFBW gave either; which, btw, I went on to also respond to.

    Anyway, now that I’ve made comments #13 and #18, I ask again: what’s wrong with that?

  20. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Milo absolutely doesn’t meet the criteria TFBW set forth. He only meets a fragment of it, one taken out of context so badly it’s unbelievable.

    And if you can’t see how that was trolling, you have your own weak eyes to blame for it.

    Note that you did something similar again, as I pointed out in #17.

    I’m not impressed.

    I’ve answered #13 and #18. It’s still your turn.

  21. Skepticism First

    You’re pronouncing it fascism. Some of us disagree. You just want us to shut our damn mouths — and you’ll use mobs, threats, and violence to enforce it — because Hitler was fascist.

    I don’t think you’re a fascist. I also don’t think mainstream conservatives like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are fascists. I don’t even think the Westboro Baptist Church are fascists.

    Again, fascism is a specific political ideology – I’m talking about people like Richard Spencer, Tom Metzger, and Andrew Anglin. Do you disagree that these people are fascists?

  22. Skepticism First

    Milo absolutely doesn’t meet the criteria TFBW set forth. He only meets a fragment of it, one taken out of context so badly it’s unbelievable.

    You may not be aware of this, but there are pictures of Milo wearing a nazi Iron Cross necklace. He’s also used the “jewish echoes” (putting someone’s name in 3 sets of parentheses) invented by neo-nazis to covertly point out people of jewish backgrounds.

  23. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I’ve never heard of Tom Metzger or Andrew Anglin, and I don’t know why Richard Spencer has anything to do with the conversation when people like Ann Coulter, Charles Murray, and Heather Mac Donald are the ones who’ve actually been shut down most recently.

    As to Spencer, I agree with my friend George Yancey. You’ll want to read the whole article to get the context. (Kind of like it’s good to read a whole sentence, only larger than that.)

    In the world I want to live in, no one gets to prejudge what speech is allowed. If some college group wants to bring the racist nutball Richard Spencer to their campus, then that says a lot about that college group. I have no problem with people speaking out against Spencer and the group for bringing him here — but we dare not stop Spencer from talking.

  24. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You may not be aware of this, but there are pictures of Milo wearing a nazi Iron Cross necklace. He’s also used the “jewish echoes” (putting someone’s name in 3 sets of parentheses) invented by neo-nazis to covertly point out people of jewish backgrounds.

    You may not be aware of this, but that doesn’t excuse you ripping a sentence fragment out of context and using it to ask a snarky question that had already been answered by the rest of the sentence you grabbed your fragment from.

  25. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I don’t want you to think I’m a fan of Milo Yiannopolous. This isn’t about him. It’s about your behavior in this debate.

  26. Skepticism First

    Eh, I think I’m done here. This is a waste of time. You’re obviously more interested in winning your “debate” than in actually stopping the resurgence of fascism. So, congratulations, Tom. You win the debate.

    I’ll leave you with a suggestion, in the hopes that you’ll one day change your mind on your agreement with George Yancey: go look at what the fascists are actually saying when they think no one is listening. Go check out Stormfront or the Daily Stormer. Read all their posts, where they fantasize about and actually make material plans to exterminate Jewish people and other minorities, and to recruit others to do the same. Go check out Spencer’s plans for “peaceful” ethnic cleansing. Ask yourself how serious they are about it. Whether they’d actually start murdering people. Whether they already have.

    Then spend some time reflecting on that. Ask yourself if the consequences of letting them speak are really worth it. Ask yourself whether, historically, the best ideas have really always won the debate, or whether open rhetoric can convince people to do evil despite being intellectually baseless.

  27. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You’re obviously more interested in winning your “debate” than in actually stopping the resurgence of fascism.

    I’m actually interested in stopping leftist-fascist false claims of a “resurgence of fascism” in the persons of persons like Heather Mac Donald and Ben Shapiro.

    In other words, sure I’m against fascism. One way fascism is expressed is in shutting down debate through self-righteous pronouncements like the ones you’re supporting.

    Now, you might disagree with me on that. Notice, however, that you’re exiting the debate now with that question still on the table — yet you’ve made the pronouncement: I’m “obviously” not interested in stopping the resurgence of fascism, you say. No, it’s only obvious if we assume you’re right.

    There’s circular argumentation there, and there’s also your self-righteous certainty that you’re right and I’m wrong.

    This is indeed a good time to end the discussion if that’s how you’re going to play it. I don’t think much of your games.

  28. TFBW

    @Skepticism First:

    Can you just answer this, then: Am I a social justice warrior?

    Either you are, or you are doing a good impression of one.

  29. BillT

    Does SF really not realize that the SJW movement and it’s adherents are fascist. The same elements of the fascism that flourished between WWI and WWII is present in the SJW movement of today. It’s most obvious on the college campuses but it’s there in the pipeline protests and the AGW movement as well. Everything, everyone and every idea that opposes any of these movements is marginalized, de-legitimized and silenced and the threat and use of violence to enforce this is ever present. Anyone who speaks out is attacked personally. Oh, there are new words for what they do. Deplatformed. Intersectionality. Nothing changes but the words though. Same tactics and an attempt at the same result. Take away people’s ability to voice criticism. Make their ideas the only ideas that are acceptable to be spoken. Fascism.

  30. G. Rodrigues

    @BillT:

    Does SF really not realize that the SJW movement and it’s adherents are fascist.

    Since he himself is a fascist, the incongruence is not hard to understand.

  31. Skepticism First

    One more comment, because some people here seem intent on misrepresenting and defaming me.

    I said:
    Now, lots of people call a lot of things ‘fascism’ that just aren’t. I have in mind here a very specific political ideology. Features of fascism include authoritarianism, nationalism, ethnocentrism, selective populism, and palingenesia. Furthermore, fascists appropriate from many other ideologies, both political and religious, and are hyper-focused on war.

    BillT said:
    Does SF really not realize that the SJW movement and it’s adherents are fascist. The same elements of the fascism that flourished between WWI and WWII is present in the SJW movement of today.

    G. Rodrigues said:
    Since he himself is a fascist, the incongruence is not hard to understand.

    Ironically, it’s the people here who disagree with me who are using ‘fascism’ as a buzzword to mean “anything I happen to disagree with”; while I’m using it to pick out a specific political ideology.

    – I’m not an authoritarian. I’m an anarchist!
    – I’m strongly against imperialism and nationalism.
    – I am absolutely not in favor of a white ethno-state.
    – I am also opposed to loyalty to a political party. Again, I’m an anarchist!
    – I reject myths of national power.
    – I reject myths of national rebirth.
    – I reject adherence to tradition.

    I. Am. Not. A. Fascist.

    Stop using ‘fascism’ to mean “Skep is bad man! Shame!”

  32. grodrigues

    @Skepticism First:

    I. Am. Not. A. Fascist.

    First, let me preface that my comment was made with your assurance that it was all a “waste of time”, so I would not have to waste my time responding to your morally obtuse nonsense.

    Of course you are a fascist, your excuses notwithstanding. For just one example, here is your last sentence in #27:

    Ask yourself whether, historically, the best ideas have really always won the debate, or whether open rhetoric can convince people to do evil despite being intellectually baseless.

    If it is “intellectually baseless”, then those ideas have objective features that can be rationally discerned and critiqued. Instead, you offer yourself as the Grand-Daddy of Society, bypassing rational dialogue and offering shelter against this allegedly evil “rhetoric”, presumably because your fellow citizens do not have your enlightened views and can fall prey to con-men and sophists. Of course, this just is one of the defining characteristics of fascism. And what are some of the constituent properties of this evil “rhetoric”? According to you:

    Whether they’d actually start murdering people. Whether they already have.

    There is no denying that “murder” is an unquestionable evil. But then you did say here that: “But I don’t think a lower rate of abortion is necessarily desirable”, so “murder” is evil depends on who is being murdered, ergo it is not an unquestionable evil according to you.

    Fascist can be taken in different senses. You are not a fascist in the nationalist, traditionalist sense? Certainly. In the identitarian sense? An extremely qualified maybe. In the sense of sharing many of the typically fascist traits? Of course you are.

  33. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I look at the various definitions of fascism and I find they all share the terms, authoritarian, governmental. I’m not sure we have a good enough term in English for authoritarian, non-governmental.

    Skep is an anarchist, which would imply eschewing government as the vehicle for authoritarianism. But we have plenty of other vehicles for it these days: Students shutting down speakers they don’t like, colleges shutting down school newspapers that print statements they disagree with, academics demanding retraction of peer-reviewed articles for not expressing the right political view, #BlackLivesMatter, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, civil lawsuits pressed to force Christians to act contrary to conscience …

    We need a word for a non-governmental analogue to fascism, because it’s totalitarian, it’s oppressive, and it’s encroaching on us from multiple directions at once. Maybe antifa is the right word in a way, because there’s authoritarianism all over the antifa movement.

    Once we find that word, Skep, you can claim it for your very own. You deserve it.

  34. BillT

    SF,

    I never said you were a fascist. I said the SWJ movement was a fascist movement and it is. Does it encompass people who have other ideologies. Sure. So what? All political movements have a range of beliefs within them. However, the SWJ movement and it’s allied movements like ANTIFA are fascist. The progressive/radical left always goes to the same place. Statism. It believes that all things are secondary to the state. In their case, the state they propose that would have control of the ideas, thoughts, speech and personal freedoms of anyone they oppose. And, how do they enforce it. With violence. Where does political violence exist in America. On the political left.

    As to your claim of anarchism you can call yourself anything you want. My question to you would be what does that really mean. Your above list is all things you don’t believe. What do you believe. Do you think that people who don’t agree with you should be silenced. What is tantamount, the individual of the “state.”

  35. grodrigues

    @Tom Gilson:

    I’m not sure we have a good enough term in English for authoritarian, non-governmental.

    There isn’t one and with good reason. Unless Skepticism First prefers the rule of the mob, he would want to use the coercive power of the state to advance his own agenda (e.g. shutdown those that he views as dangerous sophists).

  36. Skepticism First

    BillT, anarchists are anti-state leftists. Most “members”* of antifa, btw, are also anarchists (although there are some marxists, and even a few liberals and conservatives). If you’re interested in learning more about anarchism, check out the anarchist FAQ: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/the-anarchist-faq-editorial-collective-an-anarchist-faq

    As for the rest of what people have said in response to me, no comment.

    *antifa is not a formal organization with official members. anyone may participate as much or as little as they want. except for fascists.

  37. BillT

    *”anarchists are anti-state leftists”

    Talk is cheap and this particular talk is very cheap. Leftism implies and requires allegiance to a “state” of one form or another which makes this self-contradictory and meaningless. And it’s a broad brush description without any specifics.

    *antifa is not a formal organization with official members. anyone may participate as much or as little as they want. except for fascists.

    Except antifa, like the SJW movement is all about fascism. (And I detailed why above.)

    Otherwise, SF, thus is just what I’d expect. Broad brush, self-contradictory descriptions that obfuscate rather than clarify.

  38. Philmonomer

    I realized I needed to modify my comment (#31).

    It should read:

    I want to go on record that I, too, am against fascism. Unless I am the one in charge. Then it’s ok.

  39. Skepticism First

    BillT, at this point all I can do is once again refer you to the anarchist FAQ I’ve linked.

  40. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    There’s got to be some recognition of process here. Fascism requires a state if it’s going to come to full fruition. Hence even a non-governmental movement lake today’s incipient fascism relies on state support. Witness the way university administrators and police have winked at all the violence lately. Witness the FFRF’s reliance on the courts to bully people into compliance with their will. Witness the state of Washington making a florist pay her whole life’s savings for the sake of conscience.

    I still think there should be a separate word for it at this stage, since it’s not officially supported by the state. Its state support is now more a matter of elite culture than official policy. I expect it will become more and more state policy, unfortunately, and then we’ll have a genuinely undeniable fascism on our hands.

    It won’t be white nationalist, it will be anti-white nationalist. As far as ideology goes there’s no reason not to call that fascism; it’s still self-righteously racist, right to the core.

    It won’t be rightist, but it won’t be liberal either, for today’s leftism has far more in common with fascist rightism than with true liberalism. Its basic approach to social problems is the same, it just identifies different groups as the problem.

    It will definitely be statist. It isn’t entirely there yet, but it’s a lot closer now than it was five years ago, and the trend will have to reverse in a hurry to keep it from going all the way there. Trump’s religious freedom executive order yesterday was terribly insufficient to stem that tide.

    Anarchists may think they’re not statists, but a state-less anarchy is as unstable as a walking stick balanced on its end, and no anarchist’s social goals could begin to be achieved without state support. Skep, your dream of governmental non-interference in marriage law could only be accomplished through state activism. So you may think you reject the state, but that’s just naive; you rely on it more than you realize already.

    What I think we’re seeing here might therefore best be called proto-fascism. It’s not all the way there yet, but it’s certainly in process; all the elements are visible and growing.

  41. DR84

    “There’s nothing wrong with violence against fascists. That’s self-defense. Remember, fascists want to murder you and everyone you love. You really need to acknowledge that.”

    For better or worse I have participated in a number of conversations on pro-LGBT blog. One thing that has come out very recently is that they are completely convinced that Christians secretly want to have all LGBT identifying people rounded up and executed. As far as they are concerned, there is no difference at all between Christians and say ISIS. By this logic, it would be justifiable self defense for these activists to act violently against Christians.

  42. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    Honestly, I think anyone who could say he’s not authoritarian, he’s an anarchist is necessarily naive. Foolish in every conceivable sense of the term.

    Skep, you had little moral credibility here once you revealed you were in a triad. It dipped to a nadir when you said you’d be fine with a billion abortions, if there were a billion unwanted pregnancies. Your volunteer efforts are duly noted and appreciated, but your willingness (even of a theoretical sort) to approve the murder of a billion innocents is too damning for those things to remediate.

    Meanwhile your intellectual credibility is plummeting As well, as you defend this naive anarchy.

    Sadly, while you still have worth as a fellow human being, you have pretty much zero credibility here, either ethically or intellectually. You’ve shot it all.

  43. Skepticism First

    Tom, I’m not at all bothered that you don’t find me credible. You should really read that anarchism FAQ though, because you’re ignorant about my politics – and I mean that not as an insult, but in the literal sense. Your statements about anarchism reveal that you don’t know the first thing about it.

    Will you do that?

  44. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    No, I will not.

    I clicked to the first two limks there, and by a seat-of-the-pants estimate I’d guess they totaled 10,000 words between them. There were probably a dozen more links I didn’t click.

    It appears not only to be book-length, but long book-length.
    No way.

  45. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    If there’s a much (much!) shorter summary somewhere I will of course look at it.

    But you really ought to care whether you have credibility, because all you have to offer here is conversation on topics for which your credibility is zero. Which means nothing you say matters, since I’m just going to dismiss it as foolish ravings of someone who’s amply proved he has nothing to say that anyone has any reason to pay the slightest attention to.

  46. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    DR84, thanks for that. I get the logic there. The premise behind it is of course barking mad, but if that’s where they start, I can see why they go where they go with it.

    This madness is largely of their own making. Christians obviously haven’t been as welcoming toward LGBT people as we should have beenn but there’s a an ocean-width’s difference between “not welcoming” and “rounding up and shooting.” We do not agree with their politics, but the West has a very rich heritage of peaceful disagreement.

    So there’s no evidence in our traditions or behavior to support that belief of theirs. Having read some of their literature, however, I find reason to believe they’ve manufactured it for their own political ends. They’ve explicitly said they want us to appear the rabid aggressors, and they’ve created that image of us in their own minds.

    If they are in fear of some monster, it is one they have invented out of their own imaginings. They’re suffering the consequences of their own rhetorical aneuverings.

    Unfortunately the rest of us have to live with the consequences of their imaginary monster-making, too.

  47. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    So I got out my computer (instead of my table, which I was using earlier) to check my estimate on the word count in that F.A.Q. Skep wants us to read. Boy, did I miss it. I missed it by at least a factor of ten. I’m so embarrassed.

    There’s an intro, sections A through J, five appendices and a bibliography.

    Section A alone has more than 100,000 words!

    Skep, there’s a whole lot of barking madness going around here if (a) anyone thinks that’s an F.A.Q., and (b) you think anyone’s going to read it.

  48. Skepticism First

    Skep, there’s a whole lot of barking madness going around here if (a) anyone thinks that’s an F.A.Q., and (b) you think anyone’s going to read it.

    I’ve read it. *shrug*

    I linked the most in-depth, comprehensive thing I knew of, because I didn’t want anyone to, as you say, dismiss it as foolish ravings of someone who’s amply proved he has nothing to say that anyone has any reason to pay the slightest attention to.

    If there’s a much (much!) shorter summary somewhere I will of course look at it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism

    But you really ought to care whether you have credibility, because all you have to offer here is conversation on topics for which your credibility is zero. Which means nothing you say matters, since I’m just going to dismiss it as foolish ravings of someone who’s amply proved he has nothing to say that anyone has any reason to pay the slightest attention to.

    I do care, and I have lots of credibility. What I said was that I don’t care that *you* don’t find me credible.

  49. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You don’t have lots of credibility here.

    And if you don’t care whether I find anything credible in what you say, then it follows that you don’t care what I think about what you write.

    My guess is that you’d apply that same view to the other commenters here.

    Think very carefully, then, before you say anything else here, given that you don’t care what we think about what you say, and given that we probably don’t have a lot of time to spare on your words with no credibility.

    If I were you I’d say, “What’s the point of it?” and I wouldn’t even bother saying anything again here.

  50. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    On further reflection, Skep, I’ve realized that my “Starbucks Standard” for discussion is being stretched beyond the breaking point, when I think of sitting across the table from a gleefully polygamous anarchist who thinks a billion abortions would be a great idea if there were a billion unwanted pregnancies, who has given up all moral and intellectual credibility here but doesn’t even care. You’re the first commenter here, Skep, for whom I have developed this level of moral abhorrence and conversational dislike.

    So applying that standard consistently, I think it’s time for me to make the decision for you. Goodbye. Some of it’s been a pleasure — but not nearly enough.

  51. Skepticism First

    Tom, I’ve made no personal insults or gratuitous character attacks. I’ve not broken your starbucks standard, not even close. If you want to ban me, fine. But don’t pretend it’s for any other reason than you really don’t like my views.

  52. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I don’t like your views. Some of them I find so lacking in credibility they’ve lost all interest to me, and others I find absolutely appalling, they’re so extremely wrong. Repugnant. That in itself puts it over the line for me with the Starbucks Standard.

    There’s also the factor that I don’t prefer to engage in long conversations with people who don’t care if I care what they say.

    I thought I was clear on that. That is indeed the reason. I’m not pretending a thing here.

  53. TFBW

    Enough of the intransigent Skep and his inexhaustible capacity to be right about everything.

    @Tom Gilson (from the OP):

    … haven’t these social-justice-warrior academics noticed their solutions to racial tension and inequality won’t work?

    Won’t work to achieve what? What do you suppose their goals are?

  54. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I’m referring to their publicly stated goals of improving racial equality.

    Their real goals? That’s a rat’s nest.

  55. BillT

    So, when push comes to shove SF give us a Wiki link. You just can’t make this stuff up. This is the choice we’re given. A 100,000 word treatise or a Wiki link. And it’s likely the 100,000 word treatise isn’t any more informative than the link.

    We know what anarchy is and what anarchists believe. It’s been around for a long time and it’s a foolish pie-in-the-sky ideology whose main identifying characteristic is it’s association with violence. You want to be taken seriously SF but you adopt a political philosophy that is quite the opposite of serious.

    The bottom line is this. In the current political climate, the extreme (and even not so extreme) left has adopted fascist ideology as their guiding principal. They believe individual rights and freedoms should be curtailed and they are willing to resort to violence to accomplish their goals. They claim to reject the state but eventually want and need the state to enforce their ideology.

  56. TFBW

    @Tom: “I’m referring to their publicly stated goals of improving racial equality.”

    What do you suppose they envisage when they speak of equality? It seems to me that they aren’t using the term in the way that a classical liberal would. At the very least, it seems to me that there’s payback involved. It wouldn’t be called social justice if there weren’t a punitive element.

  57. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    I agree, TFBW. Their publicly stated goal isn’t what they really want. It would be nice if we could get them to own up honestly to the discrepancy.

    Payback is certainly part of it. It’ll never really work.

  58. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    You know where Skep was asking us to please read that FAQ before we prematurely judged anarchism? I declined because part A had over 100,000 words. Curious how long the whole thing is?

    It’s in ten parts, A through J, plus an intro, a bibliography, and five appendices. The total combined word count is…

    Wait for it …


    Wait for it a little longer …

    1,729,016 words.

    Given a moderately quick reading rate of 600 words per minute, Skep was asking us to invest 48 hours in this FAQ.

    Given an average reading rate of about 240 WPM, he was asking us to put in 120 hours on it.

    You could fit more than 2 1/4 Bibles (ESV) into that word count.

    You could fit Tolstoy’s War and Peace in there almost 3 times.

    It’s almost exactly 3 times the total word count for all of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy plus The Hobbit.

    It’s 36 percent longer than the longest novel ever written, according to the Guinness Book of World Records: Prousts’s À la recherche du temps perdu, which has 1,267,069 words.

    That’s more than just a little but nuts.

    It’s nuts, for one thing, to call that thing an FAQ.

    And for another thing, if Skep thought we might actually read it, that shows he’s rather more seriously disconnected from reality than I had realized.

  59. grodrigues

    @BillT:

    It’s been around for a long time and it’s a foolish pie-in-the-sky ideology whose main identifying characteristic is it’s association with violence.

    Skepticism First is no longer around to defend himself and his ideas, but anyway, I have to say it grates my nerves the characterization of Anarchism as a “foolish pie-in-the-sky ideology”; rather, it is a false, pernicious ideology. It does not survive any kind of serious analysis.

    You noticed “its association with violence”, something it shares with all political revolutionary movements. The fifth paragraph of section A of the FAQ states that:

    As Clifford Harper elegantly puts it, “[l]ike all great ideas, anarchism is pretty simple when you get down to it — human beings are at their best when they are living free of authority, deciding things among themselves rather than being ordered about.” [Anarchy: A Graphic Guide, p. vii] Due to their desire to maximise individual and therefore social freedom, anarchists wish to dismantle all institutions that repress people:

    Everything is wrong here: from the particular, underlying conception of freedom, to the false notion that dismantling the hierarchies in place is the path to greater freedom.

  60. grodrigues

    @Tom Gilson:

    You know where Skep was asking us to please read that FAQ before we prematurely judged anarchism? I declined because part A had over 100,000 words. Curious how long the whole thing is?

    I do not know if this is the correct explanation overall, but I will advance it anyway: since anarchists allegedly want to do away with all repressive hierarchies, they will also want to abolish them amongst themselves. Anyone with anything to say must have his voice heard; from which it follows that there will be a neo-Malthusian multiplication of authorial voices and points of view and a FAQ will be turned into a multi-volume tome.

  61. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    It’s unbelievably foolish to think humans can live apart from institutions organized in hierarchies. As a dream it’s a nightmare. As organizational theory it’s about a minus 100 on the naive to knowledgeable scale.

    And to think this “dream” could contribute to the end of war? Come on. One of the greatest ways to limit conflict is my developing cooperative social structures.

    Anarchism at its best could only eliminate nations at war by replacing them with neighborhoods at war.

    Neighborhoods at war could of course organize to coexist peacefully. But then you’d still have nothing to prevent communities warring with each other.

    Unless the communities organized for peaceful cooperation.

    Repeat that cycle through a few more steps, and pretty soon your anarchy doesn’t look much like anarchy anymore.

    But if you really want to stay committed to anarchy, then you’re committed to conflict close to home.

    It’s foolish, naive, and destructive.

    And I didn’t even get into other aspects of cooperation, like the arts, education, and economics.

  62. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    G. Rodrigues @62 — makes as much sense as anything else I can think of, other than the sheer lunacy explanation, which might still be true at the same time as yours.

  63. Post
    Author
    Tom Gilson

    The anarchist wants freedom to do as he pleases without restrictions imposed by authorities. He doesn’t realize what would happen in a world where all were living with that freedom.

    It’s so self-focused on personal desires and freedoms, so unaware of the larger implications, it’s almost solipsistic.

  64. Travis

    I’m glad that the conversation has finally gotten around to the fact that anarchism can actually serve as an express lane to the exact sort of despotism that is elsewhere decried. The doing away with of official institutions only allows informal despotic organizational frameworks to arise organically.

    In the desire to abolish all official ways in which “freedom from” may be curtailed, the “freedom to” evaporates in a flash. While an anarchist may be “free” from the tyrannies of taxation and other obligations- he will never be free to aspire to any of the greater fruits of civilized society.

    Man will organize himself somehow regardless. He always does. If it is not with police, then with street gangs. This is unavoidable because man is a social animal. The only thing that can vary are the terms on which that organization will exist.

Comments are closed.