When Fighting Fire with Fire is Just an Excuse for Fire

Vox Day thinks this comment on his blog highlights the essence of the fight between SJWs and the Rabid Puppies (his version of Sad Puppies):

Nice Guys believe that A) SJWs can learn, and B) compromise with them is possible.

When the downtrodden, outnumbered Hero finally gets the upper hand, he’s supposed to nobly offer a truce to his Enemy. His Enemy will be so impressed by his fortitude and nobility that he will gain a new respect for the Hero, and they will forge a new, better understanding based on mutual respect. Everyone lives happily ever after. Think of all the fantasy stories and buddy movies that are based on that kind of reversal.

So now that Vox has the SJWs on the ropes, he’s supposed to back away and offer them a draw, and they’re supposed to be so relieved and impressed that they turn over a new leaf. Then everyone can get along and just focus on good writing.

Actually, no, that’s not it at all. That completely misunderstands the reason that we (that is, those of us who have some sympathy for the Sad Puppies but almost none for the Rabid Puppies) advocate tolerance for the SJW crowd.

We are not under any delusions about how SJWs act. We’ve seen all the same evidence you have. It’s QUITE clear that the a great many feminism and/or "diversity" and/or gay rights activists don’t give a fig about tolerance or inclusiveness. Tolerance and inclusiveness are just tools they use to get what they really want; they aren’t virtues for them.

Thing is: they are for us.

It’s always the same problem with Vox. He claims to want to live and let live, but there’s never any evidence of it. And it’s always the same excuse: "they" won’t play nice, so why should he? This is sensible enough if reserved for extreme cases, but when absolutely every post on his blog that deals with SJWs is about the need to deny them a seat, the line between their tactics and his becomes impossible to draw.

Here’s the rub: if somebody doesn’t start playing nice, it just never happens.

And here’s the question: do you think it will be the SJWs who start playing nice? It won’t. We know that from all past experience. So, as the addage goes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

If you want tolerance and inclusiveness, you start by being tolerant and inclusive. It’s not that it doesn’t matter that "they" aren’t tolerant and inclusive, because obviously it would be nicer if they were. The fact that they’re not makes our job a lot harder. But our job is still to get to a community that’s tolerant and inclusive, and you just can’t do that with purges.

Quite the contrary, the way you get there is by making purges taboo. What you start with isn’t "hey, you purged us, you opened the gate, guess purges are OK now, so we’re gonna have one of our own!" Because at that point you have two purges rather than one, and they start to become normal. But the whole goal was to make them the opposite of normal. You don’t denormalize something by making it common, just like you don’t reduce demand for a product by making it cheap.

I get why Vox’s version of this is more fun. It always feels better to be doing something new and direct rather than shoring up the status quo. And indulgence is always more immediately gratifying than restraint. But if discipline were easy it wouldn’t be discipline. Goal-directed behavior means doing what gets you to the goal, whether or not it’s maximally gratifying in the moment.

I can’t see how purging SJWs gets us to the goal. If you want to pick one or two who have been particularly nasty and publicly denounce them for their tactics, fine. Great! But trying to crush them as a group is just going to turn back on you.

So if we can’t crush them, and we know that they’ll never turn over a new leaf (at least, not any time soon), then how do we win? Unfortuantely, the answer to that is a little disheartening: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Sorry, folks, but there’s no other way – at least none that I’ve seen. Liberty isn’t achievable in a neat "final solution." You can’t just banish your enemies and live happily ever after in Galt’s Gultch. Liberty means you establish some libertarian norms, and you constantly – and I mean constantly – defend them.

It’s rather like fighting crime. You fight it. You never beat it. And the reason you never beat it is that the price of beating it is too high. There are going to be murderers and thieves for the foreseeable future. Some of them will even get away with it. That’s what life in an imperfect world entails. The best we can do is keep these things to a minimum, by doing our best to instill social norms that discourage them, and then paying a police force year after year to do its best to catch the people that haven’t been socialized.

It’s mundane, I KNOW, but that’s how you "beat" the SJWs too. Meaning: you don’t beat them, not completely. You just minimize their effectiveness. You take a strong stance against the kinds of tactics they like to employ, and then you relentlessly point out when people are violating your norms. You do this regardless of their political opinions, partly to demonstrate your good faith, but mostly because you really are against those kinds of tactics.

Strong is fighting! It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do. (source)

Yeah, got it, quoting Buffy – even one of its best episodes – won’t win me any points with the Vox Day crowd. But then the whole point of this has been that it’s getting really hard to see how Vox is ultimately any different from the people he’s constantly railing against. SJWs want to banish Christians and homophobes and anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat religiously. Vox Day seems happy to respond by banishing anyone who’s not Christian, or is homosexual, or who votes Democrat religiously. The vast majority of us just want to read good science fiction. We don’t want people purged because they believe the wrong things. We certainly don’t want Hugo ballots dominated by one publishing house – be it Tor or Castalia. We want a world where you can read Orson Scott Card and still get a job in publishing, and where you can read NK Jemison and do the same.

The quoted comment at the start of this post is a straw man, and straw mans are the coward’s path. We’re not running a naive feelgood campaign to win people over with good will. We’re running a campaign that we know is relentless and never-ending to keep stalinism-by-proxy at bay.

56 thoughts on “When Fighting Fire with Fire is Just an Excuse for Fire

  1. Well said. As someone who definitely sympathizes with Sad Puppies, but who thinks their slate is kinda boring (not that the liberal recommendations were any better – and I did check out some from both sides – I’m simply not impressed with the crop of award hopefuls this year), I’ve been disappointed with the level of attention the rapid puppies have gotten. I would love to be in the world that you describe – reading people who are good writers on all sides of the political line and being an adult about it – but I’m not sure I can see it happening anytime soon.

  2. Pingback: He Do The Puppies In Different Voices 5/9 | File 770

  3. “SJWs want to banish Christians and homophobes and anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat religiously.” Now THAT is a straw man argument. You say some worthwhile things in this essay, Joshua, but you go off the rails when you say things which just aren’t true. Like that particular one.

    Also: “We want a world where you can read Orson Scott Card and still get a job in publishing, and where you can read NK Jemison and do the same.” Laudable sentiment…and also a perfect description of the world as it was before this SP/RP stuff exploded on the scene. I have worked in professional publishing for more than 40 years, and I can absolutely assure you that no one was ever denied a job or fired because of their political beliefs. (There have been cases where people have allowed their beliefs to INTERFERE with doing their jobs, but that is a different thing entirely.)

  4. What kind of social norms did you have in mind? I think most SFF fans would be happy to agree that people can read what they like, and shouldn’t be forced to read what they don’t like.

  5. Here from File 770, but my most usual online hangout is Making Light.

    I just wanted to say – I suspect we disagree politically, but this so completely matches my own attitude toward this entire conflict (and indeed, most political conflict). I appreciate you saying this.

  6. Here through File770, just to say: Thanks for this.

    I may be on the other side of the divide, Puppy-wise, but I’m 100% with you on what you’re saying here:
    Hold yourself to the highest bar; first and foremost, hold yourself to the level you’re demanding of others. Not because you’re trying to impress anybody. Not even because you’re trying to persuade anybody. But because going dirty doesn’t achieve any of your goals – it just sullies everything for everybody.

    The very best responses I’m seeing to Puppygate are the ones that are encouraging voters to read more, and readers to vote more. If instead of voting for the Puppy slate, each of those voters would have voted for a handful of pieces they thought were fantastic this year, I would consider that a tremendous service and benefit to the awards – I want those voices in, 100%, and I’d be pleased to have the very best of their/your/our favorites on the ballot (rather than a random sampling and a slew of favorites from Castilia House…).

    Here’s hoping next year looks better, all around.

  7. Thanks for an interesting blog post. I’m more or less on the opposite camp but I do feel your attitude is constructive and I’m happy I came around to read your post.

    There were some things that left me scratching my head, though. For example:

    SJWs want to banish Christians and homophobes and anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat religiously. Vox Day seems happy to respond by banishing anyone who’s not Christian, or is homosexual, or who votes Democrat religiously. The vast majority of us just want to read good science fiction.

    I’m wondering who are the people you label here as SJW’s. A great deal of the vocal opponents of the Puppy slates are some sort of Christians themselves (Making Light bloggers, for example) and for those of us living outside US (that’s a big group as well, I think) supporting a US party is an absurd idea. From a European perspective, the republicans and the democrats both seem more or less like fringe right-wing things. Any conservative or center-right party we have here is far to the left of anything on the US political spectrum.

    Even though I dislike the both Puppy projects very much, I have some conservative favorite writers such as Tim Powers, Gene Wolfe and James Ellroy, and I agree completely with your assertion that most of us just want to read good fiction.

  8. Pingback: We’re not fighting fire with fire | Neoreactive

  9. Connor and spacefaringkitten,

    Point taken. I should come up with some better examples of where the dividing line between SJWs and others is.

    • Joshua, I appreciate both where this post is coming from and where it may lead, but may I suggest a slightly more radical move?

      Rather than figuring out where the dividing line between SJWs and others are, why don’t you stop dividing the world into SJWs and others? I’m not saying not to judge people’s actions, and not to speak up when you see someone who seems to have an axe to grind or whatever, but the thing is, “SJW” is mostly an externally applied label. Oh, sure, there are people on Twitter and Tumblr who now take it as an ironic badge of honor, but the label started off as a pejorative. I’m not saying you consciously use it this way personally, but for a lot of people, once they’ve applied the label to someone, they stop trying to understand where they’re coming from and even paying attention to what they’re saying. It’s like labeling a sentiment “Political Correctness” — the main effect is that it lets you write someone off.

      If I tell you that trans rights are important to me, I’m telling you a thing about myself. If you care enough to, you can listen to what I’m saying or ask me questions or just try to imagine the world as I see it. Empathy is possible.

      As soon as you decide I’m an “SJW”, though, you can no longer try to understand my perspective because I no longer have my own perspective in your head. I’m one of those wacky “SJWs”. I think whatever SJWs think. One time someone you called an SJW said all men should be strangled at birth, so I must think that. Some people who are SJWs don’t believe anything but are just trolling for attention or PC Cred Points or revenge on society. Once I’m labeled an SJW, that’s me, too.

      And the thing is, an incredibly large and diverse amount of people and belief and attitudes all get swept up together as “SJWs” and then treated as a monolith. I’ve seen people on Tumblr talk about us supposed “SJWs” as a group that includes vegans, radical feminists, and trans women like myself. I’m not vegan, and most vegan extremists who know who I am hate me. Radical feminists actively work to subvert trans rights, and so we have no love lost for them. But I can go to any number of posts on a Puppy blog like Brad Torgersen’s, and know that I will find someone stating with perfect confidence that radical feminism informs the tenets of everything I do and believe, because Ess Jay Double You.

      And once I am established as an SJW… well, believing is seeing.

      Imagine that you saw me talking about how I think that racism and sexism are endemic to the fabric of society and as no human being is perfect, no human being has perfect self-awareness, we are all susceptible to its influences, in the same way we’re all susceptible to advertising and other ubiquitous messages. It doesn’t control our minds, but it influences us, and we’re ill-equipped to see it, particularly as the human mind rebels from the thought that it is not a completely independent entity.

      Now, you can disagree with that! But I think you could also probably recognize that it’s a reasonable point of view. If you did disagree, I imagine it would be at the premise level: that racism and sexism are endemic in society. But even in that case, I’d hope that you’d recognize that the line of thinking makes sense for someone starting from those premises, and then we’d have something we could talk about.

      But if you decide—or you’ve been told already—that I one of those Social Justice Warriors, we probably won’t get there. Because you see me talking about racism and sexism as ubiquitous social forces and oh, boy, there goes one of those SJWs again, saying everybody and everything is racist and sexist. I just accused you of being racist and sexist just for being born! Are you gonna stand for that? No you’re not!

      You might see another “SJW” talking about racism in terms of outcomes rather than individual personal intentions and decide the same thing. And please understand, when I say “decide”, I don’t mean to imply that you sit here going, “Well, you’re saying this thing, and I could argue with it, but instead I’m going to call you an SJW and just ignore it.”

      The decision is to see people as “SJWs” or not. Everything else follows from that. The purpose of the label is to rope people together and then write them off. That’s all it does.

      I have seen people who were just blogging about their lives—their own personal struggles—on their personal blogs get discovered by people who have an axe to grind against “SJWs”, and because they said something that is not politically correct by the anti-SJW crowd’s standards, they get labeled an SJW and hounded to heck and back. “YOU CALL YOURSELF AN ACTIVIST, BUT YOU’RE REALLY JUST A SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIOR!” the hounds say, but the person never called themselves an activist.

      And yeah, I said politically correct. I don’t know how it became codified that political correctness only exists on the left. There are people waiting to pounce on anyone who spouts the “wrong ideas” on every side of every political spectrum, and the attitude that this is just a leftist thing means they have more free rein on the right.Nobody’s guarding against “political correctness” from that side, because it’s only used to refer to the infiltration of knee-jerk leftist versions of sensitivity.

      Anyway, my point is that dividing the world between “SJWs” and “everyone else” is not how you get to the world you’re describing as your goal. On the internet, calling someone an “SJW” is tantamount to declaring open season on them and then writing off anything they might have to say as being noise.

      I know you probably feel like that’s what “SJWs” do when they label someone as racist or whatever. I’m not going to argue the point, mostly because in my experience it’s the people who just zealously look for any ripe target to attack in situations where we’re talking about racism or sexism are also the ones who inevitably have an epiphany down the line where they realize that’s not really justice and then become the most zealous crusaders against “SJWs”. Most people on the other side from you don’t actually “ride out under a banner of Social Justice”, as I’ve so often seen it described… and those that do, it’s the act of riding out under a banner that’s important to them. It’s the twin rush of getting to go after someone viciously while simultaneously feeling like they’re the hero. The cause doesn’t matter, only that they have one. And because the cause doesn’t matter, there’s about the same number of people on any side of an argument.

      Although I should also point out that the “sides” aren’t as clear cut as all that, either. Again, the label of “SJW” tends to minimize differences and paint people as a monolith. You guys have formed camps and ran campaigns. You’re organized. You can describe everybody who disagrees with your premises, goals, or tactics as “anti puppy”, but there is no Anti-Puppies. Pretending there is distorts your view of everything.

      I mean, we’ve had David Gerrold insisting that everybody must be welcomed warmly and treated honorably at the Hugo awards ceremony and Connie Willis backing out of presenting because she doesn’t feel she can do that. That’s two individuals both expressing an individual view. But if you insist on seeing them not as individuals but as facets of an Anti-Puppy faction, then Gerrold’s words seem hollow, and can only be read as sarcasm or a veiled threat. And so many Puppies did exactly that. But objectively: if he wasn’t serious about what he had said, why would Connie Willis have backed out?

      When people in either Puppy camps bother to spell out who they think is in the clique that they imagine congrols the Hugos, some of the big names they put out there don’t even get along. I’m not going to name examples because it’s not my place to air dirty laundry or speak for other people about who they do or don’t like, but honestly, a lot of it’s been very public. A lot of the people assumed to be super influential really aren’t. It’s all the view from outside, seeing connections where there aren’t any, extrapolating things to explain away results that the viewer can’t otherwise make sense of.

      There’s this really weird bit of cognitive dissonance that goes on where people look at everyone to the left of them (I don’t know where you’d say your politics lie, so I won’t say you’re on the right, though I imagine you’re to the right of me) and see us both as marching in lockstep with one another and constantly turning on each other. This happens when one insists on seeing a monolith where none exists.

      Over in another culture skirmish, I’ve tried to explain to people in Gamergate that some people really like video games but have different tastes and priorities, and we would just like to be able to read reviews that speak to our needs, and so it’s distressing to see them label such reviews as “unethical” and try to hound them out of existence. This conversation never goes anywhere because the answer is always something like, “Oh, yeah? If you like video games, why did you censor Grand Theft Auto V in Australia?”

      I’m not in Australia, of course. I have a feeling that many of the moral guardians who signed the petition to get GTAV pulled from the shelves of Target would also protest any game that represented my ~*lifestyle*~, as they would call it.

      Yet because of the magical transformative value of the label SJW, I am responsible for the actions of those moral guardians, and no further conversation is possible.

      This is also how so many Puppies ended up demonizing Mary Robinette Kowal for a post where she basically endorsed the loftier versions of the Puppies’ stated goals (open the gates, widen the conversation, let everyone in) and then ran a fundraising effort to randomly distribute voting memberships to any interested takers, regardless of their tastes and political views. If you see her as a member of the Anti-Puppies, and you see Anti-Puppies as SJWs, and you see SJWs as two-faced extremists who will say whatever is most advantageous while doing whatever they please… then you basically have no choice but to regard the whole body of her post as honeyed sarcasm or bald-faced lies and call the random membership giveaway drive “buying votes for her side!” as so many did.

      (Though in fairness, many Puppies also recognized that what she was doing was a good step towards the world they wanted.)

      I know this a long comment, so I’m going to wrap it up with pretty shortly. Just two more things.

      Up above, Ian says he’s seen both the Puppy slate and the “liberal recommendations”. I know he’s not saying the “liberal slate”, but just the fact that he has to phrase it that way kind of puts paid to the Puppy party line that there’s a single clique of liberals that has been acting together to control the nominations, doesn’t it? I’ve seen people on the Rabid Puppies side say that the “SJW side can’t even fix an award competently,” hence their ability to steamroller the nominations with ease. Isn’t the more likely answer that it was never fixed to begin with?

      Maybe you’ll read this and think I’m talking nonsense. Maybe you don’t think there’s anything reasonable in the views I described as getting subsumed under the label of “SJW”. Maybe you even think that I’m one of those vicious people who rides out under a banner to feel like a hero while attacking people. I have certainly had unkind things to say about the people leading the Puppy charges.

      But even if I am completely wrong about almost everything and als the worst person in the world, you would still have nothing to lose by excising the “SJW/everyone else” division from your way of looking at the world. Judge people as individuals… don’t sort them into a box and judge them against everyone else you’ve put into the box. If you see someone arguing in poor face or browbeating someone or adopting extreme rhetorical poses in an obvious bid for attention or whatever, just label what they’re doing as what it is. You don’t need the word “SJW” to call them out for that, and in fact, it makes it harder because then you’re talking about everything that everyone is doing, not what this one person is doing.

      If you want to take the first step towards a kinder, gentler, more tolerant discourse, start by putting down the “SJW” label. It only exists to burn people, and you don’t want to fight fire with fire.

      • I agree that there is no apparent clique of progressive scifi writers, fans, and other people to get specific authors nominated in an organized fashion. There are, however, clearly some works that do have organized pushes behind them. Does that merit the response of Sad Puppies? No.

        However, despite the fact that I really find the Sad Puppy slate incredibly unexciting, I think the movement is justified in so far as it demonstrates that there is a complete lack of willingness by the current WorldCon to even consider people who speak in a different philosophical or political register as worthy of awards.

        Do I think that this year reflects well on the Sad Puppies? Somewhat – I think in general that Torgersen has been an admirable face to the movement. I think a lot has not, though – and not all of it is attributable to the Rabid Puppies (which I do not defend) – the way the slate seemed engineered to sweep catagories (I know a lot of that was the Rabid Puppy slate, but I tend to agree that providing a slate that matches the nomination availability is more than a bit dangerous, especially given the fact that a vast majority of people simply don’t have time to read much beyond a recommended shortlist), the way the comments threads often contain a lot of (in my opinion) justified anger spilling into unjustified abuse, etc.

        I am a conservative science fiction fan. I appreciate the Sad Puppies trying to make it acceptable for me to say that without someone telling me they are sorry for me, or implying that my favorite writers are “crazy” or “terrible people” for having similar views (clearly extrapolating that anyone who agrees with them are similarly deranged and morally despicable). I’m not a fan of some of their tactics or really any of their selections for the Hugos (but that doesn’t really make their slate different than the past several Hugo shortlists for me).

        That’s about all I can say.

      • Considering the things you’ve said elsewhere, your comment sounds incredibly hollow and hypocritical. If you want people to stop labeling you, maybe you shouldn’t throw so many around yourself?

  10. SJWs want to banish Christians and homophobes and anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat religiously.

    I’ve been reading Vox Day’s rants over at File770, and he’s been fairly consistent on who he considers his “SJW” enemies to be: John Scalzi, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Teresa Nielsen Hayden. One time he threw the name “Moshe Feder” in the mix, but it’s usually those three, and sometimes just the first two.

    I defy you to show that any in that list above have ever said anything that could even vaguely be intrepreted as being what they “want”. I’m pretty sure that TNH is a Christian, btw, and homophobes Orson Scott Card and John C. Wright are still being published by Tor, the publisher that PNH and TNH work for.

    Where is this call for “banishment” supposed to even be coming from? And banished from where?

  11. I see the SJWs are here already telling you they don’t exist, and no they don’t exclude conservatives or Christians, it just somehow happened that way, that anyone who opposes them is a bad poopy head, And what paean to moderation would be complete without Alexandra Erin vomiting his nonsense all over the page?

    Don’t label me! Don’t call me what I am! That’s mean! I feel unsafe! Oh won’t some White Knight rid me of the problematic puppies?!

    See, the deal is Joshua, that your effort will make no difference.

    Ours will. Ours already has.

  12. Ziv W: “The very best responses I’m seeing to Puppygate are the ones that are encouraging voters to read more, and readers to vote more. If instead of voting for the Puppy slate, each of those voters would have voted for a handful of pieces they thought were fantastic this year, I would consider that a tremendous service and benefit to the awards –”

    You know that’s exactly what the Sad Puppies did, right? And they were castigated for it and lied about for it both last year and this.

    • I think the original commenter meant “without being told what to read and nominate by a slate.”

      I see Puppies apparently trying to imply that the slate didn’t make any difference, that people just read what appealed and nominated their honest favorites as usual–but the numbers show that it did. Three times as many nominations were necessary this year just to get a short story into the top five slots. If three times as many people had nominated, that would make sense, but only 5% more people nominated. The slate changed the shape of the nomination curve, dropping three times as many votes on the “favorites” (if I can use that term for items that are plainly getting extra nominations due to a slate.)

      And let’s be reasonable here–it’s not like Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia and their co-slaters published and promoted the slate for the purpose of making no difference, right?

  13. @Alexandra Erin –

    The SJW label stays. Because the “boycott Ender’s Game” campaign was real, among a great many other examples. There really are people out there, on the left, who want authors who don’t toe their political line banned or boycotted. Those are SJWs, and the left does a piss poor job of calling them out for promoting censorship. So, the rest of us will have to do it, and the SJW label is one way to do that. I agree it should be reserved for people who advocate censoring/boycotting tactics, but to the best of my knowledge it has been applied that way consistently, so there is no problem. My disagreement with Vox Day is not about the existence of these people (they exist in large numbers), or the harm they can cause (they are harmful), but merely over the advisability of blowing up Worldcon as a tactic. I think it’s counterproductive. Danby may be right that my effort will make no difference, but I like Worldcon and the Hugos, and I would like to see them continue as they were, so I believe it is worth a try.

    • So, the SJW label was designed to be offensive. You can claim moderation, but when you purposefully set out to tick people off, you should not be surprised when you succeed. Just like when John Ringo wrote a book (Last Centurion) in the style of Tom Kratman designed to annoy liberals, he succeeded in purging his readership of non masochistic liberals.

      As far as boycotting Card, do recall that he was publicly donating money and encouraging others to donate money to fight against gay marriage in a state not his own, as a board member for NOM . That is the action of a lobbyist and a political figure, and he was treated as such.

      Gene Wolfe, Larry Niven, or (IIRC) David Weber may be just as conservative, but they are not taking public advocacy positions around thier beliefs and not serving on the board of political organizations opposed to my beliefs. Reading thier books is not a political statement.

      The SJW label is also often used to draw a distinction between social justice warriors without guns and real warriors with them. Do you wonder why the liberals in the crowd do not enjoy it?

      • As far as boycotting Card, do recall that he was publicly donating money and encouraging others to donate money to fight against gay marriage in a state not his own, as a board member for NOM . That is the action of a lobbyist and a political figure, and he was treated as such.

        Yes, and in civilized society we respond to lobby groups we don’t like by forming and donating to lobby groups that take the opposite view, of which there are no small number on the side opposing Card. What the people who are protesting Card are doing is less about Card himself and more about trying to scare other authors who aren’t yet as successful from exercising their right as citizens to engage in political advocacy. It is a fascist tactic, and it should be opposed.

        • The interesting thing about where you put the dividing line between “civilized” legitimate tactics and deplorable tactics that no one should ever use is that the tactic you label as “civilized” is the one that requires the most money and entrenched political clout to be effective.

          Now, I am not saying you looked at the two tactics and chose to denounce the one that requires less money and political capital to be effective then twiddled your curly mustache and let out an evil laugh. That’s obviously ridiculous.

          But it’s worth thinking about how often it winds up being the case that tactics that everyone has access to are vilified, while tactics that favor the wealthy and influential are enshrined as legitimate.

          • “But it’s worth thinking about how often it winds up being the case that tactics that everyone has access to are vilified, while tactics that favor the wealthy and influential are enshrined as legitimate.”

            Proponents of SSM outspent opponents by orders of magnitude. Making a political donation is an act of a citizen in any case. Leftists are not attacked for their political donations. Card is a small fry. There was one substantial corporate donor on the side of traditional marriage (the Chick-Fil-A owner), and not for reasons of hate. And yet the mayors of DC, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco all threatened (illegally) to ban Chick-Fil-A in before stepping down after the liberal mayor of New York (Bloomberg) reminded them that the law was not on their side. Just for having a viewpoint that was a majority opinion in every state as recently as 2008, and which is still the majority opinion in the world.

            When those on the other side of SJWs see totalitarian urges, they aren’t exaggerating.

    • Yes, but part of her point is that these people exist along every axis of belief – conservative and liberal. I have seen indiscriminate boycott tactics used by both ideological extremes (remember freedom fries?) The SJW label has become simple name-calling, used to dismiss others points of view rather than calling out extreme behavior as unacceptable. The enforced us vs them dichotomy only further degrades civilized discourse.

    • Counter theory: maybe there are people on the left—as there are anywhere—who don’t want to spend money in support of someone who wishes to see them destroyed.

      That you find it necessary to impute sinister/punitive motives to people who are merely voting their conscience (and in some cases, their own interests) with their pocketbooks is a pretty stark refutation of the conciliatory tone of this post.

      By your lights, should we all have been required to go see Ender’s Game to prove how tolerant we are?

      • What evidence do you have that Orson Scott Card wants to see you destroyed? How does he plan to accomplish your destruction by selling you an Ender’s Game ticket? Where did anyone say or even imply that you needed to see Ender’s Game to prove that you were tolerant? Are you having some difficulty understanding the difference between an organized boycott and an individual decision to see (or not see) a movie that I can help with?

        • With great respect, Alexandra, on this narrow issue I think Joshua is right.

          The impulse to blacklist OSC for his political views was wrong and – although not technically censorship – contributed to an atmosphere that, magnified by enough employers, would be catastrophic for substantive freedom of speech. And collective organization (such as a petition) isn’t the same as individual consumers individually deciding not to buy OSC’s works.

          (Ironically, isn’t this also what much of the Hugos argument is about, but with the roles reversed? One side is saying that collective organization – be it an anti-OSC petition or slate voting – is substantively different than individuals making individual decisions. The other side is denying that there’s any difference.)

          The point isn’t OSC, who didn’t really need that DC job (it was one short story). The point is, a world in which employers routinely punish workers for stating controversial political views would be an awful, terrible world, one in which only wealthy people could really feel free to speak.

          There are many meaningful ways that people of moderate income can push back against those who oppose marriage equality. I’m low income, but I gathered signatures to support marriage equality, I walked door-to-door, I made phone calls, I blog, and I vote. While I acknowledge that not everyone has the resources or free time to do these things (a low-income single parent may not have any time to gather signatures, for example), they’re hardly things that only wealthy people can do.

    • I apologize for the multiple comments, but I want to take another stab at this. I think we’re going to fundamentally disagree on the appropriateness of boycotts and I don’t see that changing, so I kind of regret having engaged there.

      But for anything you think is worth calling out, whether it’s boycotts or whatever… the fact that you think it’s worth calling out is exactly why you shouldn’t be using the word “SJW”.

      SJW is a nothing word. It means a thousand contradictory things, it means whatever the speaker wants it to mean in the moment, and so it conveys nothing by itself. It’s a faceless bogeyman comprised of innumerable examples, whether imagined, exaggerated, or real.

      When you call someone out, you want to do two things: 1) Identify clearly what they are doing that is wrong and why, and 2) Have people listen.

      Calling someone an “SJW” does nothing. It starts dogpiles and stops conversations. It not only all but guarantees that the perceived “other side” won’t listen to what you have to say, it means a lot of people who have your back won’t really be listening, either. Because they know. SJW? Say no more!

      If your goal is to hold people accountable for what they do, the best thing you can do is talk about what they do. Slapping an us-vs-them pejorative on someone is the absolute opposite of that.

      • Request denied. You have either misunderstood, or else you do not wish to engage with, the original post. Like Vox, I do not see much point in engaging with dyed-in-the-wool SJWs. I am not interested in trying to talk them out of their position, because I don’t have much confidence it can be done. I am merely interested in containing their tactics as much as possible, because I believe these tactics are harmful to the greater community. I do not want to see the rest of us start to act like them, because then all is lost. People who use the tactics that I disapprove of to enforce a leftist consensus by proxy are SJWs. That is a clearly-defined term, and I will continue to use it. As should be abundantly clear from my original post, I disapprove of these tactics also when they are used from the right. If you have a term for right-wing uses of these tactics that you wish to suggest, I’m happy to entertain the idea of using it, but the SJW label stays.

        • I would love to be part of popularizing whatever term gets invented for that. But perhaps it’d be better to start using “SJW” as a universal term for that kind of behaviour, regardless of the goal?
          It’s even worse when people you otherwise like start using those self-destructive tactics…

          • I’d be fine with that in principle, but the “social justice” part of SJW is so well associated with the left that it probably wouldn’t work in practice. Maybe we need another term that’s completely viewpoint neutral.

        • “People who use the tactics that I disapprove of to enforce a leftist consensus by proxy are SJWs. That is a clearly-defined term, and I will continue to use it. ”

          “Use tactics that I disapprove of” is actually not a clearly-defined term because it depends entirely on what you personally approve or disapprove at any given moment, which may change subject to your whim.

  14. but I like Worldcon and the Hugos, and I would like to see them continue as they were

    Held in the clutches of SocJus.

  15. “Vox Day seems happy to respond by banishing anyone who’s not Christian, or is homosexual, or who votes Democrat religiously.”

    Have to agree with Connor on that one. The straw man Vox is Eveeel and Badthoughts Incorporated, but it doesn’t relate to what he’s actually written. He might have a particularly strong response to any subject matter that comes under the rough rubric of what those labels might represent (he is a touchy/feely kindaguy), but that’s not to imply he wouldn’t be prepared to argue his case with anyone who took an opposing view. I don’t agree with Vox on everything, but I think he argues from good faith and principle. Besides, he’s a big fan of Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero), the flamboyantly gay intellect de nos jours, so I don’t think he can be accused of knee-jerk chauvinism.

    Your main premise is a nice idea, but futile. I’ve battered my head against many an SJW in the past on the interwebz and come away with a mixture of exasperation, astonishment and despair. Reason won’t work, tolerance won’t work and compassion is seen as weakness. As with any fascistic ideology, badthink is the crime and goodthink is the cure. A calm, dialectical rejection of any tenet of goodthink is met with screeching fury and threats and as a consequence, I think the label SJW is apposite, not pejorative. There really is a hive-mind of rightsideofhistory intolerance and bigotry out there that will NOT entertain ANY deviation from the script.

    You argue for a soccer match in no-man’s land, but in reality you’re asking us to march nobly in front of the machine guns.

    • “Your main premise is a nice idea, but futile. I’ve battered my head against many an SJW in the past on the interwebz and come away with a mixture of exasperation, astonishment and despair. Reason won’t work, tolerance won’t work and compassion is seen as weakness.”

      I’m sincerely sorry to hear you feel this way, on a post with a goodly number of comments here just to say “Thanks, we disagree on some stuff, but we really appreciate hearing reason, tolerance and compassion.”

      Yes, there are nastier voices. I find it more helpful do engage with whoever is disinclined to be nasty, on either side.

      (The other reason I’m sorry to hear you feel this way is because Joshua isn’t saying “let’s be reasonable, tolerant, and compassionate, and then the SJW’s might come around”; he actually goes out of his way to make clear that that isn’t what he’s saying or aiming for :P)

      • “(The other reason I’m sorry to hear you feel this way is because Joshua isn’t saying “let’s be reasonable, tolerant, and compassionate, and then the SJW’s might come around”; he actually goes out of his way to make clear that that isn’t what he’s saying or aiming for :P)”

        “Here’s the rub: if somebody doesn’t start playing nice, it just never happens.

        And here’s the question: do you think it will be the SJWs who start playing nice? It won’t. We know that from all past experience. So, as the addage goes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

        If you want tolerance and inclusiveness, you start by being tolerant and inclusive. It’s not that it doesn’t matter that “they” aren’t tolerant and inclusive, because obviously it would be nicer if they were. The fact that they’re not makes our job a lot harder. But our job is still to get to a community that’s tolerant and inclusive, and you just can’t do that with purges.”

        I disagree. I think that’s precisely what he’s arguing for. We can dance around the head of a pin for a while here, but the consequences are the same. He is asking us to “play nice” and hope that a self-appointed police force will maintain order. The problem with that rationale is that a police force can only operate within the rule of law and a community that (largely) agrees with those laws. Trying to police the jihadist fanatics of political correctness only leads to a fatal reduction in height.

        Personally, I’d rather be part of the Mongol Horde. At least they had better horses.

        • I think you’re still misunderstanding — although, Joshua, this is your page, feel free to leap in at any time :)

          What Joshua is saying is that he doesn’t want the field to be a Mongol Horde vs. Helpless Enemies situation at all. Because whether you’re the Mongols or the victims, there’s not a whole lot growing in that field.

          He’s not saying “we should tolerate and include our opponents because they deserve it.” He’s saying “we need to create a tolerant, inclusive arena, because otherwise this is gonna be stuck as a desolate battlefield. And then we need to defend that idyllic arena against all comers.

          He’s talking about building something up, and tending it well. Vigilantly, carefully, with discipline.
          You’re talking about tearing something down because you think it’s bad.

          No matter what the actual state of the field is, Joshua’s route means there’ll be more stuff Joshua likes. Yours means there’ll be less stuff you don’t like. I like Joshua’s route a hell of a lot better. :)

          • “You’re talking about tearing something down because you think it’s bad.”

            I’m saying it’s pointless to deal with SJW’s who do whilst claiming to be the voice of goodthink. Tending it well means nothing when the people who want to destroy you or control every action you undertake dwell within the compound.

            As I stated before, you can’t police the unpoliceable. Sooner or later they will co-opt you with intimidation or bribery until you agree with them in public and keep your badthoughts to yourself. This has been the situation in SF for decades now, just as it has been in dozens of other debates. Kindness and tolerance is hopelessly ineffective against remorseless attack from within, indeed they see it as a form of weakness to exploit. There’s not much left to tear down with the Hugo’s. They were fatally co-opted years ago and have become an empty shell of what they once were. Harlan Ellison was pointing this out in the early ’90’s, so it’s hardly new.

            I don’t think we’re going to see eye to eye. You think I “misunderstand”, I think I understand only too well. I’m happy for others to think what they wish but I see no point in accommodating those who would try to destroy me. I see no point.

  16. Yea, cause you know, if we’re just nice to Lucy, maybe this time, THIS TIME, she’ll hold that dam football still so we can kick it.

  17. The OP confuses himself with a moderate, but that’s where his problems first arise. He’s not a moderate. He’s an appeaser.

    And that one word difference is all the difference in the world.

  18. @Alexandra Erin

    I think your comment was the clearest and most eloquent articulation of the values and ideas that I agree with since Puppygate exploded once the Hugo nominations were announced one month ago.

    It seems obvious to me that using “SJW” as a means of shutting down dialogue and lumping together people who vary widely and disagree about different things as all the same is not helpful to resolving whatever issues of under-representation the SP/RP slate(s) were intended to redress.

  19. You have totally missed the point. How can you say the SW’s are intolerant and exclusive and at the same time you want to treat them with tolerance and inclusiveness and let them get away with destroying the Sci/Fi/Fantasy Genre.

    Once again you attack allies in the fight and defend those that would destroy that which you hold dear. This is why you can never trust a moderate., Like you, they will always stab you in the back

  20. @Mad ProfessahMad

    Have you seen what these SJW’s have said about conservatives and even white males? Keep ignoring their hatred and as people investigate and dig deeper and they vile writings as I have, we put a lie to the claim of moderates and SJW’s that they are the victims.

    http://www.dailydot.com/geek/benjanun-sriduangkaew-revealed-to-be-troll-requires-hate-winterfox/

    Benjanun Sriduangkaew is a celebrated up-and-coming writer who has been hailed as part of a new crop of diverse voices in speculative fiction.

    Her novella Scale Bright was acclaimed as one of the year’s best, her short stories appeared in esteemed publications like Apex, and she was nominated for a 2014 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Recently the Verge dubbed her “a short story virtuoso.”

    She is also—as a shocked publishing world recently learned—a notorious troll with a decade-long history of spewing violent, homophobic, transphobic, racist, and sexist hate speech.

  21. More quotes showing the outright hatred and bigotry of the left that dominate Sci/Fi/Fantasy. Since their ilk has taken over, they have chased men like me and son out purchasing books. Vox Day has actually spurred me to once again read new authors. I have purchased more books in the last year than I had purchased in the decade prior.

    I tell everyone reading this to go to the actual links and look at the facts and not the misrepresentation put on by Joshua Herring and others of his ilk. They lie. They misrepresent the facts. Read the actual works and make up your own mind!

    “Hard as it to believe, somewhere right now, a white, straight male is explaining to a woman or POC (person of color) what they =really= meant.” – Steven Gould, science fiction (SF) author and president of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA)

    “I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word ‘privilege,’ to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon.” – John Scalzi, SF author, winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, five time nominated, three time winner of the Hugo Award, Nebula Award nominee and president of the SFWA

    “SFF is, alas, dominated by white westerners” – Aliette de Bodard, science fiction and fantasy (SFF) author , five-time nominated, two-time winner of the Nebula Award and two-time nominee for the Hugo Award, SFWA member

    I’m increasingly less likely to pick up a book if it is another straight white dude story.” – Kate Elliot, Nebula-nominated SFF author and SFWA member

    “sounds like something a straight white cis dude does, secure that his position and privilege will always be there.” – Veronica Schanoes, Nebula nominated SFF author and SFWA member

    “The law is made by rich, selfish, shitty people – mostly white, mostly men – with cockroaches for hearts. Fuck their ‘rule of law.'” – Saladin Ahmed, Hugo and Nebula Award nominated SFF author and SFWA member

    “I’d say most white men should come with TWs (trigger warnings) for unthinking privileged arrogance, but that’s like saying books need TWs for ‘contains words’.” – Rose Fox, SFF editor, SFWA member and Publisher’s Weekly review editor

    http://www.jamesmaystock.com/essays/Pages/DeathofSF.html

    http://www.jamesmaystock.com/essays/Pages/DeathofSF2.html

  22. @Joshua:

    Yes, and in civilized society we respond to lobby groups we don’t like by forming and donating to lobby groups that take the opposite view, of which there are no small number on the side opposing Card. What the people who are protesting Card are doing is less about Card himself and more about trying to scare other authors who aren’t yet as successful from exercising their right as citizens to engage in political advocacy. It is a fascist tactic, and it should be opposed.

    No, a boycott — or at least, boycotts like the OSC comic boycott — is not a fascist tactic, because it is not initiated by the state (that would be something like a unilateral trade embargo). It is very often a populist grassroots tactic, and has been used successfully in the past by groups on all parts of the political spectrum.

    See, for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boycotts — do you really oppose all of those boycotts?

    And if, as you say, the proper response to lobby groups we don’t like is by forming and donating to lobby groups that take the opposite view, why wouldn’t the proper response to a boycott be the formation of an anti-boycott?

    “We will distribute Orson Scott Card’s comic; we will carry Orson Scott Card’s comic in our stores; we will buy Orson Scott Card’s comic. We support the right of artists to believe and say whatever they want, and we support Orson Scott Card!”

    How hard is that?

    • And if, as you say, the proper response to lobby groups we don’t like is by forming and donating to lobby groups that take the opposite view, why wouldn’t the proper response to a boycott be the formation of an anti-boycott?

      That was explained in the post. Because then you have two boycotts, and boycotts are that much more normal. The idea is to stop boycotts as a response to joining NOM. The response to Card joining NOM, if you oppose NOM, is to support whatever the counter-lobby group is.

      • If a boycott is a pledge to not buy, an anti-boycott is a pledge to buy. That’s not two boycotts; that’s two groups of buyers announcing different decisions.

    • Owlmirror, boycotts are tools, and like all tools they can be used badly or used well. I am not against using hammers to build a house; I am against using hammers to break someone’s arm.

      If my group is boycotting ExampleMart until they stop beating their workers with chains, I’m not trying to chill anyone’s freedom of speech. The demand that ExampleMart stop abusing their workers is reasonable; the demand that someone should stop stating their political opinions is not reasonable.

      Boycotts shouldn’t be an instrument of shutting people up, or punishing people for their job-irrelevant political opinions. Although that’s not technically censorship, a world in which people were routinely punished with unemployment because they state unpopular political opinions when they’re off the clock, is not a world anyone should want. Some boycotts are good; but a boycott aimed at punishing people for their speech, or their off-the-clock political advocacy, is wrong.

  23. I’ll stop using “SJWs” as a (demonstrably) fair and accurate description of those on the anti-Puppy side of the chasm, when and *only* when they cease reflexively libeling to those with whom they disagree as “racists,” “sexists,” “homophobes,” etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum.

    And not a single, solitary nano-second before.

    • So if we agree to stop criticizing people for what they’re doing, you’ll agree to stop making up a bogeyman to criticize us for being?

      I fear Joshua’s going to be waiting a long time for his ceasefire.

      • “So if we agree to stop criticizing people for what they’re doing…”

        Such as calling Brad Torgersen a racist for marrying a black woman? Or calling me a racist for adopting a Chinese daughter? Or calling Sarah Hoyt a racist for being Portuguese? Or calling Theodore Beale a racist for being a Red Indian?

        Yes, and what are we doing, again, exactly, which somehow supports or presupposes racism?

        You seem to have forgotten that the strawmen you routinely accuse of the most atrocious enormities, bigotries and evils are real people.

        And when we point out that the accusation is false, you and your routinely deny having made the accusation, while denying us any chance to respond. You just pretend it never happened. You call the claims bogeymen.

        It is a lie. We want to be left alone and you want to pester us with your hysteria and shrieking and infinite false accusations. You are creatures without honor, without honesty, without reason, and your entire worldview is based on rebellion against the truth and reason we uphold.

        No conversation nor compromise is possible between us.

        • My friend, I’m afraid you’ve stared too long into the abyss, and it has already stared right back into you.

  24. You say that we must be tolerant and inclusive because the SJW’s won’t. Then there is nothing to stop them from taking advantage but their own good nature. SJW’s show they really don’t have a good nature. So why should I let them take advantage of me?

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