It was probably a terrible mistake to get a Twitter account.
In my defense, my original intent was to follow a favorite kitten foster of mine; one of the kitties was sick, and I wanted access to breaking news on his condition. But before too long, I started following some favorite authors. Then some favorite YouTube personalities. Then...
274 follows later, my feed is full of absolute trash -- not because of the people I follow, thank God, but because of the stuff they retweet and criticize.
A significant minority in this country (and in the West in general) has gone absolutely insane. Many - including people I used to respect - have embraced a creed that not only rejects the basic foundations of liberal democracy but also seems to reject reason itself. Whether the correct label for this creed is "cultural Marxism," "post-modernism," "identity politics," or some other term not yet devised, the result of its adoption is the same: the wholesale destruction of critical thought. In thought's place, these ideologues deploy the tools of unthought: buzzwords, blanket insults, and ridiculous demands designed to silence dissenters in disputes both large and small.
Whether we're bickering over comic books or Supreme Court appointments, we keep getting bitten by the same intellectual mosquitoes. Can I exterminate them all by myself? Not in one blog post. Probably not even in a hundred blog posts. But right now, I can at least smack a few annoyances and, hopefully, entertain my readers in the process.
1. Believe All Women.
No. I'm sorry for the upcoming language, but that is bug-fuck crazy. Were these people never the targets of mean girls in junior high? Some women absolutely are evil enough to spread bullshit if it gives them a social advantage and/or sympathy points.
Sure: like male rapists, female pathological liars are very rare. But we don't even have to assume a large population of prospective malicious accusers to understand the importance of due process. We just have to understand some basic human psychology.
In brief: Our memories are not digital cameras. On the contrary, our memories are susceptible to influence. For example, in one study, participants who were asked to remember the sentence "the ball hit the window" later reported being told that "the ball broke the window." These people were sober, yet their own assumptions altered what their memories recorded. Do you really think the recollections of a drunken tryst are going to be any more reliable? Or the memories of something that happened more than three decades ago?
We cannot rely on one person's account of an event. That's why we presume the innocence of the accused until we can gather more evidence. Yes: a full-scale investigation and cross-examination is very stressful for someone who sincerely believes she's been the victim of a crime, but the alternative leads to Salem.
2. Stay in Your Lane.
When white people opine on race relations, this denial of the universal accessibility of the truth always manages to make an appearance. Recently, I tweeted the following reply:
"I have severe rheumatoid arthritis. I am an expert on how this has impacted me personally. But I would never presume that I am therefore more qualified to speak on RA than a board certified rheumatologist, even if he/she were healthy.
"My understanding of RA is pretty educated, but it's still a layman's understanding. Thus, it would be ridiculous for me to pass myself off as an absolute authority based just on my personal experience alone.
"Hell, I can't even speak for other sufferers of RA! There are commonalities among us sufferers that led to our diagnoses in the first place, but our disease courses are still going to be individualized based on severity, life situation, etc.
"The same is also going to be true for issues surrounding American race relations, gender, sexuality, etc. If you identify as a particular minority, you definitely have some important insights to share. But to declare yourself an absolute authority is wrong.
"'Outsiders' may have access to important data that are germane to the discussion. Your perceptions could be wrong, so have some humility and recognize the limitations of your viewpoint."
3. Alt-Right Hate Group.
There is such a thing as the alt-right, but it has a very specific, narrow definition. To be alt-right, one must believe that national identities are racial/ethnic in character -- that the idea of a nation-by-creed is fundamentally ridiculous. That's why members of the actual alt-right have attacked author Sarah Hoyt, a libertarian and extremely patriotic Portuguese-American immigrant, as a pseudo-American.
According to the left, however, Sarah is herself "alt-right." So am I. And so is anyone else who has participated in any or all of the consumer revolts that have dominated discussions in geekdom over the past several years. Gamergate, the Sad Puppies, Comicsgate -- all of these have been smeared as "alt-right hate groups" by leftwing journalists and creative "professionals" based on the thinnest of evidence. Why? Because they want to silence our critiques of popular culture and its increasingly obtrusive political tilt.
I'm not saying we've never been salty. We're human beings, after all. But have you noticed that SJW's keep using the same few lapses in judgment to build their weak-sauce case against us? When ConCarolinas rescinded its invitation to John Ringo this past year, for example, everyone defending the decision used the same Ravencon panel from twelve years ago as evidence that Ringo was a "sexual harasser." And whenever anyone wants to discredit prominent Comicsgate personality Richard C. Meyer - a.k.a. Diversity and Comics - they always, always dip into that one ill-advised "dark roast" from 2017 for ammunition. If Ringo and Meyer were as bad-bad-terribad as SJW's claim, we would have been presented with evidence of long-standing patterns of behavior a long time ago. But we haven't -- because they aren't.
Hey, we're imperfect. I'll cop to that. But that makes us neither "alt-right" nor members of a "hate group." See above. "Alt-right" has a meaning, and it's not "opposes identity politics" or "is generally conservative or libertarian" or even "criticizes the works and behavior of minority creators." The alt-right calls itself the alt-right precisely because it wants to distance itself from conventional rightwing beliefs. Thus, if you're calling ordinary individualist fans "alt-right," you either don't understand what you're talking about or you're being a dishonest prick.
Racism, sexism, and anti-gay sentiments also exist, but once again, the left is playing games with their definitions to mendaciously attack people they disagree with. If you're calling Frank Oz a homophobe simply because he won't accede to your wishes and agree that Bert/Ernie is canon, you are part of this problem. If you are calling fans sexist simply because they don't like the all-female Ghostbusters, you are part of this problem too.
The leftist's world is a bizarre world in which treating everyone the same is in fact proof you're a monster. The aforementioned Richard Meyer has repeatedly gone after Mark Waid and other straight white men for their unprofessional behavior and crappy product -- but since he's also gone after "creators-of-color" or LGBTQ creators for the same, he's a Nazi. As Meyer himself has accurately observed, "They hold minorities to a different and lower standard." Indeed they do. Why this hasn't been called out as rank bigotry is beyond me.
As a teacher in a majority-minority neighborhood, I understand that certain groups face extra challenges in the aggregate. But the solution to that is to provide struggling people from all groups whatever additional resources or encouragement they need to clear life's hurdles and meet the same standards demanded of everyone else -- not to treat them like helpless babes and tell them they don't have to "git gud" to succeed because they're oppressed and are therefore owed that success -- and the fawning praise that comes with it.
So what say you, readers? Are there other leftist nonsense arguments that you wish would just disappear? I encourage you to comment below!