By Nicholas Goroff
Chapter Two in The Analysis of The SJW Phenomenon
(Chapter One available here)
Part 3: Hypocrisy
The stated goal of feminism as an ideology is one which purports to advance equality between the sexes. When taken on in its intersectional form, it purports to stand for absolute equality across society for all people. However within both of these and the assorted sects of social justice progressivism which have grown from them, a consistent theme throughout them is one which focuses on disadvantage.
Having established that much if not most of the new waves of social justice progressives reject the concept of meritocracy as being part of what they see as institutional or systemic oppression, the framing of debate regarding the advancement of women, racial and ethnic minorities and those of the LGBTQ+ set is one which consistently frames the ostensibly oppressed as legitimately inferior in many respects. This is not to say objectively that said demographics are in fact inferior. Rather by virtue of the demands that each be given automatic advantage according to their perceived oppression that those supposedly championing such regard being female, being black or brown, being homosexual or being transgender as being an automatic handicap which prevents one from being able to achieve within a meritocracy.
Here, the denigration of given populations at the hands of those who claim to be their champions is more blatant and obvious than that which they claim society to engage in universally. This same form of doublethink can be observed just as easily in many a feminist screed about how in the name of advancing the role of women in certain sectors of art or business, the art or business in question needs to be radically changed from the top down. By virtue of such thinking, it is not only proposed that women are incapable of succeeding or excelling in certain roles, but that the very natures of said roles need to be fundamentally changed to accommodate certain shortcomings that feminists themselves assume all women to have.
Should for example tech or financial sectors prove to be bullish, aggressive industries in any way, the default assumption becomes that such factors are “keeping women out,” as opposed to the possibility that such are simply not as broadly appealing to women as they are to men. Here feminist activists will completely ignore the true nature to an endeavor, assuming that any absence of appeal is part of an intentional plot to keep them down. However rarely if ever are questions asked honestly within such activist circles if such assumptions are either disrespectful to the choices women make, or dismissive of women’s abilities to adapt to and master conditions which are likely simple natural to the sectors themselves.
It is in this rejection of notions that women are capable of comporting themselves in typically “male dominated spaces” without special accommodation which has in recent years led many women to reject feminism entirely, preferring instead to view themselves as individuals rather than mere members of an oppressed class. This rejection however has created an even deeper hypocrisy within radical feminist circles in that women who are against feminism are often regarded as being worse than the male oppressors feminist claim to oppose. In what is a matter of astounding irony, it has become a staple of feminist rhetoric to claim that women, who by their own accord and operating with a sense of independence choose to reject an orthodoxy which focuses exclusively on the presumed powerlessness of women, are deemed by the radical feminist set to be even more powerless than others.
Citing what they claim is “internalized misogyny,” radical feminists have effectively gone to war with other women simply over their own desire to think and speak critically and independently as individuals rather than part of a collective herd. Interestingly enough though, in this new rejection of the feminist victimhood narrative by women, criticisms against feminism are now being taken more seriously than during the supposed bad old days when women were supposedly viewed as property and chattel. If one is a bit confused at the confluence of opposing factors here, it is only natural, as the concept of empowered and independent women being vilified by a movement claiming to promote the independence and empowerment of women is one which does take a bit of contemplation to truly make sense of.
However such vilification of ideological or political opponents if far from exclusive to feminism. Indeed, such is actually a central facet to the broader social justice movement and has become a trademark tool in the ideology’s campaign in pursuit of ideological hegemony. Thus do we come to the games of blame, shame and hate.
Part 4: “No Bad Tactics”
Whether an intersectional feminist, a critical race theorist, an advocate for “non-binary” and “gender fluid” individuals or simply an ally (aka, useful idiot) the social justice warrior set seems to operate in accordance to an almost standard playbook of tactics and strategies in regards to how they convey and defend their ideas. First amongst these is the propagation of a victimhood narrative, as described before. Once this narrative is established, it becomes the crux of every argument to follow.
However espoused victimhood alone cannot secure an argumentative victory. With at least some understanding of the principle that arguments against those who disagree with you, when held in public, need to be made in an effort to sway not the opponent but the observers outside of the exchange, the social justice and intersectional feminist sets have adopted a tactic that is not all that dissimilar from their evangelical fire and brimstone counterparts. This tactic is of course to denounce the opponent as a heretic heathen, or in the case of the neoprogressive left, a racist, sexist or bigot.
There need be no actual bigotry involved, but merely the assertion that by diverging from the orthodoxy of social justice or feminism, which as observed, claims universally to stand for the downtrodden and disenfranchised, one is by default a bigot and by extension, undeserving of the right to speak or be heard. In the real world public spheres, such is usually accomplished by using volume in lieu of more poignant or salient examples.
Should, in such a case the speaker on behalf of the social justice cause be alone in their argument, simple shouting down the opponent, no matter how calm or reasonable they may be. As social justice crusaders have evolved in terms of their absolutism, this has become default manner of debate. As example, such was the case at Yale in the now famous incident in which a student upset that an administrative head did not side wholeheartedly with a movement aimed at curbing certain potentially “offensive” Halloween costumes shouted down the school master by declaring Yale was not meant to be an intellectual space but a “home” for she and her peers.
Alternately, should the social justice warriors be together in numbers, especially in times when they gather simply for the purposes of stopping a speaker they disagree with from speaking, anything from interruptions via protests and air horns, to pulling the fire alarms are all now the standard method of opposing ideas they disagree with. In addition to others, these two varieties of belligerent forms of non-communication are generally emblematic of the manner in which the social justice and feminist progressives approach dissenting viewpoints. Rather than discussion, debate or argument, the aim of the activist or protester is often to simply deny the speech of the other through interruption or dismissal.
Another favored tactic which also aims at silencing speech they disagree with is bullying. Ironic as it is, given that so much of the anti-bullying rhetoric and accusations of silencing often comes from fainting couch feminists and SJWs, that they are themselves quite often the biggest bullies on the block. From witch hunts to public shaming, the bullying tactics employed by the neo-progressive left quite often have aims beyond merely silencing opposition but actually going a step further and attempting to punish the opposing speaker for their ‘wrongthink,’ sometimes going as far as outright destroying their lives.
Whether the effort is aimed at establishing a ‘blacklist’ of wrong-thinkers within a given professional industry, barraging one’s employer with emails and phone calls, or the starting of rumor campaigns to declare their opposition anything from a racist to a rapist, the concerted efforts to target and destroy the livelihoods and reputations of those they disagree with is increasingly becoming a favored tactic with radical progressive circles. Though exceptionally dangerous, not to mention callous and rather craven, many within social justice circles dismiss the moral or ethical issues involved in such attacks, rationalizing their actions as being in support of a ‘greater good.’ Such was succinctly put by former Escapist film critic Bob “Moviebob” Chipman at the dawn of the Gamergate conflict when he tweeted;
Perhaps adding in the “almost” to ensure he could not be construed as advocating for physical violence, this mantra of “no bad tactics, only bad targets” illustrates in rather rich detail exactly far social justice progressive will go in their justifications for bad actions.
For a prime example of said actions, a recent court case made international headlines when Canadian artist Gregory Alan Elliott was arrested and tried on charges of criminal harassment stemming from criticisms he leveled against Toronto based feminist Stephanie Guthrie over Twitter. The dispute erupted after Elliott criticized Guthrie and her feminist allies for their campaign to publicly shame and destroy the employment prospects for Bendalin Spurr over a video game he had produced in which the player was able to beat up feminist culture critic Anita Sarkeesian. Guthrie and her friends blocked Elliott on twitter following his criticism, while continuing to mock and publicly shame him as well.
Elliott in turn continued tweeting his own criticisms against the feminist band while blocked, ultimately resulting in a criminal complaint of harassment to authorities. During the trial evidence surfaced alleging that Guthrie and her feminist allies had engaged in an outright conspiracy to manufacture their criminal complaints and even suggesting that rumors that he was a pedophile should be potentially spread. The letter suggesting such, which was delivered to Judge Knazan during the course of the trial even suggested a connection with the ministry of the Attorney General. Though the case was dismissed by the presiding judge, Elliott’s business, livelihood and reputation were left in tatters and to date neither Guthrie nor her co-conspirators have faced charges.
Bizarrely enough, despite being cleared of charges which stemmed from nothing more than critical tweets made at and about a feminist on Twitter while said feminist both had Elliott blocked and while she and her cohorts continued smearing his name from behind said block, much of the media reaction to the not guilty verdict decried it as a step backwards in respect to “women’s rights.” From Slate to The Huffington Post and even the once respectable Vice Magazine, reaction to the Elliott case was swift and almost unequivocally pearl clutching, declaring that rather than a victory for due process and free speech, the ruling had made the internet and social media “more dangerous for women.”
Again, in lieu of facts and rational consideration, the narrative of the ‘poor and helpless’ victim permeated progressive media and discussion. Despite everything involved ranging from the simple fact of Elliott’s acts being merely criticizing a feminist on the internet, all the way up to an alleged conspiracy to fabricate the complaints themselves, the media narrative in many circles of news and reporting was one of histrionics and fashionable sympathy for the alleged “victim.” In this it would seem, a prime example of one of the neo-progressive left’s most potent weapons becomes readily observable.
Coming soon: Introducing the SJW, Part 3
The Predation of Media and Subcultures
Nicholas Goroff is a writer, journalist, actor and Youtube content creator. A former political operative and labor organizer, he holds a degree in Criminal Justice and previously studied Political Science at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. Presently he works as a beer and liquor critic at Everyjoe.com in addition to writing for The Rationalists.org and Occupy.com