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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Vox Day on Social Justice Warriors

Vox Day is a game designer, science fiction and fantasy writer, blogger, and a prominent figure in the #GamerGate and Sad Puppies movements. His book SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police describes social justice warriors and is a strategy guide for dealing with them and for winning the larger culture war.

SJWs are the people whose hobby it is to get offended.

They have also invented the useful concept of the “microaggression”. This is an inadvertent offense committed by an offender who violates the Narrative without even realizing he has done so. It is the most insidious violation because it means that the hate is buried so deeply inside the offender that he doesn’t even realize it is there. Needless to say, SJWs have a highly developed ability to observe these microaggressions being unwittingly committed.

They would be nothing more than a minor annoyance if they did not currently seem to have the ability to cause the sort of controversy that can lose people like Brendan Eich or Tim Hunt their jobs for having the wrong kind of opinion or making the wrong kind of joke.

It contains the sort of advice that should be passed onto one’s children:

The reason SJWs demand apologies is in order to establish that the act they have deemed an offense is publicly recognized as an offense by the offender. The demand for an apology has nothing whatsoever to do with the offender. It is focused on the SJW’s need to prove that the violation of the Narrative involved is publicly accepted as a real and legitimate offense for which punishment is merited. […] it is absolutely and utterly futile for the target of an SJW attack to apologize for whatever offense he is said to have caused

This is indeed what happened to Eich and Hunt. Once they apologised, the media attacks only increased.

There is also advice for the sort of people who feel the need to post articles like this as Samizdata Illuminatus:

It’s much easier to put pressure on someone who works for a university or a large corporation because the attacking SJW knows that he can count on the support of fellow SJWs in the faculty or the Human Resources department. […] The action itself only matters insofar as it indicates that the individual is a Bad Person, and since there is NO PLACE for such Bad Persons in the university, the corporation, the club, the group, or the organization, the only possible solution is for the target to be promptly expelled.

There is a chapter that describes the various stages of an SJW attack, from the moment you wake up to a Twitter storm demanding your scalp to the demands for an apology to your final ejection from polite society. Then there is a follow-up chapter explaining how to deal with each of these stages and maybe even put your attackers on the back foot by not playing along how they expect.

The first thing to do when attacked by SJWs is to recognize that you are under SJW attack, remain calm, and realize that no one else cares. […] A refusal to play along with their game quickly strips the mask of sanity from their faces and reveals the angry, shrieking madness underneath.

Of course, there may be no escaping your fate:

in many state and local governments, you are far more likely to be fired for violating the Narrative than you are for never coming in to work at all, especially if you are a member of one of the Narrative-protected classes.

And you should not expect much help:

Everyone knows, on some level, that it could just as easily be them instead of you.

That is part of the reason, and another is the tendency of people who, without full information, will take some sort of average of all the versions of events they hear. Day is critical of this approach to forming opinions:

many actually believe that being moderate and trying to see both sides of the story is a virtue. This is completely insane, of course […] Splitting the difference between the truth and a lie is not virtuous; it is providing effective cover for those who tell lies.

There are chapters about pre-emptively protecting yourself and your organisation from SJWs by keeping them away. First you have to recognise them. It is the person who wants there to be a code of conduct, which will be inoffensive and vague precisely so it can be used against selected targets. Day quotes Margaret Thatcher talking about the EU: “We had to learn the hard way that by agreement to what were apparently empty generalizations or vague aspirations we were later held to have committed ourselves to political structures which were contrary to our interests.”

Day points out that SJWs can be anywhere. They might be the reason you did not get that job. He quotes someone claiming to be a Barclays employee:

Two other things we implemented which aided the recruitment process: We followed advice which is quickly becoming the industry norm. Never look at someones Github profile until you have made the decision to hire or not hire them and do not let it influence you. Github profiles tend to favor CIS White men over most minorities in a number of ways. CIS white men often have more spare time or chose to pursue building up an impressive portfolio of code rather than women or minorities who have to deal with things like raising children or instiutionalised racism. […] We used Randi Harper’s blockbot to assess applicants twitter profiles for problematic or toxic viewpoints.

Having dealt with SJWs you may encounter up close and personal, Day goes on to describe the wider cultural war and the tactics being used to fight back. Partly this is interesting in its own right, and partly I wonder if there are lessons that can be applied in the other war of ideas: that of authoritarianism vs. libertarianism. Day describes many different strategies. GamerGate was the proving ground for some of them. Various hashtag campaigns are described, such as #NotYourShield which is about people who are members of minorities pointing out that they don’t agree with the SJW narrative. And there was Operation Disrespectful Nod which amounted to a letter writing campaign that targeted the advertisers of various media sites and lost them lots of money.

Day points out the dangers of moderates inside your own movement causing wasteful infighting.

Moderates are usually nice people who want to think well of everyone, and they make for very good ambassadors and diplomats. Unfortunately, they usually prefer appeasement to offense, and they are far more inclined to shoot at their own side than they are at the enemy. […] Moderates merit friendly civility, but no respect. They are often useful, if irritating allies, but do not permit them any input into strategy and tactics or decision-making. And do not accept them as leaders except of their own moderate faction. They are considerably worse than useless in that regard because they are constantly trying to find a middle ground that quite often does not exist.

He spends an entire chapter describing what he calls the alternative languages of dialectic and rhetoric. He quotes Aristotle:

Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.

The idea is that you can not win an argument with a SJW with reason and facts. So it is useful to learn how to use rhetoric against him. I am usually less than impressed when I see people on my side attempting to win arguments with this technique. My own approach, when I know I can not convince my interlocutor, is to at least appear convincing to bystanders. However Day points out the usefulness of putting your opponent on the back foot and demoralising him.

The correct strategy is to fight dialectic with dialectic, expose pseudo-dialectic with dialectic, and fight rhetoric with rhetoric. […] you must keep in mind that the actual information content is irrelevant. SJWs communicate in competitive emotion.

[…]

When Milo Yiannopoulos destroyed a feminist on live television during a public debate concerning modern Britain’s hostility to men, it wasn’t his smooth recitation of relevant facts that left her reeling in shock and disarray; she blithely ignored all of that. It was his dismissive use of the word “darling” that literally muted her. Her wide, staring eyes and gaping mouth made it very clear how powerful a well-placed, well-timed rhetorical bomb can be.

Day gives an appendix to Milo, who points out the harm SJW journalists can do that appears contrary to their stated aims:

Most women aren’t strident gender activists brandishing placards and blog posts about micro-aggressions. If they hear an industry is a terrible place to go for women, they’ll simply quietly avoid it. That’s what gaming journalism has achieved through a combination of negligence and malice: it has convinced the world that gaming is a scary place for a woman to be.

This has been more of an overview than a review. Day has strong and definite opinions and I wonder if perhaps he is so deeply involved in these arguments that he has lost perspective. After all, day to day, I do not encounter the worst examples of social justice warrior ideas. But I do see things moving in a direction I do not like, and I am glad there are forces moving in the opposite direction.

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37 comments to Vox Day on Social Justice Warriors

  • I have very mixed views about Vox Day but I completely agree with a fair bit of what he writes, particular his views regarding ‘moderates’. No reasonable person can find common ground with SJWs and to even try is foolish, suggesting the ‘moderate’ is really not paying attention to what the SJWs are saying and what their objectives are.

    If someone’s views are antithetical, there is simply no room for compromise. Even talking to them in a waste of time unless it is for the benefit of third parties observing, rather than the forlorn intention of converting said SJW to a more reasonable world view. In short, SJWs need to be regarded as ‘enemies to be thwarted’ rather than people willing enter into discourse in good faith.

    And as I do not work for, or depend on, any large tainted institutions, I can afford to be pretty blunt and uncompromising 😉

  • Nicholas (Andy.royd) Gray

    Gosh, with that attitude, you’ll soon incur the wrath of the SJWs! Run, Perry, run! Or they’ll take your hippos away from you!

  • you’ll soon incur the wrath of the SJWs!

    I did that in November 2001 😛

  • I’ve got it, and I’m reading it now.

    I get a kick out of making SJWs mad on The Conversation.

    I know, petty, but there you go.

  • Paul Marks

    November 2001 – a badge of pride to be attacked so early Perry.

    The language “Social Justice Warriors” “Micro Aggressions” and so on sounds silly – but is it deadly serious.

    These people have an incredibly evil objective – the destruction (sorry “fundamental transformation”) of Western Civilisation.

    And it is not really about “racism”, “sexism”, “homophobia” and so on. That is just a Frankfurt School of Marxism diversion tactic.

    This is easy to prove.

    Write a game where the central figure is a heroic black, lesbian, disabled women….

    Who is also very rich and the owner of a “big business” – fighting (with armed force) against government welfare taxes and regulations – which are out to destroy her company, with the objective of the game being to blow the “Progressive” government to Hell.

    See if the “Social Justice Warriors” like the game.

  • Niall Kilmartin

    Conquest notes that many westerners in the 1930s tried to be moderate about Stalin’s show trials (because extremism was _bad_ ), by assuming that, while specific evidence was fake, there was ‘probably some truth in the charges’. This was simply a compromise between true and false, right and wrong. Vox is right to say the same of compromising moderation today. Summary: I’m with him philosophically on the simple evil of moderate attitudes. (How far moderate tactics are always or often wrong is something I’m happily less experienced in. Certainly it can sometimes be very dangerous to ‘give them an inch’, and you should not apologise when the very idea of an apology being due is a lie.)

    An anecdote: re

    “in many state and local governments, you are far more likely to be fired for violating the Narrative than you are for never coming in to work at all, especially if you are a member of one of the Narrative-protected classes.”

    this is true in the UK, and was many years ago when I heard of how employees in the government valuation office of the town I then lived in were shocked because someone had been fired. In that town’s (well-staffed) office, I asked; no, in another valuation office in a distant part of the UK. People aren’t often fired from UK valuation offices, I hazarded; no, none can recall it ever happening before. How come they were fired, I wondered; well, they were disabled and had only been in work for a net total of six months, if that, during the last ten years …

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    SJWs are, to all intents and purposes, modern versions of the Spanish Inquisition.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “A refusal to play along with their game quickly strips the mask of sanity from their faces and reveals the angry, shrieking madness underneath.”

    This is a lesson which Mr. Trump seems to have learned very well indeed.

  • llamas

    It showed up in my Kindle recommendations so I bought it despite knowing nothing about Vox Day or Gamergate. Having read it, I want to know even less than I do about both. Talk about ‘inside baseball’ . . . . .

    But it’s a good thought guide to dealing with SJWs, so there’s that.

    Glad to see an SJW in the UK (Behar Mustafa sp?) being hoist by her own petard. A lot more such actions would short-circuit these clowns a lot quicker.

    llater,

    llamas

  • llamas

    @ Andrew Duffin, who wrote:

    “A refusal to play along with their game quickly strips the mask of sanity from their faces and reveals the angry, shrieking madness underneath.”

    This is a lesson which Mr. Trump seems to have learned very well indeed.”

    Trouble is, it also strips the mask of sanity from his face and reveals the narcissistic and childish idiot underneath.

    llater,

    llamas

  • JohnK

    It is quite right to say there is no possibility of finding any middle ground with these agitators, and therefore no point whatsoever in offering an apology, in the hope that they might accept it and move on, as a normal person would. They merely take an apology as an admission you are wrong, and a sign of weakness.

    If you drop a dog turd into a milk churn, there is no middle ground between milk and dog shit, the whole churn is tainted. By the same measure, any attempt to find some sort of consensus with people who are bent on your destruction is certain to end in… your destruction.

  • This is a lesson which Mr. Trump seems to have learned very well indeed.

    Absolutely.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I have taken to calling the SJWs “common scolds,” or just “scolds.”

  • RNB

    I believe Day is more closely associated with the ‘Rabid Puppies’ (which he founded) than the ‘Sad Puppies.’

  • “Glad to see an SJW in the UK (Behar Mustafa sp?) being hoist by her own petard.”

    Disagree. As Brendan O’Neill points out (http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/Why-we-must-fight-for-free-speech-for-people-we-loathe/) if free speech is only okay for views we support, our cause is lost and we are hypocrites.

  • Julie near Chicago

    llamas at 11:54 a.m.:

    Ah, someone notices! :>)))

  • Thailover

    “microagression” = being labeled a racist for pointing out an objectively existing verse in the koran that says that men should properly lord over women, and this is fair because women are gold diggers (men pay for everything), and that a husband should beat his wife if he FEARS she may rebel against his arbitrary dictates sometime in the future. (Sura 4:34). That is, if we “islamophobic” western white men who think men and women should enjoy equal rights and not be beaten in their own homes, are “racist” because we commit the crime of literacy. (Never mind that most of the world’s muslims are non-Arab. So, who would we be “racist” against?)

    “microagression” is accused of having a rape culture in a culture where men would gladly choose to lynchmob men who are actually guilty of raping either women or children. One is a “rape apologist” if one lives in such a culture without agreeing that we live in a rape culture.

    Are you not aware that you’re a rape apologist?
    There you go, microagression.

  • Thailover

    “Splitting the difference between the truth and a lie is not virtuous; it is providing effective cover for those who tell lies.”

    “In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.” ~ Ayn Rand

    “It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept (failing to judge moral character). It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men’s virtues and from condemning men’s vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you—whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?” ~ Ayn Rand

  • Thailover

    Perry said,
    “In short, SJWs need to be regarded as ‘enemies to be thwarted’ rather than people willing enter into discourse in good faith.”

    Indeed. They have no good faith, and the mistake most reasonable people make is to assume that they respect facts and evidence, and are even willing to listen to what your argument even IS rather than improvising a strawman argument right in front of your face. They’re not.

    I like Ben Shapiro’s style as well. His approach is, hit them first, hit them hard, keep hitting them unrelentingly because they only have one defense, to call you a big evil *-ist meany. Take that away and they’re helpless.

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51W1JJ64XDL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

  • Thailover

    Graham said,
    “if free speech is only okay for views we support, our cause is lost and we are hypocrites.”

    Yes, this must be explained to prog leftists as if they’re children, as they insist that everyone should be “tolerant” of everything, except what the progs choose to take great offense at (objections to their own views, of course). They are, without doubt, so non-self aware they they’re never aware of their own gaping, blatant hypocrisies. Choosing to take offense amounts to choosing to not tolerate. And on a related note, 2 + 2 = 4.

    (Sorry, feeling salty today.)

  • gongcult

    To Thailover – do the proggies intend to tolerate intolerance? If so isn’t this absurd as you mention? How can ya stop em? Short of reading H ayek’s “The Mirage of Social Justice” (L.L.&L.) ?

  • Matra

    if free speech is only okay for views we support, our cause is lost and we are hypocrites.

    Nice sentiment but unfortunately outdated. One of the main reasons why the totalitarian enemies of Western civilisation have so much influence is our loser nice guy adherence to principle. They will never reciprocate. As long as ‘hate’ speech laws exist the left will use them. If we win then we can eliminate such laws. For now we must fight fire with fire.

  • I agree Matra but only to a point… I would favour laws that send people to jail for expressing their opinion, if that opinion is for the state to censor other people. See what I did there? Does that make me a hypocrite? Do I even care? Yes, but only about this much: (holds finger and thumb about one inch from one another). We are at war and in war you need do nasty things if you intend to win.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Matra, I don’t think so. If we ourselves go along with “hate speech” laws, then we too reinforce general acceptance of the idea that such laws are part of the normal legal system, and are acceptable.

    What we CAN reasonably do is to keep pointing out that if it is really okay for the opposition to call for hate speech laws, or to invoke existing ones, then it would be perfectly in order for us to apply the same reasoning to their speech, to shut them up.

    But that we cannot do that because precisely hate speech laws can be used to shut down ALL speech, all expression, all sharing of thought and ideas: that which we like and of which we approve, as well as that which we revile.

    Remember, hate-speech laws in Canada were instituted in the first place so as to shut down hate speech against her Jews; seemingly a good cause, as Jew-hatred (or the implication that “the Jews” are responsible for the Sins of the World) is a horrid thing.

    But time progressed, and now Canadian Jews (and Christians, and no doubt atheists and anybody else) who dares to say anything that strikes somebody as hate speech against Muslims are likely to find themselves brought up before the Canadian Hate-Speech authorities — I forget what they’re called. Ask Mr. Levant or Mr. Steyn, or any of several other folks. Of course it’s not just Muslims who cry Hate! when it suits them; it’s just that the Jews gave their historical enemies a powerful weapon when they got, or helped to get, the original laws enacted.

  • Julie near Chicago

    PS. Request for all: I can’t find the source for my statement above about the origin of Canadian hate-speech laws, although I’m very very sure I did see this stated at the time Messrs. Levant and Steyn were hauled up on charges. If anybody has a source, please post?

    Thanks.

  • Thailover

    Gongcult said,
    “To Thailover – do the proggies intend to tolerate intolerance? If so isn’t this absurd as you mention? How can ya stop em? Short of reading H ayek’s “The Mirage of Social Justice” (L.L.&L.)?”

    Yup, Progs have no shortage of self-contradiction. Why? Apparently they don’t care about self-contradiction and loooove multiculturalism, i.e. cultural relativism/religious relativism. That is, it seems they’re willing to tolerate Islamic abuse of women because it’s “cultural”. (I lived in Saudi Arabia for 12-non consecutive months, not a good thing).
    Other than exposing their bad ideas, I have no idea how one would go about reducing such a thing.

    “Hayek’s The Mirage of Social Justice”
    I haven’t read that. I’ll look that up, thanks.

  • Thailover

    Julie near Chicago,
    Agreed. “Hate speech laws” are nothing more than criminalizing motive or even unpopular thought itself. It makes a crime, in it’s own right, of opinion. Such Thoughtcrime couldn’t be more Orwellian if it tried.

  • Thailover

    Perry, I agree. We are at war, and we’re the only ones playing by rules.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Julie: in my eagerness to comply with your request, i googled for “levant” and “i blame the jews”, which is the title i seemed to remember for the article i remember reading.
    A couple of results prove your point:
    http://www.ezralevant.com/like_mohammed_elmasry_i_blame/
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/what-a-strange-place-canada-is/article1050670/

  • PapayaSF

    I disagree with the comments about moderation. I’m with Jonathan Haidt and see well-meaning people on all sides. Also, in politics it’s often a good tactic to take some weapons away from your opponents by finding common ground and ceding minor points. For instance, if someone believes socialism is the best way to help the poor, it’s good to agree that the poor should be helped, but argue that capitalism helps them more than socialism.

    I think Vox Day makes many good points, but by being kind of a jerk, he allows his opponents to paint everyone on his “side” as a jerk. One can argue even extreme positions with good manners, and if the other side is the first to descend to name-calling, it means you’ve won. SJWs often say that it’s only “polite” to “call people what they want to be called” (i.e. remake language on their terms). I think that if one simply insults them, as people like Vox Day are wont to do, it just “proves their point.” Better to make arguments based on logic and history (which Vox Day also does).

    Not that it will necessarily work, of course….

  • Julie near Chicago

    Snorri,

    Bless you, my son! *g* I just KNEW I wasn’t making it up, but I have to confess that lately that doesn’t always seem to signify.

    Thanks very much. 🙂

  • Vulgar Madman

    Papaya, “better to make arguments based on logic and history”

    Weird. Being, jerks has worked out great for SJWs.

  • PapayaSF

    In part, that’s because they can claim to be carrying the torch of Righteous Progress. And they’re not always wrong. But I think many bright and well-meaning SJWs fall prey to their egos and prejudices. Their emotions overwhelm them and they don’t think clearly. (Which can happen to anyone of any ideology.)

    And, of course, any cause (legitimate or not) attracts people who want to lead it, for whatever purpose, and you can’t lead unless you’re in front, and so eventually causes tend to get extreme and discredit themselves. SJWs take “civil rights” to absurd extremes because they won all the important battles. Now we’re down to things like microaggressions, marginal statistical disparities, lionizing violent dimwits who manage to get themselves killed by police, transgender rights, and lots of fake hate crimes. No wonder today’s “civil rights activists” are shrill and touchy.

  • Thailover

    PapayaSF, where SJW’s are always wrong is that they’re not REALLY so conserned for their ostensible welfare or rights, but always fighting for political power….political power to dictate to others how they must behave/think about X,Y & Z. I’m fine with the arguments that it’s polite or nice to treat people a certain way, (like using femine pronouns for M-F transexuals for example), but pushes to force people with laws or just being fascist assholes is irritating.

  • PapayaSF

    I’ll grant that many are like that, but I don’t think all of them are. They want to help people, they think political power is the way to do it, and so they vote that way. But they aren’t all dreaming of being commissars. Their leaders likely are, but not all of their followers.

  • The powers that be at Samizdata – quoting Vox Day? Granted, not on matters of religion or immigration or… But anyway, wow. What next?

  • Jerry M

    While Vox may have said some controversial statements, they are almost always backed up by facts. This brings me to the key point when dealing with SJW’s:
    For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.

    The perfect example of this is Global Warming. Over 18 years of not statistically significant warming, which NO model has predicted, yet they say it’s even worse than we thought. No facts will change their mind.

    Vox Vile Minion # 260
    Make America Great Again!!