Why do some people feel entitled to casually defame others online?

by Michael Nugent on March 16, 2016

I am returning here to the defamatory smears made about me last month by Aoife Fitzgibbon O’Riordan, who alleged that I was using dog-whistle homophobia to defend dog-whistle misogyny, and Aidan Rowe, who alleged that I support trans-misogynistic hate speech. I again ask them to withdraw and apologise for these smears.

This is part of a growing sense of entitlement to casually defame people online, by calling them racist, misogynistic, homophobic, fascist, etc., based on your own personal prejudice about that person’s beliefs. A good example is the American shock-blogger PZ Myers, some of whose satellites have this week escaped his orbit to found their own network.

Not only is this behaviour unjust to the people it defames, but it also gradually devalues the power of these important words. It means that when we come across actual examples of serious bigotry or worse, we have fewer useful words to effectively describe them. These once-compelling words are starting to sound like just another example of crying wolf.

Why do some people feel they can do this without consequence? 

Some people are genuinely discriminated against and alienated to the extent of feeling oppressed. They are afraid and angry, and are reacting emotionally in a way that they mistakenly believe is just.

Some people, who live relatively comfortable lives, use misdirected rage and personal abuse as rhetorical weapons. They also encourage vulnerable people to do the same, despite it being unjust and counterproductive.

Some people online engage in echo-chamber discourse with these features:

  • Avoiding discussing ideas by focusing instead on who is making the case for the idea, rather than on the merits of the content of the argument.
  • Judging people by a category that they belong to — such as gender, sexuality, race or religion — rather than on the content of their ideas.
  • Judging people by your opinion of other people, who you think they are associated with, leading to the fallacy of guilt-by-association.
  • Using in-group terms typically aimed at people, not their ideas, such as ‘mansplaining’, ‘calling out’, ‘check your privilege’, ‘bad ally’, ‘not your place’, ‘shut up and listen’, ‘jaq-ing off’, ‘must denounce’, ‘punching up’, ‘punching down’, ‘intent isn’t magic’, etc.
  • Dialling the personal abuse up to eleven as early as possible, including by calling people sexist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, fascist, neo-Nazi, defender of rapists, etc.
  • Making patronising statements like ‘it’s not my duty to educate you’ and delivering instructions in One. Word. Sentences.
  • Applying these criteria selectively, by aggressively targeting people from ‘out-groups’ while giving a free pass to people from ‘in-groups’.
  • Seeking to close down discussion of ideas that you do not want other people to discuss, including by calling for ‘safe spaces’ on other people’s websites, a tactic also being used in the real world in universities.

Partly because of the impersonal nature of the Internet, some people have always been more aggressive online than in real life. This led to the invention of the phrase ‘keyboard warrior.’ Now some people engage in this hyped-up online rage, supposedly in the name of promoting social justice. This has led to the evolution of the phrase ‘social justice warrior’.

I don’t like the phrase ‘social justice warrior’ for two reasons. One is that it describes the person rather than their behaviour, one of the tactics it disapproves of. I prefer the admittedly clunkier phrase ‘social justice warriorism.’ And two is that I am involved in actual social justice activism in real life, and I don’t like my work being associated with such anti-social unjust behaviour.

The smear about dog-whistle homophobia

In mid February Aoife Fitzgibbon O’Riordan accused me of using dog-whistle homophobia to defend dog-whistle misogyny. Two friends of Aoife then published follow-on smears, for which they have both apologised. Here is a reminder of what Aoife wrote about me:

“Gotta love a straight dude using the term ‘flounced away’ to refer to a gay man leaving a conversation with him. Especially when the straight dude just denied Dawkins’ misogyny. Then again, nothing surprising about someone using dog-whistle homophobia to defend someone who does the same to women, right?”

Does Aoife apply these smears consistently? Well, until this week she blogged on FreeThought Blogs, where co-founder PZ Myers recently wrote about Milo Yiannopoulos wanting Twitter to restore his account verification status:

“It is an attack on his free speech, don’t you know, and we all know how important it is to these wankers to be able to shriek in public.”

By coincidence, PZ is straight and Milo is gay. So, is Aoife now going to write about PZ:

“Gotta love a straight dude using the terms ‘these wankers’ and ‘shriek in public’ to refer to a gay man having a disagreement with Twitter. Especially when the straight dude has also said that nothing beats a sea slug for that vulval feel. Then again, nothing surprising about someone using dog-whistle homophobia when he does the same to women, right?”

I wonder if Aoife will smear her former blogging colleague in this way? If she did, I would be the first to defend PZ. Because neither his nor Milo’s sexuality had any relevance to his post, just as neither my nor Paul’s sexuality had any relevance to the post which led to Aoife’s original smear.

With no sense of self-awareness, Aoife wrote on her blog last week:

“Do you know what doesn’t take any courage at all? Say, spending a day saying the most offensive things that you can think of, just because you can. Calling it ‘freedom of speech’ without having the smallest clue about what that actually is, or why it’s important.”

Aoife was writing about something else, but she could usefully apply the same sentiment to casually defaming people. However, she is now blogging on a new network, The Orbit, which states on its ‘about us’ page:

“We recognise that all of us are likely to perpetuate some forms of prejudice, and are committed to listening when criticised.”

So, maybe we will see a change of heart from Aoife this week. Here’s hoping.

The smear about trans-misogynistic hate speech

After some discussion on my blog about Aoife’s smear, Aidan Rowe sent me an email, complaining that some of the comments contained hate speech. While I and Jane Donnelly were investigating this complaint, Aidan wrote a blog post alleging that I support trans-misogynistic hate speech, and asked friends to tweet and email me with complaints.

Jane and I continued to investigate these complaints with the assistance of Jane Donnelly, and we did not conclude that the comments constituted hate speech. We invited Aidan to share the definition of hate speech they were using. Aidan has so far declined to do this.

Several people wrote thoughtful responses, in particular Deirdre O’Byrne (A plea from a transgender woman about Nugentgate – calm down!), Yennefer of Vengerberg (An open letter to Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland) and Humanisticus (Michael Nugent, smears and transphobia).

A central theme of these responses is the issue of transgender people using toilets and changing rooms that are segregated for males and females. I’ve addressed that topic in a separate post, in order to keep discussion of that issue separate from this discussion of defamatory smears.

A blog comment that exemplifies this behaviour

A recent comment on my blog utilises many of the tactics I have described earlier in this post. It is by Leighanna Rose Walsh, a trans/queer activist who has written for The Journal complaining about the LGBT community’s quest for respectability in Ireland.

Here are some things Leighanna wrote on my blog, with my responses.

“It’s amazing the depths to which you managed to make a shitty ally, Michael. One of the first rules of being an Ally is – don’t make shit about you.”

Actually, one of the first rules of being an ally is that the allies agree together, with mutual respect and mutual consent, the shared aims and rules and mutual responsibilities of the alliance.

Without that, you don’t have an alliance. You have somebody (in this case, you) making up rules that you expect other people (in this case, me) to follow, simply because you unilaterally declare it to be a rule.

What you are looking for is a supporter of your good ideas and behaviour, and an enabler of your bad ideas and behaviour. You are of course welcome to use that definition of ally, but you will find that you have very few allies.

“This whole thing is the definition of cis/het/mansplaining.”

You’ve just lost me with the phrase ‘cis/het/mansplaining.’ That is simply in-group jargon that says nothing about the content of my arguments. It would be like me dismissing your arguments by saying that you are ‘transplaining,’ and hyphenating that with other random personal attributes of yours.

Our ideas stand or fall on the merits of their content, not on the basis of the gender or sexual orientation of the person articulating them.

“The fact you went to the effort for digging up laws and definitions (written primarily by cis het white men) to support you just shows that you have no interest whatsoever in actually fucking listening.”

I didn’t dig up any laws or definitions. Jane Donnelly, the Human Rights Officer of Atheist Ireland, researched those. I suppose you think she is somehow ‘cis/het/mansplaining’ as well?

Also, saying that something was ‘written primarily by cis white men’ says nothing about the merits of the content of the argument.

As it happens, not only have you misattributed Jane’s work to me, but of the three documents Jane cited from her research, one was written by three women, one was written by a man, and one was adopted by a committee with no indication of who researched and drafted it.

So even by your own logic, if you feel that you can arbitrarily dismiss arguments simply because you assume that they were ‘written primarily by cis white men’, why do you equally dismiss the report on Thresholds for the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred, prepared by Article 19 for a regional expert meeting organised by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which was researched and drafted by:

  • Barbora Bukovská, a Czech-Slovak human rights attorney and activist, known for her work on racial discrimination of Romani people in the Czech Republic and Slovakia;
  • Agnès Callamard, who founded and led the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership, and has conducted human rights investigations in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; and
  • Sejal Parmar, an Assistant Professor of Law at the Department of Legal Studies and a core faculty member at the School of Public Policy at the Central European University.

And if you do give more weight to those arguments, simply because you are now aware that they were written by three women, how patronised do you think those professional women would feel about your arbitrary endorsement by gender?

If you want reasonable people to pay attention to your ideas, then address the issues, not the gender of the people you imagine to be behind them. It’s not me who seems to have, as you put it, ‘no interest whatsoever in actually fucking listening’ to what others are saying.

“I mean look at your own comments section! You’re leaving all of these up here even when people have called you out on it.”

This displays a spectacular sense of entitlement. ‘Calling you out’ is another meaningless in-group jargon term. It sounds like something from a school playground. And assuming that I have an obligation to respond obediently to this ‘calling out’ is simply unreal.

What is actually happening is that some people are expressing their opinion about my opinion. If the content of their argument is persuasive, then I will change my mind, as I have in the past and will no doubt again. That hasn’t happened here.

Leighanna, you also wrote about this issue on Deirdre’s Facebook page:

“Fuck white atheists.”

“Michael: why are you not removing those comments? I will sit on your face. And not in a cute way.”

The first comment is overtly racist and bigoted, and the second is a threat of sexual abuse. I don’t believe that you are racist or bigoted or intend to threaten sexual abuse. I believe you are angry, and expressing your anger unjustly.

But you are not helping yourself, or your transgender friends, by responding in an abusive way to people who are not being abusive to you, and who support your right to freedom from discrimination and equality before the law.

Summary

There is a growing sense of entitlement to casually defame people online, by calling them racist, misogynistic, homophobic, fascist, etc., based on your own personal prejudice about that person’s beliefs.

Not only is this behaviour unjust to the people it defames, but it also gradually devalues the power of these important words. It means that when we come across actual examples of serious bigotry or worse, we have fewer useful words to effectively describe them. These once-compelling words are starting to sound like just another example of crying wolf.

Why do some people feel they can do this without consequence?

  • Some people are genuinely discriminated against and alienated to the extent of feeling oppressed. They are afraid and angry, and are reacting emotionally in a way that they mistakenly believe is just.
  • Some people, who live relatively comfortable lives, use misdirected rage and personal abuse as rhetorical weapons. They also encourage vulnerable people to do the same, despite it being unjust and counterproductive.
  • Some people online engage in echo-chamber discourse, with unjust rhetorical tactics that encourage this behaviour.

I again ask Aoife and Aidan to withdraw and apologise for their smears.

See also: Why we should stop segregating public toilets by gender.

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Oisin March 16, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Hi Michael,

The problem is with people’s morals. Due to a lack of a coherent moral ideology or identity, people are free to be illogical and immoral without it being self-contradictory. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that one has to be honest. It also doesn’t mean that you should respect anyone else’s opinion. It also doesn’t mean you should have good manners.

To truly spread morality and reason, Humanism should be the standard. As Sam Harris says, “If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?”.

For me, if a person cannot endorse the contents of the Amsterdam Declaration from thee IHEU, they shouldn’t have a place in any discussion of morality. Specifically, the people who are defaming you cannot truly be said to be holding to the following:

“Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction.”

“Humanism is rational. It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends.”

“Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognizes our dependence and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination.”

The people you are talking about have been unethical, unreasonable, and dogmatic. I cannot see how they could be considered to be Humanists. Therefore, I do not think they are worth engaging with.

You, of course, are always a paragon of all of these traits, and I admire your courage in continuing to fight these battles. It just saddens me to see you attacked in such an unreasonable and rude way.

2 Kirbmarc March 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

“Dog-whistle” needs to be added to the list of in-group terms aimed at people, not ideas.

Most of the time when people use the word “dog-whistle” they mean “You wrote something which can be, under an extremely uncharitable reading, be interpreted as bigotry, so you’re definitely an undercover bigot”.

Aoife O’Riordan’s smear is a good example. You need to incredibly uncharitable to claim that using “flounce”, a word which is used in a huge majority of cases with the meaning “leaving an online conversation after a disagreement”, as “dog-whistle” homophobia.

3 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Does Aoife apply these smears consistently? Well, until this week she blogged on FreeThought Blogs

Speaking of which, The Orbit network to which most FTB have now transitioned seems to have been greated as a case of former FTB bloggers attempting to distance themselves from the ‘toxicity’ of PZ Myers.

Having looked at the site I’m afraid people have been too optimistic. It looks like Myers might have been a moderating influence – no, really – on these people. I think we are about to experience a new level of hate-blogging, albeit with a smaller readership.

You thought the al Qaeda of atheism was bad? Meet the ISIS. Their first Witch of the Week is an autistic student assaulted by faculty staff in the US.

4 Ghost orchid March 16, 2016 at 4:38 pm

but you are not helping yourself, or your transgender friends, by responding in an abusive way to people who are not being abusive to you, and who support your right to freedom from discrimination and equality before the law.

This kind of behaviour only serves to alienate people and legitimise the complaints of those who would happily deny LGBTQ all their human rights.

Which makes me wonder if the folks who are behaving like bullies in support of social justice actually want to change hearts and minds or just want an excuse to signal their virtue and bully others who are not”pure” enough.

And the definition of what is “pure” is constantly changing, and exists only in the mind of the social justice bully.

I am sure that if they could accuse Michael of being bigoted for using the word “the”, they would.

5 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Maybe I should have said ‘decamped’, not ‘transitioned’.

I can hear the dogs barking already.

6 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm

I give it a month before Myers becomes The Orbit’s Witch of the Week for refusing to condemn Ophelia Benson’s ‘transphobia’ last year.

I also expect Benson to start blogging at FTB again, though Myers might rename the network before that.

7 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm

This is what we can expect of The Orbit:

(I’m going to be talking about atheism and maybe Dawkins and perhaps some SJW stuff. Here’s your warning: Read my comment policy and yes, it applies to you.

Come at me with anything trying to defend Dawkin’s fuck ups, and your comment won’t even make it through moderation. Come at me with anything accusing SJWs or whatever of trying to take over atheism or forcibly turn everyone into feminists or whatever conspiracy theory you pulled out of your ass, and your comment won’t make it out of moderation. Try to tell me how you don’t see a ‘movement’ or a reason for a movement, and you see where this is going.

Who knows, I might let it through just to mock you…and block you. Depends on my mood.

http://the-orbit.net/seriously/2016/02/16/expectation-in-the-atheism-movement/#comments

So basically Myers without the fish-science.

8 JetLagg March 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Avoiding discussing ideas by focusing instead on who is making the case for the idea, rather than on the merits of the content of the argument.

Call me naive, but isn’t this lesson number one for people coming in to the atheism/skepticism movement? It was for me.

9 Lancelot Gobbo March 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Michael,
Your patience astounds me once again. Given that the bad boys on both sides of the Irish divide crumbled before your dogged reasonableness I can’t see why the keyboard activists don’t fold up their tents and move on, but those who fail to learn the lessons of history…

10 Jabberwocky March 16, 2016 at 7:08 pm

I’m not normally a fan of straight guys telling LGBT people about what it really means to be an ally or about what really is or isn’t homophobia or transphobia, but I must admit that it’s rather amusing to see Michael channelling his inner Breda O’Brien.

The last point about engaging in “echo-chamber discourse” and using “unjust rhetorical tactics” is particularly ironic, given Michael’s apparent unwillingness or inability to engage with the ideas of those with whom he disagrees.

11 Ghost Orchid March 16, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Jabberworcky at 10 wrote:


The last point about engaging in “echo-chamber discourse” and using “unjust rhetorical tactics” is particularly ironic, given Michael’s apparent unwillingness or inability to engage with the ideas of those with whom he disagrees.

You might have a point, if Michael banned people for disagreeing. He does not. Everyone is free to share their opinion here.

Your point might be valid if you had been referring to PZ Myers, who does not allow differences of opinion on his blog. People who disagree are dogpiled, defamed, and banned. Michael does none of that.

12 Jabberwocky March 16, 2016 at 7:23 pm

My point was that Michael doesn’t engage with the ideas of those with whom he disagrees. You can allow people to comment, you can even reply to them and get into lengthy discussions, without really engaging with the substance of their arguments.

Most of what Michael has written in the OP assumes that his opponents are either engaging in bad faith, or are allowing their emotions to override their reason (an especially patronising suggestion, and ironic given that he objects to patronising behaviour in the OP).

13 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 7:58 pm

Michael has engaged endlessly with other people’s arguments. That’s basically his job.

But it’s hard not to be patronising towards a group which insists on behaving like 5 year olds, and insisting that they be treated like 5 year olds by calling for ‘safe spaces’ and ‘trigger warnings’.

14 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 7:59 pm

Over at The Orbit they are apologising for calling people ‘stupid’.

I wonder how they feel about ‘demented fuckwit’?

15 Michael Nugent March 16, 2016 at 8:20 pm

#10 Jabberwocky, you are mistaken. I regularly engage with the ideas of those which whom I disagree.

On the issue which led to this post, I have published a separate post addressing in detail the various aspects of the central idea that several people raised, which is the problems faced by transgender people, and indeed other people, in using gender-segregated public toilets. In fact, I explicitly said that I was publishing that post separately from this, in order to enable those ideas to be discussed separately from this analysis of why some people feel entitled to be defamatory.

You can read that analysis here. I’d welcome your opinion on it.
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2016/03/16/public-toilets/

Also, a quick search of this website will show numerous examples of debates in which I engage with ideas, and meeting reports and submissions to various political and regulatory bodies that focus in detail on addressing ideas. Atheist Ireland is currently preparing to lobby the UN before Ireland’s questioning in May under the Universal Periodic Review process. If we approached that task without engaging with ideas that we disagreed with, we wouldn’t get very far.

Your comment, on the other hand, helps to support my argument about echo-chamber dialogue by using several of the features that I outlined above: focusing on my sexuality and the sexuality of those who disagree with me, implying that my sexuality disqualifies me from commenting effectively on certain issues, associating me with somebody else whose behaviour you disagree with to generate guilt-by-association, and suggesting that it is ironic that I am making certain points rather than addressing the content of the points that I have made.

None of this furthers any argument that you have about my ideas, as indeed you have not expressed any opinions about them. You are more than welcome to do so if you wish.

16 Jabberwocky March 16, 2016 at 9:07 pm

Michael –

I think your most recent comment is further evidence that you fail to engage with the ideas of those with whom you disagree (at least when discussing these kinds of issues- I accept that this may not apply more generally).

Suggesting that I am focusing on your personal characteristics rather than the content of your arguments, or that I am attempting to generate guilt-by-association by comparing you to Breda O’Brien, not only misses the points, but is yet another example of your tendency to focus on the rhetorical strategies of those with whom you disagree in a way that implies bad faith or irrationality on their part.

To be clear about those points, the fact that you are not a gay or trans person is relevant to your understanding of homophobia and transphobia for at least two reasons. First, people who have directly experienced a form of prejudice are more likely to be aware of how that prejudice can manifest, and what it is like to experience it. To point this out is not to say that other people are “disqualified” from speaking about it, nor that they must always defer to the opinions of members of the marginalised group (who will almost certainly disagree among themselves). It’s merely a reminder that people have biases and blind spots, and that we should be willing to lend weight to the opinions of those who have direct experience of a particular form of prejudice, when we do not.

Second, we know that some people who are not LGBT can try to exercise power over people who are LGBT by trying to control how concepts like homophobia or transphobia are defined. That was the point of the comparison to Breda O’Brien, who (along with her Iona Institute brethren) demanded that they be the ones to define homophobia, even while they campaigned against equal rights for gay people. If you find yourself using a similar strategy, that should give you a reason to pause and reassess your approach, given that (unlike members of the Iona Institute) you do genuinely seem to be concerned about the rights of LGBT people.

17 Michael Nugent March 16, 2016 at 10:30 pm

#16 jabberwocky, it is simply not accurate to say that I fail to engage with the ideas of those with whom I disagree when discussing these kinds of issues.

Indeed, the reason that this series of discussions is taking place is precisely because I am engaging — and in considerable detail — with the ideas of those with whom I disagree.

Aoife wrote something about me, and I responded by engaging in detail with the ideas that she expressed. Aidan then wrote something about me, and I responded by engaging in detail with the ideas that Aidan expressed.

Others then raised wider issues about transgender people using segregated public toilets, and I responded by researching and engaging in detail with those ideas, in the post that I published simultaneously with this one.
http://www.michaelnugent.com/2016/03/16/public-toilets/

In this particular discussion here, it is accurate to say that I am focusing on rhetorical strategies, because that is the topic of this particular post. And I am now engaging with you and others who are responding to this post about this topic.

So I am not sure what you mean by saying that I fail to engage. Do you mean that I and others still disagree after the engagement? Then why don’t you conclude that they are failing to engage with my ideas, instead of vice versa?

18 Michael Nugent March 16, 2016 at 10:44 pm

#16 jabberwocky, now let’s address your point about homophobia. If we were merely discussing different understandings about homophobia, then you would have a valid point. We could discuss whatever different opinions that we have, in the constructive and mutually respectful manner that one would expect among people who are all supportive of and campaigners for LGBT rights and equality.

But that is not what we are discussing. We are discussing a specific allegation about what is going on in my mind: that I am using dog-whistle homophobia to defend dog-whistle misogyny. Whatever differences of opinion that we may have about understandings of homophobia, that is simply an outrageous and defamatory allegation. It goes well beyond any legitimate disagreements about our respective understandings of the words.

It is not only unjust to me, but it also devalues the power of the words homophobia and misogyny by applying them in circumstances where their application is ridiculous. An allegation of homophobia is not an assertion about experiencing discrimination (and, in any case, I did not discriminate in any way against anyone). An allegation of homophobia is an assertion about my motivations, and I know my motivations better than Aoife or you do.

Also, we are not talking about merely an allegation about having blind spots, as you mentioned above. It is an allegation that I knowingly use coded homophobic language to send secret messages to other homophobic people, in order to defend misogynistic people who are doing the same thing. It is outrageous.

19 Ghost Orchid March 16, 2016 at 10:47 pm

Michael Nugent wrote:

It is not only unjust to me, but it also devalues the power of the words homophobia and misogyny by applying them in circumstances where their application is ridiculous..

Great point Michael.

Ex-Muslims and practising Muslims who are critical of the religion have been accuses of ‘white supremacy’ ‘racism’ and “Islamophobia’

The words kind of lose their meaning when people throw them around so casually like that.

Shatterface brought it up in a previous post on another thread.

If Maajid Nawaz is a ‘white supremacist’ then wtf are neo-Nazis then???

20 Jet Lagg March 16, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Why do I get the feeling Jabberwocky thinks “engaging with ideas” is synonymous with “accepting ideas as correct”?

21 Richard "The King" Sanderson March 16, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Shatterface, The Obit already has a “Atheism+” stench of failure about it. Some of the comments at that site could easily be the Pit Crew trolling them with their STUPID SJW language and codewords.

I bet the bloggers at The Obit are “literally shaking” when they write their articles.

22 Shatterface March 16, 2016 at 11:57 pm

Shatterface, The Obit already has a “Atheism+” stench of failure about it. Some of the comments at that site could easily be the Pit Crew trolling them with their STUPID SJW language and codewords.

It’s a clusterfuck.

One of them has already had to apologise for using the word ‘poor’ in a negative way (‘We as a society are poor judges’) and another has basically accused women who abort foetuses with Downs Syndrome of ‘genocide’.

23 Shatterface March 17, 2016 at 12:08 am

This, to me, looks like obvious trolling:

Eli
August 26, 2015 at 10:13 am Reply
7

“We as a society have proven that we are incredibly poor judges…”

Don’t you think that this type of language is classist? That is, if “crazy” and “dumb” perpetuate harmful and inaccurate attitudes about people with disabilities, don’t you think that your usage of “poor” perpetuates harmful and inaccurate attitudes about people who struggle to make ends meet?
If so, could you maybe stop using the word “poor” in this way?

And this was the response:

Ania Onion Cebulla
August 26, 2015 at 11:31 am Reply
7.1
You know, I hadn’t considered that. I will make the edits in the post and thank you for bringing this to my attention.

I mentioned in a previous thread how vulnerable sacrificing critical faculties left SJWs to manipulation and this is a perfect example.

24 Aneris March 17, 2016 at 12:51 am

To me, a “social justice warrior” is a role, not a person. It’s someone who momentarily behaves in a certain kind of way. They may mostly behave that way, or only while on Twitter, or only Tuesdays. Criticism of social justice warriors is always about that behaviour which stoods out from the crowd so that it was named as a distinct thing. This behaviour points to some beliefs, but the beliefs themselves are still elusive and may actually not exist as a coherent worldview. Rather, I see it as a set of tendencies and correlations held together by sociological links.

In my private theory, “social justice warriorism” is a more specific subset of the very simlar so-called “Regressive Left”, that are themselves a subset of the Postmodernists (think of three largely overlapping concentric circles as Venn diagramm, with SJWs as the innermost).

No real boundaries exist, and they must be thought as fuzzy blotches that may not even be consistent per person. Someone may behave like a social justice warrior on tuesday, but not believe in every postmodernist idea. Complicating it even further, “postmodernism” here doesn’t refer to the academcial framework, but to that “vulgate of bizarre confusions” of the kind Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont already referred to in 1997. They also pointed out the sociological links between views. Both is probably even more pronounced today.

I also have the suspicion that the particular social justice warrior ideology is an offshoot of Critical Race Theory, again as a vulgar folk version. Critical Race Theory is a sort of movement and seems to have largely influenenced certain disciplines that tend to have a “studies” in their name, like “post-colonial studies” or “gender studies”.

But where is the discussion in the secular movement? It’s the equivalent of counting to three. Social justice warriors themselves are utterly incapable of explaining themselves. They have not much to say and what they are saying seems to be trivialities or nonsense, like their pomo precursors. The old postmodernists obscured their ideas in complicated sounding sentences filled with jargon lifted from sciences, masking what could be read as either banalities or outlandish hogwash. The social justice warriors have a milder version filled with metaconcepts but make up for the weakness of obscurity with hate-filled combat rhetorics to achieve a similar effect. They too seem to only offer banalities and trivialities, which is a necessary condition when you want to appeal to the “Goodness” of standard progressive people. The message can’t be more complicated than “women are people”. Everything else is histrionics, theatreplay, shadowboxing, or posturing to overcome cheap signalling.

Before you get to any idea what they actually believe you’ve been insulted, banned, smeared, lied about, accused of six impossible things and associated with a Grand Conspiracy of Evil (Teh Patriarchy™).

Their long-form articles are often comical narratives of a failed hero(ine), succumbing to the hordes of darkness, led by Richard Dawkins and flanked by trolls. Their stories are often monomythical, where they figuratively die and how they will raise up again to continue “fighting the good fight” – and how your donation to Patreon might help them.

Take Jabberwocky. I have now written about as much as he has. Has he expressed a single idea other than expressing the meta-point that Michael Nugent is not engaging in ideas? But what are those ideas? How often can someone write that “flounce” is a perfectly normal word. Hasn’t Michael elaborated a common sense view that ideas should stand (or fall) on their own, and are not dependent on who is expressing them? Wasn’t there an elaboration on hate speech, too? What has Jabberwocky to offer as a counter-point to that?

I’m now observing this for good three years. I have yet to come across a single coherent piece that explains what these people believe. And they are often bloggers, who supposely know to express themselves. Amazingly, I recall that one of the first things I was interested in at Myers’ Blo was those new ideas that set them apart of old humanism. But one time they whine about being “harassed” (scare quotes), the other they are angry at Richard Dawkins for something they barely understand. PZ Myers repeated dozens of times how he detests “dictionary atheists” and how we all need to subscribe to something else. But what that something else really is, he probably himself doesn’t really know. These people didn’t even embraced their own “Atheism Plus” brand and we are struggling for years to even give this whole “social justice warrior thing” a name.

I know from other places, like the RationalWiki (infested as it is), and elsewhere that SJWs themselves are often in deep denial about their own ideology. Other people seem to have no problem recognizing a social justice warrior when they see one, even though someone will carelessly throw this label is around, too. Everyone else comes to similar observations. Yet social justice warriors are adamant that they don’t really exist. Instead, they frame opposition and critique as harassment or even violence and view any opponent as right-wing, reactionary, MRA, neocon or libertarian – in other words, as the Other. This, too, is an identical situation as what Sokal and Bricmont describe (see esp. their Epilogue).

Of course Sokal himself and Chomsky and many others are bona fide leftists, but belong to a different stripe to which I would also count myself. At the end of my text, I am left with the impression that all this smearing and all these games are little more than othering.

25 Shatterface March 17, 2016 at 9:15 am

Jesus, how fucked up is this? Orbit SJW literally apologising for breathing:

http://m.imgur.com/Awgw9bz

26 Jack Rawlinson March 17, 2016 at 10:15 am

Jet Lagg @ #20

Why do I get the feeling Jabberwocky thinks “engaging with ideas” is synonymous with “accepting ideas as correct”?

Nailed it. This is the SJW equivalent of the religious “If you didn’t feel Jesus you didn’t pray hard enough.” These people think, speak and behave very like religious believers.

27 Ghost orchid March 17, 2016 at 4:18 pm

In victimhood culture, “oppression” is a form of currency.

The oppressed status of the messenger matters, not the message. This is why SJWs announce their disabilities at the forefront. If they are more oppresed than you, they act as if this gives them the right to accuse you of hate speech over minor disagreement. To terminate thought. To silence dissenters. To get hugs and sympathy for the brave stand they are taking against you and your “gross” and “hateful” facts.

This behaviour is very authoritsrian. Claim victimhood, signal your virtue, profit, as others grovel at your feet and apologize for being born white , cis het or male.

Shame people into “believing” that you are right, even if your stance is factually wrong.

Sjws behave just like fundie Christians, who constantly claim that they are victims of persecution. They state that they have the moral right to discriminate and that if they are denied this, it is persecution. Now substitute fundie Xtians for fundie Islamist. Fundie Islamists use the same reasoning to excuse their hatred for gay folks and women.

And SJWs are no different. It is a religion. A cult. And it’s proponents are mostly interested in self-aggrandizement.

They signal their virtue by attacking Dawkins. By coming here and accusing Michael of hate speech for merely breathing. They are such good liberals! Hey, look at me, I am acting all offended on the internet! And they get hugs and support and they feel good about themselves.

28 Nialler March 17, 2016 at 11:28 pm

@Ghost orchid:

That’s rather a simplistic view right there and one which uses broad brushstrokes.

29 Phil Giordana FCD March 18, 2016 at 9:56 am

Nialler:

No it’s not. It’s exactly to the point of what we witness most, if not all, of the time with SJWarriorism.

I could point you to a smorgasbord of examples, but it would be an exercise in time-wasting. It would probably be quicker to find an example of when they DON’T match the attitudes Ghost Orchid described. Quicker, but a lot less easy.

30 Kirbmarc March 18, 2016 at 10:12 am

@Shatterface #25:

“Jesus, how fucked up is this? Orbit SJW literally apologising for breathing:

http://m.imgur.com/Awgw9bz

Some people are too immersed in the Oppression Olympics narrative to notice when they’re being trolled.

31 Nialler March 18, 2016 at 11:39 am

@Phil:

SJW’s are not a collective; they’re not a mind-hive.

They represent a broad range of views and are anything but in a consensus.

Labelling them and then applying common attributes to them all is a crude exercise. It’s one which I, as a common or garden atheist, have had to counter when I’ve been lumped in with the more strident “representatives” of atheism.

It’s all to easy to destroy an image which you yourself have created.

I say this in full agreement that there is some ripe idiocy on display.

32 Phil Giordana FCD March 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm

@Nialler:

A SJW is just that: a SJW. They are lumped under this label because they all display the same attitude. If they don’t display such attitude, then they are not SJW.

Simple as that, really.

33 Shatterface March 18, 2016 at 4:16 pm

Oh dear, one of The Orbit bloggers has been told off for using the term ‘flounce':

BrideOfEisenstein
March 18, 2016 at 9:47 am Reply
4
I can tell I’m going to be reading here a lot! One thing though. “Flounce” is often used in a very homophobic context and is honestly sexist, as it means “a real man” (whatever that means!) wouldn’t behave in such an “unmanly” way. Language like that makes the blog less inclusive. Maybe instead you could say “he left in a huff” or something like that?

http://the-orbit.net/seriously/2016/03/18/self-entitled-ungratereful-fuckoff/

Looks like they’ve now edited it to ‘huffy departure’.

34 Phil Giordana FCD March 18, 2016 at 4:20 pm

The jokes keep writing themselves, really.

35 Jack Rawlinson March 18, 2016 at 6:01 pm

“Huffy” looks a bit like “hussy”, which is a problematic term for sex-positive, female-identifying people. I am so triggered right now. Probably.

36 John Greg March 18, 2016 at 7:36 pm

“Huffy” also is ableist for huffers, the people who are addicted to patriarcical stimulants like paint fumes and glue.

Shame, shame, on Raging Niki!

37 Shatterface March 18, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Apparently it was in response to a comment.

Oh thank fuck for that. But to make extra sure you stick the flounce, I’ve blocked your email and IP address.

Has now been redacted to:

Oh thank fuck for that. But to make extra sure you remain gone, I’ve blocked your email and IP address.

I look forward to a feature on wolf-whistle homophobia by co-Orbiter Aoife Fitzgibbon O’Riordan.

Standard you walk by, etc.

H/T to d4am1on

38 Shatterface March 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Wolf-whistle homophobia is like dog-whistle homophobia, only more feral.

39 Nialler March 18, 2016 at 8:44 pm

@Phil:

Then define SJW in a complete manner.

Do so in way which is so comprehensive as to be agreed by both SJWs and those who aren’t.

This might be a problematic exercise for you. It’ll be particularly difficult for you once you begin to ascribe and attribute a particular set of behaviours in that definition.

Be aware that the defining behaviours must be unique to and define SJWs. No Venn diagrams here, (10 Marks)

While you’re at that define Atheist. (5 marks)

40 Richard "The King" Sanderson March 18, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Come on, Aoife. We’re waiting you to call out “dog whistle” homophobia at your own blog network – The Obit.

This is the thing, Aoife. We will be watching your every living breath to see that you and your peers live up to your “standards”. You can thank us later!

41 Phil Giordana FCD March 18, 2016 at 10:21 pm

@Nialler:

“Do so in way which is so comprehensive as to be agreed by both SJWs and those who aren’t.”

Why?!? Are you serious? Asking the butt of the joke if they agree with the joke for said joke to be valid?

You must be shitting me now.

42 Richard "The King" Sanderson March 18, 2016 at 10:26 pm

BTW, Michael has tweeted Aoife a screenshot of something Aoife posted in 2011. The word “flounce” is prominent!

Waiting for a reply from Aoife.

Don’t mess with The Nuge.

43 Nialler March 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

@Phil:

You used the word “butt” and “shitting”.

On behalf of my coprophile friends I am outraged and will spend too much time seething over this latest manifestation of internet hate.

44 Phil Giordana FCD March 19, 2016 at 10:15 am

I’m happy to say I don’t personally know any coprophiles. They’re infamous for bad breath…

45 Shatterface March 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm

BTW, Michael has tweeted Aoife a screenshot of something Aoife posted in 2011. The word “flounce” is prominent!

https://twitter.com/micknugent/status/710915136995893248

46 Nialler March 19, 2016 at 1:52 pm

@Shatterface, homophobic only if the flouncer was a gay homosexual.

That’ll be the logical reply.

Don’t get me wrong; Michael’s use of the word seemed perfectly fine to me and in line with its meaning.

47 Nialler March 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm

One of the problems with the new vocab of discourse is the introduction of such weasly terms as “dog-whistle”. OK, it’s sort of a clever analogy, but it is an invidious term to use because it is practically impossible to shrug off any accusation of using dogwhistle tactics.

The accusation is against the person rather than what was said, because the defining nature of a dogwhistle is that there is no direct evidence in what was said; it is somehow legible as a kind of steganographic code to those who are tuned into that frequency.

48 Kirbmarc March 19, 2016 at 4:11 pm

“One of the problems with the new vocab of discourse is the introduction of such weasly terms as “dog-whistle”. OK, it’s sort of a clever analogy, but it is an invidious term to use because it is practically impossible to shrug off any accusation of using dogwhistle tactics.

The accusation is against the person rather than what was said, because the defining nature of a dogwhistle is that there is no direct evidence in what was said; it is somehow legible as a kind of steganographic code to those who are tuned into that frequency.”

Exactly. “Dog-whistle” is often used in practice to accuse someone of being a bigot through an extremely uncharitable reading of their words.

49 John Greg March 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm

I’m identifying as a golden lab today.

And I cannot whistle.

Should I be offended? Have I been abled? I need to know!

50 Nialler March 20, 2016 at 10:14 am

@John Greg: species fluidity, eh?

I’ll have to be even more careful about what I, a cis-human, say.

51 Rich "The King" Sanderson March 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

So, a few days later, and I presume….

1) Aoife has apologised for their use of “flounce”.
2) Aoife has published an article attacking PZ Myers and the rent Obit user of using the term “flounce”.
3) Aoife has apologised to Michael.

Oh wait, that hasn’t happened. Really, Aoife, in future:

Don’t Mess With The Nuge
‘Cos You Only Gonna Lose

52 Rich "The King" Sanderson March 21, 2016 at 11:15 am

Nialler: @Shatterface, homophobic only if the flouncer was a gay homosexual.

Yes, notice how their is always some type of mental gymnastics to justify/mitigate their stance. Notice how “context matters” when it comes to the things they say, but somehow, when others say things, “intent isn’t magic”, and all other types of BS.

Does it remind you of anybody? Creationists? Islamists? Yup, it is the SAME spiel. They have a sacred script, a SJW bible, and they are allowed to misrepresent to protect the sacred passages and codes.

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