Why GamerGate Matters

In case you haven’t heard about the drama going on in the gaming community, here’s a fresh primer on the GamerGate scandal as it has unfolded so far.

A writer named Zoe Quinn was caught sleeping with gaming media personalities including writers at magazines that would later go on to cover her ‘game’ as well as judges of contests that her ‘game’ was an entrant in. The ‘game’ in question was in fact little more than a choose your own adventure story, but it received positive coverage in certain places, likely because of the influence Quinn had attained by unseemly means. Eventually, a number of posters on 4chan got wind of this and started accusing the gaming media of corruption, which led to a backlash from the editors and writers on these sites in the form of accusations of misogyny and harassment. After being met with significant backlash, many publications began writing pieces declaring the “end of gamers,” while Reddit started deleting threads that referred to the scandal and prominent individuals like Julian Assange, Joe Rogan, and Christina Hoff-Somers tweeted or created videos in support of the movement.

I’m sure anybody reading this will agree in principle with the basic ideas behind the GamerGate Tweeters and bloggers. Where I have found a little bit of disdain toward GamerGate is from a few people who insist that “this isn’t important” or “doesn’t really matter.” Seeing as how I think it does matter, I am going to list the give most important reasons why this trend is, in fact, the most important thing going on on the internet right now.

1. This Is The First Time Social Justice Warriors Have Encountered Serious And Meaningful Pushback To Their Agenda.

For at least two years, Social Justice Warriors (SJW, internet activists with connections to academic Marxist groups) have been gaining huge amounts of ground online. They have gotten many people, such as JavaScript creator Brendan Eich, fired from their jobs. They have splintered the atheist movement and turned it into a thinly-disguised platform for their own views, largely discrediting more intelligent atheist commentators like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. They have turned many websites, such as Cracked, into platforms for their views. They have influenced moderation policy on Reddit and other sites. I’m not going to go into why this is a bad thing, but suffice it to say, if you have views that disagree with theirs, you must find this trend to be a very bad thing. The fact that they are finally getting serious resistance in one of the ‘territories’ they would like very much to conquer and turn into yet another echo chamber for their views, can only be a good thing.

2. Whether You’re A Gamer Or Not, You Have To Admit Gaming Is Culturally Significant And A Major Influence On Many Young Peoples’ Worldviews.

The gaming industry does more in year over year revenue than Hollywood does. Grand Theft Auto 5 did over a billion dollars in sales on its first day, beating any movie by a huge margin. The fact is, the gaming industry is not the bastion of some tiny subculture–it IS popular culture, at least to some degree. If this industry kowtows to social justice warriors, that means that the one last area of popular culture where they were not dominant, will be yet another territory of theirs. This is a very, very bad sign.

3. The Allegations Of Corruption Really Do Raise Red Flags–Huge Ones.

Why did Depression Quest, which is not a videogame, get greenlit to be offered on Steam (a popular gaming platform), even if for free?

Why are practically all gaming publications responding to this scandal with nearly identical talking points?

Why was reddit so quick to censor any reference to GamerGate on any major subreddit.

Why has nobody been fired over all of this, even though clear violations of journalistic ethics have occurred?

Imagine it turned out that Barack Obama’s close family members were all working for CNN and writing all articles that dealt with the subject matter of the U.S. president and his policy. This would immediately bring to mind the image of Putin’s Russia, populated with government bureaucrats at every level of media. Why is this not a concern when the subject matter is gaming?

4. If GamerGate Succeeds It Could Set A Precedent For Positive Change.

Social movements live or die on momentum. If a movement isn’t growing, it’s dying. The set of movements I would roughly describe has ‘neoreactionary’ (i.e.  have not been gaining significant ground against the SJWs in recent years. There has been much talk about people “waking up,” and in many European countries this is indeed the case, but stateside, what progress has their been, really? I would argue that GamerGate could, in North America, be the first major step toward serious progress for groups and people who support the values of freedom and truth over those of security, guilt and self-loathing.

5. A Monoculture Is Never A Good Thing.

And lastly, one point for those who don’t even agree with me. Suppose you yourself ARE an SJW. Suppose you simply disagree with my premise that the SJW movement is flawed, and you think it deserves to be the dominant influence in our society. Even then, are you really ready to assent to the idea that no subculture that’s not dominated by SJW influence should be allowed to exist? Do you actually think that every single interest, every profession, every atheletic organization, every political party, every public park, every website, every living, breathing human being on the face of this planet needs to be a died-in-the-wool SJW fully committed to the cause? Do you actually believe that this set of values is so noble it deserves the full conquest of humanity’s soul that you and I both know it’s going for?

Even if you are committed to SJW ethics to some degree, you’d probably agree that there are some situations or even whole cultures where its influence would be deleterious. Imagine an army trying to fight off an invading force while being told that a lack of tolerance for women is the biggest issue the army faces. That’s just one example, but I think the general point is pretty clear: morality isn’t the most important concern in every factor of human existence, and the idea that it should be, is tyrannical, not to mention completely illogical.

As for how this ties in to the gaming community… Well, what do games, properly speaking, have to do with social justice? Why should the world of people enjoying themselves recreationally be yet another platform for the dissemination of a particular political agenda or theory of morality? Let’s look at a similar activity: dancing. Dancing, being non-verbal, has nothing to do with morality, which is a verbal construct. Are you going to start telling dancers they need to come up with moves that symbolize social justice theories? It doesn’t make any sense, but so many of you go along with this crusade against gaming just because it’s what everybody else you know is doing. If you can’t see how you social justice warriors have become the new  morality police, I suggest you get back to the drawing board and start doing some thinking.

The Fappening: Feminist Outrage Jumps A Billion Sharks

So the other day, as you probably know, someone on 4chan leaked a bunch of nude photos of celebrities on the site’s notorious /b/ board, triggering a drama bomb that sent waves of controversy around the internet. Some of the celebs whose nudes got leaked included:

  • Jennifer Lawrence.
  • Kate Upton.
  • Justin Verlander.
  • McKayla Maroney (olympic gymnast).
  • And others.

I’ll start by getting the necessary disclaimers out of the way:

  1. The photo leak was obviously an illegal act and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
  2. The celebrities affected obviously were not “asking” for this and deserve to have their privacy respected as much as is possible given the reality of their position.

However, despite that, there are a few aspects of the media’s coverage of this event I take serious issue with. I’ll start with what I think is the most obvious:

1. Celebrities Being Treated Like Fragile, Special Snowflakes.

Here’s one example:

Remember, when you look at these pictures you are violating these women again and again. It’s not okay.

– Lena Dunham.

With a few exceptions, the people who had their photos leaked in The Fappening were famous multimillionaire celebs. These are people whose livelihood depends on constant public exhibition and display. They are used to the limelight; paparazzo are well known figures in their lives. They know privilege and wealth beyond anything the rest of us can comprehend. This doesn’t make what happened to them right. But let’s not pretend that this is on the same level as some innocent kid being forced to strip naked and have pictures taken against their will & distributed around the internet. These are public figures and, like all public figures, their privilege, as well as their fame, makes some level of privacy intrusion inevitable. As much as the photo leak was, legally speaking, a crime, it’s not the tragedy these commentators are making it out to be… Nor is it even that unusual.

2. Claims That This Was An Act Of Sexual Assault.

Here’s one example of this gem of an argument:

“Stealing someone’s naked photos is the same as tearing someone’s clothes off in public. It’s sexual assault.”

– Lucas Neff

Now let’s look up the definition of assault, per Cornell Law School:

Intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.

Key word: contact. But let’s get even more specific. Here’s the definition of SEXUAL assault, from Princeton.edu:

a statutory offense that provides that it is a crime to knowingly cause another person to engage in an unwanted sexual act by force or threat.

As far as I can recall, whatever sexual acts took place in the pictures (if indeed any did occur) were completely consensual. The only thing that was not consensual was somebody accessing the pictures. That’s not causing anyone to do anything. I almost have to question the mindset of somebody who calls this sexual assault. Are they just flagrantly lying, hoping nobody will call their bluff? I’d hate to think that but the argument they’re making is just so stupid I can’t see any mature adult making it with any intention other than to dupe people who are just so stupid or gullible they don’t even question half of what they hear.

 

3. “Women’s Rights Issue.”

Then we have those who have described The Fappening as some kind of women’s rights disaster. One such example.

Indeed, we know this because while the attacks on celebrity women grab the headlines, the vast majority of victims of non-consensual nude picture-sharing—usually called “revenge porn”—are ordinary, non-famous women.

– Amanda Marcotte.

Marcotte also felt the need to include this little gem of emotional blackmail in her piece:

These hackers, likely mostly or all men, have a semi-private group that exists just to trade stolen photos and, of course, brag about getting the biggest “score” in terms of the fame of the person whose privacy they’ve violated.

“Most or all of them men.” Really now. I’m sorry, I thought some gang of rogue lesbians was responsible for the leak.

But to get back to the main point, that of revenge porn. This bothers me for three reasons:

  1. The author doesn’t present any evidence that there is an “epidemic” of revenge porn. What constitutes an “epidemic?” I know hundreds of people and none of them have been victims of revenge porn. Unless my own personal experience is way out of the ordinary, this problem is hardly comparable to a medical epidemic, which requires that a substantial proportion of the population be affected.
  2. Revenge porn isn’t JUST  a male on female crime; according to the Wake Forest Law review, 22.5% of victims were male. Not equal, but not as dramatically lopsided against women as Marcotte would have you believe.
  3. What the hell does revenge porn have to do with The Fappening? Key word: revenge. Who exactly was being “avenged” in the nude photo leak? Unless I’m missing some major details on the case here, I don’t think these two issues are at all related.

Conclusion

Under the law, everybody has a right to privacy. That includes celebrities as well as non-celebrities. It’s regrettable that J Lawrence and others had the humiliating experience of having their private photos leaked onto the internet. But the claim, advanced by the media and celebs themselves, that this issue has anything to do with “sexual assault” or “revenge porn” or any of the other nefarious crimes they want to associate it with, is pure nonsense. The hacker’s action were essentially a paparazzi act; slimey, to be sure, but nothing the grown adults who were affected by it can’t handle. So let’s all be big boys and girls and forget about it.

 

California State Senate UNANIMOUSLY Votes “Yes Means Yes”

In a recent unanimously voted bill, a State senate has decided that, when it comes to sex on campus, “yes means yes.”

 

If you’ve followed coverage of the story, you probably imagine that that means they’ve taken yet another great stride forward toward equality in the notoriously backward and socially conservative wasteland of…

 

… California.

 

Apparently, the well-funded legal system in that state was not sufficient to prosecute rape (which is illegal under the state’s law and has been forever), so colleges now need to step in to do their part with a little extrajudicial enforcement. Great.

 

Seeing as how this bill was signed into law unanimously by the senate, there can be little doubt that it will be signed by gov. brown and become law. What’s done is done. In the meantime, it’s worth looking into some specific clauses in the bill and what they mean for students at California colleges.

 

In order to receive state funds for student financial assistance, the governing board of each community college district, the Trustees of the California State University, the Regents of the University of California, and the governing boards of independent postsecondary institutions shall adopt a policy concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking… The policy shall include all of the following:
(1) An affirmative consent standard in the determination of whether consent was given by both parties to sexual activity. “Affirmative consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.
 
So far so good. At this point it would be hard to really take issue with this law. Affirmative consent could mean as much as signing a written consent form or as little as nodding your head. Anybody complaining about the bill at this point would have a hard time making the case that this is unreasonable. But, let’s continue.
 
Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity…
 
Define “ongoing.” Does this mean that both parties need to keep repeatedly saying “yes” at intervals? If so, at which intervals? Once a minute? Once every half hour? It’s clear that merely NOT telling the partner to stop, does not constitute a continued consent. So what’s the standard?
 
 
This specific clause was so badly written it’s almost beyond comprehension. What moron actually WROTE that shit? If you take it to its logical conclusion, it’s basically saying that sex is always illegal unless both partners and continuously saying “yes” from beginning to end. “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!’ For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to get multiple entire-sex-session lasting orgasms, picking a school that’s not in California may be  wise decision.
 
 
Next, we get into the “what doesn’t count as consent” part of the bill. And here’s where things really get fun.
 
 
(A) The accused’s belief in affirmative consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the accused.
 
This clause could make sense in theory, but in practice, it’s almost impossible to prove that someone’s “belief in consent” arose from them being intoxicated or reckless. A lot of jurisdictions define “intoxication” as just 2 or 3 drinks. That’s not enough to hear “yes” when your partner actually said “dress.” And recklessness? What does that even mean? “Your honor, my boyfriend was being RECKLESS when I handed him the signed sex consent form, my written permission didn’t count!” So yeah… big time fail.
 
 
(B) The accused did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the accused at the time, to ascertain whether the complainant affirmatively consented.
 
“Affirmative consent” is pretty unambiguous. If someone said “yes,” that’s affirmative (in the positive, indicating agreement) consent (granting permission). Are the California lawmakers saying you need to ask… TWICE??
 
 
Moving along…
 
 
The standard used in determining whether the elements of the complaint against the accused have been demonstrated is the preponderance of the evidence.
 
In other words, the standard is NOT “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the majority of evidence seems to indicate that the accused raped the defendant, then the tribunal should side with the defendant and expel the accused.
 
 
But… Wait a second. We’re not even talking about actual courts here. We’re talking about tribunals set up by colleges. These types of organizations, last I checked, don’t have the capacity for DNA testing or virtually any other technique used to glean evidence in the somewhat murky area of rape. So where is the preponderance of evidence going to come from? Is simply being an attractive chick evidence?
 
 
 In order to receive state funds for student financial assistance, the governing board of each community college district, the Trustees of the California State University, the Regents of the University of California, and the governing boards of independent postsecondary institutions shall adopt detailed and victim-centered policies and protocols regarding sexual assault
 
“Victim centered.” How do you actually do this? Like actively encourage women to accuse their partners of sexual assault? I don’t get it.
 
 
And finally…
 
 
(e) Outreach programming shall be included as part of new student orientation. every incoming student’s orientation.
 
This is probably the one part of the bill I can actually get behind. If you’re going to institute a campus-wide policy against sexual assault that requires “repeated and ongoing consent” based on the evidentiary standard of “preponderance of evidence,” where intoxicated consent doesn’t count as consent and “recklessness” nullifies consent, then yes! Damn straight! Everybody SHOULD be educated on this policy and educated on it as soon as possible, because frankly any sexually active male’s future is being placed at the whim of the girls he’s involved with.
 
 
But my approval of even this clause only goes so far. I think it’s inefficient, in the sense that, if schools are now required to implement policies that ban sex (in practice), they might as well just cut straight to what their real intention is and put up posters aimed at every man in the school telling them:
 
 
“Listen fellas, this whole college thing? Not what they said it was. This is actually a monestary in the religion of Political Correctness, and from now on we’re expecting you to act like a monk. No women, no alcohol, no drugs, and definitely no fun. Oh yeah, and please be prompt with paying that $20,000 tuitition fee, the rape crisis centre needs a new therapist’s couch.”
 

Bill Gates Is A Douchebag

Remember Bill Gates in the 90s?

Y’know… The power hungry technologist who released derivative, bug-ridden, crash-prone software and made billions off of it due to his licensing deal with computer manufacturers? The guy who was sued successfully by the Department Of Justice for manipulative marketing tactics? The tech world’s public enemy #1?

THAT Bill Gates was an entirely different character from the Gates we know now. The reviled evil-genius mega-billionaire has been replaced by the benevolent philanthropic mega-billionaire, and people seem to have bought it.

It seems hardly anyone remembers the OLD Bill Gates now.

[Well, it seems relatively few people think about Bill Gates AT ALL these days, but that’s besides the point… Those that DO still pay attention to him usually think of him as the warm and cuddly philanthropist and NOT the monopolistic OS guy, even though he’s still quite active at Microsoft.]

In many ways, Gates’ transformation was predictable. From Rockefeller to Carnegie to Gates and Buffett, rich people have historically loved giving away money to good causes. I think that’s, overall, a good thing. I’m not writing to bash those people or cynically say they only do it for the fame and glory. That said, I think that in the case of Gates there’s some grounds for concern. The following are just a few points about Bill Gates’ philanthropic career that, for me at least, make it appear unlikely that his motives are 100% pure.

He’s Obviously Doing It For His Image/Legacy

This is a pretty vague point, admittedly, but it seems obvious to me that Gates works tirelessly day and night to win people over to the cause of… Bill Gates. His philanthropy is about him and his legacy first, about the recipients second. You can tell this, in the first place, by his answers to interview questions. He often says things that do not show any of the nuance we’d expect from someone of his intelligence. In a recent Reddit AmA, someone asked him what his “biggest fear” was. His response:

Kids getting hurt or sick.

Really?

“Kids getting hurt or sick?”

Um… Hate to break it to ya Bill, but if that’s your biggest fear, you must be one traumatized individual, because you’re talking about something that happens several times a day every day all around the world. I don’t believe for a second that someone as smart as you can actually give an answer like that honestly. You’re just trying to score points with idiots.

Another example of Gates’ image-pushing can be seen here, in his ice bucket challenge video:

I’m glad this video got some attention for the cause but, do you have to make your video primarily about one-upping the guy who challenged you? Like seriously?

Some Of His Charitable ActivitiesAre Pretty Questionable

A lot of people think that the Bill And Melinda Gates foundation is a “next level” charity that applies a scientific approach to solving problems. This may be the case, but a lot of their activities still suck. Let’s just take a look at a few of them:

1. Investment In Pharmaceutical Companies And Pharmaceutical Patents

It’s well known that the Gates foundation (like all charities) invests its funds in publicly traded companies to maximize return on investment. This, of course, is a wise financial move to make, and it’s also something practically every charity does. But some of the companies Gates invests in have products that run directly contrary to the foundation’s goals!

Pharmaceutical companies, for instance. It’s well known that pharmaceutical companies are notorious “patent trolls,” trying to keep drugs more expensive by prolonging the length of time nobody else is allowed to manufacture them. They won’t spend money on local generic manufacturers that don’t recognize U.S. patent laws. This is one of the major factors keeping African countries from being able to important affordable drugs in large amounts… But we’re supposed to be believe that the Gates foundation is just interested in the poor here, and not his buddies in the board rooms of America.

2. Investment In Monsanto

Gates himself and the Gates foundation are both huge investors in Monsanto.

Yes, that Monsanto… You know, the one that’s using the ludicrous notion of “biological patents” to exercise legal authority over any plant or animal that may be found on a small farm, often actually acting on these patents and putting small farmers out of business. Those guys. I’m sure this is all just helping out the little guy, though, somehow.

3. They Narrow In Selectively On Just A Handful Of Diseases

The Gates foundation has a few ‘pet causes’: AIDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis. He wants to “eradicate” these diseases entirely. There are two problems with this approach:

A. It’s not at all certain that investments in “totally eliminating” a disease will yield any benefit. Despite all the rhetoric about ‘hope,’ it may very well be that some diseases just can’t be cured with available technology or any technology that’s forthcoming in the forseeable future.

B. If this turns out to be the case for some of Gates’ “pet” diseases, the diversion of resources away from basic medical care will have turned out to be a massive misallocation of resources in the name of, basically, trying to achieve “big name” medical achievements… Medical achievements you can get yourself in the newspaper for… vanity achievements.

The Company He Keeps

Last but not least, I just don’t like Gates’ crew, his social circle, his class. For whatever reason, I find the whole TED culture and the “plutocrats for the poor” clique and the Silicon Valley mindset and anything else in that whole upper class ivy-educated liberal scene a bit nauseating. Take Gates’ close friend, Bono. Can you even imagine a more narcissistic, self-aggrandizing human being?

This whole group just has an aura of self-importance about them. They are overachievers of the first order, I’ll grant them that, but they seem to think of themselves as even more than that… as saints. It’s unhealthy to blow yourself up like that, even if you do some good work in the process.

For some reason, among journalists at least, the normal critical ‘lens’ people apply to do-gooding public figures and their supposed motives, has been suspended. I can’t explain why this is. I can’t say if it will really have any major negative consequences any time soon. What I CAN say is that simply taking someone at their word when they claim to be a do-gooder, is not a good idea. There’s plenty of malfeasance that can go on under the guise of a charitable foundation, and in the case of Gates’s, there’s more than one smoking gun in the room.

White Men Aren’t The Global Elite

Take a ride up the intertubes to your favorite mainstream left-leaning political blog and pick a random article.

Slate, Salon, Huffington Post or anything published by Gawker will do the trick.

Depending on what day of the week it is there is a roughly 75% chance that the article you pick will make two claims:

1. Society is oppressing (gay/trans/female/transwomen/minority/minority transwomen of color) people.

2. The party at fault is an all powerful coalition of “straight white males,” sometimes wealthy but not necessarily.

The myth of the all-powerful straight white male is quite embedded in leftist orthodoxy. The use of this demographic group as the ultimate boogeyman has roots far deeper than mere trendy blogs we see it most commonly in today. It has been a staple of sociology and all the other “critical theory” disciplines based on “intersectional identity politics,” including “(insert group here) studies” programs and the like.

(As an aside, I always wondered what was the basis “(insert group here)  studies” as an academic subject… If we measure the merit of academic disciplines by what skills they teach their disciples, what benefit could, say, “queer theory” have, other than providing ‘queer’ people new negotiating strategies for the bargaining table of identity politics? Can it really provide anything other than a launching pad for certain forms of activism inside higher education?)

But I digress… The universality of the “straight white male boogeyman” in modern Western thought is undeniable. In the past I might have had to qualify that by saying “modern Western LEFTIST thought,” but today that’s unneccessary; as absurd as it may seem, SJWism is fast becoming nearly the “only game in town” as far as mainstream political dialogue is concerned, especially in North America. So it goes.

The Straight White Man, as the dogma goes, is the ‘oppressor’ of three main classes of people:

1. Ethnic and religious minorities, by means of slavery and exploitation.

2. Sexual and gender-identity minorities, by means of heteronormative (i.e. traditional) marriage laws and such.

3. Women, by means of past disenfranchisement, income inequality, rape, sexual harrassment, being mean to them in online gaming communities. etc.

The question is this:

IS the white man really such an oppressor? Is he really wielding so much privilege over the non-white, non-Christian, non-Straight, non-males over the world?

To answer that question, it would make sense to look at the concept of oppression and what it really entails.

1. What Is Oppression?

The concept of oppression is as old as politics. As long as there have been disadvantaged groups, there have been people feeling their disadvantage was not fair. This concept likely has roots in humanity’s earliest history and a full treatment of it is definitely not possible here.

However, I can make one claim regarding the “type” of oppression that leftists obsess over, and that is this: It has its roots in the philosophy of Marxism.

I cite three points to back this up:

1. Of sociology’s “three classical sociologists” (Marx, Durkheim and Weber) Marx is the oldest generally considered the most important.

2. ALL critical theorists cite Marx as their original inspiration.

3. Most current academic proponents of identity politics, consider themselves Marxist or are at least influenced by those who do (e.g. types like Slavoj Zizec).

Having tentatively established that the leftist theory of oppression is Marxist in origin, it makes sense to think a little about what “oppression” meant for Marx.

For Marx, oppression (or as he’d call it ‘exploitation’) was primarily an economic relationship between capital owners (bourgeoisie) and workers (proletariat). Workers in a capitalist system produced ‘X’ amount of output every day at work, but only took home “X minus Y;” “Y” in this case representing the profit taken by the capital owner. For Marx, it was a great problem that the worker produced “X” but only made “X minus Y,” because this implied he was being paid less than what he was worth, yet he could not reclaim the value he was entitled to, because he did not own the factory he worked in. His exploitation, effectively, rested in this: he worked to produce a profit for someone whose claim had nothing to do with  working to create that profit, but with being the passive owner of the property the laborer worked.  The above is the “essence” of exploitation according to the grandfather of modern critical theory. So the next logical question is, do the contemporary leftist claims above “straight white male oppressors” meet the above test? Let’s see.

2. Are Straight White Men Really Elite Oppressors?

In answering this question, I will grant leftists their premise (which I feel is debatable), that oppression wears a different face for different groups; that is to say, that there are different “kinds” of oppression. I’ll even grant them their basic assumptions regarding the “flavors” of discrimination their various “victim groups” face. But, for the sake of maintaining a truly meaningful definition of exploitation, one that leftists in ALL their varieties can agree on, I will demand that all these forms of oppression ultimately be part of a system of economic exploitation as defined above. Should I identity a true and genuine form of economic exploitation, I will ask a second question: “Can “straight white males” as a group really be blamed for this?” I will start from the top:

  • Ethnic and religious minorities.

According to the latest statistics, underrepresented minorities (URMs) in the U.S. make about what 65% of whites do. Further, in 2011, URM-headed households had a total wealth of around $6000 compared to whites’ $115,000.

Surely, ethnic minorities are not getting an equal slice of the pie in America. The statistics are similar for other Western countries. It is undeniable: URMs in the United States make less than white people do. But is it a result of exploitation? Generally speaking, the facts say “yes.” Minorities are disproportionately members of the lower socioeconomic classes of America, and there are obvious and visible roadblocks to progress by the lower classes: anti-Union laws, the war on drugs, excessive college tuition and then some.

But is this an act of exploitation BY whites AGAINST blacks, or by the rich against the poor? Are whites identical to the capital-owning, law-manipulating, social-mobility blocking elite here? There’s certainly more of them in per capita in the elite group, but if this situation a conspiracy of white against minority, why aren’t the rich whites helping the poor whites advance above minorities? The very best an SJW can say here is that it’s “a mostly (but not all) white group of rich people vs. a poor minority AND white majority.” Doesn’t sound quite as sexy when you put it that way.

  • Sexual and gender-identity minorities.

Here we find our gays, our transgenders, genderqueer… The whole LGBT spectrum.

Are LGBTs oppressed or exploited by society? Well, economically they’re certainly not; gays make more than straights. They are deprived of certain rights… But they’re more likely to be deprived of those rights in non-Western countries headed by non-straight non-white men. They do suffer from stigma and negative stereotypes, but stereotypes aren’t oppression; it’s not wielding power over someone to simply judge them. 

  • Women.

Well…

If there’s any issue that’s been beaten to death recently, it’s women’s rights.

Feminism seems to have been the defining feature of the zeitgeist of the past 2 years or so. Sites like Jezebel, XOJane and pretty much every mainstream media outlet (from time to time) have created a monster, an unstoppable beast of privileged white women complaining about how privileged white men have kept them down. But are their claims true? I don’t think this one really needs to be dealt with at length. The mere fact that practically every media outlet on the planet feels the need to pander to white women, in my opinion, precludes the possibility of them being oppressed in any way. I’m willing to consider the possibility of “intersectional” feminist issues (i.e. issues of women’s rights in Muslim or South Asian communities) still being relevant, but beyond that I don’t think, in the context of Western political discourse, the idea of women as uniquely “oppressed”

Conclusion

White men aren’t the global elite. Sacrilege, I know… But true sacrilege. The elite, the real rulers of the world, are defined by money and power, not race. The Chinese Communist Party, the Saudi Royal family, Wall Street… These are the elite. Some of these groups are not white at all. Others are mostly white but made up of only a tiny percentage of white people. Some white countries, such as Ukraine, are dirt poor. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that straight white men, as a group, are some sort of all-powerful group. Even if straight white men wanted to oppress women, minorities, and gays, they wouldn’t be able to, because they don’t have the power to do it. 90% of straight white men are in the same boat as the rest of humanity and suffer similar disadvantages.

Leftism: Intellectual Aviators?

A True Leftist?

A True Leftist?

 

I came across a really interesting post a while back in the neoreactionary blogosphere that I thought was well worth sharing.

It’s called “Right Is The New Left,” and it’s by Scott Alexander of Slate Star Codex.

The basic thesis of the post? That being leftist today makes you the intellectual equivalent of a guy who’s clothes are five years out of style.

That might not sound like an especially ambitious or interesting point, but the way author frames it makes it a thesis worth examining.

Scott starts with a preliminary description of how trends take shape:

“Consider a group of people separated by some ranked attribute. Let’s call it “class”. There are four classes: the upper class, the middle class, the lower class, and, uh, the underclass.

Everyone wants to look like they are a member of a higher class than they actually are. But everyone also wants to avoid getting mistaken for a member of a poorer class. So for example, the middle-class wants to look upper-class, but also wants to make sure no one accidentally mistakes them for lower-class… In other words, new trends carry social risk, and only people sufficiently clued-in and trendy can be sure the benefits outweigh the risks. But as the trend catches on, it becomes less risky, until eventually you see your Aunt Gladys wearing it because she saw something about it in a supermarket tabloid, and then all the hip people have to find a new trend.”

Again, not something many people would object to… Seems logical enough.

But, says Scott, a similar phenomenon can be observed with what people believe. While Scott stops short of suggesting that peoples’ beliefs are as trivial as their style of clothing, he suggests that there are some similarities:

– Beliefs tend to be used to distinguish groups from one another.

– Some beliefs are associated with those most “in touch,” the “opinion elite” if you will.

– Those less “in touch” will try to ape the opinions of opinion leaders the same way that the middle class try to emulate the fashions of the rich.

And so on and so forth. A classic example of this phenomenon would be the countercultural movements of the 1960s. As if out of nowhere, kids started growing their hair long and listening to music about dropping acid… This just 10 years after the notoriously straight laced 50s, where gyrating your hips was thought of as risque. The kids’ parents tried beating them over the head with the idea that this behavior was immoral or wrong, but to no avail: dudes like Timothy Leary are cooler than your parents.

Paul Graham touched on a similar point in his article “What You Can’t Say,” which in its own way is a piece very worth reading if you’re interested in the topic of political correctness and how it shapes our lives today.

But anyway, Scott’s point is that PC leftism these days has become what straight-laced suspender wearing conservatism was in the ’50s: something now so incedibly popular with the grandmas and Wal Mart shoppers of the world, the hipster classes are starting to shy away from it:

“And I think the best explanation is that all my hip friends who I want to be like are starting to be conservative or weird-libertarian or some variety of non-leftist, and Mrs. Grundy is starting to become very obviously leftist and getting grundier by the day, and so the fashion-conscious part of my brain, the much-abused and rarely-heeded part that tells me “No, you can’t go to work in sweatpants, even though it would be much more comfortable”, is telling me “QUICK, DISENGAGE FROM UNCOOL PEOPLE AND START ACTING LIKE COOL PEOPLE RIGHT NOW.”

Alexander’s thesis seems to have some empirical support. Gavin McInnes, for instance, the famed “Godfather of Hipsterdom,” is now writing articles for Taki Magazine advocating traditional gender roles. And, a cursory glance at virtually any left-leaning magazine will show you that the topic of “political correctness” (in its distinctively recent, left wing variety) has become a concern even for those well entrenched in the leftist movement. It’s food for thought, if nothing else.

Posting PC Shit On Facebook Doesn’t Make You Better Than Other People

I can remember a time in my life when I agreed, politically, with most people around me.

This was around 2005 or 2006, when I was just starting to get interested in politics. I never grew up in a household where politics or religion was a major subject of discussion, so for me, learning about current events was like learning to play a new instrument… There was an awkward initial phase where I lacked the experience and context to understand what I was trying to do.

Like anybody else just orienting themselves in a new subject for the first time, I took cues from the people around me… My teachers, my friends, the news media. This was in the height of the George Bush administration, and I didn’t grow up in some hardcore religious community, so virtually everyone agreed: George Bush was evil, the worst president the U.S. had ever seen, and probably a rapist child molester on top of that.

It was easy to feel you were right about things back then. Virtually everyone seemingly intelligent agreed on everything. “Liberalism,” whatever that meant, stood for everything good and right and pure… To say otherwise was akin saying the earth is flat, a flawed statement if not a testament to a flawed personality.

Flash Forward To September 2011

By this point I was in my last year of college and had begun to question the political “consensus” I’d grown up with quite a bit.

I’d been exposed to blogs and internet forums that questioned the political ideals I was raised on.

Was society really as racist as I’d been led to believe? Were women really lagging behind men so far socially? Was redistribution really necessary to right wrongs between the white male “majority” and allegedly “oppressed” groups, or was all of this just a cover for something disingenuous?

In September of 2011, these questions forced a wedge between me and the people around me for the first time. This was during the “occupy Wall Street” movement, a social movement allegedly aimed at countering Wall Street greed and growing oligarchy in the United States. I agreed with the movement’s “spirit.” But I kept asking: what are these people trying to accomplish? Why can’t they state a specific platform or a set of policies that will help them achieve their objectives? Why does this all feel like such a gigantic circle jerk designed not to solve problems, but to make the participants feel warm and fuzzy inside?

Problem was, most people around me did not feel this way. Most of them actually thought that Occupy Wall Street was the best thing ever. I knew because of how often they posted about it on Facebook. I’ll never forget the time a close friend of mine posted the iconic “What Is Our One Aim?” image (the one with the dancer on top of the bull). I responded with something like “well… what IS their one aim? As far as I can tell the movement completely lacks any direction or purpose.” 

The hounds descended on me almost instantly. I was denounced as a cynic, as historically ignorant, as a “right winger.” One guy even suggested I was historically illiterate; he suggested that a basic review of the facts would show that successful revolutions (i.e. the French revolution) didn’t start with “specific aims” but rather with “anger,” and that this anger would eventually (presumably) turn into something constructive.

Well, it didn’t.

My prediction was completely correct and on-point: occupy didn’t result in any kind of socialist revolution, and furthermore, the period since that “movement” has only seen greater gains by the infamous 1%.

Which Brings Us To Today

Occupy Wall Street is long over.

But something of its spirit survives.

It seems that the Occupy Movement, more than anything else, helped to usher in the trend of sanctimonius feel-good hugbox leftist meme posting on Facebook and other social media sites.

Unless you’re one of the people who participates in this particular trend, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. The feel good Upworthy.com links. The “shocking” statistics showing how bad gender or racial inequality has truly become.  The viral videos of people staging public demonstrations of various sorts, all aimed at confirming the viewers’ presupposition that we live in a sick society that needs a cure.  These phenomena may appear disparate, but really they are the same thing: a hive mind made up of people who engage with current events not from the perspective of trying to solve problems or correct injustices, but with the aim of trying to appear as much of a “good guy” as possible.

The leftist blogosphere thrives on severe judgments about peoples’ personalities. In the view of this hive mind, disagreeing with them makes you a “bad person.” To quote Manboobz.com’s tagline,

The point of this blog is to expose misogynists and other terrible people by quoting the hateful things they say. It’s not a safe space.”

The implication is obvious: the author is a good guy… People who critique his worldview are bad guys. And apparently, his exposing those he disagrees with is some serious work too: This is not a safe place guys! Stand back unless you’re ready to tackle the forces of darkness head on with me and the the rest of my gallant knights!

Yeeaaaaaaaah…

Manboobz may be an extreme example, but his essential mindset (this good guy crusader complex) is really central to everything we’re seeing in the “PC-osphere” these days. It’s not about criticism. It’s not about ideas. It’s not even about helping people. It’s all about displaying your “good guy badge” as prominently as possible to show everyone around you that you are loyal to the right team.

Newsflash: Posting some bullshit meme on your Facebook page (or in the case of the especially ambitious, your blog) doesn’t make you better than anyone else. The tenets of modern liberalism were not handed down on stone tablets on Mount Sinai. They’re as up for debate as anything else in the world, and merely agreeing with them doesn’t make you one of God’s chosen.

In sum… Get over yourself.