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.