One commentator recently complained, twice (on two different articles), that the world is not a trans*-inclusive safe space. He (or she, though for the purposes of this article I will assume the generic ‘he’) added:
I tried everything I could to make the world a better place but your hatred and bigotry wont allow it. I can find it in my heart to love why cant you.
Another requested that I turn my reply to that person into an article, so here is an adapted version of it.
Let me tell social justice warriors about bigotry.
The primary characteristic of bigotry is narrow-mindedness. That narrow-mindedness is the foundation of the aggressive, chosen ignorance that fuels all bigotry. Bigots are either unwilling to consider alternative points of view, or seek to impose their perspective on everybody else — and these are the worst kind of bigot. They cannot stand the fact that others can have a valid, well-thought out and legitimate perspective that they themselves do not share, and seek to “correct” others and bring them into line. In contrast, most bigots who keep their views to themselves inflict limited damage on those around them.
“Social justice” warriors are amongst the very worst of the latter kind, because they do so from behind a veneer of inclusivity and defence of those with little or no voice in society which, on its own, is an admirable endeavour. C. S. Lewis said it best:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
SJWs are anything but inclusive, as the recent ejection of Lauren Southern and Milo Yiannopoulos from the LA Amber Rose Slutwalk (a woman and a gay man), and the ejection of CAFE from the Toronto Pride event demonstrate. Those SJWs are liars: they say they want diversity, when their actions prove they want uniformity of thought. That is not inclusive; that is hatefulness and bigotry.
And why are they this way? Because they attempt to force the world to fit within ideologically-defined preconceptions and prejudices, and any truth that doesn’t fit within that preconception is either ignored or distorted until it does fit — instead of seeing what is actually in front of them and dealing with differences (of opinion) in an adult and mature manner.
As a rule, SJWs daren’t expose themselves to anything that might cause such cognitive dissonance, which is why they prefer to tell each other and believe lies about organisations and people (such as AVfM, Southern, Yiannopoulos, Farrel, Fiamengo, to name but a few) instead of finding out for themselves what (for example) AVfM (and we’re easy to find and talk to!) really stand for, because to do so would require that they begin to think for themselves when they’re otherwise accustomed to allowing others to do their thinking for them.
A few, such as the character to whom I wrote this in reply, do engage with us, but they do so from their moral high-horse, certain that they know who and what we are. In other words, they talk at us and don’t listen, rather than talk with us to find out what we do agree on and whether the differences (on what we don’t) are all that significant. After all, diversity isn’t just a buzzword, it actually means something.
A prime example is this matter of GLBT issues. I have recently said, multiple times and in several places, that trans* people are welcome at AVfM, and Paul’s series “Straight eye for the queer guy” does the same in respect of gay men (bi- included, though never explicitly addressed — yet).
Where we differ, however, is that SJW thought sees GLBT people defined primarily in terms of their sexuality (and, we suspect, in terms of their utility to SJW causes), which is a kind of objectification (and, frankly, abuse) in itself.
We prefer to see people in terms of their humanity. Our primary mission is to serve all men, not just men like us, and so we don’t give a damn what a person’s sexuality or gender identity is: if they are a man or care about men’s issues, then they are our target audience and we want them to have a voice here. True; we don’t cater to women’s issues, but that’s because women’s issues are well outside our mission and are very well served elsewhere.
But this guy insisted that we’re hateful bigots! How can this be? It’s because he wasn’t, and never has been, listening to what he was being told because constructive discussion is the very last thing he came here for. People like him are as bad as proselytising missionaries.
Perhaps, therefore, there is more love in our hearts than he is willing to acknowledge.
Relevant side note: I remember an interview with Bill Clinton in which he said something to the effect that the difference between ideology and principle is that people of principle can be negotiated with and will change their point of view to fit the facts rather than try to change the facts to fit their point of view. Ideologues, on the other hand, come to the table with their minds already made up, and no amount of evidence will make the slightest bit of difference. He, of course, was referring to partisan politics, but the observation holds true across a number of subject areas.
This commentator hinted at the subject of safe spaces, a subject recently addressed in the comments on my recent article about feminist censorship of feminists. The matter was pretty much been hashed out there, but in summary:
The world is not and never will be entirely safe, and wishing it were otherwise is futile and childish. Nobody has the right not to be offended, and nobody is so special or any more fragile than anybody else that they deserve more protection from the jerks, idiots and bigots of the world.
This means, if one accepts that minorities are oft vulnerable, that one must also accept that individuals who may belong to majority demographics also can be vulnerable. Yes, I’m saying that cis, het, able-bodied white men can feel hurt, be vulnerable and every bit in need of somebody to speak in defence of them because they are human first and share the same frailties as all humans do. JFK said it best:
For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.
Powerful stuff, especially the bit about mortality considering the context in which it was said (the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis).
None of this means that one should not attempt to educate the public about the challenges faced by minorities and the vulnerable, but it’s important to be realistic and not insist on the absurd and unreasonable expectation that the world at large can ever be “safe”.
Besides, it is grossly insulting to the agency of adults who happen to be minorities to be told that they need special protection, because it implies that they are weak and dependent for their welfare on others, especially when those others are probably more interested in power than the welfare of those who need help.
It also does not mean that there should not be private communities with their own rules, ie “safe spaces” because everybody needs respite from time to time. Indeed, AVfM is one such place.
But it is a grave mistake to even think that the whole world should be like that. To quote Jake Sully (from the film Avatar), “Sooner or later, you always have to wake up” and face the world as it is, not as you would wish it to be.
Pardon the religious reference here (the essence behind it is what’s important), but the Serenity Prayer nicely encapsulates the mature response to a harsh, uncaring and indifferent world:
[Deus] grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.