Vox Day, SJWs Always Lie: Taking down the Thought Police, Castalia House, 2015, 200 pp., $4.99 (available only on Kindle)
“SJW” stands for “social justice warrior,” which is approximately synonymous with: militant, politically correct ideologue. Or perhaps stridently leftist cultural Marxist. Or, as some of the whimsically inclined might say: noisome progtard.
The expression sprang from the blogosphere in recent years, as a way of describing “progressive” activists and keyboard crusaders. SJWs thrive on the internet, often in obscure and fetid corners–Reddit, 4chan, tumblr.com blogs–where disturbed youngsters share their taste for Japanese anime, sexual perversity, and science fiction/fantasy. SJWs also swarm in social media. They specialize in mass Twitter attacks and in filling the comments sections of Salon and Huffington Post and the Guardian with lurid, foul-mouthed smackdowns (“Teabagger! GFY!”) of anyone who expresses an opinion that is not left-of-left-of-center. At least they did until recently. HuffPo and other sites have ramped up their comment-screening because online advertisers don’t like filth.
For an excellent dissection of the whole SJW phenomenon, there’s now a handy field guide called SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police. The pseudonymous author, Vox Day (real name: Theodore Beale) is a game designer and science-fiction writer who’s had some head-on collisions with this crowd, while acquiring a thorny reputation as the sci-fi author the leftists most love to hate. (See, for example, Jeet Heer’s treatment of him in The New Republic.) In this volume, Beale/Day not only tells us how to identify SJWs, he gives us an extensive self-defense guide explaining how to survive when SJWs attack.
In Chapter One, “An Introduction to the Social Justice Warrior,” Mr. Beale describes what SJWs are all about:
In the universities, in the churches, in the corporations . . . free speech and free thought are under siege by a group of fanatics as self-righteous as Savonarola, as ruthless as Stalin, as ambitious as Napoleon, and as crazy as Caligula.
They are the Social Justice Warriors, the SJWs, the self-appointed thought police who have been running amok throughout the West since the dawn of the politically correct era in the 1990s. Their defining characteristics:
- a philosophy of activism for activism’s sake
- a dedication to rooting out behavior they deem problematic, offensive, or unacceptable in others
- a custom of primarily identifying individuals by their sex, race, and sexual orientation
- a hierarchy of intrinsic morality based on the identity politics of sex, race, and sexual orientation
- a quasi religious belief in equality, diversity, and the inevitably of progress . . .
Mr. Beale also breaks down the SJW modus operandi into its stages and rationales. He analyzes some of the subtle peculiarities about SJW behavior, for example the tendency to plead grievances to weak, unprepared bystanders when they want to attack you.
Thus, when John Derbyshire wrote his famous Takimag column of April 2012 (“The Talk: Non-black Version“), the SJWs complained not to the freewheeling Taki Theodoracopulos who published the column–and who would have laughed them off–but to the sedate, limp Rich Lowry of National Review, who immediately buckled and put out a public statement that he was severing ties with Mr. Derbyshire, who had been a contributing writer to National Review Online.
Mr. Beale explains that this is typical of SJW tactics. They avoid hard targets and aim for the softies, the moderates, the ideologically unaffiliated:
[T]he truth is that although they certainly don’t like those they invariably label “right-wing extremists,” for the most part they leave us alone because we are impervious to their influence. Oh, they will certainly complain about us, take advantage of any tactical missteps on our part, and block us on Twitter, but they very seldom make the sort of concerted effort that one saw in the hounding of Brendan Eich or the metaphorical stoning of Dr. James Watson because they know their efforts will largely be futile . . . . Instead, they prey on the naive and the unsuspecting. They prey on the moderates, the middle-grounders, and the fence-sitters . . . [A] target who is psychologically unprepared for being attacked is much more likely to throw up his hands and run away.
While SJWs Always Lie is a highly entertaining read, I don’t want to leave the impression that it’s just a witty romp through the SJW jungle. It’s deadly serious about the damage SJWs can do to you and me as we try to get through our workday. One of their favorite venues for mischief-making is the Human Resources department, particularly in large companies that like to remind you from time to time that they have something called a Code of Conduct. This code is invariably vague, with lots of soothing phrases about commitment to equality, a “safe” workplace, and of course “diversity.” This is an open-ended invitation to all sorts of SJW mischief, which often takes the form of a whispering campaign against you, in which both accusation and accuser remain concealed from view. This has happened to the author, who eloquently describes the pit-of-the-stomach anxiety and confusion of being attacked by unseen assailants.
How to respond? Probably the most valuable part of the book is about what to do and not do if you’re attacked. Don’t apologize. Don’t resign. Fight back.
Target the enemy at every opportunity. Hit them wherever they show themselves vulnerable. Play as dirty as your conscience will permit. Undermine them, sabotage them, and discredit them. Be ruthless and show them absolutely no mercy. This is not the time for Christian forgiveness because these are people who have not repented, these are people who are trying to destroy you and are quite willing to harm your family and your children in the process. Take them down and take them out without hesitation. If you have any SJWs working under you, fire them . . . .
Mr. Beale also proposes a long-term plan for SJW-proofing our society. I found this the most intriguing part of the book. It displays a level of sociological insight and gravitas that is quite different from the light, snarky tone found in other parts of the book and promoted on the book’s cartoonish cover. The author analyzes the deep rot that the SJWs have caused our institutions, explains how we have made ourselves vulnerable to their control, and tells what we can do to end this vulnerability. His suggestions are too extensive to summarize here, but inter alia, we are enjoined to: Build alternative institutions (e.g., home school your children, create alternatives to SJW-infested Wikipedia); defund and destroy their propaganda centers (e.g., ignore their entertainment media); deny them employment; keep them out of your organizations.
It’s a bracing call-to-arms, based on an honest concept of justice:
Our ideals of Truth, Liberty, and Justice are not only sufficient, they are considerably superior to the nonsensical ideas of social justice. The ideals of social justice are not virtues, they are evils in disguise. Reject them without hesitation, reject them without apology, and reject them in their entirety.
The Kindle book is cheap but Mr. Beale has considerately made this fight-back section available for free. You can go to his website here, and download the SJW Attack Survival Guide PDF on the right.
There are other good things about SJWs Always Lie: It has a foreword and a postscript by British pinstripe-hipster journalist Milo Yiannopolous. It has apt, well-drawn cartoons by someone called “Red Meat.” My favorite is his rendition of the thing itself, the social justice warrior.
The book also explains some recent controversies I could never make heads nor tails of. Do you remember GamerGate (often hashtagged as #Gamergate)? It was a raucous debate about video games and the allegedly misogynistic lads who play them. The kerfuffle blew up around August 2014, then quickly seemed to blow away–except that people are still arguing about it.
GamerGate was too obscure for me to bother figuring out. The last video game I played and enjoyed was probably Pong, circa 1977. One of the supposed bones of contention was bias against female game developers. My first thought was that this is a good thing, and that these girls should go out more, and leave the game-boys to their nerdy male pursuits.
Vox Day makes it all comprehensible, and shows how the GamerGate saga was an archetypal SJW attack, and a good example of a successful response. It began with some personal grudges and a romance that went sour. This led to enlisting friends to promote online “news” stories claiming that the video game industry was dominated by men who put women down, particularly women trying to make video games. Vox Day and other game creators sussed out the SJW propaganda campaign right away, and retaliated with tweets and the #GamerGate hashtag.
If you look up the tale of GamerGate on the Internet, the first thing you learn is that each side accuses the other of “conspiracies,” and that the opposing camps both seem to be filled with nut-jobs. Superficially, this makes the whole thing look like a Mexican standoff, but Mr. Beale explains that it was actually a win for the GamerGaters. If they hadn’t fought back–and fought back fiercely–most of us would know only the SJW version: Gamers and game-makers are misogynistic nerd-boys, and the whole industry is hostile to women. Now, future historians will be forced to come to terms with the fact that the women being “excluded” were some of the oddest creatures in existence, who may often have lied about being harassed and persecuted. They will also learn that the attack on the game industry was a planned, coordinated media attack–very SJW. Vox Day and others exposed this, and that is a triumph.
On the other hand, Mr. Beale’s obsession with GamerGate does get long-winded, as does his tedious account of a feud with fellow sci-fi author John Scalzi and the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA). This sci-fi saga take up much of the opening chapter; feel free to skip it. Mr. Beale runs the publishing imprint that put out his book, so he does not appear to have had the benefit of an editor.
Also, I was annoyed by Mr. Beale’s self-description as a Native American and Mexican-American. Supposedly he had a bandit great-grandfather who rode with Pancho Villa, but photographs of Mr. Beale don’t look at all Amerindian or Mestizo. Like Elizabeth Warren, Mr. Beale likes to play the Indian card in promotional materials.
And now that I have gotten those objections out of the way, let me leave you with some wonderful quotations from what I found to be a delightful book:
“Trolling” is what SJWs call it when you respond to them in their own rhetorical language.
The perfect Queen of the SJWs–and she would be a queen, never a king–would be a mixed-race lesbian Swedish immigrant who was abused as a child by a conservative Republican white politician and kept as a sex-slave by neo-Nazis with Confederate-flag tattoos prior to writing a bestselling novel about a fictionalized version of her terrible experiences, appearing on Oprah, and starring in a science-fiction TV show popular with white nerds.
No one but an SJW has ever used more than one of the following words in a sentence: “problematic,” “offensive,” “inclusive,” “triggered,” “trigger warning,” “privilege,” “platforming,” “silencing,” “equitable,””welcoming,” “safe space,” “code of conduct,” “cisgender,” “diversity,” “vibrant”. No one but an SJW makes quasi-religious fetishes of Equality, Diversity, Tolerance, and Progress.