Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The blindness of the ideologically bound

One thing that's struck me very forcibly in the whole Tor situation is how utterly blind to reality are many of those on the left/liberal/progressive/SJW side of the debate.  It's incongruous to read the comments on 'Puppies' posts at File 770, those left in response to Tom Doherty's post at, and from many of the authors and others 'leading the charge' on that side of the debate.  They appear to be living in an echo chamber where they feed off each other, constantly repeating the same old lies like a stuck record.  That's the problem - what they're repeating is, in many cases, simply not true, but they ignore that and carry right on saying it, as if repetition will somehow magically make it true.  It won't, of course.

Truth is determined in relation to reality.  If a fact is objectively true, if it can be verified according to evidence, or tested in a laboratory, or otherwise shown to be actually (rather than merely claimed to be) the case, then it's true.  It's no good saying that something is 'true for me' if it's not actually true at all.  That means you're living a lie.  Period.  An excellent example is the current fuss over Rachel Dolezal's claim that she 'identifies as black'.  I don't care what she identifies herself as being - I want to know what she is in reality.  The fact of the matter is, she isn't black - so no matter how many wishful thoughts she may have, and no matter what deception she foists upon others (including the NAACP), the reality is that her life has been built upon and around a lie.

The charges leveled against the Puppies campaigns by the SJW's are largely lies.  They take statements made (or allegedly made) by one or more individuals (often quoted out of context to make them sound either worse than, or different from, what was meant), then apply them across the board to all 'Puppies' of whatever description.  This is simply not true.  It isn't real.  It would be as if I took the views or statements or actions of a radical progressive/liberal/whatever (like, for example, Pol Pot) and accused all SJW's of sharing them.  That wouldn't be true, so I don't do it . . . but why do so many of them do it to me?  It's as I said last week.  They focus on the narrative, not on the facts, because the facts don't support their views.

Irene Gallo's recent foot-in-mouth claim is a case in point.  Let's analyze her lies in detail.

  • She said there were 'two extreme right-wing to neo-nazi groups' involved.  There is no evidence whatsoever for her claims.  The attributes of 'extreme right-wing' and 'neo-nazi' individuals and groups are well known.  They're a matter of historical and political fact.  None of their criteria apply to the Puppies groups in general.  They may possibly apply to individuals within them (just as Pol Pot-like tendencies may apply to some SJW's), but that case has never been made in any objective, factual, measurable sense.
  • She claimed that both groups were 'calling for the end of social justice in science fiction and fantasy'.  I have never seen a single pronouncement to this effect by either a Sad or Rabid Puppy.  Not one.  Kindly cite it if you have it, Ms. Gallo.  I've certainly seen calls for less 'message fiction' and more emphasis on story, character and plot;  but that isn't what Ms. Gallo said.
  • She alleged that both groups were 'unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic'.  This is a lie from beginning to end, and as far as I was concerned it was the last straw.  I've fought against racism all my life;  I'm emphatically not misogynist;  and as for being homophobic, during the mid-1980's one of the ways I sought to help people was as a volunteer at a hospice for gay men dying of AIDS.  They were rejected and ostracized by almost the entire South African community at the time, of every race.  (The camp comments from those gay men, no matter how weak from their terminal disease, watching a straight man [me] give a back rub to one of their compatriots . . . let's just say that I don't think I've blushed so much in my entire life!)  Ms. Gallo didn't know me at all;  she knew none of those things about me;  and she wasn't interested in knowing them.  The mere fact that I supported Larry Correia and the 'Sad Puppies' was enough for her to label me 'unrepentantly racist, misogynist, and homophobic'.  Facts meant (and, in the light of her half-assed non-apology, presumably still mean) nothing to her.
  • She claimed that 'they've been able to gather some Gamergate folks around them' to elect their slate for the Hugo awards.  This is an out-and-out lie as far as the Sad Puppies are concerned, and I'm pretty sure it was in the early stages for the Rabid Puppies as well.  There was no mention of Gamergate that I can recall until the SJW's themselves started tossing around that allegation.  It's as if they couldn't possibly allow themselves to believe that ordinary SF/F fans might have a different perspective on life, the universe and the genre than they did.  Unfortunately for them, the GG community is pretty proactive and assertive.  When they heard themselves being accused of something like that, I think their reaction was pretty much "Oh, we're invited to a fight?  Invitation accepted!"  Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy . . .

Ms. Gallo (and most of my readers, for that matter) have no idea what real racism is like.  Only those who've lived through it do, and most of us are from earlier generations whose memories aren't familiar to many people today.  Those of us who lived through the maelstrom of 1976-1994 in South Africa can identify very well with those who lived through the Civil Rights struggles in the USA (particularly the deep south) during the 1950's and 1960's, and vice versa . . . but there aren't many of us involved in the current SF/F controversy.  Perhaps that's a pity.

Let me give you a concrete example of how experiences like that can change - harden - an entire society, an entire nation.  In 1983 Juluka released their album 'Work For All'.

It was never hugely popular outside South Africa, but inside the country it was recognized as a seminal work.  Among other elements it examined, in music, the undeclared civil war that was raging across the country at that time, and would continue to rage for more than a decade longer.  It tried to express the horror of the hatred, fear and genocidal fury that was devouring our country.  I found it extraordinarily moving, because I could identify so closely with the subjects of its songs.  I'd like to play you two of them to illustrate my point.

'Mdantsane' describes a scene that was relatively common in those evil years.  A bus had been ambushed on the road to Mdantsane, a township in the Eastern Cape.  Bodies lay in and around it, and the song speaks of 'mud colored dusty blood' around them.  I know that 'mud colored dusty blood'.  I've seen it.  I've touched it.  I've smelled it (and, believe me, that's a smell you never forget . . . the coppery flavor setting your teeth on edge, making the back of your throat slick as you sneeze.)  It's seared into my soul, because all too often I knew the men and women whose blood produced it.  I wept when I first heard that song, and I still do sometimes - but I can't stop listening to it now and again, because those memories are a part of me forever.  That song reached the hit parade in South Africa.  Can you imagine a hit song in the USA singing, not about saccharine-sweet schmaltzy love, but about the blood of dead, innocent victims of a racial war, soaking into the soil?  It shows how mad things were in my former country during the 'crazy years'.

The second song is 'Bullets for Bafazane'.  It also reached the hit parade.  It tells the story of an activist who's being hunted by 'shadow men' who've decided that until he's killed, his people won't give up.  I knew many 'Bafazane's' during those years.  Many did not survive.

Let my online friend 'Titflasher' tell you about one 'Bafazane' she knew.

Shall I tell you about Lucky?  I can mention his real name (well the English name he was given by his parents because you were not allowed to register any children under their Zulu names) because he is dead.  Lucky, who was a known informant, who gave us details of things that had gone on when the victims of this evil were too scared to speak out, who gave comfort and care to those whose children had been ripped from their arms and killed, or whose husbands had been picked up, only to return to them as a disabled shell, broken hands, broken legs, face chewed off, broken heart.

By the time Lucky called, we had the UMAG (unrest monitoring action group) phone installed at home.  It was late, way past bedtimes when he called and my Mom picked up.  He was at a safe house that was soon to become very unsafe indeed.  The police had cottoned on to what he was doing.  So he was running, through K section, Kwa Mashu in search of safety.

Throughout the night he rang us, from safe house to safe house, from his cousins to his brother in law, from comrade to comrade.  He never said where he was (our phones were bugged most of the time), just phoning in to say he was still free, still alive and I guess to hear a voice on the end of the phone.

Lucky made his final phone call at around 5am as the sun was coming up.  His last words were “Eve, eve I think they have found me” and the phone went dead.  It remained engaged for hours after that and when it was eventually answered, the residents denied any knowledge of Lucky’s presence.  He never called again.  No doubt his broken, tortured body lay somewhere in the dust.

There's more at the link.

I knew many Lucky's.  I knew many Bafazane's.  My life is richer for having known them . . . and my soul is bereft, and the entire nation of South Africa is poorer, for their loss.

And so, when Ms. Gallo accused me - me - of being 'unrepentantly racist' purely because I happened to support the Sad Puppy cause, that was the last straw.  I'd heard that lie from SJW's before, of course, and been able to get over it . . . but lies like that are like the Chinese water torture.  Sooner or later, something's going to snap.  Her accusations were, to me, unforgivable;  and since she's never seen fit to retract them, they still are.  Since her employer has seen fit to allow her, and others like her, to pontificate about something of which they apparently know absolutely nothing, to make false accusations and toss denigrations around like confetti, doing so on company time and using company computers and networks . . . that employer is complicit in the whole mess.  Hence my outrage against Tor.  Hence the boycott for which I will call on Friday if Tor and its holding company, Macmillan, don't act against those responsible.

I won't take this any more.  I know I'm far from the only Puppy supporter who's had enough of the SJW's lies and slanders and libels.  They want a war?  They can have one.


(EDITED TO ADD:  Sarah Hoyt seems to be on a similar rantfest this morning.  Go read her article as well.  It's worth it.  You go, girl!)


Wraith said...

Ironically, if any of these SJW's found themselves in an actual war, such as you've described here, they'd either be cowering in the corner or working for the bad guys. Doing what you and your friends did would take courage they simply don't possess.

Anonymous said...

Musical cries for justice/understanding/tolerance/peace still haunt my memories of the sixties and seventies. It is sad to see poetic protest pass out of understanding as time dims memories and present passions, no matter how inane, trivialize past pain.
Victimhood as a lifestyle and philosophy works, until it encounters logic,facts and those who will not bow to undeserved criticism and irrational guilt.
baseless ad hominem attacks reveal a real paucity of imagination and integrity.
Speak truth to power, screaming innuendo and lies about others should have been left in kindergarten.

Keith Glass said...

Peter. . .

The ENTIRE #GamerGate linkage to the Puppies is based on two things:

1. Larry Corriea and actor Adam Baldwin (the guy who created the term "Gamergate", and the Man they call Jayne. . ) are friends and interact occasionally on Twitter.

2. DaddyWarpig, one of the GamerGate leaders, is a fan of Larry Correia, and comments on MonsterHunterNation.

That's it. From that, VOLUMES of fiction have been written about the Puppies bringing in Gamergate. When, in fact, it was Brianna Wu claiming that GG was brought in, that actually BROUGHT some GG folks into the Puppies. . .

ticticboom said...

ticticboom said...


Declan Finn said...

Dear Peter,

Yes, but as you started with, objective facts are the problem -- theirs, not ours. Remember, everything is *subjective.* Words mean what they want them to mean. It's postmodern, deconstructionist BS every single step of the way. These guys follow Herbert Marcuse -- where freedom of speech is good for when their enemies are in power, but not for when THEY are in power.

They're not even playing the game of moving the goalposts. The posts are wherever they say they are. Reality is whatever they say it is. And oh, can you define the meaning of the word "is" is?

... See, this is what happens when they piss off a philosophy major. Give me Aquinas any day.

Though what they don't realize is that we are in control of the narrative. We control the vertical, we control the horizontal, and we've got truth on our side, and you can't kill the truth (it can only be smothered into unconsciousness for a little while).

[By the way, saw your reCAPTCHA before the publish button. "I'm not a robot." No, I am a free man!]

Leonidas said...

I want to know what she is in reality.

In reality she's what we call "crazy."

Anonymous said...

"Face chewed off"???

Anonymous said...

Just so. People sometimes forget that there was once a war there.

my very best regards,

Peter said...

@Anonymous at 10:59 AM: Yes. Some SA policemen used to train their police dogs to bite at the faces of suspects, tearing and ripping at the flesh. Once seen, never forgotten . . . and never repaired, either, under the pathetically inadequate medical care available to black people under apartheid.

It was a sick, evil culture . . .

Stephen J. said...

"The camp comments from those gay men . . . let's just say that I don't think I've blushed so much in my entire life!"

Ah, but don't you see? The fact that you blushed proves you found the comments embarrassing and uncomfortable, QED you are a homophobe.

One has to remember that in this particular kind of conflict the accusation is never about actions and deliberate direct effect, which can be falsified, but about attitude and unconscious indirect effect, which can't.

Also, remember the functionalism in the philosophy: simply refusing to support certain beliefs or choices as enthusiastically as required, even as indirectly as arguing that some problems' advocated solutions may be cost-prohibitive or counterproductive, is as bad as active explicit criticism or denial of the problem, and likewise proof of hostile attitudes.

These fallacies are not unique to either side, but it really does seem to me they are significantly more common in the side which, pace Alinsky, sees nothing wrong with any tactic as long as it gets results.

Will said...

I am waiting for someone to please, please, say to me something like "racial discrimination is wrong" so i can sneer "That's true for YOU."

Habakkuk21 said...

Dear brother Peter,

So many of the people who are name-calling have never done anything except use words or pictures, and therefore, they think they are doing something that matters.
They have never jumped out of a vehicle with an aid bag in hand, to run with heart pounding to see if they could save a life (which I have done). They haven't spent time in hospitals, providing spiritual comfort and physical presence to a family watching a loved one die (which you and I have both done.)
They've never worked in a psych hospital, a factory, and they've never been in the military. You have been a chaplain in a prison. I shined shoes in a barber shop. My wife picked tobacco in the hot North Carolina sun. We have done REAL things; and they have never done anything except play with words and art. Words and art are important ONLY when they relate to the experience of a human being. I fear that the writing and art professionals never had the chance to have that experience. And now, when some come along who have HAD experience, they are challenged, because they suddenly realize that if they cannot completely control their own reward systems, they are forced to ask whether their lives have mattered at all.
This, by the way, is an excellent starting place, if it is embraced, and not avoided.
Once again, I have to add the caveat: I do not know whether my words are coherent. The pneumonia is restricting oxygen supply to my one remaining lung. Please forgive any deficits in what I have written; my heart is not to destroy, but to heal.

Coconut said...

This probably isn't the best time, but...
Africa (South and otherwise) is a hellhole and as far as I can tell has always been a hellhole; it was a horror when the whites were in charge and it seems to still be a horror (of a different type) now that they aren't.

Is there something in the water in that part of the world? I just don't get it.

richard mcenroe said...

"Wraith said...

Ironically, if any of these SJW's found themselves in an actual war, such as you've described here, they'd either be cowering in the corner or working for the bad guys. Doing what you and your friends did would take courage they simply don't possess."

Yes, but they'd feel ever so conflicted and intense about it, and if they ever put it on paper, I'm sure they'd win a Nebula: "If You Were a Vertebrate, My Love..."

Nate said...

What are your thoughts on the state of South Africa today?

Unknown said...

Well said, Peter. I was there. I managed to get the crap beaten out of me Grahamstown BOSS. I - and my parents before me, tried to do our part with adult and supplementary education. My old man took serious risks in 'Mashu to do what he believed was right. I find being told I'm a racist by these poseurs... well. I wish I could put them back in my history.

Jay Dee said...

I am reminded of a quote from the H. Beam Piper story, "Oomphel in the Sky" regarding a primitive culture.

"He defined truth as a statement. A statement exists only in the mind of the person making it, and the mind of the person to whom it is made. If the person to whom it is made can't understand or accept it, it isn't the truth."

This appears to fit the SJWs.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to join the boycott, but then I saw this, from John Scalzi today:

"John Scalzi ‏@scalzi · 7h7 hours ago
Also, if someone would boycott me because they're following the lead of some racist shitball, I'm fine with that. Don't need those sales."

Tor's highest-paid author doesn't want me buying from his company? FINE.

Anonymous said...

Peter, the problem is that it's *all* lies in this country anymore.

Monthly economic numbers that everybody knows are complete bullsh*t because (1) they don't even count tens of millions of healthy adults who have been driven completely out of the workforce and (2) everybody also knows that in a couple of weeks they'll quietly be revised downward, anyway.

"Hands up, don't shoot."

"One in four college girls will be raped."

Anthropogenic climate change (remember "Hide the Decline?")

Fabricated, politically-motivated scholarship of the Michael Bellesiles sort.

Passing bills to find out what's in them.

"Caitlyn" Jenner being described as "heroic" while Marcus Luttrell is dismissed as a hobo.

"News" anchors that don't pretend to be anything but political tools for the Party, to the point they might as well have "Craftsman" or "Kobalt" stamped on their foreheads.

And so on. Why so surprised about a fake black woman making up fake hate crimes for a so-called "civil rights" group that has fallen so far from its roots it might as well be the KKK in blackface?

Like Instapundit is fond of saying, it's all Potemkin villages from top to bottom.

There's a line from one of Tom Clancy's novels about why CIA totally missed the fall of the USSR, even though they were seeing the same domestic intelligence the Politburo was getting: The underlying system was so corrupt that the data bore absolutely no resemblance to reality.

Well, that's the vibe I get when I turn on the TV anymore. That, or Weimar Amerika: We're so wrapped up in our own decadence that we don't see totalitarianism and disaster coming.

--Wes S.

Brad R. Torgersen said...

Peter, I for one want to thank you for speaking up and speaking out.

A few thoughts:

1) We're dealing with individuals who've concluded that their own ideas and beliefs are so morally, intellectually, and ethically perfect, all other people (you, me, and the rest of the universe) who stray from those ideas, are not just wrong, but also evil.

2) Having appointed themselves to the seat of moral, intellectual, and ethical perfection, these individuals have further concluded that it is their moral duty to be jerks and assholes to the rest of humanity. Because the rest of humanity simply doesn't measure up. So it's their (the zealots') job to call us out. For being mortal men.

3) There is no "save" against this mentality. No goal posts you can possibly kick the ball through, to achieve the win. They will keep moving the goal posts and inventing reasons for why you are an awful human being. And they will fabricate accusations from whole-cloth without blushing, because part of being a zealot means not having to care about facts. They are literally "above" having to care; at least in their minds.

quilly said...

Your comment on the smell of blood and dust and the song...too true. I'm broken right now. Too true.

imp of the perverse said...

Very very well written. You have to wonder how such a strong "will to disbelieve" came to them, such a strongly defended but oh, so obviously wrong position must require fingers in ears singing behavior 24 hours per day. Thank you.

Segesta said...

Or you can completely invert Subjective and Objective, as Joseph Stalin did. When Lenin's widow complained to him about his excesses, he told her "Shut up, or I'll make someone else Lenin's widow."

cognito said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter said...

Please, friends, no personal attacks or negative comments about anyone, regardless of what 'side' they may be on. We are - or should be - better than that.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of sad to see this kind of argument roiling SF fans. I agree with your response, Peter. "Social Justice" is a current buzzword, but it stands for a kind of authoritarianism that has no place in science fiction or anything else, since it is used as a type of club to silence those with whom one disagrees. If her attitude came to dominate it, Tor Books would soon be out of business. No boycott needed. People will read what they like, regardless of what some social critic has to say.

Calling people Nazis is the perfect way to shut down discussion and drive people away. If one thinks he or she speaks for everyone, he's speaking for a pretty small circle.

Wraith said...

@ Habakkuk21: Your words are not only coherent, they sing to the very heavens with their truth. Your heart spoke directly through your fingers, and your message is plain to those with ears to hear.

Well said. :)

Brian Z said...

Peter, it's a Cruel Crazy Beautiful Worldcon.

Anonymous said...

Ideology can be, as you point out, sheer Idealism (e.g., Platonic primacy of consciousness), otherwise known as dogmaticism. But ideolofy itslef is a system of idea--and if properly formented--based on reality. For example, the ideology of our Founders (Aristotle's logic & Plato's antipode) was derived from the nature of man--a conscious being possessing a volitional, rational faculty. Thus, because we are fully conscious, we have the right to life; because we have fre will, we have the right to liberty; and because we need to produce to sustain our lives, we have te right to own property.

I mention this here because the last thing we need is some shoot-from-the-hip, act-first-think-later (if at all) pragmatism. Pragmatism say that truth is our expedient way of thinking; reality, our expedient way of acting.

For a current example of this sort of thinking, please see Trump's recent announcement as a candidate for President.

Or just review the record of the current administration.

Anonymous said...

So many of the people who are name-calling have never done anything except use words or pictures, and therefore, they think they are doing something that matters.

That right there. Their righteousness exists only inside their heads.

They think that controlling the narrative is controlling reality. It isn't.

They think that being nasty and noisy and obnoxious wins them gravitas. It doesn't.

They think they are right because they DuckSpeak. They aren't.

They think their children will inherit the world they want ... but mostly they don't have any children, just their own little cliques, so they won't.

Shadowdancer Duskstar said...

This may be relevant to the post:

Seriously, the SJZealots can't deal with anything. Why are they on the Internet is beyond me.

AuricTech said...

Congratulations on being linked to and quoted by Prof Reynolds last night.

Groot said...