Niki transcribed the latest video of “unanswerable” gotcha questions. No, this isn’t another one aimed at atheists by Christians, though it’s about as effective and as grounded in real attempts to understand another person’s position. This one is aimed at social justice warriors by the status quo warriors.
Niki’s answers were mostly snark. I love them. You should read them. But it’s also worthwhile to have a few people answer even questions like these seriously, so I’m going to take a stab at that. I’m technically a social justice assassin, so not all the warriors want to admit I’m in the guild, but whatever.
It’s going to be long and tedious, since there are plenty of assumptions to unpack along with the questions themselves and the list itself is long and repetitive. But if we’re going to adopt this kind of tactic from the Christians, we might as well gallop while we’re at it, right? In order to keep it from getting unreadable, I’ll break it into thirds.
- Do you realize that your war on language through political correctness has made you bedfellows with true rape culture? In other words, Islam, the world’s most misogynistic ideology.
Let’s start with your assumptions. First, what is this “war on language through political correctness”? It is (1) an acknowledgement that free speech is not the same thing as speech without consequences and (2) putting varying degrees of pressure on people to change speech that harms others. We agree on (1), since you’re here making a video about my speech. We also agree on (2), since you’re using this video to shame me for speech you think aids Islam. So, whatever this war is, we don’t disagree on the principles. We disagree on the speech targeted. I expect you to start referring to all these videos as “political correctness”.
You claim Islam is “true rape culture”. Here’s a decently well-accepted definition of rape culture:
Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.
Do Muslim cultures count as rape cultures? Generally, yes. Are they the only or “true” rape cultures? Ha! No. Not even close. Even if you only want to count the most extreme rape cultures as true, how do you feel about the FLDS? How do you feel about Evangelical modesty culture? Are they not “true” rape cultures?
The biggest differences between those cultures and Islam is the amount of governmental and social power they hold. They’re both so sodden with misogyny that arguing which is the most misogynist would be a subjective wankfest. Even when we’re talking about power, though, do you really want to try to tell me that Evangelical modesty culture isn’t a major factor in U.S. life? Because that’s an argument worth having. Mostly because it’s really easy to settle.
Is there a connection between political correctness and Islam? This is as close as you get to a real problem in this question. There are quite a few people who are still trying to figure out how talk about oppression under Islam without inciting violence and oppression against Muslims and not doing it well. On the other hand, there are still plenty of people like you who can’t figure out how to admit that if misogyny is a problem under Islam, that’s because it’s a problem everywhere it pops up.
The people I’ve seen working to balance both concerns all seem to be people who get labeled “SJWs”, though. So I’m going to go ahead and say the solution to this broad problem is going to come from progessives. It doesn’t sound from your question as though you’re working on the problem, but let me know if you’re doing anything to get that straightened out among white guys.
- Why do you claim to speak for LGBT people, women, ethnic minorities, but when LGBT people, women, ethnic minorities disagree, you harass them?
I don’t claim to speak for anyone. Perhaps what you mean is that I boost the words and the messages of people in all those groups and advocacy organizations for those groups? Sometimes I even collect them. That’s a far different thing, though. So is saying that I agree with those words and messages. So is countering bad arguments I get when I boost those messages or providing research that demonstrates a point.
As for what happens when a woman disagrees with me, for example, about sexual harassment at cons, you can see for yourself. If that’s harassment, we’re going to have a long discussion of what’s happened to me when I’ve advocated for myself.
Do people get harassed over having minority opinions about things? They do. Some of these issues are life and death for the people involved. Sometimes the disagreement comes with a big old bonus for the person selling people out. Sometimes even people who proclaim for social justice are shitty or react badly.
Again, though, this isn’t an issue tied to any one ideology, and the people I see working on it are all SJWs. What are the white men you represent doing to fix the problem of people being harassed over their opinions?
- Do you want women to be equal or do you want women to be a protected class? You can’t have both. If you expect society to treat women as equal with men, why don’t women have to take responsibility for their own safety?
This question assumes that wanting people to be equal makes them equal. That’s a very strange assumption. I can’t think of another kind of issue where people would argue on an atheist channel that wishing makes something so.
Nope, it takes work to get from wanting to reality. In this case, as in many others, the designation of a protected class is a recognition that there are forces working to make people unequal. Thus, the group is legally protected from some of the worst of those forces as a step toward equality in reality instead of just in our dreams.
As for why women don’t “have to take responsibility for their own safety”, I assume this is a question about rape and the pushback against victim blaming. Again, however, the question has some very strange assumptions. It only makes sense to target women to stop rape when women are the people responsible for rape. According to the data we have on the most widely agreed-upon definition of rape, the people responsible for rape are overwhelmingly men. Therefore, targeting women to prevent rape is a waste of resources. Also rather insulting.
- What do you think will happen if you leave your safe space?
I think I’ll run into people who have such a strong emotional reactions to my political opinions that they’ll waste a ton of my time trying to shut me up. This isn’t conjecture. It’s experience. Being an “SJW” means spending a lot of time in advocacy. You might be unaware of this based on your audience, but you don’t actually do advocacy among people who agree with you.
- How can you possibly justify the idea that it’s somehow racist to disagree with Black Lives Matter and yet it’s not racist when a black person tweets something like “Kill all white people”?
Here’s where we talk about lexical conflation. What you’re doing is looking at a discussion in which “racism” is being used as a technical term, meaning “prejudice and/or bigotry backed up by institutional power” and hearing it as the lay version of “racism” that simply means “prejudice”. It’s like when creationists hear “theory” meaning “an overarching explanation of a significant body of scientific results” and think evolution is just a “theory” meaning “hypothesis”.
When you know that’s the problem, it’s really not hard to see the distinction between your two scenarios. When someone says black lives don’t matter, they are agreeing with the justice system that is killing black people disproportionately and letting itself off the hook for it. When someone says white people should die, they are disagreeing with a justice system that just used a bomb on a robot to obliterate the last person who tried to implement the policy, despite the fact that he was already pinned down. One has institutional power behind their words when they’re put into action. The other one dies.
- Are you aware that the present is not the past? I’m not kidding. Are you familiar with the concept of linear time? Because you seem incredibly comfortable travelling back through to time to talk about how bad things were for women or black people or whoever and then by using some form of SJW magic you claim or imply that those problems in the past exist today? Are you aware that this trick that you’re doing is not working? Why do you think that would work?
I’m quite aware of linear time. That you’d think I’m not is rather odd. I’m also aware of the concept of history and a firm proponent of the idea that being aware of it is required in order not to repeat its mistakes. Plus, I know that historical decisions and policies have had effects on the state of today’s world and that understanding the roots of our problems makes it far easier to solve them. As far as I know, these are pretty mainstream concepts. I don’t see anything in the question that would challenge them directly.
The next time you see people talking about the past as though it’s relevant for today, keep all this in mind. If you still don’t see how they’re connected, maybe try asking for a more in-depth explanation. There probably is one, since you’re not even close to the only person who believes in linear time.
- Do you really think you can spend your entire life in a state of perpetual emotional immaturity? Do you actually imagine that you will be able to stretch out your adolescence for your entire existence?
Yet another bizarre assumption. How were these questions chosen?
I’ve had significant adult responsibilities, including emotional ones, for several decades at this point. I didn’t enjoy adolescence particularly and did my best to get out there and get independent as soon as I possibly could. These days, people call me things like “effective” as compliments. It isn’t exciting, but it’s certainly adult.
But maybe we have different definitions of emotional maturity. Mine involves taking responsibility for the welfare of the world in which I live and being aware and thoughtful of my effects on the people around me, rather than living in a perpetual Randian dream of independent ubermensch whose needs are met by invisible, magical infrastructure. What’s yours?
- There are 13% more women in college right now than men. So if the whole goal of feminism is equality, shouldn’t we have some men-only scholarships in order to equal it out?
This is a decent question. Congratulations.
In order to answer it, we need to understand why there are fewer men than women in college. I’m a bit behind on answers, but last I looked, there were three factors being talked about. The problem is new enough that we don’t really know how any contribute overall, but they all affect significant populations and should be fixed for those reasons.
The first is an intolerance of fidgeting and inattention in earlier schooling that leaves boys disaffected with education. We have definitely seen a decrease in recess and other active time in schools. We are placing more demands on children’s attention earlier in their lives. We have good reason to think boys are not socialized well to deal with either of these changes. We have no reason to think this is good for children generally and several reasons to think it may be bad. It’s also terrible for kids with ADD. We can and should build in better active breaks in early education.
The second is incarceration. This is a problem that disproportionately affects young men and people of color (some of the gender differences may be reduced in people of color). People are locked up, often on flimsy pretexts, when they should be getting an education. We need to stop providing incentives to lock more people up and work for better solutions.
The third is the pay gap. At every level of education, women are paid less than men. They’re required to demonstrate their accomplishments rather than just their potential when being hired for jobs. Women are going to college to put them on an even footing with less educated men for both these reasons, as well as because going into the well-paying union trades often means encountering a hostile work environment. We need to strengthen the protections on this as well as encouraging employers to review their own hiring, promoting, and pay practices.
There may be other factors, but these solutions should go a long way toward making college enrollment more even. Again, however, the people who are working on these issues generally seem to be SJWs.
- If feminism and egalitarianism are both for equal rights, then why does one start with a gendered prefix and the other is entirely gender neutral?
This is a basic set-subset problem. Feminism is a subset of egalitarianism. Hence the more-specific name.
This is also why people find it strange when someone insists that they’re not a feminist; they’re an egalitarian! Since feminism is a subset of egalitarianism, someone who is an egalitarian should also be a feminist. Now, not being a feminist doesn’t necessarily mean a person isn’t an egalitarian. People are good at compartmentalizing in illogical ways. It does, however, suggest they’re not very good or consistent egalitarians.