March 22, 2014

Social Justice Warriors, we have a failure to communicate

To me, even more than being wrong about some science and social science issues or having a huge lack of skepticism, this is the single biggest issue within the "social justice warrior" movement within Atheism Plus. (I'm halfway tempted to say that it IS Atheism Plus, but I think there's a minority there who, while believing that atheism has not yet done enough in the way of social justice, and either ignorant of or not wanting to identify as "secular humanist," yet have not jumped off the deep end.)

That said, a recent blog post by Massimo Pigliucci, about American Atheists' President David Silverman's statements at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, and my own blogging about that, exemplify this. So does seeing them come pretty close to destroying a Facebook group, as I blogged here.

As I see it, many of the SJWs carry presumptions into most of their social justice communications. And, they're as presupposition laden as most groups who willingly stake out one polarity on an issue or set of issues that's really a continuum.

For instance, on sexual assault issues, questioning whether women shouldn't monitor their own alcohol intake, especially at places like college fraternities, will lead to you being labeled part of the rape culture, blaming women, etc. Do it more than once, and you'll likely be assumed to be part of the men's rights movement.

Make jokes about this, and you'll be assumed to be a cyberstalker or something, if you're not careful. I have been.

Part of the issue, though, is not a failure to become better communicators, or not recognizing that one is bringing presuppositions to the table. Rather, it's not wanting to actually communicate, rather than pronounce in a monologue. Question that, and your Twitter handle gets put on the Block Bot auto-blocking add-on. Or you get auto-blocked from commenting on blogs. Or, as Greg Laden did with me years ago, you get threatened with removal from the entire Internet, per this blog post:
Failure to adhere to these rules may lead to your permanent banning from this blog, and if you don't adhere to that, you will be banned from the entire internet.

Yes, Greg, you may have your rules for your blog, but you're not Tim Berners-Lee or ICANN.

That said, behind this, I see an issue of martyrology that rivals that of the Jehovah's Witnesses, and likely for similar, in-group tribal reasons. Be a good martyr and other group members support you for the degree of your effort and commitment.

Is there any cure for this? Time, possibly, although I don't guarantee that. Some 150 years after Charles Russell, JWs still like getting doors slammed in their faces. Some people like to be martyrs. Some of them, unfortunately, learned that martyrdom has passive power. Sadly, some of them learned that as part of childhood.

That, in turn, leads to another presupposition, namely, the one that nobody else can understand your troubles.

Well, first of all, you're assuming that your troubles are worse than those of others who may, at least at first, want to listen sympathetically to you. That's another conversation killer.

It's also a trust-killer. Maybe I actually do have "issues" worse than yours, or did in the past. Maybe I've had pains and hardships you don't know about. But, if you continue to try to maximize yours, and as part of that, discount or even dismiss mine, again, you're shutting down conversation.

More than that, you're shutting down trust. And, that's the real bottom line.

I simply don't trust these social justice warrior types, not to hear any real personal details of my life. I don't trust them, and doubt I will for the rest of my life.

Related to that? Although she's not an SJW, or Atheism Pluser, as far as I can tell, Karen Stollznow had alleged that Ben Radford had engaged in sexual harassment against her. The SJWs were all over promoting this one. And Stollznow has now retracted those claims. That said, the letter may be part of a legal settlement; Radford officially filed suit over her claims on Feb. 17 of this year. Anyway, it's clear that this is all clear as mud.

Also interesting, per comment 45 on a blog post by Radford, P.Z. Myers, the grand poobah of Gnu Atheist blogging, has himself been the victim of a false rape claim. Also, what the hell was Radford doing writing a blog about false rape claims 9 days after filing suit alleging exactly that? That's as clear as Louisiana blackland gumbo soil mud.

(Note: The previous 2 grafs are why I don't identify with modern "scientific" skepticism as a movement any more than I do Gnu Atheism/Atheism Plus.)

And, besides.

Given that much of the SJW movement's effort is focused on sexuality, it sounds like lesbians, and even more, gays, still have work to do in being accepting of bisexuals. Always start at home. Addressing this, then Rebecca Watson winking at men like Sarah Palin, would be a nice start on that.

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