Hugogate is still roiling the science fiction community — and interestingly enough, the controversy has managed to attract the attention of the national media. Granted, Glenn Reynolds is a long-standing sci-fi fan, as his periodic book recommendations attest. And yes — perhaps it was a slow news week. But what’s going on in the fandom shouldn’t be written off as irrelevant to the general populace. On the contrary, what’s going on in the fandom mirrors what’s going on in society as a whole — at least wherever the hard-left social justice warriors have gained substantial power and influence. Planning on sending your child to a traditional university? Then you need to know how said radicals operate. You need to know that they are the outright enemies of rational thought.
Consider: As a firearms instructor, Larry Correia (one of the authors at the center of the aforementioned controversy) has taught thousands of people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and creeds how to defend themselves. As he writes, “I think people who would try to drag anyone to death behind a pickup truck will have a difficult time doing so after they have a pair of hollow points placed into their chest cavity at high speed.” He has also expressed his libertarian indifference regarding the bedroom habits of his fellow citizens. But because he’s tangled with social justice warriors on whether or not science fiction writers should abandon the “gender binary” – and because he once defended Phil Robertson’s right to think gay sex is weird and sinful – he’s been defamed up and down the blogosphere as a violent homophobe. You see, it’s not enough that Larry is amenable to changing the law to give gay rights activists what they claim they want — i.e., the ability to enter into marriage contracts like anyone else. No — as far as the social justice warriors are concerned, you are a homophobe until you wholly and unambiguously approve of the gay lifestyle in all its particulars. Fail to march in lock-step with this celebratory agenda and you will be declared, essentially, a nonperson.
This is irrational — and tyrannical to boot. Yes — some gay and transgendered individuals have been bullied for who they are, and that is an injustice that requires recompense. But the right answer is not to become bullies yourselves and lash out indiscriminately at everyone who has doubts or questions about the way you choose to live. There are thousands of people out there who oppose gay marriage not because they seek to hurt you, but because of their sincere religious beliefs. There are also thousands of people who are willing to consider a compromise that allows gays to enter into civil marriage contracts while also protecting the rights of the religious to preach and act as they see fit. None of these people deserve to be browbeaten into submission; indeed, many in the second group are potential allies whom you are turning off by your continuing failure to distinguish between those who are legitimately threatening and hateful and those who merely dissent.
And lest you think the hard-left is only poisoning the well on the matter of homosexuality, this full-bore irrationality also appears whenever these social justice warriors take up the issue of race. First of all, they erroneously flatten the history of oppression into a “whites vs. people of color” narrative that ignores, to name just a few examples, the mistreatment of the Irish in both the US and the UK, the continuing prejudice against the Romani people and other white nomadic groups, the atrocities committed by the Japanese against the Chinese during World War II (which, oh by the way, rival the crimes of the Nazis during the European Holocaust), and the Rwandan genocide (in which black Africans massacred other black Africans). Look through the history of any culture and you will find instances in which the Other was attacked, enslaved, or otherwise deprived of their natural rights. Tribalism is a universal feature of the human mind that can only be overcome by conscious, arduous effort; no nation or race of men can be declared 100% innocent.
Secondly, social justice warriors refuse to recognize that “white” does not describe a monolithic group and that “privilege,” if it does exist, has more to do with class than with skin color. There is no way on Earth that an unemployed white man in eastern Kentucky is more privileged than a black professor of women’s studies at an elite coastal university — but according to your average social justice warrior, if you’re a white male heterosexual, you automatically live life on an easier setting, a notion that is laughably counter to facts. Similarly, these petty Marxists hold all whites responsible for the crimes of slavery and Jim Crow — forgetting, of course, the white abolitionists and civil rights activists who played a key role in defeating both of these manifestations of institutional discrimination. Group-based charges of guilt are neither historically accurate nor constructive; they are more likely to foster resentment than racial harmony.
Lastly, the social justice left utterly fails to attribute to any minority group either humanity or agency. If you criticize hip-hop culture, you’re a racist. If you express concern about the collapse of the black family, you’re a racist. If you hold members of a favored minority group responsible for the consequences of their own behavior, you’re a racist. In the mind of a social justice warrior, if you are a “person of color,” you are an unimpeachable victim. Nothing is your fault — and on the flip side of the coin, there is nothing you can personally do to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. You are powerless and in urgent need of the social justice warrior’s helping hand. As many black conservatives have observed, this is a profoundly condescending viewpoint — and virulently racist, too. “People of color” are just as capable of looking after themselves; what they need is the liberty to pursue their own interests, not a fleet of self-appointed saviors who swoop in and treat them like helpless children.
Honestly, I could go on forever about the myriad ways in which social justice radicals have assaulted logic, history, and human decency. The science fiction fandom? That’s an instructive microcosm, not an anomaly.