Let’s Talk

Shamelessly ganked off twitter

Here’s a handy visual aid for levels of discussion.

The peak of the pyramid, unfortunately, does not seem to be useful. An end state, perhaps? In any case, whether or not your opponent’s point has been successfully refuted is likely to be a subjective judgement call on the basis of the audience. Very rarely, it seems, will anyone engage in a discussion with someone and actually convince them to “switch sides,” so to speak. Although it does happen!

Therefore, when engaging in serious discussion, the next two steps are the useful ones: refutation, and contradiction. Not every argument will have a mistake to refute, I suspect, so contradiction is the real heart of a proper serious discussion.

Not exactly something you can do on Twitter, what with the 140 character word lengths. Twitter really only gives you space for contradiction, unless whatever subject you’re discussing lends itself to image-as-evidence. (Useful, the image uploading. Especially for presenting evidence.)

The bottom three levels of the pyramid are not part of argumentation at all. Tone policing, as indicated in the graphic, does not address the argument at all.

Now, since tone policing is one of the primary weapons of the intellectually dishonest, I have a severe allergy to seeing it used. If you must address the tone in which something is written, either do so in a humorous (rather than moralizing) way, or take your concerns private rather than public. The only case in which I would consider it appropriate to publicly “tone police” is to disavow harassment, or if the person doing the “policing” has some legitimate authority to do so. Someone with a fanbase can certainly request specific behavior out of that fanbase. (In which case, I wouldn’t really consider it “tone policing” – the offensive part of tone policing is that the person doing it often abrogates to herself an authority that she does not legitimately possess.)

Ad hominem is one of the other primary weapons of the intellectually dishonest: DISQUALIFY. Most often you will see this combined with the last bit: insult. As GamerGate has found out, the opposition has only one card: disqualify with insults. Misogynists, harassers, trolls – nobody needs to address the arguments of such horrible people! After all, they don’t have any.

Which is one reason to investigate disqualification claims very carefully, especially when dealing with generalized accusations against entire groups.

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Propaganda in action

One of the most interesting things about the GamerGate kerfluffle is that it provides real-time examples of many of the propaganda techniques used by the “Social Justice Warrior” set to shut down criticism. Having attracted my very own propaganda commenter (Hi, Twisted Inspiration!) I’ve decided that rather than attempting a useless comment back-and-forth with a propaganda-bot mind whose fundamental axioms are mutually incompatible with mine, I would point out the structure of the argument. And also get today’s blog post out of it. So thanks, TI! And also please go comment on Larry Correia’s blog. It would amuse me greatly.

First, there was the motte-and-bailey tactic. When called on the hateful rhetoric of “gamers are dead,” TI dutifully showed up to reframe; as he* would have it, I’m a semi-literate rube who has somehow mysteriously gotten this idea that the “gamers are dead, gamers are over” articles were full of bigotry towards a certain group of people who are stereotyped as straight white cisgendered males, when actually what they really meant was that “everyone is a gamer now.”

Yeeeeeeahno, I can read, and what’s more, I don’t fall for that kind of “plausible deniability” argument construction. I don’t care about the motte; of course many people play games now (although not everyone) – that doesn’t change the fact that “gamers are over” clearly designated a subset of “people who play games” as “gamers” and then attempted to marginalize that group right out of existence, using stereotypes filled with hate and bigotry. The fact that they then attempted to co-opt the term “gamers” for the socially approved group of people so that any memory of the quote-unquote cisgendered neckbearded straight white males would be expunged is supposed to mean they’re full of sparkles and hearts? Communists liked their airbrushing people into nonexistence, too, and I don’t like them, either.

I wish I could say I have no idea why someone who simultaneously claims gamer cred (appeal to personal authority, perhaps?) and then tries to eliminate “gamer” as a meaningful identifier would do something like that, but I’m afraid that’s a typical response to the “carrot and stick” routine run by social justice types. The stick is the bigotry, hate, social marginalization, and out-grouping behavior – calling people “misogynist,” etc. The carrot is the offer that if you only come over to our side and use our language and become one with the Borg collective of social justice, we’ll accept you and you’ll be popular! (Mostly it’s just “toe the line and we won’t put you on the harassment and shaming list” blackmail imo, considering how often they turn on each other for failing to check their privilege sufficiently.)

The second thing to notice is the complete dismissal of facts on the opposing side and constant reframe towards what the SJW wants to focus discussion on. Don’t discuss word choice or the articles in question, because they’re the indefensible bailey – drop back to a defensible motte like “nobody can take your identity away” that has nothing to do with the specific behavior of the “journalists” or social activists in question. Logic need not apply; the same person can, in the very same comment, claim that the identity in question never existed. So people shouldn’t get upset about having their identity maligned because their identity doesn’t actually exist and no one can take your identity away? (This would be the point at which I realize that TI doesn’t have a functioning logic circuit and therefore cannot be reasoned with, if his* prior complete disregard for facts and evidence weren’t enough. It’s hard to have a conversation with someone who insists on ignoring everything you bring up.)

The next step is to reframe the conflict in such a way that it delegitimizes the complaints of GamerGate. Frame GamerGate as a tribe – even though GG includes people who are outside the aforementioned (nonexistent!) “gamer” identity, like myself – that is manufacturing an external opponent. This requires ignoring the fact that “gamers” as a group have been the butt of a great deal of very real social shaming and marginalization for years – and ignoring the fact that the refrain of “worthless virgin basement-dwelling losers with poor hygiene, haha” never triggered anything like GamerGate in the past, so what’s different now? It also implies that the responsibility for starting the current conflict lies with GamerGate, that they made something up in order to justify an internet war and the other side is just plain bewildered over what happened.

I believe I know a few terms for that: “plausible deniability”, “provocation”, and “gaslighting” come to mind.

Next, imply that I don’t actually know what “GamerGate” is doing now while making sh-t up; “That’s Jack Thompson they are supporting now for saying something bad about Anita Sarkeesian.” Except I have been following GamerGate more closely than ever recently, and the claim that GG is “supporting” Jack Thompson is bogus. Jack Thompson criticized Anita Sarkeesian and GamerGate supporters merely acknowledged that JT agreed with them about something. Somehow that’s an endorsement of everything Jack Thompson has ever said or done? And because JT has been one of the (remember, nonexistent!) external enemies of gamers (who don’t exist!) he should be forever cast out into darkness and wailing and gnashing of teeth? So what’s the problem here: are gamers too tribal (despite not being “special”), or not tribal enough?

Notice as well how criticism becomes “saying something bad” – a very convenient smear. Who knows what he said, but it was bad! Did he call her dirty names? Hey, I’d like to say bad things about Anita Sarkeesian, but if I did, John C. Wright would be disappointed in me, so I can’t because social shaming by the patriarchy! Thankfully, YouTubers with razor wit will say much funnier bad things about Anita Sarkeesian than I could, so I don’t have to.

And this is an illustration of the biggest difference between the rabbit warren of social justice and GamerGate. In the SJW world, anything and everything that someone does is immediately credited to the group. So if GG thinks that Jack Thompson has a point about Anita Sarkeesian, that must mean he’s a part of GG! Uh, no. GamerGate is not a totalizing ideology; people can agree or disagree with each other over some fairly major issues.

GamerGate started over the GameJournoPros – an emailing list equivalent to the JournoList, that existed in order to allow certain people who were supposedly “covering” the gaming industry to have “back room discussions” about how to respond “properly” to events. Some media companies have taken the ethics charges to heart; The Escapist, for one. And here’s an example of what actual journalistic coverage of GamerGate looks like.

And here’s what the opponents of GamerGate look like: bullying

Sam Biddle, by the way, is set to be promoted by his media employer Gawker, according to screencaps on Twitter. Feel free to correct the record if at any point he has actually suffered an equivalent punishment for breaking the rules of civility as what the SJWs dish out regularly to their targets. A temporary suspension from employment and a televised apology with him in tears will suffice; I’m magnanimous. He doesn’t need to be fired and blacklisted.

GamerGate has nothing to do with journalistic integrity and misbehavior? Sure. Sure. If it makes you happy to believe that, I’m reliably informed that Cloudcuckoo Land has plenty of room for more residents.

I’m cynical enough that the corruption in games journalism came as absolutely no surprise. I’m not angry over that, though of course I agree that journalists should be transparent and honest about what they’re doing. If SJW journalists want to grade games on whatever the Social Justice Cause of the Week happens to be, instead of game mechanics or “fun,” or pimp their buddies’ games, that is totally fine with me. But they need to be honest about their criteria and their potential conflicts of interest.

I’m ticked off at those journalists not for being corrupt, but for being hateful bigots who say nasty things about my little brother, and then having the utter and absolute gall to pretend that’s not what they’re doing while affecting a smug attitude of moral superiority. I won’t be gaslighted by emotional abusers, sorry.

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Why I support GamerGate

Why would I support GamerGate, when I’m not a games enthusiast myself? I’m a very casual gamer; I don’t obsess over each new release or go piling up a virtual shopping cart of games on Steam every time there’s a sale. So why should I care?

Well. There’s this.

But the real thing that crossed the line, for me personally? “Gamers are dead.”

You know who those punks are talking smack about? My dad. My brothers. My HUSBAND.

Oh no you didn’t, you bigoted electron-wasters.

I can’t stand hypocrites. I can’t stand narcissistic predators. I certainly can’t stand radical feminist activists, who have a tendency to be both of the above. But what really ticks me off? They ATTACKED my FAMILY. Neckbearded cis white males living in parents’ basements? You think those men don’t have families that love them, so they’re safe targets for your hate? Guess again. You think all gamers meet that stereotype? You’re not just a bigot, you’re a moron.

You know what? I never had “normal” friends past the age of six or so. My social life, as an extremely introverted bookworm, was nonexistent – until I became friends with gamers. I often don’t agree theologically, politically, ideologically, etc. with everyone else in the gaming community – and I’m okay with people disagreeing with me and thinking I’m wrong! Because those things are not what gaming is about! And trying to make gaming be about ideological conformity is WRONG. This is the last bastion of those who Don’t Fit In Anywhere Else. This is the real safe space – where people rise or fall in the eyes of their peers based on what they DO and not their physically-determined “identity.” In gaming, it doesn’t matter what your chromosomes are or what gender you identify as or who you’re attracted to or whether other people think you’re crazier than a psychologist convention. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where your ancestors came from or if you failed the sixth grade three times. It doesn’t even matter if you’re rich as Croesus or if you live off of ramen cups in a dingy apartment. All of the limitations of physical reality that bind us in “the real world”? None of that matters in gaming. And that’s a precious, precious thing that needs to be protected from identity grievance-mongers.

I also don’t mind that people in GamerGate will inevitably think that I have Raving Lunatic beliefs. I happen to think that about some of them right back. But as long as we’re OKAY with being DIFFERENT we can leave those differences aside and all get along and shoot Nazi zombies and have fun together. The enemies of GamerGate want to destroy that freedom. I happen to think it’s worth fighting for.

And nobody gets to say that my friends and family are “over” or “dead” or stereotype them as failures and use them as punching bags. I was on the sidelines until anti-GamerGate attacked my family. They attacked my friends. They were sticking knives into the backs of my precious people, spreading the bigotry and hatred that robs good men of opportunity and the respect they deserve as human beings. You know what? That makes GamerGaters my people, because even when we disagree about other things, we believe in truth, honesty, honor, freedom – and individuality.

Just because the jackbooted groupthink thugs aren’t stomping on my face yet doesn’t mean I’m not going to do all I can to thwart them now.

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Twitter is addictive

Oooh, it’s terrible. Somebody save me, I can feel my attention span atrophying already. >_>

Actually I think the major problem is that I followed Instapundit, and then was inevitably crushed under the massive pipeline of CONTENT, most of which I’m not actually all that interested in.

Oops.

However, I find that the #GamerGate and #OpSKYNET people are actually… restoring some of my faith in humanity. My cherished cynicism is in serious danger, here!

In other news, John C. Wright made me buy a Larry Correia book off my wishlist before Christmas (a serious infraction in November) by posting the very beginning of Monster Hunter International. And since it’s International Men’s Day, what better way to celebrate than reading such a book? I mean, I’d list all the things in my life that make existence more pleasant and convenient that were invented by men, but that’s like, all of them, so it’s way too much work.

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Games are teh evulz

One of the interesting things about GamerGate is the way people are making connections. For one thing, the SJW campaign against “misogyny” and “sexism” in games is fueled by their insistence that such games make the players misogynistic and sexist in real life. Exactly like people claimed that playing video games made people violent in real life.

Well, if video games were that powerful, I would be Communist and would have already nuked the world into submission and then colonized space, because that’s exactly how I played Civilization.

Somehow I managed to maintain the distinction between what worked in the game (Communism actually did work in the version of Civ that I played… can’t remember which number we started out on, though. I always found that amusing, because it obviously doesn’t work in RL) and what Communism is in the real world. The Holodomor. Tienanmen Square. Widespread poverty and corruption. Et cetera.

Of course, perhaps Civ did grant me some resistance to the Global Warming hysteria. Fallout pollution from establishing my worldwide Communist space empire did make the sea levels rise a couple times before I started sending out engineer units to clean up the nuked cities. And while it was an annoying setback, it certainly wasn’t the end of the world.

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Emotional abusers

I have the immeasurable blessing of having grown up in an intact, psychologically healthy family. Not that my parents were perfect people, or that they never made mistakes, or that they couldn’t have done better sometimes – but they worked together to do their best and fill in for each others’ weaknesses.

Not everyone grows up so blessed.

Sarah Hoyt’s post Table Settings at the Cannibal Feast includes this comment from one of the commenters, Synova:

Some of the comments by people who had been subject to the full treatment just made me want to cry. I didn’t think it was funny because the guilty parties and enablers aren’t the ones who are hurt. Yes, we can scoff at Scalzi when he makes a rational counter-argument and is made, ultimately, to retract and abase himself and agree in public and start proselytizing in public that no… you really can’t trust your own brain and if something seems wrong to you or you feel like defending yourself it is simply proof that you’re guilty.

But there were people who reported rather severe PTSD type reactions to even sitting down at a keyboard to write because they were so terrified of offending… again. Because *rationally* they’d done nothing wrong the first time, but they were forced to an irrational acceptance of their guilt. So now they’ve “accepted their privilege” and “checked it” and confessed and repented (they could come to the Dark Side and be welcomed, but they don’t know that, and have been taught that the Dark Side is evil, and that’s why shunning is so very evil within closed communities… being exiled is a horrific punishment) but since they had NO IDEA how they could have done something wrong in the first place, they also have no idea how to avoid it the next time.

Imagine doing this to a child.

The kid is walking through a room doing nothing much and suddenly POW… and then you tell the kid… well that was YOUR fault. You screwed up. You stepped on that spot on the floor.

So the kid looks at the spot and it looks like every other spot. But the kid is told that, no, the fact that she can’t even SEE the spot is what the problem is. You can’t SEE the spot… that’s why it is YOUR fault. Also, a good child will try to learn. You’re a good child, aren’t you?

So the kid says, yes… it was my fault. I could not SEE the spot. Not seeing the spot makes this my fault.

Afterward, it’s still impossible to see the spots, and walking across the room becomes fraught with danger. Sitting down at the keyboard gives this very “good” person the shakes and panic attacks… where are the spots? She still can’t see the spots but she MUST agree and believe that those spots exist.

I have a LOT of sympathy for those who were hurt, just like I have sympathy for any abused person.

If there’s any way to be As Despicable As Communists, it’s this pattern of emotional abuse. And SJWs use it all the time. Slutwalks? Totally okay. Pictures of empowered, armed women (wearing more clothing than some Slutwalkers, in fact) on a shirt? MISOGYNY!

It’s not about what you did. It’s about who you are: one of the powerful, or the powerless? The In Group, or the Out Group? Because if you’re In, you can do no wrong. If you’re Out, or you’re a soft target on the Inside and it’s time for a ritual purge, it’s just a matter of time before they come up with something to badger and abuse you with – and it will always, always, always be All Your Fault.

That’s bullshit. 

And it’s not acceptable.

SJW communities attract emotional abusersNo kidding. The way everyone in the SJW community harps on their victimhood, I never would have guessed they’d attract psychopathic abusers. /sarc If your philosophy in life is “other people should give me stuff/respect/fame/money/power/etc because I’m disadvantaged, waaaaaaah” you really are going to have a serious predator problem.

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Assumptions are revealing

Previously I would not pay much attention to media frenzies; my disdain for the Internet Idiot Ghettos is well documented. However, the GamerGate pushback against moralizing Leftist hypocrites has mobilized me to actually join Twitter (exhibit #1 that I have been taken over by Evil League of Evil mind rays. If I ever join Tumblr, please send an intervention team of crack psychologists, and tinfoil hats).

The fallout of The Shirt Incident has lead to some really interesting things, however. For one, here’s a Twitchy summation of SJWs attempting to tar Insty for troll behavior… just like they tried to tar GamerGate with troll behavior.

Notice the principle in the background. Insty calls a woman a horrible person for her terrible behavior. Some trolls harass her. Therefore Insty is responsible for the trolls harassing the “horrible” woman. How does that follow? What kind of twisted logic is that?

It only follows if calling someone a horrible person is a signal for people to engage in harassment.

SJWs have proven by their actions that they believe that it is morally permissible – in fact, practically morally necessary and virtuous! – to harass someone who has been labeled “a horrible person” by the SJW herd. They use terms like “sexist,” “misogynist,” “racist,” etc. to designate what type of horrible person they’re dealing with, but the root of each of those insults is “You’re a horrible person.” 

The reason they blame Insty and the GamerGaters for harassment is that when SJWs criticize someone, they EXPECT AND INTEND for that person to be harassed by their fellow activists! The criticism of an SJW is the trigger for such harassment and SJWs do this on purpose. Criticism is like an SJW bat-signal that says “Thoughtcrime detected! Everybody dogpile the target! Destroy him utterly!!” You know how you can tell? Read that tweet on Twitchy about plausible deniability. That’s a grade-A admission that SJW Janet is well versed in this tactic of using what might sound like some kind of “reasonable” criticism of someone as a targeting laser to release the lynch mob. And remember the SJW’s defense of their own mobbing behavior: “Free speech has consequences!” But negative consequences for something an SJW activist says? Beyond the pale!

Which is why they have such trouble dealing with libertarian criticism, because libertarians don’t try to start witch hunts. Libertarians don’t try to utterly destroy people’s personal and professional lives for making a mistake or being wrong about something. SJWs consider criticism an assault because THAT IS HOW SJWs USE CRITICISM – to designate the targets of their assaults!

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