What are they afraid of? Complete social ostracism. For human beings, this is tantamount to facing death. Also the material fear of losing their jobs. Most people don’t have tenure somewhere, and with the Sady Doyles of the world merrily traipsing about getting people fired for their Wrongthink on Twitter, this is a well-founded fear.
Another well-founded fear: long-term harassment, including doxing and lies. With no one backing you up because of aforesaid ostracism. And it’s not like the right-wingers are gonna swoop in to save you. No one will.
“Christina” is not my real name. I’m using it because Medium publishes pieces by someone who is a well-known harasser and bully who has used social justice terms to destroy more communities than I can even count. I have personally seen her do this time and time again. Not being independently wealthy, there are chances I’m not ready to take. And there are plenty more people like her out there.
Protesting certain things can cause people sitting at the top of heap to decide you look like a fun chew toy, and no one will help you, mostly for fear of being chewed on next. That’s what there is to be afraid of. It’s perhaps the most primal of all human fears. We’re like rats: ostracize us and we die.
You talk about always having been somehow outside this system. Lucky you. Authoritarians always come down far harder on apostates. If one is a person of color, or a woman, or disabled, or queer, the leftist authoritarians expect you to be a member of the choir. If you don’t even want to be part of their congregation, it will not be pretty, particularly if you once were.
Yes, I am saying your white male privilege protects you somewhat here. Perhaps that is why you can ask what there is to be afraid of. It looks like you haven’t seen women driven to the brink of suicide by other (always richer, what a coincidence) women using the most vicious language imaginable against them for not using the Right Words. Where’s a feminist woman to go after she’s been put through that? A big sea of nowhere and nothing seems to await us.
I’d like to help create somewhere. But it takes time to decompress from cults.