On Why The Social Justice Warrior Ideology Is Fundamentally Medieval;
Discourse II in the series
This feature-length discourse cuts to the heart of what is really wrong with the Social Justice Warrior ideology.
Clinching the case — yes, clinching it — that the word “Medieval” is the crucial one critics have been searching for to describe the new ideology, this discourse examines the ways in which SJWs’ most favored terms unfairly warp debate and reasoned discussion — warping them in the same ways that long-gone medieval monsters did. Not only does this analysis explain the current “left-wing-exodus”, where many Liberals have moved away from SJWs and the Left; but it also unpacks SJWs’ most favored terms, one by one, using the tools of logic; thereby furnishing the reader with defenses against the onslaught of SJW unfairness.
A few years ago, Social Justice Warriors exploded into the US public consciousness with a vernacular and modus operandi that has since drawn a tremendous political backlash that contributed to the Leftist loss of the 2016 presidential election. Not only has this backlash reinvigorated the conservative voting bloc at the polls, but the backlash has also been embraced and cheered by those types who have, over hundreds of years, pushed Western Civilization into the relatively Enlightened state it’s currently in, whom I will refer to as “the Liberals”, and who, interestingly, have typically resided within the Leftist’s voting bloc. Is that odd?
It shouldn’t be a surprise though. It certainly should be no surprise to anyone that those of the Right Wing have opposed the goals and values of the Social Justice Warriors (who are invariably Leftists), since their respective estimates of what constitutes “justice” are opposite. But many Leftists still don’t know what to make of all of those acerbic stalwarts for Free Speech who still insist on being called “Liberal” and who oppose the new, encroaching ideology at every turn. (These Liberals have been old allies, after all.) The reason that this struggle developed is straightforward: Liberals (who are fundamentally different from Leftists) are opposed to Medievalism above all else, and the Social Justice Warrior ideology’s nature is fundamentally Medieval.
The several different political positions just mentioned cannot fit — obviously — onto a political left-right spectrum, and that’s actually just as well because to even begin to talk clearly about the political sphere in Western nations — and especially in America — today, it’s not possible to break it down into a one dimensional model. Different individuals or groups have their own political priorities, even within a voting bloc, so that distinguishing between them and describing their effective alliances with each other is important for understanding how they morph and march. At the risk of sounding snooty, the truth is that those who are at all aware of real political philosophies on the ground have long-since abandoned the serious usage of the left-right political spectrum model — it’s far too simplistic. But the 2D model (Authoritarian vs. Libertarian, Left vs. Right) that Libertarians have put forward — though popular — is still far from descriptive enough to make accurate sense of the political sphere — especially today. In order to talk about that, about the real political nature of the Social Justice Warrior ideology, and about the most crucial aspects of what is happening in politics today; a more accurate, sensible model is required. It should be one that continues the tradition of pitting true opposites along the opposite ends of spectra (for clarity’s sake), but that also points out key differences between political allies — differences that have often been ignored or conflated. Hence the diagram below. (And see Discourse I for an in-depth explanation of some of the benefits of using this model, as well as for a more in-depth set of directions for how to depict political beliefs inside of it — vectors and all.)
In the popular mind, political terms may change their meanings with the political winds. Obviously. They may change — in the public’s perception — for no explicable reason, or else perhaps due to the intentional influences of localized demagogues (such as those on AM radio). But this diagram organizes ideas and terminology in the clearest possible way, which requires that it ignore the fashionable understanding of terms (since it’s now fashionable to conflate certain terms); so it opts instead for the terminology overwhelmingly used by scholars around the world, over the long-run.
In the diagram, “Progressive” is opposite to “Conservative” and these terms refer purely to a person’s tendency to want to try out change for society. (Next to “Progressive”, a little icon of an upper case delta — which is a scientific symbol for ‘change’ — has a golden crown above it; i.e., ‘change is king’.) Likewise, the opposite corners of “Leftist” and “Right Wing” describe diametrically different preferences for how resources and glory should be divvied out among society: either to the many, or else to allow them to accrue to the ‘greatest’ at the top of the social hierarchy. Because the diagram depicts absolute opposites, and because “Liberal” is such an important, common term and such a historical force; it’s included with its opposite (Medievalist); the latter of which is the only political position that no one vocally identifies with in America today, but must be named.
Understanding what Liberal vs. Medievalist means
In this diagram, as might be inferred from the icons; “Liberal” refers to the ideas that sprang up in the 1600’s (and were refined in the 1700’s), as a reaction to both Medievalism and also to the type of arguments Hobbes put forth in the latter half of Leviathan. Leviathan is, of course, the foundational work of modern Western political philosophy, in that it describes the true, structural reason for governments to exist. The proto-Liberals of its day accepted its naturalistic, Empiricism- and reason-based premises, but noticed logical flaws leading up to the final conclusions; so they went on to contradict its latter half, and formulated a host of robust political ideas that have shaped the world immeasurably. John Locke is the most famous among those of that era who were responsible for formulating and furthering revolutionary ideas that we now call “Liberal”, such as an emphasis on the freedom of the individual, as well as the idea that ‘truths exist about ‘right and wrong behaviors’, which truths are fundamental to the natural fabric of the universe’ (“natural fabric of the universe”, or “Natural Law”, here meaning ‘part of the natural universe in the same way that ‘E=mc²’ or Modus Ponens are true’). Neither he nor anyone else has ever proved any behaviors to be right or wrong, but those who have decided to behave AS IF behaviors are so — and to subscribe to further conclusions, such as the existence of “inalienable rights”/“human rights” — are at least friends of Liberalism. Out of this revolutionary body of ideas sprang the US Constitution (with its Bill of Rights) and the foundations of civic culture in America, as well as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in France.
(For a much more in-depth explanation of the history — and proponents — of the variety of philosophies called “Liberal”, see Russell Blackford’s article, here.)
“Medievalism” — as a political attitude — can be thought of as comprising all of those old ideas— of a certain flavor — that grew increasingly unpopular during The Enlightenment Age, to which Enlightenment thinkers reacted against in the first place. The ‘Divine Right of Kings’, for example, had previously been the only political-philosophy-game in town, and the basic reasoning that led James I of England to promote the philosophy also necessarily implied that ‘Might makes Right’.
For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. — Romans 13
Since god controls the world, and since logic would extend the concept of ‘powers’ further than just to the king, as is implied, then defying power is defying god, so is not right. These ideas justified any action that anyone might want to take if they merely had the power to take it. From the inquisition to torture to confiscation to fraud to contradiction — all things were permitted by the logic of the Medieval mindset, save sometimes the “sins” listed in a holy book. A thoroughly Medieval-minded person ignores ethical reasoning; in their eyes, arguments that categorically demand religious tolerance, freedom of speech, or refraining from political assassination carry no weight. As evidenced by aggregate outcomes of politics and other behavior, this outlook was dominant during the Medieval periods; and; because the often-horrifying outcomes these attitudes produced were so much more frequent and (often) extreme than during any other period in Western history, the period becomes an emblem of the mindset.
The evil wrought by ‘Might Makes Right’ is considerable — fearsome; but, when combined with an all-encompassing ideology, becomes truly vast. Historically, after so many generations of the darkness produced by this unholy marriage of an all-encompassing ideology and ‘Might makes Right’, European civilizations finally embraced a decidedly different way of thinking about morality. ‘Right and wrong’ were extended far beyond any strictures of the holy book, and the idea that some behaviors are ‘unethical’ took hold. ‘Tolerance for other religious positions’, and a moral imperative that freedom of speech be held as an ‘inalienable right’ became acknowledged as part of this grand project.
Make no mistake, those political stances of tolerance did not arise out of kindness and flowery-soft sensibilities — they were, at first, the pragmatic, then, eventually, the apparently-imperative logical conclusions that follow from the basic ideas of ‘rights’ and ‘right and wrong’ that — if they are so — must be so by virtue NOT of how “acceptable” the tolerated beliefs and speech are, but because the beliefs and speech are held and made by individuals who have the capacity to reason. Yet, because the results of these tolerant policies manifested as generosity and benefit to the many people nearer the bottom of society, these political stances attracted those whose main concern was just that, rather than Reason alone. So began the alliance between the Leftists (whose idea of ‘justice’ is to spread resources to the many) and the Liberals (who might also be called “Enlightenment Liberals” today, in case of confusion).
There have been bumps along the way during this centuries-long alliance. One of these ‘bumps’ came very early on — before Liberals and Leftists were even named — when the Jacobins, a radical Leftist group, took control of the newly-formed French Assembly in the early 1790’s and steered the French Revolution into The Reign of Terror. Obviously, true Liberals, such as Thomas Paine, were horrified by this development, and, of course, the Leftists’ response to his reaction was to schedule Paine to be executed for his criticism. (He escaped death though, through profoundly good luck.)
For most of the last few centuries, however; Liberals and Leftists have become so cozy together that many among them have called themselves by either label. Many Leftists and Liberals today are even unaware of the distinction. It’s practically unheard-of in American politics today to correct a Right-Wing politico who uses the phrase “Bleeding-heart Liberal”, even though there’s no such thing. There are only “Bleeding-heart Leftists”, since “bleeding-heart” indicates an extreme-Leftist position about resource distribution. The fact that such conflation goes uncorrected is a testament to how close and for how long this alliance has gone on.
But the Social Justice Warrior ideology’s recent rise to prominence has pried a wedge between these old allies. All of those Leftists who have been seduced to join it are regarded — at least subconsciously — by Liberals (i.e., Enlightenment Liberals) in the same light that Liberals view the Jacobins who initiated The Reign of Terror. In other words, Liberals cannot help but see the Social Justice Warrior ideology as a new packaging of the same enemy that they’ve fought all along: Medievalism. Regardless of intentions or of goals, the unmitigated success of Medievalist methods are thought by Liberals to invariably lead to an outcome for society resembling that during the Medieval Dark Ages, and Enlightenment Liberals are dead set on seeing that that doesn’t happen.
The rest of this discourse demonstrates — with a thoroughly conclusive enumeration — that the Social Justice Warrior ideology possesses a Medievalist character, and this explains why the Leftists who have adopted it are viewed by Liberals to have abandoned them to join Liberalism’s enemies.
The rest of this discourse also may be instructive of informal logic and helpful to anyone who wishes to defend themselves against the onslaught of SJW unfairness.
The Social Justice Warrior (SJW) ideology is mostly built around a relatively new vernacular, which is a sort of arsenal, designed to make it easier for extreme Leftists to win arguments. That may initially sound good to Leftists of all stripes, but it comes at a cost. Winning arguments unfairly — which is what most of the lingo is meant to accomplish — leads to societal confusion, a degraded public discourse, and innocent people getting slandered as ‘guilty’ by society at large. That is to say, most of the SJW vernacular is deliberately constructed to be able to cast guilt easily, to this degree, for their own unfair gain.
Right Not To Be Offended
For example, broad swaths of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) have claimed that they have the “right not to be offended”, which is a misleading name for the idea behind it. It’s really the opposite of a right: stopping others from saying something that offends (an activity which Americans currently have the legal right to do). The prevalence of the claim — even among the more radical SJWs — has waned since early 2016 due to merciless mockery and strong opposition in the media by intellectual heavyweights. Sir Salman Rushdie — of all those whose weigh-in is most apropos — commented, “If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people.”
Ideas of what is offensive overlap each other from different perspectives. To begin enforcing a ‘right not to be offended’ would be a legal and philosophical quagmire, overflowing into nightmarishly-Medieval intellectual ramifications for society, since some individuals’ ideas of what is offensive would invariably take precedence over what another group of individuals deem offensive. Those who claim to be offended at others’ claims of offense would have to be ignored (illogical as that is); and such a right would justify shutting down demonstrably truthful claims that offend anyone. Consider that for a moment. It should thus always be kept in mind what our great friend and hero, Thomas Paine, once uttered: “He who dares not offend cannot be honest.”
Dispensing justice in an atmosphere where claims of being offended are thought to damn those who may have caused it grants more rights to someone the more offended they are, and would lead to industries that document, promote, and manufacture claims to being offended or outraged (these being their pretexts for gaining power over others’ speech). This control over others’ speech is what SJWs want for themselves, though they would be horrified were others to apply the same methods to them; and so it is certainly immoral, unethical, and contradictory to the values of the Enlightenment and the assertions of Liberalism.
“Anti-objectivity” is an attitude held by many full-fledged SJWs that is more than highly problematic in the eyes of Liberals. SJWs have taken to calling upon the idea that ‘no one is objective’ to circumvent arguments critical of them that use reason and/or call upon the best available evidence that would convince an objective person. The anti-objectivity attitude plays a role in their justifications for holding some peoples’ judgments as being more valid than those of others, despite an apparent lack of objectivity by those whose judgments are preferred.
The anti-objectivity assertion is a full-frontal assault upon Reason and upon the idea that ‘Logic can yield valid answers at all’. It is thus extremely antithetical to Liberalism’s political assertions and fundamental worldview. The anti-objectivity assertion implies that since even basic premises cannot be ascertained objectively, they cannot be fed into the valid forms for arguments; thus no conclusion can be thought valid, and all practical application of Logic is neutered. Of all Enlightenment values, Reason/Logic are at the top since their use is exclusively what can determine right or wrong. The anti-objectivity attitude is not merely Medieval in directly opposing Enlightenment values and disregarding a coherent meaning behind ‘right and wrong’, but it stands in opposition to anyone who seeks to discover truth at all.
Wrongful “Racism” Accusations
It has become overwhelmingly popular among SJWs to accuse others of being ‘racist’ at the drop of a hat; many accuse almost everyone in society of being so. In the immediate wake of the 2016 election, a great many SJWs (along with more-temperate Leftists) used whatever false equivalences they could muster to accuse or strongly-imply that anyone who voted for Trump is racist. Lowering the bar of what “racist” means is used as a way of labelling anyone they don’t like as guilty — the more people who can be called “racist”, the better. This can suit a SJW’s desires at any moment, much like the idea of ‘original sin’ was used by Dark-Age Christians to castigate anyone they wanted to harm. Those who were deemed acceptably contrite were given a pass for being ‘wrong’ while those who were not deserved punishment.
To some SJWs, even being critical of overusing the accusation will get the critic accused of ‘racism’. In some extreme SJW circles, defending one’s self against accusations of racism is evidence of one’s own racism. Any part of this makes for a terrifying, cultish intellectual atmosphere where the stigma of an accusation is so strong, innocence is not assumed of the accused, and the evidence required to condemn a person is triflingly small and startlingly easy to produce.
When almost anyone can be labelled as ‘wrong’, yet punishment is not meted out to everyone alike, it becomes a means of granting vast powers to the leaders of a mob, to punish almost anyone whom they wish to at their pleasure. Arbitrary and inconsistent punishment was a key feature of the Dark Age and Medieval period, and is an enduring result of the Medieval mindset. “Innocence of wrongdoing” is thus a crucial idea used by those who hold Enlightenment values and who wish to avoid the capricious evils of the Medieval-Dark Ages.
Beyond bare sensory perception, Logic is the only way to truly know what ‘right and wrong’ are; and; those systematic ways of reasoning that are known to be wrong to consider valid are called “fallacies”. ‘Liberalism’ proceeds upon the guess or assumption or pretense that Reason will prove some behaviors to be right or wrong — ‘wrong behavior’ thus being necessarily fallacious. For the time being; we know that however society muddles through its understanding of what those supposed right or wrong behaviors constitute; these are all of a sharply different category than ‘propositions’, because ‘propositions’ (i.e, statements intended to convey a fact) are what known Logic already handles. One example of what is unknown is how to name and pinpoint exactly how a racist behavior is a fallacy. Yet society makes do. It may be well and good at this point for societies to fumble, grasp, and approximate, regarding rightness and wrongness of behaviors; but when it comes to propositions (note that not all beliefs are necessarily propositions, but all beliefs about facts are propositions), we know — without even accepting Liberalism’s assumptions — what is and what isn’t a valid argument form, to the degree that unjustifiably asserting that a rule had been broken is itself a known fallacy. This means that when a person accuses another of “racism” for holding a proposition (given that the accuser implies that ‘racism’ is a form of wrongness — as in, a wrong argument form), the accuser must be able to provide the name of the fallacy that was committed. Saying or implying the above without being willing to assert the fallacy that had supposedly been committed is the same as accusing someone of an intellectual crime though no charge is offered and no logical error is discerned. Consider that carefully.
Even if ‘racism’ — regarding propositions — can be considered broader than a category of wrong argument form(/s), yet still connotes wrongness; then the following is true: to accuse someone of being racist (and therefore wrong) because of a proposition they articulate (or believe to be true) is always a wrongful accusation unless the accuser is willing and able to either point out the fallacy that had been committed, or else is already able to prove the underlying premises to the proposition to be false. Accusing others of ‘being wrong about a proposition’ is wrong if the proposition that ‘they’re wrong’ is unsound. The name of the fallacy the accuser commits in that instance is ‘Non Sequitur’ — “does not follow” — and it can be very dangerous when accepted.
Certain fallacies have been known to lead to propositions that are incorrect regarding human ‘races’ — in particular, the fallacy of Misusing Statistics. But SJWs lay the accusation of ‘racism’ wantonly; with sour, yet relished, zeal; upon those who have not made this fallacy nor made any other that is discernible, nor relied upon invalid propositions, nor even made action. It should go without saying that it’s not only a dangerous situation, but should be struggled against vociferously when society is willing to condemn those who are not wrong in any logical or behavioral sense. They are, by definition, to be presumed innocent. The only ones who are demonstrably wrong in such a situation are the accusers.
The presumption of innocence is a key part of Enlightenment Liberal philosophy, and, in the pursuit of their own political projects, SJWs have relegated the importance of protecting the innocent to an afterthought. But whenever the presumption of innocence is thrown out, or is thought of as a luxury; that is Medieval. Whenever accusations of guilt need NOT be justified in the only way they can be justified (thus giving potential accusers free reign), the situation is Medieval in nature. Whenever a person who makes sure to avoid all fallacies while speaking their mind can nevertheless NOT be guaranteed safe from damaging accusations of a thoughtcrime, the situation’s nature is Medieval. And whenever a person approves of these social atmospheres, whenever they approve of discarding the emphasis on presuming innocence, whenever they deny the need to point out the fallacy or unsoundness in order to accuse a proposition-holder of wrongness, and whenever they deny that doing the latter means that they are the guilty party; that person is of a Medieval mindset.
The SJW ideology adherents often collectivize guilt, blaming an entire category of people for the actions of a part of that group. This is a perversion of the idea of guilt, intended so that a person can be judged wrong, even without having done wrong. It is profoundly Medieval in the way it sweeps up innocents to condemn.
It’s important to remember that every accusation is a positive assertion and must be justified. For a systematic way of deductive reasoning to be valid, it must (when it uses valid premises) reach correct conclusions not in most instances — or even in the overwhelming majority of instances — but in every instance; yet collectivizing guilt, or painting blame with broad strokes (as SJWs are wont to do), is not accurate in all situations, thus is never a valid method. A fallacious argument can lead a person to a conclusion that happens to be true; but fallacies are invalid reasoning, which means that the pretense to reasoning may have led to any conclusion, thus is no reasoning at all. It is likewise no valid reasoning at all to use a method for asserting criticism if that method ensnares even a single individual who is innocent. Social Justice Warriors often feel like partisans fighting in a bitter war, therefore it seems good enough to them that their methods not only hit their intended targets but sweep up many innocent people into the maelstrom; but the fact remains that either the accusation must target only those who are guilty, or the method they use to make their accusations are antithetical to Reason. The ones who reject all of this and insist on blaming collectively reprise that Dark Age lie that the lack of valid reasoning is nevertheless valid reasoning.
“Micro-Aggression” has been a popular weapon in the arsenal of SJWs. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the word “micro-aggression” by itself, were it to denote a tiny amount of aggression; but the problem arises with how it’s used within the ideology: that it amounts to wrongdoing. According to the way that it’s acceptable to use it in SJW circles (irrespective of the official definition), any amount of aggression constitutes wrongdoing — even if the aggression is so negligible to an objective observer that it’s completely imperceptible. The aggression need never be seen by anyone but the accuser, and the assertion of wrongdoing can be used at any time whatsoever. More specifically, it’s accepted that the only evidence necessary for condemnation by third-party SJWs is the say-so of the accuser. Owing to the extreme ease with which the term can be employed to accuse the innocent, it has been a prominent tool, useful for silencing critics and, by seeming to counter-criticize any critics by denigrating their behavior, useful for attempting to unfairly sway observers about the validity of their critics’ arguments. These are the methods of a mob.
Some SJWs put a condition on the term that is even further problematic than this broad usage: they contend that not only does ‘micro-aggressing’ constitute wrongdoing but that it can only be done to certain groups of people who are ‘marginalized’. Yet this is the fallacy of Special Pleading. If, hypothetically, ‘micro-aggressing’ actually constituted wrongdoing (which is to hypothesize that we can validly determine a mechanism of wrongdoing underpinning the behavior); then making an exception to the mechanism for only some people requires a valid justification, or else is arbitrary and itself fallacious. Supposing that micro-aggression were a valid idea of wrongdoing in the first place; now suppose that an unfortunate American Right Wing Republican found himself a minority of one among a group of SJWs who micro-aggressed him on account of his minority views, opinions, or demographic status. It commits the fallacy of Special Pleading to say that the supposedly valid mechanisms behind the term would not allow him to castigate the SJWs using that term as well. So those who define this term to expressly disallow this are guilty of illogic if they think the term is a fair criticism. SJWs might contend that their enemy, the Republican, never gets to be considered a minority even when he constitutes a minority, but this moves the Special Pleading back another step and repeats it for a different term (“minority”). Special Pleading allows a person to gain an unfair advantage over others in debate — to warp the rules of what is allowed to be considered right or wrong, as well as who gets access to making the claims. Yet this is exactly what SJWs want — to gain that unfair advantage for their own side, the doing of which is fundamentally unethical. Reasoning that is untethered to concern about what is ethical is fundamentally Medieval.
Not only is accusing others of ‘micro-aggression’ a manipulative, over-expansive tactic, with no valid rules over its use; but it has further illogical intellectual underpinnings. If we accept a definition that doesn’t commit Special Pleading (thus is the more broad definition that describes how the term is most often used); then to assume that it’s wrong to engage in a micro-aggression takes it for granted that ‘aggression’ itself is wrong, which is by no means the case. (I myself have been accused of micro-aggression in the pursuit of defending the innocent, which seems more like a badge of honor to me.) Furthermore, if both aggression and micro-aggression were wrong, then, to avoid hypocrisy, those who make the accusation of others’ micro-aggressions would have to demonstrate — if called to do so — that, by name-calling others, they themselves are not guilty of micro-aggression. In reality, accusations of ‘micro-aggression’ (in the more common usage of the term) are virtually always interpersonal acts of real mental and social aggression. Every person who makes the charge of ‘micro-aggression’ is at least micro-aggressing. According to the way that the term is accepted, micro-aggression is in the eye of the beholder, so that, logically, it would be correct for a person to counter-charge anyone who first lays the charge. Yet, SJWs do not accept that any guilt lies with the SJW accuser; thus the ‘‘micro-aggression’ game’ can become a race of who can accuse whom first. In the hands of (especially groups of) SJWs, it is a weapon of profound arbitrariness that is usually used to unfairly criticize the innocent and their defenders, and to provide red herrings that confuse observers about the real issues. It is an unfortunate fact — verified by experience — that it facilitates a hysterical mob mentality among groups of SJWs when an opponent assertively rebuts them. It has become an unjustified and deeply-illogical criticism, generally employed to avoid and degrade reasoned discussion.
Anti-Hate Speech laws
Anti-Hate Speech laws — which are almost unanimously advocated for by SJWs — are merely a secular form of blasphemy laws. Liberals have, of course, strongly opposed all forms of blasphemy laws for centuries. Blasphemy laws — a holdover practice from the Medieval Dark Ages — declare a certain subject or attitude taboo and illegal, even though the offending speech or attitude doesn’t represent ‘harm’ in any legal sense. Blasphemy laws are a means of controlling the population’s ideas and norms without the use of reasoned argument, unethically enforced by those in power who wouldn’t wish the same to be done to themselves by their opponents, and in contravention of the inalienable human right to Freedom of Speech. As Noam Chomsky said, “If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.” That includes speech that may express hatred of things one thinks should absolutely not be hated.
The power to control what things are not allowed to be hated must not fall into the hands of one group at the expense of others. Blasphemy laws tend to soon define the act of ‘criticizing blasphemy laws’ to also be ‘blasphemy’, and, soon enough, further define as ‘blasphemy’ any criticism of those who make the laws. This spiral towards Medievalism, that begins with blasphemy laws, is something that the Enlightened continually meet with vigorous resistance.
(Note that in some jurisdictions in the world, “hate speech” may have a different legal meaning than is commonly understood, and may only legally apply there to situations where the speech in question immediately causes others to commit violent crimes (such as when starting a riot or when publicly promising to pay in return for an assassination). But this is not the lay understanding, nor how the term is used here.)
Anti-Free Speech movement
Lately, the Anti-Free Speech movement has been growing among the more extreme SJWs who seem to have realized the full implications of their stance on Anti-Hate Speech. In the city of Berkeley, at a post-election Trump rally; opposing Social Justice Warriors brought a sign that was a replica of the famous one seen in numerous pictures that catalogue the venerable Free Speech Movement of the 1960’s (whose birthplace was UC Berkeley). This replica Free Speech sign was not brought to the Trump rally to promote Free Speech — the opposite; it was burned, stomped on, and spit upon as Social Justice Warrior protesters repeatedly cursed Free Speech.
This list has so far mostly avoided mentioning the most abominable beliefs and behaviors of outlier SJWs, but it includes this incident because although Anti-Free Speech is only an explicit stance presumably held by a minority of SJWs, there is a broad and growing affinity for the Anti-Free Speech attitude among not only the Social Justice Warriors, but among the slightly more moderate Leftists who yet are not particularly attached to Liberalism and instead find an affinity for SJW ideology. According to Pew Research Center, as much as 40% of millennials in America are now in favor of granting additional powers to government to clamp down on the Freedom of Speech. As words on campuses are banned, speakers are de-platformed, and dissent is muzzled and punished beyond any semblance of proportionality to the characters and intentions of the critics; Free Speech — even though it is one of the main pillars of the Liberalism upon which America stands — has been under broad, multi-pronged-attack by Leftists and by Social Justice Warriors in particular.
Some Leftists have recently been saying that ‘Free Speech’ has now become a Right Wing issue, but this is a false brushstroke, painted with an us-vs.-them mentality. Free Speech has always been — and always will be — a Liberal issue, the intent behind which is to combat Medievalism. To fight Free Speech is to fight against true Liberals.
Once upon a time, the cool kids of the Enlightenment made it part of their grand vision to try to do away with ‘privilege’ — which, at that time, referred to the special rights and payments granted by the state to the aristocracy, guilds, and clergy. The word has been plainly understood for centuries, but has now taken on new meaning within the Social Justice Warrior ideology. SJWs may define the term “privilege” to mean ‘anything that gives a lasting sociological advantage’ — such as having grown up in a happy home, or being assumed innocent by strangers in public places — but the way that SJWs overwhelmingly use the word “privilege” is indistinguishable from it having this definition (in the words and perspective of an ordinary person): ‘a facet of having grown up in a way that people ought to grow up’.
It’s a little odd, by itself, that SJWs have adapted the word ‘privilege’ to effectively mean ‘growing up or experiencing life in a way that is more ideal’, but it outright defies reason that they — overwhelmingly — then go on to think of the label “privileged” as a negative thing (rather than the positive ideal that it literally is). In droves, Social Justice Warriors use the term as an accusation, behaving as if ‘being privileged’ indicates bias — and not just bias, but such bias that a ‘privileged’ person’s perspectives can be outright dismissed, along with their arguments. Dismissing others due to their ‘privilege’ is this generation’s version of ‘false consciousness’. By asserting the bias of their critics, SJWs behave as if they, themselves, have to answer for nothing (not even logical arguments), which is a tactic that seems torn from a page of the repertoire of prosecutors of the Inquisition.
Growing up in a way that is more ideal does not necessarily lead to bias, just as growing up harried and harmed is not the only way to turn out unbiased. (Many in the younger generations have already become so indoctrinated by SJWs that the previous sentence will strike them as a revelation; and even though the logic is clear, they will struggle to emotionally extricate “bias” from “privilege” in their minds.)
“Bias” is ‘the systematic error of tending to use an incorrect partial reasoning to make decisions’, so consider this: to accuse — without evidence — another person of harboring bias is — at the very least — disrespectful, as well as an outright insult. Yet, amazingly, SJWs demand acquiescence and abasement of those whom they baselessly accuse — they demand the ‘privileged’ feel guilty for experiencing life in a way that is more ideal. Often, groups of SJWs are not satisfied if a ‘privileged person’ speaks up, unless that person prefaces their arguments or opinions with a confession of their sin of being privileged.
Similar to how “racist” has become an elastic, vastly-inclusive term; and to the way in which the Dark-Age Christians labelled everyone a ‘sinner’;; it suits SJWs’ interests to be able to point to individuals’ ‘privilege’ in order to shame them and demand their contrition, thus subjugating them and manipulating their emotions (in spite of their lack of objective wrongdoing). Social Justice Warrior ideology sees the ‘privileged’ (no matter what they do) as never better than hapless wrongdoers, and as being like the inhabitants of Europe’s Christian Dark Age: created sick yet commanded to be well, in need of sacraments and (impermanent) absolution. It is warped on several levels.
The healthy, sane, logical, simple truth is the following: experiencing life in a way that is more ideal is, tautologically, more ideal. It is better to be ‘privileged’, and better that people be ‘privileged’. Affixing guilt to that which is innocently good is sick. Any accusations that a SJW would like to level must be based on information other than ‘privilege’. By dismissing opponents who are ‘privileged’, or by — in any way — implying that ‘privilege’ alone signals bias; they, thumbing their noses at the rules of reasoned discussion, not only do injustice to those who must be assumed innocent, but they introduce a warped inversion of values and behaviors that can only be described as “Medieval”.
Deeply woven into SJW ideology is an explicit fallacy, accepted in the exact terms that the fallacy is defined: that the origin of a claim/argument should affect whether or not we accept it. This is called ‘the Genetic Fallacy’. It’s a category of fallacy that includes within it the well-known Ad Hominem; however, the Genetic Fallacy, being slightly broader, also includes arguments that are not tied to particular individuals but focus on the origins or histories either of the particular argument or of the premises themselves (or even previous meanings, rather than currently relevant meanings). Among the many fallacies that SJWs tend to use, this one deserves special mention for a couple of reasons: 1, it’s often one of the root causes of their many mistakes (such as their arguments about ‘privilege’); and 2, no other large group in society makes this fallacy a feature of their worldview and a guide to their behavior — this is endorsed, uniquely, by SJW ideology.
Though the origin of an argument makes no logical difference, SJWs behave as if it does in order to try to give themselves an unfair advantage over many of their critics. By relying on this fallacy, they attempt to delegitimize, silence, or ignore critics’ logical arguments, claiming those critics are not ’authentic’, haven’t grown up in a certain way, or can’t possibly submit criticism because they’re not the right person to do so. The ‘authentic’ person who might hypothetically have standing to criticize, we are told, must be within a minority of a minority of the population; yet when just such a critic comes forward, SJWs tend to dismiss them out of habit, by citing their criticism as evidence of inauthenticity (such as by calling them “Uncle Tom” or “house nigger”), or simply by moving the goalposts about who can criticize. This fixation on who has standing to make assertions has led SJWs to develop a sort of hierarchy of oppression within their ideology, where the people who are more ‘oppressed’ or fit into ‘more-overlooked minority-segments of the population’ (with exception to ‘inauthentic’ minority segments) are given greater respect and credence, the more categories they fit into. This is referred to by outsiders as “the oppression olympics”.
In an effort to try to ensure that the SJW ideology comes to dominate society, SJWs do everything they can to try to enforce this new social hierarchy, the doing of which simultaneously dictates that arguments put forward by those who claim oppression (usually SJWs themselves) ought to be preferred, and that their critics ought not to speak or have standing in discussions at the same level as the SJWs themselves. Whereas Enlightenment philosophy emphasizes Reason and dictates that all are equal before the law and are equal in terms of Logic; Social Justice Warrior ideology directly contradicts this, seeking to give illogical preference to their own mouthpieces, and sees ‘equality of standing in discussion’ as a threat and enemy. In so doing, they array themselves as enemies of the Enlightenment.
Perhaps inexplicably (then again, perhaps not so inexplicably); among those ranked at the top of the oppression olympics hierarchy; there sits the ‘authentic’, moderate-to-conservative muslims, whose ideas align more closely than almost any other group in the world today with the mindset of Dark Age Christians.
In their efforts to try to compel society to loft and revere conservative muslims (who are allies in their mutual Medieval outlook), Social Justice Warriors have greatly promoted an inherently problematic term, ‘islamophobia’. On its surface, there seems to be nothing technically wrong with simply creating a word like this; however, the problem is in how it’s used. A ‘phobia’ is broadly known as a term within Clinical Psychology, defined as ‘an anxiety disorder or mental disorder that manifests as a debilitating or persistent irrational fear of something in particular’. We can grant that there may be some rare case where a person has an irrational and debilitatingly-, or persistently-, fearful response to the ideology of Islam; but SJWs use the term ‘islamophobic’ aggressively, indiscriminately, fecklessly, and sometimes with almost feverish wantonness against anyone who dares to merely criticize moderate-to-radical Islamic ideas. Yet, to imply that all of those critics are suffering from a clinical phobia that makes them irrational about the topic is an outrageous and unjustifiable insult.
“Islamophobia”, however, is not actually a documented syndrome in Clinical Psychology, and its definition — by its promoters — has never been nailed down to one thing. A preponderance of the definitions supplied for it talk of bigotry, racism, xenophobia, and of pathological fear; but it’s loosely-defined enough that, in a pinch, SJWs can retreat to the most meager of the definitions, which merely lists “dislike of Islam” as the criteria. This meager definition allows SJWs to use their term to ensnare every critic of Islamic ideas whom they’d like to attack; yet it implies no wrongdoing — people can obviously like or dislike what they want. However, SJWs will — only a moment after making use of this definition — behave as if a person proved to be ‘islamophobic’ has in fact done something wrong, based on the other definitions of the word that were not cited. There is actually a name for this behavior: the fallacy of Equivocation. To point out that practitioners of this fallacious method demonstrate themselves to have no integrity puts it too mildly.
SJWs lob their accusation hysterically and pejoratively, refusing to allow their opponent time to question what is meant by ‘islamophobia’ or to sort out any fallacy of Equivocation. Determined that their favorite Medieval-minded allies be defended by any means possible (“by any means necessary” being a motto many of them use), SJWs virtually never stop to sort out wrongdoing in cases where they’ve accused another of ‘islamophobia’, but will instead spew a rapid succession of fallacious attacks — anything they can think of to shame and stop the speech of a target who tries to sort it out. From Argument by Insinuation to the fallacy of False Equivalency; they will generally behave as if they’ve already proved wrongdoing with the word; and will readily accuse their target of ‘’racism’ against muslims’ for merely criticizing ideas; then, if challenged on it, falsely claim that the two things are equivalent. They’re not interested in clarity and truth; they’re interested in socially destroying people.
To the general public, the long-repetition of a lie takes hold of their feelings and eventually seems like truth (to at least a portion of them); likewise, the generally-unfair airs of those who level the ‘islamophobia’ accusation have been repeated so many times, the reaction norms they establish have taken hold of a large swath of the public’s imagination, compounded by the term’s natural connotations of irrationality, so that no amount of carefully-couched jargon is likely to exonerate a critic in much of the public’s mind when a SJW throws a broad net that surrounds the innocent. And yet they deliberately throw that net. They throw it in order to try to ruin the critics of their allies and to create a social taboo that will intimidate those who are simply rationally-fearful of Islam’s influence. More direct/specific language is at the SJWs’ disposal, but they opt not to use it foremost; they much prefer to express their outraged distain using the term that — even though systematically unjust in most cases — implies (to much of the public) bigotry and irrationality. At this point, virtually no one anymore who uses the accusation, “islamophobic”, is speaking in good faith.
Perhaps the nastiest, most pernicious, and, of course, erroneous misuses of the term is the outrageous SJW conflation of ‘islamophobia’ with ‘racism against people from predominantly muslim countries’, which is a False Equivalence fallacy, as mentioned above, and yet gains traction by its repetition. This extremely common assertion is meant solely to silence and smear; it becomes ammunition to moderate-to-conservative Muslim apologists, who use it to attack — whether it makes sense or not — every critic or would-be reformer of Islam. This creates an extremely hostile environment for Liberal Muslims who wish to reform the ideology or to popularize a less-Medieval version of it. This dastardly fallacy thus helps tip the balance against Liberalization within Muslim communities around the world.
“Islamophobe” has become an anti-Enlightenment Liberal word, just as a pejorative “Right-Wingophobe” or pejorative “Egoismophobe” would be anti-Leftist words. (Incidentally, the latter of these would also be an anti-Enlightenment Liberal word, since both Leftists and Liberals strongly reject Egoism.) Rather than being irrational, it is rational for a person on one end of a spectrum of (ultimately) political ideas to reasonably criticize those ideas at the opposite end, and to fear and express grave concern about their influence. A reasonable Liberal is fearful of the influence of any Medieval ideology, including moderate-to-radical Islam, SJW ideology, Nazism, any hard-line Marxism, as well as any ideology that seeks to nefariously tear down Jefferson’s work and, with it, the separation between church and state. In the way that the word is used by SJWs; “islamophobe” ensnares all rational Liberals, yet slanderously implies to much of the public that they’re irrational;; thus, it introduces a deceitful bias against the political position of the Enlightened.
Finally for this list, there is the concept of “intersectionality”, which has come to justify a whirlwind of bad and corrupting ideas. ‘Intersectionality’ is a vague concept that has to do with the way that humans are each complex, possessing numerous different intersecting traits (or identities), and when multiple of those traits are things that disadvantage a particular individual in society… they think about that. SJWs make heavy use of ‘intersectionality’ as a springboard and rallying cry to claim that anyone who supports any one minority cause — out of the plethora of SJW causes — must support them all. Not only that, but they must support the causes that support those causes, and the things that support those things in turn. Everyone must support the furthest reaches, which demands, for example, that they must police each other’s language for any “unsafe” speech or for anything well-intentioned that could be “triggering” to a ‘protected’ group, etc. Those who draw the line anywhere before the end are thought to be wrong; thus are attacked; silenced; and, if they don’t comply and apologize; cut off or, worse: be faced with a full campaign of public character assassination. The need to know whom to shun/attack for defying their idea of ‘intersectionality’, of course, has led to a social climate where ideological purity tests are constantly administered to each other, informally, by any and all of those involved with the SJW ideology. This raucous, ongoing, self-immolating, dissent-squashing social climate has been described as “the witch hunts of the Left”.
One mainstream professor/writer described the social climate that America has recently become accustomed to as being “so melodramatic, so sloppy, so recreationally abusive…”, as even celebrities like Ellen Degeneres have their jokes taken out of context and used as a pretext for attack. In their drive to forge a unified bloc that wins at everything, SJWs pay little attention to ensuring that the mob doesn’t win at things it shouldn’t. And it works this way by design.
In the way SJWs use ‘intersectionality’, it is considered wrong for a person to be a moderating influence on the rest of the mob. Those who urge moderation typically get accused of ‘“enabling” wrongdoing’. ‘Intersectionality’ is thought by many SJWs to require allies not to rush to the defense of those accused lest they systematically disempower those who “feel aggrieved” (i.e., the accusers). Consider that carefully. Prioritizing those who “feel aggrieved” over those who ‘are accused by the aggrieved’ creates a lack of the presumption of innocence, as well as a disregard for due process — Medieval on both counts. Within the ideology; not only is one NOT supposed to insist upon the assumption of innocence, lest one be branded “an apologist” for the accused wrongdoing (for example, ‘rape culture apologist’); but ‘intersectionality’ is thought by many SJWs to require all allies to stand by the most extremist aggrieved elements within their movement as the latter invent new terminology and rules of behavior that can be used as ammunition against their enemies (even if these can be used to slander and destroy the lives of the innocent). With ‘intersectionality’, the SJW ideology thus has a built-in mechanism that continually skews the movement toward extremism.
Because of this social climate, those who seek any kind of alliance or fraternity with Leftists are all in tenuous social positions, each a hair’s breadth — or one simple misunderstanding — away from grassroots character assassination campaigns that tumble, like a chain reaction, from one social media platform to another. Claiming to support their favored/oppressed groups, SJWs who are on-the-march exhibit vindictive protectiveness against all perceived enemies and betrayers, twisting the knife when they can. The immediate intent behind these campaigns is palpable — to destroy their target’s life and reputation.
These thin-skinned-bullies cite ‘intersectionality’ as the rationale for the all-or-nothing, with-us-or-against-us mentality. But this rationale — broadly speaking — is equivalent to terrorist-style hostage-taking. By bundling all of the causes together and behaving as if even the seemingly most trivial and innocuous matters — such as ‘cultural appropriation’ — are of vital importance that absolutely must be embraced by all, they force these issues onto the unpersuaded by holding hostage the issues of greater importance. This is similar to the situation where a corrupt, powerful politician has inserted a “pork-barrel rider” (i.e., a wasteful, corrupt handout of money to a ‘special interest’) into an appropriation bill: other politicians are forced to either vote in favor of it or else accept the harm that comes to society from not passing the compromised appropriation bill at all. It is a corrupt way of doing business, appropriate — if ever — only when bending the wills of those who are themselves corrupt and unreasonable. Yet, SJWs employ this tactic against their own and their allies.
When SJWs behave as if their ‘privileged’ critics are biased — thus can be dismissed — but that non-‘privileged’ critics are wrong — thus ignorable or deserving of being silenced — for defying intersectionality’s implications; there is thus, by definition, no one who has standing to criticize them. These unmerciful moral crusaders — as a group — can thus claim to be in the right at all times, regardless of their actions. They have defined themselves as right, as long as they are on the side of their extremist-tilting mob; thus, ethical reasoning and Logic are no constraints to them. They are a witch-hunting, hostage-taking, might-makes-right, with-us-or-against-us, innocence-indifferent, Medieval-minded mob.
The previous list has by no means been exhaustive of the terminology that indicates Medievalism within the SJW ideology. An exhaustive list, on the other hand, would soon be outdated, since new SJW terminology is being invented at an astonishing speed. And that last point is notable.
SJWs have opted not to construct their accusations using normal, accepted language. They do this despite the fact that English (especially combined with Logic) has, for generations now, included ample terminology that can describe wrongdoing. English and Logic are no less accessible to them than to others. Yet, if they were to be confined to using even the full breadth of long-established English and Logic while saying what their newer vernacular means, it would not be sufficient to demonstrate that the things of which they accuse others entail any wrongdoing! It should be common practice to demand that they justify their arguments using Logic, and that they point out the specific fallacies they accuse others of — though they will hate this scrutiny, as any Medievalist would.
In a society where control is determined mostly by popularity, and popularity mostly by speech; to those whom Might makes Right, speech is merely a proxy for gaining power. Thus, they’re attracted to it; any unfair manipulation of language or perversion of Logic that gains them power seems Right to them. In the minds of those to whom Might makes Right, words are just a proxy for violence and force because words are just another avenue of dominating others, and this very idea — that words can (somehow) be violence — is a philosophy that SJWs are keen to promote… but only when it suits them. They are, of course, unwilling to fess up to their philosophy when they’re the ones using words as mere vehicles for domination — which we can discern to be the case when they employ language not to discover truth, but to unfairly warp the debate.
Unlike the straightforward fallacies that underpin the arguments made by simpletons, rednecks, and the merely crude; SJWs have constructed an ideology that threatens to subvert — or to help subvert — civic society, the law, and the foundations upon which Liberal society stands.