Social Justice… Plus?

In 2012, blogger Jen McCreight came up with the concept of Atheism+, a self-described New Wave of Atheism that takes issues of social justice and pushes them to the forefront of the atheism conversation. Now, in my own experience of being an agnostic-atheist that was raised in an Evangelical Church environment, the conversation of separation of science, society and religion had always been important in my adult life. Also, I’d always made a point to stand against issues of racism and sexism, as can be inferred in many of my Trigger Warning videos.

At first glance, I wasn’t put off by the concept. But as I started to find myself exploring the concept, I noticed something very peculiar and off-putting about the community that had risen in its place. What I’d noticed is that it was filled with self-professed atheists who would go so far as to deny science because it didn’t fit into their worldview. I decided to let them be, and it was another year before I found myself butting heads with them.

I then discovered the Men’s Rights Movement. Now, I understand that many out there have their complaints about the MRM. And some of them, I will admit, are entirely valid. But that didn’t change the fact that the MRM had been the first group to publicly address issues I’d been dealing with my entire life, and some extreme issues I’d been dealing with for the past twelve years in particular.

That was when feminism found me to be an enemy. One that should be shouted down, my experiences mocked, and targeted at every opportunity. The issues I’d faced my entire life were nowhere near as important at the claim that women earned seventy-seven cents on the dollar. Nor were they as important as the claim that 1 in 4 women were raped in college. And even pointing out that both of these claims were not factual and inviting them to dig a little deeper and discover how, exactly, these claims came to be earned me a spot on feminism’s ‘Public Enemies’ list.

Another thing I’ve always been passionate about is gaming. And so, when I discovered that Kotaku Journalist Nathan Grayson had been sleeping with a game developer he had provided positive coverage to without disclosing, I was one of the voices who criticized the behavior. At first, it was something I wanted to throw my voice behind, and maybe offer up a comment or two. But when, in the genesis of the GamerGate controversy, I was called a misogynist, racist, sexist bigot for simply talking about ethics and disclosure in a context that had nothing to do with issues of gender or race, I butted heads. I fought back. GamerGate went from having my passive support to me throwing my full weight behind it.

Soon thereafter, the opponents of GamerGate came up with the concept of a Player. A Player enjoys video games, but holds issues of Social Justice and Feminism of vastly greater importance. Again, to the point of ignoring and avoiding any ideas or facts that do not conform to their particular paradigm.

I’ve long since believed that if you’re willing to ignore or deny facts without even looking into them, all because your ideology demands it, then you might just have thrown your weight behind the wrong ideology.

Everywhere I go, I’m now seeing self-professed “Social Justice Warriors” asserting their dominance. You like this thing? Well, if you like this thing, and the creator this thing has ever even been *accused* of saying or doing something that could be perceived as racist or sexist, then you’re the same as that person, even if you know nothing about it.

‘Social Justice Warrior’ was originally conceived as a derogatory term for the type of person who latches on to social justice theory and defends it aggressively in a shallow or not well-thought-out way. It has since involved into a personality cult of sorts, with certain ‘leaders’ chosen through social media popularity. I feel bad for these leaders. Because while they may receive much in the way of adulation from their followers, all it takes is one action that another so-called ‘leader’ takes issue with to create a rift, and unless that person apologizes and denounces their own actions or words, they tend to become pariahs. Their main tactics are to lambast and attempt to shame their targets. And in some cases even go so far as to dox them, or even make attempts to contact their employers or families. In many cases, simply for challenging assertions presented either without evidence or with flawed or incorrect information. To them, the worst crime a person can commit is to simply disagree.

Don’t believe me? Ask any former Social Justice Warrior, and judge for yourself.

But here’s the thing. I don’t honestly believe that Social Justice Warriors are explicitly bad people. I think that many of them merely got caught up in the mob mentality of radical social justice. Many leave the community. Many others get sucked in. And many more fervently believe that the ends justify the means. (Or, to quote a particular SJW, “There are no such things as bad tactics. Only bad targets.”)

Well, I don’t agree with them on that regard. There are bad tactics. If you wouldn’t do such a thing to your friend, then don’t do it to your enemy. Just because you disagree with them does not make them bad people deserving of whatever evils you can put upon them. Because even if that person is bad, attacking them tends to involve whatever innocents that are in their lives. It drags unassociated people into the line of fire. It’s like dumping napalm on a village just to eliminate one terrorist. If the government did such a thing, you’d be aghast. But if you do something similar, what makes it okay? Because ‘Social Justice’?

Do you think Adria Richards spared a thought for the children of the man she had fired because he told a puerile joke under his breath to a colleague that she happened to overhear, which didn’t involve her in the least?

It’s unlikely. And as I understand things, she still hasn’t spared a thought.

And so if you’re anything like me, you view such things as abhorrent and intensely problematic. But you also believe that issues of racism, sexism, and discrimination against people for accidents of birth should be addressed and dealt with, no matter who it is.

In modern Social Justice spheres, there are a number of theories floating around that present the definitions of both racism and sexism in different ways than it’s currently understood. More importantly, it’s presented in such a way that it’s become defined as a ‘one way experience.’ Basically a top-down experience that can only exist in certain contexts. Examples of this mentality include that racism against white people cannot exist, and that sexism against men cannot exist.

As a white male who has experienced both racism and sexism, I reject such notions.

And that brings me to Social Justice Plus. I, and others wholeheartedly believe the image of social justice we’re being subjected to is not only backwards, but self-defeating. It’s my belief that one cannot claim to stand for social justice, only to look the other way when others are in need of it. And so I’m interesting in gauging interest in an initiative to shake up the world of social justice. To introduce a form which takes racism against white people as seriously as it does racism against minorities. A form which explores issues of sexism against men with the same level of seriousness as sexism against women. One where misogyny and misandry are viewed in the same light.

I’m looking to join some others together to take another stab at Social Justice. To do it the right way, and to lead by example by holding the virtues of responsibility, nuance, fairness, self-discovery, empirical evidence, understanding and integrity with the same reverence as standing against racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.

A group that understands the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. Who recognizes the inherent biological and psychological differences between the sexes.

One that does not see either ‘feminist’ or ‘MRA’ as labels worthy of scorn.

But more importantly, one that can work toward manageable goals, debate in good faith, and not have to constantly go on the offensive to make our points known.

And so, I invite anyone interested in such an initiative to contact me on Twitter, leave a comment on this blog, or suggest a private forum in which we can discuss this idea in-depth and figure out exactly what such an initiative should stand for in order to stay true to responsibility, fairness.

Contact me, and let’s make a difference together.