Being called a social justice warrior shouldn’t, one would think, be a negative thing. Social Justice, the plight of those striving to end sexism, racism, homophobia, whorephobia, transphobia, and a whole host of other “ism”’s and “phobia”’s. Who wouldn’t be in favour of such a noble cause?
Truthfully, no one.
Oh, sure, there are real life people who are caricature sexists or racists or what have you, the kind of people who are beyond reproach, but when it comes down to it most of the arguments are over the details, not the wider issue. Two people who wholeheartedly agree that sexism is a bad thing will argue endlessly over what constitutes sexism.
“SJW”, to begin with, was a term to describe the more over-enthusiastic voices for Social Justice. The kind of over zealousness that allowed a well-meaning person to find sexism in a Jesus-in-my-toast sighting. But it moved on from there, and it has become something of a pejorative.
The Theory of the Ever-Shrinking SJW Bubble
There is an interesting read from Chip Morningstar on his experience as a software engineer trying to understand the field of Literary Criticism. In this fascinating piece, Chip likens the academics in lit crit to birds on the Galapagos islands, evolving in a closed environment that promotes behaviours not necessarily conducive to successful interaction with the outside world. I short; with nothing trying to eat them, they evolved in a way that left them quite unprepared for the outside world.
Something similar seems to have been happening in the sphere of social justice. Indeed, the SJW Bubble may even be a result of what Mr. Morningstar found, seeing as so many SJWs are students or enthusiasts of lit crit—pretentiousness coupled with postmodern and poststructural philosophies lend themselves to jargon creating patterns, it seems.
From this point on sexism will be the “ism” of choice, but unless otherwise stated, it is interchangeable with any other “ism” or “phobia” of the bigoted kind.
In the social justice version of what Mr Morningstar found, our SJWs start off with broad reasonable goals. End the ‘ism’’s, and so on. Of course it’s difficult to end something when you can’t agree precisely what it is, and so discussions are had on what constitutes sexism, and as a general rule the bar is set at the lowest proposed example. That is, the most innocuous instance of potential sexism.
Now, once the bar for what is considered sexism is lowered, those who can’t—or won’t—limbo under it are ejected from the community, and the SJW Bubble shrinks, cosily enfolding the remaining inhabitants in a warm blanket of moral superiority.
The Galapagos island analogy comes into play when SJWs enact ignoring and blocking; the forcible exclusion of those unable or unwilling to accept as dogmatic this new lower bar aids in the bubble contraction.
Once the SJW bubble has decided something is sexist, it is no longer up for debate. This is demonstrable by the choruses of “Educate yourself”, “These are the same tired talking points we’ve already dismissed countless times” and the like. Spend any length of time debating with the SJW (without being blocked) and you will doubtless encounter these pithy mantras. Here’s how it works: Let’s say, for example, that a discussion is had by the group in agreement on the larger general issue of sexism on whether it is okay to look at a passing woman’s behind. After some discussion, it is generally decided that an appreciative glance is okay, but any lengthy gaze is clearly objectification and, thus, sexist. Now the SJW Bubble sheds any who are unhappy with not being able to stare longingly at random rear ends and the bubble shrinks. Now a further discussion may be had on whether any kind of looking is acceptable, but those long, wistful stares at a perfectly formed posterior are off the table and no argument in favour of such will be entertained.
In this manner, the scope for what is acceptable behaviour is narrowed and narrowed without any interaction with the outside world.
This practice is damaging for all concerned. For the wider world, we suddenly find ourselves being labelled as things that were previously reserved for severe and serious situations—nobody likes being called a rapist, especially when all they did was have sex with a consensual woman who had had a glass of wine earlier.
For the SJWs part, they find themselves confused, frustrated at the amount of bigotry flying over their lowered bar that is somehow acceptable to the wider public, even the victims of said bigotry that the SJWs are trying to protect.
The Behaviour of the Lesser Spotted SJW
The herd nature of the SJWs lends itself well to group activities, and there are tried and tested methods for achieving their goals without having to rely on winning people over to their exact way of thinking. Here are some key aspects of SJW behaviour, think of it as a quick guide to acting SJW.
1 – Establish Simplistic Version of Cause
Let’s be honest, the wider public aren’t that clued in on a lot of the finer issues in which SJWs deal, and they probably aren’t interested in changing that so you aren’t going to win a whole lot of favour by trying to ram the details down their unwilling throats. State your goals in as general a manner as possible.
Are you arguing that trans women should be allowed in women’s bathrooms in public venues? No—too many women have a problem with swinging cocks in their safe spaces—you’re arguing that trans-gendered people have a right to not be harassed in public, most people can get on board with that. Want people of colour to be given preference in a particular field? Some people may consider that against the notion of equality, so tell them you’re combatting the racism endemic in that field and any mainstream attention you get will on your side. Stretch your goal to fit the most widely palatable cause that you can, most people will react positively to this type of emotional, but void-of-detail rhetoric.
2 – Reduce Your Opposition to its Worst Proponents
It’s an unfortunate part of life that with a large enough basket there will be some bad eggs. Use this to your advantage. You’ve already got the wider public on your side by simplifying your cause to a vague, unobjectionable stance, now motivate them with stories of how bad the other side are.
Nothing galvanises a fight against misogyny like evidence of your opposition tweeting profanities like “cunt” and sending death and rape threats, so the minute you see something like that happening, wave that evidence around until the whole world believes anyone who disagrees with you is exactly like them. This method has the added bonus of getting you out of having to deal with the pesky details and shifting the focus away from actual debate on the given topic.
3 – Complain Complain Complain
Don’t let that public opinion drift. Every now and again some journalist or otherwise notable figure will actually look into the nitty gritty of what you want and decide they’re not enamoured with it. In such cases, call them out publicly as enemies of your vague cause.
If John Smith at Corporate Inc. turns, be sure to tweet the company with messages like “@CorpInc Are you aware that your employee, @JohnSmith is a misogynist?” and, at intervals send out “reminder tweets” on the theme of “Reminder that @JohnSmith is a misogynist shit lord.” Don’t worry about evidence, only none-SJWs will ask for that, and they’re just a bunch of big misogynists, right?
4 – More is not Enough
Whatever your criticism is, don’t be satisfied with raising it once and assuming its target got the point. Oh no, no. Incessant, rapidfire banging on is the surest way to get your point across.
Even if that person blocks you, continue sending those complaints, preferably with a catchy hashtag or melodious slogan. On Twitter always put a dot before the @. This way your fellows can pick up on your outrage and amplify it. Sure, this would be harassment if it were directed at you, but you’re on a righteous mission.
On that score, don’t feel ashamed to cry harassment just because you (or they) have blocked and you haven’t had or seen a tweet from them in hours. Once you’ve made your point, report them for spam and tell all your allies to do the same. There’s no point in making it easy for them to voice their dissent.
5 – Blocking is Your Ally
Sometimes you will encounter those intransigent folks who simply will not be swayed by the force of your emotion. They will ask for those details and facts you so carefully avoided. Sure you can argue back and forth with inconclusive studies on each side of an issue, but your time will be better spent on 1-4 above, so hit that block button!
But make sure you let them (and your fellows) know that you have blocked them. Note that this doesn’t mean you can’t continue sending them messages.
Interacting with an SJW
If you’re going to attempt to converse with an SJW, it’s important to be prepared. Ideally, engage them on a neutral site such as a public blog comment section of a blog not under their control. This means the SJW cannot block you (without help or approval), they can only run away for all to see. If you must interact in a forum where the SJW does have the ability to block you, you have to be much cagier in your language, though the simple act of disagreeing is tantamount to wearing a pillow case to a black church, so don’t be too optimistic.
Try to establish what kind of reception you’re likely to receive, such as by tweeting something and gauging the reaction. For example, you tweet;
“I’d love to have lived in the 20s. What a time.”
If an SJW responds with something like…
“This is problematic. The 20s were a bad time for women and PoCs, you shouldn’t endorse it.”
…then you have an SJW who is willing to be polite with you. Perhaps you have impressed them in the past and they aren’t willing to write you off at first glance, or perhaps they’re just in a good mood. Whatever the reason, “problematic” is a green light for conversation. On the other hand…
“Yeah? I suppose you’d like to bring back slavery and take away women’s voting rights, you human garbage pile!”
…then walk away, there is nothing for you there, the use of this weaponized rhetorical device indicates the presence of intellectual dishonesty. Nothing short of multiple apologies, each more grand than the last and ending with “I’m sorry” painted 100 miles across on the face of the moon will win this SJW over.
It’s also important to keep your interactions as low key as possible. If you have any friends, followers, or fans who are less… tactful than yourself, they may choose to address the SJW directly. You don’t want this. Any abuse (as defined by the SJW Bubble) received as a result of your interaction will be attributed to you, and you will be expected to prevent said abuse from occurring, reprimand said abuser, and make said repeated apologies.
Finally, be aware of moving goalposts, along with a host of other fallacious arguments. SJWs have a (potentially unconscious) tendency to argue at length, keeping the argument the same while constantly changing the subject matter. An example of such an exchange may go something like;
SJW: “You are harassing trans women, stop it!”
You: “What? When did I harass trans women?”
SJW: *provides link*
You: “…that’s a caption meme I posted of Wesley Snipes in a dress. It’s from a movie.”
SJW: “It’s clearly sexist, casting a man to dress up as a woman when there are perfectly capable women who need work.”
You: “That’s a bit tenuous, but how is it harassing trans women?”
SJW: “You’re being sexist, trans women are women.”
You: “You specified trans women. What is specifically transphobic about my tweet?”
SJW: “I’m not your personal researcher.”
It would be nice to offer advice along the lines of sticking to the topic, not letting the SJW drift into other areas until the current area is resolved… but such behaviour will likely just get you blocked.
Being blocked is not always the end of the encounter, though. (If only it were that simple). Now the SJW will likely either continue to .@ your handle or subtweet your crimes to all their followers encouraging a “pileon”, as described in our handy guide above.
The pileon is the social media version of Gish Gallop. With multiple people hurling comments and questions at you, it can get rather confusing. Try to respond calmly and rationally to every comment, since any unanswered question or “point” will be seen as a fault in your argument, and the subsequent focus of attention until addressed.
Be prepared for a lot of name calling and language designed to make you seem like a Bad Person™. The lesser spotted SJW believes that simply by inducing guilt or shame in you from multiple sources, that you will surrender the discussion to them.
When they have a valid point (it happens from time to time) agree with them. This confuses the SJW and often de-escalates the pileon. Engaging them in a forum they control—such as the comments thread of an SJW blog—can lead to your comments being held in moderation while the SJW pileon rages on in the hope of victory by numbers.
Lay back, light cigarette, ask your opponent if it was good for them. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, the smartest thing to do after arguing with an SJW would be to put it out of your mind and move on—you’ve already wasted too much of your life on this person. However, SJWs are masters at denying their opponents a satisfying conclusion to their exchange, and we understand the need for some closure.
When the conversation ends regardless of outcome, but particularly if you have gotten the SJW to display extreme irrationality, dishonesty, or just general stupidity, Storify or screencap.
Storify (especially for Twitter exchanges) prevents loss of evidence. On SJW controlled blogs, host comments can be edited or deleted to make the conversation seem like a SJW victory. On Twitter, tweets can be deleted. Storifys and screencaps are essential for future encounters with the lesser spotted SJW (ideologicus stultus).
Storifys in particular are good for the aforementioned “closure” as you can add commentary to the conversation, clarifying or expanding on your tweets, pointing out further SJW-stupidity that you missed the first time around. Of course, if the SJW gets wind that you have Storified them, they will claim harassment and/or stalker-y behaviour, especially if they have blocked you. This is not necessarily dishonest as an inability to understand how the public platform of Twitter works is seemingly a ubiquitous SJW trait.
Should You Bother?
Ultimately, arguing with SJWs achieves very little, so why bother? The simple answer is pushback. SJWs will occasionally venture beyond the confines of their tiny bubble, and when they do it benefits them to be reminded that, however much moral intellect has been put into their decrees, the rest of the world still has to approve them before they are taken as good or correct or right. The fact that no SJW will ever cede a point to the likes of you is irrelevant, it is enough that they know you are there.
As for their campaigns of vaguery, let the world agree that misogyny is wrong—it is wrong—but remember that PR only goes so far, and sooner or later society has to okay those pesky details that are the real issue of most SJW debates.
Go forth and argue… but don’t get all bent out of shape over these people, and periodically leave Twitter/Tumblr/wherever and venture out into the real world.
If only to remind yourself that rest humanity hasn’t been swallowed by the bubble.
This post was written by John Bullock with the help of one SubManUSN (Twitter and YouTube‘s own). Find more of his writings on his blog, where he talks about atheism, scepticism, and various SJW-related matters. Also, an honourable mention to ZoeJen for her part in coming up with “SJ Bubble” theory.