Warning: This is a bit of a rant.
So I consider myself an anti-SJW. Surprise! I know that may be difficult to believe. I consider myself one because, even though the basic ideas behind social justice are fine, the concept has turned into a catalyst for a very immature brand of authoritarianism. This style of authoritarianism is nothing new and typically the kind of dictatorial behavior that has arisen out of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries of the United States. What’s going on now is, in application, really no different than the attempts at purging evil Commies during the 50s, or the rock n’ roll panic of the 60s, or the funk and soul hysteria of the 70s, or the Dungeons and Dragons purge of the 80s, or the video game panic of the 90s. In all of the above examples–and modern day social justice activism–the goal seemed to be to protect people from anything that prayed on human flaws and could cause thought crimes that destroyed their human decency.
In the 80s, it was “D&D taps into our sinful nature and makes you do evil, ungodly things.” And now it’s “this [insert any innocuously random noun here] taps into implicit biases and makes you racist/sexist/whatever.” Same hysteria, just dressed up in social science instead of religion. This kind of mentality is not going to go away. It never has, and it will always be effective because, in the end of the day, “think of the children,” is a phrase that gets to us and makes us want to take action.
I called it “immature authoritarianism” because it’s a controlling mentality that justifies itself by appealing to a very immature desire of the public to have less personal, individual responsibilities. I think what’s happening currently with the social justice crowd, though, is slightly unique from what has happened in the previous decades. Previously, it appealed to people who just didn’t want to go through the effort of talking to their children about anything. They wanted some outside force to decide what their child should and should not be exposed to, and if they personally didn’t want their child exposed to something, they wanted some outside force to make an official rule about it so that their child would have to do what they said so they wouldn’t have to enforce any ground rules on their own.
Now, though, instead of “oh, who will think of the poor, fragile, impressionable children,” it seems to have turned into “we are still poor, fragile, impressionable children, oh, who is going to think of us.” That’s something a bit new, and it is something that has added a completely new level of immaturity to a brand of authoritarian behavior that was already pretty damn stunted to begin with.
A current running underneath many of the mainstream social justice ideals, a current you can see fueling many of the more infamous outbursts on colleges campuses, is the idea that the world needs to take care of you. Your well-being and your mental and emotional health is no longer your responsibility to maintain, it’s other people’s responsibility to keep in check. That’s why you get Ivy League college students whinging about how their campus just doesn’t feel like a home to them. It’s the new environment’s job to tailor itself to them now. That’s why you get college campuses banning speakers the students don’t like, because just not going to that speech if you don’t want to hear it isn’t good enough. The administration needs to take your feelings into account and lay down the law. That’s why you get Black Lives Matter activists harping on and on about what the cops can do to help black people and what the government can do to help black people and what white people can do to help black people, but they never mention what black people can do to help themselves. It is an idea that strips people of their own autonomy in order for them to feel protected.
Of course, you can’t do everything by yourself. Of course, it is a sign of an emotionally healthy person to admit that you need outside help and seek it out. These are good things. But SJWs have taken that idea and run with it into the sunset to the point where they no longer acknowledge that it’s also healthy to not be dependent on other people for your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Asking for help when you need it is good. Seeing outside help as the immediate, go-to option without even thinking about what you can personally do is bad.
It’s understandable why this is such a popular mentality among my generation. We are the result of a parenting style that essentially never let kids do anything for themselves and tried its damnedest to make sure no kid ever felt bad about anything. You had the self-esteem movement (that really wasn’t necessary because children have very high opinions of themselves without your help) that led to people giving their children praise without concrete reasons for doing so. As it turns out, praising children for doing specific things is good–I’m not saying that you shouldn’t ever tell your kids nice things. Being praised as a person with no concrete reason to latch onto gave them lower self-esteem because it a.) made children afraid of taking any risks that would possibly ruin their already obtained status of being awesome and beautiful, and b.) slapped them in the face with reality once they realized that the outside world doesn’t just laud praise on you by default and that you actually have to earn it. Oops. That was combined with helicopter parenting techniques that led to many children never really learning how to be self-sufficient in any capacity. Their parents helped them with everything all the time.
This is the generation we’re talking about. That parenting style has backfired. I want to get it out of the way right now that I am not talking about every single millennial. Like most other generations, most millennials are just normal human beings with normal hang-ups. SJWs are just the epitome of what could possibly happen if you parent your children in such a way, the same way the hippies were the epitome of what could happen as a result of strict 1950s parenting styles. Not everyone during that time was a hippie–most people weren’t–but the hippies were the ones to perfectly represent the generational backlash. I go to a stereotypical liberal arts college, and the rabid SJWs are a very loud and very influential minority, but a minority. That is an important thing to keep in mind here.
I wanted to get all of that out of the way before I ranted about this particular topic. I wanted to get it out into the ether that, yes, I think modern social justice is incredibly infantilizing because it is full of people who don’t want to deal with their own problems and who think it’s the world’s job to help them out. I wanted to get it out into the ether that, yes, I think my generation in general was raised in such a way that heavily promotes emotional immaturity and lack of self-sufficiency in adults. I wanted to get it out of the way, because this is a rant against a trend that I’m seeing pop up in anti-SJW circles (my circles) that I am not very fond of.
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It’s essentially the same problem that the SJWs have. Anti-SJWs too have taken an idea and run off into the sunset with it even after it would have done them well to slow down after a while. In the group’s attempts to herald the free speech, emotional maturity, self-sufficiency, and individualism that modern leftist activism oftentimes seems to go against, many people who consider themselves anti-SJWs have taken it too far in the other direction. I’m not referring to any specific people really: This is an opinion formed after I went through an amalgamation of YouTube videos, their comments, and Reddit and (the rare genuine) Candid posts. I’m not accusing the entire group of promoting these negative aspects, simply that the atmosphere the group cultivates can lead to them.
The general hypocrisy that can be found in anti-SJW circles can be divided into two categories:
Education and Self-Expression
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Both stem from a focus on maturity.
Anti-SJWs are very against immaturity. That is perfectly understandable. Once again, I do think that many SJWs demand to be treated like children. That being said, many anti-SJW commentators are so against immaturity that the umbrella for what constitutes “being immature” is growing wider and wider and encompassing more and more things to the point of it, too, becoming mildly ridiculous. This leads to . . .
I readily admit that this issue could just as easily stem from me having a very different personal philosophy on education than other people. I admit that. But this is my blog, and you read it to hear my opinion. My opinion, particularly on higher education, is that classical education is awesome. Classical as in Socratic, classical as in liberal. A classical education is composed of many different facets because a truly learned individual back in those times was educated in many things. You studied science and you studied art and you studied history and you studied music. That’s why most of the Greco-Roman thinkers that we know well today were a million and one things: philosophers and mathematicians and astronomers and artists and poets all rolled into one guy. That is what a classical education is, and my fondness for it is why I went to a liberal arts college, because liberal arts education is a designed after classical education.
There are plenty of people out there who think that college is job training and that’s it. These are the people who complain about distribution requirements because “I’m here to study X, why should I have to learn all this other shit?” They have a fair point. I don’t think you should be forced to pay for classes you don’t want if you’re on a strictly vocational track. That being said, I think this is a very short-sighted view of things.
My liking for classical education is, therefore, very taken aback by the borderline fetishization of STEM fields that happens in many anti-SJW circles. For those who don’t know, STEM refers to science, technology, engineering, and math. And people in anti-SJW circles fucking love STEM fields. If you don’t do STEM, you’re an idiot and you’re wasting your time. This notion has always rather confused me because it comes across as very narrow-sighted. They look at high-paying electrical engineering jobs and neurosurgeons, and they say that’s what STEM is, totally ignoring that most people don’t get those kinds of jobs.
The majority of computer science jobs don’t care about your actual degree because computer science as a field changes so much that degrees quickly become outdated and useless. As far as biology and chemistry degrees go, the field has been so flooded with people who were told that it would get them a good job that the market is currently over-saturated and under-educated since people who weren’t good at it went into it anyway (the same thing happened with law degrees, by the way), and you’re lucky to be a low-level lab researcher that barely gets paid anything nowadays. Math is a strictly theoretical degree, so I don’t even know why people drooling all over STEM think it’s so much more practical than anything else. Just in case you were under the wrong impression that NASA was a thriving industry, physics and astronomy don’t get you much money either. Engineering is really the only one “guaranteed” to get you a good paycheck, and it is also an incredibly competitive field full of mediocre or incompetent workers.
I don’t know why people give STEM a metaphorical blowjob every time the subject comes up, and I am getting a STEM degree. If you want to promote the subjects as being important, go right on ahead. But lauding STEM over every other subject as the golden standard of education where everything else palls in comparison is just silly. I understand why they’re doing it–the social sciences and humanities have become hot beds of social justice ideology whereas STEM fields haven’t. Other fields being poisoned that way just breaks my heart to see, but it seems like many anti-SJWs write off the fields entirely as being worthless when that is not the case. On an off note, the promotion of STEM is often centered around STEM making you a lot of money, and I never liked assigning cultural value to things based off of how much money they make.
It’s also rather hypocritical. Our liking for STEM seems to run contrary to the other values espoused, especially in regards to anti-SJW values. Lots and lots of things are important and should be defended from the social justice poisoning that saps their value away and turns them into just another means of ideological control and propagation. They’re just going to call anyone who chooses to focus on all of these oh-so-important things over STEM a time-and-money-wasting idiot.
Art is the lifeblood of our culture, it is how culture is expressed and observed, and you can tell how free a society is by looking at the freedom of its artists, and censorship of art is wrong, and the destruction of art or mistreatment of the artist is a sign of a culture descending into authoritarianism . . . but if you want to make a living off of art, you are stupid. Why didn’t you become an engineer and get a real job? Rebuilding and restructuring low-income communities and combating the cycle of poverty for the betterment of both individuals and their wider environment is vital to addressing true social inequalities, but why would you ever become a social worker? Are you an idiot? They don’t make any money. Actual, fact-based journalism where the journalists tell the public the truth and not just what they want to hear by sticking to an inaccurate media narrative is vital to creating a more informed public and also vital to the upholding of societal ethics themselves, but why are you getting a journalism degree? Don’t you know you should be studying science? All of these things are important, especially in regards to the culture war where we think inferior and/or harmful values are trying to leave a permanent black stain on our cultural landscape . . . but focusing on any of these things above other, more worthy subjects makes you an idiot.
STEAM not STEM, guys! Art greatly improves the cognitive functions necessary for doing complex mathematical equations.
The more you know. ‘Cause knowledge is power.
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Secondly, there is a concept of what being mature entails, and anything that falls outside of it is open for derision. And fair enough. There are instances where mocking and derision over being immature is totally justified–like in regards to the totally-not-a-sex-thing “adult day care” in New York or the aforementioned trend of SJWs wanting to be coddled and protected from things that make them feel bad. I’ve already said multiple times that I think emotional immaturity actually is a big problem, but I think many people have taken the criticisms in a needlessly bitter direction. This one seems to be rooted in the need to show off how much more mature they are than those pathetic millennials. And a lot of it just seems so arbitrary and based in a rather cynical view of what adulthood is.
One example that many commentators latched onto was the awful, horrible existence of adult coloring books as a surefire sign of how pathetically childish our society has become. This seems pretty arbitrary, though. Arbitrary is going to be the word of this section. I can tell. Are people just not allowed to enjoy doing something because they also happened to enjoy doing it as a child? That seems to be the only basis for why this is being called immature. I genuinely don’t get it. People who like adult coloring books are not asking to be coddled by anyone else. They’re not sloughing off all of their emotional issues onto something else and telling somebody to get rid of it. They’re not indulging in anything unhealthy in order to feel better about themselves. They’re just doing something relaxing.
Coloring is very good at both relieving existing stress and preventing future stress. Many of its positive effects overlap heavily with the neurological/psychological effects of playing a musical instrument. That makes sense: both are goal-oriented, both are aesthetic, both allow for improvisation. Something tells me, though, that the same people making fun of the adult coloring book fad as “immature” wouldn’t care, might even like it, if more adults started taking piano lessons.
You also see this mentality within media. Stephen Fry did a short interview on the Rubin Report and got tons of shit because he told people who want trigger warnings to grow the fuck up. Meanwhile I was just sitting there wondering where all the nerd-rage was when Fry belittled people for being immature because they like movies based off of comic books because that supposedly made them infantile by default. Never mind the fact that he was in a movie based off of a comic book, and I doubt he’d call either childish.
All these criticisms seemed hinged on the notion that there is just some point in your life where you need to stop doing random things that you enjoy doing because that’s not the mature thing to do. We have this idea set up that working towards making an impressive paycheck is all that matters, and if you aren’t doing that then you’re wasting time, being irresponsible, and acting like a child. If you enjoy something that could be deemed childish by some unknown metric, then, the thing you enjoy is a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, working hard and being a self-sufficient, emotional mature adult is important. But that seems to come with the caveat that “being an adult” means that working hard is all you do, and that any time you aren’t working, that is automatically something that can be considered a waste, and that is a poor mentality to have.
This branches into more criticisms about how the anti-SJW crowd tends to be needlessly harsh on people and how they live their lives. This is most apparent in the current news story about the Cover Girl magazine having its first male cover model. I don’t read that magazine and I don’t plan to, but good for that guy. Congratulations. Apparently this is an odd stance to hold on the matter because a guy being on a women’s magazine cover is apparently either hilarious or some horrible, awful, leftist affront to men and masculinity. I don’t understand either of these things.
Anti-SJWs don’t like feminism because it derides an entire portion of the population based off of a single genetic factor and seeks to tell men how they should be acting in order to be “in the right.” This is why we don’t like them. People have been calling this kid a faggot and deriding how he is “what feminists want men and boys to be,” and all other things. It’s not the comments themselves I care all that much about, but the implication behind them. Apparently it’s okay for people on our side to mock/be disgusted by a boy who likes makeup because when we mistreat some harmless person who doesn’t practice maleness and masculinity “the right way,” because we’re right and feminists are wrong. It’s perfectly fine for us to tell people how they should be acting based off of their gender and call them horrible things if they deviate from what our ideas are, but when SJWs do that, it’s bad.
You saw it with that kid who isn’t hurting anybody but apparently deserves ridicule because he’s not manly enough. You see it with a lot of trans YouTubers with leftist opinions, where people actively try at refusing to treat them with any common courtesy. Because that will definitely convince them of the error of their ways, guys. It’s a very general “I’m not an asshole, I’m just speaking the truth” mentality that works . . . when you’re speaking the truth. Not so much when you’re telling people your opinion about how boys wearing makeup is an affront to all the good parts of Western society or intentionally calling Milo Stewart a girl solely to make Milo and others mad because you’ve conflated being an asshole to people who haven’t done anything to you with being intellectual and transgressive, and you’ve conflated abrasive vitriol for argumentation.