If you spend any time at all online, be it on Facebook, Twitter, or some other form of interacting with your fellow human beings through the Internet, you know that whiny progressives tend to dominate the discourse that takes place on the Web. This is because they are forever offended. Progressives are always outraged by something. Whenever confronted with opinions they do not like, they become apoplectic. The typical progressive cannot stand dissent and will go to any length to silence conservatives, libertarians, Christians and any other human being whose worldview does not fit within the rigidly fascist guidelines of progressive groupthink. Progressive activism online has come to be encapsulated by the term "social justice."
Those seeking "social justice" are progressives – liberals, Democrats, leftists of every stripe – who rear their heads in any online venue to complain, hector and accuse. Their favorite tactic is shouting down, destroying and otherwise marginalizing anyone whose opinion is not progressive enough to suit them. It is not possible to have a productive discussion with a social justice activist because these are people who are, by definition, irrational. When they're not screaming "racism" or "homophobia" or otherwise accusing their ideological opponents of myriad crimes against humanity, they are waging war on the livelihoods of any and all who oppose them.
Last week's Technocracy column explains that barriers to entry in the world of publishing are lower than they've ever been. If you're willing to spend the money to self-publish, you not only can do so relatively quickly, but you can reach the potential audience that is all of Amazon's customers (even if brick-and-mortar booksellers refuse to stock paper books published directly through Amazon). What you should take away from this is that in a market glutted with the work of amateurs, the filtering process is that much more important. As the influence of the "Big Five" publishers wanes, it is essential that some method exist to screen the works of fiction vying for your attention. One of the ways one might do this is to select the work of acclaimed authors – that is, authors who have received awards.
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In the world of science fiction, this makes organizations like the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) influential. The people who hold sway in these organizations have power and influence in the world of science fiction literature. If you can determine who wins awards, you determine whose work becomes known and therefore popular. Awarding organizations are therefore gatekeepers, at least of a sort. They can perform a very useful function in a market bloated with otherwise unworthy efforts.
Therein also lies a problem, for when these organizations are dominated by one political outlook, the result is the predictable marginalization of anyone who does not toe the line espoused by the gatekeepers. Take SFWA, for example. From 2010 to 2013, the president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America was one John Scalzi. No more wretched a Social Justice Whiner (SJW, sometimes erroneously defined as "Social Justice Warrior") are you likely to find. Scalzi, arguably a talented writer, is nonetheless a mewling, bedwetting progressive. His diatribe, "Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There is" sums up everything that makes Social Justice Whiners tick. In their hatred for white men, they fail to see the hypocrisy in branding others racist. In their attempt to exclude anyone who does not fall into a favored progressive demographic – minorities, homosexuals, women – they fail to see the absurdity in their demands for inclusion and tolerance. Among Scalzi's fellow travelers are ogres like K.T. Bradford, an arrogant, finger-wagging Jabba the Hutt in a fright wig who thinks writing should be judged not on how well it is written, but on the skin color and wedding tackle of the author.
Science fiction authors who refuse to live in politically correct prison camps have fought back by organizing to influence voting for relevant awards. The Hugo Awards, for example, recently saw tremendous gains for "right-wing" authors, where "right-wing" is "anything to the left of John Scalzi and K.T. Bradford." Arthur Chu's elaborate histrionics in Salon would be merely embarrassing if his mischaracterization of the voting process did not harm good people's reputations. He described the Hugo Award process as "right-wing backlash" and non-progressive authors, readers and voters as a "small group of deranged trolls." Meanwhile, respected and award-winning author Brad R. Torgersen, one of the prime movers behind the "Sad Puppies" campaign to bring political balance to the Hugo Awards, was maligned in Entertainment Weekly as a racist misogynist. He promptly shut up his critics by posting a photo of his family, including his adorable daughter and the black woman who is his wife. This did little, however, to undo the lies told about him by EW's Isabella Bidenharn (which EW "corrected" after the harm was wrought).
The damage done online by SJWs to the reputations of conservatives, libertarians, Christians and other "right-wingers" is very real. They control many media outlets and can brand you an unperson – a homophobe, a racist, a hatemonger – as quickly as one of their bloggers can press "send." The SJW cannot exist without the Internet. If not for social media, if not for the power of the virtual mob, individual SJWs would be laughed out of any room they entered. If a Social Justice Whiner approached you on the street and demanded that you "check your privilege," you would scoff at such a person and perhaps even push him out of your way. Most SJW types are weaklings, both mentally and physically. Like all cowards, they only have power when there are a great many of them ... or when they have the Internet to shield them from the physical consequences of endlessly confronting, insulting and accusing decent human beings of thought-crime.
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Our lives are both connected through and dominated by social media. We dare not concede this technological ground to the SJWs. If we do, we will all live in that progressive gulag, in spirit if not in body. That is a dystopian future that rivals the bleakest work of any science fiction author.
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