New writing, new rant

Heyo. I published two new things since we last spoke.

Calling In SF’s Out-of-Touch Homeowners

5 Reforms That Could Save Puerto Rico’s Economy

I also had some thoughts I want to share.

Last night I read The Strange, Sad Case Of Laci Green?—?Feminist Hero Turned Anti-Feminist Defender. Now, I don’t have strong feelings on Laci Green. I like that she has offered straightforward, sex-positive, practical sex education on her YouTube channel. Seems like a good goal. But watching people talk into cameras is my very least favorite way to obtain information so I’m not super familiar with her work nor would I call myself a fan. Taking a break from work a few weeks ago I did catch a lot of her debate with trans anti-feminist YouTuber Blaire White. She came across as less informed than White on the issues they discussed (primarily gender) but well-intended and open-minded.

Anyway, I’d been hearing Green really pissed off the progressive blogosphere somehow, and when I saw the above link I decided to try to catch up. The author Katelyn Burns did not impress. Apparently Green is now “on the side of the abusers.”

How so? Here’s Burns’ evidence:

    1. Green questioned why there’s “more than two genders.”
    2. Green argued that “both sides of the argument are valid” for everything from racism to transphobia to misogyny.
    3. Green called feminist YouTuber and fellow member of her anti-harassment Facebook group Kat Blaque a “sociopath.”
    4. Green tweeted:
      civil dissent is not harassment.
      conflict =/= abuse.
      hurt feelings =/= trauma.overstating harm comes at the expense of survivors. #message

The post links three videos, two of them a series. I watched them both. Here’s the first:

So, we’ll come back to this. First though, this morning over breakfast Warren and I were talking about groups that get together to learn about woo, which got me thinking about other weird SF learning opportunities, including the AltSchool. Which got me thinking about the Dark Enlightenment, which Warren wasn’t super familiar with. So I was looking for newer links to send him when I happened upon Against Mencius Moldbug’s ‘Neoreaction’. Which is fantastic.

I think there’s some truth to seeing both the The Strange, Sad Case Of Laci Green?—?Feminist Hero Turned Anti-Feminist Defender and Against Mencius Moldbug’s ‘Neoreaction’ as examples of intra-ideological infighting. I believe most people would see each set of opponents as having more in common ideologically than either of the other set. Though there are commonalities to be found throughout.

Which got me thinking about the difference between progressive and conservative infighting. Now, it’s not really fair to contrast the quality of the fight between two fairly bit players in the feminist wing of progressivism to a managing editor of one of the most widely read and well-respected examples of conservative intellectual mass media taking on a similarly intellectual foe with far narrower, but no less deep, influence on his fanbase.

Howevs, I do think it can help illustrate an important difference between progressive and conservative thinking.

The average conservative may be better at rational discourse than the average progressive. That is to say, less prone to fallacious thinking. For example, there’s evidence to indicate that conservatives understand progressives better than progressives understand conservatives. And you can see this in the Against Mencius essay. Steorts understands his rival Moldbug. He doesn’t impugn his motives or misrepresent his beliefs through distortion or hyperbole. This is not true of Burns, who distorts, uses hyperbole without any apparent self-awareness, and impugns motives (she brings up Laci’s boyfriend in the post).

To the extent that this is true, I think the explanation for it is quite simple. Conservative fear is not existential. How an infight plays out is not life or death for conservatives. They’re not getting their spines broken against the side of a Baltimore paddywagon. And they think they never will be. While Laci Green can sit comfortably and “ask questions” trans women are murdered at a much higher rate than other demographic groups. Progressives draw a line straight from an idea (trans women are an abomination) to its execution (murder trans women) because they feel they must to survive.

Green’s sin, as far as I can tell, isn’t pointing out that trans women aren’t women. To my knowledge she’s not done this. It’s asking whether trans women are women. This, alone, is enough to raise progressive ire because it’s on the way to believing that trans women are an abomination and therefore should be murdered.

Now, there are quite a few leaps between each of those points. But they are connected. Speech leads to ideology which does sometimes manifest as harassment, threats, and physical violence. Speech has consequences. That’s why it’s important to protect.

There is tremendous value in being free to discuss whether trans women are women. But when you feel existentially threatened by an idea, it’s hard to get excited about protecting people’s right to share it.

Here’s the truth. The very best thing conservatives could do to protect free speech is STOP MURDERING TRANS WOMEN. STOP LETTING COPS MURDER BLACK MEN. When you STOP KILLING PEOPLE ideas become a lot less threatening.

It’s irritating to me to listen to the incredibly privileged sneer at how “crazy” and “irrational” and “uncivil” and “uncharitable” their ideological foes are with zero self-awareness that without their privilege they would feel as existentially threatened as their foes and that if they felt one tenth of that terror they would be as “crazy” and “irrational” and “uncivil” and “uncharitable” in their argumentation as any SJW.

Similarly, it’s irritating to me to watch people who actually just want to murder trans women or at least make it seem okay to murder trans women use free speech as a fig leaf. If you really want free speech, and you don’t want people to murder each other over superstition, work on making sure people stop murdering each other for superstition and you’ll get a lot more free speech. Or else just admit what you really want.

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