It’s fascinating how consistent Leftist rhetoric really is. I could not fathom how Progressives could repeat observably false arguments with such gusto. So some months ago I decided to try a thought experiment. What is arguing Leftist positions actually like? I wanted a deeper understanding of how these people operated.
And the conclusions were fascinating. For this exercise, I created an anonymous Twitter account and set a few rules for how I would use it. I intended to treat it like a character in a story. This character would be a Leftist of the SJW sort, concerned with the oppression, real or imagined, of those who were not straight white men. He would hate Christianity, Gamergate, Right-wingers, etc…
But, contrary to the behavior of normal Progressives on Twitter, who will usually block you after one or two exchanges, this character would genuinely desire debate and dialogue. He would want to argue, using all the typical Leftist debating tactics. I.e. he would frequently accuse people of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Since the facts were against him, he would spin false narratives, lie, and cite bogus studies. Then, he would defend them rhetorically by accusing his opponents of bigotry.
And you know what I found from a few months of playing this character on Twitter?
It’s remarkably easy.
I’m not ready to out this account just yet — I use it to poke and prod Progressives to state their real views, also, something I find very useful. But, nonetheless, it was time to share my findings with my readers. Here are just a few of my more important conclusions:
Most Progressives are not emotionally invested in their positions.
This seems to go contrary to conventional wisdom, which says that most Leftists are emotionally driven. And they are emotionally driven. But not in their positions. You see, in Progressive circles it doesn’t matter what you say or believe in per se, it matters how much social capital you have accrued. You gain social capital from espousing correct views, and you lose it for espousing incorrect views. But, and this is the key point to understand, the actual positions don’t matter!
What is correct and what is incorrect is a very dynamic thing. It’s actually difficult for people to accurately predict what will be accepted by the mob and what won’t. So most Progressives are loathe to take risks. Yet they have to. They will wait until they catch a scent of which way the wind is blowing.
It’s like the guy who calls a golf ball going into the hole first. He gains immense social capital from correctly guessing. But incorrectly guessing is viewed as boorish and immature.
So Progressive rhetoric is a sort of gambling affair. And, naturally, the House (in this case the media establishment) has the advantage.
Being uninvested in your positions makes debating with rhetoric absurdly easy.
When I write material for The Declination, I am invested in it to a certain degree. I believe it to be true. Now, I will accept being proven wrong on a matter, something that has happened a few times, and will readily admit when I have made a mistake (there was a post on Islam sometime ago when I incorrectly identified the Muslim states that refused refugees – a correction was issued). But nonetheless, the positions are sticky in an intellectual sense, and I would not abandon them on a whim.
In other words, I feel obligated to defend my positions, and will only give ground if it is proven that I have made a mistake. This is because I believe in the truth of what I say.
When playing this Leftist character on Twitter, I found that since I knew each position to be a lie, it was paradoxically easier to debate. If I didn’t feel like defending a certain point, because I couldn’t do it (it was false, after all), then I could simply accuse my opponent of bigotry repeatedly and steer the conversation away from the original point. Or, more to the point, I could simply ignore their attacks without any intellectual or emotional penalty whatsoever.
In simple terms, telling a liar that he is a liar does not penalize the liar. It is only if someone who is useful to him thinks he is a liar that he is obligated to defend himself from the charge. Many of these people must be sociopaths.
Social capital is the equivalent of money among the Progressives.
I noticed that my character, which had no ties whatsoever with my real accounts, no identifying marks, names, and even a completely different writing style (that was hard to do, by the way) still wound up getting blocked by some prominent SJWs.
I found this confusing at first. Wouldn’t a prominent SJW want more Leftist followers? The answer to that is no.
Followers are only good to a Progressive if they are useful in some fashion. For instance, I found that Sarah Nyberg, the SJW who was accused of pedophilia (it was a pretty slam-dunk case) was very amenable to new followers. Indeed, she immediately followed back my character’s account. This is because she needed followers to bolster her defense.
Ben Kuchera, on the other hand, didn’t need followers. He had his cushy job, his 30 pieces of silver, and didn’t want the distraction of the SJW mob on his Twitter feed. He soon blocked my character, despite the character spewing total agreement with his positions.
SJWs don’t like other people. But they are perfectly willing to use other people. Social capital is the trade good of the Left. They are very elitist. If you are a grassroots SJW, it is very hard to gain followers, friends, and fame. The Elite will ignore you, or even place roadblocks in your path. On the other hand, on my real accounts, I have rapidly made friends with some very prominent people on the Right. And certainly none of them have blocked me for agreeing with them.
There are fewer grassroots SJWs than I thought.
The more I dug into the structure of the SJW networks on Twitter, the more it became apparent to me that this network is much smaller than I previously thought. However, it has full Establishment backing. There are very few rank-and-file SJWs. Their networks are very top heavy. Many Chiefs. Few Indians.
In simple terms, the typical person does not just become an SJW. They are created. Establishment money and support comes from somewhere, and a garden-variety Left-wing sympathizer is converted into a screeching shrill with ready cash. Some of the regular Left-leaning people I encountered while playing this character were obviously embarrassed by my character’s presence. At the same time, they feared challenging him or blocking him.
The more “moderate” Left thus lives in fear of their radical compatriots. They don’t want to be tarred as racists, sexists, and homophobes any more than the Right-wing does. That isn’t to say they can be trusted, mind you. But it’s an interesting observation.
They are very good at detecting subversion.
Playing this character took a lot of effort on my part. It was very difficult to avoid detection as an infiltrator. They were constantly on the lookout for indications that I was an agent provocateur. One SJW was particularly observant. I was attempting to bait him to admit that he wanted to purge all Conservatives (and by purge, I mean he wanted to kill them). It’s a view I knew he held, by the various hints he dropped here and there, but which he was too savvy to admit openly.
And there it was, right before he would have admitted it, he suddenly became suspicious of me. Counter-infiltrating the Left is not going to be an easy task. They have a natural, well-honed, ability to detect ideological subversion. I managed to keep my character’s identity secure, I think, but this particular SJW remains wary. The corollary to this is that most SJWs are actually intelligent, active agents of subversion as opposed to useful idiots. Garden-variety Leftists are the useful idiots. SJWs are the Progressive stormtroopers (something Arthur Chu actually admitted, once).
Nonetheless, it is important to point out that Alinsky’s rulebook can be played against them successfully. It’s a sword that cuts both ways. Some of the more astute SJWs realize this, and despite their natural talents in counterintelligence, it is a weakness for them. And they know it is a weakness. Where my one character isn’t able to do much damage, an army of such could utterly destroy them. There is almost no trust between SJWs as it is. Many of them loathe one another, because they are competitors for the same Social Capital. These are the natural fracture points of the radical Left.
Most Right-wingers don’t know how to debate them.
In playing the character, I discovered that most Right-wingers still confer upon the SJWs the courage of their convictions. The Right-winger presumes that since he believes what he is saying to be true, the Leftist must believe his positions, also. This is NOT the case. Most of them don’t really believe any of it. They hate you, they hate your culture, your race, your gender, your success, and any number of other attributes you may or may not possess. Their political positions are not real positions. They are weapons of subversion.
You can’t have a conversation with a bomb or a bullet. Neither can you have a conversation with an SJW. Even with each other, each SJW exchange is a power play between them. It is like living under a Stalinist regime. I got this sense repeatedly when talking to them. Everything is an exchange of Social Capital, a zero-sum game. This is why Right-wingers are often quickly blocked by SJWs, because if the exchange is not giving the SJW more Social Capital, it is useless to him.
Understand this: EVERYTHING in the Social Justice world is about Social Capital and power exchange. Nothing else matters.
How do you debate against a weapon, then? The answer is: you don’t. You destroy or defeat the weapon. You don’t have a conversation with it. If the debate is continuing, it is because the SJW feels that he is benefiting from you. If you are blocked, it is because he believes you cannot benefit him, not because you have beaten him in a debate, or proven him wrong (even though you probably did these things).
More to come. I guess you can call this part of a series of posts on the investigations I have conducted on the SJWs, and on the proper way to categorize them and engage them.