I saw this at Vox Popoli. He’s quoting this, from PopeHat. Yeah yeah, I know, more GamerGate (God, how that -Gate thing makes my eyes bleed), but it’s important, y’all.
The entryism is of the usual type: people with blue/pink ideals join red / gray groups and try to achieve social status with in those groups, then use that social status to push for the admission of – and promotion of – more blue/pink members. Once the blue/pink members achieve a majority they then change the rules of admission to create a lock on their new conquest (in the case of academia, for example, even blue researchers in the Netherlands of all places, were shocked by how blatant the process was).
At Vox’s, this follows a piece on The Bell Curve. Which got me thinking: We’re probably in the realm of genetics now.
I haven’t had time to think this through yet, but wanted to get it down right away, and hopefully get some help from the gang on this.
We know that a large part of the personality is inherited, right? Isn’t that one of the core arguments behind HBD, that heritable character traits explain a lot of certain groups’ troubles with industrial society? If so, “propensity to pinkshirt-ism” might be heritable as well.
It honestly never seems to occur to these people that they can start their own damn clubs, or software development houses, or whatever. I mean that literally. A lot of them are trying to wreck yours for money, or petty revenge, or fame, or because they’re angling for a job at Gawker, or for any number of comprehensible (though reprehensible) conscious reasons… but a lot of them aren’t.
And on the other side, a good number of people seemingly can’t see the pinkshirts’ comprehensible-but-reprehensible reasons. In every GG thread, there’s always one guy doing the Kevin Bacon in Animal House routine — “all is well!” Or, in this case, “why can’t I just play my game?”
Let’s take, say, model railroading. I know, I know, the left can politicize anyfuckingthing, but model trains have to be near the bottom of the priority list. Should a person of Independent temperament (that’s the provisional label I’m going with) discover that the only model railroading club in his town is full of fanatical American Flyer backers and he’s a diehard Lionel man*, he’ll just…. start his own club, and if nobody joined, he’d either quit the hobby altogether, or simply soldier on alone in his garage, the lone Lionel man in a town of American Flyers. He’d have his internet friends, and while that might not be quite as fun as a club full of flesh-and-blood people, it’s enough.
It would never occur to him ot force the American Flyer club to let him join, then threaten the other members with lawsuits if they didn’t start including some Lionels in their setups. All of that is, to an Independent, a waste of precious hours he could be model railroading.
The Joiners, meanwhile, work the other way. Their mental tracks (to stick with an overburdened metaphor) have different switches. To them, the Toad Suck, Arkansas, model railroad club is the only model railroad club that is, was, or ever could be. They know there are other clubs out there, of course, but they know it in the same abstract way they know the moon doesn’t really glow with its own light. And they acknowledge the theoretical right of model railroaders to build with brands other than Lionel. But meanwhile, there’s the Toad Suck model railroad club right there, hanging in the sky, shining with its own light, plain for all to see. And they’re doing it wrong.
To this kind of person, a club isn’t a group of likeminded enthusiasts. I can’t describe exactly how they think — I’m an Independent, obviously — and all the similies I want to use are weird and probably unhelpful. But I’ll try. At the risk of alienating everyone with yet another long discourse on academic gobbldygook….
Medieval philosophers were preoccupied with “the problem of universals.” Plato said that there’s the ideal, perfect Form of a Tree somewhere out there in the ether, and that all real, actual trees growing here on Earth “partake in” it. Which means they’re all flawed copies of that one Form.** Another group said no, the Forms don’t really exist — you can’t take a rocket ship out to the edge of the universe and land in the mysterious realm of the Forms, like some bad Star Trek episode. When we recognize that a beech, a cypress, and a maple are all equally “trees,” it’s just a linguistic convention. Yeah, all languages do it — it’s “universal” in that sense — but that’s because we need those abstractions to function. “Run! A bear!” “Which bear? The bear with the off-color ear, or the bear that ate Charlie last Wednesday?”
[If you want a woefully modern version of the problem of universals, think of “Mr. Right.” Is there any real human male who fulfills the 463 bullet point checklist? Or is that just a linguistic convention women use to gripe about their boyfriends and/or sell a zillion issues of Cosmo?]
Your instinctive answer to “the problem of universals” is, I’m starting to believe, genetic. We’re all programmed to think one way or the other. It’s hard to even sense, abstractly, how the other guys think, and almost impossible to actually do it. I get mental nausea trying to contemplate “Forms” for any length of time, in much the same way that listening to liberals for more than a few minutes makes my brain hurt. To me — that is, because of the particular genetic configuration of my brain — it is impossible to achieve “increased equality” through fascist means. You can’t be in favor of free expression when you ruthlessly suppress any expression you disapprove of.
And if you say you are, you’re lying — either to me, consciously, or to yourself, unconsciously.
But they’re not, I’m starting to think. They’re just wired differently.
Again, there are lots of people who are lying. Plenty of “anti-GamerGaters” are just careerists, petty thugs, and wannabe fascists — hence Vox Day’s wonderful term “pinkshirts.” Just as there are some “GamerGaters” who really are misogynists and sadists who confuse Zoe Quinn etc. for the chick they were hung up on in high school who never even acknowledged their existence.*** But a lot of others are legitimately confused.
Which means this is a fight that will never be won. The pendulum can be forced to swing back — as it is now, with “GamerGate” — but it will swing back again. It’s actually painful to think like the other guys, and the minute we’re not forced to, we’ll quit. The Independents will go back to letting Joiners join their model railroad clubs, because hooray! another model railroading enthusiast. And the Joiners will continue unconsciously, robotically trying to destroy those model railroad clubs, because there is only One True and Universal way to construct a model railroad.
Tl;dr: Conquest’s Second Law — “any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing” — is hardwired in human brains.
*Those are the first two brands I saw when I looked up “model railroading” on the internet. This should not imply that I endorse one or the other. I’ve got no beef with you, model railroaders. I hope you all get to play with your choo-choos free from political interference forever.
**confusingly, this position is called “Realism,” i.e. the proposition that Forms really exist somewhere out there in the ether, not just as universal artifacts in all human minds. The opposite notion — that this is just how human brains are wired, so it’s only a universal convention of language — is called “Nominalism.” I’m not going to use the terms here
***Yeah, Zoe Quinn. It’s often helpful to remember the type of people we’re dealing with here, y’all. On both sides.