GG: Entryism

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.

4 thoughts on “GG: Entryism

  1. I’m still thinking about your main thesis, but here are some observations until I can formulate a coherent response.

    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.

    This is a good news/bad news thing:

    The good news is the “fight will never be won,” but only against the 10%-15% of hardcore lefties–those with an overwhelmingly strong “propensity to pinkshirt-ism.” These people cannot be convinced. But there’s a large chunk in the middle of the distribution (maybe 30%-50%) whose pinkshirt-ism tendency is in the very weak to medium strength range. Some of these people can be persuaded to become more like persons of “Independent temperament.” In certain battles, enough of these people can be convinced, thus tipping the scales and defeating the pinkshirts. The long-term goal is to find a way to do this for a large fraction of the battles. That’s what victory will look like. It will downgrade the serious threat now posed by PC types to a relatively minor nuisance.

    The bad news is that, IMHO, the pendulum has not swung in our direction. The pinkshirts have won a long, nearly unbroken series of battles. The fact that they appear, for the moment, to be losing the GamerGate skirmish, does not significantly alter the fact that the pendulum is way over at their end.

    Perhaps this could become a Siege of Vienna moment, the highwater mark of the advance of the pinkshirts, but that will only be known in retrospect. But the peculiar nature of the gamers and the way this battle is being waged make me doubt that this type of victory can duplicated repeatedly by those of us of “Independent temperament” who just want to be left alone to run our non-Lionel trains and live our lives unmolested by those who know better and try to force us to live according to their rules.

    … 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.

    OMG. Was this the face that launch’d a thousand tweets???

    • OMG. Was this the face that launch’d a thousand tweets???

      I know, right? To borrow a very crude yet very apt phrase from a frat guy I once knew, I wouldn’t fuck her with a rented dick. And yet… there you have it. It’s helpfull to remember that these are the folks we’re dealing with. On both sides.

      Perhaps this could become a Siege of Vienna moment, the highwater mark of the advance of the pinkshirts

      That’s what I’m thinking. It’s finally a bridge too far for them.

      But there’s a large chunk in the middle of the distribution (maybe 30%-50%) whose pinkshirt-ism tendency is in the very weak to medium strength range. Some of these people can be persuaded to become more like persons of “Independent temperament.”

      Let’s hope so! My main reason for optimism is in this article Nightfly linked.

      All I want out of you is that you apply this new intel of yours across the whole spectrum of progressive messaging. I ask you to look at us and people like us. Look at the folks on the Right, who have been smeared for years now in the same exact way that you have been. Sexists. Racists. Homophobes. Bigots. Haters. And see if what is true of you is not true of us as well. See for yourself whether we’re the unthinking vicious hatemonsters they make us out to be. See if our sole impetus is “rage” against all that is good and holy. You might see that our various programs are not entirely unreasonable, unhealthy, or unworthy themselves. That we’re as principled in our own right as you are in yours.

      As that author notes, most “gamers,” being young, middle class, and educated, probably skew liberal. Certainly they’ve been hearing leftwing pieties preached at them for their entire school-age lives, which is to say, all their lives. They no doubt think conservatives are raciss h8rs because, well, everybody knows that….

      But now they see that this is knee-jerk stuff. The left one tactic, just one — point-and-shriek. Words like “misogyny” and “homophobia” don’t mean what gamers thought they meant. In fact, they don’t mean anything at all. They’re just the ritual syllables of excommunication, as meaningless and incomprehensible to modern commoners as the Latin of the real thing was to medieval heretics.

      And if “So-and-So is misogynist!” doesn’t actually mean anything, then you don’t get any Virtue Bingo points for accusing him of misogyny. You’re not some super-special modern day martyr for fighting those awful “conservatives,” because they don’t exist — what you were told was some awful, all-powerful hate monster is really just Bob from Accounting.

  2. 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.

    Since the videogame industry is one of the last bastions of pop culture that has not been colonized by the left, it was inevitable this would happen. Considering the massive gross sales the industry generates, it’s surprising it’s taken so long for the left to begin its attack.

    The uncynical people who assist in the sort of hostile takeover you’re talking about–that is, people who do this “on principle” and not for personal gain–do it because they really believe in collectivism and thus have no respect for private property or freedom of association. To them, every company or association emanates from, and belongs to, the collective, and is legitimate only to the extent that it serves the “interests of society.” As King Barack himself put it, “you didn’t build that.” Society as a whole did, and therefore every busybody has the right to stick his nose into the business of your model train club or videogame company and try to force you to do things ethically, by serving the public’s needs.*

    So for these people, just about any association or company is akin to a public accommodation, like a city park or municipal bus service. Everyone has an equal right to sit his or her fat ass down on a city park bench or bus seat, and such public accommodations must adhere to a panoply of rules guided by notions of “equal access” and “fairness.”

    Likewise, so the collectivist thinks, your widget company, WidCo, should also abide by rules and regulations derived from the left’s enlightened feelings about “social justice.” Since everything is driven by what’s best for the collective, it makes no sense for them to create their own widget company while turning a blind eye to the gross injustices caused by WidCo’s failure to operate in accord with basic common decency. That would be like blithely ignoring the iniquity of a city bus service that forces blacks to sit in the back of the bus; and the silly idea that they should build “their own damn clubs, or software development houses, or whatever” is like telling Rosa Parks to start her own bus company. That’s just plain ridiculous. Montgomery already had a working bus service, but it refused to treat Ms Parks and other blacks with basic respect. We just needed to fix that, not build a competing bus company.

    Similarly, we already have a functioning widget company: WidCo. Since we SWJs appreciate the work you’re doing and have no desire to interfere, we’ll leave the details of widget production to you. Our expertise is in ethics, and clearly your company could use our assistance. We even have a truly brilliant colleague who wrote his PhD dissertation on The Economics of Social Justice, so you can be confident in our ability to guide WidCo into becoming the kind of socially conscious company that helps all members of society, not just the stockholders, a profitable enterprise that does well by doing good, a company we all can be proud of.

    Sorry about that. Got carried away with my collectivist role-playing exercise. Perhaps this helps explain the mindset of people who never even consider creating their own videogame company, widget corporation, model railroad club or much of anything else. They much prefer to capture and control existing organizations.

    * This connects with your “problem of universals” idea because these lefties have a vastly different, abstract notion of Justice from that of Independents, one that is like a Platonic form in that it is perfect, pristine, unsullied and unaffected by the filth and grime of the real world and empirical evidence.

    • Good points. But leftists are very keen indeed on private enterprise when it’s one of theirs. As in: Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one! Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t have one! Think Harry Potter promotes Satanism? Don’t read it! Don’t like the government’s shitty, grotesquely expensive health insurance plans? Too bad! It’s a tax!!! &c.

      If “the collective” speaks in one of those situations — like, say, when public referenda declare marriage to be the union of man and woman — the “the collective” is quite simply wrong, and they’ll sue until they get their way.

      They don’t create alternate organizations, in other words, because they can’t. This is partly because their theories don’t match reality — nobody will eat at the Social Justice Cafe because the bagels taste like reheated ass and the coffee costs $24 a cup. But it’s also due to a mental failing. Theirs is the one true and universal (dare I say, catholic?) way to do things, and if that way doesn’t work, it’s somebody else’s fault.

      Tl;dr: Conservatives care about results, liberals care about process. The point of a model railroad club is, to the Independent, to build model railroads. To a liberal, the point is to make sure all our imperfect actual model railroads match as closely as possible to the universal, unalterable Form of “Model Railroad.”

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