So after an offhand and mostly sarcastic comment I posted on twitter, I got a response from Aratina Cage (@aratina). This surprised me, having been put on the block bot long ago and I believe he is one of the admins for it. What surprised me even more was that we proceeded to have an actual conversation afterwards, it was civil enough and a couple of valid points were made. It was also suggested that I (apparently along with everyone else) have the wrong idea about A+ based on a few vocal assholes. So that being said, I figure I’ll put to paper my main disagreements with A+ as I perceive it, and Aratina or anyone else is welcome to come along and correct me.
Without further ado:
1. The with us or against us attitude – Although it was mentioned this was just Carrier’s usual bloviating, I don’t just refer to the outright stating of this by a few individuals, but the idea, such as AronRa so ignorantly put it recently, that if you’re not a feminist/SJW/A+ you’re a sexist by definiton (or racist or whatever).
2. Misunderstanding of privilege – privilege is only applicable to groups for understanding and studying why a group has certain advantages over another, it is absolutely useless when applied to individuals. Secondly, the inability to recognize where it actually is, such as when the FOUNDER of atheism plus saw a homeless man masturbating in the street, and then complained on twitter about how he was sexually oppressing her with his white male privilege.
3. Redefining words to suit your own use – A woman can be sexist and a black man can be racist. In the current power structure of the western world, it is extremely difficult for either to be an oppressor. Learn and use the real definitions of words before using them in a serious debate. Attempting doublespeak by purposely misusing language confuses your point, muddles your speech, and makes it impossible to reach common ground, even if I might agree with you. the A+ definitions of “sexism” and “racism” bear as much relation to the meaning of the word as Deepak Chopra’s use of the word “Quantum”.
4. A+ is NOT a Substitute for legitimate psychiatric care – “Triggering” does not mean something that offends you or makes you upset. You insult every person with PTSD, when you say “this makes me feel triggered” No it doesn’t, it makes you upset, which is a normal human reaction. If you claim to have gotten PTSD from twitter, you are a lying, manipulative useless sack of human garbage. Triggering results in an anxiety attack, or a violent outburst, or crying in the corner for hours, and if you have any of these real symptoms, YOU NEED PSYCHIATRIC HELP!. Hanging out in a “safe space” will make it worse, talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
5. Coddling weakness, instead of empowerment and promoting strength – I fight for equal rights by attempting to secure the option for every human being to be able to have all the rights that I have, provided they want to accept the accompanying responsibilities. I want everyone to come up to my level and enjoy the hell out of it. The idea of “everyone should have as shitty a life as I think I have” does not sit well with me, especially coming from a white college educated north american. Lookup the song “Holiday in Cambodia” by the Dead Kennedys if you want a perfect distillation of what I mean here.
6. Refusal to admit there are different types of feminism/humanism/routes to social justice – SWRFS, and TERFS. I think we can all agree these are shitty people. But like it or not, they’re feminists. There are as many flavors of feminism are there are christianity, and although I share some beliefs with many of them, I won’t call myself a feminist because of that for the same reason I don’t call myself a christian just because I think “thou shalt not steal” is a good idea.
7. Dogma and unquestionable beliefs – “Feminism is not up for debate” Yes it is. Everything is up for debate. The existence of cheese is up for debate. Gravity is up for debate, if you want to debate it. It will be a short debate, but we can have it. There are no sacred cows, nothing is unquestioningly accepted or above reconsideration. Things are especially up for debate when you base them on soft sciences, with no data and what amounts to made up conclusions, and abso-fucking-lutely up for debate when you make up numbers and I have the legitimate ones, backed up by studies ad not pulled from someone’s ass.
8. First-world-centric – I am not a wealthy man by north american standards, but I have enough time and money that I can dedicate some of both to helping people less fortunate than myself. I send money to 3 charities who focus on ending poverty (and I’ve researched it and made sure they are secular, sustainable operations that build futures for communities and not just dump bags or rice on them and leave, or worse, bags of bibles.) and when I can, I volunteer at a few local community events that I believe are helping people out. If you are not starving or homeless, and no one in your family is going to be sold for a couple goats, than I don’t give a fuck how shitty you’re feeling. You don’t need my help, I’m sure you have your own problems, but they are certainly not worth my time.
9. Creating the illusion of safety vs actual safety. If you are at a conference and feel harassed by an individual or group, and then you are later informed that you are being watched by security guards and video surveillance as a precaution, you don’t get to fucking complain. Resources that are meant to keep a thousand people safe and orderly are now focused on you. Whether or not you feel safe or not is irrelevant if you are the safest person in the room. Also “Safe Spaces” such as A+ wants do not exist, and attempting to tell people they do or create one, only sets them up for a harsher reality check down the road.
10. Failure to understand the dangers of the world, and purposefully sabotaging good advice for the sake of idealism. – I want to live in a world where I am obsolete. I want to teach martial arts as an arena sport and for exercise only because it will have no practical use in the real world. I want to live in a world where a woman can walk down a dark alleyway at night and leave unaccosted, and drink till she passes out on the floor of a frat house with a bunch of drunken dudebros and wake up with her virtue intact. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world. And whenever some ignorant idealist opens their mouth to say “teach men not to rape” or “stop victim blaming” when I deliver not only good, but rock solid, professional and rigorously researched advice that might one day save your life, I want to fucking scream. I’m not suggesting you stop educating, but not only is the “don’t victim blame” line a blatant lie, but it actually puts in danger women who take it too seriously.
11. Richard Carrier – The guy is a fucking douchebag, seriously. He may be smart, but so was Gregory House, and you wouldn’t want him as your spokseperson. Either fire your “intellectual artillery”, send him packing on a deliberate tour de force somewhere that the public won’t see him, or make it clear to everyone that he does not represent the group, as he seems pretty damn sure that he does.
12. Wanting everything given, unwillingness to earn any of it. A person whom I will not name, who was prominent on social justice twitter circles, once mentioned how if the word weren’t prejudiced, she could have been an author instead of working at burger king. This sums up the attitude very nicely I think. Most authors have to work fast food or some shitty service job untill their first big book, many keep a part time day job even after being published. You aren’t an author because you are a shtty writer and a whiny little turd who is unwilling to put in the effort required. Here’s the lesson for all of you; STEP UP EARN IT IF YOU WANT IT! Don’t beg, don’t whine, don’t lament, because you won’t get an ounce of sympathy from me.
13. Look mommy I’m an ostritch – Blocking everyone who disagrees, uses language you don’t like, or just that someone else felt did one of those things. Such cowardice beggars belief. I do not even know how to possibly relate, work with or even communicate to someone like that. A group that as aduls, are too scared to make a decision that amounts to two clicks, and instead rely on a dedicated team of people to do it for them, is the definition of privilege.
I will note that these are the main problematic beliefs that are almost uniformly espoused by A+ types whenever I meet them (there are others, but none that are so unanimously parroted). Perhaps I am simply talking to the wrong A+ers in which case, if there are any who are not using the block bot, I would love to have a conversation with them, I promise not to say “cunt” and I’ll even try to leave out the F-bomb. I got a funny feeling though this just isn’t going to happen. But as I tell theists, I’ll believe in god when I meet him.
PS – Commenting here is unmoderated, though if you can’t deal with that, you probably shouldn’t respond to me anyhow.