Political Correctness jihadis evict Moon from Wiscon

ETA: more thoughts on the larger problem of “anti-ism” as it’s surfaced in our modern political and social discourse. What’s happened (happening?) to Moon and to Juan Williams is just symptomatic of a more troubling problem that has wider implications.

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I was sad, but not surprised, to see today that author Elizabeth Moon has been ejected from the Wiscon feminist-progressive SF&F convention. The holy warriors of Political Correctness are currently ululating over the divine grandness of their mighty victory against the hated satanic infidel that is Elizabeth Moon. Nevermind that Moon has political overlap with her detractors that is far, far in excess of her political differences with her detractors. Her sin was to mention Islam and Muslims in a way that was not 100% flattering to Islam and Muslims. We’ve seen this before in the West, with the Danish cartoons, and so much else. It is standing policy among the West’s cultural progressives to silence and shout down any and all intellectuals who do not flatter Islam and Muslims with every word that falls from their lips, pens or keyboards. To be critical of Islam or Muslims is to be guilty of ism and ist which means you officially stop being a member of the human species and become üntermensch.

Ironic, considering the fact that intellectual freedom is in short supply in those lands which are officially Muslim-dominated. Ironic, considering the fact that women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have been forced to flee Europe under threat of death because of their willingness to confront Islamic radicalism. Ayaan pretty much says it all, in the clip above. And has a much, much greater grasp of the cultural context of park51 than the many loud and obnoxious partisans — such as Michael Moore — who have rushed in to champion park51 and denounce any and all detractors.

By folding up under pressure, Wiscon has officially decided that it’s more important to appease political provocateurs and pan-banging radicals than to have any intellectual back-bone of its own. Whatever debate was actually had, regarding Moon, has now been washed away like handwriting in the sand. Wiscon’s policy is now clear: they will collapse under enough agitation and badmouthing from politically-motivated actors who pretend offense in the name of pushing their brand of hyper-progressive politics in the Science Fiction & Fantasy genre.

Not only is Wiscon apparently not ready to entertain a difference of opinion, it is prepared to banish those differences of opinion — something we might call censorship if it were being carried out by a government body.

Wiscon is, of course, free to erect whatever sort of “safe space” it wants. Alas this “safe space” is a hollow place where diversity — real diversity, not the fraudulent samethink of the radical progressives — is verboten. That a fellow traveler like Moon can be evicted for some of the most minor and imaginary offenses possible, speaks to the narrowness of the new dialectic. Deviations — even slim ones — endure a “zero tolerance” policy. And those who might stand against the rantings of the agitators simply fall under the bus in their efforts to placate people who have made it their mission to berate and belittle anyone and everyone who does not fall into lockstep with their ideology within the fantastic and the speculative.

In simpler language, Wiscon just jumped the shark. Its actions reflect lack of intellectual vigor on the part of its planners, and ironically do not sate the appetites of those who most vocally railed against Moon in the first place — indeed, some of those people continue to complain, even though they’ve now gotten exactly what they wanted.

It would be laughable, if it weren’t such a gottdamned shame.

ETA: on a related note, NPR has fired Juan Williams for the dreadful sin of expressing misgivings about Muslims and Islam. How grand. The totalitarian blind eye demanded of all Americans — by progressive authoritarians — for Islam, is again displayed for public viewing. Of course, had Williams expressed similar thoughts about U.S. Evangelism as it relates to abortion clinic bombings, or the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints as related to child abuse or polygamy, you can bet big money on the fact that NPR would not have cared. But because the directive is clear — only Happy Thoughts can ever be permitted, regarding Muslims and Islam — Williams got the axe. Superb. Breathtaking. The hypocrisy of our cultural elite rolls ever forward!

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9 thoughts on “Political Correctness jihadis evict Moon from Wiscon

  1. This post is something of a quandary for me. On the one hand, I think that Wiscon showed either tremendous cowardice or amoral calculation, and NPR just acted badly: both of them stifled dissent that was judged “beyond the pale”. (Before it crops up again, I thought it was an equally bad thing when Helen Thomas got canned) I get very tired of the LiveJournal “somebody’s wrong on the internet” brigades that seem to honestly relish the opportunity to swoop down and stomp on someone who was wrong. Moreover, I think their reaction is specifically tailored to make it difficult for anyone with an ounce of pride to back down, and then they use the inevitable defensiveness to further skewer them. In other words, they manufacture these debacles.

    But you make it difficult for me to agree with you when you use characterizations that I know you know to be false. Your original commentary acknowledged, “Many of Moon’s critics appear to have taken away from her article the idea that Moon doesn’t think you deserve U.S. citizenship or equal protection under U.S. law if you’re a Muslim.” That was a fair characterization of the situation — and if she actually had said as much in so many words, some of the opprobrium being heaped on her would be deserved. Such a statement would not be a “slim deviation” from what’s acceptable, it would be pretty awful. You made clear there that you did not agree with this interpretation, that you do not think she made that statement at all, but you acknowledged that you understood the basis of at least some of their ire.

    But now here you say, as the basis for a longer rant, “Her sin was to mention Islam and Muslims in a way that was not 100% flattering to Islam and Muslims.” No, no it wasn’t. As you said previously, her sin was to say something that people interpreted as saying that Muslims didn’t deserve citizenship. The WisCon folks folded in the face of a lot of people who interpreted it that way (in some cases cherrypicking quotes so as to be better able to choose that interpretation). That’s bad enough on its face, but mischaracterizing the people you disagree with, accusing them as part of some giant “totalitarian blind eye” toward some favored pets, that just furthers muddies the water, adds poison to the already toxic discourse.

    I understand your frustration. But when you stand up and try to take the high road (which I applaud, as it ain’t easy going up there) you’re declaring yourself to be the designated driver, and that means staying sober through the whole party, even when everyone else is plainly drunk, getting belligerent, and urinating in the corner. Here, you’re just giving them ammunition to pass around their LiveJournals and say, “See? This is what those Moon-lovers are really like.”

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  3. That said, I finally went back and read Moon’s original post last night, and I found that I don’t actually agree with anyone involved, including Moon. What I saw there was basically a strawman argument. I don’t think that she actually has a good grasp of the situation, to be honest. She made good points about trying to be good citizens… but I think that actually Muslims in America *are* trying to be good citizens, even by her definition. She seems to have an odd mental image of their place in society that I don’t think is entirely informed by reality. It was a foolish thing to say — not because it wasn’t politically correct, but because it was simply wrong.

    Of course, at that point, someone was Wrong On The Internet. It seems to me that she got some honestly-considered feedback by thoughtful people… which got overwhelmed by the coordinated hammering delivered by people who just enjoy savaging others on blogs (funny how there’s a national argument about bullying right now…) and so she got indignant and defensive: exactly the reaction that many of her attackers wanted, because it meant that she shut up, the thoughtful people tuned out in disgust at one side or the other, and the loudest people controlled the conversation. Once that happens, it’s just a matter of which particular kill they want to go for.

  4. Word up, Brad. The idea that those who silence opinion and competition occupy a moral high-ground is absurd, but highly respected (as misrepresented) in a lot of circles. I vary on opinion slightly, insofar as I believe that the vilification of a mosque being built near Ground Zero, and the vilification of those who vilify it – in short, both the “liberal” and the “conservative” angle – are politically equal, insofar as both reactions are victories not for us but for the terrorists – since either way you swing, you’re destroying secular institutions and values, regardless.

    Anyway, did you ever play the boardgame “War on Terror?” I’m pretty sure that game is basically the best crashcourse in modern geopolitics available. Then again, I’m an anarcho-capitalist (this week, anyway), so maybe I’m the wrong guy to ask.

    -bn

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  6. JPM, I have a lot to say about how the Moon situation is occurring in a much larger context, but I think I might say it in a whole post. Thank you for your thoughtful criticism, as it is appreciated. You’ve given me some things to think about, and to clarify if I may.

  7. I’m certainly not going to argue with anyone wanting to take the time to give the subject more thought! And I read your blog primarily because I think that you are more willing than most people to stop and really think something through. There are several people with whom I agree politically more often, but on whose blogs I do not comment because they have an unseemly eagerness to casually demonize commenters for displaying insufficient agreement.

    Given that, I hope you take it as a compliment when I feel able in this space to offer a word of (advice? warning? trivia?): Writers are prone to falling into the trap of the “beautiful narrative” — that one paradigm into which everything makes sense! and it’s clear! and it becomes obvious who the good guys and bad guys are, and what their motivations are, and what it’s all about… and it’s very often just a seductive mistake. There may be no larger context at all, just a bunch of stuff that happens.

  8. You refer to “those who silence opinion and competition”… My understanding of the situation is that MOON’s silencing of opinions was a large part of the reason she was un-invited as WisCon GoH. Her reaction to those on her blog who posted differing opinions (and even “Did you really mean THAT?” requests for clarification) was to make a few replies of the “You didn’t understand me” sort (rather than addressing areas where the debaters were addressing errors in fact, e.g.: her apparent equating of “Muslim” with “immigrant”)… and then to shut down all further comments and delete all the discussions and replies already posted.

    The WisCon organizers, before taking their controversial step, reportedly contacted Moon to discuss the situation, pointing out that the controversy WOULD be an issue at the convention, and received responses from Moon indicating that, if con-goers tried to discuss the topic, she was unwilling to engage in the discussion/debate. In other words, at a convention with an explicit anti-bigotry focus, she was shutting down discussion of ideas she’d published which have been perceived as bigoted.

    This all leaves us to identify her attitude toward a religious minority based solely on the existing statements, which are widely interpreted, at best, as insensitive, and at worst bigoted. (Personally, I have a hard time reading the latter part of what she wrote without cringing… which is sad, ’cause I think she made good points about the citizenship-FAIL! of people like Ken “Enron” Lay.) Given this, and the principles on which WisCon was founded, it’s unfortunate but true that Moon’s no longer a good “fit” with WisCon, and that it’s NOT a “political-correctness jihad” if the con doesn’t want her representing them anymore. If Moon had made comments apparently supporting, say, “creationism”, and then been refused an honorary doctorate and cancelled as a graduation speaker at a science-focused college like CalTech or M.I.T., would you call it a “jihad”?

    If she’d been dumped as GoH for an “apolitical” con like NorWesCon or WorldCon, I’d agree that it was a bad move, but WisCon is explicitly a forum for feminist and “progressive” SF/F, and oriented to debate and discussion on those issues. I think, if Moon had been open to taking part in the dialog, even if she were in disagreement with a lot of the con participants, they’d still have welcomed her, and it would’ve been an interesting and educational experience for everyone.

  9. Moon has not been the only one to silence debates, delete comments and the like. Shweta Narayan did the same thing to me a few things after the latest Fail Nazi witch hunted started.

    They’ve got a word for that in the English language.

    Respects,
    S. F. Murphy
    On the Outer Marches

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