The Mote in Gernsback’s Eye

I’ve said before that it usually doesn’t matter how much a conservative shouts or points at a problem with liberal behavior, the liberals usually don’t pay any attention until another liberal sees the same problem, and speaks up. This is because liberals (and conservatives often, too) — in the United States — have trained themselves to be so cynical about the thoughts and motives of the other side, they will immediately discount any information flowing from an “enemy” source. Everyone is forever on the alert for “concern trolling” and nobody wants to budge an inch, if it means admitting that maybe something might be wrong in friendly territory.

Excerpted below are the comments of the current Vice President of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America — SFWA.

NOTE: I walked out of that organization after they expelled Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg from the pages of the SFWA Bulletin, for what essentially amounted to word crime. I decided I didn’t want any part of a so-called writers’ union that would treat two of its senior members so shabbily, over a matter which can only be described as thought-policing. I haven’t paid much attention to SFWA since then.

But Ms. Hogarth’s words struck a chord with me — they should, for any conservative who’s toiled in these spec fictional prose mines over the past 25 years. I said it last weekend: the field of Science Fiction and Fantasy does not like conservatives, nor libertarians, all that much. Being a conservative or libertarian (aka: classically liberal) in SF/F, in the year 2016, is akin to operating in enemy territory. Not because you’re out to get them as much as they’re certainly out to get you. Unless you can run silent, and run deep. Showing your cards — forcing them to admit that you exist — comes with a host of potential repercussions. You’ve definitely got to make up your mind about how you’re going to sail your way through this strange little ocean Hugo Gernsback dubbed “scientifiction.”

I attended a con once where the toastmaster said that they wanted all conservatives to “hurry up and die and leave the planet to the rest of us. No wait, they can stay as long as we can have their money.” And people applauded. That person wasn’t kicked out of the convention. They were feted and congratulated while I sat in the audience, pale and trembling, listening to the people around me cheer my demise. I have never, ever forgotten that moment. Or all the threatening ones after, both generalized or intimate, like the man who leaned into my face and told me the world would be better off without me and people like me. No one stepped in to tell him that he shouldn’t say such things. The people standing around us just nodded or smiled. One of them even said before leaving, “Your time is over. We don’t need you anymore, [expletive here].”

The mandarins of SF/F expend a lot of energy wrapping themselves in the flag of tolerance. But as any conservative can tell you, that tolerance runs pretty much one-way. A tolerance conversation (liberal to conservative) in SF/F often goes like this, “Hello, I am a tolerant caring compassionate liberal, and you’re not. You will sit there and politely listen to all of my ideas and theories, and not say a word. I will sit here and listen to all of your ideas and theories, and then I will explain to you why you’re a dirty bigot and a hater and an evil human being. We will both agree I am right, and you will apologize for being bad.”

That, dear friends, is how “tolerance” works in SF/F at this time.

I’ve discussed this at length with Orson Scott Card — he being well acquainted with the tolerance charade — and he says it didn’t used to be like this before 1980. Oh, to be sure, there were plenty of fans, authors, and editors on the left-wing side of the aisle. But it wasn’t so vindictive, nor so personal. You could sit at a table with conservatives, liberals, anarchists, libertarians, and have a rousing verbal melee of competing ideas, but at the end of it, you’d still be able to shake hands, and walk away comrades in the field. That began to change (perhaps not coincidentally) about the time Ronald Reagan took his seat in the Oval Office. Gradually, in dribs and drabs, the dominant left-wing culture of SF/F has traded in true tolerance, for a kind of totalitarian double-think 1984 version of tolerance — people and ideas labeled ‘intolerant’ don’t have to be tolerated. In 2016, with tender snowflakes floating around in SF/F like it’s a mild blizzard, anyone can be labeled ‘intolerant’ for any reason, logical or not. Because anyone can claim to be a Victim (caps v) and in the new vernacular of Social Justice Zealotry, the Victim is always right and always wins. Always.

What this means is that common law assumption of innocence — the foundation for Enlightenment justice as practiced in the United States for over two hundred years — has been replaced (in the culture of SF/F) with a totalitarian law of default guilt. When a Victim says you have “aggressed” in some fashion, you are automatically at fault. In fact, if you’re unfortunate enough to possess “privileged” demographics, your very existence is an aggression. You must put on your scarlet letter P and show the world that you are willing to atone for your sin of privilege, and call out those around you for their privilege too. Again, all of this rests on a totalitarian law of default guilt.

Not surprisingly, default guilt breeds an environment where compassion and generosity shrivel away to nothingness.

I’ll say it twice, for emphasis: default guilt breeds an environment where compassion and generosity shrivel away to nothingness.

What do I mean by that? Look at Ms. Hogarth’s example. A compassionate person does not openly wish for a broad segment of the population to die — whether it was a joke or not — and a compassionate audience does not applaud such a statement. There is also zero generosity in the declaration, “We don’t need you anymore, your time is over, bitch.” Ms. Hogarth was cast in the role of villain merely for being who she is. As the villain, she was not accorded the regard even a child might be accorded. Villains don’t deserve regard. Villains deserve scorn, disdain, insults, and worse.

I have occasionally read and heard rebuttals along the lines of, “Well if conservatives and libertarians weren’t so selfish, terrible, hateful, and bigoted, we wouldn’t have to insult them!”

Again, the totalitarian assumption of guilt. It doesn’t matter how the default villain has comported herself. The villain is the villain is the villain. And villains are fair game for all kinds of atrocious and genuinely aggressive (usually, passive aggressive) behavior that tolerant liberals themselves would never countenance; if it were directed at them, or their fellow ideological travelers.

More from Ms. Hogarth:

I am all for a more civilized fandom. I am all for us being kinder to one another, and striving to understand each other’s viewpoints, experiences, and beliefs. I give people the benefit of the doubt, and because of that, I’ve enjoyed friendships with a broad gamut of people, all of whom have taught me a great deal and brought me a great deal of joy. But if we’re going to slap people on the wrists for microaggression, can we please start playing fair? Can we go after the person at the con who made knowing comments to the audience about flyover states? Can we talk to the person who was preaching radical feminist philosophy as if it was the only sensible philosophy until I said, quietly, “I’m sorry. I’m not on board with most of that.” Can we stop the toastmasters wishing that half the population would die in a fire (and leave their wealth to them)? Is my excessive discomfort also important? What about all my conservative or religious friends, and the fans who have quietly told me the only place they feel safe is in my social media spaces? What about the fans who have even more quietly told me they don’t feel safe ever?

I find this sentiment plausibly risable. It seems like the voice of grown-upness, pleading for sanity. “Can we all please just try to treat each other a little better? Please??”

I could only add that the solution to all of this, is not to police the left-wing (on matters of “microagression”) to the same degree that the right-wing has been policed. The solution is to reevaluate the entire concept of “aggression” and “microagression.” Again, what happened to common-law assumption of innocence? We need to get back to it. Do not assume intent to harm. Set the bar (for proof of harm) high, and keep it high. Good lord, do we really want twin competing blizzards of tender snowflakes, all flying into each other and running to authority figures to “fix” the issue? Like a pack of sore-faced first graders endlessly tattling to teacher?

I was raised to believe that a real grown-up can take a few things on the chin. I was also raised to believe that a real grown-up can laugh at himself on occasion. The totalitarian assumption of guilt removes vital flexibility from our interactions. Everyone winds up expecting and seeking to discover (s)he has been harmed, and everyone is on the defensive against accusations of same. This kafka-esq nightmare of human relations permits almost no compassion, nor humility. When both pride and ego have been refined to the point of glass fragility, the slightest knock can cause shatteringly overblown reactions.

So, rather than degrade the state of dialogue, we need to promote thicker skins as well as greater honesty. I don’t want liberals being too scared to speak their minds. If somebody wishes I would go away and just die, I may not like the sentiment, but at least I know where the person stands. I am tough enough to hear those words, and I know the viewpoint from which they spring. It’s the viewpoint of moral surety. Scaring liberals into never speaking their moral surety does not end the moral surety. It merely drives them into echo chambers behind closed doors, where they can speak and share that surety in safe company; people who won’t run and tattle to teacher.

And if both conservatives and liberals only ever spend their time among like minds, behind closed doors, inventing monocultural spaces for themselves where they only ever have to hear and speak the same thoughts about the same ideas . . . well, we’re pretty much there already. In SF/F and also the culture at large. Social media has allowed us to run around inside the heads of other people, and we’re horrified by what we find there. Perhaps the liberals of SF/F believe that SF/F conventions (like Worldcon) ought to be places where they can feel safe verbally wishing for the deaths of conservatives? Forgetting that conservatives, too, are part of the fabric of SF/F? Whether SF/F’s liberals like it or not.

One wonders what old Mr. Gernsback might make of the situation — he who originally intended for “scientifiction” to be a literature that interested children in STEM careers. I am not sure Gernsback had any asterisks attached to that desire, political or otherwise.

Still more, from Ms. Hogarth:

Should I discuss at length all the times I have had this prejudice applied to me, not only at conventions, but in my career? Should I tell you about the time someone told me I “belong in the Baen gutter, with all the other troglodytes?” If this wasn’t a systemic prejudice, I wouldn’t bring it up. If we didn’t belong to a fandom that claims to desire diversity, I wouldn’t bring it up. But it’s both, and I am here bringing a warning: all the moderate conservatives — which constitute the majority — who do care about the rights of their friends, no matter their identities, are being driven away. Soon SF/F will find itself in an echo chamber, without any way to build bridges to the people who will increasingly see them as enemies. I don’t want that to happen. That’s why I continue to quietly point out that we can’t foster an environment of real safety without including people we disagree with. Because without exposure to one another, it’s too easy to demonize each other.

Three or four years ago, a fellow author lamented — in a discrete conversation among mixed company — that she had to suppress and hide a significant portion of her identity, in order to avoid causing trouble in SF/F. Because she knew her religiously-couched beliefs about a hot-button political topic would make her persona non grata with fellow authors, and also editors. She was crying when she said it. She knew she was baring her soul to a potentially hostile audience. At the risk of using a shopworn phrase, I felt her pain. Quite deeply. About a dozen years ago, it became apparent to me that if I truly wanted to become a “player” in SF/F I would have to learn to mask my beliefs. Either hide them, or pretend (in the company of fellow professionals) that my beliefs were contra to what I actually think and feel. About economics. About how societies and human beings function. About God, and the immortality of human essence. About sex and sexuality. About any number of things. It would all have to be shoved far back into the closet, and kept there. Otherwise, I was going to piss off a lot of people.

A few years later, having broken into the field — and having also failed spectacularly to keep my trap shut — a trusted mentor engaged in what can only be described as an impromptu intervention. To his credit, all of his logic was business-sound: when you are open about your beliefs, you risk alienating part of your audience, as well as part of your professional cohort. So why talk about it? Isn’t the golden rule to never discuss religion or politics? Because this conversation almost always ends in disaster?

My mentor made excellent sense, then. He still makes excellent sense now. And if the field of SF/F were a field that abided the golden rule across the board I am quite sure I’d not feel the need to bang my pot to the extent that I’ve been banging it. Bless my poor mentor, I know he gets an eye-twitch now, if ever my name is brought up in conversation. He knows he’s gonna have to hear it, about me. And he’s tired of deflecting, or making apologia. I don’t blame him.

But then, that’s precisely why I can’t let it go. Why should he have to deflect, or offer apologia? Why should Ms. Hogarth have to sound the alarm, about moderate conservatives being driven out of SF/F? Why should my fellow author — who cried tears of genuine anguish — have to suppress or cloak who she is, just to get along in this field? Why should any of us have to fear repercussions simply for thinking or expressing opinions or ideas that other people in SF/F disagree with?

“Stop thinking and speaking bad ideas, and we won’t have to be jerks to you!” shout the defenders of the status quo.

Ah, yes. The time-honored excuse of all abusers: you made us do it. There was a fair amount of that talk, directly following the farcical 2015 Hugo awards ceremony. And I’ve made no bones about the fact that I think the mandarins of SF/F self-inflicted a very deep, perhaps irrecoverable wound. But even that wound is merely a symptom of the bigger problem. Of the cultural and intellectual rot which has settled over SF/F and is presently intensifying.

Nobody on the “other side” has to give a damn what I say or write.

But they ought to give a damn about what Ms. Hogarth says and writes.

This is a key officer in the field, putting the field on notice. That the rot must not continue without remedy. I may disagree with her style of remedy, but there must be a remedy. At some stage SF/F’s self-styled liberals must force themselves to look into the eyes of those whom they despise, and find humanity there.

Otherwise, SF/F is going to entirely balkanize. It may have balkanized already? A kind of ethnic cleansing, wherein the “bad people” are at last revealed, and driven from the hall of righteous purity. Leaving SF/F a shell of its former self. Unable to grapple with the most basic of all scientifiction concepts: that there are minds which think as well as yours, just differently.

If there was ever a time when that maxim was carved into the stone archway over the door to the hall, it’s since been chiseled out, and replaced by a cheap plastic placard that says: SAFE SPACE. The door itself is now festooned with blinking orange hazard lights and gobs of yellow-and-black caution tape. Abandon all differences, ye who enter here. Diversity has become a skin-deep game of demographics and Victim-identity fetishization. The totalitarian culture of guilt is omnipresent. You can’t go a week in this field without some poor author or editor being called out, shamed, shunned, castigated, and verbally burned at the stake — for infractions of impiety or heresy.

Scientifiction — the literature which ought to, above all other things, pride itself on free inquiry and the publishing and expression of “dangerous” ideas — has fallen into a spiritual and ideological gutter of same-thinkery, restrictions on speech and expression, and the routine punishing of “evil doers” who cannot or will not conform to expected orthodoxy.

Again, the left-wing side doesn’t have to give a damn what I say or write.

But if enough people like Ms. Hogarth have the courage to tell the truth, maybe things can change?

One has to hope.

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133 thoughts on “The Mote in Gernsback’s Eye

  1. I’d say that it is going to take the “Lefties” swatting down their assholes to make a difference.

    But then I look at what happened to Orson Scott Card.

    Here’s a man who holds most of the “proper Liberal beliefs” but supports his church’s position on marriage.

    Thus, he becomes an “evil monster” deserving death and destruction.

    So IMO Liberals are going to have to prove that they aren’t all monsters because otherwise, I can’t afford to trust them.

  2. I was at a convention once, a few years back when I was trying to get writing advice from anywhere, and ended up watching a panel put on by some “local authors” (nobody I’ve heard of before or since). One of them went on a ten-minute rant about how you had to read OSC’s “Character and Viewpoint” but you should steal the book or torrent it because OSC is a despicable human being who shouldn’t be compensated for his work. I just remember sitting there in such disbelief, that someone could be so full of admiration for a person’s abilities and knowledge and so full of hate for their political positions.

    Did not make me go buy that author’s book, for sure.

  3. If Scott Card were not so widely-read and widely-honored, I am quite sure he’d get a far smaller portion of grief. But because he is preeminent, and unrepentant about his beliefs, people seeking to demonstrate they are on the “correct side” — or trying to stand out and wave their flag of same-mindedness with the rest of the mandarins — like to pick on Card. He’s a big, juicy target for righteous hate and vilification. I’ve seen it over, and over, and over again these past 20 years. It started back in the mid-nineties. When it became apparent that Ender’s Game was going to join the very small, very elite list of SF/F books which would be read well beyond the author’s lifetime. Scott began to endure the professional envy of his colleagues, and then when he wouldn’t back down on questions of belief, he was double-targeted for being a heretic; according to the new moral order that was ascendant in the (first?) Clinton era.

  4. Brad, your earnest ruminations are appreciated, but fruitless. We’re dealing with SJW’s here. They are true believers, and thus ugly and vicious. Attempted rational discussion has no effect. They respond only to force. We have to “get in their faces,” “hit back twice as hard,” and “bring a gun when they bring a knife” (with thanks to President Obama for all three quotes). They are not interested in discourse, and not susceptible to reason (and thus the onrushing ascendancy of the alt-right to confront them). Leftists are for “tolerance” only—ONLY—until they have the upper hand. Then they are Leninists, Nazis, Stalinists, Maoists, or some other kind of socialist pigs.

  5. The only remedy I can think of is to form a new organization to substitute for the old ones. Preferably run by a self-perpetuating Politburo to prevent SJZs from ever getting control of it.

  6. Well said, but if I may disagree on one point, we should make them live by the rules they set for us. First, it exposes their own corruption as they will try to exempt themselves from their rules (Clinton v Cosby). Secondly, when the do have to live by those rules, we go full Alinsky on them.

  7. Dude, I used to hang out on an MGTOW forum, because I found the idea kind of weird and interesting. What did men spend most of their time talking about, once they’d gone their own way? Turns out it was mostly women and what they didn’t like about them . . .

    If you puppies spent your time talking about the fiction you like, and even better, writing more of it and making it as good as you could, you’d be in the conversation. If you’ve got nothing to write about but how awful the other side is and how your rebellion is progressing, you’re not. I read a few sci-fi blogs and the good ones talk about books and writing and things people there think are fun. Sci fi has been schisming forever, look up The Immortal Storm. Twenty years from now when people who read sci fi look back, they’ll look back on what was written. Chill, and go write something good.

  8. As an outsider, and longtime mild fan of certain authors in the science fiction genre, I’d have to come down on the side of “It’s already Balkanized beyond repair” side of the ledger. There have been too many vicious, hateful and untrue things said to and about the moderately conservative fans,, writers and personalities. Yes – a certain amount of toughness of skin is required for an adult – but when toleration has become a one-way street … well, an honorable and self-respecting person can only take so much abuse before quietly walking away.

  9. Well Nick, when people like you stop talking about how “bad Puppies are” and start talking about books you enjoy, then we can join your conversation.

    Oh, it’s not just about “Puppies”, it’s about people like you telling Conservatives/Libertarians/Religious People/Whites just how bad they are.

  10. It boils down to manners. Scott Card has ’em. You have them. The painfully sincere and caring do not. If instead of worrying about micro-aggressions, which is the terminology of victimhood, we worried about being polite and respectful, then the world would be better. But we don’t and it isn’t.

  11. The great Professor Dutch once noted “Suppressing discussion is always more dangerous to the suppressor”. The example he uses is that of the Soviet Union- any criticism of the official party line was seen as a crime. As a result, people stopped bringing up obvious problems, and the whole nasty enterprise fell apart.

  12. Those quoted remarks reflect the Left’s belief in the Narrative of History, written by themselves, starring themselves. According to the script, we evil regressives will be defeated in Act 3 (with the possibility of a sequel where we get defeated again).

    Of course, we Bad Puppies have to ruin it all by continuing to exist, being successful in spite of what’s been thrown our way. And our numbers are growing.

  13. Nick wrote, “If you puppies spent your time talking about the fiction you like, and even better, writing more of it and making it as good as you could, you’d be in the conversation.”
    Your claim is that “puppy fiction” is no good, and only the “good” fiction is part of the conversation?
    Clearly you haven’t been keeping up on the discussion over the past…oh, I dunno, at least 5 years. You are also pretending that the word “good” means checking “social justice” and “diversity” boxes in content rather than any other measure. You clearly think that today’s Hugo “winners” are equal to past winners in every measure? Dude… I’m going to back slowly away now, lest whatever you are flinging ends up on me.

    You say you read “a few sci-fi blogs” and then you claim that the good ones talk about books and writing and fun things. I might believe your claim if you can name them and I can judge for myself if their content is as you claim. Or perhaps these are straw blogs?
    In contrast, you claim that the “puppy” blogs are merely full of whining, and NEVER talk about writing or fun things. If you can’t even get that right, then there is no use in conversing with you. You will believe what you want, as your smug rises high, valiantly virtue signaling to the ‘right’ people.

  14. Yes, if we treated them the way they treat us, they would indeed call for An Authority to Make Us Stop… whether it be a comcom member, all the way up to government men with guns.

  15. Mostly I read Stross’s blog, Black Gate, and sometimes Boing Boing. Is that OK to comment here?

  16. “But if enough people like Ms. Hogarth have the courage to tell the truth, maybe things can change?”

    Unfortunately, as long as we still see/hear things like this:
    palmerwriter
    August 26 2016, 08:05:37
    You’re right. We all need to be more civilized. This whole thing breaks down when we stop listening rationally to one another. But that door swings both ways. Will your side censure Vox Day when he calls one of your fellow writers and fans a half savage? Will you stop your side’s panel moderators from using a panel as their own personal soapbox? That’s what meeting halfway means.
    =====
    clear indications that some people want “your side” to give ground, while they may not such concessions, nothing is going to change.

    I’m wondering why does there have to be “your side” and “our side”?
    What about the people who are not on either “side”?
    Why do people insist on drawing a line down the middle of the table?
    Can they not see that this in-fighting is causing harm – that we’re losing fans because of the bickering?

  17. Hey, never mind — I didn’t mean my first piece to annoy people, I apologize. I’m not really a commenter on blogs and it’s true I don’t follow this one so I probably should have just kept quiet.

  18. Nick, I don’t speak for Mr. Torgerson and his page, but I think I can provide a generalized response.

    You can literally talk about ANYTHING, to ANY of us, as long as you are polite and factual. And can cite your evidence.

    If we think you violate those terms, we’ll be quite honest about it, and give you a chance to defend yourself and, if needed, make corrections. But be prepared; you are never immune to constructive criticism.

  19. Thanks, Brad. You touch on something that’s worried me for a few years, and which I’ve told a few others as well: the conservatives / Right / puppies are just as much in danger of making their regular discussion forums into echo chambers as much of the Left has already done. Always be vigilant that you don’t turn into some twisted version of things you want to change.

  20. Thanks Pavepusher, but arguments are more interesting when there’s some diversity — I don’t care for the ones where some outsider comes into a blog where people mostly agree, and starts one about basic stuff. I kind of think I did that . . . but I wasn’t really thinking about it, it’s just a slow day where I am. Places have kind of a local culture.

  21. Nick, everybody has to have a first visit and a first discussion. You stepped in it a bit, but you recognized it. That’s a pretty good start.

  22. Nick,

    One thing you’ll find here (beyond what has already been mentioned about supporting arguments and citing evidence) and at blogs like Larry Correia’s or Sarah Hoyt’s, is that dissenting opinions are not deleted (with the exception of Clamps, a particularly unique troll). Cogent and supported arguments are debated, concern trolls and false arguments are mocked and ridiculed, but nothing is deleted.

    Stick around a bit and ask some of the regulars how many times they’ve had dissenting comments deleted at places like File 770 or tor.com. What you’ll see is that it’s not a level playing field.

    Also, go back through Brad’s blog and that of the other puppy leaders and you’ll see a lot of talk about what this ‘side’ considers good fiction and how we want more of it and you’ll see that we’re already doing what you suggested we do. Many of the puppy leadership write great fiction. Go out and buy/borrow a copy of Chaplain’s War or Lights in the Deep and read it. You’ll see Brad is doing just what you suggested. He writes fantastic science fiction. Personally I’m much more of a fantasy fan than an SF fan, but reading Brad’s stuff invokes the same sense of joy and wonder I had reading Ray Bradbury as a child. I don’t get that emotional payoff from the Hugo winners of recent years, nor from the other writers on that side of the divide.

  23. The schism is already too deep to be overcome. The last three years have seen to that. I no longer choose to be a whipping boy to the left’s little tantrums. I have and will continue to push back hard when they try to ‘guilt’ me into submission. One thing I have found really gets their goat is to be laughed at when they try to put the blame on us. That really upsets them.

  24. Nick,
    As others have said, welcome to the party. If you have an honest opinion, share it as you will. If others disagree, they’ll let you know. As long as everyone is respectful of everyone else, it’ll be fun.

  25. It might be because I read fiction but aren’t really active on blogs, but I just don’t see how having dissenting comments erased is that big a deal. Sure, it’s stupid — but why worry about it? (Like I said, I’m not social.) For my part, the fact that Brad is on the cover of Analog shows that there’s a place for him and his readers in sci fi, and always will be. Hard sci fi exists because one wing of the field likes it. As I mentioned above, these schisms have ALWAYS been going on. If you want to look at some really bad fiction, try some of the more outre stuff from the New Wave — there were some collections that had horrible stories in them, but the New Wave also produced Zelazny. And if you go back a generation earlier, there was some awful hard stuff written in the 1940s, we only remember the great bits that were published then.

    A lot of good writers never win a Hugo — Budrys is my favorite example. Awards are like recognition for being a good teacher; nice to get, but basically fluff. And comment boards? Well, maybe they help us self-sort . . . 🙂

    I’m curious if anyone here has read The Invincible, by Stanislaw Lem? He’s often thought of as a lefty or social writer, but this one is one of the best hard-sci fi books I’ve ever come across.

  26. Brad’s point is that your operating premise is incorrect. We do talk quite a bit about what we like and the authors we follow do in fact write pretty darn good fiction. It is not quality that is keeping us out of the conversation.

  27. Nick, I was responding to this comment of yours” Thanks Pavepusher, but arguments are more interesting when there’s some diversity” when I was mentioning the deleting of comments. It’s hard to have diversity on a site like File 770 when any dissenting comment is summarily deleted. If you want diversity of thought, you’ll find more of it on the puppy blogs than on the anti-puppy blogs.

  28. No problem, Julaire — and what I actually meant was that I hate arguments where one person comes in from outside and starts something on a fundamental issue that most people on the blog disagree with (kind of what I did). It wasn’t intended to mean that there isn’t any diversity here. And it’s just unfortunate that we both posted simultaneously two hours after my first post.

  29. I dont think it is as bad as you say Brad. Oh for sure there us a coven of the group you describe, they are kiddy fiddlers and defenders of kiddy fiddlers and every sort of perversion. We saw that this year as they sought to bury the truth at this years Hugos under a no award.

    But they are not science fiction fandom just a small dark, diseased and dying corner of it.

    Fandom is larger than them and in this golden age of publishing their ability to control the genre is fading if it isnt already dead.

  30. Saw a comment on MGC that I’m going to swipe/ paraphrase: the only award that should matter to a writer is the Benjamin; everything else is gravy.

    In terms of “good”, let the market/customer decide. Much of the sff books that are being feted as ground-breaking, award-worthy, etc is stuff that doesn’t interest me at all. “Good” books, as defined by the consumer, are those that the consumer enjoyed.

  31. Every year the so called cultural wars dismay me more and more. Areas of our society that I used to escape and relax from the harsher realities of the real world, seem to have become filled with venom and hatred.

  32. The problem is the whole idea of fan with a capital “F”. Look, not all of us have the disposable income to goto Worldcon, but the authors we like take our money anyway. If Worldcon really was the totality of fandom, guys like Scalzi would have to work as Wallmart greeters to make ends meet. There just isn’t enough fans with a capital “F” to support the SF/F publishing industry. Let’s just dispense with the whole more fan (and therefore my opinion means more than yours) thou routine.

  33. Chris L. I can see, though, how it would be easy for an author to overvalue the opinions of the fans who do attend conventions. They are, after all, the ones that an author would see face to face, and also those who are excited enough to make the effort to attend the con, to wait in lines, and so on. It would give a skewed picture, though, because it’s also the group who has the disposable income and freedom to go.

  34. “Nick”, above, offered this gem [ If you puppies spent your time talking about the fiction you like, and even better, writing more of it and making it as good as you could, you’d be in the conversation.]. Good god, Nick! What do you think we’ve BEEN doing? Did you not catch the comment about ” you belong in the gutter with the rest of the Baen troglodytes”? When we try to have a discussion, this is what we get. And here you are pretty much illustrating what Brad was saying about the “you made us do it” abuser’s defense. LOOK AROUND YOU at what is actually happening, not what you are being spoon fed by the Mandarins of Me.And Those Like Me.

  35. A solution, in my opinion, is honest book reviews. Lots of them. Widely distributed. Written by any fan. I admit that as an author I would love to have more reviews of my novels (most recent: Mistress of the Waves), but I believe that reviews could be advantageous.

  36. It’s too late to reach any kind of a common ground, that ship has sailed a very long time ago. When people are screaming in your face about things it’s really at the point where you know that their next step is going to be violence. On you.
    We’re already seeing it by certain groups, who have been emboldened to the point of committing violence against those whose opinions they don’t like ‘on the right’, and the folks on the right are realizing that they need to start taking their personal safety rather seriously.
    The right wants to have a conversation (still) and the left just wants the right to go away, shut up, and die. And they’re getting more and more to the point where they’re willing to ‘help’ the right to do all that.
    I expect to see violence start happening at worldcons. And I expect to see the concom support it, as long as it’s the left being violent against the right. After all, they supported child rape for all these years, so what’s a little violence, if it’s all for the right cause?

  37. Another solution is more fiction magazines, especially those that take novels. The N3F is reviving Tightbeam as the fiction/poetry/art/review zine. I will edit. How are my standards? Once upon a time I edited Eldritch Science. Commercial fiction ripoffs were not allowed. I really did not want fiction under 5000 words. I lost 2 or 3 authors to commercial houses, iirc Baen books.

  38. “Hello, I am a tolerant caring compassionate liberal, and you’re not. You will sit there and politely listen to all of my ideas and theories, and not say a word. I will sit here and Scream and shout down all your attempts to explain your ideas and theories until you give up, and then I will explain to you why you’re a dirty bigot and a hater and an evil human being. We will both agree I am right, and you will apologize for being bad. Later, I will post bad things about you on the internet, arrange a lynch mob, and try to get you fired. Maybe even SWATted.”

    FIFY.

  39. Why not just stop engaging and let them have their little echo chambers?

    Let them have their safe spaces and old media publishing and just get on with what is important: having fun and making money. It is not as if they are gatekeepers any more. Let the market decide – especially at this time when the barriers to entry are so low.

    Ignore them. They are paper tigers and inconsequential now. How many people go to WorldCon? Vote for the Hugos? A statistically insignificant amount of people. Stop feeding them. Focus energy on cons and people that grok the same scene.

    SP1 proved the point. Everything after that drove the point home beyond forgetting. I’m tired of seeing people that I respect wasting energy, that could be used to create things I’d buy, fighting a war that doesn’t need to be fought.

  40. Nick,

    The front page of the Castalia House blog currently has posts on Priestess of the Flame by Sewell Peaslee Wright, Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, The Dolphins of Altair by Margaret St. Clair, Cat Pictures Please, Joanna Russ, and Lord Dunsany. It’s been like that for as long as I’ve held the editorial reigns, so don’t act like puppies don’t spend time talking about the fiction.

  41. [deleted yet again, for using fake e-mails — this is really getting old, dude. Get a new trick. Also, is the Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, UK, the only place you can find free wifi?]

  42. RDF–
    Card has never been a member of the Armed Forces– what is your point by citing the Oath of Enlistment?
    And that’s a lovely quote…can you be bothered to even understand what he meant by that, or even give the context for it? Or are you just playing the usual lefty GOTCHA! game?

  43. RDF,

    I know you are as sharp as a bowling ball but …

    “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”

    The judiciary that approved nonsense like SSM is a domestic enemy of the US and western civilization as a whole.

  44. Well, to keep the facts straight, I have indeed seen critical comments deleted/altered here in Brad’s blog (let’s see what happened to this one!), whereas I don’t think that I have seen it done in File770 — or if it has been done, maybe somebody could kindly provide an example. Of course every blog owner can run their blog as they see fit, but I don’t think that the Puppies can have their own facts.

    As for being nice to people and acknowledging good work despite political differences, I’m all for that. I enjoy Orson Scott Card’s and Dan Simmons’s stuff a great deal, for example, so I guess it’s #NotAllFeministLiberals… 😀

  45. But of course, the kitteh-troll can’t link to any examples of altered comments, or even provide quotes as examples. LIAR.

  46. The history of the Left, ever since the Jacobans, has been that, eventually, they turn on each other. They are driven by status one-upmanship, and once the outsiders have been driven from the field, they have no one else to attack. And they must attack.

    In considering building an alt-SF/F organization, I have to point out Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics, specifically the 2d Law: “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” I think “anti-left-wing” is right-wing enough, but you/we are going to have to agree on what makes them “left-wing”.

  47. “What this means is that common law assumption of innocence — the foundation for Enlightenment justice as practiced in the United States for over two hundred years — has been replaced (in the culture of SF/F) with a totalitarian law of default guilt.”

    Indeed. Compare it to this, from a Communist polemicist of the early Soviet Union:

    “Do not look in the file of incriminating evidence to see whether or not the accused rose up against the Soviets with arms or words. Ask him instead to which class he belongs, what is his background, his education, his profession. These are the questions that will determine the fate of the accused. That is the meaning and essence of the Red Terror.” – Martin Y. Latsis head of the Ukrainian Tcheka

    Yes, you may well shudder.

  48. I was teased terribly in grade school. so much that my parents too me out of the best private school in my city and put me into public schools. I knew all about macro-aggressions.

    I am Jewish. When I was about 12 (in 1972) I found a book in our home library about anti-antisemitism in the US published by the Antidefamation League. Most of the examples of antisemitism described in the book appeared to be based on insensitivity and not on malice. It did not look like the alleged offenders intended harm. In my mind, innocent offense is not worth bothering with. Granted, at that time I was on the receiving end of a lot of non-innocent offense.

    Today, I would call these kinds of innocent offenses “microaggression.” And I still think that they are not worth bothering with.

    I am very lucky right now. My co-workers know I am a conservative; they know I was once the Jewish lawyer at the Christian Coalition. Heck, my boss (who has been on the receiving end of a lot of grief from conservative websites recently) was in Washington DC at the same time and we would go to lunch. He sought me out and hired me full well knowing I was a conservative. He also seeks me out when he wants to talk about what conservatives think about issues.

    Everyone should be as lucky as I am.

  49. It has nothing to do with tolerance, safe spaces or feelings – that is just the excuse. It has to do with control. Every totalitarian worth his/her salt knows that the way to control people is to make them afraid to say what they really think. If we’re all afraid to express our true opinions to each other for fear of losing our jobs or reputations or worse, then we all become isolated pawns to the powers that be. And the fact that Reagan was president in the ’80s is irrelevant, unless he was a reaction by the American people to what was starting to happen. By 1980 the Class of ’65 radicals and their younger siblings began to have enough seniority w/i The Establishment that they were able to start influencing the direction of professional groups like SFWA, & the media, the universities, the govt bureaucracy and make them into instruments to further their political agenda (or in my opinion, their cult that if only we had the right kind of govt creating the right kind of society we’d all live happily ever after). The purpose now for SFWA is not to support writers or bring new readers to SF but to control what SF is so that readers don’t get exposed to ‘wrong’ ideas.

  50. “The Rhino on August 26, 2016 at 9:53 pm said:
    Why not just stop engaging and let them have their little echo chambers?”

    The problem is that we’ve done that, and it’s resulted in the Left dominating our public discourse. They love it when we withdraw. They love it when we walk away from the conversation. The Left wants it all and we’ve obligingly given it to them. No more.

  51. Here via Facebook … I’d just like to comment in a more positive key. I’d not at all deny Ms. Hogarth’s assertion that SFF suffers from certain ideological biases … but only to the extent that the field is circumscribed by SFWA and traditional publishing. Out in the indie pastures where I live, pretty much anything goes. I’m living proof. I’m a Catholic author, and open about it. My science fiction is full of Catholic themes and characters who live their faith and struggle with their faith. I think I’ve had one single review out of hundreds complain about it. Oh, and it doesn’t sell too badly, either …

    The “professionals” may be tying themselves in knots over whether the People’s Front of Judea is more or less pure than the Judean People’s Front. Readers just want kick-ass stories. The ball is in our court. Do we get out there and live our faith by telling GREAT stories about THRILLING future worlds? Or do we hide, lest we melt?

    Oh yeah, totally on board with the “thicker skin” thing. Hide like a hippopotamus, me 🙂

  52. One thing about the Pravda 770 trolls: very few of them use a real name. Because they don’t want to have to own anything. This is part and parcel of the problem, which Ms. Hogarth brought to light. The flat refusal by the field’s mandarins to own the fact that they are not the compassionate, caring, open-minded intellectuals they think they see in the mirror. It’s a pose. Affected. Unrelated to reality. In truth, they’re just part of what Orwell might have described as a smelly little orthodoxy.

  53. Out in the indie pastures where I live, pretty much anything goes. I’m living proof. I’m a Catholic author, and open about it.

    Another right here — and yes, indie allows us to find readerships Pub World has foreclosed to us.

    That having been said, Pub World and the “professional” organizations have done and are doing their best to delegitimize indie fiction. Not only does it offend them; it threatens their monopoly (which they don’t realize is already gone) over the fiction medium and the ideas it can be used to promulgate and explore. And now and then, they succeed in discouraging readers (and occasionally writers) from exploring the world outside their walls. For which reason, it’s worth the time and effort to fire a broadside in their direction from time to time

  54. @Franics W. Porretto, re: indie as thread to trad publishing – I seem to recall reading something in the news about six months back, about efforts by trad publishers to litigate indie / online publishers out of existence. I’m going to see how my Google-fu is, see if I can find that article again, and if I can, with Brad’s permission I’ll post the link. Perhaps you and other authors here may have heard something similar through other sources? Either way, I’d be interested in your thoughts on this. I’m not an author myself so I don’t think I’m really qualified to comment, particularly as I may be mis-remembering.

  55. Liberal SF&F fans and writers want Conservatives to die. Preferably after we give them our money. So they’re admitting that, not only are they incapable of taking care of themselves, they’re homicidal as well? Heh…

  56. So split already. Each go your own way. If “they” don’t like reading stories involving warp speed and rayguns (or hyperspace and pulsers or whatever), then fine, they aren’t going to buy them anyway. If “you” don’t like reading stories with unicorns and butch elves, then fine, you aren’t going to buy THEIR books anyway. Everybody can pat each other on the back, claim they won, and swagger off or a neat single malt (or a nice fruity frou frou drink, whatever floats your boat). The Hugo’s don’t represent manly space opera. OK. Go found a new award that does. (Or has that already happened? I guess when the Dragon’s are awarded we’ll find out) If SFFWA doesn’t represent you, found a guild that does, and give them your dues. Worldcon doesn’t represent your fandom anymore? Don’t go. Go to a different con that does. If there isn’t one, then START one. There are plenty of us in the middle who would go to either or both cons. Really, didn’t this transition start when “Fantasy” was added to the guild name? Or people started saying “speculative fiction” instead of “science”? I can be a devil’s advocate for either side, people need to lighten the fuck up, and some people need to tone it the fuck down. And if either side wants to be take seriously by people, they need to cut loose from some of the more poisonous figures out there. Rule of thumb on excusing behaviors, would you excuse it if instead of religious belief, or being gay, or “conservative” (pet peeve, I have yet to meet many REAL conservatives in today’s world. Too many grabbed onto the title and changed the emphasis, wait, does THAT sound familiar??) political views, or pagan rituals or drinking to unconsciousness while singing viking songs… if instead of any of those things, the person was referring to race? In other words, I don’t like that guy because he’s a homophobe, vs. I don’t like that guy because he’s black. If the two are equivalent, here’s your sign, you may already be an asshole.

  57. Brad,

    Thanks for brining attention to what Ms. Hogarth wrote and for your own excellent reflections on this. I immediately bought one of her books.

  58. AspieDave,

    “Really, didn’t this transition start when ‘Fantasy’ was added to the guild name? Or people started saying ‘speculative fiction’ instead of ‘science’?”

    Only someone that had no idea what the Campbellian Revolution replaced could say something like this. That movement led directly to the New Wave, and together they elevated the post-Christian over the Christian, realism over wonder, literary “merit” over adventure, and sexual deviancy over romance. Some good stuff came out of it, sure, but the split was ultimately damaging to the field. It killed science fiction much in the same way that Be-Bop was the death knell of jazz.

  59. Oh, to be sure, the split is mostly finished — or so I suspect. Having kicked almost all of the “bad” people out, and made it clear they have no interest in “pedestrian” science fiction or fantasy that does not tip its hat and bend its knee to the their odd little hyper-progressive, mega-pure, ultra-geek culture, the denizens of Trufandom are now having a torrid and incestuous romance with the Social Justice Zealots.

    If either Baen or the indie market did not exist, normal fans and authors would be screwed.

    Thankfully, both Baen and the indie market do exist.

    😀

  60. When someone publicly declares a wish for my demise, then in addition announces their intent to plunder the wealth left to my estate, well I call that a credible death threat with malicious intent. And thus such liberals have without realizing it set the rules of engagement in our little dispute.
    As our current fearless leader pointed out some time ago, conservatives cling to their guns and bible, which means that after we shoot you we will say a prayer over your final resting place.

  61. The threats aren’t that credible when you see what most of these people look like. Physically imposing they are not. The biggest threat we face is the sort of harassment and unjust expulsions that Dave Truesdale and the Honey Badgers have been subjected to. That’s what we have to watch out for.

  62. I feel the call to give my testimony re Balkanization … I’m already gone. I’m a reader and a fan, not a writer. Not a TrueFan, but a fan on my own terms. I cannot remember the last time I bought a SFF novel that was published by any ancien regime publisher other than Baen. I’ve been a voter in the Hugos a couple times – what I read in those packets was largely ho-hum wastes of time. Some of the Sad noms were interesting, but not all. When I saw the title Space Raptor on this year’s list, I turned away for the final time – clearly, VD has taken the field and a little part of me hopes he burns it and salts it for a thousand years (I agreed with Admiral Kirk’s comment about the Klingons, and I was glad not to be in his decision-making position.), but I have no interest in being part of that movement. I have stopped caring about awards altogether, even the new Dragon awards. Recommendations from friends and authors I respect are my trusted guides.

    What do I buy, as a Balkan? Indie published, small-press, and Baen e-books. I thank God (yes, the white-bearded old guy) for indie e-publishing every day. There is a humungus world of fiction out there just for the finding … I’m finding more than I can read – my to-read list just keeps growing and growing …

  63. All the Marxists need do is label you “kulak” or “landlord” and thus mark you for destruction. It does not matter what you believe.

  64. Someone who wants to be taken seriously as an author, but who advocates theft and piracy, doesn’t sound like someone who’s going to end up making a career of writing. I can only hope that karma bit said writer on the tuchus and they never make a dime off their own writing.

  65. What are those conservative ideas that liberals are supposed to be more tolerant about? Discriminating against gay people like Card does? Hating people of color like Beale does?

    Are you truly whining that racism, sexism and homophobia aren’t simply accepted as merely differing points of views? That people won’t shake hands with those who disrespect their exist

  66. J. Mey, you show that you don’t want a conversation.

    You just want damn us for not being in “lock step with you”.

  67. J. Mey,

    Yeah, conservatism is inherently sexist, racist, and homophobic and should be excluded from not just science fiction in particular, but the public sphere in general. You’re a real paragon of tolerance and open mindedness, man. I’m sure that everyone that disagrees with you on politics really is a hate-filled bigot!

  68. Except, of course, that you’re lying. The only thing any of us want from you is that you leave us alone.

  69. Will your side censure Vox Day when he calls one of your fellow writers and fans a half savage? Will you stop your side’s panel moderators from using a panel as their own personal soapbox?

    Once again, I’m not Vox, I have no control over him, nor do I agree with everything he does. However, he’s never done me any harm so I have nothing to criticize him for personally. And it seems like every time he, or John C. Wright, or Larry Correia, or … get taken to the woodshed by progressives over something that they’ve said, it turns out to be taken out of context or made out of whole cloth. After awhile I quit even bothering to check to see if the claim was based in reality since none of the previous ones were. As for ‘using a panel as their own personal soapbox’ they’ll have to be a little more specific. Truesdale was on topic, even if they didn’t particularly care for the issue of the topic he chose to highlight. If he went off on a political rant about the upcoming presidential election he would be off topic, but he wasn’t when speaking about how political correctness plays a part in today’s SF/F.

  70. “If you don’t join in our Two Minutes Hate, will you at least consider disavowing anyone that we designate as an enemy…?”

    Oh, hey. Maybe if we do that, you’ll pretend to like us before you kill us and take our stuff…? Awesome!

    I have a counterproposal, though: why don’t you disavow these jerkwads that equate conservative ideas with sexism, racism, and homophobia. Seriously, why do you want to associate with people that ugly?

  71. [RDF, I am sure the Puppy-kickers are proud to have a neurotic like you on their side. You keep trolling, I will keep deleting. You’re about as amusing as Clamps.]

  72. I do not know Vox, nor have I read any of his work, so why would I censure him? Personally, I like Sarah’s approach – not my circus, not my moneys. Just an excuse to keep arguing.

  73. J. Mey on August 27, 2016 at 3:36 pm said:

    That people won’t shake hands with those who disrespect their exist

    ====

    Let’s go back to the top for a minute … hurry up and die … Your time is over. We don’t need you anymore, [expletive here]. … the world would be better off without me and people like me.”
    Who was speaking and who were those addressed to?

    Sounds to me like that street is running both ways.

  74. Growing up I used to see quite a few hackles raised by anyone who was critical of Israel, in any way. That would be my first experience with micro aggressions. Then, like today, micro aggressions seem to be more about “I don’t like what you said” rather than any actual harm. Mere criticism of policy/actions should not be cause for offense.

  75. I’d be very interested in that article, as I don’t see any way that they could successfully argue that stuff they don’t have under contract is any of their business.

  76. J. Mey, since the Left has now made it possible to declare anyone a “sexist, racist, homophobe” for any reason — proof not required — it seems to me the Left has invented the perfect excuse to never have to acknowledge the validity of any commentary that is not self-generated. Ergo, “We don’t have to tolerate intolerance!”

  77. A long time ago, I stopped reading science fiction because I felt I;d read everything there was to read – Stapledon, Wells, Heinlein, Sturgeon, …. Returning, to too longs ago, I found that many of the A-listers were ‘of the liberal persuasion’. Maybe it’s time to start all over again – with Stapledon, Wells,….
    Who else from before the 1960s or so would be worth reconnecting with?

  78. If you liked Heinlein, then Niven and Pournelle — both separately and together — might be to your taste. I’m not sure too many of the A-list in 2016 can compare to classic Niven-Pournelle, such as The Mote in God’s Eye; for which a fan created the art displayed in at the top of this blog post. 🙂

  79. J mey said:
    What are those conservative ideas that liberals are supposed to be more tolerant about? Discriminating against gay people like Card does? Hating people of color like Beale does?

    Card discriminates against gay people? Where? I haven’t seen it. He opposes same sex marriage, but I haven’t seen him stopping any, have you?
    And Beale hates people of color? You know he’s a person of color himself, right? And I’d love to see your proof of that statement, because I’m really rather unaware of it.

  80. searchermike,

    Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote about a science fiction hero that fought commies on Venus. E. C. Tubb’s Dumarest battled a science fiction analog of Cultural Marxism on nearly every world he travelled to. One of Jack Vance’s space heros battled obvious stand-ins for bra burning feminists. Poul Anderson and Jerry Pournelle both wrote about the future as is if humanity would necessarily take the Christian faith with them to the stars. All of this is mind blowing fast paced epic entertainment.

    This idea that atheists and perverts “own” science fiction somehow is just narrative pure and simple.

  81. What’s really galling is how Card is getting attacked for having the same opinion of gay marriage that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama held just a few short years ago.

  82. Yeah. Also, ‘It’s not evil when we do it, but you’re not allowed to do the same to us.’ from the SJZs.

    Is sinking to Clamps level of stupid a new goal for them? Because it seems to be a theme. Clamps was one of the few people to get banned, so I guess they reckon they have to get to that point, so they can get banned, then they can run back to Pravada 770 and claim that they were silenced.

  83. Brad, we have exactly the same method available to us that the Muslims do. And if they keep ruining people’s lives, more and more of us will have absolutely NOTHING to lose by adopting it.

  84. @snelson – I don’t know. I’m still waiting for Europe to blow up, though it is possible that some of the smaller European states may have done that (at least, from what stories I hear from people living there, that are NOT reported in the media.)

    And, considering what happened with Bosnia, I would not be surprised if they were ensuring none of this ever got recorded, and none of it made it out to the media. The last thing those people would want is to have America riding out like white knights to defend Muslims again.

  85. I just noticed a certain form of projection here, a bit of the culture on the left that we don’t have on the right, and are unaware of how it colors their thought processes. It’s an aspect of how collectivist they are. When they demand that we condemn a certain person and drum them out of our group (Vox Day for example) it’s because that’s what THEY do on THEIR side of the fence. They are not free individuals, they all have responsibilities to the group and to maintain the group ideology. That’s why they have so much trouble understanding us, since we hold more strongly to our individualism than to our group membership. For them it is the reverse, it’s more important to be a member of the group than an individual, it’s more important to make sure their politics are Correct, and to make sure they signal the right virtues.They run into people like us who don’t think the way that they do, and are not manipulated by the same social mechanisms that rule their lives, and they get confused, and that confusion instantly turns into anger and hatred. That’s why they lash out at us so strongly and want us dead and wiped off the face of the fandom/country/planet.

  86. Maybe parents stopped saying this to their kids about 25-30 years ago:

    “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

    There’s a whole generation that is now destroying higher ed and other institutions, which needs to grow up in a hurry if this democratic republic is to survive.

  87. As I’ve said before, condemning Vox and his friends is a mugs game. No amount of burning him at the stake would be enough, because the point isn’t about how bad Vox is, it’s about using him as an excuse to ignore what the sp’s were saying.

  88. Mauser,

    I think that’s both an apt and accurate observation. The matter of Vox Day very much illustrates an individualist mentality on the one side, and the collectivist mentality on the other side.

    I still have people demanding that I shun, shame, call out, denounce, etc., Theodore Beale. Otherwise I am automatically in league with Theodore Beale. The commanded ostracization of Beale — ordered from on high — never sat well with me. Not because I like everything Beale has said or done. Far from it. Beale did, in many ways, make my life a lot harder in 2014 and again in 2015, just because he made it too convenient for the collectivists to hate all of Sad Puppydom with a clean conscience. But my annoyance with Beale (for this) was minor, compared to my extreme alarm over the fact that I was being told to ritualistically punish another human being, otherwise I myself would become a target of that very same ritualized punishment.

    We think we’re beyond the time of witch trials. But we’re not. The nature and form of the witch has merely changed. The instincts which bring the mob to someone’s door — torches and pitch-forks raised — is the same as it ever was.

    I for one, think science fiction ought to be smarter than to indulge in witch-burnings.

    Alas, too often of late, science fiction — the “community” — has sorely disappointed me.

    And yes, I think it’s entirely because the collectivist side of the equation and the individualist side of the equation operate from different moral and ethical hemispheres. We do not “talk the issues” in the same way, nor are our reactions to the same incidents going to be the same.

  89. Short answer, Mr. Torgersen: Iterated prisoners dilemma is our only solution. Because we can’t count on the SJZs to be either kindly or quick learners. But we do want to light candles rather than curse the darkness.

    Longer answer: Ah yes, the ritual denunciation. I share your opinion about being tempted to imagine how much easier the 2015 campaign would have been had Vox Day held fire for one more year. And then I remember what was done to Larry Correia, and what I saw being done to John C. Wright.

    And you: Remember how the “But you didn’t denounce Mr. Beale!” came AFTER they got visual proof that the OMGWTF raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacism! card wouldn’t fly?

    And because I’m an honest wight, I read through 10 fracking years of the fellow’s WND columns (ye Gods, the soccer posts. I skimmed those.) to figure out what caused Patrick Nielsen Hayden to decide, “I know. I’ll kick this guy (metaphorically) in the nuts online for LOLZ, and all the right think suckups will agree with me” out of the blue ~ 10 years ago. Nada. Zip. Nothing even as close to what folks like China Mieville or [redacted – author I sat on con panel with who isn’t a public puppy-kicker] said in praise of Communism: 10 BILLION dead and more imprisoned, raped, and tortured TO THIS DAY.

    So here’s my public statement on public denunciations: http://carbonelle.livejournal.com/269959.html

    ’nuff said.

    Frankly, nothing but a miracle will fix this one.

    On the bright side, we do live in a world of miracles and wonder 🙂

  90. Christopher M. Chupik on August 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm said:

    The threats aren’t that credible when you see what most of these people look like. Physically imposing they are not.

    They want other people to do their dirty work for them.

  91. jeffro wrote:
    I have a counterproposal, though: why don’t you disavow these jerkwads that equate conservative ideas with sexism, racism, and homophobia. Seriously, why do you want to associate with people that ugly?

    Because it lets him hate people with a clean conscience, since they’re so icky and hatey hate-filled haters (who hate) so that makes it okay!

  92. Brad wrote:
    Ergo, “We don’t have to tolerate intolerance!”

    I’ve also seen people proudly declare that and that they were “bigoted against bigots.”

    Which just makes them intolerant bigots who try to justify their hatred because they claim their targets are bad.

  93. They are not free individuals, they all have responsibilities to the group and to maintain the group ideology. That’s why they have so much trouble understanding us, since we hold more strongly to our individualism than to our group membership.

    This is an important insight. It evokes Eric Hoffer’s “compact and unified church” from The True Believer. He who prioritizes the group (and membership thereof) above individual autonomy will find the opposite attitude alien, threateningly so. From that point forward, the individual’s actual convictions and attitudes hardly matter. What matters is to destroy the alien before his pernicious individualism can fracture the group!

  94. I just noticed a certain form of projection here, a bit of the culture on the left that we don’t have on the right, and are unaware of how it colors their thought processes. It’s an aspect of how collectivist they are. When they demand that we condemn a certain person and drum them out of our group (Vox Day for example) it’s because that’s what THEY do on THEIR side of the fence.

    There’s an old Soviet joke: In the USA, you can stand in front of the White House in Washington, DC, and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished. Equally, you can also stand in Red Square in Moscow and yell, “Down with Reagan!”, and you will not be punished. Like the world reflected by the joke, there’s an odd asymmetry to the whole thing. The Progressive left / the Social Justice activists are demanding we condemn people for violating the left’s norms when we don’t condemn people for violating our own norms.

    Take a look at J. Mey’s comment. Over the years Sad Puppies has been running, we’ve documented racism, sexism, and other bigotry coming from the Progressive / Social Justice left, which they won’t address. Ultimately, we think that its more important that people be free to believe what they want. However, if we were to start condemning people for violating norms, why wouldn’t we go after people violation our norms? If we were who they think we are, the culture war would be even hotter.

  95. Jeffro should find this comment from 770 amusing:

    “lurkertype on August 27, 2016 at 11:06 pm said:

    My guess is that people have been thinking the Puppies are much younger than they are is because they seem to have no knowledge of older works in the field. Their knowledge of the Golden Age seems to be up there with the kids in James Nicolls’ series.

    Either that, or “the golden age of SF is 12” and their maturity level when talking with/about anyone who isn’t in lockstep with them, or in taking responsibility for their own actions seems about that.”

    So, we’re oldsters longing for the Golden Age *and* we’re young punks who don’t know a Smith from a Simak. I wish they’d make up their minds.

  96. Christopher M. Chupik,

    The typical journalist or editor today thinks that sff started in the seventies with Le Guinn and Delaney. People that want to talk “old school” generally go for the so-called “Big Three” of Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke with maybe Herbert and Bradbury thrown in. Just watch that WorldCon panel with the magazine editors– it’s not just boring, it’s mind-numbingly typical.

    Within the field, complete ignorance of the sff canon is pretty much the norm and it gets worse the further to the left people are. Indeed, most serious leftists cannot read anything written before 1980 and have nothing substantive about the works.

    But watch what happens when people read Burroughs and Brackett, Tubb, and Vance’s take on the ouevre. People get really excited about reading and writing! There’s a reason for that. It has to do with supply and demand and the fact that human nature has not changed in the past hundred years.

    The next few years are going to be awesome for sff fans. There will be no restoration or reformation. What you’re going to see is an outright replacement. They thought they could transform sff into a tool for projecting the narrative. In reality, they’ve merely conceded it to us.

  97. jeffro on August 27, 2016 at 6:04 pm said:

    “One of Jack Vance’s space heros battled obvious stand-ins for bra burning feminists.”

    You are refering to the Priestesses of the Female Mystery, aren’t you?

    “They hate not only men, but love and youth and beauty!”

    In his Cadwal series there is also the Monomantic Seminary. Where feminism goes down the gender is fluid bullshit route to a particularly Vancean reality check.

  98. The seventies? Hell, some of them seem to think the genre began the moment they started writing in it.

  99. ftumch,

    Oh yeah, Priestesses of the Female Mystery. I couldn’t believe it when I read it….

    Christopher M. Chupik,

    Touché!

  100. jeffro

    I read your piece at castalia. it’s where i cut n pasted the quote (Icouldn’t find my Tschai books). Anyway, good stuff sir. Not a gamer myself, but I know my Vance.

  101. ftumch,

    Hey, thanks. The literary tradition that inspired tabletop sff gaming is so awesome, it’s hard to believe that it’s the secret that it is. It really does blow my mind…!

  102. Well, you’ll never win. You try to reason with unreasonable people. You’re trying to play fairly with people that cheat and not only are they not punished – they are rewarded and encouraged to continue. You are constrained by ethics and honesty while they can lie through their teeth and censor those that tell the truth. There is no incentive for them to clean up their act.

    When SF/F became a tool of expression for people that live in moral cesspits and intellectual wastelands – I left. I don’t want to read about fudge packers in space, militant lesbian feminist space marines etc ad nauseum. Poisoned minds aren’t going to produce anything worth reading and from what I’m seeing their sales are telling the tale.

    Don’t take this the wrong way Brad. I like what you’re trying to do, and I appreciate the efforts of your buddies too. But what disappoints me the most is this – the guys on my end of the political spectrum aren’t writing stuff that’s all that great either. Full disclosure – I’m a tough customer. I’m old enough to have read the first editions of writers like Asimov, Heinlein and Bradbury and all the others. I’ve had my mind blown a dozen times over by the pioneers and greats in the field. I understand you have mighty big shoes to fill.

    Tell me a story, Brad. That’s all I want. You can even put a message or a moral in it provided you entertain. I want characters that speak to me, that I can identify with at least enough that I can understand their motivations. Don’t lecture me. Don’t scold me or insult me.

    Last book I bought was your Chaplains War a year or two ago. It was a fun little read, I suppose. But I think you have better work inside you and in front of you. You guys need to focus on that, and not the pissants that are trying to sabotage you.

  103. @Glen Filthie:

    “…You’re trying to play fairly with people that cheat and not only are they not punished – they are rewarded and encouraged to continue. You are constrained by ethics and honesty while they can lie through their teeth and censor those that tell the truth. There is no incentive for them to clean up their act.”

    This.

    Until Charlie Brown kicks Lucy instead of trying to kick the football there is no reason for Lucy not to continue pulling it away. Until Lucy understands that Charlie Brown WILL kick her once for every time she pulls the ball away (“tit for tat”) she will not really change her behavior.

    Charlie Brown’s other choices are to use a tee or find someone else to play with.

    What’s it gonna be, Charlie?

  104. aeou/Mr.Mister here. Ive personally had between three and ten posts deleted or literally censored by Mike Glyer. He also misrepresented the contents of at least one message that he didnt post.

    Space Pussy, you were in those threads yet you didnt notice those posts that were never posted because Mike has moderation turned on for me. You are either incredibly stupid or lying.


  105. Brad R. Torgersen on August 27, 2016 at 5:36 pm said:
    If you liked Heinlein, then Niven and Pournelle — both separately and together — might be to your taste. I’m not sure too many of the A-list in 2016 can compare to classic Niven-Pournelle, such as The Mote in God’s Eye; for which a fan created the art displayed in at the top of this blog post.🙂

    …….

    (later)
    I for one, think science fiction ought to be smarter than to indulge in witch-burnings.

    Communism and leftism was always about witch burnings, just with a patina of “science” as an excuse.

    As to Niven and Pournelle – Mote is one of my all time favorites, if not my favorite, period, bar none.

    Two other recommendations: Pournelle only – the baen consolidated (“prince of mercenaries” IIRC) Falkenberg stories including everything from The Mercenary to West of honor, and go tell the Spartans.

    The other, standing nearly as tall as Mote is “Oath of Fealty”. An exploration of arcologies, as well as Campbell’s supposition that future major society advancements will look an awful lot like past ones to the people in the current phase (to barbarians, civilized types look like tribesmen, all working together and everything, etc) – so we have an arcology that works with a form of feudalism.

    It also coined “Think of it as evolution in action”

  106. “OMG! An adult man (Vox Day) has bad manners and says mean things about other adults! I can’t stand it! Trigger warning! My eyeballs are exploding! Call the police and my mommy! I’m a huge faggot! How dare you criticize my stretched out asshole!111!!! BWARRRRFGHHHHHH!”

    -Some mentally ill, faggot manchildren, shreiking about shit nobody cares about, 2016.

  107. I’m glad that a lot of people are finally waking up. In the past, a lot of conservatives and moderates didn’t support free speech, but instead supported the whole concept of “Hate Speech” “Speech Codes”, not to mention punishing people for being racist, bigots and homophobes.

    And now they’re shocked that the Left hasn’t given them their official “I’m not a Bigot” certificate and Anti-sexism gold star, and welcomed them into the club. Instead the Left has decided that anyone to their Right is a “Sexist” and “Racist”.

    Once you gave the Left the power to destroy anyone who was “Sexist” and “Racist” you walked into a trap. Because they’re now using that to destroy anyone who isn’t a leftist.

  108. And that is precisely why that the accusation of “You’re a raaaaacist! Homophobe” ought to be ,met with a response of “Nope – FOAD.” Because once you have accepted that accusation by trying to defend yourself by pleading in all reasonableness that you are so not … well, it’s like paying the Danegeld. You have accepted their terms of the debate.
    Just for the record, I’ve never been in in favor of the concept of hate crimes and hate speech. Adding some extra-special charges over and on top of what are normally accepted as crimes against persons or property on the basis of some extra-speshal-malignant motivation for said personal/property crimes? Well, we already have laws to deal with personal and property crimes. We also have laws to deal with incitement and slander. Why the motivation for such crimes has to be worthy of some extra points on behalf of the special classes offended … not logical to my way of thinking.

  109. Jason on August 26, 2016 at 3:26 pm said:
    “Fandom is larger than them and in this golden age of publishing their ability to control the genre is fading if it isnt already dead.”

    I have to agree with this. Fandom itself is alive and well and bustling with eager young fans. Just not the kind that go to WorldCons. Taking a cursory glance at the disparity between the attendance of WorldCon and DragonCon, and you can easily see where the future of fandom lies. And its not with the File 770 crowd.

    I’m starting to think that the rest of fandom should just start treating them like the rest of the galaxy did to Asimov’s Spacers: leave them to themselves and ignore them while we conquer the rest of the universe.

  110. ” In the past, a lot of conservatives and moderates didn’t support free speech, but instead supported the whole concept of “Hate Speech” “Speech Codes”, not to mention punishing people for being racist, bigots and homophobes.”

    Bullshit.

  111. @roocean

    “I’m glad that a lot of people are finally waking up. In the past, a lot of conservatives and moderates didn’t support free speech, but instead supported the whole concept of “Hate Speech” “Speech Codes”, not to mention punishing people for being racist, bigots and homophobes”

    Sorry that is not actually true. Certainly not in a comparable way.

    The right has endorsed “speech codes” and the like in the past but of the “no smut” variety not the “no dissenting political opinion” variety. Whatever you think of such codes, they certainly are not the same as punishing people for dissenting political opinions.

    US right wingers were concerned about communist infiltration but unless you are a historical illiterate you well know that concern was entirely justified as later history has shown.

    Also, i’m pretty sure the only “punishing of racists” that the right has done, at least in the US has been passing laws and enforcing them against democrats and other pro-segregation leftist trash in the US. Not to mention starting groups like the NRA to protect blacks in the South from the democrat run KKK.

  112. Pingback: Cold Fury » Who they are, what they do

  113. @roocean Yeah! Like that whole Parents Music Resource Council thing, where they got a law pushed through to put language warnings on records so that stores knew what to not sell to minors, or rather, to not sell at all since they’d get picketed for having it in stock.

    No, wait, that was Tipper Gore.

  114. And co-sponsored by (the very Liberal) Illinois Sen. Paul Simon (he of the dead bat stapled to his chest fame).

    I would point out that it was mostly conservatives who also wanted an amendment banning flag burning. That’s the only time I can think of where the Right actually pushed for some restriction on freedom of speech, and even then there were plenty on the right who thought it was a bad idea.

  115. But overall, I would have to say that the Free Speech positions being advocated by the Left today would have been unheard of 20-30 years ago, and would certainly have been branded as “Fascist” by just about everyone. As well they should be.

  116. I disagree DeTroyes. The Left has always been hostile to Free Speech since the October Revolution.

    No platforming has been a thing since the 50s & 60s. Repressive Tolerance as well. Political Correctness too, ie speech policing.

  117. “. That’s the only time I can think of where the Right actually pushed for some restriction on freedom of speech” I seem to recall Attorney General Meese and his ilk attempting to discourage the sale of Playboy and other similar magazines in convenience stores.

  118. Well, the local DA who actually threatened to put the manager and assistant manager of the B Dalton I was working for at the time in jail over Playboy was a Democrat.

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