Those of you who’ve been following the #Gamergate and Hugo Award controversies are no doubt familiar with the term Social Justice Warrior, or SJW for short. SJW’s are the folks who are easily offended by perceived instances of racism, sexism and homophobia, and relentlessly push for everything to be perfectly diverse and fair. I wish them no ill will, and they have a right to their opinion, but I reject it emphatically!
SJW’s are victims of magical thinking. They seem to believe that if only we use the right euphemisms, the pain of being black, gay, transgendered, or handicapped will go away, and the world will be filled with sunbeams, rainbows and unicorns. Conversely, a dirty joke or a naked picture is like the curse of the Dark Lord, spreading rape, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation in its wake. SJW’s focus on superficial, legalistic “solutions” as opposed to actually doing something to help the victims of discrimination, violence,or other misfortunes help themselves. Mollycoddling the officially designated “victims” with talk of “trigger warnings” and “micro-aggressions” helps no one.
At best, the SJW’s obsession with political correctness is a distraction from real issues. At worst, it’s an invitation to any tyrant who can mouth the right platitudes.
It’s not that I’m opposed to social justice, depending upon your definition of the term. To me, it means equality under the law, tolerance of different ethnicities, viewpoints, and faiths, and the freedom to pursue economic opportunity. However, it’s no justice at all if the welfare of the individual must be sacrificed to the collective. That’s why I hate the idea of favoritism in hiring (dishonestly called “diversity”), or hysterical, overwrought reactions to trivial offenses. A case in point is the silly controversy over Sir Tim Hunt‘s innocent remarks about women in science. You may or may not have found them funny, but the man didn’t deserve to be hounded out of his job over them! As a Nobel prize winner in medicine, Hunt’s contributions to society outweigh all the kvetching of all the world’s armchair feminists. Advancing human knowledge is both social and just!
This is why I’m declaring myself to be an FSW, or free speech warrior and First Amendment absolutist. All opinions, no matter how repugnant, deserve to be protected. Even Neo-nazis, Holocaust deniers, ISIS supporters and Westboro Baptists should be able to speak without fear of prosecution. As my favorite radio host John Holmberg has put it, “We need to know who the crazies are!”
So join me, Free Speech Warriors! You have nothing to lose but your self-censorship!
Illustration: Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952)