How to lose to an SJW

The much maligned Vox Day had an interesting observation about how how to deal with SJW’s in his post How to lose to SJW’s. The advice is unlikely to be popular but I think he might have a point.

[What] would-be moderates fail to realize is that the anti-GamerGate, pro-Sarkeesian, SJW side is not reasonable and is never going to be convinced by sweet reason. They have no interest in it and little capacity for it.

This is the same divide between dialectic and rhetoric that I keep pointing out to everyone. You do NOT fight a rhetorical battle with dialectic; in a rhetorical battle the only use for dialectic is in a rhetorical manner; it can be used to explode pseudo-dialectic poses, but that is the extent of its effectiveness. It is an intrinsically defensive weapon on the rhetorical level. This means you cannot win with it.

The primary difference between the Left and the Right is that the Left instinctively defends its extremists and the Right instinctively runs from them and leaves them out to dry. The latter is an appeasement strategy, and it works about as well as the infamous failures of appeasement we all know from history.

All appeasement does is signal to the SJW what buttons he needs to push in order to force an opponent to retreat. When you dutifully point out that “you don’t agree with everything X says” or “don’t include the sexists, the woman haters and those who argue in bad faith”, what you are accomplishing is not the inoculation of your argument from their extremist taint, you are telling the SJW exactly how he can rhetorically defeat you by painting you as the very sort of extremist you disavow. And remember, rhetorical victory is the entirety of their objective!

Embrace the extremists. Defend them. Refuse to permit them to be cut off and isolated. Allow them to play their role as the intellectual shock troops they are. That is how you win. Because if they’re not taking the incoming fire, you are. And the shock troops are much better equipped psychologically to take it and survive than the average self-styled moderate.

  • Foxfier

    I can’t say I agree with him; in reverse order:
    The primary difference between the Left and the Right is that the Left instinctively defends its extremists and the Right instinctively runs from them and leaves them out to dry.

    Not true. Frequently found and decried in official talking heads, but gets conflated with not defending those who actually did something they object to; basically, the Left is guided by what is most useful immediately, while the Right is trying to apply a variety of principles and paying attention to the effects and side effects.

    Likewise, the point about not winning a battle of appearances or appeal to emotion with substance and reason has some truth, but it ignores that the Left will not be persuaded by anything and thus shouldn’t be the primary consideration when choosing tactics, and that they also (because of the stuff I pointed out in the prior paragraph) have got an inherent advantage if we let them pick the battle field.
    The Right has advantages in that we care about truth in and of itself instead of for utility, those who are willing to be persuaded also care about how true things are, and it’s getting easier and easier to show when things are false.

    One of the major advantages developing is that the previously mentioned talking heads are losing their power to pick who represents their opponents. (When there’s a ten-to-one difference in political donations, it’s fair enough to call the “one” the opponents.)

    If someone on the right has skill at rhetoric, by all means, use it– drive the Left utterly insane, like Limbaugh has. Just make sure you also use facts and logic, too, so you don’t give the blinking false equality “they’re both the same” folks more ammo.

    • sciphi

      Thanks Foxfier, I think I agree with you.

      • Foxfier

        *wry* As long as we’re all pulling in roughly the same direction, even my lack of clarity will work out.

        • sciphi

          I think you make some good points and I think we are basically on the same page.

          I think both of you had valid points. Vox is right that “extremists” on the right are often abandoned, and among the squishier parts of the right, usually at the say-so of leftists. That tactic appears to be getting less effective though.

          “the Left will not be persuaded by anything and thus shouldn’t be the primary consideration when choosing tactics”

          As with most things like this you are looking to the middle ground not the zealots to change their mind. There is no point fighting Marquess of Queensberry rules in a street fight.