Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Killing Vox Day: Part Two - What Kind of War?


So now we have set our board. To your North, the Evil Lord of Stygian Spookiness and his Legions of Evil. All previous attacks have only served to make the monster grow more powerful. How do the Heroes of Light Gender-Fluid Warriors of Non-Exclusive Luminosity Levels take on this beast? 
 
The board is set, but the rules are unclear. We may have come to understand the enemy a little better, but we have not explored the terrain.  
 
I mentioned Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) previously, and there's a reason for that. His Naughtiness describes GamerGate and Rabid Puppies and so on as 4GW struggles. Understanding what that means will tell us a significant amount about how he assesses situations and how he fights. 
 
Time does not allow for a full explanation of Fourth-Generation warfare, but a summary will do for our current purposes. What matters now is that this is the sort of war Vox believes he is fighting, which informs the sort of strategies he uses. 
 
For those interested in learning more about Fourth-Generation warfare, I heartily recommend Castalia House's own On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009. Lind's columns are occasionally racially inflammatory/misogynistic, but they also border on the prophetic in terms of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. As is so often true, the Messenger does not disqualify the Message. 
 
Yes, it will mean throwing a few dollars Castalia's way but then, boycotts were doomed from the start. You were never their target audience. It is a better summary of Vox's beliefs than the Old and New Testaments, and it's not every day that your opponent edits and publishes his playbook for everyone to read. 
 
What follows is painfully inadequate, but will hopefully point you in the right direction. 
 
1). Fourth Generation Warfare is about Destabilizing States 
 
As Mr. Lind likes to repeat over and over (and over and over) in his columns, Fourth Generation Warfare is not simply about insurgencies. It is about the end of the State's monopoly on violence. 4GW erupts when the primary loyalties of the populace are transferred from the formal State to something else they are willing to fight and die for (religion, clan, family). 
 
Consider the ongoing war in Iraq. It was relatively easy for the Coalition Forces to topple Baghdad and destroy the Ba'athist Iraqi State. We had the bigger, better weapons and the better-trained soldiers. But as we all know, the fall of Baghdad was in no way "Mission Accomplished." 
 
Pictured: 2015 Hugos Ceremony
 
Iraq was a State before the invasion, albeit a State held together by duct tape and bayonets. It should not have surprised us that it fell apart so easily. But what did surprise us was how difficult it would be to put back together. Flash-Forward to 2015 and a substantial portion of Iraq is under the control of a self-proclaimed Caliphate that openly rejects the Western concept of Statehood. 
 
Again, my goal is not to explain or defend 4GW but to look at how it informs Vox's strategies. So what does the end of State dominance mean for the Hugos and GamerGate? 
 
It is an imperfect comparison, but we can see a parallel between the end of State monopolies and the end of publisher monopolies. States and publishers have the same institutional issues that put them at a disadvantage against smaller opponents - linear thinking, top-down command structures, bloated bureaucratic structures. This also applies to organized non-profit organizations such as WorldCon 
 
The first practical effect is that Vox is able to attack the "State" without fear of real reprisals. As publishing and fan culture become increasingly open source - no longer controlled by "taste makers" like publishers and fan organizations - the ability of these institutions to harm a writer's career declines. Shoving someone off a platform does not matter in a world of infinite platforms. 
 
Second, it means that destroying the credibility of the State works in Vox's favor. This is why he does not ultimately care about winning Hugos. While a rocket statue might be a nice feather in his cap, his long-term goals are better served by a fracturing of fandom. Destroying the State allows non-State factions to rise to power. If WorldCon is Iraq, the Rabid Puppies are ISIS. And just as ISIS's ultimate goal is not to rebuild an Iraqi State, Vox's goal lies far beyond the borders of WorldCon. 
 
Third, it means that the Puppies cannot be destroyed with conventional weapons. Permabanning them from WorldCon will make them martyrs for free speech. Changing WorldCon rules to disallow slate voting will only move slate voting back underground. Only allowing WorldCon attendees to vote will damage the importance and prestige of the award. 
 
The goal of 4GW is not to take over a State, it is to discredit the State and tear it down. 
 
2). Fourth Generation Warfare is About Winning the Moral Level 
 
States cannot be destabilized simply by destroying factories and electrical plants. In WWII, the United States leveled every Japanese city with an industrial base, to the point that we started to run out of targets. And yet, the enemy's will to fight was not broken until we used nuclear weapons. Were it not for that demoralizing event, the invasion of Japan could very well have turned into a complete genocide. 
 
In this age of mutually-assured nuclear destruction, wars are not decided on the basis of who has the better weapons. We supply Iraqi military with weapons far superior than anything ISIS has access too - at least, until the Iraqi military breaks rank and leaves its equipment to the enemy.  
 
General Patton never actually said "I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country," which is good, because it isn't true. When 15 Iraqi civilians die in a drone strike, it turns their friends and families it opponents of the heartless, technocratic bastards that sent the drone. 
 
Even killing 15 ISIS insurgents with a drone strike ultimately works against us, because it paints us as cowards who murder with fancy toys. There's a reason we root for the outnumbered, underequipped Rebels against the Empire and their Death Star. People, tribes, and nations want to be ruled by laws of their own making and rulers they respect, not laws imposed by foreign tanks and bullets. 

We lost the moral high ground to these guys.
The ones forcing innocents to dig their own graves.
That is how bad we fucked up.
 Again, so what? 
 
Vox has said repeatedly that throwing him out of the SFWA was the worst possible move, and he's probably right. Not because he is das √úbermensch of Sci-Fi, but because you don't win the war by killing the other bastard. You win by getting the other bastard to kill innocents. The bastard who does the most collateral damage loses, because they lose the support of the populace. 
 
Vox (the bastard) is able to claim with some legitimacy that the SFWA engages in thought policing. His political and racial views were indeed a part of his expulsion. Ergo, the SFWA is engaging in Orwellian mind control - and you could be next! The SJWs at WorldCon care more about politics than awarding deserving Sci-Fi authors! Why should you support them/care who wins?
 
I understand very well the desire to "kill Vox Day," but 4GW is as much about the message you send to the general populace as the message you send to your enemies. When the Puppies attack the State (publishers, etc.), the State looks weak because it can't control them. When the State attacks the Puppies, the State looks like a bunch of bullies. This is the one of the core issue of 4GW. How can the State fight back without fighting back? Mr. Lind doesn't have any definitive answers, but he does have some suggestions. 
 
1). Make the stability of the State the first priority. Don't engage in fights that will undermine the legitimacy of the Hugos or major publishers. Don't adopt policies that will call their fairness into question. Don't muck around with the voting rules or strip non-attendees of their rights. These things play into the Puppies' hands.
 
2). Rely on 4GW allies to fight the Puppies for you. There should be no official response by WorldCon to the Puppies, other than to enforce the rules as they stand. There should also not be an "unofficial" response by WorldCon leadership. If the people oppose the Puppies, let the people oppose them. An intense, studied neutrality from WorldCon is necessary. None of this "cheering No Award is allowed, booing No Award is not" bullshit.
 
3). In 4GW, the winner is often the one who takes the most casualties, not the least. So long as the Puppies can portray themselves as persecuted champions of free speech, they have the moral high ground. So let them in. Accept them into the conventions and allow them to vote. Let the people experience exactly what the Puppies are preaching, the atmosphere of intolerant smugness that they exude. Let them in, let them win a few small victories, and then let them face insurgents of their own. 
 
4). Watch your language. You win 4GW by being more moral than your opponent, not more brutal. And by "more moral," I do not mean "more easily offended." Don't fly off the handle, turn the other cheek. Never attack people, always attack ideas. Be kind, loving, and patient when you stand up for the truth. Yes, it is hard. But it is also more effective and generally the better way to be a human being. De-escalation of violence is a victory for the State; escalation of violence is a victory for the 4GW insurgents. 
 
3). Fourth Generation Warfare is Long 
 
Going back to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Coalition Forces' timescale was however long it took for the money to run out and their citizens to tire of the war. The Islamist insurgents' timescale is until the Day of Judgment. When playing a game of Chicken, it is wise to confirm that your opponent has brakes and a functioning steering wheel. 
 
Vox claims to be operating on a similar timescale. Remember, he sees himself in a Manichean war between Light and Darkness. He believes that he is part of an eternal struggle, that his enemies are pawns of a literal Prince of Darkness, and that the war will only end when the universe ends. 
 
While Vox is honest, he is not always correct. Only time will tell what timescale Vox is truly operating on. And while he may have the tenacity of a Jihadi, his supporters may not. 
 
So what does this mean - practically? 
 
1). Castalia House's success and the success of Vox's other projects could potentially work against him. A successful business requires more attention than a failing business - success means expansion, expansion means an exponential increase in work.
 
For now, Castalia House's growth can be maintained on word of mouth - most of which is provided for free by his opponents. The more Castalia House grows (and businesses either grow or die), the more it will come to resemble a traditional publisher, with all of the weaknesses that implies. Besides, the more time Vox spends dealing with business headaches, the less time he has to spend on the ramparts, leading the battle. 
 
2). No matter how long an insurgent's timescale, they still depend on escalation to keep their supporters engaged. Not every Jihadi wants to fight 'till Doomsday. Some just want to drive the foreign invaders out and live their lives in peace. 
 
Vox is willing to fight 'till Doomsday, but he needs the conflict to continually escalate in order to keep his supporters motivated. De-escalation means demotivation. Part of the reason GamerGate was/is so effective is that the gaming press declared "the death of gamers" and turned it into a war. The proper response would have been to fire a few "bad apples," tighten a few ethics policies, declare victory, and ignore any further controversy.
 
This goal can be furthered by leaving bridges unburned and doors open. Leave Puppies with a way out that does not involve public humiliation or eating humble pie. Buy a Puppy lunch instead. Vox brags about his "faceless minions" - show them that to you, they have a face. Humanize yourself to them, and them to yourself. De-escalate, then de-escalate some more.  
 
3). Reconsider your own timescale. Are you sacrificing long-term opportunities for a chance to score a few cheap shots? Are you winning battles while losing wars? Are you an insufferable, toxic killjoy who can't eat a cheeseburger without complaining that it's CIS gendered? You are part of the reason Vox is winning. 
 
The urge to attack is wired deeply into the human mind. You see something you don't like, and you want to smash it. Someone says some racist bullshit and you want to deploy the perfect, cutting comeback. You want your "oh snap" moment when you stand against the Patriarchy and get showered in adulation. 
 
I understand, but I also humbly suggest that you grow the fuck up. By all means, speak up and speak out against bullshit and discrimination. But remember that your conduct will leave a stronger impression than your words. Don't turn a struggle for equal rights or equal representation into your personal excuse to be a jackass. Learn the difference between engaging and attacking. 
 
Standing up for the truth in a shitty way still makes you a shitty person. Fighting for what's right in a stupid way means that you still lose. The strategic level outweighs the tactical.
 
4). Fourth Generation Warfare Factures 
 
As the State collapses, people transfer their loyalties to other groups that may be able to represent their interests. In Iraq, the Kurds closed ranks with the Kurds; the Shi'ites closed ranks with the Shi'ites; and the Sunnis closed ranks with the Sunnis. 
 
But as time went on, the Sunni resistance fractured into smaller and smaller groups along ideological fault lines. Same story with the Shi'ites. The Kurds have held up better, but then again, they are not organized along ideological lines. 
 
In-fighting among the enemy presents wonderful opportunities, provided we do not fracture as well. Unfortunately, while a very clear ideological divide exists between the Sads and Rabids, they show no signs of breaking ranks. "The enemy of my enemy is my second cousin," or however that one goes. 
 
However, that does not mean that there are no ideological wedges to exploit. We'll look at some of them in part three.

Part Three: What Type of Victory?

54 comments:

  1. I was directed here from Vox's comments. I like this essay. I am a self-identified sad puppy (click my name for evidence) and wish the "other side" would heed a lot of your advice - particularly the part about growing up and not acting like a jackass.

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  2. This is a very good postmortem on what the SJWs should have done. Too bad for them they are in the war they asked for. They are going to need to surrender in a much different way now.

    Welcome to the next phase.

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    1. I, for one, am excited to see what the next phase holds.

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    2. Oh, the next phase is awesome. It even has hot chicks having a pillowfight at a dance party in a courtroom, with everything from ninjas to Nazis in attendance: Burn It Down

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  3. Social Justice EinsteinAugust 25, 2015 at 2:13 PM

    I liked the part about weighing The Evil Vox Day down with managing his publishing house. If we can purchase enough books, not just us, our friends, families, everyone we know, we can crush Vox with management work. If Vox is still posting at his blog we need to purchase more. Spread the word, buy his e-books, they're not much and no trees will be killed, but we'll be burying Vox in busy work.

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    1. I would have appreciated it if Vox had spent a little more time editing "On War." The second half has an embarrassing number of typos. To be fair, I am reading it on Kindle, and there may be some file conversion issues involved.

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    2. We've already seen this happen. When he first started writing his Arts of Dark and Light Saga, he said that one of the motivations was to show that he could come out with a book a year, unlike GRRM. The second book in the series has already been delayed a couple years.

      Vox himself has said that this was because of his other projects.

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    3. My argument (and to a certain extent, Vox's argument) is that companies and organized non-profits are the closest thing to States in this 4GW. What is the advantage of being the insurgent in a 4GW? You don't have to defend anything. When the enemy attacks, you are not there. You're attacking somewhere else.

      If Castalia House and Vox's game dev projects are successful, that means Vox has acquired assets that he needs to defend. He can't melt away from Castalia or his games without looking weak. It is not impossible for a 4GW force to transition into a State (ISIS transitioned fairly successfully to governing a sizable territory), but it is difficult.

      The argument is not "dur, let's throw money at Vox until he goes away." The argument is "it is harder to govern than to destabilize."

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  4. You are very wrong about Vox's supporters particularly his Dread Ilk. They do not need Vox to fight or argue for them they are quite capable some of them just as capable. I accept that you may read the man semi religiously, but you are sorely mistaken about his followers. You could utterly and thoroughly discredit the man you won't discredit or defeat the movement. Vox could fall, the Rabid Puppies will keep fighting, but ask yourself this question? Do you even want to "kill" Vox? I think you should carefully consider what I say next because it's important, within the Rabid Puppies movement I'm of the opinion Vox is the voice of moderation.

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    1. The question of whether or not "killing" Vox Day is the right move is an interesting one. Which 4GW groups would be birthed out of his rubble?

      I assume the Stormfronters would go back to Stormfronting and the world would care as little as it ever has. You can always tell a true White Supremacist by their complete and utter lack of impact on the world around them.

      I assume that the serious Puppies who truly care about the state of the industry would drift towards the Sad camp, which could contribute to a general de-escalation. I can't see anyone being able to claim Vox's moral authority over the Rabids if he fell. Fracturing would be inevitable.

      But those who are truly dedicated will, indeed, move on to some other aspect of the Culture Wars. There are battlefields as infinite as there are platforms. Which is why this is about "killing Vox Day," not "ending the culture wars."

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    2. I assume that the serious Puppies who truly care about the state of the industry would drift towards the Sad camp, which could contribute to a general de-escalation.

      That might have been true before the ugly spectacle Saturday night, but I don't think it's true any more. Blowing up the awards was bad enough, but cheering the humiliation of nominees who were in the room? Egged on by the MC? As punishment for their work having been liked by the wrong people? I've lost track of the number of Sad Puppy supporters who have announced that they're so disgusted they've gone rabid or at least are leaning that way. (I'm not even very involved with all of this, and I'm foaming at the mouth a bit myself.)

      So if Vox were taken out, his people might reorganize around the Sad Puppies banner, but I don't think that group is anywhere near as likely to be conciliatory as it was on Saturday morning. At this point it might not make a difference even if Vox were to disappear from the fabric of reality altogether.

      Which brings up another question: supposing you strategize a method of "killing" Vox, just what does that mean? Does it mean he disappears from the Internet? Stops blogging? Keeps blogging, but loses interest in the Hugos, only sending a shot in the direction of the controversy occasionally? Is magically transformed into a SJW, commanding all those loyal to his Throne of Skulls to nominate and vote in the Hugos exclusively for trans-aware, racially sensitive visions of the future, written by female, minority, and/or certified "Good Ally" authors of the proper vetted political views? (This last might admittedly be considered something of a "stretch goal".)

      There's also the question of how this is done, and the impact on supporters and onlookers. You mentioned his expulsion from SFWA, and that got harder to support once people realized what Jemisin had been saying about him long before he'd insulted her. Perceived unfairness will strengthen his cause even if Vox himself is knocked out of the combat. Particularly if onlookers see themselves as vulnerable to the same tactics by the same people: this will create empathy between them and Vox, and enmity toward Vox's enemies. There is a risk of creating an army of Voxlets.

      My point being that the exact end state of Vox makes a big difference to the outcome. So does how you get there.

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    3. I am totally with Jaed on this one, by the way. While not having the visceral dislike that Vox seems to provoke in some people, this year I was more in favor of the Sad faction. I wanted to have a simple, honest contest. They broke no rules (that we know of), but destroying this year's awards rather than letting the "wrong people" win one, and then doing the childish triumph dance like that . . . ? I've turned rabid. I am all for burning down next year's and off into the foreseeable future.

      Up until Saturday, I would have been happy just to see Jim Butcher, John C. Wright, and Toni Weisskopf walk away with a rocket. Then next year I would say, Let's vote on the nominees and see who comes out on top. Now? Now I want to see Scalzi, the Neilson-Haydens, Hines, and Martin in tears, crying, "Why? Why is this still happening?" Next year, I'm buying a supporting membership, nominating and voting. And my votes will be No Award down the line. And the same the year after that.

      I am not the only one.

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    4. Rev the de-escalation you wanted is gone, lost. You and yours had a chance, they could have admitted some fault asked the Puppies their goals and desires and made conciliatory gestures to them. The Sad Puppies on Saturday watched with sadness and resignation as their erstwhile colleagues cheered with glee at setting their house on fire. Brad, Larry, Wright, it was their house too they had a stake in saving it, salvaging the wreckage of the Hugos. The Rabid Puppies have no such stake they will burn this down and their only sadness will be for the loss this is to men and women who supported the Sad Puppies. That bridge has been burned and neither side has a vested interest in trying to rebuild it.

      Two mistakes, and feel free to disagree with me, but the first is that constant escalation is the only way to keep his followers engaged. Winning can and will keep a vast majority of his followers in line, on his side, and moving forward. This year was a recon by them, gauging numbers, resistance, and leadership. Vox held his people back this year out of respect for Brad and because he wanted his opponents to make his point for him and they did so in exquisitely painful fashion. Politics and associations above all else, if you're the wrong type of person or you know the wrong person or if the wrong person likes you then nothing else is relevant. They made more enemies in one night of grotesque farcical theater than Vox could have made allies in a year of campaigning.

      Your last point about people moving on to another aspect of the Culture Wars is very amusing. Vox and his Ilk are already fighting on multiple battlefields and have been for some time. The Eye of the Dark One has proffered barely a passing and contemptuous glance upon this whole thing. He has not spent much in way of energy or effort in actual action and if he does he'll set aside something else to make room for this if he feels he needs to. An exchange between Roose Bolton and Jaime Lannister exemplifies this

      "King Robb is keeping your father quite busy, he doesn't have time for anything else."
      "He'll make time for you"

      If and when Vox truly puts his mind to it by all means try to distract him, use Castalia House (it's not his he's merely a lead editor), hope his other projects keep him busy. But you're a fool if you think that he is so easily distracted from his purpose once he sets upon you. He can and will engage upon multiple fronts of this war and so can his supporters. They love conflict, war, and blood, if you think that will change because Vox is neutralized (somehow) you're wrong. He doesn't call them the Rabid Puppies for nothing.

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    5. Remember, this is a 4G war game and no one really knows how to WIN a 4GW. For the State, the victory condition is de-escalation and the restoration of stability. For the insurgents, the victory condition is escalation and the disruption of stability.

      Furthermore, in 4GW all States have an interest in maintaining the stability of other States. If one State falls, the destabilizing effects can bring down their neighbors. Destroying the Taliban destabilized Pakistan. If Pakistan falls, India is in a tremendous amount of trouble.

      The reason Vox presents a danger is because he is a major destabilizing factor. Instability in the Hugos can spread to other "States." Indeed, Vox is already looking at other battlefields - because in a 4GW, battlefields are not determined by the borders of the State, This is what the Hugos folks do not realize. The goal is not to drive the Puppies out of Sci-Fi fandom, the goal is to restore stability.

      For the State, the victory condition is removing his ability to destabilize. Without that, he's just a person with opinions.

      If the Left was willing to look at the situation rationally, the road to stability becomes clear. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening any time soon. Again, this is a war game.

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    6. PART 1:

      Except that Vox's tactics are not a product of desire, but necessity. It is not that Vox wants to engage in 4GW, but that he knows the Left will never seriously engage with him on the issues because they despise and fear conflict. John Scalzi and his followers would never dream of actually debating Vox straight up, neither would GRRM, or PNH. They're not capable of direct conflict, because they'd lose, and in horrific fashion because their practices are indefensible. So they deny, delude, and disqualify at every turn in an attempt to pretend like they are above this and their hands are clean. Vox has moved from attacking the individuals to the "State" because the "State" has consistently protected these individuals. Tor Books is a great example of this, Vox did not attack Tor initially he merely made the point that he wanted Irene Gallo held accountable for her actions and fired. When Tor failed to act Vox attacked Tor because he could not attack the individual. 4GW is not Vox's modus operandi, but instead a measure of resort when he cannot reach the individual responsible for the actual failings of the system. As many of his supporters have said we're not ideologically opposed to Tor, we're ideologically opposed to people who slander us with such a broad brush. If Tor chooses to associate themselves with such people one can hardly be blamed for disassociating themselves with Tor.

      You're taking the analogy too far. Not everyone has a vested interest in maintaining the Hugo's or Tor Books, in fact very few people care. If those "States" were toppled tomorrow few if any people would bat an eye outside the industry itself. Ironically few people outside the industry even noticed this little civil war inside Sci-Fi until the Left fled to their media hugboxes and pleaded with those outlets to do something about the big bad Puppies who dared to crash their ostensibly "inclusive" party. How many people outside Sci-Fi are even aware there is a boycott of Tor Books. I'm not sure how much Baen Books or other big publishing houses would care if Tor fell. The Right applying pressure to topple a major player within the industry is no different than the Left doing the same thing. The publishing houses would simply replace Tor, take notice, and move on conscious of the fact that future employees who call their audience Nazis should probably be released from their contracts.

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    7. PART 2:

      Vox is not a danger because he is a major destabilizing factor, plenty of people could fill those shoes and indeed some more capably than Vox. Vox is dangerous to the Left because he has the strategic vision to not only destroy them, but a vision of the world without them. Their fear is not that Vox will spend the next 20 years haunting their waking dream of a Hugo's for the Scalzis, by the Haydens, under Tor. It is that their dream will cease altogether and their waking moments will become a nightmarish scenario of meritocratic inclusion where your qualities and talent are more important than your politics and associations. The stability you speak of is a lie sold to you by a State bent on your unquestioning devotion to this lie.

      If the victory condition of the State is to remove Vox's ability to destabilize the situation you can end the wargame before you lose it. The Left can't do that, it would require them to unify and set aside their ideological and identity politics. Ironically to beat Vox you'd have to become like him, adopt his tactics and strategy, co-opt his ideas on practicality and dialectic. Most importantly the Left would have to stop lying to itself, but you're asking the impossible of it. Asking the Left to stop lying is like asking me to stop breathing, sure we can hold our breath long enough to amuse, but inevitably I'll take that gulp of air and inevitably the Left will seek to lie and disqualify.

      If the Left were willing to look at the situation rationally they wouldn't be the Left. I actually agree that if the Left ceased being the Left the road to stability would become clear, but then it's always easier to see the path when the obstruction blocking it is removed. War games are fun to play I'll agree, but only when you actually have a chance to succeed. There's a reason no one likes having to play the Germans on Grubner's Folly.

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    8. Oh, come now. Vox doesn't want to use 4GW tactics? I might go along with you if you said Vox DIDN'T want to use 4GW tactics. He does consistently wait for his opponent to lower the bar of the discourse, but I think that's less because he is a noble tragic hero and more because he understands the moral level of war.

      At the moment, he just released a book that claims to teach others how wage ideological 4GW more effectively. He is not only actively destabilizing, he is writing materials to spread conflicts further.

      Again, if you think that Tor and the Hugos are what really matters, you are not thinking in terms of 4GW. The lines between States do not matter. Will Baen care if Tor goes down? You are damn right they will, because it shows that the Puppies are able to hurt a company's bottom line. Why else would Vox target them if not to send a message? Surely he is not such a poor strategist as to do it for petty revenge.

      Many on the Left 5 years ago would have called the rise of Vox impossible. Hell, some of them are still saying it's impossible as it is actively happening. Are you sure you want to engage in the same sort of reality denial they did?

      Vox didn't have to become an Islamist rebel to learn/adapt their strategies and tactics. He read William Lind like the rest of us. There is much that the Left could learn from 4GW. First and foremost, that we will either learn to live together or accept a world of constant conflict.

      The assumption that the entirety of the Left is irrational is itself irrational. Irrational people would not have been capable of taking over the Western world, if we are to accept the Cultural Marxist hypothesis. Irrationality is created in systems that refuse to let in outside thought. Lind's closed systems. The problem with today's Left is not an inherent irrationality, but dogmatism and GroupThink.

      Grubner's Folly? I've always preferred the Kobayashi Maru.

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    9. The assumption that the entirety of the Left is irrational is itself irrational. Irrational people would not have been capable of taking over the Western world, if we are to accept the Cultural Marxist hypothesis.

      I see a flaw in this argument: We are not dealing with the people who have taken over the Western world. We are dealing with their heirs, who have done none of the hard work, but had virtually all of our core institutions handed to them. People who start from nothing and become very wealthy are rarely fools. People who start out very wealthy often are. These are not the hardened generals and veterans who fought in the wars and understand strategy; these are the nobility who have lived in wealth and security their entire lives and have never bothered to contemplate such problems at all.

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    10. Right, but you would admit that the originals would have had to be rational to pull it off. If the originals were Leftist and Rational, then it must be possible to be Leftist and Rational. Naturally, it is also possible to be Leftist and Irrational, as shown by many of the heirs.

      In my personal opinion, the Left lost its way when we turned against the working class for the crime of ideological impurity. It is a folly repeated on a daily basis. If labor is the basis of wealth, why would you alienate the wealthiest group on earth?

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    11. [The reason Vox presents a danger is because he is a major destabilizing factor.]

      I have a couple points of contention with this...

      First, Vox is not an inherently destabilizing factor. It took a very long time of a very large amount of personal attacks against him by very stubborn and malicious opponents for him to get to the point of using "destabilization" as a tactic. You can't fault a man for finally taking out a hammer after attempts to use a toothpick, a screwdriver, and a wrench all proved to be fruitless.

      Second, these latest developments (i.e. attempts to destabilize) are not a "danger". They are the potential salvation of something that was corrupted long ago. Destabilizing the Hugos (for example) so that the PC crowd loses their control over it and it can be restored to its former prestige is a good thing, not a bad thing. Now, if those holding the reigns are foolish enough to pound the entire thing into dust rather than relinquish control, then it's their own fault when it ends up that way, not the fault of any outside factors.

      [Instability in the Hugos can spread to other "States."]

      Insofar as those other "States" are also being controlled by PC dogma, this is also a good thing.

      [The goal is not to drive the Puppies out of Sci-Fi fandom, the goal is to restore stability.]

      I commend you for (literally) being the only leftist (you're a leftist, right?) who is competent enough to recognize this. The only one. Every other one is pointing and shrieking and hurling poo and dancing on the burning ashes of the Hugos, like a barbarian.

      And this is your worst problem.

      You (rightly) see that the way the Puppies have been handled has been completely counter-productive (possibly even immoral). You (rightly) chastise your own side for their outbursts and asshattery. You (rightly) try to point out that this type of behavior only serves to embolden and empower your enemies. The thing you apparently don't realize is that your own side *is* your worst enemy right now. Far worse than anything Vox will ever be. As I mentioned earlier, the only reason he's even using these tactics is because your side piled a mountain of excrement upon him (and other people/organizations) for years and acted like petulant little children while they were doing it. It's because your side silenced those who didn't share their insular worldview. It's because your side attacked (personally and economically) those who dared to speak a view contrary to their own. It's because your side made everything about identity politics and other irrelevant factors.

      Restoring sanity to your own side should be your number one goal, not going after someone who wouldn't even be in the fight if it hadn't been for the things your own allies have done. Let's face it, if you should be writing an essay on how to "kill" anyone, it should be about how to kill the fools in your own camp.

      WATYF

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    12. I never said that Vox isn't justified in his actions. I said that his actions are destabilizing. Iraqi insurgents are justified in wanting to drive out the Crusader Imperialists. That doesn't mean that they're not destabilizing.

      Whether or not Vox WANTS to destroy the Hugos - and he has said many times that destroying the Hugos is not his ultimate goal - I'm going to argue that it might be the best long-term strategy for him. Since his goal was never to take over the Hugos, and his goal IS to take the war to PC culture at large, being "The Man Who Destroyed the Hugos" may work in his favor. It would definitely be the most impressive feat yet for Puppies/gamergate.

      Again, my argument is not and has never been that the fall of other "States" is immoral. My argument is that if you want to stop Vox, the spread of instability is a bad thing. The only way to stop the spread of instability is to start treating people like you and like Vox with human dignity and kindness again.

      Again, this series was written as a war game. War games are not about who is right and who is wrong. It's about how to lead one side or the other to victory. IF the goal of my side is to take down Vox, THEN the best strategy is to treat the other side with basic human dignity.

      My hope is that this strategy will restore some sanity to my side. The best way to "kill" Vox is to end the stupid shitty things on our side that allowed him to rise to power.

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    13. Fair enough, brother, but I don't see any evidence to support the idea that any sanity will be restored to your side. Maybe after you spend enough time seeing how people on your side think and what motivates them, you might realize that it's not really "your" side. :o)

      WATYF

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  5. (Part 1 of 2...apparently I write a lot. If only I could put this tendency toward writing those novels...)

    These two essays of yours are good. I don't see a lot that I'd say is untrue, although I'd say there are a few frivolous jabs at VD that appear to exist only to balance out what otherwise might appear to be grudging admiration. Kind of an aside, but this won't work to allay suspicions that you're shilling for him, btw -- I did something similar on a forum earlier this year, and I, a korean woman who just happened to like a few of the works on his slate and didn't want to get into identity politics, got accused by half a dozen people of being a white supremacist, misogynist dudebro.

    You make a lot of sense. The problem is that the most problematic (I hate that word) people on your side are not thinking strategically. I don't even know that they have the capacity to do so. The best thing to do would have just been to shrug, vote on the Hugos like it was business as usual, and for the major personalities to not make a huge fuss. This would have taken ALL of the wind out of Puppy sails. They'd have won a round of little trophies for themselves, and all the people whipped up into a frenzy against anti-leftist identity politics conspiracies would be sitting there with egg on their face. I'm not going to say the entire body of people would vanish and not make a slate at all next year, but the effort would be more muted, the biggest motivator (that there is a malevolent cabal in control of the Hugos and excluding them) taken completely off the table, and you could just start making your own slates next year and have them compete. You obviously have more people (although what % of those numbers were not people purely attracted by the conflict, I couldn't say). Instead, the reaction is simultaneously the most childish and brutal one possible. It might have been good for a few high-fives the night of, but it was probably the dumbest thing that could have been done overall. You have ensured that the Puppies will be back next year. In fact, if anything was accomplished, it was that the voices of moderation and sporting spirit in the Puppy ranks now look completely ineffectual, while Vox Day (the guy who openly wants to burn down the Hugo establishment) only sees his stock improve. Where are the people who saw what they felt was their attempt at good faith (voting on the Hugos like it was an actual award) betrayed, and their faces spat in, going to go? To the guy who was right all along, and who wants to collect scalps and has no interest in middle ground. The Puppies get bigger every year because you KEEP FEEDING THEM. I didn’t start out as a Puppy either (the first year, I bought the narrative that Larry was just being churlish because he lost an award), but I consider myself a card carrying one now. And Vox Day will gain the most support, because the incentive for right-ish moderates and simple ‘fans of fun sci-fi’ to think he is just a fringe madman has been removed: the madman was the one calling all the moves from the start, and when you actually pop over to read his writing, you discover he’s not really a madman at all. If you thought he co-opted the Puppy cause, I’d venture to say that right now he’s close to owning it outright. You couldn’t have TRIED to produce a bigger windfall for the guy.

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    1. (Part 2 of 2)

      I actually went to Sasquan this year. This had nothing to do with the current drama – it’s simply the first time WorldCon has been held in a location I could reasonably travel to, and I wanted to go. I won’t be going to another. I’m not employing hyperbole when I say that many of the people there made my skin crawl (and I go to Cons whenever I can, so this is not ‘those nerds are creepy’). I have never actually seen so many adults, many of them significantly older than me, so openly campaigning for attention for nothing at all like 14 year old girls on facebook, and the reactions to the various panels, and the Hugo announcements themselves, were downright infantile. I have been a liberal for as long as I have had a political identity, and I can’t make common cause with these people anymore. Our causes aren’t common. These smug self-congratulatory nitwits actually ARE thought police, and are reveling in it, and are GLORIFYING acting like children. I don’t understand how adults with their own agency are capable of doing this without any self-awareness, and actually thinking it makes them heroes.

      This is the vast majority of your allies (or at least the most vocal and visible portion of them, but that may be giving too much benefit of doubt). They think acting more like children than actual children present at WorldCon is a good thing, so it’s literally an impossibility that they are actually going to employ anything as complex as 4GW tactics to combat their enemies. They are emotional reactionaries focusing on one short-term goal at a time. They may have the determination to fight for a long time (after all, they are combatting evil and oppression!), but they also ensure that their enemies will never lack for motivation to oppose them either. In the long run, this is good for the Rebel Alliance, but is probably a loss for sanity.

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    2. I'm going back and forth on this one.

      First, you are absolutely right about one thing - some of the jabs I take at Vox are unwarranted. This was less about maintaining my SJW cred and more about trying to inject humor into a dry topic.

      Many people have been commenting that it would be impossible for the SJWs to purge the unpleasant jackasses in their own ranks - SJWs are too emotional, too caught up in the narrative of oppression, etc. It's not an impossibility, it's an unknown. I've never seen a concentrated effort from the Left to isolate and reject toxic elements.

      I'd theorize that is stems from intellectual dilution among Leftists. How many generations has it been since the Right was driven out of the public sphere? The artistic sphere? The academic sphere? Leftists don't sharpen their claws on existential enemies anymore, they have cat fights with other leftists. And the winner is whoever was most offended.

      This is an excellent tactic against other intellectual Leftists (or better, in front of an audience of intellectual Leftists) but not against an intelligent, determined rightist. Which is exactly what Vox and many others on the Puppy side are.

      Does the Left have the capacity? That remains to be seen. A solid drubbing by Vox may be exactly what the doctor ordered. I, for one, plan to enjoy the show.

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    3. I think another problem is the way the left has abandoned religion. Refusing to recognize any traditional moral authorities created a power vaccuum, and various opportunistic factions on the left raced to sieze that authority for their own self-interest-- which is often neither intellectual or even liberal.

      Maybe you can call it intellectual dilution, but I think what happened is that the intellectual liberals took for granted the fundamentals of liberalism (like free speech) and have allowed extremists to assert moral authority they didn't realize was ever at risk.

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  6. Impressive articles. I'm completely flabbergasted how you can be on the other side and get so much right about Vox and the Puppies. I've never seen it before. Apparently unicorns do exist heh. Or at least they don't come out of hiding if they do.

    I imagine that, as you said in your last comment, the left spends a lot of time fighting with itself. Eating its own. (to my great joy, nothing better than seeing a weak feminist man suddenly finding himself in the crosshairs of his "allies") In the current totalitarian thought framework acknowledging any reasonableness or non-devil-incarnate attributes to Vox/Puppies is probably a scary thought for most on the other side, even if they privately would think much of what you have just written.

    On the actual topic you've written, I ponder if it isn't somewhat outdated with the SJWs shitting in the punch bowl already. Some (most) of the options that were available to the SJWs are now gone.

    Personally, I don't see any way out. I stood on the sidelines this year. Just requested VFM status.

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    1. The worst part about eating your own is that it's not even very good exercise.

      I do admire the way Vox is able to focus attention away from divisions within the Puppy camps and towards the enemy. Not shooting potential allies is the first thing the Left needs to learn.

      Did the Left shit the punchbowl at the Hugos? That depends on how well they can maintain the Narrative. Which version of events will the average Sci-Fi fan accept? That remains to be seen. My personal barometer will be if the number of Puppy voters increases or decreases in 2016. If increase, the Narrative failed. If decrease, Narrative succeeded.

      Again, 4GW is not about killing the enemy so much as legitimacy. Did the Hugos' legitimacy increase or decrease this year? I would argue it decreased. Others on the Left disagree. We'll see,

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    2. For me personally, I read Vox and support the Puppies because they mostly represent my views, and I can't find any other group of people who do so consistently.

      IE, he doesn't have to try very hard to avoid infighting, as there is nowhere else to go, for me personally anyway.

      And even where I do disagree with Vox or some group consensus, I find I can still respect the view because it is well reasoned and rational and usually provides me with an opportunity to better examine my own views and where they came from. Disagreement in that sphere is actually entertaining and fulfilling heh. Imagine that.

      I agree with your assessment of the situation. I'd also say it decreased. I don't think the line about, "I voted against the slate, not against the politics and the people" is going to fly with a lot of people.

      Also imagining the possible outcomes now, just makes me lol. Now that Vox held off for a year and the puppies voted in the spirit of Worldcon while they SJWs did not, they have moral superiority.

      As an example of a supreme lol and another perfect Xanatos Gambit, imagine if the puppies put together a slate every year of all of the most prominent SJW authors. If they always withdraw, they can't ever get another Hugo. If they don't vote No Award for themselves, then their hypocrisy is exposed again.

      Next year will be so entertaining, I can't wait. Thanks for your response comment, btw.

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  7. Vox is already in your henhouse. De-lurk and have fun with us! (But keep writing these essays.) We are for liberty and against thought control. We are diverse: Jews, and gays, and Korean women; socially conservative, libertarian, religious and irrelegious. We even have a black White Supremacist. Even a tree or two.

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    1. Do trees get to play the Green card?

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    2. My roots are deep in America, but I can manage a Green Card for you at Vox Popoli. We'll disagree, gloriously. But you'll find allies, too. Plenty of people over there who think GWB was and is a blithering idiot.

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  8. Culture War DrafteeAugust 25, 2015 at 8:36 PM

    It's been an impressive analysis so far. I'd like to offer a bit of perspective from my experience. I used to be active as a Libertarian, but burned out after 9-11. For me, SF fandom was a refuge away from political conflict. Now, I've done enough fandom, volunteer groups, hobby groups, etc to know that they are rife with feuds and dominance games. I figured I was savvy enough to avoid them.

    But I could see more and more of the SF culture that was supposed to allow me to relax, became more intensely political in the usual fan-sniping. After a certain point I realized that all it took was one slip and the SJW internet mob would hunt you down. Social media allows the petty vindictiveness of village quarrels to flourish on a global scale, topped off with fashionable leftist self-righteousness. And I was pretty sure that in most every category, I was the optimal target for the people who like to make the cis-het, white patriarchy into the 21st century version of the Elders of Zion. Whatever differences I have with Vox are slim compared to that chasm of fear and loathing. When voting in a popularity contest became an act of fascist terrorism, I figured here was some fascism I could get behind at the bargain price of $40.00.

    Sure, de-escalation would be nice, but protracted warfare is OK too. I quit caring a while back.

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    1. The Iraq war is where I stopped being a conservative. I put so much faith in the Administration - that a man who called himself a Christian and ran on Christian values would lie on that scale ruined any faith I had in the Right.

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    2. The Iraq war did not end my being a conservative, but it did end any connection I feel with the Republican party. It is funny, in my youth I got angry with the leftists who said there wasn't much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. I am not sure if the parties changed or I did but now I agree with that statement.

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    3. [The Iraq war is where I stopped being a conservative. I put so much faith in the Administration - that a man who called himself a Christian and ran on Christian values would lie on that scale ruined any faith I had in the Right.]

      This is a surprisingly irrational basis for abandoning a worldview. Since when does the failure of a human to live up to a moral framework delegitimize said moral framework?

      Also, why would you turn to the left rather than to the right after this? My disillusionment with the Republicans (many years ago) sure didn't drive me into the arms of the even crazier leftists. It just put me further to the right (i.e. more personal liberty, less State).

      WATYF

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    4. Part 1

      I don't think you understand the Iraqi war. Bush believed, as does Obama (see Libya), that getting rid of an “evil dictator” was a good thing, and that this would allow the mid east to blossom with freedom and democracy. He, and Obama, believed that this was good because they do not understand the culture of the mid east.

      The thing they most do not understand is cousin marriage. All people in all Middle Eastern tribes always marry another member of the same tribe. The result, they are all family, and do not trust outsiders, they have no nation, only tribe. Thus, if asked to vote democratically, they only vote for a member of their own tribe, and no one gets a majority vote, and most of the country hates and distrusts your candidate. And rightly so, since the job your candidate is called to do is to collect taxes (also political and military power, as well as this economic power) and deliver that to his own tribe only. Thus, the only way to keep the country from devolving into a mass civil war with every little tribe against every other (see Libya) is for one tribe to get on top and hold it together by force. Remove the dictator, as both Bush and Obama did in Iraq and Libya, and the whole country falls apart. In Iraq, there was mass corruption as each tribe sought to have its government people grab as much of the pie as they could get, eventually resulting in a government so corrupt and weak that any reasonable force could destabilize it. Also, their army is weak since no tribal person will fight with or for any other person of a different tribe, or obey their officers since they also are from another tribe. You actually have to bribe your officers to avoid the shit jobs, or even to be fed. So, when ISIS shows up, they all run away. Meanwhile, in Libya, they voted, no one would accept anyone elses candidate, and they have been at civil war ever since, with the economy at one tenth what it once was, and the “legitimate” government holed up in Trobruk, in the farthest corner of the country. Those people had dictators because people get the kind of government they deserve, once the dictator was gone, they got it good and hard.

      There is also Islam, which allows four wives. This means the rich and powerful men get four wives, and the poor and powerless men get none. This results in the only way they can get a wife is to band together and overthrow the rich and powerful. Does that bring more sense to the whole Mideast picture for you now? Does that explain why the dictator wants the throne, and why he must be ruthless to keep it?

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    5. Part 2

      So, both Bush and Obama wanted the best for those people, and believed that getting rid of the evil dictator would be best. They both believed that the area would break out in peace and prosperity when said dictator was gone, believing that the various people really wanted peace with each other, and are just like we are. They were wrong. So, which do you choose, Bush and the rightists (not really right wing, they read many actual right wingers out of the party because of their opposition to the war), or Obama and the leftists? They both did the same thing, and, in fact, the result in Libya (and Yemen, Egypt, Syria etc, see European refugee crisis) are actually worse than in Iraq.

      And Bush did not really lie about Iraq, he believed what he said. He committed several major intelligence blunders, aided and abetted by the Iranians who put major effort into getting the USA to give Iraq some payback for the Iraq/Iran war by telling Bush what he so wanted to hear. See the intelligence asset “Curveball”. See also that Saddam really did have chemical weapons, and used them. See also Iraq and Yellowcake, which is uranium ore. See also how the US and others successfully kept Saddam from getting even more uranium ore, even when Saddam offered several times the going price for it. What do you suppose he wanted it for? Ask North Korea. Bush believed he could fix the problem of 9/11 by freeing Iraq, turning it into a democratic paradise, and then the rest of the Middle east would follow suit. Just like Obama did. They were both wrong.

      So, you really joined the “left” because of Bush and the Iraq war? Have you seen Libya lately, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Egypt (you could once safely go their as a tourist, no longer) etc? How is Obama any better? At least half of Bushes Iraq (the other half overrun when Obama pulled out) is a paradise compared to the abject poverty and constant warfare of Libya. Bush invaded one country, Obama has taken down Libya, Yemen, and destabilized several more, such as Egypt, and he still wants to take out Assad in Syria and repeat Bushes mistake all over again. The guy is a disaster, he has destabilized an entire region, and now Europe is being overrun, Bush is a piker compared to him.

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    6. Wow. Alright, let's tuck in.

      The Downing Street Memo indicates that Bush knew his intelligence was flawed before the Iraq War started. Worse, it indicates that he would have gone to war even if Saddam did not have WMD. Ultimately, the presence or absence of WMD was immaterial.

      Legatus, thank you for the information on cousin marriage. Lind talks about the necessity for Strongmen in the Middle East in "On War," but that supplements his articles nicely. It actually reminds me of voting in Meiji Japan - operating more along clan lines than political lines.

      Yes, I joined the Left because of the Iraq war. Not because there were no chemical weapons but because Bush never cared. The level of deception at work here is more than a simple lie - it is lies upon lies for the sake of lies.

      It drove me to the Left because the Left was telling the truth about that war. And say what you like about Obama, at least he hasn't gone full retard and resorted to full-scale invasions. It's a step in the right direction that at least decreases the US's footprint in the region.

      Also, for the record, I didn't accept everything on the Left. I'm still staunchly Pro-Life (for various reasons).

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    7. [It drove me to the Left because the Left was telling the truth about that war.]

      Again, this strikes me as irrational. The futher-to-the-right was also willing to tell the truth about that war the entire time. See Ron Paul's very public record on the matter.

      Your rationale reminds me of a G. K. Chesterton quote...

      "Whenever one meets modern thinkers (as one often does) progressing towards a madhouse, one always finds, on inquiry, that they have just had a splendid escape from another madhouse. Thus, hundreds of people become Socialists, not because they have tried Socialism and found it nice, but because they have tried Individualism and found it nasty." - G.K. Chesterton

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    8. I hadn't been exposed very much to the alt-right at the time. I generally only knew them as people lobotomized enough to think Ayn Rand could write convincing prose.

      The people I personally saw standing up loudly against the war were on the Left. Was that irrational? Maybe. It was the still the best option I had with the information given.

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  9. Good articles, and a very honest look at the situation, but as others have said, Saturday (in addition to some of the more reprehensible comments (especially the nazi one), have kinda burned that reconciliation bridge, blown the remnants into orbit and nuked the river from orbit...

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    1. I'm not sure it's impossible. Stranger things have happened in 4GW.

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  10. Um, wow. Very well-written, quite logical, and sane. I wish more of the people who aren't fond of us Sad Puppies were like you. Maybe then there would be an actual future for WorldCon. As it stands, Vox is going to win. The emotional reasoning used in lieu of actual reasoning by the SJWs is going to drive more people to the Puppy camps, cause a greater rift than already exists, will lead to a further graying of WorldCon attendees as those who are GenX and younger forgo it altogether in favor of cons that are more fun.

    As an actual signalling device, the Hugo is now dead. It's as worthless as a kindergartner's diploma. It's been on life support for about two decades with a year-after-year continual gap between "what sold well" and "what won the award." This year's decision to vote No Award on so many categories simply because of who nominated them or because of the authors' personal beliefs (regardless of whether or not those beliefs played any role in the story -- and don't even start on subtextual theories because there's no way to avoid proof-texting there!) was the equivalent of unplugging the ventilator and then going outside and setting the hospital on fire.

    Still, they have proven Correia's Conjecture to be completely true. The Hugo is now awarded only to authors whose politics fall within a particular scope. Authors who are nominated and have political beliefs outside of that scope will find themselves subjected to harassment from the traditional publishing establishment for having the audacity to get nominated for what was, allegedly, a fan award.

    -- G.K.

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    1. The issue is, will the emerging Cons lean towards the Left or to the Right? That remains to be seen. The most interesting scenario would be a more formal separation of "Boys Kissing in Space" soft Sci-Fi and "Boys Being Extremely Manly in Space" soft Sci-Fi, with Hard Sci-Fi falling somewhere in the middle.

      This is pure conjecture, but in my experience the sort of person who likes Hard Sci-Fi could not give less of a flying fuck about the author's political views.

      Back to the Cons, I see the rising generation as Leftist By Default. This may change as the White population dwindles, but that's where we are for the moment.

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  11. @"Watch your language. You win 4GW by being more moral than your opponent, not more brutal. And by "more moral," I do not mean "more easily offended." Don't fly off the handle, turn the other cheek. Never attack people, always attack ideas. Be kind, loving, and patient when you stand up for the truth. Yes, it is hard. But it is also more effective and generally the better way to be a human being. De-escalation of violence is a victory for the State; escalation of violence is a victory for the 4GW insurgents. "

    You are asking SJW's to do the impossible. It is not in their jeans to be nice. They are vile reprehensible people who attack people for holding ideas they disagree.

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    1. SJWs are not the entirety of the Left. As Vox points out in "SJWs Always Lie," many people on the Left just go along with them out of fear that they will be the next on the chopping block. Those are the people that I am (hopefully) speaking to.

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  12. "The Kurds have held up better, but then again, they are not organized along ideological lines."

    I get what you're trying to say, but this isn't true. The PKK is essentially a separate Kurdish statelet, whose Marxist origins and level of feud with the Turks are significantly different.

    It might be better to say that the Kurds are only divided in two, and have several objectives in common. Whereas other factions in Iraq have multiple divisions, and fewer objectives that are common to all factions.

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    1. Hmmm. Fair enough! Ideological fractures among the Kurds are not as severe.

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  13. Let us say that your advise is right and good.
    Let us say that you are a leftist (you say you are), and that you believe leftism to be good.
    Let us say that the Worldcon people and the people apposing the Puppies (all brands) are also leftists, as they say they are.
    Therefore, as leftists, you think they are good.
    And you think your advise to them here is right and good.

    And let us say they spurn your advise. Let us say that they double down, as Vox would say, and lie and lie again, as Vox would say, and attack and attack, with vile slanders, lies (do you really think Sarah Hoyt, a Portuguese female, is one of the all white male authors the SJW's claimed were behind all of these puppies, what about Vox himself?), and more illegal activities such as the one or two bomb threats and at least two internet attacks. Let us say that they very definitely do that which is NOT right and good.

    If your advise is right and good, and "your side", the leftists do not follow it, but do the opposite, does it not then mean that "your side" is not right and good?

    And so why are you trying to help your side, which is not right or good, defeat the other side?

    Perhaps the other side is, dare I say it, right, when they say the SJW's are not right or good.

    What if you are proven factually to be on the wrong side? How much evidence would it take to prove that? Do you even care about evidence? What if the Worldcon puppy kickers are shown to be the side of evil (many say they already have), will you recognize that, or will you refuse to even consider the possibility?

    What if it turns out that your belief in leftism is not as rational as you think it is?

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    1. Oh man.

      1). I am a Leftist, but that does not mean that I believe everything the Left does is right and good. I am, in fact, pointing at some of the things the Left is doing and saying, "This is not right, good, or even productive."

      2). Not everyone opposing the Puppies are Leftists, but the majority are, so I'll let that slide. I am advising all people opposing the Puppies that their methods up to this point have largely been wrong and bad. Because their methods are wrong and bad, I would like them to switch to methods that are right and good.

      3). People are not made right and good by their political affiliations, but by their actions. I do not identify with the Left because they are pure pretty angels of heavenly light, but because the seem to be driving the country over the cliff more slowly.

      4). If individual immoral actions permanently disqualify a person, we are all in a lot of fucking trouble.

      5). I am speaking to my side because that is the side I am on. I assume that you are not in a hurry to take my advice?

      6). Let's say that some Puppies did some immoral things. How many immoral actions by individual Puppies would it take for you to switch sides? One? Ten? One Hundred?

      Evidence is exactly what I care about. But there is a difference between objective evidence and a subjective interpretation of evidence. Dinosaur fossils objectively exist. Evolution and Creationism are competing subjective explanations for that evidence. The more a theory conforms to the evidence, the better it is.

      My beliefs change as additional evidence becomes available. I generally describe myself as a "Leftist" because more of my beliefs fall on the Left side of the wall than the Right side of the wall. If evidence moves more of my beliefs to the Right side of the wall, I will begin to describe myself as a "Rightist."

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  14. Other mental models are more effective than 4GW for understanding current conflicts. This is the main reason Lind has not caught on in the mainstream of military thought.

    Look to the Soviet method of overthrowing and conquering countries:
    Step 1: Create and logistically sustain a state of war among the people; inept fighters are better for this than capable ones for reasons that will become apparent
    Step 2: Undermine the political leadership of the nation, have a Soviet proxy available to stand for election with the credible promise of ending the war among the people
    Step 3: Once elected, the proxy ends the war, eliminates dissent from within the former insurgency, and brings in competent Soviet advisors to enforce order and prevent the development of a counter-revolution.

    This simple strategy worked very effectively through the late 20th century, from Cuba to South Africa. It fails when the forces of law and order can successfully cut logistic supplies, sustain unity of purpose among the electorate under a strong, popular leader, and maintain forces sufficient to both repel external aggression and crush violent unrest with wholly domestic origins.

    The 4GW insurgency in Iraq sufferred its' greatest setback in the wake of the Golden Mosque bombing, AQI lost its' allies and was fought basically to nothing over the next ten years.

    To apply this to Vox:

    1) cut the supply of new forces to the Puppies by no longer pointing out the controversy in mainstream publications, and ensure that sci-fi fans of all stripes can find products that they like on offer from mainstream publishers. Turn this "culture war" back into a minor tiff between a major publisher and an upstart...which is what it is. So stop calling them enemies, stop trying to attack them, and most importantly, stop driving fence-sitters (many of whom comment on this series of posts) to their cause.

    2) Stop circlejerking about who is the "most moral" in the "i'm pro-gay marriage" "I'm pro-lgbtq", "I'm pro-lgbtbbq" moral preening competition that the in-group seems to be running, and agree on some common ideas that are likely to have mainstream appeal, then ignore the squeaky wheels who push you back to the circlejerk and alienate potential allies.

    3) Since you already have a war on your hands, when criticizing Vox's actions, look for a Golden Mosque moment. He is may do something that his allies (former fence-sitters) will view as repugnant, but that his enemies may be relatively indifferent to (the Golden Mosque was not a concentration of American troops). Look for opportunities to send targetted messaging to his allies about the "Golden Mosque Moment" when it comes to alienate them from Vox, without demanding the submissive repetition of SJW shibboleths. The backlash against Vox from that crowd, if it comes, will have a strongly conservative character that may not be palpable to the SJWs of sci-fi, but it must be encouraged.

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    1. Hmm. Don't know much about Soviet military strategy, but it seems like it's working off of similar principles as 4GW. I'm not qualified to judge which one is better.

      Sure, Golden Mosque was a setback, but the war continues apace. Although it would be interesting if the Golden Mosque bombing prepared Iraqis for the totalitarian stability of ISIS.

      1). Yes, with extra emphasis on Scalzi. Scalzi really, really, really needs to stop escalating.

      2). Oh Lord God in Heaven, yes. The GBLT moral offense escalation has to stop. No one cares if cheeseburgers reinforce the microaggressions of CISgendered heteronormative etc.

      3). I was thinking that drawing him out into public debates could cause a fracturing moment - a Golden Mosque moment, as you say. The call for equal and opposite thought policing in conservative organizations in SJWs Always Lie could have been a good start, but then Scalzi went and clamped down on a legitimate parody.

      I feel like we agree on the essential points: stop the CIS cheeseburger circlejerk, de-escalate the war mentality, and find a fracturing moment.

      As an aside - are you the same Anon with the Rape Survivor theory? Because I feel like you're the same Anon.

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    2. 4GW theory is like Freudian psychology. It sometimes produces useful answers, and while interesting, it is not complete or universally applicable. "4GW thinkers" continuously bemoan the fact that their brilliant ideas just haven't caught on with the professional community; there is a reason for that, and it is not ignorance of the ideas.

      Anyone who has studied algebra knows that for some problems, incorrect methods sometimes produce the correct number at the end.

      Mental models in the social sciences suffer from the same problem to an even greater degree, as judgments about the validity of a social science model's predictions are usually subjective, even with the benefit of hindsight.

      Rigoberta showed up to a vote fight with a whole bunch of votes. SJWs threw a tantrum and tried to stop the contest.

      Successfully rounding up 500 people to participate in a very obscure, niche event qualifies as effectively promoting the field to the general public, so by this metric, Castalia House is doing a lot better in terms of attracting new members to vote in this award than Tor did, even with the benefit of establishment media support.

      To win this game next year, SJWs must have the confidence in the merits of "SJW lit", promote the field to as many potential new members as possible, and if Worldcon really believes in being inclusive, create a very nicely named new category for "misogynistic boring white male SF/F that a bunch of people we don't like still spend good money to read" so that the Puppies are able to recognize their luminaries without having to go and create a wholly separate subgenre.

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