If Liberals and Left-leaning folk have a blind spot, it lies in the assumption that everyone thinks like us - or rather, that everyone will think like us. For all of the Left's talk of subjectivity and the equal value of all worldviews, many of us have a nasty tendency to assume that everyone will think and behave like us in the end.
When you enshrine science and logic as your ultimate goods, it is easy to slide into the assumption that your beliefs are inherently scientific and logical. When you assume your beliefs are scientific and logical, it is easy to slide into the assumption that no decent person can forever resist them. Worse, you slide into the assumption that they are the only scientific and logical beliefs.
If the first law of Philosophy is "Know Thyself" and the first law of War is "Know Thy Enemy," then the assumption of superiority is surely the best way to lose a Philosophical War. Ideas must be tested, tried, and refined before they can even be said to be Useful, let alone Superior. Concepts drop out of the Bacchanalian Revel all of the time. There is no evil in this; it is simply part of the dance.
Naturally, Conservatives have problems of their own when it comes to uncritical assumptions. On paper, we might even say that they have more problems with uncritical assumptions. However, once a Conservative steps into the public sphere, something strange happens.
Everyone in the public sphere gets attacked, but Conservatives gets attacked by a much higher class of critic. The Academy leans towards the Left, whether you think that is because reality has a Liberal bias or because of a Leftist conspiracy.
The result is, public Conservatives face opponents that are on average more logical, better read, more experienced with intellectual combat. Conservatives must either back down or create ever-more destructive, ever more refined intellectual weapons.
The educated Liberal, on the other hand, can get away with only debating cowed Conservatives and other varieties of Liberals. On the rare occasion that they meet a truly dangerous Conservative, one can always fall back on the assumption of superiority followed by dismissal. As a result, we rarely engage in serious debate with an opponent that represents a truly existential threat.
This constant hammering shuts down debate, or rather, limits what can be debated. Sometimes this is good - I for one and am glad we no longer have to debate slavery. But it can also weaken us.
It undermines our ability to engage with those who are not like us. It muddies our vision of the state of the world around us and prevents us from grappling with the issues of the day. Sure, we can get away with not talking about slavery now - but to ignore pro-Slavery arguments in 1850 would have been suicide.
Most Conservatives will respond by dancing along just enough to scrape by. Pay enough lip service to pass as normal. Keep your head down and shuffle along. But every now and then, a Bad One emerges.
In my opinion, that is the Origin Story of Vox Day. For a time, he got hammered and did the dance. Dance enough to pass as normal. Dance enough to not have your opinions rejected out of hand. Dance a little more, and maybe you can be a part of civilized society.
Maybe one day the dance was not enough to hide him or maybe one day he just got sick of it. But the result was turning the full brunt of his intellectual energy against the other dancers. Whether the dancer of Egalitarianism or the dancer of Feminism, the dancer of Racial Unity or the dancer of Social Convention, he turned against them all. He will dance no more, lest the dance be moshing.
Many on the Left claim that Vox is not a threat. And maybe they're right. Maybe the gated community and the ivory tower can stave off the Puppies he is whipping into a frenzy. Maybe there really are more Liberals in the world, and their triumph is historically inevitable.
Yet they claim this while we live in a world where Donald Trump became a front-running Presidential candidate by using much the same rhetoric as Vox. He is more popular with minority voters than Jeb Bush, despite the excellence with which Jeb dances the dance. Correction - Jeb seems to have messed up the steps.
I am of the opinion that Vox is a legitimate threat. Other think he is not. Much of the argument revolves around whether or not Vox "won" at the 2015 Hugos. Naturally, Puppies say he did and non-Puppies say he did not. Since there may be a touch of bias on both sides, I propose the following tests for settling the issue:
[Note: This section was originally written on 08/26/15, before the release of SJWs Always Lie, and before Vox was kind enough to send me a review copy. Due to the potential conflict of interest, it has not been modified in any way since 08/26, including grammar and punctuation.]
1). If there are more Rabid Puppies in 2016 than 2015, Vox Day is a threat. If there are less Rabid Puppies, Vox Day is not a threat.
2. If SJWs Always Lie expands Vox Day's reach, he is a threat. If SJWs Always Lie only sells to the usual suspects, Vox Day is not a threat. If it is a flop, Vox Day is a joke.
3). If the 2016 Hugos are another round of No Awards, Vox Day is a threat. If the 2016 Hugos are awarded normally, Vox Day is not a threat. If an open Puppy wins a Rocket in 2016, Vox day is The Threat.
[End of section.]
If anyone can think of fairer, better criteria, please let me know. As for myself, I will comfort myself with the knowledge that even if Vox is not a threat, he is at least never boring.
Then again, a Puppy winning a Rocket in 2016 could be a good thing - perhaps the best thing. It would naturally be contingent on a Puppy writing a Hugo-worthy piece that won fair and square, but it could also indicate that the Puppy Kerfuffle no longer mattered. If we can return to a place where the author's personal politics are no longer what matters most, then de-escalation has occurred.
I'm not saying that anyone should vote for anything other than the best piece - I'm saying that everyone should only vote for the piece they think is the best work of Science Fiction.
Finally, and in closing, I would like to thank the Puppies who were drawn to this series for their input, criticisms, and polite discourse. I apologize for implying you were a bunch of braying sycophants, since that is not how you conducted yourselves.
As thanks, here is a piece of advice: if your 4GW is successful, you will find yourselves in a position of power. Remember that all of the advice I have given my side about maintaining moral legitimacy will apply to you as well. David can get away with a lot more than Goliath, but once in power, David's sins brought Absalom upon him.
I would have liked to be able to thank non-Puppies for their contributions as well, but unfortunately, none of them have commented as of the date of posting. Save a link for after the 2016 Hugos, y'all.