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A Ride Along with the Thought Police: John C. Wright, Foz Meadows, and Rachel Aaron

Sunday, May 11th, 2014 | Posted by John ONeill

the-legend-of-eli-monpress2There’s been a lively and far-ranging debate that’s arisen out of the 2014 Hugo nominations, recent turmoil inside SFWA, and even the lingering controversy over WisCon withdrawing Elizabeth Moon’s Guest of Honor invitation back in 2010. It began earlier this week with author John C. Wright drawing the threads of these (and other) issues together to illuminate a broad conspiracy to silence conservative writers, in his article Heinlein, Hugos, and Hogwash:

The lamps of the intellect were put out one by one, first in society at large, then in literature, then in our little corner called science fiction. What we have now instead is a smothering fog of caution, of silence, of an unwillingness to speak for fear of offending the perpetually hypersensitive. Science fiction is under the control of the thought police…

When Larry Correia was nominated for a Hugo Award, the gossips reacted with astonishing venom, vocal enough to be mentioned in the Washington Post and USA Today. He was accused of the typical menu of thought crimes. You know the selection: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, insensitivity, fascism… The lunatic Left planned and struggled for years, decades, to achieve their cultural influence. Let us imitate their perseverance, and retake our lost home one mind, one institution, at a time. Start by praying.

Black Gate blogger Foz Meadows posted a thoughtful (and frequently very funny) response, “Silence Is Not Synonymous With Uproar: A Response To John C. Wright,” in which she ably disputes John C. Wright’s complaints point by point. Here’s an example:

You cannot state, as your opening premise, that SFF fandom is being handicapped by silence and an unwillingness to speak out, and then support that premise by stating the exact polar opposite: that there has, in your own words, been vocal uproarDoubtless, what Wright meant to imply is that the persons against whom the uproar is directed are being silenced by it – that he, and others like him, such as Larry Correia and Theodore Beale, are now suffering under the burden of enforced quietude. But given that all three men are still writing publicly and vocally, not just about the issues Wright raises, but about any number of other topics, the idea that their output is being curtailed by their own “unwillingness to speak for fear of offending” is patently false.

In her post “The Loudest Sound in the World is a Bigot Screaming That he’s Being Silenced,” Rachel Aaron, author of the The Legend of Eli Monpress and, under the name Rachel Bach, the military SF series Fortune’s Pawn, presents the radical idea that having readers react strongly to your ideas isn’t the same thing as being a victim of ”thought police” — it’s something called criticism, a vital part of a free society.

Authorship is an opinionated business. The very act of writing puts your core values and world view front and center… If you hold and put forth opinions in your writing that other people find repugnant or offensive, they’re going to offended. And since you, the author, put those opinions in a public medium widely distributed and sold for money, otherwise known as bookselling, these offended people are going to criticize your work publicly. They’re going to say that these stories don’t deserve awards and/or public recognition because of the ideas espoused therein, they might even band together to get you booted out of your genre organizations, publications, and/or fan groups so they don’t have to put up with your crap anymore.

I’m sure you think that sucks. I’m sure you think that the mob is turning against you, silencing your voice and robbing you of your right to free speech. And while that all sounds very dramatic, it’s just not true. You’re not being silenced. You’re still yelling as loudly as ever, we’re just choosing not to listen.

Read Rachel’s complete response here.

Derek Kunsken discussed the 2014 Hugo nominations in more detail for us last week in his article “The Hugo Ballot: Another View” and Matthew David Surridge wrote an open letter to John C. Wright in response to (among other things) his comment on “the cult that reveres the bravery of the transgendered community” (and his labeling the transgendered community a “perversion”) here.

66 Comments »

  1. The problem is leftist ideology doesn’t tolerate dissent or reasoned discussion – and it’s opponents are just shouted down. Anyone who questions multiculturalism, Western feminism, or the morality of homosexuality is treated as a Nazi even though, ironically, the Left is the one using the government to suppress free speech. Not to worry, the worlds demographics are changing and the tiny world of your PC will be swept away and replaced with a new PC (the kind you already see in most of the world) that wont tolerate you. Enjoy your moment.

    Comment by Tyr - May 11, 2014 8:55 am

  2. I am not going to plague up John’s space with a full response, Tyr. I’ll do that elsewhere.
    But you are completely wrong.

    Comment by Princejvstin - May 11, 2014 9:38 am

  3. Thanks, John. It is mainly through Black Gate that I learn of all these controversies and scandals, whereby I am constantly reminded that the SFWA, the Nebulas, Hugos, etc. are the literary equivalents of Bikini Atoll.

    Comment by Jackson Kuhl - May 11, 2014 10:30 am

  4. @Tyr–”The problem is leftist ideology doesn’t tolerate dissent or reasoned discussion – and it’s opponents are just shouted down”–I think you are 100% correct about the Progressive Left. I make a distinction between progressive left and left. I have friends, both lefties and righties who read Larry Correia and they like his work. I think the difference is the reaction. The lefties tend to roll their eyes at right wing opinion but it doesn’t phase the friendship. I don’t have any progressive friends–left or right because I find them fanatical. My lefty professor of literature once said that stories can be boiled down to themes and themes are arguments. If that is true, and I think it is, then Larry Correia and the righties should have a place on the bookshelf along with everybody else. On my own I have Stephen King and Correia both. The Apester (if I may use the third person) reads you not for the color of your skin (or fur or political leaning) but by the entertaining content of your yarn—boring douche-bag stories will be not make it past chapter one. I think that philosophy should be the Hugo Award philosophy but with more sophisticated fifty cent wording. I don’t think it is at present. I think Larry Correia is correct and exposed them for the Progressive Lefty trolls that they are.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 11, 2014 10:40 am

  5. Tyr,

    I don’t think it will come as a surprise that I disagree with you. What you see as conservatives being “shouted down” I see as impassioned criticism.

    The reason this is happening is because a large segment of the population finds the views of Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Moon, Theo Beale, and the other examples John cites, morally repugnant. This isn’t a small but vocal minority colluding to silence opposition… this is the public, speaking up.

    I get the fact that you see it differently. Both sides think they’re speaking for the majority. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    I do agree with you that “the [world's] demographics are changing.” Public opinions are shifting as the nation debates gay marriage, multiculturalism, etc, and this is all part of that debate. A generation from now, these arguments will likely be well settled (and we’ll have moved on to much tougher issues!)

    So ultimately I see this as part of a healthy, necessary process of cultural change. I suspect John C. Wright and his allies are so angry at the moment because they sense they’re losing the debate. They see the changes happening around them, and they’re in conflict with their very deeply held beliefs.

    I don’t agree with everything (or, really most of) what John has to say in his article. But I totally get what he’s doing — speaking up against changes that threaten what he believes in. He’s dealing with that by speaking up in an impassioned and articulate voice, and I salute him for it.

    Unfortunately, I do think to a very large extent he’s blind to the cultural changes — with regard to acceptance of homosexuality, Western feminism, etc — that have occurred around him. This blindness prevents him from seeing that the public now regards his views as wrong-headed. So he mistakes the massive uproar he talks about as some imaginary “thought police,” a small group tirelessly working behind the scenes to silence him and his allies, rather than accept it for what it is: thousands of individual voices in honest disagreement.

    Anyway, I completely agree with the central tenant of your response: time will prove who wins this debate. Of course, by then we’ll have brand new things to disagree over. :)

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 10:44 am

  6. > “opponents are just shouted down” – I think you are 100% correct

    Ape,

    See my response to Tyr, above. When there’s a loud, sustained public uproar to your comments, it frequently means your opinions are in conflict with public opinion… not that there’s some sinister minority conspiring to silence you.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 10:57 am

  7. TW,

    I just deleted your comment, as I found the language in poor taste.

    All — please remember this isn’t a public forum. It’s my blog. Think of it as my front porch. I love a good debate, and am happy to let it go on as long as it remains civil. But keep your comments courteous, please.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 11:01 am

  8. Here we go again.

    Comment by Golgonooza - May 11, 2014 11:19 am

  9. I may have went a bit far, I apologize

    OK, instead of playing with the argument, and quoting people (in a manner) who used a swear word in order to illustrate my point…

    I will just say that I found the “Silence is not equal to Uproar” argument to be disingenuous.

    That pointing to a handful of people speaking up against efforts to silence opposition thought as a example to prove that the silencing is not going on is a fallacy.

    Comment by TW - May 11, 2014 11:19 am

  10. > pointing to a handful of people speaking up against efforts to silence opposition thought as a example to prove that the silencing is not going on is a fallacy.

    TW,

    Yeah, true enough. Still, I got a chuckle out of it. Whether or not you agree with Foz, you have to admit she’s an entertaining writer.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 11:25 am

  11. @John—Negative. If the pen is mightier than the sword then he who controls the pens has the most power–and that would be the editor. News reporters and editors 90% left leaning. Cable TV is controlled by very strong leftist. They get to decide what is and what is not news, what you watch, and you don’t get to see the other side. Internet is the great equalizer and therein lies the problem for the controlling left. They don’t seem to compete very well in the arena of ideas. Where you see “impassioned criticism” I see people who are fighting to keep their monopoly-status quo.

    What exactly is ‘morally repugnant’ about Orson Scott Card? How has his viewpoint diminished and negated a good story? Please engage me in the reason of moral outrage because I’m not a big Card fan, but I thought Enders Game was brilliant. Here you have a pawn caught up at the mastermind of the genocide of a race. Instead of giving into the propaganda hype of his own species he—get this—THINKS about what he is doing and then acts on his own moral code and defies his own race to stand up for principle. But NO–the “humans” want to obliterate the last bit of opposition to human dominance. There is simply no room in this vast universe for thought counter to human dominance. Does this picture sound a bit familiar to the politics of today? It does to me.

    From my perspective the internet has leveled the playing field and the left is playing catch up and desperately trying to exterminate the opposition. Thank God (or the Gods, or fate, or blind luck or whatever) that we don’t live in Enders universe or there would be an armada of spaceship ready to obliterate Correia for speaking out against the collective’s will.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 11, 2014 11:28 am

  12. @TW—Your point was a bit unclear to me TW. I don’t agree that the louder opposition equates to the greater public opinion necessarily. People walk with their feet, buy what like, and most keep their opinion to themselves unless they feel comfortable. Find me an employed conservative actor in Hollywood who speaks out openly his political views. If you want a job you had better keep it to yourself in that world.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 11, 2014 11:37 am

  13. Ape,

    > What exactly is ‘morally repugnant’ about Orson Scott Card? How has his viewpoint diminished and negated a good story?

    Well, I loved ENDER’S GAME too. But, speaking personally, I found Card’s tireless campaigning to deny equal rights to a relatively weak social minority – gays – morally repugnant enough to make it difficult for me to give him any more money. I won’t be buying any more books by Orson Scott Card.

    Now, you can view my stance as “silencing” Card if you like. I don’t see it that way. He is free to write and sell as many books as he likes. He won’t be inconvenienced by my choice in any way… unless enough people feel the same way I do.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 12:01 pm

  14. James,

    Deleted your comment for being insulting to Rachel Aaron.

    If you can’t engage in this conversation at a high enough intellectual level to avoid insults, then kindly get your ass off my porch.

    Thank you.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 12:03 pm

  15. John,

    I think you missed my point on demographics. The socially liberal Left (as opposed to economic) is a non-factor outside the West and, as the West continues to drift towards decadence and irrelevance, so will those holding those views. The vast majority of humanity finds your views repugnant not Card’s.

    You can, of course, choose to buy whichever books you please but tarring someone like Card as a homophobe is not an argument. Addressing complex and millennia old moral/ethical positions with cries of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc and then threatening their backers livelihoods is ‘shouting someone down’.

    Comment by Tyr - May 11, 2014 12:31 pm

  16. I think it is wonderful that Black Gate is standing up against the purported silencing of Orson Scott Card, John C. Wright, or anyone else, John.

    But I seem to recall there were occasionally demands made in the past that certain parties not be permitted to post on Black Gate. I very much respect the way you never gave into those calls even though you frequently disagreed with me. Not buying Mr. Card’s books is not “silencing”. Refusing to permit people to speak, write, or otherwise communicate is silencing.

    I personally think that “silencing” is seldom the right term in SF/F, since most of us don’t have any actual power over each other’s voices. Perhaps it would be better described as “attempts to influence through ostentatious displays of disapproval”.

    I don’t have any problem with people saying that certain stories don’t deserve awards or booting people out of organizations because they don’t like their views. Just don’t a) pretend otherwise, or, b) cry for mercy when someone turns around and do the exact same thing to you because he doesn’t like your views. See: A Man for All Seasons.

    And, if I may offer everyone on both sides a practical suggestion, consider doing the relevant math BEFORE you raise the battle cry.

    Comment by Theo - May 11, 2014 12:54 pm

  17. > as the West continues to drift towards decadence and irrelevance, so will those holding those views.

    Tyr,

    Wow. So we’ve moved on to “you and your kin will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes!” now? I thought we were having a debate about issues.

    > Addressing complex and millennia old moral/ethical positions with cries of racism, sexism, homophobia,
    > etc… is ‘shouting someone down’.

    Unless their views are actually racist and homophobic. Then it’s called criticism.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 12:55 pm

  18. John,

    That is exactly what would happen to you and your kin in many countries.

    If you want to discuss issues, let me ask you this. Is there any room on your bookshelf for an author who holds traditional Christian or Muslim views on homosexual marriage? Should those people be able to write a book about spaceships or elves without their personal views being held against them when it comes time to give out awards or reviews? Or is acclaim only reserved for secular Leftists?

    in my own case, I happily own fiction from people whose political views I detest.

    Comment by Tyr - May 11, 2014 2:15 pm

  19. Being Irish, I never really understood the contradiction that typifies what I guess you’d call the American Libertarian stance: how can you insist on your right to control your own life (free of Big Government’s meddling) while censuring the choices of others?

    Comment by Aonghus Fallon - May 11, 2014 2:57 pm

  20. –”The vast majority of humanity finds your views repugnant not Card’s.”

    Sweeping statements like this are so delicious, aren’t they? It takes a gargantuan heap of audacity and self-righteousness to say this like you actually someone found a way to prove it as fact.

    –”News reporters and editors 90% left leaning.”

    What’s the saying? XX% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

    I think someone made a referenced to reasoned discussion above. Reasoned discussion on these issues is great. But I don’t making stuff up to support your point qualifies. This is where the Internet is, on the contrary, not the great equalizer because even opinions based on nothing get equal say.

    Comment by likeahawk - May 11, 2014 5:15 pm

  21. Jumped the gun on my last post: With edits:

    –”The vast majority of humanity finds your views repugnant not Card’s.”

    Sweeping statements like this are so delicious, aren’t they? It takes a gargantuan heap of audacity and self-righteousness to say this like you actually somehow found a way to prove it as fact.

    –”News reporters and editors 90% left leaning.”

    What’s the saying? XX% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

    I think someone made a reference to reasoned discussion above. Reasoned discussion on these issues is great. But I don’t think making stuff up to support your point qualifies. This is where the Internet is, on the contrary, not the great equalizer because even opinions based on nothing get equal say.

    Comment by likeahawk - May 11, 2014 5:17 pm

  22. > Is there any room on your bookshelf for an author who holds traditional Christian or Muslim views on homosexual marriage?…
    > I happily own fiction from people whose political views I detest.

    Tyr,

    I’m not sure how this degenerated into a debate about whose library is bigger (or more inclusive) — but absolutely, I’ve read and greatly enjoyed writers from a wide political spectrum.

    More importantly, I think, I’ve been very proud to publish conservative and liberal writers of all kinds… including Jerry Pournelle, Theo Beale, Michael Moorcock, Robert Silverberg, Foz Meadows, and quite literally over a thousand more.

    Now that we’ve finished the pissing contest, can we get back to actually debating the issue? Or is your lack of an argument on that front the whole reason we ended up here in the weeds?

    Comment by John ONeill - May 11, 2014 6:49 pm

  23. Sweeping statements like this are so delicious, aren’t they? It takes a gargantuan heap of audacity and self-righteousness to say this like you actually somehow found a way to prove it as fact.

    On the Card issue, one can readily observe that homosexuality is banned in more countries (82) than there are countries where gay marriage is legal (13). And many of the former countries are growing demographically while the latter are dying. Even in the USA, gay marriage has usually failed democratically when it has been put to the electoral test; it has usually been imposed unilaterally by a judge against the expressed will of the people.

    So, he’s not just making stuff up. And I myself am an example of the very point he is making; there are a lot of people of color around the world and they very seldom obediently subscribe to the beliefs that liberal white North Americans assume they hold.

    And even in Europe it is different. For example, many Americans would probably be surprised to know that the European Left is much more racist than the American Right.

    Comment by Theo - May 11, 2014 7:17 pm

  24. Theo, that 82 countries have anti-homosexuality laws on the books only says that 82 GOVERNMENTS (and not necessarily democratic governments) side with Card’s views, not “the vast majority of humanity,” as was stated earlier. In fact, in the case of many of those countries (most are in Africa and the Middle East–not exactly bastions of democracy), anti-gay laws may very well have been “imposed unilaterally…against the express will of the people.” So that argument is flawed.

    And a side point, gay marriage is actually legal in 16 countries, and even more recognize civic unions and registered partnerships. All of those countries have enacted these laws in the last 14 years. Seems like a growing phenomenon rather than a dying trend.

    All this is neither here nor there. If a host of people who find the views of certain other people repugnant and have the audacity to say so, they’re not silencing anyone, and they’re not infringing upon anyone’s free speech.

    One of the best things I learned in my Constitutional Law class long ago was that in the U.S. you can say what you want to say (barring anything that poses a clear and present danger to the safety of others, i.e., yelling fire in a crowded movie theater); and while the government cannot punish you for that, there can be consequences to your free speech in a private context that are perfectly legal. It might get you kicked off of Duck Dynasty, for example, or it might cause the members of your professional organization to roar back at you. Free speech does not mean speech does not have consequences.

    Comment by likeahawk - May 11, 2014 8:28 pm

  25. No Likeahawk, I’m not making it up. Cast your insults against Pew Research. Keep in mind this isn’t even about marriage but mere tolerance. The countries that have a demographic future are decidedly anti-gay (the P.I., while tolerant, overwhelmingly opposes homosexual marriage).
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-global-divide-on-homosexuality/
    On your last comment, religious descrimination is against the law. So, yes, a persons religious expressions against homosexuality are protected in some cases.

    John,

    I dont understand your comment, since this issue seems to be the most important of the post. Perhaps we are talking past each other because we perceive this issue very differently. Game of Thrones is starting so can’t elaborate further :)

    Comment by Tyr - May 11, 2014 9:00 pm

  26. Well that degenerated quickly.

    I wish this many comments popped up on a thread about, like, Michael Shea or something.

    Comment by Golgonooza - May 11, 2014 9:59 pm

  27. Who the hell needs the Hugo Awards anyway? I have read a few over the years and frankly most of them are hyped up crap. I think the last one I read was over a decade ago and it was a colossal waste of money and time. Personally it is more of a warning label to me than a must read stamp of approval.

    Orson Scott Card, like all writers would be best served saying nothing and avoid politics. It can only serve to alienate your fan base. Although I love Larry Correia he should take a page out of the Marine Corps battle manual and think about if the Hugo Awards are really the hill worth dying on. He certainly knows that the lefty collective mind would respond to him like the screaming harpies they pretend not to be but everyone knows they are.

    Thanks for the post and the comments y’all. I’m watching Game of Thrones.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 11, 2014 10:42 pm

  28. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the strong criticisms leveled by the progressive wing of science fiction and fantasy toward the conservative wing are actually an attempts to silence the opposition. In that case, what are the purpose of the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, etc. screeds that some of the conservative voices in science fiction and fantasy routinely write?

    Comment by sftheory1 - May 12, 2014 10:56 am

  29. First, execution by firing squad is usually reserved as a punishment for military personal for treason, mutiny and espionage, usually in times of war.

    Now, as an european (German), i feel pretty offended by this one, Theo:
    “And even in Europe it is different. For example, many Americans would probably be surprised to know that the European Left is much more racist than the American Right.”

    I can only speak for germany and we have a bit of a history with all hate and racism due to the Hitler thing a while back, but racism is the one thing that does not fly with the german left(or center).

    You might have confused them with our right wing parties whose political stances usually match what is perceived here as the more liberal american world view. Keyword here might be perceived, though.

    Our left is decidedly anti-american though. If you meant that by racism, you are right.

    (Still Theo):On a side note:
    It is voting time over here. Should you be interested, i can gather the flyers of the usual suspects around here, scan them and send them to you so you can get an up-to date picture of our political landscape. Translation would be your problem.

    Tyr: As for the death of the west:
    “Correlation does not imply causation”
    Funny thing is, just yesterday there was an article on http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/41/41728/1.html about us germans dying off. What that one boiled down to was that the population declines rapidly because people have a choice wether they want children or not. Being gay is a drop in the ocean compared to women or men deciding that they just don’t care for children.

    But really, who cares? The basic attitude around here is “do as you please as long as you don’t get in my way or try to take my money. Now let’s party/make some more money”. Don’t believe me? Check out the girl that won the eurovision song contest last weekend.

    Finally, why do americans only ever speak of left and right as of … well… solid blocks? Depending on who is writing, the whole of the other side is usually perceived as a bunch of maniacs. Is that a result of the two-party system?

    Comment by Oliver.Klages - May 12, 2014 4:56 pm

  30. @sftheory1—-Please give me a quote. I won’t stand by for vulgar misogynistic, homophobic, racist, crap—-no matter what their political stripe–PERIOD. I think it is disturbing when someone merely says “misogynistic, homophobic, racist, etc.” as though it were a fact. I’m a reasonable guy. It is so easy to call someone a racist because in that way you are GUILTY until proven INNOCENT when the burden of proof should be on the accuser. The accusation SILENCES. GIVE ME A QUOTE. Cite your source.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 12, 2014 5:14 pm

  31. > I wish this many comments popped up on a thread about, like, Michael Shea or something.

    Golgonooza,

    Indeed! Well said.

    To put things in perspective however, we’re joining a very active discussion that’s already well underway with this topic, so you’re seeing spillover from other discussions. When we talk about Michael Shea at Black Gate, we’re all on our own.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 12, 2014 5:37 pm

  32. I’m still waiting to hear the exact comment that was “racist, homophobic, misogynist”. All I hear is crickets.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 12, 2014 6:18 pm

  33. > GIVE ME A QUOTE.

    Hi Ape,

    I salute your desire to precisely document actual transgressions before we continue discussion, but trust me — they’ve been well documented elsewhere, and they’re readily findable online. I see no reason to pollute Black Gate with them.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 12, 2014 6:28 pm

  34. @John–Really? I’ve tried to find them myself. Kindly tell me what Google-search you used and I’ll read them. I wouldn’t want to pollute this Black Gate either.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 12, 2014 6:43 pm

  35. @Wild Ape
    Last year, Theodore Beale wrote a, in my opinion vicious, hit piece on N.K. Jemisin that was blatantly racist.
    Foz Meadows references the incident on her blog in a post where she criticizes John C. Wright. And said blog post is linked to in this article.

    Comment by sftheory1 - May 12, 2014 6:57 pm

  36. Gentlemen,

    I appreciate the exactitude and scholarship on both sides. But I don’t wish to derail this conversation with a shouting match on who said what, and whether or not it was racist. There’s plenty of that going on at other sites, and I don’t see much of it adding to the narrative.

    Let’s keep this focused on the current debate, please.

    Thank you.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 12, 2014 7:06 pm

  37. In that case, what are the purpose of the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, etc. screeds that some of the conservative voices in science fiction and fantasy routinely write?

    Without agreeing with your characterization of them, I would simply point out the easily confirmed fact that they were responses to being publicly attacked. In my case, for literally years.

    Let’s keep this focused on the current debate, please.

    Of course. Just answering the question.

    Comment by Theo - May 12, 2014 7:28 pm

  38. I can only speak for germany and we have a bit of a history with all hate and racism due to the Hitler thing a while back, but racism is the one thing that does not fly with the german left(or center). You might have confused them with our right wing parties whose political stances usually match what is perceived here as the more liberal american world view. Keyword here might be perceived, though.

    I have lived in Europe for 15 years. And I speak a fair amount of German in addition to Italian and French. I know more than a few SPD supporters who aren’t exactly keen on the Africans selling knockoffs in the train stations or your millions of Gastarbeiter.

    I suspect you know perfectly well that the author of Deutschland schafft sich ab is not CDU, Oliver. And the SPD didn’t kick him out of the party either. A lot of socialists agree with him; the book has sold around 2 million copies.

    Comment by Theo - May 12, 2014 7:38 pm

  39. @sftheory1–I won’t defend Beale. He got what he deserved. None the less Foz Meadows leaves out a lot about that incident. http://mountainwashere.com/2014/04/29/a-not-so-brief-followup-on-the-hugo-controversy-fest/ It is talked about in here and she failed to mention that JK Jemisin is a “libprog activist” and “Social Justice Warrior” who had “slung insults at him” (Beale) for years. It sounds like there was a bit of editing on Meadows part too. Now I want to be clear–what Beale said was wrong and I do not approve of what he said. What about Jemsin? Does her bigoted hype get a pass? I call it the hockey rule. In hockey it is common that one guy cheap shots another and that brings on a retaliation which catches the ref’s attention and the retaliation is called foul. It sounds to me like two trolls got into a personal mud slinging grudge fest.

    What “screeds” exactly do these conservatives write? Is it possible to be conservative and not be a racist? I’m just trying to understand why conservatives deserve such vitriol.

    And since conservatives probably deserve to lined up and shot, is it possible for any of them–even the @#$#$% like Beale to gain redemption?

    Let’s take Orson Scott Card for example. Personally I’ve read only three of his books. I liked Ender’s Game but the other two were a waste of my life. I don’t care for his stories—not for his beliefs but for his dull as hell writing. Since OSC is motivated by his core beliefs should he be banned from speaking because his views contradict what the majority say. Should the text of his religion become hate speech that to utter should land him a jail sentence? Should we send OSC off to reeducation camp? Or should we just let the market place take its own natural course? I’m just a dumb ape. Someone enlightened like you can probably explain it in simple terms for me.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 12, 2014 7:43 pm

  40. OK – final warning. I admire the passion on display here, but this isn’t a public forum. I don’t want this thread hijacked to start airing personal grievances against the left or the right.

    Keep it on topic to the latest discussion, and I won’t start deleting posts.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 12, 2014 8:56 pm

  41. @John, thank you John. I was coming back to point but I had to make a run to get dinner.

    The gist of what Correia said, whether or not you agree with his politics, is that the Hugos should not be politicized and open to all. I agree with that premise. The beauty of the genre of science fiction and fantasy is that you can illustrate touchy political points without the baggage that is associated with left and right wing politics. Politics are divisive–as you can see from the comments above.

    I believe that literature is far more powerful than political debates and blog flame fests.

    These two genres can generate paradigm shifts–they have in my own life. There was a time when I was an immature chimp that I was an unabashed homophobe. I was also a big Heinlein fan and I remember reading a book of his (it was either Friday or Stranger in a Strange Land)–anyway the seed of the injustice of hating someone without measuring their character was planted. Years later when I was in a very homophobe environment I had a good friend who epitomized the type of character that I admired–only he was gay. Once I discovered this the hatred which had for “people like him” crumbled away quickly. My world view changed and now I make pains to look at character first. That isn’t to say that I wanted to explore Broke Back Mountain in any way but I could connect with the humanity and empathize with the homosexual’s plight. That is the power of literature and science fiction and fantasy can make those connections without getting in your face and beating you into silence.

    That is why editing conservative voice out of the Hugos is such a travesty. Let the market decide who is and who is not a best seller. Allowing voices into the arena of ideas makes a stronger Hugo award and it lifts the dignity of the genre. Petty political games demean the award.

    Fos Meadow never debates that issue. No where do I see anyone looking at the argument that Correia presents. Instead all I’ve read about is how much of a bigoted misogynistic psychopath he is. That is not the guy I met. The posts that I’ve read are nothing more than character assassinations no different than Beale trolling his bigoted vomit towards Jesmin. Is this okay because Correia is just a conservative?

    I think the lesson to any author should be to keep your mouth shut about politics. John, you yourself admitted that you won’t buy an Orson Scott Card book because you don’t like his views on homosexuality. Don’t you think all human beings do that?

    In my own classroom I’ve seen more white,black, and Hispanic students read Griots and Imarro then they do the biographies I have. Barrack Obama’s autobiography has dust on it and I think it was read once. (Yeah I’m a teacher–scary ain’t it)

    I think about what my life would have been without my good friend had I not read that racist homophobic misogynist Heinlein long ago and enjoyed a good story that might have challenged my world view. How lonely my friend was and how he suffered quietly as people gutted his humanity. Character counts and I see very little character with those that excoriated Correia. What happens when REAL RACISTS take hold of the Hugos and guys like Milton Davis and Charles Saunders are eliminated from the competition? Will the world be a better place?

    Bottom line is if you want free speech then you have to put up with views that run counter to your own. You don’t have to buy or read what they write because that is how the FREE MARKET works. The value is that everyone gets a voice and over time the bad ideas die out. You don’t need to censor them, dumb ideas go to the ash heap of history.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 12, 2014 10:14 pm

  42. @Theo:
    Deutschland schafft sich ab was written by Mr. Sarazin and was a bestseller, though very controversial. You may be interested in his new book “Der neue Tugendterror” which touches on censorship and silencing opposing voices (hey John, i’m on topic here ;-) . He is also still a member of the SPD. There was a bit of a struggle over wether to kick him out or not, but that died down, mostly because their was no legal ground and his importance dwindled after a few month.

    Maybe we are working under a bit of a misunderstanding here: The SPD( sans their radical left wing), along with the CDU(sans CSU) and the now mostly dead FDP make up what i always considered the political center. Honestly, their political goals vary by degrees these days. I do agree that this view may not be share by somewhat older people, as we basically used to have a three-party system (CDU,FDP,SPD) for a pretty long time. But if we speak about “The left”, we usually talk about something like “Die Linke”, the MLPD, often the green party.

    Comment by Oliver.Klages - May 13, 2014 2:47 am

  43. “When Larry Correia was nominated for a Hugo Award, the gossips reacted with astonishing venom, vocal enough to be mentioned in the Washington Post and USA Today. He was accused of the typical menu of thought crimes. You know the selection: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, insensitivity, fascism…” — John C. Wright

    I don’t quite get Wright’s point about the lights of intellect being put out and all good people being silenced etc., because Larry Correia was nominated for a Hugo award.

    I guess the argument would make more sense if Correia were not published by a major imprint, or not allowed to be a bestselling author, or not allowed to be nominated for a Hugo, or if Wright were not allowed to mount a spirited defense of him.

    I don’t know Correia or his work, so I don’t know if he’s racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. I do know that if someone who is racist, sexist, or homophobic gets nominated for a prestigious award, or gets nominated for office, or gets pretty much any other kind of public notoriety, then people who consider him/her to be bigoted will publicly point that out (as John O’Neil says, that is called criticism — also protected by free speech).

    I am against libelous character assassination, so if people are attributing ideas or beliefs to Correia that he does not hold, then I add my voice in protest.

    Comment by Nick Ozment - May 13, 2014 3:26 am

  44. The SPD( sans their radical left wing), along with the CDU(sans CSU) and the now mostly dead FDP make up what i always considered the political center. Honestly, their political goals vary by degrees these days.

    That “political center” makes up the vast majority of your political spectrum. What we’re discussing here in terms of Left/Right means which SIDE of the political center you are on, not the far extremes of it. Left, in this American context, is not referring only to Communists and Greens.

    then people who consider him/her to be bigoted will publicly point that out (as John O’Neil says, that is called criticism — also protected by free speech).

    Criticism is fine. Neither Wright nor Correia are objecting to that. I’m certainly not. But no one is beyond criticism; indeed, what most of these people are so histrionically criticizing was nothing but criticism itself.

    Correia’s Sad Puppies was a warning: two can play this game. Politicize SF/F at your own risk because there are more of us than there are of you; we simply haven’t been bothering to play your little political games until now.

    I suspect John grasps at least some of the math involved. I know for a fact that Tor does. But most of the SF/F writers engaged in open criticism are entirely clueless. One woman even declared that since I couldn’t possibly have an audience as large as her 600 DAILY VISITS, shunning me was the optimal strategy. This level of awareness does not bode well for the SF/F Left.

    Comment by Theo - May 13, 2014 4:57 am

  45. @Theo–Exactly. That is why it is better to open up to books with left and right themes. It is better for business too. Politicizing SF/F damages the best part of the genre that is, if done right, the Trojan Horse of ideas.

    On the business side of things some publishers have become aware of the thirst for conservative thought. It used to be rare that a publisher printed a right wing political book (non fiction) but now they dominate the top ten frequently. Baen has a large bullpen of right leaning writers and their sales don’t seem to suffer at all. If what you say about Tor is true then they probably offer something to both sides of the aisle which is a smart business plan. What would hurt the Hugo to award Correia? He’d still get the criticism and there would still be others who would promote the book that should have gotten the Hugo if it “had not been hijacked by a right wing gun nut”. The Hugo should take a marketing tip from the boxing world. To put that in SF/F perspective language without The New Hope there would not be The Empire Striking Back to set up the Return of the (fill in the blank) book.

    I think the uproar was more about having a real debate. I think for too long the Hugo has been just a club for the Left SF/F. I think Theo is right in that the right hasn’t played the same game until now and that sparked the outrage.

    “When there’s a loud, sustained public uproar to your comments, it frequently means your opinions are in conflict with public opinion.”—John. Or it may mean that the audience has been in an echo chamber for a long long time and has been living the illusion that they are the majority. I think that is what Tyr was trying to say. Look at the left wing dominated newspaper industry whose circulation is nearing extinction. Look at how the only right wing cable news–Fox News– is dominating ratings. Look at how conservative political books are dominating the top ten bestseller list. Look at how Noah tanked at the box office and Captain America has been a blockbuster. You mean to tell me that only left wingers read SF/F? There is a thirst out there my friend which the Hugo has ignored for a long time. They ignore it at their own peril and risk becoming irrelevant to the market. A savvy businessman would read the market for what it is and not what he wishes it to be and make a battle plan to fill the market’s needs.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 13, 2014 8:19 am

  46. > Politicize SF/F at your own risk because there are more of us than there are of you; we simply haven’t
    > been bothering to play your little political games until now.

    Hi Theo,

    I dunno. I think political dialog — and outright criticism — is healthy and even vital for the genre. But the point at which both sides get in trouble is when they claim to speak for the majority.

    There are a lot of liberal SF readers, and a host of conservative readers. But both sides are vastly outnumbered by the apolitical middle. When either side claims to be a majority, they’re just being dumb.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 13, 2014 11:31 am

  47. > “When there’s a loud, sustained public uproar to your comments, it frequently means your opinions are in conflict with public opinion.”—John.
    > Or it may mean that the audience has been in an echo chamber for a long long time and has been living the illusion that they are the majority.

    Ape,

    Absolutely true. For many of the participants involved the game is all about laying claim to the silent majority, and proving they have numbers on their side. All kinds of crazy evidence gets trotted out on both sides to support the premise that the majority is swinging their way.

    > Look at how Noah tanked at the box office and Captain America has been a blockbuster.

    Like comparing Noah to Captain America to show movie goers are swinging right, for example! (Um… you WERE kidding, right?) :)

    Comment by John ONeill - May 13, 2014 11:37 am

  48. I think political dialog — and outright criticism — is healthy and even vital for the genre. But the point at which both sides get in trouble is when they claim to speak for the majority.

    I don’t disagree. The majority of people don’t read SF/F at all. But what we do know is that the USA, at least, is fairly equally divided between Left and Right. And the media leans heavily left (quantitatively, not qualitatively); it is 90+ percent Democrat. So, when you have one channel marketing to the Right half and 10 marketing to the Left half, the outcome isn’t in doubt.

    Most SF/F writers and editors are equalitarian. They are pro-feminist, pro-homosexual, and tend to lean anti-tradition. Well and good. I am the opposite. My main point here is that, contra the way the SF/F writers attempt to portray things, I am very, very far from alone in my supposedly terrible, no-good, very bad perspective. I don’t know if it is 50/50 or more akin to 70/30 one way or the other.

    What I do know is that a lot of new Hugo voters registered this year. And I know my blog is getting all-time record traffic while we are fast approaching 50,000 Kindle books sold or given away on Amazon alone in our first 3.5 months of existence.

    There can be civil discourse or there can be uncivil conflict in the genre. I don’t mind one way or the other. I’m not crying. I’m not complaining. I’m cheerfully going about methodically crushing those who have appointed themselves my enemies. And if people are going to take shots at me, that’s fine, but they shouldn’t cry when I fire back or complain that my gun is bigger or whine that I don’t play by their rules.

    Comment by Theo - May 13, 2014 12:20 pm

  49. >>I dunno. I think political dialog — and outright criticism — is healthy and even vital for the genre. But the point at which both sides get in trouble is when they claim to speak for the majority.<<

    The problem right now is that those that are doing the talking arent talking TO each other, or even AT each other, they are simply talking to their partisans.

    Comment by TW - May 13, 2014 12:44 pm

  50. I have repeatedly said that I will publicly debate every single thing I wrote that was been declared to be controversial with anyone who believes that to be the case. I even posted as much in the SFWA Forum.

    *crickets*

    The SF/F Left is so hapless that they know they can’t successfully make their case in public. They are so rhetorically inept that all they can do is point, screech, and hope everyone else mindlessly accepts their assumptions. Which, obviously, many people don’t.

    Comment by Theo - May 13, 2014 1:11 pm

  51. > I’m cheerfully going about methodically crushing those who have appointed themselves my enemies.

    Theo,

    Why do you bother? You’re a talented and successful writer – and now you’re a publisher, to boot. Any time you take away from those pursuits to “methodically crush” your enemies, they win.

    > The SF/F Left is so hapless that they know they can’t successfully make their case in public. They
    > are so rhetorically inept that all they can do is point, screech, and hope everyone else mindlessly accepts their assumptions.

    Or perhaps they’re simply wiser than you, and see no point wasting time debating you.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 13, 2014 1:36 pm

  52. > The problem right now is that those that are doing the talking arent talking TO each other, or even AT each other, they are simply talking to their partisans.

    TW,

    You speak the truth, my friend.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 13, 2014 1:37 pm

  53. Why do you bother? You’re a talented and successful writer – and now you’re a publisher, to boot. Any time you take away from those pursuits to “methodically crush” your enemies, they win.

    Fair question. The reason is because I am incredibly lazy. I tend to need external motivation in order to bestir myself into action. Otherwise I’m perfectly happy just playing games and reading books. But being extremely competitive, like many athletes, what motivates me most is the vanquishing of an opponent. I don’t really care about money as long as I can pay the bills, I don’t care about fame or acclaim, but punch me in the face and I’m good to go until the other guy is KO’d.

    For example, I very much doubt I would have started Castalia if SFWA had simply slapped me on the wrist as I expected. But they decided to make themselves an opponent, and now I won’t stop until I either buy Tor or get bored. Granted, the latter would appear to be much more likely, but I’d happily pay twice the market value. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the more I take on, the more I get done.

    It’s a character flaw, no question. But as the philosopher said, know thyself.

    Comment by Theo - May 13, 2014 3:50 pm

  54. Or perhaps they’re simply wiser than you, and see no point wasting time debating you.

    I’ve been hearing that sort of thing since I had 3k readers per month. Now I’ve got more readers than pretty much everyone who was too important to debate me back in the day, but they come up with different excuses now.

    I just don’t buy it. I take on all comers, including people with 85 IQs who have never taken an econ course in their life and are parroting Krugman without understanding Neo-Keynesianism. I take on teenage atheists whose arguments I knew inside and out when I was 10. If they have the time to criticize me, they have the time to publicly demolish me in debate. In my experience, in most cases, the latter takes no more time than the former.

    Comment by Theo - May 13, 2014 4:04 pm

  55. And the media leans heavily left (quantitatively, not qualitatively); it is 90+ percent Democrat.

    I believe you’re confusing “do not identify as a Republican” with being a Democrat.

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - May 13, 2014 4:15 pm

  56. @Jeff Stehman—I’d say Theo is very close to being accurate by what I read. http://archive.mrc.org/biasbasics/biasbasics.asp Care to guess the leanings of the “independents”?

    @John–Noah vs Captain America was probably my weakest point. Sometimes I do get carried away and engage the keyboard before I engage my brain but I’ll stand by that.

    The theme from Noah of the Bible is that God brought down the catastrophic flood to punish man’s wickedness and disobedience but Noah is spared by God’s mercy for his obedience. The theme of Noah the movie is God punishes man for sins against the environment but gives mankind a second chance by sparing Noah. Note saving the environment is a classic liberal issue. The movie took some “artistic license” with rock creatures and action but it hoped to target both the Biblical crowd and the action movie crowd. It flopped.

    Captain America isn’t per se a liberal or conservative hero in the comics or in the movie but he is patriotic. The gist of the movie Winter Soldier is a Nazi (national SOCIALIST) terrorist group hijacks a devastating weapon that can target anyone and obliterate them in with a touch of a button. Consider that the weapon uses data mining for an algorithm predicting who will be an enemy as well as gps monitoring to know where every person on the planet is located. The movie is tripping over right wing issues—over reaching government, data mining, violations of the 4th,5th, Amendments, NSA spying. Captain America seeks the aid of rebels within Shield and military vets to go against the terrorists. Boom–box office hit. Actually it wasn’t one of my serious arguments but “the point and screech” crowd would love to have their hands on one of those weapons.

    I agree TW but what does reconciliation look like for these two groups? Look at what happens when you have a dissenting opinion. And what do you expect Orson Scott Card to do? His religious tenants are very black and white strict. He was in fact lambasted by his own religion for —-standing up for the rule of law that was lenient towards homosexuals—. I think that shows OSC’s true character in that he is willing to face his own crowd and stand up for principles. Where are those that stand up against the left and their character assassinations or at least their sense of fair play? Hmmm? And what exactly did he say that was so horrific about homosexuality? What exactly do you expect him to do? What does freedom look like when values are in conflict? Hmmm?

    Note to self—don’t get on Theo’s enemy list.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 13, 2014 6:05 pm

  57. Like some junkie masochist/car wreck enthusiast I just keep coming back to this thread.

    I know in theory you’re supposed to be like, all dialogue/discourse/whatever is worthwhile, but I find it very difficult to see the value in this type of online ‘discussion.’

    It seems that our society is at a place where the political right and left are so polarized that there is no common ground, no shared values, no willingness to try to breach the gap, and very little (if any) possibility for meaningful discourse.

    Ergo, I’d rather spend my time pounding nails into the floor with my forehead than take part in this discussion.

    Comment by Golgonooza - May 13, 2014 10:18 pm

  58. Golgonooza,

    And yet here you are, taking part in the discussion.

    I take that as a hopeful sign. Yes, there are folks on this thread with nothing but venom for the other side, who proudly proclaim the other side has nothing of any possible value to offer them, under any circumstances.

    But those are just the loudest voices, not the most important ones, or the most influential. I’ve been a contract negotiator for over a decade now, and trust me when I tell you: the most valuable – and the most respected – individuals in the room are the ones who are the best listeners.

    It’s true in genre criticism as well. The true thought leaders aren’t the ones shouting the loudest. If you’ve heard a single voice of reason in this debate, found yourself nodding along with any comment, no matter how softly stated, then you’ve found a fellow soul among all the din. And isn’t that worth the read?

    Comment by John ONeill - May 14, 2014 12:16 am

  59. Care to guess the leanings of the “independents”?

    Wild, not particularly, but Theo gave their party affiliation. (Sorry, I don’t read MRC. Unless they’ve changed in the decade since I last dug into their work, they assume the outcome and then look for evidence of it. Tough to get good results that way.)

    the most valuable – and the most respected – individuals in the room are the ones who are the best listeners.

    John, so true. Long ago I was a member of a large, private online group and a moderator of their debate forum. That forum was an enter-at-your-own-risk kind of place, with politics and religion holding court. You could get banned from the forum, but nothing said there could get you banned from the group.

    Moderating was nearly a full time job, and it took two of us (on opposite sides of the world–the sun could never set on moderation) wielding a +3 ban hammer in one hand and an vorpal knife of editing in the other to keep debate functional and moving forward.

    Most of the debate I participated in was for my own benefit. The deliberate thought and research I did in forming my responses was usually enlightening, and that was about the best you could hope for. Odds were pretty good most of those reading the discussions would only skim a post before shouting “oh yeah?” or “yeah!” depending on their own stance. (You spend hours writing a response, they spend minutes writing theirs. Welcome to the Internet. *sigh*)

    But there was one person, often in opposition to me politically (which is no mean feat), who thoroughly read my posts and put deliberate thought and research into his responses. No matter the outcome of the debate, we listened to each other and it showed. The level of understanding we reached gave each of us great respect for the other’s opinions. It was for me the holy grail of online debate, and I’ve never experienced the like since (and really, I’m long past caring).

    Unfortunately, outside that forum he committed some rather egregious rule violations, and I was on the conduct committee that issued the unanimous perma-ban. It was a sad day for me, but model citizen in one context, asshat in another. I guess that too can be a lesson.

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - May 14, 2014 11:46 am

  60. Well said, Jeff.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 14, 2014 12:14 pm

  61. @ Jeff Stehman “+3 ban hammer and a vorpal knife of editing”–that is a classic line and I’m a little envious that I didn’t write that. I have no idea how I come across in this medium but I agree with you 100% about meaningful debates. Listening isn’t always my best skill but I do TRY to listen. Sometimes I think I might come off too strong and be a little too ramped up. I don’t know you but I hope I didn’t offend you or anyone. I think good debates have a defined topic that they discuss. This one was difficult because it wasn’t clear what was being debated. Like you, I like a good clash of ideas minus the personal attacks and the blind venom the seeks to punish. Driving a thumb tack with a sledgehammer isn’t enlightening to anyone’s cause. My humor is sometimes misread. I hope that you always wield your vorpal blade and +3 hammer justly.

    Comment by Wild Ape - May 14, 2014 6:03 pm

  62. No offense taken.

    I don’t look for that kind of debate on public forums. I held off posting several comments, and only posted my first one because I was too rushed not to.

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - May 15, 2014 12:52 am

  63. I keep checking back with this thread, wondering if something constructive will come to me to be said. Nope. The temptation to snark about… No, I’m not going to snark about that. And then the temptation to point out things that have been said by others who spent hours — hours I don’t have right now — crafting their posts, it almost drives me to… No, not doing that either.

    Life is to short. Not just generally, but in particular my own wonderful life is too short for me to let ranting strangers steal one more hour of it. It’s my 20th wedding anniversary today. What the heck am I doing reading a debate about whether some writer should get a free pass on [snark deleted here], when I could celebrate my anniversary by getting some REM sleep in vague proximity to my excellent spouse?

    Crickets, indeed.

    I have children to hug, and books to launch, and more books to write, and asparagus to tend in the garden. It’s not the largest or most public life, but it’s sweeter for my having gotten over my old addiction to my own adrenaline. [Snark deleted here.]

    Let the ranters greet one another’s ranting with more ranting. They can take care of themselves.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - May 15, 2014 2:03 am

  64. But, Sarah, you don’t understand!

    http://xkcd.com/386/

    Happy anniversary.

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - May 15, 2014 10:26 am

  65. Sarah Avery: “The temptation to snark about… No, I’m not going to snark about that.”

    That sounds suspiciously “snarky”. ;)

    Comment by James McGlothlin - May 15, 2014 1:25 pm

  66. Thanks, Jeff. That one little panel of XKCD has, over the years, probably saved me at least 20 hours of otherwise lost time.

    James, as long as I can keep my snark in scare quotes and brackets, I’m making progress. : ) You have no idea how hard it was to stay that restrained.

    Comment by Sarah Avery - May 15, 2014 7:55 pm


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