Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Interview: Wendy McElroy explains why "SJWs become willing to commit brutal cruelty" toward "the heretic who is hated"

Editor's note: This interview was originally published in February 2017.

This is the second of five articles in my discussion with Wendy McElroy. The first part is available here.
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto
What does it mean to be a feminist?
FEMINISM, a term, supposed to have originated in France in 1890, which includes all phases of the modern tendency of women to assert their equality in the social life with men; their right to enter the professions on an equal basis with men, equal suffrage for both sexes in political matters, and a general recognition of the rights of women to interest themselves in public affairs,” Collier’s Encyclopedia told in 1921.
More recently, Michael Che, while performing his act on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, asked “what makes a feminist a feminist? It’s confusing …. A feminist is really just someone who believes in equal rights for women, and that’s easy to get behind. That is until you see an actual feminist screaming into a cop’s face, wearing a homemade uterus hat, and then you’re like, ‘Oh, there are different levels to this!’”
Indeed, there are.
Few people can navigate these choppy waters so well as Wendy McElroy. She is a feminist – of the pro-capitalism individualist anarchist variety. There are not many women’s rights activists who connect the dots between limited government and female empowerment, but McElroy is undaunted at being outnumbered. 
That should be unsurprising. After all, how odd would it be if an individualist anarchist liked the idea of being but a face in the crowd?
An ardent opponent of sex-negative propaganda, third-wave feminism, and social justice warrior culture, McElroy is one of the few people who can say she has gotten a rise out of religious rightists – she vociferously supported the right to watch pornography in the 1980s, when Los Angeles County considered legislation which countered this – and movement progressives – she praises free enterprise and dislikes the trigger warning-prone nature of modern liberalism – alike.
I like her already! 
She recently spoke with me about several issues of the day. Some of our conversation is included below.

Joseph Ford Cotto: The social justice warrior left, like the alt-right, has found success in spreading ideas via Internet memes. Memes, by their very definition, are simplistic and emotional in nature. Untold millions of Americans, presumably Millennials in large part, appear more influenced by memes than longer, more reasonable arguments. Has the Internet dumbed down the political acumen of our country's young adults -- specifically so they are more susceptible to the social justice warrior spirit?

Wendy McElroy: My answer is subjective, of course, because there is no real way to measure the impact of the Internet. I suspect there is truth in what the question suggests but I don't think technology changes human nature; a large percentage of people have always responded to rabble rousing and always will. Moreover, I think the negatives of the Internet are more than counterbalanced by the emergence of a strong alternative and independent media from which many people derive all their news these days.

Frankly, I blame a deterioration in the quality of public education in recent decades far more than I do the Internet.

Cotto: Beyond any other factor, what is at the core of the social justice warrior spirit?

McElroy: There is a difference between the spirit and the intellectual content, of course, but the two are intimately connected. A core belief is that ideas and words define the cultural narrative and so create the society itself. This is meant in the most literal sense possible; they do not influence society, they *create* the society in which everyone lives.

Thus ideas and words cease to be individual expressions of people who may differ in beliefs and then peacefully go their own ways. The personal becomes political. Because ideas and words create society they must be controlled in order to establish a proper ones. Ideas that go in the opposite direction become acts of oppression in and of themselves because they are responsible for injustice which SJWs see everywhere. "Incorrect" ideas and words must be eliminated, sometimes with intimidation and open censorship, at other time with the encouragement of "correct" views such as the massive funding of PC within academia.

This explains why SJWs consider dissenting words, ideas and consciences to be not only their business but also violence. To censor and control the minds and mouths of others becomes an act of self-defense and defense of the marginalized. Their absolute commitment to a hyper-narrow vision of justice makes them fanatical about controlling heretics, down to the use of words such as "he" or "she." SJWs become willing to commit brutal cruelty and (sometimes) even violence against the heretic who is hated. After all, his disagreement with the "true God" is an act of violence against them.