Monday, April 13, 2015

A Curious Convergence Part 2

     In my not terribly humble opinion, no one who writes for the Web is currently producing pieces of greater significance than SF / fantasy writer Sarah Hoyt:

     This is not about the Hugo. Or rather, this is not exclusively about the Hugo.

     But it is about the Hugo as well.

     My first encounter with what I’ll call the Gigio effect, was in a mailing list for writers, where I dared question the insanity of a well-respected pro who said that George Bush (personally) had raised the price of stamps to ruin her (personally) in her efforts to sell used books through Amazon.

     There are levels of insanity I can’t tolerate and couldn’t even while in the political closet. So I pointed out the sheer insanity of this, the inefficiencies of the post office and probable causes for it.

     The list went silent. I figured tons of people were cussing me behind my back (this was when GB’s name was after all like invoking the devil.)

     So, I shrugged, figured I’d be kicked out of the list and went for a walk. When I came back my email was full of “Oh, thank you, for saying…” ALL OF IT IN PRIVATE MESSAGES.

     The senders ranged from raw beginners to established pros, but no one would challenge this lady’s illusions to her face. Only me.

     So how did the private messages make me feel? They made me roll my eyes.

     I swear 2/3 of the list pmed me to say they stood with me, but in public, not a peep. They were all so scared, you see, of the imagined disapproval of “all the rest of them.”

     Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke of the very same phenomenon. When his stature in Hollywood began to rise as a result of striking, well made, highly popular movies such as Total Recall and The Running Man, other actors, directors, and producers would approach him and say – in hushed tones – “You know, I’m a conservative too.”

     Hushed tones. Private messages. Sub rosa gatherings of frightened souls who fear to be “outed” for the unspeakable crime of...being independently-minded Americans.

     Granted that we’re not all Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Hey, we’re not all Sarah Hoyt, either.) But it boggles the mind to contemplate how completely so many persons of genuine achievement and substance have huddled in the shadows, afraid to speak their minds, because vicious, small-minded others would scream at them as bigots.

     No one has a right to your approval. As Thomas Sowell noted in The Vision Of The Anointed, for Smith to have a right to Jones’s approval would equate to Jones not having a right to his own opinions.

     Sarah, no shrinking violet but also no aspiring dictator, concludes her essay in a ringing fashion:

     ...this type of mind-set is a cancer in the culture and sooner or later leads to gulags and graves.

     I can’t push you and I won’t. If you want to keep your opinions — left, right, moderate, libertarian, anarchist — hidden, it’s your job. I am not the keeper of your soul.

     However, I want you to think of the dark and dank place that fear and that suspicion and the constant spying lead.

     And then I want you to think of how good it would feel to get off your knees, stand on two feet, look your tormentors in the face and say “No more. I’m free. My thoughts and my opinions, my beliefs, my tastes, my friends are my own. You have no power over me. Not now, and not ever again.”

     That’s all. I just want you to think.

     The above snippets are mere teasers. Please read the whole essay. “Food for thought” doesn’t quite do it justice.

     Political self-expression today is a minefield that many fear to enter. But how much substance do their fears have? Are your occupation, or your residence, or even the good opinion of your relatives, friends, and neighbors really, truly at risk should you elect to disagree with the politically correct prescriptions? You’d think so, from the breadth of the timorous reactions. And yes, there have been a few high profile cases such as Brendan Eich that constitute cause for thought. But what about you, John Q. Public of Anytown, USA?

     Perhaps being an outspoken conservative would make you persona non grata on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, or on the campus of UC Berkeley. Perhaps were you to be seen at a Tea Party rally, certain rabid persons of left-liberal views would screech at you and denounce you to their associates. How important would that be to you? How much objective impact would it have on your life, health, prosperity, and the good will of persons you truly value?

     Typically, the rabid lefties only go after the “high value targets:” the CEOs and other major figures we read about in the news. And here are the big secrets about their success rate:

  • Even given the prevalent pusillanimity, the lefties’ success rate isn’t all that impressive;
  • You and persons like you can lower it near to zero by supporting the targets verbally and commercially.

     Remember the part they don’t want you to know: there are more of us than of them. Why fear them if that’s the case? Do you really think they’ll torch your house? Most of them aren’t even brave enough to scratch your car.

     Ultimately, it’s a matter of numbers. When a sufficient number of Americans cease being afraid of the rabid lefties is when political discourse and a great deal else will start back toward normality. There will be some uncomfortable moments along the way: some confrontations, some awkward encounters, and some disaffiliations from persons you once thought were “better than that.” To me, that seems a small price to pay...but your decisions, as Sarah says above, are your own. Besides, everyone already thinks I’m a monster.


Ronbo said...

Like we said in the Army, “FUCK THEM ALL BUT NINE, six for pall bearers, two for road guards and one to count cadence!”

It just boogles my mind that with all the shit going down in the world today that anyone could be afraid of what the New York Times thinks about them!


Reg T said...

Confrontations, awkward encounters, and disaffiliations don't bother me, but I do admit to surprise and a bit of a shock at the behavior of those I thought were "better than that". Being taken aback by such an occurrence is simply a disappointment and cause for some sadness. But, one carries on, especially when the disease is islam.