Friday, June 19, 2015

The Vicious Among Us

     Apologies in advance for this one, Gentle Reader. It’s a few minutes after one AM as I write this. I can’t sleep and am cranky from chronic pain, conditions that are seldom conducive to good reasoning or finely wrought prose. But after reading this cri de coeur from Sarah Hoyt, which I commend to you in its entirety, I simply must vent a bit.

     The great problem with many of the most important descriptive terms in any language is that their meaning can only be illustrated: i.e., made plain by example. This is particularly the case with characterological words. Consider this collection of definitions for the word vicious:

Vicious \Vi"cious\, a. [OF. vicious, F. vicieux, fr. L. vitiosus, fr. vitium vice. See Vice a fault.]
1. Characterized by vice or defects; defective; faulty; imperfect.
[1913 Webster]

2. Addicted to vice; corrupt in principles or conduct; depraved; wicked; as, vicious children; vicious examples; vicious conduct.
[1913 Webster]

3. Wanting purity; foul; bad; noxious; as, vicious air, water, etc. --Dryden.
[1913 Webster]

4. Not correct or pure; corrupt; as, vicious language; vicious idioms.
[1913 Webster]

5. Not well tamed or broken; given to bad tricks; unruly; refractory; as, a vicious horse.
[1913 Webster]

6. Bitter; spiteful; malignant. [Colloq.]
[1913 Webster]

Syn: Corrupt; faulty; wicked; depraved.

     You might think there’s useful meaning in the above definitions...until you try to explain them to an eight-year-old. Upon examination, they prove to be almost perfectly circular. The problem is that you know perfectly well what vicious means, because when you were eight you had it pointed out to you a sufficient number of times by an older and wiser head.

     If you’re a regular reader of Liberty’s Torch, you’re all but certainly of a conservative or libertarian bent. You’re a friend to political freedom; you uphold American national sovereignty; and you subscribe to the Judeo-Christian system of morals and ethics that until about 1970 virtually every child raised in this country was taught before he was allowed to cross the street unaccompanied. The probability is high that you learned the meaning of vicious as I suggested in the paragraph above.

Now for a snippet from Sarah’s piece:

     Among other things I’ve been called a white supremacist (blink), a fascist (blink), homophobic (blink, blink), racist (blink), a “fan of the Portuguese regime deposed in the seventies” (this by the German wonder who doesn’t get that one can oppose both a regime and its replacement. Ah, for a mind that simple), atheist (blink, blink, blink), Mormon (blink)… Well, let’s say and save time that I’ve been called everything but a good person.

     It wears on me, not so much because they’re insults, but because they’re crazy insults. I am aware that at some level, permanently, my name is tainted with a large selection of the public. This doesn’t worry me perhaps as much as it should, because a) most people don’t play that much on the net, much less in our circles b) there’s always indie. I can duck out, go fully indie and write historical erotic romances, for all I care. (No, I didn’t write them. No, I don’t advise you to look, but while researching? Henry VIII Catherine of Aragon lactating erotica. I didn’t see anything past the title, and I don’t even.)

     I differ with the above in only one respect: they’re not “crazy insults;” they’re deliberate, premeditated attempts to delegitimize her, such that persons who don’t know Sarah personally won’t grant her the conditional respectful hearing we call “the benefit of the doubt.”

     Mind you, I don’t know Sarah personally. I’ve read much that she’s written, both fiction and nonfiction; that’s all. But on the strength of what I’ve read, she’s a good and honorable person who deserves none of the awful things her detractors have said about her. I would be pleased to make her acquaintance, were the opportunity to arise. But what of someone unacquainted with her work? What if he were to read or hear the slanders that have been showered upon her? What if he were inclined to accept then, perhaps because they emerged from the mouth of a friend or a respected acquaintance?

     Sarah is not alone in having suffered such a shower of venom. Virtually anyone of a generally conservative or libertarian bent who expresses himself where others can hear or read it has caught some of it.

     The people who pour these slanders upon decent Americans like Sarah know they’re untrue. They do so for political advantage. They seek to intimidate those who disagree with them into silence, possibly out of political engagement altogether. And they’ve reaped an unfortunate degree of success.

     Were I required to define vicious to an eight-year-old, such deliberate slanderers would be among the first examples I’d give him.

     Nothing illuminates the innate viciousness of the Left quite as well as the foofaurauw over the Sad Puppies 3 campaign. If you’re unacquainted with the world of science fiction, it was a campaign to open the Hugo Awards balloting to a spectrum of works wider than those that have dominated the Hugos in recent years. If you’re interested, read further about it at your leisure. Here are some links:

     If not, I’ll merely say that campaigns of slander and denunciation conducted by persons of leftist politics have been used to discourage the consideration of books and stories from writers on the Right. It made no difference whether those conservative and libertarian writers injected their politics into their works; all that mattered to the Leftist slanderers was the writer’s personal political posture. In that regard, it was a perfect illustration of Leftist viciousness, with this for a grace note: a Hugo Award has no monetary value. It’s just a form of applause from science fiction fandom.

     Before the slanderers got their act into gear, a Hugo was a token that could bring a book increased sales. These days, it’s indifferent at best. Sometimes having “Hugo Award winner” on the cover has harmed a book’s sales, precisely because of the awareness of many SF readers that the awards process has been “colonized” by the activist Left. Perhaps the breakthrough success of “Sad Puppies 3” will change that; at any rate, it is to be hoped.

     It’s an old bit of wisdom that the most vicious battles are fought over the smallest stakes. We have an example in the above.

     It’s about 2:30 AM, the AleveTM is starting to work, and I might be near to trying afresh for a few hours’ sleep. If you like, you can dismiss the above diatribe as the maunderings of an old and very weary man. I’m fed up with the viciousness of the Left side of the political spectrum. After reading Sarah’s plaint, I simply had to give it the proper coloration at long last.

     These people are evil.
     They know precisely what they’re doing.
     They deserve to be ostracized for their slanders.
     Decent persons should tell them so to their faces.
     Whatever follows, follows. Be not afraid to do right as you understand it.

     Good night.


mobius said...

Thank you Francis.
Where I grew up, "Them's fightin' words," was an appropriate response. The left has managed to de-legitimise this response. The bully has become a protected species.

How long that will last remains to be seen.


Inquiring Minds said...

Have we arrived at the place where we should embrace the label that is intended to tar us simply by the accusation? Specifically, being called a "homophobe."

Yes, I am a homophobe.
I am afraid of anyone who is so small-minded (or simple-minded) that they insist upon having their entire identity rolled up into association with only one aspect of life - namely, their sexuality.
I am afraid of anyone who does not have any room in their life for being a hockey fan, or a fisherman, or a painter, or a dog-lover, or an American. They must be a GAY-(fill-in-the-blank).
And I am afraid of anyone who insists that I must not only agree with them, but must also think exactly as they do. Or they must destroy me.

KG said...

What Inquiring Minds said. Exactly.

Tim Turner said...

Had a long discussion with my neighbor today. He's more liberal than I am (he thinks that government can protect children) but after an hour, we parted, agreeing that the "narrative" of good behavior has shifted from parents and society at large to some sort of meme of, "whatever seems most reasonable to you."

Now, that's sifted back down to the next generation, which is turning it back on even their politically correct teachers with triggers and micro-aggressions.

To which, I'm inclined to say, "Earn it. I owe you nothing. And if all you can do is slander, claim victim-hood (whine) or steal, then go sit in the corner with the rest of the 5 year old brats and shut the f*** up until you learn to take care of yourself."

Unfortunately, now they have a government that says it will take care of them, whille promoting their whining and snarky behavior.

Steady Steve said...

I'm all for black bagging any wannabe leader of the Left and decorating a lamppost with them. Once they understand their beloved .gov can't and won't protect them, they'll shut up.

Anonymous said...


It has been a long time since I've written to you. The last time I did Bill Buckley was still alive. I told you then that you should have been on his team at National Review. You're now even better than you used to be. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for National Review.

What you've said here, especially your last five sentences before your signoff, is absolutely correct. The leftists will call you a "h8ter" and a racist if you accurately describe what you are seeing take place in front of your very face. All I have to say about that is, "Damn the lot of them." I never was politically correct and I'm not about to begin now because I always recognized the bedrock truth in P.J. O'Rourke's comment about that nonsense: "Political correctness is obligatory dishonesty."

Keep up the good work. Like Remus, your words reach a lot more people than you know and it's good to realize that there are others who still understand the truth about the world around them. As for the rest of the people who follow the prevailing narrative...well, let's just say I strongly suspect the Gods of the Copybook Headings are getting set to pay them a visit very soon.