A recent Wall Street Journal article puts forth the argument that social justice warriors are genuine and sincere in their belief sets and in the laundry-list/word-salad complaints and accusations they routinely lob at the rest of us. The author urges us to listen to all they have to say. Not to believe that a word of it is true, just to listen and to accept the earnestness of their alternate-universe belief set.

In thinking about my own take on it, I concluded that I never really doubted their sincerity. I also recalled C.S. Lewis’s observation:

Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under the omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

True believers are not a modern incarnation. They’ve always been around, and they are the most dangerous of all those who’d impose their will on others. Cynics have finite and personal motives, usually revolving around the accrual of power, and usually work within reality to get it. They also take a break from time to time.

Fanatics, on the other hand, can never compromise or be satisfied, and it’s obvious that social justice warriors are as fanatical as any extreme religious zealot stereotype. They can be more dangerous, too, because some religious zealots are content to live in their own zealotry, while the SJWs feel a burning obligation to remake society. And, they never “switch off.” Their outrage is perpetual.

They have been an incarnation of the useful idiots that have always populated the political landscape. Their counterparts, the people to whom they are useful, have traditionally reaped the rewards of their earnestness by exploiting it (and them) to gain political power.

Unfortunately for the power-wielders, this crop of “useful idiots” has taken over. They now control the political landscape of the Left, they dictate positions and policy, and they are writing the Democratic Party platform. The Party leaders have shown they are unable to control or channel the SJWs, and the Presidential hopefuls have found it necessary to hop on the bandwagon to stand any chance of gaining the nomination.

The “inmates are running the asylum,” and a handful of charismatic and clever manipulators of social media have turned the social justice movement from a fringe useful for expanding the Overton Window into the power-core of one of the nation’s two major political parties.

Meanwhile, it remains vital to remember that depth of sincerity conveys absolutely no additional validity to a belief or opinion, and that the average folks who have not been steeped in social-justice tea tend to recoil from their extreme and intuitively repellent world view. Their buzzwords and catchphrases are shocking and insulting (From the article, ‘white fragility,’ ‘pernicious ignorance,’ ‘epistemic exploitation,’ ‘white supremacy,’ ‘misogyny). They are meant to be. They are intended to bully and cow us into accepting the undeniable, truth-to-power correctness of their views, not to convince us via logic or explanation.

Where this will lead remains to be seen, but little good can come of it. The best a sane person can hope for is that the cynics manage to shove the fanatics back into the Pandora’s box, and reclaim control of the agenda. But, even if that comes to pass, we’re in for a world of hurt. Wrong ideas don’t lead to wise policy.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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