“Cultural libertarians” v. “Social Justice Warriors”
Or said another way, anti-authoritarians v. authoritarians. Although the author of the cited article would like you to believe his “coined phrase’ describes a new movement, yeah, not so much. Some of us have been fighting this battle for over 25 years. That said, it’s an interesting article. Here’s the intro (read the whole thing):
A new force is emerging in the culture wars. Authoritarians of all stripes, from religious reactionaries to left-wing “social justice warriors,” are coming under fire from a new wave of thinkers, commentators, and new media stars who reject virtually all of their political values.
From the banning of Charlie Hebdo magazine across British university campuses on the grounds that it promoted islamophobia, to the removal of the video game Grand Theft Auto V from major retailers in Australia on the grounds that it promoted sexism, threats to cultural freedom proliferate.
But a growing number of commentators, media personalities and academics reject the arguments that underpin these assaults on free expression, in particular the idea that people are either too emotionally fragile to deal with “offence” or too corruptible to be exposed to dangerous ideas.
In a recent co-authored feature for Breitbart, I coined a term to describe this new trend: cultural libertarianism. The concept was critically discussed by Daniel Pryor at the Centre for a Stateless Society, who drew attention to the increasing viciousness of cultural politics in the internet age.
There is a reason for the sound and fury. Like all insurgent movements, the emergence of cultural libertarianism is creating tensions, border skirmishes, and even the occasional war with lazy incumbent elites. Some of these rows can be breathtakingly vitriolic, as self-righteous anger from social justice types collides with mocking and occasionally caustic humour from cultural libertarians.
It’s not a new trend, folks. It is as old as anti-authoritarianism – and that’s hardly new. But it seems, given the nature of man, that opposition to authoritarianism has always been an “insurgent movement”. For whatever reason, but primarily false “security”, we, as human beings seem to tend toward various aspects of authoritarianism. My guess is because freedom is hard and it allows a lot of things many of us find a bit hard to tolerate (which is part of the irony, since SJW claim to be “tolerant” but are mostly intolerant of any ideas but their own – and don’t mind looking for ways to stifle those they don’t agree with).
Anyway, I’ve been fighting that battle in this format (blog) for 12 years. Before that, a few years on usenet, and before the internet, on multiple BBS sites (you remember BBS’s where you used your dial up and nifty PK zip and PK unzip to send message packets). Authoritarianism didn’t begin when the internet was invented nor has resistance to it been a recent phenomenon.
That said, it’s good that it continues and, in the age of the internet, is growing even more than it was prior to the internet. That’s because people can find each other no matter where they may be. And, it seems, they’re doing so. That’s a very good thing. It allows “calls to arms” and those of a like mind to rally in opposition. Of course, that works for the other side as well, but, as has been my experience, when confronted with their own words, especially as they’ve tried to redefine them (especially when you deconstruct them), well, they are rarely ever able to explain the hypocrisy. The phrase “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” has never been more true with confronting SJWs.
The other important thing that happens is the anti-authoritarian arguments are now broadcast more widely, so for those who are interested, they’re readily available. Some folks know that what they’re hearing from the SJWs isn’t quite right, but they can’t put their finger on the explanation or counter argument. With the number of well written arguments now published on line in opposition to the authoritarian/SJW arguments, that’s no longer a problem.
Because of the internet, that formerly insurgent movement isn’t necessarily isolated to a geographic region or cultural group. It’s no longer necessarily “insurgent”. It now has the ability to spread and spread quickly. I find that to be a consummate “good thing”, even if some guy at Breitbart who is likely in his mid 20s, thinks this is all “new”.