Reading Vox Day So You Don’t Have To: The last essay on Chapter 6

Still doing this for my sins.

I think I forgot to mention that Chapter 6 also involves a weird proxy argument with Mary Robinette Kowal. The pretext is to demonstrate some of the fallacies he mentions in action but he fails to describe them adequately. The general point is that there is ambiguity in what she said (some of which was from Twitter – not a great medium for ambiguity free communication) and therefore he was really right all along. Suffice to say the section works its way back to SFWA expelling Vox etc etc.

After the Aristotlean fallacies, Chapter 6 takes us to list of “SJW Tactics”. This bit is kind of fun because it is classic Vox projection. He divides them up into individual tactics and then organizational tactics. However, I’m going to do them in a different order – organizational first and then a game for everybody with “individual”.

Organizational Tactics

These are the terrible things SJWs are supposed to do to organizations. Vox lists seven and he manages to set up a deeply insightful analysis of how an organization can be destroyed by political extremists. The only problem is that as an analysis it fit bests how the right have wrecked the Republican party. Again, I’ve changed the order to show the sequence of events better.

“The Code of Conduct: Modifying the organization’s rules and rendering them more nebulous in order to allow the prosecution or defense of any member, according to their perceived support for social justice.”

Lobbying organizations on the right like the NRA or “Americans for Tax Reform”  have systematically created an extension of the GOP’s actual rules and accountabilities for their politicians. For example the ATR has been pressurizing Republican candidates (at state and federal level) to sign the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge”:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.
(the exact wording varies between position)

These kinds of ideological tests backed up with threats against the candidates nomination act as a complex code of conduct for GOP representative. Note there is little here that pertains to the ethics of their behaviour but only their ideological purity

“The Pharisee Gambit: The SJWs inside the organization load an organization’s rules and operating procedures with conflicting requirements and procedural logjams. This makes it highly difficult or impossible to get anything done. They attribute the resulting inability to accomplish anything on those within the organization they want to discredit.”

OK, I don’t know enough about the Republican Party’s organizational rules to point out a in-party example but never mind that because this reads like a near perfect description on Congressional Republican behavior dating back to at least Newt Gingrich. The only upside to their habitual procedural log jamming, is that they now find themselves so out of practice that they are struggling to push their own agenda – despite controlling both houses and the Presidency.

“Unlocking the Door: Relaxing the organization’s standards enough to permit unqualified entryists to enter the organization.”

It’s not just Sarah Palin, it is a long history of temperamentally unsuitable candidates now occupying positions of power. At a higher level we’ve seen an unwillingness to adequately vet Trump’s appointees and the normalization of white supremacists and krypto-fascists within the Republican Party.

“The Conspiracy: If you put two SJWs in the same room, they will find each other and organize a secret mailing list designed to coordinate attacks on people and ultimately converge converge the institution by sundown.”

I guess arguably the conspiracies have been quite open and hence only a partial match here.

“Break the Norms: Constantly violate the social rules that dictate the avoidance of political and religious matters in order to stir up conflict inside the organization.”

Again the GOP and the Fox News approach of make EVERYTHING partisan and force everything into a narrative about somehow Christianity being persecuted.

“The Skin Carcass: Identify a respected institution. Kill it. Gut it. Wear its carcass as a skin suit, demanding respect.”

Voila, I give you the Grand Old Republican Party currently shuffling around with not a single shred left of the principles that it might have had in 1950.

“Blame History Game: Infiltrate, capture, and converge an organization, then blame all the resulting failures on the organization’s non-SJW positions prior to the changes you have made.”

Enough said really. The only remaining question is whether the same approach will continue with the United States.

For a happier note, observe how the last five also largely describes the Sad and Rabid tactics for Worldcon and the Hugos: entryism, breaking the norms, blame the past and the final objective turn the result into a mockery. Castalia still tries to use “Hugo Finalist” in this manner. Have no doubt that they would have attempted the first two if they had had more numbers, better organization and had faced less determined opposition.

Individual Tactics

OK here is where everyone can play!

Vox lists thirty odd terrible crimes of so called “SJWs”. Now I think I can safely say I recognize each of these from encounters from Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, Gamergaters, or the wider world of Scrappy Doos. I started listing the examples but they became too numerous and overlapping. I’ve numbered and abbreviated each one and replaced “SJW” with […] so you can imagine the appropriate context. All you have to do is think of a Sad or Rabid Puppy example of them doing exactly that (or Gamergater example but that’s even easier as this is like a laundry list of Gamergate’s behaviors). Some overlap, like that time the Mad Genius crew decided Spacefaring Kitten was really Brianna Wu, others some up the whole movement (e.g. ‘The Predicted Demise’).

Extra points if the example is Vox himself 🙂 Answers either in your own head or if you want to share put them in the comments 🙂

  1. The Tag Team: If you take down an […]s argument with dialectic and successfully explain why his position makes absolutely no sense under any circumstances, he’ll disappear, but another […] will promptly show up to attack your position from a different direction.
  2. The Brave Sir Robin: When overmatched, the […] will run away and declare victory.
  3. The Dog Pile: If triggered by a rhetorical response to his own attack, the […] will broadcast it as far and wide as he can in order to summon reinforcements. This tactic is also known as the Swarm, and is the desired result of the Point-and-Shriek.
  4. The Bait and Ban: The […] attempts to draw you into a discussion, often by asking seemingly innocent questions or pretending to be seeking information about something that he’s just heard about. His questions will increasingly turn prosecutorial, then devolve into outright attacks. [To force a ban of some kind or as a pretext of a ban]
  5. DARVO: This stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.
  6. Crying Wolf: When an […] is feeling overmatched, or is responded to rhetorically in kind, he will often make false claims of abuse, harassment, and stalking.
  7. The Move On: When the […] helpfully tries to get you to just admit you made a mistake so everyone can move on.
  8. The Custom Dictionary: This is the same as Aristotle’s Ambiguity, or the Humpty Dumpty Dictionary, in which the […] selects, or utilizes, whatever definition he finds most useful to his cause at the moment, regardless of what you actually meant.
  9. The Gatling Gun: The […] spams you with insults until they find one they believe triggers you or makes you look sufficiently bad to others. This doesn’t necessarily mean one that actually serves either purpose, which can be confusing.
  10. The Woodstock 1969: The […] claims you were at a place, did something, or had a conversation that could have never taken place. The more outlandish the claim, the more effective this tactic is, because it tends to confuse the target and it can be difficult to convincingly disprove a negative, especially when the accusation is coming from a stranger on the Internet.
  11. The Planted Seed: This is when the […] intentionally plants a false claim with the aim of getting enough of their allies in the media or high visibility sites to repeat it. [This one is mainly Vox complaining that people call him a white supremacist because of all the white supremacist shit he says.]
  12. The Worst Person in the World: The […] claims you are “worse than Hitler” due to your violation of the Narrative.
  13. The False Ally: One […] pretends to take your side while the other […] presents the […] case. The first […] then pretends to be convinced and demands to know how you could fail to be similarly convinced. He acts betrayed when you fail to go along with his sudden conversion.
  14. Attack the Family: […]s will always go after your wife and children. [or spouse of any gender presumably]
  15. The Promotion: […]s always attempt to elevate a leader of the opposition in order to freeze, isolate, and marginalize him, thereby weakening the opposition. .
  16. The Fight Promoter: There is nothing […]s like better than “let’s you and him fight”.
  17. The Challenging Assertion:This is when the […] makes a statement of opinion presented as fact, daring you to contradict it and thereby reveal yourself as a Narrative-denier and legitimate target for the […].
  18. It’s Just This One Brick: […]s always defend the next tactical step towards their long-term objective as being totally unrelated to all their past and future efforts.
  19. The False Fallacy: When confronted, they will often claim the opponent has made a logical fallacy, although when asked which specific fallacy was made, they are not only unable to identify it, but even point out where in the argument it happened. [Vox then gives an example in which he had an argument but the guy does actually point out one of Vox’s common fallacies – false equivalence]
  20. The Straw Man’s Advocate: The […] assumes a position for his opponent, then pontificates on how this assumed position is contrary to something that the opponent has said, creating a hitherto nonexistent dichotomy between the opponent’s two positions. Any failure to rectify the real position with the imaginary one is proof that the opponent is wrong and a hypocrite.
  21. The Straw Man’s Mask: This is when the […] incorrectly summarizes the opponent’s position in order to better attack it.
  22. The Failed Flounce: When feeling pressed, […]s frequently declare that they are too busy to continue the discussion or have to leave for one reason or another. More often than not, this does not prevent them from continuing the argument for another hour or two.
  23. The Forgetful Fade: Upon being confronted with an opponent who outmatches them, an […] will often vanish, only to return again later with precisely the same arguments, facts, and figures that were previously refuted.
  24. Attack the Source: […]s frequently request a source for even the most obviously true statement in order to attack it rather than argue the point directly or admit they are wrong.
  25. The Sock Puppet: This is when an […] creates multiple accounts in order to pretend to be different individuals and create the false impression that more people support his position than actually do.
  26. The Amused Spectator: […]s love to claim that everyone is laughing at their opponent… They like to pose as being amused, world-weary sophisticates, but they can never maintain the pose for long once people start mocking them and it often collapses in an entertaining, rage-filled meltdown.
  27. The Brushfire: If an […] feels he is losing the upper hand, he will not infrequently attempt to burn down the discussion with distractions, inanities, vulgarities and obscenities in order to avoid taking a kill shot, or at least to prevent third parties from noticing his defeat.
  28. The Crowd Inflation: […]s always, always, always exaggerate their numbers and posture as if their position is the standard, accepted, mainstream one, no matter how obviously untrue that is.
  29. The Predicted Demise: An […] will frequently affect sadness over the inevitable downfall of his opponent, who is fated for certain failure due to his crimethink and ineptitude. Example: “It’s a little sad, actually. You’re really overestimating how much people care.”
  30. The Worst Possible Assumption: An […] will consistently assign the worst possible meaning to every statement and preemptively take offense at it without making any attempt to determine whether any offense was intended or not.
  31. The Concerned Supporter: This shows up every election cycle, when obvious Democrats claim to have voted for every Republican candidate for President except the current one, because he has gone too far.
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27 thoughts on “Reading Vox Day So You Don’t Have To: The last essay on Chapter 6

  1. A better challenge might be to find a tactic in the list that a given group has not used. I don’t think the puppies ever used #10. Can anyone find a counterexample?

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    1. Hmmm, if you look at it slightly more broadly as “outrageous claim” then you have the various conspiracy theories e.g. buying votes or BELF being a pro-tor plot.

      For “couldn’t have taken place” you have things like ignoring pulps (mostly published prior to the awards) or ignoring Jim Baen in the Baen Books era (BELF only existed in the year he died and he was a finalist that year).

      Can’t think of anything fully Woodstockian though.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Well Dave Freer’s claim that the Worldcon Admins tipped off Damien Walters about Larry Correia’s nomination so that Damien could write a ‘hit piece’ (i.e. actually a passing mention) in The Guardian comes close. Outlandish but lacking in the specific detail implied by 10.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Checking back, Vox doesn’t give an example of when he thinks this was done to him. I suspect he is just thinking of cases of mistaken identity (e.g. somebody mistakenly making a claim about Vox which was actually about Larry Correia) but I can’t be sure. If we include the latter, JCW confused an exchange he had with Phillip Sandifer with an exchange he had with me on one occasion.

      ‘If I Were A Dinosaur My Love’ supposedly winning a Hugo doesn’t seem specific enough or outlandish enough to count here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like to imagine that Timothy’s travel agent is clever enough to innocently (aka maliciously) book him a trip to w00tstock instead, with a long layover at the vet’s office.

        Liked by 1 person

    4. I’d say that MGC’s claim that Spacefaring Kitten was Brianna “Spacekat” Wu, and JDA’s claim that I was posting comments on his blog under a nym for which the initials were “J.J.” qualify as #10 — it’s not as if there’s a way to prove otherwise without requiring us to doxx ourselves.

      I’d say that the Tor Cabal Conspiracy Theory also falls under #10, as there’s no way to prove that it’s false*.

      * apart from the complete lack of evidence of it, since despite more than 4 years of being asked for it, the Puppies have been never been able to provide any.

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    5. I can’t think of a SP example of 14 Attack the Family either, which I suppose is a small mercy.

      Obviously VD has, because of course he has.

      I can’t find any others that would be missing. I can’t quite get the rest of the list just from Dave F alone, but it’s close.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would Brad calling John Scalzi gay, even though Scalzi is in a happy heterosexual marriage and talks about his family quite a lot, count? Though that’s actually a mix of 10 and 14.

        Someone from Gamergate also tried swatting the elderly mother of one of their targets.

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  2. The Sock Puppet claim is hilarious from a guy whose vanity press publishes him under several different pseudonyms, several of which he claims are actual people.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think at one time he was Theodore Beale for SFF and Vox Day for polemic, and while the identity wasn’t exactly concealed, it wasn’t emphasised either. Once the truth had been revealed (as a result of SFWA incident number 1), he began publishing fiction as Day as well, allowing Castalia House to boast that it publishes both Vox Day and Theodore Beale.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. No, Andrew, he also publishes fiction under other names.

        Er, stuff that’s supposed to be fiction, recognized as such even by him. I don’t think Castoolia Hut has ever published a work of non-fiction.

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  3. I was not trying to suggest he didn’t. The point is that ‘Vox Day’ is in origin a sockpuppet, even if it no longer works as such.

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  4. I’ve seen VD claim that his usage of these *ahem* SJW tactics is justified because his opponents supposedly use them against him, and in N+1th dimensional chess, you defeat your ideological enemies by becoming them.

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  5. Turning to the Republican Party membership rules–one thing British/Commonwealth/European political observers can frequently not get is that joining a political party in the US is remarkably easy, just the matter of checking a box on a form. “There is no commitment, and you can leave anytime,” as the saying goes. Most of the party is in fact, inert outside of election time. It’s party organizations like the RNC where rules such as these would come to play, and rest assured, they do. Dozens of lobbying blocs have gotten themselves a say, and rest assured, the Republicans changing their course on all sorts of policies are more or less no-go.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You can literally change parties by ticking a box on a form, and said form comes via website nowadays many places, or when you renew your driver’s license, or down at city hall, or through the mail if you’re old-school. You can change as often as you want as long as it’s X days before an election (where X is the number your state thinks is right, usually 4-8 weeks). All free. So some people switch to the “opposite” party for the primaries, and back to their favored one for the general election.

      The national committee and to a much, much, much lesser extent, the local party hacks who sometimes hope to grow up to be on the NC set all the agenda, and they get lobbied at.

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  6. VD’s claims that the author he is obsessed with is an admitted rapist – 9, 11, 21(?), 30.

    (not naming the author, as associating their name with rape is VD’s N+1th dimensional Aristotle gambit.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And with Teddy’s constant projection, doesn’t that make you wonder about him instead? It does me.
      (Like all those right-wingers who rant against homosexuality and then get caught with male hookers.)

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  7. “Still doing this for my sins.”

    What the hell did you do, eat a live baby in front of its mother? Surely nothing you’ve done could possibly merit this.

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