Debarkle: Introduction

An epic story of politics, conspiracies, fans, and rocket ships in which the political chaos of 2020 was presaged by a culture war for a literary award.

From January 6 2021 to January 7 2015

At around 8 am Eastern Standard Time on the 6th of January 2021, the then-President of the United States sent a message on the social media platform Twitter:

“States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval. All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/06/do-it-mike-trump-leans-on-pence-to-reject-bidens-electoral-college-certification-455319

The tweet combined falsehoods about the presidential election along with a bizarre legal theory that the Vice President could invalidate the votes of the US States. That day, the US Congress was set confirm the electoral victory of Joe Biden & Kamala Harris in a joint session presided over by Vice President Mike Pence.

Later that day Pence would state in a letter:

“my considered judgement that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.”

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/read-pences-full-letter-saying-he-cant-claim-unilateral-authority-to-reject-electoral-votes

Around the same time, President Donald Trump was wrapping up an hour long speech to his supporters at a rally in Washington. He exhorted them to march on the Capitol building where Congress would be in session. Many pro-Trump supporters had already marched to the Capitol.

By 1:30 pm, police at the Capitol were already retreating as protestors advanced. By 2:13 pm, Mike Pence was escorted from the Senate Chamber for his own safety, as protestors had invaded the building. Violence continued, with lawmakers forced into hiding, multiple deaths, and the city of Washington DC forced into curfew.

It was a shocking moment in American politics: a riot inspired by confused and poorly substantiated ideas in an attempt to overthrow US constitutional processes and democratic change.

Watching the news on the other side of the world, I was also following the opinions of a number of right wing voices in the USA in attempt to understand what was going on from there perspective. After all, American conservatives had for years claimed an almost sacred status to the US Constitution — and yet here were ostensible supporters of a Republican President attempting to over turn the outcome of the Electoral College.

One person I was reading was a writer for the right-wing media outlet PJ Media/Instapundit, who wrote in a comment at her own blog about her anger seeing major conservative news outlets condemning the protestors:

“FUCK THEM.
Seriously, I think we should do the media next. Put the fear of Americans into them.
Saint Augusto bless us.
Anyone has helicopters?”

https://accordingtohoyt.com/2021/01/06/we-will-work-until-we-cant/#comment-732567

Here “Saint Augusto” and “helicopters” being a reference to a far-right meme about the use by Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet of “death flights”[1], a form of extra-judicial killing by pushing victims out of aircraft.

The following day, alt-right ethno-nationalist publisher Vox Day described Sarah Hoyt as the “only non-cuck at Instapundit” [2]. In this context, “cuck” is a derogatory term for mainstream conservatives referencing “cuckold” pornography. Day was applauding a post by Hoyt where she celebrated the actions of the protestors:

“It’s time to ditch the Marquis de Queensberry [sic] rules.  It’s time to stop fighting with our feet in a bucket. Yes, what happened today was very very bad. Yes, it means that what comes next will probably come with a butcher’s bill. I have sons in military age. I’m not thrilled.

BUT the fault is not of the protesters. The fault is of the corruptocrats, yes, including the Supreme Court Justices, every one of them who found it easier to roll over for fraud and not let the ridiculous level of fraud in the elections have its day in court.

If you’re going to clutch pearls and tut tut do so at those who passed the buck, refused to do their jobs or sided with the left in the hopes of being eaten last.

The angry Americans, many of them despoiled out of their livelihoods by the elite’s Covid-19 fun and games designed to destroy the economy so they could steal the election, are the least guilty here. It’s quite likely — if G-d watches out for fools, children, and the United States of America — they’ll be held up as heroes some day.”

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/424440/

Day himself had been a passionate supporter of Donald Trump from when Trump had originally announced his candidacy in 2015. As a promoter of the infamous “Qanon” conspiracy theory, Day was excited by the events at the Capitol. Among Qanon supporters there was a constitutional theory (widely regarded as nonsensical) that Donald Trump had the power to remain President by use of the Insurrection Act of 1807[3] and would be empowered to make the US military conduct new elections. Among the Qanon believers, this was referred to as Trump “crossing the Rubicon” — a reference to Julius Caesar bringing his legions to Rome. In a post on the day entitled “Pence Cucks…and Runs”, Day stated “The President clearly has no choice but to invoke the Insurrection Act.” [4]

The protestors in the capitol ranged from the extreme right wing to neo-Nazis and were not homogeneous in their beliefs. Some were believers in the Qanon conspiracy theories, a kind of free-floating collection of beliefs and rationalisations that would shift from day to day. Others had more conventional conservative beliefs, but were convinced that the US Presidential election of November 2020 had been so deeply compromised by electoral fraud that the result had to be overturned.

The belief that the election had been fraudulent had become entrenched, despite a thunderous lack of evidence and repeated defeat of court challenges. When the Supreme Court refused to even hear a case raised by the State of Texas challenging the election results, many on the right felt betrayed.

Conservatives had taken great comfort from the appointment of three new Supreme Court Justices during the tenure of Donald Trump as President, and had regarded these as particular victories for the right. A conservative writer (who would later attend[5] the January 6 rally but not the subsequent protest) wrote of the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020:

“Trump won my vote, (at that time) against my will and better judgment, because of his promise to appoint conservative, originalist, or textualist judges. We conservatives have been consistently betrayed by the Supreme Court for nine or ten decades now, and the Supreme Court overreach into legislative matters has been the single worst source of Satanic evil this nation has ever endured. Nor has the recent behavior of Justice Gorsuch amended matters.”

http://www.scifiwright.com/2020/10/not-tired-of-winning-yet-cl/

Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment a few weeks prior to the Presidential election was seen as a means to secure Trump’s victory with a clear conservative majority on the Supreme Court. When the court dismissed the Texas case due to a lack of standing, the sense of betrayal was more deeply compounded. On January 8, when all avenues preventing Joe Biden from becoming President had closed, Wright wrote:

“There were several venues which could have examined and publicized and rectified such fraud: an independent judiciary, culminating the Supreme Court; local election officials, state officers, governors; state legislatures; police agencies, including the Department of Justice and the FBI; the Electoral College itself; the Congress; the Vice President, in his office as president of the Senate.
All these venues have failed, and failed outrageously.”

http://www.scifiwright.com/2021/01/a-word-of-encouragement/

And further on in the same essay he would say:

“These dark days are meant to bring all this treason to light, and all frauds to stand naked. Yes, even the judges and politicians and public servants whom Trump’s faithful aid and support alone elevated to office, who now will not lift a hand, save to plunge a dirk in the spine. The ungrateful friend is the lowest and most loathsome of created beings. Even such as they, the love of heaven seeks to save.”

ibid

And further on:

“These dark days, these treasons, these lies, all had to be brought into the light. There are men I would have thought to be friends and staunch allies of patriotism, of the Constitution, of the cause of freedom, who strangled their own ideals, and stabbed friends and allies in the back, in a fashion none could have foreseen nor expected. This is bigger than Trump, bigger than any political party. It is bigger than the nation, bigger than the cause of liberty or law or Western Civilization itself. What happens in this nation over the next month will influence and establish the world over the next several generations. This is a war for the soul of the world.

Without these days of darkness, without the desperation and the appearance of victory for the worldly powers, they would never have shown themselves, never have flown their true colors, never have cast public votes for treason. The penalty for treason is the only criminal penalty written in the Constitution. It is death. They have written out their death warrants with their own hands. They have damned themselves by failing to keep faith with nation, law, sworn duty, patriotic love, personal honor, alliance, friendship, humanity. They have failed to keep faith with God.”

ibid

Strong (if very verbose) stuff. Nor was this sentiment of wrongness held only by Trump supporters. Beyond the Qanonists, the MAGAist and die-hard Republicans, there were anti-left libertarians who also believed that the Democratic Party and the more nebulous forces of the left had conspired to “steal” the election. Solid proof was severely lacking but the lack of any substantive evidence did not prevent people circulating their own claims about the election.

One example shared by Hoyt, Wright and Day, was written by a right-wing former accountant who was expressly not a Trump supporter but who was also vehemently opposed to the left. Larry Correia is a prominent writer whose posts on Facebook and his own blog about the election were widely shared in the aftermath of November 4.

“I believe most people on the right already believed that fraud happens in these machine cities, because duh. But I think most of us also believed that our votes still mattered because we could win by beating the margin of lawyer. But after this audacious fuckery? If they can pull off this level of blatant, clumsy, in your face bullshit and get away with it, no amount of regular votes will ever matter again. Even if we overcome Big Tech and the media controlling most information and get more people on our side, they’ll just stop the count when we are too far ahead and make more votes appear until they win. Then the media and Big Tech will declare nothing weird happened. Shut up.

So I can’t say how this is going to go, but none of the ends from this point will be good. At best this marriage goes back to an abusive relationship with irreconcilable differences, and at worst it ends in a murder suicide.”

https://monsterhunternation.com/2020/11/09/election-2020-the-more-fuckery-update/

Correia’s examples included many easily debunked incidents, rumours, and some basic statistical misunderstandings. However, they would be widely shared and were just a small part of the lurid theories being passed around right-wing sources.

On Facebook, one friend of Larry Correia’s shared his post and stated:

“And it’s not just a Red vs. Blue battle. What we’re dealing with are statistical anomalies so implausible, there is literally no way for them to occur in nature. They must be manufactured. In matters of medicine, or engineering, these would be gargantuan orange caution flags. Alerting us to the fact something very not OK was going on. But we’re expected to just *ignore* them for the sake of politics? With a giant, rancid dollop of “healing” to boot?”

https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/5314110418615148

This sense of imminent civil war did not spring up fully formed after the presidential election. Talk of a second US civil war comes and goes in right-wing discourse, but during the Trump years discussion had increased and it had even gained its own meme-friendly nickname: Boogaloo[6].

In the comment sections and replies in these right-leaning outlets, a common meme was to frame the situation as four boxes. For example, in September 2020 Brad Torgersen posted an image of a rifle with text saying:

“They tell us they will get rid of the ballot box.
They are already getting rid of the soap box.
Eventually they will get rid of the jury box.
Do not, under any circumstances, surrender the cartridge box.
We will need it. To restore the first three.”

https://www.facebook.com/brad.torgersen/posts/5011001542259372

Hoyt, Day, Wright, Correia, Torgersen were not significant figures in the events of January 6, but they do help illustrate some of the range of opinion among far-right voices on that day. Among them, they represent the Alt-Right/pro-Trump-from-the-begining (Day), late/reluctant converts to Trump (Hoyt, Wright), as well as Trump-sceptical/anti-anti-Trump libertarians (Correia, Torgersen). Collectively, they show some of the stew of wild theories and frustration among the online right in the wake of Trump’s electoral defeat.

So, if these five weren’t the most significant voices or key players, why focus on these side characters? Why quote the red shirts from an episode of Star Trek and not stick with Captain Kirk? The short answer is that this group were a set of writers that I chose early in Trump’s presidency to follow to help me better understand how the American right would change and adapt during what was bound to be a chaotic and idiosyncratic time. Why these five? For that, we need to take a trip to six years earlier.

January 7 2015

“The Hugo awards window (for 2015’s nominations) will be open soon. As one of Baen’s newest authors, I wanted to be be [sic] the first guy out of the gate with SAD PUPPIES 3. For those of you who don’t know what SAD PUPPIES is, it’s a (somewhat tongue in cheek) running effort to get stories, books, and people onto the Hugo ballot, who are entirely deserving, but who don’t usually get on the ballot. Largely because of the nomination and voting tendencies of World Science Fiction Convention, with its “fandom” community. In the last decade we’ve seen Hugo voting skew more and more toward literary (as opposed to entertainment) works. Some of these literary pieces barely have any science fictional or fantastic content in them. Likewise, we’ve seen the Hugo voting skew ideological, as Worldcon and fandom alike have tended to use the Hugos as an affirmative action award: giving Hugos because a writer or artist is (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) or because a given work features (insert underrepresented minority or victim group here) characters.”

Brad Torgersen https://web.archive.org/web/20181204082634/https://bradrtorgersen.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/announcing-sad-puppies-3/

2015 saw an extraordinary cultural battle for control over a literary award. Framed by a group that had jokingly called themselves “The Evil League of Evil” (Hoyt, Day, Wright, Correia and Torgersen), as a struggle against elites and the left, the campaign would generate months of controversy and argument.

The story behind the events of 2015 stretches back in time and its root causes had lasting implications both to the relatively narrow world of fandom and also into broader society. Like the events of 2020, they encompassed conspiracy theories, accusations of voting fraud, and passionate views about the roles and rights of women and people of colour, as well as questions about gender and sexuality.□

At it’s heart it was a struggle about stories and specifically who gets to decide who’s stories get heard. However, this very question of what-the-stuggle-was-about was itself subject to multiple and contradictory stories. Even the own accounts of the protagonists/antagonists of the conflict shifted over time or contradicted themselves. Six years later, the differences and similarities in stance between the members of the so-called Evil League of Evil revolved around the same framing of world events as they had used for the Hugo Awards: that powerful “elites” were siding with left wing ideologues to transform society using underhand means. This framing played directly into the hands of the most extreme sections of the right.

The events of 2015 showed how the extreme right could usurp a more conventionally populist campaign. However, it also showed how politically and culturally diverse people could come together and work against a reactionary movement.

Whatever the motives and rationalisations and claims of the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns were, the essence of their struggle was a struggle over the control of stories.

On one side was a campaign that worked for (intentionally or not) a principle that said that the control of stories should rest with middle class, white, English speaking traditionalist men along with those others who were willing to ally themselves to that cause. The opposition to that was simply everybody who rejected that as a foundational principle.

Despite the politics of the Puppy campaigns, establishing that their functional objective was so utterly reactionary is not simple. Of the five people listed, one is a woman & an immigrant from Portugal, another is the son of an immigrant (coincidentally from Portugal), a third (and with most extreme views on race) is an immigrant TO Europe who claims native American ancestry and claims to be a descendant of a Mexican revolutionary, a fourth is a former atheist. Politics can’t be understood by applying simple stereotypes. The people who led the Puppy campaigns had complex backgrounds, complex motives and ideas that shifted over time. Nevertheless, by accident or intent, the Puppy campaigns sought to turn science fiction back to a past that were power rested with men.

Debarkle

The Debarkle series is yet another attempt to create a story. I had imagined that there would be many such accounts written in 2016 about the events of 2015. After all, it had been a conflict that included many professional and amateur writers! However, even though I went to some effort to document what had happened when (I am blessed with a poor memory which leads me not to trust it), I never could see where the story ended or finished.

One place I considered finishing the story was in the final months of 2016. In that year N.K.Jemisin won the Hugo Award for the book The Fifth Season – a novel that I regarded as one of the great science fiction novels. A few weeks later at the large commercial media convention DragonCon, Larry Correia and John C Wright both won prizes in the first annual Dragon Awards — a new science fiction & fantasy award that had been established in the wake of the Puppy campaigns of 2015. Finishing there, leant a kind of happy ever after, with the Puppies going there own way and the Hugo Awards once again showing its ability to highlight books destined to be classics of the genre.

Yet that was not the right ending.

The problem with finishing the story there was it retained the idea that the conflict of 2015 was mainly about whether Hugo Awards should be going to one faction or another or one choice of book or another. Behind the conflict were wider political forces and cultural changes — strong currents pulling along people and events far beyond the little world of Hugo fandom. So this version of the story (and I hope that others will write their own versions) ends much later or rather, it begins there with this chapter and the attempted coup by supporters of Donald Trump in January 2021.

But we have a long way before we get there. We will first have to run back to the nineteenth century, catch up with World Science Fiction Convention, learn about Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and learn quite how much candy there was in a piñata.

Next time: Notes, Caveats and Excuses. Before we dive into the past I need to do some housekeeping, make some points on names and offer some excuses.


Footnotes

133 thoughts on “Debarkle: Introduction

  1. Couple of inchoate points with a theme:

    “c*ck” or “c*ckservative” are not only about cuckold porn but “interracial” porn and, well, “miscegenation”. It’s a term which links MRAs, “incels” as well as racists. Of course Beale had his on “game” (i. e. coercing women into sex) blog he copiously referenced on his main blog and were he probably also recruited for his campaigns in SFF.

    Of course incorporating all this would really explode your project and it’s hard to track where Beale recruited marks anyway.

    But this is indeed an auspicious start for the project and I too look forward for the next post.

    Like

      1. Nah, Mrs. Brad doesn’t really care that Teddy believes she and her children are subhuman and should be expelled from the US and Europe.

        Because she thinks she’s “one of the good ones” and her kids aren’t in danger of being taken down by racist cops, because of course the cops will of course intuit that they’re “the good ones” and their father is a Mighty Whitey ‘Merican Manly Man who needs to judge books by their covers, much like cops judge people by the color of their skin…

        (record scratch noise)
        y but I started this like an hour ago and forgot ity on this but
        Either that or she’s just so brainwashed, brow-beaten, or afraid to rock the boat that she’s going along with her husband palling around with a neo-Nazi remittance man — who’s afraid to come back to the US because he knows he’d get busted just like his failed con-man daddy the felon.

        Now, most women I know, if their hubby hung out with someone who believed that they and their children are subhuman savages would be changing the locks and throwing his stuff on the lawn while calling a good lawyer. Or go to a shelter, or at least make him sleep on the couch for a while and come up with some mighty nice presents. But not her, she’s Standing By Her Man.

        ——————————-

        I might have had more to say on this but I started it like an hour ago and then we watched the new WandaVision so my train of thought derailed.

        Like

      2. I think it’s relevant to mention that BT tried to use his wife as proof that he wasn’t racist (despite him having made racist comments).

        But I’m not comfortable with any speculation about her as a person. Let’s keep it to BT.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As I remember it the Pence letter came well before Trump’s speech. I remember reading it on the morning of the 6th (UK time). I have no doubt that at least some of the insurrectionists knew about it. If Lin Wood hadn’t already called for Pence’s execution I would have said that the insurrectionists similar demands were a direct reaction to Pence’s letter. They may have been, but I can’t be sure,

    Mitch McConnell’s statement on objections to the votes did come out about the same time as the speech. It was less important since the objections weren’t going to pass in the House anyway, but it may have hardened attitudes (in these days of mobile internet it’s clearly possible for the insurrectionists to find out about it).

    Like

  3. Good beginning. This is going to be really enjoyable. Heck, when it’s finished and you put the completed text on Smashwords (or wherever) I would slap a price on this one. I think people would be willing to pay for it. With all the work you’re going to be doing, you deserve compensation.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. 1. I’ll absolutely be following this in all of its stages. I’m not as plugged into fandom as most here, did end up reading about the Puppy crap as it happened but without prior knowledge of the instigators, so my 5 years younger and more innocent self is among the readers your explanatory material is geared toward and I really like how you’re presenting it.

    2. If you’d told me a year ago, or even two months ago, that it would be hard for me to get through an introductory chapter for such a book in one sitting because my anger would be making me see red, I would’ve been confused and had a little trouble imagining how the US right wing could have made me *even angrier* since then. But here we are.

    3. If you ever want volunteer readers for copyediting, i.e. in place of just making random comments here about typos, I’d be glad to. I’m pretty fast and thorough.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. On the anger…putting this stuff down together while reading stuff from 2014 (or earlier) by the same people, was confronting even though I was familiar with how they talk these days.

      It’s an open question whether in 2021 they just don’t censor their true thoughts as much or whether this a long process of radicalisation (Brad T especially)

      Like

      1. Torgerson is an interesting case because he’s in US army reserve. I haven’t the foggiest what benefits this entails but I suspect at least part of his income, his retirement plan and his healthcare depend on it. And the US military might soon seek for extremists in their ranks. Lot’s of possibilities here, aren’t they?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thats an interesting question, because it can be both. We were living in times, were it was okay to say thinks that pre-Trump it was mostly consent that you can’t say that thinks.
        And radicalisation is for some of the players possible, very likly, for some of the sads.
        Yes anger is somethink I understand, I have to confess that I just skipped some of the quotes, I can’t take them all.
        Brad and even JCW could have been tragic tales and in a way they are, but how they behaved makes it very hard to feal sorry for them (and the fact that everythink is there own fault and was predicted to happen)

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Chris M. –

        re the Reserve. Back in the day my father was in the reserve (marines), through about 1977 or so, and he got lots of goodies from it: Additional pay, PX rights (some real savings there, because things like liquor and similar items were untaxed) and some sweet retirement benefits, including PX rights and medical coverage for his entire life. He had some extensive neurosurgery when he was in his 70s that was entirely on the government’s tab. Not that I’m begrudging him any of that, but I suspect he’d spit on anyone like Brad T who was contemplating armed revolt while still collecting a Reserve paycheck. He was funny that way.

        Maybe someone with more recent experience can correct me if I’ve got the details wrong.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thanks -.my dog is named hannah

        That was about what I expected. I’ve got just one question: What are PX rights?

        Like

      5. Chris M. –

        PX stands for Post Exchange, which is a store or stores on an Armed Forces base, which generally have subsidized prices and are free of state sales taxes (because they’re on Federal property, see?). So things that are heavily taxed like liquor and tobacco, and everything else which is just taxed at the standard tax rate, are cheaper to buy. You have to have military ID to shop at a PX. So booze in particular is dirt cheap in comparison compared to liquor stores outside the fence. At least that’s the way I remember it. My folks would go out to the local base once or twice a year and load up on top shelf liquor since it was so much more affordable.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Minor factual note. In the essay you state that two Supreme Court Justices were confirmed during Trump’s tenure. It was actually three – Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Looking forward to the next installment.

    I’m trying to recall whether I became aware of the conflict during the original sad puppies or sad puppies 2. I do remember that some thing I read about it in Making Light led me to File770, which I had never heard of before. Eventually, File770 led me to this blog…So I guess something good came out of the puppies campaigns after all 😉

    Also: “Marquis de Queensberry” *snicker*

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know that I became aware during puppies 2, because of the nomination of Wheel of Time and the fact that their was a loud shouting that wasn’t direkted at The Wheel of Time.
      Larry did try to say that without him WoT would have been the bad guy, but I found that try terrible unfair.
      For the record I found the nomination for the WoT insane, a imho very much too free interpratation of the rules and a lot of thinks more, but the difference here was so big, that I found this very unfair.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There is something of a Hugo tradition of bending the rules way beyond the reasonable and then amending them. Like the Wheel of Time nomination being followed by creating Best Series.

        The Puppies didn’t really do that – WoT appearing on a ballot excluded one novel that would otherwise have been nominated. The Puppies were happy to completely trash the awards.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. learn quite how much candy there was in a piñata.

    *snicker*

    That said, ‘Saint Augusto’? That’s the sound of somebody no longer even bothering to pretend to not be a horrible person.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thank you for writing this. I am still baffled by the hypocrisy?, cognitive dissonance?, of people like John C.Wright who profess to be a devout Christian yet are quite happily support a President who is a documented adulterer, and much else that is clearly un-Christian.

    BTW, if you are wanting to know of any typos etc., let me know. I’ve spotted several; Tump-> Trump; one->won etc.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Good grief; they were always pretty irrational in Puppyland but they’ve really gone off the deep end now.

    Like, even CORREIA, who I vividly remember swore up, down, and sideways that he was done with the Republicans when Trump won the nomination, has apparently just forgotten that Trump lies all the time and decided that stuff about election fraud was real, and is just ignoring the Republican Election Commissioners and Republican Secretaries of State and Republican judges who have all agreed on the validity of the election.

    I wasn’t expecting that. I probably should have been but.

    It’s scary, to be honest.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Reports are that several people involved in the Capitol insurrection didn’t even vote. (Perhaps some people have been making too much of that, considering the winner-takes-all nature of most state electoral college votes.)

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      2. stewart: Reports are that several people involved in the Capitol insurrection didn’t even vote. (Perhaps some people have been making too much of that, considering the winner-takes-all nature of most state electoral college votes.)

        I don’t think it’s possible to make too much of that. These are people who claim to be so concerned about democracy, and are willing to take it away from other Americans by force, but can’t be bothered to participate in it themselves.

        I think that’s a huge deal.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. In other words, they are white supremacist autocrats who have had to become more and more extremist to justify their basic ideology and sense of righteous entitlement. Which is of course a type of story, of constantly trying to paint repressive totalitarianism as heroic narrative. It’s a nicely organized opening for your topic and why you are doing it.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Good stuff, though I skimmed some of the JCW quotes, because I can take only so much JCW.

    Minor typos:
    “In a post on the day entitled “Pence Cucks…and Runs”, Days stated “The President clearly has no choice but to invoke the Insurrection Act.”

    It should be Day, since thankfully there’s only one of him.

    “Larry Corriea is a prominent writer whose posts on Facebook and his own blog about the election were widely shared in the aftermath of November 4.”

    It should be Larry Correia.

    Like

  12. Another vote here for ‘Will be watching this one with interest’.
    With that said, it occurs to me that when it’s finally published, this work – more than any of your previous ebooks – will be needing an index for navigating rather than just chapter headings. Whether that is indeed the case, and whether you have the skills to do it yourself, or the finances to employ a professional, or prefer to rely on enthusiastic volunteers, is something you’ll probably want to think about.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Nice job! I’d keep reading.

    My minor quibbles are all Qanon-related. First, you talk about Qanon a couple of times in the paragraph with Vox Day before you define it–why not define it in that paragraph?

    Second, your definition (“a kind of free-floating collection of beliefs and rationalisations that would shift from day to day”) doesn’t really work for me. To be fair, it’s difficult to define the damn thing in a single sentence (or even paragraph) in a way that both makes sense and gets across how completely fucking stupid and crazy the thing is.

    See, Q has both scripture (the “Q drops” posted briefly by a poster LARPing as a military intelligence insider working with Donald Trump on 4chan before migrating to 8chan/8kun, apparently produced by at least three different sets of Qanon) and commentary (the whacko nonsense Q followers post, which does meet your definition pretty well). Qanon was not the first LARPer to come out of the chans; earlier LARPers included FBI Anon and Pamphlet Anon.

    Although the very first Q post said that Hilary Clinton was about to be arrested, whoever was LARPing as Qanon realized fairly quickly that being vague and letting the readers fill in the blanks kept the grift going better than anything concrete that they might say. And did they ever fill in the blanks: everything from the guy who LARPed as JFK Jr to half of the Democratic Party and Hollywood arrested and broadcasting from Guantanamo Bay or replaced with clones to how Trump had really won the election and was going to have Biden arrested blah blah blah.

    I’m personally convinced that the guy LARPing as JFK Jr does not actually own a mirror.

    Anyway, let me try defining the movement in one sentence based on what you’ve written: “Qanon is a movement centered on 4chan and 8chan posts by a purported military intelligence agent working with Donald Trump whose adherents have built a shifting and free-floating collection of beliefs and rationalizations around his pronouncements.” Still not great, but it includes the scripture element.

    Yes, I know way too much about this. I have to admit I’m fascinated with this for the same reasons I’ve been fascinated with the Debarkle and flat earthers and creationists, so…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair point. A lot of things (eg Qanon) I’m going to gloss over quickly and then dive into deeper later. The third chapter in Part 5 (god knows when that will get written!) is intended to be solely about Qanon and get into some depth but it will come up again before then

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I would add something like “Qanon has absorbed many rightwing internet conspiracy theories, such as Pizzagate, and makes use of racist and antisemitic tropes.” Or you might save this for the later chapter. Please don’t leave out the Jewish death lasers!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. There’s so much crazy shit packed into it that any short explanation is going to miss something. For instance, I barely touched on how a key element of the movement is revenge fantasy–through the execution of prominent Democrats and Hollywood figures (and frankly many of their neighbors and relatives who don’t buy into Q).

        Liked by 2 people

  14. Do we get a picture at some point of the Debarkle rocket flaming out and falling sideways and blowing up? Like the campaign (and their careers) (and their monopoly of the Dragons) (and…) did?

    Sadly, the Debarkle is further proof that SF predicts the future.

    Also, I don’t think we know how much candy was in that pinata. It kept getting refilled. But that quote would be a great chapter/section title.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. YouTube keeps feeding me ads for Grammarly. There is a free version – perhaps it’s worth looking into it.

      Like

    1. Seeing that her literal next words are “Anyone has helicopters?”, there isn’t any doubt as to which one she means.

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Pretty sure everyone here is aware that “Mrs. Hoyt is an anti-communist” but I’m amused by the idea that that’s a compelling reason to think she was *not* praising Pinochet. Being an ardent anti-communist is pretty much the only conceivable justification for thinking Pinochet wasn’t just another murderous tyrant.

      And the “Saint Augusto” you’re referring to makes no sense in terms of someone urging militant struggle and intimidation of the media. Augusto-Andres wasn’t a soldier or even a protester, he was a teacher who ran afoul of militant anticlericalists, and he was no more prominent than the other 8 people he died with so there’d be no reason to call on that saint in particular.

      I won’t be terribly surprised if Hoyt makes this claim as an excuse, but come on.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “he was a teacher who ran afoul of militant anticlericalists,”

        You owe me for a keyboard and a monitor.

        They were communists who murdered clergy precisely because those clergy were preaching against communism.

        —–

        As for the helicopter stuff, I just hope that y’all will be just as quick with your assumptions when some leftist author makes a similarly veiled threat.

        Regards,
        Dann
        The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. – Dorothy Parker

        Like

      2. Dann I haven’t been remotely quick with my assumptions. I’ve been following this for years and how Pinochet references are used on Hoyt’s blog. This is *routine* stuff – violent, shocking but absolutely routine.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Cam,

        Then take speed out of the equation. Just have an equal response when veiled violence is offered by leftist authors.

        Regards,
        Dann
        Tolerance always has limits – it cannot tolerate what is itself actively intolerant. – Sidney Hook (1975). “Pragmatism and the tragic sense of life”

        Like

      4. That makes no sense. I’m writing about what the leaders of the Puppy campaigns were saying 6 years later not writing a compare and contrast with some different point made by some different author. If a comparison makes sense in context (eg there is a point later on in this story about SF authors making threats about harming Nazis) then I might make a comparison of quotes, but it has to actually be relevant to both the events and the thesis.

        I’m just doing a longer post that looks at the helicopter meme at Hoyt’s place in context.

        [Also: I hope these replies don’t come across as too cranky. This kind of pushback on assumptions I have made is 100% welcome for this project.]

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Dann, I thought what I wrote was clear but I guess not. The “Saint Augusto” you’re referring to was not a soldier, and was not out there making life hell for socialist sympathizers or socialist-friendly media, which is specifically what Hoyt was talking about in that quote. He was teaching kids, and then was murdered not just for being opposed to communism but for being outspokenly Catholic. Yes, of course an anticommunist ideologue would regard him as a martyr to communism but not to any greater degree than the other 8 people he was killed with. He was not a militant or a lone hero and didn’t play any significant role in the Spanish civil war. Hoyt, in her own mind, is already doing basically the same thing he was doing: speaking out (and in her mind, she is also destined to be martyred). If she was saying what we really need is someone who will say stuff or write on a blog, she’d have no reason to call on “Saint Augusto”; she would just call on herself or her blog friends.

        This is all irrelevant because the Pinochet reference is so obvious (and is, as Cam has pointed out, a well-known meme in the far right), but I can’t help noting what a stretch you’re making there to make the history fit your idea.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Of all bloody nonsense. Augusto Pinochet throwing leftists from helicopters is as obvious reference as there can be. But there’s always this instinctive reaction to defend fascists and try to use the most farfetched wordwrangling to pretend they didn’t say what they said.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. @Lurkertype: Sometimes he does disus thinks he likes. But I think while Dann is still trying to be polite, he is at last radicalising himself.
        I found it very telling, when he was happy that Paul Weimar was banned from Twitter. And his whataboutnisem (sorry spelling) about left writter behaving badly is getting tired, if he doesn’t talk about concrete examples. And really badly not somethink like a bit strong formulated opinions that are completly in the democratic spectrum (democratic here meaned in not the American sense but like the rest of the world uses the word).
        I mean it is projection to tell Cam that he wouldn’t go against left writers behaving like the puppies did, when Dann is defending that part of Hoyts rant. (and this isn’t the first time that Hoyt and her commentors have casualy talked about murder)
        Here Dann is in a line with puppies, who did comment one File 770 during puppygate, he doesn’t seem to be able to choose his batle. (The puppy I remember was at the beginning in to defend Jim Butcher, and later defended every word Tank Marmot said)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was not pleased to see that Paul got in trouble with Twitter. I was really kind of surprised. Our political disagreemtns aside, I don’t see him as someone that is likely to do something worthy of moderation.

        My point is that I see conservative/libertarian accounts being moderated for mildly offensive content and also see hard left accounts offer unveiled threats of violence that remain undisturbed. That imbalance in moderation efforts suggests that social media is leaning a proverbial thumb on the rhetorical scale.

        At the least, if mildly offensive content needs to be throttled, then unveiled abuse and threats of violence should be sufficient to garner a serious response.

        Regards,
        Dann
        The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. – Dorothy Parker

        Like

      3. dann665: I was not pleased to see that Paul got in trouble with Twitter.

        Paul didn’t “get in trouble with Twitter”. He was bombed by a bunch of Trolls who reported his posts for no reason whatsoever other than getting lulz from triggering Twitter’s auto-ban functionality on him.

        Which even a cursory check would have revealed, if you had bothered to look, instead of just assuming that he had been banned for saying something awful. 🙄

        Like

      4. I’ll add that there is nothing “veiled” about the threats of violence on Hoyt’s blog, or on Brad’s FB page, for that matter.

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      5. “My point is that I see conservative/libertarian accounts being moderated for mildly offensive content and also see hard left accounts offer unveiled threats of violence that remain undisturbed.”

        This is complete bullshit, and yet another example of Dann’s contributions being completely worthless.

        Like

  15. Stewart:

    Reports are that several people involved in the Capitol insurrection didn’t even vote. (Perhaps some people have been making too much of that, considering the winner-takes-all nature of most state electoral college votes.)”

    I can’t bring myself to be surprised at that – these are people who expected to walk into the Capitol without consequence and get what they wanted. Of course they expected the election to come out the way they wanted without going to the trouble of voting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder what the breakdown is between the ones who thought they didn’t need to vote because Trump was sure to win regardless, and the ones who didn’t bother because they had been convinced the election was rigged against them.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You also have to figure in the people who didn’t vote because “God will make sure the right person wins”.

      Like

  16. This is great. Thanks! Looking forward to the next installment.

    One small question: will you talk, however briefly, about Gamergate? It’s something VD seems to brag about…

    Like

  17. In “other dumb quotes”, you’d have to track this down, but I vaguely remember an anecdote going around that someone appeared at a SFWA meeting (at a con, Worldcon?) and when asked “can we help you?” (said meeting already being in progress, the guy said “I’m just here to trash the Hugos!” and the room gave a collective sigh and/or eyeroll and tried to explain to him for the billionth time that SFWA is not WSFS and the Nebulas aren’t the Hugos.

    Like

    1. That SFWA meeting anecdote is familiar, so it’s probably documented on File 770 in roundups or comments. I would expect it happened in 2015 or 2016. If anyone has a suggestion for word searches I can run from my dashboard, send them to mikeglyer@cs.com so we don’t derail Camestros’ discussion. (Note, I’ve already tried a few. The trouble is so many things have “sfwa” “meeting” and “Hugos” in them…)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Et voilà:

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was at DragonCon, I found it via a comment by Ray Radlein on File 770.

        Some people call me the Search Cowboy; some call me the Gangster of Google. 😀

        Liked by 4 people

    2. There was also a report of a Sad Puppy supporter at one of the Worldcon meetings who supported EPH because it would keep Rabid types from hijacking organic movements like the Sads. I’ll see if I can find a reference.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I just remember Kate Paulk getting up in front of the WSFS membership at MidAmeriCon II in 2016 and arguing that passing EPH would “damage the reputation of the Hugo Awards” — which made me laugh hilariously, considering that EPH was going to prevent any more of the garbage the Puppies had slated onto the Hugo ballot 2 years in a row from further damaging the reputation of the Hugo Awards.

        Afterwards, she posted that the people at the meeting had been nice to her and that meant that most of the people there were in sympathy with the Puppies — because apparently, in Puppyland, no one treats you with courtesy unless they agree with you. 🙄

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Ah, yes, that comment was made by a Puppy who’s spent the last 5 years promoting themselves for being a Hugo finalist after they participated in getting themselves cheated onto the ballot. In other words, cheating was okay for the Sad Puppies, it just wasn’t okay when it meant that the Rabid Puppies were able to out-cheat them. 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Hey, in more Dumb Puppy Quotes, let’s not forget Brad whining about how the Hugos didn’t recognize anything popular, like the MCU… a few months after “The Avengers” won BDP Long, by a landslide.

    And the Puppies’ lionizing of Heinlein, whom they hadn’t actually read, not even “Starship Troopers”, the one they’d have liked the best. Even Brad hadn’t read it, when it’s completely up his alley.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And this guy who here https://whatever.scalzi.com/2015/04/23/hugos-and-class/#comment-782875 wrote:
      “Do you understand my point that the same cultural forces that created and maintain the manifestly insane market condition where a red stripe on a blue canvas is worth $40 million bucks (until the National Gallery tries to sell it anyway) are the ones who give a Hugo to the Dinosaur story?”

      And then when we all laughed, said that his mistake was an “error of detail”

      Good times.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh my goodness, that was awhile ago. And that was the same phantom that pops up here sometimes, yes? I think I just twigged to that. There were always a lot of people coming and going in those convos, so I didn’t remember him even though he was yelling at me there. That was when the Puppies had to get more and more extreme to try to justify what they were doing and Beale taking over the whole thing but were still mainly on the we’re popular and non-arty and these obscure, elitist arty people are winning the awards thing. Eventually they flipped it to them being the obscure but plucky self-publishing folks up against the big corporate publishers. It continued to make no sense except that everybody who wasn’t a Puppy was mean, mean, mean and ruining everything.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. The funny thing is of course that the argument Phantom was making proved the exact opposite of what he wanted to push, in multiple directions.

        One of those directions was that the Puppies were trying to claim that what was financially successful was popular/commercial and non-political, that the marketplace was thus the defining judge on what was meritorious rather than a handful of people voting their personal preferences at the convention; (though the Hugo voters tend to go for successful, popular authors in the field anyway so it was of course a ridiculous argument to make about SFF awards at all.) They made the objectivist libertarian argument. And then Phantom was pointing out a piece of artwork that was immensely financially successful and thus super popular and non-political by the Puppies’ measuring stick and more meritorious than artwork that didn’t go for such large sums and weren’t popular enough to go in an art museum. And he was saying that the immensely successful, popular piece of art was like the elitist authors the Puppies claimed were super not financially successful and popular.

        And that was really the heart of the Puppies’ downfall on the Hugos. They got a slight white grievance sympathy bump in the larger field by first claiming that BIPOC authors and white feminists were taking over the Hugos and keeping out conservative white authors writing supposedly politically neutral (and yet conservative) adventure yarns. (Mainly white) people buy that argument all the time no matter how many facts you shove in their faces showing it’s false and a bigoted bias because changing the status quo is always threatening and grumpy sounding to them. But when the Puppies faced backlash by everyone else for the bigoted approach, they tried to go sideways, claiming that it wasn’t just that the “evildoers” were from marginalized groups and supported civil rights in their lives and/or fiction, but that they were obscure, arty, unpopular authors who had clearly rigged the Hugo vote and were only getting social justice sympathy votes.

        Accusing the authors they didn’t like of cheating didn’t go over well. Claiming those authors they called obscure were unpopular and financially unsuccessful was easily debunked, plus sounded strange in light of the fact that 90% of the Puppies were not bestselling, super popular SFF authors. If they’d stuck to the conservative white authors writing adventures are getting shut out strategy, they might have gotten further with it, but they had to go for the whole secret cabal who don’t reflect the mainstream will are plotting against us thing and they lost most of their allies over time.

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    2. It is worse than that – the example he gave of something popular that the Hugos were ignoring was the Avengers itself.

      I also think it is worth mentioning the time that Brad unironically compared himself and Correia to Confederate generals. Or the time he claimed that the Sad Puppies were the Spartans at Themopylae facing down the barbarians storming Western civilization – barbarians he characterized as the “pink and pouffy Xerxes”. Or the time he launched a homophobic attack on Scalzi (while claiming the Pups were “inclusive”), or when he dismissed all awards won by women and people of color as having been won due to “affirmative action” rather than merit (once again, while claiming the Pups were “inclusive”).

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Re the homophobic attack on Scalzi is one that was memorable for Johns reaction and Brad completly missing the point.
        BT post about the nomination process and his slate were also so low on information that they weren’t even worth reading (and I was interested, why he did do the thinks he did)
        But for me the moment of him is chanching posts on his blog, that disagreed with him. I don’t remember the words, Cam as one of the victims probably does.
        And remember Brad was the nice one.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It was something like “You made us do it” – which he then compared to domestic abusers. Which was weird because one of the Puppy’s core arguments was that the left had made them do the things they did.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I think these sorts of quotes are also useful for showing that Brad’s public pronouncements (and the public pronouncements of several other Puppy affiliated individuals) were laced through with heaping helpings of homophobia, racism, and misogyny.

        Liked by 4 people

      4. The affirmative action line is one he has repeated over and over. It’s pretty damning of the whole Puppy campaign and Brad’s own politics but he doesn’t even realise how bad it is.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I think the key element here is the repetitiveness of Brad (and other Puppies’) descents into racism, misogyny, and homophobia. One could argue that saying something untoward once or twice was just a blind spot and they got better later, but the Pups didn’t just espouse these bigoted ideas, they doubled down on them whenever it was pointed out that that was what they were doing.

        And then they did it again. And again. And again.

        Liked by 4 people

      6. @Aaron: I agree, it can’t be emphasized enough how the Puppies were sexist, racist, and homophobic *from the beginning*, and got more and more so as it went along, right up till now. Ties in with the whole Capitol seditionist crowd’s thinking, Proud Boys, etc.

        I guess my brain refused to acknowledge the complete and utter stupidity of Brad yelling at Hugo voters for ignoring Avengers right after it had won in the awards *immediately* previous.

        Of course, the Spartans all died uselessly*, and the Confederates lost — why does the RW so love to identify themselves with/as losers?

        *(the Persians killed and went around them and occupied Greece north of the Peloponnese for a year till the Athenian-led navy beat the Persian navy, and Xerxes left with the majority of the troops to deal with a more-important war. The Spartans’ stand did jackshit to protect Greece.)

        Liked by 3 people

      7. Don’t forget that BT blamed Worldcon voters for not knowing about and nominating Andy Weir’s self-published version of The Martian in 2012, despite the fact that Worldcon members had nominated Weir for the Campbell in sufficient numbers for him to be on the ballot in 2015 and the Puppies were responsible for keeping him off the Campbell ballot with their slates. 🙄

        Liked by 3 people

      8. A common slogan used by U.S. gun’s rights advocates these days is “Molon Labe”, or “Come and Take Them”, which the Spartans were alleged to have said to the Persians when the Persians called upon them to throw down their arms.

        I always point out that the Persians did, in fact, do exactly that.

        Thinking things through is not really the strong suit for right-wingers.

        Liked by 3 people

      9. That is kind of a limited reading of history. While the Persians certainly came and were ultimately successful against a small number of Spartans, the larger group of Greeks eventually repulsed the Persians.

        The point being is that the price of despotism should always be made as high as possible.

        At the very least a Browncoat reference is appropriate: “May have been the losing side, still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

        Well, we haven’t lost anything yet with respect to that particular civil right.

        Regards,
        Dann
        A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. – Thomas Jefferson

        Like

      10. “A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. – Thomas Jefferson”

        And that would be just fine and dandy, if we were willing to put up with the levels of starvation and lack of medical care and high violent crime rates and so on that were rampant throughout that period of our history.

        Fortunately, we are not.

        Liked by 3 people

      11. Which is why government is bereft of frugality and wisdom while the greatest reduction of poverty came as a direct result of free minds and free markets.

        Regards,
        Dann
        TAGLINE ERROR! Report to tech support

        Like

      12. “Which is why government is bereft of frugality and wisdom while the greatest reduction of poverty came as a direct result of free minds and free markets.”

        BWAhahaha!

        Go ahead, pull the other one.

        Liked by 2 people

      13. You’ve reminded me of an interesting article I saw the other day. Here it is, with a couple of related articles. It lays out in clear graphic terms some of the ways in which Democratic presidents have uniformly been better for the US economy than Republican presidents have —

        “Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?”
        https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/02/opinion/sunday/democrats-economy.html

        “US Jobs, Income, GDP Growth ‘Startlingly’ Better Under Democratic Presidents”
        https://www.newsweek.com/us-jobs-income-gdp-growth-startlingly-higher-under-democratic-presidents-analysis-1566313

        “Democrats vs. Republicans: Which Is Better For the Economy?”
        https://www.thebalance.com/democrats-vs-republicans-which-is-better-for-the-economy-4771839

        Liked by 1 person

      14. “That is kind of a limited reading of history. While the Persians certainly came and were ultimately successful against a small number of Spartans, the larger group of Greeks eventually repulsed the Persians.”

        First, there were more than Spartans at Thermopylae. There had to be, because the Spartans only sent 300 men to the fight, mostly because they were more worried about losing men than they were about actually doing the job. Second, even at the final stand, there were 700 Thespians who stayed with the Spartans, so the praise the Spartans get is mostly fan-fiction.

        Third, the Persians were repulsed after after a year-long occupation and they were repulsed, not due to anything the Spartans actually did, but rather due to the Athenians. Further, the Athenians held up their end of the strategy at the Straits of Artemesia, while the Spartans failed at Thermopylae because they were inflexible and incapable.

        On the home front, the Spartans held an entire neighboring nation in slavery, so spare us the “price of despotism should be as high as possible”. The Spartans were worse despots than the Persians ever were.

        “Molon Labe” is the slogan of a tyrannical failure of a nation.

        Once again Dann, you have provided nothing of value to the conversation.

        Liked by 3 people

      15. Again, that is a selected reading of history.

        I agree that there were more Greeks at Thermoplyae than just Spartans. The Spartans are remembered because their martial prowess meant that they dominated the region. Each Spartan was simply worth more on the battlefield than other Greeks. Suggesting that their presence was insignificant is an ahistoric reading.

        As an aside, the Thespians really get overlooked due to the attention that is paid to the Spartans. Losing at Thermoplyae meant losing their city. They fought to the death to save their city.

        There are various interpretations of the defeat at Thermopylae. Few argue that the defense has zero consequences on the defeat of the Persians.

        What is unquestioned is that at the time they had the Persian army stopped until the Greeks were betrayed by Ephialtes. That delay fed into Xerxes indecision. He ultimately withdrew most of his forces out of fear that the Greeks would destroy the bridges across the Hellespont which would trap his forces in Greece.

        Thermoplyae was not a decisive battle. It was one battle of many in a larger campaign. While it wasn’t militarily important, the actions of those Greeks did serve as an inspiration to others.

        I also agree that the Spartans were not the best representation of democracy ever recorded. However, just as we would not have the modern jumbo jet without the Wright Brothers, we also wouldn’t have modern democracies without the first Greek city-states; including Sparta.

        As for my value to any conversation, you are most welcome to your own opinion.

        Now playing – Dilemma by The Modern Jazz Quartet.

        Regards,
        Dann
        The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing. – Isaac Asimov

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      16. @Dann: It is beyond hilarious that you think that the Spartans – whose professional standing army (unique among the Greek cities) existed first and foremost to maintain Sparta’s ruthless, centuries-old subjugation of the far more numerous native Greek populations of Laconia and Messena they had conquered and enslaved, whom the Spartans contemptuously referred to as helots (“captives”), and who the Spartan leadership ritually declared war on at the start of each civil year, so that if the helots rose up against their oppressors (as happened repeatedly) they could be slaughtered without sullying the Spartans’ belief in their own moral purity – were fighting against despotism.

        @Aaron: I automatically transliterate it to “Moron label”.

        @Mike: You came perilously close to owing me a new keyboard!

        Liked by 4 people

      17. Looks like Danny boy needs to go sit in the filter with phantom and they can sealion at each other.

        The Spartans had a professional army, raised from a young age to do nothing but soldier, plus a whole bunch of cannon fodder slaves to soak up the Persian arrows. They had one job, and botched it spectacularly.

        The Athenians were businessmen, fishermen, even playwrights, and they did their secondary job of being a navy spectacularly well. Rowing triremes, fighting magnificently, having good strategy against a much larger force — all things the professional Spartan army couldn’t handle.

        Sure, the Spartans could keep their boots on the neck of the demoralized, disarmed neighbors, but when it came down to fighting a real army, they were useless.

        And that’s why Athens is still a major city 2500 years later and called “the birthplace of democracy” and Sparta… has about 35K residents, counting the suburbs.

        Right-wingers sure love their oppressive, slave-holding, conformist LOSERS.

        Liked by 2 people

      18. “The Spartans are remembered because their martial prowess meant that they dominated the region. Each Spartan was simply worth more on the battlefield than other Greeks.”

        Except that this is actually not correct. Spartan military superiority is a myth that completely falls apart under any kind of scrutiny. The Spartans, in the field, were not particularly noteworthy as soldiers. Their actual record of victories and losses against other non-Helot armies is mediocre at best. Simply put, the Spartan system didn’t, in fact, produce superior soldiers, and it wasn’t intended to. The reason we remember the Spartans is because the people who wrote about them (who were almost universally not Spartans) were writing Spartan fan-fiction and most of them had a political agenda that made extolling the virtues of the Spartans to be to their advantage.

        The simple reality is that hoplite fighting isn’t that hard to train people for, and when the Spartans met others in the field, they had a weak claim at best to being the “best” (and in some cases, their blundering either actually cost or came close to costing pan-Hellenic coalitions a victory, as their bumbling nearly did at Platea). Between 500 BC and 320 BC (which is the period for which we have the best records concerning an ancient Greece in which Sparta was powerful), they compiled a battlefield record of 19-18-1 (or 19-18-2, depending on what you count as victories and draws).

        If you remove naval battles, their win-loss record is about the same at 12-12-1. If you remove battles in which the Spartans fought as part of a pan-Hellenic coalition, they lose three victories, one loss, and one draw, resulting in a total “won-loss record” of 9-11. Their record in straight up land battles they fought on their own was not great. Their “victories” were mostly fighting the enslaved population of Helots that they declared war upon every year so they could brutalize them. They were really good at fighting unarmed or poorly armed slaves. They were mediocre against everyone else.

        This is compounded by the fact that the Spartans, because their society didn’t really support a free artisan class, were absolutely terrible at everything else to do with war. And by “everything else” I mostly mean logistics. The Spartans couldn’t support an army in the field for any significant length of time – they just couldn’t maintain a supply chain. They also had no ability to conduct siege warfare, both because they couldn’t keep an army in the field for any length of time, and because they didn’t have the technical expertise to actually build siegeworks or siege engines. This meant that they spent years flailing ineffectively at the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War before they turned their society over to one of the non-Homioi who proceeded to undo the structure of the Spartan military and remake it so they could actually win the war.

        One element that shows that the writings about Sparta were mostly fan fiction is that the Spartans were routinely lionized, not as great warriors (although Herodotus does that, because it fit his agenda), but rather as a virtuous society. Or rather it was lionized has having been a virtuous society in the past. Basically, a writer writing about the Spartans would say “sure, they are corrupt NOW, but fifty years ago they were an ideal society”, and then you go back fiftyish years and find another Greek writer and he says “sure, the Spartans are corrupt NOW, but fifty years ago they were an ideal society”, and then you go back fiftyish years and, well you get the idea.

        Basically, Dann, you have no idea what you are talking about here. You’ve absorbed a bunch of propaganda, failed to actually study the history of the era, and claim others are doing a “limited” or “selected” reading of history. You don’t know what you are talking about, but insist on braying anyway, which is why you provide absolutely no value to any conversation you participate in.

        Liked by 2 people

  19. @JJ:
    “Ah, yes, that comment was made by a Puppy who’s spent the last 5 years promoting themselves for being a Hugo finalist…”

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. @PhilRM: Furthermore, Sparta was an incredibly conformist society, with communal education that broke children’s ties with their families. Ayn Rand’s Anthem could easily take place there.

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    1. Which is *exactly* the cry of every domestic abuser I’ve ever heard of.

      “I had to give you a black eye because you got dinner on the table 10 minutes late — you made me do it.”
      “I had to break your ribs because you didn’t wear exactly what I told you to — you made me do it.”

      Ad nauseam.

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      1. I read through the the linked thread, and it’s more complex than that.

        It seems that 5 years ago, Camestros left a comment on Brad Torgersen’s blog –“something about conservatism having once been an ideology that stood for individual responsibility” — and Brad literally edited the text of Camestros’ comment so that it read just “YOU MADE US DO IT!” That is, Brad took an appeal to personal responsibility and changed it to read that.

        That was not the only comment that Brad edited to read as something else. It was yet another set of unpleasant and dishonest actions in a larger context of unpleasant and dishonest actions

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just remembered the relevant term: gaslighting.

        Brad was gaslighting the readers of his blog.

        Like

  21. Adding my support. The Debarkle is a great subject, and I appreciate your chronicle of events & dissection of ideas. Keep it up!

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