Category: Conservative Crisis

The CLFA and other groups

The Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance has pinged twice on my radar over the past few days. The first was in connection to the loss of reviews on Amazon by some rightwing authors (see here) and the second was the release of their nominees for their “Book of the Year Award 2018“. The ten nominees are mainly the usual set of names (e.g. JCW, Lamplighter, JDA, Paolinelli) and in a departure from previous years a non-fiction book, Moria Greyland’s The Last Closet.

I’m mindful that the announcement of the CLFA’s nominees was very close but just before the Hugo nomination date but I don’t think their list was intended to be a stealth slate and I doubt it could function that way. Still, both events made me realise that the CLFA has been a grouping I haven’t discussed much when looking at the righthand side of science fiction writing.

While the CLFA has a website ( ) it functions primarily as a closed Facebook group. Not exclusively SFF, the previous nominees for their awards have been mainly either SFF books or non-SFF by SFF authors (e.g. Sad Pup/Mad Genius/Castalia House author Peter Grant’s Western novel won in 2017).

So, in some ways, the CLFA just looks like the same groups of people we keep encountering. However, in other ways, it has operated differently. Here’s a chart of how the group has grown over time:


Unlike some of the other similar charts I made looking at growth trends, this looks like steady, sustainable growth. Now, it’s a closed group so I’ve no either whether it is particularly active or a ghost town but it does keep attracting members and doesn’t seem to be losing them. Possibly this is because of (rather than in spite of) it’s low profile overall. While many of its members are famed for outrage marketing, the group itself has tended not to assert itself as a thing. Consequently, its membership includes people across the many factions in right-leaning SFF.

While I was on the topic of closed Facebook groups, I thought I would see how the loudly announced “Science Fiction and Fantasy Creators Guild” was getting on. Their main website doesn’t seem to have been updated since mid-February ( ) but they’ve gained an interim President – Doug Irvin, who occasionally guest posts at Sarah Hoyt’s blog. Their main action has been another closed Facebook group ( ) At 160+ members it has a long way to go before it reaches the same scale as the CLFA (1750+ members).

Of the members of SFFCG, about 65% are also members of the CLFA (reversing that, only about 6% of the CLFA are also members of the SFFCG).

The growth seems to have reached a plateau for the time being. Most of the growth was in late January after the fumbled announcement of the group.


Anyway…that’s it. No punchline just some numbers 🙂


Reading Peterson 12 – The End of Peterson & the Last Lobster

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12,…


Jordan B Lobsterson

“What if it was the case that the world revealed whatever goodness it contains in precise proportion to your desire for the best? What if the more your conception of the best has been elevated, expanded and rendered sophisticated the more possibility and benefit you could perceive? This doesn’t mean that you can have what you want merely by wishing it, or that everything is interpretation, or that there is no reality. The world is still there, with its structures and limits. As you move along with it, it cooperates or objects. But you can dance with it, if your aim is to dance— and maybe you can even lead, if you have enough skill and enough grace. This is not theology. It’s not mysticism. It’s empirical knowledge. There is nothing magical here— or nothing more than the already-present magic of consciousness. We only see what we aim at. The rest of the world (and that’s most of it) is hidden. If we start aiming at something different— something like “I want my life to be better”— our minds will start presenting us with new information, derived from the previously hidden world, to aid us in that pursuit. Then we can put that information to use and move, and act, and observe, and improve. And, after doing so, after improving, we might pursue something different, or higher— something like, “I want whatever might be better than just my life being better.” And then we enter a more elevated and more complete reality.’ – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (pp. 100-101). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life does try to separate itself from its antecedents such as Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking by asserting that it is grounded in empirical knowledge. When Peterson suggest you re-visualise your life (or as alt-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich would say ‘change your mindset’) he does so by claiming our perception is shaped by our attitude – which is vague enough to be undisprovable. To change you have to want to change and to convince yourself and other therapist cliches. As is common in this genre, the advice is not terrible when boiled down to these nuggets.

Take a step back though and we can see that nasty side.


The Shape of Water – 2017

A common perception of society and human nature runs through social-Darwinism, post-war US pro-capitalism, Randian libertarianism and fascism. That perception does not mean that all these things are the same – libertarianism isn’t fascism – just that there’s a shared assumption about the world. This is that the strong lead and the weak follow. The view is both descriptive and normative. The assumption is that is the natural order of things, that we can’t avoid it – yet it is also assumed that a society might try to avoid this and do something different. Any attempt to do so is seen as a violation of the natural order which must be resisted.

The more tolerant libertarian may see this order as being simply the mechanics of the market in operation – they may see themselves as not approving of this state of affairs but simply acknowledging it as an empirical fact. If men get paid more than women, if poor people have worse health outcomes if some ethnic group is under-achieving educationally then the evidence that shows this shows that it must be inevitable. The fascist on the other hand greets the inequity with more enthusiasm.

A nineteenth-century conservative might see these inequities as God’s divine order:

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
– All Things Bright and Beautiful in Mrs Cecil Alexander’s Hymns for Little Children 1848

A related strand of thinking overlays character on top of this hierarchy. While god has ordered our estate, god has also granted us gifts. Work hard and you can progress is the offer.

Norman Vincent Peale secularised this strand of theological inspired ideology within a secular framework and within mainstream political thinking for post-war America. Taking his own theological stance (tempered by US Protestantism and Calvinism) he mixed in ideas from psychoanalysis, Freud and Jung along with the political attitudes common among the managerial classes of 1950s New York.



Jessica Jones, Season 2 – 2018


12 Rules for Life is simply this same cocktail. The extra ingredient Peterson adds is an anti-‘political correctness’ stance and fear of ‘cultural Marxism’. The essence is the same though:

  • The world is a competitive hierarchy and you can’t/shouldn’t change that
  • But you can change your position in the hierarchy

Only the individual can change and if society changes then this upsets the supposed natural order.



Dana Loesch advertising ‘Superbeets’ 2015


Peterson doesn’t get into guns and only talks about health in vague terms but similar principles can find there way into fitness and wellness culture and gun culture. The emphasis away from the collective or institutional action to change the environment we are in (health systems, crime) to personal action. In each case, how an individual can buy something to get some kind of personal advantage over everybody else.

Accept these concepts in one area and you are primed for them in other areas. The message might not be misogynistic or racist in its first form but the skewed logic leads in that direction. If inequity is just the way the world is then whole classes of people must be poorer because of who they are. If trying to change these inequities is against the natural order than anybody advocating for change is an agent of chaos. If male members of some hegemonic ethnic group or nation keep winning in the game of existence then that is because they are supposed to be winning (either by God’s will or by some natural order or psychic fate) – but if they STOP winning (or don’t win as much) then this must be a breach of the rules.

12 Rules for Life is a series of poorly structured arguments built around this hard to describe quasi-ideology. Each chapter offers a rule for a better life but the content of the chapter often roams off into other points. The advice may be helpful or at worst innocuous but it is the attendant view of the world that is poisonous. There is not a view based on ’empirical knowledge’, when Peterson resorts to objective evidence it is only weakly related to his argument. His prefered mode of argument are appeals to myths and archetypes but even here there is little indication that Peterson has stress-tested his ideas against contrary evidence.

By the end of the book, the cherries have been picked, the arches typed and the anecdotes have been rambled. If the book is evidence of Peterson’s academic ability then I am concerned, if it is evidence of his abilities as a therapist then I am concerned and if it is evidence for his inner-life then I am concerned.

This discussion of how he reacts to cats is revealing:

“When you meet a cat on a street, many things can happen. If I see a cat at a distance, for example, the evil part of me wants to startle it with a loud pfft! sound— front teeth over bottom lip. That will make a nervous cat puff up its fur and stand sideways so it looks larger. Maybe I shouldn’t laugh at cats, but it’s hard to resist. The fact that they can be startled is one of the best things about them (along with the fact that they are instantly disgruntled and embarrassed by their overreaction). But when I have myself under proper control, I’ll bend down, and call the cat over, so I can pet it.” – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (p. 352). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

I don’t know about others but I don’t have to be under ‘proper control’ to want to pet a cat. I wish Peterson had put this insight in Chapter 1 – it would have changed the book for me. It would have become a character study – an insight into a man with his own demons, attempting to understand himself but prone to extrapolate his own demons onto the rest of humanity.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos is not a book I can recommend anybody read. there are better sources for advice and there are clearer essays on modern rightwing politics.

Reading Peterson 11 – Notes & Facts & Hypothesis

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12,…

There’s no shortage of notes in Jordan B Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life but that doesn’t mean every assertion related to facts is referenced. Also, when references are used they aren’t always tightly associated with the argument. Take this for example from chapter 2:

“This is perhaps because the primary hierarchical structure of human society is masculine, as it is among most animals, including the chimpanzees who are our closest genetic and, arguably, behavioural match. It is because men are and throughout history have been the builders of towns and cities, the engineers, stonemasons, bricklayers, and lumberjacks, the operators of heavy machinery.” – Peterson, Jordan B.. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (p. 40). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Now there is a lot wrong with that statement factually but the right reference here, if this was an academic essay, would be to a source discussing historical patterns of employment. Peterson instead links to some modern labour statistics here The tables do use the term ‘traditional occupations’ and ‘non-traditional’ based on proportions of women involves but this is ‘traditional’ in a very loose sense and includes “Meeting, convention, and event planners”. My point here isn’t that the table is wrong of even questioning gendered-roles in employment – just that a lot of references are weak in this fashion. It is vaguely related but not neatly tied to Peterson’s argument.

(This is quite long – so more after the fold)

Continue reading

Anti-Gun Control Arguments Haven’t Become Any Smarter or More Honest

Dishonesty remains at the core of anti-gun control arguments and I note that regardless of evidence, shifting policies, or gun control experiments in countries other than the US, these arguments have barely shifted in decades.

Here’s the failed Sad Puppies 5 leader Sarah Hoyt

Here’s a summary of the arguments deployed:

Self Defence: Hoyt starts with claiming a fundamental right to self-defence. That’s a good start, as at least that is common ground. She trips over it almost straight away.

“So while it’s illegal to attack you, the criminal will still do it, and if you don’t have the right to defend yourself (as is true in many places in Europe) then you’re devolving to the criminals having power of life and death over law abiding citizens. This is a recipe for the law to become dead letter and for everyone ignoring it.”

The argument is posed as if X occurs then Y will happen. If there is no right to self-defence, Hoyt claims then effectively the rule of law will happen. She also claims that in many places in Europe there is no right to self-defence. Where? Because that would be a simple test of her argument. Point out these countries that have no right to self-defence and we can all go see how everyone is now ignoring the law in general.

She doesn’t mention a single one. Nor is it clear which European nation has everyone ignoring the law.

Of course, she also wants to connect this to gun control. The UK has strict gun control, arguably the strictest gun control in Europe. And yet:

Armed population are a defence against tyranny: there is little evidence for this being true and substantial evidence that it is false. Authoritarian governments do not tend to first act against guns but rather tend to first act against ways for people to organise. Free trade unions are a common target, open communication is another. Tyrannical regimes may enact gun control but not more so then non-tyrannical regimes because…most countries enact some kind of gun control.

But more relevant is this claim runs counter to a later argument: criminals will get guns or other arms one way or another anyway.

Lawbreakers will still have guns: Hoyt says:

“Because it makes killing easier, criminals and psychopaths will have it. They will have guns, regardless of what the law says.”

Yet that hardly means it should be made easy for them. A determined burglar can break into your house but that doesn’t mean you should leave your front door open. Making life harder for criminals to commit crimes is how laws work. Few laws prevent all cases of a crime and this kind of fatalism applied across the board really would lead to the law becoming a dead letter with everyone ignoring it.

Of course, Hoyt has forgotten that she thinks actual determined people fighting a tyranny somehow WON’T people to break the law and get guns.

A gun is just a tool: True and tools make it easier for a person to do a thing. Printing presses are tools and the development of printing presses and their spread led to more books and more literacy. Computers are tools and have led to profound social change. Sure, without printing presses people still found ways to make books but precisely because it was harder there were fewer of them. Likewise, without spreadsheets people would still do accounting or statistics but the tools we have make it easier. A gun is a tool that makes killing people EASIER. Hoyt does recognise that guns make killing people easier and then ignores that point.

Note that this argument runs directly counter to the necessary for self-defence argument and the armed population argument. If a determined person will easily use ‘a shoe, my handbag, or the handle to my office door’ to serve the same purpose as a gun then what need does anybody have for a gun?

This argument is part of Schrodinger’s gun – when a gun is both a magical talisman that enables the rule of law and wards of tyranny and yet also a dumb lump of metal easily replaced with a well-aimed shoe.

You can be confident that a person who advances such arguments does so with NO sincerity. To advance these Schrodinger’s gun argument implies that the argument is offered in bad faith.

Gun control is stupid: Hoyt starts struggling:

“The only people who believe that the way to prevent violence is to disarm the law abiding people and leave them at the mercy of psychopaths are children and idiots. “

Children, idiots and a wide range of people on the left and right in most nations of the world. In the English speaking world, in countries with many cultural connections with the US, major gun control measures have been enacted by CONSERVATIVES.

Stalin! The arguments come closer to gibbering at this point. I don’t know how Hoyt thinks the Bolshevik’s came to power but I’m quite certain she doesn’t believe that Lenin and Trotsky were just fine & lovely and Stalin betrayed the revolution. The Bolshevik Red Guard were armed paramilitaries who toppled the Provisional Government. Lenin took power using literally MILITIAS of armed citizens to depose a more democratic (if deeply flawed) government.

Private militias do not have a great track record when it comes to the rule-of-law versus tyrrany. There are many exceptions but a list of people who had their own armed militias BEFORE they took over the state includes these chaps:

  • Pol Pot
  • Mao
  • Lenin (and as a subordinate Stalin)
  • Hitler

On the plus side, there are examples of people’s militia’s fighting for freedom against tyrannical governments or against military dictators (or wannabe military dictators) but even these EXCEPTIONS tend to not be groups that Hoyt would like (e.g. the paramilitary wing of the ANC or the Sandinistas). In zero cases, do we have nations maintaining significant private paramilitary forces during periods of democratic stability with rule of law. Private guns are not a prophylactic defence of freedom.

Gibber, gibber, SOROS!: Seriously.

How Views of Trump Change on the Right

I drew a little schematic of an idea to try and show how some on the right have reacted to Trump.


I’ve naturally focused on my intentionally weird sample of Puppies/right-leaning SF writers. It is also not intended to be particularly accurate at this point – more of a rough sketch of how I see the views shifting. In particular, the starting point is arbitrary- I didn’t double check when the first comment made about Trump’s candidacy was.

The vertical scale runs from opposed to Trump to supportive of Trump through different degrees.

  • Opposed to Trump: the person is simply against Trump for multiple reasons.
  • Opponent is worse: the person is opposed to Trump but sees him as preferable to Hillary Clinton.
  • Anti-anti: The person avoids talking positively about Trump but talks negatively about those who are opposed to Trump.
  • Sceptical support: The person has doubts about Trump but is prepared to support them.
  • Supportive: The person overtly supports Trump

The people listed are based on how I see their publicly expressed views changing over time.

  • LC – Larry Correia. LC expressed strong dislike of Trump, particulalry at nomination time. I think my line is a bit off as he was still talking about both candidates as being equally bad even at the election. However, now when he talks about such issues his position is more anti-anti.
  • JCW-John C Wright. Wright had a more complex journey. I’m not sure how anti-Trump he was initially but Trump was not his favoured candidate. These days he actively promotes what he sees as Trump’s accomplishments.
  • SH – Sarah Hoyt. Initially opposed to Trump, her views became closer to sceptical support over time.
  • VD – Vox Day. Consistenlypro-Trump.

So has Trump won over the anti-Trumps and does that make his position more solid? I assume similar paths are followed by others at the further end of the political spectrum but it is important to consider why some of these people were anti-Trump.

A consistent theme among the early opposition to Trump, aside from his general obnoxiousness, were four important factors:

  • Concern that he was a stealth Democrat based on his past financial aid and general hobnobbing with East Coast Democrats.
  • Concern that he would follow ‘populist’ stimulus style policies – particulalry mass infrastructure spending.
  • Concern that he would mess up the nomination of a new Superme Court Justice.
  • Concern that he was the candidate Clinton could most easily beat (I actually think Ted Cruz was more easily beatable but that’s irrelevant here).

The last dot point was made moot by Trump actually winning. The nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court mean that Trump achieved a core goal for the right of the GOP in general. Finally the first two points have been reduced as concerns by Trump largely following the more standard GOP-right policy agenda.

Over time, Trump has become a more conventional extreme-right GOP politician in terms of policy and hence opposition to Trump in that arena has reduced.

Why (some of the)* Right Hates Elsa

I’ll start with the only place this post can start – which is where it needs to finish also:

How much does the right of Science Fiction & Fantasy hate this movie and this song in particular? A *lot*, more than perhaps you may have noticed. Sure, the new Star Wars movies have received more high profile attacks, and modern superhero comics have had there own troll-fest ‘gate’ but ‘Frozen’? Frozen has worked its way like a tiny shard of ice under the skin.

To wit:

“As I’ve told my children, Let It Go is an expression of pure Crowleyian evil “

“Do you remember hearing how Disney loved the song “Let It Go” so much that they created an entire movie to go around it? Did you ever ask yourself what it was they loved so much about it?…Disney is run by literal satanists preaching Alastair Crowley’s “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” to children.”

” Women and girls learning how to throw off all rules and inhibition is core to our new morality.  The song isn’t loved as a guilty pleasure;  it is loved as a bold moral declaration.  Stop trying to be a good girl and learn to worship yourself is a moral exhortation. ”

“The gay agenda to normalize homosexuality is woven into Disney’s movie Frozen not just as an underlying message – it is the movie.”

“So when it comes to Frozen: Elsa telling Anna that she couldn’t marry a man she just met is a funny observation of a trope that is kind of silly if you think about it.Having that man turn out to be a sociopath that tries to kill Elsa and steal the throne, because that trope was always secretly ‘problematic,’ is subversion and spits on Disney.”

“I am puzzled why the writers of Frozen wanted Hans to be the villain, for as best I can tell, they already had someone who would make the perfect villain… Elsa.”

“So how are things fixed? Does Elsa admit he’s right and strive to do better in the future? Does she vow never to cut loose like that again and learn to control herself?

No. She Loves Her Sister. And that’s it. Now she can control her powers. She never says that letting it go was a mistake.”

Note that THREE of that sample were from 2018 – this isn’t a short-lived attempt to gain attention by a cynical attack on something popular. No, indeed the Superversive articles, in particular, are by people heavily engaged with the plot of the film who seem to be trying to wrestle with what is wrong with it.

Crowley? Normalizing homosexuality? Wrong villains? Fatal plot flaws? This all from people who often claim that popularity and commercial success are the true marks of artistic quality. By that measure Frozen is high art – a Disney musical powerhouse at a time when Disney musicals were long past their peak. A film that launched a thousand lunch boxes.

The issue is not hard to diagnose. Frozen is mainly conventional Disney – in some ways even less than that. The plot is slight compared to other classic Disney films (e.g. the Lion King) and the songs (bar one) are unmemorable. Yet it does a few things and those things are interesting:

  • ‘Let It Go’ is a genuinely really good song, but it is also really well integrated into the story both emotionally, in its lyrics and in the character development of Elsa.
  • The story rejects romantic love as its central message and instead centres on the familial love of two sisters.

This being Disney, there really is zero implications about Elsa’s sexuality EXCEPT that at no point does she act out of desire for a romantic relationship with anybody of any gender. And with that we get to part of the multiple issues the right continue to have with the film.

  • Both Elsa and Anna reject a story line (and hence a role) of a princess finding the love of a prince. This element is strongest with Anna rather than Elsa. Anna does fall in love with a prince and while that helps drive the plot, this does not lead to the normal resolution because…
  • ..the prince is actually a shit bag. I’m surprised there are fewer rightwingers complaining that the film is ‘anti-man’. I guess because it is a reasonable point that at least some men are shitbags and it is a sibling’s duty to point that out.
  • Elsa overtly and very musically rejects not so much romantic love etc but ALL societal expectations of her and goes off and does her own thing. Now, the film’s ‘message’ is really quite reactionary in so far as it shows the CONSEQUENCE of this as throwing the whole kingdom into eternal winter but…
  • …instead of rejecting her descion to be independent, Elsa treats the whole eternal winter more as a technical problem to be solved.

Are the lyrics to ‘Let It Go’ amoral? Sure – the right ALMOST has a point there. Elsa, in frustration, rejects all of society so that she can act in anyway she likes. I mean, that does sound familiar – not so much ‘Crowley’ but the whole strain of ‘positive thinking’ self-help radical individualism that is peddled by multiple strands of the Alt-Right. The lyrics could *almost* be an anthem for some sections of the Alt-Right, except…

…except that it is a woman singing them and a woman rejecting not people expecting a basic level of decency & compassion but rather a mass of expectations that are literally crushing her ability to do what she is good at. And Elsa does ‘learn her lesson’ in this regard by realising that she SHOULD be allowed to be herself and make bridges and mountain top ice palaces but not at the expense of cutting herself off from her society and family.

Put another way – I think maybe ‘Let It Go’ struck a chord with these guys a bit. It caused a tiny twinge of recognition of their own feelings in a quite different character, to the extent that years later they still can’t (ahem) let it go. Yet, at the same time, the SAME message expressed their deepest fear – women following their own dreams for their own motives independent of societal expectations for the role of women.

To finish, here’s that song again but a version where Disney cut together all the multiple language versions:

*[I’ve had some concerned people on the right express concern for the sweeping headline. Not All Rightists hate Elsa and some find her quite charming 🙂 ]

The Opposition to Paid Sick Leave

Paid sick leave is a smart idea. It is smart because it encourages sick people to stay home when they are sick. That does two things – it speeds recovery and it reduces the spread of infectious diseases. So if it is smart for the broader interests of modern industrial capitalism, we should see those motivated by capitalism supporting it…

Meanwhile in reality:

A group called the National Federation of Independent Business, funded by the pseudo-libertarian Kock brothers has been campaigning against local laws for paid sick leave. The campaign follows an NRA-style model of demanding vaguely for ‘reasonable’ laws whilst attacking any positive proposals using generic arguments without regard to the specifics of the proposal.

Compared with the scale of other issues in the USA right now or internationally, this may seem a relatively minor fight. However, consider it in terms of what kinds of political consensus there can be. Paid sick leave, depending on the actual scheme, is probably of net economic benefit under modern capitalism. The gains may be vague for a specific business but the potential benefits are not difficult to work out in terms of improved productivity. The opposition arises because of something deeper than ideology. Instead, it is a deep-seated fear that somebody, somewhere who is ‘undeserving’ might get something for nothing.

So much of modern rightwing thought can be traced back to this pathology – a deep-seated fear that somehow ‘lesser’ people are taking the ‘deserving’ people for a ride. ‘Lesser’ need not be defined in terms of race, or social class or ethnicity or nationality or gender or disability but each of those plays a role. As an idea, it is poison – undermining simple schemes to alleviate poverty and disadvantage by requiring less efficient and more costly baroque approaches designed to combat possible ‘fraud’ i.e. to make it as hard as possible for those in need to get something that will help them.