Friday, April 25, 2014

Standing Up

I have a confession to make: I'm a wimp. I hate confrontation with the fire of a thousand suns. Consequently, in fannish spaces, I very rarely make my political leanings known. I button up. I stay silent. I keep my reactions internal -- or confined to this blog, which is deliberately divorced from my fan identity. I let a thousand outrageous calumnies pass without comment -- because I tell myself there's no point in starting a shouting match. I've considered "coming out" to the folks I roleplay with -- but in the end, I've always chickened out because I don't want to ruin something fun.

I'm starting to feel guilty, though. While I do continue to believe that politics should be avoided in certain contexts and at certain times, I wonder -- have I contributed to the current mess by keeping my trap shut too often? Have there been times I haven't spoken up -- but should have? Have I been entirely too polite?

Fandom's illiberal progressives clearly think they are the majority. You can see that in the way they behave. This week, after the release of the Hugo shortlist, they urged their readers to rank "No Award" above Brad Torgersen, Larry Correia, Vox Day, and Toni Weisskopf, arguing that these folks don't deserve a fair appraisal of their work because they are hatey-hatemongers -- and then turned around and accused Larry's fans of cheapening the process without any sense of irony. They stated, baldly, that Larry clearly cheated, convinced that no one would've voted for Warbound out of genuine appreciation. They have also repeatedly engaged in outright slander, claiming that Larry is a racist and a homophobe who wants to drag gays behind his pick-up truck without citing anything Larry has actually written that would warrant such a serious charge. Overall, they've openly delighted in constructing and torching strawmen, refusing to engage honestly with their opposition. Why? Because they think they can get away with it. They are confident nearly everyone agrees with them.

But they're wrong -- and I was wrong too. I believed I was in a small minority, but this week has fundamentally changed my estimation. Fandom does tilt left-of-center - 'tis the tendency of most communities with a creative bent - but the illib-prog base of support isn't as powerful as I once thought. There has been push-back -- a lot of push-back, and from several unanticipated quarters. A number of left-leaning folks have posted supportive comments on Larry's blog, for example, essentially stating, "I may not agree with your politics, but I also think this is stupid. And by the way, I love your books!" Can you imagine what would happen if we right-leaning folks and fandom's intellectually honest leftists banded together? Maybe - just maybe - we'd wipe the floor with these illib-progs once and for all and restore fandom's original small-L liberalism, which allowed writers with diverse - and often controversial - viewpoints to exist side-by-side without the entire universe imploding every five minutes.

Sure -- the illib-progs currently have a stranglehold on SFWA. Sure -- they also have a strong internet presence. But they are not the majority; WE ARE -- and by "we," I'm referring to fans of all creeds and political inclinations who are sick of this jack-booted bunch and its toxic attempts to impose conformity and goodthink on the rest of us. For too long, our silence has encouraged the illib-progs' over-inflated sense of their own popularity and moral rectitude -- but we are legion, and neither you nor I should be afraid to call these people out for the hypocritical fascists they are.

It's time for us to stand up -- and tell the world we won't stand for ideological witch hunts.

It's time for us to stand up -- and declare ourselves determined enemies of censorship.

It's time for us to stand up -- and demand that people argue in good faith and stop twisting what their opponents say.

It's time for us to stand up -- and confront illib-progs when they are being abusive and dishonest bullies.

It's time for us to stand up and take our fandom back.

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