xurnami: (darash)
[personal profile] xurnami
The following entry might be quite controversial but I've been doing lots of thinking from a number of articles. If my argument doesn't make complete sense, I will be linking to the sources I am working from too which are even longer and more nuanced than this summary. I do hope that people I know read this and give their thoughts on it.

I recently found a blog called Slate Star Codex from a reference to an article which is a rationalist explanation of trans*/kin. For those who are familiar with the internet, this person's blog does spawn from LessWrong which has some particular interesting skews on how it views the universe. As well as a tendency to write enormous chunks of text.

However, the entries which I'd like to discuss more are around the idea of The Toxoplasma of Rage. The core idea here is that rage works as a parasitic meme working between two groups. The "war on terror" creates "jihadis" who justify the "war on terror" which creates further "jihadis." As groups of people, one side "should win". However, as memes, they reinforce one another.

Tumblr happens to be a great place to see this happening as reblogs as the only form of discourse force this sort of memetic warfare as the only form of communication between groups. Which in some ways leads to the stereotype of "Tumblr Social Justice Warriors."

I am going to insert a huge disclaimer here that I believe in pretty much everything that is considered "SJW" beliefs including many of the more controversial ones to some people. Feel free to ask me for more details. With that out of the way...

Race and gender are thing that everyone experiences and so Tumblr creates a huge breeding ground for the memetic warfare acts to occur around these topics. These then bubble outwards from it without the context of the battle that was being fought at that time.

Now, the author of the original post follows that post up by stating that the best way to deal with this problem is for everyone to give to charity and not do nearly as much activism. I am personally not sure this works as the charity groups are in some form activism themselves. I'm not sure on my own better answer to this but it I feel it is definitely a problem to keep in mind.

Along with this, I found another post about tolerating the outgroup which relates to this strongly.

The scariest part of this this article is a discussion of a recent study done using the Implicit Association Test using political parties. It found that unconscious biases against people not of your political party are nearly twice as strong as unconscious baises against race. This is extremely scary to me as this shows just how hard it is for us to come to compromises if we have such strong implicit baises going on.

This reminds of to a video that I've linked on a couple occasions called "This is Phil Fish" (transcript). In it, there is the following quote:
The hatred of Phil leaves no room for reconsideration – people have to commit to it. You can’t publicly, repeatedly, encourage someone to commit suicide, and later reevaluate, think, “maybe he’s not an asshole,” without then thinking, “well, if he’s not, I certainly have been.” It becomes psychologically necessary to hate Phil, and permanently.

This I think brings us down to the core idea. People have wrapped their identities up so much in hating an outgroup and in some way been an asshole to that outgroup. And then it becomes extremely hard to admit that you have been asshole yourself. I follow a number of people who have used (joking at least some times) the phrase "die cis scum." I have also seen some people who have said "The first time someone sees the word cis it should not be between the words die and scum and assume it is a slur."

To see a more close to home version of this argument for some people, see Clark Hat's discussion of #GamerGate.

This has been some very difficult stuff to think through myself and I'm sure I'm not done yet either on this topic. But I hope I gave people something interesting to read and consider at least.
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