Monday, November 20, 2017

The PC/SJ Appeal To Unsafety

One of the main weapons in the neo-PC arsenal is the assertion that any expression contrary to PC orthodoxy makes members of PC-favored groups "unsafe." This bit of obvious bullshit shows up in nearly all of their arguments. This nonsense needs to be addressed and slapped down in a general way, and bullshit must be called on it whenever it rears its ugly head. In its most absurd form, politically incorrect expression is itself said to constitute violence against PC-favored groups. So, for example, if I say [a] "men cannot become women," or [b] "races are natural kinds," or [c] "contemporary feminism is usually wrong," I thereby commit acts of violence against various groups high up in the progressive stack. This sort of argument is patent nonsense and, as such, is less dangerous than the other, significantly less (but still extremely) absurd versions. Though, honestly, it doesn't get shot down half as much as it ought to.
   A less-absurd version of the argument seems to go like this: saying things like [a]-[c] endangers members of PC-favored groups because...for some unspecified reason...this makes people (presumably evil white alt-right dudebros with their collars popped) more likely to physically attack members of PC-favored groups. Utterly absurd...but infinitely less absurd than the disagreement  constitutes violence version of the argument. Rather than being incoherent, this version is merely dumb. Its conclusion is entirely unsupported. It's false is what I'm getting at. Basically everyone the PC left fears already knows [a]-[c]. There's no reason to think that saying them is going to provoke evilwhitemen to attack. There's certainly no empirical evidence for the claim.
   Another merely-stupid-but-not-incoherent version of the argument seems to go like this: hearing things like [a]-[c] makes members of  PC-favored groups feel unsafe. (so that's a big shift; it's not actually a version of the argument above.) Now, to some extent pretending to feel unsafe is obviously a put-on. It's a tactic. It's bullshit. However, I myself don't doubt that more ardent social justice warriors have basically learned to be fairly adept at conjuring up something akin to actual fear. They're already hysterical and irrational, and particularly susceptible to groupthink and delusions. They're typically fairly entitled, so they may have no actual experience of fear with which to compare their manufactured quasi-fear. So, though mostly it's a pose, I think there's a bit of truth in it. Of course that kind of fear shouldn't concern us. I can't argue that you don't get to say anything merely because I have a weird ability to conjure fear in myself. Some kind of reasonable person standard has to be operant.
   Anyway, I've got the flu or the plague or something, so I'm not going to go back and fix all that up. But the main point is important: the neo-PCs lean so heavily on some version of this bogus appeal to unsafety that the argument needs to be addressed more directly and more often.


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