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Hypocricy and "SJW." - Elf M. Sternberg
Hypocricy and "SJW."
It's a little amazing where we are right now. Let's go to Neal Stephenson, shall we?
"Because they were hypocrites the Victorians were despised in the late twentieth century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefandous conduct themselves, and yet saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves-they took no moral stances and lived by none."

"So they were morally superior to the Victorians-" Major Napier said, still a bit snowed under. "-even though-in fact, because-they had no morals at all." There was a moment of silent, bewildered head-shaking around the copper table.

"In the late-twentieth-century Weltanschauung, a hypocrite was someone who espoused high moral views as part of a planned campaign of deception-he never held these beliefs sincerely and routinely violated them in privacy. Of course, most hypocrites are not like that. Most of the time it's a spirit-is-willing, flesh-is-weak sort of thing."

"That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code," Major Napier said, working it through, "does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code."

"Of course not," Finkle-McGraw said. "It's perfectly obvious, really. No one ever said that it was easy to hew to a strict code of conduct."
(Stephenson, Neal, The Diamond Age, ppgs. 205-206) That's pretty much my view on hypocrisy; what most people mean when they use the word "hypocrisy" is much more like cynicism: a belief that everything someone else does is motivated by a short-sighted, narcissistic and selfish egotism, and any claims to moral high ground are in service to feeding that egotism.

What's astonishing is how often Stephenson's little exposition is used by conservatives as a cudgel against liberals. Conservatives point to their Bibles and claim to have morals, and then fail to live up to the most fundamental standards put forward by Jesus. They quote him when he quotes Deuteronomy 15, then fail to live up the high standards of welfare and financial management God put out for the State (yes, the State) of Israel, and then they do everything they can to subvert those standards.

Which is why Fred Clark's disquisition on the phrase "SJW" is so insightful today. "SJW" isn't sarcastic; it's merely mocking. It doesn't matter whether the target is engaged in mere performative allyship or has actually gotten the beat-down for asserting the human worth of others; the speaker means to use it as an epithet. People who use "SJW" won't allow themselves to be questioned. We saw this just last week with Trump's running mate Mike Pence, who when asked if being a member of the Ku Klux Klan was "deplorable," said "Our campaign is not in the business of namecalling!"

Clark ends:
The problem is more that they can’t admit that justice is meaningful because to acknowledge the meaning of justice is always to be judged.

And that, above all, is what they can't stand. That is what infuriates them and offends them — the prospect of being judged, being assessed according to any standard not in their immediate control. This is reflected in their tendency to make any form of award or public recognition — Hugos or Oscars or box office sales or elections — a focal point of their spite. And it's why their epithet of choice — "SJW" — is not just an insult directed at others with whom they disagree, but a rejection of any standard by which such disagreements might be adjudicated.
Indeed. The refusal to engage in the conversation is a firewall against judgment. Once you make the first tiny step towards allowing judgment, the whole edifice of privilege comes tumbling down. They know it. This is one of, sadly, many last gasps we as a nation and civilization will be dealing with, an ugly one because the gaspers are organized and decentralized by the organized decentralization of the Internet.

It's gonna get ugly.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
the_gneech From: the_gneech Date: September 15th, 2016 01:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Well said. :)

-The Gneech
gipsieee From: gipsieee Date: September 15th, 2016 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. Thank you.
2 comments or Leave a comment