What is truly tragic

20 01 2011

I’m happy to let Keith have the final word regarding my post here.  I think most people can make a reasonably good judgement on their own. But what I find infinitely amusing is a comment left by Jeremy Weiland:

Royce is here asserting that a mere fair hearing for all sides to an argument, in a spirit of civility, with recognition that one’s own point of view could be flawed and that conclusions reached ought to be tentative in nature, by itself constitutes “privilege.

What is truly tragic about this from a leftist point of view is that it is clearly an elitist approach. As if the ability to realize potential truth is not a matter of demonstration but of identity. It is not egalitarian; it is reactionary. It distrusts the ability of humans to recognize truth and falsity, and I shudder to think where that leads. Of course it’s important to recognize privilege (I think privilege is at the heart of classical anarchism, to be frank with you, not necessarily the state) but we can’t recognize ANYTHING unless we’re attempting to look at this stuff honestly and squarely.

This is in response to me calling out Keith Preston for suggesting that marginalised persons must present their case to the privilege who will then adjudicate as to whether or not they are oppressed.  I’m apparently the elitist one for recognising the fact that I cannot share the experiences of many marginalised people across the planet.  Yup.  Way to interpret logic Jeremy.

But then I didn’t have an exchange with a transgender sex worker, where I wrote such tidbits as:

Aster: And what is this delusion that you’re somehow combatting racism by [giving] racists a more prominent platform and voice, because maybe if they talk to the world they’ll get warmfuzzies and see the light.

Jeremy: That’s a fair criticism. But here’s another criticism: that somehow you’re combatting racism by bitching on an internet message board. I don’t know if my approach will work, but it’s where I feel I can do the most good right now.


Aster: I’d got another idea: how about we combat bigotry by NOT EMPOWERING BIGOTS.

Jeremy: It seems to me like your idea of “empowering” is “letting them anywhere within a 1000 mile radius of me”. I host attackthesystem.com – for free, I might add – because I think the larger conversation there is productive. If you feel differently, then fine. But if you think I’m committing some sort of heinous crime, well, I think you need to demonstrate that and not just breathlessly assert it over and over and over again. Not once over the past two and a half years have you ever tried to change my mind. Instead, you just bloviate at me. I wouldn’t respect any argument, no matter what it is, expressed thusly.

In the interest of providing context, prior to that exchange:

Aster: All I wish to say is that in hosting Preston’s website I think you have done a very harmful and hurtful thing, and that I wish at least that you had called out the transphobic and other explicit bigotry occasionally expressed at that site.

Jeremy: Here’s my thing, though. I’m interested in actions that actually benefit oppressed minorities, not symbolic actions. If I thought that what I was doing actually hurt anybody, I would cease it. I don’t doubt that you *feel* hurt by the existence of ATS, but hurt feelings is not the same thing as broken bones. What I don’t understand, sincerely, is why you continue to monitor ATS when it seems like continually dipping a wound in vinegar. Who’s at fault there, the wounded person torturing herself so, or the person with the open vat of vinegar?

Offensive?  Yup.  And when the shit hits the fan:

Aster: Gosh, I think I’ll give my time and money to people who would like to see your skull broken open with a steel-toed boot. Do you have any idea what kind of disrespect that is to my life- and to how many others’ lives?? You are fucking aiding and abetting Nazis, and you have the gall to claim the relevant problem is my psychology?!?

Jeremy: I just cannot see anything in that passage that makes any sense to me whatsoever. I’m sorry – part of the reason I don’t trust you is because of statements like that. It is so disconnected from the reality I occupy.

and then…

Aster: Do you honestly think that people who openly promote race-IQ theories and talk about “natural heirachies” of sex and gender are mostly on the right track?

Jeremy: For Christ’s sake, of course not. Don’t be silly. But I also don’t feel as threatened by them as you do.

Aster: Gee, that’s really what I need, a straight white guy telling me how he doesn’t feel threatened by white nationalists and “anarcho-“nazis- so unthreatened, in fact, that he decides to MATERIALLY HELP THEM SPREAD IDEAS which hurt people who aren’t him.

Honestly and squarely, who’s the reactionary elitist in all this?  If you need some help, here’s some reading material.




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