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Manifesto, by L. Neil Smith now downloadable as an audiobook!
Number 996, October 28, 2018

Trump has created an atmosphere of blunt truth

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New Fun With The Left
by Rob Gillespie

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

This is my first contribution to TLE. I haven’t really felt I had anything original or as well expressed as what I have read here every week, but given all last week’s articles, as well as Sarah Hoyt’s of the week before, I couldn’t resist. The fact that it just happened makes it seem all very timely.

I don’t know how many people here look at Quora. For those who don’t, it’s a site where questions—usually stupid, left-wing ones—are asked and they solicit answers—usually stupid, left-wing ones—from other readers. Notice I said, “usually.” They have had some interesting questions about democracy, which I have answered stating it’s a bad idea, pointing out the libertarian “two wolves and a sheep” argument, as well as some juicy Mencken quotes, and, to my surprise, they have been at least tolerated, if not well-received. (I was quite surprised, on checking my profile, how many there were.) This past Friday (Oct 19), the following popped up on my feed: “Is it true that the science fiction author community ostracized military sf writers in the 1970s and 1980s?”

The link it appeared to come from indicated a connection with the David Drake “Hammer’s Slammers” series. Now I can’t say I’ve ever been interested in that particular genre, but while I’ve been reading science fiction since the 1960s I never heard at the time of any “cultural” blowback against them. Not in the ’70s, not in the ’80s, and really, not until the last ten years or so. And they certainly were readily available in bookstore sf sections, so I guessed they sold.

The featured answer to the question was from Mercedes Lackey, another sf writer I know of but have paid no attention to. It was certainly revealing—mostly of the way the left deals with anybody they don’t like. (BTW, in her header she was careful to tell us she has “134 published books in fantasy and sf, No. 1 NYT writer” presumably so we peonic readers would know to show the proper level of respect for her.)

“There are a lot of writers and their fans who like to whine and cry about this. It’s complete bullshit.

“The real truth of the matter is that the clique of writers of simplistic ‘military’ SF is highly vocal and do a lot of social media posting, which makes an apparent amplification of their real numbers. If anyone is being ostracized, it has nothing to do with what they write and everything to do with the fact that they are not pleasant people to be around. Many of these writers are homophobic, misogynistic and xenophobic, and no few of them are ‘alt-right’, and they resent the fact that SF/F is now a highly diverse field with many, many voices.”

Well, having read what I have about what’s going on in sf these days (thank you no little amount, Sarah Hoyt), and apparently not knowing to show the proper level of deference—and also thinking I was replying to the question and not particularly to her, I dispatched the following:

“The ‘science fiction author community’ didn’t ostracize these people or any others in the ’70s & ’80s. More recently, however, the sjw portion of the community has tried to take over all the awards (not entirely successfully—see the whole ‘sad puppies’ thing). They have smeared many writers with exactly the kind of words Ms. Lackey used above. They have done this not because of their work, but because they have dared to hold—and express (gasp!)—political views which do not coincide with supporting Dolores Umbridge (i.e. ‘Hydrogen Hillary’, since people on this site don’t seem to get the other reference). If SF/F is still ‘a highly diverse field…’ it is not thanks to people like these. They think anybody who disagrees with them should be forbidden—indeed prevented by force (whether government force or mobs of masked thugs they don’t care)—from expressing themselves. Joe Stalin would have been proud.”

Amazingly, as if to prove my ending contention, within twenty minutes my post had been deleted from the site (with no warning or explanation) and replaced with this reply—intended to prove, I suppose, what a pleasant person she is to be around…

“You know, Tinkerbell, you could have kept your big fat flap shut. You could have tsked and gone on about your way. But no, you just had to insult me. Or perhaps I should have said ‘intended’ to insult me—you didn’t actually, because I consider ‘social justice warrior’ to be a term of honor, something you apparently lack since I doubt you’d have said this to my face. Well, Twinkletoes, congratulations, you’ve earned your way, along with every other troll here, to being mocked, blocked, muted and deleted, because there are not enough hours in the day to waste on you. Tata Toots! Enjoy your bridge.”

I immediately filed a complaint on the only likely basis they offered—“intentionally defacing existing content”—writing to them thus:

“I didn’t realize Mercedes Lackey had such power at Quora that if she didn’t like a post—or felt insulted by it—she could just have you make it go away like it never existed (hopefully before anyone else even saw it). I find it interesting that she accuses me of ‘insulting’ her with my ‘sjw’ reference in the midst of SEVEN LINES of insults to me. What insults? Oh, ‘tinkerbell’, ‘kept your big fat flap shut’, telling me I lack honour (apparently because I didn’t purchase a 3- or 4-figure airline ticket to go meet her to say it), ‘troll’, and ’on your way… to being mocked, blocked, muted and deleted…’ The blocked and muted is, of course, exactly what those of us who don’t share her views (you know who we are: we’re the ‘deplorables’) have come to expect. And that’s still up. Sensitive, much? Entitled, much? Oh, and I just fell about laughing from her closing ‘Enjoy your bridge’ crack. I don’t play bridge. She obviously made that prejudiced, insulting (I have to assume she meant it that way) remark based on my picture. Obviously only people who play bridge dress that way. Well, as it happens I’m an actor and that was a shot from a role I very much enjoyed playing recently.”

For those of you interested, this is the “bridge playing” shot. It’s my Facebook profile pic, which Quora used too.

I was playing Alfred in an immersive Batman show at a local mansion.

I, of course, have heard nothing from Quora, and, while they haven’t taken down anything else I wrote, they haven’t put that back, either.

I have to say, I never expected anything like this to happen to me. It’s not like I’ve been silent about my libertarian views. I’ve run for office a few times in the last 40+ years; I helped Marc Emery’s political campaign for marijuana legalization (without being attacked by the socialists in the movement) and I’ve been generally kind of mouthy. What I did not expect was to be exhilarated by the whole thing. I had a really good time, easily on a par with my most satisfying acting experiences. My surprise was reacting that way to an attack. But maybe not… When I think back, my most common experience in of laying out libertarian ideas was of indifference, of being ignored by my opponents and the audience. Something has changed here: I think the authoritarian collectivist types have become afraid of us. This was just my little dose, but I think it’s very telling.

It’s just appalling what’s going on in cyberspace—not to mention in front of gangs of thugs in city streets—in recent years. (It’s happening in Canada, too.) I’ve been saddened to read what Sarah Hoyt has gone through, and I’m full of admiration for how she has pushed on despite how it has affected her. From the first time I read The Probability Broach I’ve been incredibly inspired by Neil’s ideas and I try to bring them, and him, to the attention of as many people as I can. Thank you El Neil. Especially for fighting through your illnesses and continuing to write. Thank you Sarah. Thank you J. Neil. Thank you Vin. Thank you Seans (both of you). Thank you Ron Paul. Thank you Charles J.C. Lyall. Thank you Toni Nathan. Thank you Marshall Bruce Evoy. Thank you Tom Woods. Thank you Tom Jefferson. Thank you Rose Wilder Lane. Thank you Marshall Fritz. Thank you Roger Lea MacBride. Thank you Thomas Szasz. Thank you Marc Emery. Thank you Robert LeFevre. Thank you Robert A. Heinlein. Thank you Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. Thank you Murray Rothbard. Thank you H. Beam Piper. Thank you Styxhexenhammer666. (And thank you Giovanni Martelli and Cathy Smith for pointing me at him.) Thank you H.L. Mencken. Thank you Lysander Spooner. Thank you Sándor Petöfi. (And thank you my lovely wife Erzsébet for making him known to me.) Thank you Robbie Burns. Thank you Barbara Amiel. And thank you Ayn Rand. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you, knowing a few of you very well, and being brought along by all of you to where I am now: ready and eager to leap with more enthusiasm than I’ve ever had into all the fun we’re going to have with those idiot authoritarians.

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