On #GamerGate & Social Justice
(Special thanks to LR for doing some of the legwork, my brother for the ideas, thanks to Brad Wardell(@draginol) for his article and inspiration, and @cainejw for his article that inspired this. This was an older article of mine from MindlessZombieStudios and updated for republishing on SuperNerdLand. Thanks again to ScrumpMonkey for all the imagework)
I have long spent several of these past days, that had turned into weeks, and now will soon turn to months, wondering why.
Why has #GamerGate gone on for as long as it has? Why are so many up in arms over what the mainstream media has ignored for so long — despite the volume and number of complaints lodged against the gaming journalism media? The mainstream media personally launched their own attacks – in near unison I might add – (All articles cited were added in the same 48 hour period), decrying gamers as extinct and dead. And yet despite all this, the #GamerGate tag is still beating strong, with heart-felt thoughts and tweets from those men and women of all races and creeds posting under #notyourshield in effort to fight along the very gamers that “social justice warriors” claim are oppressing them.
This morning, I realized why; why it was that — above all others — Gamers were the ones to stand up to Social Justice Warriors and win when the authoritarian left had thus far enjoyed free reign over policing media.
Gamers follow in an ancient tradition, espoused by Thomas Jefferson and philosopher John Rawls. I posit the following argument, and for those who wish to burn me at the stake for it, hold until I am finished. Gamers are defending the greatest and most honest expression of Social Justice, Video Games, while the Social Justice is, in actuality, fighting for Social Equality.
Hear me out.
Thomas Jefferson’s definition for social justice is arguably the most well-known, as it is taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. I have directly copied the following quote from the article linked above:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
John Rawls stated similar thoughts and ideas, and again I will be copying directly from the above article to present his principles in short.
First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others.
Second: social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all…
These men espouse self evident truths: That for social justice to occur, all must have equal access to opportunities, and any unequal access must be resolved so that all people may have access to these very same opportunities.
Now, hold on to these words for a moment.
We live in an era of unparalleled access to information and engage in a nearly unlimited exchange of knowledge and ideas from every corner of the world — all thanks to the Internet. We live in a time where any man, woman or child with access to the internet, is more than capable of learning a new skill or exchanging of ideas worldwide. Where does gaming culture tie into this? Because of the internet, anyone can consume, create or exchange anything and everything involved with video games.
Spend three months learning how to code and suddenly you’re a programmer and soon to be indie dev. No money? That’s no problem, if you have an idea that has merit and you have the will and drive to succeed then you can turn to crowdfunding to secure a living. Have no market? Again, there are new markets emerging everywhere that allow new indie devs to sell their products to an expanding and diverse audience.
It doesn’t matter if the platform is Steam, Stardock, Desura, the Gamestop store; if you can provide then the customers will come. You don’t want to program, but are filled with ideas, and are willing to prove that you are able to see them through? That’s quite alright, there are companies like the Fine Young Capitalists who will take their experience and present your project to the masses to prove that your ideas are worth merit, no matter your gender. In short, when it comes to video games, this is an era of equal access to all.
Whether you are Brazilian…
Gaming has touched everyone through the advent of specialized consoles for regions as well as the rise of mobile gaming, PC gaming, and the many, many deaths and rebirths of consoles over the years that brought so-called hardcore gaming to the masses. Various AAA and indie games are even working with the colourblind to reduce the disadvantages that they have in viewing games media; many games (Battlefield 3 and 4, Civ4 series onward) allow the colourblind to be able to play along with the non-colourblind.
Gaming has touched everyone; because it is truly as close to the absolute best model of Social Justice we may approach in our own time, with inequalities disappearing yearly as new technology comes out to aid those with physical handicaps which allows them to access the medium on equal footing.
Unfortunately for us gamers, in this age of manufactured outrage, “Social Equality” is a thing.
What is social equality? It’s similar to social justice, in that it is concerned with making sure everyone is equal. However, where the social justice’s old (and true) primary goal was about equal access to everyone with few conflicting liberties and thus the beginning of true equality — Social Justice Warriors these days are attempting to reach the goal of social equality, which is inherently penalizing to those who succeed in favour of those who do not. This article by CaineJW pontificates on the matter; positing that they are concerned with making sure no matter who you are, or what you have accomplished, that you are rewarded.
Rewarded with what, you ask? Attention, money, accolades — it doesn’t matter. What anyone says or does — whether it is worth hearing, saying, or doing or not — deserves equal treatment, attention, money, and accolades. Everything must be rewarded. Even if it is not at all worth hearing. Even if what you have accomplished is overshadowed by far better and well written productions, they treat everything as though it is worth learning from, or that it is equal to or worth far more in accolades to far more expensive, and produced titles such as Call of Duty. They are not above creating this narrative.
And that’s the problem. There are far better games than Depression Quest, or Gone Home, or any flavour of the month art game that extols the experience over the enjoyment of a title. It’s as if they think these ‘art games’ and ‘experiences’ should be the only representatives of gaming itself. They wish to police and control the narrative, such that, these games artists all deserve far more attention — and thus money — than the market will allow. They want their titles to be held as examples for non-gamers to finally understand what video games are all about. As with so many other groups, they tried to manipulate and change and gamers were largely silent for years. They were content to ignore the politics and just play games until Social Justice showed their true colours, and began a crusade of outright censorship and name-calling that has, so far, continued until this day.
To think, this entire mess started in the 70s; with Social Equality having taken on the flag of Social Justice. It has been taught and retaught over and over until the message itself becomes dogma, and those who go anywhere against the group-think are immediately and horrendously turned pariah until they recant. This behaviour continues on and on, with social justice acting more and more like a cult each day.
Two especially vocal pushers of the social equality polemic are Jonathon McIntosh and his stooge Anita Sarkeesian, who gather crowds of disaffected thirty year old males together, and tell them to stop questioning the rhetoric of the media. “Listen & Believe” is the message being taught to new warriors such as these, as crowds gather round and cheer group-think lines like, “One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences.” Gone is the idea of objective thought, evidence, or culpability for one’s actions. They attempted these very same tactics on Gamers — who are not at all falling for it, with #notyourshield being the greatest weapon of defense non-white/non-male gamers have to protect themselves from the accusations lobbed at millions. All this, from a group where the cause is elevated above all else, and the ends justify the means. A group where objective thought is anathema, since it is “Impossible to achieve” or “silly”; thus there is no reason to attempt to even approach objectivity at all with folks like this.
Twitter user and Escapist Co-Founder Alexander Macris (@Archon) pointed out this is cultural marxism, with even Sargon of Akkad discouraged to discover our opponents espouse similar views to such dangerous ideals where variance is punished and equity is the highest ideal over objective thought or a writer’s personal experiences. Even the makers of My Little Pony made a two-part episode this year that lambasted the Marxist idea of social equality, presumably in a response to seeing it’s encroachment in media. [Editor’s Note: It’s well worth the watch, despite the Pony nature of the program. They manged to hit the nail on the head here].
Another issue from the SJWs pursuing social equality is the problem of identity quotas, which ties into the cultural marxism; the idea that every media must include a representative from any and absolutely every race, creed, gender, and sex. Even if it makes those people into token characters or two dimensional stereotypes.
All this is done under the guise of creating a product that will appeal to everyone equally, despite the market itself denying the need for a top-down authoritarian mob on social media determining what people ought to like or dislike.
A mere ten years ago, developers and writers both could write entirely for their audiences and only add in characters that were well developed, written or moved the story along — and gamers rewarded them. However, in the current climate of games, every story requires multiple levels of interest to pass the social justice litmus test — Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Alphabits, Black, Asian, White, North/South American — with no rhyme or reason as to why the characters are in there. It’s only for the sake of being represented.
Ultimately, it ends up with everyone worse off than before as the writers can only do so much with any given amount of time and/or money. This is such a problem that Project Eternity chose not to include in-game romances to prevent this very problem. This is not merely a budgetary issue; they’d have to add so many dialogue trees from so many different viewpoints that it ends up being a Sisyphean task with no end in sight.
Meanwhile, there is another troubling issue has grown. Social Justice is organized in mobs, just as they claim their opponents are. And are as dangerous and disparate as they make out the “Gaters” to be. They use coercion and doxing to terrify their opponents into silence. During the research for this article, after I posted this article’s draft on my Twitter account, I received an email from the fake LinkedIn I use as bait saying that someone tried to break in.
This is a very important first step to doxing someone. Obviously, they are terrified of the exposure one writer can make of their agenda, to the point where they’d target a near absolute nobody on Twitter to try and silence him. [Editor’s Note: Correlation is not causation. While the timing of this is suspicious, it should be noted that it has not been 100% verified that the posting of the draft and the attempted break in of the LinkedIn account are connected.]
Overall, gamers are not without their problems. They are indeed, compared to the world, a minority themselves. But in our hobby, whether you are male, female, non-binary, tumblr-gendered, black, white, yellow, green, purple, gay, straight, lesbian, alphabet, Amerifat, Europoor, Slav, African, Brazilian (gib monies), South American, Hispanic, Chinese, Thai, Korean (South or Best), Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, Vietnamese, Australian, or hell, Moldovan, there are games for everyone.
This is our strength: not that we force or demand our developers to cater to our exact tastes, or bully those who don’t overtly believe in what we believe; but that everyone has equal access to an absolutely vast and wide array of products. An ocean of games that is growing each and every day from horizon to horizon and will continue to do so into the future.
We only need to stand together and realize that freedom of thought and freedom of choice are our greatest and most prized assets. If we fail to blunt those who would censor that — screaming for Social Justice when, in their heart, they actually wish for social equity — then all the neat things about being gamers could end.
Clearly we have our work cut out for us. But I have faith we will stand against those who would censor those who actually work for their accolades. We shall strive to enable artists and developers instead of hobbling them in favour of quotas or the SJW’s faux rage of the week. Let us all dream of and work for a better tomorrow. Where anyone can create and consume games, no matter their race, creed, gender, sex, nationality, ideology or any other genetic fluke of birth that we have no control over.
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