Her hands shook as she gripped the popsicle stick with fiery eyes; the stick was a talking piece used to moderate class discussion. I had just asked if, extending the discussion article’s thesis that luck plays an insurmountable role in society, could we blame racist or complacent teachers for their mediocrity?
The girl’s voice quivered; she paused frequently and cast her eyes to the ground as she formulated a response. Her anger was apparent. Compared to the now weekly campus meltdowns, this reaction was docile—even charitable.
Evergreen State College recently underwent three days of closure due to violence incited by an email criticizing a planned no-whites day. Youtube videos appeared of students cussing out the president of the college and twerking for faculty barricaded in the campus library.
With this ludicrous and camera-loving behavior from those of the left, it is easy for those on the right, especially those catering to a fun-loving millennial audience, to turn to ridicule in response. Twerking does not inspire reverence.
Tomi Lahren, the short-lived Facebook phenomenon, referred to protesters of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election as ‘sore losers,’ and she regularly insinuated that any protestor and every protest is childish and wrong.
Steven Crowder, a YouTube talk show host, has called those on the left ‘silly liberal fruitcakes,’ ‘whales,’ and many other colorful epitaphs. He also suggested in a video on gun control that the the left is not worth trying to compromise with due to the extremity of their views.
And the list goes on: Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Lauren Southern, and many more. This tactic of insulting the opposition, is not only relegated to far-right millennial sources. At times, even centrist sources aimed at older audiences, like the National Review, publish op-eds pontificating on the nature of ‘snowflakes.
According to right-wing media, the left’s Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) are not people with opinions; they are children with weak and unfounded feelings.
This mode of advertising opinion, an attempt to delegitimize and disengage others’ opinions through the use of ridicule, is not a never-before-seen method. Richard Dawkins, a noted intellectual and atheist, argues that religious belief is so dangerous that any religious person or organization should be acknowledged only in the form of mockery.
Closer to home for the Lone Conservative, many campuses have cancelled academic lectures and commencement speakers due to the threat of violence from protestors. At Evergreen State College, before running the professor off campus who started the fervor, they discredited his dissenting opinion by labeling it racist.
In other words, while the right has continually called foul over the soft censorship present on college campuses, we ourselves have begun to use the same tactic, replacing ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ for ‘SJW’ and ‘snowflake.’ Underlying all this name calling is one premise: the SJWs need to be exposed for what they are, thoughtless fanatics deserving no credibility.
I have two primary thoughts on conservatives’ use of name calling.
First, free speech is not just a civil right to be defended, but a necessity for a healthy society. It allows people to express ideas and argue so that weaker positions and falsehoods can be exposed through discussion. Thereby, the falsehood is proven wrong and the better idea survives.
If Milo, Crowder, and the rest believe that their brand of conservatism is true, then the best way to advance it is not to shut down their opponents argument through ridicule, but to engage with and expose it through argument.
We’ll use Black Lives matter, the epitome of liberal protest, as our case study.
As an inner-city school teacher, race and educational policy are interwoven into my life and language, so, when Black Lives Matter (BLM) protestors lit Milwaukee on fire after an officer involved shooting which caused many riots to break out across the country, my life is in the midst of the ensuing arguments.
One normal reaction is exemplified by Paul Joseph Watson. Over the years he has several compilation videos calling protestors idiotic, which accomplishes little more than catharsis for those who already agree with him.
Even worse, it misses an important point amidst all of the chants and broken glass; blacks do have it worse than whites. To go further and outright deny any statistical evidence that does not support a narrative, as the Roaming Millennial has, exposes the vacuous arguments in these videos.
Theodore R. Johnson gives us both a more level-headed and intellectual approach. In his article “Yes, Republicans Can Win Black Voters,” Theodore R. Johnson, an African-American academic, takes all of the criticism leveled at Republicans by civil-rights protestors and suggests several free-market policy solutions that would disproportionately benefit African-Americans.
Paul Joseph Watson’s and Roaming Millennial’s videos accomplish no more than catharsis. Johnson’s article not only embraces the legitimate concerns of protestors, but advances a conservative platform. The former is a self-indulgent farce, the latter a rhetorical composition capable of combating liberal ideology.
For my more important second thought, I want to return to the story with which I began this article.
My angered classmate, who we will refer to as Jasmine, likes to bake things for her classmates, myself included. Jasmine had certain traumas in her life that created the strong emotions she demonstrated when we were speaking.
A few weeks after our confrontation, Jasmine and I had a conversation about a graphic novel we both love. She then proceeded to tie the novel’s themes to Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” which she read in its entirety.
Jasmine goes to protests, and Jasmine posts UpWorthy videos on Facebook, and Jasmine is a social justice warrior, and yet Jasmine is both smarter and more level headed than myself. The mislabeling of SJWs as childish snowflakes is nothing short of lazy straw-manning.
Do Social Justice Warriors have a proclivity for the ludicrous? Most definitely. Are they stupid? Not anymore than your average conservative.
To millennial media personalities, quit the name calling and commit to the logic and reason you so claim to love.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.