No, ‘SJW’ is not used to deflate pompous Comstockian moralists. That’s not how it’s used at all.

The Internet is open to the public. We can Google, search on Facebook and Twitter, or browse through the comments at YouTube and the local newspaper site. We can see how and when the insult “SJW” is used. And in the vast majority of cases, that has nothing to do with some imagined meaning about ridiculing self-righteous moral crusaders. In the vast majority of actual usage, the epithet is directed at someone who criticized racism or sexism as unjust and undesirable. That’s how the word is used. That’s what it means. [Read more…]

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The suffix ‘-lover’ isn’t useful for constructing insults

Before we get into the appalling specific applications of that suffix, though, just consider what meaning it brings to the conversation. It says you are defined by your love. It says that love is the whole of your identity. That’s usually a reliable move when the goal is to insult another person. Select a single trait and reduce that other person to nothing but that trait. Define them with and confine them to that single thing and you deny them the dignity of being fully human. Usually. But that doesn’t work with love. [Read more…]

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What ‘SJW’ really means

This “SJW” business doesn’t involve an argument contrasting opposing views of the nature and meaning of social justice. It doesn’t involve some ideological dispute between competing visions of the proper role of the state, or of law, or markets, civil society, neighborliness, etc. It’s a wholesale rejection of the idea that social justice — in any form — is worthwhile. [Read more…]

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The temptation of disappointment

We really do mean it — sincerely, mostly — when we tell one another that we’re relieved, thank God, that the latest big storm turned out to sea. After days of nervously watching the news, we can all calm down again and get back to normal, back to our routines and our routine lives. We are relieved — mostly. But we’re also maybe just a tiny bit disappointed. … [Read more…]

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Every word of this is true, urgent, and necessary

“And unfortunately, there are people like that. And [Donald Trump] has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to have only 11,000 people — now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.” Where is the lie? [Read more…]

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Shaving the intolerant barber (a continuing series)

So, yet again, we have encountered — in the wild and in full bloom — that rare and fragile flower, “Your tolerance must tolerate my intolerance.” This statement is not an argument. It’s not even a statement. It is, rather, as Lenore Beadsman describes it, “… a sort of joke. A what do you call it. An antinomy.” It’s Not Good when someone mistakes this joke for a substantial argument. [Read more…]

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A red traffic light: This election is about one idea

Donald Trump is not a single-issue candidate, he’s a single-idea candidate. That single idea is all that matters to him and all that animates him. To the extent that Trump has policy priorities or positions on issues, it’s all in service of that single idea. This is clarifying. [Read more…]

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Postcards from the culture wars (8.24)

“Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.” [Read more…]

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