Turnabout Is Fair Play, Or The Lament Of The Social Justice Warrior

When I was in college, I had a flirtatious friend/girlfriend with whom I had a very teasing relationship.  During one of her more reflective and astute moments, she told me that both of us liked dishing it out but that neither of us liked taking it.  She was right, both about herself and about me, and was astute enough to recognize that we were both similar kinds of people, outgoing and expressive but also rather prickly and sensitive at the same time, which can be a very alarming combination of tendencies.  I was also astute enough to recognize that she spoke with justice, and was observant about the way I was as well.  I respected her for that then, and still do today although we have not seen each other much since I left California.  The fact that we were able to recognize each other as similar kinds of people, about the same age, with a certain mix of intellectual maturity and perhaps excessive sensitivity to teasing and even as were both witty people with a fondness for sentimental music that tugged at our ill-disguised heartstrings spoke highly of our insight as well as the difficulties one has in getting along with people even when we know what they are like because we know ourselves to be very similar.

Yesterday night, as I was convalescing in between writing a large number of reviews, I saw that a friend of mine from high school had posted a complaint about the people calling others Social Justice Warriors, or SJWs.  Admittedly, this is not a term I use myself, although I do hear this term being used in some of the online videos I enjoy watching, and it was not hard to figure out what was being meant by it.  The general gist is that a Social Justice Warrior is a woman who is somewhat easily triggered and tends to be extremely bitter and hostile towards men, and who tends to be of a stridently Progressive political bent.  There are a lot of such women around, and having gone to college in Los Angeles and living in Portland, I probably know more than my fair share of them.  Now, the people who use Social Justice Warrior or SJW as a term are generally using the term pejoratively as a label, but rather than complain about it, this is a label that I think people should be happy to own.  I say, if someone wants to call you a Social Justice Warrior, you should be able to affirm it.

Why do I say this, despite not identifying with the term?  Well, for one, I don’t think social justice is something to shy away from.  Many people would (wrongly) consider me to be somewhat Pleistocene in my political worldview, and I care about social justice and think positively about it, although my standards of justice would not likely be in line with a lot of other people [1].  Still, there is a lot that is evil and dark in this world that deserves to be changed and that deserves criticism.  To be sure, there is evil in all of us that deserves criticism as well, and here is where both those who long for and fight for social justice and those who oppose them both have a point.  The world is not divided into good people and evil people and neutral people.  As was said by a man far wiser than I am, the line between good and evil cuts through every human being.  Those people who look at this world and the cruelty with which some people treat other people and bring attention and critique to it are right to do so, but doing so means that their own behavior comes under critique as well, and that is often less welcome.  Still, the expression Social Justice Warrior is one that could easily be used in one’s favor?  What kind of caveman doesn’t want social justice?  Who doesn’t want to be a warrior for the sake of righteousness and equity?  This could easily be used in someone’s favor if they wanted to.

What is particularly bothersome to me, though, is that not only do those people who are called Social Justice Warriors not strive to take a pejorative name and own it as if the name was a good thing, but that at the same time these people protest being called a name not of their own choosing, they commit the very same offense against others that they are complaining about.  This is the essence of hypocrisy.  For example, the very same note that led me to think about this topic that complained about those who sought to control the power of a discourse by calling others Social Justice Warriors did the same thing to those critics by calling them alt-right, the sort of pejorative expression I have seen on various left-wing faux news sources like The Young Turks.  Now, while calling someone a warrior for justice could definitely be turned into a good thing, there seems to be little way that one can justify calling someone alt-right, as one tends to mean a certain lack of legitimacy in it.  This is coming from people who do not view the right with any degree of fondness, and probably the same people who view me as some sort of mouth breathing troglodyte for my oft and openly expressed religious and political worldview.  So, what we have here is a phenomenon where people express their dislike of being labeled by labeling others in turn.  Here is my advise, quoted from a Man far wiser than I am and will ever be so long as I inhabit this earthly tent:  let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  It is amazing how much less rancor we would have in our lives if we would take that sound advice.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/08/08/exodus-2-and-moses-sense-of-social-justice/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/10/09/tip-the-scales-of-justice/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/11/20/book-review-the-ten-commandments/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015/02/06/caught-in-the-middle/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/04/15/walking-out-of-egypt/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/10/31/vindicae-contra-tyrannos/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2013/03/02/remember-me-o-my-god-for-good/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/10/18/isaiah-118-20-come-now-and-let-us-reason-together/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/04/10/the-revolution-will-not-be-televised/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012/03/16/jacobs-ladder/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2011/04/17/reflections-on-the-haggadah/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, History, Musings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Turnabout Is Fair Play, Or The Lament Of The Social Justice Warrior

  1. Pingback: If I Were You, I’d Wanna Be Me Too | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Kindness Challenge | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: The Perils Of Not Progressing | Edge Induced Cohesion

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