Canada, Feminism, Social Media

Canada’s Twitter Mobs and Left-Wing Hypocrisy

I grew up working class, and proud. My father was a Marxist who was active in the labour movement, campaigned for Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party, and educated me about the harms of capitalism. Throughout my teen years and young adulthood, I never questioned which side I was on. To this day, I remain steadfast in my belief that everyone deserves access to affordable housing, free health care, and advanced education. I believe that poverty is unacceptable and that wealth is unethical. I believe racism and sexism are embedded within our society. I’m pink, through and through.

But politics aren’t just about words and ideas. They’re also about ethics and action—both personal and political. And though I remain a leftist in my principles, I can no longer stand in solidarity with former fellow travellers whose ethics are dictated by social convenience, who prioritize retweets over free inquiry, democracy, and debate, and who respond to disagreement with calls for censorship (or worse). These feelings aren’t new for me. But they’ve recently come into sharper focus.

*   *   *

On April 6, a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos—a Canadian junior hockey team—collided with a tractor trailer at a road intersection in rural Saskatchewan. The 16 dead included 10 players, aged between 16 and 21, as well as the driver, the coach, his assistant, the radio commentator, a teenage statistician, and the team’s athletic therapist. In response, a Quebec-based left-wing activist named Nora Loreto tweeted, “Brutal,” alongside a link to a news story about the event. And then: “The Humboldt tragedy is so terrible. I know that[’s] obvious, but there’s not much more to say.”

Amid the national expressions of grief and the outpouring of support for the affected families and community, a GoFundMe campaign raised over $15-million for the newly created Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund. It ranks at the largest GoFundMe campaign in Canadian history.

On April 8, Loreto tweeted a link to an article about the campaign, saying “This is a lot of money,” and then, “I’m trying to not get cynical about what is a totally devastating tragedy, but the maleness, the youthfulness, and the whiteness of the victims are, of course, playing a significant role.” She added: “I don’t want less for the families and survivors of this tragedy. I want justice and more for so many other grieving parents and communities.”

The timing of Loreto’s commentary arguably reflected poor judgment on her part. Canadian emotions were still raw—in part because so many of the victims were young.

Loreto received a torrent of outraged responses, many of them obscenely misogynist and violent. Her critics bitterly resented that she’d seemed to inject identity politics into a national tragedy. She received threats. And trolls called for Loreto to be “fired” from Maclean’s, a venerable Canadian news magazine for which Loreto once wrote as a freelancer; and from rabble.ca, a small, leftist online news and commentary site that Loreto has worked at periodically over the years. It might rank as one of the most epic trolling marathons in the history of Canadian Twitter.

As a feminist writer and activist with a relatively large online following, I know all too well what it feels like to be on the receiving end of these attacks. I’ve experienced it many times. Twitter is not a generous medium. And I can see why a writer such as Loreto—whose commentary usually isn’t read and critiqued by readers outside her own somewhat narrow, supportive silo; and who therefore may not have experienced Twitter at its most vicious extremes—would find it unnerving.

In the midst of calls to have Loreto fired, she tweeted: “The attack on my employment is a good remind[er] of the need for strong unions. If I had nearly any other kind of job, the harassment of my employer would probably be enough to fire me. This is un-fucking-real.” When Maclean’s distanced themselves from Loreto in a statement, calling Loreto’s tweet about the Humboldt Broncos “extraordinarily inappropriate,” she responded by tweeting, “Thanks @macleans for feeding this. Your women staff should be horrified and afraid to tackle anything that’s even slightly controversial.”

Throughout Loreto’s mobbing, she maintained a corps of public supporters—some of whom argued that Loreto was being punished for advancing progressive politics. But while much can and should be said about whose lives are treated as valuable and whose are not, Loreto’s Tweets about the Humboldt Broncos didn’t really “tackle” anything particularly controversial. This kind of commentary isn’t well-suited for a medium like Twitter, where analysis is necessarily limited and decontextualized, so her tweets read as an effort to signal her own virtue, in part through the trite debating trick of “whataboutery.”

*   *   *

In my experience, it isn’t the threats, insults, smears and verbal abuse you get from random trolls online that is most upsetting. Rather, it’s the betrayal from those who you thought were on your side: colleagues, friends, community members, political allies. If Men’s-Rights Activists tell me I’m a “man-hating,” “anti-sex,” “cunt”—that’s just another day at the office. But what may surprise some readers is that the bulk of the abuse I receive online—lurid demands that I should be variously guillotined, curb stomped, drowned, or bludgeoned—comes from those who claim to be leftists.

By way of background: I am sometimes smeared as a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” (or “TERF”) because, as a feminist, I believe that gender is imposed on people through socialization, rather than innate factors; that trans-identified males have different life experiences than those of females; and that people who were born male, and have spent most of their lives as men, should not automatically be admitted to every space that is otherwise reserved for women. And unlike the many young gender studies apostates one often finds at the vanguard of trans activism, I regard the sex trade as an inherently misogynistic and exploitative industry (which is why I support the so-called Nordic model, under which pimps, johns, sex traffickers, and brothel-owners are criminalized).

In May 2015, Maggie’s Toronto—a lobby group that supports the legalization of prostitution—launched a petition against me, with the intended audience being my bosses at rabble.ca. The petition claimed (falsely) that I had published “material that dehumanizes and disrespects women with different experiences and perspectives…in particular Black women, women in the sex industry, and trans women.” I also was accused of “racism, whorephobia and transmisogyny.”

A review performed by rabble editors and board members concluded that the claims of racism and transphobia were false, and that the allegations were rooted principally in the petitioners’ disagreement with my views about the sex industry. In other words, this was a political argument that my detractors had transformed into a personal campaign against my livelihood as an editor and writer.

Those who don’t inhabit the subculture of online Canadian leftism will regard all of this as obscure. But it wasn’t obscure to me: My career and reputation hung in the balance—all because of ideological disputes that had nothing to do with challenging the violent men and oppressive systems we were all supposed to be fighting.

While the initial petition against me received more than a thousand signatures, a counter-petition garnered almost twice as many. Various women and feminist organizations published articles and letters in support of my work. Yet, for the most part, mainstream Canadian leftists and media either remained silent, or threw their hat in with the smear campaign. Notwithstanding the formal conclusions of the rabble.ca report, I was shunned by my rabble colleagues, and it became clear that most of the staff wanted me gone. These ex-friends and ex-allies made it apparent that they saw me as politically inconvenient—a liability to both the rabble.ca brand, and to their own personal brands. My presence was hurting their personal friendships, and they didn’t want to risk being ostracized or smeared themselves just so they could defend my right to free speech.

The stress of dealing with this betrayal was substantial, and continues to impact me today. As I write all this, three years later, I still feel the old anxiety reflexes. It is, as the so-called social-justice warriors like to say, “triggering.”

Though I was not technically fired from rabble.ca, I was subjected to a silent bullying campaign and ostracized. For obvious reasons, it was difficult to work with people who wouldn’t speak to me. Meanwhile, rabble.ca continued to work with, and commission writing from, many of the same writers and activists who’d slandered me by means of a petition that the outlet itself had concluded was baseless.

*   *   *

In a 2000 book, Imagine Democracy, veteran grass-roots Canadian leftist organizer Judy Rebick argued for participatory democracy and processes, wherein “all voices are heard and a diversity of experience is brought to bear on a problem.” According to Rebick, many socialist and communist systems around the world failed in large part because they were insufficiently democratic: “Patriarchal political parties have produced top-down versions of socialism that exclude the very people who should have been shaping the policies of a socialist regime.”

When I re-read those words, I’m struck by the irony that rabble.ca was Rebick’s own creation: She co-founded it with Vancouver writer, and former political science professor, Duncan Cameron, in 2001.

My experience at rabble.ca, and with the Canadian Left more generally, does not stand in isolation. In the UK, working-class women have been forced out of the Labour Party for questioning new gender-identity legislation and its potential impact on women’s rights. In Vancouver, the Vice President of the provincial New Democratic Party, Morgane Oger, participated in the targeting of a woman holding a sign challenging transgender ideology at the 2018 Women’s March. At its 2016 convention, the British Columbia Federation of Labour voted to blacklist Canada’s longest-standing rape-crisis centre, founded on the very principles Rebick advocates—collective decision-making and a rejection of “the hierarchical command model of the public service”—on account of a peer-counselling policy based on the belief that women share a common experience as a result of being born female under patriarchy. Heather Brunskell-Evans, an academic and author, was removed from her position as Spokeswoman for the UK Women’s Equality Party after appearing on Moral Maze—a BBC Radio 4 series—to discuss the issue of transgender children. She also was deplatformed by a student group at her own university, where she had been scheduled to do a talk about pornography and the sexualization of girls.

These are all cases of self-identified leftists excommunicating other leftists—silencing those who fail to heed the maximalist demands of trans activists.

As my own experience shows, it has become common to simply smear and misrepresent a fellow leftist’s position, even to accuse her of “hate speech,” based on differences arising from matters of policy or ideology. All of this is defended under the guise of creating a ‘safe space’ to protect the marginalized from hurtful perspectives. But who decides who is and who is not ‘marginalized,’ or which perspectives are worth listening to, and which must be dismissed out of hand as hateful? As in all movements, those with the most power tend to identify contrary opinions as dangerous heresies that must be silenced. This pattern has played out countless times, in countless places, throughout history. In its most general form, it’s called ‘political persecution.’

To be fair, dishonesty and hypocrisy exist at all points on the political spectrum. But because of my own principles and politics, I expected more from the left. We can no longer claim the Left to be a radical social movement so long as its adherents abet the silencing and censorship of those who offer their own radical analyses of oppressive social systems. Certainly, we cannot claim the Left as a friend of labour given how easily its dissenters are dispatched.

All of which brings me back to Nora Loreto, that supposed devotee of leftist solidarity, unions and labour rights.

Needless to say, she absolutely does not deserve the violent threats she’s received. But the calls to silence and no-platform Loreto come right out of her very own playbook. When the shoe was on the other foot last year, she supported the smear campaign against me; and she gloated publicly after I finally walked away from rabble.ca. To top it off, she even misrepresented the terms of my departure, false claiming on Twitter that I’d been fired.

*   *   *

Having endured my share of slings and arrows, I’ve become a more jaded leftist. But in the important respects, my politics haven’t changed. I still oppose capitalism and wealth inequality. I still support universal access to the necessities of life. And I still fight for social justice—a project that includes fighting sexism, classism, and racism.

What has changed is that I now find myself more willing to question the orthodoxies I see spouted by other leftists. Unlike a younger version of myself, I no longer believe that the positions taken by leftist parties and groups should be taken as automatically correct—nor that positions argued by centrists (or even conservatives) should be immediately rejected, without due consideration. Experience has taught me to value independent thought more than blind allegiance.

To put it bluntly, the Left has become cowardly—though you wouldn’t know it from the heroic postures and hashtags that activists adopt on social media.

The fear of dissent has made many progressives utterly incapable of self-critique or critical thought. Clannish and gutless, too many betray so-called brothers and sisters in order to preserve their own reputations and political connections. They bleat the same empty mantras back and forth to one another; a game of call-and-response in which everyone is afraid to admit they might not believe—or even understand—the words they’re saying or tweeting. It all helps explain why America’s Left has disintegrated, and Canada’s is moving in the same direction.

The Judy Rebick of 18 years ago was correct, even if the project she created now has become part of the problem: People seek to join political movements in which they are respected and heard, and in which discussions take place in a humane and intellectually honest manner. But that’s not today’s Left. The glaring hypocrisy of a movement that defends only the fashionably doctrinaire is not what I signed up for. When those around you are afraid to stand up for principled discussion and debate, knowing that they themselves are always just one misstep away from becoming a pariah, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re running with the right crowd.

Featured image: “The Inquisition Tribunal,” by Francisco Goya. Image appears courtesy of Google Art Project. 

 

Meghan Murphy is a writer in Vancouver, BC. Her website is Feminist Current. You can follow her on Twitter @MeghanEMurphy

105 Comments

  1. Vincent says

    “I no longer believe that the positions taken by leftist parties and groups should be taken as automatically correct—nor that positions argued by centrists (or even conservatives) should be immediately rejected..”

    Welcome to adulthood

    • Dave says

      “Those who don’t inhabit the subculture of online Canadian leftism will regard all of this as obscure. ”

      Sweet summer child.

      • TarsTarkas says

        What happened to her is she ran into the buzzsaw of monolithic intersectionalism. A criticism of any member of a victim class or their views, no matter how insane they might be, is an attack on them all, resulting in a billion-on-one rugby scrum with Murphy at the bottom of the pile. No wonder she feels so squashed and gun-shy.

        Now if she grows up about some of her other absolutist positions (I’m pleased to note that she did include the word ‘access’ to some of her ironclad ‘rights’), I might be a little more sympathetic towards her . . .

        • Will Vincent says

          Well I’m sympathetic. Twitter and Facebook brings out the worst in us and rewards us for our negative impulsiveness. We all like to talk a big talk about how important it is to stop bullying but if that meant deleting your Twitter and Facebook accounts, would you do it? I dont agree with Megan’s far left perspective but she never deserved what she got. That wasn’t free speech. That was a political assassination.

          Nora loretto didn’t deserve it either but there sure were a lot of more compassionate ways that she could have phrased what she was trying to say. But since her tweet she has gone on TV and radio and doubled down on her statement. So I think it’s fair to say that there was malicious intent behind the tweet, which was accurately received by a grieving audience.

          I think nora loretto had every right to say what she said. I also believe that the world she broadcasts her free speech to have the right to respond to it. Maybe if I go to Auschwitz and deny the holocaust there may be some nasty things I would be subjected to. And rightfully so.

    • All of us on the left eventually find these same experiences and the truth that lies within them. An anecdote ascribed to Lyndon Johnson: What is the difference between cannibals and liberals? Cannibals don’t eat their friends. Or I. F. Stone: I feel uneasy at the very idea of a Movement. I see every insight degenerating into a dogma, and fresh thoughts freezing into lifeless party line.

      Ultimately, this dynamic forces all of us to begin to think for ourselves, to question, to find where we, alone, stand and to do so in the face of tremendous pressure to conform. I remain, as i always have been, a fierce progressive social activist but I have little respect for the mob rule of the left in our time. It will lead no place good.

    • Jeremy H says

      While I understand why Quillette avoids an up vote / down vote system, I wish they would implement a system that gives you something like one up vote per week (impossible to do, I know). In this case I would give you my one up vote.

      • Will Vincent says

        I agree. You get my upvote too!

  2. Alys Williams says

    The snake is finally devouring its own tail.

  3. Seumas MacFarlane says

    Very good and honest article. It can be a painful experience when you realise that the ideals of ‘the left’, (also the ideology of my youth) is revealed to be an oppressive group think arena for the permanently confused befuddled and bewildered. The constantly shifting value system and moral relativism that haunts and stalk the left dont help either. Lots of good things on the left, lots of good things on the right and in between. I agree with Vincent. Welcome to adulthood.

    • AC Harper says

      An honest article. I wonder if helps to think of political movements (the left in particular) not as a collection of people who think like you – but as a collection of people who think you think like them. This somewhat laboured definition could explain why an apparently dissenting personal opinion is seen so readily as a betrayal of ‘the group’. Which therefore merits exclusion and hatred.

      I’m sure it happens in rightish movements too but if the right can be said to be pragmatic rather than idealistic there is more room for dissenting views.

      • David says

        The right, as a rule, is not a collective, but rather a group of individuals who value independent thought above most other things.

        The far right are the collectivists that believe, almost correctly, that the collective is stronger than the individual. Mathematically speaking this is true, but in reality those that do not actualize themselves as individuals but rather submit to a group are transparent wisps of people that have no ground to stand on. They merely blow where the collective spirit takes them eating truth and nuance like locusts as they goes.

        • Scott Thornton says

          David, that comment is poetry! Interesting comment about the far right being collectivists; I suspect that the left / right spectrum is something of a mirage created by the left. Many of us want to be left alone to live our lives; we are not busy bodies. But the activist left wants to change society and they are opposed by groups wishing to change society in a different way. The left calls those people “the right” regardless of their ideology. By this magic trick Mussolini was able to go from communist to right wing ideologue overnight.

        • Chris says

          the “right” of today is not what is was 50 plus years ago. We have experienced such a drift to the left over the last decades that repeating any established centrist’s statement from 20 years ago will get you permanently labelled as “far-right”.
          the groupthink monster on the left has grown so big that it does not leave much room for classical liberal discourse. currently, a sliver in the center-right seems to be the only place remaining where individual ideas are being ‘eligible’ for argumentation.
          seeing the dogmatism surrounding us, I wonder how to reverse the swing of the pendulum.
          in lack of any better idea, I will vote as far right moving forward. that has nothing to do with them representing my ideals, but I simply ran out of options and the status quo starts to affect my daily life where I cannot say what I could 10 years ago.

        • DrRadium says

          David said:
          “The right, as a rule, is not a collective, but rather a group of individuals who value independent thought above most other things.”

          Perhaps this is true among the Canadian right, but with due respect in the U.S. this is only true of the minority of the right that subscribes to libertarian/classical liberal ideals. Just as it is true among the minority of the left for which anti-authoritarianism is held in high esteem, and skeptical independent thought is valued (i.e. the libertarian leaning left). The majority of the right here is every bit as dominated by an intolerant and rigidly orthodox collective as is the authoritarian left. The predominant sentiment on both the right and left despises heterodoxy and independent thought. Maybe not above all else, but pretty close.

          For those don’t believe it. I suggest the following experiment. Go on a typical (not libertarian) right wing website comment section and express an independent thought. Something that doesn’t agree with orthodoxy. Now go to a standard left wing site and do the same. Compare and contrast the resulting vitriol. There will be far more comparing than contrasting.

  4. Ken Smithmier says

    After reading this I realize I have spent zero hours analyzing every person or issue from every possible angle of race, gender, ideology, class, etc. Thus I find it hard to get too worked up when those who do find themselves in such distress. Shorter version: apparently you’re getting treated by others the way you’ve been treating them. Get over it.

    • Robert Paulson says

      This is exactly what I was thinking. If the author is as deep into feminism as she makes it appear, and given what I know about feminists, I wager there is a near-100% certainty she herself has engaged in the same “hateful” rhetoric she is now complaining about.

      What goes around comes around. No sympathy.

  5. Angus Black says

    Interesting article, though I don’t really see why you have to explain which gang colours you wear in the social justice wars.

    I really don’t understand what has happened to the idea of the individual in modern Western society.

    I am, in fact, a white guy, but I don’t necessarily take a white person’s “side” against a black, brown or green person, or that of a guy against a girl. I most certainly don’t feel that I was responsible in any way for the action of a person because he was also male (or indeed, because he had the same shoe size).

    While I can’t see any benefit in treating sex and gender as different things, some guys clearly want me to treat them as girls (and vice versa) – and I can be polite, no problem. Clearly there are issues speed and strength in sport, seems unfair to me. Some people are comfortable to be around, in some circumstances and less so in others; some people are comfortable company more often than others and some people just seem to be arseholes all the time. Sometimes inspiration is more important than comfort, sometimes not. Anyway, I don’t see a problem with exclusionary “clubs”, venues, etc. there are plenty of places to be…go wherever you are welcome which also makes you happy, not too hard, I’d have thought.

    Anyway, Age, gender, colour, shoe size just don’t enter in to it.

    I guess I’m a loner, certainly not much of a “joiner” – i don’t really identify with groups on any meaningful level. Ok so I’m odd.

    it is simply lazy (rude & counter-productive) to treat people as categorical exemplars and I have little time for those who see the world that way.

    Having said that, even I except Collingwood supporters from humanity! (Er, that’s a joke, Joyce)

  6. Emblem14 says

    Sorry, but isn’t it also little cowardly to be publishing this post here, where you know you’re addressing a sympathetic and validating audience? And couldn’t a former comrade of yours be legitimately suspicious of your true commitments when your response to being smeared for TERFism (an internecine leftist grudge match which most others observe with bemusement) is to run into the “enemy” camp and denounce your former allies? That’s the behavior of a turncoat. After all, it’s one thing to retreat to the political wilderness when your friends stab you in the back, it’s another to bring your (former?) ideological enemies a nice “chagrined leftist finally wakes up to how mean and nasty the left really is” piece of propaganda they can use to feed their narratives and bash your old friends.

    It sounds like, as a “TERF”, you have irreconcilable differences with the trans-activism wing of the social justice left, and, finding yourself on the losing side, have very sour grapes.

    You should have tried to get this published at rabble.ca or another left wing publication – they are the ones who need to hear and reflect on your “pox on your house” Cri de Coeur, not the folks who read Quillette.

    Since you published here, that’s reason enough for all the people who should seriously consider your legitimate points to utterly dismiss you.

    As for Quillette, I was put off at how blatantly this piece was pandering to confirmation bias button pushing. Another description of the left behaving terribly in exactly the way we all know the left is terrible; keep them coming, your readers might start running low on smug self-satisfaction and superiority.

    • Sorry, but isn’t it also little cowardly to be publishing this post here, where you know you’re addressing a sympathetic and validating audience?

      Are their venues which do that?

      Since the point of her article is that discussion is being shut down telling her to take her argument to a site that won’t publish it because they don’t support free speech isn’t very logical is it?

      I view radical feminists much the way I see the Alt-right. At the moment they are defending free speech because they are being shut down. I’ll support their right to be heard but I am under no illusion that this isn’t an alliance of convenience on this one specific issue and I doubt either would reciprocate.

      • Emblem14 says

        “At the moment they are defending free speech because they are being shut down…I doubt either would reciprocate.”

        Me either, which is why I consider pieces like this misguided and patronising. It’s fine to take a show of hands on a principled defense of free speech, but it doesn’t solve anything if people just run to wherever they can feel “safe” to spout their views without confronting illiberalism where it lives.

        What is accomplished by a drip of political outcasts from one silo to another, aside from giving safe harbor to said outcasts so they can be used as pawns on the ideological chessboard, abandoned when the shared threat dissipates? It’s transparently cynical and serves no purpose beyond the petty partisan point scoring, which both sides can do, nullifying the credibility of the tactic. If I can find a X-to-Y conversion story for every Y-to-X, what’s the point?

        • leftLULZ says

          Well, well, look at that! A “both sides” argument from the side that deeply resents such arguments! What would you say of the very hypocritical posterboi/girl left Youtube celebrities who tried to dogwhistle and sic their loyal lapdog antifa thugs onto Meghan and other feminist women by TERF-smearing them in order to distract from their own authoritarian fascinations, such as, “I kind of liked Trump, he came out and said that politics was all about money, and he made everyone else on stage look like an asshole. It was funny”? https://twitter.com/ContraPoints/status/777726558807044096 You didn’t seem to mind too much about such people going bottle-that-far-up-the-ass-champagne-left over the backs of feminists like Meghan (they literally made thousands of dollars on Patreon sic-ing antifa onto feminists they witch-branded TERFs) when it was to your advantage to have Youtube celebrities with large followings on your side to make the far left seem popular, sexy and GiGi-glamorous instead of violent, crusty and bash-the-fashy. The “smug self-satisfaction and superiority” are entirely your own.

    • James says

      If I had to guess, commissioning of this article was probably a collaboration with Jonathan Kay, (the new Canadian editor of Quillette) who retweets/likes the author’s tweets regularly. Writing this in a left wing publication might be less “cowardly” but this article is on brand for Quillette and introduces this audience to a thoughtful person who is “pink, through and through”. In that sense, it shows that not all on the left are “terrible” or “behave terribly”.

      • Ruslan says

        There’s nothing in this article that indicates she’s not like those loony leftist — the ones who shut down free speech events, accuse moderates of being nazis and dehumanize a significant portion of the world’s population for being white and male.

        I read very little beyond her sob story reeking of sour grapes.

        • bigeye says

          She lost me right after proclaiming her belief, that : ” wealth is unethical “.

          • DJEB says

            She should have said “inevitable.” But that would suggest an understanding of distributions in complex systems.

    • Emblem14 Interesting POV and well written. But she DOES have fair views (the ones her “own” didn’t like) and stands by them. I like the final lines of this review

      From a magazine review of “Father Joe” by
      Tony Hendra (co-founder of National Lampoon Magazine, part of Monty
      Python, etc.):

      “In the end, Hendra’s self-described ‘precious mission
      to save the world through laughter’ seems to end in failure. He allows
      himself to be drawn once again by the gravitational pull of Quarr (the
      monastery in England where Father Joe lives).

      “At Quarr, Father Joe questions Tony about
      satire and its potential drawbacks: hurting and demonizing others.
      Hendra counters with the monastic concept of contempus mundi, which he
      translates as “contempt for the world.” But the monk corrects him:
      contempt “would imply arrogance, superiority, pride…No, Tony dear,
      contempus mundi means ‘detachment from the world,’ seeing everything sub
      specie aeternitatis.”

      “When Hendra admits that satire thrives on
      an “us versus them” approach, Father Joe responds: “You see, dear — I
      think there are two types of people in the world. Those who divide the
      world up into two kinds of people…and those who don’t.”

  7. Tyler Ducharme says

    It’s also a little cowardly not to publish under your own name.

      • Laura Servage says

        I believe he is referring to the unnecessarily mean-spirited post of Emblem14.

  8. Dave Clarke says

    That Loreto should have suggested that the maleness and whiteness of the victims were significant determinants of the magnitude of the contributions seems to be a reflection of her own prejudice … of her own emotional baggage.

  9. Can’t really sympathise with either the radical feminists or the trans activists on this. Both deny basic facts of biology, it’s just that feminists think sexual dimorphism stops from the neck up and transactivists think it stops from the neck down.

    I’m also deeply suspicious about feminists recent claim to be defenders of free speech. When did this conversion happen?

    As to sex work, I bow to the sex workers own ‘lived experience’. If they think they’re safer working in a brothel than walking the streets, selling their services to people who are, by definition, criminals, I have no reason to doubt them. As with the drugs issue, this isn’t something that you can prosecute out of existence.

    • Ken Phelps says

      Funny how the whole “keep your laws off my body” thing so often just goes out the window when someone else wants to make their own choices in the face of feminist dogma. The author is welcome to her own thoughts on the subject of sex work, but when she advocates for the intrusion of the law to support her, she is little different than any other anti-choice advocate. Attaching a dollop of sophomoric rhetoric to her authoritarian impulses changes them not one whit. Her post in general reflects the tragic surprise of an extremely slow-witted observer recognizing a mirror for the first time.

  10. Andrea says

    While I sympathize with the writer, I feel compelled to point out that we, who don’t subscribe to liberal orthodoxy, have been treated like this for some time. It’s only now that liberals are experiencing it themselves that they consider it a problem.

  11. Sacha Soto says

    I had a weird experience a few years ago. I was listening to Anita Sarkeesian speak. The way the talk was described, she was going to talk about sexism in gaming, but her talk was almost entirely about death threats and online harassment she’d received – how they have to be stamped out and they should never happen to anyone. It was a good message, but it left me uneasy and I wasn’t sure why. I just knew that I wanted to hear about her original topic – the thing that she was invited to speak about and was her original call to action.

    I understood my unease a few weeks later, when I found an interview with the magicians Penn & Teller. They were talking about how they would chat with Richard Dawkins every once in a while and compare death threats they’d received. It was like “oh, you think that one was bad, listen to this..” Up until that point I never imagined that they had received death threats, but it made sense. They say controversial things sometimes, and there are some crazy people in the world. But, more than that, it reminded me of my father. He worked with unions as a manager. Throughout my childhood he had death threats all the time, but I never knew until later. His attitude (much like Penn & Teller’s) was that it was just a thing that happens when you say or do something controversial in the world. That doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it pleasant or less painful, but it is hard to imagine a world where it doesn’t happen.

    Today, we have technology that allows instant broadcast communication among billions of humans. Each has their own anger, joy, hurt, and feeling that they are right. How could we not have what we have today under those circumstances?

    There are people who look at the rain and say “This must be fixed!” And, there are people who say “Oh, it’s raining. I will be dry if I stay inside, but wet if I expose myself.” The rain is going to do what it does.

    • You know what’s more agonizing then a mundane news story, getting hit by a van or losing a loved one to senseless attack. This woman deserved every mean comment and death threat she got.

  12. Charles White says

    While I sympathize with Ms. Murphy’s plight, I also have to add, “Welcome to the social media world moderate conservatives have endured for a decade.” The moderate left is now the next target to be consumed, because the right is effectively censured except on fringe media sites.

    For example, I note that the left wing commentator, Nora Loreto, still has Twitter and Facebook rights despite her shocking comments, including the reprehensible one Alex cites. Yet Owen Benjamin and Steven Crowder automatically lose their rights for their off colour comments.

    In the past couple of months I read a theory about the current political climate in the West. Apologies that I cannot remember the exact source, but I think it was Kibbe although it has all the markings of a Peterson meme. The concept is the spectrum is no longer horizontal, right to left, which is the classical liberal spectrum. Instead it is now vertical, totalitarian to personal freedoms. Hence the reason why classical liberal leftists like Ms Murphy find themselves allied with the right. This concept of a vertical spectrum is bang on in my opinion, and has probably always been the spectrum in reality.

  13. Jeff York says

    Ms. Murphy, great article. Thank you. Best of luck in navigating what John Leo, editor of _U.S. News & World Report, called “The bump-and-grind friction of daily living,” i.e. “life.” I encourage you, no, I *heartily* encourage you to “take the red pill” and immerse yourself in the works of Jordan Peterson, Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Sowell, Walter Russell Mead, Charles Murray, Victor Davis Hanson and Dave Rubin (Rubin Report on YouTube). And, of course, Quillette.

    Whenever I read something to the effect of, “My father…educated me about the harms of capitalism,” I just shake my head. Poverty is the natural state of mankind. We all started out as (poor) hunter-gatherers where there was, for all intents & purposes, *no* wealth-inequality. That and perhaps subsistence agriculture are the only economic systems in which there is no “inequality.”

    Free market capitalism, which should properly be called free enterprise, is simply a voluntary system of exchanges. For it to work there has to be the rule-of-law, strong property rights and the creators of wealth allowed to keep most of the fruits of their labor. Free enterprise, combined with the industrial revolution, has lifted *billions* of people out of poverty and continues to do so at a rate of 150k-200k a *day*. (The various shades-of-red socialist systems don’t do that—no, the *don’t*). Just *one* byproduct of free enterprise & the industrial revolution, the Green Revolution, is credited with saving one-billion-with-a-b (non-white) lives. That *one* innovation (which, granted, built on the work of others as all innovation do) did that.

    The GR was overwhelmingly due to just one evil, demonic, cisgendered, racist, misogynistic white male who was a product of a civilization in which evil, racist, misogynistic Christianity was the dominant religion and a major component—Norman Borlaug. Norman, if you’re reading this, I want you to know that the fact that you’re a white, heterosexual (God-cursed) *man* is one million-billion-trillion times as significant as the fact that you invented something that saved one-billion lives. Norman Borlaug, you are *literally* Hitler! The evil that white men do is *by* *default* the most important thing about them—regardless of whatever else they might’ve accomplished. (I’m talking to you, Founding Fathers and Winston Churchill).

    • Jeff York says

      P.S. (to my comment, obviously): Yes, of course, certain excesses occur in a free enterprise system. Someone who escaped the USSR (before the Cold War ended, obviously) made the observation that, “Yes, there are poor people in the West. But in the Soviet Union *everyone* was poor.” It is out-and-out *impossible* to create a system in which *no* *one* falls between the cracks. An economy based on free enterprise, the rule-of-law and property rights creates the most wealth for the largest number of people possible. To put it another way, free enterprise results in the smallest number of poor people possible. But again, there will always be Karl Marx’s “Lumpenproletariat,” i.e. a chronically dysfunctional 10-20% of the population that can’t get their act together no matter how much money you throw at them. In large part this is due to learning disabilities, personalities disorders and yes, low IQ. But it’s also due to sub-cultures that encourage & reward all the wrong choices & behaviors. To give you just one example, Charles Barkley, who is black, got himself into some trouble a few years ago when he made the observation that “Black people are the only group in America that believes that you have to have a rap-sheet in order to have street-cred.”

      I grew up on my parents’, aunts’ and uncles’ stories of life during the Great Depression. I’ve also served in seven third-world dystopias, four of them Islamic visions of what can only be described as *Hell* *on* *Earth*, I kid you not. Truth-bomb: The so-called poor in the developed world are actually rich the beyond the wildest dreams of 99.99% of all people who have ever lived. I’ve quite serious. A “rich” person from just ~eighty years ago would be amazed and somewhat envious of all the comforts & technology that today’s so-called poor take for granted. The “rich” from eighty years ago would envy them just based on the polio-vaccine and the widespread availability of antibiotics alone.

      By the way, on the topic of “relative poverty” I call bullsh*t. By the 1960s the problem of poverty had largely been solved in the developed world. To justify many of their jobs, redistributionist policies and fan the flames of class-warfare the Left had to invent the concept of “relative poverty.”

      The following example is deliberately facetious but please bear with me. It’s 1000 years in the future and the future is “Star Trek.” Einstein was wrong and warp-drive was invented. As humanity spread throughout the galaxy they discovered a *huge* number of Earth-like (“class-M”) planets. So many in fact, that a “rich” family can have an entire planet to themselves. Middle-class families aren’t so fortunate and have to be content with having a single continent all to themselves. A (relative) poor family has to be content with an Island comparable to Britain or Malta or Oahu. They live to an average age of 120, their “shacks” are roughly comparable to the Bill Gates mansion and they have creature comforts that we can’t even imagine yet. But they’re “relatively” poor, according to one school-of-thought, and the few remaining Leftist kooks who *still* don’t understand economics agitate for the forced redistribution of wealth.

      I’m 59 and my wife & I come from humble working-class origins. My dad was a “roustabout” at a chemical-plant and her’s was an electrician of some sort. (Both of our fathers “skipped out” on us when we were children and our mothers “self-medicated” for the rest of their lives). We had good work-ethics though and thanks in no small part to the GI Bill we now gross ~$220k a year and have a net-worth fast approaching $1-million, not counting the value of two pensions and social security. Would be more but we put three sons through college, all of whom are employed and doing fine. (We also made our fair share of undeniably stupid mistakes and bad investments; occasional periods of being unemployed).

      Anyway, largely as a result of our humble origins we’ve known some low-income people. Virtually without exception they were/are each their own worst enemy. They aren’t “poor” because of uncaring Conservatives, greedy corporations or the evil, demonic white man. Each and every month they manage to spend $300-500 on beer, cigarettes, lottery-tickets, cable, dvd-rentals, the latest-and-greatest flat-screen TV, “bling” and various impulse-buys. But they can never manage to save money. They “live in the moment.” They give about as much thought to the reproductive-act and its near- and long-term consequences as they do their next bowel-movement. To them, the occasional run-in with the law is just the cost of doing business. They will always be with us. “The rich plan for the next three generations and the poor plan for Saturday night.”

      • Kroneborge says

        Very well put.

        Almost 20 years ago I did 10 months in prison. Now I’ve got my CPA license and am the CFO at a good sized company.

        It’s mainly about choices.

        • Jeff York says

          Kroneborge, thank you for commenting and good for you for not obsessing over past misfortunes and using them as an excuse to have a life-long “pity party” as some do. I heartily agree that it’s mainly about the choices we make.

    • Robert Hadley says

      Jeff: I know that you did not mean to omit Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire from your list.

      • Jeff York says

        RH, valid point. I greatly admire SS & JD and read their stuff at least weekly. Mostly at Unz Review.

  14. The object of any debate is to win the debate. To win a debate is to have your position accepted as orthodoxy, and to have your opponent’s condemned as heresy. Otherwise, it is just a pointless act of performance art with no end. If people can disagree with you without fear of stigma or sanction, by definition, you haven’t won the debate. What do you think would happen to a career scientist who still supported Thompson’s plum pudding model of the atom?

    I meet many people who claim to support free speech, but not many that actually do. The sort of people who champion free speech on college campuses tend not to support it in the case of Muslims who think that Osama bin Laden was a fine fellow, and vice versa. Some people say that you can have free speech as long as you’re not offensive, which I suppose holds true for virtually anywhere, including North Korea.

    There was the illusion of free speech back in the day when the printing press was owned by Stationer’s Hall, the media was owned by the professional friends of politicians and your only option if you had any different view was to stand on a soapbox and rant in a park like a crazy person. Ironically, this is probably the closest to truly free speech that we have ever encountered, even if that freedom is used in large part to shout down other people. Drink it up friends, I don’t think it will last long.

    • Abu Nudnik says

      “The sort of people who champion free speech on college campuses tend not to support it in the case of Muslims who think that Osama bin Laden was a fine fellow,…” Prove that statement. Show one case of a speaker not allowed to say anything of the kind. But you’re making it up. Your first paragraph reveals how and why you’re making it up. That’s adolescent, to win a debate and have it accepted as orthodoxy by any means possible. It’s also authoritarian.

      • Yassmin Abdel-Magied was a Muslim commentator and journalist in Australia. On ANZAC day, 2017, a holiday broadly similar to Veterans’ day in the US, she tweeted the phrase “Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine…)” (Manus and Nauru are locations of immigration detention centres run by the Australian government). Essentially, she was saying that the deaths of refugees ought to be commemorated in the same way as soldiers.

        Within hours, a prominent conservative politician demanded that she be sacked from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Despite deleting the contentious part of the tweet, the ABC axed her program, effectively terminating her. This was cheered by a government minister, Peter Duttton, who declared “one down, many to go”. Its worth noting that that particular minister considers himself an advocate of free speech, when it suits him.

        Even a year afterward, conservative media in Australia are still banging on about the scandal. A just published editorial in the local Murdoch press proclaims that “Disrespect for ANZAC day cannot be tolerated”. This is Patriotic Correctness, the right’s own version of disrespect for free speech.

        • Also – perhaps a more topical example – the NYT op-ed writer Bari Weiss has recently cast herself as a champion of free speech against censorious campus leftists, apparently motivated in part by her experience in which she found herself pitted against them as a supporter of Israel whilst in college.

          However, its worth noting that as an advocate for Israel, Weiss was never especially concerned for the free speech of her opponents. In particular, she supported legal sanctions being applied to people who supported the “Boycott Divestment Sanctions” movement against Israel. 24 American states have in fact enacted laws making this kind of political activity an offence, only to be regularly thwarted by the courts, which routinely strike them down as inimical to the very notion of free speech.

        • Ms Magied also said on the ABC that Islam is the most feminist religion. She also walked out of a talk by Lionel Shriver at the Brisbane writers festival in protest when Ms Shriver claimed there is nothing wrong with authors of one ethnicity writing from the view point of another. Ms Magied is a professional attention seeker and victim. Interestingly, when she was ‘driven’ out of Australia, she didnt go to a Muslim country; she went to Britain where she is now furthering her ‘career’.

        • There were professional consequences to her speech but she was allowed to speak all the same. The question was, when has someone been denied their right to speak, not when has someone been allowed to speak but then face the consequences of holding an unpopular opinion. And the gatekeeper to her platform, twitter, routinely removes conservative speakers from their platform (which as an independent business they’re free to do). But you have not provided any examples of Liberal or Muslim extremists being denied a platform altogether.

    • Emblem14 says

      This has to be false. There are other modes of discourse than the blunt absolutism you outline. Instead of orthodoxy/heresy, why not popular/unpopular, credible/unlikely, valid/invalid? Instead of coronating some ideas and stigmatizing others, why can’t we just take some ideas seriously, and dismiss or ignore ones that don’t pass muster. No need for authoritarian thought policing.

      • I am not sure that it makes an enormous difference to be condemned as “invalid” rather than a heretic. There are of course differences in degree, depending on the context. There are debates about fashion, for example, which result in certain modes of dress being considered fashionable and others not, but those debates do not end up with people being burnt at the stake.

        As noted above, a modicum of free speech is allowed within the regimented pantomime of partisan politics, whereby people are usually permitted to support the positions of either one of the two major political parties.

        As someone stated above, this particular feminist is supporting free speech, at the present time, but only because she stands condemned. This is a universal human tendency. The Baptists used to support the separation of church and state, back when it worked in their favour.

  15. The author obviously has no idea what “trolling” actually means: it requires deceit on the part of the writer(s), and that is clearly not the case here. She states that Loreto “arguably reflected poor judgment,” which is an error, not intentional deception. The Twitter mob was incited to anger, viciousness, etc., but trolling would require that Loreto had primarily authored the tweets with the primary purpose of inciting the mob but the evidence strongly suggests she really believes what she wrote.

    The author does provide a very typical example of the Leftist and Feminist thinking process: start with a false premise, inject a bunch of impressive-sounding but poorly-understood words like “contextual,” “orthodoxies” and “paradigms” … and spew forth.

    Nonetheless, there is some hope here: taking the author at her word, she was programmed into the horrible, tribal and self-defeating world of Leftism since childhood and is only just beginning to open her mind to modes of thought where analysis begets understanding, rather than wasting brain cells trying to fit analysis into conclusions.

    I only wish that she, and other “pinks,” would take some time to stop writing (and speaking, tweeting, etc.), and instead spend the time doing some reading of and listening to those outside their tribe.

    • It may interest people to know that the term brainwashing comes from Maoist China, where it was considered to be a positive process, whereby the brainwashed to would be cleansed of all unorthodox views.

  16. jam says

    “But who gets to define…?”

    oooh i know! Stalin can define it for you after your community networks collapse in the wake of the revolution 🙂

  17. Abu Nudnik says

    Since she’s take one small step for a socialist woman, I recommend she take one giant leap by asking how, if “wealth is unethical,” all the things her socialist heart desires can be paid for?

    • ga gamba says

      Through solidarity and collectivisation, of course. And when that fails… threats and firing squads. And when that system fails, claim it wasn’t “true Socialism”.

      If you want to read some good comedy, check out the utter failure by the Left and the Anarchists (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, CNT) in Spain prior to the Civil War – the left often cites Republican Barcelona as high point in leftist economics in practice. Understand that the Anarchists’ goal was trade-union federations of libertarian communism whereas the Left want more centralised control – a micro versus macro approach. Both wanted to eliminate the capitalists.

      In the profitable factories the workers voted themselves large pay increases, better conditions, and shorter hours. They were supposed to hand over 50% of the profit in solidarity with the others in the collectives, but this didn’t happen. “‘This truly revolutionary measure [the 50 per cent profit tax] – though rarely, if ever, applied – wasn’t well received by large numbers of workers, proving, unfortunately, that their understanding of the scope of collectivization was very limited. Only a minority understood that collectivization meant the return to society of what, historically, had been appropriated by the capitalists…'” In other words, most workers assumed that worker control meant that the workers would actually become the true owners of their workplaces, with all the rights and privileges thereof. To eliminate the 50% exaction, one merely need eliminate the profits.

      In the marginal and struggling factories the workers no longer had the owners’ wealth to pay the bills – it fell to them to take care of it, and having little knowledge on how to run a business they struggled. They started pawning their machines and inventory. Soon the workers were at each others throats, a new spin on the battle of the haves versus the have nots.

      In short, after being told that the workers now owned the means of production, the workers often took the statement literally. What is the point of owning the means of production if you can’t get rich using them? But of course if some workers get rich, they are unlikely to voluntarily donate their profits to the other members of their class. This seems elementary upon reflection, but only practical experience was able to reveal this to the economic reformers of the Spanish Revolution.

      Keep in mind these were people who had been talking, dreaming, and planning revolution and the society to follow for many decades, yet they failed to understand the most elementary aspects of business. We keep seeing this repeated elsewhere when anti-capitalists take over.

      The banks stopped lending money, in part due to ideological rivalry (the workers were members of the socialist-oriented UGT) with the CNT dominated factories but also believing loans would not be repaid. The simplest way that the collectives could have avoided dependence on the Left-dominated government would have been to issue debt; in short, to borrow from the general public rather than the government. But undoubtedly the fear of revealing surplus wealth to lend would make such a scheme impossible. Even if their physical safety were not their concern [the holders of wealth were being murdered], investors could hardly expect to ever get their money back. The insecurity of property rights thus made it very difficult to borrow from the public, so the collectives mortgaged themselves piece by piece to the government until finally the government rather than the workers owned the means of production.

      Ronald Fraser’s Blood of Spain and Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War are good reads.

      • Esmon Dinucci says

        Thank you for your extremely interesting comment. In my own read of her piece I had highlighted ” I still oppose capitalism and wealth inequality”. That has never worked and it never will for reasons that you so precisely illustrate.

  18. It’s interesting how many times you try to pigeonhole yourself into one group or another in an article about how you are rejecting the stifling mantra of another group. To me, this article sounds like a sob story, no offence, because you have taken some lumps but you’ve failed to learn the broader lesson. Even little things like identifying yourself as a feminist… well, how long will it be before you have to disown feminists too because you no longer identify with their values? And so on…

    Seriously, would you buy groceries by going to a grocery store and buying pre-bagged variety packs because it saves you the time it takes to think about what you want to eat? As an activist, I’m sure you have a lot more nuance to your views than being positioned in any one group, perhaps it isn’t just time to stop identifying as a leftist, but any easily attributable but subjective political ideology that is bound to either betray you or someone like you when it’s convenient? I’m not a classical liberal because I believe in free speech and small government, not an ally because I think gay people should be able to marry, not a pothead because I think marijuana should be legal, not a conservative because I agree with them on family values, etc…. stop trying to find a club to belong to and you be you.

  19. Its nice to be nostalgic for the old days, but the reality is that the modern Left is a coalition held together by hatred of all things white, male, heterosexual and Christian.

    That’s why murdering white, male, heterosexual Christians evokes these nasty tweets. Its not much different from stepping on a cockroach in the eyes of the wise “woke” ones.

    This is why there is the insistence of “power” to legitimize hatred, the same way the Nazi’s had to create International Structural Jewish Power to legitimize their actions. The Left simply morphed Nazi ideology into “white supremacy” and the “patriarchy”. Its the same conspiracy theory, based on the same circular logic.

    This is what Camus called the Plague. In fact, I think it was the Left’s cheering of the ethnic cleansing of his people in Algeria that triggered Camus’s breach with the Left.

  20. The most amazing thing about the Left is that they pretend to speak with such moral authority, while review of the historical records shows their complicity in the greatest mass murders of innocents throughout the 20th Century.

    Their beloved Soviet Union and Cuba are nothing more than nationalized slave plantations, and that is the future they hold for us: life on a slave plantation where you are coerced to pretend you are living out some egalitarian utopia.

  21. Macleans was right what Loreto did was “extraordinarily inappropriate”. Who could possibly defend these words of hate? – trying to not get cynical about what is a totally devastating tragedy, but the maleness, the youthfulness, and the whiteness of the victims are, of course, playing a significant role. – Good God that’s awful thing to say about blameless victims of an awful tragedy. She deserves some form of wrath for this.

    It has become a daily mantra for me to say out loud when watching TV news or reading something like this “What is wrong with people?”

  22. Joe A. says

    First, I want to applaud the author for coming out and challenging those individuals on the radical left in trying to shut down debate and not engage in a proper discussion, and while I don’t share her politics, she due her right to free speech as I am.

    Secondly, I want to stress and underline to the author, the validity of the charge of a term that applies to many on the radical left – “virtue signaling”. Meghan, what you are seeing is people who claim to espouse the values that you share, but when it comes to actually having their “skin in the game” and living the full consequences of their beliefs. This is why I have far more respect for a Ralph Nader, or many in the union movement who actually do the hard work or negotiating, challenging, taking things to court, and getting their names smeared – because the very difficulty of the act, and the risk their beliefs entail test true to the virtues they demand and uphold. Nobody should have to face death threats to do what is right, but someone who continues to push for the benefit of all despite the threats – that person is the “real deal”. There are many on the radical left who blog, make noise, and display “outrage” beyond the normal scope of their emotions. These people are fake, and their fake moral outrage and lack of true “skin in the game” should be pointed out.

    Third, Meghan, I want to leave a very important thought with you. It’s something that I read, thought about, and really stuck with me since – it was an ancient ideal that every person develop themselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally to face the world as it is. Today, the modern outlook is such that attempt to change everything around us to suit the world to our whims. Many on the conservative side would look to the modern projects of the Left with that observation, and would judge those projects as attempts to change the world, rather than attempts to change the individual. The Left and the Right both agree that the poor and vulnerable need to be helped and protected – the argument is – who is truly vulnerable that they cannot help themselves, and those who claim poverty are there because they have not undertaken the efforts of self-reflection, disciplined effort, and a desire for mastery of skill – the ancient ideal. As you can see, there are some deep philosophical arguments that many need to be brought to light, and debated and argue respectfully, that the other side may not even be aware of.

    In the mean time, keep pointing out “virtue signaling” fakes who undermine what you are trying to accomplish, but more importantly, if you truly believe in what you say you believe – put your “skin-in-the-game” and figure out practical arrangements of work and life that achieve (or bring close to) the goals you are trying to reach. Its actually trying those arrangements on a small scale that will tell you how achievable your goals are. If they succeed, you have proof and competence to bring those same results to others. If you fail, you still give to everyone the gift of Truth, particularly yourself.

    Good Luck

  23. markbul says

    “I’m pink, through and through.”

    Doesn’t even have to courage of her convictions to say ‘red.’

  24. Bill Haywood says

    “it has become common to simply smear and misrepresent.”
    I’m not challenging your experience, but there is nothing new about any of this. You will find it all in the newspaper polemics of 1970s activist groups about each other, and it’s everywhere, every era. Group shunning and mischaracterization are constants, though the internet does seem to increase the apparent volume. But know what? Attention spans have shortened and Twitter eruptions evaporate quickly. Limit your energy to people who are fact based.

    • TarsTarkas says

      It also went on in the intellectual hothouses in the 1930’s, where Leninists, Stalinists, and Trotskyites all stalked each other with murder in their eyes around college lounge tables and New Deal government offices.

  25. What’s so interesting, is that during the inevitable purge that comes with every left leaning ideologically infested cult, there seems to be genuine surprise and shock experienced by the people it swallows up, even after having supported it for so long. I’m not sure why this would be the case since we have 100 years of this type of behavior manifesting itself across multiple countries, cultures and time periods. It’s not like this hasn’t happened before.

  26. Matthew Kahn says

    Perhaps the author will reflect that she herself played the “leftier-than-you” card more often and more viciously than she’d like to remember and was happy enough with it till it got played on her. Still, an excellent piece even if the poetic irony was fairly, if obliviously, spread thick.

    Even when arguing against the general idea of firing people for ideological impurity (perhaps mixed with personal disloyalty) she still laments the same not being used on her own behalf: “Meanwhile, rabble.ca continued to work with, and commission writing from, many of the same writers and activists who’d slandered me by means of a petition that the outlet itself had concluded was baseless.”

    Yes, that’s how trial by assertion and guilt by association work; you were accused of ‘bad things’ and as we must ‘listen and believe’ then ‘good people’ needed to stay clear of you lest they legitimize the alt-right – or at least the insufficiently-left, if there’s any difference anymore.

    I’m in much the same boat as the author though older enough to have reflected on my own part in this debacle and done my best to learn from it. Like her, I keep many of my ideals for continuing to change our society for the better – as we have done over the last century-and-a-half – and see those changes as having been generally defined as “Leftist.”

    But this successful Leftism hasn’t been censorious Puritanism nor Marxist demonization of the successful; it been pragmatic, incremental movement toward equality under the law and of opportunity. This has included some income redistribution via tax rates and flat taxes for health etc but not wholesale property redistribution or state ownership thereof. Now accepted by most political stripes, these were once wild-eyed Leftist ideals. Revolutions have by-and-large failed to deliver for anyone but authoritarians of various bents and Leftists should remember that.

    The author mentions Radicalism as if that by itself establishes her credentials, ignoring that radical right views exist as well and that the radical left experiments tried over the last century have all been brutal failures, much as Venezuela is tragically demonstrating even as we watch. Radicalism is best consigned to the Right-Wing Nut Brigade while the successes of Fabian incrementalism would be wise to take on board.

  27. Loretos’ tweet: “Your women staff should be horrified and afraid to tackle anything that’s even slightly controversial.”

    It seems clear to me that Loreto was attacked, not because she was politically controversial, but because she contravened social norms of not using the recently deceased to score political points, causing more grief to the families. The author of the piece doesn’t seem to grasp that either, so immersed are both in their petty squabbles.

    When people do not follow established social rules, they are forced into compliance by ostracism, insults, social pressure, etc. This is how society works and has nothing to do with politics. Only in the English-language bubble would this bickering be characterized as left-wing politics.

  28. Pizza Pete says

    “By way of background: I am sometimes smeared as a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” (or “TERF”) because, as a feminist, I believe that gender is imposed on people through socialization, rather than innate factors; that trans-identified males have different life experiences than those of females; and that people who were born male, and have spent most of their lives as men, should not automatically be admitted to every space that is otherwise reserved for women.”

    Yes, that’s right. You are a non-trans gendered, non-disabled, non-muslim, white woman quite near the top of privilege pyramid. That’s why your thoughts, beliefs, and reasoning rank low in importance. The only just basis on which to make an argument rests on a correct understanding of the intersectional power matrix in society. Your proper role is ally-ship where you are quite and you listen. (“Be quite and listen.” Let the irony of that sink in.) Step out of line and you are rightly characterized as a bigot. It’s OK to critique white male power, but don’t say a word about anyone else.

    Are you surprised how this works? You shouldn’t be. Progressive white women were clearly marked next on the enemies list. Ideological tropes that may have carried some validity in the ’70s are long past their prime, and (white) women in the middle of the bell curve tend to outperform men. So on the one side you have underperforming populist men, and the other howling mobs of leftists. We’re all egalitarians now and white women do well, and as all right people thinking know differences in outcomes can only be the result of oppression. My expectation is that the next set of class enemies will be Jews and Asians. Maybe they already are.

    Anyways, welcome back to the fold of reasoned conversation. You might find classical liberals who value property rights and equality before the law and tend not to keep class enemies list aren’t so bad. We’re happy to engage in a reasoned debate on the size and shape of what the welfare state should be. Who knows? Maybe you’ll score a couple wins without being showered with epithets.

  29. Emmanuel says

    I do not know if the idea that “racism and sexism are embedded within our society” is true. However, what I know from the works of many historians and anthropologists plus my own travels is that modern western societies are currently the most tolerant societies on the planet and probably the least racist and sexist societies in human history. We live in a time where criticizing non-western societies is almost unthinkable while saying anything good about the western world is seen as offensive, but in the end, when it comes to individual freedom and tolerance and minority rights, modern western societies have achieved more than any other society ever.

  30. Daniel says

    Interesting to read Megan Murphy’s perspective here. As other commenters have noted above, she is not alone in receiving unwarranted, undeserved, illogical wrath from the Left. The problem here is the Left does not have an established set of values that can be articulated clearly. Murphy is telling how some of her convictions — convictions that were shaped by the Left itself — are being furiously turned on by her former allies. Her implied question seems to be: “is nothing sacred?” No, unfortunately not. The only sacred value of the Left today is avant-gardism. You must (!) be at the forefront of the outrage curve, being an activist (read, being offended) about a whole new issue. If you remain committed to a value that is insufficiently new, you are part of the bigoted patriarchy. Welcome to the political movement where flip-flopping is not just celebrated, but is a responsibility. And this responsibility is one Leftists are obligated to demand of others. Ye gods.

  31. SpearOfTruth says

    I will try to be balanced in my views here, and try to avoid insults.

    So let me set the groundwork, I am politically center-left minded. I think there should be a social net to keep people from falling too far, with healthcare, but I also respect a lot of right-wing policies and viewpoints. I hate the PC and SJW culture and I despise censorship (Best ideas will win out over bad ones. As long as you aren’t literally inciting physical violence, it is fine.). I have learned to equate radical leftists, socialists, or even far leftists to post-modern marxists. This is because the war cry of the far left is “We need equity (Equality of outcome.)”, “The Patriarchy” and “X group of people are oppressed because of Y”, all of these sorts of claims were used to adopt a totalitarian agenda during the 20th century. (In case you weren’t aware of these things, I would recommend learning some history, because it’s not nice to see. The road to hell is paved with good intentions) – So with the groundwork finished I will give my 2 cents.

    I think that this story was written from your honest thoughts and I think that no one should attack you for it, but at the same time, I think there is a high chance that you yourself have participated in similar smear/attack campaigns, so in a sense it was self wrought as well, as at some point you will be burned by the flames which you have been feeding, but I really do hope that this is a wake-up call for you, and I would recommend taking a closer look at what people on the other side of the political spectrum are saying, as what I have learned (As a center-leftist) is that the right also has many good points to it which are a valid stance and should be discussed (Not attacked.).

    Lets take a step back. Is it wrong to attack a person for their ideas and thoughts? This is actually a more difficult question depending on your definition of attack and how it plays out. Lets take school bullies for an example. X bullies Y, in social interactions it’s a sign that X does not wants to play the “social game” with Y, and Y has the right to be upset and angry, Y has the right to tell group Z (Friends/family.) about this situation and group Z, being good friends with person Y have the right to be angry at bully X. What happens then? The group YZ can openly deride and make fun of X for being an ass, and X will feel that consequence, but it should never become violent (You shouldn’t demand people to be fired, there is already sufficient social consequences of the group YZ ostracize him, as the more people he bullies, the more people will have him ostracized with no good will). Why am I bringing out this example? Because the connection between Y and Z needs to exist. Not to mention that X’s bullying needs to be directly to the person and to be malicious.in nature.
    So the first point is, you should not get outraged for other people, if person Y does not talk to Z (you), then you should not bring it up and take action. If you get outraged then you’re doing Y a disservice if you attack X when Y is just trying to get over things and move on. If Y sits in a crowd and feels bullied at something X said, while X did not direct the “insult” towards Y intentionally, then there is again a necessity to clarify the intentions of X. You shouldn’t run to Z straight away when the conversation/”attacks” were not blatantly directed at you as a person. People need to stop acting as a hivemind, something that gets said about a group of people should not automatically be taken as a personal insult by everyone who is within that group (Proving people wrong [If they are ignorant] and discussion should be your first reaction, instead of hate and harassment.). People should also stop encouraging Y’s to get offended, especially if Z is the one who is egging Y on to get offended, that just means that Z are not your good friends and all they want is an outlet for their own personal issues (Want to turn X into that outlet.).

    As a response on the topic of equity (Just bringing this one up because of the links between postmodern marxists and feminists currently.). Complete equality of outcome is not possible between any groups, because people are not equal, some people look better, have higher IQ, are more capable, faster, more athletic, etc etc. Did you know that a couple with higher IQ is more likely to give birth to a child with higher IQ, and IQ is one of the biggest things that determines success in our constantly evolving world. What about people with IQ below 90? How in the hell would they produce equal value to the people with IQ’s over 120? They can’t. Some people have issues finishing universities, simply because their brain is unable to process the information. Such factors exist and are relevant. The reason why there are so many Jews who are successful, is because Jews generally have higher IQ’s than other groups. The average IQ differs heavily from group to group, and while it doesn’t mean that all jew’s will become successful, that means that on average they are more valuable in their markets, hence they get paid more.In terms of genders there are many differences, psychological, biological and physiological differences, so there is no possibility of equality either. Especially considering that all the statistics quoted ignore overtime a person might do, the competency of the person in question, etc.

  32. ga gamba says

    I believe that gender is imposed on people through socialization, rather than innate factors

    This is flat-earth tomfoolery.

    I am sometimes smeared as a “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”

    Why would you consider this a smear? By your own admission you advocate for the exclusion of trans people from female spaces. So, this part’s true. You also claim to be a feminist, so true again. And you advocate a radical ideology. Each word of trans-exclusionary radical feminist is true. I can only conclude you consider it a smear because you either haven’t thought it through and your reaction is knee jerk or you’re so thin-skinned that you find criticism to be defamatory. Accept what you are. You’re a TERF.

    which is why I support the so-called Nordic model, under which pimps, johns, sex traffickers, and brothel-owners are criminalized

    Not only are you are TERF, you’re a SWERF. You fail to believe in freedom or personal agency. By criminalising only one side of the transaction you support unequal treatment under the law, which makes you a supremacist too. Either both the sex worker and the john are criminals or neither are. Make no mistake, the Nordic-model prostitution law is one of the most stupid laws created in the late 20th century. Proponents of the Nordic model believe all women are always victims incapable of choosing such a career. They blame the bogeyman of patriarchy, even when a sex worker tells them straight to their faces it was her choice. “My body my choice” does not prevail in the twisted minds of the collectivist anti-choice radfems.

    The glaring hypocrisy of a movement that defends only the fashionably doctrinaire is not what I signed up for.

    For all your many, many faults, I still think you have the right to speak. As do your adversaries. Yet, it must be said both of you failed to foresee the consequences of your dangerous war on speech until it smacked you the face. You’ve been behaving like children. Young ones. For about three decades many have warned you about these inevitable consequences but you kept sticking your finger into the electrical socket because it was fashionably doctrinaire then. Frankly, I’m a bit pleased you received a bit of a startling shock. Now you come crying to the liberals looking for sympathy. You have my support for your speech. And for nothing else.

    (I suspect you shoehorned the TERF and SWERF issues into your article, which have no relevance to the case, as a way to transmit a reader’s sympathy for you to sympathy for these causes, and if this was your intent it failed to work on me. I mention this because I keep an eye on the radfem forums and there’s been a lot of discussion re tactics to gain moderate leftists’ sympathy without radicals reforming their bizarre beliefs. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s attempt at it a few months ago failed and, if this is your gambit, it’ll fail for you too.)

  33. ‘which is why I support the so-called Nordic model, under which pimps, johns, sex traffickers, and brothel-owners are criminalized’.
    And the hooker plays the Madonna. Can’t keep her knees together (job pressures), but she can surely hold her hands up in silent entreaty. And the radical feminists are there to hold them.

  34. Peter says

    14. Communist parties in countries where Communists can conduct their work legally must carry out periodic membership purges (re-registrations) with the aim of systematically ridding the party of petty-bourgeois elements that inevitably percolate into them.
    V. I. Lenin, Terms of Admission into Communist International (1920)

  35. Laura Servage says

    Lots of comments here are respectful, but there’s a lot of slagging and caricaturing of the left here, along with ad hominem and patronizing comments to/about the author. Too bad.

    I was really intrigued to read some of the articles here in Quillette. It’s more right leaning than a lot of what I read, but I like getting different points of view when they are thoughtfully and respectfully argued. Some of the perspectives I don’t agree with, but I’d at least like to better understand where people are coming from.

    But it looks like as seems to be the case everywhere, the gloves come off when an ideological intruder expresses a different view. Break out the “loony left,” “communist” and “whiner” labels.

    In the land of Twitter and online commentary, someone else is always the hypocrite and ideologue. There really is no home for political moderates online. It’s depressing.

    • ga gamba says

      Let’s unpack your comment.

      I was really intrigued to read some of the articles here in Quillette. It’s more right leaning than a lot of what I read, but I like getting different points of view when they are thoughtfully and respectfully argued. Some of the perspectives I don’t agree with, but I’d at least like to better understand where people are coming from.

      Where you unable to read the articles? No. Is this particular article right leaning? No. Are most of the articles here right leaning? Depends how you define right. I’d say most are centrist and centre right being the second most common.

      But….
      Your complaint is about some of the comments (without specifying any particular comment). So, your experience reading the articles really doesn’t come into play. I hope you enjoyed them. You may read all the articles and never read one comment, if you so choose.

      Break out the “loony left,” “communist” and “whiner” labels. A word search finds the only person using the “loony left” and “whiner” words is you. “Communist” appears six times, the first instance in the author’s article: “According to Rebick, many socialist and communist systems around the world failed in large part because they were insufficiently democratic:” At no point does anyone call the author a communist. Half of them come from Peter’s comment where he quoted Lenin, and another person mentioned Mussolini morphed from communist to fascist. The labels you accuse the commentariat of using were not used. Maybe it just felt that way?

      Are many of the commentators critical of the author? Absolutely, and with good cause.

      An example may help. The author writes: According to Rebick, many socialist and communist systems around the world failed in large part because they were insufficiently democratic: “Patriarchal political parties have produced top-down versions of socialism that exclude the very people who should have been shaping the policies of a socialist regime.”

      She cites Rebrick to support her claim the left is insufficiently democratic and is exclusionary. Yet, elsewhere in the article she writes: I believe that gender is imposed on people through socialization, rather than innate factors; that trans-identified males have different life experiences than those of females; and that people who were born male, and have spent most of their lives as men, should not automatically be admitted to every space that is otherwise reserved for women.

      Do you not see the contradiction?

      She’s happy to exclude others, but when the shoe’s on the other foot she objects. Mind you, I don’t oppose her excluding others. I believe in free association, with people including and excluding whoever they wish for whatever reason. The only limit I’d impose is by the state because we’re all citizens and taxpayers – it must include all citizens. My complaint is with her hypocrisy. If you’re going to dish it out, then you have to take it.

      The fear of dissent has made many progressives utterly incapable of self-critique or critical thought.

      Does she critique herself? Something such as “You know, excluding the trans people was a mistake on my part. I learnt my lesson.” No. She’s making a self-serving pitch.

      What has changed is that I now find myself more willing to question the orthodoxies I see spouted by other leftists.

      Other leftists. But not herself and her faction. Those orthodoxies are okie dokie, I presume.

      I found other problems with her article and mentioned a few in my earlier comment.

      Personally, I think the motivation for this article was she has an axe to grind with Loreto and she’s using the dead to redeem herself and perhaps shame rabble into re-accepting her writing. I think she also seized the chance to use the dead to attack her ideological opponents and advance her radfem cause.

      In the end, it’s hard to find anything redeeming about either Murphy or Loreto – they deserve each other. I think many of the commentators here saw her gambit for the dishonesty that it is. What at first appeared to be a road-to-Damascus article didn’t come to be.

      There really is no home for political moderates online.

      I find it impossible to believe Murphy is a moderate. But if you think so, tell us how she is. Further, there are plenty of other articles written by moderates here that have not met the same hostile response. So, yes, indeed there is a place for moderates. Right here at Quillette.

      • ga gamba says

        I screwed up a tag.

        What has changed is that I now find myself more willing to question the orthodoxies I see spouted by other leftists.

        Other leftists. But not herself and her faction. Those orthodoxies are okie dokie, I presume.

        I found other problems with her article and mentioned a few in my earlier comment.

        Personally, I think the motivation for this article was she has an axe to grind with Loreto and she’s using the dead to redeem herself and perhaps shame rabble into re-accepting her writing. I think she also seized the chance to use the dead to attack her ideological opponents and advance her radfem cause.

        In the end, it’s hard to find anything redeeming about either Murphy or Loreto – they deserve each other. I think many of the commentators here saw her gambit for the dishonesty that it is. What at first appeared to be a road-to-Damascus article didn’t come to be.

        There really is no home for political moderates online.

        • mums says

          You’re completely irrational and everyone should see it for themselves.

      • cora says

        Women shouldn’t have to “include” men into their sex segregated spaces. They aren’t, by biology, included. I sure as hell wouldn’t want these people below in my washroom, gym change room, hospital ward, or included in the statistics that are gathered about my sex just because they can use their male size, strength and privilege to bully, threaten and terrorize me into doing it.

        In a week when a man can kill women and feel justified in doing it because women don’t want to associate with or have sex with him, and FACEBOOK knowingly allows that group rights on their platform, in a week when threatening women who know men are not women and know they are afraid of men THIS is allowed and called ART in a publicly funded facility which is primarily used by WOMEN and CHILDREN…in this week YOU tell her she should admit her mistake and grovel a learnt lesson?

        https://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/san-francisco-public-library-hosts-transgender-art-exhibit-featuring-weapons-intended-to-kill-feminists/

        “You know, excluding the trans people was a mistake on my part. I learnt my lesson.”

        • ga gamba says

          Oh, look at the mayhem the feminist blank slaters wrought. You break it, you buy it.

          I so enjoy the unintended consequences that befall the radfems. Pleased by your constructs?

          S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting Up Men) Manifesto by Valerie Solanas is just as noxious as incels and that library exhibit. I’d wager we can find the SCUM Manifesto on many public library shelves.

          As for incels on facebook, here’s the SCUM Manifesto Fan Club also on facebook. There are many other similar violence-advocacy groups.

          As I wrote earlier, all you repellent and violent people deserve each other. It won’t go well for any of you, and I’m fine with that.

          • Cora says

            Neither Solanas or her fan club have sent devotees out slaughtering 100s because they couldn’t get laid.

            Interesting to see how rational and moderate slide into the sewer as soon as a woman says NO.

          • ga gamba says

            @Cora,

            Re your comment posted on 1 May, you neglect to mention Solanas attempted to murder Andy Warhol. Here is your heroine, an attempted murderess. And we see who these demons celebrate presently, such as sadistic torturer, rapist, murderer Donna Hylton. The murderers of your cult of violence don’t get the same notoriety, but this is due to biased journalists who prefer to amplify certain crimes and under report others – the lies of omission and exaggeration.

            As I’ve written before, you possessed and violent radicals, be you incels or radfems, deserve each other. Enjoy your violence. It’ll be bloody and painful.

  36. Serves her right if you ask me. The eyeball-clawing factions on the Left deserve one another. If the Leftist mob came to me looking for her and I knew where she was, I would tell them.

  37. LeftOfCenter says

    I’m a Canadian leftist also, and have found myself in the same situation. Even the mildest criticism of any of my supposed allies results in some pretty irrational responses and branding me as a heretic who might as well throw my lot in with the alt-right crowd as far as a number of them are concerned. Unfortunately, the intersectionalists are running the conversation these days. This is a shame, as they’re alienating large swathes of good people who would rather engage in a good debate than be forced to blindly ingest the doctrine that these folks are serving up. No thanks. I’d rather take my chances with conservatives who will at least be up for a logical and spirited debate.

  38. Rick Phillips says

    I had similar beginnings to those of the author but was perhaps fortunate enough to avoid the temptation of deeper indoctrination.

    Always pleased to see articles and also comments here that inform and challenge. Notwithstanding the personal journey of the author there are indeed many specific issues raised in her article that merit much more discussion. Glad that Quillette provides a platform where such discussion can be potentially be fostered. That is my point. I don’t find anything particularly harmful in the relatively mild venting (for want of a better term) seen in some comments since I am reasonably certain that given the quality of Quillette contributors and commentators, more substantive discussion will eventually ensue.

  39. David J says

    Someone above (Tyler Ducharme) says this isn’t the author’s real name. Anyone know if that is correct?

  40. Good article, and I hope more of the left leave the radical ideology so more centrist like myself can actually consider casting a vote for a side I consider downright shackled in fear to identify politics most themselves don’t believe or agree with but are too terrified to saying anything. Another small version of being lindseysheparded

  41. K says

    I’ve read nearly every article posted to Quillette for a little over a month now. I love the content and the layout. I appreciate that dissenting voices are welcome.

    Having said all of that, I can’t muster much energy to invest in the writer’s plight. The article amounts to the writer running to the other side (or, perhaps more accurately in this case, the middle) to have a cry about her treatment at the hands of her former friends, those horrible meanies.

    How did you think dividing everyone up into little categories (based largely on immutable characteristics) would end? In utopia? One can find examples all over the internet of intersectionality fragmenting along the lines you’ve all drawn between yourselves.

    You’ve sown a bitter crop. Might be time to till it under and start all over again.

  42. P says

    It’s always hilarious to read indignant SJW’s complaining that the movement has turned on them. First we get the leftist bona fides – in this case the author trots out her impeccably proletarian lineage, which is about as Soviet a move as you can get outside of an OISE seminar. In this article, we take a slight detour to learn of the odious Nora Loreto. Yuck. But we soon revert to the strictures of the genre with the seemingly innocuous – to any sane person – comment leading to a barrage of criticism and ostracism from the author’s former comrades. Murphy’s shock and hurt are nauseating. As far as one can tell from the article, Murphy has been a card-carrying member of a large and growing mob of shrill left-wing fascists who seek to silence anyone they accuse of thoughtcrime. It’s only when she herself is the target that she decides it’s a problem. Our self-styled revolutionaries don’t read much history. If they did, they’d know that revolutions often devour their children. Murphy is simply reaping what she helped to sow.

  43. “wealth is unethical” – I could attack that statement for its obvious lunacy and total lack of logic but instead I would simply like to ask the author to explain exactly why she feels wealth is unethical? Not unearned wealth, not stolen wealth, not wealth built on back of slaves or the oppressed but merely wealth in and of itself.

  44. “I believe that gender is imposed on people through socialization, rather than innate factors” – By innate factors do you mean biology? Tell me how exactly was femininity imposed upon you? Do you have vivid memories of someone slapping the legos out of your hand and giving you a barbie? Tell me were the chimps who were studied for this very theory trained by someone who told them that only the male chimps could play with trucks and the females with dolls?

  45. “I regard the sex trade as an inherently misogynistic and exploitative ” – If a John pays a women who enjoys her work for sex, where exactly is the misogyny and exploitation to be found? You think yourself a feminist and yet you would dare dictate to other women what they should and should not do with their own body? You consider it fine for women to sleep around I’m sure but were they to make a profit in the process that would somehow be to their detriment?! I suppose this goes back to your comment about wealth being inherently immoral.

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