Monday, March 17, 2014

on John Scalzi, Baen Books, and the cognitive dissonance of prosperous liberals

This morning, I wrote:
To be a liberal capitalist calls for cognitive dissonance—liberals believe it's wrong to exploit people, but they don't actually want to give up the things they get by living high on the capitalist pyramid.
John Scalzi's my current favorite example. So I should say upfront that I like him. He's good company at a meal. He's a competent writer. He's a PR genius. If he hadn't banned me from his blog during Racefail 09 for reasons I still don't know, I wouldn't have started watching him critically. (He banned me right when Coffeeandink claimed I had outed her, but before she changed the public posts on her LJ where she used her legal name. I suspect he was making a pre-emptive ban because I had cooties in the identitarian community—at the time, he was desperately making amends for having been skeptical about Racefail by giving time on his blog to the people who wanted to control the narrative.)
He's been helping to control the narrative ever since. The Orthodox Church of Heinlein is a fine example. Referring to Toni Weisskopf's The Problem of Engagement, he says, "I recommend you check it out for the full effect, but for those of you who won’t, here’s an encapsulation of the piece." Rhetorically, that's a beautiful piece of intellectual dishonesty—he's acknowledging the principle that reading what Weisskopf actually said is important while suggesting to the believers in "don't give google juice to the enemy" that they needn't bother, then by doing an "encapsulation" that's entirely his take on the argument, he's ensuring that anyone who does read the original will read it through the memory of his spin.
When I got that far, I saved the post, but I thought I would delete it later. I'm tired of identitarians. I just didn't want to give this example any more time.

But tonight I came across Rick Notes: Yet another fisking of John Scalzi and Toni Weisskopf. I generally agree with Boatwright, so I'm glad he saved me from having to write more.