[Picture credit: Problematic People]
So last week I wrote a satirical article for TheHumanist.com suggesting that we ban white cisgender men from public bathrooms because, statistically speaking, they’re more likely to be rapists than transgender people. All my friends got the joke, as did the editors of The Humanist. However, if your read the comment section, it appears a lot of people didn’t get the joke. Now as a writer, I’m always open to constructive criticism, and perhaps they’re right and I didn’t make the joke obvious enough. Nevertheless, both the article and the AHA’s new focus on social justice have greatly upset the seedy underbelly of the anti-SJW Internet, including the Donald Trump of the YouTube, Mr. Sargon of Akkad.
In his latest 20+ minute video, Sargon attacks the recent launch of the Black Humanist Alliance, the Feminist Humanist Alliance, and the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance (full disclosure: I’m on their Advisory Council) as “racist and sexist.” I tried to watch the video, but after hearing nothing but strawman arguments for the first two minutes, I stopped watching it. Apparently he mentioned my article, but like I said, I didn’t watch the entire video, so hopefully he at least got my pronouns right (he probably didn’t).
Now I try to be a good skeptic and at least consider any possibility that I’m wrong, but honestly Sargon doesn’t do a very good job convincing me otherwise. For starters, shortly after the AHA announced the new initiative, he asked them “why they would side with racists and sexists.” Yeah, not a good idea to start a constructive dialogue with a strawman argument!
Sargon also seems to have missed the memo that the Feminist Humanist Alliance used to be the Feminist Humanist Caucus, which was established in 1977. And that past Humanist of the Year recipients include Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich, Alice Walker, and Margaret Atwood, among many others.
Probably the most damning thing to Sargon’s reputation as a rational “classical liberal” (i.e. right-libertarian) is his recent petition protesting the supposed free speech violations on college campuses by . . . censoring teachers that disagree with him. The petition is such a joke that even the anti-SJW website Problematic People called him out on it. As Kristina Hansen writes:
Sargon of Akkad is one of the reasons I distance myself from the label of anti-feminist. I urge you to do so as well. Too many self proclaimed anti-feminists are hardline fundamentalists. Too many of them, like Sargon, refuse to accept that not everything that comes out of feminism is useless or inherently wrong. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. There are indeed many points and ideas within feminism and feminist literature and academia that do have some merit and certainly some value, and which do require consideration, inquiry, and discussion by all of us. To outright dismiss everything just because it is coming from a feminist or social justice perspective is intellectually dishonest and serves only to further divide the discussion and polarize feminists and anti-feminists, rather than engage each group in what should be a search for truth. But again, the idea that Sargons petition does not hold enough merit to stand on its own is his, not mine. Remember, his petition is not a legitimate attempt to redress grievances or enact any change. Sargon claims it is a rhetorical device to stimulate conversation. In plain English, it is the latest antic of a demagogue and a panderer. [Emphasis mine]
Universities must maintain academic freedom – the freedom of inquiry by students and faculty members. When scholars attempt to teach or communicate ideas or facts that are seen as inconvenient to external political groups or authorities, they may find themselves targeted for public vilification, job loss, imprisonment, or even death in some places. Sargon has publicly said, in the livestream we had, that he is all for professors who teach social justice courses to lose their jobs. Sargon is against academic freedom when he advocates such a position. [Again, emphasis mine]
So much for classical liberalism!
Perhaps Sargon just needs a safe space. Maybe we can all pitch in and buy him a room where he can suck his thumb and hug his teddy bear whenever he feels triggered by someone with a different opinion than his. Or maybe the next article I write for the Humanist will include trigger warnings just for him so he will no longer be oppressed by different opinions.
Or he can just be like the rest of us and put on his big kid britches. But that’s not very fun, is it? Why engage in rational dialogue about complex issues when you can just sit behind a computer and be a bully to people you don’t like? It certainly pays a lot more than being rational.