Read anything on the web and sooner or later it will mention the acronym SJW. This stands for Social Justice Warrior. It is misunderstood by far too many people. We need to cover a little leftist history to put this phrase into perspective.
In 1923 Marxists started The Frankfurt School at the University of Frankfurt. Their philosophy incubated, rooted, and spread from this effort. While the west was fighting the cold war in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s, the ideology was being widely disbursed and adopted by professors and students at universities throughout Europe and North America. Most Authoritarian ideology has its roots in the writings and ideas of The Frankfurt School.
In 1968 a student activist named Rudi Dutschke coined the phrase “the long march through the institutions.” This became a prevailing doctrine in the early 1970s. It was a reference to Mao’s “Long March” in which the Chinese Red (communist) Army was in retreat from the Chinese National army led by Chiang Kai-shek in 1935. The Long March gave the communist army enough time to eventually defeat the nationalists and take control of China.
The long march through the institutions is the philosophy that leftists, (at the time this meant Marxists) would take over the culture by holding key positions in education, journalism, publishing, and anywhere else they could influence culture. In many ways it was the start of the culture war between Authoritarians and Cultural Libertarians, although these are the modern-day terms for the two sides. We use the phrase culture war to describe the conflict because our culture is literally at stake.
In 2001, David M. Van Slyke, PHD coined the phrase Social Justice Warrior in a paper written for a United Nations conference.
Finally, this paper describes a new social justice warrior, who attacks existing social norms and programs to achieve greater social justice and advance social goals not readily accepted by the general public.
Authoritarians eagerly latched on to this term and wore it as a badge of pride.This article (behind a pay wall, unfortunately) from The Boston Globe in 2011 casually mentions the term.
Social Justice Warrior Kip Tiernan founded Rosie’s Place, the first shelter for homeless women.
Videos of (mostly college age) Authoritarians proudly proclaiming themselves to be Social Justice Warriors can still be found on YouTube. In August of 2015 at the World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington, vendors were selling a Superman-esque SJW t-shirt. We saw people wearing this shirt there, as well.
In 2014 a scandal involving computer game journalists was revealed. It would become known as Gamergate. Journalists had been covering games using unethical means, and it eventually blew up when a great number of games journalists turned out to be Authoritarians who believed the time had come for computer games to become politically correct.
The revolt against the SJW, and the first real victories, began with Gamers. It continues as I write this. Mockery proved to be a valuable weapon (one of several that Gamers used), and soon the term “social justice warrior” became a term of scorn; synonymous with hatred, hypocrisy, and totalitarianism. The term SJW became poison.
The latest weapon of Authoritarians, the Code of Conduct, declares that “labelling someone an SJW” is hate speech. Wikipedia claims SJW is a pejorative term coined in 2015 to belittle people expressing or promoting socially progressive views.The SJWs are fleeing the descriptor they gave themselves.
Authoritarians change history to suit their narrative. Wikipedia is particularly horrible in this regard. In fact, the only thing the editors at Wikipedia hate more than Cultural Libertarians is Gamergaters. Anyone seriously fact-checking this post should avoid Wikipedia. It is akin to believing state-run news media in any country that happens to utilize it.
Anyplace on the web that talks about SJWs and the Authoritarian mindset will soon enough stumble upon the topic of “Why? Why do they think the way they do?” There are many theories, and many of them are credible. We naturally ask the question because if the root cause can be identified, then they can be convinced they are wrong and we can all just get back to living our lives.
Sadly, it doesn’t work this way. Authoritarianism is most similar to a cult. People are indoctrinated, and cult deprogramming techniques are the closest thing they will get to recovery. Indeed, from their viewpoint they are the holiness and light, and if you do not agree with them; do not actively support them; do not worship at the altars of their ideology, and do not join hate mobs to no-platform, threaten, or remove the livelihood of those who speak against them, then you are the enemy. Erick Erickson, writing at RedState, said it best: You Will Be Made to Care.
Every so often a former SJW will write something about how they recovered. Mostly they talk about the constant work, the constant state of outrage, the constant protesting, the constant mobbing of detractors, and the constant fear and hatred. Then they’d leave the echo chamber for some reason. Maybe it was a school break or illness or family emergency. Once away from the environment, the thought would sink in that something was wrong with the SJW mindset.
The first step in leaving a cult is to get away from the cult.
SJWs & Newbies
Those new to the culture war make two common mistakes.
The first is thinking of it as a left/right issue, as in Liberal / Conservative or Democrat / Republican. At a casual glance, left / right seems adequate in describing the ideas. However, some of the most vocal and most effective critics of Authoritarians are those on the political left. It might be helpful to think of it as cougars and deer running from their common enemy: a forest fire.
The second mistake is disagreeing with the term “social justice warrior.” There is nothing warrior about them! We should not dignify them by calling them such! They should be called social justice weenies! I am neither the word police nor the meme police. The Cultural Libertarian movement has no leader and no dictats. However, making this claim identifies you as a newb. The phrase became poison because Cultural Libertarians everywhere belittled it, mocked it, and explained to anyone they could reach what it really meant.
They didn’t try to redefine it. Doing so has no lasting effect. Authoritarians regularly eliminate words and history. We can see it happening with SJW in nearly real-time. The most effective way to fight this is to clarify the terms and make the Authoritarians own them.
However, if you want to fight using tactics that proved ineffective for decades in the Conservative, Republican, and Tea Party movements, go for it. Maybe you can get it to work this time.
Tempest in a Teardrop and The Real Authority
The real authority on SJWs is Vox Day, author of SJWs Always Lie. This book is the go-to manual on how SJWs operate and how to fight them when they decide you’ll be their victim this week.
We started our comic strip to add our voice in the culture wars. We are Cultural Libertarian Humorists. Should we be assassinated by Authoritarian ninjas, please put that on our tombstones.
We mock the ideas that Authoritarians espouse and use the terms Authoritarians use because it proved to be so effective with their moniker social justice warrior. We hope phrases like “intersectional theory” (the idea that only white people can be racist, or only men can be sexist) and “feminist” (appropriated by Authoritarians into a twisted Animal Farm version of equal rights between the sexes) will become familiar and understood by everyone outside the academic and media hot-houses. We expect that if and when they do, the same SJWs will attempt to run away from them as well.
The reality is that these terms only become poisonous, because the ideas behind them are poison.