REVIEW: SJWs Always Double Down – Vox Day (Castelia House, 2017)

Rewind for a second.  It’s 2016 again.  Donald Trump is allegedly in last-place during the Republican primaries.  Google has been accused, though as of yet no evidence has actually come forward that would convince the Left, of being so compromised by SJWs that they’re censoring and omitting search results with their engine.  Facebook, also, has been accused of burying conservative articles in the newsfeed.  Twitter’s been kicking people off their platform.  But so far, the fact that nearly every relevant person of interest who has been censored, de-platformed, or buried under cat videos and Buzzfeed drivel has been center-right or right-leaning is just, as they claim, a narrative.  They insist: there’s nothing there.  We all remember that year, and we also remember the vindication that came the following year: there was not only something there, there was a whole shitstorm there.

So explains Vox Day in his 2017 follow-up to his acclaimed 2015 release SJWs Always Lie.  The previous installment focused primarily on GamerGate, approaching the movement and the reaction to it as a how-to guide on dealing with the Social Justice Warrior menace.  This second installment, taking its name from Vox’s second rule of SJWs, functions in two ways: first, as a retrospective of the years that had transpired since the last book came out, and second, as an analysis of SJW tactics, strategy, and generalized motives.  This isn’t trying to be a guidebook so much as an explanation.

Like its predecessor—and indeed, like just about every book of his—Vox Day’s narration remains his strongest suit.  He describes the tech industry collectively breaking down over political correctness with enough amusement to keep the book reading like an action-thriller; we remember the characters involved and the companies long enough for a point to be made on the topic of SJW convergence before the next event comes into analysis.  Stylistically, it’s a blast.  He certainly knows how to weave a story.

What is of most interest to the casual reader are chapters five and six.  Chapter five outlines the “SJW Convergence Sequence,” or the means and agenda by which SJWs overtake an organization.  For those familiar with the Alinskian tactics so favored by the Left, Vox notes that this is essentially a play-by-play exegesis of Alinksy’s twelfth rule for radicals: freeze your target, personalize it, and polarize it—more specific rendition of the age-old tactic divide & conquer.  He also takes some time here to elaborate upon Aristotelian argumentation method, explaining the difference between fallacies that occur in rhetoric and fallacies that occur in logical argument; SJWs, Vox asserts, frequently make both, and then follows up with plenty of examples in the form of internet comments ripped from the various blog wars he’s had.  Chapter six continues in much the same vein, detailing the specific tactics used during SJW attacks, outlining not just the method of their arguments but the means of approach as well.

These analyses form the bulk of the book’s purpose: to approach not the SJW phenomenon itself, but rather to focus its offensive capabilities.  The rest of the book serves only to build up to these chapters, using evidence collected by Vox over the past couple of years to undergird his findings.  The last chapter of much interest approaches the psychological motivations of the standard SJW using the alpha-beta-gamma sort of hierarchy; predictably, SJWs unilaterally fall into only one category.  This chapter seems the weakest of the book, since it really comes across as an oversimplification of social hierarchy for the purposes of attempting an easy explanation for SJW behavior, but the general ideas he brings to the forefront seem to hold up.

Truth be told, the book is not as well put together as its predecessor.  Where SJWs Always Lie was tight, compact, and remarkably succinct given the breadth of its subject matter, SJWs Always Double Down seems to stretch itself to fill the necessary space, despite its short page count.  Vox has a tendency to either oversimplify larger concepts due to the difficulty involved in explaining them, or to over-elaborate upon details to the point that the book seems half-comprised of tangents.  The pages spent on explaining his evidence verges on the sort of self-indulgent autism one would find from the sport of person who insists, yet again, that they have won an argument over the internet.  Vox has the self-awareness to address this at the beginning of the book, and to be fair, the sort of social movements he spends the most time addressing are ones that have taken place primarily online and which he has personal experience with.  But the meat of the culture war is not a purely GamerGate-style flame war that takes down dozens of forums and ends up with countless YouTubers doxxed and silenced; it’s unfolding in major corporations and across entire industries, it’s taken over whole wings of the American government and portions of the world order, and it’s saturated every major pillar of the American lifestyle.

That said, when writes on the topic of corporate disingenuousness and the absolute cancer that is the Human Resources department (no matter what organization it’s taken over), he’s definitely hitting the mark.  Anyone familiar with HR, company codes of conduct, or just way these passive-aggressive and morally superfluous bean counters tend to operate will know exactly what he’s talking about when he spends a chapter on the effective destruction of the corporate worker through weaponized social engineering programs disguised as feel-good company seminars.  They’re always run by women or gay men, he not-so jokingly explains, who have worthless academic degrees in fields that don’t seem to exist outside the walls of an overpriced university, and the only thing their jobs in HR consist of is making the lives of everyone else more tedious.  They spout their nonsense about inclusion and safety, send company emails en masse letting everyone know about the next upcoming indigenous holiday, and, worst of all, they’re the ones your boss reports you to after you have an anonymous complaint calls you out for complimenting the secretary on her new haircut.  After a long day being a miserable, self-righteous asshole at work, these are the same people who then use half of their paycheck on blue hair dye and sophisticated puzzle toys for their fifteen cats.

The book is worth a read, and at just under 190 pages, it’s fairly short.  It reads quickly due to Vox’s excellent narrative skill, and it’s certainly relatable in many of the subjects he covers.  Whether it fulfills its purpose—that being a specific analysis of the SJW’s tactics, strategy, and frame of mind—is another matter.  It does touch on these things, and with regard to tactics and strategy, it certainly gives the reader a good baseline.  The psychological component, however, reeks of reductionism and convenience.  Nonetheless, Vox Day seems to hit the mark far more than he misses it with this little jaunt into the soy-addled, estrogen-drenched world of the SJW.

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