As the year draws to a close, one thing we will remember 2017 for is that this was the year when the social justice movement really started eating their own. Yes, SJWs still spend their time fighting traditional values and those who believe in free speech, but increasingly, they have found enemies amongst themselves.
This has been evident, most prominently, in the sexual harassment scandal which has engulfed Hollywood. Actors and actresses who worked with Harvey Weinstein are desparately trying to pretend they didn’t know about his behaviour, which unfortunately some their SJW friends refuse to believe. The scandal has also claimed the career of many a high-profile liberal social justice warrior due to their own sexual misconduct; they have in turn has swiftly been disowned by their brethren. Their hypocrisy is plain to see: preaching feminism does indeed sit very uneasily with casual misogyny. But the question is whether all these men really are sexual predators, or whether they are being eaten up by a witch hunt they have helped create? Should a bit of misogyny really be a career ending offence? Either way, frankly, they get what they deserve. The SJWs have created an atmosphere in which mountains are made out of molehills on a daily basis, and, as a group, they certainly have more than an occasional problem with walking the walk as well as they talk the talk.
But the problems for the social justice movement run deeper than this: conflict is built into the very fabric of the fight for social justice, because different causes do not necessarily share the same aims. To promote one supposedly “marginalised” group, others may have to yield ground. The “progressive stack”, where people are ranked based on race, age and gender to reach a hierarchy of oppression, is an attempt to address this conflict. But it is not enough out in the real world.
Sport is one area where problems are becoming apparent: a conflict is arising between feminist and transgender causes. South African athletics star Caster Semeny already caused controversy years ago, having won gold in the women’s 800m at several world championships and at the London and Rio Olympics, despite questions over her gender. Last week, transgender weightlifter Laurel Hubbard won two silver medals at the women’s world championships for New Zealand, the country’s first ever medals in the discipline. Female athletes are understandably upset, seeing their opportunities diminished. What will happen when a transgender tennis player starts making a splash at the Grand Slams? It is not difficult to predict that this does not have a happy ending.
Then there is renowned feminist Germaine Greer, who fell afoul of the transgender agenda when back in 2009 she said the idea of being trans was a “delusion” and called transgender women “ghastly parodies”. The controversy flamed up again last year, when she questioned the idea of transphobia and stated that transgender women would never be the same as biological women, because they lack the experience of oppression, having grown up as men in a patriarchal society (apparently more of a problem than the lack of male reproductive organs, but never mind). The conflict is clear: accepting transgender women as equals undermines the thesis of systematic oppression of women. One social justice cause undermines another.
Another example of social justice agendas colliding, this time with tragic consequences, is the suicide last week of the porn star, August Ames, which came after the depression-prone 23-year old had been bullied online. Her offence: refusing to work with a male performer who had previously done gay porn, an act which LGBT campaigners saw as motivated by homophobia. The progressive SJWs talk of “my body, my choice” and set an incredibly low bar for when sexual relations should be constituted as “rape” – but could not rally around Ames’ free choice not to have sex with someone, because that person was gay.
The impossibbility of applying their standards consistenly will eventually be the downfall of the social justice movement, just as other “progressive” causes have collided with each other before with devastating consequences – think only of free immigration’s detrimental effect on traditional working-class neighbourhoods and social services in many Western European countries. It is simply not possible to marry all the conflicting social justice interests in a coherent ideology. When new “rights” are constantly invented, sometimes they clash. Ayn Rand wrote in The Virtue of Selfishness: “Any alleged ‘right’ of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another isn’t and can’t be a right.” The progressive social justice movement would do well to heed those words.