Why SJWs SJW

Jordan Peterson and others contend that SJWism is an outgrowth of postmodernism. I don’t know much about postmodernist philosophy, but if I understand right (and I’m pretty sure I don’t) it sort of says “Anything goes, categories are as arbitrary as their labels, everything is relative, etc.” It would make sense for SJWs to be an outgrowth of postmodernism, and maybe its roots can be traced there somehow, but I just don’t think that’s what’s going on in everyday terms.

I can’t fathom that SJWs are sitting around reading and getting inspired by philosophy, postmodern or otherwise. Even indirectly, through postmodernist thought leaders or publications or whatever, I find that linkage implausible.

Instead, I think the Occam’s Razor explanation is that the most puerile impulses related to equality, fairness, and self-determination are being indulged and in many cases rewarded, if not by wider institutions (e.g. humanities departments in universities) then in carefully curated echo chambers online. These are not the lofty values of equality or self-determination the 19th century American transcendentalists wrote about, but the infantile version of them that preschoolers throw tantrums over: He got a toy, so I should have a toy! I’m a tiger, not a little kid! Etc.

Let a preschooler keep throwing tantrums over the same things, and when he reaches college age he will be a ripened SJW. Am I omitting something by simplification?

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5 thoughts on “Why SJWs SJW

    • Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a certain psychological profile that was overrepresented among SJWs, but I don’t think this is satisfactory: there are certainly other people with that same psychological profile who aren’t SJWs, and there are no doubt many people with a different psychological profile who are SJWs.

      • I very much doubt the latter. It doesn’t make sense. It’s like expecting a penguin to be a hawk. There different animals, with different wiring. People don’t go against their wiring.

      • If that were true, then people in various ideologies would be neatly sorted out according to psychological profile. But that isn’t the case; there’s always some psychological diversity within any given ideology. Probably you are oversimplifying the factors that lead people toward one ideology or another.

  1. My understanding of postmodernism isn’t that “anything goes” but rather that everything we think we know is inherently biased and based on a limited perspective, so we need to go through every last bit of it and try to figure out if it’s actually true or not. In that sense, it’s not so different from the rationalist slogan of “what do I think I know, and how do I think I know it?”

    I’m not sure how anyone can seriously believe that SJWs are motivated by a philosophy which claims that “anything goes,” to be honest. I mean, do SJWs generally strike you as being easy-going and prone to live and let live? Nor, for that matter, do they fit my description of postmodernism as rational self-doubt. They always seem to be pretty darn sure of themselves to me!

    If they were ever associated with postmodernism – which is a claim I have only ever heard from right-wingers, by the way, never from either card-carrying postmodernists or card-carrying SJWs – then they have pretty clearly moved on to the next step, the one where they think they have identified their biases, adjusted their thinking accordingly, and now need to inform the rest of the world of what the correct way of thinking is.

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