This may be the week the SJWs lost it all…or, at least, their power to bully people in the hacker culture and the wider tech community.
Many of you probably already know about the LambdaConf flap. In brief: LambdaConf, a technical conference on functional programming, accepted a presentation proposal about a language called Urbit, from a guy named Curtis Yarvin. I’ve looked at Urbit: it is very weird, but rather interesting, and certainly a worthy topic for a functional programming conference.
And then all hell broke loose. For Curtis Yarvin is better known as Mencius Moldbug, author of eccentric and erudite political rants and a focus of intense hatred by humorless leftists. Me, I’ve never been able to figure out how much of what Moldbug writes he actually believes; his writing seems designed to leave a reader guessing as to whether he’s really serious or executing the most brilliantly satirical long-term troll-job in the history of the Internet.
A mob of SJWs, spearheaded by a no-shit self-described Communist named Jon Sterling, descended on LambdaConf demanding that they cancel Yarvin’s talk, pretending that he (rather than, say, the Communist) posed a safety threat to other conference-goers. The conference’s principal organizers, headed up one John de Goes, quite properly refused to cancel the talk, observing that Yarvin was there to talk about his code and not his politics.
I think they conceded to much to the SJWs, actually, by asking Yarvin to issue a statement about his views on violence. Nobody asked Jon Sterling whether he was down with that whole liquidation of the kulaks thing, after all, and if a Communist who likes to tweet about sending capitalists to “hard labor in the North” gets a pass it is not easy to see why any apologia was required from a man with no history of advocating violence at all.
But, ultimately, they did make the right decision: to judge Yarvin’s talk proposal by its technical merit alone. This is the hacker way.
The SJWs then attempted to pressure LambdaConf’s sponsors into withdrawing their support so the conference would have to be canceled. Several sponsors withdrew (I don’t know details about who; my sources for this part are secondhand).
So far, so wearily familiar – Marxist thugs versus free expression, with free expression’s chances not looking so hot. But there’s where the story gets good. Meredith Patterson and her friends at the blog Status 451 organized a counterpunch. They launched an IndieGoGo campaign Save LambdaConf …and an open society.
I got wind of this a bit less than two days ago and posted to G+ asking all 20K of my followers to chip in, something I’ve never done before. Because, like Merry, I understand that this wasn’t actually about Mencius Moldbug at all – it was about opposing a power play by the political-correctness police. The IndieGoGo campaign was our chance to strike back for liberty.
A day later it was fully funded. ClarkHat’s victory lap makes great reading.
I replied to congratulate ClarkHat: “@ClarkHat I don’t often ask my 20K G+ followers to support a crowdfunder, but when I do it’s hoping for a victory like this one.” And today I have 21K followers.
The hacker community has spoken, and it put its money where its mouth is, too. Now we know how to stop the SJWs in their tracks – fund what they denounce, make their hatred an asset, repeatedly kerb-stomp them with proof that their hate campaigns will be countered by the overwhelming will of the people and communities they thought they had bullied into submission.
I’m proud of my community for stepping up. I hope Sir Tim Hunt and Brendan Eich and Matt Taylor and other past victims of PC lynch mobs are smiling tonight. The SJWs’ preference-falsification bubble has popped; with a little work and a few more rounds of demonstration we may be able to prevent future lynchings entirely.