The “Both-Sideism” Of Cis White Men
The the other day, a question was posed whether the fact that an interlocutor was a “mediocre cis white dude” was relevant to anything, in juxtaposition to the uniformity of opinion by, in this instance, “‘every’ trans writer” as related by @AngryBlackLady.
Along similar lines, the same ad hominem was used to denigrate statistician Nate Silver.
Let’s also not forget who they represent & who gives them power.
The underrated threat mediocre Gen-X white men watching the unfettered power they were promised as kids vanish through their fingers.
The first generation to learn it’s not quite so easy to “fail up” anymore https://t.co/4RHSFbIQRO
— ern. (@ErinEARoss) November 27, 2022
Is it relevant whether these “pundits” are cis white men, whether Gen-X or otherwise, whether “mediocre” or worse, when the question is whether they are entitled to their opinions and whether their opinions have any merit?
As a corollary to the ad hominem dismissal of their “contrarian” views, are their views what they say they are or what others ascribe to them based upon their imputation of their secret hidden meaning?
This is a very popular argumentative style on twitter debate not what your opponent actually said but what you privately know they “really” think. https://t.co/D3nuAcZO0E
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) November 28, 2022
The point isn’t whether you agree with any of these “cis white dudes” all the time or even occasionally, but whether the woke contention that their expression of opinion should not be permitted or considered as legitimate and worthy has merit. Whether they were once progressive and have since become traitors to the cause, or whether they were never on the side of the progressive angels, does their “both-sideism” contribute to thoughtful discussion and understanding or are they trolls trying to stoke hatred and harm?
This seems like an appropriate moment to point out that I, too, am a cis white dude, although a bit longer in tooth than Gen-X, and hardly as well-regarded. Do I get a say?
The questions, of course, are purely rhetorical since the answers are obvious, and obviously dictated by which side you’re on. Those adhering to an identitarian ideology will deem any view of the privileged used in any fashion that strays from allyhood as unacceptable. The other 95% will disagree with their intolerance of any view that doesn’t adhere to their orthodoxy.
But a question that’s not rhetorical is whether there can be any reconciliation between the “woke” side’s intolerance and fallacious method of argumentation, dismissal of the views of the vast majority of people based on their race, gender and willingness to consider arguments for and against, and the great many people who are neither conservative nor antagonistic to many of the outcomes the woke so desperately seek, but not to the extent of forsaking reason and principle.
If there is a middle ground to be had, where is it and how can it be reached if the woke are so fundamentally intolerant of any disputing their ideology? It takes two to tango, but are they willing to dance with anyone but themselves? And as it becomes increasingly clear that their support is waning, whether because of recognition that they’re intellectually unprincipled or just too demanding to suffer, will they grow increasingly extreme, offensive and intolerant, or will they come around to recognize that there are often two sides to an issue, both of which are worthy of discussion, and even cis white dudes who don’t plan to turn over their house and car keys to someone higher on the victim hierarchy get to have a say.
The notion of privilege which has become widely accepted as a barometer is one that has never made much sense to me. As I’ve argued, no one should be saddled with detriment based on race, gender or orientation, but after removal of the burden, privilege is almost entirely a matter of personal choice and effort. I’m privileged, and I worked damn hard to earn it, for which I am pretty darn proud. As a result, my views are summarily dismissed as those of a old cis white dude, mediocre or otherwise.
To cut to the chase, I reject the notion that I am not entitled to my views, entitled to express my views and don’t give a flying shit if they’re anathema to the bold, woke children who are quite certain that they are the righteous and I, and those like me, are the destroyers of their world. If there is no reconciliation to be had, then the only thing left to say is that cis white dudes of whatever stripe are every bit as entitled to express their views and if you don’t like it, tough noogies.