It mystifies me to hear the various journalists, “indie game developers,” and yapping dogs from the periphery who have arrayed themselves against GamerGate describe that movement as right wing. (Or at least it would mystify me, if I weren’t already aware of the… we’ll say “plasticity” of the English language when it’s on the lying tongues of progressive shills and charlatans and grievance mongers.) The point of confusion, of course, is that, whatever else they are, nerds are not right wing. Not collectively at any rate.
In fact, I would guess that, as a group, they tend toward to the opposite side of the spectrum. I’d guess that the gamer demographic skews young, skews urbanite, skews irreligious, educated, deracinated, etc. I’d guess they fit the political profile of the typical Millennial: mostly liberal in theory and thoroughly disillusioned with authority figures in practice. They’re not particularly socially conservative. They’re not philosophically reactionary. And they’re damn sure not the Tea-Partying, red-state, Christo-fascists that their opponents so desperately want them to be.
(And that’s just looking at the gamers’ demographics. We could consider the Right itself as well. It’s not as if historically we’ve held a special brief for gamers, or nerds of any stripe, really. There are a lot of nerdy libertarians, admittedly, but in general conservatives have either been indifferent to or deeply skeptical of the gaming scene.)
All that being said, I almost wish we could claim the legions of GamerGate as our own. Because the plain fact of the matter is that they’re succeeding where we’ve failed for decades. They’re winning. They took the media blitz and survived it. They maintained momentum under concentrated bombardment. And they’re even collecting heads in retribution. Yesterday they got a squeal of pain out of Gawker itself. Gawker. Let that sink in. The Echidna of aggro-leftist yellow journalism. They drew blood from her.
But even in their triumphs, they’re not right wing. Their tactics are identical to those of the social justice warriors they’re contending against. GamerGaters are demonstrably less apt to lie outright, to propagandize shamelessly, to fabricate “death threats” out of whole cloth. Sure. But such scruples aside, they’re still simply turning the weapons of the far Left against itself. Hashtag campaigns. Accusing the other side of “bullying.” Boycotts. And of course the old “hound your enemies financial supporters until they disassociate from your enemies” tack. (That’s the one that made Gawker squeal, by the way.)
So that, as far as I’m concerned, is GamerGate viewed from the Right. It’s a group of young liberals using tried-and-true leftist tactics to unseat and discomfit an older, more entrenched, and more radical group of liberals in the games industry and the media organizations that went to bat for it. This latter coalition evidently underestimated the numbers, the morale, and the organizational capacity of the former group. And they fell victim, in a stroke of poetic justice, to their own tricks. Got caught with their pants down.
This is why it’d be premature to consider GamerGaters allies in the great Kulturkampf of contemporary America, even in the theater of the internet where they’re demonstrating shock troop status. GamerGate is more an internecine conflict that anything. Whereas we on the Right would like to see the feminist critique broken entirely. They simply want the most transparently self-serving shouters of “misogyny!” run out of town on a rail. We would like to see the accusation of racism lose all of its power. They’re content to demonstrate that they’re not the racists that baiters like Polygon and Kotaku are perpetually looking for. We have common enemies, but not so many common end goals.
I don’t think that’s the final word on the whole topic, though. On the contrary. I have—I’ll let you in on it—a secret hope that the GamerGate victory unfolding in front of our eyes is something more than just an entertaining spectacle. I hope that it’s the start of a chain reaction of sorts. I hope it’s a turning point.
There are capable, intelligent young men in the GamerGate camp. And perhaps the single most encouraging upshot to this whole episode is that now those capable, intelligent young men have seen the true face of progressivism. They’ve seen the mask pulled away and caught sight of the ugliness underneath it. I can’t help but believe that they will be wiser for it. Every Millennial who grew up on the internet nurses a skepticism of the media. Every Millennial knows that news outlets lie. But these Millennials have now received that additional, esoteric revelation, one hidden from most: the media won’t simply lie to you, it will go for your throat. It will try to destroy you if you obstruct its agenda. To discredit you entirely. The people holding the megaphones in our public discourse aren’t merely incompetent or short-sighted or even merely biased. They’re malicious. They’re perverse. They’re hungry for power. They’re mean-spirited. And they aspire to a total dominance of that discourse.
I remember the day that same revelation came to me, the day I realized my social superiors hated me. I’ve been in those shoes, and that’s why I’ll wrap up this view of GamerGate from the Right with a message to GamerGaters from a rightist:
Now you know the modus operandi of the social justice Left, which as we have argued on this very site goes much higher up than the people who have been slandering you these past weeks. You know that they accuse you of misogyny, hatred, bigotry, and you know as well that you are defined by none of these things. Regardless, they simply pathologize you, pathologize your dissent, and shove you into the spotlight for public humiliation. It never mattered that your goals in Gamergate are reasonable and healthy and worthy of pursuit. Never mattered a bit. They heaped up whatever slurs they felt would work. Any stick was good enough to beat you with.
I won’t pretend to coach you through the rest of your fight with them. I’ll cheer you on, of course. I’ll even buy a beer for any GamerGater that gets Sam Biddle fired. But it doesn’t look like you need a whole lot of coaching. No. All I want out of you is that you apply this new intel of yours across the whole spectrum of progressive messaging. I ask you to look at us and people like us. Look at the folks on the Right, who have been smeared for years now in the same exact way that you have been. Sexists. Racists. Homophobes. Bigots. Haters. And see if what is true of you is not true of us as well. See for yourself whether we’re the unthinking vicious hatemonsters they make us out to be. See if our sole impetus is “rage” against all that is good and holy. You might see that our various programs are not entirely unreasonable, unhealthy, or unworthy themselves. That we’re as principled in our own right as you are in yours.
I want you to take this look because, like I mentioned above, I think you’re at the beginning of a much bigger conflict than perhaps you realize. The SJWs have invaded your favorite industry, yes. And they have poisoned it, yes. But that’s not the only thing they’ve invaded and poisoned. Our schools, our film and TV entertainments, our public policies, the halls of our capitals—they’ve all been invaded. And they in their own ways will try to break you just as surely as Gawker media did.
I’ll admit I’m a little jealous that you folks were the first ones to give them a bloody nose in public. And that’s a big reason why I’m making this appeal. You’re not the right wing nut job they try to dismiss you as. What I’m asking is that you investigate for yourself whether we have more than just that misrepresentation in common.
And if we do, well, by all means let’s forge ahead together. We’ve got some great intellectual traditions to draw from, some monumental thinkers who have gone ahead of us. Many of our aesthetics, our ideals, our critiques have stood the test of time. They’re crucially relevant today.
But for the love of God we could sure use some young’uns who know their way around a computer.