Last week open-source software developer and Libertarian activist Eric Raymond published a disturbing post that went viral on the Internet. The post, titled “From kafkatrap to honeytrap,” reports that militant feminist groups and “Social Justice Warriors” (SJWs) are trying to frame Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds and other high-profile male developers with fake sexual assault charges.
Raymond was informed by a participant in an IRC chat. The identity of the informer hasn’t been revealed, but Raymond says “I have found him both well-informed and completely trustworthy in the past.” Raymond’s conclusion is that there is a deliberately planned and persistent campaign to frame Torvalds. “I have to see it as an an attempt to smear and de-legitimize the Linux community (and, by extension, the entire open-source community) in order to render it politically pliable,” says Raymond. His advice to open-source leaders and developers is:
If you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference… because there is a chance that a “women in tech” advocacy group is going to try to collect your scalp.
Normally, unsubstantiated rumors spread by unidentified informants in online chat rooms shouldn’t be taken seriously. In fact, I think the rumor is at least exaggerated. But Raymond’s post went viral through an article published in the very popular political website Breitbart.
“This report is consistent with reports of SJW dezinformatsiya tactics from elsewhere and I think it would be safest to assume that they are being replicated by other women-in-tech groups,” insists Raymond.
SJWs Are Discrediting Social Justice and Making it Ridiculous
SJW is a pejorative term used to mock “Social Justice Warriors” that recently exploded in Internet popularity. In his book “SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police,” author Theodore Beale (nicknamed Vox Day) defines SJWs as:
“They are the Social Justice Warriors, the SJWs, the self-appointed thought police who have been running amok throughout the West since the dawn of the politically correct era in the 1990s.”
As I said, I don’t take this rumor seriously. But unconfirmed rumors don’t go viral without deep reasons. In this case, the reason is that Raymond’s post touched an open nerve. Unfortunately, there are more and more disturbing cases of political correctness run dangerously amok in the tech world. Last year, there was the ridiculous “bullshirtstorm.” A few months ago GitHub, the repository hosting service used by many open source software projects, proposed to adopt a code of conduct that explicitly endorsed “reverse” racism and sexism. The project was paused after a wave of outraged reactions, but interestingly Github never clearly admitted that the project is on hold.
SJWs are being ridiculed all over the Internet after the recent episodes of politically correct intolerance and mobbing in university campuses in the UK and the US. Even the popular TV show South Park is mocking and ridiculing SJWs.
I find the SJWs very annoying. But they are also dangerous, because they are making social justice – the hard-won policies of equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation – ridiculous, and giving the high moral ground to the real enemies of social justice. I don’t like Vox Day and Breitbart – please don’t let them be right.
The fundamentalist identity politics of SJWs is menacing the rights – won with blood – to free speech and free thought, creating social tensions, and pushing social tensions to the breaking point where bad things, like fake criminal charges or worse, could really happen.
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