2016/01/03

One-man Lynch Mob

hangman

Most organisms have a well-developed flight response that drives individuals away from danger; thus aiding their survival.

As presumably higher lifeforms, the CHORFs in trad publishing should have responded to mounting evidence that the system they're beholden to is crumbling, their shrinking cliques are havens for child molesters, and that no one likes them anymore, by retreating from the new institutions that are unmasking these existential threats.

Indeed, the CHORFs did, for the most part, scurry back into the charred foundations of the once stately house they'd pulled down upon themselves. But now, like rats infected with toxoplasma parasites (or infested by unclean spirits?), defenders of the book industry's declining status quo have reemerged to annoy their natural predators.

It's my sad duty to report that author Scott Lynch has contracted this strange selective blindness to readily obvious facts--but only those that call the intellectually and morally bankrupt features of his worldview into question.

Even stranger than the symptoms is the timing. Scott picked this past Friday to dredge up an incident from last August's Hugo awards. Strangest of all, he rallied to defend Tor Books Science Fiction Manager Patrick Nielsen Hayden against charges that Hayden had shouted profanity at Tor author L. Jagi Lamplighter-Wright, and that he was the driving force behind Tor's domination of past Hugos.

How did Scott endeavor to clear Hayden? By simply and brazenly accusing John C. Wright--and by necessity Mr. Wright's wife Jagi--of lying.

Tor Books and Mrs. Wright have stated publicly that they consider the matter closed. Normally, boorish scab-picking like Scott's wouldn't merit comment. But I find myself in the awkward yet relevant position of having more than a passing familiarity with three of the major parties to this reignited controversy.

Of the three, Scott Lynch is the only one I've met. The meeting was quite brief, and I doubt he remembers it. However, I am acquainted with friends and acquaintances of his, both online and in person. I found him to be affable and a delightful public speaker. Our mutual acquaintances all regard him highly.

Though I have yet to meet the the Wrights in person, my relationship with them is much closer. I've exchanged enough emails with Mr. Wright for him to call me a pen pal. During our correspondence he's rendered invaluable advice to me on the craft and business of writing. Not only have I appeared on multiple podcasts with Mr. and Mrs. Wright, she has done me the honor of editing my novels.

Obviously, I'd much rather see three professional authors whom I admire get along. That's too much to ask, though, because Scott has petulantly decided to rekindle old grievances that didn't involve him in the first place.

Scott predicated his meddling on his friendship with PNH. OK. Invoking the goose-gander-gravy principle, I get to defend my friends against his accusations.


It's come to this
Here's Scott's post. I'll reproduce choice samples of his insolence in italics. His burlap sack caning will be administered by me in bold.

One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with my irrational anxiety attacks is the way they have kept me largely shut up when it comes to long-form electronic posting.


Having spent years living with a close family member who suffers from severe anxiety--and possessing a milder form myself--I was tempted to chalk Scott's diatribe up to an anxiety-induced logorrhea.

Then I read the rest of his clearly premeditated diatribe.


...it’s obvious that blog and website updates from me have been scarce for some time.

In light of his flagrant hit piece, not nearly scarce enough.


This was especially frustrating in the wake of the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention, after which the ponderously self-important blowhard John C. Wright publicly accused veteran editor and lifelong fan Patrick Nielsen Hayden of both assaulting Wright’s wife and masterminding the long-term “corruption” of the Hugo Awards

I'll jump in here to note that Scott's post reads like a syllabus of every John C. Wright detractor's most shopworn errors. It's telling that Scott reaches for the ad hominem attack right out of the gate. If you missed it, don't worry, because his argument hobbles along on that particular crutch all the way to the bitter end.


...Patrick deserved better of his friends and colleagues. He deserved to have someone stand up and state plainly what he could not...

Let it be known that Scott Lynch will bravely face the CHORFs' applause by rushing in to defend the most powerful man in science fiction from a midlist author who still works a day job to feed his kids.

Correction: he's defending the most powerful man in science fiction from that midlist author's meek and gentle wife.

And lest we get ahead of ourselves, why is it that PNH needs Scott for a white knight? Why can't Hayden speak for himself?

Could it be due to a new social media policy imposed by Tor's parent company in an effort to rein in the verbal abuse that their employees--including PNH--have been spewing at their readers and authors?


...John C. Wright talks a big game about truth and courage, but that he is demonstrably full of shit.

Says the internet tough guy who snipes at John C. Wright from behind a closed combox instead of raising these issues on the accused's own blog.

Observation: other CHORFs have been regurgitating the "demonstrably full of shit" phrase on other Sad Puppies-aligned sites. If their rhetorical skills are any indication, it's a safe bet that anyone who claims that "X is demonstrably [negative epithet Y]", without providing a demonstration is projecting.


I wanted to be that person. I prepared a lengthy post to that effect. And then anxiety did its usual crushing, grinding thing, and days became weeks, which became months. It is now the new year, Hugo chat has started up in earnest, and Wright is once again plying his mealy-mouthed combination of false civility and vicious nonsense on the subject.

Translation: I realize how ill-timed and vindictive dredging up PNH's public meltdown looks, but I couldn't come up with a better pretext to disqualify one of the leading Puppies' opinions in advance of the 2016 Hugos.


I have decided to weigh in with a reminder that the narrative Wright wants to push is an absolute full-blown fabrication.

You can't remind us of your own dishonest projection, since it's impossible to know what isn't true.


Here, Scott attempts a fisking/refutation of Wright. I'll spare you all a double-fisking feedback loop and respond only to Scott's comments.

...the tone of Wright’s rhetoric veers wildly from one paragraph to the next. One moment, his “Morlocks” are a dire threat from outside the field, “infiltrating” and “corrupting.” Three sentences later they share a mutual love of science fiction with Wright, and the circumstances of his disagreements with them have acquired a trivial hale-fellow-well-met sort of cast. Oh, what gentle shenanigans! This tonal shift is a constant tic of his...

Let the record show that the dude presuming to criticize another writer's verbal tics just interjected, "Oh, what gentle shenanigans!"


[Wright] secured five nominations on the final Hugo ballot for 2015, and in this respect he was the most egregious beneficiary of a premeditated and publicly coordinated slate-voting campaign run by the people fandom has come to know as the “Sad Puppies”

Scott let go of the ad hominem crutch long enough to flail about with error number two: the painfully wearisome voting slate double standard.

See, Hugo campaigning is bad when it benefits authors like John C. Wright. But it's just fine when Scalzi does it.


...and the associated/overlapping “Rabid Puppies.”

I could deduct more points for dishonestly ignoring the vast differences between SP's and RP's goals and methods, but as Scott would say, meh.


This campaign wasn’t even technically against the rules...

I.e. this campaign wasn't against the rules. Why, then, does Scott describe Mr. Wright's nominations as "egregious"?


...though it was fueled by a baseless sense of paranoid entitlement and was certainly shepherded by a number of vocally antagonistic jackasses.

Oh, I get it. Wright's nominations offend Scott because he personally dislikes and disagrees with Sad Puppy voters.

You know, the voters who paid for their voting rights like all World Con members?

Whose past complaints that there was nothing good on the ballot were answered with exhortations to get involved and vote for works they liked--so they did?

See, Scott, this is the special brand of insufferable elitism that drove hundreds of fans into the Sad Puppy ranks in the past three years. Now, the gentle shenanigans of the CHORFs gleefully fiddling (that's a metaphor--no reports have yet surfaced of minors being violated at the awards ceremony) while fires spreading from the Christians they'd torched immolated five categories will drive once docile pups rabid by the score.

This ain't Jim Crow for fandom. There's no ideological test. I paid my 40 bucks. My vote counts the same as yours. Whether I'm paranoid, entitled, or even a jackass is none of your damn business.

Even if it was, your apparent charism of reading hearts somehow missed Chip Delany. Unless you think that supporting NAMBLA is a lesser offense than garden variety jackassery, get back to us when you've called for stripping Delany of his Hugo voting rights.

In the meantime, the other Puppies and I remain members in good standing of Worldcon. We'll learn to live with the searing shame of your disapproval one day at a time.


...this clusterfuck...was a result of vote engineering by a dedicated minority rather than of general acclaim from the field.

Your hubris is showing again, Scott. The Hugos haven't represented the "general acclaim of the field" for decades. CHORFs of no lesser stature than George R. R. Martin and Teresa Nielsen Hayden have admitted as much.

The Hugos reflect the parochial tastes of a tiny, incestuous subculture that's microscopic in scale compared to the millions of contemporary sci-fi fans. Brad Torgersen's chief goal for SP 3 was to open the insular awards up to greater fandom. Bet he's glad you're here to make sure that no good deed goes unpunished.

By the way, the Puppies are a part of "the field", Scott--whether you like it or not. Better come to terms with that fact now, because we're not going away. Your passive-aggressive lecturing guarantees it.


[Wright] strolled good-naturedly into the Hugo Awards in the blithe expectation that everyone else would conveniently ignore the chicanery that had brought him there. 

Already out of fresh insults, Scott just invokes the double standard again, hoping that this time it'll stick.

I'd say that I look forward to seeing Scott ascribe Scalzi's Hugo wins to chicanery, but we'll get as old and gray as most CHORFs waiting for that train.


Scott takes time out from his dominance displays over the Puppies to finally address the topic of his post.

This [Wright's account of PNH's outburst] is a load of crap. Having heard Patrick’s...version of these events directly, and the version reported by several others, I say without hesitation or qualification that John C. Wright is a liar.

Scott heard Patrick's version of events directly? That obfuscation isn't even subtle! What he means is that he did not witness the event, but only heard about it indirectly.

I can say without qualification...Scott's pretensions of blah, blah...professional writer...doesn't know what words blah...fuck it.


PNH did not “erupt” into anything, and there was no shouting or bellowing.

Here's where Scott's knee-jerk virtue signaling to his peer group gets him into trouble.

Because he's not calling John C. Wright, Catholic bogeyman, a liar. He's questioning the lived experience of L. Jagi Lamplighter, a female author of Jewish descent.

Interesting that Scott linked to Mr. Wright's lower traffic Livejournal instead of his current blog. Perhaps he neglected to share the link to that particular site because Mrs. Wright offers her own testimony contradicting PNH and Scott in the comments.
Folks,
First, I think John has made it sound a bit worse than it was…but this is not his fault. I did not repeat to him all of what PNH said because I did not him to get upset during the reception. (I was afraid he would be very angry if he knew someone had sworn at his wife.)
Mr, Nielsen Hayden did shout, swear, and stomp off…but he was shouting and swearing at/about John, not at me personally and, actually, as far as swearing, he just used the phrase “tell him to shovel it up his…” You can figure out the rest.
This may not seem like swearing to many of you…many folks speak that way normally. But I do not. Nor do people normally speak that way to me.
My first thought after he stormed off was; isn’t it interesting that he yelled at the one person in the room whose only reaction is going to be to pray for him.
I was not the least upset…but I did think it ironic that, of everyone present, I was the person who got shouted at. But I suspect Mr. Nielsen Hayden knows nothing about me personally, has never read my blog, and is unaware of the irony.
Charity and concern for both her husband and her SF Manager inclined Mrs. Wright to downplay the episode. But her account plainly shows that PNH did in fact shout at her and used coarse language that she found uncomfortable.

Vocabulary tip for Scott: the actions of a man who shouts, swears, and yells at a woman over whom he wields considerable power and toward whom professional conduct would normally be due can quite accurately be described as "erupting".


PNH and Lamplighter were at a reception attended by roughly ten dozen people, including a number of notable SF/F creators, editors, and fans. Isn’t it curious that none of them noticed an alleged shouting fit by one of the most instantly recognizable editors in the field? 

This is just lazy. If Scott had done his homework, he'd know about the lady and her husband who traveled to Sasquan with the Wrights and witnessed PNH shouting at Jagi.


...Wright himself, who was physically present at the reception, did nothing there or afterward, but was perfectly happy to take his story to the web a day later?

Scott couldn't be bothered to read the firsthand account of the actual victim, so I suppose we can forgive him for not knowing that Mr. Wright only learned the details of PNH's assault on his wife AFTER THE RECEPTION.


What was that about other people not having the courage to “say to your face the foolish lies they say behind [your] back on the internet,” John?

He was accurately describing the cowardly behavior you're providing a perfect example of, Scott.


The encounter between PNH and Lamplighter took place within arm’s reach of a small group of witnesses, including Laura Mixon...

Would that be the same Laura Mixon who proudly declared that she stands with the Tor employee who called the Sad Puppies--including a number of ethnic minorities--neo-Nazis?

Bonnie Parker would have been a more reliable witness for Clyde Barrow's defense--if both of them hadn't been dead.


...from whom I received a recollection of events before writing this.

How long before? Do you expect us to believe Mixon's account, which could be as much as five months old, over testimony that the victim reported within a day of the event?


As PNH told Mixon: When PNH realized who Lamplighter was, he said (closely paraphrased): “I’m a practicing Catholic, and I found your husband’s comments about me hurtful."

Scott is trying to prove that PNH didn't actually shout at Mrs. Wright by pointing out that PNH had to tell Mixon what was said. What he proves is that Mixon--his star witness--didn't actually witness the conversation.

Perhaps PNH didn't shout at Mrs. Wright. Or Mixon just couldn't hear him shouting over the crowd of "ten dozen" people. Or the incident--which she admittedly didn't hear--happened at a different time than she thought it did: while she was distracted talking to someone else or had stepped away from the table.

Either way, Scott needs better evidence if all he can produce is the account of a non-witness whose back was turned during the event.


Wright’s casual allegation that PNH “destroys the writing careers of anyone who does not support his politics” is another flat-out lie. Who are these writers disenfranchised by PNH for reasons of politics?

Gee, Scott, seeing as how Mr. Wright is a Tor author, I'd say that he's in a better position to comment on the goings-on within his own publishing house than you are.

As for why he's not naming names, here's another vocabulary term: professional courtesy.


As Beth Meacham, another veteran Tor editor, has said many times in public: “We edit books, not people.”

Sure. Ask Sarah Hoyt how legacy publishing regards authors with the wrong political leanings. It's so deeply ingrained that I can't blame you for not seeing the bias.

Still, man, it's hard not to see a pattern of mistrust toward female victims of abuse forming.


My total lack of concern for Wright’s histrionic aesthetic prudery should be pretty clear at this point.

Not as clear as your total lack of concern for the truth.


After bandying about a witness whose powers of observation are just as underwhelming as her objectivity, Scott makes a show of refuting Wright's claim that PNH is the driving force behind an award-rigging clique at Tor. But instead he just falls back on more insults.


I must at this point apologize to the reader for understating my case. John C. Wright is a lying hysteric. Full stop.

Nice touch, putting the full stop in there at the end. It's a not-so-subtle signal that this is a lecture; not a debate. Know what else it signals? That Scott's not too confident of his position.

Another stream of insults, this time making reference to a show that trivialized Nazi atrocities. Keep in mind, Scott is attacking the integrity of a woman of Jewish descent.


Precisely how a single Tor editor, acting alone, could arrange “the corruption of the Hugo awards” is left to the imagination. Let’s take this utterly bugfuck fantasy and condescend to put it under the lens of a few reasonable questions:

Time out.

First, Mr. Wright didn't say that PNH acted alone. He called him the sole driving force behind Tor's manipulation of the Hugos.

Now that we've shredded that straw man, bring on your questions. I have answers.


How would this campaign of corruption be funded? Do you imagine SF/F editors as a career class are rolling in cash? If so, incidentally, how long until you start kindergarten?

Since the outcomes of Hugo contests often came down to only a dozen votes before the Puppies showed up, dominating the awards could've been done on the cheap.

One possibility: big publishers like Tor give their editors expense accounts--which is one reason they feel the need to charge $14.95 for an eBook.

NB: I'll share my kindergarten transcripts when PNH finishes high school.


How would it be coordinated? Other people would, sooner or later, need to be suborned or at least consulted. How would messages be sent? How could fifteen to twenty years of necessary notes and e-mails remain completely hidden? How is it that in all that time, not one person approached by this alleged conspiracy would have felt uncomfortable with it, refused to participate, and then made its existence public?

Let's see...someone in a position to know about what's going on inside of Tor Books who may have felt uncomfortable with such bugfuckery and gone public. You got me there. Nobody I know fits that description.

Except, oh yeah, John C. Wright.


How would all the non-Tor publishers and authors be induced to cooperate with Patrick’s plans?

Judging by the results of every Best Editor - Long Form contest from the time it was split from the Short Form category until the advent of the Puppies, non-Tor nominees either went along willingly, or they didn't have a choice. However it was done, you can't deny Tor's total dominance of the field (with the sole exception of Lou Anders' single win, which smacks of a clumsy attempt to feign propriety).


Even if Patrick were to dispense with controlling the voters and go straight to fudging the results, how would he have been able to suborn the Hugo vote-counting process that is overseen by a different group of people in a different geographic location every single year?

Tell me, Scott, is Straw John as big a dick as Straw Larry and Brad TorgersOn?

Because those guys are dicks!

Neither Mr. Wright, nor any Puppy to my knowledge, has accused PNH of tampering with the vote count.

He didn't have to. Controlling the Tor.com Reviewers' Choice Awards is enough to determine Hugo outcomes prior to the nomination stage.


I know Patrick. I admire him greatly. He is a brilliant ambulatory living history of SF/F and its fandom, and yet I am fairly confident that he forgets his own phone number about once a week.

I can say exactly the same things about John ;)


Next, Scott dismisses Mr. Wright's claims of PNH spearheading Tor's Hugo machinations as,

...unfettered psychosis, dancing in the moonlight, naked of any last stitch of evidence.

Is it evidence you want, Scott?

How about certain proof that the Nielsen Haydens knew about the Puppies' sweep of the 2015 nominations before the results were officially released?

Take another look at the years when PNH and fellow Tor editor David Hartwell shut everybody else out of the Best Editor award.

Then consider how much influence the Tor.com Reviewer's Choice Award exerts.

Now ask yourself what is the most likely explanation for PNH's seeming prescience re: the nominees. Here's a hint: the Hugo committee contacts the nominees by phone prior to the official announcement.

What odds are you willing to give me that PNH knew that the Puppies swept the ballot because people he'd been expecting to get phone calls didn't?

And unless he's on the spice, the one explanation that fits all of these facts is that PNH expected certain works to get on the ballot because he'd tried to engineer it that way.

It's almost as if the Puppies committed no chicanery at all, and PNH is projecting his own guilty conscience onto us through you.

But that's just a gentle bugfuck fantasy.


If you look at the actual evidence from the Hugo results dating back to 2000, you’ll see that Patrick’s inexorable PC blitzkrieg has been so devastatingly effective that it has delivered best novel Hugos to Tor books a whopping five times out of fifteen. If you examine Wright’s larger figure and count back twenty years, you’ll see that Patrick’s all-consuming Social Justice Shoggoth has crapped out even worse, delivering a mere six out of twenty.

I'll take you up on that offer. According to Wikipedia, Tor has actually won six Best Novel Hugos since 2000. Is Scott omitting The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu? If so, is he admitting the Rabid Puppies' long-denied claim that their voters tipped the scales in Liu's favor?

Observe how Scott frantically handwaves Tor's Best Novel numbers away. Here are some relevant numbers in their proper perspective. Since it first became a Hugo contender in 1986, Tor has won nine Hugos--more than twice as many as any other publishing house won in the same period.

Even if we restrict ourselves to the twenty year period that Scott and Mr. Wright specify, the ratio still holds. Tor wins twice as many Best Novel Hugos as anybody else.

Now that's a Shoggoth blitzkrieg.

OK, I don't mean to go all Godwin's Law here, but Scott is really making the temptation hard to resist.

And if anybody still doubts the longstanding political bias in the Hugos, doubt no more.

The most striking feature of John C. Wright’s religiosity is that it is indistinguishable from a professional troll’s deliberate attempt to discredit John C. Wright’s religiosity.

What does that have to do with--is Scott...


Even an atheist can spot the thinness of Wright’s “Christian” ethos, smeared atop the fluff like the molecule-thin film of petrochemical butter on movie popcorn.

Oh...oh, shit! He is. He's done explaining the Puppies' ostensibly nonexistent reason for existing to the Puppies. Now he's lecturing a baptized, confirmed, and practicing Catholic on theology. He even put the word Christian in quotes.

How quaint. How...gentle.

Scott, you are, beyond any shadow of a doubt, a more successful author than me--and probably Mr. Wright. My readership is infinitesimally smaller than yours. Depending on the month, I'm somewhere on Larry Correia's N-L list of author success.

When it comes to the craft of writing, I bow to your superior skill and achievement.

But we're beyond that snug little world, now.

Aside from your writing career, you've busied yourself looking after rescue cats, volunteering with your local fire department (admirable), and filling any number of positions in the food service industry.

Outside of my relatively insignificant writing career, I'm a theologian.

And after wading through your lying-assed libeling of my friends for the past few hours, I'm disinclined to be gentle.

But in the same spirit of charity that moved Mrs. Wright to pray for Patrick Nielsen Hayden's soul, I'm willing to just say that you are wrong; comically, hideously wrong. This pool is too deep for you. How about we just leave it at that and part ways with--


Wright confuses concrete-dry levelness of tone with actual decency and civility, just as he confuses the Christianity of Christ with a viciously masturbatory conviction that God is his bigger, meaner cellmate who is going to pound every other inmate in the ass SO HARD in the showers, they won’t even believe it.

Damn it, Scott.

All accounts agree that PNH was most offended by Mr. Wright's assertion that Mr. Nielsen Hayden is a Christ-hater. Mr. Wright made this judgment based on PNH's support for:

  • Abortion: Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law... CCC 2271
  • Euthanasia: Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. CCC 2277
  • Sodomy: Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
"He who does not love me does not keep my words..." John 14:24

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." Matthew 12:30

I don't claim to know Mr. Hayden's heart. It's possible that he's in a state of invincible ignorance that could mitigate or even remove guilt.

What the Christianity of Christ, as transmitted through Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and interpreted by the Church's Magisterium makes clear is that a Catholic who knowingly and willfully withholds consent from Church doctrine on grave matters of faith and morals at the very least flirts with rebellion against Christ and risks the everlasting fires of hell.

It is that most terrible fate--that ultimate tragedy, which Mr. Wright prays that Mr. Hayden will avoid. In your own ignorance, Scott, you confuse Mr. Wright's attempt to correct PNH's errors for superficial moral preening. All kidding aside, I don't know your heart, but please examine your conscience to be sure that it is only confusion; not projection.

Instructing the ignorant--even in frank language that doesn't mince words; even at the risk of hurting someone's feelings--is a spiritual work of mercy. Drawing fire from people who are manifestly living in ways that are contrary to the Gospel is a pretty good sign that a Christian is hitting the mark.

That's the difference between Christianity and the mutant heterodox offshoot of the true faith that's become dominant in the West. Christ confronts us with our sins, nails them to his Cross, and offers mercy. But the price that Moderns pay for rejecting any notion of sin is the impossibility of mercy.

But disbelieving in sin doesn't make it go away. Everybody falls. Continually. The only solution for those who can't acknowledge their own sins is to project them onto someone else--a ritual scapegoat. Yet their sin remains.

John isn't preening. He's publicly admitted his own sinfulness countless times. And me? I'm a monster. We don't think we're better than you and PNH, Scott. We know how bad we are, so we know how bad others can be.

The good news is, none of us have to stay evil pricks. There's a way out, and we Christians are so insistent on telling you about it (those of us who aren't "Christians"), because we love you dumb bastards and we don't want you to die.

Or we're just tediously pious moralizers. Take your pick.

10 comments:

  1. What is this strange desire atheists have to lecture christians on how to be christian? It's not simply lack of belief, as I'm an agnostic and have never felt the need to do it.

    And it's not just about fighting hypocrisy in religion as I've never seen an atheist lecture a Jew on how to be jewish or a muslim on how to follow Islam.

    It's only atheists that do it, and it's only christians that they do it to. Any ideas on why that is?

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    Replies
    1. An excellent question. I'll give it some thought before posting a reply.

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    2. Here's my best explanation for why militant anti-theists single out Christians for school-marmish lectures on their own moral code.

      There's a vital clue in your statement that you are an agnostic, yet feel no need to posture about being "a better Christian than most Christians".

      That's because the so-called atheists of which you speak are neither agnostics like yourself, nor are they truly atheists in the strict sense of one who does not believe in God.

      In fact, they are anti-theists, fundamentalist adherents of a heretical pseudo-Christian doctrine that masquerades as neutral secularism.

      They do not harbor respectful disagreement, or even blasé disinterest in religion--for other faiths, perhaps, but not for the ancient olive tree from which they've severed themselves.

      There are still sincere, intellectually honest nonbelievers like Hume, Shaw, and Russell around, though they've been shouted down by the anti-theists' evangelical zeal.

      What's the source of this anti-religious zeal? It's as old as Genesis. How does the serpent tempt Eve? By implying that divine and natural law are arbitrary, external impositions.

      That oldest lie is the devil's favorite--and only--trick.

      I have never met an evangelical atheist who came by his nonbelief through long and laborious study, thought, and meditation. All were raised in nominally Christian, usually broken, homes. At the very least they grew up with poor spiritual formation in a ruthlessly post-Christian culture, into which they were easily seduced.

      We have let our every institution be overrun by bad teachers. Not least at fault are individual Christians whose sins scandalize the world.

      Now, living an authentic Christian life requires the exercise of heroic virtue. That wasn't always the case. In times and places long past, the culture itself reinforced and encouraged faith and virtue just as our culture encourages vice.

      So the rising tide of disaffected post-Christians is hardly surprising. Neither is their habit of delivering moral lectures to Christians.

      When one's identity is wedded to an ideology, as the post-Christians espouse anti-theism, any compelling challenge to that ideology is taken as an existential threat. The simple term for this concept is cognitive dissonance.

      Cognitive dissonance is painful. To avoid it, those who have rejected Christianity can't just shake hands with Christians and peacefully go their own way. They must convince themselves that Christianity is false. Since Christianity is an evangelizing faith commissioned to share the Gospel with every creature, evangelical post-Christians must continually attempt to tear down the Gospel message.

      The particular means of accomplishing this--the moral lecturing you asked about--was probably taken from Alinsky's playbook. He exhorted his readers to make the foe live up to hyperbolic distortions of his own standards (if an editor says he answers all letters, send him 10,000 letters).

      Anti-theist lectures aren't intended as well-meaning admonishments. They're meant to expose the Christians being lectured as hypocrites.

      They completely overlook the fallacy at the heart of this tactic. Failure to live up to a standard does not disprove that the standard exists. If a ten pack a day smoker tells you not to smoke, that doesn't make smoking healthy.

      So the anti-theist insults the Christian; then reprimands the Christian's attempt to defend himself as a failure to turn the other cheek.

      Personally, I find such tortured attempts at relieving cognitive dissonance comical. Fundamentalist atheists always argue as if all Christians are Fundamentalists. They have no answer when I rebuff their proof texting by pointing to the Magisterial authority that resolved most of those dilemmas ages ago.

      Delete
    3. First of all, thank you for this well thought out answer. Obviously a good deal of effort went into it.

      Secondly it does make a lot of sense. There are atheists I've known who were fine people, and then there were the anti-theists as you call them. My own personal opinion is that, their protestations notwithstanding, they do believe in God. But they're mad at him. So as a way to get back at him they claim non-belief and become very antagonistic towards believers.

      One good indicator of this type is that when they explain why don't believe is they'll use something bad that happened to them as proof because a loving God wouldn't allow that too happen.

      So all the bad stuff that happened to people throughout history, isn't a problem, until something bad happened to them. It's almost narcissistic. Or perhaps solipsistic might be a better descriptor.

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  2. I cannot put into polite language what my reaction is to Scott's acting as PNH's surrogate in this matter. He was not involved then, did not need to intervene, and did so anyway to virtue-signal to the cult and retain its favor. To say only that I am hurt and disappointed by this decision is to be understate things.

    That said, he handed me all the answers to my problems with The Burning of Hugo, and for that--however unwitting--I am grateful.

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    1. I can only imagine how difficult this situation is for you, Bradford.

      Your friendship with Mr. Lynch was never far from my mind while I was writing this post. Know that I proceeded, not to spite him, but to talk some sense back into an admired colleague.

      I will add Mr. Lynch to my daily prayers, along with Mr. Hayden. If his calumny against Mr. Wright was sincere, then Scott is at grave risk of falling under the SJW cult's sway.

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  3. No worries. I knew what you intended with your fisking, and I appreciate the praying for him. As for myself, I'm going to make the best use of my frustration that I can.

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  4. I don't know much about the politics on the Hugo awards, or on the general terms (read as: acronyms/ initializations) accompanying discussions about it. So I had to look some things up. But I did like this article once I got acquainted with the terms.

    And to reply to this:
    "There's no ideological test. I paid my 40 bucks. My vote counts the same as yours. Whether I'm paranoid, entitled, or even a jackass is none of your damn business."
    The first thing that popped into my head was this:
    http://i1.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/original/000/013/974/clap.gif
    And I could think of nothing else to add to it beyond that.

    Awhile reading up on the terms, I came across an interesting comment about John Scalzi:
    http://dyverscampaign.blogspot.com/2015/04/wtf-is-chorf.html?showComment=1428467806638#c7812458111916815703

    I can't really say much about the above site, as I haven't read much into it. I don't really read the sites with discussions about books as much as I read books. I read books only about as much as any illiterate person, and even then it's a tight race.

    So I guess take that as you will.

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    1. Thanks for wading through all of the inside baseball. I appreciate you bearing with me.

      A Charlie Kane ovation makes all of my effort worthwhile. Thank you!

      Pertinent side note, re: Scalzi. It was he who advised those who'd complained about the declining quality of the Hugo ballot to get involved and nominate works they liked. I think you'll agree that it's turned into something of a monkey's paw for him.

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    2. Yeah, once I started getting into it, it was definitely interesting, and I can see where there's issues at the polls. But yeah, after some reading around, I at least started getting the pieces put together of what the grumblings were and where contentions arise...
      So thank you for explaining it!

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