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Engagement

I am (perhaps unsurprisingly) a constant customer of Baen Books, both in the era of its founding by Jim Baen and now under the able leadership of Toni Weisskopf. They print books that entertain me, though the Baen logo is neither a necessary nor a sufficient guarantee that I will be entertained. In the past year or so, a cultural conflict in the Science Fiction domain has brewed up, another theater in the overall culture war. Diatribes have been written, ably and poorly, by all combatants as well as their allied hosts. Toni has this particular one, and Sarah Hoyt has reprinted it someplace I can easily link to. It’s long, and a lot of it is domain-specific, but the conclusion has relevance to the RKBA culture war. Emphasis is mine

But are the popular awards worth fighting for? I’m not sure our side has ever really tried, though there are indications that previous attempts to rally readers of non-in-group books were thwarted in ways that were against the rules of the game. And yet, to quote Heinlein, “Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you. If you don’t bet, you can’t win.”

I think the problem is that folks just really feel they have no possible conversation with the other side any more, that the battle for this part of the culture isn’t worth fighting. And I think again SF is mirroring the greater American culture. Our country is different because it, like science fiction fandom, was built around an idea—not geographic or linguistic accident, but an idea—we hold these truths to be self evident. And it is becoming more and more obvious that the two sides of American culture no longer share a frame of reference, no points of contact, no agreement on the meaning of the core ideas.

And yet, I can’t help but think that at some point, you have to fight or you will have lost the war. The fight itself is worth it, if only because honorable competition and conflict leads to creativity, without which we, science fiction, as a unique phenomenon, die.

This is why I blog, I engage in arguments and debates (and a little bit of trolling as well) in comment sections and on Facebook (and on Twitter back when I still had the energy). You have to fight or you will have lost the war. Despite the famous line, they can take our freedoms. But we have to remember what the actual objective is. The objective is not to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, or hear the lamentations of their supporters. That might be a side effect, but the objective is to regain our freedoms and build the institutions that will support and protect them in the coming generations. And to do that we have to convince the undecided. To do that, we have to engage, have discussions with outsiders where it can be seen. And, of course, we have to both be and appear to be correct and reasonable.

16 Responses to “Engagement”

  1. Echo says:

    W-… wait, that’s not the goal?
    Then what is best in life?

    • Ian Argent says:

      Living well while your enemies gnash their teeth in frustration and impotence.

    • KevinC says:

      “A nice MLT; mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that.”

  2. RAH says:

    It started over at Tor with a complaint about genders . They want no gender , cis gendered and only God knows what. But that phrase is blasphemy. Then Larry Correia gun expert got into it with Scalzi. Larry is a gun expert and writes modern Conan stuff with his charaters and werewolfs and all fun stuff. Hoyt has gone ballistic now Tory at Baen wrote that piece which has either inflamed or puzzled the Scalzi commenters. I had been following the flamewars periodically. Sci Fiction does appeals to both libertarians ,conservatives , liberals so the liberals want to control certain aspects so it is PC. It is the same culture war. Gun rights people should understand that they are also involved in the culture wars. The pro culture also has disconnects with the non gun culture. But thankfully it is easier to convince the no gun rights people with experience and shooting . Harder with just ideas.
    Over the last 15 years we have been winning the argument.

  3. Absolutely. Engagement is a key part. The other side needs to be confronted with our arguments. They may never change their minds, or if they do it will be a long time. But others who read may.

    Giving up means they win.

  4. Bubblehead Les says:

    Remember, though, it takes Two or More to have a Discussion. As far as the Anti-Gunners are concerned, most of them have “Drunk the Kool-Aid”, and trying to have a Rational Dialogue with them is as Futile as Resisting the Borg.

    And BAEN RULES!

    • Ian Argent says:

      There are a lot less true believers than you’d think; absent some kind of personal tragedy, I’ve had some luck in discussing the issues with people who started anti-rights. One of our advantages, remember, is that firearms are fun. There are no anti-shooting ranges. And with the True Believers, it’s not that hard to show the no guns, nowhere, for nobody core.

      • The Jack says:

        There’s also the power of ignorance.

        Many people “in the middle” just don’t know about the legal status quo. And if they’re not “gun people” they’ll tend to believe whatever someone confident tells them.

        This is where the antis sing, as they do best when people are ignorant, inexperienced, and don’t have any countering ideas.

        Hell, it’s taken us years and years to get out the message that “Assault Weapons” are not machine guns, but rifles that fall under some nebulously defined list of cosmetic add-ons.

  5. RAH says:

    The message that most people have heard is that if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. The women on the View were quite surprising when they had experience with break in and stalkers and realized how helpless they were. They said a gun is the best defense.

    The surprising people on the gun control side is that young man that was shot and survived at VT. He is against guns. So the trauma does effect some and that emotional lesson we can not surpass.

    I can sympathized with the parents that lost their young children at Newton. The very thought of rifle ammo striking through those young bodies is horrific.

    The biggest culture win is the amount of CCW and the stories of self defense that happens Especially of women.

    The next culture war that strung up is again the feminazis going after games and gamers because of how women are portrayed. That has gone toxic really fast. It is not liberal versus conservative. Just one trying to destroy anothers fun and hobby.

    In that there is a parallel. Gun controllers are trying to destroy the fun and hobby aspect of guns. The people who love to shoot get ticked off. Gun rights people are not necessarily conservative. Just they find the liberal progressive wing of Democrats which is most Democrats is toxic to our sports.

    • Ian Argent says:

      The gaming thing is part and parcel of why Toni W wrote her article – it’s closely tied with the culture war going on in Sci-Fi right now.

  6. emdfl says:

    Someone somewhere coine dthe term TWANLOC(those who are no longer our countrymen). The scarey thing is that it does seem to fit an awfully lot of that ~47%.

    • Zermoid says:

      Thanks to Barry we also now have alot of TWNWOC, Those Who Never Were Our Countrymen, in this nation……

      And it’s growing daily.

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