Heinlein, Hugos, and Hogwash

Starship-Troopers-309825Robert Heinlein could not win a Hugo Award today.

If you are a fan of science fiction, you know how shocking that statement is. If you are not a science fiction fan, I salute you for having better things to do with your time than read stories about space princesses being rescued from bug-eyed monsters by stalwart and clean-limbed fighting men of Virginia; but please let me explain why this is shocking.

Robert Heinlein is without doubt the leading writer in the science fiction field. He was the first to break into the slick magazines or into hardcover. Were it not for him, science fiction would still be languishing in a literary ghetto, no more popular than niche-market stories about samurai or railroad executives.

He was a gadfly. Heinlein’s two most famous novels are Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land. The first challenges the orthodoxy of the Left as much as the second does that of the Right. But in his day, few science fiction readers were offended by his or anyone’s ideas. Science fiction was proud to be a literature of the new and startling. A spirit of intellectual fearlessness was paramount.

A darker time followed. The lamps of the intellect were put out one by one, first in society at large, then in literature, then in our little corner called science fiction. What we have now instead is a smothering fog of caution, of silence, of an unwillingness to speak for fear of offending the perpetually hypersensitive.

Science fiction is under the control of the thought police. The chains are invisible, but real. For a genre that glories in counting George Orwell as one of its own, this is ironic, to say the least.

Myriad examples exist. Orson Scott Card publicly expressed the mildest imaginable opposition to having judges overrule popular votes defining marriage in the traditional way. The uproar of hate directed against this innocent and honorable man is vehement and ongoing. An unsuccessful boycott was organized against the movie Ender’s Game, but he was successfully shoved off a project to write for Superman comics.

Got that? The award-winning Mr. Card, one of the finest science fiction writers today, was forced off the project because the dictates of his religious faith (not to mention his faith in democracy over rule by activist judges) did not agree with the political beliefs of the thought police.

No one accused him of attempting to write a Superman story belittling homosexuals, or belittling anyone. Sales would have grown, not fallen. This was not about money or hurt feelings. It was about this: if a man thinks what St. Paul thought about homosexual acts, he cannot write a children’s yarn about a friendly alien Hercules saving a spunky girl reporter from mad scientists or moon-apes.

Likewise, when Larry Correia was nominated for a Hugo Award, the gossips reacted with astonishing venom, vocal enough to be mentioned in the Washington Post and USA Today. He was accused of the typical menu of thought crimes. You know the selection: racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, insensitivity, fascism. The falsely accused racist here is Hispanic.

His detractors, including leaders in the field, announced in triumphant tones their plan to vote his work NO AWARD, without having read the nominated book, and they encouraged fandom to do likewise. They want voting based solely on the pariah status of the author, merit be damned.

Likewise, Theodore Beale was expelled from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers America (SFWA), our professional union, on the rather specious grounds that he repeated comments from a members-only bulletin board to the general public. He was libeled with the same typical menu as above. (By odd coincidence, the falsely accused racist here is also Hispanic.) That the expulsion was done in an irregular and ad hoc fashion casts an additional pall of shame over it.

He was also nominated for a Hugo Award. As above, the gossips demand that fandom vote based on pariah status only, and not read the book. Henceforth, a Hugo is not an award for good writing but for obedience to goodthink.

Likewise, Elizabeth Moon was “uninvited” from being the guest of honor at a large convention for making the rather unremarkable remark that immigrants to the United States should assimilate. This was decried as so inflammatory that the fans would be in danger of death at the hands of justifiably outraged militants driven to madness by Miss Moon’s race-hatred.

Likewise, under the editorial guidance of Jean Rabe, two well-established science fiction writers, Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg, in the SFWA house magazine made comments ranging from the complimentary to the utterly innocuous about lady writers and editors breaking into the field. That issue also featured a toothsome sword-wielding Amazon in chain-mail bikini. All three were fired.

The expulsion of Theodore Beale and the firing of Jean Rabe were major examples. I will list a minor one: The Mammoth Book of Mindblowing SF is an anthology edited by Mike Ashley. When it was noticed that there were no women authors in the table of contents, fandom was whipped into prepackaged frenzy.

The stories were reprints and selected for their mind-blowing quality, that is, they were nuts-and-bolts-style SF yarns. Note that of the 289 novels nominated for Hugo Awards, 231 were written by male writers. This means that if Mike Ashley were selecting only Hugo-nominated authors, the chances that a woman would have penned any one story listed in the table of contents would be less than one in five.

The older the strata of science fiction being mined, or the more deeply into nuts-and-bolts the SF tale, the smaller the percentage of women found in the candidate pool. Plucking twenty tales out of the whole mass of SF from 1958 to 2006 (the print range of the stories), even if done at random, might easily have no female authors present.

None accuse Mike Ashley of any evil intent against women. Yet if you look at the Wikipedia entry for this anthology, there is only one quote from a critic, mocking his lack of diversity.

More examples could be listed, including personal ones, but the pattern should be clear.

There are two ways for a sheep to be lead: one is by fear of the sheepdog, and the other is by following the sheep in front of him. The first is law and the second is custom.

Law is enforced by solemn ceremonies, oaths, judges in robes, policemen in uniforms, hangmen in hoods. It is objective, official, overt, masculine, and direct.

Custom is encouraged by countless social cues and expressions of peer pressure. It is subjective, informal, covert, feminine, and indirect.

No one will arrest you if you don’t tip the waitress, but your friends will look at you askance and recoil as if you exude a mephitic odor. If a man offends the unwritten rules of custom, he does not meet the hangman, but he does meet the gossip, whose role in life, for good or ill, is to criticize deviance from the social norms. When the social norms are sane, this social role is useful.

When law becomes corrupt, you have a police state. When custom becomes corrupt, you have a tyranny of hogwash.

The case against Mr. Card is filled with falsehood. His real remarks are too innocuous, so new and unreal ones are invented and merely attributed to him.

The case again Mr. Beale was a mask of hypocrisy. Repeating private communications is something many others have done. His real crime was thought crime. His opinions on matters unrelated to science fiction got him kicked out. He neither picked anyone’s pocket nor broke anyone’s leg.

The case of Mike Ashley was arbitrary. I am sure he was completely taken by surprise to be selected at random for the Two-Minute Hate.

The case of Malzberg and Resnick and Rabe is a paragon of disproportionate punishment. Normal practice when complaints about a writer arrive is to tell him not to repeat the gaffe. Normally, policies are enacted before they are enforced. Here the punishments were cruel, unusual, and ex post facto.

The case against Elizabeth Moon can only be called deliberate lunacy. No one in his right mind was actually in any real fear that the convention hotel would be bombed if she were the guest of honor, but safe if she were only a guest. It was madness by design.

Why this approach? Why so much hogwash?

False accusations are used even when true accusations would serve better, because the sheep now know that truth is no defense.

Hypocrisy serves better than honest and open accusations, for the scapegoat might prove his case if confronted with a real accusation. Best to accuse him of something else, lest the debate become cluttered with facts.

For the same reason, arbitrarily selecting an innocent scapegoat is just as useful as selecting a guilty one, since the sheep stand in greater awe and fear when none knows on whose back the lash will fall. Innocence is no defense.

Few of these purge victims are conservative. The leftists are turning on their own. Ideological loyalty is no defense.

The disproportion of the punishment is to deter defiance. If the punishments were predictable, a sheep could make a calculation of whether the suffering was worth the freedom to speak one’s mind. But the punishments are irrational, so the price is unknown.

And making utterly lunatic accusations is done to humiliate not the accused but the accusers. Each sheep is forced to parrot nonsense lest he be scapegoated next. This drives home how powerless he is. He no longer owns his own mouth, nor keep his tongue free from nonsense and blither. This breaks his spirit.

The purpose of all this hogwash is not to aid the plight of minorities. The purpose is power. The purpose is terror.

One need not ignite a suicide-bomb to enact a reign of terror. One need only have the power to hurt a man’s reputation or income, and be willing to use the power in an arbitrary, treacherous, lunatic, and cruel fashion. For this, the poisonous tongue suffices.

At one time, science fiction was an oasis of intellectual liberty, a place where no idea was sacrosanct and no idea was unwelcome. Now speculative fiction makes speculative thinkers so unwelcome that, after a decade of support, I resigned my membership in SFWA in disgust. SFWA bears no blame for all these witch-hunts, or even most; but SFWA spreads the moral atmosphere congenial to the witch-hunters, hence not congenial to my dues money.

Be warned. If this is how overgrown that playground of live-and-let-live nonconformists, geeks, and weirdos known as science fiction has become, how long before all the fields and gardens of civilization are smothered by this tangled and malodorous weed of terror, accusation, and thought police?

The lunatic Left planned and struggled for years, decades, to achieve their cultural influence. Let us imitate their perseverance, and retake our lost home one mind, one institution, at a time. Start by praying.

John C. Wright is a Nebula Award–nominated science fiction author whose work has received noteworthy critical and popular acclaim. Publishers Weekly called him “This fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He is the author, most recently, of Awake in the Night Land and The Judge of Ages. His website is www.scifiwright.com.

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  • Andrew Barton


    Likewise, Theodore Beale was expelled from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers America (SFWA), our professional union, on the rather specious grounds that he repeated comments from a members-only bulletin board to the general public. He was libeled with the same typical menu as above.

    I don’t know if you’re ignorant or just lying, but in the interests of fairness I will assume the first. Beale was not expelled for repeating SFWA communications–he was expelled because he used the auto-pickup feature of the SFWA Twitter feed to republish a blog post in which he responded to N.K. Jemisin’s Continuum GoH speech by calling referring to black people as “savages engaged in attacking white people” and said that he “does not view her as being fully civilized for the obvious reason that she is not.”

    Screencaps of the post in question are available here:



    (By odd coincidence, the falsely accused racist here is also Hispanic.)

    Yes, of course, because suggesting that a black woman is “not equally homo sapiens sapiens” vis-a-vis Beale, is totally non-racist.

    Do you conduct all your arguments like this?

    • Centurion13

      Here we go. “Racist!”. And of course, he’s either ignorant or lying. Because there is absolutely no possibility that you are wrong. Are you part of the Two Minute Hate or is there more to the show?

    • Matthew House

      Reading comprehension fail. What you imagine the words on the screen to mean, and what they actually mean, are not the same.

      Context fail as well.


    • Mariana Baca

      I think your reading comprehension needs work. He calls Jemisin a savage for being a liar, not for being black. And he argues that self-defense laws are there to defend against legitimate attackers, not random bad feelings based on race. He specifically says that it is *not* that he doesn’t view her as fully human (but makes an admittedly inappropriate joke about whites having neanderthal blood), but that he doesn’t consider her civilized because she engages in uncivilized behavior.

      He also mentions there is less diversity and representation of African Literature than in European literature for the simple fact that it has been around less long. And that a civilization of made entirely of leftist literature geeks probably could not survive because it doesn’t have the necessary skills.

      Basically, you are projecting Jemisin’s “blackness” onto every complaint or reference made about her, even if it would make the statements nonsensical and contradictory.

      • Michael NIlsen

        “He calls Jemisin a savage for being a liar, not for being black.”

        Suuuure, that’s the ticket.

        • Matthew House

          Yes, because nobody could -possibly- judge someone on the content of their character, instead of the color of their skin.

          Willful ignorance. Try again.

      • PhoenicianRomans

        I think your reading comprehension needs work. He calls Jemisin a savage for being a liar, not for being black.

        Riiiiiiiight – and was careful to contrast “people like her” with whites because “white’ is a synonym for honest…

      • BillStewart2012

        Not true – he also disapproves of her for being a woman.

      • Jeff Topham

        Seriously? This guy throws out very specific racially coded language at a black woman, and you claim it’s just coincidence?

    • Mstislav of Chernigov

      Question: What makes a gossip so much worse than a bigot?

      Answer: A bigot only expresses hatred. A gossip tries to get others to join him in his hatred, and to stir up hatred where none existed before.

      Even supposing everything you say about Beale is true, Barton, your behavior here, even by your own standards, is worse than his.

  • Major_Mike

    I am not a writer of fiction (but I make my living writing) – but I read. I read approximately 100-200 books a year, and about 25 – 45% are science fiction. And I’ve been reading science fiction since I discovered Robert Heinlein’s “juveniles” in junior high school (7th grade, back in 1966). This nonsense disgusts me. The tyranny of intolerance demanded by the ‘tolerant’ creates a vapid and thoughtless literature where value is based on conformity.
    I don’t care if a writer creates a speculative universe where every character is a transgendered gay hermaphrodite in a pansexual society – if it’s a good story and everything ties together. And I don’t care if a writer creates a vision of the future where humanity is composed of two sexes (male and female – as it actually is) and those two sexes have rape-coitus in the hetro-cage without checking their privilege and make little evil fascist breeder babies – if it’s a good story and everything ties together.
    Don’t tell me what to think (“meid gedanken sind frei”) you stalwart Party cadres of the Popular Front for Absolute Party Conformity in Science Fiction.
    Now I have to go read Farnhams Freehold… and Starship Troopers.. and Friday… and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress…

    • RogerAiles


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  • Andrew Barton

    For using THE SFWA TWITTER FEED to disseminate a racist screed. He can be as racist as he wants under his own name, but when it is tweeted out UNDER SFWA’S NAME, it becomes SFWA’s responsibility.

    You see that #sfwapro hashtag at the bottom? That is what makes the automated twitter feed PICK UP THE POSTS.

    • Jordan Bassior

      And yet when N. K. Jemsin boasted about setting up a “safe space” for non-whites at Wiscon — which is to say, creating a policy of RACIAL SEGREGATION — she was not condemned for this. Why wasn’t she?

      • Andrew Barton

        Lemme guess, in your world the existence of a women’s washroom is an intolerable affront to your freedom.

        • Matthew House

          And yet, you intentionally evade answering the question.

          I would posit you do so because you know, deep down, in that place you don’t dare let anyone see, for fear of being branded a BadThink MindCriminal….

          That he’s right.

          the idea of a segregated space for ‘non-whites’ is, in fact, a racist policy.

          It’s racist for the following reasons.

          1. It assumes that whites (and only whites) are so hatey mcracist that no non-white can go into a place with whites in it without being in some sort of ‘danger’, and as such, need a ‘safe place’. ‘Safe places’ by definition, imply the surrounding area is -not safe-.

          2. It provides special treatment for a specific racial class, because of thier race, no other reason. This is known as actual racism.

          3. Quite possibly the most insulting part, it assumes that non-whites are so weak, so soft, that they can’t cope in normal society, and require special protection.

          But, since the entire idea was put forth by a minority, we must leap behind it enthusiastically, lest we suffer the same brand of ‘racism’.


          F- for you (lack of critical reasoning)

        • CruisingTroll

          Wow. WOW! Andrew, you are truly epic example of liberal lunacy.

          Here, let me demonstrate to you the correct analogous circumstance:

          “Lemme guess, in your world the existence of a white’s only restroom is an intolerable affront to your freedom.”

          While there may be instances that discrimination based on race is analogous to discrimination based on sex, BATHROOMS are NOT one of those instances, no matter what the transgender/transsexual/questioning freaks may think.

          That you would even think to offer that “challenge” to JB is mind boggling. That you have chosen to put it out for the entire world to see is conclusive proof that you have your head far enough up your posterior to lick your own gizzards.

        • Eric Brown

          Apparently the existence of a men’s washroom is an intolerable affront to *your* freedom.

        • PavePusher

          Poor dodge. Try again.

        • Jono

          actually the existence of sex-segregated washrooms is being denounced by you SJWs.

    • Gustavo Bondoni

      Andrew, while this may or may not have been justified (I admit my ignorance on this point), the central point of the article is still valid. The fear-mongering hypersensitive brigade is increasingly making the SFWA unappealing to most of the authors who qualify. It just seems to be trying to pander too hard to one specific subgroup, which, sadly, acts pretty much as described above. Of course there is a little hyperbole – it’s an op-ed piece – but it’s pretty spot-on regarding how the masses react to things.

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  • Gustavo Bondoni

    Yes. This. THANK YOU! This is the clearest indictment of what is going on in fandom today that I have read in ages. It needs to be spread all over the internet, and we need a counter current.

  • David Selig

    Yes, Orson Scott Card really expressed the mildest possible opposition towards gay marriage. What could possibly be milder than “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government
    that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy
    that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a
    government that will respect and support marriage”.

    Poor Orson. His books are still published by one of the biggest publishers in the field, he is still making millions, but because people boycotted his comics, it is a tragedy. Give me a break.

    Poor Theodore Beale, the innocent guy so unfairly demonised by his opponents. All he does is regularly posting stuff like “feminists are worse than Nazis”, that there is no such thing as marital rape, that the Talibans are doing the right thing by murdering women who try to get an education. He obviously seems like a great guy, unfairly smeared by his opponents. It is a travesty that such a awesome person was thrown out of a professional organisation for a blatant personal and racist attack on another member on the official twitter account of the organisation. Undoubtedly it is a clear sign of the degradation of society.

    This anthology which included only male authors was obviously coincidence. Never mind that the using the odds of one in five provided by Mr Wright himself (one in five) to calculate the odds of all 21 stories being by men give us a less than 1 %. Never mind that in reality the odds should be even lower than this in a anthology which claims to be representative of the best of the field has to offer since quite a few of the most highly rated, critically acclaimed and popular short story writers in SF are women (Le Guin, Connie Willis, James Tiptree Jr, Nancy Kress, etc). But obviously none of these writers wrote stories which were
    mindblowing enough for this anthology, not compared to such well known classics of the field like “The Peacock King”…

    Malzberg and Resnick at first received pretty mild reaction. But instead of acknowledging that they had made a mistake and moving on, they replied with an absurd “They are trying to censor us by complaining about what we wrote, and that is a travesty, since we should be allowed to write whatever we want, period, because Free speech!”, invoked the spirits of Stalin, Hitler and Mao, claimed that SF is going to hell and is the thought control in it was about to reach 1984-ish levels, all because some people dared to object to their previous article. Yeah, I wonder why this made a lot of people in fandom angry, it really is a mystery…

    • John C Wright

      Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, we have Exhibit B in Mr Selig and Exhibit A in Barton, above.

      The ironic thing is that neither seems to regard himself as an example of the behavior of which my humble article complains.

      Let us assume for the sake of argument that Card, Beale, Ashley all have exactly the opinions as Mr Selig and Mr Barton characterize them: homophobic, racist, and misogynist. Are the private opinions of the accused a sufficient warrant for public boycotts, expulsions, and witchhunts, followed by an (apparently) neverending and unforgiving ritual of public denunciation?

      No one is criticizing, or even discussing, their science fiction work. Those are the goods these workmen hold out to the public. Everything being discussed is opinion unrelated to their work product.

      I leave it to you, jurors, to decide: does Exhibit A and B seem like
      reasoned discourse on the justice of my remarks, or like an attempt to justify the hurt done to the reputation of Card, Beale,
      Ashley, Malzberg, and so on, and to hurt them again?

      I submit to your candid judgment that, for the Left, personal opinions are a public and political matter. Wrong opinions must be punished.

      This is not an atmosphere conducive to mutual goodwill.

      Live and let live is not their motto. Forgive your enemies is not their motto.

      • Astraea_Muse

        So my right not to give my money to people I disagree with should be overridden by your right to speak? How do you figure that works?

        • Ivan Wolfe

          That response can only occur from a misreading of what JCW actually said/wrote.

        • RTO Dude

          Mr. Wright is discussing tolerance.

          Disagreeing with what he says and spending your money elsewhere, as you suggest doing, is tolerant.

          Disagreeing with what he says and organizing a boycott or taking other measures to punish or silence him, is not tolerant.

          Your straw man is specious.

        • Luke

          If your oh so delicate feelings have been hurt by a few private words of some artist, you PERSONALLY cannot be forced to support them. Likewise, you cannot force others to stop support them.

          I find the political opinions of Tim Robbins to be absolute garbage bordering on the desire for some twisted sort of dictatorial state. On the other hand he is a hell of a good actor and I have thoroughly enjoyed most of his films.

      • Jeff Topham

        I wasn’t aware that comments by a public figure in a public forum should be construed as “private opinion.” Mr. Card is a well known author who offered his ideas in a public forum. Those ideas were not about science fiction. Some people did not agree with those ideas, and they let him know about it. That’s the way public discourse works.

        Perhaps you might consider that the reason that Mr. Cards ideas riled people up so much is that his “personal opinions” reflect a systematic set of legal inequalities in which gay people are not granted the same rights and privileges that (presumably) you and I enjoy.

        Say what you want. Disagree all you want. But don’t cry when people let you know they don’t like what you’re saying.

    • Ivan Wolfe

      Except that that the Orson Scott Card quote is taken out of context:

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  • Astraea_Muse

    “The mildest imaginable opposition to having judges overrule popular votes defining marriage in the traditional way.”? Really?

    This is what Orson Scott Card actually wrote:

    Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

    Because in my world, advocating revolution is not “mild opposition.”

    • Ivan Wolfe

      As I noted above, that OSC quote is taken out of context, so while he wrote that, he was actually stating that was not his position, he was worried that it would become the position of some people in the future. (Card is actually very worried there will be a left/right civil war in the future, and he wants to avoid this – he was warning people not to embrace that stance, not stating it was his own stance).


    • Matthew House

      Failure to read source material. Failure to comprehend source material. When making accusations against someone about something they have said, You must, not should, but -must-, read the original source in full context. you have failed to do so.

      F-, willful ignorance.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      So the PC thought police have branded him a heretic. Leaving aside the fact that your quote is WAAAAY out of context, what if Card did say exactly that? Should all of his books be burned? Should he loose his job(s) be banned from writing, shunned from society?

      The irony with the PC left is that they have NO clue to the fact that they are falling neatly into the same historical role held by other groups that suppressed free speech/thought.

    • BillStewart2012

      It’s also kind of ironic that OSC views there to be only one kind of marriage, given that his co-religionists got run out of town a number of times for advocating a different kind of marriage.

      • dicentra

        His co-religionists had the bad taste to not demand that the plural marriages be recognized by the state.

        Furthermore, polygyny includes at least one of each sex, SSM does not, and it is on that basis that the LDS Church objects, not on the fact that something non-traditional is being proposed.

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  • splicernyc

    I’ve looked into this Beale situation and from what I’ve been able to gather, the man is just plain nasty in a massively trollish way. No organization is required to put up with someone like that. Just because my establishment is open to the public doesn’t mean that all my customers are allowed to walk in and act as they please. That might be the fantasy “free speech” world that Beale or Card or you live in but the real world has some limits.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      Why not judge the product? Who gets to define “nasty”? I couple of generations ago, someone who was vocally gay would have the same mob forces working against them. Many would call him “nasty”, but should his work be judged on his personal beliefs? Okay to do that now but not then?

  • Twitter_

    Tim Hall ‏@Kalyr 3h

    Another day, another far-right SFF writer I’d never heard of before goes off the deep end: http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/silence-is-not-synonymous-with-uproar-a-response-to-john-c-wright/ … What planet are they from?

    maureen k speller ‏@maureenkspeller 5h

    RT @AlasdairStuart: For a man who stormed off in a huff, John C Wright’s sure taking a lot of victory laps. «my favourite tweet this morning

    Jonathan McCalmont ‏@RuthlessCult 6h

    John C. Wright is now officially on the side of Vox Day. Unsurprising as Day has been pimping his work for weeks.

    Alex Price ‏@Cirrhosis 6h

    A fantastic tear-down of a racist, sexist tirade in a calm, logical, and joyously fucking thorough manner: http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/silence-is-not-synonymous-with-uproar-a-response-to-john-c-wright/…

    Damien Walter ‏@damiengwalter 9h

    “Custom is all about silly stupid backstabbing bitchy girly stuff, and probably involves feelings” http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/silence-is-not-synonymous-with-uproar-a-response-to-john-c-wright/

    Laurie K ‏@eridani99 9h

    It isn’t weird that John C Wright is a huge douchecanoe. It’s weird that people keep giving such a douchecanoe so much attention.

    aesmael ‏@aesmael 10h

    I hold a special animosity in my heart for John C. Wright, as someone who argued with my partner against their right to exist and be happy.

    Rachael Acks ‏@katsudonburi 12h

    Whereas I focused on John C. Wright as a base liar. http://katsudon.net/?p=3026 So I feel like we have it covered. ^_^v

    wholemilk ‏@wholemilk 12h

    “@fozmeadows: Silence Is Not Synonymous With Uproar: A Response To John C. Wright http://wp.me/pfRiP-Ye ” An utterly incredible takedown.

    Sarah JH Fletcher ‏@sjhfletcher 13h

    Beautifully argued post; I <3 Foz's critical writing. MT @fozmeadows: Silence Is Not Synonymous With Uproar http://wp.me/pfRiP-Ye

    Ramez Naam ‏@ramez 13h

    I thoroughly enjoyed John C Wright's Golden Age novels. Groundbreaking and award-worthy, imho, even though I don't care for his politics.

    Cassowary ‏@cheshireb 14h

    Fucking hell, how has John C. Wright not been sucked into a vat of his own horribleness yet? See also http://notesfromthegeekshow.blogspot.com.au/2009/08/open-letter-to-john-c-wright.html?m=1

    Alasdair Cookie ‏@AlasdairStuart 15h

    For a man who stormed off in a huff, John C Wright's sure taking a lot of victory laps.

    Lis Mitchell ‏@Pixelfish 15h

    http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/silence-is-not-synonymous-with-uproar-a-response-to-john-c-wright/ … – Foz takes on John C. Wright's fulminations.

    Gavin Bard ‏@lightfantastic 15h

    Nice to see John C. Wright reminding people he has opinions just as awful, poorly thought out, and self important as his writing.

    Foz Meadows ‏@fozmeadows 15h

    Silence Is Not Synonymous With Uproar: A Response To John C. Wright http://wp.me/pfRiP-Ye

    Jonathan McCalmont ‏@RuthlessCult 6h

    John C. Wright is now officially on the side of Vox Day. Unsurprising as Day has been pimping his work for weeks.

    Mike ‏@phronk 58m

    Someone used Baboon Fart Story to defend Vox Day. So maybe the haters were right; I've created a monster.

    • Matthew House

      No original work. No grade, plagarism.

      Try again.

    • PavePusher

      Twitter = small comments from small minds.
      Only narcissists and vacuous idjits give it any weight in their lives.

  • John C. Wrong

    Don’t worry, it’s gonna get better. I promise you.


    “First Amendment? It’s more like a fatwa. The Obama administration has issued a federal hunting license to deputize fanatics at any university in America. They will define who gets accused, and on what basis. If it’s possible for the left to have its John Birch moment, we’re in it. Wave goodbye to cardboard civility.”

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  • missing

    no no im pretty sure he meant lead. the first way is injection, wolverine style. the second is alchemy.

    Where do you think steel wool comes from? It’s a similar process.

  • Morrison2525

    I respectfully disagree, believing that Robert Heinlein, if born later, could have won Hugos today without doubt, had he continued to produce new SF novels that reflected his life experience and wide-ranging curiosity instead of moving on to tent-pole movie screenwriting, interactive game scripting, or even TV series show-running.


    First they came for the misogynists, racists, homophobes, and anti-Semites, and I did not speak out because my perception of myself is that I am not a misogynist, racist, homophobe, or anti-Semite.

    Then they came for the ones who acted like dicks, and I did not speak out because I am not aware that I have ever acted like a dick.

    Then they came for the Internet trolls, and I did not speak out because I do not consider how I express my convictions online to
    be trolling.

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • kiptw

    Great flounce! “I actually have a job!” Golden.

    You forgot to mention “sheeple” or “your mother’s basement,” however, so points off.

    • Gary Keith Chesterton

      I wish nothing but the best for you, friend. God bless.

  • CiceroTheLatest

    Does anyone really expect neo-NAZI scum to behave differently?

  • kiptw

    Nothing is more thought-policey than shortlisting somebody for an award and then not giving him the award. Oh. The humanity.

    • msmischief

      Notice the lack of relationship between the comment and the article.

      • kiptw

        It’s almost as if I didn’t believe in the insidious conspiracy that controls every reader of science fiction.

        • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

          What conspiracy? This is as old as history. Mob rule be used to punish those that do not conform to the wishes of the mob’s mentality. No conspiracy, just the way human nature works.

    • Eric Brown

      Ignorance, reading incomprehension, and concern trolling, all in one!
      The ‘thought-policey’ aspect is that *once shortlisted*, the internet went insane with rage

      • kiptw

        It’s what set off this self-pitying blather, whether he mentioned it here or not. You shouldn’t misuse the term “concern trolling,” even if you did just learn it somewhere.

        • Eric Brown

          Thanks, Pastor Niemoller!

        • Booch Paradise

          Must be great knowing why people do things as kiptw does. It lets you dismiss and accuse people who say things you don’t like, without ever actually having to engage with what was said!

          • kiptw

            “By not buying our conspiracy theory, you have espoused a conspiracy theory!!”

          • Booch Paradise

            For it to be a conspiracy theory someone would have to be hiding something. The fact that you believe anyone believes that there is a conspiracy doesn’t supply more evidence that there is one. It supplies more evidence that you are too stupid and dishonest to participate in a discussion here in good faith.

          • kiptw

            Flagged for multiple personal insults.

          • Booch Paradise

            Okie dokie. But I find it very odd that you expect to be treated with the utmost respect when your sole purpose for commenting has been to insinuate that the author of the piece being discussed does not actually believe what he says he believes and is merely writing things like this because he is childish and petty about the fact that he won’t win a hugo. You have been snide in all you comments and have repeatedly falsely attributed things to the author of the article and other commenters here. As such I feel no obligation to either courtesy or civility when responding. You have done nothing but show that you deserve neither.

          • kiptw

            There’s a middle ground between “the utmost respect” and name-calling. Simple courtesy, it’s called.

            The author of the piece already alleges falsehood. That barrier was down before I came in, but I’m supposed to put it back up, and ignore the sniping I get for disagreeing.

            You read much that I didn’t write. I’m not going to try and refute everything you make up.

          • Booch Paradise

            “I’m not going to try and refute everything you make up.”

            LOL, not everything or even a single thing apparently. You’ve yet to address a single thing I’ve said.

          • kiptw

            Oh, no! Fake laughter wins every time!

          • Booch Paradise

            “Oh, no! Fake laughter wins every time!”

            They said while adroitly continuing to avoid a single point made.

            Or to quote my last post
            “You’ve yet to address a single thing I’ve said.”

            So far I’ve made 2. First is that you did not address anything in the article, but instead addressed the imagined motivation for writing it, which is a cowardly way of avoiding direct engagements that you are bound to lose. Second is that you’re charges of anyone here believing in a conspiracy theory are simply incorrect. The absurd characterization you gave at first is something no one has claimed, and what is claimed is not hidden. There are many people in the SWFA community openly calling for voting based purely on political ideologies of those who have written the books nominated. The extent of the influence of these witch hunters may be up for debate, but their existence or intent is not.

          • kiptw

            Points? “You must use MY definition of conspiracy!” No, I’m free to use definitions from the dictionary, and “acting in harmony” doesn’t require the secrecy you feel is essential.

            The claim that SF is overrun by the PC police is so vacuous, it can fall over without much outside help, but I couldn’t help laughing at how overwrought it is.

            There’s no reason I have to follow the rules in your head, especially as you’ve shown yourself incapable of civility.

          • Booch Paradise

            k. Rules in my head are just honesty and good faith. But feel free to disregard.

          • Booch Paradise

            heh, you actually got me to look up the definition of conspiracy. Funny, I was using the dictionary definition, and you were not: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/conspiracy.

            “an evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons; plot.”

    • Matthew House

      “Nothing is more thought-policey than shortlisting somebody for an award and then not giving him the award.”

      Here, let me complete that thought for you.

      “Nothing is more thought-policey than shortlisting somebody for an award and then not giving him the award, because he fails to meet ideological purity requirements.”

      There, see? that makes much more sense.

      C-, finish your work next time.

  • Eric Brown

    You should know.

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  • Brian

    So on the one hand, you think that people should be allowed to express any opinion, that nothing is sacrosanct, etc, and yet you deny that Beale is racist and misogynist, saying he was falsely accused. He was not. He is himself proudly misogynist, and while I don’t know if he’s proud of it, he’s undeniably racist. If he’s allowed to have these opinions, why are you minimizing them? Why not defend his right to hold them?

    Oh, and mentioning how few women are nominated for Hugos as if that’s an explanation and not symptomatic of the problem? That was just silly.

  • Brian

    “Suppose he had used THE SFWA TWITTER FEED (sorry to shout) to disseminate a different sort of screed, like maybe a pro-gay-marriage screed. I don’t think anyone would have had a problem with that. ”

    Right, yes, advocating for increased freedoms and protection of law for a discriminated people would, it is likely, not have annoyed people so much as calling an entire race of people uncivilized savages did.

    • Matthew House

      reading comprehension fail.

      Calling a -single person- a savage is not calling their entire race a savage.

      Calling a person’s entire -social class- “people like you” savages is not calling their entire race savages. “Leftist twit” is not a race, it’s a culture. No genetic component involved.

      Again, F-

      • Brian

        So his talking about how black people are incapable of building a civilized society without the help of white people, that totally slipped your mind? When you call someone a savage immediately after claiming their race is uncivilized, yeah, you’re calling the race savage.

        • Matthew House

          let’s break this down into two parts, shall we?

          “So his talking about how black people are incapable of building a civilized society without the help of white people, that totally slipped your mind?”

          Did he write that? Or did your inability to parse and comprehend the english language render you incapable of grasping what he actually wrote, so you’re just parroting what someone else told you?

          “When you call someone a savage immediately after claiming their race is uncivilized, yeah, you’re calling the race savage.”

          Did he call her -race- uncivilized? Which is an absurd concept, much like saying all horses are tax accountants, by virtue of being horses. One’s genetics are completely irrelevant to one’s level of civilization.

          The core of this is that you’re conflating -class- with -race-.

          But a better effort than most.

          D-, comprehension fail, failure to read source material. Try again.

          • Brian

            “Did he write that?”

            Yes. He said:

            “Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males. ”

            And yes, he did “call her -race- uncivilized”. He said they were incapable of maintaining a civilization I don’t know how you’d classify that.

          • Matthew House

            Brian, what -am- I going to do with you?

            “a society of NK Jemisins”

            is the semantic equivalent of “a society of people who act, and think, like NK Jemisin.”

            But you decided that it -must- mean “a society of black people.” Why are you so focused on race, Brian? What’s your racial hangup?

            “And yes, he did “call her -race- uncivilized”. He said they were incapable of maintaining a civilization I don’t know how you’d classify that.”

            I’d classify that as wishful thinking. I’m looking at Vox’s post on the matter, as I type. It neither states, nor implies it.

            Willful stupidity in the furtherance of a political agenda is no way to go through life, young man.

            F, repeated failure to read and comprehend source materiel.

          • Brian

            “is the semantic equivalent of “a society of people who act, and think, like NK Jemisin.””

            Then why did he say that they need help from white people, instead of “people who act and think like [insert person he likes]”?

            And more to the point, why did he immediately start talking about his white ancestors, and about European vs African societies?

          • PhoenicianRomans

            But you decided that it -must- mean “a society of black people.”

            Posssssssibly because he was careful to contrast it with, and we quote, “white males”, maybe?

          • ravenshrike

            Ignoring for the moment Vox Day’s possible racism, given that White Males were all Jemisin ranted about and this was a post specifically excoriating her idiocy, one would rationally assume that white males would be Vox’s compare/contrast target.

          • John C Wright

            “a society of NK Jemisins” = Leftists. He is criticizing Leftist twits. You, the bigot, who cannot see Jemisin as a person, only as a black race, think he is talking about race. Shame on you.

          • Brian

            Then why did he say that they need help from white people, instead of “Rightists”?

            And more to the point, why did he immediately start talking about his white ancestors, and about European vs African societies?

      • BillStewart2012

        If you’ve got the stomach to read much of Beale’s comments, he’s in favor of disenfranchising women and other undesirables, and goes downhill from there.

    • Jono

      so you agree that he was excommunicated because his views were deemed unacceptable.

      • Brian

        If it makes you feel better to look at it that way, sure.

  • Soopy

    The anglo-saxon part of the world is entering a dark age, in which idiocy reigns supreme. Who would’ve really believed that mindless leftism spawns such monsters…

  • CanuckAmuck

    So many here seem to think (and I use the term charitably) that “Freedom of Speech” means “Freedom from Consequences”.

    Welcome to the real world, children. By all means, say anything you want – nobody is stopping you – but be prepared to accept responsibility for your actions.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      And the mob will insure that the witches burn for their actions. PC dogma, the doctrine of the new church of the state.

    • corinthian leather

      And the needle for what is “acceptable speech” moves ever leftward.

    • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

      I’m a socialist who knows that the consequences which you’re defending here are the same consequences that the Hollywood Ten endured. Of course speech may be answered with speech. But when people are expelled from a professional writer’s organization for having opinions, no matter how mistaken those opinions may be, the group is no longer dedicated to professional writers, but to an ideology.

    • Gregory Gay

      And some believe “consequences” is synonymous with “every means of punitive action at our disposal”.
      Gee, I can’t wait until you and your fellow-travelers gain unfettered access to political power – that always works out so swimmingly.

  • Paul Weimer

    I’m sorry, John. I consider you a friend. But, no, I cannot agree with you, here. I cannot. I’m so sorry.

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      Why not? I’ve seen exactly what he is getting at. I’m shocked at what I have seen, and not just in SciFi. Those that do not spout the proper dogma shall be branded as heretics and punished accordingly.

      • Paul Weimer

        “Spouting proper dogma.”

        No one is stopping the likes of Theodore Beale from saying the things he says.

        But why should I not be able to say that such talk is racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, and simply abhorrent?

        One of Beale’s fellow travelers has banned me from her blog, because I have strongly (but politely) disagreed with her libertarian beliefs. Is that ban “punishing me for being a heretic to her views?”

        And as unpleasant as Beale is, he was not kicked out of SFWA until he used the SFWA twitter account to point to a sexist and racist post of his. That was the action that caused his “branding as a heretic” as you put it.

        Professional organizations have the right and expectation of a level of discourse for materials associated directly with them. Beale’s blog posts were and are deplorable but not actionable–until he specifically linked SFWA to such a post.

        He has been, you will note, happily spreading his abhorrent views on his blog ever since. No one is going to stop him from doing so.

        • xx

          you lie. you continue to lie. you know you are a liar.

          • Paul Weimer

            I am a liar? Where did I lie?

        • corinthian leather

          Sad to watch the science fiction that I grew up with disparaged and damaged by thought police like Paul Weimer.

          • Paul Weimer

            I have never been called Thought Police before. Do I get a shiny badge? (I’ve only fired a gun on one occasion in my life, I don’t need a gun)

            Seriously, how am I “thought police”?

  • Sastrei

    What? It’s been a few years since I last read each, but Starship Troopers reads to me as a parody of the Right and Stranger as a celebration and reflection of the noncomformity of the Left. Science Fiction in the vein of Clarke, Heinlein and Asimov has never been about Left or Right, it’s been about the ability of humanity to look into themselves and say “this is the way things are, or may be, but they could be different.”

    • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

      Heinlein was a libertarian. The movie Starship Troopers was (besides being a terrible movie) a parody of the right as the director sees the right. The book was in no way intended to be a parody but a thought experiment by the author on how to keep a republic from eventually falling. The one thing I vaguely remember reading was that Heinlein did not advocate such a system, but felt it might work.

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  • John C Wright

    I feel should add a comment.

    One reader whom I respect pointed out that Mr Heinlein has won more than one retro-Hugo since the practice of awarding Hugos for past masters of the genre was created discredits my opening paragraphs.

    He does have a point, but only because I should have made explicit what I thought the context made clear:

    Heinlein would win awards these days if he kept his mouth shut and simply wrote books. My point was that he was a gadfly, and enjoyed not keeping his mouth shut.

    He had in the past and would, were he still alive today, make startling and challenging and outrageous statements as equally shocking to the Right as to the Left.

    Certainly he would say things more startling than Elizabeth Moon and Orson Scott Card and Barry Malzberg, which is why I used them as examples here.

    I could have also used the example of Dan SImmons, who was raked over the coals for writing a story warning of the dangers of underestimating the dangers of international Jihad.

    The author of STARSHIP TROOPER would (if he lived yet) have much to say about our current wars certain to offend the Left. The man who wrote STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND would (if he lived yet) have must to say about the hypocrisy of Christians and the busybody impulses of conservatives certain to offend the Right.

    We on the Right would have forgiven him and said a man has a right to his opinions, even to wrong opinions.

    As for the Left, look carefully at the tone and tenor of what they even on this thread say about me, I who have said nothing provocative, or outrageous, or insulting to them … unless accusing them of being unforgiving is an insult — in which case an unforgiving reaction to that insult makes it retroactively no insult at all, but merely a true description.

  • Dave in Maryland

    When exactly did Beale/Day declare himself to be Hispanic? Because it’s news to me.

    • cargosquid

      He’s mentioned it quite a few times. Usually when he’s declared to be a racist.

      • Dave in Maryland

        So he was content to have everyone think he was Caucasian till it was advantageous to come out (so to speak) as Hispanic?

        • cargosquid

          He was content to have his race ignored until people made unfounded insults while knowing nothing about him.

        • dicentra

          Gawd, don’t you people get how stupid that is?


          “Actually, I’m all brown n’ stuff.”

          “So you’re content to have everyone think you’re Caucasian till it’s advantageous to come out as Hispanic?”

          It’s the heads-I-win-tails-you-lose technique that’s so endearing among left-wing commenters.

          So desperate is their need to demonize their “enemies” that they refuse to be proved wrong when playing the race card.

          They never think their behavior is monstrous, do they? Because if it were, they’d know.

          • Dave in Maryland

            You don’t get it. IF Beale “passed” as Caucasian UNTIL he saw some advantage in “coming out” as Hispanic, THEN he’s some species of hypocrite. And the notion that he’s somehow exempt from the charge of racism because his great-great-grandpa was born south of the Rio Grande is risible on the face of it.

        • Kennon Gilson

          Hispanics are typically Caucasian.

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  • Ranelagh

    As a science fiction historian, may I correct one small point in the above piece?

    “But in his [Heinlein’s] day, few science fiction readers were offended by his or anyone’s ideas.”

    Actually, as you must know, “Starship Troopers” was regarded as offensive by many people, and so was, two years later, “Stranger in a Strange Land”. As for “Farnham’s Freehold”, a couple of years more into the 1960s, that roused a barrage of complaint. I remember it: I was a dedicated reader of Heinlein already in the late 1950s. Heinlein loved being a controversial writer: and he was.

    • ravenshrike

      IIRC isn’t there an interview with him bitching about his editors over censorship and what went into Stranger? Or was that about a different book?

  • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

    So if a gay man who advocates for his lifestyle creates a masterpiece, that masterpiece should be shunned because of his beliefs? He should be fired from his job, mocked and despised. Is it okay if it’s the majority who feels he should be punished, or a very powerful, vocal minority? Punishment for ones beliefs by the powers that be is okay because people should realize they’re consequences for speaking ones mind.

    Best to judge a situation be changing the players before one makes silly comments.

    • C N

      Key point being ‘masterpiece’, which isn’t under discussion.

      The point was about free speech. And yeah, if a KKK member is revealed to belong to an organization, that organization has every right to oust people whose views they don’t agree with.

      To have an organization of like-minded people, it’s part of the entire process to remove those that aren’t like-minded. There’s nothing inherently evil about this; they can go and hold their own meetings. Of course you can’t discriminate based on specific criteria (race, gender, etc), but you certainly can oust those that belief discrimination and racism is okay.

      Your naivety is touching, but you don’t have the freedom to be an idiot in all places at all times. People are allowed to decide you’re not fit company to keep.

      • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

        Wait, a Hugo is not a masterpiece? It must be like one of those end of the year awards you get in junior high english class for best story.

        If an author, sculpter, musician belongs to the KKK, black panthers, democrat party (which formed the KKK), girl scouts, Nazis, communist, libertarians, log cabin republicans, or PETA, it should not matter as far as their work goes.

        Two of my favorite musicians were Aaron Copeland, and Wilhelm Richard Wagner. One was a gay jew from Brookland and the other a white supremacist who inspired Hitler. In the world in which ones work is based on his politics, one or both of them would never have had their works survive to this day.

        You call me naive, and yet have no clue of the historical role you fill. You, and those like you, are the thought police of the day that work to stamp out all heresy against the “religion” you advocate.

        • C N

          No, the piece isn’t worth a Hugo, bu that’s irrelevant. If people wish to consider other attributes, such as belonging to the KKK, then that’s entirely the purview of those that give the award. There’s no universal law saying people have to believe exactly what you believe, and allow exactly what you allow. This freedom you’re on about goes both ways; people are allowed to be intolerant of other people’s intolerance.

          Thought police? Please, hold in your hyperbole to something at least approaching reasonable. Nobody is destroying work, nobody is censoring anything. Trying to pretend it’s more grandious than it is doesn’t help your case; it makes it look sad and pathetic. Some minor author’s fans are whining because he might not get an award, and he got kicked out of a society he liked. That’s it. That’s not ‘ thought police’ that’s not stamping out heresy.

          Like it or lump it, it’s a private organisation which means it is allowed to award and admit whoever it wishes. If you don’t like it, start your own.

          Whining petulant children upset at being left out is a far better analogy than stamping out heresy.

          • disqus_ZE3VhQZ7M6

            You just made the point of the article. This organization is intolerant of “other” ideas. A story being rejected because it does not match the caliber of its competitors is fine. A story being rejected because the author’s opinions do not pass muster with the PC police, that is wrong.

          • C N

            You really don’t get the concept of ‘private organisation’, do you? It’s not ‘wrong’, either legally or morally, for an organisation to reject anyone because it finds their views repugnant. They could reject stories because the author has blond hair if they wanted to. Using dysphemisms such as “PC police” to belittle does little to keep me from seeing this as pouting because you’re not getting your way.

            His story, which was mediocre to begin with, was rejected because his views are repugnant. I fail to see how that’s a problem. He’s free to start his own society, publish whatever he likes, and invent whatever awards he likes. Any cries of ‘oppression!’ are petulant whining.

          • charlesmhamm

            “You really don’t get the concept of ‘private organisation’, do you?”

            So tell me: what’s your opinion of the Westboro Baptist Church? It’s a “private organisation”, right? So therefore their opinions are not “morally wrong”, right?

          • C N

            That they’re a private religious organisation, and they have a perfect right to protest on public land, and everyone else has a perfect right not to join their church or purchase their products.

            You don’t seem to get the concept of a private organization still. I can believe their ideas are wrong, but still support their right to choose their own members.

          • charlesmhamm

            Not responsive to my question.

            You said: ” It’s not ‘wrong’, either legally or morally, for an organisation to reject anyone because it finds their views repugnant.”

            So the Westboro Baptist Church’s rejection of gay people is not morally wrong, by your standards. They’re a private organization, and they find homosexuality repugnant. Therefore, they’re morally in the clear by your definition. Right?

            It was also morally okay for Hollywood to blacklist Communist screenwriters (or those believed to be associated with or sympathetic to Communists). Right?

          • C N

            It is not morally wrong for the Westboro Baptist Church to choose it’s own members. You’re trying to create a strawman by conflating the ability to choose its members with the entirety of rejecting gay people. I don’t think it’s immoral to hold a particular view, I just think the view is factually wrong. It takes actions to be immoral, not mere thoughts, and there’s nothing wrong with protesting or a private organization selecting members, per se. If they manage to make being gay a criminal offense, then that would be immoral. As long as they keep it to their own church, it isn’t.

            So they’re not ‘morally in the clear’, in the sense that their points of view are incorrect. Their actions, however, have always been permissible and it would be morally wrong of me to oppose them by creating laws to ensure they couldn’t protest, or to force them to accept members. You are arguing for a reduction in freedom, not more. The Westboro Baptist Church’s freedom includes the freedom to be wrong.

            The Hollywood blacklist included concurrent government imposed witch-hunts, so it’s not a very good analogy, but to be clear it’s is perfectly fine for everyone to not like a writer and decide not to hire them. My argument with them would again be on factual grounds, not on their actions. If they decided to blacklist writers who happened to be child molesters would you be so hot to defend them?

            Freedom includes the hell as well as the heaven. If you want freedom you have to allow others their freedom as well. The WBC may be wrong, but I’ll defend their moral right to express themselves along with the right of all their critics. TANSTAAFL.

          • charlesmhamm

            “If they decided to blacklist writers who happened to be child molesters would you be so hot to defend them?”

            I’ve seen numerous people defending Roman Polanski, but he has the approved left-wing politics so that appears to be okay.

            “”I’ll defend their moral right to express themselves along with the right of all their critics.”

            So why do you have such a bug up your ass about people criticizing the SFWA’s action? They kicked the dude out. Wright (and many others) disagreed with that. They’re saying so. Loudly. That’s criticism, right?

          • C N

            I’m not one of the numerous people defending Roman Polanski, and your confabulation of it with ‘left-wing’ implies to me that you prefer to think in stereotypes. I’d prefer to discuss issues based on their merits, not on whatever political slogans you’ve memorized. Personally, I’ll never see a Polanski film.

            Where have I had a bug up my ass about people criticizing? I’m perfectly happy with their right to criticize. However, the calls that it’s ‘morally wrong’ for them to act as they have, or wrapping Vox in the flag of Heinlein, comparisons with fascism and the like are idiotic rhetoric and fallacy. I mean, it’s not even clever, just standard wounded pride and lashing out with barely a thought.

            I would have expected better of science fiction writers, but in the end all idols must fall.

          • charlesmhamm

            “I’m not one of the numerous people defending Roman Polanski,”

            Never said you were. I just pointed out that people were, in fact, defending Roman Polanski who is, in fact, a convicted child rapist.

            “your confabulation of it with ‘left-wing'”

            You can provide some examples of right-wing people defending Polanski to back this up, right?

            “I’m perfectly happy with their right to criticize. However, the calls that it’s ‘morally wrong’ for them to act as they have, or wrapping Vox in the flag of Heinlein, comparisons with fascism and the like are idiotic rhetoric and fallacy”

            This doesn’t even make sense. You don’t get to dictate the moral values of others, dude.

            They think it’s morally wrong to expel people from SFWA for politics and are saying so. Despite your attempted proof-by-blind-assertion that this belief is “fallacious”, I assure you that there are many people who believe that.

            If you have some sort of logic-based morality that can actually prove them wrong, you should stop wasting your time here and write a book.

          • C N

            If you never said I was, then why did you bring up something completely irrelevant? Or are you defending Polanski?

            I don’t get to dictate the moral values of others? Great, then you’re apparently all moral relativists, and they don’t have a moral stand to say anyone else is wrong either, and neither do you.

            I didn’t call their belief fallacious, but their arguments. Wrapping their arguments in Heinlein, making comparisons to facism are fallacies, and common ones at that.

            You’re so amazed at the concept of logic-based morality you’re suggesting I should write a book? I’d recommend you take a introductory philosophy course at your local college or university. Or, you know, Google is your friend. Logic and reason is how ethical conclusions are made in most ethical systems. What do you use? Random guessing?

          • charlesmhamm

            I get the concept of private organizations just fine.

            You don’t get the distinction between “legal” and “moral”.

            You wrote: “It’s not ‘wrong’, either legally or morally, for an organisation to reject anyone because it finds their views repugnant.”

            Hollywood is a private industry. Therefore by your position it was perfectly fine, legally and morally, for Hollywood to blacklist Communists and those they thought were associated with or otherwise sympathetic to Communists.


          • C N

            Apparently you don’t.

            So, do you believe it is morally wrong if a private company decides to background check writers, and only hire those that are not child molestors? Or those without a criminal record? Or perhaps they only want to hire writers with a particular sense of humor, essentially ‘blacklisting’ all others? Opposing their freedom to do so would be morally wrong.

            Moral for me and moral for others are different things. Are you proposing that it would be ‘moral’ to force you to admit someone to your home that you didn’t want to admit to your home?

          • John C Wright

            “It’s not ‘wrong’, either legally or morally, for an organisation to reject anyone because it finds their views repugnant.”

            To the contrary, if the private organization is the Science Fiction Writers of America, and their charter and bylaws define their purpose, and they advertise themselves as being a professional group and NOT a political advocacy group, then it is wrong morally and legally for them to reject a member because of his political views — particularly if he has paid his dues.

            For the Young Men’s Christian Association or the Communist Worker’s Liberation Party to expel a member for failing to conform to its views, on the other hand, would be perfectly legal and moral.

            You are overlooking what the argument is actually about. I did not quit ‘a private organization’.

            I quit SWFA.

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  • corinthian leather

    Heinlein was a warrior who understood war and warriors, humans and humanity. Sadly the pasty, second-guessing, self-appointed “critics” have had their manhood watered down to the point of being unrecognizable. History for them, does not exist. They do not acknowledge evil or good and live in a world that began with their own birth and ends with their (impossible!) passing.

    The children are in charge. Until the adults are needed. Once again.

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  • AnitaPiece

    You could burn them. Make a pretty bonfire.

    • brightlight

      Can we add some of John’s the bonfire? His first book was great the rest were dreck.

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  • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

    No, the First Amendment means the government can’t arrest you. Free speech means people are free to speak. These are two things that do not overlap tidily. In the case of the Hollywood Ten, the First Amendment did not protect them, but believers in free speech still think what was done to them was wrong.

    • C N

      And nobody has stopped his freedom of speech, or did you mean the freedom to speak AND the freedom from the consequences of your speech?

      The Hollywood 10 isn’t remotely comparable. There’s no blacklist, nobody has stopped anyone from working, or selling their work.

      From Orwellian tragedy to the Hollywood 10, any hyperbolized analogy will do to justify the hurt ego.

      People can refuse private awards to people they find repugnant. Being cast out of a private society for having differing views does not a Hollywood 10 make, no matter how much you desperately want to make it so.

      • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

        Here’s the ACLU’s take on censorship, from their website: “Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional. In contrast, when private individuals or groups organize boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove, their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous in the extreme. Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period.”

        Card was blacklisted at DC. Moon had her invitation to speak at WisCon taken away—the situation is almost exactly like that of Norman Finkelstein at Clark University. The ACLU said about it, “…the cancellation of his speech violates the basic principles of freedom of speech and academic freedom which are so fundamental to an institute of higher learning. The existence of an opportunity to speak at another time or in another location does not remedy the wrong of censorship.”

        • C N

          By that quote I shall assume you agree with me.

          “Boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove, their actions are protected by the First Amendment”

          Nobody has the right to speak whenever and where-ever they like. People have the right not to book them, not to buy their products, not to admit them to private clubs, or whatever. What you want to do is lesson everyone else’s freedom in order to impose your own.

          People are protected from being arrested or prosecuted, within limitations, for what they say. They are not protected from the consequences of what happens when people hear what they say and decide to exercise their own freedom, with limitations. Nothing you’ve said has shown it’s gone beyond these limitations. It’s the sad petulant whining of those that wish to avoid responsibility for their own actions and words.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            We agree on what’s legal, not on what’s moral. Legally, I have the right to silence anyone I can silence without breaking the law. But morally, I have the obligation to defend the speech of others, no matter how much that speech may offend me.

          • C N

            You don’t have the right to ‘silence’ anyone. You can’t break into anyone’s home and prevent them from saying what they want, and if they want to speak in a public things or write a blog or whatever, then you don’t have a right to demand that a law be made such that they can’t.

            You can, however, choose not to spend money on products they sell, books they write, etc. You can choose to belong to private organizations that won’t let them in as a member. That’s part and parcel of freedom, both legal and moral.

            So, yes, morally I would defend his right to write anything he likes. I would also condemn anyone that advocated physical violence or other such consequences – that would be ‘defending speech’. But I would also defend anyone’s right to not read their blog, not buy their book, not admit them as members – this is also defending their freedom.

            What you want is freedom for a few, rather than for all. Freedom for all comes with consequences.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            It seems like you’re the one who wants freedom for some, not all. I would never defend blacklisting the Hollywood Ten or Scott Card or anyone based on their opinions.

            I will add that so far as I know, no one has ever said words shouldn’t have consequences. The only question for me is whether it’s morally defensible to blacklist people for stating things that I disagree with. And I conclude it’s not. Of course, people are free to argue that it is right to censor, so long as the censorship is done privately rather than by the government. And I will continue to disagree. The difference between morality and legality always matters, and it especially matters in issues of free speech.

          • C N

            So, what you would do, is force people to purchase and hire who you want, rather than what they want. Right. I can almost taste the extra freedom.

            You can’t simultaneously acknowledge that words have consequences, while suggesting it’s indefensible for people to act to bring those consequences about.

            II would agree that a society that blacklists those with such political views is wrong, but your analogy is poor; it enjoyed government support and concurrent action, which takes it much closer to a loss of freedom of speech. A better analogy would be a church ejecting members because they found out they were gay, which they are perfectly allowed to do.

            I would argue strenuously why being gay (or communist) is not a reason to fear or blacklist someone, but arguing that they should be allowed to take such action is counter productive; it reduces all of our freedom.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            Do you really not understand the difference between blacklisting someone and requiring people to see their movies or buy their books? These things are not connected.

            In a world of free speech, people are free to agree or disagree, and no one punishes anyone for not conforming. But that’s an ideal, I grant. Perhaps there will always be people who prefer to silence others.

          • C N

            Do you really not see that requiring people to hire someone and not requiring people to hiring someone are mutually exclusive? That “Not A” cannot equal “A” is not something I can explain in simpler terms.

            And again, nobody is “silencing” anybody, as you have hyperbolized. Vox’s blog is as active as ever. Nobody is under an obligation to provide a platform, and not providing one is not the same as ‘silencing’ someone.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            The issue is firing, not hiring: do you fire someone because of the quality of their work, or do you fire them because of their beliefs? If the latter, firing people for supporting socialism or gay marriage is valid. But I disagree with you.

            In the cases of Finkelstein at Clark and Moon at WisCon, the ACLU’s point was not that they had a right to speak uninvited. It was that once they had been invited, withdrawing the opportunity based on their views is not in the spirit of free speech. The same reasoning applies to Scott Card, whose homophobia I have criticized since I learned of it in the ’90s, but who, I suspect, was not planning to write a homophobic Superman. If he had, I would support DC’s write to fire him based on the story.

          • C N

            The issue is about inviting someone to speak and then uninviting someone to speak. They’re not an employee. If you invite someone into your home, you’re not allowed to uninvite them once you find out what kind of people they are? Sure it’s not in the ‘spirit’ of the free exchange of ideas at a university, but it’s not unethical or illegal.

            I am not saying that these things are nice, but that they are not unethical or illegal, nor (as some have suggested) the first step of a slippery slope to fascism. I would love to live in a society in which everyone was free to say whatever they wished without repercussions for merely expressing their views.I would also love to live in a society where I have complete autonomy to dictate my own actions. These two are necessarily in conflict; do we restrict people’s speech, or do we restrict people’s reactions to such speech?

            DC firing Card isn’t ethically or legally wrong; they can decide that not offending their readership is more important than not offending one of their employees. You have the freedom to decide whether to purchase DC comics in the future. Or do you believe you should be ‘forced’ to buy DC to support them no matter what they do?

            I don’t even really understand why you would object to Card writing a homophobic Superman; if everyone is inherently entitled to say or write whatever they wish (once invited to write or speak) without fear of consequences, why couldn’t Card write that? It appears to me you change your principles depending on the subject under discussion.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            You seem to be incapable of separating the artist from the art. DC’s Superman is not homophobic; writing him as homophobic would be a failure to do the job DC expects of people who use its characters.

            Ah, well. Time to bow out. I’ll stay on the side of the ACLU and free speech for all.

          • C N

            Again, you have an insufficient grasp of free speech. Free speech means the government can’t arrest you. It doesn’t mean people can’t react, sue you for slander, fire you, or whatever. You wish to exercise a right regardless of the competing rights of others. Regardless of whether it’s the ACLU’s position or not.

            And, like most of the rhetoric on this page, it doesn’t matter what flags you wrap yourself in, whether Heinlein or ACLU or American, it’s still just empty rhetoric.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            Sigh. I know you’re trolling, but I’m weak. “Free speech” is a principle, not a law. And of course you can sue for slander: free speech does not give anyone the right to lie about others.

            Well, you may continue to defend the legal right of people to silence others, I’ll continue to defend the moral imperative for people to let other people speak.

          • C N

            :) – for what it’s worth, not trolling.

            That free speech was a principle, not a law, was the point of the examples. As a principle, the right to free speech is subject to the equal and competing rights of others.

            Again, you’re proposing far harsher language than has actually occurred. There has been no Orwellian ‘Silencing of others’, but people choosing not to provide a platform for speech they don’t like. That is a subtle, but very clear, difference.

            You are not, then, ‘defending the moral imperative for people to let other people speak’ (as far as I can tell they are all still speaking in their own platforms as they see fit), but rather attacking others for exercising their own right not to be used as a platform for views they don’t agree with.

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            Since I also have trouble letting go, I’ll apologize for suggesting you were trolling. It was things like telling me I don’t understand things that suggested trolling. I understand this differently than you, but I’ve been interested in censorship and the ACLU ever since I was a boy caught up in the civil rights movement.

            Your subtle clear difference boils down to blacklisting is blacklisting. If someone’s deprived of work or has an invitation to speak withdrawn, what’s at work is not free speech. It’s favored speech. Because really, this should be simple: if everyone’s not free to speak, there’s no free speech.

          • C N

            Okay, let me try this again. Free speech is the ability to speak with interference by the government. We would both agree that arresting people based on things they say would be clearly wrong, except within specific limitations.

            The thing about free speech, is that it’s not popular speech that needs protecting, but unpopular speech. It’s exactly the things no-one, or the government, doesn’t want to hear is what needs protecting. So when Vox Day suggests that it’s impossible to rape a wife (as he did yesterday), then I would agree with you that he has every right to publish this on his blog.

            But free speech isn’t the only type of freedom. There is also freedom of autonomy, expressed in such things as freedom of association. Again, it’s the unpopular versions that need protecting. This is why private clubs are allowed to discriminate based on gender or sexual identity. We may not like it, just like we don’t like Vox Day’s opinion on rape, but we protect it as a fundamental freedom.

            So if a Private association uses their freedom of association to kick out Vox Day that is just as important to protect as protecting Vox Day’s freedom to express his mysogeny. I may not like either one, but both have to be protected to protect the principle underlying each type of freedom.

            You may not like blacklisting, but choice in association itself is a protected freedom for private individuals and groups. You may not like people defending (or denying rape), but speech is also a protected freedom.

            Nobody has reduced Vox Day’s freedom of speech. And nothing in the above article represents any ethical justification for removing any one else’s freedom to choose not to associate with Vox Day.

            If you appreciate Civil Rights, wouldn’t it be important to protect all of them, and not just some of them?

          • http://shetterly.blogspot.com/ Will Shetterly

            We disagree at the very beginning: free speech is the ability to say what you believe. The government may or may not be a factor in that. There are many ways in which the powerful silence those who are less powerful, and the less powerful try to silence those who are more powerful.

            As for civil rights, if you’re not supporting everyone’s ability to speak without punishment, you’re skipping one of the most important civil rights. I’ll go back to the ACLU’s letter to Clark when they canceled Finkelstein’s speech: “the cancellation of his speech violates the basic principles of freedom of speech”. You’re focusing on legality. I’m focusing on principles.

      • charlesmhamm

        “There’s no blacklist, nobody has stopped anyone from working, or selling their work.”

        And we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

        Keep digging.

        • C N

          Beautiful non sequitur, with a touch of supercilious smugness. Good show!

    • yremogtnoM nahtaN

      The Hollywood blacklists happened in the context of the HUAC hearings. It happened in the context of FBI investigations and operations.

      When the US government starts to investigate prominent SFWA members, and leans on the organization in an effort to eliminate racist influences from SF/F, and forces it to produce works of anti-racist propaganda, then we might be witnessing a situation analogous to Hollywood blacklisting.

      That doesn’t seem to be happening here. Am I mistaken?

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  • VirginiaJeff

    Oh, great. Another conservative white man who’s come unhinged because minorities, women, and liberals won’t just STFU.

  • John Scalzi

    Whoever wrote the comment above is not me (i.e., the John Scalzi who writes novels). Beware! The Internet is full of imposters!

  • Shayde

    Scalzi said this post was fake… nice try not-Scalzi.


  • Ralph Hitchens

    “The award-winning Mr. Card, one of the finest science fiction writers
    today, was forced off the project because the dictates of his religious
    faith (not to mention his faith in democracy over rule by activist
    judges) did not agree with the political beliefs of the thought police.”

    False in every respect. His religious faith seemed to come into conflict with our nation’s governing document, the Constitution. Judges are supposed to review and, on occasion, overrule the legislature — that’s one of their primary jobs. Gay marriage is distasteful to many traditional Christians but more and more courts are holding that banning it violates the “equal protection” clause, creating second-class citizens. Sorry, Mr. Card, but if you wear the constitutional shoes you should understand that they might pinch at times.

    • dicentra

      It doesn’t violate equal protection because the law applies equally to gay and straight alike: if nobody gets to marry someone of the same sex, then the law is equally applied, because there’s no test for sexual orientation or attraction prior to marriage. A gay man & a lesbian can get married even after proclaiming that they’re as gay as an Easter parade.

      What’s happening is that the sex of the participants is being deemed irrelevant. That’s different from an equal protection consideration. If anything, the judges are saying that it’s unconstitutional to take the sex of the prospective spouses into account regarding marriage law.

      Yes, it does matter that it be described with precision, irrespective of emotional impact.

      • Ralph Hitchens

        You don’t understand equal protection. The Jim Crow laws applied equally to white and black but who became second class citizens? Laws banning same sex marriage create second class citizens who through no fault of their own are denied the economic and legal benefits I enjoy in a heterosexual marriage. What you can’t accept is that theirs is not a “lifestyle choice” any more than is being black. You want to force people to change what cannot be changed, and deny them rights if they do not do so. I.e., denial of equal protection.

  • http://dwgism.livejournal.com/ DGillon

    Wow. I can read writers whose politics I dislike, just so long as they don’t preach at me in their book – but if that writer makes a remark that disparages my minority (I’m disabled, and yes I call myself an activist), whether in their work, or in their everyday life, then damned straight I’m going to say something.

    I grew up reading Heinlein, I struggle to read him now, the attitude to disability in Starship Troopers just puts my back straight up – what’s the line: ‘if someone deaf-blind wants to serve we’ll put him in a room somewhere to count the hairs on a caterpillar’ – something like it anyway. It’s about the worst expression of the paternalistic pat-em-on-the-head and send-em-basketweaving crap we have to deal with as disabled people I’ve ever come across, and it taints all of Heinlein for me. Where would I better serve Heinlein’s Federation against the Bugs as a disabled person? Counting hairs on the back of a caterpillar, or as the weapons systems engineer I am? Maybe Heinlein didn’t realise he was doing anything wrong when he wrote that line, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t point out that it isn’t acceptable in a world that now demands disabled people be given equal opportunities, because kids reading Heinlein need to realise that not all of his views are acceptable or appropriate in contemporary society. (And hopefully Heinlein himself would have realised that and be writing differently if he was still here). And because I realise the need to speak up to defend my minority, I’ve realised that I need to speak up to defend other minorities when I see them being put down. If you have a problem with that, tough.

    The diatribe at the top of the page can be summed up easily enough ‘Those meanies on ‘the Left’ won’t let us be nasty to people without telling everyone about it. ‘The Left’ are bullies, boo hoo.’ The author pitches it as an issue of free speech, but the only aspect of free speech he seems to be concerned about is shutting up ‘the Left’, and condemning them for not being ‘the Right’. SF is supposed to be a literature of tolerance. If writers aren’t perceived as tolerant, then doesn’t tolerance itself demand we discuss that? And if they won’t extend tolerance to others, if they campaign against tolerance, then doesn’t tolerance demand that we in turn be allowed to campaign against them?

    I’ve no doubt the author will write me off as ‘the lunatic Left’ and I’m fine with that, because I’m proud to be on the Left, and disablist language like ‘lunatic’ presumes I find some negative in being disabled – sorry, no I don’t. I just wish Iain M Banks was still here, because clearly we need someone to, in his words, ‘reclaim the high ground of SF for the Left’.

  • BillStewart2012

    John Scalzi says he didn’t post this comment; it’s a forgery. See http://whatever.scalzi.com/2014/05/13/for-the-avoidance-of-doubt/

  • C N

    When Republicans or Democrats wrap themselves in the American flag, you just know they’re lying.

    The equivalent for a science fiction author is wrapping oneself in Heinlein.

    • cargosquid


      So…no actual argument then?

  • AugustineThomas

    It begs the question, why do you all let leftists enslave you if you realize how insane they are?

    • cargosquid

      They are ATTEMPTING to enslave. They have not succeeded.

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  • GM52246

    This comment is not by John Scalzi, and should either be deleted or noted as not from him.


  • cargosquid


  • dicentra

    there’s consequences

    I KNOW!

    Like there were consequences when an uppity black man made eyes at one of Our Women, amiright? Don’t wanna swing from a tree, don’t be putting your eyes where they don’t belong.

    Is what.

  • Luke

    While the right to privacy was never absolutely, explicitly listed in the bill of rights, the first and forth amendments can definitely be taken as a right to speak and think as we wish and to assume that these thought and words will not result in legal actions by the state unless there is some minimal threshold of public danger proven to a judge. Likewise, there is no mention in The Constitution of freedom from having your feelings hurt.

    In a short period of time, I am going to go mow my yard. If the blades on my mower box are made by someone who secretly wears German National Socialist military uniforms in his bedroom, I don’t care. I refuse to be part of the thought police movement.

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  • Kennon Gilson

    Thanks for the article. Heinlein, a libertarian, would probably be unhappy!
    For info on actual people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org

  • Gregg Macklin

    I grew up on science fiction and have started writing it as well. I had a person that volunteered to help me edit my book, toss in the towel unless I made changes to her liking. I politely declined the changes and moved on. It is my story told my way

  • Piscita


    “The falsely accused racist here is Hispanic.” BECAUSE ONLY WHITE PEOPLE CAN BE RACISTZ.

    Again, LOLZ.