Time Heals All Wounds, And Then Kills the Patient
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Fri Aug 10 23:40:28 2012
Thunderfoot, Natalie Reed, and Activism

Natalie Reed, a semi-prominent blogger on FreeThoughtBlogs (which I mentioned removed Thunderfoot after a short stint earlier this summer, and provided my own mixed thoughts on the matter in that post), recently announced that she doesn't want to be thought of as part of the secular movement anymore. I have some mixed thoughts on this, and it does tie to some topics I'm generally interested in, so let's dig in a bit. As with basically anything I comment on ever, I have a copy of the post I'm replying to; if the original ever goes away let me know and I'll either repost it here or provide a link.

In general, I'm not that averse to people leaving movements, even if they still care about a cause, or are best categorised as having a position the movement is trying to push. There is alawys room for more than one movement, and there is also room for people pursuing causes independently. The feminist movement is like this, with its many strands and flavours. Same thing with the socialist movements, and secular movements, and the like. I'm alone in some of these things and in minor factions on others, sometimes because I think a culture has gone rotten or is just uninteresting (I'm bi, but have no ties to the BIGALA communities for this reason), sometimes I have serious issues with how some movements conduct themselves (the "Social Justice" movement is something I deeply oppose because I think it's shrill third-wave rubbish), and I'm alone in my socialism mostly because I haven't found enough people who see things the way I do. Deciding to leave, or join, or split a movement is all fine by me. I primarily want to work through the reasons Natalie gives, and provide commentary. I intend to do this in a way sensitive to the spirit in which it's written; when she wrote it she seems unusually upset, and so let's forgive a bit of hyperbole/excessive phrasing.

Also, as a bit of extra background, Natalie identifies as trans and is, as far as I understand, XY. She's had a fairly rough life in many parts. Not that we should give extra leniency or consideration because of this (the forming of positions or judgement should never be so personal); it's just mainly important for context.

Moving into the meat:

Her closing is fine by me.

I don't think she's entirely wrong. Whether she goes or stays is fine, but if she really won't accept a community that doesn't accept third-wave/SJ activism as its primary set of methods and a source of its conclusions, then I'd rather she went. Our commitment to justice should not be that specific. There is room for third-wavers if they stop lecturing everyone else that their gender theory and race theory and the like are the only things worth knowing with their "race 101" rubbish, and if they can get over themselves to the extent that their notion of privilege isn't that unspeakably arrogant "you would agree with my subjective ideas if only you learned more" type claim. If they can't accept pluralism, then they need to be expelled from any social movement in the same way that we'd expel racists and MRAs. We will be a broad tent, and the specifics of your (and my) theory cannot be mandatory for that broad tent.