First things first. I don’t have a dog in this hunt. I was not planning on attending Origins, and never would have, as it is in Ohio, and I simply won’t go to that state unless absolutely necessary. So this doesn’t impact my plans in the least.
Second things…I am very torn on this, as I am, at my core, a free speech absolutist. I believe that there should be no limits on speech, and have written at length about that. In brief, I believe that you should be allowed to speak, and operate your businesses, as you see fit – including discrimination against potential customers – without governmental interference or censure. The flip side is that you must also accept that the population may not support you, and you must not be saved from failure by the government either. Thus, I respect Origins Game Fair’s right to invite whomever they wish, and disinvite (as rude as that may be) whomever they wish. This is their right, and their excise of this right is nothing to comment on. While I think their decisions are poor, and will harm them in the long run, it is their right to do so, and I respect and defend that right, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.
There is the issue of the now-deleted tweet from Origins announcing the removal of New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia from their guest list. First, by deleting the tweet, it looks like they are either covering up, or ashamed of, their position. That is one of my main complaints about the modern world, and maybe worth a post in itself. We no longer seem to even have the courage of our personal belief, of our convictions. See books by Lars Walker for a better look at that than I can give just now. That is one issue, but the real issue, the kicker, as it were, is the wording of the tweet itself:
Third paragraph. Last sentence. “We focus on fun, not discourse and controversy”. Emphasis mine.
Discourse. Webster’s defines this as
- verbal interchange of ideas; especially : conversation
- formal and orderly and usually extended expression of thought on a subject
- connected speech or writing
- a linguistic unit (such as a conversation or a story) larger than a sentence
- a mode of organizing knowledge, ideas, or experience that is rooted in language and its concrete contexts (such as history or institutions) critical discourse
- archaic: the capacity of orderly thought or procedure : rationality
- obsolete: social familiarity
So, Origins, per their executive director, is not a place for a verbal exchange of ideas, conversation, or civil discussion. While I expect he meant to use the word ‘discord’, that isn’t what was written. And I think that is revealing. By refusing to honor an invitation to a man who is considered by all who have met him to be a great person, kind, gracious, gentle, etc. (disclaimer: I have never met him, but know people who have), and then saying ‘we don’t want to be a place for conversation’, Origins shows a staggering intolerance of diversity.
The simple reality is that the political position occupied by the sort of people who screech about ‘unsafe’ (and do explain how that is in any way accurate….I’ll wait) is also all about the refusal to engage in any discourse with anyone not of their specific group or flavor. In this, they haven’t exactly progressed past their origins in the early 1800s, and demonstrate they still love a good lynching. In civil society, ideas are to be discussed, to be considered, and to be accepted or rejected on their merits – not because some screeching stain says they make her (in this specific case, it was a her – isn’t always) feel, somehow, unsafe. As if someone holding a different opinion is unsafe. This back to the absurdist position that somehow conservative speech is violence, but liberal violence is speech. I am neither alone nor original in stating that 1984 was a warning, not an instruction manual.
So what is a thinking person to do (and yes, in case it isn’t obvious, I am excluding the sort of person who thinks this is right or good from the set ‘thinking’, not ‘people’) when confronted with this kind of idiocy? What is the correct response? Again, no dog in the hunt, but I think the correct response may look like this:
- Boycott Origins. In all ways – do not support them, their sponsors, their allies, their friends, their ConCom’s businesses. You want to make this personal, on your head be it. The vendors are innocent in this, and don’t deserve to be caught in the insanity Origins has started. If you know they were there, and see them elsewhere, proceed as normal – this is not on them. Sponsors…that’s different.
- Promote the competition of all the above – boycotting is step one. Always look at the second step, and that is to move any business from the supporters of the position you disagree with to their competitors. It isn’t enough to just not shop there…
- Under no circumstances encourage, condone, support, suggest, or hint at any kind of violent response – even in metaphor, jest, ad absurdum, mockery, and so on. The enemy – and they have declared themselves so – chooses when to take this as an actual threat, and when to not. Hint: if conservatives say it, it is a threat, if they say it, it isn’t (even when it is by any reasonable standard).
- Do patronize conventions where banned and disinvited authors are welcome. Be active in those communities, and keep the good cons going. Since they want segregation so badly, we can give it to them.
- See #3…really, not even in jest. With the fallout and discussion in full froth, Mr. Correia posted that he awoke this AM to reports that people in his Facebook group made bomb threats. I suspect someone reported his wife, for the ‘nuke em’ post she made. This is how deranged the enemy is. Just think for a moment about that.
- Strike back in their forum and manner. So Origins kicked Mr. Correia. And by doing so removed the only non-white guest from their convention. Make some noise about that! No women, no POC, only white males! How dare they – isn’t that making us unsafe? Or whatever their position is. Use mockery, as they cannot stand being mocked. Subvert their own methods and practices. We have a true spectrum of people who are on our side, people they claim have more valid voices…use those voices to make it impossible for conventions like Origins to function. Use their weapons to orchestrate their downfall.
In closing, remember to remain true to yourselves. There is nothing wrong with a convention making an unpopular choice – they have that right and must be encouraged to exercise it. To do otherwise is to be the next in line for the boxcars. Forgive them, as we are called to do. But also remember we are not compelled or called to support them either.