Virtue Ethics and the Modern Left - a highly autistic essay - ITT: Why SJWs like Harry Potter so fucking much

Spunt

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I'm genuinely curious as to where you draw the distinction between one or the other, since from my perspective I simply do both.
I'm sure you do, but these people don't. Notice that SJWs are, about hunting down incorrect thoughts and belief systems, not fixing societal problems. "White Supremacy", "Patriarchy", "Transphobia" etc. etc. are not things that people do, they are things that (according to them at least) people think, or at the even greater extreme, what they are. Consider also the "cancelling" and "deplatforming" of individuals guilty of such wrongthink.

It's not about what actions their targets take. That's why apologising to them doesn't work, they have judged your character and you have been found wanting. No matter how much money PewDiePie raises for charity or whatever other good things he does, he is and forever will be a Nazi according to ResetEra and similar groups. Nazism has been judged to be part of the essence of Pewdiepie's being, in a sort of Platonic/Aristotelian sense. His actions no longer matter.

This Platonic essentialism explains the weird "original sin" aspects of modern Leftist ideology. If you are white, you are guilty of "whiteness" and oppressing minorities, even if you have never done anything remotely close to oppressing anyone. What you did doesn't matter. If you are white, the oppression isn't in your actions, it is in your nature. You shitlord.

Compare this to the "Old Left". They didn't care what was in your heart, they cared about action, about policy. Equality to them wasn't about purging impure thought, it was about redistributing wealth, trade unions, nationalisation, wage controls. Things you actually left your basement and did. You proved you were a Leftist by doing Leftist things, not by telling everyone just how very Leftist you are but it's ableist to actually ask you to do anything (cf Clawshrimpy).


I think the current state of left-wing politics has more to do with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the general presumption that Marxism and Socialism are now harmless, allowing much more free discussion of the topics. It also probably drew in people who prefer to think of themselves as underdogs, on top of the fact that openly supporting Communism has been a common act of rebelliousness and counterculture dating back to at least the 1930s. The real shift is demographic, not moral. Communism, Socialism, et all were originally championed by middle-to-working class people, with only a few core academics at the top to drive rhetoric. Now, overwhelmingly the people who are likely to identify as Socialists, Communists or Marxists are overwhelmingly middle to upperclass, and a large number of them are on the younger side.

There's a potential arguement to be made that the rhetoric of the modern left wing is some kind of coping mechanism to deal with white guilt, survivor's guilt, and anything generally designated as "priviledged". I'm more inclined to think of it as another outgrowth of this strange wave of emotional behavior we're seeing across the masses, which involves not only politics but has affected other things such as art, aesthetics, humor and entertainment.

The Twitter Progressives owe a lot more to the mechanics of Twitter and the culture surrounding it than they do to any sort of moral thought on the part of the people actively posting there. This has been true of the internet at large for quite some time but Twitter just happened to distill that set of mechanics down the most efficiently. Posting regularly online is habit-forming, and it feeds into a sense of community that generally most people are lacking in their lives. Its not that surprising that people already leaning on one ideology would fall to dogmatism on a site where your thoughts and words at limited to singular 240 character posts.
The mechanics of Social Media, Twitter in particular, I think have played a major role in the shift of thinking. My sperg-out in the OP talked about what I think has changed in the way that leftists think, but not really why. I think everything you've pointed to here is probably correct. Twitter, though, is a particularly interesting case of how altering the structure of how people engage with each other can alter their thinking and behaviour.

The two features of Twitter that define how it is used are the forced brevity of its messages and the ease with which you can block people.

The former prevents ideas being exchanged in any depth. There was a reason Socialists and Communists used to have a reputation for droning on and on for hours, and that's because those ideas are complex and long-winded. So Twitter discourages that kind of idea, and encourages sound-bite ideas without any explanation. "Pewdiepie is Alt-Right" is a brief, authoritative-sounding statement. It is also complete nonsense, but it takes more than 140/280 characters to explain why it's nonsense. So the simple, broad statement about the "nature" or "character" of an individual or group becomes the easiest form of political discourse, rather than long screeds about how the proletariat can seize the means of production in the era of State Corporatism.

The latter (the ease of blocking people) makes it simple to eliminate all dissenting voices, surrounding yourself with an echo-chamber of people who share your ideas. Of course, with no dissent comes no debate and nothing to talk about, so the only way of creating debate is to turn on your friends and accuse them of not being as ideologically pure as you, leading to purges and purity spirals. And because Twitter makes it impossible to have a proper debate, you just get hot takes and "x is a Nazi" statements.
 

The Final Troondown

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Honestly I'd see SJWism in terms of heroic modelling
For example since the great liberation movements of early feminism, civil rights etc, these movements and the people involved have been taught as great inspirational stories, much as myths always have within societies

The problem is you now don't have a society that lynches blacks, or forces gay heroes to be chemically castrated etc
This is a problem because you can't be the next Martin Luther King with nobody to resist against
So they build up everything into literally Hitler because that fits their heroic narrative
 
U

UQ 770

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Honestly I'd see SJWism in terms of heroic modelling
For example since the great liberation movements of early feminism, civil rights etc, these movements and the people involved have been taught as great inspirational stories, much as myths always have within societies

The problem is you now don't have a society that lynches blacks, or forces gay heroes to be chemically castrated etc
This is a problem because you can't be the next Martin Luther King with nobody to resist against
So they build up everything into literally Hitler because that fits their heroic narrative
To my great disappointment, the mundane explanations are often correct. Though I do think there's a feedback loop going on here where what started out as activism has whipped up a bunch of vulnerable people into a frenzy of paranoia. There's also something weird going on where they keep adopting stuff that was initially a joke as part of their movement. Literally Hitler, calling everybody a Nazi, Islamophillia, etc. Its not even that they can't take a joke anymore, it seems like they're incapable of distinguishing mockery from their own movement.

This might be hard to relate since I'm unsure of how common it is, but have you ever seen a confident person interact with a very impressionable one, and within minutes the impressionable person starts mirroring the confident person without realizing it? This feels to me like some kind of masochistic version of that, where SJW types seems to always be trying to fulfill their own stereotypes. SJ non-combatants tend to be a little more independently minded, or at least more introverted and cooperative. They're also quicker to admit that they don't fully understand their own political beliefs, which while annoying is at least something I can appreciate. It seems to me there's more going on here than just politics, but I'm probably overthinking it.
 

Spunt

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Honestly I'd see SJWism in terms of heroic modelling
For example since the great liberation movements of early feminism, civil rights etc, these movements and the people involved have been taught as great inspirational stories, much as myths always have within societies

The problem is you now don't have a society that lynches blacks, or forces gay heroes to be chemically castrated etc
This is a problem because you can't be the next Martin Luther King with nobody to resist against
So they build up everything into literally Hitler because that fits their heroic narrative
There's a lot of truth in this. On the Something Awful forums there is a poster called Prester John/Jane, who is a batshit schizophrenic troon, but also the author of a very interesting theory about authoritarians and the way they think, which is basically the "hero narrative" that you describe. Authoritarians want to impose their will on the world, so they adopt a very egotistical self-image of being a warrior for what is "right" and against the system (even if they are really the dominant group in the system). They believe that they will heroically win the battle against evil - and be rewarded with power over others for being the hero.

Now John/Jane meant this to apply just to right-wing authoritarians (they grew up in some kind of apocalyptic fundie cult so it's understandable) but this narrative applies perfectly to much of the Left as well (every so often someone points this out and the entire thread has a 5-page spastic seizure of denial, it's hilarious to watch). Importantly, it provides a meaningful explanation for what is otherwise the bizarre and inexplicable tendency for hardcore leftists to team up with radical Islamists. On the surface they don't have very much in common in terms of their vision of society - just think how far apart they are on topics like women's rights and homosexuality. But once you stop looking at policy and start looking at the inner narratives of the power-hungry authoritarians behind both groups, there is a common narrative, and that is:

"Western society is decadent and corrupt, and must be destroyed. I will be the hero of the battle, and then I will rule the world in the way I think it should be done."

This explains the existence of otherwise dissonant belief systems, such as that of George Galloway, an Islamo-Fascist-Communist fuelled solely by his desire to have power over others. It's also the motivation behind a number of left-wing lolcows, the epitome of which is Phil/ADF, whose pathetic Antifa LARPing and "Australatina" fantasies expose his real motivation - to have power and dominion over his own feifdom and all the luckless peasants therein.
 
U

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There's a lot of truth in this. On the Something Awful forums there is a poster called Prester John/Jane, who is a batshit schizophrenic troon, but also the author of a very interesting theory about authoritarians and the way they think, which is basically the "hero narrative" that you describe. Authoritarians want to impose their will on the world, so they adopt a very egotistical self-image of being a warrior for what is "right" and against the system (even if they are really the dominant group in the system). They believe that they will heroically win the battle against evil - and be rewarded with power over others for being the hero.
This occurs sometimes in the case of authoritarians but its not always accurate. Often times authoritarianism can arise from non-ego routes, such as a long time leader becoming jaded, opportunists using the system to cover up corruption and embezzlement, and sometimes its just bureaucratic inertia. There's also authoritarians out there like me who are dead-on-the-inside misanthropes who have just lost the ability to tolerate other people's bullshit.
 

Leonard Helplessness

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Necroing this because you linked it elsewhere. You've got it all wrong. Why should I give a fuck about virtue ethics when I can instantly measure my righteousness by checking my reaction score?

Crowdsourced morality is the future, man. As long as I'm farming up those sweet likes, retweets, follows, upvotes, and Semper Fidelis ratings I know I'm doing the right thing. Just don't click the puzzle piece or say anything about consciences getting short-circuited by the dopamine rush of twitter clout or else I'll fucking block you, asshole.
 

Sayon

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All "Leftism" (an outdated word really, considering the "Left" that matters is well on the same team as Republicans when it comes to rallying around big business) roots in Abrahamic theology or societies deeply impacted by it. This is the case even if the likes of Richard Dawkins refuses to acknowledge such.
 
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Syaoran Li

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All "Leftism" (an outdated word really, considering the "Left" that matters is well on the same team as Republicans when it comes to rallying around big business) roots in Abrahamic theology or societies deeply impacted by it. This is the case even if the likes of Richard Dawkins refuses to acknowledge such.
True, and oddly enough, the tenets of social conservatism are rooted in Abrahamic theology as well.

The traditionalist concept of "degeneracy" and the social conservative brand of morality are both rooted in the Judaic laws written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy and carried on via Christianity, which makes the antisemitism among guys like Vox Day or Nick Fuentes even more ironic.

The rise of the Abrahamic traditions was a massive game-changer on the grand scheme of things, and who knows how our world would have formed if Christianity and Islam never came to power?

I highly doubt it would be the hyper-scientific utopia that the fedoras tend to believe would happen, but it would definitely be a much different world, especially with politics and culture. It'd probably be completely alien to any of us, really.
 
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Terrorist

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Good points about ethics. But (no offense) you undermine it with outdated Sargon-era obsession about SJWs. Bluehairs on social media who love Harry Potter don't matter as much as you think, they're just one small symptom of a much larger decline. They have no power except the tiny amount that trickles down from cultural elites who make Harry Potter and similar fiction. Look at the important people instead, it'll tell you a lot more.
 

Syaoran Li

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Good points about ethics. But (no offense) you undermine it with outdated Sargon-era obsession about SJWs. Bluehairs on social media who love Harry Potter don't matter as much as you think, they're just one small symptom of a much larger decline. They have no power except the tiny amount that trickles down from cultural elites who make Harry Potter and similar fiction. Look at the important people instead, it'll tell you a lot more.
I never got the impression the OP was going with a full anti-SJW stance. At least not in the "SJW's are destroying the West and we must shitpost to stop them" way that Sargon is infamous for.

The OP mainly explained why SJW's think the way they do (and why they often like Harry Potter a lot), and honestly I think SJW's are just an extremely vocal and visible symptom of a larger problem in the Western world deep down.

SJW's are annoying as fuck and I don't like them either, but you are correct that they're not the real problem with why the world sucks these days.

I know you're going to hate reading this, but really SJW's are just shrieking moralizers who are not much different from the fundies of the 80's and 90's, Tipper Gore, or the Temperance Movement in the 19th Century.

You're always going to have moral guardians in the culture every now and then. Socrates was blamed for corrupting the youth of Athens. SJW's are just the newest iteration of them, as infuriating and extremely vocal as they can be sometimes, they're not that different from any other moral guardian save for their access to social media.

Moral guardians are not a new thing and they will always be around in some form or another. All that would happen if the SJW's went away is that pop culture would get slightly better for a while and there would be a lot less dumb hot takes on Twitter until the next moral panic and outrage comes along.

The current flavor of moral guardians right now are just a very visible symptom of a bigger problem in Western society with a deeper root cause and more serious issues underpinning it.

And before you start, the cause of this problem is not a certain ethnic group that includes George Soros, Leon Trotsky, Bernie Sanders, Jesus of Nazareth, King David, Simon Peter, Moses, Ben Shapiro, Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, Barbara Streisand, and Jeff Goldblum among its ranks.

The problem is a very complex one, with a lot of symptoms both major (corporatism) and minor (SJW's)

It's a problem that cannot be solved by any of the proposed solutions most commonly touted by the right, the left, or even the centrists.

I know you're a Christian traditionalist (a Catholic, IIRC), but the genie has been out of the bottle for quite some time. In this digital age, you can't put it back in either.

Even if you think it's a good idea to implement a traditionalist theocracy, too much time has passed since the death of Christian traditionalism in the mainstream and too much information running counter to it has spread to too many people. We can't rewind, we've gone too far.

Christianity and traditionalism will always have its adherents and will never fully go away, since humans have an intrinsic need for religion of some sort. But I really don't see it gaining major political or cultural power in the developed West in our lifetimes ever again.

Honestly, the Religious Right was merely the final stand of a movement that had been slowly dying out in the mainstream since before World War II.

Really, the current malaise of the Western world is a multi-faceted problem. The problems are economic over-extension, unchecked corporatism, the failures of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, the corruption of higher academia over the past sixty years, and a fundamentally broken generation of non-starters that emerged as a result of these failures.

Personally, I think the root cause of these problems is ultimately the hubris of the post-WWII West and how so many of them believed in the myth of Whig History to one degree or another. The idea that history and societal progress is a linear timeline forever progressing forward into some utopia on Earth is a crock of bullshit that briefly gained a second wind after the Cold War ended on a peaceful note, and was decisively proven wrong by 9/11. The Great Recession of the late 2000's was the final nail in the coffin.

Whig History is probably the closest thing to a single ideological root cause for all this. Other ideas like Marxism follow a similar utopian logic, and then the rise of postmodernism in academia and later on, mainstream culture just threw a tanker of gasoline onto the already burning trash fire of utopian idealism.

TL;DR: Utopianism was a mistake.
 
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Terrorist

Osama bin Ladkin
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I never got the impression the OP was going with a full anti-SJW stance. At least not in the "SJW's are destroying the West and we must shitpost to stop them" way that Sargon is infamous for.

The OP mainly explained why SJW's think the way they do (and why they often like Harry Potter a lot), and honestly I think SJW's are just an extremely vocal and visible symptom of a larger problem in the Western world deep down.

SJW's are annoying as fuck and I don't like them either, but you are correct that they're not the real problem with why the world sucks these days.
I agree with this part but then you went off the rails into territory that had nothing to do with my post (instead my previous posts and what you perceive as my ideology). You really aren't letting it go are you?

TL;DR: Utopianism was a mistake.
"Christianity ("trad"/"fundie" or otherwise) does not propose a utopia in THIS world created by humans. I also believe a utopia is impossible due to sin and human imperfection. It's one of the problems with secularism, man thinking he can play God and create perfection.

You're always going to have moral guardians in the culture every now and then. Socrates was blamed for corrupting the youth of Athens. SJW's are just the newest iteration of them, as infuriating and extremely vocal as they can be sometimes, they're not that different from any other moral guardian save for their access to social media.

Moral guardians are not a new thing and they will always be around in some form or another. All that would happen if the SJW's went away is that pop culture would get slightly better for a while and there would be a lot less dumb hot takes on Twitter until the next moral panic and outrage comes along.
If moral guardians are omnipresent in history, maybe it's natural and healthy to have them, but the function gets perverted in a bad culture. I don't hate modern moral guardians just for being that (or some shallow grievance with pop culture and twitter beefs), I hate them for the retarded and destructive "morality" they guard.
 

Syaoran Li

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I agree with this part but then you went off the rails into territory that had nothing to do with my post (instead my previous posts and what you perceive as my ideology). You really aren't letting it go are you?



"Christianity ("trad"/"fundie" or otherwise) does not propose a utopia in THIS world created by humans. I also believe a utopia is impossible due to sin and human imperfection. It's one of the problems with secularism, man thinking he can play God and create perfection.



If moral guardians are omnipresent in history, maybe it's natural and healthy to have them, but the function gets perverted in a bad culture. I don't hate modern moral guardians just for being that (or some shallow grievance with pop culture and twitter beefs), I hate them for the exceptional and destructive "morality" they guard.
1. Well, it's not so much a case of me "not letting it go" but more of getting that particular past disagreement out of the way and taking care of the elephant in the room before we get into some big argument. Maybe I shouldn't have been so long-winded about it. I'll admit tt does kind of detract from the rest of my point.

2. Agreed completely, and I never said Christianity ever proposed the possibility of utopia here on Earth. If anything, the impossibility of utopia in this world is something we both strongly agree on, even if we approach it from different perspectives. I just said that utopian thinking and the hubris of the elites in thinking they can achieve it is what created the mess the Western world is in right now.

3. I'm not entirely sure if it's healthy for moral guardians to exist, but I agree that it's definitely natural. As a general rule, moral guardians tend to be a very cyclical phenomenon.

You usually see these movements gain steam in a time of relative abundance and prosperity, and then they end up losing clout when mass hardship really sets in, but there are exceptions to the rule every now and then.

The Temperance Movement was at its strongest during the industrial economic boom of the early 1900's and they finally got Prohibition passed after WWI ended and America was going through a stock market bubble, the Religious Right had its peak years under Reagan and Clinton and fully died off around the time the Great Recession was starting, SJW's started appearing after the Recession had finally petered out and really gained steam as the economy improved post-2012.

Tellingly, the most successful of the recent moral guardians, the Temperance Movement, had their efforts undone in 1933 during the very height of the Great Depression. The previous moral guardians, the Religious Right, died out just as the economy was entering a major decline in 2008, although it was sort of in decline already after Bush was reelected and the War On Terror had fully gone into a quagmire.

Personally, I think COVID-19 will probably have a similar effect in killing the momentum of the SJW movement in the long run.
 
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Pepsi-Cola

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When did soyboys become a thing?

How did they all wind up looking and acting so alike, from the glasses and beard, to the soy smile and cucked worldview?

(not to mention phrases like "yikes" and "let's unpack this")
socially awkward/ugly guys realized that if they attached themselves to thirdwave feminism and left-wing political movements in general (which tends to attract more women than right-wing politics) like some kind of leech their chances of getting pussy increased by 0.1%.

Soyboys have been around since the dawn of third-wave feminism in the mid 90s, just nobody had a name for them then. It's a weasely tactic to get pussy. There's nothing more to it then that.
 

ToroidalBoat

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Utopianism
You can see this linear progress mentality you mentioned even in vidya. In games like SimEarth and the Civilization series, history is presented in such a linear way: from microbes, to sea life, to land life, to stone age intelligent life, to early civilization, to the industrial revolution, to computers and space flight, to an ultimate cosmic achievement like "transcendence" or leaving the planet. The prologue of the book 3001 also has this mentality in describing the Firstborn.

I think before this mentality appeared, people had a more natural timeless view: growth and change still happen, but there's no ever-advancing linear "progress" -- how nature seems to work.

Soyboys have been around since the dawn of third-wave feminism in the mid 90s, just nobody had a name for them then.
Entries for "soy boy" on Urban Dictionary seem to go back to 2017, so I guess they really became a thing with Trump Derangement Syndrome.
 

Return of the Freaker

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The whole idea of whig/linear history is complete bullshit. History may see new discoveries and advancements, but is ultimately cyclical. And knowledge can be lost. The movement back towards nationalism and protectionism in response to the failures of neoliberalism is not seen as people reacting to negative circumstances, but as a dangerous resurgance of something that should've been defeated on the inevitable march towards communist space colonies with transgender multiracial child sex workers.

Also, the debate over the Great Man vs. Marxian views of history are not opposed. Both are parts of the actual whole. History is mainly driven by natural and economic circumstances and people and movements reacting/forming as a result. But without the right person at the right place and time, the outcomes could be wildly different.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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- You believe that freedom of choice/action is a natural right which it is always immoral to violate (deontology)
- You believe that, on the whole, people are happiest when they are free (consequentialism)
- You believe that adopting a stance of non-interference in the lives of others is the right sort of person to be (virtue ethics)
When your ideology is so perfect every possible school of morality approves of it.
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Hyrip123876

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That is true, but it's way easier to decide you're the moral authority if you only have to consider your own character rather than the things you've done. You don't have to deny any facts. If you're a deontologist and you break all the rules and neglect all your duties, people can call you out on that with evidence. If you're a consequentialist, people can point out that you've spread misery, pain and despair everywhere you went. In those circumstances, you'd have to deny those facts somehow. As a Virtue Ethicist and a Narcissist, you can just plain ignore the facts. You're on the right side of history. You're the hero. You are good in your heart. The murder spree/sexual assault/genocide doesn't change that.
Now that you mention this it goes to explain morals and actions in media.
In, say, Shakespeare or Les Miserables, characters are constantly presented with moral quanderies. They want to help somebody who is starving but they stole bread or something, and stealing is bad-- therefore which moral abrogation trumps the other?
For a deontologist, it is a genuine dilemma, but also exposes the flaw of the mindset. Is dying a moral death really worth it when a simple breach of the rules could save you? Especially if you're living in a world like the early-modern period, where you were dealt a terrible hand?
For a consequentialist, the answer in these cases is clear. Do evil to prevent greater evil. Though you aren't wholly absolved for your actions. On some level you live with yourself by recognising sometimes, no choice is 'good', but any of the alternatives all ultimately led worse outcomes. In Les Mis I believe the characters usually do the consequentialist action, but they aren't fooling themselves into thinking a society where everyone acted like this would be moral or a nice place to live.
This is why there's so much sperging on the internet about action movies and the villains. Aside from perhaps Captain America, all the protagonists deal with their opponents in a very mercenary way. We've all seen the movies / videogames where the main villain stops the good guy from killing him because "then you'll be just like me". We've just had the MC kill goons with a consequentialist mindset the whole time, don't bust out the deontologist rhetoric now!

Meanwhile, Virtue Ethics has some superficial overlaps with consequentialism, but then dig deeper and it reads like a deep perversion. Life isn't a movie script where people are coded red or blue from the get-go. A child would think anything a protagonist does is the right move because they're the good guy, but around the time you're 9 you learn to sometimes disagree with a decision, or if the story is deep enough, sometimes the characters are flawed and work to overcome those defects. Virtue Ethics doesn't have that because if you tick the boxes a character never is accountable for their more neurotic actions.
I'm really sorry to bring Star Wars into the thread but I didn't want to see Episode IX either.
The other ideologies could weigh his past decisions and recent decisions, and there may be moral qualms from working with him, but there's at least some room to argue that he could be an asset going forward.
What would a Virtue Ethics acolyte do with General Hux? Suppose he wasn't conveniently killed by that other general and managed to group up with the rebels after his turncoat antics. The rebels would have to kill him because he stepped one toe out of line ideologically, and no matter what change of heart he has or actions he takes, he can never be redeemed in the eyes of Virtue Ethics, he has to be purged.
Could you imagine Episode IX ending with the rebels executing Hux for what he did? Why would anyone help these people?


socially awkward/ugly guys realized that if they attached themselves to thirdwave feminism and left-wing political movements in general (which tends to attract more women than right-wing politics) like some kind of leech their chances of getting pussy increased by 0.1%.

Soyboys have been around since the dawn of third-wave feminism in the mid 90s, just nobody had a name for them then. It's a weasely tactic to get pussy. There's nothing more to it then that.
It also gives men with unhealthy physiques / diets a way to deflect scrutiny by reframing it all as a trendy lifestyle. Goths, skaters, even some elements of the hipster community had fans... nobody's lusting after a low-test soyboy.
It also gives men an excuse to prolong their adolescence indefinitely.
It also gives men an excuse to not confront the root cause of what makes them unfulfilled in life.

I'm not one of these people that thinks people need to grow up or out of videogames or superhero stuff if it makes them happy... but adults recognise none of those things are productive uses of your time, and a generation ago the nerds obsessed with Star Trek/Wars were (rightly) criticised for their unhealthy escapism. Now instead of tackling the tough unforgiving world head-on and achieve something, too many guys retreat into fantasy, and we're all worse off for that.
 
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