The Fear of Changing Your Mind

Like anyone who holds an opinion, Social Justice activists don’t want to engage with alternatives, let alone negotiate or compromise. Theorising is a highly enjoyable activity. It is deeply satisfying to adopt or adapt a system, or formulate your own, then apply it successfully to the phenomena you encounter. The simpler and easier to grasp the better. Then everything falls into place and explains life so well! It is a tool for categorising and organising the world and thus of having dominion over it, and agency in it. 

Of course, the universe is so vast and so full of contradictory data that you’re relying on huge dollops of confirmation bias: skimming over anything that contradicts your theory to settle your attention on things that confirm it (and there will be lots of those) but that’s just the way we humans roll. 

In contrast, it is laborious and unrewarding to listen, open-mindedly, to other people’s perspectives. You might have to revise your formula to accommodate their opinions! The resulting hybrid tends to be far less satisfying and much less rewarding to apply, being more complicated and approximate, less totalising. It doesn’t clarify in the same way as your original. It can also be deeply discomfiting, because you lose ownership of your theories and thus your intellectual confidence and authority.  

Social Justice activists are just as determined to preserve the familiar as alarmed conservatives are. Both would rather identify flaws in other people’s thinking and then launch scorching and unforgiving ad hominem attacks against them, implying their opponents are wholly worthless and committed, without reason, to doing Satan’s work. That’s far more comfortable than trying to fit your head around your enemies’ ideas. I mean, what if they convinced you they were right? You’d lose your soul! 

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