Social justice warriors in the tech industry suffered a stunning reversal of fortunes last week after their attempted boycott of the LambdaConf programming conference in Boulder, Colorado led to a massive backlash from other quarters of the tech community.
After LambaConf refused to bow to progressive demands to ban a speaker, Curtis Yarvin, due to his political beliefs, SJWs decided to go on the offensive. They enjoyed initial success convincing LambdaConf’s sponsors to pull out, and for a moment it seemed as if the forces of political intolerance would succeed in torpedoing the conference.
However, their efforts were quickly met with a response from members of the tech community who did not want attendees at programming conferences to be subject to political purity tests. Status 451, a group blog edited by computer scientist Meredith L. Patterson and the pseudonymous anarcho-capitalist Clarkhat set up a crowdfunding campaign to ensure that LambdaConf could go ahead as planned.
At the start of the campaign, Status 451 set their target at a modest $15,000, which they aimed to raise in a month. The target was met in just 24 hours, and the total amount raised now stands at over $20,000 – that’s $5,000 more than what the organisers initially hoped to achieve.
For SJWs in tech, it was a stark demonstration of the resentment they face by peers in the industry. Their success at convincing PR-sensitive sponsors to pull out of the conference masked their deep unpopularity in the wider tech community.
Open source pioneer Eric S. Raymond, who promoted the campaign to his 20,000+ Google Plus followers, wrote a triumphant blog post on his personal website following the campaign’s success.
The hacker community has spoken, and it put its money where its mouth is, too. Now we know how to stop the SJWs in their tracks – fund what they denounce, make their hatred an asset, repeatedly kerb-stomp them with proof that their hate campaigns will be countered by the overwhelming will of the people and communities they thought they had bullied into submission.
I’m proud of my community for stepping up. I hope Sir Tim Hunt and Brendan Eich and Matt Taylor and other past victims of PC lynch mobs are smiling tonight. The SJWs’ preference-falsification bubble has popped; with a little work and a few more rounds of demonstration we may be able to prevent future lynchings entirely.
Raymond’s reference of Hunt, Eich, and Taylor is telling. For years, SJWs in tech have exerted power through public shaming campaigns, which seek to cut off support networks from victims by smearing them in public. The ultimate goal is to convince supporters of the victim that the SJWs’ target is too toxic to associate with. For Eich, a shaming campaign caused the loss of his job. For Hunt, it caused the loss of his academic titles. For LambdaConf, it caused the loss of their sponsors.
Yet the response to the attempted witch-hunt against LambdaConf demonstrates how such public shaming campaigns can be fought: by an equally vigorous campaign in the opposite direction.
Despite their early successes in tech, SJWs have built up a massive pool of resentment in tech. While not everyone in tech is as willing as Eric Raymond and Meredith Patterson to criticise SJWs directly, the success of Status 451’s crowdfunder indicates that they are more than willing to quietly lend their resources to coordinated efforts to thwart them.
Goal isn't just to save a conf.
— Grim Dark Future Hat (@ClarkHat) April 2, 2016
A well-known tech entrepreneur told Breitbart Tech:
The success of the LambdaConf crowdfunding campaign (to which I contributed) is an expression of the silent frustration that many entrepreneurs and developers feel about how politicized tech conferences (and tech generally) have become. In addition to showing the strength of support for LambdaConf’s principled stand, Status 451’s crowdfunding approach also provides a template for pushing back against these narrow-minded “no-platforming” tactics in the future.
If the LambdaConf counter-offensive could be replicated against other public shaming campaigns, it could mean endgame for SJWs. The goal of public shaming is to disincentivize dissent: anyone who violates progressive shibboleths could face the loss of their support network. In the case of LambdaConf, however, these incentivies were reversed: with $20,000 raised in just four days, the conference almost certainly stands to gain more support than it lost.
That’s the nightmare scenario for SJWs – not just in tech, but in every industry and community. It’s a scenario where, far from being ostracized, their opponents win more friends and allies than they lose. In short, it’s a scenario where no-one is afraid of them.