royalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration-1146779One of the problems with social justice attacks in general, and the recent Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy challenge specifically, is that the rants are often mis-aimed. This means they cause hard feelings, and of course, set off nasty flame wars.

Social justice endeavors can have different motivations. For one, the writer is inflamed by something s/he sees and is motivated to climb on a soapbox for a cathartic, fist-shaking rant. For another, the writer is affronted by some injustice and sits down to plan out a calculated crusade against the problem. In either of these cases, the SJW may have a closely held belief or value that trips off the attack. S/he is hoping it will make people mad and therefore lead to some discussion.

So, how much good does this really do? Not much, in my opinion. All real change is carried out through power structures and driven by economics.

Power structures in our society tend to concentrate power at top, so you have a few Big Wheels that turn everything, while the run-of-the-mill member of any community is pretty much powerless to make any changes happen. Ambitious people normally rise through the power structure through a procedure John Scalzi recently called “punch down, suck up.” If you don’t know how to do this properly, or if you don’t care for the method, then you remain outside the structure–you’re just one of the powerless little people.

Take the gaming community, for example. It seems to be a big target just now. Various rants have been flying back and forth about the lack of diversity in the industry, among game players, among game designers, etc., etc. These attacks are directed toward the community in general, leading to some hard feelings and some backlash. The reason for this is that the average gamer has very little influence in the industry at large and s/he knows it. Accusing him/her of prejudice against minorities is an affront, because the gamers literally have nothing to do with how the games are designed. Because this is a business, you’d have to show the Big Wheels some economic incentive before anything will really change. Until then, you’re just causing hard feelings by attacking the little people.

There may or may not be fringe benefits to making people mad, but I just don’t think it will do any real good.