Monday, 20 June 2016

Blaise's Opinon: My Respect for Sargon of Akkad

Author: Blaise Wilson
Caveat: These are the thoughts and ramblings of Blaise Wilson, they do not represent the EgaFem Community as a whole. Opinion posts are often poorly researched and highly biased. They are useful to start a discussion on a topic. Comments, debate, evidence for and against, and feedback are welcome.

Sargon of Akkad

Sargon of Akkad is a YouTube content creator who specialises in "finding the truth of the matter using rational arguments backed up by evidence... on a wide variety of subjects, varying from gaming, anti-ideology, history and fiction." [5]

I used to want to be like Sargon. I used to respect to him.

Used too.

But now I don’t want to be like Sargon. I want to learn why and put systems in place to stop me from following in his footsteps.

What did I used to like about Sargon?

In a word: Humbleness.

I still follow Sargon’s videos, but no longer with a sense of awe.

Sargon has lost his ability to consider he could be wrong.

In his early videos he listened. He considered. He pondered.

Now if you disagree with him you're an ‘idiot.’ One example of this is his attitude concerning the response to his petition.

Long story short, he asked for certain university courses to be (albeit temporarily) banned. Effectively demanding they be no-platformed. And then he claimed this wasn’t censorship. Yet when people Sargon agrees with are no-platformed, suddenly that is different, that it is definitely evil censorship and must be fought against.

One rule for me, a different one for thee.

I think the petition called for censorship. That made me feel uncomfortable. But my husband pointed out that not all censorship is bad. For example we censor child porn. And I agree with that. Therefore, not all censorship is wrong and this concept  is one of those lovely grey areas that are so much fun to explore.

What Sargon requested wasn’t inherently wrong, but it was an idea that needed to be explored for the pros and cons it created. It would be great if we could move the discussion onto debating the petition itself instead of being distracted by the label of censorship.

I believe what Sargon was proposing was censorship. But, according to him, the sheer audacity of my questioning The Great Sargon of Akkad made me an ‘idiot’ [1].

How did this happen?

Only Sargon knows the inner workings of his mind and how he got onto the path he’s on.

Perhaps Sargon has become part of the Gender Grievance Industry, as defined by Wooly Bumblebee as high profile people being more interesting in fiscal gain than actually solving problems [4].

Driven by the cognitive bias of blind dedication in his fanbase it is human nature to repeat, and even take more extreme actions that gander a positive response - especially if you are financially dependant on your followers. Perhaps, Sargon is a victim of his own success.

Sargon has unintentionally surrounded himself with ‘yes men’ and anyone who tries to stand against him gets lambasted by Sargon’s followers. Although Sargon can’t control those who follow him, it doesn’t stop this from having a psychological impact in his sense of belonging and a positive feeling of being right.

After all Sargon is only human. As am I.

And I’ve been one of those impacted by cognitive bias of blind dedication to Sargon. I signed his petition.

I didn’t even read it.

I trusted Sargon. I trusted what he said was true and right. It wasn’t until Wooly Bumblebee stood up to him, despite the huge negative backlash against her, that I started to think for myself.

I was a sheep, part of Sargon’s flock. Sargon has so much power and I’m not sure he realises it. And what he does with that power is up to him (yes, I’m a bit annoyed he hasn’t support the petition EgaFem has been pushing: but that’s my personal grievance and Sargon can’t support everything people tweet at him).

The God of Logic

Once I started questioning Sargon I saw the logical fallacies sneaking in.

Calling those who disagree with him a variety of insults was just the start. One of the fallacies he falls into most often when discussing Feminism is the ‘No True Scotsman.’

Sargon defines all feminists as Marxist [2], and claims Christina Hoff Sommers therefore isn’t a feminist because she doesn’t fit Sargon’s definition of Feminism. Sargon’s arrogance shines through as he claims first wave feminists, who believe in Equality of Opportunity, are not ‘real’ feminists.

He often strawman’s feminists by putting words into our mouths claiming that we say ‘but she isn’t a real feminist’ when one of our own disagrees with our personal definition. Ironically, I believe there is a internet law which states when someone makes a character judgement about someone they disagree with, that character judgement is usually true about themselves.

I’m sure there are feminists who do that. But I personally don’t! I believe feminism is hugely diverse and there are plenty of feminists who I don’t agree with – but they are still feminists. And I don’t appreciate Sargon dictating to me what he's decided I think based on his personal definitions.

There are others too, but I think that is enough to demonstrate my point that Sargon has begun to get lazy, allowing logical fallacies to creep into, and in some cases dominate his arguments.

Sargon the Bully

The final nail in the coffin of the death of my respect of Sargon focuses on his actions.

He seemed to encourage and revel in the joint dogpiling of those Sargon thinks deserves to be taken down a notch or two. The anti-rape mass tweeting towards Jess Phillips, a British MP and feminist, is a classic example.

As a short summary, Sargon tweeted to Jess that he wouldn't rape her. She rose to it and the whole thing was rather amusing.

But then she had over 600 similar tweets over a very short time. This would have an impact on her. At the very least this would have disrupting her ability to use twitter effectively, and at worse make her feel attacked by a horde.

And to what end? What was the goal of dogpiling her? What did it accomplish? Instead she used it to her own advantage to further her narrative of oppression and victimisation. All round not a great outcome.

And in all this, Sargon laughs with no empathy for how his actions have impacted another person.

Again, I will reiterate Sargon has no direct control of his followers. But nor does the leader have direct control of their gang members. Sargon targets someone knowing they will be dogpiled, and does nothing to discourage it. Like a bully in the playground setting their group on an unsuspecting victim. Sure, the bully doesn’t have direct control over those beneath them, but they have the power to mitigate or discourage them. Sargon's action and attitudes tells a vivid story.

In the case of Sargon, he actively encourages it by giving it positive attention and provides further hostility towards his intended target as demonstrated in his TWIS video for 12/06/2016 in which he actively defends the actions of those dogpiling Jess Phillips [3] and further humiliates her.

Finally I find his blanket hostility, especially directed towards feminism, actively discourages those feminists like myself who agree with Sargon on many things from coming forward and working with him to help create change. It seems Sargon is more interested in his narrative that actually seeking out solutions with help of potential allies based on their label.

Going Forward

I’m grateful to Sargon for showing me what to avoid, allowing me to have a chance to learn from him.

I know I’m only human and could easily suffer the same fate as Sargon. So I need to be very aware of it.

To start with I need to remember I could be wrong. I need to attempt to dig out my most deeply held assumptions and beliefs. I need to hold them up and say ‘these ideas may be flawed.’ I need to learn to be humble. This isn’t to say I will always be wrong. But I need to listen to others and question my own thinking before I can question theirs.

Another key point is to surround myself with people I trust to disagree with me. It is easy to create an echo chamber, but much harder to create a debate chamber. I need to keep my friends close, but my ‘enemies’ closer.

Instead of being worried when I see a notification, I need to be inspired by it. Face the challenges and accept that I could be wrong – and someone could contribute to my thinking by challenging me. After all, they've taken time out of their day to provide that feedback. Their time should be appreciated.

And finally I need to avoid the Gender Grievance Industry. The only way I can do that is to ensure I am never financially dependant on EgaFem. I must ensure I maintain a second job that will keep me fed and a roof over my head, or that my husband can cover the costs should EgaFem collapse overnight if my support dries up.

This is a difficult trade off, as I want to dedicate more time to EgaFem and having a day job cuts into EgaFem time. But I should focus on quality, not quantity and hope my followers respect that, and continue to respect me.

With thanks

Despite my personal misgivings, I still recommend Sargon's videos, just take them with a pinch of salt. Sargon of Akkad YouTube:

This post was inspired by a comment on 11/06/2016 by DaisyPumpkin2317 on my video NA*ALT:

DaisyPumpkin2317’s channel:

DaisyPumpkin‘s blog:


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