It’s been happening for a long time now. The Left likes to just make up stories about conservatives, or even just make up conservatives, to smear people they hate. It happened to me.
A couple of years ago, I was hired to work as one of many people involved in the project of creating the newest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons game. This was the fulfillment of a childhood dream. I was already well-known in the tabletop-RPG hobby for my blogging and my forum, for having written a couple of games, and for my reviews. And I’m not a nice guy in some of my articles and writing there (seriously, if you think I’m mean here, I’m a gentle little flower compared to some rants on my blog). Some of the people who didn’t like me decided to outright fabricate the story that I had been opposed to the inclusive language and gender-inclusiveness in the new D&D book.
In fact, I was in no way against the inclusiveness in the new D&D. I’ve been for gay marriage since forever. I had a gay couple renting our extra room at the time I was working on the D&D project, and I actually wrote the first RPG to feature a transgender character on the cover (an Indian-themed D&D old-school game called Arrows of Indra).
So they had no facts, just pure invention. They just made up crap, whole-hog, and presented it as truth. I’m a real person, but they thought it was easier to make up a fake version for them to denounce instead.
Now, the other day I saw this on social media:
This is a ridiculous statement to make. And it’s exactly the sort of absurd idea that shows just how out of touch “progressives” are with regular people. But it’s just the kind of thing these progressives like to imagine conservatives probably think. The problem can’t possibly be that Democrats are elitists who mock and insult the “fly-over states.” Or that they hold authoritarian nanny-statist tendencies, and post-modernist crapping-all-over-everything that common people value for the last 50 years or so. No, it must be the fault of those awful lower-class people who work ordinary jobs in small towns and don’t have Cultural Studies degrees and don’t know what’s good for them. They must not vote Democrat because they’re ashamed of being poor! It totally can’t be that the Democrats aren’t really the party of the poor, but the party of the over-educated upper-middle class who despise the poor as mentally and morally inferior to them. And it can’t have anything to do with the Democrats thinking the working class can’t be trusted to make their own decisions, and can only be helped by letting government experts control every aspect of their lives.
So this “Edwin Lyngar” just invented a whole class of imaginary conservatives.
But that’s only half the story. See, I had no idea who “Edwin Lyngar” was. It turns out he’s a guy who’s written a lot of articles for Salon, including the one where the quote from that image came from. He’s sold himself, in his writing, as a guy who used to be a hardcore Libertarian only to have a change of heart and become a hardcore liberal when he realized how terrible Libertarianism is.
The only problem is no one seems to be able to find any proof that Lyngar ever was a Libertarian. He says he was a 2008 Ron Paul delegate, but no one seems to remember him. His writing career took off based on his renouncing a libertarianism that, at best, he never seemed to have bothered being very vocal about. And he’s spent pretty much his entire adult life working for the government.
So while Lyngar is definitely a real person, the “libertarian Lyngar” he claims to have been seems pretty fake.
Nor is this the only case. Recent articles here and elsewhere have questioned the apparently dubious identity of someone who wrote in New York Magazine about how feminism means you need to agree to your wife sleeping around on you. No one can seem to prove that the author exists at all.
And there are more serious cases: like the liberal student activist who sent rape threats to herself in an attempt to frame Conservatives. Or the liberal campus activists at Oberlin College who put up racist posters to try to invent a racism “epidemic” at that school; and even after they were caught the campus kept acting like the posters had been really made by conservatives. There have been quite a few cases like those over the years.
And who can forget the now-famous Rolling Stone article about Campus Fraternity Rapists? You know, the one that turned out to be a total fraud.
Now I’m not going to pretend that the Right is always totally grounded in reason and honesty in its reporting, but it looks to me like the kind of bad behavior you see from the Right is pretty different. It’s usually one of two things: either totally nutty conspiracy-theory stuff from the tin foil hat brigade (/), or taking real stuff that really did happen and blowing it out of proportion.
Why is that? You can argue that these days, both the Right and the Left have their echo-chambers where they can run the risk of making reality bubbles that give a skewed view of the world. But the progressive Left’s echo chamber is often more removed from everyday reality because of some weird effects of social media, especially Twitter and Facebook. The “retweet” and “Like” culture encourages ideological purity tests, and people will “like” something out of virtue signaling, to show everyone else that they support the important progressive talking points.
But aside from this purity culture, the big difference is how both sides look at truth. The Right’s idea of truth is based on modernist (and some pre-modernist) ideals, that truth is something real that has to be valued more than anything else. On the other hand, the Left is influenced by post-modernism, and thinks that truth is either not a real thing or impossible to know. So what matters to them is narrative, the story of how they feel things should be.
If the virtue signal says that working-class Republicans are just too dumb to understand they should be voting Democrat, then this must be true. If progressive feminism says that male feminists should be totally cool with their wives sleeping around with guys named Paolo while they babysit the kids, then even if you can’t find someone who really does that, it’s fine to pretend to be that guy because he should exist. If right-wingers on campus ought to be awful racists or rapists but just aren’t stepping up, it’s totally cool to fake it since you know deep down that’s how they must be, right? That’s what the narrative says.
And if some guy said mean things about the type of make-believe games you sell, it means he’s probably a homophobe, so it’s only right that you claim he is.
If you reduce Truth to a question of who creates the best narrative, then it doesn’t really matter if the things you say actually happened or not. The Right might sometimes get it wrong, or freak out, or jump to conclusions, but the Left thinks it’s morally justifiable to just make shit up, if it’s for the cause.
Kasimir Urbanski doesn’t write on a specific subject; he’s EveryJoe’s resident maniac-at-large. A recovering Humanities academic and world-traveler, he now lives in South America and is a researcher of fringe religion, eastern philosophy, and esoteric consciousness-expansion. In his spare time he writes tabletop RPGs, and blogs about them at therpgpundit.blogspot.com.
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