This is the thing I’ve seen happen to most “social justice” type internet hangouts I’ve observed over the years. It starts with good intentions; people who are marginalized and attacked want a safe place to complain without having to explain themselves over and over. They hang out, rant, insult their attackers, chat with other people who share their experiences and it’s all pretty good.
For a while.
But eventually, and this seems to happen EVERY time, it starts to implode. It gets filled with self-righteous nit-pickers who exist not to protect anyone from being genuinely mistreated but to police its own members, to keep anyone from ever saying anything problematic. “Social justice” goes from becoming one tool among many to help marginalized groups who are mistreated to a weapon aimed straight at their own “allies” as a way to power-trip. Being offended becomes an obsession. Maintaining their status as most-oppressed-victim-of-all becomes a full time job. Anyone who questions their methods is labeled an outsider and either hounded out or banned. Everyone must think in lock-step about all issues or they become the enemy. The world becomes, to them, a horrible place where everyone is constantly out to get them and no one (except them) gets the benefit of the doubt.
You start hearing things like “check your privilege” and “I’m not here to educate you” and “intent means nothing.” People with genuine questions are ridiculed for somehow not magically having been exposed to the same feminist literature or sociological texts the hive-mind considers sacrosanct. People who disagree with them are assumed to be malicious instead of just curious or skeptical.
Every so-called privilege is attacked except, coincidentally enough, classism which is usually not talked about at all. Not surprising when you consider that most of the people who inhabit these spaces are middle-class Western people and that would be a privilege THEY have to check. Not to mention it throws a monkey wrench into their black and white view of oppression.
Eventually, even those who they initially came together to “protect”, marginalized and oppressed people, are kicked out of the group if they don’t conform exactly to what groupthink says is the right way to react to an issue. Ironically, I have found that the worst offenders in this respect are non-marginalized “allies” who somehow seem to think they have the right to speak for groups to which they do not belong—the very same thing they attack other privileged people for doing.
Every word that’s spoken is examined for privilege and possible offensiveness until eventually there is nothing left to say.
And then it all collapses until the only people left are those who are willing to abandon all critical thinking and submit to the group’s “progressive” outlook.
It’s fucking toxic. It’s why most people burn out and fall away. And it’s why these groups hardly ever manage to sustain themselves for very long without becoming shrill and irrelevant.