Popularity and the desire to be liked are at the center of our contemporary political disasters. One of the general rules of rhetoric I’ve observed is a tendency for the nicest opinion to be preferred to the not-nice, all other things being equal.
If, for instance, I were to say that most poor people in America are poor due to bad choices, and another were to say that most people in America were poor due to no fault of their own, the latter is more palatable. It is nicer. And since it is nicer, it is generally preferred by popular opinion irrespective of whether or not it is actually correct.
Socially, it is easier to lay blame on “the system” or some other non-entity than to lay blame on specific individuals. It’s not your fault, it’s the patriarchy! It’s the racists, the sexists, the privileged, the heteronormative system of oppression. Whatever. The specific ephemeral system is not important. What is important is that it is easier to lay blame there, than on the person, especially if the individual in question is yourself.
For example, it is easier to blame white racism for the problems of the black community than to blame the black community itself, irrespective of which explanation (if either) is true. So when a debate breaks out, those who want to stick white racism with the blame have the home field advantage, so to speak. An opponent will have to win by enough to outweigh the rhetorical preference for nice.
This disease has infested our thinking to such a great degree that pacifism is generally accounted as morally superior to self-defense. It is better to die yourself, than to harm the criminal, because harming the criminal would not be nice.
Whether we consciously know it or not, this thinking is everywhere, and at some level all people are aware of it. Watch almost any political debate and you will notice the person espousing a “not-nice” opinion will invariably be apologetic; after all, he is quite sorry that his opinion isn’t as nice as his opponent’s. He doesn’t want the spectators (the real arbiters of debate) to think he’s a big meanie.
Note also that the debate opponent with the “nicer” opinion will generally be quite ruthless and cruel to the not-nice debater. After all, since his opinion is not nice, it is permissible to treat him like shit in order to change his opinion into the nice. Furthermore, it exposes his not-niceness for the spectators to see, this winning the debate for the nice. This shows us that this form of rhetorical niceness is conditional. Do not harm the criminal who breaks into your house, but feel free to punch Rightists, because their not-niceness proves they are all Nazis.
This ties into Weaponized Empathy; the notion that your own good nature and desire to be seen as righteous can be turned against you with one sad picture, with one sob story. What, you don’t want to push granny off a cliff, right?
There’s a fallacy buried in all this. Good is not necessarily nice. What is moral may not appear nice, and what appears nice may, in fact, be quite evil. Niceness has little – if any – correlation with goodness. It is good to defend your family from a murderer. It is not nice to the murderer, obviously. This is one of the reasons modern pacifism is rooted in moral cowardice disguising itself as moral superiority.
Social Justice elevates niceness above goodness, and tries to claim the moral high ground in any debate as a result. They are taking advantage of a cheap rhetorical trick. Fortunately, there is an easy defense. Invariably, SJWs will get ugly. Their not-niceness will be exposed. If they sling it at you, you are permitted to sling it right back. Quid pro quo may be the most effective means of combating SJWs. Any tactic they use is now on the table for our use, regardless of how nice it is. Intellectual courage demands it, actually. After all, if a nation lobs a nuke at you, you are not only permitted to nuke them in turn, but morally demanded to do so – else others might get it into their heads that they can lob nukes around without consequence.
The world is not nice. Reality doesn’t care. They are hard lessons that SJWs have failed to learn because many of us have restrained ourselves out of politeness. They will continue until we stop them.