The Honey Badgers had an interesting stream with YouTuber TL;DR about the “puritanism” of the current progressive and feminist movements. The Badgers and TL;DR break down some of the reasons why so many modern leftists fall into the a cycle of smug arrogance. As TL;DR notes in the stream, everyone has this capacity and everyone does it from time to time.
Alison mentions this as well. She notes that she and Karen Straughan went through a series of videos and noticed the smug looks on many feminists’ faces in the videos. This is something I have noticed as well in my dealings with feminists, both offline and online. The contempt for those who disagree with feminists or feminism is often palpable, as is the arrogance when feminists know they are in a protected space.
One can see this in spaces in which the opposition is heavily moderated or banned. The feminists in those spaces behave with a kind of self-righteous indignation based solely on their assumed superiority over whomever represents the opposition. Yet this attitude quickly shifts when they enter uncontrolled spaces. Feminists then become defensive to a comical extent, reflexively accusing anyone and everyone of hating feminists, women, and social justice.
It is tempting to behave this way, to give in to anger and hate. Like Alison, I try to avoid doing this. When people accuse me of hating a group, there is a saying I like to use: I don’t know half you half as well as I should like; and I like half of you half as well as you deserve.
I cannot pretend that I like feminists. In general, I do not like ideology, and as a result tend to dislike those associated with the ideology. I will express my anger over the antics feminists engage in, however, I check my contempt. I do not need to act superior to feminists in order to show that their views are often wrong. I also do not need to hate them in order to show often behave in bigoted ways.
Again, everyone engages in this type of puritanical behavior at some point. Yet few people do it to the same extent as many ideologues. This is largely the reason one sees such behavior among feminists and progressives. It is the nature of ideology to behave this. The more stringent the ideology, the more intense the arrogance and contempt.
One of the ways of avoiding this is by reminding yourself that those you disagree with are people just like you. They may have bad ideas, they behave in terrible ways, but they are fundamentally the same as you. In the wrong circumstances, that could be you. In the wrong circumstances, or one could say the right circumstances, it will be you.
People should keep that in mind before they slap on a smug grin.