Ian Miles Cheong and the Possible Power of Apology

Ian Miles Cheong got GamerGate very angry very quickly.  The anger should have surprised no one; Mr. Cheong is a fairly textbook example of the excesses and irrationality of the authoritarian left.  The Daily Dot reported that Reddit banned Mr. Chong for selling his influence on the site to at least one news site: a twenty-first century version of payola.  As the creator of gaming site Gameranx, Mr. Cheong was a very good friend to Zoe Quinn and Alex Lifschitz, two of the people whose ethics have been questioned by the GamerGate movement.  Mr. Cheong’s issues are chronicled in full at Encyclopedia Dramatica, the perfect resource for those who like densely resourced articles and take-no-prisoners humor.

Zoe Quinn hasn’t given an inch.  Anita Sarkeesian hasn’t given an inch.  Nor have Arthur Chu, Leigh Alexander or Ben Kuchera.  On the non-GamerGate side of the authoritarian left’s advance, Amanda Marcotte has never admitted she’s been wrong about anything, in spite of her articles being taken down for inaccuracy.  Salon goes ever deeper into the realm of insanity.

One of the reasons that the authoritarian left has been so successful is that they never surrender and they never back down, no matter what.  If a member of the authoritarian left is caught red-handed, they say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about and why are you so focused on skin color, you racist?”

Ignoring criticism and crafting your own preferred version of reality is a time-tested tactic.  Shaggy’s girlfriend caught him cheating.  His friend RikRok solved his problem: “Say it wasn’t you.”

Ari Gold’s path crossed with a man in a similar situation.  His powerful advice?  “Deny ’til you die, pal.”

Why does the authoritarian left succeed when they refuse to acknowledge the truth?  Many of our friends on that side of the spectrum don’t want to believe the truth.  They don’t want to believe the real statistics, for example, that challenge their positions.  Further, apologizing or acknowledging any mistake, however small, is a sign of weakness.  As the leopard which gazelle he’s going to select from the pack.  That’s right, the one who exhibits hints of weakness.

Which is why it is interesting that Mr. Cheong is doing something that I don’t think any other anti-GamerGate bigwigs have done: he’s saying things that run counter to the “anti” narrative and…apologizing.  Just a little.

(Don’t tell Anita Sarkeesian he said that one…)

The Ralph Retort, home of strident criticism of Mr. Cheong, has even accepted the apology:

So what does all of this mean?

At some point, perhaps decades in the future, we will have to turn our swords into ploughshares.  The heat of battle will have cooled and those in the authoritarian left will have tempered their beliefs after acquiring some life experience or will have been marginalized by the extremism required to succeed in a very crowded field.

I suppose that everyone will have to make their own decisions when that time comes.  The authoritarian left has been so nasty for so long that it can be hard to forgive them their many, many trespasses.  The sexist and racist policies and attitudes for which they have fought will remain entrenched for quite some time.  They have caused long-time friendships to end and have made untrue criminal allegations that have harmed professional reputations.

I like to think that I have a relatively open heart and I believe that we should show mercy to each other more often.  It’s true that so many in the authoritarian left are clearly motivated by insecurity…but they are lashing out instead of addressing that insecurity in a healthy manner.  Many SJWs are so young or have been living with blinders on for so long that they really can’t be blamed for thinking and acting the way they do.  Think of a human raised by wolves; do you really expect them not to scratch behind their ears or to crave raw meat, even years after being returned to civilization?

Mr. Cheong, it seems, may act as a kind of test case.  Will he acknowledge the factual inaccuracies in Anita Sarkeesian’s videos?  Will he acknowledge that Brianna Wu’s statements and the truth are often two very different things?  Will he criticize Sarah Nyberg for…well…there’s a lot from which he can choose.

If life is a reality show, the authoritarian left have voted themselves off of the island and will someday beg to be let back in.  What do you think it should take for the rest of us to welcome them with open arms?

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