Are there oreos in your cupboard? Do you want there to be? Do you know the difference between these questions?
Most denialists are walking gish gallops waiting to happen, but one common bumper sticker catchphrase they fall back on sheds a lot of light on what is fundamentally wrong with their epistemology.
There’s seemingly always some variation of, “I refuse to live in fear.”
But here’s the thing. Deciding what you want to be feeling about a topic is not actually an approach to learning the facts about it. Motivated reasoning is a thing for everyone and nobody is totally immune to it, but denialists freely encourage and endorse it.
They don’t need to learn things, if learning those things would maybe make them feel a way that they suspect they won’t like feeling.
The fact that we associate fear with weakness and failure to be an adequately macho individualist hero is a separate problem. But even if denialists had healthier relationships to the full range of emotion, if they’re using what they want to feel as a way to determine what is factually true, their worldview is still fucked. Just… less fractally so.
They’d still have no tools for learning other than what, from an uninformed distance, they’d prefer to feel. Even the things they got right would be by accident.
“I’d be excited to learn there are oreos in my cupboard. That sounds nice! Therefore there are oreos in my cupboard.”
Things I enjoyed reading recently!
https://dontcallthepolice.com/ An excellent resource for the things we’re taught to call 911 about, but really would be better handled without law enforcement involvement.
Bonfires and Revelry: Pagan Primitivism https://godsandradicals.org/2016/10/12/bonfires-and-revelry-pagan-primitivism/ Really appreciated having someone on this site address some of the major problems with primitivism (which can be summed up by pointing out which specific human lives primitivists consider particularly expendable).
Sensory Processing is Only Half the Story: Movement Differences in Autistic People https://neuroclastic.com/2021/03/14/sensory-processing-is-only-half-the-story/ More reasons why treating autism as a series of irritating behavioral choices we make out of pure sadism to martyr our parents: it’s not just our inner experience that differs (though it does). It’s the way our brains and bodies form and execute our intentions. And that is not actually something that can be obedience-trained out of us.
Neurotypical Peers are Less Willing to Interact with Those with Autism based on Thin Slice Judgments https://www.nature.com/articles/srep40700 We’ve been saying forever that neurotypicals refuse to meet us even 1% of the way when interacting with us, so of course our connections stall out at 99% and never complete. Here’s more data to suggest that we may actually know some things about our own life experiences.
Cottagecore, Colonialism, and the Far Right https://honisoit.com/2020/09/cottagecore-colonialism-and-the-far-right/
In Obesity Research, Fatphobia Is Always the X Factor https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/in-obesity-research-fatphobia-is-always-the-x-factor/ Also noteworthy, because it seems to always need to be said: being “healthy” isn’t actually what defines a whole person either.
Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind. In three decades of advocating for prison abolition, the activist and scholar has helped transform how people think about criminal justice.
The answer to police violence is not ‘reform’. It’s defunding. Here’s why https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/31/the-answer-to-police-violence-is-not-reform-its-defunding-heres-why Alex Vitale’s The End of Policing was a major read for me, so I wasn’t surprised to find great articles too.
The Crumple Zone: Partners Who Bear the Impact https://poly.land/2017/06/22/crumple-zone-partners-bear-impact/ Good piece about how the polyam community highlights the broader problem of emotionally-skilled or reliable people being objectified as convenient relational meatshields.
You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide https://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play/index.html For when the problems are heavy enough that you can’t also carry the burden of figuring out how to solve them, here is a good way to outsource that mental load and still get the solutions.
Things I still want to read
We Do This Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba. Waiting for this one on audiobook, because I absorb nonfiction better that way. For folks who like viewing the words: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/1664-we-do-this-til-we-free-us