The Midwit Gambit
I’m Not Offended You’re Just Stupid

Table of Contents

1. Grifters and Right Wingers

unsolicited.png

Content warning: mention of self harm, transphobia.

I’m trans. I’m at the left side of the political compass. Thus, I’m automatically tasked with filling the symbolic lack1 of random right wing men on the internet… at least according to their own logic.

One great example was how recently, when I pointed out that a prominent youtuber used a trans slur, some reply guy immediately chimed in with his unwarranted opinion — apparently trans slurs are okay because trans women are ruining women’s sports? Mind not that the first claim is one of what is, the second is one of what ought to be. And then, as I drop the good faith he’s perplexed. He had stepped on a trans landmine. Apparently trans women aren’t just the strawman that the right has diligently worked to create of us, who would have thought?

His reaction, and the reaction of people like him is usually one of deep perplexment. As though I had broken a sacred rule in the online spaces. The rule that trans women are all just outraged and uneducated, was suddenly being put into question. After that comes two responses, one is sadly often of want. After all, a woman is a woman, and the incel clings desperately for her attention, even when he is just that, an incel. So now in a few short interactions I have gone from a non-object of disposable garbage to an object of desire that this person — that sees no issue with the systemic extermination of trans rights and lives — feels entitled to conversing with. And the moment you leave, they’ll cling to your leg, little pathethic creatures, touch and mind starved for a crumb of a womans attention.

And the debate must continue. And I must defend their strawman. I must be held accountable to whatever beliefs they have been given by right and left wing grifters about trans women. I must defend a pedophilic trans woman, a MMA fighter breaking the skull of her opponent, and I’m of course accountable for all the evil perverted trans women that want to rape lesbians2

“If I could believe that this was said sincerely, I could put up with anything.”

— Terence, Eunuchus Act I, scene 2, 96, line 176.

The entitlement of that position is not lost on me, although it certainly seems to be on them. And it’s really frustrating. I fail to see how I’m somehow tasked with having to defend whatever opinions others project onto me that I have never made a statement about.

The problem of course, is that it’s not easy to tell whether or not these people are actually just being mumpsimuses and trying to win no matter the cost, of if they’re coming from a place of sincerity. I think that, as a member of a minority in a democratic society, you have to be acutely aware that some arbitrary majority gets to decide how me and other trans people get to live our lives. So it can be really hard to disengage, because you only need to console so many trans people after another episode of crudely cutting initials of the national gender clinic into their thighs before you feel like you have to at least inform those that have been duped to use us as scapegoats… that this is literally all that has happened. Some politicians (most if we’re honest, even on the left) view us as disposable to the point that our suffering is not worth more than a few more votes. So engaging when people are just genuinely trying to find the truth but have been mislead can be very rewarding. Specially because they tend to spread the “gospel” of the con, giving us most affected a much needed room to just exist without having to constantly self advocate.

But how do you know when to take the bait, and when not to do so?

2. The Midwit Gambit

This is a general thing I have noticed from wasting my youth arguing with TERFs on the internet4. Now, the way I see this it boils down to one of three things, and it’s usually the first question that you’re confronted with when these dummies finally say something truly breathtakingly imbecilic:

  1. Is this person just uninformed?
  2. Is this person in bad faith?
  3. Is this person fundamentally stupid?

In order to solve this problem, I like to use the midwit gambit. What is the midwit gambit? It’s simple. If it’s the case that the person you’re talking too is just misinformed, it should be easy enough to give a counter argument. If your counter argument is well written, informative, and kind, and delivered in the utmost of good faith, with citations and all that jazz, then you should at least expect the other person to respectfully respond, and explain why they disagree in a forthright and respectful way. This specifically is the crucial part of the midwit gambit. If they fail to respond in such a manner, then you have ruled out option 1., clearly this person is not just unaware of your perspective. So is this person in bad faith or stupid?

Now… that is harder to tell (it’s often a bit of both really). One way is to look for clues to the behavior. Particularly motivated reasoning is an obvious tell to bad faith, as well as euphemisms and subtextual insults, actually any ad-hominems or microagressions are a great clue that the person is in bad faith. And no, I’m not speaking of the wikipedian bad faith inspired by slave morality and its subjective assessment. I’m speaking of the consequentialist one that Satre refined, and that’s one that’s purely based on the actuality of the situation and completely ignores their fabricated niceguy persona.

If either they’re in bad faith or stupid, then you need to act. It is crucial that you disengage as soon as possible and that you’re not baited into a rabbit hole. As the fourth law of stupidity attests:

“Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.”

— The Fourth Basic Law of Stupidity

Now, you might ask “where is the part where you consider whether you’re wrong or not”, and dear reader: that is implicit.

Having to prove to yourself that you’re constantly questioning your own biases is a constant burden on those that are not just sophists, and one I personally strive to perfect. But when you get to the point where you’re proving it to others, you already on the wrong road. I believe that the only way to signal this is by a healthy dose of “show it don’t tell it”. And if that fails, it’s often the case that interactions that are optional should be rejected.

3. Midwit Determination Algorithm

So let’s wrap this all up in a midwit determination algorithm, it goes as follows:

if person says something stupid:
    clarify position
    if person is still stupid:
        do midwit gambit
        if they are in bad faith:
            they are in bad faith
        else:
            they are just stupid
    else:
        they are in good faith!

Armed with this dear reader, I suspect that you’ll go on to avoid great conflict. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, and to pick your battles is often an art, but we might strive to make a science of the basics.

We can even speculate that trivially, with a bit of sentiment analysis, it would be possible to use the midwit determination algorithm to automatically classify social media posts in one of these three categories. Perhaps an idea for something like Shinigami Eyes? Do tell me if you do, it would be much lulz.

4. Conclusion

With this method, it’s easy to determine whether or not continued interaction is advisable, or if it will have little effect. Now if you’re in need of a shouting match, by all means go ahead, the audience is looking at these things, give them a good show of how utterly moronic these people are.

Is this useful? Ish, but more than useful, consider this a little pat on your shoulder that you’re right to uphold your boundaries and not talk with a moron that’s determined to be a midwit. Your boundaries are more important than them, and you really don’t need those types in your life.

I know I don’t.

5. See also

Footnotes:

2

A completly fabricated claim by a primarily heterosexual and Caucasian group of disenfranchised tories that call themselves TERFs. Some prefer to be called gender critical, but I’d prefer if you used the term they originally invented for themselves, trans exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs. They’re not feminist at all thou, just fundies connected to right wing extremism and anti abortion… yea they really think they are feminists. They’re part of the anti-gender movement, and ideological project of the catholic church3, Russian disinformation meant to destabilize the west, and American right wing think tanks. Do with that what you will. Most of the anti trans talking points today are hardly organic opinions.

3

Who might I add have a proven track record of nazi sympathy and pedophilia.

4

Which is by all accounts a complete waste of time. Good faith is an utopia. My misantrophy marches at breakneck pace away from any sympathy with these people.

Author: Christina Sørensen

Created: 2022-11-12 Sat 03:57