The only question is who will be king? Chris Hensley usefully summarizes the core issue underlying the conflict in science fiction at File 770:
It is helpful to understand the context in which the Puppies were started. There has been a debate going on for a number of years at this point, predating the Puppies and one which they are involved in like or not, about what, and who, we actually should accept and tolerate within the community. There has been a growing sentiment that maybe not everybody should be welcomed with open arms, maybe some people should be excluded.
I could spin it to sound more palatable, but it is a grave and terrible thing and as someone who supports sometimes excluding people for their actions it would be dishonest for me to do so. Fandom has had a tradition of not excluding anybody for any reason, including some pretty horrendous behavior up to and including sexual harassment and assault. This has finally come back to bite the community in the posterior, as well it should. A lot of this push back has been from the left-leaning end of fandom, and good for them, which has flavored both the community’s response and the reaction to that response. A lot of this is working how the details of what is, and is not, acceptable in what spaces.
One of the most heated debates, and the one the Puppies tapped into, is when speech should be excluded and when people can be excluded for their speech. The community traditionally leaned towards “never”, but the consensus has moved on that.
The moment that the SJWs in the science fiction community decided they could exclude individuals from it (and whether the SFWA expulsion was technically real or not is irrelevant in this regard), that meant the open community concept was dead. The principle was established. Now we can exclude Eskimos, people with big noses, people with little noses, people who look funny, or people who smell bad; in short, we can openly exclude anyone we have the power and the desire to exclude.
There is no longer free speech in science fiction. There is no longer freedom of expression or thought. It is now a simple ideological power game and we are ready to play that game with extreme prejudice. There is no need for discourse. There is no need for dialogue, for compromise, or negotiations. There is nothing to discuss.
They laid out the new rules. They laid out the new consensus. We not only accept them, we’re going to use make far more ruthless use of them than they ever imagined. Once we were content to let the twisted little moral freaks do and think and say what they wanted, but now they have claimed the right to tell US what to do and think and say we’re not going to tolerate them anymore. We are the sons of the Crusades and the daughters of the Inquisitions. This is a game we know how to win.
Remember, they didn’t exclude rapists. They didn’t exclude child molesters. They didn’t exclude Communists. They didn’t exclude monsters. They only excluded those with whom they ideologically disagreed. CMM observed:
I was reading the discussion from a 1960s fanzine which contained the discussion of whether Worldcon should ban the man who later became her husband (and still later died in prison after being convicted of child molestation).
In their attempts to keep up their ideal that everyone is welcome in fandom, the fans doing the discussing go to amazing lengths to deny that the guy is a problem and as they do so they reveal behavior they and people known to them have personally witnessed that made my hair stand on end, including groping the children of mutual friends in front of the friends and other guests at their house.
Remember, the science fiction community was absolutely fine with open child molesting. They still defend and honor child molesters and the sexually aberrant, even as they mock and exclude their ideological opponents. That is the sickness of the community over which the Evil Legion of Evil will methodically march. And speaking of the long march, now that the Hugo Packets are out, I should have my Totally Personal List Of Merest Voting Inclinations That Absolutely No One, Not Even The Vilest of Minions, Has To Follow To The Letter ready in about two weeks. I trust that description should suffice to keep everyone who has been whining about slates and bloc votes satisfied.
Mike Glyer adds:
It’s possible for people to exclude themselves from community with others they disapprove, but there seems to be no literal way of excluding anyone from fandom, which is why it has that misunderstood reputation for unlimited tolerance. I remember the time I passed Walter Breen in the aisle of a con huckster room, at first being astonished, then wondering “Should I tell someone?” Then, “Tell them what? They already know, he’s wearing membership badge.”
He’s absolutely right. It’s possible for a large group of people to exclude themselves from community with others they disapprove. All that we’re initially sorting out right now is who is on the Blue SF side and who is on the Pink SF side. Which, of course, is why many of those on the latter side are suddenly rushing to deny that there are two sides; they know theirs is much smaller. And they know we aim to misbehave.
UPDATE: This sums up our position nicely.
I did ask some pro-puppies that very question about how much they want. The answers I’ve gotten in emails have been very much along the lines of “Delenda Est”.
The Legion marches.