A Liberal Definition of the Alt-Left

Podcaster, writer and cultural critic Keri Smith has written this essay about the the cult-like beliefs and practices of contemporary social justice activism. The essay is written in the language and style of today’s youth culture and as a former insider of what she alternately calls “the Alt-Left” and “SJW”-ism, Smith is able to translate the dark side of this culture in a way that is accessible to all. The term “SJW” is an abbreviation of the term “Social Justice Warrior”, which was coined in the early 2000’s and popularized in a 2014 book called “How to Make a Social Justice Warrior” by science fiction writer, and self-described Marxist and universalist, William Shetterly. To learn more about Smith’s experiences inside the world of social justice activism, read her well-known breakout essay, “On Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself”.

EXCERPT: “I am of the opinion that a lot of well-meaning people have become converts to the Alt-Left ideology without even realizing it. Like the parable of the slow boiling frog, if you had told me at the beginning that one day I’d be expected to perform mental gymnastics in order to defend censorship and violence in response to speech, I would have leapt from the pot. Instead, I was conditioned to accept as gospel each new tenet of SJWism over a period of twenty years. I believed in the essential goodness of the ideology, and in my own essential goodness in preaching it. When facts about the direction it was taking me made themselves known to me, I rejected them because they did not fit the frame. As the ideology became more noticeably toxic, hypocritical, and authoritarian, so too did the tactics of the true believers. Whether in academia, in the media, at Google, or online — the message is clear: dare to step out of line or express an independent thought, and a mob of zealous SJW zombies will come for you. The fear of losing one’s job, status, friends or personal safety is a strong motivator in forcing reasonable people to remain silent.”