The Rabble Rouser is a blog by American social psychologist, Lee Jussim. It’s interesting because he’s clearly got enough “fuck off money” to be able to write about what he believes to be true, rather than what his profession’s echo chamber demands. The broad accuracy of gender stereotypes, for example.
His most recent content is a guest post by Michael Millerman. While the post itself is interesting, discussing the climate of fear in educational establishments preventing students from expressing opinions, it’s the comments below the article that are more intriguing.
Millerman describes trying encourage a class to discuss what aspects of the human condition are a result of social constructs. He was met with a fearful silence.
Note that, as he relates the situation, he didn’t offer a position himself, but tried to start a discussion but none was forthcoming.
In the blog post, he also doesn’t offer an opinion on which aspects he thinks may or may not be a result of social constructs. The blog post is about the reluctance to discuss topics, not what the “correct” answers are to those subjects.
So it’s fascinating therefore that several of the comments accuse him of “dogwhistling”, transphobia and of being a right wing troll.
Two of the commentators accurately explain what is going on;
Your comment is designed from the start to attack the moral standing of Professor Mllerman. You do not address his arguments in the least, but instead attack his moral character so you can consequently disqualify every argument he makes.
DARVO means “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender”, and this is exactly what the regressive-Left are doing to their ideological opponents (including other Lefties, progressives, and dedicated feminists). I think people should keep DARVO in mind the next time they see someone being attacked as “phobic”, to help them better analyze what is actually happening.
The negative commentators are either unconscious to the fact that they are not taking on the arguments but reverting to “playing the man not the ball“, or, they are deliberately utilising “DARVO” as a strategy.
Be it deliberate or accidental, the result is the same; Millerman’s points are not addressed as existing in isolation from Millerman as a person. For these people, the speaker IS the argument, not simply the vessel in which it is delivered.
This is a pernicious form of mental illness; by finding an objectionable aspect of Millerman’s history, background or personality, the difficult task of disproving anything uncomfortable or complex that he might say is avoided. The trick to doing this and still being able to function is to convince yourself that it is a reasonable strategy. Denial, in other words.