My Weekend with Sargon
Oh man, it's after six in the morning as I write this. I just got back from the city and man I've got such a contact high right now; and no, it's not from doing drugs, although that'd be one hell of a way to end the night.
I've got my covfefe in hand. We'll see if I can finish this all in one sitting. Probably not, but let's at least try.
Fuck it! We'll do it live!
And 'live' is the opportune word as I'm just getting back from Sargon's live event in Manhattan. Everyone had such a great time and I met a lot of new friends and interesting people. There were many productive conversations had by all about a lot of stuff; but more on that later. Suffice to say for now, if you're at all interested in politics and pop culture, this is one article you're going to wanna read!!
Really, you could say that my weekend began the night before the event, but we'll get to that in a minute as well. First, a story. A backstory, to be precise.
I've been fan of Sargon's for at least the last two years, give or take. The very first video of his I'd ever watched was The Assassination of Donald Trump, back during the Republican primaries. I'd discovered it in parallel to some of the videos Stefan Molyneux was making around the same time and it surprised me to learn only recently that the two of them have actually been fans of one another for a long time.
After that first video, I delved into Sargon's Why People Hate Feminism series and his reviews of articles on how social justice and Marxist postmodernism have taken over the universities.
And I generally look forward to each episode of This Week in Stupid.
In and around the summer of 2017, I started following Jordan Peterson and Scott Adams, within about a month of one another, actually. Between the two of them, I acquired a set of intellectual tools that enabled me to learn how to transcend postmodernism and enter into a more integrated level of consciousness - one that acknowledges the good and the bad simultaneously - being critical of people's arguments without it necessarily being personal or petty. Cutting out the more cancerous elements of various ideologies without killing the patient.
I've tried to get a hold of Sargon since VidCon, and I wrote more about that in my article on Anita Sarkeesian. I always found it rather ironic, and somewhat fitting in a cosmic sense, that the exact same man red pilled me out of both feminism and anti-feminism.
Despite any disagreements I might have with him, he is very much a major part of why I'm able to do what I do in terms of my #HealTheDivide campaign, and you can't take that away from him. I owe Sargon a great deal, more than my paltry Patreon donations to him could ever buy.
I consider him a true friend and a brother form another mother.
One of the ways I'd hope to repay him is in passing along the lessons I've learned from my master, Scott Adams. To teach him the dark magic rituals of the persuasive arts in the hopes he'll be able to become even better at what he does and win more battles in the war of ideas.
God knows the UK needs that right now, as does the West as a whole and the world in general.
At various points, I'd happened to catch Sargon live-streaming and I tried sending him Superchats to seed my intent to him like a message in a bottle cast forlorn into an oceans of fans. He's at least been aware of me for some time I should think; but between being a father, a husband, a full-time political activist, doing streams with people, and having a reading list "as long as his dick," - not to mention trying to have a life somewhere in all that - I don't blame him for not remembering me or not having the time for a chat.
So far, I remain relatively unknown, but my influence grows by the day.
This is why I was so excited when he finally announced that he'd be coming to New York. Much like with Anita and her trip to Brooklyn, I'd get the chance to meet him face to face and finally shake the box and stir up new conceptions in his mind, hoping to #HealTheDivide.
The night before, Sargon did a stream from his hotel room in New York City and I'd seeded a few of these same ideas to him again:
Making him laugh a few times put a smile on my face. He's always entertaining to watch, of course, but it's something truly special when you can make your hero's day. Near the end of his stream, he started talking about Anita. The Persuasion Filter would suggest that my repeated mentions (and those of others, of course) at least helped steer his thoughts in that direction, putting it closer to the top of his mind, because repetition is a powerful form of persuasion.
What we think about most often has an irrational tendency to rise in importance in our minds, because humans are hardwired to assume that if it's everywhere, it must be worth our consideration.
It's well-known in marketing circles that it takes about seven times for someone to hear something new before they act upon it, and this was close to the seventh time I'd mentioned her in a positive light to him since I'd started. Likewise, it was probably also close to the seventh time something related to her had been mentioned by someone in that very chat - the GenCon reference being the most recent.
(That one wasn't me.)
Judging by what came next, it's clear Sargon still hasn't read through my Heal the Divide articles yet as of my writing this one, even though I'd sent them to him several times as per his own request.
That's ok, though. No rush.
Again, he's a busy boy out saving Western civilization from the grips of authoritarianism.
He popped over to her channel briefly and opened up one of Anita's videos, "for old times sake." I was actually elated by the one he'd chosen. By sheer happenstance, it was probably the best one he could have picked. It's one I'd retweeted as being an excellent example of her rebranding, her self-awareness, and her persuasion skills. The reason it was so great from a persuasion standpoint is because, as I've said in the past - and as I told Ebony Aster the two sides are speaking completely different languages.
In some cases, we can't even hear what the other person is saying at all, much like the recent Yanny-Laurel phenomenon or the related Brainstorm-Green Needle phenomenon.
Most people are reasonable so long as you're reasonable to them.
As Stefan Molyneux points out in Art of the Argument, the first step to making an argument is to define one's terms so that we have a common language to work with. If the two parties can't agree on the definition of a word, then that is the place to start trying to #HealTheDivide. From there, we build foundational premises and then use them to create arguments upon which we build our worldview.
I was surprised when this topic was raised in the panel discussion, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
This video was the first in a series of videos that Anita had announced for The Freq Show Season 2, wherein she planned to do just that - get back to basics, defining her terms, and laying out her foundational premises:
As you may know by now if you've been following me for a while, I have plenty of my own issues with several of her premises, yet I still applauded her efforts in constructing a sort of social justice dictionary that people can use to help them learn the language of postmodernism. It shows she's at least trying to meet people halfway in good faith, and I know from my previous chats with Feminist Frequency that they are perfectly willing to be reasonable with reasonable people.
This video also showcased Anita's own introspection, just as I'd surmised about her in my Defense article, by humorously having her cohost poke fun at her for starting with a needlessly complex, academic argument before simplifying it down into a relatable visual presentation.
People generally prefer simplicity as opposed to the infinite complexities of life, and whereas we're highly visual creatures, visual persuasion is often the best.
Sargon's reaction to the video was actually rather surprising as well.
On the one hand, I knew he'd lean into her argumentation pretty hard, which he did; but there were also moments in which he either explicitly or implicitly gave them credit. The explicit ones you can watch for yourself - such as stuff about trans people and classism - but the implicit ones you might have missed as they're really subtle. Being trained in the Persuasion Filter, I've seen that look before, most notably in Stefan Molyneux during his interview with Scott Adams after reading Win Bigly.
It's the look of cognitive dissonance. The thoughtful pause wherein you can see the gears turning in real time, as old ways of thinking are deconstructed and replaced with new ones.
In many ways, this is not the Anita he's used to dealing with - the Anita of several months ago.
He might not admit it, but go back and watch, particularly near the end, and you can see this for yourself as Sargon's taking in what they're saying and churning it over. Contrast is important to persuasion, and one of the tells that this is cognitive dissonance is you can compare it to how quickly he responded during the rest of it. Sargon has great mental agility, having done this for a long time. He's sometimes a dick, but he'll also give people their due when he recognizes merit.
I say 'recognizes' because the culture war is largely about perception and there may well be things he or I miss that the other sees.
Again, I have my own issues some with some of Anita's premises, which I'm withholding until I hear more of her arguments in subsequent videos. Sargon actually addressed some of them in his response, such as the point about kierarchy and individualism, or how those in the majority face different forms of discrimination than those in the minority.
I'm really glad Sargon decided to go through the entire video and not just a portion of it. He deserves credit for taking it seriously and attacking her arguments at least. Still not a fan of the character attacks, though, from either of them. More on that later.
Between this and my own inside knowledge from chats with Anita, it's clear the two of them still don't like each other. Understandable. They've both said some horrible things to one another.
And yet, the reason I support them both on an even playing field is because I recognize that each has valuable contributions to make to the world. Each is viewing the problem from a different angle, using a different filter, filling in the gaps left by the other.
Depicted: Every argument you've ever had about anything ever.
The Persuasion Filter is what allows you to step back and realize that no one ever really sees the entirety of objective reality. We only see a portion of it, filtered through our own confirmation bias. We make decisions primarily based on emotion and tribalism and then rationalize and justify our actions post-facto in our minds. Evolutionarily, this was necessary for us to survive, but at the moment it's only causing unnecessary division and strife.
How do you get out of it?
By first recognizing what it is that's going on and then stepping back, reframing the situation - ideally from a more neutral position - and taking the high ground. Finding out what you have in common and redrawing the boundaries so that you're both part of the same tribe.
And if that's too hard, just remember that, if nothing else, we're all part of the same species. The same human tribe and #ItsOkToBeHuman. Start there. Start from a place of respect.
Do as Stefan Molyneux advises: treat people as well as you can at first and then adjust based on how they treat you. And as Jordan Peterson advises: if someone behaves badly, be swift and decisive in your punishment of it, but then be just as quick to forgive and forget.
Be willing to give people second chances.
I know Sargon knows this, since he follows these say people. He and Peter Boghossian even talked of the high ground maneuver and viewing people in a positive light during their Portland speech, which I watched en route to Manhattan the next day.
Part of what I hope to do is get Anita and Sargon to move past their mutual disdain for one another and bury the hatchet. To come together in good faith and a spirit of mutual forgiveness to deal with each other as just a couple of regular people who both love geek culture and who each simply happen to view the world from two different vantage points.
That pain and suffering, confirmation bias, as well as good intentions and compassion, exist on both sides of the aisle, and the only way to fix things is by first respecting one another as human beings.
If Donald Trump can bring North and South Korea together,
I'm sure I can #HealTheDivide between these two.
Alas, I didn't have the opportunity in chat to explain any of this to Sargon, but this video certainly primed him for that conversation, even if he doesn't realize it yet. I can say from my own experiences with Anita that she has definitely matured a lot since VidCon, even recently admitting that she used to be really annoying in her activism when she first started out.
(In fairness, Sargon has as well.)
Some of you will be quick to claim Anita hasn't changed a bit, that she's still tone deaf and treats people horribly. I would caution you against that line of thinking as it only breeds further animosity. Someone has to be willing to set aside their own ego and be the first to reach across the chasm and offer up an olive branch.
I've already crossed that abyss and given you social proof that it's perfectly possible.
Judging by her words, it seems pretty clear that Anita believes Trump supporters are a bunch of racists, yet she knows I'm a Trump supporter and she's willing to tolerate me for reasons I've explained in prior articles. I can have productive chats with them because I approach them respectfully whenever I'm able to and they will actually hear me out, at least well ahead of those still blowing up their Twitter feeds with personal attacks.
And still you all laughed when I said Anita's highly introspective and compassionate, even though I've told you what you need to do and shown you how to do it.
That's not to say she's perfect.
Again, I agree with Sargon on a lot of his arguments over hers, but I can also see what he misses as well because I've spent the last few months learning the language of postmodernists.
My overall assessment of Anita is that 90% of the time she's absolutely wonderful, lucid, intelligent, warm, loving, compassionate, pushing the frontiers of conversation; and then the other 10% of the time she says stupid Marxist shit that makes me wanna put my fist through my monitor with how absolutely tone deaf it is.
There's very little middle ground between those two things, actually.
My feelings towards Sargon are largely the same. That he's 90% wonderful, 10% tone deaf to people's emotions because he hasn't yet been trained in use of the Persuasion Filter to learn why facts are important to outcomes but not to changing hearts and minds. This is why he excels at deconstructing social justice arguments in an academic sense - because the facts are largely on his side - but can't really sway them back towards the center the way I, or someone else at the integrated level, can.
You might ask what's different about me? Why was I able to be red pilled out of the insanity by him?
I'd say part of that has to do with the dosage - that I wasn't as extreme as some of the people he responds to on his channel. Part of it is that I was probably already emotionally primed for it to some extent by other commentators like Stefan Molyneux, Undoomed, Satiratician, etc. who'd been saying similar things, albeit in a different manner and degree. Part of it might also just be my own temperament. That I score higher in things like trait-openness and trait-agreeableness than him. I'm speculating about that last part, of course. I don't know what his Big 5 scores are, but it feels like that might be the case judging from everything I've seen. Just don't quote me on it.
Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter the reason.
Whatever the reason, that's all in the past and these days I try to focus more on the present and the future. My goal of trying to #HealTheDivide between the two of them is starting to come into full effect and I'm sure as time goes by, we'll eventually find peace and end the culture war.
As Dave Rubin says, this is the year of unusual alliances.
"We only make peace with our enemies. That's why it's called making peace." ~ Petyr Baelish
So that was the lead up and the night before. Now, I'm sure you're probably wondering what went down at the actual live event. Right?
Honestly, I was really nervous at first, but in hindsight it was absolutely amazing and things went better than I could have possibly imagined. Sargon's presentation was most excellent. He made several salient points, effectively dismantling the progressive left's worldview, and we all enjoyed many laughs together - lots of inside jokes from among the liberalists.
I felt that same surreal sensation as I had with Anita upon getting to see Sargon walk out just a few feet in front of me. Part of me wondered if I wouldn't make a bumbling idiot of myself from starstruck.
Fortunately, that didn't happen. 38D
I have to say, Sargon's getting really good at this. It was one of his strongest presentations I've seen to date and that's really saying something because he has a lot of great material.
You can watch the full power point here:
And the panel discussion here:
Two things above all stuck out for me and touched on a theory I'd written on before. First was his mention of the shaking woman from the Portland event who sincerely believed she'd just walked into a Nazi rally. The second was Sargon admitting to feeling intimidated by our standing ovation of him, which surprised me because we were all his friends and allies for the most part and Sargon is not easily intimidated by anyone.
Maybe a different kind of intimidation, I suppose.
Those of you who've read my Defense article as well as my When Antifa Attack article probably already know where I'm going with this. It's the exact same observation I'd made with respect to Anita.
More on that in a minute.
There were definitely a few sticking points later on, but ultimately, I think they got ironed out by the end of the night. Well, all but one ...
Between Sargon's presentation and the panel discussion, someone started playing a Rucka Rucka Ali video on the projector in which he was duking it out with Anita set to a parody song, both of them as giant robots and monsters. I'm not gonna link to it here because I don't wanna reinforce that image in people's minds. You can look it up yourself if you really wanna know.
This was at once highly amusing and deeply disheartening at the same time.
My spirit felt dismayed by this because it clearly wasn't helping. In fact, it worked directly against what I'd been trying to do, which was #HealTheDivide by avoiding making character attacks that reinforce the image of him and Anita as being enemies. Sargon was out of the room while it was playing, so I don't blame him for it, but part of me knows he would laugh along with it and I felt kind of bad, actually, for laughing as well.
I don't think I would have felt that way even a few months ago.
Later, I found out there were people there with shirts that said "Anita sucks," and this too was rather depressing for more or less the same reason. I'd been doing a lot of PR work online, trying to put out the fires set by both camps, and yet it seemed as though the war between Liberalist Mountain and Mt. FemFreq was determined to rage on in spite of my attempts to sue for peace.
It's shit like this that really frustrates me at times.
Anyways, this segues into another thing I found interesting about the panel discussion, which was hearing Tim Pool and Carlos Alazraqui pushing back against Sargon's reputation for dickish behavior as the reason why he struggles with getting some of his arguments to stick. I was surprised by the synchronistic timing of this, but also elated by the assist the universe was giving me in aid towards accomplishing my goal; much as I had been by the auspicious timing of Anita talking about Scott Adams during their live event.
Chock one up to the power of affirmations and positive thinking. When you and the universe are in alignment, no force on Earth can stop you.
I really admire Tim a lot and I even got to chat with him briefly before the panel. He's slated for a spot in my Portraits of Inspiration gallery for sure, just as soon as I get around to updating it. Tim is one of the most chill and humble dudes you will ever come across. Incredibly reasonable and fair-minded, he is what every journalist should aspire to be in terms of his awareness of personal biases and his commitment to objectivity.
After a quick selfie, I thanked him for his willingness to travel to some of the most dangerous places on earth to bring back important news about what's been going on in the world.
Sargon defended his dickishness on stage by saying he only does it to punish bad behavior, which I'd push back on, pointing to Peterson's approach that I mentioned above. That while it is indeed good and useful and necessary to punish back behavior, he likewise needs to work on forgiving and forgetting once he's made his point, otherwise it's just going to come off as oppressive, which I would argue is probably how Anita feels towards him.
The solution is simple. Just ease up on people and take the high road, being willing to them people back into the fold once they've demonstrated their understanding and commitment to improve.
I also got a selfie with Carlos Alazraqui after the panel when we all went out for drinks together. I grew up watching 90s cartoons and Rocko's Modern Life was among my favorites. I'll probably post them to social media once I out myself, but for now, they'll stay close to the chest.
While it ultimately doesn't matter in the long run, maintaining my anonymity is still presently useful in terms of helping to end the culture war and #HealTheDivide. I should hope that anyone from that night who's reading this would respect my wishes to retain my demographic identity.
But I won't hold it against you if you don't.
Anyways, I applaud Carlos for having the courage to come on and talk with Tim and Sargon in front of a group of people with views generally opposed to his own. Not a lot of people would have done that, unfortunately. I'd like to think we were all very inviting and respectful towards him. The only boos he got were in response to his opinions, not his character, which I'd say is fair play.
I imagine the experience was equally enlightening for him as well. He seemed genuinely surprised by a lot of what he'd heard, particularly when Tim started talking about the need for guns in rural areas, or in hearing how people were persecuted for not going along with a progressive narrative - likely because Carlos was hearing much for the first time and had walked into a completely different world.
As surreal an experience as when I'd first stepped foot on Mt. FemFreq and getting to see things firsthand from the other side of the looking glass.
I thought Tim's point about corporations catering to progressives because they were the ones willing to shout the loudest and throw Molotov cocktails was chillingly clarifying - or clarifyingly chilling. Tim really seems to have a firm grasp of the Persuasion Filter. Not surprising, having worked in media for so long and being world traveled. Lauren Southern and Bunty King are like that as well.
I spent a good long while talking to Bunty in the bar lounge. We hit it off right away and were mostly on the same page on a lot of issues, talking about Sargon and Anita, Candace Owens and Blaire White.
And, most surprisingly of all - but not really - he is a big fan of Scott Adams. 38D
Eventually, I got to meet with Sargon. I'd strategically waited near the entrance to the bar for him to arrive so I could get in before the crowds mobbed him and my opportunity was lost.
We shook hands and hugged. He was a delight to talk to, incredibly warm and charismatic. I introduced myself, told him I was a huge fan, and said I had a special present for him - a copy of my book and my personal copy of Scott's book. His eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas. We made our way to the back of the pub so he could put his bag down and I asked if he wanted me to go with him so he could put them in his bag now so he won't forget.
We found a small secluded corner away from everyone. He read the personalized note I'd written him and was really moved by it, humbly saying I didn't owe him anything for red-pilling me. We hugged it out again and then I quickly explained to him that he should bump Scott's book up to the top of his reading list because it would profoundly change his view of all other books he might read, saying it was the holy grail he'd been searching for in terms of how to weaponize feelz.
He seemed quite persuaded by my argument.
Meeting Sargon in person was a very different experience than watching him online. He's got a very friendly, down-to-earth disposition. I observed that he's an attentive listener with impeccable eye contact and you can tell he's really focused on you when you speak with him and is genuinely interested in what people have to say. He must have been swamped by at least a hundred people that night, and while I don't know what they all talked about with him, at least from what I saw, he really seemed quite actively engaged with each and every one of them, wholly willing to sort through the entire crowd so that no one would be left out.
While the group was predominantly white men, there were also a number of women and people of color present. In terms of ideology, the group was surprisingly diverse compared to what I'd expected, with liberals, progressives, libertarians, conservatives, anarchist, and centrists all present.
There was even this one black dude named Ryan whose birthday it was, and during the panel we all sang happy birthday to him.
Race, gender, and class didn't matter to us as we were all there united in common cause against toxic identitarianism and creeping authoritarianism. It may sound cheesy to say this, but it was kind of a beautiful thing to see real camaraderie and inclusivity like that. My hope is that we might expand on that someday, reaching out to forge new alliances, even among people that might currently seem like our adversaries.
Again, if your will and the will of the universe are in alignment, no force on earth can stop you.
"If you start to humanize your enemy, you may in turn be dehumanized by your community." ~ Cassie Jaye
Before, during, and after the event, I spent some time mingling with other people, having interesting conversations. A couple of them even bought me drinks just because they enjoyed what I had to say that much. Knowing my audience, I'd teased a few of them by asking if they wanted to see something heretical, playing to their imaginations; and when they inevitably said yes, I pulled out my phone and showed them the pictures I'd taken when I went to Anita's event in Brooklyn, thus tipping them off that I was also a fan of hers.
A lot of people didn't like that at first. It put them on guard, even after we'd been comfortably chatting for a while thanks to my rather nonchalant efforts at pacing and leading.
I wasn't even trying to persuade anyone of anything, really, instead just going with the flow.
The people I talked to about this were very surprised and some were even angry, but my MAGA hat and my obvious presence at a Sargon event threw them into cognitive dissonance, leaving them questioning everything they thought they knew, wondering who the hell I was, how someone like me could exist, and how such a thing was even possible.
The answer, of course, is that I'm obviously some kind of dark wizard.
Anyways, I also showed some people my Feminist Frequency founding member's bag. None of them could believe their eyes and they all asked where I'd gotten it. Most of them laughed incredulously when I told them I paid for it. I guess some of them had imagined I'd stolen it the way Sargon stole Antifa's flag from them when they raided his Yaron Brook event.
I laughed along with them, but then explained I had gotten it honestly and proceeded to tell the story.
Everyone I talked to about it was some mixture of either passive aggressive anger, cognitive dissonance, or intrigue. Many praised the nobility of the goal I'd set for myself in trying to mediate between both sides while others still more deeply inured tried to push back saying it was a fool's errand. Ultimately, I'd managed to persuade just about all of them to shift their position at least slightly, and some of them I'd even convince quite thoroughly, as it happens.
If I had to guess, I'd say the more left-centrist people tended to be the most receptive.
As the night went on, I had a lot of other conversations about various socio-political topics or even just normie things like sex, music, and video games. I'll leave you to wonder about the details. One couple I'd befriended offered me a ride back to New Jersey but I guess they disappeared as we were leaving because that didn't wind up working out.
No biggie. I would eventually go on to have other interesting talks in and outside the Port Authority on my way back home, both about the event and also making interesting connections in other ways.
This also happened to catch my eye while I was in the store getting coffee.
For whatever reason, if you can't read the titles on those two books, the first one says, Negotiating with Giants: Get What You Want Against the Odds, and the other says, Non Obvious: How to Predict Trends and Win The Future, and comes complete "with new trends for 2018."
I haven't read either of them, I just thought that was amusingly synchronous in light of what I'd been trying to accomplish through the use of the Persuasion Filter, how predictive that filter can be at times, and how everyone keeps telling me that what I'm trying to do is impossible and can't be done, even though somehow I keep doing it. 38D
Ok, so I saved the best part for the end, of course. What sort of storyteller would I be if I didn't? Not a very good one, that's what!
As the night waned on, somewhere around two in the morning, the crowd was winding down and I actually got another chance to talk with Sargon. Had I done nothing more than give him those two books when he first walked in, I would have considered it a victory, but the universe had favored my endeavors and blessed me with an opportunity to do exactly what I'd come here to do.
I siddled up behind the booth where Sargon was sitting. I leaned over the railing and smiled warmly at him. He remembered my face from before (or maybe it was my hat) and smiled back at me. I laughed and said he's probably gonna wind up hating me in a moment, setting the table and playing on strategic ambiguity. He laughed too and asked why. I said because I was about to broach a topic I was sure he'd hate really talking about.
Again he laughed and asked me what it was.
I continued to joke with him, coyly suggesting it had to do with his arch-nemesis. Once more he laughed and said he didn't have an arch-nemesis. That took me by surprise. I thought for sure he'd knew who I was talking about. He also seemed profoundly curious to know where this was going.
I smiled and reached into my satchel, pulling out my Feminist Frequency bag, discretely holding it up to sho