The One Way Street of Reactionism

The desire to freak out over anything that threatens your worldview is a powerful one, especially these days. And no, the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) left isn’t the only culprit. The right does this too.

While the SJWs complain about a movie with no female leads, the right complains about a movie that replaced its male leads with females. As with most issues, it’s different sides of the same coin. Why is an all-female lead movie such a problem? It’s because of the worldview and reactionaries.

The worldview that criticizes movies like the new Ghostbusters is one that sees the replacement of male figures as an attack on traditionalism and the family. It sees progressive views that attack masculinity as a perversion of nature, even misandrist. “They’re trying to destroy the family,” they say. “It’s an attack on the foundations of society,” they claim. Maybe they are, and maybe it is. But here’s the thing, it’s just a movie (a poorly crafted movie apparently). And more importantly, such views are reactionary, dependent on the actions of another ideological group.

Reactionism is a one way street that easily attaches to most ideologies. It forces its standard bearers to sit in the public square of the Marketplace of Ideas and wait. Wait for someone to do, say, or suggest something that goes against their view of how the world should work. Reactionism is a form of the “sit down and shut up” mindset that plagues much of American public discourse. Reactionists believe that there is only one way, and any alternatives are an outright attack against said “only one way.”

The fatal flaw of reactionism is its lack of action. Instead of addressing issues on its own accord, it waits until someone else brings an issue up before it pounces. It has no alternative, pragmatism, or understanding. It merely reacts, fighting a war of attrition until it eventually loses.

The criticism toward the new Ghostbuster movie is a micro example of this reactionism. Forget that female role models are sorely needed. Forget that it’s just a movie. Forget that it poses little to no threat to the family structure and the patriarchy. Forget that it’s not the first or last movie that will replace male leads. It’s reactionism; it reacts without thought to the consequences or benefits of reacting. What about the need for female role models? Isn’t that important?

Reactionism stalls constructive discourse, turning the discussion into a shouting match full of recycled buzzwords, worries, and rhetoric. It is the equivalent of a child complaining about a teaspoon difference between how much ice cream they and the other kid got. The problem with getting frustrated over pointless things is that it’s…well….you know…pointless.



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