I use Patreon to support a few folks. Yes, I know Patreon jerked support out from under some conservative folks under very sketch conditions a while ago. Yes, I cheered for people who made arbitration claims against Patreon and threatened to bog them down in legal administrative costs. No, I don't think Patreon is an ideal solution to pretty much anything. But there are a couple of non-ideological things I support that way, mostly related to gaming. D&D folks, mostly. The Weekly SubBeacon.
I also support a couple of ideological folks. Specifically, James Lindsay's work at New Discourses. (Had to start getting James' OnlySubs podcast episodes)
For the D&D folks, I know I'm supporting people who (shock and horror) probably disagree with me on principles. In fact, I listen to a number of podcasts by people who disagree with me on fundamental issues. And it's fine. I appreciate hearing their perspective, and it helps me enrich my own by giving contrast. Sometimes I hear something that helps me change my mind. Sometimes I hear something and I think "Well, that's almost right, but here's where I think they're off base and why." Listening to people who disagree with you and getting to know how they think is a good thing - steel sharpens steel.
But that requires that we allow for a wide range of opinions and perspectives. That requires that we allow heterodox thinking and writing. It requires freedom. And it's helped by reading widely and deeply - going back to some of the classics that undergird the society and that a lot of things are built on. Understanding that foundation allows people to build securely. It deepens and enriches our thought and comprehension.
As an example, if you have the time, I would highly recommend going and listening to or watching an episode of Jordan B. Peterson's podcast - his interview with Rex Murphy. That link goes to a specific part of the interview where Rex explains some of why it's important that we read and experience some of the best writing and thinking that we can get to. How familiarity with mythology and literature helps us to get layers of meaning when we're reading and exploring. Lacking that undergirding - not having the cultural infrastructure in place - means that you may read the words, and be able to say you understand them in a sense, but there are entire worlds of meaning missing. That section of the interview is less than ten minutes, and is well worth your time.
But what prompted this post and my thinking this morning is something I saw yesterday on Twitter, when one of the people I support on Twitter demonstrated their utter hatred and loathing of, well, almost half the voting population of the country.
This is a sticking point for me. There are places where politics ought not enter, and which we should resist allowing it to enter. It's in those places where we can build bridges of friendship and understanding, and if we refuse to allow those to be constructed in areas that frankly should have nothing to do with politics and ideology, then we can only assume that balkanization, faction, and fracture will develop.
For a good long while, I ran a D&D game at a FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store). Adventurer's League (AL). And anyone and everyone was welcome at the table up to a max of, I think, seven players. More than that, and the table was no longer AL legal. And everyone was welcome. Left, right, center. Male, female, trans. It just... didn't come up. Closest we ever got was one time that I was running an adventure called "Murder at the Stop", which in part dealt with human beings being racist against other fantasy races - elves and dwarves and hobbits and what-have-you, and one of the characters straight up punched a shop proprietor for how he was treating hobbits. That prompted a rather pointed comment from one of the local hobbits who had been making some progress in easing tensions on whether his job had just become easier or harder. But that's it. One time. In well over 50 sessions of game play.
So when I see someone say that people on another side of an ideological line - one that almost half of the voting population of the country happens to support - are... well, fascist was the term used, so fascist, I guess, and that happens to be someone that I was supporting on Patreon, well... that was an invitation to me to end that support. And my rule on that is pretty clear.
Once someone tells you that they hate you, you don't give them money or support their work. You don't owe them that.
When someone indicates that they think you're evil, you don't have to listen to their podcasts or watch their YouTube videos or support their Kickstarters or Patreons.
Yes, I want to build bridges. Yes, I want to resist politics entering certain areas. Tabletop Role-Playing Games seems from here to be one of those places where I'd really rather not be weighing the political implications of my depiction of trolls and mind-flayers, thank you very much. And to the extent that other people are willing to let that happen, or actively interested in helping to create that space, all the better. And when that's not allowed, that's also fine. People are allowed to have their own opinions and advocate for them, obviously. But I don't have to extend a relationship that I'm not comfortable with any more.
So, not a flounce, not a mention of who I dropped or what the projects they're involved with are. Just... I dropped a couple of people I had been supporting at Patreon up until yesterday, and it's been rattling in my brain as to why, and who it is that I want to pay attention to and who it is that I want to support.