Restless Heart of Darkness — Part Two

This is the second part of an essay in which I try to explain, in a few zillion words or so, an insight that took me less than a second. As I said before, it is no doubt something which many people have noticed erenow, but to me it allowed many disconnected facts to leap into place.

I said before that the insight was based on three discussions I recently encountered, but, to be precise, one non-discussion must be added. This is one of the sets of facts that fitted itself suddenly into place with a click like a tumbler falling.

The one non-discussion must serve in the place of an endless number of non-discussions. A non-discussion is that particular act of craven intellectual treachery whereby a man flees from confronting any honest inquiry into his arguments by decreeing imperiously that no discussion is profitable or possible: the matter was settled long ago, and to dissent is a sign of mental incapacity and moral depravity and treason and blasphemy and worse.


I will use the example of the non-discussion on the sensitive matter of Women’s role in a post-gendered, post-Christian and post-rational society. If the gentle reader recalls from our last episode, your gentle but innocent host (me) was taken unawares, elbows and knees jerking in angular yet antic surprise, eyebrows aloft, to discover a respectable lady of the science fiction persuasion expressing discontent with the way strong female characters are portrayed in genre writing.

Now, to be clear, she was not saying that she was tired, because she had seen it too often, of seeing sweater girls in tight leather skirts carrying naked swords on the covers of Urban Fantasies and Buffy Ripoffs. Nor was she saying that she was tired, because she had seen it too often, of the gritty realism where a female character must be raped in order to give her a tragic back story or a motive for revenge. Any fashion becomes wearisome after a while.

What she was saying (if I understood correctly) was that portraying women as sword-wielding Amazon was tokenism, and was condescending, and was not true to life for most women’s lives, and therefore was insulting to women, and an enemy to female equality.

What she was saying (if I understood correctly) was that women are portrayed as rape-victims in order to portray them as weak and inferior to men, to make sure women are not uppity, are kept in their place, and kept weak. This portrayal was also an enemy to female equality.

What bemused me not a little was that both these conceptions of how to portray women in stories have their origin in the Left and only in the Left.

It was not any author loyal to conservative ideals of decency in speech and writing, decorum and honor and the defense of female honor who were clamoring for the portrayal of more grim and gritty and dark-undersewer realism in genre fiction, who wanted, for example, to portray a sweet and innocent Mary Marvelesque superheroine as a rape victim in the pages of MIRACLEMAN, it was Alan Moore. Likewise for the portrayal of the Phantom Lady style superheroine Sally Jupiter in WATCHMAN. It was not Gene Wolfe or Tim Powers who larded an urban fantasy with chapter-long digressions on the evils of raping children, and had both major female characters in the drama be victims of child sex-abuse in the pages of ONION GIRL, it was Charles de Lint.

Let no one misunderstand my point in marking these examples. I mean no disrespect to these authors, whose fame and genius need no additional lauds from me. Both Alan Moore and Charles de Lint are seminal writers, and stand as colossi in our field, along side the very few who can claim to have founded an entire subgenre of work: Urban Fantasy in the case of de Lint, and Antisuperhero comics in the case of Moore.

I do however mean disrespect to the literati Left who rejoices shallowly in the perpetual degradation of our culture, who in my generation applauded this sickening desecration of women as ‘brave’ and ‘edgy’ portrayals, and in the current generation now do an about-face and condemn that same desecration, not because the rape scenes or warrior babes are insulting to the image of women (which they are) but because they are insulting to the image of equality (which they are not).

The question again arises as to why the Left cannot take ‘Yes’ for an answer. Having succeeded beyond their wildest dreams on the issue of women’s equality, why are they gnawing on their own entrails in orgasms of spite and rage and mewling hatred, and making more demands?

It is not a question of moving the goal posts, as when our grandmothers wanted the vote, our mothers wanted to enter the work force, our daughters want to kill our granddaughters in the womb. It is a question of why the goal posts move. Why, in the West, the only place on the globe and the only point in history when women are legally equal to men, is equality not enough to make women equal?

It is not a question of moving the goal posts. There are no goal posts. There is only envy and discontent. The divorce rate is way up, nine out of ten of which are initiated by wives, and the suicide rate among women is way up and the rate of venereal disease among women is way up. I take these rates as signals of discontent on the grounds that the normal, sane, and prudent way of life, the way of life which displays self-control in sexual matters is for a virgin girl to marry a virgin bridegroom and cleave to him and forsake all others until death. That is a contented life. Suicide, divorce, and promiscuity are not signs of contentment and happiness and joy. They are the erratic distractions or vain and desperate lunges toward false pleasures are signs of discontent, unhappiness, self-hatred.

The women have equality in every real sense of the word, and it is still bitter in their mouths. Vanity of vanities, they have found equality is vanity.

Why are they unhappy?

Is it because, as they claim, masculinity is a cultural artifact? Because if masculinity is cultural, then changing our laws and customs can change masculine nature, tame it, break it. Once unsocial masculine behavior and masculine ‘gender roles’ are happily abolished, womankind will be free to define each happy maiden her own role in life, and be truly free. Such is the promise.

The promise is false.

The unhappiness of women is a feminine version of the unhappiness of men, which are both versions of the unhappiness of the Fall of Man. We are unhappy with life because life does not give us — and can never give us — what we truly desire. It is human nature to be dissatisfied with life, and it is the nature of the proud (that is, it is the nature of those with high self esteem) never to blame themselves for their own failures. It is the nature of the proud to hate any superiors, real or imaginary. It is the nature of the proud to blame superiors, real or imaginary, and see each disappointment and imperfection in life, real or imaginary, as an oppression and as an injustice, only some of which actually are injustices.

Ladies, you cannot change our nature. The best that anyone has ever done to tame the masculine spirit, and make it useful rather than antisocial, is to impose the norms, values, laws, and customs associated with chastity and charity into the male psychology. The Church once persuaded or pressured or commanded men to marry, and to love their wives, and to fight with chivalry rather than with pragmatic ruthlessness, and to treat the weak, the humble and the fallen with honor, and to let women and children get to the lifeboats first.

This society no longer teaches that. This society teaches the opposite. This society teaches self esteem. A man with high self esteem shoves granny aside while running for the lifeboat, and a woman with high self esteem divorces a man and has the courts of law punish him the moment she fears he will one day bore her. Marriage is no longer a mechanism useful for domesticating the male warrior-animal. You’ve broken it.

You’ve broken it in pursuit of the promise that abolishing laws and customs will change human nature for the better, because human nature is cultural. Suckers.

The promise is false because masculinity is natural, not cultural.

If masculinity were cultural, then there should be many, or at least some, or at least one, culture where men did not fill the masculine roles.

This is not to say that the specific form of masculine fashion does not change from culture to culture or year to year. In some years, it is fashionable to shave your whiskers, and in others, to grow your whiskers, but a bearded lady is always a freak, never a fashion.

In some places, the men fight with guns, and in others with knives or poisoned tipped spears; but in all cultures, the fighting role is masculine. Nor does this say that females do not fill fighting role in times of need or emergency, such as when the poverty of the Celtic tribes or the vastly outnumbered military of Israel made them expose their daughters to the rigors of war.

No, what was meant by calling masculinity ‘cultural’ was a hope that a new civilization, not based on any of the values or virtues, philosophy, tradition, standards, faith or morals, laws or customs of our current civilization, would somehow grow out of our own by evolution, or spring from our ashes by revolution, in which the enlightened despots of the future could condition or brain-program the sexless humanoid beings of that era, and turn them into unisex supermen, oops, I mean unisex superhumans.

In the sextopia of Ungenderland, some humanoids would have breasts and some whiskers, or both or neither, some endowed with penis or womb, or both or neither, but these matters would be merely a question of plumbing, unrelated to psychology, soul, mind, or social expectations. Babies would be raised or slain by the State, or by everybody, or by nobody, and the curse of Eve would be lifted: women would no longer desire men, no longer bear children in pain, and no longer be subject to men.

Ah, do you doubt me? You think I exaggerate? If anything, I am understating the matter.

Notice that while persons apparently educated and sane not only think masculinity is cultural ergo open to being re-engineered by society, they are unable to imagine the opposite opinion. Meanwhile, Miss Macfarlane over at (my publisher, I am ashamed to say) writes a manifesto calling for the end of Binary Gender in SF.

“Post-binary gender in SF is the acknowledgement that gender is more complex than the Western cultural norm of two genders (female and male): that there are more genders than two, that gender can be fluid, that gender exists in many forms.”

She means ‘sex’ or perhaps ‘sexual roles’. The word ‘gender’ refers to words in declined languages.

She goes on to say

“I am not interested in discussions about the existence of these gender identities: we might as well discuss the existence of women or men. Gender complexity exists.”

Since she is not interested, I will not address that topic here, nor read one word more of her no doubt fine and fascinating essay.

Mr Larry Correia conducts an incisive, warm, and final deconstruction of the true meaning of Miss Macfarlane’s disquisition for your edification and amusement. For me to add a word, verily, a syllable, a letter, or a jot, would be but to gild the lily. Read it here.

But I will address what is betrayed by this unintentional (and unintentionally hilarious) admission that the matter cannot be debated.


This is, of course, the same attitude expressed by the baffled surprise of those who cannot imagine that masculinity or femininity is natural rather than cultural.

The Left cannot see both sides of any issue. They cannot (or dare not) treat any rival viewpoints with respect, not even the respect needed to address or refute them. This alleviates the Left from the burden of actually meeting a burden of proof, indeed, of actually making any argument at all. They just ask opposing viewpoints to shut up.

The great selling point of the Left, the great promise of PC, is that all issues are orthodox and settled, and the great debate of the human condition, all the mysteries of life, no longer are open to discussion. The matter is closed. Talk must stop. Correct thinking is true; incorrect thinking is heresy. You must shut up. You must shut up. You must shut up.

And the burden of human reasoning, the torment of the paradoxes of life, the need for learning, education, or curiosity is done away with. Everything the faithful need know can be printed on a bumper sticker, and chanted as a mantra or a mob-slogan at a rally.

It would be an insult to religion to call this a religion. Real religions take their theology seriously, and debate hairsplitting nuances of phrase over centuries to arrive at precise truth. Cults are not serious. Cults chant slogans. Leftism is a cult.

And no theology can be reduced to a slogan, even if it can (at times) be reduced to a credo or formula. The Incarnation, the idea that Jesus was both fully God and fully Man can be uttered in a sentence, or even a single word, but the theological implications of that will puzzle and awe the saints and angels forever.

What is most annoying is that the partisans of the Left deserve something better than Leftism. Feminism, at its root, is a just and noble idea: the idea of women enjoying the same civil rights as men. In its freakish corrupt form, feminism is just another excuse for the abolition of all moral norms, the abolition of humanity.

The idea of Women’s Liberation can be said in two words, but the implications will puzzle and exasperate the feminists forever; nor will the feminists of one wave ever agree with their sisters in another. “Equality for Women” is, in fact, a theological statement, a mystery of faith, a seeming paradox as puzzling as the paradox of the Incarnation.

A woman in America has the right to vote and to own property in her own name — but what other rights, real or not, must be protected, or invented, or bestowed, in order to achieve the utopia?

Some are more reasonable than others. The right to be chaste without social repercussion? The right to be promiscuous without social repercussion? The right to dress, talk, and act like a man? The right to urinate in a urinal? The right to force all employers to grant equal pay for equal work? The right to commit abortion? The right to marry a lesbian? The right to force the Roman Catholic Church to pay for the abortion and perform the lesbian marriage? The right to force the Roman Catholic Church to pay for the lesbian marriage while performing the abortion on the marriage altar with one bride while the other bride is urinating in a urinal?

The right to force the sperm donor to pay for the childrearing of a lesbian couple once the couple breaks up, and no longer wishes to raise the child together?

This last is a real case. I am not making it up. I note with considerable wry irony and perhaps a pinch of schadenfreude that a culture which has tried its level best to divorce all sexual matters from nature and sanity, until we have lesbian so-called families attempting to rear a fatherless child in imitation of the Virgin Mary, nonetheless retains the at least one judge who does not allow that a man can use his seed to father a child without incurring the responsibilities of fathering a child; in this case, supporting the single mom after a lesbian so-called divorce.

You see, in the case of the Sperm Donor and the Lesbians (hey—that would make a great name for a Rock Band, wouldn’t it?) two worlds collided.

In the first world, the world of reality, the child that grows from a man’s sperm is his child, and he is responsible for it. The institution of marriage serves many purposes, but the primary purpose is to make fathers responsible for rearing the children they father.

In the second world, modern science allows sexual reproduction to take place without the sex act, hence without marriage, hence without laws and customs to prevent improvident fathering of children in situations where both parents are not present to rear him. In the second world, modern acceptance of contraception allowed the growth of the false-to-facts emotional fixation on sex as distinct from reproduction. First a small group, then a larger, than nearly the whole society developed a neurosis, that is, an emotional complex utterly antithetical to reality. This neurosis treats the sex act as a subjective emotional and physical experience unrelated to the act of sexual reproduction; this is turn is unrelated to the pleasures and duties and social roles of childrearing; this is turn is unrelated to the pleasures and duties and social roles of marriage.

In the first world, fornication is forbidden, and women are frequently segregated from men so as to prevent even the opportunity for fornication to arise.

In the second world, the sex act has no bearing on sexual reproduction, hence no bearing on childrearing, hence no bearing on marriage.

In the second world, this sexless form of marriage becomes nothing more than a legal and social sanction to an emotional relationship, either permanent or not, as the partners wish.

If sex means the emotional and physical act of stimulating the sexual organs, then one can have ‘sex’ (by this odd definition) as easily with one’s own sex as with the opposite sex: or, for that matter, with children, corpses, animals, or inanimate objects.

According to the fashions of the moment, this second group is still considered perverse, but the consideration is a matter of sentiment and not logic: that is, an arbitrary reason can distinguish them (for example, capacity to give consent) but no reason actually pertinent to sexual reproduction.

If you doubt me, ask a partisan of sexual liberation why copulating with one’s adult sister (with her consent of course), or with a menstruating fourteen year old (with the parent’s consent, of course) , or with the corpse of one’s wife (with her permission granted in her last will and testament, of course), or with an ape (assuming she gave consent in sign language to the best of her ability, of course; or her owner gives consent on her behalf) in each case where actual coupling takes place, is evil, sick and perverted, whereas sexually stimulating the private parts of a person of one’s own sex, a situation where no copulation can take place, is nonetheless a cherished and romantic fulfillment of utterly natural longings which law, custom, society, public opinion, and the Roman Catholic Church must not only tolerate, but support, applaud, and approve. Ask them.

The partisans of the Sexual Revolution will not give you an argument, merely sneer, or shriek, or pretend to faint like an overexcited Victorian matron, or call you names like a schoolyard bully, hack your Wikipedia page, send hate mail, ad nauseam. They will not give reasoning, by which I mean a structured line of deduction from identified axioms to valid conclusions, each statement being the conclusion of a prior syllogism.

This is not to say an argument cannot be made. I heard and read such arguments commonly enough in my youth. But that was half a century ago. These days a syllogism is a thing many a college graduate has never formed, no, not once. We live in an age of gullibility, where all statements are taken on authority, but always on the authority of anonymous academics, jurists, entertainers, pundits, and bureaucrats who are never, no, not once, asked to produce a warrant of authority. We live in an age of emotion, especially the emotion of offended self-righteousness.

You may be more successful than I, and can, perhaps, find someone willing and able to construct an argument in favor of Sexual Liberation that does not logically necessitate the legalizing everything from algolagnia to zoophilia; but he is as rare as the bearded lady. Yet I suspect you will find “I am not interested in discussions about…” to be the standard response, with few exceptions, or none.


There are many valid reasons why a particular topic cannot be broached in polite company.

First is that the company is met for another purpose, and that certain topics are so fraught with emotion or so complex with so many ramifications, that the social cost of holding a debate at that time and place exceeds the good of talking. This is why gentlemen do not discuss politics at dinner parties, or at work, or discuss the merits of their previous sweethearts with their wives on the honeymoon, or discuss the most effective methods of torture while addressing a grammar school class.

However, in no case is this reason universally valid to silence debate — particularly in the places and at the times when debate is allowed, encouraged, or necessary. The pages of an editorial, particularly an editorial advocating radical and permanent changes to the lives, virtues, values and norms of society cannot silence debate on the grounds that ladies are present, and discussing politics will spoil the dinner party.

Second is that one has no qualifications to have an opinion on the topic, or that all the facts are not in.

In no case does this reason allow you to prevent another man from talking, only you yourself, and only in areas where expertise is required, and you lacks that expertise. In a democracy, or on a jury, every free man is assumed to have the basic knowledge of right and wrong, sick and hale, sane and insane, which the Abolishers wish to abolish. No one is disqualified from holding and promoting an opinion about the sickness of sexual perversion on the grounds that he has no doctorate in the area. The moral law natural to man is known to all who have achieved the age of reason.

Third is that the other party in the discussion has retreated, will not answer questions, or has nothing to say while never shutting up. I pass lightly over the question of why Abolishers, of all people on Earth, ought not use this excuse to back politely out of a conversation.

Fourth is that the matter truly is settled by an authority to whom you and your debate partner must refer all questions to be satisfied.

If I report the diameter of the Earth based on the experiments and calculations of Eratosthenes of Cyrene, or the distances to the sun and moon based on based on measurements taken by Aristarchos of Samos, and I cannot satisfy you, it is not unseemly of me to refer you to those authorities and have you take up your argument with them. If I am aware that I cannot give an argument more clear than the original I am repeating, humility, if nothing else, dictates that I direct you to wiser minds and that I step aside.

Likewise, while I am aware, in a general way, of the arguments for the Big Bang and against the Steady State theory, I could not win an argument against Fred Hoyle. My golden tongue is not so golden as that. I could do no more than refer him to Georges Lemaitre, and bow out.

But note that at no point while bowing out of a conversation one is not qualified to hold is it legitimate to accuse one’s opponent of disqualification. To say “Argument from Authority is the strongest form of argument, as many eminent people will attest!” is a joke, not an argument.

Likewise, saying ‘Global Cooling is Settled Science! The consensus of opinion says…etc’ is an informal logical error. It is another way of saying ‘Shut Up.’

Just this morning on the news, I heard an article saying that school officials oppose a proposed law to teach the children critical thinking about science, by offering more than one point of view, on the grounds that it may provoke children into questioning matters of settled opinion, such as Darwinian Evolution or Global Warming. I am not making this up, not kidding, not exaggerating. The Abolishers are not even bothering to pretend to be honest. Their express reason for opposing teaching children how to think is that they want non-Left points of view to shut up.

Of course, this is a favorite tactic of Abolishers, which is why all the nonsense and offal they utter is asserted to be expert opinion, but any attempt to track down an authority to its source ends up being a maze paved with paper. The authorities being quoted are all anonymous. The experts, upon examination, turn out to be journalists, academics in other fields, political operatives, bureaucrats, paid hacks, and so on.

The Abolisher obsession with detailed statistics generated by allegedly scholarly studies, now that the scientific field is as utterly politicized as the journalistic, is a pathetic attempt to win arguments by false and meretricious authority. No attempt is made to establish the credentials of the authority beforehand. And, in any case, few men are patient enough to look at the actual numbers, who understand the pitfalls of statistics and know what statistics can and cannot prove.

Fifth is that the subject matter is ineffable. If I am discussing how I know my wife loves me, or why I am stirred by Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, or a mystical experience of the oneness of Creation, mere words fail, and I must fly to poetry and music, the language of heaven, or fall mute, the language of awe.

Legal and moral issues, however, are not ineffable, but are open to as much clarity and precision as any philosophical issue.

Sixth is that the point in dispute is a dogma, part of a theological system accepted on faith in its entirety, or else rejected in its entirety. Dogma is accepted, if at all, upon faith in the authority of the man or institution (or divine being) proposing the dogma.

As with other matters resting on authority, it is permissible to disqualify oneself from defending an issue which one believes only for another’s sake. If a child is asked by her father for his sake to believe a certain matter, she cannot argue the point. Loyalty to her father, and her own awareness of her own inadequacy, prevents her from entertaining questions on the matter.

Now, a dogma can indeed be questioned by anyone willing to question his entire loyalty to whatever authority is asking for his consent: but then the particular matter is subsumed into a greater question. In this example, to question the daughter’s dogma, the point to be discussed is the legitimacy of the authority of her father. That point is always open to question.

Except among Progressives, of course. They are devoted to the Unreality Principle.

Their system is as dogmatic as Catholicism; the difference being that we are honest about it and they are not.

When our Pope makes a statement Ex Cathedra, or invokes the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, or a General Council settles a dispute about some theological point, such as the divinity of Christ, we admit it. We admit we are sheep following a shepherd, whom we love.

When the vague consensus of anonymous opinion-makers, however, invokes their Leftwing equivalent of Liberal Infallibility, and speaks Ex Cathedra, and suddenly decrees some absurdity, such as the doctrine that gays are to be thrown under the bus for Islam, they do not admit it. The freethinkers all pretend that they each man independently came to the same opinion as the received dogma. They are sheep pretending to be lone wolves, and they fear their alpha wolves turning on them and rending them. They fear being denounced as a bigot (or whatever the meaningless swearword of the day is).

So the dogmatic reason for disqualifying oneself from debate is legitimate, but at this price: one must be honestly willing, then, to give whatever reason one has for placing faith in the authority whose dogma one receives. It is not the end of the debate, but the opening of a deeper one. Any Christian not ready to give a reason for the hope he has within him is disobeying Christian teaching.

But the Progressives would rather die than admit their beliefs are dogmas. They each pretend they are all fearless and independent thinkers, who have all come to the same fashionable conclusions because the matters are so clear and obvious — too, too obvious to bother discussing — that no other opinion is possible, nor needs to be explored.

In other words, they are conformists pretending to be nonconformists, they are stupid people pretending to be smart, and they are cowards pretending to be brave. One wonders whom they think they are fooling.

The final reason is illegitimate. It is a knowledge of the weakness of one’s own position, and the desire to silence the opposition. Now, at best, this betrays an impatience with the thickheadedness of the opposition, or disgust with their willful blindness, or condemnation with their lies. However, a gentleman continues a conversation even with fools and liars in the hopes that onlookers will come to understand on whose side truth stands, and he abides by the rules of debate even if the other does not. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that one is entirely clear of any accusation of retreat.

It has been my unfortunate experience never to have met a legitimate reason for retreat from the combat of debate. I have never been asked by an Abolisher to hold my tongue because ladies and children were present, so that we could meet out back and continue the conversation outside the hearing of those who would not understand that we can debate a point without ill will and argue without hatred. Indeed, I have never met an abolisher who could argue without hatred. Indeed, I have never met one who pretended to argue without hatred, or who held intellectual integrity to be a value worthy of pursuit.

I have never met an honorable enemy. Nothing but caitiffs and vermin meet my sword. Perhaps I have been spoiled by long years being an atheist, when not one, but many apologists for the Christian religion expressed themselves logically, clearly, without rancor, without sneers, without hate, without heat.

At the time, I thought love of reason was the universal heritage of all man, or, at least, of all intellectuals. Since then, I have never met more hatred of reasoning anywhere more vehement than the hatred of intellectuals for reason. It is the treason of the clerks.

I truly hope you have better luck than I.

But for the moment, I think experience sufficiently demonstrates that the Abolishers wish to abolish reason first of the human faculties of mind to be discarded on our way to afterhumanity.

To them, questioning any of their received dogmas about politics, economics, human sexuality, or any other topics including climate science is not a sign of curiosity but of sign of mental flatulence, moral depravity, and treason against the universe.

But, you may ask, if they are not willing to discuss matter, why is all academia, all jurisprudence, all entertainment, all media, and the entire leftwing blogosphere filled with nothing but talk, talk, talk?

I propose a simple answer. These words are apologetic for their doctrine, or preaching to the choir, or missionary work to the unenlightened.

Progessivism is a heresy of Christianity, that is, based on Christian ideals taken out of context but ignoring other Christian ideals; but it retains the Christian catholic nature, that is, small-c catholic, meaning universal. Progressivism is meant to be sovereign in the hearts of all men in all the whole world, and rule all nations, tribes, languages, and peoples.

The reason for all this talk combined with so much silence on so many crucial issues is because of despair. Progressives do not believe in philosophy, do not believe in metaphysics, do not believe in reasoning about matters of faith, which, to them, includes politics and economics and science, and every other matter they find so confusing but do not admit they do not understand.

The Progressives also hold, as a matter of their Pseudo-Calvinist dogma, that we Reprobates are destined to be damned from Creation, that we are trapped in a false consciousness of an ideological superstructure, or deceived by a narrative, or poisoned by testosterone, or something — so that it is impossible to reason with us.

The crowning dogma of their nihilistic, pro-irrationality world view is that we, who have reason and right reason, we the normal and sane people, we are irrational to the point where no debate with us is possible, and no speech.

The insight which flashed upon me was that this was not merely cowardice, not merely the desire to avoid humiliating defeat in debate after debate, but was despair. They think they are the elite, the only true humans, the Tarzan, living among a grubby tribe of ape-things with whom no speech is possible.

They are not willing to discuss matters because they have no hope.