Memes

The Most Depressing Aspect of the 'Non-Player Character' Meme

Anyone's opinions about politics ought to be the least important and generally least interesting thing about them.

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A meme that started on 4chan and recently spread through political social networking and meme-warring reveals the extent to which we now conflate a person's political views with their value as a human being.

The "non-player character" meme portrays one's political and ideological foes as detailless evocations of a video game's non-player characters (NPCs). These characters represent the artificialness of even the best games. They operate on loops, reacting to you, the player, but never exercising any real agency. They are the prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto and the ghosts in Pac-Man. The NPC meme we're seeing now is aimed at modern progressives, portraying them as mindless automatons spouting lefty gibberish they cannot rationally defend.

Meant, like so much modern discourse, to elicit an angry disdainful laugh at the expense of people you want to dehumanize in the eyes of your peer group, the NPC attack/gag drew a harsh—and condemnable, for those who value an open, freewheeling internet in which free expression is respected—smackdown from Twitter, whose internet purity monitors reportedly destroyed over 1,500 accounts using such images. Twitter deserves to lose respect and communications market share over that crackdown.

Saying anything further about this controversy is risky: outrage-inducing memes reside in that conveniently shifting misty land between serious political commentary and disdainful comedy, and taking them too seriously is often a sign of overreaction and even lameness. So let's just grant up front that sure, whatever, it's all really just a hilarious joke, and everyone should relax.

But if you're willing to admit maybe you don't enjoy a good larf as much as the next fellow, a serious point can be gleaned.

Whether you find NPCing your ideological foes (and, yes, progressives have tried to turn the "You are just a mindless parrot of received ideological stances" schtick around on their righty tormentors, though it's about as powerful as a grade-school bullying victim responding with, "No, you are!") simply funny or deeply true or both, the meme contributes to a not-so-minor tragedy of American civic life these days.

For people who spend so much time on social networking sites that their primary sense of other human beings is the constant expression of brief, unnuanced, and often hostile judgment or opinion on politics or politicians, it may be easy to forget that more is at play in another human being than political opining, even or especially if their opinions on politics are received, ignorant, or wrong.

Stipulating that I'm Grandpa Normie (doubly so for calling myself that, and triply so for even pretending that one can pre-emptively disarm modernity's wave of dismissive sarcasm and irony), and so just don't get the deeply wise and hoo-larious meaning behind this meme, the main rational way to interpret the NPC in video game terms is: someone without agency and without significance.

Yet any sensible American, left or right, should understand that a person's opinions and judgments about politics are going to be the least interesting and significant thing about them. Political opinions, especially coherent ones, come in a relatively narrow range. They are apt to come across to any half-educated and observant person as clear, predictable, and received. Unless a person is a particularly quirky outsider, knowing just a few of their opinions will likely allow you to guess their stances on a number of other political issues. (And if their opinions are so off-kilter or incoherent you can't place them, well who the hell cares?)

That's OK. Political opinions aren't designed for the education or entertainment of others; they are just one's reactions to the world. For most folks, even the so-called intellectual elites, political opinions are tribal or emotional, not based on deep or complicated digging into factual or ethical backgrounds. After all, nobody has time to dig into everything.

And again, who cares? What makes any human being unique or interesting or compelling lies in who they are and what they do for the well-being of others, whether through work in the economy; their status in a family or affinity group; their ability to be congenial companions or witty conversationalists or just decent and functional parts of a social landscape.

If your own spirit is so crabbed that the only pleasure you get out of life is knowing that the being facing you shares your political opinions, at least grant that other people exist in non-political dimensions: as co-workers, neighbors, fellow commuters, friends, or friends of friends.

Playing into the idea that your political meme savvy is the measure of another person's agency and value is an idea that should strike every decent American as grossly dumb and missing the point of life, civic or otherwise. That very attitude is its own version of political totalitarianism, whether applied from left to right or right to left.

For other Reason writings on the intellectual and emotional errors of overprivileging political opining, see Nick Gillespie from last week on not letting Trump dictate all of our emotions and reactions; me on why voting for Trump should not be sufficient excuse to write off friends or family either rationally or emotionally; and how a cabaret tour rightly made apocalyptic emotional reactions to the 2004 election seem absurd.

NEXT: Trump's New Middle Class Tax Cut Is Fake News

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  1. It’s funny because it’s true. You can’t “both sides” the basis of the NC meme.

    1. And because it’s funny, it’s also effective and that enrages the left.

      Also somewhat revealing in who stands up and says we can’t have any of that kind of fun.

      1. My leftist roommate keeps showing me all the far left gritty memes (the flyers mascot), and yes, the left cannot meme, and they have no sense of humor.

        I would show you a few example but I don’t want to waste your time.

        That’s why they are so pissed at the right, it’s not they can’t take a joke, they can’t even tell a joke

        1. LOL, it reminds me of when they tried to respond to the Tea Party movement by creating the Coffee Party movement. It went over like a fart in a spacesuit.

        2. That is because all the left has is hatred for the “other side”. The left also has zero understanding of their political opposites because they have not only refused to listen to other views, but censor and attack anyone who speaks out of line. The left also is mainstream and so it mainly attracts followers.

          The right on the other hand understands how the left thinks and have a sense of humor that only comes from being discriminated against their entire lives. The right also is counter culture today which attracts more creative and thought provoking people, whereas the left is a bunch of automatons.

          Its going to be just like the 60s but in reverse. In the 50s we were all told what was allowed and what you could think. So the next generation rebelled strongly. Today the left owns everything and tells everyone what they can think or say with an even heavier hand than McCarthy. It’s obvious where this is going.

          1. The moral panic pendulum swings back and forth in a wide arc between leftist moral authoritarians and right-wing moral authoritarians.

            It would be a strange day in Hell to ever see a libertarian moral authoritarian panic.

            1. Well if reason is any guide on what “libertarians” think, then the past 3 years has been nothing but a libertarian moral authoritarian panic against Trump

              1. +100

        3. That’s why they are so pissed at the right, it’s not they can’t take a joke, they can’t even tell a joke

          That would explain why so many talented comedians, writers, actors, directors, and musicians are Republicans, and why all of the best television programs, concerts, movies, and comedy routines are produced for and by conservatives.

          Carry on, clingers. Enjoy that Greg Gutfeld!

          1. Which funny comedians are leftists? Note, I didn’t say liberal. Also, a left/right paradigm is inadequate, much like your responses on here. Its also noteworthy you have added nothing even remotely funny, but choose to hide behind nondescript accomplishments of unnamed media personalities. Further, how biased are such media outlets? Are conservative or libertarian voices heard on mainstream TV?

            So thank you for adding further evidence of the left having no real sense of humor or anything substantive to add

            #non

      2. Remember, calling them NPCs is dehumanizing, and only Nazi Racist Russian bot Alt-Right NRA shills use the term.

        1. Thank you. While reading the article, this thought was going thru my head. None of that has ever been dehumanizing. Discounting someone as cis-gendered privileged white male patriarch has ever been to diminish them as a person and to imply that any ideas or opinions they have do not count. Noooo. Only when conservatives respond to the same round and round comments are things getting dehumanizing.

          (PS – you forgot low-info)

          1. And “basket of deplorables.”

            1. I prefer accuracy: Half-educated, bigoted, disaffected, economically inadequate, anti-social, superstitious, stale-thinking losers residing in desolate, can’t-keep-up communities.

              #RejectPC
              #CarryOnClingers

              1. ^NPC Kirkland

                1. He’s not really an NPC – more like badly trained weak AI

              2. In other words, your neighbors and confreres

        2. It occurred to me that the recently developed ennui with today’s democrat party isn’t so much a right vs. left thing, but people just want to vomit from the continued pursuit of Alinsky tactics. Even the social democrats in Europe aren’t half as vile, while being wrong about so much in apparently similar fashion. Combine that with dems throwing the working man under the bus in 2012, and there’s zero offered up that comes anywhere close to being broad based. As long as dems stay so extremely narrowband, the NPC meme sticks: nobody can relate to pure narrative that has no soul.

          1. In that vein, you have a “left” that cannot and does not even try to engage any line of thought even remotely to the right of center. Instead you get lame insults like those hurled by Rev Artie, which only accentuate the contempt that leftists have for everyone else while leaving no room for dialogue, merely bowing to or rejecting the orthodoxy of the day (and having grown up in a Stalinist milieu I had more than enough of that in my youth to last a lifetime).

      3. it’s also effective and that enrages the left.

        And Brian Doherty. Oh wait, I just repeated what you said.

    2. Hey, using a meme making fun of collectivists – people who expressly reject individuality and prioritize the group – is totes uncool because it doesn’t respect their individuality!

      Or, at least so says Brian Doherty.

      And, given his long history of criticizing the left over their persistent s lack of appreciation or respect for the individual who can really doubt his sincerity?

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  2. Well, that was unintelligible.

    1. Hahaha, Longtorso hardest hit.

    2. That was a lot of words that were typed over something so silly and trivial.

      Stipulating that I’m Grandpa Normie …, and so just don’t get the deeply wise and hoo-larious meaning behind this meme

      That’s obvious. I guess this blog post is him trying to figure out “what it all means” which is both sad and funny.

      1. Brian used to be with it, but then they changed what “it” was!

        1. Onion fell off his belt…

          1. Ill give you 5 bees for a quarter

        2. To be honest, back in Gainesville, FL, when Brian was playing in Turbo Satan and writing for the Alligator, every time I saw him on the street or at house parties he always had this humorless expression on his face so I don’t know that he was ever ‘with it’.

  3. However, They are hilarious.

  4. >>>internet purity monitors

    w.t.f.?

    1. Yeah, that isn’t dystopian or Orwellian at all. Good thing I’ve never seen the point of Twitter. It’s like a less useful RSS feed hooked up to the brains of morons. No wonder Reason bases so much of their reporting on their Twitter feed, huh?

      1. >>>the point of Twitter

        wonder if they knew it would go full-bore censorship so fast.

        1. Well, if Twitter credulously accepted what they MUST know is a hyperbolic, mischaracterized description of the meme, it’s purposes, effects and users, they pretty much have to go full Ministry of Truth on it don’t they? I mean, the alternative would be to examine the reality and question how accurate the charge was and how much of the “damage” was purely subjective. And they wouldn’t want to start doing that, would they?

          * ex: “These alt-right bigots are hatefully erasing my very humanity by using this meme!!” Note how neatly this mimics the proglodyte trick of cramming three or more massive errors of fact, reality or logic into a single sentence. Swift and decisive action to restore justice to the world (restore justice=making them shut the fuck up) is easy compared to unpacking each of the unsupported accusations, associations and assertions. That would be like, work or something innit?

          1. Doesnt this also disqualify Twitter from all of their protections from the DMCA as they clearly are not a content-neutral platform but are a rather extensively monitored publisher?

        2. Twitter needs to be censored. A lot of damage can be done in 140 characters
          (or whatever the f**k it is).

  5. Pffffttt

  6. (In Comic-Book Guy voice) Excuse me, the term “Non-Player Character,” or NPC, comes from Dungeons and Dragons. Video gamers simply borrowed the term. And in Dungeons and Dragons, an NPC can be a valuable means for communicating information which the Dungeon Master wants to relay to the players.

    1. So what purpose does Kirkland serve?

      1. He’s not an NPC, he’s a Random Encounter. It seems the DM keeps rolling the dice and coming up with “jerkface” from the Random Encounter Chart.

        1. I think that Kirkland’s function is to remind us that bourgeois progressives actually hate the lower classes and would quite like them to ‘go away,’ thank you very much.

          1. Kirkland is from the lower classes himself. He’s an interesting specimen because of it. I don’t want to psychoanalyze too much, but he seems to be a person who is so deeply ashamed of his roots that he does is reactionary against everything they stand for.

            1. That explains a lot. I think that a lot of progressivism derives from self-loathing. When I have visited the home page of the New York Times recently, it has occurred to me that the NYT is coming to resemble Stormfront, but for self-hating white progressives.

              The NYT continues to reassure its rich white progressive readers that they still rule the world and pull all the strings. Simultaneously, however, the NYT offers absolution for these readers’ guilt about this and tacit permission to retain their privileges, as long as they agree that they are evil.

              1. I think that a lot of progressivism derives from self-loathing.

                Case in point – Janeane Garofalo.

                1. I think she’s just following the crowd…

              2. “suffering is noble”

              3. When our left-behind, rural white citizens ditch the bigotry, backwardness, and whining, I expect to resume my efforts to improve their lives. So long as they continue to cling to bigotry, guns, and religion, my sympathies are focused on the children afflicted by their parenting. No decent person blames a child for having losers for parents.

                1. “No decent person blames a child for having losers for parents.”

                  Kirkland offers up a window into his past and confirms BestUsedCarSales’ point.

                  “…but he seems to be a person who is so deeply ashamed of his roots that he does is reactionary against everything they stand for.”

            2. +1 to this.

              I imagine it was the same for peasants who were elevated to the nobility.

              Which really is the same since socialism is the same thing as feudalism, just with a ruling class made up of the “rightly educated” versus a multi-generational land holding class.

        2. Sneak in and check the Random Encounter Chart, it may have been printed out with ‘jerkface’ for every roll.

          1. It’s a percentage roll where 1-99 is a jerkface, and 00 is a gelatinous ooze.

            1. You know what else is a gelatinous ooze?

              1. [insert tony joke here]

            2. Gelatinous Cube?

              1. Hitler?

                Dang, I’m bad at this…

      2. He teaches us patience. That some people should just be ignored, or at least it’s not worth arguing with someone who doesn’t make any concrete points to argue against.

        This is a hard lesson.

        1. I find Kirkland entertaining. He is a flat character, but so are most of the commenters on here. We only have a few round characters on here.

          1. I am a unique parallelepiped.

            1. Sounds like jargon for COMMIE

              1. Beware the communist geometers!

          2. Are you fat shaming? Or…wait a minute…are you shaming Anglo-Saxons?

      3. So what purpose does Kirkland serve?

        Cheap store brand goods at Costco?

      4. None.

        I have him Greasonabled out.

        Have a much better day.

    2. *clutches tablet while raising hand with pen*

      Uh… excuse me Comic-Book Guy but if they don’t mean the D&D NPC as a vessel for the voice of an unaligned overlord but instead mean the mindless jabbering of a thinly conceptualized automaton, don’t they, in fact, mean the video game version of NPCs and *not* the D&D version? That while the origin of the term may be as you describe we’re talking about a linguistic shift that started with video games?

      1. (Resumes Comic Book Guy voice) A very interesting point, but again my massive intelligence allows me to rebut it thus: It may well be that the proximate cause of this meme was video games, but the ultimate cause was the use of the term in Dungeons and Dragons as I have described for you. Also, if you are going to hang around the store, at least buy something, may I suggest something in Marvel’s PC Avenger line?

        1. You give good Comic Book Guy, guy.

        2. “Ultimate” never comes first. By definition.

          1. Genesis is the term he wanted.

          2. “the best achievable or imaginable of its kind.”

            Connotation says it can.

            The first could be the best.

      2. NPCs in video games usually have no agency. NPCs in D&D often had agency, through the Dungeon Master.

        1. I think the easiest way to tell is by the depth of the conversation tree branching.

          When you get “All you Trumpistas are retarded bigots.” after asking “Why do you say we are teetering on the edge of the Apocalypse?”, that’s a video game, ‘arrow to the knee’, ‘would you like a quest?’-level NPC.

          If you get much more than that, you’re probably talking one of our lizard-man overlords.

    3. As has as much agency, importance, and significance as the DM wants/needs them to have.

      1. *Ahem* And has as much agency….

        1. Is it just here, or have all the keyboards begun a gentle rebellion?

    4. Too often, though, an NPC was just an excuse for a Dungeon Master to act as a player.

      1. To be fair, with most Dungeon Masters, it’s the closest they ever come to being a playa.

      2. Once had a DM who used most every NPC in order to act like the total jerk he never was IRL.

        Seriously, every single encounter was a variation on ‘total bastard.’

    5. Actually you do more with NPC than just convey info to the players. I do not know how you play D&D or AD&D but people in our games would chase the whores, bar wrenches and gamble with town guards,plus making friendships with the NPC which was as much a goal in the games as well as killing orcs in the dungeons. In short th DM would have to role play every charter from farmer to king ( Talk about multi acting roles.). I’ve also seen Gygax do this in his games as well ( He was my parent DM ). But you always have to figured out how they would logically respond to the situation and the charter dice help but not always.

      1. “( He was my parent DM )”

        I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!

        Seriously, though, I just played a few modules, I could have quit any time. In the modules were I was DM I took on the roles of price-gouging townspeople (I mean responding to market forces townspeople), local rulers looking to outsource some of their adventuring jobs, evil dark elves* and the like.

        *By which of course I mean albino elves who only *looked* dark because of their Darkness spells.

    6. And today the NPC is omnipresent in World of Warcraft. Other than that I have absolutely no idea what the NPC is for or why I should give a damn

  7. Dehumanizing one’s opponent is hardly a new thing. I mean, look at Artie’s schpiel for the past 5+ years. Look at Hillary’s campaign comments. Everyone equating all Republicans, conservatives, anyone who may have ever maybe agreed with Trump or disagreed with Obama with white supremacists, etc.

    The better question is, why has this gotten so many panties in a twist?

    1. It’s being deployed by the wrong people?

    2. Because it is an attack on the progressive’s assumption not only that he or she is of superior virtue, but that this virtue is premised on a superior insight into the structures of oppression that determine life plans and outcomes in our society.

      The NPC mocks the progressive’s vanity, by characterizing him as both dumb and mean.

      1. Not untrue

        Jordan peterson talked about ideological possession. The leftists arnt interesting becaus I can predict with a high degree of accuracy exactly what they are going to say. It’s a cult attitude and definitely deserving of the term NPC. I live with one

    3. No idea. It’s just another classic “Everyone is an unthinking retard but me” thing. It’s the most normal form of pretense.

    4. Because it’s true.

    5. when losers realize they truly are losers, stormy weather

    6. At the risk of getting into a “they started it!” argument, I’d say the dehumanization of opponents, in US political discussions, goes way back more than 5 years (yes, I saw the plus). How long has anyone saying something even remotely “right-wing” been accused of parroting the “Faux News” line, now, or that Rush Limbaugh’s fans (“dittoheads”) are nothing more than “mind-numbed robots” (to use his phrasing) echoing what he said?

      (ObDisclaimer: I listened to Limbaugh in the 90s when my personal schedule permitted, but drifted away for various reasons.)

      As for your closing question, my Inner Smartarse(tm) suggests “because the truth hurts?”.

    7. “why has this gotten so many panties in a twist?”

      Because while humorous, it also contains a kernel of serious truth.

    8. It hurts when NPCs look in the mirror.

  8. I think you may be overthinking this. I took the NPC jibe to be a jibe against the poor quality of a person’s arguments, not a commentary on the person’s “worth” or any other such cosmic stuff.

    1. The underlying thing, if you are familiar with /pol/ is that there exists people who literally have no internal thought or monologue.

      The origin of it was a somewhat strange metaphysical argument made, that there are a limited number of souls available that continue to reincarnate. There are many more people born though than souls available, and so many of these people are soulless automatons without internal monologue. Pure IO machines. They dubbed these creatures NPCs. That’s the origin of it.

      1. That’s a bizarre claim, and implies that if there is a god they are a very lazy god. Which, in fairness, I’d suppose any immortal being would suffer from boredom so badly that they’d probably just sleep.

        1. It is very bizarre. That’s the origin of it though. You can find the post online if you search. Know Your Meme copies it as well.

          1. It’s just 4chan post, not a serious claim. It’s also not the origin. The use of NPC in writing, discussions, etc. to mean an unthinking person predates that post. The 4chan thing made use of an existing phrase because it was suitable for the poster’s commentary, and because people found the post amusing and the phrase useful, it spread. Whoever came up with that post did not invent this usage of the term.

          2. I’d say that’s tangential to the meme, since I sincerely doubt very many people assume a Judeo-Christian deity who also reincarnates a limited number of randomly allocated souls.

            Sounds like backwards reasoning to get to a preordained conclusion for a joke rather than honest belief. Poe’s Law applies though, I suppose.

            1. > Sounds like backwards reasoning to get to a preordained conclusion for a joke

              Bingo

        2. Lazy, perhaps. But if you’ve ever looked into the eyes of a ginger, you know it to be true.

          1. I AM a ginger, so it’s doubly true!

            1. [shudders silently]

              1. He’s a daywalker, not a full ginger.

      2. Wow…and here I thought it was just my delusion that many of the people I interact with are unconscious automatons. We’re never as unique as we think we are…

      3. Yeah, the ‘NPC’ meme doesn’t refer to any Leftist, or anybody making Left-wing political arguments. It refers to people who turn everything they hear into a political argument.

        For example, if your response to Ivanka Trump wishing her husband a happy wedding anniversary on Twitter is to respond with ‘How can you even say something like that now with your father ordering his minions to bomb journalists and Democrats (who totally aren’t the same thing, hater!)”, then you might be an NPC.

        1. +1, real-world example.

          Even then, when I hear it from the other side, I hear more self-awareness and humor than from the lefties:

          “So then, the poor kids trapped in the burning bus had to jump out and fell off the bridge into the freezing water. And the dog died too!”

          “Thanks, Obama!”

          1. It’s also worth pointing out that the ‘Thanks, Obama!’ meme originated with Lefties who wanted to trivialize conservative complaints about things like Obama’s ATF selling guns to Mexican drug cartels that were used to kill Americans, or insurance premiums skyrocketing after the implementation of Obamacare.

    2. You are correct. In fact, the NPC meme is an implicit acknowledge of target’s humanity, because it is a critique in that the person is *acting* in an unthinking way, abandoning the mental faculties that he has and should be using.

      Its origin is not with 4chan, and it has been used in various contexts for a long time.

      But naturally, because someone on 4chan posted a silly exposition making use of it in an exaggerated manner, now we must endure hysterical responses.

      1. I thought it was because it was “…quickly picked up and weaponized by alt-right and white supremacist groups”?

        It was in every article…

  9. Uh, progressives ARE automatons who DO spout leftarded commie gibberish.

  10. The “non-player character” meme portrays one’s political and ideological foes as detailless evocations of a video game’s non-player characters (NPCs). These characters represent the artificialness of even the best games. They operate on loops, reacting to you, the player, but never exercising any real agency. They are the prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto and the ghosts in Pac-Man. The NPC meme we’re seeing now is aimed at modern progressives, portraying them as mindless automatons spouting lefty gibberish they cannot rationally defend.

    Meant, like so much modern discourse, to elicit an angry disdainful laugh at the expense of people you want to dehumanize in the eyes of your peer group, the NPC attack/gag drew a harsh?and condemnable, for those who value an open, freewheeling internet in which free expression is respected?smackdown from Twitter, whose internet purity monitors reportedly destroyed over 1,500 accounts using such images. Twitter deserves to lose respect and communications market share over that crackdown.

    In other words, they get high grades without putting much thought into their classroom assignments. How is this an insult? It is the one quality that progressives take the most pride in other than being a victim/loser.

  11. Dehumanizing your opponents is a slippery slope down to some rather bad end points.

    And no, it’s not just one side that does it. All sides do it. Everyone does it at one point or another. I’ve done it, although I try not to.

    I would hope that fractious libertarians can at least agree that individuals all have individual human dignity and self-worth, even if we don’t agree with their opinions.

    1. Dehumanization always precedes genocide.

      1. Really? You don’t think anybody’s killed someone because they got a thrill from killing humans? What about the fact that genocide implies removal or destruction but dehumanization doesn’t necessarily reflect a complete devaluation? Mass slavery requires significant amounts of dehumanization and does, or can, lead to a proliferation of the enslaved peoples, producing the opposite of a genocide.

        I’d agree there’s usually some dehumanization associated with genocide, but the idea that it always precedes it is a bit retarded. Especially when, in even a room of 3-500 people you are inherently going to dehumanize some of them whether you know it or not.

        Dehumanization is a gateway drug. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked on mercy killings and jonesing to fill a mass grave.

        1. Sure there are a fair number of sociopaths (even genocidists know not to enlist psychopaths) who enjoy killing humans, and that might get you a Manson sized cult. But real genocide requires scale, and there just are not enough people willing to do it that way. To get scale you really have to convince a large number of people that the out group is something not worthy of consideration.

          Or. even better, not worthy of consideration while simultaneously being a cunning threat.

          So yes, dehumanizing generally (but perhaps not always) precedes genocide.

          Do you know what always precedes genocide?

          Collectivizing. Gotta define a group before you can eliminate it.

    2. So let’s not call out dangerously bad groupthink, lest we dehumanize the group!

      1. Argue against the argument, not the person.

        1. Did you even follow his argument?

  12. Damn, Doherty, way to own a meme.

    Do you paint yourself grey every morning or is it just a permanent sheen on your skin?

    I have to say that I’ve rarely seen the meme so exquisitely exemplified. This is professor level NPCing. The way you attempt to make your programming sound like a studied intellectual point. Absolutely gorgeous. The use of elaborate vocabulary and non-repeating phrases almost hides the underlying message of NPC frustration–

    #imliterallyshaking, #rightnow, #tellmewhattothink

    But don’t worry, you’ll reset in a moment, and blissful greyness will overcome all.

    #Orangemanbad, #resist, #diversityisourstrength

    1. This must be another one of your examples of a non-falsifiable claim.

      If someone argues in favor of the NPC meme, then that person is correct.
      But if someone argues against the NPC meme, then it just shows that person is an NPC him/herself, lacking any legitimate argument.

      Ergo, there is no legitimate argument against NPCing someone. QED!

      1. What makes behavior NPC is that the same phrasing is repeated by many people, reflexively, and not only is no supporting argument offered, but rather, the notion that one should be offered isn’t conceived of.

      2. Jeff, you aren’t programmed to understand.

        You just say the same things over and over.

        #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER, #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER, #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER, #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER, #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER, #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER, #fourlegsgoodtwolegsBETTER

        1. Jeff wouldn’t know where that hashtag came from.


  13. The NPC meme we’re seeing now is aimed at modern progressives, portraying them as mindless automatons spouting lefty gibberish they cannot rationally defend.

    No offense to the writer, but this is completely accurate. It’s also not solely limited to progressives, it’s just the ethos where it’s the most obvious since their world view is the most divorced from reality.

    Seriously, try and get a progressive to defend their views. I guarantee you that you’ll have an ad hominem thrown at you within thirty seconds. Or, for that matter, some of the mindless MAGA nationalists too. Progressivism is seeping into every political party, probably because it seeks to empower the political class and they’re more than happy to take any power you’re willing to let them have.

    1. I guarantee you that you’ll have an ad hominem thrown at you within thirty seconds.

      Not always. Sometimes you get blissful ignorance and idiocy thrown back at you followed by intense smugness for having your argument “destroyed” by their nonsense.

      1. Yeah, that’s the variant they’ve devised to collect more twitter ‘likes’ and Internet Peepee Touches.

  14. Opinions are the least interesting thing about a person?

    What’s more interesting? His skin color?

    1. how else to determine content of character?

      1. Ionize a sample and use mass spectrometry?

        1. Can we just ionize the whole person, just to be safe?

          1. I was ionized but I’m better now.

            1. “Re-integration was one of the first things I mastered.” Dr. Manhattan

          2. Limit your sample size to roughly 72 kg and you should be fine.

    2. Opinions are like assholes?

    3. Opinions about politics.

      And I tend to agree, since most opinions about politics are just regurgitated identity-statements for most people.

      That’s not interesting, it’s boring autofocus*.

      (* Because that’s funnier than “AF”, just like Hashbrown is funnier than Hashtag.)

  15. Fuck off, Brian. You could’ve written this article without mentioning this cancerous crap that was created and spammed by retards. I’ve seen enough of it being forced upon the shitty-but-not-super-shitty boards and websites I visit.

    1. You strike me as a /jp/ fella.

  16. “Stipulating that I’m Grandpa Normie (doubly so for calling myself that, and triply so for even pretending that one can pre-emptively disarm modernity’s wave of dismissive sarcasm and irony) …”

    I see what you did there. Nice try, but going triple doesn’t help. Still, one level above the next guy.

  17. dehumanizing.

    Didn’t hear anyone complaining when the dehumanization term was ‘Russian bots’. Maybe that’s because it was memed away from you as fast as you managed to create it.

    Maybe it didn’t work because you can’t program real interest or enthusiasm. When an NPC applauds, it’s eyes remain dead.

    When an NPC writes an impassioned column about how bad it is to notice all the NPCs, it only resonates with those programmed to react.

    #hewillnotdivideus, #what?, #whatthehellhashappenedtome, #theylive

    1. I appreciate the They Live reference.

    2. It’s Only Dehumanization When They Other Does It To Us.

      1. (Damn you, typo!

        But I guess “They Other” actually works in context, so … eh.)

  18. An article about its bad but do it anyway so why even write the article. I’ll admit i only read half the article because it was so boring

    1. halfway = accomplishment

    2. It is your intentions that count – – – – – –

  19. Political opinions aren’t designed for the education of edification of others; they are just one’s reactions to the world. For most folks, even the so-called intellectual elites, political opinions are tribal or emotional, not based on deep or complicated digging into factual or ethical backgrounds.

    Then they’re not really “opinions” so much as “feelings” are they? The point of the NPC meme is that these people don’t actually have opinions of their own, they’re just mindlessly repeating whatever they’ve been told to believe. Which becomes apparent if you’ve ever tried to engage with some of these people on where their opinions come from, on what sort of logical, consistent philosophical framework they’re built. They can’t argue or explain their opinions because they’re not their opinions, they’re just regurgitated snippets of what passes for thought.

    Now, is this “de-humanizing” them? Yes, yes it most certainly is – because human beings are homo sapiens, “wise man”, distinguishable from the lower animals for their capacity for rational abstract thought and these people aren’t displaying this characteristic but merely the simulacrum.

    1. Perfect! We need to stop tiptoeing around realities. It is not actually polite to refrain from informing someone of their stupidity. You are letting them live their life in a world that can and likely will destroy them or some aspect of them due to their stupidity. We should call it out and not tolerate it. That does not mean we are mean or of malicious intent. It could be done out of a love for each and all people and the hope that they can all improve into functioning and successful people.

    2. ” The point of the NPC meme is that these people don’t actually have opinions of their own…”

      That is the primary basis of it. But I think there is a secondary effect that makes it even more effective.

      There are other collectivist/leftists/progressives who have thought about the basis for their beliefs, and who often have previously have engaged in open conversations. But, for many of them, the conversation inevitably reached that question of “well, what do you plan to do with the obstructionists, or objectors, who simply refuse to accept or go along with your brave new world?”

      They’ve learned to not go there. At least not when there are undecideds present. (As most of us have experienced, they’ll freely talk about things like re-education camps, and other even less pleasant methods of correcting the recalcitrant when they think they are among friends.)

      So instead, when dealing with a broad public, or speaking in a permanent medium they stick to a limited script and avoid the things that might tend to sound unpleasant.

      This meme calls them out as well.

  20. >>They can’t argue or explain their opinions because they’re not their opinions, they’re just regurgitated snippets of >>what passes for thought.

    That describes a couple of “people” who comment here.

    Was Joe the original NPC?

  21. I thought the NPC meme was about the quality of one’s argument, the ability to defend one’s stated position and how the lefty (proggie) hive-mind does not allow for this.

    1. And the proggie hive mind also does not allow for civil disagreement. That’s the point of NPC.

    2. Meant, like so much modern discourse, to elicit an angry disdainful laugh at the expense of people you want to dehumanize in the eyes of your peer group

      No, they act like automatons and have now been called on it. It’s funny and appropriate. And dehumanizing? Holy non-sequitur, Batman! One can be both human and a non-thinking moron. (We now refer to them as NPC’s…). It is totally humanizing to lead off a discussion by calling anyone with whom you disagree a Nazi, as the proggie crowd is wont to do. . .

      1. Yes, it is funny because they are humans and should act better and do when talking about anything except politics. I don’t think Doherety is being disengenious here. I think he really doesn’t understand what is going on and thinks the meme is meant literally.

        1. If he thinks it is meant literally, what judgement did he have for the years of “false consciousness”, “internalized misogyny”, “Uncle Tom” that was thrown at people, implying they didn’t really think the things they SAID they thought. How was that not dehumanizing? How did those rhetorical meat cleavers not deny peoples’ agency?

          How do they not richly deserve to be treated the same way, except with actual lulz?

          Why are people qualified to even have a fucking opinion about things they are so clueless about? The real operational strength of the meme, what was so much fun the progs had to call their Twitter allies (Mooo-om!!), was posting in voice we have listened to so many times:

          “I too am literally shaking, fellow human. First they put a sexual predator on the Supreme Court and then they steal our very humanity!! #resist #impeachfourchans #amnotbeingrussianbotatall”

          or

          “They damn well are dehumanizing us! I can’t even…
          {IF meme=true RUN orangemanisbad.exe LOOP}

          #notnotmyshield #firstnativeamericanpresident2020”

          THAT’S kind of what the ‘memeists’ were doing that drew Twitters’ fire. Which. Is. The. Win.

          1. pretty much.

  22. [scene: Juris sitting in a bar notices Brian sobbing into his beer]

    J: What’s got you down kid?
    B: This NPC thing, its so dehumanizing.
    J: Ah, I see. Let me give you some advice kid.

    You need to first understand that the world (particularly the gaming world) is divided into three kinds of people: dicks, pussies and assholes. All conflict can be traced to the nature of these three things.

    Now second, the game itself is almost always played from the perspective of the dick. This greatly upsets the pussies because they don’t like dicks (at least most of the time) as the dicks are always after the pussies except when they might settle for some asshole.

    Third, assholes don’t mind the dick perspective because they love to fuck with anything. And they’d rather be the fucker than the fuckee, so being a dick is a step up for them.

    You follow me so far kid?

    1. Gary told it better.

    2. So libertarians are the assholes in this analogy?

  23. A considerable portion of leftist ideology cannot be rationally defended as it is internally inconsistent and logically incoherent. Like the NYT Title IX article making sex mean gender so they can argue that the Trump administration defines transgenders out of existence. This is despite the previous insistence that sex and gender are separate things. A lot of left wing arguments simply are utilitarian in order to gain momentary advantage to be forgotten when it no longer serves their purpose. That is what reduces them to a walking pile of talking points that cannot respond intelligently to a different point of view.

    If that diminishes their worth as a person, then they did it to themselves. The NPC meme is just pointing it out.

    1. I’d say you’re right in terms of internal consistency and in terms of why it is so. It’s not a world view, or at least a coherent one, it’s a collection of spur-of-the-moment arguments intended to gain political advantage and power. It’s why you’ll come across people who have mutually exclusive beliefs and why they can’t spot the disconnect.

      Frankly, I think a big reason for it is just because most people don’t give a shit. They’re too busy living, and they pick up politics from their entertainment. There’s nothing really wrong with that, I suppose, until they start trying to put those insane diametrically opposite points of view into practice.

      1. The last part is exactly right. The oy reason I care, beyond the fun of the debate but in the sense the author implies I “care” about someone’s politics, is because they 1) vote and 2) advocate for others to vote the same way.

        If they just discussed abstract ideas over beer it would be fine. They dont.

  24. For something to be funny, there has to be an element of truth to it. What makes humor is exageration or twisting of something the listener knows to be true. So if this meme is equally applicable to both sides, then there should be a way to make one about the right that is just as funny as the ones about the left. Maybe there is but I have not seen it. The fact that this seems to only go one way and the left hasn’t immediately comeback with their own NPC memes about the right is pretty good evidence that it only works one way and whatever truth there is to it is only applicable to the left.

    1. element of truth to it

      There absolutely is, hence the collective freakout that further drives home the point.

      1. A man walks into a bar with a frog on his head. Bartender says, “You can’t bring that in here!”. Frog says, “It started out as a bump on my ass.”

        True story

    2. The willingness of many on the right to actually, you know, discuss issues, using facts and argumentation, kind of obviates the whole ‘cuts both ways’ observation, because the progs are not willing to do so.

      I had one trying to explain to me how very dehumanizing the meme is, and I assured him I would never do that.

      Then I asked if I could get a quest from him. Top kek.

  25. “and, yes, progressives have tried to turn the “You are just a mindless parrot of received ideological stances” schtick around on their righty tormentors”

    “Fauuuux Neeews!” predates this nontroversy by quite a bit, turns out.

    It’s been more SOP from the Left than the Right (not unknown on the Right, but less SOP) to accuse the Political Other of being thoughtless zombies, in my experience.

    (Or, if the Right did it Very Commonly, it was in enclaves I fortunately never got exposed to.)

    Which is ironic as hell when I see all my Progressive friends saying The Same Thing from The Same Organized Information Pump at The Same Time.

    But they’re not “NPCs”, of course. They’re just lazy about politics and thinking.

    1. The left has had their versions of the meme for years, remember, e g. “mouth-breathers”?

      1. Heck, you had Hilary blaming her loss on white women being dominated by the men in their life into voting against their interests, i.e. Hillary for President.

      2. I don’t think “mouth-breathers” was a meme, but rather just a typical insult.

    2. “when I see all my Progressive friends saying The Same Thing from The Same Organized Information Pump at The Same Time.”

      This. Criticism coming from a class of people who tolerated (if not directly participated) in efforts like the Journolist really does not mean a whole lot.

  26. A meme that started on 4chan and recently spread through political social networking and meme-warring reveals the extent to which we now conflate a person’s political views with their value as a human being.

    Brian Doherty doesn’t always look at memes, but when he does he expects them to plunge into the depths of humanity and reveal the most profound truths of his soul

    1. It only reveals that if you don’t understand it is a joke. Is Doherety really this dense and socially inept? This reads like something someone on the Autism scale would write.

      1. I would be impressed if a meme was able to show someone’s true value as a human being but a low res image and a caption designed by antisocial teenage boys doesn’t seem like the best medium for that. It’s a great medium for humor though.

        1. Pretty much. But Doherity seems to honestly not understand how humor works.

      2. The Daily Show spent years tossing out these sorts of memes on a, well, daily basis. Yet somehow that was different.

        Or if not different at least not so problematic.

    2. Give Doherty SOME credit here. He refrained from adding the obligatory “…and was picked up by white supremacists and the alt-right…” which seems to have wormed its way into every MSM article. They absolutely cannot resist labelling, name-calling and, very ironically in this case, dehumanizing anyone they even THINK might be opposed to well-signaled right-think.

      1. Check the tags. Alt right is among them so if he didn’t explicitly state it then it was still on his mind

  27. If your own spirit is so crabbed that the only pleasure you get out of life is knowing that the being facing you shares your political opinions, at least grant that other people exist in non-political dimensions: as co-workers, neighbors, fellow commuters, friends, or friends of friends.

    This paragraph makes seriously consider the possibility that Doherety either doesn’t understand that the meme is a joke or if he does, doens’t understand what a joke is. The meme doesn’t literally mean all liberals are mindless autonomtons. If it did, it wouldn’t be a joke, it would be a polemic. What makes it a joke is that they are not autonomotons but act that way when talking about politics. The contrast of them being human beings but acting like poorly programed computer bots is what makes it funny.

    I really think most of the problem with reason’s staff is that they really are not very bright.

    1. I seem to remember when I started reading Reason that they prided themselves on being irreverent and snarky.

      This new developing earnestness is not attractive, especially when it seems to go one way.

      1. I think the staff as become younger, more leftists, and more dim witted as time goes on.

          1. nice one.

    2. Indeed… not the brightest bunch.

    3. Like when the pointy haired boss in Dilbert fussed at the staff because 40% of all sick days were taken on a Monday or a Friday?

  28. If someone continues to support something (socialism, gun control) that has proven time and again to be at best ineffective and and worst disastrous how else should they be treated?

    1. Good question. At some point “it would have been worse had we not done it” and “it will be different next time when the right people are in charge” starts to become unreasonable to put it mildly.

  29. NPCs are the folks who bloviate about the “thousands of children gunned down in schools every year by fully automatic AR15 assault rifles”, etc.

    And, yes, I’ve seen that comment.

    1. I saw someone on Twitter today talking about the “dozens of abortion clinic bombings”. Tony was on the morning links claiming that Hillary never had a private server and never stored any classified information on it if she did. It is just unbelievable what these people are able to convince themselves.

      1. I’ve encountered Brits on Guardian comment threads who seem to actually believe that abortion doctors are routinely, as in every week, being killed and only get to work with the aid of armed and armored security squads.

  30. Isn’t this what woke Twitter does when the leftist move accuse everyone of being bots?

    1. Yes but that is different. They mean well. This was created by the evil “alt right”.

      1. I’m really not understanding the working media definition for “alt-right”. It seems anyone opposing current left wing sensitivities automatically gets the alt-right label or is a dangerous right wing extremist. Reason jumping on these labels is disappointing to say the least. If you understand the right, then you understand there are plenty of good ideas and principles that define it. Labeling all opposition to the left as dangerous extremism just makes the speaker look like a left wing extremist

      2. “alt right”

        A meme that was concocted to denote people who maybe weren’t previously involved in politics, or maybe don’t conform to any other previously recognized group considered to be part of ‘the right.’

        Why, you can almost smell the dehumanization, can’t you?

  31. Quit feeding the leftards’ conceit by calling them “progressives”. Collectivism isn’t progress.

    -jcr

    1. You do not “progress” towards a null. You progress in the direction of something. Progressive Marxists.

  32. Quit feeding the leftard’s conceit by calling them “progressives”. Collectivism isn’t progress.

    -jcr

  33. The more I think about the NPC meme, the more I realize how true it really is, and that must infuriate the leftist mob on twitter and the fake libertarian writers at Reason

    When talking socialism, you might as well be talking to an NPC, since all they say is “it wasn’t rea socialism”. Pretty much everything on the left is feelings and talking points, and they all say exactly the same thing.

    1. That wasn’t really socialism is indeed the looter explanation for every r?gime their parents sweated and strained to put in place. It’s amazing how looters–especially of the communo-fascist variants–bounce back from Great Disappointment to Great Disappointment. Conservatives are no different. They shrug and say those “weren’t really” Christians, or “weren’t really” Seventh-Day Adventists, then go right back to what they were doing, namely, gloating over the initiation of force against weaker or outnumbered victims.

      1. At least the modern Christian defender can point to where the bad actors straid from the “You are a Christian if…” checklist. Example… the Book says dont murder. Any rational look at the Inquisition says it was murder. Therefore, an Inquisitor is not a Christian.

        But the socialists and communists did meet all the “You are a socialist if…” check boxes. That’s the problem with socialism… Hyek pointed out that in order for it to work, it inherently must be violent and promote violent men. The monsters of the past (and present like Maduro and Kim) ARE the ideal socialist in that they actually DO the things socialism calls for.

        1. Straid? Strayed? Me fail English? That’s unpossible!

  34. No worries. This stuff is only discussed by men who lack penises. Not trans men. Men who do not have penises discernible to the unaided eye.

    1. That explains why you’re discussing it.

      1. Oh I don’t go on 4chan. If anything I have too much penis, so what would be the point?

        1. Tony getting too much penis. Now that’s funny. From a leftist, even.

          1. “Taking over Amelica? How could we do so, with such tiny Japanese penis?”

  35. I used to be an NPC. But then I took an arrow to the knee…

    1. I’m glad I checked. It’s hard to get in first with that one.

      1. There’s a martyred Sebastian player meme?

  36. Brian, the thing that you have to remind yourself of is that:

    Memes ONLY exist on the internet.

    I realize that it may be difficult to grasp this for many, but Twitter is in no way, shape, or form an accurate depiction of real life.

    People of diverse beliefs and backgrounds are not shrieking at each other in workplaces… and they’re not talking about politics or ideology, either. They’re working together, engaging with each other in their communities, watching their kids in school events, even married or living together peacefully.

    Take a break from the twatter for a while. It’ll do you a world of good, and may restore you hope in humanity a bit.

    1. Memes ONLY exist on the internet.

      Dawkins argued they exist outside the genome as early as the 70s and Germans have notions of die zeitgeist and die mneme going back over a hundred years with with Mneme being one of the original muse (of memory) on Olympus.

      Vampires don’t exist but we all have Bela Lugosi practically imprinted on our DNA. Saying memes exist only on the internet ignores the fact that people have been trying to buy the world a Coke and teach it to sing long before Coke existed.

  37. If your own spirit is so crabbed that the only pleasure you get out of life is knowing that the being facing you shares your political opinions, at least grant that other people exist in non-political dimensions: as co-workers, neighbors, fellow commuters, friends, or friends of friends.

    You know, the lady who sells me coffee at Duncan Donuts might have profound thoughts on the nature of the universe and the role of humanity within it. And I don’t give a tinker’s dam. I just want my coffee.

    The same thing applies to internet political commentary. I don’t know, don’t need to know, and probably don’t want to know “the whole person” of the particular individuals I’m engaging with. I’m engaging with them as people with political opinions. And if their opinions are trite, ill-considered, and more reflective of the current fashionable pop culture sensibilities than any rational or coherent economic, political or ethical line of reasoning, all while they’re insisting they have a God-given right to dispose of my life, liberty and property at their whim, I see no need to offer them up a participation trophy because they might have some value outside of their idiocy.

    Being mocked as a mindless automaton is probably better than they deserve.

  38. It is just so amazing to watch as every lefty, prog, and quasi-lefty on this board responds to this in full NPC fashion.

    It’s like they can’t help themselves.

    #resist, #impeachdrumpf, #tobesure

  39. So are we talking the joke-tellers and KGB agents in Leisure Suit Larry?

    1. Yep, only with worse conversation tree content.

  40. It basically mirrors leftist attitudes back at them. All studies leftists don’t like are corruptly funded. All discussion leftists don’t like is motivated by hate or payoffs from Russia or someone else.

    Leftists can’t be engaged in meaningful conversation outside their ideological cocoons 98% of the time. That’s why NPC is so extremely fitting: if they actually were NPCs, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. They don’t have discussions like thoughtful humans.

    If you want to be treated like a human, act like one.

    1. I remember when the only GOOOD looter payoffs were from Moscow. BAAAD ones were CIA–right out of the Book of Norman!

  41. “The “non-player character” meme portrays one’s political and ideological foes as detailless evocations of a video game’s non-player characters”

    Not exactly. These pertain specifically to progressives, and the uproar over them is proportional to how accurately they caricature their intended targets.

  42. So does this make OBL a Fake NPC?

    1. Like a living human being stood motionless in a store window, draped in the Fall collection. Interesting at first, but when a mannequin is so perfect at being a mannequin, the human’s talents are ultimately wasted.

  43. The most depressing aspect of the NPC meme is that it’s being discussed here on Reason as if it were a talking point worth anything. This is what Reason has become my fr- fellow posters: a place to learn all the stalest (I mean latest!) memes taking over your Facebooks right about the time they get done being shat out of Twitter after being shat out of Reddit after being shat out of 4chan like some awful Website-Centipede.

    1. shat out to Reason. haha

  44. I DON’T care about someone’s politics…

    Until their politics advocate for expropriation and the use of force on me and others. Until their politics states that someone’s personal situation grants them a moral claim on parts of my life, liberty, or property.

    Then I care a great deal about their politics and judge them for it.

  45. Anyone’s opinions about politics ought to be the least important and generally least interesting thing about them.

    And yet the author devotes a couple thousand words to critiquing a meme that merely satirises political opinion. Reason continues to dismay with articles like this. This one waves a scolding finger at one of the most powerful political tools: that of satire, of skewering an opponent with irksome imagery and words. All authoritarians hate it. They feel powerless against it.

    Yet any sensible American, left or right, should understand that a person’s opinions and judgments about politics are going to be the least interesting and significant thing about them.

    We live in a highly regulated, taxed, and politicised world, and the author contends that a person’s political opinions are of the least interest? I think it’s of very great interest if my neighbors think I need to pay a higher tax rate, or that my life needs to be more thoroughly regulated, or my speech or privacy rights should be curtailed.

    And it’s worthy of satire at the very least.

  46. I don’t internet much outside of my day to day admin and correspondence, Reason, and my youtubes. I don’t know memes, thank god, because reducing human communication to memes is dull. I know memes from maybe 5 years ago? The poorly drawn face with the “FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU” caption. Very funny. The dog with the muddled English like “such good” or whatever. The dog is cute. People used to show me left-leaning political memes at work and it was always more about laughing with the right things and at the wrong people. I just liked the silly dog and the non-political funnies but it always got around to politics. Predictably dull, and cynical.

    1. The same with me. Most of my on line time is on youtube watching concerts.

      I don’t get all this other shit with the social media sites and the little cartoons and what not.

  47. I don’t get it man. Some people must have a lot of time live on the internets

    1. And then other people, who have inexplicably inherited the label “journalist”, report on their doings as if they were an important part of the world. The doings of a tiny, self-selected percentage of the 7% of the population that uses Twitter, gets reported as if their reactions to things were urgent news!!

      Key to saving time on the Internets: Stop reading any article the moment it references the word “Twitter”.

  48. Meant, like so much modern discourse, to elicit an angry disdainful laugh
    What is an angry laugh? Who laughs in anger?

  49. So essentially, this meme is for people on the right who imagine that they already know everything that there is to know about leftwing thought, to caricature and satirize it and throw it back at their opponents as if they are just repeating lines from a script.

    If these same people took half the time to actually read some philosophy about their opponents’ point of view, instead of concocting these juvenile memes, then maybe there could be an actual productive conversation.

    But as things stand now, it’s just another excuse to stay away from Twitter.

    1. I thought it was about satirizing people who churn out the same responses and talking points rather than any meaningful discussion? You know, like you?

      1. Yeah, this comnent is annoying as shit. I frequently do background research before engaging, only to find that the people spouting progressive talking points the loudest have only have superficial knowledge of history and are therefore impossible to engage in rational argument.

        Presence, but no substance. Which is why the NPC meme is so apropos.

        1. “Presence, but no substance. Which is why the NPC meme is so apropos.”

          Exactly. Thirty seconds research on this thing shows that it has apparently irked its intended targets to distraction and quickly become infamous. It seems rather strange that Reason has chosen to make commentary. It’s almost as if they feel targeted. They certainly appear to be mildly triggered.

      2. Gee what a surprise, an infantile response in defense of a childish meme.

        Quite frankly, this whole ‘meme’ crap is a little ridiculous. It is not a substitute for any rational argument or serious discussion. The whole point of ‘meme-ing’ in the first place seems to be to frame an issue dishonestly, lacking context or meaningful substance. It’s about narrative pushing instead of anything else.

        1. There you go again.

          1. See what I mean?

            He just can’t stop himself. He’s all cued up and you passed close enough to set him off.

            #4legsgood2legsbetter, #badbadliterallyhitler, #shakingshaking

  50. Yet any sensible American, left or right, should understand that a person’s opinions and judgments about politics are going to be the least interesting and significant thing about them.

    Sorry, not if they are after my cash or trying to limit the way I may peacefully live my life. That makes their mistaken political views very significant, and an inviting target for ridicule.

    1. “a person’s opinions and judgments about politics are going to be the least interesting and significant thing about them.”

      Says the guy writing at a ‘libertarian’ publication….

      SMDH

      (I don’t normally meme, but when I do…

      it’s an acronym.)

  51. “a person’s opinions and judgments about politics”
    These are the opinions and judgments that will control their thoughts and actions in all areas of life, so they are in fact the only significant thing about them. From their politics, all other thoughts and actions can be inferred.

    1. Huh. Really? Are you sure you want to go there? This type of viewpoint is more in line with the totalizing vision of politics that is normally associated with the Left. That a person’s very being may be judged by who that person votes for.

      I mean, if you really want to believe that people who vote for Democrats or Republicans or whomever are innately evil, then you are free to do so, I just think that is a very bleak view, and not very fair to the person being judged.

      1. “This type of viewpoint is more in line with the totalizing vision of politics that is normally associated with the Left”

        Only because people like you have normalized the totalizing vision of politics.

        The root of politics comes from the ancient Greek word polis, their term for the city-state. So the original meaning of the term politics is a concerns for how to live amongst others. Something everyone, other than the hermit, must confront.

        Of course, back then, one of the foundational principles was ‘whenever possible leave everyone else to their own devices.’

        And you wonder why people toss the NPC term at you?

  52. “If your own spirit is so crabbed that the only pleasure you get out of life is knowing that the being facing you shares your political opinions,”

    THIS ^^^ is why so many people otherwise of the libertarian persuasion hate Reason Magazine nowadays. This is drivel, pure and unadulterated.

    There are two (2) basic political opinions: Those that allow others their freedom of conscience and those who instead want to stick their enemies in gulags and lao gai’s and then kill them.

    You’d think that “libertarians” would have figured that out by now. Sheesh.

    1. There are two (2) basic political opinions:

      This is absurdly reductionist. Here is a simple example: Consider the minarchist who favors very minimal taxation in order to pay for things like roads. Is this a person who “allows others their freedom of conscience”? After all, this person is supporting taxation, if only a little bit! Or is this person who “sticks their enemies in gualgs”? It’s absurd to think of minarchists as the gulag-supporting types.

  53. The ‘mainstream’ conservative/libertarian establishment is terrified of anything that turns the tools of mockery the left used on itself or any strategy that appeals to youth or would make the right dynamic. They’re comfortable in their roles as losers and punching bags and don’t want to change.

  54. Dehumanizing? Hell Doherty, pull your head out, it-s an accurate humorous portrayal of mindless smug groupthinkers. The reaction from twitter, media, and ‘liberals’ here confirms the accuracy.

  55. So, the “libertarians” at Reason can’t meme? They have even more in common with the left than I realized.

    1. Shorter Brian Doherty: “STOP MAKING FUN OF ME!!!”

  56. It was a joke because progs spout off diatribes that have little to do with the topic at hand and never seem to change. It’s one of the better memes out there.

    1. This is really the whole point of the meme. It is funny because people on the right and libertarians have probably all had encounters that had fits the meme’s characterization. If there wasn’t a bit of truth to it then it wouldn’t be funny or thought provoking.
      I really don’t know why the left hasn’t turned it against fundamentalist Christians or the cult of personality Trumpists. They’re too stuck on being outraged by an apt characterization to use the concept against opponents who are prone to it.

      1. Hell, we have this meme here. Rev Kirkland is the epitome of NPC.

      2. “I really don’t know why the left hasn’t turned it against fundamentalist Christians…”

        They’ve done it incessantly for years, so much so that you don’t even recognize it as such. The degree of oversimplification if not outright misrepresentation of religious beliefs and principles is a staple in their bag of rhetorical tricks.

  57. So. Much. Hand-wringing.

  58. :-^| “Muh roads.”

  59. “For most folks, even the so-called intellectual elites, political opinions are tribal or emotional, not based on deep or complicated digging into factual or ethical backgrounds. After all, nobody has time to dig into everything.”

    With all due respect, you don’t have to be “deep” or go into “complicated digging” to have intelligent opinions, you just have to commit to being intellectually honest and humble. That includes understanding when you don’t know enough to have an opinion on a subject, and leaving it at that, and when you do, trying to be both fair to both sides, while still being fair to your understanding of what is true and right.

    Being tribal or emotional about your opinions is a choice, not a product of laziness.

    Anyway, the NPC meme is just the modern version of “sheeple.” When people who think they’re smarter than everyone else and complain about all the “sheeple” who are dumber than them, it can be tedious and cringe-worthy, and especially when they include fair and common sense views into what “sheeple” believe.

    But complaining about it being “dehumanizing” is just taking this far too seriously and you’re just making yourself the butt of the joke. Its easy to turn the meme back on people who take it too far, because they act like robots themselves. In some discussion I had someone from the alt-right robotically spout out anti-Israel talking points at me that were all non-sequiturs and I just responded, “Hi, I heard you’re an NPC”, and he shut up.

  60. “Anyone’s opinions about politics ought to be the least important and generally least interesting thing about them.”

    When you’re a fundamentalist cryptotheocratic totalitarian, it’s the *only* thing about you.

    That’s what makes you a NPC.

    It’s really the best meme ever, because the Left *knows* that their political opinions are all formulaic impositions of the herd, but they also have a self image of being the smarty class. The NPC meme forces the contradiction to almost awareness, and the resulting displays of cognitive dissonance are spectacular.

  61. See, Brian DOESN’T get it. Another part of the whole thing that makes trolling the left so awesome, is that they don’t have a sense of humor! They’re so damn SERIOUS about stupid things. Like straw bans… And other nonsense. They’re easy targets. Brian, just put himself in that camp IMO.

    But the other thing, is that it is true. Leftists ARE robots with their political beliefs. I have rarely ever met a lefty who can make a coherent argument about anything, yet have met plenty of right wingers, and obviously libertarians, who can. Even when lefties TRY, they are using faulty assumptions, false data, etc because they’re tools.

    And finally, peoples politics MATTERS. Our politics very much interconnect with some of the deepest parts of a person. Our morality, our sense of right and wrong, etc. And leftists are fucked on all these things. In some ways political views are one of the most important parts of a person.

    Either way, it’s not really dehumanizing… It’s just making them shitty, worthless humans, not worthy of life. If I had a button that could give a stroke to everybody to the left of saaay Hillary Clinton in 2008, I’d do it. Not because I’m a dick, but because the world would be SUCH a better place without them. Some people are more of a pain than they are worth, and modern leftists fall into that category. This is why so many wars have happened over politics, because IT DOES MATTER.

  62. Please (Not that a well-placed parenthetical can’t be helpful, but when it is long and rambling, it disrupts the flow of ideas and demonstrates poor style.) stop.

  63. I do not think this memes what you think it memes

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