Baen Strikes Back; Sanford Under Growing Storm of Harassment

A series of Baen authors and editors have mounted a coordinated response to Jason Sanford’s February 15 article “Baen Books Forum Being Used to Advocate for Political Violence”, a public post on Patreon.

Eric Flint’s 4,800-word “The Controversy About Baen’s Bar” recites a great deal of his personal history as a socialist political activist in the service of deflecting criticism from Baen’s Bar. He even confidently gives assurances about activity in one of its conferences that he says he hasn’t read in two decades. Nothing to see here.

…It is in the nature of jackasses to be jackasses. This is supposed to be shocking news because it’s posted on a virtual bulletin board?

Perhaps my favorite of Sanford’s Oh, my God! moments is this one by a never-heard-of-him who uses the monicker of Theoryman: “As I’ve already pointed out, rendering ANY large city is uninhabitable is quite easy… And the Left lives in cities.”

I have to make a confession here. Although he doesn’t specify in most cases where he found these comments, I’m pretty sure that Sanford found them in one of the many conferences in Baen’s Bar—the one that goes by the title “Politics.” 

I stopped visiting “Politics” about… oh, I dunno. Twenty-three ago? The reason I did is because, as Darth Vader would say, “The stupid is strong with these ones.” I don’t mind arguing with people who disagree with me. But I refuse to waste my time getting into debates with people so dumb I don’t know how they tie their own shoes in the morning. And that’s pretty much the nature of the wrangles in “Politics.” As far as I’m concerned, the conference might as well have a sign over the entrance reading Here Be Dimwits and People Who Imagine Themselves to be Dragons. 

Take a look at what Sanford considers an “incitement to violence.” Can it be called that? Well… I suppose—if you’re willing to grant that Theoryman is such an imbecile that he actually believes that “rendering ANY large city is uninhabitable is quite easy.” [sic]

Well, not much to see here –

…This is the “great menace of Baen’s Bar” that Sanford yaps about. A handful of people—okay, two handfuls, tops—most of whom you have never heard of, who spout absolute twaddle. Yes, a fair amount of it is violent-sounding twaddle, but the violence is of a masturbatory nature. 

If only there was a way to tell the spouters who don’t mean it from the ones who show up on January 6 to riot at the Capitol, assault cops, take selfies while they vandalize the building, and try to stop Constitutional duties from being carried out.

Flint contends that even the ones caught doing explicit advocacy, like Tom Kratman, somehow don’t count either:

…If Sanford thinks that a few authors like Kratman are the ones who define Baen as a publishing house, he has the obligation to make a case for it. But he makes no effort to do so. Instead, he ignores most of Baen’s authors altogether and simply asserts that what he says is true because he says it’s true….

Jason Córdova also takes cover behind Eric Flint in “Don’t Mess With An Author’s Source of Income”.

…Point 3 — It’s “popular” for people to attack others without fear of recourse or repercussions. Now, for those of us not with our heads firmly up our backsides, we know Baen Books is a publisher with a lot of resources who publishes a lot of varied individuals, from die-hard communists like Eric Flint to Tom Kratman, who might be described as being right of Atilla the Hun on the political spectrum. Jim Baen never cared what your politics were, as long as you could tell a good story. The writer of said article (“investigative journalism” my left buttock) created an account, went onto the Bar, and decided to find the best statements he could in order to use it to bolster his claim that the Bar is a hotbed for far-right extremism. Never mind the fact that the Bar hosts like five groups dedicated to Eric Flint or his collected universes (it might be six now, I don’t know). Our intrepid (so brave, much brave) journalist needed meat for his article (he probably went into Kratman’s forum… even I think those guys are nuts).

Eric Flint’s socialism doesn’t preclude there being Baen’s Bar participants approving violence and coaching insurrection in Baen’s Bar. Or even have anything to do with it. Again, it’s presented here as an attempt to deflect attention.   

Sarah A. Hoyt calls Sanford’s post an attempt at “canceling baen books” in her Mad Genius Club column.

…If it were just the puppy kickers fighting for relevance, it would be one thing. But it’s not. This is a coordinated attack.

Which, btw, makes it mathematically inevitable that yes, they’ll come for me and you too. Because the left — idiot children that they are — think that cutting off a man’s tongue shows his opinions to be invalid.

So, as irritated as I am and have been at Baen for four years, I’m turning that irritation on the left for making me defend them.

Because cancelling is not only wrong. It’s unmaking civilization. And only the idiot sheep of the left wouldn’t see that….

Cedar Sandersons’s defense, “Baen Books” begins with extensive quotes from Hoyt, followed by her own nostalgic reminiscences about Baen’s Bar.

Anyone who has read my blog or who knows me, knows of my deep and abiding affection for Baen’s Bar, which led me to Baen Books. This week, a ham-handed and libelous attack was made on the forum….

Two other responses were reported by File 770 yesterday —

But a comment was added to Correia’s post today by someone who says he is harassing Sanford by calling Sanford’s boss at his workplace.

Larry Correia also tweeted that he spoke to Vox Day today.


For public consumption, Vox Day’s reaction is largely schadenfreude: “Baen under SJW assault” [Internet Archive link].

…It is mildly amusing to see the moderates, a few of whom didn’t hesitate to join the SJWs in pointing-and-shrieking at us, now coming under the same sort of attacks that we’ve been weathering for years. I hasten to point out that Larry Correia is most certainly not one of them, as he has always been a stand-up champion of everyone on the Right and he has disdained every invitation to denounce and disavow both the Rabid Puppies and me. He may not embrace the conflict as we do, but he fights. I have nothing but respect and regard for the man, because the Mountain is not my personal army. The VFM are….

John C. Wright, who with his family personally attended the Trump rally in DC on January 6, follows his intro to “Larry Correia on the Thought Police Ambush against Baen’s Bar” with extensive quotes from Correia’s blog.

An article to steel the resolve and cure the blindness of anyone unwary enough to underestimate the remorseless malice of the enemy, now comes a column at Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International Website.

Please note the attack was coordinated, using the “Chinese Whisper” techniques beloved by bitter and wrinkle-faced gossipy hags and bloodthirsty communist agitators alike….

Jon Del Arroz, in a kind of unintentional comic relief, spent the day successfully using sock puppets to bait Larry Correia into giving him a great deal more attention, both at Monster Hunter Nation and on Twitter, which is all JDA ever wants anyway.

WILL WEISSKOPF REMAIN A WORLDCON GOH? The DisCon III committee will meet this weekend to discuss “the situation with Baen Books’ forums.”

The range of reactions is as wide as the cultural divide. Here are two articulate examples:

JASON SANFORD. Sanford, meanwhile, is weathering a growing storm of harassment.He sent this status:

I took my Twitter and Facebook pages private for a while because I’m dealing with a serious escalation of harassment over the Baen article. I can’t go into details right now but the harassment is serious. 

I’ll probably be offline for a bit to deal with this stuff. However, I just saw Eric Flint’s essay attacking me and I wanted to say I disagree with what he wrote, which was a misrepresentation of my report. Everything I wrote about was based on facts and actual comments in the forum. I even shared screenshots of the comments on social media.

This also wasn’t a coordinated attack on Baen. Hell, aside from a couple of people who gave feedback on my report no one else knew it was even about to publish. 

Facts and evidence matter, as does reporting what goes on in our genre. I presented what was being said on Baen’s forum in my report. Baen has previously moderated their forum and could easily do so again.

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160 thoughts on “Baen Strikes Back; Sanford Under Growing Storm of Harassment

  1. When he was confronted with the particulars Sanford picked out, improving that ability, he used his body of experience to evaluate them.

    Flint did no such thing. He based his judgement that Sanford was both wrong and malicious in saying that the Bar Insurrection fanboys were potentially harmful on his own “common sense,” which by definition applies to anyone with a basic level of good judgement of facts, not ONLY to those few people who have hallowed experiences of yesteryear. You still have not explained HOW Flint’s experience qualifies him to judge the harmlessness of Baen’s Boys – I gather you can’t.

    It’s nice that you have ‘no quarrel’ with Sanford. But it seems disturbing to me that you feel absolutely no impulse to defend him from Flint, just because you’re not sure Sanford’s carrying the proper card you would respect, even though you admit Sanford is doing good and necessary work. It’s as if the proper leftist history is a holy relic to you, that magically absolves the person boasting of it of any blame or criticism in your eyes, regardless of what damaging action in favor of right-wing extremism the boaster is currently engaging in.

    So when I point out that the boaster is using his tattered old left credentials to make his brand-new abuse and libel of a man fighting right-wing extremism seem more respectable, you hiss at me, “How dare you insult the holy relic!” I’m not. I’m insulting the man who’s hypocritically misusing his respectable old left credentials to aid in a right-wing attack.

  2. I agree, Jayn. Whatever admirable political work Flint has done in the past, I find his invoking it in this context opportunistic.

  3. @ Carl Rosenberg

    I agree, Jayn. Whatever admirable political work Flint has done in the past, I find his invoking it in this context opportunistic.

    I agree with you and jayn.

  4. I used to work for a guy who was… well, very sexist. It was evident in the way he interacted with me every day. But when called on it, his reaction was to get extremely hostile and defensive and to list all the virtuous and stalwart things he had done for the women’s movement in the 70s. Therefore nothing he did today could possibly be sexist!

    So, like that.

  5. jayn: It’s as if the proper leftist history is a holy relic to you, that magically absolves the person boasting of it of any blame or criticism in your eyes, regardless of what damaging action in favor of right-wing extremism the boaster is currently engaging in.

    Bingo. That’s exactly what this comment is about, too.

    John A Arkansawyer, I’m sorry that your revered labor-activist hero has demonstrated that at some point his serious cred turned into feet of clay, but your defenses of him have been utterly nonsensical. That was a different Flint, a long time ago.

    This Flint has been making completely uninformed judgments about current events without any backing evidence (or, for that matter, any understanding of how social media and social justice work today), expecting people to accept his proclamations based on his spurious appeal to authority, and you’ve bought into that rubbish hook, line, and sinker.

    You have driven the part of your credibility that you had managed to redeem in the last year back into seriously-negative numbers and turned yourself into someone whose comments deserve to be ignored. Just stop.

  6. Flint lost all credibility on this topic in my eyes the moment he admitted that he hadn’t set foot in the Politics forum in 23 years, then proceeded to pooh-pooh the reports of what has been going on in there.

    His past doesn’t matter. His history with the company doesn’t matter. His bibliography, his sales numbers, his stories about what swell guys his fellow authors are… none of that matters.

    All that matters is the truth, and he bragged about not knowing it.

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