When I began this blog, I was a 70 year old man, with a young mind and a body trying to recover from a stroke, and my purpose for this whole blog thing is to provoke thinking, to ridicule reflex reaction, and provide a legacy to my children.
“Many former extremists who are now active in condemning hate also warn against hating members of ‘hate groups’. TM Garret, a former Klan leader and now an activist against racist violence in Mississippi, makes it his mission to humanize former white supremacists, whom he says deserve compassion: ‘It’s OK to dislike their ideology, but never, ever hate the human being.’ The Bible teaches that all human beings are created in the image of God. Garret began wondering: What if nothing made sense because his beliefs were wrong? What most people don’t realize is that ‘everyone in hate groups have doubts,’ Garret said. But whenever he expressed doubts, other Klansmen shushed him: The Jew-controlled media’s tricking you. Satan’s deceiving you. ‘It’s like standing on quicksand,’ Garret recalled. ‘The more you try to get out, the deeper you sink in.’
Does that last sentence sound familiar? “If you ask me to define racism, then you’re a racist.” “If you deny your white privilege, you’re a racist.” “If you say ‘I have lots of black friends, you’re a racist.” “If you deny being a racist, you’re a racist.”
Exhibit A+ in how “anti-racism” makes otherwise smart people stupid is “Harvard Legal Scholar”Lawrence Tribe. Sunday morning, for reasons unknowable to anyone rational, Tribe took to Twitter to bless the world with this gem, “White Supremacists oppose abortion because they fear it’ll reduce the number of white infants and thus contribute to what they fear as non-white ‘replacement.’ Never underestimate the way these issues and agendas are linked. This turns “intersectionality” on its head.“
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s most recent figures (2015), black women accounted for 40% of all abortions in the U.S., despite black Americans making up only about 13% of the population. For white women, the numbers were 49% and 72%, respectively. So on a long enough timeline — say, one dating back to Roe v. Wade — the end result of readily available legal abortion has been to keep the black population growing more slowly than the white population. So you’d have to be pretty stupid, even for a white supremacist, to support both white supremacy and outlawing abortion. In Tribe’s case, it’s the worst kind of stupid: Credentialed stupid!
Some ideologies are more persistent than others. As bad as racial animosity and racial vainglory are, they have been overcome in far more cases than Perfectionist Progressive (i.e. utopian) ideology. Every murder that has issued from racial animosity does not even comprise a measurable fraction (unless you want to get into quantum numerology) of the murders due directly to utopian ideology. Whether the label is Fascist, Nazi, Communist, Socialist, Leftist or Progressive, the unifying theme is “we will remake the imperfect world of the “people store” into a ___________(fill in the blank) paradise led by perfected humans”. We might have to break a few million eggs to make this omelet, but that’s the price of progress. 14 million dead in the “Great Leap Forward” (thank you Mao); 23 million dead in Stalin’s various purges; 1.2-3 million dead in Pol Pot’s regime (21-24% of Cambodia’s population); 9-10 million killed by Nazis (Jews and Soviet prisoners/civilians) not counting those who died fighting in WWII. ALL IN THE NAME OF AN IDEOLOGY. P.S. “Reproductive Freedom” is an ideology too.
Team Mitch and the Weaponization of White Male Awfulness by Sady Doyle (Author of “Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why”). “The photo appeared on social media late this past Monday: a group of white, red-faced, beaming teenage boys in “Team Mitch” T-shirts, clustered around a cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They were pretending, variously, to kiss her, strangle her, and grope her crotch. The Instagram caption — because, like the geniuses they are, the boys posted this to Instagram — reads “break me off a piece of that.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the titular “Mitch” whose team these lunkheads seem to have joined, can’t seem to decide whether to deplore the boys or defend them.“
Okay Sady, I may be old fashioned, but since when is it in the job description of Senate Majority Leaderto deplore or defend a group of teenage boys, who are acting like….teenage boys? I would hope that Congressional “lawmakers”, WHO REPRESENT THEIR CONSTITUENTS IN A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC (just in case you can’t figure it out Sady), spend their time more productively. Why should Mr. McConnell take up your offense to “deplore” anyone, let alone some typically thoughtless and insensitive teens?? Oh, you know, maybe it’s because your “greatest living president ever”, Barack Obama, took time out from his busy schedule to criticize police shootings, then attended the subsequent funeral for 5 Dallas police officers who were killed by a sniper the day after his comments.
The officers — Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa — were killed during a Black Lives Matter protest (the night after President Obama criticized police for racism) by a black sniper who told police he targeted white officers. Elected officials should do the job they were electedto do, NOT insert themselves into public conversations about events they were not present at. Whether it’s Trump, Obama or McConnell, the less they pontificate the better. Unfortunately, people like Sady have come to judge politicians on their public personas rather than their constitutional job description.
She writes some intelligent things about young men, then can’t resist turning political: “So we come back to Team Mitch, and those grinning little nitwits in the Instagram photo. They’re not the most violent young men of their moment, nor do they necessarily have the most extreme politics. Yet they are among the most depressing examples, precisely because they stand at the threshold of all this violence, about to enter in. The indoctrination that begins in that photo—the ability to bond with other men through shared hatred of a female target, the sense of power gained through common sexual humiliation of a woman, the idea that political participation is about finding a woman you’re allowed to hurt or hate and going to town on her—will end in another mass shooting, somewhere soon, even if none of these boys are directly responsible. Republicans won’t disavow it, because the ugliness we’ve instilled in those boys’ souls is crucial to their power, and to the functioning of the world as we know it.”
How stupid is that last sentence Sady? Yes, that’s the hidden agenda of the Republican party, “Weaponizing White Male Awfulness.” And is the hidden agenda of the Democrats “weaponizing every possible or imaginary grievance?” Young, stupid men usually grow up, young, stupid leftists usually don’t.
Some might say I don’t even notice my “white privilege.” They would be right. Recently, I read a very thoughtful piece on how “white privilege” is embedded in the very language use without thinking of the implications: If most of us white people were telling a story, or conveying a news item, and we are describing a person, we assume that the modifier “white” is unnecessary, unless he’s some other race. Then it’s racial adjective time. He’s a black guy or an African American. Or he’s Asian or he’s Hispanic, but never he’s a white American. Since I’m white and almost all my relationships are with white folks, I don’t know how blacks or Asians or Hispanics describe people in their own stories, nor how they address each other. Since that piece was written by a white man, he wasn’t explicit about how people of other races describe someone of their race, but he implied that they all use the same modifiers we do. In other words, they too assume white is the default race and modifiers are needed for anyone else. All of which is to say, “look how pervasive white privilege is, how damaging it is to the self worth of non-whites.”
Do I, being white, disagree? Not necessarily, I really don’t know 1- how people of other races describe characters in their stories; 2- whether they even care about this issue; 3- whether they wish they were a different race or gender or whatever; 4- whether they hate or resent me for being born Caucasian; 5- whether they admire Rosanna Arquette for hating her whiteness. Gee, that’s a lot of stuff to know before feeling defensive or guilty about being Caucasian. Since I don’t have the answers to those questions, and frankly don’t care enough to make the effort to find out, and do not meet the Perfectionist Progressives’ definition of a good person (probably because of my cavalier attitude), I will simply revel in my white privilege.
Who, after all, decided what race, sex, citizenship and family I would be born into anyway? Was it not God, the Creator of all? Did He decree I would be born Caucasian, male, American so I could feel guilty about it all? Is the Creator honored because Rosanna hates her melanin content? She claims to be Jewish, but what does that even mean when she’s in effect cursing God for creating her as she is? It means that her desire to be virtuous in the eyes of her friends takes precedence over honoring God. Is that something to respect, to be proud of? Not for a believer, nor a true Jew. Let’s all bow down to the idol of popularity, shall we? Rosanna, I’m probably sorrier than you that you were born Caucasian. I have no desire to denigrate what God made me.
Can I be Caucasian and still honor God in my life and my dealings with others? My father lived the example of treating others fairly and honestly. He was a white shopkeeper in a black neighborhood. On the rare occasions when a teenager (notice that I didn’t modify teenager with his race, though given the neighborhood you can draw your own conclusions) stole something, he was always dragged back—literally—by a parent or neighbor and made to return the item and apologize. My dad hired from all races, and kept those who earned their pay, and fired those who were slackers, who happened to be mostly white. His modeling of behavior is what I took up. I treat everyone the same: trustworthy, unless they prove otherwise; diligent, unless they prove otherwise; intelligent, unless they prove otherwise.
Incidentally, there’s a show on FX network called Snowfall, supposedly a dramatization of how the crack cocaine epidemic started. It takes place primarily in Los Angeles, features a CIA agent, arms to the Nicaraguan contras being financed by cocaine sales, and lots of “local color” dialogue between denizens of a rundown black community and an equally rundown Hispanic community. The Hispanics are portrayed as addressing each other as Ese and Vato, and referring to whites as ….(sneer) whites. I guess that’s enough of an insult. The blacks most common self address is Nigga and Homie, and whites as….yeah, (sneer) whites again. Is this realistic? How would I know? But I suspect that if I addressed a black or Hispanic person the way they probably address each other (if rap lyrics are indicative?) I wouldn’t last long.
So says the Colorado State University Inclusive Language Guide. Yes Virginia, there really is such a tome.
“The Americas encompass a lot more than the United States. There is South America, Central America, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean just to name a few of 42 countries in total. That’s why the word ‘americano’ in Spanish can refer to anything on the American continent. Yet, when we talk about “Americans” in the United States, we’re usually just referring to people from the United States. This erases other cultures and depicts the United States as the dominant American country.”
“Erases other cultures”: Any culture that can be so easily erased by my saying “I’m an American” probably deserves to be erased. “United States as the dominant American country.” Well, if we aren’t, who is? How many of the 42 countries of the “Americas” matter to anyone but themselves? Even more to the point, how many of those 42 countries are trying to regulate droves of immigrants trying to get into them by any means, legal or otherwise? If any of those countries really objects to our calling our own country the United States of AMERICA, then why do none of them include the word america in their name?
Why doesn’t Mexico call itself the United States of Central America or Canada call itself the United Provinces of North America? Maybe they don’t give a shit about this deadly serious issue, maybe they have bigger problems. What, Canada has problems? Ask any victim of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunals. And speaking of Canada, WHEN ARE ALL THESE “AMERICAN” LIBERAL CELEBRITIES WHO THREATENED TO MOVE THERE GOING TO DO IT? No doubt in November 2020.
Have you ever been to Ft. Collins, Co.? My god, of all the places to get upset about non-inclusive language. I think what’s going on is that the mandarins of C.S.U. are upset that most people could name Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs as cities in Colorado, but Ft. Collins? Where? If the Inclusive Language Guide is what it takes to put Ft. Collins or CSU on the map, don’t expect me to stop saying “I’m an American.”
Just about one year after I returned from Vietnam, a psychological experiment took place at an elite facility of higher learning called Stanford University. This experiment quickly became world famous, because it amplified the conclusions of another psychological experiment that took place 10 years prior at another even more elite university, Yale. Both experiments were touted as demonstrating that “inherently good people can be led astray into participating in evil by sufficient authority over them.” Both experiments were flawed, and actually proved nothing, but made their creators famous and rich because their conclusions were so useful politically.
One of the most famous studies of obedience in psychology was carried out by Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University. He conducted an experiment focusing on the conflict between obedience to authority and personal conscience. Milgram examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials, and wanted to investigate whether Germans were particularly obedient to authority figures, as this was a common explanation for the Nazi killings in World War II. Their defense often was based on “obedience”-that they were just following orders from their superiors.
The experiments began in July 1961, a year after the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew lots to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher.’ The draw was fixed so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was one of Milgram’s confederates (pretending to be a real participant). The learner (a confederate called Mr. Wallace) was taken into a room and had electrodes attached to his arms, and the teacher and researcher went into a room next door that contained an electric shock generator and a row of switches marked from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 375 volts (Danger: Severe Shock) to 450 volts (XXX). The “learner” (Mr. Wallace) was strapped to a chair with electrodes. After he had learned a list of word pairs given him to learn, the “teacher” tested him by naming a word and asking the learner to recall its partner/pair from a list of four possible choices. The teacher–the naive participant–was told to administer an electric shock every time the learner makes a mistake, increasing the level of shock each time. There were 30 switches on the shock generator marked from 15 volts (slight shock) to 450 (danger – severe shock). The learner gave mainly wrong answers (on purpose), and for each of these, the teacher gave him an electric shock. When the teacher refused to administer a shock, the experimenter was to give a series of orders/prods to ensure they continued. There were four prods and if one was not obeyed, then the experimenter (Mr. Williams) read out the next prod, and so on.
Prod 1: Please continue. Prod 2: The experiment requires you to continue. Prod 3: It is absolutely essential that you continue. Prod 4: You have no other choice but to continue. What do you think the results were?
Milgram summed up in the article “The Perils of Obedience” writing: “The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.”
Ten years later, an even more famous experiment seemed to confirm Milgram’s conclusions. The Stanford prison experiment (SPE), by psychology prof Philip Zimbardo, took place in the basement of a building at Stanford University, in August of 1971. Essentially, 24 men judged to be the most physically and mentally stable, the most mature, and the least involved in antisocial behaviors were chosen to participate. The participants did not know each other prior to the study and were paid $15 per day to take part in the experiment. Participants were randomly assigned to either the role of prisoner or guard in a simulated prison environment. There were two reserves, and one dropped out, finally leaving ten prisoners and 11 guards.
Prisoners were treated like every other criminal, being arrested at their own homes, without warning, and taken to the local police station. They were fingerprinted, photographed and ‘booked.’ Then they were blindfolded and driven to the psychology department of Stanford University, where Zimbardo had the basement set out as a prison, with barred doors and windows, bare walls and small cells. Here the deindividuation process began. When the prisoners arrived at the prison they were stripped naked, deloused, had all their personal possessions removed and locked away, and were given prison clothes and bedding. They were issued a uniform, and referred to by their number only.
Lots of things happened, and after a brief rebellion near the beginning of the experiment, both “guards” and “prisoners” settled into their roles. As the prisoners became more dependent, the guards became more derisive towards them. They held the prisoners in contempt and let the prisoners know it. As the guards’ contempt for them grew, the prisoners became more submissive. As the prisoners became more submissive, the guards became more aggressive and assertive. They demanded ever greater obedience from the prisoners. The prisoners were dependent on the guards for everything so tried to find ways to please the guards, such as telling tales on fellow prisoners.
Milgram explained the behavior of his participants by suggesting that people have two states of behavior when they are in a social situation: 1-The autonomous state– people direct their own actions, and they take responsibility for the results of those actions. 2-The agentic state–people allow others to direct their actions and then pass off the responsibility for the consequences to the person giving the orders. In other words, they act as agents for another person’s will. Milgram suggested that two things must be in place for a person to enter the agentic state: 1- The person giving the orders is perceived as being qualified to direct other people’s behavior. That is, they are seen as legitimate. 2-The person being ordered about is able to believe that the authority will accept responsibility for what happens. Agency theory says that people will obey an authority when they believe that the authority will take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. This is supported by some aspects of Milgram’s evidence. For example, when participants were reminded that they had responsibility for their own actions, almost none of them were prepared to obey. In contrast, many participants who were refusing to go on did so if the experimenter said that he would take responsibility.
Writer Ben Blum explained why the SPE became so popular: “The Stanford prison experiment seems to go deeper than its scientific validity, perhaps because it tells us a story about ourselves that we desperately want to believe: that we, as individuals, cannot really be held accountable for the sometimes reprehensible things we do. As troubling as it might seem to accept Zimbardo’s fallen vision of human nature, it is also profoundly liberating. It means we’re off the hook. Our actions are determined by circumstance. Our fallibility is situational. Just as the Gospel promised to absolve us of our sins if we would only believe, the SPE offered a form of redemption tailor-made for a scientific era, and we embraced it.”
The reason I started this post with a reference to my being in Vietnam was what I learned that was at odds with the conclusions of both experiments. Shortly before I was sent to Vietnam, the infamous My Lai massacre of unarmed civilians was the biggest news item. This was perpetrated by US soldiers, and provided ammunition to the antiwar movement’s claims that our soldiers were no better than the enemy. These two experiments might have provided hindsight excuses, or not. After reading about My Lai in 1969, I realized that I too could find myself in a situation that involved overwhelming peer and authority pressure to commit atrocities unless….
Yes, unless what? On my 23rd birthday, October 4, 1969, I resolved the following: “I decree to myself, that I will do nothing in Vietnam, no matter how much pressure is brought to bear, that will cause me to be ashamed, if I survive.” A few days later, I was on a plane to Vietnam. A few months later, I did find myself in a situation with strong peer pressure to murder someone outside of sanctioned combat (to put it delicately). My resolution saved me from doing the expedient thing and gave me the courage to do the right thing. More than anything else in my life, but one thing, that situation and my resolution and subsequent actions established my “sense of self.” The one thing that for me is even greater is my identity in Jesus Christ. I didn’t have that then; you may, or may not. If not, by what standard do you establish your sense of self?
Famous, fabulous playwright David Mamet almost always gets rave reviews for his plays from “theater critics.” His latest, Bitter Wheat, did not fare well with these same TC’s. Has he lost his touch? No, according to Andrew Mahon, a Canadian-British writer whose work has been published in the Spectator, New English Review and Catholic Journal, among other publications. This new play is a pisser for the left-leaning TC “community.” How so?
The central character, Barney Fein, is modeled after Harvey Weinstein. He’s a left-wing saint. In the play, Fein supports a charity for immigrants, passionately rejecting the term “illegal immigrant,” and lauds the bravery of migrants seeking a better life. He expresses his corporate leftist virtue most directly when he’s trying to persuade the reluctant young actress, played by Ioanna Kimbook, to sleep with him, commenting with dismay, “I’m not sure you realize just how much money I give to the Democrat Party.” The audience exploded with laughter; the critics….not so much. The next three paragraphs are from Mahon’s review.
“Barney Fein’s function is to illustrate that one can subscribe to all the corporate morality that liberals pontificate about and still be a despicable human being. Left-wing dogma — from global warming, to social welfare, to family planning, to extremism prevention, to unconscious bias — is all about collective guilt. The left-wing belief is that all wrongdoing is a consequence of the collective failings of society as a whole, and for this they will happily flagellate themselves and us, preach, act, and donate to liberal causes, to the adulation of their fellow progressives. Racism and sexism aren’t about one individual considering another individual to be of less intrinsic value as a human being because of race or sex; no, they are systemic problems that society is infected with, which must be eradicated by re-balancing the system with positive discrimination and affirmative action.
“It’s easy to trumpet collective virtue and to take collective responsibility for collective sins. It’s doubly easy to criticize those who don’t accept this ideology — in left-wing eyes, conservatives are evil because they don’t acknowledge their share of the collective responsibility for society’s systemic problems. (Perhaps because they’re too busy dealing with their personal failings as individuals, but no matter.) There is no personal guilt and therefore no personal responsibility in any of the leftist catechism. There’s no understanding of personal sacrifice. There’s no love. It’s a philosophy that denies personal sovereignty altogether, which can only lead to contradiction because no matter how much they deny the fact, we have to live in the world as individuals. And so by the standards of the Left, Weinstein is a great humanitarian, but he’s also a despicable man. How do they reconcile this?
“Fein, himself, resists facing the contradiction, to comic effect. When an Islamic terrorist kills his mother, crying “death to the Jew,” Fein is at pains to explain how society has let this poor man down in ways that induced his violent outburst. It’s a logical corollary of left-wing dogma that terrorists can’t be responsible for their own actions, because the root cause is society’s oppression of them. Fein wants to meet this terrorist, not to forgive him, but to ask his forgiveness. It is “we” who are the problem, not any one individual — not the terrorist, and by extension, not Fein either. Only by excusing all individual sins, including the murder of his own mother, can he escape culpability for his own sins and go one living the leftist delusion.”
During the peaceful protest outside of Mitch McConnell’s home, a protester is heard saying she wished McConnell had “broken his little, raggedy, wrinkled-ass neck” and that someone should “just stab the motherf—er in the heart.” What was she inveighing against? He isn’t agitating for even more gun restrictions than the ones currently not being enforced. You see, she is passionately in favor of saving lives while wanting to stab in the heart someone who doesn’t agree with her superficial “solution”. MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes,” contributor and legal blog editor Elie Mystal had some fiery words for Equinox and SoulCycle chairman Stephen Ross, who hosted a fundraiser for President Trump: “I want pitchforks and torches outside this man’s house in the Hamptons.“
Those are only two examples of the blindness that the “collective-guilt” mentality engenders. My question is, “is this moral blindness willful, or unconscious?” I think of Cindy, who worked for AT&T before their “breakup” in an antitrust action. She was in management, was very well paid, and by day helped one of the biggest true monopolies extend their reach. When work time was over, she became super-communist Cindy, turning out anti-capitalism leaflets and getting into Antifa-like scuffles with police and counter protesters. She was a terrible manager, treating those under her with disdain while being obsequious to those over her in the hierarchy. She was the embodiment of Winston Churchill’s description of “the Hun.” He said, “the Hun is either at your feet or at your throat.” I asked her many times, “what motivates you to pursue all these communist activities?” Her answer was always the same. “I love the people, and want to free them.” She embodied that great contradiction of leftism: she loved the concept of “the people” but hated individual people. It’s the issue that Mr. Mahon raised in his play review: How do you resolve the paradox of a great humanitarian being a despicable person? Enter the concept, Collective Guilt.
From Matt Walsh at TheDailyWire.com: “At bottom, the answer is that we have become a country filled with numb, detached, and desensitized people. Mass shootings are the ultimate manifestation of that detachment. Our reaction to them — rhetorically slinging dead bodies at each other to score points in a political argument — is a slightly less severe but very much related manifestation. A survivor of the El Paso shooting reports that the shooter casually smirked before unloading on a crowd of innocent people. This echoes many other reports from many similar shootings. The killer is always smirking like he’s slightly amused, or else he’s blank-faced and emotionless. Rarely do you get a picture of someone running around enraged and screaming. We call these acts of ‘hate,’ but they are much more acts of brutal, murderous indifference. These are empty, numb, detached people slaughtering their fellow humans because they are bored and frustrated with their meaningless lives.
“But this only kicks the can another mile down the road. If it is detachment and desensitization causing these attacks, the next question is, what causes the detachment and desensitization? The culprits here are manifold, but the internet has to be one of the first places we look. Though it has of course existed for several decades, the internet has only been ubiquitous for the past two. The rise of social media is even more recent than that. As with any massive societal shift, we will not fully understand its effects until we are a good distance from it. But it’s already fairly clear that our cyberspace obsession causes us to be increasingly detached from the physical world and each other. It’s a cliche to point out that our connectedness has made us disconnected, yet there’s truth to most cliches, and this one is no different.
“A fascinating and disturbing article from Robert Evans details how the users on the message board where the El Paso shooter liked to spend his time not only cheer on these killing sprees but discuss them like the innocent people being butchered are just characters in a video game. Evans calls it the ‘gamification’ of terror. You could just as well call it the ‘internetification’ of terror. Mass shooters are simply translating their internet personas into the real world. People on internet forums, social media, YouTube, and other sites routinely wish death and worse on each other. ‘Kill yourself’ and ‘I hope you get cancer’ are almost standard greetings at this point. But what’s often lost in all of this mundane vitriol is that actual human beings are saying this stuff to other actual human beings. After a while you get so used to being treated this way, and maybe so used to treating others this way, that you no longer appreciate the dignity and beauty of human life. It is not hard to see how someone who spends hour upon hour and year upon year wallowing in the darkest and vilest corners of cyberspace, treating other humans like filth, wishing violence and death on anyone who crosses them, may eventually become the monsters they already appear to be online.
“A man who thinks he can be a despicable, stupid sociopath in cyberspace yet remain a basically decent guy in the ‘real world’ loses sight of the fact that the internet is the real world. It is technology used by people in the real world to communicate with other people in the real world. Who you are while using the internet is simply who you are. However you act on the internet is simply how you act. If you’re a dirtbag on Twitter, you’re simply a dirtbag. The idea that internet is a morality-free zone where grotesque behavior somehow ‘doesn’t count’ not only encourages people to be despicable but numbs them to the impact their behavior has on others. And this is all to say nothing of the fact that the internet gives disturbed and violent people the chance to congregate anonymously and egg each other on.
“The internet isn’t the only source of our cultural emptiness. 24-hour cable news gets us accustomed to watching human tragedies as entertainment. Broken homes foster emotional confusion and feelings of hopelessness in children. Psychiatric drugs, while necessary in some cases, can also create a chemical numbness and detachment, as evidenced by side effects like ‘suicidal thoughts’ listed on the packaging. And underlying all of this is our dwindling sense of the transcendent — our rejection of a higher purpose to human life. All of these factors accumulate as the snowball rolls down the mountain. Eventually the snowball is an avalanche, and more innocent people are buried underneath it, and all we do is stand on the pile flinging little clumps of snow at each other.”
I agree that what he’s saying is true, but the real underlying cause of all the negative effects he is describing, is that lack of a higher purpose than self, and perhaps even the rejection of the desirability of having a higher purpose. Once an Internet-social media junkie becomes truly addicted to cyber life, their numbness becomes a feedback loop. The more you imbibe of any addictive substance, the more you are hooked on it. Very few addiction rehabs end well. That’s even truer for something you don’t think is harmful.