Beyond the Trees

Do You Remember?

Remember the days when people would say “I disagree with what you have to say but will defend your right to say it”? Those days are gone, we are now in the throes of “I disagree with what you have to say and will cancel you for even thinking it.” Yes, we now have thought police and many of these individuals, hiding behind screen names and VPN’s are watching you.

It’s likely some are reading this post right now. They are everywhere, they are ordinary people like you and I. Emboldened by the illusion of anonymity and empowered by ebb and flows of likes and affirmation from other anonymous people. Your next door neighbor who says hi to you every day with a smile could be watching your Facebook feed, your tweets and you would never know it.

Remember, when you have an alternative point of view you find yourself with a tremendous gift. You find out clearly who your friends are and who are not. Real friends respect you, and how you feel. Fake friends do not, don’t be fooled they are everywhere. Oh the quick reminder?

Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means you are standing alone. Standing up for the right thing, freedom to think what you want when you want not only empowers you but gives others hope. It’s okay not to like someone for what they believe in, don’t be one of those people who punish others for wrong think.

The “A Gen X Point of View” blog is a safe place to express your thoughts, you are allowed to feel how you want and say what you want here. You can’t abuse other posters, you can’t create a hostile environment, you can’t spread hate here, but I’m not going to try and cancel you for thinking and feeling how you do.

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Wisdom from the past: Winston Churchill

Nearly everyone who is reading this has either heard of or has studied Winston Churchill. To say he was (or Is) one of the most famous statesmen of the “World War” period wouldn’t be a stretch. He was in the middle of the most perilous time in modern history. The World Wars were the most devastating events in human history, oh and wedged in between those was this other event called the “great depression”. Needless to say if you lived through that period of world history you are probably wiser than most of us.

Churchill didn’t suffer fools, he did though accept the fact that even people he disagreed with had the right to be disagreeable. He valued free speech and basked in the fight and nuances of debate and semantics. The wisdom?

“Some peoples Idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, it’s an outrage.”

Boy is that true in 2021 isn’t it? Been on twitter lately? LOL. The point here is, most people that are telling you what they think often aren’t interested in hearing what you think if it’s not agreeing with their point of view. We are now to the point of intolerance where people are canceled for having “wrong think” or “wrong speak” and inconveniently we don’t have Trump around anymore to blame for it.

No its now (and always was) emboldened people who believe what they think is right and will go to extremes to make sure there is no dissent. Churchill faced this as well in his time, they were called Nazi’s and they burned books (think they would have liked Dr Zeus?) and committed horrific crimes.

Be wary of people who want to silence others, who deem something distasteful and are willing to remove access without consent. These are very dangerous people, in essence they want to control what you see, what you hear, and what you think. They are everywhere and, as Churchill warns, if you disagree it’s an outrage. Except now, the outrage has blossomed into something far more sinister.

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Division is profitable

We are now in the next phase of Big Tech government. If you are under the illusion that one party is different from another (Democrat/Republican) then this post probably isn’t for you, you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid already. Division is profitable, it helps create tidy boxes you can check against people to help market and sell. The sinister part? Millions have taken it hook line and sinker.

Not saying the right things on social media? You’ll be cancelled. Not supporting the right candidate? Your church will shun you. It’s not just one side either, sure the loudest voices (for now) might be on one side, but what’s the end game? When you are shouting down, cancelling, harassing, attacking those who don’t adhere to your doctrine, what is your goal?

In my decades on the internet, and decades in life I have never once changed someone’s mind politically and I have never seen someone else do it either. So that can’t be goal, do you want these people dead? Do you want them to suffer? You aren’t going to change their political views or their personal beliefs so why do it? Do you feel empowered?

The louder you shout, the less I hear

The above is the sinister part eluded to in the first paragraph. You see what you achieve is labeling. When you label it then creates the conditions by which the person labeled has nowhere else to go. You’ve now made an enemy for life essentially, and this person, wounded, will always look to work against your interest. What a great environment to sell product.

All I have to do is create narratives that fit side A or side B and PRESTO! I have a willing consumer base. Where else are you going to go? Side C is small, there are only a few of us, you can’t go back to the other side (A or B) so you roll with the side that isn’t attacking you. Politics and political ideology isn’t out there to help you, it’s out there to govern you.

Do you know what govern means? You do understand it is meant to make you compliant to the will of others, even the vocal minority. If instead of being an attack dog for whatever side has taken you in, you chose instead to stop the assault your quality of life may improve. All this time you have spent throwing yourself against the ideology of those who disagree with you is wasted, you will never get it back.

They are not going to change how they feel, particularly since you’ve put their backs against a wall are holding a knife of cancellation against their throat. You can’t win, and what’s worse is, and I don’t think you fully understand this, you’ve created an enemy for life. Life has a funny way of coming full circle, I’ve seen it so many times in many other venues. It may be that sometime in the future, you’re the one being cancelled.

Division is profitable, who gains by all of this?

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Ben Franklin

Wisdom from the past – Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics…derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.” Benjamin Franklin

If you are actively trying to silence/cancel other people’s ability to speak freely you are a tyrant or the tool of a tyrant. You are without question one of the most dangerous people on the planet. You are willing to shut down others because you don’t like them, or don’t like what they have to say. I actually pity you, and when the day comes when YOU are the one silenced/canceled you will receive no quarter.

Even if you don’t like what you are hearing or reading the ability to say or write it is paramount. When we silence others, we create the conditions by which dissent festers and breeds revolt and violence. History is littered with examples of this, you shouldn’t have to be reminded.

Don’t become worse than those you dislike, you will not be able to live with yourself and no one will want to live with you.

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Surviving 2020 & covid

Quick rant on Cancel Culture

I don’t normally delve into this kind of topic on this blog but like everyone I am aware of what is happening out there. We are in the midst of a very dangerous trend and that is cancellation. Cancellation is just a catch all phrase for deplatforming, or removing someone’s ability to interact. We’ve seen this play out before, from burning books to communist purges in the 50’s….

We are now removing people’s ability to interact due to what some call “hate speech”. Most of it is deplorable, what many people aren’t talking about is though is the arbitrators of what is or is not acceptable are multi billionaires from Silicon Valley. It’s never been in the interest of society to concentrate too much power into a small group of people or corporations.

This of course is all abstract to most of us, it doesn’t affect us, until it does. You see, the problem with “cancelling” anyone whom you don’t like what they are saying is you set the precedent for your own cancellation down the line. A wise person once said “I don’t like what you are saying but I will defend your right to say it”. We are losing sight of this notion piece by piece and eventually what happens is everyone is silenced.

Should people who are racists be silenced? Should we force those people underground and remove their ability to pontificate publically? If you do how will you know who they are? How will you know where they are? You see you can eliminate someone’s access to public forums but you don’t eliminate their thoughts and feelings. If anything you are emboldened them more.

Racism isn’t exclusive to race, meaning Asians can be racist toward Hispanics just as much as a White person can be Racists toward an African American. Don’t fall into the trap that “racism” is exclusive to one race, that would be, well racist…

So what happens next? Freedom of speech comes with a great deal of responsibility and while we need to have ways to rebuttal and temper people with extreme ideas, every time we cancel someone who doesn’t think or say what we think they should we become complicit in our eventually demise.

Does this mean you can’t protest? No. Does this mean you shouldn’t identify and point out what you think is racist? Of course not, but what it does mean is every person silenced or identified by a group as an “ist” becomes a target. Do we have to really do a history lesson here? You know what happens when one group marginalizes another, two wrongs don’t make a right.

That path leads to one end and that’s historically been a very bad outcome for EVERYONE. You think it’s not going to happen to you, until it does. Careful what you wish for.

Surviving 2020 & covid

Thinking outside of the box is okay, is speaking outside of the box okay too?

The western world has become more divisive. There are labels for everything and everyone now, many of us have been categorized into specific buckets because of one belief. As an example if you are pro-life Christian you will likely be labeled a conservative. Does one issue define you? Does one issue automatically place you into on camp exclusively and this label is to be yours for eternity?

I suppose this is an easy way to segregate people we don’t like. There are several blogs I read and the tone on many of them has shifted dramatically over the last few months. Essentially if you do not agree with the bloggers point of view on “X” issue you are an idiot, to be dismissed and in some cases mocked and ridiculed. At worse cancelled and harassed.

It’s disturbing for someone on the outside looking in, particularly as someone with anxiety. What happens if you don’t fall into “the box”? What if you agree and share views from all sorts of people? What if you are pro-choice but believe people should not be given public assistance unless they can demonstrate severe hardship or incapacity of some kind? The point is the boxes are getting larger and larger and division is rife.

Covid 19 is just the latest greatest example. Do you think things should be reopened? No? What do you think of people who have the opposite opinion you do? We now have huge social networks that offer affirmation on a whole sale scale. Places like Twitter and Fox News are echo chambers for similar points of views one can become emboldened to the point of empowering horrible behaviors. We’ve seen this play out before in history, this isn’t a new concept.

As someone who is an independent thinker (I know we all like to claim that) it’s a very hard thing to navigate. I become very disappointed when I see people I respect and like pontificate so strongly about their beliefs that literally anyone who disagrees is an “idiot”. Wait, last week were best friends though….

I find myself more and more withdrawn and disgusted by the whole affair and this summer once Covid clears up a bit in the U.S. we will have another great reason to attack others who don’t agree, the presidential election. I can only imagine what the narratives will be like when that is over regardless of who wins. I think for me the whole Covid situation has exposed rather clearly to me how weak minded many people are.

I don’t even think it’s their faults really, they are espousing tired talking points and memes they have heard over and over from others who might agree with them on issue “X” as an example. Progress stands still though, nothing really gets accomplished other than an ever expanding pool of resentment. Where do we go from here? How do we think outside of the box and at the same time avoid attack from those who do not want alternative points of view?

I wish I had some wonderful insight or historical context to provide to help. I don’t, I find it more and more prudent to say nothing and let those screaming in their echo chambers hear their own voices. I have one blog I frequent where the person was ranting on and on about “people on the other side of the argument” and all the replies, dozens of them were in lock step agreement.

What was the point? Whose mind did you change? Did anyone with an alternative point of view even bother to read your post? If they did what possible reason could they have to reply? I suppose I will stay in my box for now. It’s an odd place being one of those “independents” the media often references. More and more we are becoming extinct, as more and more we are put in a box for easy reference for those who need to shout loudly about how they feel, and how others should feel just like them.