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.