Well, my girl sure put me in my placeSubmitted by Ed Ucation on Fri, 12/20/2013 - 15:19
Last night, I was explaining to my girl the whole Duck Dynasty fiasco, since she doesn't follow politics or watch TV (God bless her). I then went on to explain to her how this was bringing out all these verbal attacks on gays and how I didn't like it.
"...and you know how 50 years ago, it was socially acceptable to say racist things about black people? And now it's not accepted by almost anyone. So I can't wait until the day when saying insulting things about gays is considered equally offensive in normal company. Then.."
"And fat people," she interrupts me.
"People say really mean things about fat people."
"Yeah, ok, but that's totally different. You see, fat people are that way because they continue to make unhealthy choices and..."
"Some of them can't help it."
"Sure, I guess, some of them have genetic predispositions, but the majority.."
"It doesn't matter."
I was stymied. She was right. Who am I to judge why someone is fat? And does it matter why? Didn't we all learn, when we were five years old, not to be mean to others? May be that's the whole point.
In all the arguing about free speech, religion freedom, property rights, and collectivist ramblings, we forget that the whole point is not to be mean to each other.
This is easy to do in person face to face (most of the time). Even the homophobes are most likely nice and cordial to gay people in person. But somehow that gets lost when talking about groups of people. But hey, we are all individuals, right? You can't hurt a group's feelings. Yes, we are all individuals, but we all also identify with various groups. For example, the Christian gets offended when someone attacks Christianity, even though no one said anything about him/her personally.
And it's easy to do online. We don't see the person on the other end. We can't see their reaction. So the social feedback that would restrain us is not present. There is no exchange of empathy. We revert to being five-year-olds. What does this say? Are we assholes deep down, without the social feedback? I don't know. I don't have a solution. But I know I don't want to be an asshole.
Robert LaFevre was opposed to violence against others not because of what it would do to them, but because of what it would do to him. May be the solution is to be more selfish. Don't say mean things to others, not because of what it will do to them, but because of what it will do to you. Do that, and you don't need to be restrained by social feedback. Do that, and you'll be nice online as well.
We've all heard it said that the only way to change the world is one person at a time. Perhaps the only way to change a person is one action at a time. Instead of trying to change myself, to be a better person, perhaps I will try to change one action. Just one human action at a time.