Mom... STOP READING! I'm writing this to explain why some people are going to get deleted from my AO (area of operations.) Facebook, Twitter, other social media, etc., the new home of uncivil behavior and narrow-minded bigotry from all sides. If you aren't interested in my reasons... good on you... don't read any further... MB
I get confused on which bigoted assholes are in charge on which day, but I'm pretty sure civility is dead. Maybe I'm getting old but I still haven't fully grasped the reality that being a dick is ok if you are a special case. I haven't embraced the idea that snark, vitriol, memes, and soundbites spoken to the choir are the same as logic and reason. I have friends that are atheists, agnostics, deists, Christians, whatever. All kinds can be dicks. You don't get a special dispensation from me for assholery just because you were marginalized in the past or because you can toss out a one liner like a champ. I get it that the angry frickin' screamer-downers are in charge, and they have the tools to shout down any sane and reasonable discussion. I get it that Ricky Gervais and Penn and Teller have won the culture war against the likes of Pat Robertson and Bill O’Reilly, mainly because in a war between assholes who major in logic fallacies, the funnier assholes are going to win... today. I get it that we are in the midst of the soundbite, Twitter, meme generation, and logic and reason are just words you use when you aren't "destroying" your enemies with pithy pre-planned catch-phrases. Why read books or study an issue and talk about it like grown ups when you can learn a few zingers and type lightning bolts with your thumbs?
You like your life. I get it. You want to shove it down everyone's throat now. Not cool, but you'll do it because you think someone did it to you back in the day.
I like my friends, my family, being plain, bacon, puppies, my farm and writing books and don't give a shit if you do or not. In my belief system I don't have to fix you or force you to agree with me. Only people with pretty shitty ideas do that sort of thing. I get it that the star-bellied sneetches are in charge now, and since I'm not a sneetch, I get to suffer the blowback anyway. The plainbelly sneetches thought the same thing back when they were pissing on you. You’re on top now, so you piss back. Got it. You're the ones who don't get that you are all the same to me. The whole shrill, uncivil bunch of you. My people are non-violent and we don't even vote in your elections. We've never killed you, imprisoned you, enslaved you, or tyrannized you. We don't ask or care if you agree with us. We've been killed by pretty much every organized religion or irreligious group in the last thousand years, including the ones with whom you so stupidly try to lump us. Whatever you think some Christian did to you, that wasn't us, so back the eff off. We won't steal your land, rob from you, or go to war to protect you either. Bullying and misbehavior is the same no matter who is doing it.
The afflicted have the upper hand now and the blood is going to run deep! But sane people caught in the middle are the only ones suffering unjustly.
George Orwell wrote a fantastic parable - a cautionary tale - about some animals that overthrew a farmer. The animals had some legitimate complaints to start with, but soon the new rules and laws became weapons used by the elite to dictate opinions and to make sure that everything favored the new rulers. The old order was thrown out and was replaced with a baser and more secular replica that kept the harsh judgment and tossed out the grace (and I don’t mean to be hard on the new worshippers of the Science cult, so please do not send your goons to burn down my house and stomp my cat to death). In that book, Orwell was talking about communism in Soviet Russia, but the principle of the tyranny of the now remains the same everywhere and at all times. It is true whether you are discussing technology, science, government, religion, money, or just about anything else in the culture. Intellectual tyranny always involves the deification of the now (think of the now as latest paradigm, the new intellectualism, or whatever has become the hippest third rail), even when the now is wrong and kind of ridiculous. Robespierre didn’t start the revolution and he didn’t end it either.
That’s the problem when any new way of thinking assumes the mantle of cultural majority opinion. Great. You’ve been liberated from oppression. Payback is a Bitch. Go out and silence all opposition. It’s only fair.
Like the Seven Commands of Animalism found in Animal Farm, revolutionary opinions usually start out as refreshing challenges to the status quo but end up being pinned to some barn wall somewhere so that the old guard can know why they are being killed. Patterns emerge when we look at time without the blinders of the now. With every change in the cultural regime, the door of tolerance and freedom that revolutionary ideas used to gain ascendency and power is shut fast against those who would follow the precedent and question the new authorities. The Russian Revolution has few students but many children.
Oh, and you can be a libertarian free-thinker who preaches that everyone should just stop telling everyone else what to do and still be a fucking bully.
It doesn’t take long to go from outsider rebel, shaking a fist in the face of the man, to becoming the most intolerant tyrant in all the world. Plug-n-play. One size fits all. No rebels need apply. It didn’t use to be that way, but it is now. Who would have known?
Two brothers got into an argument about whether to have incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs in their house. The argument started out friendly enough, but soon grew violent. Eventually, all of the bulbs in the house were smashed and the two brothers, bleeding and injured, were forced to finish their argument in the house of a neighbor who lit his house with candles.
Here lies agreeable dissension. RIP. So it goes.
But that's just my opinion, posted on my blog. Your mileage may vary.
**Some of this is borrowed and re-phrased from my book Osage Two Diamonds**