I am not an alarmist and have been one of those calling out the self-defense instructors who try to gain students by exaggerating the threat we face in our day to day life. But, there are some things going on that need to be watched, and possibly toned down to avoid running off of a cliff.
The political climate is pretty divided right now, anyone can see that. But things are being pushed in a dangerous direction. There are several behaviors that I would like to have people watching out for, and if it is being done by people on your side of the argument, let them know that they are playing with fire. If they hear it from someone on their side, they might listen.
Claiming Moral Superiority
In and of itself, this one is not really dangerous. The problem I see with it is the frequency with which people are claiming moral superiority then using it as an excuse for their bad behavior. Additionally, people who claim moral superiority are using their superior position to call for some of the most immoral actions to be taken in order to “solve” problems. Genocide is disgustingly immoral, but we have professors at universities in this country saying that a white genocide would make the world a better place. It takes a sick mind for a person to believe that they are morally superior to anyone at all to the degree that they can call for genocide. Instead of being called out for it, those on that side of the political spectrum celebrated the “forward thinking” solution.
When you hear someone oversimplifying an argument made by either side, then reframing it as “we don’t have a difference of opinion, we have a difference of morality”, there is a problem. It is a set-up.
And while I have you here, I want to remind you that the two political doctrines that dominate U.S. politics are not a choice between moral and immoral, that’s just fatuous.
Knowingly spreading misinformation
In my last post, I mentioned the way that people share a falsehood because it makes them feel good. Time after time this is happening. The “news media”, and I use the term loosely, have taken irresponsibility into strange and uncharted territory. The only defense that you have against spreading the stupid is by learning to do your own fact-checking.
Using bully tactics and threat displays
This is the big one and the one that has me most concerned. Because of claiming moral superiority and living in an echo chamber of false information, people have decided that it is okay to bully and harass those who are inferior to them because they disagree with them. Shouting down an opposing point of view is childish and most people outgrow that tactic before they finish high school. Showing up in hoards to overrun a place of business, the cyber-bully tactic of “doxing” (giving out home address, work address, personal phone number, and even the place where their kid goes to school on open internet and social media sites), making up false bad reviews for a business, and on and on. It is common practice to try to destroy the life of someone who has the cojones to disagree with you. Common practice doesn’t make it right, neither does the excuse of they do it too! If it is wrong when they do it, it is wrong when you do it.
And the threat displays. Ugh, this is really rotten ice here kids. When you try to make someone think that you are going to physically harm them, you are using a threat display, whether or not you have the intent or even the ability to follow through with the threat you are making. You are playing with fire in terms of both legality and personal safety. And all it is going to take is one of these high profile issues, some idiot making a threat display, perhaps repeatedly, and the person on the receiving end believing the threat is real and things will blow up. Remember the scene in Tombstone, the gunfight at the OK Corral? The Earp’s and Doc Holliday show up to disarm a group of Cowboys. There is a moment when everyone is standing still, hands on their gun, but no guns were drawn yet. Doc Holliday winks at Billy Clanton and Billy’s expression changes. Wyatt Earp says, “Oh my God.” and then all hell breaks loose. Yeah. That. This isn’t a game. And all of this stuff that makes you feel so morally superior isn’t life or death, so stop treating it that way.
I am hopeful that things simmer down. I honestly believe that some of this is being distorted by the media, for whatever reason. But I also believe that most people see through the BS. Be careful, do your own fact-checking, and for the love of God learn that people can have a different point of view and not be your enemy. I hope this helps.