After the recent Orlando shooting, social media was ablaze with debates and reaction. Gun control, the sources of hatred that lead to people becoming shooters and more were issues. But for me, the most pressing issue was how people, especially “keyboard warriors,” reacted to others who disagreed with them on the topic.
One time, I participated in a discussion on the wall of someone who said “religion is the cause of the Orlando shooting.” I said something like, “maybe not only religion, there are a lot of factors.” Then an atheist comes bursting in with angry responses. At other times, such a person can even insult me for being part of a religion. I’m telling them, I’m religious but condemn the killing. And they go like, “no religion is still the problem! You are defending the cause of problem!” I was thinking, “what the hell was that?” When he brings up the Scripture in Leviticus about executing gays by stoning, I said, “that rule in the Old Testament is no longer applied. It is wrong to do that today.” The angry atheist says, “You don’t follow your own religion! You are cherry-picking!” I thought, what the hell, how does that person know what I should follow? It’s as if that person is trying to dictate me on how I follow my own beliefs – while he opposes those beliefs (and besides, isn’t cherry picking what we always do in reality, because no one really follows belief systems 100%?). What would he feel if I dictated how he should go about his atheism? So does he want to me to embrace hate and become violent so he can discredit me?
Another one was under the thread of Steph Micayle’s video about her views about LGBTs. As I said in a comment that while I don’t think same-sex relations is natural, I tolerate it as a decision. That means I allow it and will let people go on their business. No calling of the police or anyone to force them apart. Tolerance is more for me a personal decision rather than an imposition from belief or nature. Then someone replied to me angrily, “No! As long as you believe LGBT relations are not natural, you are against it!” I said, I still tolerate it, but the other commenter would not accept it. It seemed that either I agree with them or I am immediately an enemy.
It seems to me that these online “advocates” have hatred against people who disagree with them, probably as much as mass shooters hate those they shoot.
These people want to tell you what your perception is. They won’t believe what you tell them your real perception is. They seem wrapped in their own perception of other people’s perception, they are willing to deliberately misunderstand you. But that’s one problem of politically correct people. Their wrong perceptions can be motivated by irrational fear and distrust, which leads them to seek compulsion of others through policy. But another motivation is simply being controlling.
Let’s say someone, even quietly or in private, mentions homosexuality as something they find repulsive yet they tolerate it. The politically correct people start raging and seek to compel the person to drop their repulsion. They may demand a public declaration of it. What good will that do if the person doesn’t mean it anyway? It might even give them a reason to be repulsed by gays (and the “advocates” that go with they). Perhaps the “advocates” do this because of the fear of violent assault being the result of this feeling of the person. But is this necessary? Aren’t they paranoid? Isn’t their use of compulsion violent in itself?
Another situation: if you find people eat their feces, will you find it repulsive? But what if the people who eat feces say, “how dare you find our act repulsive! I want you to denounce your repulsion!” Isn’t there something wrong with that?
One problem with some people in the world is that they all want other people to follow their views. They believe their own views are right, “nice” and “beautiful,” and other people who hold different different views and tastes may be treated with scorn. However, in taking such an attitude, they show the same attitudes as people who are bigots and ethnocentrists.
They say, people forced homosexuals to stop being homosexuals in the past, so we have the right to force non-homosexuals to accept homosexuals today. But that is wrong. They are stooping down to the level of their perceived enemy.
By being forceful, they become like the very people they are trying to fight. If you are against violence, intolerance and taking away freedom, when you use compulsion for your cause, you also become violent, intolerant and taking away freedom. Other people will be quick to call it hypocrisy.
Our eminent host Benign0 encapsulated this in the brilliant saying: you cannot legislate good manners.
The (Further) Rise of “Attacktivism”
We often see controlling people. They’re nasty, aren’t they, wanting to dictate how you should live your life? You might have met these kind of people: “Why do you love that book? Let me tell you what book you should love;” “why do you like that? Let me tell you what food to like;” “let me decide what you should wear;” “I don’t like your hobby, I will tell you what hobby you should like;” “I don’t like your working style, I will tell you how to work;” “I don’t like your beliefs, let me tell you what you should think;” and more. Let’s say a person believes “all these doors, all these walls, they cut us off from each other!” Yes, interesting point. But when that person seeks to ban walls and doors, and leave everything open to everyone, they are impinging on others’ privacy. Perhaps this person hates privacy too, but might scream murder when their privacy is invaded. If these are the kind of people who become advocates, we now know why things in the world aren’t changing much.
One the other hand, it’s good to see some boots on the ground. I’m referring to the article by a “leftist against leftists.” She realizes when people with the same cause as her are bent on forcing other people and arguing rather than showing an example and getting things done, their cause is defeated. They sabotage their own efforts with their wrong attitude. Another is someone who mentioned the pitfalls of “academese” and academics in ivory towers. I have always wondered about that: studies are meant to be “locked” so as to be inapplicable and meant only for mental masturbation in the academe.
Who knows though if people who are that aggressive on social media are actually slacktivists. They just like things or share statuses for the feel-good element, but they don’t change the world at all. There are some who are likely charlatans, being noisy on social media but actually doing something naughty in real life. Doing things like attacking other users who disagree, which I would call “attacktivism.” These should be considered the real saboteurs of causes. Recently, webmaster Benign0 called out the “human rights activists” who might just be “attacktivists” just out to dethrone President Rodrigo Duterte (on the basis that they want to remove a supposed extrajudicial killer through extrajudicial means).
Moving on. While I say that forcing people to drop their revulsion of homosexuality is a bad way to remove homophobia, I don’t say we cannot remove homophobia. That it is a more complex thing than people at first assume should be elementary for those who have working brain cells. We have to study them to understand the roots of homophobia and why it happens. Certainly, I say it is not only religion, and it is not the biggest cause. There are a lot of bigger causes. Culture, beliefs outside religion, political factors, they all are a part of this phenomenon that causes homophobia as well as racism, discrimination and other social ills. It is not as simple as chewing off the heads of others in Facebook or such.
Show the Example and Drop the Ego
As I have said, one of the best solutions is to show the example. Be the change they want to see. Show that you do not practice the very ill habits you oppose. Also, support real tolerance, never forcing oneself on another. Uphold the saying, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”
Perhaps what some people, for example atheists, can do is to found a certain society that has a level of autonomy or isolation from the mainstream world. Something like Findhorn or Auroville. They can demonstrate in their little society whether and how their methods can work. Just my own prediction though; as long as ego shows up, it throws a wrench in the works.
We all like to think we’re good people, we all like to think we have all the answers. But when called out on our faults, we get mad. Of course, it’s because the illusion of being good people and having all the answers falls apart. Yet it is something we must accept. This is why I believe the modern humanism movement (well, part of it) had failed. The people who are often self-proclaimed humanists are actually consumers. Save the world after a sip of Starbucks. Sip barako with the farmers? Kadiri to death! That’s so unsosyal! Marketers in the late 20th century were able to harness humanism and turn it into egoism. Consumers are made to believe they’re helping someone when buying something, but they’re only buying something and making inovled companies rich. This makes the consumer unable to be actual advocates.
We need to drop our messianic complex, and the idea that we can be heroes. Being heroes itself is a concept that is still tied in with celebrity and warlord worship. That due to natural inequality, some people are better than others and should be hailed as heroes. That also needs to be dropped. We’re not heroes. We’re just people trying to find out how to live with each other peacefully. We can only leave peacefully if we accept each other’s differences, no matter how drastic the differences are. Problem is, nature makes us see differences as a threat, so we have to overcome that nature.