Color me confused that in today’s modern world of global communication, we appear to still be in those fraught times where the Chinese don’t want you getting too cushy with any members of the Mongol horde and contact might get you viewed as spy and saboteur. Don’t even go near their horses.
Since when did life become Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals that’s now applied to everyone and every damned sphere of life?
After the events of Florida’s school shooting – which looks far more disturbing in how it came about via deliberate changes to school discipline and policing – social media and the internet in general became it’s usual shouting match and echo chamber that ensues after any mass shooting.
What alarmed me in particular this time was that to some gun control advocates, anyone who didn’t denounce the NRA as a terrorist organization or opposed gun control was personally responsible for the shooting and was of course a vile, despicable, human being who supports kids being murdered.
That’s a pretty easy strawman to beat in public for an applauding mob. But wait, are’t these the same people who are interested in diversity? Not when it comes to worldview and politics apparently. In fact dissenters need to be isolated, dehumanized, and possibly targeted. If you can cost them friends and family as well as various public shamings, all the better right?
Welcome to conversation in the 21st century on the internet which is now spilling over into people’s actual real lives. Rid yourself of dialogue and arm yourself with a cell phone and your targets contact information and workplace details that can be submitted to a two minute hate twitter mob.
Perhaps we are much more divided in terms of worldview and culture in America then we ever have been, but since when did dissenting views equal incompatibility with even spending time or associating with someone?
Recently I was having a conversation with a family member – one that I very much respect -who was surprised at how I could become “friends” with someone in the Dissident Right who my family member considered to have rather reprehensible views. (Granted, most of my family members would consider him to have said reprehensible views.)
He was particular surprised by me using the word friend. Why would you become friends with someone with views and speech seen as inexcusable or unacceptable? (While I don’t agree with this friend on everything, he is still a friend.)
Well regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, it’s a damn good question.
How I Became a Deplorable With Detestable Views
Picking my friends, associates, or villainous enemies to be denounced on twitter based on what they think or hide in perspective closets has always simply been a matter of how and where I meet people.
Hookah lounges. Bars. Concerts. Churches. Raucous Parties. Parties I will not mention. Internet Forums. Gaming Circles. Gaming Servers. Family functions. Work. My Old Campus.
Years ago before Trump was a thing, I used to play an online browser game called Astro Empires. While I’ve retained a friend from that game, one other “friend” – a rather progressive one – on Facebook told me he couldn’t be friends with me anymore because my views were detestable. We even really enjoyed soccer too! (At that time I was first stumbling across the Manosphere.)
When I reflected upon that moment, the recent conversation I had between me and my family member prompted that EUREKA moment in my puny bigoted backwards brain; plenty of people today view life style, worldview, political, or even cultural differences and disagreements as the whole of a person.
If their views are too far out there or “offensive”, their friendship is something that’s found to be shocking. I find this notion troubling as to what it implies; you are what you secretly dare to ponder upon in the late night hours when you entertain crimethink thoughts about the nature of man, society, and any other specifically touchy controversial subjects where voicing opinions on what you actually think could get you fired from your job because guilt by association.
Talking to people, associating with them, or even communicating or working with them on mutually agreed ideas – even if you differ with them on everything else is certainly not allowed.
What happened to Quinn Norton, which while it certainly didn’t happen to me reminds me of myself. She got fired hours after being hired by the New York Times for talking with the wrong people. Quinn dared to “associate” with Weev or the greatest deviant villain alive on the internet today, Andrew Aurenheimer founder of the Daily Stormer. Whoops.
Obviously Quinn is the opposite of a Nazi, but the fact that she had communicated with him on just ONE idea they shared the same opinion on and that she felt was important produced some sort of alternate internet depiction of her as a Nazi.
I was called a Nazi because of my friendship with the infamous neo-Nazi known on the internet as weev—his given name is Andrew Auernheimer; he helps run the anti-Semitic website The Daily Stormer. In my pacifism, I can’t reject a friendship, even when a friend has taken such a horrifying path. I am not the judge of who is capable of improving as a person.
This philosophy also requires me to confront him about his terrible beliefs and their terrible consequences. I have been doing this since before his brief time as a cause célèbre in 2012—I believe it’d be hypocritical for me to turn away from this obligation. weev is just one of many terrible people I’ve cared for in my life.
I don’t support what my terrible friend believes or does. But I strongly advocate for people with a good sense of themselves and their values to engage with their terrible friends, coworkers, and relatives, to lovingly confront them for as long as it takes, and it would be wrong to not do so myself. I had what I now see as the advantage of coming from a family of terrible people.
This taught me that not everyone worthy of love is worthy of emulation. It also taught me that being given terrible ideas is not a destiny, and that intervention can change lives.
One article that covered her reaction to her Twitter scalping had this particular gem of a comment posted:
“There’s a big difference between being friends with people in private and changing their minds personally, one-by-one, and being friends with people publicly and normalizing their BS. If friendship with the Nazi is so important to her, let them be friends. But if it’s part of her public persona, that makes it part of NYT’s public persona, that makes a big cultural voice voting for white supremacy – welcome to 2018. Everyone can see everything, everyone can hear everything.”
Right there in this tripe of slime comment is everything that is wrong with social media, the internet, and our outrage culture in general. I’m picking on this comment in particular because this is EXACTLY the kind of attitude I see reflected by so many saintly twitter and social media stake burners when they light their torches.
Being friends with bad people – or those deemed to be by our new cultural overlords – is the same thing as “normalizing” their views. Pious peasants don’t associate with heretic harbingers or they risk becoming them or promoting them.
Even if you are friends with a Troll, Sauron, Nazi or worse -a Communist considering their body count in the 20th century – talking, eating, communicating, gaming, participating in gay orgies, or shooting the shit with them isn’t going to “Normalize” anything.
We aren’t our political or worldview beliefs. We are Jack, Jon, Joan, and June who are living life in the 21st century in the digital age afflicted by social media Popes who think that too many “radical” blog posts or social media rants are the absolute embodiment of what someone is 24/7.
Can’t the friend police ever take a damned break? Don’t they have lives? Is this really what they want to reflect upon gloriously when on their death beds?
I always viewed having various friends and associates like a 9-5 job where after you got done talking about what you thought – no matter how heinous it was deemed to be, you then went on with your life. You kept drinking beer, smoking stogies, and telling stories late into the night with them.
In fact, I would imagine myself as a professor or his neighbor. I could have a daily talk with some uber male feminist ally like Michael Kimmel, have very different conclusions, and go back to grabbing a beer with him later while throwing darts.
The disagreements, while fundamental to our worldview differences and how we choose to life life and spend time would fade while we live our normal lives. One would leave work, go home, unwind, and enjoy time with family and friends. Another would go to the bar, play softball or volleyball, or watch the newest Game Of Thrones episode together.
That right there. Normal life.
Journey Of Self Discovery
When you form your worldview and outlook on life, it happens over time – often in a kind of butterfly and domino effect of situations, events, friends, and where you spend your time. It’s a journey, just maybe not as adventurous and epic as something out of Lord Of The Rings.
I’m far from a modern day Jesus, but I have and do associate with plenty of sinners, reprobates, and people who are today’s version of heretics.
Lately there’s been a wave of miserly curmudgeons who want to dictate who you can and can’t hang with. If you deviate, you are labeled some sort of ist /ism or more frequently a fascist or Nazi lover.
It’s not like I went out trying to make friends with hardcore druggies, dangerous online deviants, violent biker types, or Molotov cocktail wielding AntiFa activists. Rather I simply kept looking for the truth and I was going to wherever it led.
I wanted to find out who I was. Being drawn to controversy, mischievous and dirty humor, abstract in-the-clouds freedom of speech ideals, gaming, history, rebellion, cigars and smoking, etc all played apart in the paths I would choose at the forks in the road.
In fact, it was similar creating a character class with attributes in an RPG. I was forging an identity as there were flaws in my current thinking and approach at the time that left me feeling like I was wasting away in the wind while others clearly were not.
What led me even more into the devious, deviant, and every “ist” and “ism” under the sun circles is the simple fact that they were as hostile as I was to control over freedom of association.
Not once did the mean miserly misogynists sexist racists in the manosphere writhe in constant shouting, shaming, and denunciation of myself for being friends with feminists, social justice advocates, Black Israelites, “liberals”, Trump haters, ect.
Neither did those in the #GamerGate, the Dissident Right, and even in horrible dangerous despicable your-soul-may-perish-for-eternity places like the Roosh V forum.
In fact, not once did some White Nationalist or Supremacists types I talked to flip shit over the fact I talked to Jews, had Jewish friends, and didn’t loathe them. Even in the case of me being mixed race, my family being mixed race of various sorts, and plenty of friends and associates being every kind of ethnicity, race, culture, factions and members of various “groups” did this occur.
After a while, I realized where the real “bigots” were coming from and who was surprisingly far more “tolerant” despite having all sorts of views I didn’t agree with. At the end of the day, I didn’t have to be fully 100% on board with Nazis jackbooting in Harlem with a Hivemind to agree with them that feminism is bad thing.
Look what happens to people like Laci Green who are still ardent feminists and social justice advocates who dared to ask questions and not be completely in lockstep. They of course get all the nasty labels deliberately designed to rid them of their humanity, making them acceptable targets.
After all, if someone isn’t human and their views have no place in “acceptable” society, then there are no rules that limit what you can do to them. The insane exaggerated hyperbole and straw-men they are tarred with is therefore not only “acceptable” but apparently some sort of cosmic justice.
Dissenters must be squashed. For some in uber progressive circles where they spiritually and mentally self-mutilate themselves for not being better allies, they reach a breaking point. The term “Peak Trans” comes to mind. Now they not actually suddenly jump to the right politically, but they end up realizing that they can’t survive in a hive mind which allows for no free thinking.
Social media just exacerbates this problem of free thinking. Express views where you question a popular and accepted narrative? People lose their minds and you become a Nazi, ist, or ism. People will take screenshots of denouncing you and “defriending” you.
One is either a hero or a villain – no in between. If you associate with them in anyway or dare to be friends with them, then via guilt by association, you also become a hero or villain.
I suppose this is the evidence that we needed to prove that friends on social media really aren’t friends. However, too often have I seen family befall the same fate. Even for family members, certain beliefs are too far and suddenly you are disowned even if the son denies the accusation. I didn’t know we were all secret Muslims at our core.
Pearce Tefft proclaimed that “Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.”
To quote the guy from 300 who get’s kicked into that bottomless pit, “This is madness.”
I have two sons, and regardless if they became die-hard SJWs who loathed every view I espoused, they’d be welcome in my house. I’m not pouring years of time, smelly diapers, long nights, and the joys of watching them crawl, walk, and start talking down some drain filter because of what they might believe.
In fact the mere thought of it really bothers me. I can see not marrying or dating someone because of it, but your very own flesh and blood?
However, this isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s one of human nature. Plenty of family members, villagers, tribesmen, etc. have disowned each other to the point of the sword because of differences in belief.
However that was then, this is now. Right?
Supposedly the Enlightenment and Age of Reason were supposed to put us past this, but they haven’t. I’m not going to bother to go into the reasons for that, but I will say that social media obviously fuels this polarization and dichotomy of us vs them.
For some people, they aren’t just content to “de-friend” and dehumanize you, they also believe you need to lose your job, be unable to pay your mortgage, and ensure you are out on the streets. Your family who you support financially? They don’t give a shit.
I’ve been an advocate of fighting fire with fire – specifically those people who threaten to or go after people’s jobs. However, with finances being tight for myself and with me being the sole provider for my wife and two sons, it’s hard for me to imagine attempting similar retribution to someone, even if they were the aggressors in trying to get me or people with whom I hold similar views with fired.
At some point, we have to draw the line as to how far one should go in a polite and civilized society – while it still barely remains one.
To all you activists out there, regardless of your stripe and creed, how far are you willing to go?
I don’t consider activism, political stances or worldview to be this ever constricting bubble where you dwell permanently, but if your entire life and purpose is based on “activism”, where else do you go to seek your identity? To seek who you are?
Seriously, consider that so many ardent screaming activists are often far removed from the situations and people they express outrage about. Do those who scream about gun control the loudest with the biggest platforms live in Baltimore in the ghetto? Often they don’t.
So many people say they want “diversity”, but it seems we pervaded by a culture that encourages us not to have friends or to cut them loose if they won’t come to similar views as ourselves. Diversity indeed.
Those same people are then shocked when they exit their bubble and briefly enter another where very different views are held. You’d think they’d embrace that diversity, but often they just point, shriek, and scream “HERETIC!” Often, that’s where the mutual conversation ends and the pitchforks and torches begin.
Is this really how any of us want to live? Where we can’t separate someone from their politics or opinions? I certainly don’t, but I fear far too many do.