Robert Downey Jr.Thanks to movies and TV, we are all familiar with the zombie apocalypse to the point where we have fantasized about how we would handle ourselves within that improbable eventuality. There is some morbid attractiveness to the idea of being able to handle hordes of mindless monsters without owing them even the slightest pity or consideration as even the most heinous acts are viewed as heroism in support of the greater good. Such have been our fantasies that even the Pentagon has developed a national contingency plan in case Zombies try to take over.
The sad part of this fantasy is how we’ve embraced this mentality within our society, not against zombies, but rather against each other. We grouped together into little cliques of survivors as we set off to fight our own “zombie hordes.” We stopped looking at each other as humans with the capability of having different points of views and different perspectives within the same topic, as we embraced an “Us vs. Them” attitude where “Us” are right and “Them” deserve whatever we can throw at them.
People fashioned themselves as activists, posting their protest about one issue or another, were online media sites desperately scurried to fine the new offensive material to condemn or the new scandal to criticize. Everyone desperately seeks to became a victim or a champion of victims, as we unfriended, trolled, or attacked anyone who thought differently from us. And we all rejoiced at what great people we became as we dove head first into justifiable assholism. If we stop and looked at what happened, we would realize just how horrible of a society we are creating in our need to find enemies to fight or victims to defend.
There is an advantage of having enemies or of being a victim that we refuse to admit. As we define an enemy and refuse to view them as equal to us, we can assign all the evil and badness of the world to these people while viewing ourselves as having ownership of all the goodness and moral high ground. This allows us to wallow in our own anger and resentment, as we are given free rein to abuse people. We feel that we can’t be held accountable for our own actions as the label of victimhood absolves us from doing any evil, no matter what we are doing, as our actions are justifiable. We keep telling ourselves how we would be good natured and caring if it wasn’t for those “enemies” who deserve our attacks.
And that feels good. Real good. Just as with the zombie apocalypse, we can now be as drastic as we want while being a hero working for the greater good. To justify this mentality and fanatism, we post up memes calling out the evils of indifference or even the virtues of having enemies, as we troll, harass, lie, stretch the truth, threaten, and even physically assault anyone who disagrees with us. And we do this all while calling out those same actions from our counterparts.
We see this in both Conservatives and Liberals. We see this in both Feminists and Men’s Rights Activists. We see this in both #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. We see this within the religious and even in those fighting class warfare. In reality, we see this in any groups who fashion themselves as fighting for a “cause.” Ironically, if you sit down and have an open minded conversation with anyone within these different groups, you realize that each hold some shard of truth and from each you could learn. Believe it or not, you can actually find some knowledge, or at the very least some understanding and empathy, even within the bigot, the racist, the sexist, and even the homophobe.
Keep in mind that in no way I’m promoting any kind of discrimination or abuse, but rather calling out the socially acceptable discrimination and abuse disguised as social justice. The problem with calling out this kind of oppression is that we refuse to acknowledge when we do it, as we find it justified as we have turned the world into black and white ideologies, were you are either with me or an enemy.
We have polished this mentality so cleverly that we even created a concept to condemn anyone who criticizes our actions or exposing our hypocrisy. To avoid the possibility discussion brought up by others that we are doing something wrong, we call out their “privilege,” as we try to silence them through shame or guilt. We’ve gone so far with the “privilege” guilt trip discourse that some are made to feel that the only way to remove the shame of their gender, race, social class or any other personal situation is through the purgatory of combating their own. It’s amazing how we see nothing wrong with condemning someone over the personal situation, often one that they can’t control, as we use guilt and shame as little more than a tool for oppression.
So what can you do?
You can win by refusing to play this game. You have to realize that these hypocrites find their position validated with every share of online posts. You have to understand that social media sites profit from every controversial article as their hit counters pile up. All you have to do is sit back and stop playing their game as you realize the only power something has over you is the one you give it. Understand that the protest du jeur will be forgotten within a couple of weeks, as the moralist vultures move on to the next cause.
Work on yourself and on bettering yourself, and stop measuring your worth based on what group you belong. You can believe in gender equality without putting down anyone else. You can be a conservative on some topics, while being a liberal on others. You can be a traditionalist and a modernist at the same time. One ideology doesn’t trump the other. Disagreeing with someone doesn’t make you better than them. How you treat them in spite of disagreeing with them does.