Emotional Impulse or Logical Option?

I have developed a reputation for confronting politicians, bureaucrats, and "news reporters" in public. My friends remind me that angry words actually convey weakness, and that whatever underlying message I have is lost due to the perception of me as immature and unstable.

 

I’m actually embarrassed to show myself, for instance, recently mouthing off at M-Lie 'reporter' Steven Kloosterman*. It’s odd for an adult in our culture to be so obviously consumed with emotion. My mother raised me better. Instant appraisals surely have me identified as unsteady, and Steven to be pitied for his misfortune.

 

 But the issues we face are so important, and the facts are so clear, and the public is so ignorant, and the obligation is so urgent that our news media fulfill its purpose, that individuals like Steven Kloosterman - passively compliant links in the system’s chain of obedience, be made to feel pressure to do what’s right. If they continue, as Steven has, to mislead the voting public: those people who have come to trust, as well as to depend on a ‘free press’, (which is the only shield that democracy has ever known) then we must do whatever we can to bring the weight of that injury, that abuse of public trust, right home to its source, right back to the individual, to that person.

 

I don’t know any other way to do it. I don’t have power over his employment prospects in what has become of the journalistic world. I’m not his mother or father.

 

I see this situation as similar to those that foster vigilantism. This happens when laws are not enforced fairly. Chaos and disorder can be averted if a government addresses the needs of its offended citizens. More commonly, however, governments resort to lethal force in order to preserve order at all costs. “Vigilante justice” does not appeal to me. I much prefer sanity, democratic law, and order. But the world is full of situations that make vigilantism heroic. 

 

As with my general aversion to vigilantism, I would prefer that we each protect our personal dignity by showing respect for all people at all times. This would make sense if we weren’t discussing the end of democracy, of civilization as we know it. Public outbursts are legitimate, I believe, in our increasingly dire circumstances.

 

To make the point clear, consider the extreme example of Nazi Germany. Imagine any of the people responsible for killing Anne Frank for instance, and ask yourself if you can accept the argument that they were just doing their jobs and are thus not culpable. Would it not have been preferable for German citizens to vocally, publically, and harshly criticize the greedy bullies who built German Fascism before it grew and blossomed?

 

I do not accept the apology for individuals within an evil system by the claim that they are only doing their jobs; just following orders. As unseemly as it would have been for my mom fifty years ago, I think the time has come for us to make public life difficult for those who, wittingly or not, support the system that is selling us out.

 

Where you draw the line does not seem problematic. You would likely not blame a German for following orders if he had a gun at his head, but if he were profiting happily at the destruction of other people’s lives and culture, you likely would. If he could safely choose to support Fascism or Democracy, you would likely blame him for siding with Fascism. I would. In fact, I would make life as difficult as I could for him, within reason. It is probable that most of those responsible for the Nazi destruction were unaware at the time of what it was that they were contributing to. This highlights the logic behind personal public pressure on individuals who comply with mounting evil, before the possibility of public resistance is effectively lost.

 

I think the time has come for all of us to speak harshly, in public, to those who are actively or passively responsible for our culture’s looming demise.

 

* see: Steve Gets Spanked

 

 

 

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Filed Under: Opinion

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