One of the benefits of social media is that you get to talk with far many people than you were able to beforehand about serious topics. One of the downsides of social media is that you get to talk with far many people than you were able to beforehand about serious topics (I wish every blog had sentences that could be copied and pasted like this!).
Today I am going to focus on one downside. It happens when you give an opinion. A serious, well thought out opinion (I only try to ‘do’ those sorts!). Expecting an equally serious response, you instead are told that you are psychologically amiss, that you have some emotional or mental imbalance, that there you are harbouring some phobia or hatred that you are not disclosing.
In the UK, this has been on full show for the last couple of months with regards to Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn and his supporters don’t like Israeli plans for a Greater Israel that much. Therefore, Corbyn and his followers are ‘anti-Semites.’
This is just one example. I could name numerous others. If you oppose abortion, you are a ‘misogynist,’ if you support traditional marriage, you are a ‘homophobe,’ if you think that men have rights, you are a ‘chauvinist.’
The effect of labelling someone as a ‘hater’ is that of denigrating them. If someone is making a point on some matter, it’s near impossible to separate the person from the opinion. The medium is the message. Labelling someone as ‘hateful’ or ‘fearful’ impacts on any views they may express. The focus switches from investigating the matter at hand to answering questions concerning the participants mental state.
By far, the greatest form of political correctness is the labelling of someone as a hater. Thus the baby is thrown out with the bathwater. None of the views of the hater can be listened to once this happens. Like herbivores observing a pack of wild dogs at a carcass, others take note of the punishment dished out to the hater. Behaviour is adjusted accordingly.
Personal attacks can be devastating because everyone is expected to approach public discussion from a neutral standpoint. However, the ability to be neutral is never, never, never realized in practice. Everyone does approach issues from some perspective. The more “un-alike” people are – in terms of things like their religious, cultural, political, ethnic, or racial origins or bearings – the less ‘neutral’ they appear. People who are quite alike are better able to maintain the pretence of neutrality. Group-think is required for a facade of neutrality.
Maybe I have done a bit of J’accuse! in the past regarding people I disagree with. I can only say I try not to. It is something I will pay particular attention to in the future.
But you know what? People are entitled to hate me. I believe though that discussion should be done with as much emphasis on the matters at hand as possible. Otherwise, why bother?
Enough with the personal attacks!