Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cassandra Question for All of Us

Cassandra tells the truth and no one believes her.  By the time they know it to be truth, it doesn't matter.  I'm wondering, are we Troy?

Brendan Eich was forced to quit.

His crime?

Donating $1,000 to support a marriage amendment in California -- eight years ago.

 The firing of the Mozilla CEO for daring to have a non popular opinion is telling, and chilling.  How long before anyone who wishes to hold office must give a loyalty oath to prove they aren't out of touch with whatever the powers think important?  We now live in a world  where retroactive vindictiveness is harnessed to create a Social Media Hulk Smash Flash mob that uses prior actions and opinions to destroy the designated target in the present.  Lovely!  What could go wrong?

All of this is done to create a new society, one which tolerates, but not you...and not you....and not you.  Mobs that win through mob actions or at least silence opposition, don't dissipate, they rage on, they look for new victims, emboldened by the successes.  Others will see, Mozilla caved, and new attempts to purge corporations and other organizations of anyone who once or currently holds a position of power who espoused wrong thinking or contributed to the wrong political party will emerge.  Why?  Because it theoretically worked in this circumstance.  

But this sort of behavior on a societal level, it doesn't bring good, it doesn't create understanding and it certainly doesn't evangelize tolerance.  It promotes the equivalent of thumbs up thumbs down.  All we're doing now, is determining who the next meal is for the lions. 

The problem with this social media driven resignation/socially demanded firing is it wasn't based on anything but disagreement with a position.  Judgment and verdict in one swoop, for expressing an opinion once upon a time that people disagree with now. 

No reason, no mercy, no discussion, no grey areas, no belief that anyone can ever think differently, was involved.  Just the rage that the present selected opinion wasn't always the opinion, and fear on the part of those surrounding the man, of what would happen if they did not capitulate.  

But the message sent by sending him packing, was no one should have ever thought differently.

And that sort of non thinking disguised as ideological righteousness is dangerous.  If you agree with the prevailing wind, you have nothing to worry about...unless you used to disagree with the prevailing wind, or until that day when you might.  Diversity of opinion is no longer tolerated.  

The standard reaction to this sort of a post by those who approve of the virtual dismissal of this person is to say, pshaw, that's just hyperbole, we're still a reasonable people.

We aren't ...insert unreasonable action here.  It's just HE shouldn't be thinking this way because he's in a position of power.

No one believes Cassandra, but our freedom of speech, our freedom of expression, our freedom of religion is being eroded in favor of everyone being "tolerant" by in no way differing.  

The purpose of our country is to allow people to think as they will, believe as they will, even if we disagree.  People are supposed to be legally able to create businesses and do the work and not have to pass a political, ideological litmus test to do so.   Politicizing everything in order to mold it to our own satisfaction is a lousy crazy way to live. I have friends with whom I disagree on multiple things, even important things, but they are still my friends because we see each other as human beings first, and that what is valuable in the other, is beyond where we differ.

People are still free to do so, but incidents like this erode the moral diversity of our society.   The cases against those who wish to operate their business under certain moral parameters like Hobby Lobby or the baker in Colorado, or the photographer in Arizona, are examples.  Our country no longer allows for live and let live. No, not agreeing, past or present, is designated as some sort of irreparable psychological harm, that must be censured. It's speak, speak perfectly, donate perfectly, align yourself politically correctly,  or die.  (business wise). 

The public nature of the consequence of a perceived act by those who perceived it to be hateful and declared it as such, should chill anyone who has ever entered or ever might enter into the public square.  Personal Political expression has just become a permanent threat to livelihood, no matter your acts. Your past is present, all sins equally fatal if judged guilty.  Every business is affected by what happened to Mozilla.  All it takes is one real or imagined grievance, and a committed individual to whip up a storm.   We have been to a person, doused with moral kerosene.  All that is needed, is for life to provide the match.

True tolerance, does not involve demanding the head of the other in capitulation.  True tolerance reveals the error of the other side through something other than sacking, vilifying or destroying livelihoods and mocking people for daring to disagree.  Look at Martin Luther King Jr., or Ghandi, or Pope John Paul the II, all three of these people faced evils they knew to be evil, and they managed to bring about a change in the hearts of peoples, whole peoples, not by firing people or declaring the other side evil, but by simply standing out against what they knew to be wrong.  

If the goal is to change hearts, threatening people's livelihood if they voted or donated a certain way may create a climate of complicit silence, but it isn't tolerance.  It's tyranny, it's mob rule, it's simply switching who is the bully and who is the bullied. 

If one wants a world where bullying is acceptable, carry on, and understand, one day, each of us will be on the losing side of whosoever has the greatest force and momentum. 

If you are really against bullying, if you really want tolerance, if you really want a world where COEXIST means something, you can't demand everyone act, think, speak, vote and work all the same way.  It's like demanding that all restaurants be five star, but serve McDonald's.  You have to allow for more than right and left, Republican and Democrat, secular and religious, you have to allow for diversity of thinking and the manifestation of that thinking in real life, as applied in work, play, association, business policies, family life, everything, all things. past and present.  

There is a great spectrum of diversity of being in this world.  We are all beautiful souls, and we are called to love all souls, to hope we will have the distinct pleasure of knowing each other, all each others for all of eternity.  That isn't tolerance, that's love, that's fellowship, that's a deeper community than can be generated via hunting down anyone and eventually everyone who fails to meet the ever moving standards of acceptability within the culture.   The prevailing thinking that all is relative means that limited parameters of tolerance are forever moving, excluding more and more always in favor of the new, which must necessarily dismiss the old.  

Do I feel sorry for a CEO?  No, it's not a case of pity for the rich man, it's a question of what type of society will we be.  Will we now have a free society, which does not declare whatever is not popular is immoral and illegal, or will we be slaves to fashion and politics and the forces that demand ideological fealty retroactively for all of time as proof of the purity of their own positions and vindication?  Will our society tolerate anyone being out of touch with whatever is not yet decided?  Can any of us endure such a scrutiny?  I would say, if the eyes of the world are turned on us, there is not one of us that would not be withered by the experience.  Such a world will not end well.

So here's my Cassandra question: How will we love if we will only tolerate perfection? Will we be able to bear the realness of being if we keep deciding that we can bear less and less of what it means to be real?

I know where I'd rather live.  I'm just not sure how we hold onto it.  


1 comment:

Kia said...

Nice column. Scary times indeed!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!