I was reading Sarah Hoyt’s post Smelling the Smoke, and the comments. It was brought up that when it comes to mob behavior, or maintaining social credit, many people who consider themselves to be good people find themselves committing horrific acts and condoning appalling behavior. Behavior such as rioting, looting, arson, harassment of strangers, bullying, etc. All behaviors they will loudly proclaim they teach their children to abhor. They will go to great lengths to condemn language on social media posts, piling on when “trigger words” are found, calling language the equivalent of violence. And, then, they will excuse a “peaceful protester” for shooting and killing a counter-protester, because the counter-protester was a Trump supporter. “Well, that’s what happens when you support Trump.” It’s all enough to make one question the sanity of friends and family members, not to mention the world as a whole. Has everyone gone mad?
In response to statements (usually from politicians) that expressed surprise and/or shock that some marvelous idea had gone sour, my father used to say that they were operating on the idea of “how can we be wrong when we’re so sincere?” He always followed that by commenting that not thinking about either collateral damage or unintended consequences would cause worlds of trouble. Today, more than ever, I find myself thinking about my dad’s comments. Riots, looting, destruction, deaths. All of which are the result of “good” policies gone bad (yes, I count bad policing habits among that…training is a good policy gone bad), and “good” people committing evil in the name of creating a “good” society. I’m still not sure how that works, especially if one believes that two wrongs don’t make a right…but then, hey, I’m obviously not a “good” person.
Righteous and needed anger over some police tactics and procedures has been turned into a race war. Or, rather I should say, the simmering race war has found an excuse for blatant violence in the use of questionable police tactics. So, people who view themselves as the forefront of all that is good and right in the world (they know better than everybody apparently) started destroying lives and livelihoods in the name of that “good”. Then, other people, who would never condone such violence, started to condone it. They justified it. “Well, if I had to live with that sort of fear for my family, hell yeah, I’d riot.” Really? You would? You’d attack a 75-year old woman who was trying to defend her store? You’d shoot and kill a black retired police officer trying to protect his friend’s business? “Of course not!” they cry. “That’s not what I meant!” Well, then. What exactly did you mean when you said you’d riot? You’d only loot Macy’s? Or you’d only smash windows? Or you’d only throw things at cops? What exactly did you mean? “No! I mean, I wouldn’t do that…but I can see why they would!” But, if you can see why they would, that means you can picture a situation where you would do the same. At this point, they usually curse you, call you names (racist and fascist being the most common…no imagination there), stomp away and block you on all social media.
How do these supposedly good people (and under normal circumstances they truly are good) end up supporting such evil? Two words: social credit. They’ve been told that these are the policies they must support regardless of the inconsistencies and outright contradictions they can see within the policies and the outcomes. If they wish to continue to be viewed as a “good” person, they must adhere to these arguments. To do otherwise means they risk losing friends and social standing. As tribal animals that makes humans exceedingly nervous.
But! They’ve been lied to regarding the intended (and unintended) outcomes of these policies, and those who created the policies have turned around and told them that the policies are good, any problems are the fault of those opposing the policies. The most blatant of these lies is that the riots in cities that have experienced decades-long dominance by Democratic politicians are currently being blamed on President Trump. Damn, that man in powerful! But you must support these lies to maintain your social credit. Note that it wasn’t until two CNN commentators, Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, discussed falling poll numbers due to rioting. Lemon actually said that now Joe Biden and others must condemn the riots because the poll numbers are showing that riots don’t help. So, the argument pivoted to “the riots are all Trump’s fault”. Maintaining social credit gets harder by the hour.
If you try to bring up anything good that Trump has supported, you will usually get the “stopped clock is right twice a day” response which is itself an implicit acknowledgement that he did something right. But most often you will get a response where the policy or his support is picked to pieces. “Well, I’d have to see…”
It is very frustrating, yes. Friends will drop you like a hot potato. Good people do not like being questioned on their motives or actions. Because they are good, by definition their motives and actions are good. Questioning that (any by extension making them question their own motives) is evil. Because only evil questions a known good. Where we can find support is in those who also question the good. There are a lot of people out there who categorically oppose rioting, looting, arson, and murder. And, they are not afraid to say so.
You are not alone in your defense against the “good” people who currently support evil.
Trust me. You aren’t.