Yesterday I wrote an ironic essay on hate speech. I am following it today with some ideas that came to me after publishing that piece.
It seems to me that today's chief method for calling attention to injustice is whining. Journalists are prone to use sentimentality and anecdotal sob stories to illustrate points about social injustices. Often the adult subjects of these stories are no angels or hapless victims. They have participated in some dance which has led to catastrophe.
I am not blaming true victims. I am perhaps redefining for myself who is a true victim of injustice. For example, a small child under the age of twelve who goes to school and is beaten up for talking, walking, dressing or simply appearing a certain way is a victim. No question. And authorities, rather than wheedling out of their responsibility with a lot of goofy talk about helping the attackers to learn sensitivity, should intervene with intelligent sanctions against violence. If this happened more often, the amount of escalating violence in schools would decline rapidly.
An adult person who holds a gun in an unarmed person's face is never a victim. It doesn't matter whether the gun is a loaded weapon or made of licorice. In America especially, a pointed gun is potentially lethal. Whatever happens to to the holder of that gun is justified, in my opinion. Some communities have become mentally poisoned by violence, drug culture and indoctrination with a distorted social history transmitted by people who exploit it. Adults who decline education in favor of that kind of community culture are not victims. They are participants in their own oppression.
Declaring independence from family and social environment to pursue a better path takes a great deal of courage, especially if you are born poor. The standard for social advancement in poor communities has shifted from individual courage to group/gang whining. Whining in these groups often progresses to tantrums. Riots and looting result.
I have chosen to work hard for my intellectual and fiduciary independence despite a considerable series of obstacles. I found very early in life that whining got me nothing but contempt. And I feel that was a precious lesson, despite the pain involved in learning it. I am grateful to the few good teachers who opened doors to me which my family were unequipped to offer. Those teachers, some harsh, saved me from a great deal of unnecessary pain and failure in my life.
I see social media and mainstream press teaching quite a different gospel to the underprivileged youth of today. I see an obsession with sheltering and coddling that is irrational in the face of a challenging global human environment. I see demonizing of legitimate authority and elevation of criminality. I see invasive intrusion of masses of people who have turned their backs on their own domestic problems in the name of wanting to make more money. I see these people using their children as shields, despite taking their children on hazardous journeys which put their lives at risk. I hear men and women whining about having to care for too many children in impoverished conditions without anyone asking them why they had so many children in the first place.
The whiner is looking for someone else to control the greater environment for him/her. I believe the most courageous act anyone makes is the unconditional acceptance of full responsibility for his/her actions. This act is the doorway to true liberation from oppression, the worst oppression, the oppression of oneself by oneself.