Activism, Conversation, Debates, FaceBook, Morals, Politics, Values

Burning Bridges

Dear Diary,

Ya know I surround myself with people of many different beliefs. Although generally the sets of very core values tend to be similar, some of the beliefs and how these core values manifest tend to greatly differ. I have atheist and theist friends. I have feminist, liberal, socialist friends and I have conservative, constitutionalist, and libertarian friends. I have friends who have very particularly views on how definitions work and some who are more in agreement with me. People who think video games do or don’t have certain affects on people. People who have particular views on how belief affects the world… the list goes on and on

And a lot of the times… my “Radical” or “Extremist” views will clash with this huge diversity of people. I’m very big on correcting things when I think they’re wrong. I’m also very open-minded on hearing things explaining why I’m wrong, even if in the end I don’t buy it. But I’ll get into a discussions very easily and often find clashing views on things. Now certainly, depending on the situation, i’m likely to just… not get into a discussion. But sometimes, the discussion happens and…. the person burns the bridge with me, deciding that this difference in ideals is so great that they CANNOT be friend.

So it’d be easy to say this person is a horrible person or something around the lines of bad friend…. but let’s first look at the extremes:

Let’s look at the least extreme.Someone doesn’t like the same taste in something as you do. Same taste in music, same taste in food. There’s no philosophical difference that separates you two on a mental stand point, this simple is subjective and often times (hard to know with every case) is a biological or psychological difference that doesn’t really reflect you as a person in a fundamental value sort of way. Anyone throwing you out as a friend in this sense is easily a bad friend. Now certainly, there are contexts where other factors could be put in… like how they communicate it and stuff. Let’s say however, everything was communicated politely and non-aggressively. Yes, this person is a bad friend.

Now the other extreme, the most different someone could be. Let’s say someone’s values are so intrinsically different they think… that killing people is okay. I’m not talking about the abortion debate. Like let’s say someone is saying that it’s perfectly acceptable to kill someone if you want something from them. This might be a little far fetched so let’s say…. they think that beating your spouse is acceptable. This person thinks beating their spouse is acceptable and you disagrere with this. Would you be a bad friend for leaving the friendship? Yes. There is no context where this isn’t so fundamentally offensive that you could justify this. At least for me.

So, now we got our spectrum. On one end we’re extremely critical of the person ending the friendship. On the other we’re completely sympathetic. So, what about…. more realistic situations. Let’s say…. someone doesn’t like my political outlook. This isn’t such a fundamentally different value that you really should feel so offended. One person believes in free health care is the most compassionate and another person believes private charity is more compassionate. In the end though… both people are for helping people. This difference SHOULD NOT get in the way of friendship. If you let something like this break your friendship, then you’re basically showing that the manifestation of your values are more important than the friendship. You really need to ask yourself if you’re disagreeing at the core what’s important, regardless of the implementation and how the two people think the outcomes will come about. Not only does this help preserve perfectly good friendships, but if you’re thinking like this you’re much more likely to UNDERSTAND their argument and well… understand the issue as a whole better. It makes you better prepared to debate about it.

So, the reason i put this up was i recently had a friend take me off facebook. He’s part of a movement I used to be a part of, but have grown distant from I still have a lot of the core concepts in agreement with him, but for I’ve decided the outcome of the solutions to the problems are less than ideal. And when he posted stuff I very politely disagreed with him and explained why. Then I was unfriended. It’s hard to feel anything but a great deal of disappointment when people put the manifestation of their ideals before the ideals themselves.

I suggest to focus on what you have in common and focus on some common core set’s of values, because it can remind you that even though your solutions might be as different as it gets… that doesn’t mean the core values are.



Activism, Idiots, Presentation

You’re not helping…

Dear Diary,

I’ve noticed that sometimes people like to be “Active” in a way that means they’re trying to help alleviate some sort of problem they’ve identified. We’ll call them…. activists! Among other things. However lots of people are activists for many different, sometimes contradictory, movements. This is fine. What’s particularly peculiar is when people are actively trying to help a movement but all they’re actually doing is actively losing it credibility. To be fair, I’ve been there, but I thought I’d just write down this observation.

What in the world do I mean? Well, let me elaborate. Let’s say… I want to stop something. Like let’s say sexism. What if I really really think sexism is a problem in this world, this country, this state, the school I’m going to, wherever. I identify let’s say that language can be a small factor in how we prop up sexism. To give a specific example, I see someone saying the word “Pussy,” which literally translates to vagina. However when they say it what they really mean is to say something like “Wimp” or “Scardy cat.” Why would they use that word then? Well maybe to use it as a representation of “women” and then are saying that a woman is necessarily a scardy cat and a wimp. Regardless if this is a proper or reasonable conclusion based on the premises, I’ve been convinced it is. So when someone says this word pussy I decide to try and help educate this person on how what they’re saying is contributing to this problem that is sexism. Seems legit right? Well let’s play out how this situation COULD be handled.

Start Scene:
“Oh look at this pussy run.”



“You said pussy. That’s not okay.”

“Oh sorry.”

“That’s your one chance to say that. After that there will be consequences.”

:End Scene

This all applies right? Actively trying to stop the use of a word that aids to the problem that is sexism. What could be possibly wrong with this? Well let me tell you wonderful diary!

1. It most likely puts the person on the defensive.

Now I know, most people are gonna get defensive no matter what you do. You show any sign of disagreement and they start to ball up in defensive formation and pull out their claws to claw at anything that comes their way. Likewise there are probably some people that will not get defensive even if you give them good reason to, so it won’t matter to them either. However there is a significant part of the population (I assume it’s significant, I don’t know) that will probably be defensive only if you give them reason to. We don’t want them being defensive. Not only is it less likely that they will understand your lesson, but it might just create unnecessary conflict.

2. It’s demanding.

There could be a long discussion about what is appropriate to be demanded for. However, I’ll assert that most of the time it would be better to not demand things. Demanding is necessarily controlling. People, usually at least in my opinion, don’t like to be controlled. Now I could easily turn this back into point one, but the person shouldn’t be forced into changing their language… they should WANT to change their language. When it’s a demand there’s no room for discussion. What if you’re wrong? What if it’s not sexist? If it’s a demand there is no real room for discussion, only again… conflict.

3. You aren’t going to actually educate them.

Remember the explanation as to why it was aiding sexism? Well when you just demand someone do that you give no room, like I said earlier, for discussion. Maybe the person knows why it’s offensive and just doesn’t care or hasn’t gotten around to changing bad habits. But maybe they just… don’t understand it’s a problem. If you DEMAND that they just follow your orders you’re leaving little room for understanding.

4. You give your movement a very negative feel.

Understanding the earlier points, you attach this very controlling negative feel to your movement. “Those people trying to alleviate sexism? Yeah they’re demanding assholes. I met one once! All they want to do is control me. I don’t even understand why they got so mad!” <— Kinda reminds you of points 1-3? Well, even if they weren’t defensive… even if they ignored your controlling behavior… even if they understood the point… you might still leave a taste in the person’s mouth that’s most unpleasant. You certainly won’t be doing any movement trying to alleviate sexism a favor when behaving this way.

In the end, this is all about PRESENTATION. The sexism part was just an example… I’ve seen it in many different movements. Trying to alleviate sexism, racism, heterosexism, political party prejudices, prejudices towards a religion or a lack of religion… You’re just not helping these movements by acting abrasive and demanding. Anyways, Diary, that’s just my thoughts on the matter.