“Let us not satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
At many times in history, a zeitgeist founded upon identity politics and manipulative linguistics has come into vogue. Now is one such time, but the effect and depth of the vitriol and intellectual dishonesty on all sides are exacerbated by our high speed, highly sophisticated communications technologies.
Western Civilization is in the second age of the printing press, in which each individual has immediate access to a means of information scribe and dissemination. And because anyone can access a platform, just about anyone does.
Once upon a time, arguments had to be tracked down and searched for, and the emotional drama earned by way of exacting or at least energetic face to face debate.
Now arguments seek us out, in fact, we are notified as conflicts arise, and our consumption and active participation in those conflicts are mapped, studied, analyzed and monetized.
Every click is a commodity, every article an argumentative hub, and every YouTuber a small demagogue.
We are responsible as information distributors and consumers in so far as we hold ourselves to a self-created standard or are bullied by way of blowback to the standard of the mob.
Never before has humanity so often and with such gusto clustered into various angry mobs, each self-righteous and ready for if not violent at least coercive action.
The Internet has been compared to the Wild West, or Anarchy, a series of tribes like that of our Hunter-Gatherer ancestors.
But that phase has ended. The Internet, so fast to mature, is already in its middle ages. The greater proportion of users are subjects of feudal Lords who exact clicks and erect protective walls of unquestioning and polarizing belief.
We would do well to see who our Lords are, and question them with great vigor. The walls we strive to erect are not needed, and the darkest tendencies of the past need not be repeated.