Oh save us from that X-factor style of insidious herding (other Reality TV shows are available): the madness of crowds that seeks to ensure and enforce overt demonstrations of conformity. Another type of bullying born of mass hysteria, fear and paranoia which is compounded in those who suffer from them by their absence in others. These people demand that you immediately match their motive and equal their outrage. If you don’t you risk being mentally or physically accosted by some blind-with-fury, superficially horrified stranger, determined to seek you out in order to demand you prove your reasonableness and your humanity quick sharp. These self-righteously indignant fools require your explicitly expressed horror to validate and measure their own consciences and prevent them frothing from their orifices. What?? Horror at a frenzied, mediaeval murder of a soldier, in the UK, in broad daylight, in front of a school, next to a barracks? Hardly difficult! Who in their right mind would actually view such an attack as acceptable, let alone express it? Wasn’t every decent person naturally shocked and repulsed?
There’s a lot of this suppressive tone about nowadays coming from people who feel the need to question your character and morality if you dare to grasp a bigger picture and hold a more dimensionally rich view. Somehow they feel outraged and threatened out of their tiny minds and it must be your fault because you’re drawing their attention to the man-made complexities of life. In fact, they seem to become more enraged at your lateral thinking than at the original event! In their minds it is because of people like you – Lefties and Commies – that the globe is in such a wrecked state in the first place. I know… deep sigh. You can’t say anything even slightly controversial without first clarifying that yes, you too found the act heinous, shocking and disgusting. Well:
- Believing your government’s foreign policies have caused or at least contributed to disaffection and ‘terrorism’ does not equal approval of the act.
- Being somewhat unable to agree that the event was an act of political terrorism does not equal approval of the act.
- Expressing anger over the imparity of attention and outrage with like and similar events does not equal approval of the act.
- Feeling disturbed at the racheting up of rhetoric from the media, leaders and the public does not equal approval of the act.
- Concern at the excuse for an authoritarian backlash of surveillance and dodgy laws does not equal approval for the act.
This really shouldn’t be difficult to understand – unless, of course, you’re trying really hard not to.
That’s oppression for you.
Some are panic-stricken, knee-jerk reactionary sheep; some are that type who relish and actively look for opportunities to spout vitriolic argument. Both suffer from deep seated fear. But understanding this psychology doesn’t make it go away and I’m not sure I’m under any particular obligation to venture into their realms if all it does is humour, destroy or feed their egos. You can’t reason with people whose definition of reasonable is to avoid any real depth of thought or appreciation for context. That way lies madness and I’m not prepared to join them. If people shed their bigotry at all it is likely through their own experiences rather than persuasive reasoning. It’s a waste of time unless you have a masochistic tendency.
Oh – and there’s evidently little point in expecting better from our media and politicians: they might be more subtle but it’s oxygen to their moneyed veins. Their win-win approach means such atmospheres rarely go unused: never waste the opportunities offered by a good crisis, so they serve as a convenient distraction and excuse for doing something shady.
This tribal, herding tactic reminds me of that other rather successful cheap shot from back in 2002/3 when, if you expressed your distress and disapproval of the invading of Iraq, you were accused of being a Sadd-an-Insane Sympathiser. If you had any counter-argument, you had to précis it with something like obviously Saddam Hussein is an abominable dictator before you could get anywhere near passing ‘Go’.
Since last year it has become more difficult to say you appreciate and support the work of Julian Assange without someone waiting in the wings, all too ready and willing to charge you with being a rape apologist.
I wonder: do I have to confirm that, yes; I do indeed feel revolted and horrified by paedophilia; that I believe it’s an abominable crime before I’m allowed to tell you that my favourite Michael Jackson song is ‘Billie Jean’?
Well… do I?