It used to be that people could blame government policy for making things more expensive for everybody (i.e. taxes), or for creating the potential for individual injustice (i.e. the EPA unexpectedly preventing people from building on their own land), but when these things happened even those who supported such policies would recognize these examples of injustice as abuses and accept that exceptions could be made. People might advocate to make certain actions illegal (i.e. smoking in public parks), which would obviously injure anyone who gets caught doing them, but they would refrain from going after specific people themselves, leaving it up to the legal system. People might make accusations against politicians (i.e. of war crimes), but at least politicians should expect backlash for taking a public stand. What was rarer was the mob mentality in going after everyday people who innocently get caught up in the political waves.
Now people are actually getting hurt. A college professor opines that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, which is a semantics argument with no objective truth or falsehood, and the college fires her. Now I see thousands of people saying she deserves it. I hear that a county clerk in Kentucky who has harmed nobody is thrown in jail without trial simply for doing her job under Kentucky law. Now thousands of people say she deserved it and have spread lies about her. I hear that cops and blacks aren’t getting along. Both feel threatened by the other. Now a black restaurant manager can’t even make a joke to a policewoman without getting fired and a white cop can’t even defend his own life against an attacker who happens to be black without being accused of murder and getting death threats. Countless people on both sides spout the most hateful rhetoric I have ever heard, but the content of their comments makes it clear they have absolutely no idea what they’re ranting about! Hardly anyone takes the time to understand an issue before taking sides. This is entertaining (though also sad and frustrating) when debating abstract economic policy. It becomes scary when involving the fates of real people. Who’s next?
There is nothing to be done with those that won’t listen, but those that will might find value in my book, The Nutcase Across The Street. We will never make any permanent progress without compromise, and we can’t compromise without understanding the concerns of others. Often, there is more to an issue than we are aware. In The Nutcase Across The Street, I try to show this and that many of the current divisions are illusory. Read more.