Thoughts on vitriolic speech

When we succumb to vitriolic language, we lose credibility in the marketplace of ideas. When one group espouses that all members of another group are inherently of no value, they set up a scenario of escalation by the people who most embody their statement and alienation from those who do not. That alienation has the opposite effect of the intended statement. Statements such as this are intended to highlight a problem and start a discussion but they have the opposite effect. Statements such as this polarize the accused group, causing not disintegration or fracturing but instead causes the majority of that group to, at least initially defend the group or try to differentiate themselves from that grouping.

This then leads to the people saying nay to the hyperbole, which then leads to a demonizing of those that say nay, then leads to anyone who might want to participate in a discussion about it to go silent. Because when all members of a group who have no choice in being that are vilified, outside of people who like to argue, they will see that discussion led to even worse things. And so, silence.

If no one is talking except to shout slogans and hashtags at each other then nothing can be accomplished. No discussion. No sharing of ideas can occur if you force the individual members of the group to acknowledge that you are right before you will speak semirationally with them.

Both sides shouting, no one talking, no progress is made. People want it all fixed, right now. Societies don’t work like that. The idea has to permeate the culture first. And do we want to have a hateful idea permeate a culture. It’s simple to tell if an idea is hateful. Just turn it around. Apply it to yourself and your group. Do you feel affronted? Angry? If someone said that about you would it make you feel good? If not, then you are spreading hate.

Hate is easy and it causes human emotions to flash hot. But it is destruction. Maybe you think to burn it down to rebuild it. But hate breeds more hate until there is no one left to rebuild. Or if there is, it will likely be people who rebel against your hateful ideas. Either way, you don’t accomplish your goal.

It is easy to say no compromises. But that is not how advanced societies function. Dictatorships do. But they don’t last and neither do their policies. One or two human lifetimes is the most you accomplish.
Real forward progress is accomplished by understanding and the slow process of new ideas embedding into youth and age giving way to the youth as policy makers. It’s slow. But it is effective and lasting change.

If you feel the need to fight, fight for someone’s rights. For someone’s life. For each other. Giving into hate creates a situation where things can’t change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.