Tag Archive | conformity

Bad Apples & Peer Pressure

Americans continue to underestimate peer pressure, but I’m not sure that there is a manipulation force in the west that is more powerful than that of peer pressure. In fact, the dangers of peer pressure are ones that I constantly watch out for; as I’ve said countless times, it will only take one drunken idiot jokingly saying, “We should teach that fag a lesson” for it to grow out of control. We all know how it will play out next: his friends will agree, and the next thing you know they’re on their way to my house with chains and bats, and the first drunken idiot’s reservations about it are kept quiet.

I think it was in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that Dumbledore remarked that standing up to one’s friends is among the most difficult things that a person can do, and this remains true today. Yet I’m seeing a lot of condemnation for the cops who stood around and did little, or nothing, to stop the arresting asshole from being an arresting asshole.

Absolutely, yes–that was wrong of those officers. But let’s not pretend like most of us would have done otherwise in that position. The overwhelming majority of us would have stood around silently, keeping our reservations quiet. The top-right officer, who you can see in the video putting his hand on the asshole and attempting to calm him, is the only one who did something to try to calm the situation, and I daresay that it was far more than what 99% of people would do.

We all like to think we’re immune to peer pressure. But we’re not. Because he says it infinitely better than I can, take a few minutes to watch this short video on conformity by therapist and psychologist TheraminTrees:

This is an observed phenomenon that affects the majority of people.

It’s easy to stand there and condemn the cops for doing nothing. Yet how many of us have stood and watched a fight play out, and one person be kicked in the head while they lie on the ground? You know what you see when you watch the video of the nurse being arrested, and everyone else standing around and watching?

Notice all the people standing around, watching, as “a few bad apples” engage in being bad apples. Those “good apples” in Antifa–they’re doing nothing to put a stop to this, to calm the situation, to de-escalate it. I’m not ripping on Antifa; the exact same thing is seen in the cop video, or in any video of a mob targeting a single person. The horrific murder of Kelly Thomas certainly applies. You’re watching animals–bloodthirsty predatory animals–who smell blood circle around and pounce on their target.

I remember being in high school, my ninth grade year, when a friend of ours wanted to put together “a gang.” I don’t remember what he called it, but it wasn’t “gang,” though it had the same effect. Naturally, we all agreed, and the rule was anyone who wanted out had to fight the guy who put it together. None of us took it seriously, of course. Then one guy said he wanted out. They fought in the locker room of the Fieldhouse. These two large dudes shoved each other through lockers while everyone else watched. No one moved to stop it. No one went to get the coaches. No one jumped in, because these two behemoths would have crushed most people purely by accident. But there were more than enough of us to rally together and break up the fight.

And none of us did.

On September 11, 2001, a number of planes were hijacked by a relatively small number of people. The passengers, despite being numerous enough to overwhelm the hijackers, consistently did nothing, in at least three out of four of the alleged hijackings*. Because it’s not just a simple matter of “Hey, everyone, we can take these guys! We can put a stop to this.” Anyone who thinks it’s that simple has never been in such a situation.

The reality is that, even if “everyone else” joins in, that first person who acts is as good as dead. Even if five other people would have jumped in and overpowered the hijacker and his box-cutter (or whatever), the first person who jumped for the hijacker was still dead. Of course, in the grand scheme, they were all dead, weren’t they? Surely we have to wonder why, once it became clear that they were all going to die, they did not take over the plane? It was not cowardice; they were not cowards. No, it’s too easy to call them cowards, but that doesn’t carry water. If you tell an animal they’re about to die, they’ll not passively submit.

The answer is more insidious and more dangerous: peer pressure.

Further, we have to ask ourselves what would have happened if one of the cops had moved forward to put a stop to it? Even though it’s pretty clear from the video that most of the cops present had quiet reservations (anyone familiar with body language can see this), only the one guy did anything about it. What if he had done more? He’d have been fired, or at the least reprimanded for questioning another officer’s authority during an arrest. You know how a mother occasionally says to the father, “How dare you challenge me in front of the kids?” or how the father says that to the mother? It’s the same thing here.

Good apples and bad apples is too simplistic of a view. It’s not that simple. There are good apples (yes, coming from me), and you can often see their reservations about how things are developing. It’s easy to criticize them for not stepping forward and putting a stop to the bad apples’ bullshit, but this criticism drastically underestimates the power of peer pressure–the same power that caused the Salem Witch Trials, the anti-clown hysteria of last year, the anti-Russian hysteria, the current Neo-Nazi hysteria. The same power that causes peaceful Antifa protestors to stand around and do nothing as their comrades pile on single individuals and beat them.

We can’t address this quickly or easily. We have to go to the source, and the source is peer pressure. It takes far more forms than the simple “Ah, you know you want to smoke this marijuana” indicated by afterschool specials. Watch the video I linked to get a more complete picture of what, exactly, peer pressure can do–what that innate desire to conform to others can do. It’s powerful.

And it’s the problem.

* Don’t get me started.

JonTron, YouTube, & Bandwagons

I want to start this off my commending Jon Jafari for having the courage to express his opinions in an environment that is increasingly hostile to any amount of dissent. With universities throughout the country playing host to vicious riots and attacks against people who were invited to speak, and with DDoS attacks regularly taking place against any popular person who dares voice a criticism of something else, it has become difficult to openly say what you think. This is, in fact, why the media missed the mark so much on the 2016 Election. Criticism around the clock from every corner of the web and media attacked Trump supporters, washing them all as racist, homophobic, transphobic, and xenophobic, to the point that many people were reluctant to express their support for him. But then they were able to voice their opinion through the ballot, where there was no more judgment, no ostracizing, and no hostility.

I’ve had people criticize me for daring to criticize another transgender person. That’s how deep and pervasive the groupthink has become–the allegation was, seriously, that I was not allowed to express a negative statement about another transgender person, because I’m transgender, and that means my individuality, my thoughts, and my mind don’t belong to me–they belong to my tribe. I became a heretic simply for expressing my opinion.

The Internet is largely the domain of the same people who riot on college campuses. Partially due to observable biases that see right-wing figures blocked for hate speech while left-wing figures can rant all they want, social media increasingly leans to the left. This is exacerbated by the reality that anyone who expresses their opinion invites themselves to be ripped to shreds. Combined, we’ve ended up with a very loud leftist bent on the Internet and a meek, intimidated right that is only beginning to speak again.

Nowhere was this more apparent than with my since-deleted video criticizing the Liberal Redneck. One person after the next came and attacked me, simply because I dared criticized a leftist who was, purportedly, “speaking for me.” This hearkens back to the tribal mindset I mentioned earlier–I was being told to shut up and be silent, to let the tribe speak for me, and I was ostracized when I refused to allow my voice to be cut off and stolen by a group with whom I disagree. The attacks were so constant and so persistent that I did something I never thought I’d do: I deleted the video that caused the ruckus. The only things that remain of it are my follow-ups about tribalism and the Us and Them mentality that demands I sheepishly abide what the tribe says on my behalf, whether I agree with it or not.

For someone like me, even voicing an opinion at all can, much of the time, result in attacks. I once commented on a video of a woman overreacting that someone smacked her with a newspaper by saying, “This is how liberals acted every time Trump opened his mouth.” The first reply to that was from a Trump supporter who criticized me for being transgender. People on the right will relentlessly attack me for being transgender, regardless of how unrelated to the discussion it is. Meanwhile, people on the left will relentlessly attack me for not being a Democrat.

It’s easy to stand on video today and say, “I support gay rights.” It’s not only easy; it’s passe. It’s expected, especially in places notoriously dominated by millennials, like YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit. There’s no battle there, no controversy there. It’s little more than virtue signaling at this point. Remember the episode of South Park where Stan and Cartman drove a boat into the dam and broke it? At the end of the episode, Stan musters his courage and confesses that he broke the dam. Then the rest of the crowd decides that Stan means it in a metaphorical sense, and the assembled people begin stating one after the other, “I broke the dam.”

Finally, Cartman, laughing a bit, steps forward and confesses, “I broke the dam.”

That is what it is to be a modern progressive in a university, in a city, or on the Internet. It’s a safe, uncontested position, where on is bolstered on all sides by people who agree, because people who have the courage to disagree are either silenced and told to go along with the majority, or are condemned and, increasingly, outright attacked violently. It takes no courage to be a Mississippian high schooler standing up and saying that he believes in Jesus, either, because that’s the prevailing opinion.

Caitlyn Jenner made a huge stink last year about going to use the women’s restroom at Trump Tower, after Trump had stated that transgender people could use whatever restroom they wanted in his building. It took no courage to do that. She wanted to be like Rosa Parks, except Caitlyn would only ride the bus if she knew the bus driver would let her sit wherever she wanted. The courageous act would have been going to South Carolina or Mississippi and doing it there. It takes no courage or bravery to jump onto a bandwagon that everyone else has jumped on.

During the 2016 Election, I unfollowed a number of YouTube personalities for proclaiming quite inexplicably things like “I’m interested in politics, and I’m going to discuss it! If you don’t like it, unfollow me!” I unfollowed them because it was bullshit. There was nothing courageous about being yet another YouTube personality jumping on the Sanders bandwagon without being able to give a single, cogent reason that Sanders made a good candidate, and neither was there anything courageous about proclaiming “I’m with her!” once Hillary stole the nomination. And now that the election is over, all those people who were “interested in politics” have gone back to cosplaying or whatever they do, having fully confused their eagerness to jump on a bandwagon with genuine interest and awareness of a complex subject.

I like Jon Jafari’s videos. That’s why I’m aware of his existence in the first place. The only video of his that I don’t like is the one about the Dungeons & Dragons movie, and that’s only because it hits so near to home for me, because my grandmother did think that shit, and was convinced of that shit by our pastor. Jon’s a hilarious guy, and he’s the only person I’ve ever watched who made me genuinely ask, “How does he come up with this shit?!” while laughing hysterically. I don’t particularly care about his politics, because he’s just a guy who makes stuff that I like. That doesn’t place his opinions in any place higher than my own opinions, just as I disagree with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd on several things, and even with John McAfee on a few.

I like Mark Dice’s videos–most of them, at least. There’s almost nothing that I agree with Mark Dice about.

I like Jim Sterling’s videos, and he is commonly called a SJW. I don’t think he’s one, because he is perfectly reasonable, and the mark of the SJW is that they are completely unreasonable. I disagree with him on a number of things, but that doesn’t stop me from liking him and enjoying his videos. Considering Jim intentionally encourages a Cult of Personality type of thing, that’s particularly humorous, but The Jimquisition is all in good fun. Even though he says “Thank god for me,” I think he’d probably be a little concerned and probably a lot disturbed to learn if there is a little kid out there who says each night before going to bed, “And thank you, God, for Jim Sterling” with sincerity.

What I’m saying is that we should all break this cult of personality thing, but it looks like it’s actually going to take off and become worse, with Oprah announcing her intention to run for office in 2020. All of his knowledge of physics in the world wouldn’t make Neil deGrasse Tyson a good administrator, and neither would it make him any more likely to hold sound policies. Being funny as hell shouldn’t give Jon’s opinions any more validity in anyone’s eyes–he’s still just some guy expressing an opinion.

But it does, and now condemnation pours in from all over the Internet on this funny guy who dared express his opinion because that opinion wasn’t the bandwagon, trendy opinion of the day.

I happen to think Jon is wrong. There’s no such thing as immigrant. There’s just an animal exercising their natural right to move from a place with fewer resources to a place with greater abundance. Just as the birds have the natural, innate, and unalienable right to fly south during the winter, so does a human have the natural, innate, and unalienable right to go any-damn-where they want, as long as they don’t trespass on another person’s property. But while people can own property and claim resources–a claim that stands prima facie and can be disputed formally, but, if not overturned formally and with civility, cannot be undermined without the initiation of force, violence, or coercion–a nation isn’t a real thing, either, and so a nation can’t claim resources.

Jon said that a nation is either sovereign or it isn’t. That’s an incorrect way of viewing the world, as it places tremendous value and weight in imaginary, artificial human constructs. Nations aren’t sovereign because nations aren’t real. They’re categorical constructs meant to simplify classification, and the tribal nature of our species had made them far more trouble then they’re worth, because instead of being just handy labels to convey characteristics quickly and easily, they become delineations that we’re willing to fight, torture, kill, and maim over. “How dare you hail from a different tribe? You are wicked!” becomes the norm, instead of, “Oh, you hail from Europe? So you’re more likely to have this, that, and the other characteristic. Neat.”

But I do commend Jon, even though I don’t agree with him, for having the courage to go against the grain. A lot of people would adamantly deny that the Internet, particularly, has a strong bias to the left, but that’s to be expected. People in the south insist that there’s no social pressure to be a Christian, too, but there most certainly is. I’ll leave once more with this video by TheraminTrees on conformity, and how the social pressure to conform and jump on the bandwagon compels us more than we think. At the very least, people should have the proper context for viewing Jon’s statements–he’s just another person–and should neither take him as a gift to the alt-right or an enemy of the left, and he definitely shouldn’t become Public Enemy Number One just because he dared speak his opinion.

 

This is me.

In case you’d like a sound track while you listen:

Anyway, earlier today I discussed with someone the various kinds of programming that people are hit with from the day they’re born–religious, advertising, and so on–and it was a pretty good conversation. At one point in the discussion, I was asked “Why?” and I replied that the state–government–is one of the biggest programming/brainwashing elements out there. It is the most institutionalized, the least questioned and least challenged, the most dominant, and the most powerful. Anyone who spends any significant amount of time introspectively wondering whether their responses to various stimuli have been pre-programmed by external influences will eventually turn their attention to the state.

Honestly, I think I could hear her eyes roll when I mentioned the state.

In the modern west, there are three primary factors that go into our conditioning–and yes, we’ve all been conditioned. I’ve talked about this countless times. Here, I talked about how we’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to associate nudity with sex. Here I discussed how we’re conditioned to place value–particularly, the value of “important”–in arbitrary things and, more importantly, to identify so strongly with that value that we use it as the basis for other assessments. It’s not a subject that I shy away from.

We’ve been conditioned to think of humans as boys and girls, black and white, and countless other divisive categories that serve no purpose than to separate us from one another and to slice the world up into groups of Us and Them. In this article, I explicitly discussed the fact that labels are useful only for communication–instead of saying to you “I have breasts and curves, long hair, I wear makeup, and I wear women’s clothes, but I have a penis” I simply say “I’m a shemale.” It’s about conveyance and communication, these labels. I even did a video on the subject–one I’m not particularly proud of, honestly–titled “Be an Individual.”

Groupthink is a serious problem, and it has its roots in conformity, which is another subject that I discuss fairly often–often enough that it has its own Category. The desire to conform and fit in binds so many people to be things they don’t want to be, and to do things they don’t want to do, because the act of standing up against the group and saying, “No! I’m going to just do me!” takes a tremendous amount of courage, because the path is riddled with fear. Fear of loneliness that comes with not being part of the group. Fear of rejection that comes when the group brands you as a heretic. Fear of stepping off the conventional path and into the darkness, to let go of the person you were following and begin feeling your own way out of Thesseus’s labyrinth.

Those three things are religion, advertising, and the state.

On the first, religion is certainly doing the least programming these days, and the days of its control of the population are waning. In the past, a person’s worldview and outlook were informed almost entirely from their religious beliefs; today, a person’s religious beliefs are informed almost entirely from their worldview and outlook. There are still plenty–like the people in my family, for example–who take their cues largely from the religious programming pushed onto them by their parents, who themselves had it pushed onto them by their own parents, who themselves had it pushed onto them by their own parents, ad infinitum.

That’s generally how things work. Each generation simply follows in the footsteps of the preceding generation, carrying on its trends, its ideas, and its practices. We look to the past as a guide and an anchor, using it to assure ourselves that we are on the right path, even as one thing after the other goes wrong. Even though that path has led to not one but two World Wars, the slaughter of Native Americans, the Holocaust, neverending wars, the destruction of the planet, widespread hatred, and so many other things, we remain on that path, never questioning whether we should get off it.

Painfully, someone has forgotten who I am. I don’t know how, but that is why I’m writing this–to state it once more, firmly and clearly. Here on Quora, someone asked if the next generation was going to be a Cupcake Generation, and I pointed out the same thing there: the next generation will be pretty much exactly like the preceding ones.

The most common thing is that a generation merely continues along whatever path the preceding generation placed it on, and that looks to be exactly what our generation is going to do—not just for tradition’s sake, but because we appear to actively fear change. We are terrified of everything and everyone, and the only thing that gives us solace is the knowledge that the state is there, protecting us from the bogeymen.

I am an anarchist, and of the mind that we do need to tear down everything. Every single existent human institution, and rebuild from scratch. We will not, however. We will continue traipsing merrily this path of destruction and self-destruction once our parents die and can no longer carry us down it.

The state isn’t merely one cog in the wheel of programming that we’re hit with our entire lives. It’s not some distant thing that can be safely and easily ignored as a factor in human behavior; it is the biggest source of programming that we have in the world today. And if the state isn’t directly controlling our minds through the education system, lies, manipulation, and coercion, then it’s relying on popular entertainment to do it–like with the film The Purge, where very few people questioned the premise. “Of course, there would be a lot of murder if murder wasn’t illegal for one day!” people thought, taking the premise and running with it.

But the premise is wrong, because it isn’t legality that stays people’s hands; it’s morality. We don’t kill each other for the reason that we think it’s morally wrong, not because we don’t want to be punished. Yet that idea is there. No one ever had to explicitly state it. The government didn’t have to write into a textbook that there would be widespread murder and rape if the government didn’t make them illegal, but that idea is in people’s heads, isn’t it? In fact, though, a lot of history and civics textbooks in high school do make the allegation that the government is what keeps these things from existing. In actuality, though, the government is a murderous, thieving rape gang. It is nothing else, and it is nothing more than that. It has simply used its power and the comfort of centuries of tradition to program us to accept it as inevitable and, in more modern times, actually a positive thing.

So, too, are we swimming in a sea of advertisements. I have no idea how an ordinary person manages to use the Internet–I’ve rarely seen anything in such a state of disrepair. My Verizon Galaxy S7 isn’t as flexible as my Sprint S5, so I’ve not been able to tailor the experience as much as I’d like, and the result is that I’m pretty much running stock Chrome as one of my primary web browsers. The experience is horrendous! Even a common news page has five or six ads, sometimes breaking up the text, and sometimes covering up the text. Hell, rare is the website that lets me visit it without prompting me for my email address to sign up for its newsletter. And if it doesn’t fill the screen with an ad that is going to count down for 5 seconds before I can close out of it, then it’s certainly going to shove them into my face while I’m trying to read. This isn’t just a problem on the Internet, though.

The television show M*A*S*H, which incidentally is one of my favorite shows, has episodes that are 25 to 27 minutes long. To accommodate this, channels that run the series today chop out entire scenes to make it fit in the 23 minutes of programming expected of modern shows. Even though you’ve paid money to enter and watch a movie, you will still be served ads. They’ll come over whatever music app you’re using, they’ll come over the radio, and you’ll drive by them on your way to work. They’re everywhere, constantly programming us. Billions and billions of dollars go into researching how best to make you think what they want you to think. It’s not an accident that Starbucks has the reputation it has, or that Apple has the reputation it has. They know how to program us.

Years ago, a bass player in one of my bands told me about a new vehicle he purchased that beeped incessantly any time the car was cranked but the driver’s seatbelt wasn’t fastened. After a few weeks of this, he was in the habit of fastening his seatbelt before even cranking the car. It’s a habit that he continues to this day. He was programmed by his car to fasten his seatbelt. And this sort of thing happens all around us all the time. Even being able to recognize it only minimizes its impact on us; there is a constant battle for our minds, with everyone and everything trying to define things for us, trying to tell us what to assume, and trying to tell us how to act, how to think, how to feel, and how to respond.

The state has convinced us that nations are real, that borders are real, that our enemies are real, that war is necessary, that it is necessary, that it must take money from us, that it must rule us, that it must spy on us, that it must keep secrets, that it must tell us how to leave, and that it must protect us from ourselves. I recently described it as an Imaginary World, like how my father is looking forward to all the good things that are going to result from a Trump presidency. As I said then: “What is he talking about?”

Trump’s presidency is likely to have no effect whatsoever on his life one way or another. Your life is proceeding exactly as it was two years ago, and so is everyone else’s. Nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change. But people like my father–indeed, most Americans–live in this fantasy world, where Trump is either about to make everything better or about to destroy everything. They are fixated firmly on imaginary things. There are some places where this imaginary world created by politicians and rulers overlaps with our real world–like when I was arrested–but those are still rare occurrences. They are less rare as the leviathan state grows, which is why the United States currently has the highest percentage of the population in prison throughout the entire world.

The state, its role, and its power structures remain the same, though. The wars continue. The death continues. The slavery continues. The rape, the kidnapping, the brutality… it all continues, unchecked, because people are fixated on those imaginary worlds where things are either about to improve or about to totally collapse. And it is here that denial and cognitive dissonance take over. No matter how much things don’t change, and no matter how nothing ever changes one way or another, it never gets noticed and pointed out by the average person. The average person isn’t saying “Well, shit, nothing changed when we went form Bush to Obama, did it?”

But it didn’t.

Everything went on exactly as it had been going on, exactly as our parents had done, as our grandparents had done, and as our great grandparents had done. Because we’ve been programmed not to look. We’ve been programmed to not acknowledge the emperor’s nudity, and we’ve been programmed to convince ourselves that the emperor isn’t naked, so whenever anyone dares point out that the Emperor’s schlong is hanging out, we are conditioned to adamantly deny it, saying patently absurd and demonstrably false things like, “No, we withdrew from Iraq in 2011!”

I’ve met far more good Christians than I have bad ones. While I don’t believe in anything supernatural, I also don’t care to challenge anyone who does, because most people aren’t out there using their belief in the supernatural as an excuse to do terrible things. Some people are, like Steven Anderson, but most aren’t. Neither is advertising causing a great deal of suffering in the world, although materialism is–and I’ve spoken frequently against materialism.

By an enormous margin, the one thing doing the most harm in the world is the state, the programmed belief that we need a state, and the conditioned response to anarchism that the state protects us from evil in the world. The state has racked up a body count that the Christian Devil would envy–war-related deaths only, something like 120,000,000,000 people were killed by the state last century, and so far we’re on schedule to surpass that. Bombs are maiming and murdering innocent people because of the state. People are being robbed of their livelihoods by the state. People are being kidnapped and held against their will by the state.

The state is the most evil thing in existence. These groups of psychopathic, barbaric, murderous amoral, thieving rapists have conquered the entire planet and used their control of the world to convince virtually every ling person that we need those psychopathic, barbaric, murderous, amoral, thieving rapists to be in charge, because if they weren’t in charge, then we might end up with psychopathic, barbaric, murderous, amoral, thieving rapists in charge.

People should be free to explore themselves and reality, but that’s not just an esoteric idea, a meaningless platitude for dropping labels and blurring lines between genders or whatever social convention a person might want to break. People should be free not just in thought but in deed, because we are the culmination of our experiences, and we are the actors who create our next experiences. Control of our actions is control of us. Being free to explore the dark labyrinth of the human psyche, as Joseph Campbell observed people have been doing and relaying to us in the form of mythology for thousands of years, is only half the battle. After slaying the minotaur, Thesseus then undertakes the most difficult challenge yet: returning and sharing the revelation.

What Happened To LGBT Pride?

As I’ve discussed through the last few days, a lot of people are telling me that I should be afraid because I’m transgender, and Trump and his supporters want to do horrible things to transgender people. Rather than talk about how insane this is, I want to talk about something else, because, apparently, there are a lot of LGBT people who are currently huddling in fear, horrified and terrified, frozen like a deer in the headlights of the Trump Train.

What in the hell happened to LGBT Pride?!

Someone who is proud is not scared. Someone who is proud refuses to be scared, because when they are faced with a threat, they prepare to fight. I continue to insist that there is absolutely no threat toward LGBT people and that, realistically, the only people who need to be worried about a Trump presidency are Muslims, with whom I will stand, armed, ready to fight with them if any of the liberal fears come to pass. However, there is not and has never been any reason for LGBT people to be afraid of a Trump presidency.

And even if there was, is that what a proud person does? Cower in fear? Riot because they didn’t get their way? Pitch a fit?

Does a proud person sit in the corner and weep?

Stand up.

You are a human being.

Does a proud person surrender their voice to the delusional masses who are jumping at shadows, huddling in fear because they have been told there is a boogeyman that wants to hurt them, sheepishly going along because their very own “allies” will turn against them if they don’t?

Do you have any idea how utterly vicious your Allies have been to me in the past few days, simply because I refuse to be afraid, because I am proud, because I will not surrender my voice and let them speak for me, because I will not sheepishly bow and cry in the corner as they want me to?

Here is just one such example.

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No one who tells you that you must surrender your voice to them, because, if you don’t, they will turn against you and wish terrible things upon you is your ally. Such a person is not your friend, your ally, your comrade, or your compatriot. They are an enemy. They are a manipulator seeking to beat you into submission and then hold you up as a resource on their tally page. No one who treats you like you are “all women” or “all LGBT people” is your friend. No one who would deny you your individualism is your ally. No one who would tell you to shut the fuck up and go along with what they say because they’ll viciously turn against you if you don’t is your friend. They are using you.

The Democratic Party has been using you for years.

Have some damned pride.

Stand up and shout, “No! I will not be used! I will not be afraid! I will not let you abuse me!”

Have some pride and self-respect. You do not have to be afraid. You do not have to surrender your voice. You do not have to sheepishly go along with what “everyone else” says out of fear that they will turn and crucify you if you don’t. And if you find yourself a member of a group that would turn its hatred on you so quickly just because you dared speak as an individual, then you know that those people are not your friend. They are not your ally.

It’s time we put the pride back in LGBT Pride. It must mean more than this.

Stand up and say it. Right now, sitting there reading this. Don’t just read this and shrug. Stand up and say it. Post it to Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, wherever you feel like shouting loudest, and tell the world:

No. I have had ENOUGH. I will NOT be afraid. I will NOT be abused. I will NOT cower. I will NOT cry. I will stand tall, and FUCK YOU if you tell me I shouldn’t. FUCK YOU if you would turn against me because I will not blindly accede to everything you say. FUCK YOU if you would turn and hang the jury with the guilty because I demand the right to speak with my own voice. FUCK YOU if you tell me I must sacrifice my individuality and autonomy to you.

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize an abusive relationship, and it’s always difficult to break out of one. But I swear to you on my life, fellow LGBT people, the Democratic Party is abusing you. They are using you, they are abusing you, they are lying to you, they are manipulating you, and they are telling you to be afraid so that they can justify their power grab. They are not your friends, and they are not your allies. Break free of conformity, break free of the abusive relationship and stand tall as an individual, and be proud.

If they cannot accept you for that, then they are not your ally.

 

Jurnalizm

A few days ago, I watched the American media and the two leading presidential candidates stumble in confusion over whether or not they were allowed to call an explosive device a “bomb.” I watched Trump be criticized for using “the b-word” and then I watched Hillary, mere seconds after criticizing Trump for it, call the thing a “bomb,” and I watched the media frantically dance around and try to paint one incident or the other in a better light.

This election, I’ve seen CNN edit videos so that a young girl who explicitly calls for violence and the burning down of white people’s homes instead sounds like she’s advocating peace; in other words, they flipped her message 180 degrees, quietly issued an apology through a nobody affiliate on Twitter, and then buried the truth. I’ve watched CBS edit interviews with Bill Clinton to cut out things that they didn’t like, and then, as CNN did, hide behind the same bullshit “We edited it for the time allotted… It’s just an unfortunate coincidence that we cut out something that would, by itself, have been newsworthy.”

I’ve watched the Washington Post, which rode the tail of the leak to win journalism awards, turn around and condemn Edward Snowden with an editorial that argued he shouldn’t be pardoned. I’ve watched a presidential candidate’s son comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles where some of them are poisoned, only to have someone stupidly respond, “Are you suggesting that we eat refugees?”

And, most remarkably, after following the analogy of Trump’s son (which we could discuss, and whether or not it is fitting) with such a horrendously dumb-ass remark, the idiot didn’t go and bury himself for the crows to come and feast on his eyes.

What in the hell has happened?

I’m too young to remember a time when journalists gave a shit about the truth. As long as I’ve been an adult, journalists have had angles, and the closest I’ve ever come to believing in the fairness of a journalist was just before Anderson Cooper got his own show on CNN. Prior to that, I thought he was just a guy trying to do what he thought was decent.

The entire thing is a game, as the alt-right has made clear. These people like Milo Yiannopoulos–they don’t believe the racist shit they say. They are professional trolls, and they’re good at it. There is overwhelming evidence of this. They are playing a game, and they know that they are playing a game, and that’s okay, because they’re good at it. When I see national news networks editing interviews and videos to drastically alter the message, it seems inescapable that it’s not just the alt-right that is trolling.

It’s the entire media.

It says a lot that one of the Tweet responses that Trump’s song received and that was broadcasted at Raw Story is the one that stupidly asks, “Are you proposing we should eat refugees?”

Motherfucker, do you have a brain?

I would be ashamed to say something like that. And while this person (gods willing) doesn’t appear to have been a journalist, it’s hardly important, because this is the world journalists have created, by pulling shit exactly like that.

Social media could have helped, but we immediately turned to the algorithms to protect us and create our own echo chambers. Go to any Trump supporter’s Google News feed, and you’ll find it filled with pro-Trump articles. Go to any libertarian’s Facebook page, and you’ll find their feed conspicuously missing pro-Hillary people.

They attempted to address this by leaving their algorithms “context-neutral.” That is, the algorithm doesn’t care if you liked a video or disliked a video; the algorithm doesn’t care if you +1’d a post, Liked a post, or left a scathing comment. Did you interact with the post? If so, posts like that are added to the “stuff you’re interested in” pile and become more likely to be served to you. This doesn’t help the issue with people being exposed to contradicting information; it only ensures that we have two types of echo chambers: those filled with circle jerks, and those filled with angry yelling.

The only way to fix this is to consciously look for the things you don’t want to see. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Youtube all exist to help you find the things that you do want to see. This isn’t a problem–it’s what they exist to do, after all. But more and more these are important tools of communication, spreading the DNC Leaks even as the media attempted to ignore them, revealing the truth of the video edits even as major networks obviously tried to hide them, and giving us a way to communicate directly, in a p2p way, bypassing the server altogether.

Social media networks were not made to accommodate that, though, and so the onus falls to us to destroy our own echo chambers. This is all the more difficult because half of everyone is lying, and the other half is stupid. You can’t rely on Facebook because it will serve you memes that are demonstrably false, because no one is willing to take ten seconds out of their day to fact check the damned thing–If it’s on the Internet, it must be true.

I’ve written about this before, and how, in the long-run, the prospects for American society are extremely bleak. We are all racing to the desert to bury our heads in the sand, and we’re somehow totally unaware that we’re doing. We are just a few decades from people who will go their entire lives without ever hearing the words “presidential election.” Such a bizarre thing to imagine today, I know. But just apply what we’ve discussed here and look forward.

These algorithms aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’ll only get better.

How can you express an interest in something that you don’t know even exists? That is the question that will bury our heads in the sand and leave us firmly under the grip of a ruling elite; it is precisely what will make us the disinterested proles of Orwell’s 1984. Furthermore, it is exactly what these algorithms will produce. It’s not simply journalism that is the problem; the problem with journalism is that it’s merely a reflection of American values.

And these are American values:

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It’s actually worse than this. The first article is about the recent American bombings. The second article is about Trump’s response to it. The third, we finally get to the horrendous state of affairs in Syria–which deserves its own article, but I don’t have time for that right now. The fourth, an article about how George H. W. Bush is voting for Hillary. Fifth, an article about the wage gap that is probably 99% bullshit and 1% outright lies. I say this because the preview here cites the wage gap for women at around 19%, while research shows 1.9% would be much more accurate (but still too high in most industries).

This isn’t how humans were meant to live.

Isn’t it time we took back the world from these psychopaths and trolls?

That is the state. The other people were our parents and grandparents, who set up this world in the fucked state that it’s in, and we inherited it without questioning it. Just like they did, we started standing up when the bell rang. We didn’t ask “Why?” and we didn’t consider remaining seated. We just blindly followed them, doing what they did, even as the entire planet was engulfed in war. It’s so bad that I’ve heard people characterize this state of affairs as “world peace.”

No, really. I’ve been asked on Quora, “Isn’t Donald Trump a threat to world peace?”

A threat to–

A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

What the hell part of the world is at peace? If this is what world peace looks like, then it is my deepest hope that someone will rise up and threaten it. But, like everyone else, he isn’t thinking, the person who asked that question. He’s just standing up when he hears the bell, just like his pappy and grand pappy did.

And we have the power to change it overnight, almost instantly, simply by wanting to. We just have to stop standing for the fucking bell.

Addendum

It’s pointless, isn’t it? I just scrolled through my Facebook feed, and this is what I found:

I’m stunned.

I’m fucking stunned.

Americans spent the weekend dealing with the bombs of a Muslim terrorist.

The Cease Fire in Syria was Dead on Arrival.

Americans killed nearly a hundred Syrian “allies.”

Syrian “allies” killed dozens of UN humanitarian workers.

BUT ANGELINA AND BRAD ARE DIVORCING OMG OMG OMG OMG

A Study on Mob Behavior

The week has been interesting.

For those unaware, I posted a video heavily criticizing the Liberal Redneck Trae Crowder for being a disrespectful bigot and racist. Before you click Play, I’m gonna go ahead and warn you: if you’re okay with insulting Christians, or you’re okay with being racist against white people, then you’re not going to like what I have to say, and trust me when I tell you that you’ll be happier if you just don’t watch the video.

However, if your mind is truly open and not chained to one ideology or another, then you’ll probably like the video, because… well, everything I said is irrefutable. The only point of contention is that I was disrespectful of Trae, and that’s a valid point except for one consideration: Trae and like-minded people (liberals and “progressives”) have power and authority. I don’t, and neither do American conservatives. A member of a majority openly disrespecting and being bigoted of a minority is a very different thing from a member of a powerless minority being disrespectful and bigoted, and a very different thing from someone who is a minority of one being disrespectful. The balance of power is a supremely important consideration, and there is no doubt that the coalition of blacks, hispanics, LGBT, millennials, etc. that is the Democratic Party/Liberal union is tremendously more powerful than conservative Christians. Trae himself acknowledges it: “This is our world now, and you’re not getting it back.”

He’s not wrong. It is “our” world now, and conservatives are not going to get it back. And that’s my problem with his disrespect and bigotry against them. This is our world; i.e., we are the ones in power. It is absolutely, unequivocally, and indisputably our responsibility to protect the rights of the minority, no matter how much we disagree with them. No matter how disrespectful they are, we are the people in power, and thus the onus is upon us to respect them, because they lack the means to fight for respect.

It is well recognized throughout human history and Western Society that is the responsibility of a majority to care for and protect the rights of a minority. This is the year 2016–I should not have to explain this. I don’t care how disrespectful the minority is. They are a minority. They are outnumbered. They lack power. If we fail to respect them, then they are oppressed–by definition, because that’s what oppression is. What we are seeing is nothing more than the tyranny of the majority over the minority, and it is being done solely on the basis that these people have different beliefs.

I can’t believe I’m having to point out that this is wrong. It was wrong when they were the majority, and it’s wrong now that you are the majority. Oppression is always wrong. And if the majority group, if the group in power, is not respecting the rights of the minority, is not acknowledging the relevance of the minority’s dissenting opinions and beliefs, then the minority is, by the very definition, being oppressed, marginalized, and discriminated against. That this has to be said… is horrifying. Everyone should know this. It should be a given.

Have people simply not realized that conservative Christians are the new minority? The other night someone commented about how marginalized LGBT people are in the United States. What? Are you kidding me? Marginalized? Our issues take center stage. We get whatever we want, and conservatives get nothing. No one is allowed to stand against us. No one is allowed to stand against us. We, this group that represents only FOUR PERCENT OF THE POPULATION according to the latest data, have almost unfettered power to push our agenda. We have far, far more power than conservatives. We are Mike Tyson, and they are infants.

We have this power because we allied with women. This immediately severed their majority, which was once based on race. There’s no doubt about it–it once was based on race; it was a white majority. That died with the Feminist Movement, and women fled the Republican Party en masse to the Democrat Party. Black people vote with the Democrat Party somewhere between 80 and 95% of the time. That’s an extraordinary majority. Consider that at best 50% of white men are conservative, and it shouldn’t be hard for you to do the math.

There’s a reason no one is talking about it. And it’s because it shatters the idea that you’re oppressed, and the liberal agenda needs that. They did this shit consciously, and Republicans pointed it out decades ago. They pandered. They didn’t offer equality. They offered benefits. To all of us. And benefits are tempting, and we were tempted. We were systematically recruited and used by the liberal authoritarian agenda that is best represented by Bernie Sanders–let there be no doubt. His sudden appearance as a Democrat is not coincidence.

If even 50% of white men are conservatives, they are still vastly outnumbered by the women to whom Democrats promised benefits, disguising them as “equality.” The reason this distinction matters is because benefits don’t promote equality–they continue divisiveness, but shift the balance of power. One example: LGBT people wanted equality. Now you can receive a government grant to go to college just for being LGBT. This, by definition, means that being straight disqualifies you for that scholarship. It is inherently divisive. It continues the group-based division of benefits, and brings us no nearer to equality. It only shifts the balance of power. It only changes who benefits from the imbalance. The imbalance remains. The bigotry remains. The only thing that changes… is who is the victim.

Open your eyes.

The problem is that we divide the world into terms of Us and Them. As I wrote in the last article, “Them” isn’t really the problem. Identifying too strongly with Us is the problem, because it starts to demand our loyalty, our obedience, and our conformity. We can no longer think of individuals and break away from the group; we have to think like the group, go along with the group, and do as the group does. If we don’t…

Well, just see the comments I received on that video.

Belonging to that group shackles your mind. It forces you to conform at all cost, no matter how fucked up the group’s behavior is. You’re not allowed to think differently. And if you do think differently, you better keep it to yourself, because the mob will turn on you instantly, and if we have learned anything in these 7000 years of society, it is that the mob is vicious.

Please watch that video. “Conformity” by TheraminTrees. It is exceptional, and it is the reason that I see what I see now. And there can be very little doubt that what I see… is what is.

As I titled the post, I have been vindicated. I am speaking largely about this podcast:

http://ariadimezzo.podbean.com/e/fft-ep-08-square-peg-round-hole/

…wherein I discussed the mob mentality, and the motivations behind the comments that I was receiving. I discussed how they viewed the entire world as consisting of triangles and circles, and how they literally couldn’t understand that I’m neither a triangle nor a circle–I’m a square. Their minds are so shackled by the mob mentality, by the Us And Them bullshit, by the false dichotomies… that they are incapable of understanding the obvious fact that I am neither a circle nor a triangle.

Whose side are you on?

That’s the most recent comment to my video. It is an absolute vindication of everything that I have said. It is a thorough vindication of the video itself, and it is an absolute vindication of my assessment of the comments, the mob mentality, and their infantile, limited, and narrow worldview that shoved everyone into one of two groups: us… and them…, and fell into a group that demanded such loyalty, conformity, and obedience that they have become incapable of entertaining any idea that goes against the group.

They must break their minds free of those chains. They simply must.

Do not conform.

Think for yourself.

Question authority.