Tag Archive | courage

Suicide is Not For the Coward

So the lead singer of alternative rock band Linkin Park is in the news, because he killed himself by hanging. While I haven’t liked Linkin Park since their first album, and since I was in the 9th grade, a lot of people are coming forward to call Chester a coward for committing suicide, primarily because it means he left six children behind.

Regardless of whether you approve of his choice, it is stupid, and a horrific misrepresentation of the situation, to call someone a coward because they killed themselves.

Suffering is Relative

First, it must be pointed out that suffering is relative, and none of us has any insight into the inner turmoil within anyone else, and so none of us have the authority or information to accurately assess whether the person chose the “easy” route of suicide and was wrong to do so. We simply don’t know–because we can’t know–how a person feels, unless they tell us, and Chester did come pretty close to that, through his lyrics. These lyrics, incidentally, were those that angst-filled teens adored and identified with, because their own internal suffering was reflected back to them. But that isn’t really important.

Courage & Cowardice

I know many people who have “attempted” suicide. I’m among them, and the scars on my wrist bear it out. I was hospitalized in a behavioral ward several years ago because of it. Even after extensive research, I still didn’t cut deeply enough to hit the veins–no, seriously, the veins in your wrist are much deeper than you’re thinking–and I didn’t have any guns at the time. Today, I know a scary amount of information about suicide. Because of this, I’m well aware that the recent old Republican who “killed himself” with helium actually did commit suicide, and that there couldn’t possibly have been any foulplay. I know that, because I once owned a helium tank for exactly that purpose.

But I never did it.

Why not?

Because, as a method of suicide, it’s almost instantaneous. There is no time for second thoughts. Once you exhale and lower that bag over your head, that’s it. You pass out, and about half an hour later, you die, unconscious. I’m simply not struggling with depression badly enough to pursue that en sincera. I don’t want to die.

With very few exceptions, that is the same thing that nearly everyone who “attempts suicide” decides. There’s a reason that successful suicide rates are low. It’s not an easy thing to do. Substantial biological programming and the desire to survive outweigh most forms of depression, and, even when the depression is heavier, the person must face head-on their fear of death.

Anyone who has ever sat there with the barrel of a gun in their mouth, the blade of a razor against their wrists, a noose around their neck, or any other such situation and who still lives faced their fear of death head-on.

And they buckled.

They can make all the excuses they want. They can say that they realized that they were loved. They can say that they realized their problems would pass. They can say any-damned-thing that they want. But I know it, and they know it: the reason they live is that they are cowards. They stood on the precipice of oblivion and feared to jump, and so they backed away from the cliff. Some of these people are now calling Chester a coward because he didn’t back down from the precipice of oblivion.

Are you kidding me?

An Animal’s Instincts of Self-Preservation

There is tremendous resistance to death. Anyone who has seen wild animals chew off their own limbs (or humans saw off their own limbs) to escape from deadly situations knows that there is a powerful Will to Live inside every organism. Humans and non-humans are capable of incredible things in the interest of self-preservation, something that modern “horror” movies love exploiting for shock value. Put two people in a room together and tell them that one of them must kill the other, and then the survivor will be free, and they will almost immediately attempt to kill each other (Fun note: this is what Nietzsche described as Middle Class Morality). Saw off their own leg? No problem, once they have pursued other options.

Here’s a cold, hard fact for you: almost everyone out there–at least 99.999% of people–would cry and beg profusely as someone else lowered a noose around their neck. They would do anything, say anything, and promise anything to be spared. Disgusting amounts of tears and snot would run down their faces as they panicked, prayed to every god they could think of, and begged everyone nearby to “Please, I’ll do anything…” These are the same people calling Chester a coward because he lowered the noose around his own neck.

It would be funny, if it wasn’t true that, evidently, that’s how they see it.

There is an enormous difference between “thinking very hard about suicide” and gathering the means to do it, and actually proceeding with it. Even if the attempt is a failure, there is such an enormous gap between “thinking about suicide” and “legitimately trying to kill oneself” that most people can’t even fathom the divide.

It’s the same divide that exists between people who imagine how brave they would be if they faced down a criminal with a gun, and the people who have been there, and who gladly handed over their wallets and were terrified. Fear, after all, is what keeps people alive. It’s what kept human beings out of the darkness where there were lions, wild dogs, and hippos. That same exact fear keeps people from putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. It’s easy to say “I could have. I would have. I just changed my mind.”

In fact, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer says he’s going to build “levels” in his apartment, and Jerry bets him that it will never happen. In the end, Kramer renegs on the bet, and says that Jerry didn’t win, because, “I could have done it. I just didn’t want to.” Jerry vainly attempts to remind him, “That’s the bet! The bet is that you wouldn’t do it.” Kramer again reiterates, “But I could have.” Frustrated, Jerry says, “The bet wasn’t that you couldn’t. The bet was that you wouldn’t,” but it’s to no avail.

This is what people are saying when they say that they could have committed suicide, and they would have–if they hadn’t considered the loved ones they were leaving behind. The loved ones that they remembered were the panicked product of innate biological tendencies within an animal to preserve itself because it was afraid. It doesn’t matter what their reason for changing their mind is–why were they considering such things in the first place? By that point, they are already second-guessing whether they want to commit suicide. What propelled that? What caused them to stop and think about anything instead of just taking the gun, putting it in their mouths, and pulling the trigger? Why weren’t they just thinking about that?

Because their brain was desperately afraid and trying to stop to them using the last tool it had at its disposal. Compelling one to stop and think about all the loved ones being left behind is how it does that.

Anyone who ever attempted suicide–or “thought about” attempting suicide–and who still lives is a coward. They stood on the edge of the precipice, and they backed down. They can offer up any excuse they want, but, at the end of the day, what stopped them was fear. There’s no other reason why they’d have stopped to consider loved ones in the first place. That’s the brain’s last defense mechanism against self-destruction.

Consider this: the person who is about to commit suicide and stops because they think of the pain and suffering it will bring the loved ones left behind are aware, at least in some ways, that the fact that they even care about the pain and suffering they’ll leave behind will vanish the moment they’re dead. Sure, “If I commit suicide, I’ll leave behind so much pain and suffering.” Yet, also sure, “But I’ll be dead, so… there won’t be even a single solitary second of my existence where I feel the pain of having left people behind by killing myself, because I’ll have killed myself.” They didn’t think about that, though. I’d bet that thought didn’t occur to the overwhelming majority of people who attempted/thought about suicide. And why not? Because their brain was looking for ways to talk them out of it, not looking for ways to talk them into it.

Thoughts & Control

We tend to think of “our thoughts” as something we control, and our brains as something that is fully at our mercy, and that’s simply not true. Sentience is a curious thing, but your brain absolutely does things to try to convince “you” of things. The human brain is countless parts communicating with one another, not some collective unit that the “I” controls. You’re breathing right now–you are not in control of that. Your heart is beating right now. You can no more make your heart stop beating than (and this is important) you can make yourself stop thinking. You don’t control your thoughts. A thought comes when it wants to, not when “you” want it to. When some part of your brain decides to generate it, that’s when the thought occurs. You can no more create that thought than you can stop it. It’s coming. The only choice you have is how “you” deal with that thought. Whatever you are thinking about when the clock strikes noon after reading this, you won’t have any power to prevent.

The “I” takes these thoughts coming in from various parts of the brain, and assembles them into some form it can process, and then makes a decision. Maybe the “I” can control the decision that it makes, and maybe it can’t, because the decision itself is merely a product of the information sent to it by thoughts that it cannot dictate–it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the “I” doesn’t control what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. Even extensive training by Buddhist monks cannot allow one to indefinitely take control of what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. However focused the Buddhist monk is, and however in control of their thoughts they are, the moment they have to get back to life, they surrender control back to other parts of their brain. What will they think about while they slice potatoes in the monastery? While they till the ground?

You can do it, too. Think about an elephant, and try to keep thinking about an elephant. How long does it take you to realize that you’re not longer thinking about an elephant? Your thoughts will stray–a conga line of random thoughts perhaps not even related, until finally you’re thinking about John McCain’s brain cancer and realize, after forty seconds, “Oh, shit, I was supposed to be thinking about an elephant!” and direct your thoughts back to a pachyderm. Try to keep that elephant in your mind all day, as you go about work, as you eat lunch. You can’t do it. No one can. It requires exhaustive energy and focus to control one’s thoughts, and it simply cannot be done for any substantial period of time. You may think about the elephant several times an hour throughout the day, but through those instances, you’ll think about colleagues, food, friends, family, driving, money, and countless other things that you can’t control.

Those thoughts of loved ones that the person contemplating suicide has… They can’t control those thoughts, either. The question we have to ask is why the brain generated those thoughts. Why did some part of one’s brain conjure up an image of a son or nephew, and say, “But look how sad he’ll be…” and create vivid imaginings of the future of that child, raised without his father or mother? We can find the answer easily, by asking “What did the conjuration of those thoughts achieve?”

Well, it achieved causing the “I” to back out of committing suicide.

Why would a part of the brain want that?

Because it’s afraid of losing existence.

Conclusion

Maybe you don’t approve of what Chester did. Maybe you think it’s screwed up he left his family behind, and maybe you just think that suicide is immoral (I’ll save that for another day). Maybe you’re more like me, and you don’t really care one way or another, but you’d like it if there wasn’t so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding suicide. Making the statement, though, that Chester was “wrong” to make the choice that he did is saying “He valued release from his pain more highly than he valued the pain he was leaving with others. His values are wrong, and the pain he left others is much greater than whatever pain he felt.”

I hope we can all immediately see what an asinine statement that is.

We don’t know what pain he felt, or what his personal suffering entailed. We can never know what it was like to live within his head and to feel what he felt. We can never know how deeply in That Place he was. Neither can we know how his children and wife/ex-wife will feel about it. We can guess, and we’d be right to some degree when we’d guess “They’ll be really sad,” but we can’t quantify that. We can’t even quantify our own suffering. Ask any person how much hardship and suffering they face and I’d bet wholeheartedly that you’ll see a graph identical to what we’d expect based on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Everyone will rate their personal suffering and past hardships at 7.5, or thereabouts. I’d love to see a scientific survey done on this. In fact, I’m going to do one.

But if we cannot properly assess the value of his suffering and how bad it was, or the suffering of his family and how bad it’s going to be, how can we justify making the arrogant claim that he was wrong to make the choice that he did?

Issuing a Challenge to the United States

To clarify the title (originally “War With North Korea is Inevitable”), within the confines of the current U.S. foreign policy, war is inevitable with North Korea. Since it seems extraordinarily unlikely that U.S. foreign policy is going to change very much, I’m reasonably confident that war with North Korea–even if it’s been avoided this weekend–remains inevitable.

First, Kim Jong Un and North Korea aren’t going to stop working out how to make an ICBM and how to lob it at the United States.

Second, they take so much pride in their nuclear program that they would all rather die than surrender it.

Third, the United States is not going to tolerate North Korea developing a nuclear warhead ICBM.

China doesn’t have the power over North Korea that we non-North Koreans like to think they have. It’s true that China is North Korea’s primary lifeline to the world, but North Korea is notoriously defiant, even of China, and if China could tell Kim to “Just cut it out” they would have done so by now–or around the time that we sent carrier groups into the Korean Peninsula. North Korea isn’t part of China, and they don’t like to be treated as though they are–the Sino-Korea Treaty takes great care to be a mutual defense pact, and not a case of “We’re going to protect our little brother.”

While we in NATO know that Montenegro isn’t going to come to the defense of the United States if we’re attacked–and, even if they do, they can’t contribute anything of any actual significance–this isn’t necessarily true with North Korea and China. While China can undoubtedly do more than North Korea, North Korea’s capabilities aren’t inconsequential, though they are limited to that region; North Korea would be almost no help in a war against the United States (except that they’d be able to decimate South Korea), but could contribute considerably in a war against Japan or India.

Our tendency to treat North Korea like China’s little brother, quite frankly, pisses off North Korea. And, realistically, it probably should piss them off. It’s supremely arrogant of us, first of all. North Korea came as close to “kicking our asses” as any nation ever has. It’s rather like getting beat up on a playground and limping away while telling the kid who beat you up that they should be glad they’re being protected by their big brother. They have a feather in their cap that few nations can claim: they took on and defeated the United States.

There are a lot of reasons for that. Our hearts were never in it, and we had to impose the draft to get people involved–and it’s a matter of record that draftees are motivated more by the desire to get back home than to win a “righteous” battle. We ended the Korean War after only three years, making it perhaps one of the shortest wars in American history. That’s how little we wanted to fight it. We were also constrained by UN policies and regulations that, like Vietnam, seemed more designed to make the war perpetual than anything. None of this really matters, though, because the fact remains: North Korea fought us, and North Korea won.

Compare it to our involvement in World War 2, where we were ready to throw anything and everything into the war effort, and against Japan. Then, for the Korean War, we could barely muster an entire regiment of volunteers.

I was relieved today to wake up and learn that we hadn’t started World War 3 in response to North Korea’s testing of a nuclear weapon, primarily because North Korea didn’t test a nuclear weapon.

What does it really matter, though?

It has merely postponed it.

For months, indications have been that North Korea was about to test another nuclear weapon. This is why tensions have been so high–the evidence is pretty clear that we are going to attack if they do so. Satellite images routinely show the “right” activity to indicate there is about to be a nuclear test, and it’s pretty likely that Kim Jong Un backed out at the last minute precisely because of pressure from the United States and China.

But this hasn’t changed anything.

It’s worth taking a moment to ask ourselves why we care whether North Korea tests nuclear weapons. The answer is that our actions throughout the last century have left us having to look over our shoulders constantly, and the only solution we’ve found for this is to continually look over our shoulder and attack anyone we happen to see–which, of course, means that we have to spend even more time looking over our shoulder.

In less than a week, we went from “Are we about to start World War 3 with Russia?” to “Are we about to start World War 3 with China?” One gets the image of a lunatic spinning wildly in circles firing an Ak-47 at every moving shadow he happens to see, paranoid and terrified that someone is coming to get him–and, honestly, is correct that someone is coming to get him, but only because he went around shooting people like a psychopath in the first place.

From what I can tell, this madman could really use some sleep. But he can’t sleep, because he’s created so many enemies that any one of them would sneak up on him in the middle of the night and slit his throat. So the only thing he can do is continue standing and spinning, firing missiles at anything that dares move in his presence while laughing and proclaiming to the world how secure and safe he is now that he’s gone through the world and shot everyone.

I was born on a planet alongside about six billion other people. For the first few years, things seemed pretty ordinary and sane, but then I noticed something odd. These otherwise rational and loving people had the strangest tendency to wantonly kill one another.

And then I noticed something even more bizarre.

Everyone acted like it was totally normal, and as though I was the crazy one for suggesting that we stop killing one another.

We’ve been killing each other for so long that we don’t know any other way. We’re set on that path, and the idea of getting off it, for some reason, terrifies us more than the prospect of nuclear war. God forbid we try to be friends with these people. No, we’d rather risk the possibility of annihilating life on the planet. The notion of just putting down the guns scares us more than nuclear war.

Something remarkable almost happened during World War 1. We came so close to putting war behind us permanently. It marks the most tragic moment in human history, when both sides of a war realized that they didn’t hate each other and that they were brothers being pit against one another by governments. On Christmas Day in the first year of the war, Central Europe forces and Allied forces put down their weapons and met on the battlefield for a day of celebration and peace.

War ends when the soldiers decide to stop fighting.

This posed such a threat to the powers that be–the states of the world–that it was forbidden from then on, and anyone who attempted it faced treason charges. They knew the danger it posed; they knew how close we had come to permanently putting down the guns. All we had to do was make one more decision–“When the sun rises tomorrow, we won’t resume shooting.”

The courage it took those soldiers to rise out of the trenches and walk toward the opposing side was more courage than anyone else had ever displayed in human history. There was every possibility that the other side would seize the opportunity to kill them. “They’re coming at us without weapons! The fools! Kill them! Kill them all!”

But that didn’t happen. They put down their own weapons, and the two sides met in a scene virtually guaranteed to bring tears to any peace lover’s eyes. We were right there. We had put down our guns and approached the other side, trusting that they would accept the gesture of peace and that it wouldn’t prove to be the dumbest thing anyone ever did. And our enemies rose and met the challenge. We came so close to learning it all right then–war is a racket of states. They can order us to kill each other all they want, but they can do nothing if we refuse to. And if we refuse to, we learned on that day, then the other side will refuse to.

It just takes that first courageous gesture of peace, that first person putting down the gun and stepping forward with a hand extended.

The next thing you know, generals and politicians throughout the world are freaking the fuck out because they’ve lost control of the minds of the soldiers and can no longer tell them to go and kill one another.

I challenge the United States to do this today.

Disarm.

If you expect to find a bogeyman pointing a gun at you in every shadow, then that is what you will find.

So disarm completely. Dismantle our warships, our jets, our bombs, our nuclear warheads. Disarm and dismantle everything. Show how courageous you are. Be like those soldiers in World War 1. It doesn’t take courage to continue maniacally shooting at everything that moves. What took courage is throwing up one’s arms, rising out of the trench, and approaching the other side without weapons drawn.

If we put down our weapons, they’ll put down theirs.

It’s time to end the worldwide Mexican Standoff.

And if our government doesn’t do it? Then American soldiers need to just go home. Just put down the weapons and go home. They can’t imprison all of you, because the only people who would imprison you would also have put down their weapons and gone home.

Is it unlikely? Perhaps.

Is it impossible?

The first Christmas of World War 1 suggests that it isn’t. It just takes courage.

 

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.