Plants

6 Reasons Good People Turn Into Monsters

I want this phrase added to the flag:

Hating a poor thing doesn’t make you great.

Put it in place. It is crucial. It is one of those things everybody understands, right up till it’s convenient to not know it. Hell, hating people that are poor doesn’t even necessarily get you nearer to becoming a better person. We don’t count this, although the Klan hates ISIS. Yet I am pretty sure that most of what we believe being great in this culture is simply having disdain for the things.

What exactly does this have to do with most of the headlines, Nazis, immigration, and police shootings you’ll see this year? And how can it tie in the Reeves action franchise? Well, it comes down to how …

6

We Hate Giving People Second Chances

This topic will be about five outrages old by the time this report goes upward, but as I type this, the Trump administration only ended a government plan for kids whose parents entered America illegally. “DACA” essentially allowed these young people to get jobs, pay taxes, go to school, and receive driver licenses despite not being taxpayers. Ending the program means destroying the lives of about 800,000 individuals for a crime their parents. As one Republican congressman put it, “justice” means these people deserve to “reside in the shadows.” After all, he stated, they entered the country illegally. Not years of productive, law-abiding living absolves them of that sin.

Experts predict it “John Wick morality” (or at least they should), called after the film series where Keanu Reeves’ dog is killed by Russian mobsters, and in response he shoots 738 of them in the head. You’d not think any real person considers that a reasonable ethical code to live their life by, until you look at the comments under any post about a police shooting and see …

… or see entire comment sections filled with individuals rooting for a man who shot a car thief to death. The logic almost makes sense if you squint — if the victim hadn’t resisted (or abruptly transferred their hands, or smoked weed, or neglected to indicate, or illegally crossed the boundary), they would still be alive, therefore they have no one to blame but themselves.

That “nobody to blame” phrasing is key. It implies that after somebody breaks a rule, you can do whatever you want to them and you cannot be blamed. Listen for it, and you’ll hear somebody using this reasoning once a day, even if it’s only over dumb shit. Do you have some poor bastard in your social circle who has gotten stuck with a nickname based on something that they did when they were 13? If you’d like a famous example, try to find a single discussion about Richard Gere, anyplace, which does not bring up the urban legend about him shoving a gerbil up his ass (a rumor that has started throughout the freaking Reagan administration).

We need that one sin which will let’s revoke a person’s status as a worthy of dignity, respect, compassion or anything else. It is the trump card that is moral, the proverbial John Wick’s Dog. We cannot be accused of prejudice or pettiness provided that we have got a JWD carcass to jiggle in reaction to critics.

How can this apply to you, a fantastic person? I am getting to that.

5

We Utilize “Justice” As Cover For All Manner Of Awfulness

“Hold on,” says the hypothetical skeptical reader who has been following me from post to post for the last ten decades, “you are utilizing immigration hardliners and police shootings as an instance of this shit in action? Those are only the result of racism, dude.”

I don’t think that is the complete truth. I think the reason so many racists can pass an “Are you a racist?” Polygraph test is that they don’t think minorities are inhuman due to their colour, but instead their assumed criminality. The officer who took Philando Castille because he sat in a car with his girlfriend and four-year-old daughter stated that he thought he smelled marijuana. In his mind, this hint of one crime that was minor meant anything was warranted.

He would not have done this if the motorist had been a whimsical stoner dude never happens to him — bias always hides behind a supposed zeal for justice. Internet hate mobs never flood a woman’s inbox without a JWD with death threats. (“She would not be getting these calls in the middle of the night if she hadn’t made fun of us on Twitter!”) And in which a crime does not exist, we will extrapolate one. “Obviously I thought my family was in mortal danger when that Mexican man approached the car! After all, if a man will cross the border he will kiss a girl. He’s already proven he does not care about the law!”

It is an utterly insane standard, of course — our very own mistakes are singular instances and in no way should influence others’ opinion of us. (“Just because I lied does not make me a liar!”) Yet it’s so enchanting that almost every hateful asshole you’ve fulfilled in your lifetime has assembled their nightmare of a character upon this very foundation. They all think their daily cruelty is in reaction to some intense provocation.

However, this article isn’t just about piling scorn on those people everyone reading this thinks of them as monsters. My point is that none of them were born monsters, so we must be having the same conversation people do in every zombie movie’s next act. “How do we prevent them and, more importantly, how do we keep ourselves from becoming turned?” Then anyone who believes in justice is in danger if conveys justice as a disguise. The more strongly you believe in justice, the more at risk you’re.

Once, as a well-meaning child, I asked my Sunday School teacher how it was ok for God to send people to Hell for eternity based on fairly minor infractions, while if an earthly ruler penalized rulebreakers with indefinite torture, then they would be considered cruel despots. The answer proceeded like that, and made sense at the time to me:

He has infinite loathing for unrighteousness because God is infinitely righteous. His purity is what creates any tolerance of impurity impossible.

Therefore, our contemporary pansy-ass mindset toward lawbreakers (insisting on reform and humane treatment) is really evidence of the corruption. If we were righteous, we would be unkind toward the unrighteous. Not only is that cruelty justified, but it’s in fact an integral barometer of our own goodness. Petty meanness toward atheists and homosexuals is exactly what God wants. If you are reading this and convinced that this kind of medieval believing only applies to Christians … well, continue reading.

4

We Start Hating People For All The Wrong Reasons

A critic of any lady politician/pundit/activist can’t resist pointing out just how ugly/fat she’s (if she’s pretty, then the insult is that she’s a slut or that she only got her place based on appearances). Racists will start with higher crime rates and unemployment, but can quickly move on to the way rap music is shitty, how ghetto women wear trashy clothes, how blacks can’t speak proper English. Never mind that it’s impossible to warrant music, style, and dialect as examples of moral failure. For some reason, it’s not enough for their enemies to be only wrong; they must be disgusting on a visceral level.

It is crazy how those racists do this, isn’t it? Those filthy inbred hillbillies. They’re almost as bad as the gamergaters. You know, those fat neckbeards inside their moms’ basements? They all probably voted for Trump — this man with the gross weird hair and tan and hands. Disgusting, right?

“Well, but that’s different! In those situations, the targets deserve it!” Oh, I get it. It seems fantastic to poke at our enemies within their sensitive spots. We know Trump is insecure about his hair, which Chris Christie is probably sensitive about being fat, that outcasts are so ashamed of their virginity that a number of them will blow out their brains rather than live with it. So why don’t you use those weapons? That is war, after all. And keep in mind, the more cruel we’re poor guys, the better we are as individuals. It was said by God himself.

However, what about each of the great individuals out there with weird hair, those insecure guys shyly attempting to conceal bald spots? Or your allies that are unsuccessful in the sex, nervous, and unattractive? How are they not assumed to take home the message that personal appearance apparently matters just as far as their decisions, and that sexual failure is something to be deeply ashamed of? That it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the guys should you also have social and grooming abilities?

Well fuck, now look what has happened. We have not only warranted cruelty toward our enemies based on their previous sins, but warranted cruelty to completely unrelated individuals. Just throwing out collateral damage such as the stray bullets of John Wick, mowing down death tourists with is attracted to a standstill that was panicked. We don’t stop to inquire whether the dog would even have desired this.

3

We Wind Up Radicalizing Ourselves

1 genre of angry message I’ve gotten over the years goes something like “I’ve been a daily reader since 2010 and thought you’re the good guys, but after viewing [joke/article they found offensive], I am realizing how wrong I was! Goodbye forever.” Think about that for a minute. They’re claiming to have read and enjoyed literally tens of thousands of posts and videos prior to encountering one single offensive notion, at which stage they announced the whole business a loss. That’s super weird.

Well, it’s weird until you consider what bubble that they invest their time in. I’ve never been around an activist group that didn’t turn into an endless series of petty purity tests. I was raised in a church in which everybody was looking for inconsequential and more things to judge each other by. Films were which network TV shows were permissible, although of course banned? Any of them? Rock music was of the devil, but what about state? Aren’t those songs about religion?

The organic evolution is toward tighter and tighter criteria for what behavior gets you shunned from the group. The end result is that the JWD of the group, the fundamental cause, can be as pure as the driven snow, and yet the tone will get more and more toxic over time, the members. Here, as an Example, is what my Twitter timeline looks like:

“Nazis are poor and must be opposed.”

Agree!

“Individuals who enable or shield Nazis also have to be opposed.”

Makes sense!

“Unlawful violence is perfectly acceptable when opposing Nazis and their enablers.”

Wait, I am not sure I am on board with this …

“Anyone who opposes the use of unlawful violence against Nazis is also a Nazi enabler.”

What? No! I am one of those great guys!

“Additionally, if you consider it, all American institutions and capitalism itself assist support white supremacy, therefore all are Nazi enablers and eligible for violent retribution.”

Hey, I think you just declared war on literally everybody who isn’t currently in the area with you.

You hear experts discuss the way extremists get “radicalized” — the way the man went from a mild-mannered food inspector in San Bernardino to some brainwashed suicide attacker in the span of a year or so. However, it isn’t a puzzle, and we form variations of this. Is a closed like-minded social circle where it’s considered unacceptable to disagree with the team, and then devote that category into something. If the thing deserves hating it does not even matter — it turns toxic. In fact, it works. “How can you criticize any flaw in our group’s behavior when the other hand is Nazis! That’s literally stating that both sides will be the same! The mere presence of pure evil on the other side mathematically signifies our side is pure great!”

At that stage, no gripe is possible and there is nothing to moderate the rage. The rhetoric ratchets higher and higher as each member tries to top each other (to establish their own righteousness by demonstrating they despise the target most), and there is no method for reining it in. Moderate voices from the band are excluded completely, anyone in the inside who takes a moderate tone could be shouted down with accusations of being an enemy sympathizer. Soon, everything from insults to elaborate torture fantasies are thrown around without a second thought.

Two

… Until You Reach A Point Of No Return

Sooner or later, an action is going to be indicated that you would consider immoral. It does not need to involve enemies or building bombs. Based on the time, place, and cause, it might be as modest as agreeing to spread a lie. (“I mean, even if they didn’t actually do it, they probably did something equally as bad! It is not like they never lie around us!”) Or maybe someone will suggest digging up a part of the speech of the opposition, where they operate, possibly find out, show them how serious we are.

In every situation, some members will be nervous. There can be consequences to this sort of thing? By objecting but will they risk their status in the category? Will they have their commitment to the cause contested?

Airdone/iStock
“I can’t get rid of face before the fellow cyber-warriors. Wait … wasn’t this group about fixing the potholes on Main St. at any stage?”

It’s right about here that you realize the cause wasn’t what was significant. The group was what was important — with a bunch of like-minded individuals fighting and standing alongside you. After all, was it ever about the dog, or was it on what the dog represented? Do you sacrifice yourself for your friends — you can get another dog — although so you would not sacrifice yourself to the reason? Absolutely!

And now, without realizing it, you’ve got the reply to the question you’ve been asking your whole life: “How can evil people live with themselves? How can a Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson look themselves in the mirror every day?” Here you can go. That is the way. Inside every genuinely destructive person the bleeding and broken puppy driving them ahead, and out of them is a set of people reinforcing their rage before the rage is all.

It’s a fact of human nature that living purely in opposition to something, instead of for something, hollows you out inside. To be a human being, you need to spend your life building something great. It’s easy to wind up withholding time and energy out of family, friends, livelihood, and hobbies, because damn it, one of those assholes on the other side has said something outrageous and that I should respond, because this is war and that is all that matters.

1

And The Whole Time, You Are Going to Inform Yourself It Was The Only Way

Around 70 percent of subscribers never make it to the conclusion of the internet post, so it’ll be interesting to learn how many rebut this with, “Oh, good, another post stating Antifa and Nazis will be the same! Like one of them ISN’T ACTIVELY DEMANDING GENOCIDE.” It is the exact same dodge I’ve been pointing out — as long as the other hand is worse, so you can’t criticize me. But I telling you, as an individual human being, so that you need to ask yourself one question: Are you in it for your reason, or are you in it for the fight? There is a simple way to tell: Can you become involved with the parts?

Donald Trump’s entire agenda could be obliterated slightly more than a year from now with a brand new congress, but mathematically the vast majority of you won’t vote at all (and I’d say the vast majority who appear to anti-Nazi rallies also won’t throw a vote). Smacking Nazis with clubs is fun. Voting in midterms is not. One results in change. Hell, in the 2016 election that allegedly determined the future of humanity “failed to Heard” won 44 of 50 countries. Why are some of you prepared to put yourself in physical danger at a protest but won’t endure the tedium of real life policy change? Deep down inside, you know the answer.

“But voting does not change anything!” Okay, Obamacare was prevented by the outcome of race only from being repealed. Twenty million people will have health insurance next year because a little set of voters — enough to match in a stadium — revealed instead of staying home. You think Hillary would be talking about repealing DACA? “Sometimes violence is the only way!” Are you really saying that based on proof, or because you want it to be true? For warfare war every nationalist/authoritarian movement which has turned back by warfare, literally tens of thousands quietly expired because of losing elections or just failing to drum up support. Elections has David Duke won? You’re enjoying with their game. Do not allow the devils haul you to Hell.

Since god help you if one day you find your enemy has finally been defeated or, even worse, that your tactics only made them more powerful (would an armed mob on the other side hurt or assist recruitment for starters?) . You’re left with a character built entirely on fighting with a war, a jar of poison which didn’t kill the cockroaches and is collecting dust in the garage. At that point, will you give the rage up and rebuild your character? Or will you just turn that hatred on your own? I want you to at least think about it. Here’s a GIF of an otter.

YouTube

David Wong is the Executive Editor in Cracked. His new book, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ, is available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, iBooks, along with Kobo.

Sadly, this John Wick toy does not come with his pet :-LRB- but you can relieve the stress of reigning hellfire onto your enemies with this adorable squeeze toy for people–in the form of a dog paw!

Check out more from David Wong in 5 Items To Understand About Modern Hate Groups and 7 Reasons Why We’re Quietly Letting Racists Acquire.

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