Ryan Long has a funny video on the ‘Tubes. It’s about an old-school racist and a woke guy who become best friends.
It turns out they agree on a lot.
Like how a person’s racial identity is the single most important thing about them.
And how they don’t like anti-discrimination laws, because they think people should be hired based on race.
Not to mention how petty, judgemental and angry they both are – so ready to blame a generic group of people (cis white dudes, minorities) for their problems.
There are some jokes thrown in too – good luck telling those from the honest opinions.
See, racism is a personality defect. All forms of judgement are, including this one.
Hatred is worse. Yoda wasn’t talking out of his pointy ears when he said it leads you down a dark path. It also leaves you weakened and vulnerable – physically and mentally.
You know this. It’s the aesop of probably every movie now under the Disney umbrella. If you’d prefer a more grounded and less saccharine source of wisdom, read about the life of Miyamoto Musashi. He wanted his enemies to hate him, which is why he’d show up late to fights, wearing casual clothes and carrying improvised weapons. He was so good at getting under his opponents’ skin that he’d send Zen-inspired samurai into mindless fits of rage.
Anger feels empowering but it’s not. It’s a surge of energy but it’s not under your control. That’s how Musashi used it against seasoned warriors.
Hatred led to their defeat and even their death.
Even worse than hating a person is hating an abstract group. That’s why racism is such a weakness. By hating, even disliking or disrespecting a group, it puts huge amounts of your power outside you, just waiting for someone to pick it up and wield it.
If you lack an understanding of Trump supporters, you might say he did this, riding their racism straight into the White House.
I’m not saying this didn’t happen, just as Hillary attracted support from the Communists. It’s not relevant because, hey, who else would they support?
If you have a proper understanding of politics, though?
You’ll see that every politician stokes a hatred of an outgroup. Political rallies oscillate wildly from “we will build for the future” and “we will stop The Other from tearing down the country”.
That means that being woke is the same as being racist, except against a different group. You could argue it’s different, because the woke folk punch up while racists punch down. Even if that’s true, (a lot of cis white dudes are poor, powerless and miserable – and a lot of wokedom is naked, unambiguous bullying) it misses the point.
As the Buddha said, anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. If you’re drinking poison, then it doesn’t matter who ‘the other person’ is.
Politicians of all flavours and alignments gleefully pour poison down your throat.
They do it because they ‘have to’ to get elected.
But do you really want a leader who got there by stoking hatred against an entire group of people?
Apparently so, because that’s what we do.
“But William, that’s human nature. People will fight against a threat more than they’ll work to build something.”
That’s an excuse. It’s human nature to hunt for all our food, sleep under the stars and spend our whole lives in a tribe of a hundred-ish people. We don’t do any of that before.
Besides, tell that to the ancient Egyptians. Hostile neighbours surrounded them and they still built the Pyramids.
But it gets worse.
If hatred were the only thing tearing about Western Civilisation, we’d have no problem. Hatred is easy to condemn, shame and vilify.
(Note that I’m opposing an action, not a group of people – huge difference.)
But hatred isn’t the only flaw.
There’s heroism, too.
Yes, heroism is a great thing – a wonderful thing… generally. Like any tool, though, it can be used against its intended design.
So now heroism is tearing at our civilisation from the inside too.
Are you heroically degrading democracy, community and decency?
If you are, you’ll spot the signs in the latest Phronesis Accelerator. You’ll also find eight specific techniques for reversing this, solving everything from being a racist to being a white saviour.
Get in now before this issue launches… or miss out on it forever.
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