The fear of mindlessness

The conversations I’ve had today have taken me down all sorts of rabbit holes in search of a truth. Is the MeWe social media platform really so unregulated that Holocaust deniers have free rein? And what do my shock and horror say about my real feelings about freedom on speech?

I know I’m late to the game on this one… but how would those people who are alleging that Biden is a paedophile feel if someone, anyone, said the same about them without offering the tiniest morsel of proof? I was sickened to my core when I read that Just In post, disgusted by the thoughtless, wanton ease with which lives are destroyed. I read it on a friend’s timeline. They’d reposted it. That saddened me.

I reposted a story from the Black and Irish page about a young lad from Westmeath born to Ghanaian parents. In it, he tells his story of growing up black in Ireland. He ends with the sentence:

My hopes for ireland is for us to get to a place where racism is not desensitised by people of colour in society because of them accepting its inevitability.

Beneath it, another someone I know commented that it was a stupid story. I hadn’t written it. It wasn’t my story. What did I care? It was that young lad’s story. His story. His truth. His reality.  But I did care. I was sickened. Again. Funny though, their comment, and my reply and other comments have since disappeared from my page. I didn’t know it could be done. I thought my page was my page. Anyway, the comment may be gone, but the disappointment remains.

And it’s only Tuesday.

I’ve long drawn a distinction between the sinner and the sin, between the essence of the person and what they do/think/say. The LAST thing I want is to live in a world of like-minded people where everyone thinks the same, does the same, believes the same. The world needs diversity. Our beliefs need to be challenged. Our opinions need to be based on thoughtful research. But where do I draw the line? When do I start not believing Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s famous edict:

I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it.

If I start unfriending people who make comments that sicken, sadden, and sour me, what does that say about me? I worry about these things. One of my greatest fears is of becoming mindless. To mindlessly follow the masses who believe as I do, think as I do, do as I do. I’ve written before about how difficult I find it to come down on either side of some political debates, and how I resent the expectation that I have to have a solid opinion one way or the other. There is so much I’ve yet to decide on that I need to keep listening to all sides. But it’s getting harder. And harder.

And then this popped up on my feed. A reminder that there’s more I could be thinking about, concentrating on, appreciating.

Thank you HC. I needed this reminder.

5 replies
  1. Bernard Adams
    Bernard Adams says:

    Having read more ‘comments’ on articles in the papers than is good for me, I’m convinced that freedom of speech should be permitted only to those prepared to put their real names to what they say.
    Changing the subject! I don’t know who Evelyn Beatrice Hall is or was, but I always thought that that remark was made by the famous Voltaire – until I looked it up just now in the Oxford Dict. of Quotations (2009), where I find it given as wrongly attributed to him, and in fact taken from one S.G. Tallentyre, summarising Voltaire’s attitude.

    Reply

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