Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Use Your Powers For Good (For Those Who Love to Argue)

I love to argue.

But sometimes I just wanna go home.

Have you seen the internet? My, but people love to argue.

But I also like to DO stuff.

I want to support all marginalized people. But some of the arguments on the internet, like one I skimmed recently among lesbians and trans activists on a Facebook page [which I'd link here, except that it's disappeared] yesterday, make me sad because it's hard to see how it helps any good cause rather than harming it.

I could read and read... or I could just stop reading and start singing to myself to get the arguing out of my head. You could call that privilege, that I don't have to argue or pay attention to arguments all the time.

Do you/your social category have big problems? Undoubtedly. Are your problems bigger or more important than other people's problems? Impossible to say. They are to you, of course. "All suffering, however multiplied, is always individual," said Gandhi, possibly. (I read it somewhere and am having trouble finding the original quote.)

Do you have the right to be offended? Yes, at anything and at any time, and neither I nor anyone else has the right to tell you you shouldn't be offended at something. Maybe I don't think you should, maybe I think you're annoying, but that doesn't matter. Getting offended is free, free, free.

But what is the point of all the arguing? Changing minds is important, yes. But berating potential allies for your cause, people who may have some very major enemies in common with you-- e.g.,  THE PATRIARCHY!-- can be massively counter-productive. It's beneficial to limit your arguing to what is actually doing good, I think, which, though it sounds good, is also hard to determine.

But I'd offer everyone fighting for a cause this simple-ish advice: Take at least some of the time and energy you could spend arguing with potential allies and spend it on taking REAL action in the real world to benefit actual people. Fighting online may feel righteous, but there's a good chance a lot of the effect will NEVER result in any positive change for the people you claim to champion. Like real transwomen suffering real violence out there.

Let's lessen the arguing and try to DO SOMETHING.


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 Micro-sociological secrets of charismatic leaders from Jesus to Steve Jobs
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