From top: Mosque shooting in Quebec, Canada on January 29, 2017; Dan Boyle
We have allowed a myth to take hold that doing things differently, and radically differently, is the only alternative to doing things better.
Dan Boyle writes:
We hear a lot of talk these days of us all living in a social media bubble. Our debates, such as they are, being conducted in echo chambers.
It’s something I try to avoid through following people I knowingly disagree with, on the social media platforms I choose to inhabit.Lately I’ve been wondering about the value of this in the seeking of honest, informed debate.
What I’m increasingly coming across is not such debate, but instead the reflection of the echo chambers where these voices are heard constantly in shrill-like tones.
A case in point is the reaction to the recent Quebec mosque killings. I could sense among some of a rightward bent, a palpable elation quickly followed by deflation on learning that a Moroccan who had been arrested, was instead a witness to the tragic event.
At first there seemed, with some, an almost orgasmic delight at the thought of Muslim on Muslim violence, in a country with a humane migration policy. The thought of a young man poisoned by the invective they believe to be truth, will not be accepted nor will responsibility for it be admitted. The failure to confirm the bias gets ignored.
Those on that side of the political spectrum are not isolated in this behaviour. Often they find unlikely bedfellows among the trendy lefties, those who never lose any opportunity to tell us we deserve what we are getting.
In their world view Trump/Brexit, the inexorable rise of hate is an inevitable consequence of the failure of liberal democracy. Clinton would have been worse. Obama was as bad. Them, others – Europe, immigrants, Arabs, Mexicans are the source of all our problems. We have let down, we have been told, those who came to believe these ‘truths’.
Like their hard-right counterparts, what trendy lefties won’t ever countenance is that the failure hasn’t been not to listen or to understand these ‘fears’, but not to confront them much earlier and far more strenuously.
The social media bubble has exaggerated the strifes of the Western World. We are agonising over first world problems. We have allowed a myth to take hold that doing things differently, and radically differently, is the only alternative to doing things better.
This is a bubble which seems to defy physics as well as logic. Bubbles tend to expand before eventually exploding. This is a bubble which traverses inwards, choking us with its contradictions.
And yet I will continue to try to listen and understand. I block infrequently. When I do it is against those whose most frequent form of argument is abuse. I’ve come to learn that time is too precious, in discussing issues of such seriousness, to placate those who refuse to be coherent.
By nature I am an incrementalist. I worry that revolutionary zeal can become misplaced, and even more worryingly that the cloak of revolution can be used to justify the most abhorrent of views.
Trump and his acolytes claim to be revolutionaries. It is justifiable for them to so claim. The problem for the many of the rest of us is that we don’t share the rabid belief that this how the wheel should be spun.