I enjoy studying internet culture because of what it says about us as a people. Like it or not, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Our hearts are not always filled with fluffy bunnies and jam.
I was thinking of public hangings in the context of an old Western and how the whole town would come out and celebrate justice as vengeance, as a form of entertainment. Or if you prefer, you could always run down to a Roman Colosseum and watch some Christians get eaten by lions.
Seriously, wut the heck is wrong with us? Well, total depravity. So, just for the record here, vengeance, blood lust, violence, and retributive justice, are not good things. Neither is consuming these things in virtual reality as a form of entertainment. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, so obviously it is part of the human condition, but that doesn’t make it right.
Here’s a good blog post that sums up some of my concerns around what I am going to call, Social Justice Right Wing Style, with a side of ranch dressing. Q anon, the Deep State, and these elaborate conspiracy theories that suggest things like, John McCain didn’t die of natural causes, he was taken out. As the blog post mentions, what is disturbing about this kind of thing, is the blood lust, the almost giddy enthusiasm people have for what would amount to state sanctioned top-secret public execution without a trial, if it were true.
Uh yeah, if you genuinely believed some secret cabal within your government was assassinating political enemies without due process, celebration is not a good idea, because you’re probably going to be next. Like duh, people.
Least anyone think this kind of blood thirsty lust for revenge, for power and control, only afflicts the Right side of the aisle, the Left has their own flavor of nuttiness going on, too. In politics we like to annihilate our enemies and the politics of personal destruction have now moved out into the realm of ordinary civilians.
Like President Trump is totally Hilter man, and we have to defend ourselves against the sub-human Deplorable Orcs who are ruining the world….
We are constantly, as a culture, now putting people on trial in the court of public opinion, dragging stuff up from years ago, and hoping they face plant. Some people are actually guilty of stuff, but that is not my point at all. My point is that we should be asking ourselves what makes us feel so giddy and gleeful when somebody is “found out” and publicly executed, if only in a virtual sense?
What is lacking within our own souls and why?
Somebody once said something nasty to me, turned around and walked face first into a pole. Did I absolutely delight in that comedic and well-timed justice? You betcha, a hunger for justice is really hardwired into us. But it must be tempered, restrained, infused with reason, love, and grace.
I live in a small town, I’m kind of familiar with the politics of personal destruction, with gossip, with the giddy glee in which we humans like to bask in as we tear someone down. They are getting what they deserve, those kind of people.
Just for the record, those kind of people happen to never be us. They are always the enemy, the bad guy, they get what they deserve. But, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” and we always forget that. There is no due process in the court of public opinion, it is always mob rule and says more about us then the alleged bad guy we are targeting.
This is going to sound very prim and proper, prudish, virtuous in a world where even “virtue signaling” has gotten a bum rap, but there really is another way, a better way, once called “the way.” That is where we practice such things as “love your enemy,” remember you are your brother’s keeper, love one another. We lift up others, perceive them as better than ourselves, extend grace, realize “there are none righteous, not one.”
That’s the Christian way, no matter how imperfectly we manage to manifest it around us. Those values matter and they matter even more in a world gone totally mad.
United we win, divided we fall. That is a harsh truth sometimes, and not so easy to confront, but if you imagine us as all in the same life boat, there is actually no such thing as reaching over to poke a hole just in your brother’s side of the boat. Life just doesn’t work that way. A hole on his side, is a hole on your side, and the whole boat is going to sink if you don’t refrain from filling it with holes.