Self-Righteous Enlightenment

Picture: TwoWings

I see a lot of this sort of thing in Disinfo’s comments–just replace “being oppressed” with “knowing the truth.”  Seth Goodkind writes:

Today, after watching a “controversial” documentary about discrimination against an extremely marginalized group with a party of 50 or so people, things degenerated quickly.

One person reacted very disrespectfully (I did not see their reaction) and some of the other people in the group, justifiably, were very much offended by the persons reaction. Many of other members of the group, including one of the leaders, leaped ( eagerly at the opportunity to attack the person for their reprehensible behavior, despite the fact that he expressed tearful remorse and regret. At no point did the person try to excuse themselves but rather, openly admitted the inappropriateness of their behavior.

My reaction was instantaneous. I felt that in a group of voluntary association, as this one was, in which all the members were to some extent or another actively attempting to confront the insidiously hierarchical American cultural system, it was antithetical to attack a person for reprehensible discriminatory views. I will here attempt to justify my reasoning; this is not an attempt to excuse or justify the behavior of anyone involved, rather it is a universal implication. “There is no hierarchy of oppressions. Each is terrible and destructive.”

The purpose of this association is to acknowledge the existence, and interconnectedness of the causes and systems of injustice and discrimination, find ways in which we collude, and discover ways to dismantle and resist those systems.

Attacking an individual for their wrong beliefs in that context does not address the cause of the beliefs, which in my understanding is the core purpose of this voluntary association. Attacking the individual is a short term solution to a long term problem.

Being in a position of “oppressed” does not give the right to righteous judgement, rather, it should afford a person the opportunity to operate from a position of understanding of the condition. Granted, it is not an easy position to take, particularly when attacked.

The very real oppression, persecution and butchery of the Jews by numerous other groups in history does not afford them the right to oppress and persecute others any more than the Serbs hyperbolic perceived persecution gave them the right to reciprocally oppress and butcher the Albanians and Croats.

If I believe that violence in any form; verbal, emotional or physical, is wrong, then I believe that violence, even against my enemy, is wrong.

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2 Comments on "Self-Righteous Enlightenment"

  1. Colony Room | Sep 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm |

    this is how I think, glad to read this

  2. Sethgoodkind | Sep 5, 2012 at 1:47 am |

    I appreciate the re-post, it made me go back and read the essay again, reminding me of whence I came and where I aim.

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