(The pun implied by the direction of the arrows is not intended)
I got into some extended discussions about my last post. It seems that I did not make myself clear.
What seemed to irk my critics was that I used a decidedly uncivil way to express my dislike.
The friend who got the most puzzled is very proper. While I am the bastard who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, he grew up in an impeccably proper upper middle class family. When my post is attacking what I perceive to be the attitude behind the term nice, he kept emphasizing the need for civility asking questions such as “I am still unsure what you are against exactly: good intentions or good behaviour?”
The question is a bit puzzling when you consider that this question was the point of my post, asking for true goodness instead of the shallow, superficial lack of real concerns implied in ‘niceness.’
Maybe I am to blame. Maybe I should have tried to be nice when dissing nice. It is not nice to dislike nice. It is not nice not to be nice about nice, no matter how offensive the behaviour is to me.
But what is good?
I believe that we should all be civil, polite, considerate, empathetic and sympathetic, attentive, sincere and understanding, we should pay attention to each other and the world around us. We should be helpful, supportive and forgiving, but above all, we should be honest. Honest to ourselves; honest with the people we deal with and with the ideas we espouse.
If your definition of being nice is all of the above, I understand why it would irritate you when I say that you should not be nice. To me, the above is the definition of a good person, not a nice one. In my post I gave a short list of examples of what we can call nice. The common elements in them are dishonesty, the refusal to face reality or actively denying it. Nice is the pretense of goodness. Nice is a cheap replacement for everything I consider good in human interactions.
Rejecting ‘nice’ is the rejection of the shallow and phony dishonesty I associate with it. Asking for goodness instead is asking for everything in the above definition.
Nice is the dishonest pretense of goodness.
Good is honest reason without pretensions.
The source of my anger
The conflict between actual morality and pious conformity is a defining problem of our culture.
There is nothing new about the denial of reality, there is nothing new about greed and deception and there is nothing new about the naive, gullible stupidity of wishful thinking. They are part of the human condition. What makes me angry is that this isn’t just a lack of goodness but it is its very opposite.
Nice ideas tend to be BAD ideas.
What angers me about ‘nice’ is that it is the tool to sell bad ideas.
What angers me is not the fact that bad ideas exist, but that people can get away them.
What angers me is our civility toward the enemies of freedom, reason and decency.
What angers me is our willingness to forgive them.
What angers me is allowing ‘nice’ people to ignore the consequences of their bad ideas.
What angers me is our consistent refusal to hold even the worst enemies of humanity responsible for their actions.
Stupidity and ignorance are NOT acceptable excuses.
Good intentions are NOT an excuse.
Fuzzy-wuzzy feelings and sappy wishful thinking are NOT acceptable excuses….
……when the actions that they are leading to are causing very real and very measurable harm.
We are not responsible for who we are or for our circumstances, but we are responsible for our ideas and actions, and we should be held responsible for their consequences.
We are also responsible for the actions of those whom we empower, support and encourage to act on our behalf. Accepting a handout from Robin Hood does make you his accomplice. Telling him who to rob next and how makes you his partner in robbery.
If you support ideas that are proven to be harmful, you bear a degree of responsibility for the harm its implementation causes.
If you support people with causes that are known to be harmful and dangerous, you are responsible for the results of their actions.
If you support the minimum wage, you are responsible for higher rates of youth unemployment.
If you support the increase of corporate taxes, you are responsible for the resulting job losses.
If you support the public funding sex change operations, you are responsible for the increased rate of transgender suicides and their typically miserable post operative lives.
If you support teachers’ unions, you are responsible for the poor performance of our public education system.
If you support alternative energy sources, you are responsible for the higher energy prices and the environmental problems alternative sources create.
If you oppose GMO foods such as yellow rice, you are responsible for the fate of the five hundred children that go blind every year without it.
If you oppose fish farming, you are responsible for the extinction of some species in the wild.
If you support Black Lives Matter, you ARE responsible for the predictable consequences such as the Dallas shooting.
If you support drug prohibition, you are responsible for the crime associated with the illegal drug trade.
If you support the uncontrolled immigration in Europe, you are responsible for the crime wave associated with it.
If you support ISIS, you are responsible for their beheadings and murder sprees.
If you support multiculturalism, you ARE responsible for the ethnic ghettoes and strife it creates.
If you support income redistribution, you are responsible for the decreased economic activity it always results in.
….and I could go on.
As I said, the ideas we support have consequences. In an ideal world, all of our decisions should be subjected to a cost/benefit analysis. Unfortunately, we live in a sick world where we cannot even blame bad ideas for the harm they cause as long as it can be claimed that they were argued for and implemented with the best of intentions.
I understand that I am asking for the impossible. I understand that hoping for a sane world is mostly wishful thinking. I hope, on the other hand that you also understand that we cannot have any hope for a better world if we do not have the moral fortitude and the righteous determination to assign blame where it belongs, to call out and shame those who are responsible for our problems.
It should all start with a reality check, a firm declaration that good intentions are not good enough and they can never excuse and justify the harm done.
People should not be allowed to hide behind their feelings and intentions. We should expect them to take responsibility for the actual results of their actions and ideas.
People should not be allowed to get away with evil deeds no matter how ‘NICE’ they, or their ideas appear to be.