Yes, I'm very aware how long it's been since I posted a videogame review. Sorry :(
There's a lot to appreciate about my generation and its willingness to accept all sorts of different people from different walks of life. But there's certainly a dark side to all that. That acceptance doesn't come from a place of genuine care and compassion, as much as it comes from a place of philosophical confusion and social adherence.
While internet culture tends to lean more towards pragmatism/materialism/utilitarianism and its veneer of intellectual credibility, non-internet “youths” (We're not really youths anymore, are we? Darn) are all about dat moral subjectivity. Basically, “the truth is, there is no truth.” It's a philosophy that professes profundity because if its inanity. The claim that there are no moral absolutes is, obviously, a moral absolute. It's the sort of thing that can survive in the ivory towers of academia, but quickly withers and dies the moment it comes into contact with real life, and real situations. It's practically impossible to really live like all truths are equally true. Even more impossible to live like all truths are equally false.
“The truth is, there is no truth” is an anti-intellectual philosophy born of the desire to avoid actually engaging difficult moral issues. In one ethics class I took, the teacher presented a series of increasingly horrific moral atrocities, and eventually managed to get a portion of the class to claim The Holocaust was not morally wrong, but simply a difference in cultural/situational values. I thing I remember one person saying “it must have been right for them at the time.” The rest of the class, who had started enthusiastically proclaiming the subjectivity of all morality, had gradually lapsed into confused silence by that point. That is to say that some people, when pressed, will cling to the literal philosophy with a death grip, but most feel it rather than think it. That feeling being: “we should all get along.”
Don't get me wrong, this is a worthy sentiment. The problem is that it's based on feeling, not on adherence to a defined moral code and/or or logical reasoning. I will gladly condemn utilitarianism and pragmatism for stripping the conscience of its power and simultaneously providing a justification for all manner of horrors, but at least they are making an attempt at intellectual honesty. And at least they provide concrete principles to fall back on when emotions fail. The haziness of contemporary moral subjectivity does at least leave room for the conscience, and so it isn't as open to grandiose perversity as the aforementioned philosophies. You could argue that makes it less dangerous. Indeed, if given the choice I'd rather have a culture of hippies-by-another-name than a culture of steely Social Darwinists. However, that hazy moral subjectivity is much more vulnerable to manipulation, for the simple reason that emotions are vulnerable to manipulation. And that can be just as dangerous.
So where am I going with all this? Well, the point is that we have a culture of people who derive the security found in objectivity from their own assumed radical subjectivity, while also leaving the practical manifestation of that nebulous philosophy at the whim of whoever or whatever can best sway their emotions. Put more simply, their beliefs are infinitely malleable, and their assurance in them is unshakable.
And that's when Social Marxism steps in.
The problem with Social Marxism is not that it favors the weak over the strong. The problem is that it favors the weak over the strong exclusively. It's rooted in Marx's view of history as a struggle between the haves and the have nots (I can't spell the fancy French words, and to be honest I have a hard time remembering which is which :P), and his claim that morality itself is simply a tool of oppression. Social Marxism enjoys a healthy popularity in the halls of academia, especially in anything having to do with race or gender studies (which is why arguments about both things often end up at the common sticking point of historic oppression vs contemporary equality). But it's definitely touched popular belief as well. Everyone loves an underdog, after all.
I'd never claim to be an expert on Marxism. In fact, I have very little to say about it from an economic standpoint, because I know very little about it from an economic standpoint (this ignorance extends to socialism as well, but I'm sure I'm in good company with many people on both sides of the current political debate in that regard). My interest in it (and most philosophies) is primarily moral. And on the surface it's very appealing, especially to someone already inclined to support the downtrodden of society (which as I said, is definitely where my generation has its heart in the right place). Yay, the oppressed! Boo, the oppressors! Who wouldn't get behind that?
But there's a dark side to Social Marxism, and it's the same dark side I talked about in the first paragraph: rather than leading to equality and tolerance, it often just reverses the direction of oppression. Be that on a grand social scale, or on a per-issue per-person scale. It's not a philosophy of peace, it's a philosophy of fighting back. Of turning the tables, and of that table-turning being the greatest good to the exclusion of all other goods. Of course, the result is never peace and acceptance.
Ok, enough babble. What does this really mean practically? It means that the transvestite will rightly be shown love and compassion, but the racist will be wholeheartedly scorned. It means that compassion, patience, acceptance, and love are reserved for the right “team,” and all animosity, vitriol, and aggression are dealt out on anyone who isn't part of that team. They are simply an outlet for fury.
Don't get me wrong, racism should not be accepted. But the racIST should be. And their racism should be cured with that love and acceptance everyone professes to have. Or an attempt should at least be made. More likely than not, a given person's bigotry comes from a place of hurt or fear. That's a person that needs healing, not scorn. Oppression and hate lead to more oppression and hate. You don't need to assume that, it's something that can be observed throughout history. A shocking number of atrocities were committed by people who thought themselves the righteous victim, throwing down the oppressor. In fact, I'd argue, the majority.
(Protip: if you ever want to become a dictator, all you have to do is convince everyone you're fighting against an even greater evil on their behalf. Protip #2: be wary of anyone claiming to need power to fight a great evil on your behalf)
Worse still, it's easy for someone with a different religion, philosophy, political view, or lifestyle to become an enemy simply for believing or living differently than the supposed norm. Sometimes the aggression towards them has a basis in genuine moral outrage. Sometimes it's just unfocused fury against a group that believes different things than your average 20-something, spurred by special interest groups and/or whoever has control of entertainment media. Sometimes, you see individuals caught in the crossfire of ideologies, with the very people who supposedly were born and raised on the high road refusing to take the freaking high road.
I am so very much in favor of the sentiment to love everyone. I try as hard as I can to live that way, even if I often fail. I have to bite my tongue and both hands, hard, to keep from posting snarky, mean-spirited, potentially hurtful things on social media whenever I'm outraged by a social or political issue.
But in practice, this is not what my generation believes. Their love of others is still conditional. Just as conditional as peoples' love ever was. It still leaves itself wide open to what we criticize previous generations and their religious/political groups for: using morality as an excuse for bigotry. We've tried to solve the problem by eliminating morality, but morality of a different sort crept in to do the same job.
The path to radical acceptance is not moral subjectivity. Rather, it's simply the old adage of “love the sinner hate the sin.” Or if you prefer a less religiously-charged version, “love the bigot, hate the bigotry.” What matters isn't what you believe is right. What matters is how you treat people you think are wrong. That's what radical acceptance is. Loving someone in spite of your feelings. Loving someone unconditionally. Not fighting those who oppose you, as countless generations have done before, with the same effect.
I don't claim to be some great moral leader or visionary, but I do know this: calmness and kindness have defused every single disagreement or confrontation I've ever used them in. Lashing out angrily or snarkily never has. It felt good for a bit. Sometimes I could justify it because “they deserved it.” But it certainly never changed anything for the better. Let me repeat that again: I have never seen snarkiness, anger, vitriol, or general negativity change anyone or anything for the better. No matter how compellingly I could justify it to myself and others. I have no reason to believe things would be any different on a grander scale.
Whether you're a pragmatic, a utilitarian, a materialist, a proponant of moral subjectivity, or whathaveyou... I think we can agree that genuine results are more important than self-righteous satisfaction.
The tl;dr version is simply to practice what you preach, without asterisks. Love everyone, accept everyone where they are. If someone is angry, scared, ignorant, what have you... heal them instead of hurting them. Love the bigot, hate the bigotry. Live like the accepting generation that we supposedly are. Yeah, it's hard. I certainly haven't figured out how to do it. In my humble opinion, that's how you change things.