The only diversity I respect in any meaningful way on this blog is viewpoint diversity, and while I do request a bare minimum standard of courtesy, I’m easy-going on that front, too. Don’t be a completely raging asshole, and I will pretty much let anyone comment. Race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation – none of these things are of any particular interest to me, because I don’t value any of those categories, in and of themselves.
It’s the content of your mind that matters.
I’m rather pleased that my recent post on gun control elicited viewpoint diversity – we can agree on lots of major issues and disagree on them, too. I’m not technically proficient with guns, and I have no clue what a bump stock is, or what differentiates a semi-automatic from an assault weapon (aren’t they ALL assault weapons, by definition?), but I still find the debate fascinating. I’m following the memes on reddit and other platforms, because I find that form of communication to be especially fascinating.
A meme is a unit of cultural comprehension that can spread, like a virus, or replicate, like DNA. I had the opportunity to learn to make perfect lattes by studying mimetics, which can trace an intellectual path all the way back to Plato and Aristotle, but was mostly used by the post-modern theorists (Adorno, Derrida, Benjamin, Irigaray, Kristeva) to make their theories sound more scientific and less like a religion. Icons are also key concepts. I’m a wealth of useless knowledge, I tell you! My Barista of Arts is continually useful.
Here is a cute little video to explain what memes in the current vernacular mean:
Gun control memes are illustrative of the different viewpoints, which can absolutely embrace the hysterical and ridiculous. But they are also quite interesting.
This meme is a rejection of empathy, which is something I absolutely agree with – empathy is nice for settling arguments between people who share some common values, but a terrible way to make universal decisions, particularly with enemies. Never have empathy for those who want to kill you! You can pity them, but do not empathize. Paul Bloom wrote a fabulous book called Against Empathy, and he agrees:
We often think of our capacity to experience the suffering of others as the ultimate source of goodness. Many of our wisest policy-makers, activists, scientists, and philosophers agree that the only problem with empathy is that we don’t have enough of it.
Nothing could be further from the truth, argues Yale researcher Paul Bloom. In AGAINST EMPATHY, Bloom reveals empathy to be one of the leading motivators of inequality and immorality in society. Far from helping us to improve the lives of others, empathy is a capricious and irrational emotion that appeals to our narrow prejudices. It muddles our judgment and, ironically, often leads to cruelty. We are at our best when we are smart enough not to rely on it, but to draw instead upon a more distanced compassion.
Basing his argument on groundbreaking scientific findings, Bloom makes the case that some of the worst decisions made by individuals and nations—who to give money to, when to go to war, how to respond to climate change, and who to imprison—are too often motivated by honest, yet misplaced, emotions. With precision and wit, he demonstrates how empathy distorts our judgment in every aspect of our lives, from philanthropy and charity to the justice system; from medical care and education to parenting and marriage. Without empathy, Bloom insists, our decisions would be clearer, fairer, and—yes—ultimately more moral.
This meme makes me laugh, quite frankly.
I honestly don’t understand the opposition to arming teachers. Just the possibility that a teacher might be armed should quiet down would-be school shooters, and just garden-variety jerks, too. How likely are you going to be to shoot off your mouth to your chemistry prof when he’s packing?
I also find it curious that the left argues vociferously for only law enforcement having arms – why not include teachers as LEO? We let bank guards carry guns. Aren’t children just as precious? See why empathy is such a terrible way to argue?
These two maps are basically mirrors of one another. More guns = fewer murders, not more.
This map is being circulated widely, and for all I know, it’s fake news. I don’t know the data source, or how reliable that source happens to be, but as a unit of information, a huge number of people find this map compelling.
Is this what makes fake news dangerous? What if the map is not true?
This map most certainly is true. Trump’s takeover of America is astonishing and his power and influence only continues to grow. I find it a thing of breathtaking beauty, and I also find hope in this map.
If you do not find hope for the future here, then what future do you imagine? And why on earth would you want to face that future unarmed?
I’m genuinely curious.
Lots of love,