Don’t Condemn Others – Just Don’t Let Them Lead You.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan posted a video to his Twitter feed, where he compared Jews to termites. (He said: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-termite,” when talking about Jews who dislike him and say so.) There are a lot of people now calling for a denunciation of Mr. Farrakhan – and I’m not among them.

This rush to denunciation of others is dumb. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t?) really hurt the target of the denunciation – it only makes the people crying about others’ behavior feel better. It’s nothing more than a dopamine rush, a virtue signal, a way of saying “see how wonderful I am since I am putting down someone else’s behavior!”

It’d be far better to shrug and acknowledge the offense, and then… you know, stop paying attention to that person, if that’s a common pattern for them. (In Farakkhan’s case, it is; why do people pay any attention to him at all? he even tells his listeners in the video clip that ignoring him would hurt him more than whining about him.)

That way, they get to eat themselves alive with their hatred… or earn redemption on their own time. Everyone else gets to move along and find better voices to listen to, without burdening themselves with anger that can serve nothing and no-one.

Nobody asked, but… why I wouldn’t run for public office

It’s not like anyone’s ever asked me to run for office, but if they did, I wouldn’t. There’s no way it’d be a productive use of my time. I wouldn’t win. I couldn’t win, actually.

I wouldn’t be able to convince myself to go along with the scummy campaigning mechanisms, putting my opponents in stupid positions (one state candidate portrayed her opponents as riding a pig, being “high on the hog,” for example). I just… I couldn’t see myself manufacturing claims against my opponents for political gain.

I mean, seriously: what if I had to work with that person in the future? If I could bring myself to ridicule them personally, how in the world would I ever be able to look them in the eye and work with them, ever?

And, of course, if I couldn’t lie about my opponents in order to win, well, I’m pretty sure they’d not share my objections; they’d surely malign me. And my answer would be, at best, “no, that’s false” – not some kind of overresponse that today’s politics seem to expect and demand.

It’s possible, of course, that I’d be posed against someone actually awful: a Keith Ellison (who allegedly beat the crap out of his girlfriend, only to have the case dismissed before indictment because her physical evidence was found wanting), or a Donald Trump, or a Roy Moore.

I’d still lose… because if such a person was elected in the first place, my commitment to a marketplace of ideas and progress wouldn’t be compelling. The people who woud vote for a Donald Trump would have no reason to vote for me: I’m not funny enough, I’m not caustic in the right ways, I don’t shrug at my own foibles and attack others for their flaws, I don’t attack people who oppose me. The people who could elect a Roy Moore or a Keith Ellison would find nothing of value in me.

Fun thought experiment, though.