Dragging people down instead of trying to make things better

Perhaps I’ve blogged about this before. The tendency has existed long before social media, but social media makes it even easier to broadcast one’s ressentiment. Today this one popped up in my newsfeed, edited because Facebook and Twitter will use it as the image for this post:

Epipen Ressentiment

See what I did there? The original post suggests that because children’s parents are being charged nefarious costs, drug users should also be charged nefarious costs. That’s, of course, either idiotic (in most cases) or evil (if you’re selling epipens). By crossing out the second sentence, I changed the message. That people are being gouged of their limited resources because they or their children need epinephrine to not die is screwed up.

One might object that they think children are blameless and that drug users deserve worse. Even thinking that, to try to drag the conditions of drug users down instead of to raise the conditions of children up is at best an expression of bitter ressentiment.

And this is, of course, just one form. This shoddy rhetoric also comes up with the minimum wage. Some people will say that, for example, nurses only make $13 an hour, so clearly people working cash registers should make less than $13 an hour. Thinking and speaking that way only drags everyone down. If you want to hold onto that nurses should make more than cashiers, then instead reason that since everyone working should make at least, say, $15 an hour, nurses should make at least $20 an hour. And instead of saying we should make drug users pay up or die, instead say nobody should be forced into such a bad situation.


The pernicious wall around political beliefs

It always strikes me as weird how a certain population puts a wall around political beliefs.

Say some group of people should have their lives uprooted and moved elsewhere against their will? Okay. Say some racial group should be rounded up and killed? Or that people in the wrong place or having insufficient funds should be left to die? Apparently within the realm of things that are okay to say. Advocate state goons beat, enslave, cage, and/or kill some groups of people? Perfectly fine. Advocate for the bombing of thousands of people? Just political discourse.

Call someone a jerk for saying those things? Now you’ve gone too far.

(I suppose it doesn’t strike me as weird as a dishonest rhetorical strategy. If someone’s objection to something comes down to that something being plainly awful and a moral abomination, restricting such objections from the discussion really shuts it down. I’ve also yet to see someone actually apply this consistently, every instance being fine with advocating atrocities against political groups they disagree with so long as opinions are all perfectly okay and should all be considered when things swing to the other side. But even if we ignore that bit and suppose someone does put a wall around some artificially labeled group of things that are political beliefs, it leads to many odd situations in which case person A can be advocating the death or other harm of person B, and person B just has to be okay with it.

But that it’s allowed to be gotten away with so often is weird. Inasmuch as political beliefs tend to drive important actions, some response to some of them just makes sense. If A is trying to ruin the life of B, it makes sense for B to do something about A. Even if A’s way about it is political.)