When Is It Time to Stop?

What’s really disturbing about yesterday’s events is how many adults thought it was a good idea to form a huge Internet gang to bully a bunch of kids and even plot to destroy their entire futures.

Without even trying to find out what really happened or listening to the other side, a gang of self-righteous folks jumped to judgment about a bunch of kids and prepared to mete out punishment based on nothing whatsoever but their clothing choices. Because that was the reason why it became so easy to condemn and mob them without any pause for reflection. They wore baseball caps people don’t approve of.

This is not an isolated case. This is one person after another who gets mobbed and destroyed by an online mob of folks outraged about something they can’t even fully verbalize. And it gets worse. First, it became ok to mob people for something they may have done as teenagers. Then it became ok to mob actual teenagers. What’s next? Preteens? Toddlers? Let’s go all Michael Green and Co and pledge to destroy the prospects of every infant who looks like he might grow up to believe something we don’t like.

A lot of profit is gained from the formation of these angry FB or Twitter mobs. While you are posting on them, you are exploitable. The moment you exit the app, you switch off its access to its only product: you. So the app needs to keep you hooked by offering up these manufactured outrage stories. Plus, you contribute to creating the environment of fear where anybody can be accused of anything at any time. Are you sure you haven’t been? Go check your social media, fast, and in the process sell some product for somebody else and invest some time, the only valuable thing you have, to help somebody else make a profit.

But who cares about boring things such as profit or exploitation, right? It’s all worth it because you are doing something really important. You are fighting Nazism. And the very people who profit from your belief in this will conveniently manufacture proof that there is Nazism everywhere around you.

The whole thing is extremely pleasant, extremely addictive. It gives an easy and accessible sense of purpose in a world where you’d have to work really hard to figure one out yourself. But it’s the pleasure of a drug addict. The cost of the enjoyment is too high.


20 thoughts on “When Is It Time to Stop?”

  1. Exactly. When all these follow up articles started appearing about the longer videos and what “really” happened, I was thinking: “Does anyone actually care what really happened? The outrage junkies got their hit for the day; that’s all that matters”.

    You are fighting Nazism. And the very people who profit from your belief in this will conveniently manufacture proof that there is Nazism everywhere around you.

    It’s kind of amazing reading some progressive web sites these days. Charlottesville was over a year ago and since then far right rallies have had trouble getting attendance into the double digits, and yet people seem to genuinely believe that they’re living in 1930s Germany and squads of SA men are marching down every street. It’s odd how people who are so quick to throw temper tantrums over cultural appropriation are just fine appropriating the Holocaust.


    1. “amazing reading some progressive web sites these days”

      the progress progressives make the more they’re driven to act like none has been made at all, for them progressive issues are like salmon who have to struggling upstream…


      1. The worst part is that people who do this imagine themselves as a small, embattled minority that is bravely resisting a huge crushing machine. When in reality they are the machine that crushes others.

        After the two huge media fiascos happening one after another within the matter of 3 days, I’d expect a moment of awakening, of trying to step back and figure out how this is happening and where it’s leading. But no, let’s plow right ahead, looking for more lies to spread, more causes for outrage, more reasons to stay glued to Twitter, more people to crush. When is it going to end? What needs to happen for people to wake up and see what their addiction is doing to them and others?


  2. “First, it became ok to mob people for something they may have done as teenagers. Then it became ok to mob actual teenagers. What’s next? Preteens? Toddlers?” Saw one of my friends take it to this logical conclusion pretty much. Somebody I really like talking about politics too. Scary stuff. His personal issues with Covington Catholic do play a role; reactions to the controversy here are much more personal. People are all “I hate those spoiled rich assholes at Covington Catholic” or “my little boy can do no wrong” or “remember when Cov Cath let a rapist walk at graduation? no accountability” or “I hated Catholic school and I’m bitter” (they don’t say that last one out loud, but whenever someone in Cincinnati is spouting anti-Catholic sentiments that almost always ends up being the case.

    I have also seen a few people straight up say “I don’t care what happened, they were wearing MAGA hats and they were at the March for Life, that’s all I need to know.” Like I’m a pro-choice Trump hater too, that doesn’t mean everyone who disagrees on that is a vile Nazi who deserves to be exiled.


    1. If they hated Catholic school that much, you’d think they’d be open to the possibility that sometimes kids at a religious school participate in organized activities in order to conform rather than because they deeply believe in the activity.


      1. Some people are just using this incident as an excuse to pointlessly rant about the Catholic church or Catholic schools. At this point the kids don’t even matter anymore. You always have a few ex-Catholics lurking in the comments of local political pages looking for an excuse to whine about their pet issue.


      2. I went to a school with rich kids. Total jerks, I’m still traumatized. But I’m lucid enough to realize that these kids are not those kids. They are different people. I don’t hate these ones because those ones were mean to me 30 years ago.


    2. How about if the cultural power was on the other side? And these were kids in a pro-choice march wearing Kamala Harris buttons? And the other side with all this power starting ganging up on them, saying let’s ruin their lives, ha ha. Would it be better? Worse? The same? Or is it that might is right?


      1. They haven’t stopped to think that one day the shoe could be on the other foot. And to them, it’s not morally equivalent because they think supporting Trump makes you automatically super racist; people think a MAGA hat is like a swastika wristband. There are lots of racists who support Trump, but same was true of Romney, Bush, etc. and nobody acted like half the nation was white supremacists. There is also a difference between just being somewhat racist and being an actual Nazi, but nobody draws that distinction in spite of its importance.

        I don’t even know what to say about my friend. Kids that age can’t be held responsible the same way adults are. I know he wasn’t a paragon of anti-racist virtue at that age either; doesn’t say anything bad about him, he was just a product of his environment. It’s Kentucky. I think he’s letting his longtime enmity towards Cov Cath and rich people from NKY in general color his judgement.


        1. I just looked at my blog feed for the first time in the day. 8 out of the first 10 most recent posts are still bashing the Covington kids like nothing happened, the original story hasn’t been retracted, etc. I guess it will go on until a fresh outrage appears.


          1. It seems like people I know have caught up, although people who’ve watched the same videos have come away with different conclusions (which is partially because you can’t read people’s minds and know their motivations; I myself am not 100% exactly sure on everything.) Most people are not nearly as invested in this story as people in my area are though, so most have probably stop reading about it and moved on, content to have gotten their daily outrage. Here we kept paying attention because we want to know what will happen with leadership at Covington Catholic, etc. Also we just love petty local gossip; whether it’s local teens misbehaving, the city manager going to a strip club, or the Sausage Queen festival getting a little too raunchy, it will make the news and we will talk about it.


  3. “And the very people who profit from your belief in this will conveniently manufacture proof that there is Nazism everywhere around you.” There are actual Nazis in groups like Atomwaffen, but they aren’t marching around in MAGA hats, they’re covertly planning violence. Know what regular people can do about the actual Nazis? Nothing. I admire the people actually working against them such as investigative reporter A.C. Thompson, but people tweeting and Antifa getting in scuffles with people doesn’t do jackshit to take them down. But when you think some douchebag high schoolers are basically the same as Hitler Youth, then you get to feel like a hero.


    1. These tiny Nazi groups are problem #one million twenty-five in our society. But people go on like everything else has been solved and this is the big issue of our day.


      1. Yeah, somebody needs to be working on the problem, but for most of us it doesn’t need to be a huge concern. It’s kinda like the panic over radical Islamic terrorism, except that actually made a lot more sense; we did have 9/11, after all.

        I think combating racism is an important goal, but I care much more about combating the institutional racism that has held back the black community for so long. Nazis are far from the top of most black people’s minds and there’s a good reason for that.


          1. I do understand my friend’s worry when there was first Charlottesville, then the synagogue shooting so recently. He is Jewish and he had family die in the Holocaust. But my sympathy ends when it comes to what he thinks are helpful tactics (going after teens, supporting Antifa, etc.) Cov Cath students and graduates have been assholes for generations and it’s never led to anything particularly bad.


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