Are We Becoming More Violent?

Two friends, Craig and Walter, talk about the state of the nation.

Craig — Would you say that we’re becoming more violent?
Walter — Yes, I’d say that.
Craig — What do you think contributes to it?
Walter — The internet.
Craig — How so?
Walter — It’s now so easy to put anything you think of out there. Without the benefit of inner censors. So the most outlandish ideas get to circulate and gain supporters.
Soon enough people start making things up. Twisting facts. Selling fake news.
It’s odd. The greater ease of publication has led to less thinking rather than more thinking.
People are quicker to insult, to bash other people.
In democracies, inner censors are crucial, but that’s the task of a good education.
Leading up to the 2020 elections there was a news thread going around saying Joe Biden was a pedophile. I remember talking to an otherwise intelligent person and she swore it was true. She had seen it in a website, she said. I told the person those ideas were trash but she didn’t believe me.
‘I’ll send you the link,’ she replied. ‘Please don’t.’
Craig — Where do you think we’re heading?
Walter — More violence.
The church has failed. They’re in to preaching violence also. Take Iran. Salman Rushdie writes the Satanic Verses and the ayatollahs order him killed.
Craig — Have you read the book?
Walter — Parts of it. Rushdie is a very talented writer. Great command of the language. Amazing ease with words. He was making fun of religious beliefs, playing with them, taking artistic license, if you will, because that’s his talent. We need people to help us see religion in another light. But the ayatollahs saw his work as a great offense and issued an order to kill him.
It tells me those clerics are all closed minded. Men with fragile egos, their view of the world so narrow. It’s too bad they’re so many people in that nation who have not organized to revolt against the government.
So, on the one hand the church has failed us and on the other, people haven’t stepped up and learned to think for themselves. So you might say we’re in a transitional period, in a moral void.
I think we’re transitioning to discovering we have a mind. That we can think on our own. That we don’t have to wait for an ayatollah or a pope or a Putin or a Xi Jinping or a Narendra Modi or a Donald Trump or a Ron DeSantis to tell us how the cookie crumbles. It’s very sad to see the lack of intellectual independence in human beings.
In school there should be courses teaching us to think on our own. But the parents probably won’t allow it, because they may think the teachers are socialists. The parents, not able to think on their own, don’t want to allow their children to find their intellectual freedom.
We need more and more education early on. Teach us how to learn to manage envy, to be kinder to others.
Craig — So what do we do in the meantime?
Walter — With a few exceptions, we don’t have our best people in politics. The task of leadership is a civic duty. More of our best and brightest should be encouraged to run for office and so counter the professional politician with their set of alliances and bad habits.
We need leaders who can talk to us weekly and say, this is what is happening in our world, this is what needs to be done and why. It takes courage to do that.
We need men and women willing to lead and are not afraid of not getting reelected. People who can do what is best for our country regardless of whether it will be seen as popular or not.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com., apple podcasts

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oscar

oscar

writer and psychiatrist with an interest in current affairs