Here us another excellent comment regarding social media, this one from Glenn Logan. His focus is on what he calls “emotional sewage,” and its poisonous effect on reason, discourse and society.
He takes off from the end of my post about a Facebook friend’s outburst. Here is Glenn’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Unethical Quote Of The Day: A Lovely, Smart, Trump-Deranged, Left-Biased Facebook Friend”:
“Nevertheless, this and posts like it, appearing every day on social media, weaken and divide the country and incrementally replace rational thought with raw emotion, bigotry and stupidity.”
This is the thing that gets me about social media — the low barrier for production and amplification of echo-chamber emotional sewage.
That’s what this virtue-signalling nonsense is — emotional sewage that is polluting our culture to the point that it threatens to become the mainstream, and remove reasonable people to the rump.
When interactions were mostly one-to-one or one-to-few, emotional sewage like this tended to get sorted out very quickly because the perpetrators were forced to deal face-to-face with their peers and address rational arguments against their effluvia. In the end, it was contained, often reconsidered and refined into something less putrid and, if not exactly reasoned, at least reasonable in a broad sense.
With social media, which provides a one-to-many construct, there is no such refinement. Raw emotional sewage is dumped out there and amplified, taking it from revolting straight to toxic. The sewer rats all band together in their virtuous righteousness, oblivious to the funk they produce and the normal people they sicken, and attack those who dare to disagree like hungry piranha.
Social media has enabled this sad state of affairs, but blaming the medium is very much like blaming the knife or gun for murder. What social media has proven is that if you can get a pack together on any given point that is large and aggressive enough, you can crush dissent on a massive scale, and drive differing viewpoints from the marketplace of ideas no matter how messed up your own views are.
Benjamin Franklin once answered a lady regarding the form of government the Founders produced in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and he answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.” 230 years later, Dr. Franklin’s words haunt us — can we keep our republic, or will it drown in emotional sewage?