Society Needs To Stop Worshiping Political Neutrality

Society Needs To Stop Worshiping Political Neutrality

Some people have no choice but to take a stand.

Some people seem to engage in political discussions only to tout their own neutrality. When asked whether they lean left or right on the political spectrum, these people shrug and place themselves directly in the middle.

They take pride in being the arbiters of extremism, perched as they are outside the whirlwind of passion and stubbornness that is most political activity in modern America.

Using their own detachment as the metric by which to judge all political involvement, they become troubled when others get aggressive or defensive when discussing politics. Online, they can be found trailing behind controversial articles and social media posts, issuing reminders about the Golden Rule.

The fortress of moral superiority from which this critique occurs is built on the premise that everyone would choose neutrality if only they gave adequate thought to the disadvantages of being politically hot-headed.

But this is an overly simplistic view that romanticizes apathy and rewards the privileged. Because that is the uncomfortable truth about total neutrality: it is only possible when you are insulated from the immediate effects of political decisions.

From this protected vantage point, it seems that everyone else, vocal and upset, is being unreasonable. Hysterical. Over-sensitive.

Neutrality proponents, having therefore developed—and denounced—an association between politics and intense emotion, ban it from their dinner tables and break rooms in favor of other, less incendiary, topics.

For those directly impacted by politics, however, having more pleasant conversations is not an option.

Nor is translating their visceral reactions into the calm, reasonable dialogue expected of all worthwhile political discussion. They use crude language. They fling insults. Their rhetoric gets ugly.

And all the while, there is an Internet referee suggesting they just calm down and have a rational discussion.

Commentating from their self-imposed exile to the middle of the political spectrum, the neutrals like to remind everyone that the voices on either side of them are equal. All opinions, they say, deserve equal respect.

Certainly, self-expression is a constitutionally-protected right and should not be denied to anyone. But the fallacy lies in assuming that because all opinions have an equal right to exist, all opinions have an equal right to receive polite treatment.

They don’t. No opinion has the right to go unchallenged. And no opinion has the right to be sheltered from the negative reactions of the people it targets.

If those people respond with verbal aggression, so be it.

But in the minds of opinion equality advocates, the original opinion, if expressed politely enough despite its harmful nature, is coded as right, the response attacking it is coded as wrong.

There is a certain haughtiness in nitpicking the words used to convey a message instead of listening to the message’s content (a phenomenon commonly referred to as “tone policing”).

Sure, when it doesn’t matter to you whether the message lands or flops, inspires a change or gets buried in an Internet graveyard, it is easy to single out what does ignite an emotional response in you: whether or not the writer is using mean words.

But those who advocate for neutrality need to consider that the point of politics is to be incendiary. Without lighting a fire, how can we burn down what has broken? Without raising our voices, how can we call for change?

Sometimes, doing this means hurting feelings.

If you’re privileged enough to boast of being neutral, be thankful that you’re being hurt by mean comments about a political policy, not by the policy itself. Some people aren’t so fortunate.

Cover Image Credit: Travis Gergen // Unsplash

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Vegetarianism: The Truth Revealed

"What causes us to call one animal food while viewing another as worthy of being a family pet with privileges and rights against abuse?"

It is not uncommon to meet a person flaunting their vegan or vegetarian lifestyle as if this mere choice deserves a form of unanimous glorification. Many choose to take on these diets simply for the attention—to have something to tell others the first chance they are given after meeting someone new that separates themselves a little more from the norm. Though it should go without saying, regardless of their reasons for transitioning their diet, those who choose to broadcast their 'lifestyles' subsequently spoil the reputation of others who opt against such displays of bragging.

Vegetarianism and the like was originally meant to be adopted only by those who held a sincere concern in the well-being of animals. However, it was later found that these diets also provided extensive health benefits such as the potential to extend one's lifespan by 6-10 years in comparison to carnivores. In addition, vegetarians were found to have doubled their chances of preventing heart disease and significantly reducing vulnerability to diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and kidney stones by simply cutting meat out of their diet.

Moreover, allow us to delve deeper into the foundational reasoning for seeking a vegetarian lifestyle.

Cows: The kill floor is off limits to journalists and the curiosity of the public. What little information we do know about the cruelty that occurs behind those doors are only provided through the words of slaughterhouse workers themselves. Cows are coerced to form a single file line just outside the kill floor as they are brought forth to a conveyor belt that lowers them individually. Standing on the catwalk above, the slaughterer uses a stunner to inject a metal bolt between the cow's eyes and into its brain with the intentions of causing it to go brain dead. The cow is then chained and lifted by its rear legs as it is transported to a second terminal on the kill floor where its aorta is to be sliced causing the animal to be bled. Bill Haw, CEO of Kansas City's National Farms stated in an interview with Frontline that "animals come there to die, to be eviscerated, to be decapitated, to be de-hided -- and all of those are violent, bloody and difficult things to watch. So your first and foremost impression of at least the initial stages of the packing house are a very violent, very dehumanizing sort of thing."

Pigs: At six months old, factory farmed pigs are scared into submission by being beaten on their backs and snouts as well as proded with electrical rods that are shoved in their rectums. If packed too tightly as they are transported to slaughterhouses, some pigs experience their internal organs forcing themselves out of their rectum causing approximately 10% to arrive already severely injured or killed. Prior to their arrival, some pigs are found frozen along the lining of their transport truck or die from heat stroke due to extreme climates. Others may fall and suffocate to death or experience heart attacks if they become frantic and stuck between one another. Live pigs that are frozen to the truck upon their arrival are cut loose by workers wielding knives. They are then led inside the slaughterhouse where they are stunned similarly to cows and then bled before being taken to scalding tanks while many remain suffering alive and fully conscious.

Poultry: Upon their arrival to the slaughterhouse, chickens are shackled by their legs and hung upside-down. As they attempt to break free, many suffer broken legs from their rough handling. Carried by the shackles, the chickens are submerged in an electrified water bath that causes them to become paralyzed for easier bleeding. These chickens are still conscious upon the slicing of their aorta and millions remain alive for their scalding in the defeathering tanks.

Nearly all animals are denied food and water on their long journeys to slaughterhouses as many travel hundreds of miles from the farm they were raised. Most companies refuse to euthanize their animals because their local laws prevent them to sell the meat of a euthanized animal. Thus, despite the use of stunning devices that often fail to render an animal brain dead after the second, third, and forth attempt, countless animals remain fully conscious, their hearts still beating, their minds fully aware and feeling everything that is being done to them.

Therefore the question remains, how we can justify turning a blind eye to the gruesome, inhumane bloodshed of a factory farmed animal while pointing fingers and attempting to criminalize someone who so much as kicks an innocent puppy on the streets? What causes us to call one animal food while viewing another as worthy of being a family pet with privileges and rights against abuse? Though the Bible gives us little to work with, it declines to blatantly say whether eating meat is neither wrong nor right. It simply says that people did once sin was born and death entered the world. Swallow that for a moment. Perhaps the decision to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle was meant to be made in the eyes of the beholder. If one educates themselves on the journey and treatment of the animal that came to rest on their dinner table and recognizes that treatment as cruelty, perhaps it is wrong.

Cover Image Credit: Munchies

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Facebook & Mark Zuckerberg Can't Play The Victim Anymore

If you want to delete your Facebook, you're more than justified.

Lately, Facebook has been under scrutiny for its lack of action to protect Americans data from the Russians' attempts to use social media to interfere in our elections.

It has lied and deceived the American people, and it's long been the time that we hold Mark Zuckerberg and company accountable for the last couple years.

Via Facebook, a research firm called Cambridge Analytica, hired by the likes of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Donald Trump himself, collected the data of over 87 million Americans on Facebook.

At first, Facebook said 50 million. Now they're increasing the number almost every day. As of now, it's 87 million, but the number will likely rise in the coming weeks.

The firm identified the personalities of American voters in order to influence their behavior.

In a covert mission by Channel One News in Britain, Cambridge said that they try to invoke emotion from the people they reach on social media, and that's how they get them to vote.

Like any big scandal, to really find the origins one must follow the money.

Cambridge Analytica is funded by Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor, and Steve Bannon, one of Trump's closest advisers in the White House and former top executive at Breitbart.

Facebook allows researchers to have access to users' data, but data being sold is not allowed.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have known about this since 2015.

But, it's 2018, and we're just now finding out about this.

Over the years, social media has become almost a necessity for people to avoid living under a rock and follow current events. Most everyone has a Facebook account.

To me, it's almost like Walmart. Many people rag on Facebook and Walmart, but they can't avoid them. They're regular customers of both no matter how much they say they despise the two companies.

However, in its defense, Walmart did not let its customers' data get in the hands of foreign adversaries.

Now, all of the attention surrounds Mark Zuckerberg as he is surrounded by cameras while testifying before Congress.

Zuckerberg himself said that if Facebook cannot protect its users' data, then Facebook doesn't deserve the users. He's right; they don't.

Mark is a billionaire, so he'll probably be fine no matter what happens to Facebook.

Though the company is in deep trouble, it's done nothing but grow for 14 years, and it would be incredibly difficult to take it down.

However, it has taken big hits from stocks falling just about every day.

If it weren't for connections to family and student groups on Facebook, I would delete my account. But for anybody else who thinks they can delete Facebook and not lose anything, then more power to you.

Facebook has misled and deceived at least 87 million people, and it's time we cut the cord.

It looks like Zuckerberg 2020 is over before it started.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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