I am distressed during every crisis, real or imagined, at the increase in people forced out of their jobs. Some are fired, some are forced to resign, some have contracts cancelled, some have their business or revenue lessened by the punitive efforts of social media (official and unofficial). David Foster just posted an update on an older post which includes the story of what Sebastian Haffner's father, a civil servant under both the Kaiser and Weimar, had to do to keep his pension under the nazis as an elderly man.
It is happening too often as it is even in calmer times, but there is a flurry of it whenever some cause makes the news and everyone is suspect of offending the mob. As the crises seem as dependent on the news cycle and how long it has been since we had a good hatefest as they do on how important the actual events are, we can expect this pattern to persist. This crisis will settle down until it is time for another one, and then whatever happens to happen will used to get upset again.
In the Soviet Union, not all those convicted of political crimes were executed or sent to the Gulag. Some just had their permission to work taken away, so that they had no ability to feed themselves and their families and became dependent on relatives. Your relatives may have loved you or merely felt obligated, but they certainly didn't want you to create further trouble, and you didn't want them to suffer more either. It's a nifty little system they had going there.
This tactic is derived from legitimate boycott, or simply choosing to take your business elsewhere. I don't buy Ben & Jerry's ice cream because of their politics. I don't inquire into the politics of other ice cream makers, unless they give me no choice. Chronic sexual harassers or even criminals may finally be gotten rid of when causes break through. The difference is not only a matter of degree, but of impression. A small number of transexuals may decide you are "denying their existence*" by disagreeing with them; professional race advocates plus students - there is seldom a consensus of general African-Americans driving this - may decide that your support is insufficiently energetic, comrade. People resign to go along because they care about the cause or co-workers, or family, or to protect what is left of their job prospects in the industry, or they just don't want the drama and difficulty. They have not been accused of a crime or prosecuted. In many cases they could insist on being fired instead and then win a wrongful termination suit. Reasons vary for not doing that.
*The parallel with the Borderline Personality traits of fear of annihilation and identity disturbance (pages 5,6, 9-11)is often noted. To be strict about interpreting this, however, we should make a distinction between transexuals who engage in advocacy and those who do not, the same as we would for the advocacy corps of any cause. It is also likely that because these traits display dramatically in crisis that we exaggerate their frequency. Social media enables those with personality disorders to have more influence.
"Some just had their permission to work taken away, so that they had no ability to feed themselves and their families and became dependent on relatives."
What next? Making buying and selling the sole privilege of those who've gone through some sort of complete-monster training?
"Social media enables those with personality disorders to have more influence."
The spirit of our times.
Post a Comment