Published by the Ghion Journal, December 26, 2017
No need to be coy here, I’ll admit it. There is something viscerally gratifying about putting people in their place. Nothing feeds the ego more and satiates the id as much as clapping back at people who try to shine at our expense. I’m sure even the most enlightened among us have a hard time returning slights with smiles. It’s just human nature to get defensive and lash back when others say something offensive and lash at us. Yet this habit of retorting with scorn against those who try to invert our happiness with their cynicism has become toxic and is poisoning the public airwaves—we have become a society of spite and snark.
Nowhere is this contemptuous conniption of ours more evident than when we are discussing politics and governance. Egged on by a corporate media that has monetized injustice and a political class that turned outrage into a business model to get elected and grab more power, we are devolving into the abyss of pejoratives and ad hominem. Matching wits is passe, we now just throw match sticks at our opponents and hope they catch on rhetorical fire. Aided by technology, we have become a Balkanized society where people seek out like minded thinkers and lambaste anyone who dares to think differently. Read More