On Confrontationalism in Social Discourse

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An increasing number of people have taken an active interest in politics and social issues over the past few years, a startling reversal of previous trends which has drawn grievances that were once deemed inappropriate for discussion and better left ignored to the collective conversational foreground instead. As a society we may have a long way yet to go in adequately rectifying these issues but the rise in public awareness can only build momentum, as the sources of these grievances are in many regards not simply unresolved, but not even meaningfully addressed.

As clearly discernable existential threats are brought to the attention of those from whom systems of control have come to expect complacence and indifference, it has required new methods be introduced to perpetuate division, further entrenching the artificial differences between groups so that all might remain reliant on external leadership, rendering them easily exploitable. Due to the novelty of these public opinion fragmentation methods they can seem jarring, implausible, garishly out-of-place or conspicuously xenophobic to those outside of their target audience. This is more to the good for those who promote these narratives as it reinforces the ideological blinders that are required to prevent proper communication and understanding, thereby exacerbating the difficulties faced in engaging in dialogue with those who are not prescribed to similar or compatible viewpoints. As people are increasingly separated into distinct, often oppositional camps by their differing belief structures, the potential for misunderstanding, unnecessary adversarialism and misdirected enmity grows ever-larger. Every side believes it and it alone addresses the root of the disenfranchisement we all languish under and, confident in their certitude, see other approaches at resolving our collective woes as mere distractions, if not as the counterproductive activities of compliant dupes. This outcome is entirely by design, for should there ever come to pass a unification of the disparate movements striving to change the established order, those in power are well-aware that the rising reformative tide would wash away the levies of their control systems. Only by pitting us against one another can those in positions of authority retain their pilfered wealth and undeserved lavishments.

When the populace of a nation sees nothing untoward about contemplating the overthrow of sovereign elected governments based solely on the protestations of a fractional minority of a few thousand in a population of millions, whilst simultaneously maintaining that simply drawing attention to legitimate protests and domestic oppression within their own nation entails a foreign power meddling in their elections process, it indicates that popular consensus has been numbed to the cognitive dissonance of their reasoning, which indicates that the official propaganda is proving effective. The general populous of other nations look on with mounting alarm as attempts to share unbiased information or novel ideas are increasingly met with vitriolic hostility and the concerned international citizens are labelled as bots, trolls or paid agents forwarding maliciously unpatriotic agendas.

As tensions mount people of all political stripes feel increasingly embattled and defensive, resulting in potential allies being verbally lashed over honest mistakes or relatively minor differences of opinion or tactic. By calmly engaging in clear, open-minded dialogue, however, some of these obstacles can be overcome, allowing unexpected common ground to be found among individuals who have found themselves subscribed to supposedly opposing factions. While engaging in such discussions is important, it cannot necessarily be expected to bring about any immediate measurable success. Those with a vested emotional and psychological interest in their particular narrative will, in all likelihood, be disinclined to readily abandon that worldview, though simply exposing such individuals to a broader spectrum of ideas will generally have effects that can be transformative given time and can serve to disrupt the mono-narrative that has ideologically shackled them to other peoples' beliefs and interests.

Those with a vested professional interest in maintaining the narrative imperilled by inquiry can be expected to block and lurk, dispatching lackeys or re-engaging with alternate account 'sock puppets' while they appropriate what they require of the dialogue to their own timelines so as to better control the tone and direction of the conversation from that more secure, insular position to the adoring accolades of their established fan base, further amplifying the already-pervasive echo-chamber effect. Individuals such as these who have a significant personal stake in the worldviews they receive remuneration in the form of prestige or wealth to promote are unlikely to modify their outlook until the systems they support are rendered completely defunct and their incentivization ceases.

The current trend towards enlightened solidarity shows no signs of abating, thankfully. In spite of the best efforts of those in systems of social control to re-direct, obfuscate and generally bring about the regression of the nature and comportment of public discussion, the real and often horrific ills, traumas, debasements, harm and overall strain to a society that teeters on the verge of collapse ensure that the populace remains attuned to such issues as would actually benefit their lives. To illustrate this point, there was recently a discussion I participated in wherein no resolution could be reached, though there were not such misgivings that the parties involved felt compelled to block one another. Shortly afterwards it occurred to me that, in the course of the exchange, I had not examined the profile of the most resolutely intractable participant. Seeking a greater understanding of their position and motivations, I proceeded to do so. As one might have expected their profile was largely an assemblage of phrases and insignia, retweets and regalia of their designated camp and established allegiance, but beyond that I found something that gladdened me: they had recently chosen to follow an anti-poverty group for which I have tremendous respect. This instilled in me no small measure of hope, for it meant that someone wiser than I would lead them gently by their morals towards a more beneficent path where my attempt to redirect their reasoning had been in vain.

This increase in social awareness is all-pervasive and multi-faceted, ensuring it will encroach on the isolated pockets of reactionary ideology from all sides. It is not flagging or dissipating, instead only intensifying as it expands and allows various movements and campaigns to find common ground on issues and common foes in the form of those who would seek to exploit our divisions. Despite the fervent wishes of those who would seek to exert control over others to their detriment, this rise in solidarity among people cannot be dispelled, for the duress compelling it, if left unchecked, would extinguish not only our way of life but our very lives.