The slaughter bench and the echo chamber
As to the present state of the nation, we only have to check the comment section on news articles posted in the social network. In those long threads, where we’d rather stick to our views and throw mud at those who don’t share them, we can get a glimpse of how much we have changed indeed as a nation.
We have been so eager for the promised “change” that we could not allow anything that contradicts or threatens it, even if it’s just a dissenting opinion or a different analysis. We have fixed all our hopes to such promise of a changed society, and we took it not just as an idea but as a process that has been going on, a social movement that we have wholeheartedly committed ourselves into since it started. We have lost friends along the way, made enemies, and sacrificed so much to the cause. There’s no turning back now.
We are proud to be part of it and for once, it renewed our sense of righteousness. We feel that we are now on the right side in this great battle between good and evil. That notion of change has indeed changed us. We are no longer just converts, we have become true believers and fierce crusaders.
We took it upon ourselves as a duty to defend that change, to fight its enemies without mercy if need be. After all, they are either evil or supporters of evil. Still we hope to convert those who are doubtful and undecided. We propagate the change. We evangelize.
We are aware that force and violence may be needed to enforce such change. They are a necessary evil. And in those times when it seems that some of our own leaders — those very people who promised this change — often contradict themselves in their words and deeds — we are ready to forgive them. Those shortcomings are trivial compared to the task they have at hand. Besides, they are just being honest, being true to their imperfections as human beings.
Only criminals, who are more animals than humans, deserve to die for their mistakes. It is just right that strong leaders slaughter them. After all, didn’t Hegel once say that great men are bound to make a slaughter-bench out of history?
We can no longer be a nation of bleeding hearts. So never mind if the killings continue every day. Never mind if great concessions are being made to the detriment of our nation’s territory and security. Never mind if we have to shut our eyes at the blatant disregard of basic values and principles that make our democracy. Never mind if our leaders are starting to demand loyalty to themselves first more than to the law.
Never mind if history is being revised as former dictators are now given heroes’ burial and former plunderers are being freed and glorified. Never mind if a whole army of paid hacks and trolls are churning out fake news every day to justify the myth of change.
If those lies help to keep the change going, then they are still good stories. We need such good stories, even if they are not true, to pacify the people and make them cooperate. People need to be inspired with hopeful and uplifting news about what this nation can become.
They need to trust and have faith in their leaders. They have to learn to understand and be patient with their flaws. After all, a leader cannot be too gentle and kind. He has to be firm and strong. He has to be harsh to his enemies. We did not elect a slow-acting, consensus-building and compassionate statesman. We wanted a decisive, charismatic strongman who can rule with an iron fist.
As every little thing now seems to fall into place in the current order of things, we become alert for any possible threat to it, even if it’s just a small idea. Being the majority, we have to swarm the comment box to stump out any hint of opposition, to nip the bud before it grows.
We have an opinion for everything and will not hesitate to shout it out in whatever online venue, even at the most civilized site of global discourse. We never bother to check the facts; if they support our views, then we use and promote them. What is important is the whole story and not the sum of its facts. We can always find a way to make the facts fit the story that we have already formed in our minds. We believe that story to be true, good and beautiful. That is all that matters.
So, as a nation, we are about to listen once again to a retelling of this story we have all been trying to tell ourselves and each other repeatedly. It’s all for the pleasure of hearing that nice story being narrated over and over again, and more especially as it will come from the very same person who first echoed this story to us and promised to make it come true.
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