*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday, 21 February 2011

I think I'm skeptical; you think I'm rude.

You ever have one of those sudden moments when you don't feel alone?  If you do, you're a kindred spirit; if you never feel alone, you're not the type to be reading.  A few years ago I came across Alan Zweig's documentary, "I, Curmudgeon" on public television late one evening (it is inconceivable that something so introspective would be allowed alongside the selling of consumer goods).  The variety of cranks in the film, many of whom I was familiar with, and their inability, and refusal, to navigate human society in bad faith struck a nerve.  I came to tears as Alan Zweig pondered whether people like he and I had been absent for the class in school where the teacher levelled with everyone else that all of this morality and ethics stuff was just fairy-tale.

I've often felt marginalization among my own 'friends', much less my peers and colleagues, because I have an allergy to 'drinking the kool-aid'.  I try to shut up with my unwelcome opinions, but there is only so much of the asinine you can take in silence, so much of yourself you can sublimate, and so much of your 'friends'' lack of self-examination that you can take.  The essential truth of human society at any scale is that it is venal, and that the humans will abide anything in fear of rocking the boat.  Why not rock a rotten boat?  Well, either the boat is serving you all-right-Jack, or you are in fear of swimming on your own.

I do try.  I really do.  But when a high-functioning sociopath, employed by a PR firm (needless to say), is holding forth in my circle of 'friends' about how "it's unfair what was done to" the ex-Attorney General of Ontario who murdered a poorer man (and very little was 'done to' him at all), I either have to say something, or leave.  Both make me 'difficult'.  It is much easier to avoid the whole lot of sociopath fellow-travellers.  So I have.

Other people mustn't be able to have any controversial integrity of their own, or hide it far better, because I keep having trouble.  I had a parent assault my professionalism arbitrarily, and I got little help from my union and frank antagonism from my principal and superintendent (because apparatchiks can't take the sound of a noisy wheel).  The only reason for this that I can surmise is either:
- I taught that Jesus favoured the disenfranchised (Catholic school)
- or that my comments on another blog (before I was wise enough to be un-Google-able) stated it is not necessary to live in a 'monster home' or drive an SUV to find happiness
It is a very nouveau riche neighbourhood.  If I'd been a 'conservative' then, these people would have driven me to the left.  I doubt I could now make it to vice-principal or principal, if I'd cared.  As I told my wife when she asked me why I was not interested in administration: "integrity."  Bringing my few teacher friends to tears of laughter.

There are not many of us who prefer integrity to company.  That is what it comes down to: Thoreau's 'majority of one'.  To put it another way: what is just is not socially determined; what is true is not up for a vote.  It is not arrogant to refuse blindness": it is righteous.
"Any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one"

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