I was just involved in a discussion and meta-discussion about the recent flap over some outrageous fraternity prank in Oklahoma. I only judge it to be outrageous because clearly people who had paid attention to the details were outraged. I didn't bother to look. It was and continues to be beneath my radar.
My guideline on this with regard to the appropriate response to the outrageous and/or sinful hinges upon whether or not a serious crime has been committed. And I generally only respond to wars and very proximate local dangerous crimes. I have a very basic libertarian reason for this which is simple. If it's not a crime, then outrage is only talk unless and until it becomes mob action. Let us recall Cobb's Wisdom
Social justice is crowd-sourced law, the whining little sister of mob rule.
What we don't want, although many will claim that we need it, is more zero-tolerance. Handing the mic over to those who cannot shut up is only a victory for oppression, because the more law you have, the more police have to do. How closely do you want to police society? Let the outraged be outraged. You can always tell them to piss off. They don't have a legal case. But if you let the meddlesome noses of 'social justice' into the tent, meddlesome laws may ensue.
I am often saddened to find so many young folks of the sort that seem to be lacking in common sense and require things like on-campus speech codes. To them the difference and the distance between rights and privileges must seem non-existent. They appear easily provoked into outrage and find interesting connections between the Nigeria's human trafficking and their inability to respect local police. Why do people who find the personal to be political get so bent out of shape about the global? Why do they fly into danger zones in order to bring attention upon themselves 'in solidarity' with 'communities' of strangers?
Let's say that I blame social media.
Social media goes hand in hand with social justice, neither of which are proper society. Nevertheless we are sufficiently immersed in quite enough improper society to stipulate the hegemony of 'crunk and disorder'. I'm sure that is what many people see through their 2x reading glasses of 'America', and we certainly have our share of domestic haters. I understand that this week some state legislators are convening somewhere to literally make an amendment in the state constitution so that students at public universities (!) cannot ban the American flag. Will absurdities never cease?
Here's the thing. Social media makes the distant intimate. Someone tweets something retarded and suddenly it's viral. Since 'social justice' fails to distinguish the outrage of the masses from the aegis of the law (with all the intellectual qualifications required of legal standards), millions mistake this blather for the critical stuff of democracy. It is not. It is hearsay amplified by the YouTube standard of evidence. (And I have yet to hear an attorney say that a YouTube video is simply inadmissible in a court of law.) But of those barbarian fratboys and of that Japanese kid tattooed with Mentos in the Coca-Cola bathtub, and of the various McDonalds smackdowns and all other varieties of amateur voyeurisms there can be and often is backlash.
How many perpetrators of outrage have become besieged by social justice mobs? Name a 'gate' like say, Gamergate and you will uncover a tornado of vituperation. These are not mere tempests in teapots, they are Category 5 hurricanes of hatred. But has a law been broken? Not one. Try defending Bill Cosby these days. With nothing approaching an indictment, much less a trial, there is also nothing approaching civility for those who disagree.
Perhaps this is exactly what we need. The poet once said that performers ultimately get the audience they deserve. For the aims of being extremely popular beyond any legal jurisdiction, people reveal themselves in ways that end up costing them all of their privacy. Once the mainstream media pick up the rumor, it becomes impossible to repair any sensible reputation one might have. Of course if one does not lament the death of actual society and all one expects is the hegemony of sleaze and scandal, one perhaps feels no loss. All publicity is good publicity, right?
Perhaps we ought to encourage doxing and hacking of those who tweet above and beyond the bounds of civility. Perhaps it will not be until the internets' mobs have had their exploitive way with enough of their social justice mob agendas that people will start to curtail from engaging social media as they do today. Maybe it won't be until enough social activists have been bullied and burned by 'society' that they become more circumspect in their activism. Perhaps it won't be until then that they realize the difference between the personal and the political, between the social and the legal, between what they can say in public and what is properly in the public interest.
Let us keep in mind how long it has taken (how long? not long) for gluten free everything to fleece the pockets of those who suddenly find themselves allergic to this thing they didn't know existed. Let us keep in mind how many dreams of acai berry health have been dashed. Let us remember where Occupy is occupying today. How many more need to feel the fleshettes of flash mobs until we rid ourselves of social media's pretense of democratic action?