Some people wonder why I block people with whom I disagree, whether the subject is government, rights, psychology or just life.
They ask, “Don’t you welcome dissenting opinion?”
Of course I welcome dissenting opinion. But that opinion has to be worth my time.
I LONG for a “liberal” leftist who doesn’t resort to personal attacks, unfounded attacks on credentials or claims that one’s gender or racial make-up (white, male) render it impossible for one to think anything rational. I would love real, opposing arguments by rational, intelligent adversaries. I have to tell you that those are incredibly few and far between. I can only assume that when you’re wrong, and when you reached those wrong views exclusively by emotions rather than by carefully thought out reasoning, the only recourse you have when confronted with opposing views is emotionalized self-protection. With most, that manifests as attack and hostility. I don’t like attacks or hostility, but I also find them sad, unimaginative and boring. The only kind of dissenting opinion that interests me is the kind that invites me to think.
Examples of opinions not worth my time? People who clearly have not read the article/post with which they claim to disagree. They’re responding to the headline, not to the article. That’s laziness. I detest laziness, and I know social media like Facebook and Twitter can foster it. My response to the fostering of laziness? Careful and concise thinking. If that’s not for you, then “friendship” with me—even the social media kind—is not for you, either.
When someone renders criticism with a tone of hostility, with negative emotion as a substitute for reason, they’ve shown me that something other than objective truth is their motive. I frankly don’t care what that motive is. I’m done with them, because they don’t add any value to my life.
Another example is when people use my substantially populated posts to give themselves unearned visibility. No, I’m not Milo. I don’t have millions of followers, but I do have tens of thousands. People who know that like to use my comment threads to post the articles of people THEY like. Why should my space on Facebook be used to advance opinions or points-of-view with which I disagree? I respond to those opposing views in literally thousands of articles posted on my website cumulatively, almost on a daily basis. If that’s not enough for you, then fine. But stop using my earned accumulation of thousands of readers to peddle your own preferred writers. Go create your own social media base, and stop acting as a parasite on mine.
The underlying premise here is treating your social media thread as for yourself, and expecting others to do the same. Just as it’s not a violation of someone’s “free speech” to refuse to pay for the airing of their views on a television show or in a full page advertisement, it’s not a violation of civility or manners only to permit people who bring YOU value on your social media page. Calling it “selfish” will not intimidate me out of it, because we are all — and should be — in charge of advancing our own interests in life.
The sense of outrage and entitlement from some people at being blocked or unfriended simply reinforces the validity of my decision. If someone thinks they’re entitled to even a second of my life, my mind, my efforts or my time—simply because I have it and they want it—then they obviously haven’t read even five percent of the thousands of articles I have posted on self-interest, individualism, private property, sovereignty over one’s mind and life, and all the rest. The fact that some of them claim to endorse these principles while expressing emotional reactions in total opposition to them frankly makes me a little sick.
Blocking on social media is just the twenty-first century version of implementing a timeless principle, one that deserves to be dominant in the minds of everyone:
Your life is your own.
It does not belong to anyone else. Not any part of it, unless you willingly choose to give it to them.
Toxic and hostile people have their own agendas. Leave them to wallow in those agendas, and keep them out of your life unless they offer you something of real value, which they never do.
Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1