The Hive Mind
Culture is an amorphous term. It can designate the finer aesthetic things in the world or the peculiarities that divide us into groups. Scratch that. It can designate the former and the latter; there is no ‘or.’ Divisions have often fallen with the former influencing the latter, though the lines were imperfect. Lately, though, the lines are cut more deeply. There are the enlightened ones and the unwashed masses.
The unwashed masses must be avoided.
In the name of tolerance.
Look, I am sympathetic to exclusion. There’s a whole raft of folks with whom I’d rather not interact. That sentiment is predicated on things like general hygiene, taste in whiskey, and the other mundane bits that cause friends to become friends. But if I find out you think Paul Krugman is a genius, that you get upset when greeted with “Merry Christmas,” or that you thought Sideways was a good movie, I’m not going to let destroy my overall opinion of you. Sure, it may give me pause, particularly with regard to your judgment, but groupthink is boring and doesn’t help one sharpen his opinions.
If you’re of the persuasion that’s fond of talking about the other side’s epistemic closure, you might not be as tolerant as I. You’re an enlightened one. A believer in science, alchemy, and the immutable nature of truth. In that case, groupthink is a natural result of intelligence and shared understanding of how things really work. Forward.
This would not be so much an issue were it not for a fusing of the personal and the political by the enlightened ones. Religious beliefs, opinions about tax rates, stance on gay marriage, and all the other verses of kumbaya are a reason to avoid people. To reeducate them. In the name of tolerance.
If you sever ties over politics, over opinions on abortion and gay marriage, over tax rates and all the other verses of kumbaya–if you define unwashed based on politics–then your priorities, to put it bluntly, are fucked up. Stop substituting politics for culture. The concepts are not synonymous; believing them to be so only exposes your ignorance and suggests a shallow existence.