Toxic Culture

img_9852Unless you’ve been in North Korea for the last few years, it’s likely that you’ve heard or read about some kind of gender-based social movement. More than likely, that social movement has the male gender or climate change as its central villain. While I often agree that an issue should be addressed, it’s very blind and foolish to believe that one party is generally dishonest with sinister intentions and another is generally truthful with innocent motives. However, this is what we find American politicians and media personalities purporting in an endless stream. There must be an “other evil” against which to rally in order to solidify support and viewership.

It’s almost like we’ve become programmed to fall into this ignorant trap over and over again. Recently, I saw a friend post his thoughts on a moral issue, then was attacked by a person who chose to politicize the issue without regard to the legitimacy of what he was saying. Rather than looking for the truth, we choose to be offended and respond with an emotional attack.

We distract ourselves in order to ignore the truth.

All of us can shout or hashtag “Me Too,” “Toxic Masculinity,” “Reproductive Rights,” “Climate Change” or any other catchphrase (which has usually been market tested first for its viability of getting the well-meaning, but ignorant listener angered) all day long and fail to address the actual issue. Even if we never objectify anyone, shave every beard, abort every baby, and never leave a lasting environmental trace of our existence… those in power who wish to divide society for political gain will always find a new issue with which to take offense. We refuse to accept the Truth about our society and about ourselves as individuals.

What is that truth?

We are selfish.

Here’s the problem with admitting that the underlying issue is selfishness: Anyone can be selfish. This means I am selfish and you are selfish.

“Consumerism” has become a popular way to describe our modernized version of selfishness, while avoiding the uncomfortable necessity of looking at ourselves. Honestly, I love the word “Consumerism,” it’s very impersonal. I can be angry all day about the “Consumerist Mentality” and blame it on the impersonal object of “Society” or “Culture.” When I say “Consumerism,” I can fit it neatly outside of the way I choose to live and make myself blameless. But… saying “selfish” requires me to consider my own behavior as an individual and how it impacts others. There are very few, if any, societal ills that can rest squarely on the shoulders of a defined people group.

Positive cultural change will never take place through the constant demonization of each other. If our societal transgressions are to be addressed, then we must look at ourselves and stop pointing a self-righteous finger at others.

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