My unrealistically smart friend Anita Lobo pointed me to The Law of Jante:
In the imaginary small town of Jante there is an informal, oppressive law that forbids anyone from standing out from the crowd:
The Law of Jante
- Thou shalt not believe thou art something.
- Thou shalt not believe thou art as good as we.
- Thou shalt not believe thou art more wise than we.
- Thou shalt not fancy thyself better than we.
- Thou shalt not believe thou knowest more than we.
- Thou shalt not believe thou art greater than we.
- Thou shalt not believe thou amountest to anything.
- Thou shalt not laugh at us.
- Thou shalt not believe that anyone is concerned with thee.
- Thou shalt not believe thou canst teach us anything.
We are now living in Jante.
Better has died.
There are many reasons behind this, such as the need for empowered individuals that can consume stuff and an exaggerated fascination with democracy, to name a few. However, I want to focus on the fear of violence.
The horror of wars and recent dictatorships have made us afraid of the consequences that fighting for an idea may have. We worry that trying to impose objectivity will inevitably lead to some sort of authoritarianism and physical retaliation. Past (and still fresh) violence has left a bad reputation in people’s ability to handle disagreements. We prefer to say “to each its own” because we believe that a new Hitler can be just around the corner.
Terrorists prove everyday that this possibility is very real. Their blind and retarded belief in a “better scenario” lets them justify any atrocity to humanity. And this is why we need to learn from the past, not ignore it. We need to embrace the intensity of a war and apply it exclusively in an intellectual setting. It’s the year 2010, we have to be able to separate our ideas from our bodies.
Everyone should live with their needs covered in a peaceful society that respects every individual, I’m all for equality in every aspect of life. We can’t let any kind of moral debate overrun human rights.
But when it comes to debating, let’s beat the shit out of each other. We can’t keep putting our emotional fragility before intellectual objectivity either. Let’s stop respecting each others’ feelings so much.
Like Philip Pullman says, no one has the right not to be offended.
In a world where feelings are a priority, quality of life, ideas and morals drop.
In a world where feelings are a priority, conflict and improvement become taboo.
In a world where feelings are a priority, mediocrity rules.
Here’s to a world that values rationality, logic, quality and growth before fear, feelings and ignorance.
Here’s to the end of Jante.