A case in point is the current wave of sexual harassment allegations and the #MeTo movement, something that Neil tiptoes into with Christos Tsiolkas speaks my mind.
I note that, like many, the on-going discussion has caused me to review and question my own past behaviour. That is a good thing, but it's got to the stage that I say not another one, where will this end? I feel tarnished. I know that I'm not alone in feeling this. Some of my female friends feel likewise, that the movement has gone over the top.
There are just so many angry issues now.
At a purely personal level in personal conversation, I used to try to argue counter viewpoints. I do enjoy and argument and also like providing balance. Few issues are wholly black and white. Now where the other person has strong views and especially in a group with similar views, I find it best not to become involved, to listen. Life is too short and relationships too important to risk them over a difference in opinion. I also value having friends with a variety of views.
Mind you, this type of self-censorship is not new, nor do I apply it universally. There is an old saying never discuss money (or sex), religion and politics in polite company. I used to think that that was really fuddy duddy, old fashioned, but it was intended to preserve social cohesion in particular groups or societies by limiting discussion on key topics that divide, that are likely to put people against each other. While I am still of my original view, I am a little more sympathetic. Today there seem to be many more issues that divide.
I think that the problem is compounded by the echo chamber effect combined with diminished diversity in networks. I grew up in a smaller community with multiple, varying and often strongly held views. Survival in that community, the achievement of collective objectives, required a measure of self-discipline. I may violently disagree with X's views on Y, but I needed X's support to achieve a particular community objective. In most cases, best to shut up about Y unless Y is so important that it absolutely requires a response.
I mentioned diminished diversity in networks. I have to be careful, here. Is it just me? Have my own networks just shrunk? At one level that is true, for I see or mix with fewer people in a direct day to day sense. But I don't think that is the case, for I still mix across groups especially in the on-line world as well as in geographic space. I'm actually very lucky here, for my views are constantly challenged.
That said, I am conscious of growing uniformity in group views, of a decline in community cohesion and activity. Again I need to be careful here. I am no longer involved in certain activities such as school that provide a common base. Still, I do feel that people mix less, are less aware of and less accepting of alternative positions.
That's a personal perspective. For the moment and in the personal space, I suppose the key thing that I have learned in surviving in this age of outrage is that you don't have to play. Just respect others views and shut up!