The Internet opened up a never-before-seen political dialogue of diverse views which resulted in incidents like the Occupy Movement that future generations might one day look back on and view the same way contemporaries view the Tennis Court Oath of the French Revolution – a grassroots precursor that signaled the turning of the tide. But, as the Internet becomes clogged with more and more under-researched, hypocritical and authoritarian claims, I am concerned that any future Internet-inspired event will bear more resemblance to the Réveillon Riots of the French Revolution – an unorganised movement founded upon misunderstanding and fueled by misinformation.
My biggest concerns are:
The lack of research that goes into online political discussion. The hypocritical views this ill-informed discussion births. And the absoluteness with which these views are presented.
Going back to the Occupy Movement, regardless of what you think about the 1% – whether you believe they are the byproduct of an honest and healthy capitalist society or the result of a crooked and corrupt system – income inequality is a concrete fact. The truth of the matter deems it an appropriate topic for discussion, debate and, if you are so inclined, protest.
Compare that to the myth of the gender wage gap that is so frequently and adamantly sprouted on the Internet. I’ve never seen the Red Pill and refuse to take men’s rights activists seriously, but I cannot abide misinformation. I agree that women need more representation in glamorous positions: CEO’s, directors, politicians. That, while the glass ceiling has been dismantled, the architecture that supported it remains intact and still limits the number of women who are able to pass through. A lie, however, is not the solution to this problem. In fact, that lie promotes a view that contradicts its goal. Women exceeding the glass ceiling due to misinformation and not because they are equally, and in some cases superiorly, capable to men is sexist.
The Internet would have people believe that women make 70 cents where a male would make a dollar for the exact same job. This is pure hyperbole. Paying anyone – a woman, minority or disabled person – less than someone else for the same job is highly illegal. The discrepancy between male and female wages comes from the types of jobs that the majority of each gender does. Not glamorous jobs like acting either.
Men often work in more dangerous situations than women. Mines, oil rigs, deep sea fishing. The list goes on and on and is just as applicable to less extreme and mundane jobs. The award rates for warehousing and trades, predominately male industries, are higher than the award rates for hospitality and retail, predominately female industries, due to the higher risk of bodily harm.
There simply are differences between males and females, despite what Internet radicals say. Differences that make men and women suitable for different jobs. This is the reason male athletes make so much more than their female counterparts. More people watch male sports not because the contestants are male but because they are simply better and more skilled. Last year, Australia’s national women’s soccer team, the Matildas, were beaten 7-0 by a local under 16’s boys team.
It may sound harsh and unfair but that is the reality of our biology.
Conversely, men, or a significantly less proportion of men, can’t become rich and Insta-famous simply because they look good. Whereas women like Kim Kardashian make roughly $700,000 for a single sponsored post. Unfair and probably not very empowering but a fact nonetheless.
Too many Internet radicals immediately dismiss anything that doesn’t conform to their strict outlook as being bigoted. Don’t believe in an infinite amount of genders? Transphobic. Don’t think letting high-risk refugees in is worth the risk? Islamophobic. Don’t think Clinton should have been elected instead of Trump? Racist.
It is these short sighted and hypocritical arguments that promote the totalitarian misinformation on the web. Trump isn’t the most tolerant guy around, sure, but he isn’t the reincarnation of Hitler either, despite what some blog or facebook post says. And Clinton is no less racist than Trump, despite what she and ill-informed supporters claim.
After the 2015 terror attack in France, a French flag filter took over the Internet. But rather than being seen an act of Internet solidarity, the Internet deemed the French filter racist, claiming that it was proof of an inherent Western racism that ignores atrocities throughout the Middle East while highlighting those that occur in the West. I’d wager that the people who perpetuated this stance were the same easily manipulated ones who supported Clinton, even though half of them probably lived outside of the USA.
But by supporting Clinton, the woman who started an oil war with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi under the guise of freedom and killed thousands of civilians, those people were actually supporting the very brand of racism they thought the French filter represented. Had Clinton waged her unjust war in a Western country, I guarantee you that she would be the one being compared to Hitler. To the modern Internet activist, words speak louder than actions and research is unnecessary.
Lack of Research
The hypocrisy of online political fanatics is supported by the recent rise in pro-Communist Internet propaganda. These undereducated people, who are somehow ignorant of the millions and millions of deaths from 20th century communism, trivialise the suffering that goes on in Eastern countries while emphasising the trivialities that occur in Western society, thus promoting the idea that the west is more important.
That they even identify as and support Communism in the first place is the same. Those Eastern countries who botched Communism so severely, they simply weren’t as enlightened as the western Internet rebels who think they are capable of implementing Marx’s and Engel’s manifesto without such atrocities occurring.