Why do people laugh at activists?

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It’s likely that, at some point, you’ve run into an activist. You know who I mean; it’s the kind of person who makes a point of identifying as a feminist, a desegregationist, or any of a variety of flavors of activism currently promoted by Tumblr.

Because they understand no setting as too inappropriate, they’ll work the conversation into activism, and drive themselves into a fit as they labor the points they’re trying to make about the issues that they perceive as being a matter of life-or-death. The people around them will try to keep their distance, and once they tire themselves out, they’ll retreat to their base of operations (their mother’s basement) where they’ll work out their next scheme to save the people of the world from themselves.

But you don’t actually have to meet an activist to see signs of cringe. In fact, it’s a snap to see those signs of cringe outside of people’s houses, usually in three different languages, because apparently inclusiveness means being poly-lingual just to read a platitude that does nothing more than express a feeling.

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Even on social media, it’s easy to find an activist meltdown, and it provides an opportunity to watch it happen from a safe distance. If you’re like most people, whenever you see activism, you laugh, cringe, watch in fascination, or at least keep a safe distance. But did you ever wonder why?

Why do people laugh at activists?

When one hears their stated causes, they seem just. They want equality between the races. They want sex discrimination to be illegal. They oppose religious discrimination in the workplace. Their causes are like this, and most people wouldn’t argue against any of these things.

But here’s the deal: These kinds of discrimination are already illegal. If your employer discriminates against you because of your biological sex, for example, you could take them to court. If you could demonstrate that it happened, it would be an open-and-shut case.

Also, if there were any people out there that were sincere about their racist, sexist, or otherwise discriminatory views, they are afraid to be up front about it. This is because they know that their views would make them an outlier, and they’d quickly become a pariah if they were to come forward with them.

When you consider all these things, do you know what they collectively mean? If you need to be brought to the finish line, I’ll tell you:

We’ve won.

Equality of virtually any kind exists throughout the civilized world, and is actively enforced by the strength of the law. The major civil rights battles have already long-since come to their conclusion.

Yet, the activists of today still continue to complain. They continue to fight against their own imaginary enemies in an obvious effort to look good in doing so. Even though all the major civil rights battles have already been won, they continue to live in the past, as though they’ve never been properly informed of the reality that the civilized world has been living in for decades. Because of this, people have a hard time taking activists seriously.

In the sixties, people took to the streets in protest of various injustices. They also spent a lot of time getting high. But eventually, they won.

In the seventies, people continued to protest injustices and they got high. But they won.

In the eighties, people took it easy, listened to cassettes, and got high. Because they won.

In the nineties, people listened to CDs and got high. Because we’ve long-since won.

In the 2000s, people listened to music on their iPods, and a few of them listened to music on Zunes. Needless to say, they also got high. People accepted that the major social justice battles concluded decades ago, and things were generally nice. Those victories would probably have come much sooner if people spent less time getting high. We still don’t have the cure to cancer, by the way. I’m just sayin’.

In the 2010s, things stopped being nice when a bunch of Social Justice Warriors appeared on the scene, bent on chasing down the boogeymen that they themselves imagined. People laugh at their stupidity and also get high.

While the rest of us laugh, play, work, and enjoy life, activists work themselves into temper tantrums. They’re missing out on the good things of life so they can savor the cynical sense of satisfaction that comes with fighting a battle that doesn’t even need to be fought. That is both hilarious and sad.

While the rest of us work for college educations, meaningful jobs, and take home paychecks that allow us to afford decent-size homes, cars, families, beer and many other good things that we appreciate, activists are on a mission to achieve a greater level of cynicism and misery. Eventually, they’ll have to look back on what they’ve accomplished over the course of what would come to be the most regrettable years of their lives, and come to the realization that they haven’t really accomplished anything, except maybe pick up a criminal record. Maybe they’ll also realize that everyone else has been laughing at them, cringing at them, or even egging them on as one would an ignorant source of amusement.

One could make the case that humans are well-conditioned to having enemies. In light of this, it’s understandable how, in a lack of a major long-term conflict, a person can still regress into a form of tribalism. We see this all the time in how many people identify themselves with what media they consume, the cell phone they own, their brand of automobile, their fashion choices, and so on. Ironically, the many fad activists that we see today exercise the same in-group thinking of the kind that they accuse other people of practicing. Psychological projection provides a tidy explanation for this behavior.

You know what’s better than activism? Here’s a list:

  • Having sex
  • Watching anime
  • Being great at your job
  • Being great at someone else’s job
  • Driving a car that doesn’t need restarted each time it comes to a stop
  • Performing a benchmark of reps in a workout in one go
  • Playing video games
  • Whiskey

The list could be amended, but the idea is that anything that’s either fun or meaningful belongs on it. Activism does not, not just because the list was constructed specifically to exclude it, but because the trendy form of fad activism that accomplishes nothing really isn’t about having fun, and a pretense of meaningfulness doesn’t satisfy the condition of being actually meaningful.

I know it seems like I’m laboring the point that there are better, more awesome things to do than make yourself miserable for the non-existent returns of activism, but that’s what it really comes down to. Suppose you were given the choice between a pack of beef jerky and a bowl of celery. If you’re like most people, you’d go for the beef jerky. It’s tasty, while the celery is not. It’s one of the obvious choices in life. However, there are people out there that would choose the celery, thinking themselves better than the plebs that go for the tasty beef. As they munch away at the green, bitter limpness, they stew in resentment towards those that are happier because they chose the beef jerky.

We chose right, my friends. We chose the beef jerky. Not only that, we chose the prettier women, went for the jobs that paid better, and live in homes that aren’t parked outside Walmart. When it comes down to it, living happier begins with choosing to live happier.

You know what else can make someone happy? Schadenfreude. And for a steady supply of that, we have activists. So, if activism is your thing, you’re giving the rest of us something to laugh about.

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Not that it would be to your own benefit, of course.

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