Monday, August 31, 2020

Punching Up Punching Down

I find that you can learn way too much about someone, or about institutions, by observing whether they are likely to punch or punch down, or somewhat more generally, sympathize with those in power versus the mostly powerless who occasionally manage to make a bit of good trouble. You know, do you sympathize more with the senator who gets yelled at in the restaurant or the kids that senator puts in cages? Are you more worried about the rich racist, or the college students who get mad at the rich racist? Are the feelings of the person who denies the humanity of African-Americans, and his right to get paid lots of money to do so, more important than the lives he helps to ruin and the systems of Apartheid he helps to perpetuate? Should oil lobbyists have an equal voice, or usually greater, than the millions of lives they damage with environmental poisoning?

This is not an especially novel or smart point, but when it comes to members of the press, or the organizations they work for, it's a more useful framework than the liberal/conservative one.