I was watching a Joe Rogan special on Netflix from 2005 the other night. For those of you who don’t know who he is, Joe Rogan is a retired martial artist, the host of the original Fear Factor and a comedian. His style of comedy is known as “unedited,” famous for its constant line-crossing. Watching not just Rogan’s comedy special from a decade ago, but many other comedy specials, made me realize how the political correctness that I myself have even advocated for at times is hurting us. The things Joe said during his 2005 comedy special would not fly today. Yes, it would still be aired. Well maybe. But oh, the anger that would have followed that special had it aired today. This anger would be followed by persecution. “This person has to pay as an example for others!” Then his endorsements would be cut and Instagram deleted. In an electronic world, Joe Rogan would cease to exist. Then what the hell am I supposed to laugh at when I’m high and it’s past my bedtime?
We are not creating a more democratic or republican world. What we are doing is building a world out of the hatred we have for each other. Our hatred of the other is turning our country into one where none of us will be proud to live, one where we share all of our fears and burdens equally, by taking away the other team’s freedom. We are playing flag football with our freedoms in hopes that we will win, forgetting that even when you win in flag football, you still end up with way less flags than when you started. We are making the world more politically correct in fear of the racist, patriarchal and most likely republican assholes who wish to banish others deemed different. At the same time, we are taking away female rights in fear of liberals destroying the old way of life and building a modern world. We are holding on for dear life to what we want in fear of the other group taking it all away, forgetting that liberals can be racists and that there are countless atheist, gay republicans running around.
The reality we have worked so hard towards is happening right now. This is what we worked for, although it is definitely not what we wanted. Trump is in office. Our rights are being taken away by either the government or those around us. This is the world we have created and are creating together. Republicans and Democrats are paving the way for the dystopian novels that each party is either reading or burning to become reality.
This is what happens when people pick sides based on what they hate about the other rather than what they like. When rather than going, “OH, you like that too? Cool!” We go, “You like that too? We’ll I liked it first,” or “You like that? Then I fucking hate you.” The situation we created is an advertiser’s dream, with the corporation being America. With statements like these, we create brand personalities. When the entire country is divided into two brands it is easier to control. Also, it slips by us that just because we are the brand, doesn’t mean that we aren’t also the products or consumers. We are dehumanizing ourselves and making it easier for those in power to discard us as the products that we have become.
When the biggest argument for voting is, “We have to stop the other from being elected,” rather than, “this person will make a great president,” we have already lost the election. We have already lost our democracy.
As a teenager, I read Ayn Rand. Although I was not and will never be a rich white male, I took in the parts of the her books that applied to me and I must admit that whether it was through misreading or my lack of knowledge of the world, in an odd way I learned to be a more independent, hard-working person. I took the parts that I loved and was inspired to play one of my all-time favorite video games, Bioshock. Now anyone with an Ayn Rand book is labeled. Yes, some people use her books as a way to say what they want without having to physically say anything at all. But that in itself is the problem. We need to stop using things to define each other. A sign of emotional maturity is being able to understand something even if you disagree with it. When we avoid the understanding altogether we turn into children who define themselves by the things they hate and like rather than the complex natures of our character.
The world we live in is our own creation and if you don’t think so then much like many dystopian novels have taught us, the next step is to look up. Aim for the top, for those who seek to control us. The wealthy and elite. Not each other.