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In watching the news this morning, I was a little saddened to hear about church fires and people being dicks to one another in general. I’d like to point you back to something I’ve said once or twice in the past (which I can’t actually find right now, so if you have it bookmarked, please post the link), and that is: how difficult is it to just be nice to each other? Or, barring that, it’s relatively *easy* to, as Mr. Wil Wheaton says, “not be a dick”. I think at the centre of the universe, we’ve said “don’t be a douche”, which is a similar, but not synonymous, sentiment.

Anyway, you’ll find, if you just try, that it’s actually *fairly easy* to not be a dick. OR a douche. Here’s the trick (or at least part of it): First you have to get the hell over yourself and figure out that you are not the most important person in the world. THEN you have to figure out that you’re not even part of the most important CLASS in the world. After that, it’s not that difficult to figure out that the world owes you nothing so there’s no real reason for you to be nasty.

Sadly, this appears to be very, very difficult for some people. Don’t burn shit down. Unless it’s your own shit. Don’t burn shit down and don’t hurt each other. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SURGERY. It’s not even brain science. It’s not even common sense, for pete’s sake.

If you can touch your index finger to your thumb, you should be able to figure out that civility makes us (as a species) stronger, and douchebaggery makes us (as a species) stupid. Do you know who’s smarter than douchebags? Everyone, that’s who. You act like a douche in a wolf pack, you don’t eat. Act like a douche in a pod of whales? There’s the beach, buddy. Elephant douches get sold to travelling circuses for a bag of peanuts and a quick stampede.

So. Don’t burn shit down. Don’t be a douche. Pretty simple.

Also, don’t hold someone to a higher or different standard of ethics or morality simply because they are involved with a group of like-minded people. Which is to say, just because someone’s an atheist doesn’t mean they’re a cruel and inhuman bastard who can’t understand ethics. And, on the other side of the coin, just because someone is involved with a spiritual group doesn’t mean they should somehow mystically have better morals or ethics than anyone else.

Which is my way of saying a predator is a predator, period. As news broadcasters, the focus of the story oughtn’t be that so-and-so is a member of a particular community. It should be that so-and-so is a sexual predator who preys on children. Just because s/he is a chief, a shaman, a priest, an elected leader, a Mason, a vegan…these things don’t change that person’s ethics. Which are clearly broken.

What I’m saying is that what makes someone a community leader isn’t their affiliation with any particular group or ideology. What makes someone a community leader is the faith and trust we put in that person. They don’t have better morals or better ethics because they believe in God, or because they believe in nothing, or because they know science, or because they practice yoga. People who have good morals or ethics have good morals or ethics because they’re good people. They may choose to express this goodness in a religion or in the work they do.

My point is that it bugs the crap out of me that a case of predatory sexual behaviour is somehow considered to be worse when it is a sports personality, someone affiliated with a religious group, or what have you, who perpetrates the crime. As if their career, their spiritual beliefs, their heritage, or the colour of their hair makes what they’ve done worse or more shocking.

People are broken all over the place. If you want to blame the organisation they’re affiliated with for covering up their crimes, that’s fair, because that’s horrible. And it happens in so many cases. The football coach, the hockey coach, the priest, the doctor, the teacher. It is not the fault *of the profession* and it is not the fault *of the organisation* that these people commit crimes.

So I guess it just bugs the crap out of me that entire organisations get blamed for something they are not responsible for, at the same time that we for some reason expect “better” from people affiliated with those organisations. As if psychopathy or sociopathy is somehow ameliorated by one’s affiliation with a service group, sports group, or philosophical group.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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