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Don't Be Cruel
We all think bad thoughts. Sometimes, anyway. And though I hate to say this, we all have a mean streak. Even your little old granny. And yes, Dudley Do-Right, Jimmy Carter, and Jesus. Somewhere inside us, we are at least a little bit cruel. We are a little bit kind, too, but we’ll go into that some other time (with your generous permission).

If you think I am cruel for even suggesting that everyone is cruel, let me direct your attention to the natural human capacity for schadenfreude. That’s the pleasure you felt when Infowars screamer Alex Jones was humiliated in court recently. Whether we like it or not, that rush of schadenfreude springs comes from a kernel of cruelty inside us. All of us.

The fact that Jones himself is a paragon of cruelty does not really let us off the hook, either. While thinking that someone needs to “be taken down a peg” is not cruel, finding pleasure in seeing it happen is.

Mother Teresa, if she were still around, would no doubt suppress the feeling. So would Barney the dinosaur, Pollyanna, and Buddha. They’d have the impulse because they’re flesh-and-blood humans just like the rest of us (except for Barney, who is mostly foam rubber). The difference is that they would not dwell on the feeling, much less wallow in it. And, even though suppressing feelings is risky, giving in to cruelty is even worse.

Not all us could pull that off, though, especially with someone like Alex Jones. But let me repeat: cruelty is bad. Maybe a little schadenfreude is forgivable, but the levels of cruelty that Jones and his followers revel in are harder to explain away. And those levels are on the rise in our society. With the encouragement of our leaders in politics and the media, we have all gotten more cruel.

Let’s be clear. It’s much, much worse on the right. If you really think left-wing extremists are just as bad, please let me know the next time Bernie or AOC calls for revenge against the FBI for enforcing the law. But don’t look so smug, lefties. You have a potential for cruelty just like the most rabid MAGAs. So just make sure you’re suppressing that impulse to unleash some kind of savage, bloody revenge.

I’m looking at you, Barney.
Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz