I wrote this because a liberal friend of mine dared to break the party line -- and she was rat packed. The thing is, my advice here is about human behavior in general, not any particular ideology.
~sigh~ Wisdom form Robert Heinlein, "A “pacifist male” is a contradiction in terms. Most self-described “pacifists” are not pacific; they simply assume false colors. When the wind changes, they hoist the Jolly Roger. "
You have unfortunately run across a scenario that has been known --for years --to anyone who does not agree with... well call it the party line, call it group think, but most of all call it being identified as an 'enemy' to the Great Warm Fluffy. That is a bombardment of verbal, emotional abuse, venom, condemnation, hatred, and 'WTF are you talking about?" accusations and rhetoric.
Except you, yes you are far, far worse because you have fallen from the true path. That make you a betraying heretic. Your sin is double because you have left the faith! You know better.
Someone earlier said 'call them assholes, not liberals" in an attempt to deflect negative light from 'The Cause.'
Well no. True believers who engage in rotten behavior come in all stripes. But a lot of what they have in common is the claim that they have a superior belief system that makes them above being human (or at least better than you).
Then they turn around and engage in the exact same human behavior they condemn. Behaviors they refuse to acknowledge because... 'they're better than that.'
Or some other mental gymnastic as to why:
1- it's not that but something else,
2- being a victim of it they can't do it to others (e.g., women can't be sexist, blacks can't be racist, victims can't be abusive),
3 - what they're doing is justified,
4- they were just so emotional they couldn’t help themselves,
5- canonical 'law'/doctrine supports their actions.
This behavior-- as absolutely contemptible as one group might find it in another group (and serves as proof why WE are better than ‘those people’) -- is common to all groups. Basically, human is as human does -- mostly it's a matter of style.
I refer to this kind of group savagery against others -- including other groups -- as a default setting. (Hang on to default, we'll get back to it.) What I want to point out first is when we're doing this, when we're part of the pack, when we’re tearing into someone, it seems so right, so justified, so 'reasonable,' that we --literally -- don't see this behavior for what it is. That’s both tribalism and us doing something we supposedly hate.
Because it feels so right when you're doing it, it's a hardcore a shock when you find yourself the target of it from those you consider 'your group.'
Oh sure we expect offense from people from other groups. That’s part of the game. (In fact, that's another problem, we often only focus on the attacks, offenses, and stupidity [even if we have to strawman to make them look stupid] of the other group. This actively keeps them the bad guys. We steadfastly ignore, dismiss, minimize anything that might lead to respect and cooperation with those 'hated others.') But our own turning against us? Wait! No! Hey! We don't do that! We're better than that!
Well no. Nobody is better than being human.
Still, we can choose to act in ways other than our most primal, default levels. And that's what you're seeing, default human behavior. But from people who claim they’re above it.
Once again, welcome to the human race.
One of our other defaults that we have to be careful about falling into is “man is not a rational animal, but a rationalizing one.” We’re really good at rationalizing our own bad behavior.
I'm going to get personal here for a second and point out that I am by nature not a good person. I'm not saying I'm a bad person. But I have both the power and choice to do good things or bad things. I know this about myself, and I -- just operating from default -- have made both kinds of decisions. It wasn't until I realized that I had to take conscious control of my decisions and behaviors that I was able to turn things around. Hence my saying "I am not by nature a good person. I have to get up every morning and make the conscious decision to meet the standards of being good."
With that in mind, stop and take a look at the behavior of people who have decided that -- by default -- they are good, kind, moral, intellectual, honest, caring, enlightened, smart, right, spiritual, yada, yada, yada. (Newsflash, this can apply to liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, male, female, black, white -- again, it's H.U.M.A.N.)
Such a person has a default green light for anything they do. Because the inductive reasoning is "I'm a good person, therefore what I am doing is good." From that position, they never have to check their behavior against those standards any more.
This even if what the person is doing is the worst of the default behavior or deliberately cruel, hurtful, abusive and destructive. This is extremely common when someone makes the decision 'I'm a good person' as a default and then decides to vent their bile.
Tying this back to what I was saying earlier, what is a 'happy, happy, oh boy' for a lot of folks is when you do something that violates the group think/party line/noble ideals/standards. You do that and then ... wait for it... you deserve it. All the hatred, bigotry and anger they pretend they don’t have not only has a target, but an excuse to be unleashed.
That is where you're going to see levels of viciousness that is appalling -- especially among people who consider themselves weak and helpless. (or who are nobly battling for the weak and helpless). When self-certified 'nice people' default to tribal, ideological attacks there are no checks and balances on their behavior. See someone from a system that has checks and balances has learned you don't do this or you stop at a certain point. Many folks who come from self-certifying/default thinking haven't. So when they give themselves permission to go off, they get really, really nasty.
And they do so with the complete blessings of their beliefs and what a good person they are. This is perhaps the most unnerving aspect of it. It’s not unwittingly a violation of their own, avowed standards of conduct. Nor is it openly sadistic and hateful. This outright violation of their avowed standards is, in fact, sanctimonious and self-righteous.
It's not their beliefs that makes someone a good person. It's their behavior -- especially when it comes to meeting the standards of being a good person. Unfortunately, a lot of the self-certifiers believe that just having superior beliefs -- and this goes with all kinds of political/religious/humanism/ideologies -- is their free pass to be complete assholes.
The irony of it is how many people who are absolutely atrocious pride themselves on how caring, compassionate, enlightened they are because they embrace a specific ideology. To the point of arrogance and contempt for others.
So two bits of advice. One for those flying off on people and one for those being flown off on:
One: Walk your talk people -- especially if you’re priding yourself on being compassionate, open minded and non-violent. Check your behavior against your standards of good -- especially if you’re upset and angry.
Two: Don’t be afraid to call people who aren’t walking their talk -- especially on their verbal and emotional violence.
It’s not about the issue. It’s not about them. It’s about their behavior. It’s they aren’t living up to their own proclaimed standards. You claim you’re a nice person? Well your behavior doesn’t match those standards. You claim you’re compassionate? Well your behavior is abusive. You claim you hate conflict? Well you’re attacking and abusing others. Don’t attack the person, but do call them on their behavior.
See on a deeper level these folks are using their ideology to give themselves permission to hurt and abuse others. They know it’s wrong, but by hiding it behind a noble cause they can unleash and spew their venom and hatred. Like hiding profiteering behind the banner of a noble cause, that banner is a distraction from what they are doing. Don’t let the distraction stand.
If you do, they’ll continue to attack. They’ve not only hoisted the Jolly Roger, but they’re self-righteous about it.