Where There’s Smoke There’s A Smoke Machine

One of the lessons that we should have been learning over the course of the last decade or so is that where there is smoke, there is a smoke machine, and not necessarily a fire. The realization that a great many false accusations have been lobbed against people in order to take advantage of a bias to believe that the accusation comes with at least some basis of truth on the part of people has led to a tendency among certain people to desire to punish people merely for the existence of an accusation that might threaten to harm the reputation of a company or institution rather than awaiting the investigation of facts and the determination of evidence. While there may have been, in the past, some sort of shame when it comes to making false accusations, little of that shame appears to be in evidence today, with the result that our protections against false accusation and the recovery of damages to reputation caused by false accusations have been far outstripped by the tendency of people to make tactical false allegations against others.

We find, perhaps unsurprisingly, that this tendency is strongest in political and athletic realms, both realms where a zero-sum competition ethic prevails. While there is a great amount of territory within the world that we live in where win-win opportunities are not only possible but highly desirable, in politics and athletics, for one party to win, another must lose. That this same dynamic exists when it comes to chart positions suggests why stan conflicts over precious #1 spots is also conducted in such a brutal fashion, and why the same sort of language of accusation in the absence of evidence is used to try to discredit certain people and make it possible for others to reduce their influence and so benefit other parties. The evidentiary worth of an accusation is zero, and therefore in a just standard of judgment, no value can be placed on either the seriousness of the accusation made when it comes to dealing with the accuser and the accused. One must look at the facts, and quite frequently one finds that the accuser is false and malicious in seeking to attack the reputation and livelihood of the accused.

How we respond to such matters in a large part determines the sort of morality that we have as people. Living in a world as we do where lies and manipulation and double standards and hypocrisy are rampant and unrepented of, it behooves us to view accusations as more an element of a tactical attack by one party against another rather than as something which ought to be respected at face value. Viewing accusations as worthless will, at least in time, diminish their value as a tactic because the whole value of accusing someone of something is to get others to think less of them, and when it only tends to make people think less of the accuser, without having any practical benefit apart from investigation into the facts at hand, we can better ensure that those who make accusations are aware once again that they do so at a heavy risk to themselves rather than having all the risk be on the side attacked.

This does not mean, of course, that horrible things do not happen, merely that accusing people of horrible things means nothing in a world where people’s accusations are often nothing more than an expression of a desire to see someone else suffer for some reason. It is only through investigation rather than accusation that one can get to the dark truth of a matter, and the vast majority of dark deeds done remain secret because of the cost and difficulty of proving facts and of publicizing the dark deeds done by the famous and powerful who remain protected by corrupt media and legal institutions. In such an environment, one can only get genuine reporting done against people who the media is already libeling with false news reports, thus diminishing the impact of anything true that may happen to be reported on by accident.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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