They are not stupid, they are worse
As a Muslim, I have had many online arguments with anti-Muslim bigots. But, a handful of them stick out.
In one, someone babbled about how literally every Muslim in the world was morally obligated to fight ISIS directly, as in we have to go to the Middle East — even though many of us are not from the region, let alone being directly complicit — and sacrifice ourselves fighting those extremists. While this is not my first time encountering association fallacy arguments, this one is the most extreme examples.
But, that’s not even the most memorable thing about the encounter. He also said ISIS soldiers were idiotic.
That surprised me. He could have used other words like barbaric, monstrous, animals, savages or even assholes. But, he chose idiotic.
In this case, I consider it a lightweight insult because — thanks to its mundanity and borderline childishness — it fails to convey sincere, impassioned and righteous anger. But, this is not even the main problem.
Idiocy means you fail to utilise your common sense; when your nonsensical actions do harm others, you never intended to and you may feel guilty about it. Meanwhile, immorality means you have little or no regard about your fellow humans’ well-being: either you don’t care about the impacts of your actions or you purposefully inflict harm upon others.
If you are a full grown adult who are smitten by blatant propaganda, then you are unequivocally a fucking idiot. If you are a teenager, I would still call you one, albeit with a gentler tone.
But, we know damn well ISIS is more than just that.
ISIS soldiers beheaded people, pushed queer men off the top of buildings and sexually enslaved women and girls. ISIS sympathisers either wholeheartedly support the atrocities or tolerate them.
If you commit, support or tolerate the unspeakable, you are not an idiot. You are someone which even the worst expletives cannot adequate describe you. Yes, you are worse than a cunt.
I don’t know why that person chose to call ISIS members idiotic. He might think morality and intelligence were interchangeable. He might think the lack of intelligence was the worst sin of all. I can only assume.
But, one thing for certain: he trivialised the victims’ sufferings.
They suffer because of others’ ungodly actions. But, by claiming that idiocy was the worst sin committed by ISIS, he made it sounded like the victims’ trauma was caused by the routine stupidity we encounter in our daily lives AKA they were snowflakes. While he didn’t intend it that way, the unintentional insinuation is there.
Even without his backfiring moralistic anger, this person was already problematic (you have issues if you don’t see anything wrong about guilt by association). But, I think everyone can learn from him.
Even if your anger is sincerely righteous, you should think twice about how you express it. Make sure your choice of words and imagery do not infantilise the people you want to defend… or, like in this case, unwittingly make light out of their sufferings.
Like it or not, being moral also requires us to use our heads, which — I admit — is harder than it sounds. I am certain I have committed similar sins.
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