Once every few months I find it absolutely necessary to cull the herd on social media.
Typically this takes the form of unfollowing some people. I don’t unfriend or block them unless they become abusive. I just unfollow them. In the majority of cases, I get the feeling they either unfollowed me long ago or merely ignore anything I have to say.
Unfollowing them is not censorship. They have their right to freedom of speech. I have the right to not listen to them. Just because someone says things we don’t like does not mean they should be silenced completely. I use my freedom of speech to counter and oppose them at first. When that doesn’t work, then I move on to unfollowing, from there to unfriending and from there to blocking, depending on how aggressive and abusive they may become.
I do have hope they still see what I post. Sound hypocritical? Maybe. I just find little or no value, even great harm in their positions.
Most commonly the people I take such actions on are one trick ponies. They obsess over a single subject, such as anti-vaxxers. While I will agree more independent research should be done with vaccines, their stance is harmful, dangerous, scorched earth, avoid all vaccines. If I encourage them to look up the effects, mortality and morbidity rates of common illnesses for which we are vaccinated, they refuse. If I give them the information directly, they accuse me of being paid by pharmaceutical companies. They will make such claims that nobody ever died from measles and polio just went away on it’s own.
Others I take such actions on are so desperately indoctrinated that there is no hope for them. Mostly capitalists who own no capital. Many of these self-described capitalists collect Socialist Security and their medical bills are paid for by you and I through Medicare/Medicaid. Others work for or own businesses and want the taxpayers to bail them out as they fail. Because.. “free market”. Right.
Then there are the warmongers, fearmongers, hatemongers. The ones never happy unless they are terrified, hyped up on adrenaline brought on by negative emotions, their status as victims an absolute imperative in their lives, justifying any and every atrocity and abuse they can inflict or endorse upon others.
We all have toxic people in our lives. From the personal to social media to the global political figures. The worst of the worst use their negativity to portray themselves as fighting against some wrongs that do not exist or at best are deeply questionable. They use flimsy, easily discredited “evidence” circulated by clinically paranoid, even schizophrenic sources with agendas ranging from xenophobia to neo-Luddism to anarchy with no sign of ethics beyond sustaining their own sense of superiority and privilege. The propagators of these delusional fantasies can rarely explain their beliefs, regurgitating memorized limited tropes and when questioned, respond with links to badly written, poorly conceived conspiracy theories or concepts long ago debunked, typically looked up on the spur of the moment which they have not bothered to read and not sourced. When debated, they resort to personal insults and attacks on your character, diversions from the subject and tearful displays of nonexistent wrongs against them.
Some Progressives think all voices should be heard and should never be blocked. I agree when an opposing voice has a valid and rational point to make. In those cases, I am more than happy to debate any point.
At other times, some voices leave no choice but to stop listening. They do more harm than good and any debate is moot. They continue posting the same thing day after day, numerous times each day. Their position on a subject is a drug which needs continuous dosing to satisfy their addiction. There is no future which is pleasing to them, no solution will be acceptable at any point. Solutions are not what they wish to achieve or define in any way.
On a personal level, these people drain my energy and waste my time. Eventually, I am forced to take steps for my own self interest, my own survival. Like misbehaving children, any response at all, even negative, serves only to act as recognition to their stance. It seems most of the time the attention is what they seek at any and all cost, no matter the damage done. I only imagine what positives they could accomplish if they attempted to exert the same time and effort into something productive, useful, positive.
I have personally witnessed those with contrary views have a declining social circle as they drive all those around them away. It is only when the need for conflict and attention is no longer being met that they rethink their views, that their alleged dedication to a specific perspective is shown false. It does not change the behavior. Instead, they abandon one perspective on a given issue and adopt another. For a short time, they rebuild numbers in their social circle, only to repeat the exact same pattern over again.
It is sad when you realize these people continue the same behavior in their real lives, not just online. They drive those around them away, then pity themselves for their solitude. Not for dedication to any specific cause or purpose, just for a succession of points they temporarily adopt for the time being to feed their need for contrary and negative emotions. The pattern can be pointed out to them and they will refuse to see it, use the revelation not as a means to build upon but to make you their abuser because there must always be an abuser, a series of abusers, a race or culture or entire nation or planet of abusers.
When someone exhibits this pattern of behavior, it is best to distance ourselves if we wish to accomplish goals, have any level of peace, build true coalitions. It is truly up to them to change this pattern because they will not do so until they are ready. To be ready, they must suffer the loss of all sources for their drug, like any addict. Only then will they be able to approach others in any sense in which they will offer as much as they require. Many will never reach that emotional maturity.