The Virtue of Virtuous Talk

Talk is cheap.  Talking about virtue costs nothing.  Talking about doing something is not doing something, it is just talking.

These principles have been frustratingly evident in the wake of the recent spate of black-on-white murders, assaults, rapes that have occurred proximately to the Zimmerman case.  Of course, these are perennial and pervasive, but this where they are currently very conspicuous and revealing.  Each time one of these events is reported, there is a flurry of predictable remarks to be heard and read, over and over, to the point of having become tiresome clichés.  Some examples:

Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton now?  It says a whole lot more when they do not say anything.  Would it be better if they came out with a raft of PC horseshit they do not mean?  The fact is that feral black thugs are their soldiers.  Street gangs and flash mobs are guerilla militias for the black victim industry, who will intimidate cowardly whites into acquiescing to its demands.  So far, the strategy is working.  Maybe you should start saying that.

They should hang the dirty little apes like they would in China.  They should, but they won’t.  They would in China, so God bless China, because Justice matters.  But saying they should does not come one jot closer to doing so, and to hear you keep saying that when you know they will not is really frustrating.  It is empty and impotent and sounds more like whining than outrage.  Do something to fix your insane government and its legal system.  Or possibly do something to replace your insane government and its legal system with something better.

I wonder if Obama will claim another son?  Probably not, but of all the listed banalities, this one is least tiresome.  No one should ever forget how a sitting president of the United States corrupted the legal process, embraced the most hateful and violent segment of our society, and spat in the faces of the American people in a display of conspicuous racism.  But that memory is already prominent in the minds of most people so you do not have to make a special point of reminding them.  Do it in passing in the way of saying something significant.

People really talk too much!  They manipulate themselves into the position that what they believe in is what they say they believe in.  They delude themselves into the belief that they are serving their principles by talking about their principles.  I am not talking about phonies who say what they are expected to say and tell people what people want to hear.  I am talking about the “sincere” people.  This is not an especially intentional or conscious decision; it is a culturally learned behavior.  There is an economy to it.  One can pay one’s moral dues by something can be produced in unlimited quantity with very little effort: cheap talk.  It is in everyone’s best interests to accept this form of morality from others, in order to take advantage of it oneself.  That way, we all have more time and money to do the self-absorbed things we really want to do, like watch football or soaps.  And not least, if talk is careful, it is usually quite safe.

Virtuous talk is hand-washing.  Saying you condemn something is a way of saying, “Look, I don’t condone this, so don’t blame me.  It’s not my fault.”  Actually, if that is all you are going to do about it, then it is your fault.  One is responsible for the things one does, but one is every bit as responsible for the things one fails to do.  Verbal condemnation, or commendation for that matter, is a non-event.  No quantity of wishing, hoping, validation will ever materialize into the real world as a substantive force to change anything.  As the saying goes, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.  Talk is a form of doing nothing.

Empty talk, no matter how pious, will not just waste your time and effort, it will damage your own capacity to ultimately ever do something.  It will damage you as an individual when you do it because you will gradually weave that behavior into the fabric of your character and you will come to depend on it.  You will depend on it and your relationships with others will depend on it.  It will damage you as an individual when you listen to it because you will gradually become callous to your original hopes, knowing they will never happen because the only thing supporting them is empty talk.  It will damage you as an organization because your membership and finances will be based upon providing the service of giving insincere people the opportunity to pretend to be something they are not, for the sake of appearances or the comforts of self-delusion.

Obviously, this is not an appeal to stop communicating.  But if you are going to talk, especially in public, talk about doing something.  Talk about organizing, campaigning, boycotting, fighting back.  This is not to try to persuade people who have no intention of doing anything to stop talking.  But rather, it is to try to encourage those who would do something to recognize the character and vanity of endless talk, that leads to no plan, no step, no tangible measure beyond the walls of the private parlor.  See that for what it is and avoid it.  Avoid doing it and avoid others who do it.

Wisdom comes to recognize that talk is seductive because it creates the appearance of action without the cost of real effort and the illusion of principle without the risk of real conflict.  It is the heart and soul of decadence.  Know that.