I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy reading about Josh Duggar getting caught in the crossfire of the massive Ashley Madison leak (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, the link is here). I have no problem with people’s personal beliefs (although the Duggar’s beliefs are archaic, sexist, homophobic, exploitive and abusive on multiple levels) and I have no problem with people expressing their beliefs publicly, but what I don’t enjoy hearing is how everyone’s viewpoint is wrong except for theirs. This goes for everything, whether it’s something as simple as your favorite player or sport, or something not so simple, like your belief system and how it influences the way you see a planet of human beings.
There are a litany of opinions where Josh Duggar and I wouldn’t see eye to eye. Probably too many to list here. But the difference between us is that I’d shrug and say, “that’s how he chooses to live his life,” while he’d say, “that heathen is going to burn in hell and I’m going to love it hahahahahaha!” I’m not a fan of that. There are varying degrees of that mindset on every social media outlet available. Someone gives out an opinion that goes against the common grain, and they get hung at the proverbial twitter stake and people say all kinds of terrible things to and/or about them because everyone on that site is supposed to have the same ideals or something.
You know the best reason to at least feign some empathy for views that are different from yours? Because that lack of empathy creates enemies. Quickly. Those enemies will literally look for anything to pick you apart, especially if your views are accompanied with a moral or spiritual high horse. Basically, if you’re going to be publicly pious, you’d better be squeaky clean too. And man, Josh Duggar is pretty far from squeaky clean. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to explain away fondling your own sisters as a youth and getting people to accept it somehow (a pretty incredible feat), but how do you explain being on (and paying for) a site that is expressly made for cheating on your wife? There isn’t even any plausible deniability there. You can at least say that someone hacked your Twitter account. Or maybe you were being fake flirty with an old friend in a Facebook message. Either way, I’m pretty sure that people would not have combed over 3 million profiles looking for his specific name if, you know, he wasn’t such a prick about his beliefs.
And in a way, I get it. People need likes and retweets and comments and validation and all kinds of other stuff so their content spreads. Being polarizing or shocking is the fastest path there, by a mile. Having a nuanced view on much of anything online will get you nods that you’ll never see and not much else. Part of the reason those people have a reality show in the first place is because people mistake boorishness, ignorance and intolerance with “showing conviction in their beliefs.” And if you’re already down that road, you might as well double down. And you know what happens? People get behind them, regardless of how dead wrong they may be. The Duggar diehards will justify him actively trying to cheat on his wife for two years just like they justified the incest that he tried to commit as a teenager.
I can’t believe that I even got sucked into focusing on a Mormon family with 19 kids. They have 19 kids. They suckered a nation of human beings to expect rational beliefs from a pair of humans who spawned 19 more of themselves and thought it was okay. They’re crazy. We’re crazy for devoting this much attention to them.