I’ve been thinking about it for most of the last couple of hours, and I’m pretty sure now that getting defensive in the face of criticism is the worst way to go. It’s unclear to me whether crying is a better option. Probably not. Anyway, I’ve noticed that most people who are members of any arbitrary group get defensive when the group (it’s purpose or existence) gets criticized. The level of defense, something I’m going to measure in Fury Units (FUs), is directly and exponentially proportional to the amount of time and energy the person has spent becoming a member and staying a member of the group.
For the purposes of our scientific analysis, we’ll look at 3 groups who are representative of groups who get defensive when challenged in our society: Environmentalists, Religious Radicals, and Animal Rights Activists. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started. Let’s kick things off.
I mean, holy fuck do they get defensive. Environmentalists have a very strong self-image as people who do what’s best for nature, which is fine. I really like nature, it’s pretty and it smells nice, which is also a description of girls I like. However, if you can see through the recycling bins and marijuana smoke, you’ll see that most of them have other priorities. You probably heard about the front page story in the New York Times last year about how the #1 reason people bought a Toyota Prius was ‘It makes a statement about me’. Oh the vanity! And that’s only the tip of the melting iceberg.
If we take that one data point and extrapolate it to make a broad statement about environmentalists (which is sheer brilliance, by the way), we can see how this commitment of environmentalists to maintain a self-image of someone who is unselfish and unwasteful (not a word) directly leads to them being defensive. Saving the environment isn’t as important to environmentalists as proving that the rest of us gas-burning, fat-people-hating Americans are wrong. Most environmentalists live in cities and tell people in Alaska that they can’t dig for oil on their land. Most of these people will never go to Alaska, I don’t get it. But we’re not here to get emotional, we’re here to study this group scientifically. Let’s get to the conclusion.
Getting defensive is easier for environmentalists than admitting the contradiction that, by and large, they aren’t outdoors people. Defensive Intensity (1-10): 6 FUs.
The Religious Radicals:
Here’s a fun group. The only thing they have in common with each other is the idea that everybody else is wrong. And instead of it just being Team A vs Team B like the environmentalists, there’s like 20 different groups and they all get defensive when their beliefs get questioned. Personally, I think we should just have a beauty contest to settle who’s right. Wouldn’t God make the right people prettier?
To make things even better, there’s a whole separate group called Atheists who assert that all of these groups are fundamentally wrong, all the people in the groups are ignorant blind fools, and they go around spending time preaching this fact that everybody is wrong. I don’t get why they waste their time on something they think is irrelevant. What a happy world we live in.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, the actual beliefs of the religions involved often take a backseat to proving that one group is more right than another group. I don’t get it. Well, I guess it’s good if you like arguing. Let’s just get to the conclusion.
Religious Radicals get defensive because if other religions are right, it creates a huge contradiction, it means their religion is wrong, and it invalidates their belief structure. Defensive Units (1-10): 8 FUs.
The Animal Rights Activists:
Here’s another fun group. From what I can gather, the idea that animal suffering is equal in importance to human suffering is central to their argument. I hope the rescue personnel don’t feel that way if I get in a car crash and I have a dog in the car, and they have to choose between me and the dog to pull from the burning car.
But the rest of their ideas are like: instead of testing chemicals on animals, we should test them on homeless people instead. I can see that, that makes sense. And wearing fur? Yeah, I guess that does seem a little unnecessary unless you killed the animals yourself. Not eating meat? I don’t know, that seems a little shortsighted. Don’t those wheat and soy combines chop up animals when they harvest the crops? And animals eat each other every day, I don’t feel bad for them. I bet a lot of my ancestors got eaten by animals and they’d want me to get some revenge for them. In fact, I’m dedicating my next chicken sandwich to a bird flu victim. We can’t let those birds win!
And why so they get so defensive, so emotional about it (PETA does at least, but there are better run groups out there)? Because they feel that unless they change the minds of everyone else, their cause is meaningless. I guess that’s really at the center of getting defensive: you feel like you have to change other people’s minds. And that brings us to Hero Adage #2: Nobody gives a shit about your problems, get used to it. But back on the subject, the conclusion:
Animal Rights Activists get defensive because they know that getting everyone to accept their beliefs is literally impossible. When you combine that with the fact that their cause is questionably important at best when compared to other causes, they’re forced to accept the fact that they’ve wasted a large chunk of time and energy on this or they get defensive instead. That’s probably why PETA compares animal suffering to the Holocaust instead of admitting to themselves that the vast majority of people will never care. Defensive Intensity (1-10): 9.5 FUs (I know there has to be a 10 group out there).