There used to be a time and a place to be an asshole. It can even be said with some exceptional clarity that assholes had their own much needed place in the social ecosystem of the 21st century. Is this coming to a close?
First, the more often than not vague perimeters of an asshole must be defined. An asshole can be defined as “a person who does not give a shit about the effect they are having on anyone or anything outside of themselves, most often in the goal of success and self-preservation.” Everyone knows an asshole. Many people are friends with them (by necessity rather than virtue), and some of you reading this are one. However, it could be said for millenia on end that the asshole has always held a chair at the table of dialogue. Few can ever admit to not relishing in an asshole delivering a backhanded blow to someone who you know, really deep down, deserved it.
Let me be up front about this: I’m an asshole.
I don’t pander to kindness for its own sake, and I’m objective in how I spread out my apathy. I walk a fine line on the tightrope of political correctness, because while I don’t steep to it, I understand its existence is practical.
2016 is a different year. Things are changing. The social dynamics are being altered in a way that’s bodes ill for assholery everywhere in the United States. Again, allow a moment for explanation here. I exchanged this dialogue with others in the past and have received the same response. “You’re just a bigot then! Or maybe a racist!” Really? I’m none of these things. Instead, I mean the days of the Christopher Hitchens stage debating are coming to a close. If you’ve never seen the journalist and antitheist Christopher Hitchens devour opponents on stage or in pen, you’ve certainly missed out. No only was the man capable of convincing political and socio-economic rhetoric, his ability to be both admired and an asshole is unlike the world has ever seen.
Being an asshole has it’s perks. You’re free to cast the feelings of those whom you’ve no attachments to the side. There is some morality in empathy, but toeing the line for fear of offense has been more capitulation than tolerance.
Aaron James, a philosophy professor at Harvard and an ardent fan of catchings waves from time to time off California’s shining coast defined asshole in a way much more materially and philosophically pleasing than I did above. “The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.”
Assholes are categorized in a sympathetically different method than psychopaths in that he conducts himself within the restraints of moral reasoning. While a psychopath might not care if you have rights, an asshole understands that you have rights and simply believes his own should take precedence. People who are generally considered to not be assholes but sometimes make decisions based off this thinking. “You’re such an ass,” you might think to someone who does this once or twice. Someone who makes this into a calculated lifestyle: asshole.
It exists for conversation that the era of being an asshole is over. Think back to those great assholes of lore: Achilles, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, George S. Patton and Charles Dickins. These people were major, unsympathetic assholes. The kind of people who got shit done. Many scribe to me that Donald Trump is an asshole. He’s not an asshole. He’s a dick. A huge dick. Dick’s aren’t cool, man. They ruin shit for everybody else. Assholes get shit done at other people’s expense. There’s a difference.
Such behavior now is frowned upon, though it seems there isn’t a reason that its pulse is dying out. I think it can be said the world needs assholes. Without them, the conversation isn’t as lively, the laughs aren’t as big (because only assholes are telling the really funny jokes) and its harder to appreciate the sweeter moments when they’re all too common.
Bonne journée, mes amis.