Apparently, it’s fine to be an asshole.
We think they’re not bothering anyone. There’s no point in calling them out. Trying makes you a buzzkill. The best thing to do is just leave them alone, and get back to thinking about how lucky we are to live in a country where everyone has the right to be a giant prick.
Hey, that’s how I used to think.
Then something changed. Left unchallenged, assholes took over America — along with most of the world. Now this class of assholes dominates our politics. They steer our economies. They run our media. They dole out promotions to other assholes, and punish anyone for trying to do the right thing. They tell us what to do and how to think. Now they’re even trying to tell us how to vote, and how to love.
If we speak up, they say things like, “Hey, it could be worse. At least you don’t live in North Korea or Turkey.”
Well, not yet.
We underestimate the power of assholes.
A lot of people justify their complacency by excusing assholes and their behavior. They’ll tell themselves it’s just one. It’s just one nutjob politician, or just one moron with a podcast — or just one clueless girl on Instagram or TikTok who doesn’t understand privilege.
We underestimate their power.
Just one asshole can do extraordinary damage.
Look at the last four years. Sure, some people are much better off (primarily assholes). Everyone else is struggling like hell, and the next ten years aren’t looking so great. Everything is on track to get more expensive. Life is getting more difficult and dangerous.
Maybe there was a point in history where we could accommodate a small number of assholes. Now we can’t. Every time someone like Kylie Jenner throws a birthday party for her kid or hops on her private jet, she puts more carbon into the atmosphere than a hundred people. Every time Elon Musk tweets, he fuels a casino economy that’s going to crash and leave millions jobless. See, bad things don’t just happen on their own. Bad things happen because assholes make them happen.