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You Can't Rationalize Morality

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

Congratulations! You’ve created some of the best arguments for your side imaginable! Even if you didn’t think of every idea yourself, you culled them all together into something so idiot-proof that you can use it on multiple people. You’ve turned this answer into a meme and other people use it, too. Over time you have fine-tuned your points so that they can be felt by anyone that reads them. The other side just has to be DESTROYED by your words just like the hyperbolic clickbait posts say they do.

And yet...when you put these arguments into practice, the other side doesn’t actually acquiesce and admits defeat, not care.

Not that they don’t get it. Your argument makes sense for someone like you who can be swayed by the facts that you’re presenting. “They” can understand why you would say the things that you do about your argument and based on who you are as a person, it makes sense that you feel that way. However…

They do. Not. Give. A. Shit. what? What do you do when your arguments aren’t enough? When your pleas don’t fall on deaf ears but instead fall on apathy? What is your approach then?

I’ve had these thoughts in my head for probably the last month or so based on observations I’ve made viewing comments on posts and having legitimate conversations with people I don’t see eye-to-eye with regarding most issues. I watched The Social Dilemma (as a lot of people have recently) and made some steps to curtail my online use just a bit and in stepping back I started to notice the patterns regarding discussions on human rights, politics, capitalism, patriarchy, religion, and everything else that seems to flow in a circle. Each and every time it’s the same minefield and it no longer feels worth it to walk through. Hell, arguments online are actually one of the least effective ways to learn things. Generally, we listen to people we know or respect on some level, not the floating heads next to cartoon-like dialogue boxes popping up on social media. So if that’s the case, what are you arguing for?

You’re definitely not going to change the minds of people who aren’t doing real work outside of voting. When every single thing these people do leads them only to the ballot box (especially for the other side) and not action in their communities, they’re already not worth discussing much with. You can yell, beg, put up memes, hell, you can even sit down with them in person to appeal to their sense of decency but they feel that their vote is the righteous one and any residual effects that harm you are unintentional. They feel for you but they do not care to change for you. Why should they? Their moral compass is different from yours and regardless of your rational arguments, please understand this rule:

You cannot rationalize morality. Sorry. It is a worldwide truth but most specifically in the colonized American States, no one is coming to your side because you tell them they should. How do you convince the immoral to be moral? You can’t appeal to what is not there nor shared. The only thing that I have seen break people is something coming to hit them in a way that makes them realize things have to change but that’s a personal revelation, not something that can be forced by getting your thumbs sore tapping at a screen.

As I’m not someone who likes to speak on a problem without suggesting a solution, here’s my take: stop arguing for your existence, have your info available, and when/if they’re eventually ready, they’ll make their way. But there’s no need to stress yourself out on people you’ll never meet that have your worst interests at heart and don’t give a solitary shit about how little you have. I’m all for debates and intellectual discourse but I rarely see that. I see petty squabbles, veiled threats of ‘delete me, if…’ and not a lot of legitimate persuasion. I even see in-fighting from those who aren’t deemed to be ‘enough’ of what others see as worthy.

But in the mix of this, I see those who are fundraising for their causes. Those who are extending their reach past the ballot box and are on the ground regardless of who’s in office. Those who are providing the information instead of arguing with trolls. And really, those who are taking breaks. Taking time for themselves and staying grounded. I’m sure, like me, those people just got tired of the grind and figured out a better way. Nobody is perfect but the least we can do is learn and move on. But you can’t give someone more of something they already don’t appreciate. Let it be.

Personally, I’m excited to take my own advice. I feel like I’ve fought my way in and out of different groups in order to belong and then stepped back from them to reevaluate my positions. At the end of the day, I’ve grown up and just want to take the path most noble for me and to find my people wherever that takes me. I can’t rationalize morality but I can do my best to be around people who are more rational AND moral. I hope you do the same.


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