An Agent Provocateur In Our Midst

I have seen posted in several places a screen shot of a tweet or post or something recently written by Z Budapest. The particulars of the post are of no importance, it is simply a continuation of Budapest’s particular bias of several decades. I have no interest in examining its content.

I am interested, however, in discussing its dissemination, particularly because of the patently obvious reason for its having been written in the first place. I am concerned that people are falling into a rather clumsily laid trap.

Put simply, she writes and presents in hopes that people will respond rashly to her. She desires that men will engage in ad hominem attacks on her because that will prove that she is right about all men. She hopes that women will engage in similar attacks because it proves that only women who agree with her are holders of correct belief and those who do not are traitors to their kind.

Based on what I have seen, heard, and read by Budapest over the years, I believe there is no desire on her part for honest and open discussion but to do as much as possible to derail any dialogue which might actual work towards a reconciliation and healing. And so I regard Z Budapest as an agent provocateur. Not, of course, of the police, but of her own calcified viewpoint. If she can stimulate individuals who are swept up in their own passionate responses to act rashly, to respond carelessly, or to make imprecise and potentially controversial statements themselves she has done more damage to the reputation and standing of those she considers to be her enemies than she herself could ever accomplish on her own. And that is far more effective in preventing any useful exchange of views than the content of anything she might write.

Of course, it is necessary to call people on their bullshit and there are many effective ways of doing so. However, one does not do that by reposting their words along with personal attacks and angry words of denial. To do that is to fall into the agent provocateur’s trap and inflict a wound on oneself, the very thing the agent provocateur desires.

And do not think this applies only to Z Budapest. Whenever we read something that raises our ire or provokes us to respond it is good to stop and ask ourselves:

  • Why am I reacting this way?
  • Are they trying to get me to react a certain way, and if so, what could their reason be?
  • Where is the true source of my disagreement, my discomfort, my response?
  • If I choose to respond, is this a conscious choice to engage in discussion? Or am I only trying to relieve my feelings?

And ask any other question that examines the motives, conscious or unconscious, of those involved. This will help us to act rather than simply to react.

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