Internet Activism’s Tower of Babel

You all remember the old story from the Bible. The people of the earth so loved their God that they tried to build a tall tower to get closer to Him. They built and built and the tower grew taller and taller. Until one day, God noticed that they just might succeed in their goal.

Etching of the Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel by Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680)

He just couldn’t allow that. I mean mere mortals being on the same level as Him. They would redefine the meaning of God. No, no, God decided that He’d need to stop that somehow.

He pondered about what to do. He couldn’t smite the earthlings. Who would be left to worship Him? He couldn’t destroy the tower because those darn humans would just build another. He knew they loved him that much.

Then the hit idea Him, I must make it seem like it is their idea to stop building the tower. How to do that? He could remove the whole idea from their minds, but then that would inviolate His whole free will thing. He could cause a disaster somewhere far away from the tower, but He knew once that was dealt with they’d be back.

He then had the most brilliant of plans. I’ll make it so they can’t communicate with each other. I’ll make it so that they speak so many different languages that they could never understand the other. God loved this idea. The earthlings would then abandon the tower because they couldn’t cooperate on their common goal.

Each person or group wouldn’t be able to hear what the other was saying. They would speak over each other, fight amongst themselves and invalidate the others understandings. They would then have to abandon the tower because of the infighting.

God decided that this was His plan. The people did abandon the tower and went off to fight wars to prove their understandings and dogma. The Tower of Babel fell to ruin and dust.

This story is to me what today’s Internet activism has become. Many, many well meaning groups who once worked together for the common goal have dropped that goal to yell and fight with other groups to support their own dogma.

The fight for the liberation of women has become the crumbling Tower of Babel. We talk over and around each other to place our own stake in the ground and proclaim, “None shall pass!” Each of us acting as gatekeepers to decide who can or can’t. This includes the Transfeminist, the Transgender Borg and the Liberal and Radical Feminist.

I admit that I’ve been caught up in this myself. It is very easy to get drawn into an us against them conflict. I would like to think we can release these attitudes, but I don’t think anyone of this generation is ready. I have hope for the next.