Several years ago during my brother's Eagle Scout ceremony, I told my brother that his receipt of the honor was a badge that required him to be the Actor, the one at whom the buck stopped because no one else will. This is something to which I also aspire. I believe, in more concise terms, that if you see wrong, fight it, for no one else will. Fight it with humility, clarity, passion, persistence, sincerity, and a goal that all will understand why you fight.
This was challenged last night when I encountered the website 4chan.org. This place is horrible and I would advise that no one explore it because it basically caters to the basest of human mentalities, with pornography everywhere. I was exploring the site because they have a reputation for being internet "bad-asses" and they cultivate this ideal by wrecking sites. They think they are cool. They are self-absorbed nihilists. I never thought I would find this combination since nihilism is supposedly a philosophy in which nothing matters. Nevertheless, these people cultivate truly awful sides of us all. Included on this site was a thread by a 22 year-old guy who was trying to get tips to have sex with a 15 year-old girl who he was virtually bribing with Nintendo DS games. Who these people are I do not know. I do, however, know that I should have spoken up against this. Which brings me back to my initial point-be the person at whom the buck stops. We live in an increasingly amoral and anonymous world. For this reason, we have to all play a role in stopping evil...and I mean evil. Nihilism was always in my opinion the most dangerous of philosophies until I found that people could be self-absorbed and nihilistic simultaneously. Destruction for the sake of destruction AND pleasure. Like snuff videos or super-villains.
4chan is a place where people can be what they want in a way, I guess. Also, we have given them their power by fearing them, hating them, and by Time Magazine and other periodicals doing stories on how much power they have when they really are nothings in a universe of people fighting off oblivion and anonymity. We are facing the absurd dichotomy of people desiring more privacy and yet also seeking to differentiate themselves from an anonymous world, made so by globalization. It is clear that most of human history has been in small groups or towns. Now we are just one more individual in a huge world in which millions die every day and year from hunger, malaria, etc. So places like 4chan become havens for those who are both connected and desire some destructive semblance of power...
And yet the State marches on. China can still oppress the Tibetans and the Uighers...they just cut the internet. Twitter feeds still come mostly from people in Western countries desiring some measure of influence in this whole Iranian mess which is truly a local fight. The internet may be digital space but it requires physical location, electricity, satellites and wires. So HA!
Back to my point. Be the person who is the light and change you wish to see in the world. Be the person who fights wrong when you confront it.