In the old days, if you say something that insults your enemy, he can exact retribution directly- by punching you or throwing down the gauntlet- or indirectly- he can commit vandalism or steal from you. This is not unique or original, and has been done for thousands of years. We have evolved to fear conflict, and the kind of guerrilla terrorism that disgusts us on an emotional level has been around forever. The word vandalism actually comes from the Vandals, a Germanic tribe from the year 429 that sacked Rome. They didn’t try Occupy Rome, or try to with the War on Rome. They just stormed in and started breaking shit, stealing whatever they could get out on foot and horseback. Romans whined because they knew the aggressors couldn’t take over, but they themselves couldn’t muster the forces to protect their property. They had to weather it and lose their posessions.
Skip to today. Cloud computing, monetary exchange, dating and relationships, and property protection are outsourced to the cloud. Paying insurance, using a backup server, checking your OkCupid matches, or using PayPal are all ways that you protect your value.
Imagine those Vandals again. What exactly could they ride in and sack today? They could steal your car, or your TV, but your insurance will cover it. They can’t steal your food supply, cause you get it shipped in. Nor can they ride off with piles of cash; it all floats around in digital space. They could take your women, which might be the saddest part. In a world of feminism, girls would wake up too late that archaic tribes would snatch women, rape them, kill them, or force them to be concubines.
The things you might value at any given moment- food, water, shelter, sex- have been spread across suburbia, shipped in from China, and otherwise made it more difficult to form real connections with. Shake your dairy farmer’s hand for me.