So Caron Lindsay said that she intends to write a post about how Greens are “nice people but not for her”, and I responded that I needed to write a post about how there are some positively horrid people in the Greens but we’re mostly right. And this, in part, is that post. It’s also in response to a recent argument I got into in a Scottish Green Party context about “judging people”, and how I think judgement is a key part of being a decent person and Green, and others think you need to “walk a mile in the shoes” of loathsome dickwads like the Westboro Baptist Church before you can know they’re loathsome dickwads.
It’s about “nice”, and how it’s the most overrated quality I know of. Oh, other than profitability. And “just being honest” when you actually mean “being rude for no reason”. Sorry, hyperbole isn’t nice.
I’m not nice. And my Greenness is not nice. I try to be kind, and I try to be responsible, but “nice” is the marshmallow of virtues, and I’m more of an acid drops type. Nice wrings its hands when things go wrong, and I’m about analysing, spotting what’s likely to go wrong, working to stop it happening, and busting a gut to minimise the effects if it does. Nice is non-judgemental when someone pickets the funeral of a young man murdered in a hate crime. Nice pretends not to see bullying. Nice is nice to everyone, which always means screwing someone over.
Nice is a bystander; nice is passive; nice doesn’t really care what happens as long as everyone keeps smiling. You don’t get social justice with niceness, though kindness is a big help. You don’t get sustanability if you just care that nobody’s upset – getting into the middle of debates about the Beuly-Denny power line is necessary and might upset some genuinely lovely people. And mean working with some whom I personally kinda hate. No, I’m not giving you links on that.
So, no, I don’t think that being an arsehole is a virtue. And I don’t think you should ever be unkind or ungentle or disresepectful unless there’s a damn good reason. But I do think there are a lot of damn good reasons.
So I’m not nice. I aim to be kind, and to have an overall positive impact on the world. I hope mine will be a good funeral, but if that’s because some folk are dancing on my grave, so be it.