Ethnomethodologically speaking, a nonconformist is a human breaching experiment.
Nonconformists inspire perplexity, anxiety and hostility.
If we understand personalities to form and sustain itself through ethnomethods, and if we understand personalities to be constituted of varying abilities and tastes — it follows that any particular culture’s ethnomethods will favor some personalities over others. This accounts for why some people are attracted to certain cultures and repelled by others. It also accounts for why we might want to borrow customs from other cultures. Foreign borrowings can can help us feel less alien in our own culture.
Regarding identity, the compulsive obsession of our self-alienated times: If we wish to reshape our culture we can create new roles or we can change the meanings of old roles. Both of these strategies require a holistic shift in ethnomethods. A private ethnomethod is like a private language, and it cannot sustain personhood. The notion that a person can be a person inwardly without a supporting social setting — one with ethnomethods that allows a person to signal and to be recognized as the kind of person one is — reveals a fundamental essentialist misunderstanding of personhood.
In times when radical cultural change has been desired by a marginal few, the forming and sustaining of new kinds of personalities — kinds of personality more accommodating to the variabilities of ability and taste — motivated the formation of subcultures. These subcultures were voluntary. Those who needed them joined them; those who did not, ignored, avoided or scorned them. Sometimes subcultures were attacked and persecuted. Nonconformity produces perplexity.
Now the most powerful classes of our society wish to change the ethnomethods of our culture to conform with the ethnomethods of certain large subcultures. Because these are the preferences of the most powerful — those who dominate both the public and private sphere — these are not mere preferences, but morality itself. Consequently, those who resist these changes are immoral.
Because the most powerful are acting on behalf of groups who are minorities, and because they champion the ethnomethods of subcultures who have been persecuted in the past, they miss the fact that they themselves are overwhelmingly powerful and that they are behaving precisely the way dominant groups always do. They are perplexed by anyone who fails to see the justice in their domination and refuses to conform to their new norms — and perplexity makes them hostile. So they persecute conconformists, and pretend this persecution is required to defend the vulnerable.
It is all motivated reasoning that serves to justify persecution and domination, just as it always is when one group gains enough power to rule unopposed. It is always done in the name of morality, but this time — always — it is a moral morality.
It’s been God.
It’s been Freedom.
Now it’s Justice.
Someday it will be something else. And, as always, everyone complicit in this madness for Justice will have been doubters all along. Until then they have no doubt: justice must be done.
“Beings must pay penance and be judged for their injustices, in accordance with the ordinance of time.” — Anaximander
“Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.” — David Byrne