A rather toxic idea I’ve encountered recently is the notion that good humans are in short supply. Which leads to the idea that as good humans are in short supply, we should cling tightly to any half-way decent humans who cross our path. Even if we don’t really get on that well. Even if we’ve uncovered massive differences. Even if one of us has serious doubts that the other one even is a particularly good person.
If you accept the idea that good people are scarce, life is scarier. You may be more persuaded to stick with the people who you already have, regardless of how good they are for you.
It is a standard issue trick from bullies and abusers, to encourage the victim to think that they can’t do any better. No one else would put up with them, or understand them better, or care for them more than the bully does. Good people are in short supply – if I tell you this and I tell you that I am ‘good people’ and I encourage you to be afraid that without me, you will feel even more sad and alone… I am not your friend.
At the same time, we can on the whole afford to think better of the people around us. The haters, trolls and Nazis may be loud right now, and they may drown out quieter voices, but they are not as numerous as they want us to think. Most of the people around you are probably more decent than not, kinder than not. If we can’t believe in the goodness of each other, we become more vulnerable to the minority of people who peddle hate.
Good people are everywhere. Most of them don’t go round advertising themselves as ‘good people’. Many are quiet about the good they do, or under-estimate its worth. There are also a lot of people who would be good if they had any idea what to do, what to trust or believe in, how to navigate in these strange times… if we look after each other and put faith in each other’s goodness, we can collectively overcome this, and make more good happen between us.