I want to know what we as a community really stand for. I know that, like with any group, we consist of numerous individuals who will all have different beliefs of our own, but essential for any group is a uniting, defining factor. What defines Voat?
Most will answer "Freedom", and I think this is a good answer. It was being deprived of freedom, or seeing others so deprived, that brought the vast majority of us here. However, freedom in the material context is not an end in itself. It is a means. It is something we crave, something we fight for and defend, something we perceive as essential. We feel this way because freedom enables us to live in the way we want to live, to say what we believe needs to be said; freedom gives us the power to achieve our actual ends.
Because Voat has a community of people from a diverse range of backgrounds, it makes a great deal of sense to have an empowering means be its unifying force, rather than a specific end which not all people might share. By ensuring that freedom continues to exist in this world, Voat ensures that all possible ends, bad and good, (except for those that are criminal) can be pursued and brought to light. It is my belief that an "Orwellian" society can never fully come to be so long as a place like Voat survives.
However, I would like to propose an end that I think all human beings desire, at some level, and even if there are those who do not desire it, they certainly should. That end is Truth.
We all want to "be in the right". We want to feel that our actions are justified, that we are guided by reason and not something arbitrary. We want to continue to refine our knowledge so that we can become stronger, and act with more confidence in the world. We want to serve what we perceive as good, and it is Truth that clarifies our sight, it is Truth that points the way. It is Truth, found through freedom, that has changed so many of us in our time here on Voat. It seems to me that without the good end that is Truth, freedom is useless. We see this in the modern degenerate, who uses his freedom to pursue pleasure, or wealth, or power, or honour (which may only equate to positive perception in the eyes of other degenerates), instead of something actually good, something true. Such a modern lives for himself and watches with apathy as the civilization his forefathers built falls apart.
Freedom is the means we are all given. It is up to us as individuals to use it well. Else we are no better than the degenerates or ideologues, who persist in their beliefs despite overwhelming evidence and argument, despite Truth.
If we allow ourselves to become convinced that we have perfect knowledge, then we will no longer learn. If we believe we are perfectly right, then we will believe we can do no wrong. But there will remain more for us to know, and we will remain capable of doing wrong, of being false.
I don't want to see Voat ever enforce an end of any kind, because who is Voat to judge what is good and what is not? But I very much want Voat to be a place not just where anyone can come to find Truth, but where people do come to find Truth, so that those people may find it, and so that we may continue to find it too.
It is no secret that hate is dominant on Voat. It may be difficult for those of us who have been the target of so much hate to live without it, or to understand when others object to our hate while simultaneously hating us. But I think hate is an obstacle to Truth, a distraction, no different from pleasure or wealth. We allow it to become an end, and so we no longer learn. It seems to me that more responsible use of our freedom could actually change the behaviour of those who hate us, whereas hateful reciprocation will only continue the cycle, changing nothing. If hate is our end, then the perpetuation of that cycle is precisely what we desire. If something higher is our end, then we could use our freedom to spread that instead. If we greet those who hate us with patience and love (meaning a desire for them to find Truth, and not meaning some useless tolerance of their evil) then we might just find we are capable of recruiting endless masses of them to our ranks.
Truth is found through freedom, but it is Truth that really sets us free.