In Post-modern America being offended shares something in common with terrorism. They both work like Hell. Neither really has anything to do with ancient grievances or even more recent grievances. They are both ways of bullying and intimidating people. If you can publically, directly, and specifically change people’s behavior because of your act of terrorism or your loud protestations; you have made them acknowledge your superiority to them as human beings. Terrorism has a certain level of risk to it. Particularly when you strap on the dynamite vest. Offense-bullying* is generally safe because contra the claims of the Offense Bullies, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
But making people care about *you* being offended isn’t even remotely related to redress or propitiation. It is a power grab. That, or it is a raw demonstration of social, economic or political dominance. Devin Hilton explains the power relationship below.
Those taking offense range from being slightly less powerful to significantly more powerful than the offense-giver. Is rarely the truly oppressed who “take offense.” The truly oppressed are downtrodden and submissive.
And as Hilton puts it more bluntly in his footnotes,
It is not the grievance that creates the anger. It is the opportunity for power and advancement that creates the anger. The grievance is the excuse.
We see this writ large on America’s College Campuses. Heather Wilhelm tells us that contra chic claims of the threat of Global Warming, an army of special snowflakes is on the march.
an army of leftist snowflakes — a generation long told they’re special, fragile, and never, ever wrong — is on the march, aiming to squelch any threatening idea that “triggers” uncomfortable thoughts. On the downside, these marauding bands have sparked an epidemic of protests, hysteria, and Nathaniel Hawthorne-style banishings.
George Will speculates upon whether these people believe that the 1st Amendment was a mistake. No. I don’t think they unconditionally think the 1st Amendment was a mistake. They recognize it as a tool to allow the powerless a say. The decency of the 1st Amendment in the minds of these special snowflakes depends upon their estimation of who holds the power. It reminds me of a quote from the classic Sci-Fi novel Dune.
When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.
You will notice the obvious fact that only certain people are offensive or trigger these special snowflakes. Christine Hoff Summers makes them fear rape. VP Joe Biden, who all but claimed droit du seigneur on Ashton Carter’s wife at a public event, instills no such convenient offense. Two facts explain this.
1) The snowflakes can’t touch a Veep**. Being offended will not work, so they don’t pretend that they are. They could ruin Hoff Summers’ trip to campus. She was within their reach, so they were ready to run it up the flagpole to see who would salute.
2) Christine Hoff Summers challenged their convenient and empowering set of beliefs. They weren’t afraid of her causing them to be raped, they were afraid she would shred a set of false assumptions that allowed them to bully and control others. Biden could care less about their disingenuous garbage as long as he keeps getting elected. He’s not threat to them as long as they are no threat to him. As long as he isn’t groping one of them personally; he’ll never be seen as a rape threat.
So what we see here is not legitimate offense. They are not making you care to make the world a better place. They are making you care to put you in your place. That place will invariably be one where they are above you and you have to comply with their whims. One of the truly lamentable things about our current state as a nation is that you can never really know whether someone is legitimately aggrieved or just getting into the racket.
*- Blogger Devin Hilton defines Offense-Bullying “as when someone invents or exaggerates a grievance, and then bullies other people into apologizing or changing their behavior.”
**-Even if he would like to reach out and touch a few of them…