Does anyone remember the Bloom County comic strip? Way back in 1982 I clearly recall a gem highlighting the comical subject of “Offensensitivity” in which characters realized “life is offensive” and ran away screaming. (Please read the cartoon.)
That was then. This is now.
Today life isn’t just offensive, it’s full of “triggers” and “micro-aggressions” and other examples of Offensensitivity. It’s impossible to read a book, watch a movie, visit a website, tour a museum, sit in a classroom, listen to music, stroll through a store, celebrate a holiday, attend a church, or walk down a street without being “triggered” by a micro-aggression from someone whose sole felony, in most cases, is merely existing.
Those afflicted by Offensensitivity are constantly angry, constantly on edge, constantly searching for new and creative ways to be a victim. If there aren’t any available, they’ll make them up and then announce to the world how offended they are. In these brave, new Offended States of America, victimhood rules. In their eyes, there are only two types of people: victims, and victimizers. That’s it. There’s nothing in between.
In an excellent essay, blogger Daisy Luther notes: “Why do we live in a world in which the offended people get to make the rules when they deliberately propel themselves into places that are certain to offend them? It’s so blatant of late that I am positive they’re doing it on purpose. … If you know something is going to upset you, why would you deliberately put yourself in a situation in which you will be angered, saddened, or hurt? There’s no other answer except that you actually want to be offended.”
That’s right, people are now going out of their way to be offended. Victimhood is a goal, not an accident. You’re nobody unless you’re offended.
Last week I mentioned the personal and professional attacks experienced by professor Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. She had the nerve to write an essay suggesting the decline of “bourgeois values” since the 1950s has contributed to a host of social ills. Needless to say, her views were immediately declared as white supremacist, despite the fact that her essay “contained not a particle of racism.”
No matter. With a fine disregard for grammar and syntax (thus putting the benefits of their fine education into doubt), 54 current and former students wrote a letter to the Penn student newspaper, declaring: “These cultural values and logics [sic] are steeped in anti-blackness and white hetero-patriarchal respectability, i.e. two-hetero-parent homes, divorce is a vice and the denouncement [sic] of all groups perceived as not acting white enough i.e. black Americans, Latino communities and immigrants in particular.”
(Gee, could you insert any more buzzwords?)
Let’s face it, people are getting tired of being accused of things they didn’t do by people who aren’t suffering. The whiny cry-baby act is wearing thin, and we all know the only purpose behind this manufactured victimhood is to gain power, control behavior or get rich (or all three). Sexists, bigots, racists, misogynists, oppressors, fascists, deplorables, homophobes, xenophobes, Islamaphobes, haters … bring it on, baby. No one believes it anymore.
“‘Privileged’ is what they call you when they don’t have enough evidence to call you a racist, thieving oppressor, but they want you to feel like one anyway,” notes Lindy Daniel.
But here’s the thing: If everything is racist, nothing is racist. What happens when the so-called “victimizers” refuse to feel the guilt the “victims” so badly want them to experience? What happens when the victimizers refuse to be cowed by the psychological weapon wielded like a club by the left?
“In the last 50 years of culture wars in America, there has been no stronger weapon than guilt,” writes Mark Bauerlein. “If we add up the successes guilt has brought to progressive causes and identity politics, we realize just how important guilt is to the Left agenda. Without it, in fact, the Left fails. … For decades, they have pushed a campaign of guilt in classrooms, museums, movies, books, and newsrooms precisely to forestall those moves. If you can persuade an opponent that he’s wrong about a political issue, you can win the day’s debate. But if you can make him feel guilty about his opinion, you’ve got him on the defensive forever.”
Trump embodies this refusal to feel guilt, and that drives the left BONKERS. This, probably more than anything else, is fueling the progressive hair-pulling over the last year. Trump’s rejection of white guilt, male guilt, American guilt, Christian guilt, or anything else is a game-changer in politics.
It’s about time.
And it’s spreading. Conservatives are fed up with false accusations and libelous charges over nebulous made-up micro-aggressions. They just don’t care anymore. More and more people are just shrugging, saying “Eh, whatever,” and getting on with things despite whatever “–ism du jour” is being pinned on them.
Progressives and social justice warriors are constantly angry because they’re unanchored, rootless and have no moral foundation. Therefore they hate, loathe and despise those that are anchored, rooted and have a moral foundation. Their only defense is to accuse the innocent of what they themselves are guilty of: a condescending belief that people of color or people with two X chromosomes are somehow too weak, triggered, or stupid to make a success of their lives without progressive “help.”
Guilt only applies if someone is actually responsible for causing deliberate, legitimate, demonstrable pain or suffering to someone else. I am not responsible for actions that happened three centuries in the past by people I never knew, even if they were ancestors. I am not responsible for whatever real (or more likely, imaginary) “triggers” you pretend offends you. If you suffer from “offensensitivity,” that’s your problem, not mine.
“Since the election,” notes Bauerlein, “progressives have only amplified the charges [of guilt-shaming]. More and more, the protests look less like political speech and more like tantrums. Yes, but what else could they do? As Freud once said, ‘hardly anything is harder for a man than to give up a pleasure which he has once experienced.’ Until the Left lets go of guilt and begins formulating a political outlook, not a psycho-political one, its steady descent into adolescence will continue.”
Sorry if that offends you. Now grow up.