The Easily Offended Are Stealing Our Liberty
Wait… no, we’re not.
Doing what we do, we tend to offend. We don’t purposely do it. In fact, we’d argue nothing we’ve done is offensive.
It’s just that, these days, people tend to get their feelings hurt anytime they hear something that goes against what they believe.
Opinions are painful, they say… challenging them demands an apology.
“Ouch! That made me think,” our culture tends to shout. “Say you’re sorry, mister!”
We see it everywhere. Well, almost everywhere.
Well, I Never
The Land of Hurt Feelings was abuzz last weekend after a thoughtless actor made a thoughtless statement.
Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson made fun of a retired Navy SEAL who tossed his hat into Texas’ congressional race.
Not matching up to SNL’s political views, Crenshaw was the butt of several jokes. But the one that got the skittish the most upset was a single jab from Davidson.
“I’m sorry,” he said, sarcastically apologizing for the fact he wasn’t a fan of Crenshaw and his time in uniform. “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever… Whatever.”
The joke was tasteless. It picked on the very folks who make what SNL does each weekend possible.
But let’s be honest: Bad jokes are simply bad jokes. We’ve got far worse things to care about.
Sadly, that’s not what the entertainment news industry thought this week. Like we said, it went nuts discussing what was said and who should apologize.
We can’t make fun of somebody’s looks… said one of the voices on The View. (We assume it preceded a 30-second ad for facial cream or a weight-loss drug.)
We can’t disgrace a man who served his country… said another of TV’s talking heads. (Just before a political ad that called a serving U.S. senator a baby killer.)
Somebody should get fired, they all implied.
Somebody must apologize.
But there’s one man who didn’t demand an apology.
“I want us to get away from this culture where we demand an apology every time someone misspeaks,” the vet said.
“I think that would be very healthy for our nation to go in that direction. We don’t need to be outwardly outraged. I don’t need to demand apologies from them. They can do whatever they want, you know.”
Imagine that… letting others say what they want and not getting offended. Talk about Liberty.
But here’s the thing. It wouldn’t lead to Liberty just for the other guy. Oh sure, he’ll be free to say what he wants to whom he wants. But that’s not our point. Our point is this culture of being offended is actually stealing the Liberty of the offended.
In fact, it’s ruining lives.
We’ve written about it before – research from scholars in Australia that shows an attitude of liberal apologies leads to trouble.
It tells us that if we’d apologize a whole lot less… we’d be in a whole lot better shape.
University of Queensland Associate Professor Tyler Okimoto found that folks who refuse to show their remorse have a greater sense of self-esteem and integrity and feel better overall.
It’s counterintuitive to today’s feel-good literature.
But keep reading… it makes sense.
Okimoto showed that when we apologize to a person, we give him a sense of power over us. We don’t just fall on our sword… we hand it to the so-called victim, giving him the power to chop at will.
It’s why so many arguments in the home start with one party simply saying “I just want you to apologize.”
It’s a deadly notion.
It sounds innocent – just tell me you were wrong and we’ll move on.
But what that person is really saying is “Just give me the power and let me hold it over you. I’ll feel better about myself and make you feel like the dog you are.”
That’s what all this is about… power.
The public firings… the false accusations… the Monday-morning calls for apologies.
It’s all about power.
And it’s hurting all of us.
But we don’t apologize. You shouldn’t either.