Hypersensitivity. When did this become a reality? Oh sure, sure, there have always been whiny pussies offended by everything; there have always been people seeking out a culture that makes them feel less than human. There is a certain charm in being offended, being offended by everything.
This does not pertain to any specific political ideology. The right will call the left a bunch of whiny fuckheads while the left will claim the right to be, to quote Bill Maher, “Whiny little bitches.” And it is true. It is true from both sides. We live in an age where there is a fetish for being offended.
Now I am not going to employ the terms that piss people off and that are legitimately offensive given context (that is n-,f-,c-, among others.) These words are only designed to hurt and there is no real reason to intentionally hurt anyone.
But there was once a thing called a thick skin. How do you think civil rights activists and suffragists and gay rights crusaders and all of the other causes that helped to change society into a temporarily better place survived? They took the insults and did not let them bother. They endured. They were strong. They would not allow being offended to interfere with their cause.
Today, in the post-civil rights, post-feminist, gay marriage and legalized drugs age, people need something new to nit pick. Of course the right, as Bill Maher says, really are the worst in this era. Everything is a whine, a claim of anti-white bias, of anti-male bias, of a liberal media crushing the life out of a legitimate world view.
This is of course nonsense. People have always been condemned by the larger culture. Abolitionists were once considered extremists and those who sought the vote for women were called every offensive name you can imagine. There used to be people who could take the pain in order to achieve their goal. That seems to be another relic of the past.
I remember being young–and this was the 1980s, a brutally cynical era that created our current generation of mean-spirited and indifferent scumbags, raising their children in a climate of fear, teaching the next generation why they should hate different people from different realities. But back then–and I believe I was pretty rare in this as people used to tell on one another to whatever authority they thought might bring the offender the most shame–back then I never gave a fuck what any of those assholes thought of me. This attitude, within reason, actually made me pretty popular. These frightened children could see someone who actually believed in freedom of speech and no matter how much trouble I sometimes got into for speaking my mind, there was always a certain admiration for my honesty.
But today . . . today, in this cybernetic era, everything is about you. We live in smaller and smaller worlds and allow anything we do not agree with to become the enemy. We do not listen, do not hear the opposition. We refuse to understand what someone else is saying if they do not agree with us. We use cynicism, dismissal tactics to undermine anything anyone says. And we refuse to listen. We refuse. Because anything not already a part of our upbringing is terrifying and needs to be suppressed.
There was some kind of horrifying statistic that around forty percent of millennials think that the first amendment–the first amendment, the one that the founding fathers believed was the most important–is dangerous.. What sort of world do we have to look forward to when speech is suppressed because it might hurt someone’s feelings and the oppression now comes within sociological norms? If society wants to destroy our ability to communicate with one another–to even call someone stupid or an asshole or anything–then we are lost, wholly lost and the world will sink into a feudal society where other people tell us our rights.
I do not care about left and right, do not care if your feelings are hurt. Fuck you, you’re all wrong, and if you have a problem with that tell me I’m a shithead. I can take it. I still have a thick skin. But do you? Are you still strong enough to endure someone not liking you? Is this the world we live in? How can hate be banned? We all hate. Even people who rally against hatred hate the people who hate. And if that statement is a jumbled, linguistic mess, it is supposed to be. It summarizes the idea of suppressing hateful free speech. Everyone is allowed to hate, for whatever stupid reason they convince themselves is true. We all hate. Hatred is not even the opposite of love. Do you know what is?