Another Apology

Giving Offense, or How to Overcome Mass-Media Morality

January 05, 2018

America’s future is already difficult enough. A culture that lacks emotional restraint, choosing instead to indulge every offended impulse, will be especially ill-suited for dealing with its many problems. Therefore, people—and especially men, the primary targets—need to learn how to respond to these facile charges of sexism, racism, homophobia, and all the progressive rest. The best way, perhaps, is through humor. For, though available only to inventive wits, humor has the special value of defusing a touchy situation by way of charm and pleasure. It will divert many, and win over others. Above all, people must learn to stand their ground—no more unwarranted apologies! Why be so compliant? Do we have no fighting spirit? There was no virtue in Hamilton’s apology. Besides, his critics are not fair-minded themselves. They crave resentment for its own sake and, as such, deserve only mockery and contempt. Nothing could be more foolish or ignoble than yielding to them. So find a backbone, America. Have the courage to affirm your beliefs. Let people be offended. It is good for them. They value their feelings overmuch, and lack resilience, too. Their pathetic goal is an anesthetized life in which no one ever feels pain.

A functioning society, and our mental health, depend on the public-private distinction. Mass-media morality blurs this, however, and such is human narcissism that many people are willing to accept the loss. There can be a good living, after all, in having no privacy. But nevertheless, the moral principle remains: A person should not have to answer to others about matters that do not concern them. Yet in order for this commonsense truth to be widely understood again, we must, as I say, be willing to offend others. People, indeed, must be offended so much that their very sensibility changes. For this is a matter of shaping perceptions and, therefore, emotional responses and value judgments. It is essentially irrational, the sort of thing against which mere reason is quite weak. So, let us offend the precious busybodies. They can whine all they please. They are their own burden. We will laugh at them, but not be troubled in the least by their silly indignation. Fools are, at best, amusing. When we elect to yield to their opinions, we are no longer a people worth preserving.

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