Everyone Must Stop Being So ‘Offended’ All The Time

Jan 20, 2017 by

By Harry Phibbs –

The joyless social media thought police have been on patrol again. After a festive season whose highlights consisted of a low-calorie nut loaf and viewing the Channel 4 Alternative Christmas Message, these drone-like foot soldiers are back on duty “calling out” those who make remarks which they decree offensive.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, is their latest target, yet even by the often ludicrous standards of Twitter outrage, his “crime” was anything but that.

This week Johnson said of the French President, François Hollande, in the context of Brexit: “If Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who seeks to escape the EU, in the manner of some World War Two movie, I don’t think that is the way forward. It’s not in the interests of our friends and partners.”

Absurdly, this off-the-cuff utterance was twisted by his opponents – all of whom hate Brexit – into his having accused France of Nazi-style war crimes. Indeed, even though he never actually used the word “Nazi”, his words were considered so significant, they led the BBC’s news bulletins. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn waded in, using the term that has become beloved of dreary social workers seeking to come up with the strongest denunciation of which they can conceive, saying Johnson’s comments were “inappropriate”. And the Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, reached for the smelling salts over this apparently “distasteful comment”.

Meanwhile Guy Verhofstadt, that whining Belgian grievance-monger and professional Eurocrat, complained of “yet more abhorrent and deeply unhelpful comments”.

I was pleased that Michael Gove rallied to the defence: “People ‘offended’ by the Foreign Secretary’s comments today are humourless, deliberately obtuse, snowflakes – it’s a witty metaphor #getalife.”

But it now looks very like some people’s main objective in life is to take fake offence at every opportunity. This is seriously dangerous. Being “offended” by something has become the Japanese knotweed of modern life and it is stifling free discussion.

It’s not new, of course. In 2005 – before the launch of Twitter – the comedian Ricky Gervais was at a Live 8 charity pop concert. He was condemned for saying “Bob Geldof and Richard Curtis have just been on a conference call with Tony Blair and George Bush and they’ve agreed to not double but quadruple aid, so the concert’s over!”

For a moment, horror appeared on the faces of those looking forward to hearing Madonna, Snoop Dog, and the Scissor Sisters perform. Then, after a pause, Gervais added: “Only joking. They haven’t! We can carry on!” Although Gervais had donated his services that day free of charge, that was not enough to escape much tutting.

But if ‘social media’ – or what is better described as ‘anti-social media’ – is not entirely to blame, it has certainly made the situation much worse.

Who can ignore the deeply worrying development of British police recording as a “hate incident” any matter which anyone reports over which that individual has taken offence? The UK’s Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, found herself on the receiving end of this indignity only recently.

This has distracted the police from their more important, but less agreeable, responsibility of defeating real hate crime. It has also constrained freedom of speech. One minute the lynch mob has declared someone offensive and before the retweets have reached triple figures, someone has phoned the police who are then “obliged” to pursue the matter.

Hillary Clinton has just lost an election campaign that relied on fake outrage as its principle ingredient. Many ordinary Americans have had enough of some very privileged snowflake college students forever taking to the airwaves to portray themselves as victims.

There is plenty of hypocrisy in all this. How many Lefties forget to feel offended by obscene works of modern art or foul-mouthed misogynist rappers? They are more likely to invite the perpetrators of such “culture” along to their cocktail parties, hoping the frisson will provide some radical chic.

Well, it’s time to starting “calling out” those who spend their time calling out people. The prigs have been in the ascendancy for too long. For those who don’t wish to be offended they can switch channels, buy another newspaper, bookmark a different website, unfollow, unfriend, block, or mute. Turn off, tune out, or drop out.

They have the technology. The glorious spontaneous order of the market place already provides the tools for a libertarian solution.  Let these sanctimonious bores leave the rest of us alone to sometimes express our opinions with a provocative analogy – or even the occasional (whisper it) joke.

Source: Everyone Must Stop Being So ‘Offended’ All The Time | Heat Street

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