In the current cultural environment, when we offend people – particularly millennials and youthful Marxists – we are doing them a favor. It’s kind of like free mentoring, therapy, and life-coaching.
First of all, it teaches the important lesson of tolerance: the acceptance of other people with diverse opinions and the freedom to formulate and express them without fear of violence. They are not learning this rudiment of civilized discourse in their $60k/year daycare centers.
Second, it teaches humility: you don’t get to impose your will on everyone else. This is a very important life lesson. You have to deal with things you cannot control: sickness, accidents, storms, family issues, etc. Life is filled with such things, and we are powerless to make them go away by throwing a tantrum or a brick through a window.
Third, it teaches resilience: you will not contort into the fetal position and revert to an incoherent blob of tears and primal screeching if you see or hear something you don’t like. You can handle it. Human beings are capable of remarkable mental endurance. Words may hurt your feelings, but as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Or as our parents taught us, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but…”
Bonus: it teaches a healthy skepticism of ‘official’ or ‘unquestionable’ narratives – as these are often used by politicians and others to divide, conquer, and control. Rather than adopt the knee-jerk PC position because it is popular, why not fairly investigate the narrative to see if it is objectively true?
While we don’t have to look for dragons to slay, we shouldn’t back away from expressing opinions, displaying symbols, or using language that is acceptable to us. We don’t have to use made-up pronouns or throw our ancestors under the bus. We should not shrink from being patriotic, loyal to western civilization and its values, or from questioning the pop-culture narratives. If we favor traditional morality and/or tried and true political and economic premises that have fallen into disfavor, we should say so. We can be both polite and firm. We can refuse to kowtow and see ourselves instead as people with real-world experience, with something valuable to teach those who in many cases, have no real connection to the wisdom of elders, as our families and societies lay in shambles since the 1960s, nor any experience in the real world. Maybe we are called to teach by refusing to be forced into a closet or to the back of the bus.
So if they are offended, good.
They’ll thank us later when they have grown up and learned to deal with the real world: a world of mothers and fathers, boys and girls, of raising children and caring for others, of serving customers and earning a living, and of objective truth – a world without safe spaces, language police, and without an Orwellian dean of diversity (sic) to ensure lockstep uniformity of thought.
So when you hear, “I’m offended!”, maybe we should say, “You’re welcome!”
(Fr. Larry Beane can be reached om Facebook, or on his blog – Father Hollywood.)