Recreational outrage

Having been at the cutting edge of the Protest Generation of the 1960s, I can attest it was just for fun, and for me anyway, a safe activity since I never thought anyone would take us seriously. When these pussy establishment giants kept falling over to appease our stupidity I knew I had had enough. But on it has gone. This is from Lionel Shriver writing in The Spectator.

What is the real emotional experience of pouncing on minor infractions of rules right-on activists seem to be making up as they go along, and which only proliferate and grow more exacting the more cravenly the rest of us obey the last ones? (The latest: ‘stay in your lane’, or ‘white writers shalt not use AAVE’.) Nothing short of exhilaration. Crusaders relish locating another paper dragon to slay. In the guise of suffering and woundedness, the overriding emotion in call-out culture is a sensation of triumph….

The students cowering in ‘safe spaces’ don’t feel endangered; they’re claiming territory. In protecting the faux-helpless from noxious opinions via no-platforming, they’re exercising power. The experience of exercising power isn’t scary, except on the receiving end; it’s supremely gratifying. These people aren’t frightened. They want you to be frightened of them. And we’re not talking ‘microaggression’. PC police often prefer macroaggression, the kind that can get people sacked….

Progressives seem especially prone to disguise one feeling as another. Reliably entwined with self-deceit, the problem isn’t solely among the young. When American liberals my age claim to suffer from white guilt over slavery and the slaughter of Indians, I question whether they really feel guilty. They weren’t personal agents of these crimes, and they know it. Nothing wrong with being historically aware. But white guilt is often a blind for moral vanity.

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