One of the stockbook arguments that liberals use is that conservative militance is “offputting.” By “liberals” I am referring both to those who are openly so, as well as those who have that crisply moderate evangelical shell surrounding a gooey center.
A sure way to identify a liberal disposition is to listen for warnings about hypothetical offenses. But if this were as real a concern as it pretends to be, surely someone would have taken note of the fact that liberal denominations are hemorrhaging all over the floor, while those offputting religious groups are keeping their blood inside the skin, and are continuing to grow. What if the key to growth in the next generation is standing strong against same sex mirage?
Trying to anticipate all the people who might be offended sets up a demand for such people to start showing up, which they then do. If you build it, they will come. If you establish an infrastructure for catering to the Hurt Feelings of a particular class of duly appointed privileged underprivileged people, then do not be surprised when another kind of underdeveloped soul tries to get a piece of the action. And then their arrival, right on time, is taken as a justification for all the anticipatory nervousness, and the cycle continues. We decide to pay a thousand dollars of reparations to everyone who had ever been sexually harassed in a fast food joint, and are frankly astonished to find out how unsafe those places are, quite apart from the deep-fried stuff. Well, the cycle continues — until, in the immortal words of Tom Wolfe about the art world, the whole thing disappears up its own fundamental aperture.
This is what lies behind all the triggering nonsense. Some students at Colombia have complained that reading Ovid was “triggering.” But as Instapundit noted, people in such a condition are not mentally healthy enough for college. And there was a brouhaha over Christina Sommers speaking at Oberlin. She was tagged as a rape apologist for saying things like how women should address wage inequities by pursuing professions that pay more. When people are triggered by things like that, the only righteous thing to do is to trigger them some more.
So my militance — which is, admittedly, sometimes apparent to thoughtful observers — is not an across-the-board militance. I am not militant at dinner. I am not militant when joking around with the grandkids. I am not militant while mowing the lawn. I am only militant when tyrants and buffoons essay to run a great civilization when they have to date demonstrated no real competence in running anything larger than a sno-cone stand at Ocean City. In the off-season.