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Friday, April 21, 2006

SHIRT HITS FAN: Now I can claim to be "injured" if you wear a T-shirt bearing a message that offends me. Having to read the message on your shirt that offends me "intrudes upon my rights." So proclaims a ludicrous 2-1 ruling of the inevitably wacky Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Dissenting Judge Alex Kozinski mocked the Court's embrace of pop psychology to create the feel-good right not to be offended:
"I have considerable difficult with giving school authorities the power to decide that only one side of a controversial topic may be discussed in the school environment because the opposing point of view is too extreme or demeaning."
Invariably the people who claim to be "offended" by messages they disagree with also claim to be advocates of pluralism: a condition or system in which two or more principles or worldviews coexist. It's clear that the pluralism of the left goes like this: You're expected to agree with all of the things we hold dear. If you express opposing opinions, you'll be declared "judgmental" and we'll do everything we can to destroy you — in the name of diversity and inclusion — especially if you're a Christian, male, white, conservative, patriotic, etc. That's the situation here. A high school student wore a T-shirt expressing his disapproval of a school policy celebrating homosexuality. The great irony is that cultural leftists who favor every kind of diversity except opinions that diverge from theirs typically complain that they're "disempowered" in contemporary America. These kinds of court decisions only serve to confirm their marginal status in the eyes of most of their neighbors. What a joke: the right not to be offended. Being a grown-up means developing enough emotional sobriety — it doesn't take very much — to realize that the moment I condemn you for your "offensive" statement is the moment I give you the power to offend me. The Court's ruling is a victory for those who can't summon the honesty to simply declare: Despite our rhetoric of seeking empowerment, we are actually committed to staying weak and dependent and mired in narcissism. Thus we get to hug our cherished oppressed status. Thus we feign moral superiority to people of whose autonomy we envy and resent. Thus we celebrate failing at living. Thus we remain deeply, proudly pathetic. Not that there's anything wrong with being pathetic. Just stop dressing it up as a virtue.