Sunday, September 25, 2016

Freedom of...What?

Earlier this month, an American author of fiction spoke at a writer's conference in Australia about the writer's need to step into the shoes of another and present that person's world view.  In other words, a fiction writer needs to be able to write fiction.  She thought that her speech was, in her words, rather "bland".  Turns out, in this era of the perpetually aggrieved, it was anything but.

After enduring scathing criticism from young people for whom "social justice" is now an interesting hybrid of emotionalism and toxic narcissism [the two key ingredients of nihilism, the philosophy of our times], she responds in the New York Times:
As a lifelong Democratic voter, I’m dismayed by the radical left’s ever-growing list of dos and don’ts — by its impulse to control, to instill self-censorship as well as to promote real censorship, and to deploy sensitivity as an excuse to be brutally insensitive to any perceived enemy. There are many people who see these frenzies about cultural appropriation, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions and safe spaces as overtly crazy. The shrill tyranny of the left helps to push them toward Donald Trump.
In an era of weaponized sensitivity, participation in public discourse is growing so perilous, so fraught with the danger of being caught out for using the wrong word or failing to uphold the latest orthodoxy in relation to disability, sexual orientation, economic class, race or ethnicity, that many are apt to bow out. Perhaps intimidating their elders into silence is the intention of the identity-politics cabal — and maybe my generation should retreat to our living rooms and let the young people tear one another apart over who seemed to imply that Asians are good at math.