November 12, 2015

I don't want to be a robot

Hate is a terrible thing. I wish it did not exist. The problem is we are imperfect humans. God, or nature, or evolution, or chance made our brains all a little different from each other. The same random genetics or combination of cells that made Einstein, or Richard Pryor, or Frank Sinatra, or Mother Teresa have special talents also caused Hitler, or Ghengis Khan, or the guy who slips on a white hood to terrorize those who have different colored skin. I don't really want to live in a world where we are all identical. Existing as a mind-numbed robot has no appeal. It is good that we have different notions of art. You might like sweet potatoes, I don't. It is our differences that makes the world interesting. It is learning a new perspective, a new interpretation, a different viewpoint that gives us intellectual growth. I may not agree with your politics, but a civil discussion helps me better define my own position. It is these same differences that makes some humans hold positions we find offensive or even hurtful. We cannot eliminate the unattractive aspects of our differences without eliminating the good. Groupthink; I can envision nothing worse.

I do not claim to know everything that has happened at Mizzou. Perhaps the racial culture on campus is hateful. The student body president is a gay black guy, so at least the student body seems unprejudiced. Reports say a student was called a racist epithet off campus. I'm not sure what the University President was supposed to do about that. I'm not sure what he was supposed to do if it occurred on campus. It should not happen, but we cannot legislate morals. Assholes abound. Free speech exists to protect those who say the things we find most offensive. There is no right to never be offended.

A scarlet 'A'comes in many forms. It is not a big leap from forcing Jews to sport a Star of David on their chest to putting anyone who disagrees with you in a re-education camp. When we start deciding what is "proper" thought or words it becomes hard to draw a line. Most of are appalled at the reports of forced groupthink in North Korea where failure to mourn the death of the Great Leader properly resulted in death. Where saying anything but the party line gets you lined up before a firing squad.

Who decides what is offensive and what is not? A committee? What if you are atheist and the panel is made up of Christians or Muslims? What if the arbiters of taste and offensiveness  hate rap music or video games? We can't protect ourselves from the unpleasantness of life. We are not robots.

Just to be clear, I am in no way saying that if you are person of color and are called the N-word you should not be offended or that you should shrug it off. Rather my criticism is for the childish wish that it is the responsibility of a college president to create an environment where your feelings will never be hurt, where you never have to see or hear or experience the real offensive unpleasant aspects of life. I could have saved a lot of time and words if I just wrote "grow up".

Better yet, read the words of a real writer Here


Anonymous said...

The people who use the N word more than any race is the race that seems so offended by the use of the word.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

These children are not going to grow up. They are the children of other children who decided many years ago that radicalism was the way to overthrow the status quo.

It's too late to mitigate the problem. We're going to have to burn down the universities to save them. And no, that's not being said ironically. It's the truth.

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