Edward Lear
Here’s more from Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s article called “The Coddling of the American Mind” in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic. You can find the full article here.

In the US there has been a several decades long trend to privilege complaints from victims of social injustice. Because the emotional well-being of anyone who considers themselves a victim is now close to being considered a “right,” it is nearly unacceptable to question the sincerity or reasonableness of anyone’s complaints, especially if they are related to a claim of minority status. Just claiming this status and saying “I’m offended” is generally enough to win the day.

This works quite well if there is a clear infringement. However, the clear superiority of offense as a weapon results in opposing groups using claims about emotional offense in the fight for social or political power. This leads to what Jonathan Rauch, contributing editor at The Atlantic, calls the “offendedness sweepstakes” where each side tries to make their case for being the most offended, the most wronged and therefore the most in need of an apology.

Not only is this a social trend in the US, but it’s now something that is supported by law. For example, The DOE Office for Civil Rights used to require that speech be “objectively offensive” before it could be considered actionable. This meant that a “reasonable person” had to feel the speech went beyond mere expression that some other person found offensive. In 2013 the standard changed so speech only has to be “unwelcome” before it becomes grounds for a harassment claim. This is a subjective standard, and it means that emotional reasoning is now considered grounds for a legal action as admissible evidence.

Does the “offendedness sweepstakes” sound familiar? The SF community has just been through a demonstration of this with the Sad/Rabid Puppy battle against Tor Books and other persons possibly left of center. It’s hard to counter emotional reasoning with logic.

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