Monday, October 08, 2007

Doggerel #126: "Offense"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

One thing that always irritates me, especially when politics are involved, are attempts by woos to frame a debate in terms of who's offended by what. You might be offended by the truth, but that's not our problem. Take it up with the universe.

Woos in general find the act of questioning their pet hypotheses to be "offensive," and therefore wrong to do. Worse is when appeasers and concern trolls show up to claim this is a "sensible" reason to moderate our stance, which typically includes tenets like "nothing is above questioning," "increasing knowledge is a good thing" or "we should make sure our actions will have a meaningful beneficial effect." How do you "moderate" statements like that so that people won't be offended by them?

Also irritating is how they often attempt to claim that our motivations stem from trivial offense, as if we're merely being prudish about the paranormal, rather than seeking to help people escape from a damaging way of thinking. Even worse is when politicians treat grossly unethical breaches of the 1st Amendment as being equivalent to an offensive religious joke: That we're "offended" that our children will be coerced to pray to their god by government-sanctioned peer pressure.

Put simply, the "offense" we feel is the kind any person should feel when someone commits evil. When a "psychic" steals someone's money and time in exchange for false predictions, we should be offended. When an altie treatment kills someone who could have gotten better through proven medicine, we should be offended. When the government coerces vulnerable people in matters of religion, we should be offended. When woos and fundies aren't outraged at these things, it leaves me wondering if they have basic emotion and morality. That's why I tend to call such people, when they reveal themselves, "militant apathists." They seem to have made it their goal in life to make fun of people for caring about anything other than stuff like the latest irrelevant celebrity trivia.


Rhoadan said...

Language nitpick: unless the phrases "nothing is above questioning," etc. are renting space on your property, the word you want is "tenets," not "tenants." Sorry, this one's been bugging me lately. It's right up there with confusing "prescribe" and "proscribe."

Bronze Dog said...

*baps self with a rolled up adamantine newspaper*