Larry Correia’s got part two of his fisking some poor Brit idiot who writes for the Guardian. (Somebody in a comment thread somewhere said that the Guardian is not actually a reputable journalistic source, which would explain the quality of writing they allow in their publication. I’d compare it to the Examiner on this side of the pond, but then the Examiner has actually broken actual news stories before, so I probably shouldn’t compare the two. Especially since I don’t actually read either.) It’s quite humorous and if you’ve found the tempest-in-the-teapot that is the 2014 Hugo Awards season interesting, you should read the whole thing!
On apologies: here’s the thing. Quite a few of these doubleplusungood authors have internet personas designed to be bombastic and quite deliberately offensive to certain types of people. When those people are offended, and pitch public temper tantrums over how offended they are, that’s the desired result. It’s not an accidental offense.
Some people don’t seem to understand that. Oh, of course the perpetually aggrieved who go on and on about “macro” and “micro” aggressions willfully misunderstand – using the “I’m offended!” and “That’s so rude!” cards are their primary weapon when it comes to amassing social power over others. Since those same individuals evince absolutely no remorse when they themselves start talking in the most disgustingly ignorant, bigoted, and hateful ways against others, I feel fully justified in ignoring them whenever they start demanding apologies. Mote, meet plank, as it were. If you don’t hold yourself to the same standard you demand from others, then your self-righteous “I’ve been wronged” posturing can be ignored when it’s not being mocked mercilessly. Note that this is not the same thing as holding oneself to the same standard as one holds others, and then failing to live up to it: in the case of failing to meet a universally applied standard, one’s personal failures are acknowledged as failures, rather than excused and rationalized.
For instance, I’ve gone over the line and said (typed?) things in anger that deliberately gave unnecessary offense. My intentions were bad, and my execution of self-expression reflected that. So in those cases, when someone says, “Hey, you’ve gone overboard,” I will listen – because my conscience also convicts me. I failed to live up to not only a community standard, but a personal one also. But if I am deliberately restraining wrath, and expressing myself strongly but without mean-spirited intent to cause distress purely for distress’s sake, I’m not going to take any criticism of “You’re being mean!” seriously. I’m not a nice person. And don’t you dare pull the “Christians have to be nice people!” card either, because I don’t buy that BS. If you’re a Christian and you’ve never offended anybody, you’re doing it wrong. (You might be offending them improperly, though, so identify the reason behind any criticism you receive carefully. For instance, Sarah Palin’s decision to not abort Trig deeply offended many people, for all the right reasons.)
There’s a difference between schoolyard bullying, where offense is deliberately being offered as a means of exerting power over others, and the kind of offense that happens whenever people start differing over strongly held beliefs. Let’s take a rather minor example: teetotalers vs. those who drink alcohol. Someone who doesn’t drink simply because he doesn’t have a taste for it and isn’t interested in developing one (I know one such person) isn’t offended when other people drink wine or beer with dinner in his presence. Someone who strongly believes that consuming alcohol is forbidden by the Bible (in direct contradiction to Jesus’s very first miracle, but hey, it’s a minor detail not relating to salvation, so whatever) is likely to be highly offended if others drink alcoholic beverages in their presence. But the objective situation – people having wine/beer with dinner – hasn’t changed. You could start an argument over who’s right and who’s wrong, but if all parties consider themselves Christian, the appropriate response is to not serve alcohol when the teetotalers are coming over for dinner. (Nobody I know of has a particularly strong belief that dinner should always be accompanied by alcoholic beverages.)
It gets a whole lot more dicey when there are strongly held beliefs on both sides. The “sex-positive” feminists who strongly believe that women should be free to slut around while dressed like whores and have their contraceptives and abortions subsidized by the government are going to have a big problem if they’re ever occupying the same political space as a bunch of “conservative” Muslims who think that women should wear potato sacks in public and be stoned to death if they have sex outside of marriage. Both parties have extremely powerful and totally diametrically opposed belief sets; they’re about as mutually offensive as it’s possible to get. Good luck trying “dialogue” in a situation like that: you’re going to see a very clear example of “Diversity + Proximity = War” in action. Either those two groups are going to self-segregate completely or one of them is going to push the other out of power by whatever means necessary.
The demands for apologies are a weapon in attempting to push one side of an ideological debate out of power. To apologize is to show deference toward a shared moral code; an acknowledgement that the one who apologizes has done wrong by a moral law that binds both parties. The “reactionary” authors currently being called out by a British tabloid screed-writer are quite right to refuse to acquiesce to demands for apologies, because their opponents are blatant hypocrites grasping at power. The supposed moral code being referenced does not in fact bind both parties – in fact, it’s a purely imaginary moral code that binds no one: the apology-demanding party feels perfectly free to flout the purported “moral code of giving no offense” whenever convenient, and the “sinning” party quite clearly sees that, and obviously doesn’t hold to such a code in the first place, either. Where there is no shared, universal morality that applies equally to both parties, there can be no apology.