Archive for the 'Lighthouse of Offensive Warning' Category

Fear of Offending already is death

January 25, 2008

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But immigrant pandering, of course, trumped public safety. Law-abiding residents of gang-infested neighborhoods may live in terror of the tattooed gangbangers dealing drugs, spraying graffiti, and shooting up rivals outside their homes, but such distress cannot compare to a politician’s fear of offending Hispanics.

This is related to Auster’s law of minority majority relations. The more we fear offending a group, it is because the worse they are in offensive against us. Or put more bluntly, the more we fear offending a group, the more offensive it is.

This is, in a way, a twist on the old saw about respecting one’s enemies more than one’s friends, or however its said. But this is at the heart of liberalism as Auster points out. This is simply a light hearted comment and not meant to redefine Auster’s version of his own law.

Offending is time and state contingent. What is offensive and the relation of a group or other entity may change. A knife left in after surgery is offensive, but if used to remove a cancer and then removed is not. The difference is discrimination, something liberals don’t like to let us do.

Liberals prefer a rule to be followed regardless of circumstances. But that also implies a rule to be followed regardless of consequences. The result of that behavior is self destruction. In fact, to have that attitude is to search for self-destruction and to be guaranteed to find it. That applies for a liberal individual or a society.

In applying Auster’s law, one has to taken notice that its really a hypothesis and is only part of a model. So one can’t just apply it as if it was a law. Its a hypothesis to be tested and by itself is too simplistic to be used without testing. It also requires combining with other assumptions and modification to be testable in specific circumstances.


Fear of offending is the death of good writing, thinking, and politics. Its the death of a society. Or its essential to all of those. Its a matter of balance, i.e. of search, i.e. of being offensive to someone without intending it or to be that offensive.

Clearly there is an equilibrium amount of offending and being offended. Again, it takes discrimination. Its also not the same per person.

Some individuals offend greatly. Some offend many. Some do both. Some teach by offending. Few teach by being offended, except as a counter-example.

To switch from Auster to Acton. Great men are always offensive men. Greatness offends. Truth offends. Achievement offends.

Only one person, or 3, can win the Nobel Prize in a category each year, but many can be offended. The Nobel Prize in Economics seems to get that reaction often. They gave a Nobel Prize for that? Patents have this effect as well.

This is draft and preliminary and subject to revision. I hope I have taught more than I have offended, but probably its the opposite. Now on to Antony. The offensive in men’s lives lives after them, the inoffensive is interred with their bones. Or something like that.

I have already revised this column for fear of offending, and probably will do so again. To switch to paraphrasing Emily Dickinson. I am offensive. Are you? Oh dear. That makes two of us. Don’t tell them.

Search unoffensive inoffensive

I will try not to offend by mixing up inoffensive and unoffensive. I promise. I promise to try, or maybe just a little some of the time.

James D. Watson met Napoleon. Some men are born offensive. Some men achieve offensiveness. Some men have offensiveness thrust upon them. Watson and Waterloo start the same but may end differently. It depends on which side you favor as well of course. Lets hope that Watson goes with Waterloo like Wellington.

Just to frame a hopefully not to offensive hypothesis. Whatever is offensive to us is partly true? We are most offended and most often offended by the truth. Whoever is offended most and loudest is the surest signpost to the truth?

A sort of lighthouse almost? Calling out the offending truth before the ship is aground and its too late. The warning that comes last is the most offensive? Truth attracts being offended like a lamp attracts moths.

Suppression is nine tenths of the truth?  Or is it offensiveness? Of course, like genius the other 1/10 is important.

Being offended is the key to suppression. Satan has mischief still for idle lips to spew? Liberals are most pleased when their pupils say they are offended to conservatives so that the source of warning will stop as our society crashes on the shore of mathematical theorems it considers too geek to live by? It was all geek to me. That is the cousin of being offended.

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