It's Time To Address "Offense Culture"

As is my habit, I tend to watch TED Talks and TEDx Talks on YouTube. These talks, each around 20 to 30 minutes in length, can be quite informative. They cover a wide range of subjects from cosmology to suicide to families to math to social issues, past and present. I don’t always agree with what the presenters say, and when that is the case the disagreement is often a matter of degree, not magnitude. (Not that there haven’t been those occasions where the presenter and I have diametrically opposed views. Even then, I usually learn something new.)

I was perusing a TEDx Talk this morning and came across this one hosted by Jess Butcher, MBE and her guest, Claire Fox. The subject of Claire’s talk – How Offence Culture Stifles Progress.

She mentions the pervasiveness of what she calls the “Snowflake Generation”, those who are offended by speech that presents ideas with which they disagree. This is done not to foster debate and discussion about the ‘offensive’ idea, but to stifle it in its entirety and to silence those who caused the ‘offense’. They demand safe spaces, not to protect them from some physical threat, but to shield them from offensive subjects.

How is it so many, more specifically college students, have become so psychologically fragile they cannot ponder the idea of debating subjects they disagree with without feeling anxious, nauseous, or ‘fainting away’? One does not treat such a malady by kowtowing to their demands to never be offended. All that does is feed their neurosis and make it worse. To hold the rest of the population hostage to their psychological fragility is madness in itself. Better to see they get the treatment they need to reduce, if not eliminate this fragility. Otherwise they will not make it out in the real world, as Claire stated in her talk.