A friend’s car had this on his back bumper and…




   I’m not a fan of bumper stickers, but this one seemed worth its adhesive. It underlines new concern, our cowardliness, our lying, our hidden anger, shame, and defines and helps explain much of the public introversion that now governs our behavior–and fuels social Internet “conversation.”

   The viral spread of victimhood now governs what we say and do.

   The good side is that some have become more sensitive to evil bullying. Yes, we should be nice and civil. It usually makes public life more pleasant. Hate speech can be very bad and destructive. But the problem here is defining the slippery word “hate.” In a practical world now governed by ethical relativism where nothing is absolutely right or wrong, and morality has become like “beauty”–whatever one values or despises depends on the eye of the beholder–with each individual becoming his¹ own self-important god in making judgments about everything.

   And, ultimately, this is unavoidable.

   But the problem becomes ugly when (1) personal judgments become catalogued under stark labels such as: Nazi, Hitler, dictatorial, racist, sexist, homophobic², even absolutist³.  (2) Social discussion, even semi-private table chats, can be easily cherry-picked for “points” by haters that have a different view, and can blast “their take” electronically far and wide. (3) Spokespersons refuse to sort ridiculous generalizing to groups hanging on their words. This makes the words lose their meaning and, eventually, those with the loudest voices lose their credibility.

   Add to all this the charitable welcome of anyone who wishes to be considered a “victim” in the name of openness and love for accepting anyone’s point of view.

   Except for those who despise word-muddling and find themselves on the wrong side of language evolution.


   ¹ Insisting upon occasionally resorting to use of the historic generic he, as here, for economy and clarity would brand this piece as “sexist” as many did in the beginning of literary feminism.

   ² A tracing of this word and the history of its change in meaning before and after LGBTQ protectionist laws would make an interesting study (I pointed this out in a communication with William Buckley, Jr.–now deceased–who replied that my observation was “very interesting”).

   ³ Even Christians, who accept that there are real reasons for certain absolutes have to be careful here. Declaring and accepting that there are absolutes is one thing. Declaring exactly what they are is another.