It’s a Hostile World

In the computer world, there is a saying: “be conservative with what you send, and liberal with what you receive”. This means that you need to be very careful to follow the protocols that specify what you’re sending, but you need to be careful that things like malformed packets, etc, don’t cause your hardware and software to crash.

This also used to be true in human communication. Be careful what you say, and think the best of whatever it is that is said to you. That’s also called “grace”, and it’s something that recently is sorely lacking.

Now it’s “be conservative with what you receive, and liberal with what you send.” You can say whatever you want and who cares if it offends others, but heaven forbid someone should say something that offends you. Now you can’t even assume someone who presents as a man, is one, at the risk of offending someone. About all you can do is retreat into your little bubble and pretend others don’t exist.

I’ve taken the tack of not caring whether people are offended, simply because I’m not left with very many viable choices. I could care, but then people would walk all over me, because offense is now, well, offensive. You are offended because it gains you an advantage, not because someone has treated you poorly. I could try not to be offensive, but good luck with that. To some people, just the fact that I, a straight white, “cis”, nominally Christian male exists is offensive (everyone gets a right to exist but me, I guess). So about all I can do is not care.

But this isn’t a way to have a good society. I miss the days when you could have a normal conversation without worrying about someone getting offended, when you could tell a joke without someone getting offended (as long as it was just a joke, of course), when you knew where you stood because the rules of society were clearly laid out. Maybe they weren’t the best rules, but at least you knew what to expect. Now hostility and offense comes from nowhere and about all you can do is withdraw into yourself and hope to not step on a landmine unwittingly.

I don’t like the world that the perpetually offended have created.

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