"Might" doesn't make right

In our youth, it was not at all uncommon to be reproved for language or behavior that had offended some never-to-be-named other. That was bad enough, as one never had the opportunity to discuss the situation with the complainant and be reconciled.

Nowadays, however, things have gotten far worse. Now, all sorts of speech and behavior are forbidden on the grounds that such "might" offend some nameless, faceless "others". After 9/11, workers at one firm in Florida were enjoined from displaying the American flag because it "might" offend foreign workers at the firm. Children were not allowed to wear religious symbols at school because those symbols "might" offend others.

Is this how low our society has sunk? Are people really so terrified that they "might" offend some hypersensitve, unknown and unknowable "other" that our entire society is paralyzed by fear? Have the ultra-thin-skinned achieved so much power over us that nothing can be accomplished without first making sure that absolutely no one -- no matter how unreasonable they are -- could possibly be offended?

Worse yet, what comes next?


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