July 13, 2019

JON GABRIEL: YOU’RE OFFENDED BY THIS COLUMN? SO (BLEEPING) WHAT?

Here’s an interaction I had on Twitter, the Algonquin Round Table of the digital age. One interlocutor noted that vaccinations might cause autism. (They don’t.) Another wondered if a government can mandate immunization. (Sure.) But shouldn’t parents have the right to say no? (Not if they put the community at risk; at least that’s how I see it.)

All fair questions and a fine debate to have. And on it went until one person replied with what he felt was the trump card: “That really offends me!”

To which I said, “So what?”

A brusque response, but the anonymous stranger’s taking of offense is not my or anyone else’s concern; public health is. Harrumphing “that offends me!” has no bearing on any argument, pro or con. It’s a non sequitur revealing naught but a delicate constitution.

I don’t intend to argue the pros and cons of vaccination; that specific debate isn’t the point. As our culture has slid to the so-called “social justice warriors” of the left and the trolls of the “alt-right,” activists on all sides believe that their being offended carries some sort of moral authority as a victim. Does their sense of grievance make their arguments more compelling? It does no such thing.

That really offends me! But read the whole thing anyway.

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