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The emotional fragility of generation PC - we are under trial for voicing what is contrary

·         It has been pointed out by sociologists that students at the elite Universities in the UK and US have been overseen by those who are the most vigilant of speech monitors. This has meant that the student herd at these elite establishments, including have followed all their lives ‘a straight and narrow liberal path’. 

For instance their monitors have not allowed any veering off from the herd, they have never deviated into a passion unrelated to school work, and have not been allowed, therefore, to live what many would consider a normal adolesence teenage years: childhood – to play, to learn by doing, to challenge their teachers, to make mistakes’. 

They have always been on good behaviour; and it would seem they don’t regret it. They are therefore ill-equipped to defend anything (better to keep quiet) the authorities or their activist classmates tell them should count as bad behaviour. 
These young people have grown up, in the years since 2001 when the schools and the popular culture, in America above all, kept up an incessant drone about personal safety, the danger of terrorist attacks, and the opacity of every culture to every other culture. It is a generation in which the word ‘fragile’ might be applied.
·         Few of them have had the experience of being a minority of justified railing against your politically environment. one, or a little more than one.  A new keenness of censorious distrust has come from a built-in suspicion of transgression in public discussion.  Recall the look of horror on the face of your teacher when you ventured once to  be un PC.

The PC generation is also the social media generation; where it has been safe huddle in one' s pod of seclusion but knowing you have an audience of friends or followers, tap away then, knowing you are enscosed in  a self-sufficient collectivity and happy to stay that way – walled-up and wadded-in by chosen and familiar connections.

As Sherry Turkle avers, its is a full-time regime for the the PC generation ‘Most are already sleeping with their phones,’ Turkle says of the children and teenagers she interviewed. ‘So, if they wake up in the middle of the night, they check their messages.’ But these are messages sent and received within the group; outside, all is uncertain, obscure, and apt to bring on sensations of fragility. 

Adversarial stimuli are to be ignored where possible and prohibited where necessary, (University monitors)
·         Within such a group, spontaneous speech – unconditioned by the context of sharing and the previous expectations of the group – seems unnecessay and frankly dangerous. The overhanging damoclean sword makes the pull of affinity and loyalty to PC irrestisible. So don't take the risk of an infraction it could reduce your future (career)  chances. A provocative and half-disagreeable remark amounts to a declaration of the intention to defect. To someone who has grown up in such a setting, the older protections of individual speech are an irrelevance.

·         At Yale University last Halloween, a diversity administrator sent around a notice to students to mind that their costumes didn’t cause offence or encroach on sensibilities of gender, race or culture. The associate master of a residential college responded with an email addressed to the students in her college, saying that Halloween was a time for a lark and everyone should lighten up. Even a decade ago, both the cautionary letter and the reply would have seemed hilarious for their condescension and paternalism. In the present climate, it was the reply that led to an immediate demand by some residents of the college that the associate master be sacked (and with her the master, her husband, who had failed to keep her in line) 

More evidence
·      On the same Halloween of 2015, at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, photos of two female students dressed in sombreros, ponchos and moustaches set off a protest march of thousands, including activists from neighbouring campuses, and the scandal prompted the Dean of the college to resign.
·    If the expectations and exclusions of every milieu  are added up, in the hope that this will lead to a practical grasp of relevant truths about social structure, honest debate in public will become a thing of the past. It requires considerable patience and learning to criticise an unjust social structure.  Read Oscar Wilde on the Critic as Artist, got it , not the artist as artist, but the critic as artist.
So one might argue that to purify ourselves, by renouncing all exposure to dangerous words, is to legislate for the preservation of our innocence, but Milton (the great English poet) doubts that this can be done. 

Trial by what is contrary - oh dear guardians protect us from impurity
The censor holds a very different view from Milton: impurity invades or insinuates from outside, it is a kind of pollution, and the duty of moral guardians (we who know)  is to secure and deliver us. In the PC world we are under the watchful eye and transgress and we face ‘trial for what is contrary’
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
Quote such a Mill ism to a roomful of academics, withhold the name of Mill
 and not one in three will credit that any intelligent person could ever think like that
so improbable too, don't you know. Mill also means the affixing of any penalty at all to dissent from what the majority supposes are the components of a better world 

·         Reduced to a practical directive: ‘Indulge in free speech if you must; but please avoid issues that are controversial; and if you do address such issues, don’t sound as if you care about them intensely.’ This is what Mill meant by ‘quiet suppression
·         For the speaker, feelings must be restrained – a neutral style of rational euphemism is recommended. On the other hand, the emotion felt by the listener in response to a speech must be treated as authoritative, unarguable, closed to correction or modification by other witnesses. ‘The group which feels hurt is the ultimate arbiter of whether a hurt has taken place’; so, too, the person who listens and testifies on behalf of his or her group. Reproach from a traumatised listener admits of no answer, only apology, even though apologies are only interesting in proportion as they are spontaneous and warranted. The apology that is demanded and forked out has the moral stature of hush money: it makes a fetish of insincerity. With some help from the jargon of political and religious heresy, one would say these are not so much apologies as formal acts of self-criticism and recantation. Thus far, they have mostly been extorted in communities the size of a guild or a college. At the same time the rigour of exclusion within these mini-communities is itself a cause of the near autistic breakdown of political speech in America.

 A microaggression if the person addressed thinks that it is. This makes for a double bind: a white student passing a black and not looking at him could plausibly be charged with microaggression. Replay the same encounter, but with an unusually long look – say, five or six seconds – and the charge of microaggression is just as plausible. 

Today there is no right to be not offended.’ The truth is that in some areas we are close to excogitating a right not to feel offended. In America, the definitions governing what counts as sexual harassment are wide enough to have let in a troop of other causes. The ban on ‘unwanted approach’ and irritants productive of a ‘hostile work environment’ are easily extended from action to speech: the unwanted approach becomes unwelcome words, the hostile work environment a hostile speech environment. The words ‘right,’ ‘feel’ and ‘offended’ sharp formulation, all are coming to have legal definitions that carry immediate force. 

It is a right because its violation exposes the offender to penalties of fine, imprisonment or mandatory re-education. Feeling counts because feeling in the offended person is a dispositive fact: proof (which needs no further support) that a crime was committed. We are not far in America – is it just America? – from evolving a right to feel good about ourselves. Possibly the best counteraction is to repudiate membership in a species that could want to do this. Misanthropy and the rejection of censorship here join forces unambiguously.
What a distinguished (Mill) and very dead philosopher referred to as the religion of humanity may turn out to be as dangerous as all the other religions

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