I have long posited the idea that we have a duty to be competent in the act of living, since incompetent members of society make the rest of us miserable. This means not rising beyond your own ability to be competent: an idiot who aspires to be Senator and who achieves his goal is not inspiring, but unethical.
Of course, people who don’t know they are stupid should be exempt from an unethical label: ironically, you can’t be an ethics dunce if you are truly a dunce. We also have a duty not to make our children, family members, friends, associates, fellow citizens and the culture dumber by reckless dissemination of idiocy.
Which brings us to this, from the earnest, apparently certifiably insane blog, Everyday Feminism. Trigger warnings, the recent progressive invention designed to shield overly sensitive members of our species from any idea, word, concept, thought, memory or theory that troubles them in any way lies right on the cusp of unethical, as it is at the threshold to censorship and thought control, as well as to stupidity itself. Everyday Feminism, however, charges over that line with hilarious excess. This could have easily been published by The Onion, but Everyday Feminism apparently means it.
The article was about triggering, so it had to have this warning:
This article discusses triggering in detail and mentions common topics of triggering (sexual assault, anxiety, health anxiety, depression, death, non-specific fears and phobias).
But the blog felt warning itself needed a trigger warning, and so it began with this:
Like this phenomenal article, Everyday Feminism definitely believes in giving people a heads up about material that might provoke our reader’s trauma. However, we use the phrase “content warning” instead of “trigger warning,” as the word “trigger” relies on and evokes violent weaponry imagery. This could be re-traumatizing for folks who have suffered military, police, and other forms of violence. So, while warnings are so necessary and the points in this article are right on, we strongly encourage the term “content warning” instead of “trigger warning.”
It really did. Of course, “warning” itself is a word that alarms people, certainly more that a lot of the other words that trigger warning devotees feel might damage one’s psyche. So a “content warning” about “trigger” needs a “content advisory” about “warning.” This would also suggest that any Roy Rogers movie or TV episode requires an advisory about his horse, Trigger.
Mostly it suggests, however, that such people are trying to make open discourse and minds as difficult to achieve as they possibly can, even to the extent of slapping a theoretically infinite chain of warning about warnings about warnings on their own screeds. That’s unethical, and so is taking anyone seriously about any substantive topic who sees nothing stupid about a trigger warning about the use of the word “trigger.”
There is a point at which an ideologue forfeits the right to be respected, and this is it.
Pointer: National Review