On campuses nationwide, students have whined about what they call “micro-aggressions.”
People suffering from “micro-aggressions” are offended by tiny acts that might in some slight way, point to politically incorrect behavior. The offended student then feels free to demand changes from college administrators in a very macro-aggressive way. Such an attitude is an example of what has turned the country into a nation of whiners.
To understand the problem of how society has come to this point, a well-known philosopher wrote a commentary some time ago that describes five things that lead people to become so hypersensitive. The list is very helpful to see where society has gone wrong and where it needs to go.
1. Treat Your Children As Equals and Fear Them
The list begins with the father who “accustoms himself to become like his child and to fear his sons.” This refers to parents who not only pamper but also put themselves in a position of equality with their children. It creates a situation where parents fear doing anything that might offend the children, who become very sensitive to being refused anything.
2. Teachers Flatter Your Pupils
The second item on the list is that of the school teacher “who fears and flatters his pupils.” Like the pampered son or daughter, this pupil is helped along and saved every effort lest the child feel overshadowed by the better students or made to feel the shame of failure. In schools with these teachers, there should be no winners in games or honor roll for studies as they safeguard tender sensibilities, now made ever more sensitive.
3. Elders and Youth Dress and Act Like Each Other
The next attitude involves the differences of age. This happens when “the young act like their seniors, and compete with them in speech [or] in action.” On their part, the old “condescend to the young and become triumphs of versatility and wit, imitating their juniors in order to avoid the appearance of being sour or despotic.” This also describes the modern illness of living out fantasies especially that of eternal youth. Everyone is encouraged to appear, act and dress like youth, even when one is old. Moreover it includes any other disorder and fantasy that people live out, and who become extremely sensitive when others do not play along.
4. Make Laws to Equalize Everything
And then there is the “wonderful equality of law” that seeks to equalize all that are not equal. Such laws reward the indolent and penalize those who make more effort as might be seen, for example, in punitive taxation.
5. Equalize All Difference Between Men and Women
Finally, there is that liberty, which “prevails in the mutual relations of men and women.” This can be seen in the sexual revolution that makes all promiscuous relationships equal to those of marriage and family. This attitude leads to bitter complaints against those who would be so insensitive as to prevent them from total free love or oppose abortion, its natural consequence.
Result: A Nation of Whiners
The conclusion rings so true for the present times. It reads: “The main result of all these things, taken together, is that it makes the soul of the citizens so sensitive that they take offense and will not put up with the faintest suspicion” of a strong authority which is likened to “slavery.” In this way, so many have become part of a nation of whiners who cannot bear the burden of contradiction from those around them. To those who whine, freedom consists only in the absence of opposition to whatever one wants to do. When opposition appears, it must be exterminated or silenced. They especially target the restraining influence of Christian morality, which they see as a strong authority similar to slavery.
Little do such people realize that they are the least free of men since they are tyrannized by their shifting passions and appetites. In a similar way, a society of whiners is hardly free because when one does not exercise interior restraint and exterior restraint becomes even more necessary to keep order.
Actually, no modern scholar wrote this commentary. The school of human behavior changes little over the ages. This ancient observer shares wisdom valid for all times and places. His name is Plato and this particular passage can be found in his famous work, “The Republic.”