David M. Brown's Blog

July 2, 2016

From “micro”-bad to “mega”-worse?

Filed under: Language and grammar,Politics,Society and culture — davidmbrowndotcom @ 5:53 am

Appeasing bullies doesn’t shut them down, true. Giving credence to dishonest concepts with no basis in reality, concepts designed to obfuscate reasonable distinctions and preempt thought, doesn’t shut those down either.

“Microaggression” has become a fashionable term in the academy, but it applies better in the realm of international relations, where American adversaries are constantly needling and testing the world’s sole superpower.

The Iranians did this in January when they detained two boatloads of U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf. …

The Obama administration, as far as one can tell, has been equally supine in the face of numerous microaggressions from Russia. Josh Rogin of the Washington Post recently reported that the Russian intelligence services, the FSB, is harrassing U.S. diplomats all over Europe. According to Rogin, “Diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.”

The harassment is most intense in Moscow, with diplomats reporting “slashed tires and regular harassment by traffic police.” In Obama’s first term, Rogin continued, “Russian intelligence personnel broke into the house of the U.S. defense attache in Moscow and killed his dog.”

Beating people up and trashing property are not “micro”-aggressions. They are full-fledged violent aggressions. The notion of “micro”-aggressions was concocted to impugn any incidental speech that somebody somewhere might be offended by—whether on rational, or, more likely, irrational grounds—and thus provide a pseudo-justification for mega-censorship and mega-harassment of the “offenders.” One needn’t muddy one’s thought with such a delusive notion as “micro”-aggression in order to observe that doing nothing proportionate and effective to oppose scattered instances of egregiously bad conduct encourages wider and worse perpetration of the same.


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