According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest buffoonery college students pay for are “trigger warnings.” The idea is that some books may contain passages or words that are offensive to some readers.
Who determines what is offensive to whom has not been clarified. But apparently, even a popular and well-known novel, such as Huckleberry Finn, may have words that trigger a sense of outrage, indignation or humiliation. Delicate students need to be warned so they can avoid these things.
Meanwhile, Washington is under pressure to put a trigger warning on its football team. The press reports that “Redskins” is offensive to parts of the population. The typical fan replies that he has no problem with the word “Redskins.” He thinks, au contraire, that it honors the people his ancestors tried to exterminate.
But he misses the point. No one cares what he thinks. The “warning” is for the benefit of others… those who think they have the right to tell him what words he may or may not use.
Some words are okay. Others are taboo. Ideas, too. And associations.
Guilty without a Trial
The Church of England has just given its clergy some guidance. It is not okay, says the Queen’s Church, to join the British National Party or the National Front. These political organizations are guilty of the “sin of racism,” it says.
We don’t recall “racism” being on the list of mortal, or even venial, sins. We don’t know how you commit it. But the Church of England has found two British political parties guilty of it. Without trial or appeal, even.
Our friend Rev. Peter Mullen, C of E, reports that the Dean of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson, was actually a member of the Communist Party, even when the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany, with whom England was at war. They must have been more open-minded back then. They didn’t boot him out. Or try him for treason. Soviets considered him a “useful idiot” to whom they gave the International Stalin Peace Prize in 1951.
The Communist Party is still in good standing with the Church of England, as far as we know, despite being largely responsible for 30 million deaths. So is the Man-Boy Love Association, if it still exists. And every other whacked-out group that ever owned a mimeograph machine.
Equal Opportunity Offender
Yesterday was a slow day in the markets, so let us take advantage of it to warn sensitive readers: Over time, we are bound to offend just about everyone. Or, at least we hope so…
Gay readers, people of color, Native Americans, those with Republican or Democratic tendencies, honkies, zombies, jackasses, the rich, the Pope, the poor, Argentina, soldiers, lawyers, fatties, skinny people, cripples, fascists, collectivists, libertarians, half-wits, WWII veterans, global warming believers and deniers, Keynesians, monetarists, Catholics, Protestants, intellectuals, artists, rap stars, architects, sex changers, Albanians, Gypsies, Congress, the state of Indiana, old people, young people, middle-aged people, dead people, heroes, cowards, the elite, oligarchs, poligarchs…
We can’t think of any group, distinction or feature unworthy of ridicule.
Here in Normandy, the creaky veterans of D-Day are gathered on the coast. Every heart beats with pride for those who survived. Every eye mists in remembrance of those who didn’t.
The French newspaper, Le Figaro, tells the story of 19 young men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, who died on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.
But what were they doing there? What dog did those Virginia farm boys have in the Europeans’ fight? The Nazis were awful. But so were the Soviets. The Bedford boys may have helped defeat one group of nasty people… but they contributed to the victory of another. And what for? So America’s political elite could throw its weight around on the international stage.
There, have we offended everyone now?
Still, one thing stands out… where we need a special trigger warning: Our Diary is bound to offend anyone who thinks central bankers know what they are doing. And modern economic theories may trigger severe allergic reactions in readers whose common sense is still intact.
Further Reading: One of Bill’s favorite targets of ridicule through the years has been the US government. In fact, Bill and his son Will sued the government for its malfeasance some 28 years ago… which led them to a critically important discovery. You can find full details here .
P.S. Chris is at the Bonner & Partners Family Office private meeting in Normandy, France, along with Bill and Will. So, there’ll be no regular Market Insight from him. Then he is on vacation for a week. Chris won’t be returning to his regular slot until Monday, June 16.