I woke up Tuesday and got a good chuckle out of the morning headlines on my favorite conservative websites. Google's choice to sanction a diversity presentation by their resident “Yellow-Scaled Wingless Dragonkin” is the type of thing you can’t just glaze over. I mean, either you’re in the camp where this makes sense, or you’re in the camp where it seems beyond all levels of insanity- and either way, it’s a noteworthy step toward… something.
For those of us on the sane side of that equation, lets unpack this a little bit. Google decided they needed a presentation to encourage tolerance toward “plural beings”- those people who believe they exist as a varied assortment of animals, objects, or buildings. In other words, I guess they are concerned that you may offend Hal, the leaf blower in accounting, if you refuse to acknowledge his identity and treat him as a respected lawn tool.
Seriously… that is a scenario which someone at Google apparently has a legitimate fear of. Which, I assume, means they were lobbied by a group of “plural beings” who felt oppressed.
And therein lies the point.
We live in America in 2018. The greatest country in the history of the world, at one of its most prosperous times, in a period where technology has removed nearly all discomfort from our lives. There is no meaningful or systemic persecution of any class of people. There are no laws preventing anyone from chasing and reaching their ambitions. There is total freedom of belief and worship. And if you choose to do nothing with any of that freedom, there will be a government program helping insure you still have food and shelter. But yet, I would be willing to wager the average American college student spends more time talking about oppression than the starving residents of most third-world dictatorships. How does this paradox exist?
It’s simple. The instinct of fighting for survival exists from birth within all of us. For almost all of human history, we’d wake up every morning wondering how we’re going to stay safe and provide for ourselves or our families. Abundance is not the rule across the arc of history- it’s the rare exception. Even right where we’re sitting, it was less than two centuries ago that most people survived by growing and hunting their own food. If you were a bad farmer, or a bad hunter, or were just plain lazy, there was a real chance you could starve.
Going back even a generation or two, our parents and grandparents still had an understanding of that reality. There were two wars and a depression that taught them the real meaning of struggle. Absent was any need to manufacture adversity. Heck, even those who lived through the Cold War, or who truly struggled through the 2008 recession can relate to that.
But here we are in 2018. Those of us in our early 30’s were either living at home or going to college in 2008. We’ve been raised by a generation that coddled us, educated by teachers that sheltered us, and employed by people threatened if they offend us. We’ve never worked in a bad economy. Unless we enlisted at 18, odds are we really have never had to fret about war or our safety. We certainly know nothing of actual government oppression or discrimination.
That just doesn’t sit right with so many in this generation. It can’t be that we’re that blessed- this holds especially true if you’ve gone to college and been indoctrinated to believe our country is a black eye on the face of the globe. You’ve got that human instinct deep down inside telling you there’s a struggle for survival- but you haven’t got the context to realize you’re blessed to be living in the exception to that rule. So instead, you start looking around with a magnifying glass, searching for something to fight against and lose sleep over.
And this is why the cause of the moment keeps expanding and expanding for the “social justice warriors”- those who have pledged to find wrong under every rock. Yesterday it was gay rights. Then transgender rights. Now plural being rights. And rest assured, when all of those groups have been fully liberated, there will be a new cause to invent. The saddest part is that these individuals truly feel distraught over these things- oppression of viewpoints that exist solely for the purpose of being oppressed.
Those of us who are more traditional often feel attacked by all of this. We’re being accused of being bigots in the current climate just for being white, straight, married and employed. Sometimes we can have a chuckle about it, like earlier this week. But besides feeling attacked, we should also feel empathy for the people who sincerely have built this worldview of invented adversity. Not only are they failing to enjoy the amazing time in which they live- but God help them when the inevitable happens and they are expecting a safe space when our country faces its next true period of challenge.