Faithful Are The Wounds Of A Friend

Vérité 5/17/2022 Today I am going to try to blow your mind. What if being verbally offensive is a vital and necessary component of free speech? Could our right to make people angry be the most important aspect of this freedom? Why does the Bible teach us that hard words from a friend are desirable and trustworthy?

For me, this is obvious. Since it would never directly benefit a real friend to upset you, if they say something upsetting, there may be truth in it and we’d be wise to listen.

Now why, in the same verse, does it brand our enemy’s “positivity” as inherently deceptive? Maybe it’s really cautioning us against nice-but-insincere language and behavior (AKA sweet deceit). Could mild and inoffensive language or excessive niceties actually establish enmity? There’s a book’s worth of material here, so my challenge is to keep it brief. But consider: 1) It’s easier to initially manipulate people using flattery, being overgenerous and practicing lots of mirroring (paraphrasing what the target says and roughly doing what they do) in order to quickly build trust (confidence). Once established, the new “friend” can cast doubt and fear upon everyone else in the target’s life to destroy existing relationships, isolate them and begin obtaining whatever it is they want. This is the illustration Tolkien gives with Gríma Wormtongue: intellectual enslavement to lies.

When we actually offend a listener it always makes them reorient (pause), feel and think. They may follow this up with some outward action, but they have already been impacted. We might offend them with an idea they hate, a judgmental statement, foul language, or loud and outlandish behavior. However we might offend, freely and effectively expressing our thoughts (regardless of the reactions of others) is a vital and necessary component of free speech.

Our right to make people feel angry or hurt may be the most important aspect of this freedom because strong emotional and/or intellectual reactions have the best chance of spawning major decisions for action or change. Hard statements are a common strategy used by evangelists for that very reason. They are also used effectively by parents, teachers, drill instructors, coaches, judges, bosses and all sorts of people WHO WANT YOU TO DO BETTER.

Offensive language can also be abused by people intent on manipulation that’s not in your best interest. It may be used by bullies, con artists and salesmen. It’s obviously used by politicians. But I repeat myself. Clearly it’s not completely safe. However, its removal, whether as corporate moderation, by fact checking, via hate speech laws, by establishing safe spaces, through punishing erroneous pronoun use, or by mandating woke/PC policy, IS COMPLETELY UNSAFE. Any attempt to control offensive speech is unequivocally dangerous to freedom, justice and liberty.

In his video about creating a robust society, Taleb identifies verbal challenges as very important for spreading truth. He recommends calling out people’s unethical or immoral behavior in order to anger them. (Video contains French language and some profanity elements.)

Jordan Peterson has become the foremost recent advocate for free speech globally, having risen to public prominence for his vocal opposition to bill C-16 and his sharp criticism of the fascistic Justin Trudeau. In his address to Cambridge University he suggests it’s not only central to free thought, but even an antidote to ignorance and corruption, echoing Taleb.

Published
Categorized as Politics

By Vérité

I’ve left traditional employment for a few months to focus on my family following the recent loss of my wife and my second granddaughter when my wife’s airplane crashed on 6/17/21 (see https://www.abc4.com/news/local-news/small-plane-crashes-in-tooele-county-2-dead/). I’m also producing content. If you want to support what I do or want to donate to our family, let me know and I’ll something that up. I’m so many things but the most important things are 1) a christian, 2) a father & grandfather, 3) the widower of the most amazing woman I ever met, 4) a patriot and Army veteran (MOS 98C), 5) a teacher of SO many things (a tutor, a STEM teacher in traditional classrooms before such a thing had a name, a corporate technology trainer, the K-8 home schooling parent of my kids while my wife was stationed overseas, a museum docent, a history, archeology and paleontology tour guide at two sites, and simply a perpetual student), 6) an HKN engineer (AKA a science, math and tech nerd who created a massive military community website as a volunteer), 7) a caregiver, 8) a certified optician, 9) a lifetime woodworker, 10) a recipe inventor and publisher, 11) an actor, singer, poet and dabbler in most every art I meet, 12) a hobbyist historian (and the victim of an AP art history class that led me to believe I wanted to be a renaissance man when I grew up (which I really never did), and 13) still silly enough to have earned a B.A. in psychology! If I had to pick exactly one self-definition it would be "loving God by loving people." I just wish I was a whole lot better at it!

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