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February 23, 2016

Good Article on the Taking of Offense as a Form of Conspicuous-Consumption Status-Signalling

Here is a link.

I've made a similar point for a long time. Look to the Democrat Party, and you see a division between the old-line unionists and the New Left lifestyle liberals. The fact that lifestyle liberals natter on about nothing but ideological wants -- as opposed to more tangible wants -- is a manner of signalling they're of the sort of class that is comfortable enough to not worry terribly about their rent.

(Though in fact that's often untrue -- that sort of liberals include a lot of people living in what's called "genteel poverty," working as barristas and so forth. But taking a job as a barrista is assumed to be a temporary thing while you're Exploring Your Life Options, whereas taking a better-paying job at a factory (if one's anywhere to be found) is an acceptance and confirmation of one's status in the disreputable Working Class. But I digress.)

I've heard it called "Luxurious Concerns." That is, your concerns mark yourself on the social status. If your concerns are about keeping your job, paying your rent, or whether your kids' school is any damn good, you're worried about Big Things, and therefore you are marked as a Struggling Person.

Only those who have really made it -- who are at the top of the economic and social order -- have the luxury of worrying about the Small Things. And if you worry about the Very Small Things, or indeed the Microscopic Things, then, well and truly, you have Arrived.

Many liberals aren't particularly wealthy. However, if you can't afford a Luxury Car, or a Luxury Apartment, you can at least adorn yourself with Luxury Worries.

It's very cheap. Easy, too.

I've described this before as being a sort of connoisseurship of offense. Just as a wine connoisseur is praised for detecting notes and defects on a nearly microscopic level, so too are our modern class of intellectually-insecure social climbers posing as connoisseurs of offensiveness. To detect that a man is racist if he denigrates another race in a racially-charged way -- well, Old Boy, that's easy, isn't it? That shows no skill at all; that's like being able to tell a red from a white. You can hardly expect to epater les galleries with that level of expertise.

But, to have a sensory apparatus of offense, a palette of outrage, so refined as to become frothilly angry if someone refers to someone of ambiguous gender as "he" instead of taking the time to discover that xer's favored pronouns are xer, xers, and xeir -- well, that is a mark of exquisitely fine taste.

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posted by Ace at 06:45 PM

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