We Need To Stop Rewarding Weakness

What happened to the idea of adults being resilient and taking action rather than putting on endless emotional displays?

“Sticks and stones will may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

That’s the ethos that millions of people grew up with, the idea that mere words should not be enough to break someone down mentally and that resiliency was something to be praised and sought-after.

Action, not words, was what mattered most.

But that ethos seems far removed from what we often see these days.

Instead, we are watching as weakness and sensitivity are not only tolerated, but rewarded and promoted.

Consider this email recently sent to the faulty at Kwantlen University in British Columbia:

“This is a message that has now gone out to faculty at @KwantlenU in Surrey, B.C., instructing “settler voices” not to “provoke open and unfacilitated inquiry” “or stimulate pessimism” in regard to de colonization. This thread contains the messages that prompted this communiqué…”

The most appalling part of course is what is highlighted:

“While the conversation within the faculty thread is respectful and educational, it is simply ill-timed and culturally inappropriate given the context of today and the past few weeks. This is not the right time for settler voices to provoke open and unfacilitated inquiry…”

That’s an incredibly dangerous line of thinking, since it implies that truth is based on who says something (rather than having an inherent quality), and straight up denounces ‘open and unfacilitated inquiry,’ which is exactly what universities are supposed to be all about.

We now have ‘educational’ institutions advocating against open debate and discussion.

Further, I want to point out the following section, which is also quite disturbing:

“Rather, I would encourage humility and more quiet reflection in our own learning as to not re-traumatize other readers.”

Traumatize?

By reading a debate in an email chain?

Imagine how weak you have to think other people are to think they would be traumatized by reading some words in an academic debate.

Using ‘traumatize’ in that context is pathetic.

And yet, this is what things have become all about as of late.

We are treating everyone as if they are a bunch of weak little children, with zero resiliency, and zero toughness.

What happened to all the adults?

There was a time – until recently – when a big part of becoming an adult was becoming ‘tougher.’

Not just physically, but also mentally.

There was an understanding that being an adult meant recognizing that life could be difficult, but that we are capable of overcoming those difficulties through hard work, and a rational approach to our challenges.

Shrugging off negativity, or turning negativity into a positive, while seeing ourselves as strong and resilient was preferred over seeking victimhood status.

Now, much of that has flipped.

People seem to think that they should try to be the biggest victims possible, indulging in more and more emotional displays while acting as if they are somehow completely helpless.

Many are now acting like children, blaming everything and everyone for their problems, while refusing to take responsibility.

For children, this is often reasonable, since they are less capable and have minds that aren’t fully-formed.

But for adults to en masse take up the mantle of victimhood, weakness, and helplessness is appalling.

The irony of course is that the more people think of themselves as victims, the worse things get for them:

Professor Jonathan Haidt described this process well:

Haidt also analyzed writings from others who have discussed the rise of victimhood culture on university campuses:

“C) Victimhood as Virtue

When the victims publicize microaggressions they call attention to what they see as the deviant behavior of the offenders. In doing so they also call attention to their own victimization. Indeed, many ways of attracting the attention and sympathy of third parties emphasize or exacerbate the low status of the aggrieved. People portray themselves as oppressed by the powerful – as damaged, disadvantaged, and needy. [They describe such practices going back to ancient Rome and India] … But why emphasize one’s victimization? Certainly the distinction between offender and victim always has moral significance, lowering the offender’s moral status. In the settings such as those that generate microaggression catalogs, though, where offenders are oppressors and victims are the oppressed, it also raises the moral status of the victims. This only increases the incentive to publicize grievances, and it means aggrieved parties are especially likely to highlight their identity as victims, emphasizing their own suffering and innocence. Their adversaries are privileged and blameworthy, but they themselves are pitiable and blameless. [p.707-708] [This is the great tragedy: the culture of victimization rewards people for taking on a personal identity as one who is damaged, weak, and aggrieved. This is a recipe for failure — and constant litigation — after students graduate from college and attempt to enter the workforce]

[Reminder: All text not in brackets is from Campbell, B., & Manning, J. (2014). Microaggression and moral cultures. Comparative sociology, 13, 692-726]”

You can certainly see how dangerous this is.

Rewarding people for being weak and damaged will only incentivize more weakness and encourage more people to damaged human beings. And since any country or society is only as strong as those who inhabit it, we will end up with a weak and damaged nation – a recipe for disaster.

Promote strength and resilience

A society gets more of what it rewards, and less of what it doesn’t.

So, we need to get back to promoting and rewarding strength and resilience.

At one time, acting like a victim and holding weakness up as some sort of badge of honour was frowned upon, and thus people did their best to appear strong and resilient and able to rise to the challenges they face.

That made our country stronger as well.

We need that kind of attitude again.

And it’s not just about being tougher for the sake of being tougher, it’s because the naive, childlike, victim mindset puts us at real risk.

Watch how the government responds to challenges facing Indigenous Canadians like the endless boil water advisories. Do they take action? Do they slash foreign aid and actually build infrastructure here in Canada to provide clean water?

Nope.

Instead they hold teddy bears, cry, and act all emotional, then walk away and leave actual issues unsolved.

The danger of weakness

We still live in a world where money and military might determines who dominates, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that. If our country is led by people who are weak victims, and if more of our population embraces the victimhood mindset, we will truly end up being victimized by those who are stronger and more resilient.

Look already at how weak our country is dealing with China. They can walk all over us, and that will only get worse if we continue embracing this pathetic mindset of weakness and victimhood. We will lose our country.

The only way to stop that from happening is a return to the old values of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and the cultivation of strength, values that have stood the test of time and are needed in Canada now more than ever before.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – Twitter

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