Compassion Cops on a Killing Spree

Ken Jennings, a well-known former Jeopardy champion who will be guest-hosting the game show in the wake of Alex Trebek’s death, is under assault from the social media sensitivity police, or “compassion cops” as I prefer to call them, because he made a couple of remarks on Twitter some years ago that some people (aka the compassion cop mob) find so offensive that they — along with their complicit mainstream media allies — are out in force trying to destroy the man’s reputation forever, and with it all his career aspirations. I will not dignify the compassion cops’ malarkey by replaying their public outrage, or Jennings’ supposedly unacceptable tweets, here. Suffice it to say that the comment being isolated for a cancel culture public flogging was one sentence, from 2014, alluding to a hypothetical (not real) disabled person in a wheelchair. His comment, as I read it, was somewhat ambiguous in its connotations, and in any case struck me as the sort of dumb throwaway remark that could only be truly offensive to someone trying to be offended — but that is beside the point.

For his supposed transgression — apparently not the only time he has offended the Sisters of the Perpetually Offended — Jennings is now on the chopping block, as the compassion cops, including some sort of actress (don’t know, don’t care) named Yvette Nicole Brown, try to shame and humiliate the man into oblivion.

What could possibly be more insensitive and uncompassionate, in the sense of being sinfully inhumane, than to use a worldwide mass communication medium to publicly stalk, gang-shame, and mob-shun a man because he once said something you choose to find disrespectful to some condescendingly-designated “protected group”?

What could be more callous and disdainful of another human being than using one’s reputation and public voice to foment a mass hatred movement against a private citizen, with the express purpose of terminating his livelihood and undermining his aspirations of achieving his unobjectionable and harmless personal and career goals, merely because you believe some of his past words might, in principle, have hurt someone’s feelings or been otherwise “inappropriate”?

The funny thing about the compassion cops is that I really cannot think of any other class of people who display less genuine compassion for their fellow human beings than these self-righteous safety-in-numbers lynch mob cretins with their public shaming practices and their insatiable, aggressive hunger to harm anyone they decide to hate today, and to harm him as deeply and lastingly as possible.

Their goal, as is obvious from their words and tactics, is never to reform or redeem the person whose behavior they find problematic. It is always and simply to destroy and delete that person. As though they lacked the basic capacity for self-reflection, the precursor to moral feeling, that we expect from any normally raised eight-year-old, the ability to stop and think, “How would I feel if people ganged up on me?” — let alone the more mature, adult extension of that feeling, namely the rational awareness that we ourselves have done or said things in our lives that could in principle be dredged up and used to destroy us, once we consent to the social premise that public shaming for verbal offenses against today’s progressive collectivist sensibilities is an acceptable practice. In other words, the compassion cops are blind to two of the most basic lessons of moral interaction: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” and “What goes around comes around.”

The social progress entailed by the widespread short-circuiting of that foundational moral feeling — genuine compassion, in the sense of recognizing other humans as similar to yourself — indicates how far we have traveled, we late moderns, toward the universalization of the Maoist- and Soviet-style community spying and tattling culture that is so indispensable to maintaining order in a collectivist totalitarian state. We have successfully unlearned empathy, barring the mock-empathy of politically correct “offense.” We have been fully trained to turn on a dime, without a moment’s remorse or self-doubt, into full-on merciless hatred and mob attack toward anyone we are told has violated this month’s progressive speech or thought code. 

If anyone deserves a mass public shaming, it is precisely these unreflective, uncompassionate, groupthink compassion cops — willing slaves and slavering guard dogs of collectivist tyranny — forever on holier-than-thou seek and destroy missions against their fellow human beings.

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