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Good, bad and neutral triggering

By Scott Tibbs, July 31, 2018

Following up on my post and tweet, it seems like the most important political objective for way too many people on the Right is to "own the libs." The way to do that is to make sure they are "triggered." Now, granted, some of this is mocking the more insane elements of political correctness, but triggering liberals should not be our main objective as conservatives. Our objective should be to advance good arguments, elect good candidates, and implement good policy.

Yes, I know the Left does it too. My point is we should examine our own behavior.

So when Leftists are "triggered" by something we do, is that a good thing? Yes and no. It depends on the context. There are ways to "trigger" people that are good, bad and neutral. The good triggering is something we should pursue regularly. The bad kind of triggering is something we should avoid doing.

First, let's talk about neutral triggering. This is when you do something in the course of your political involvement or even in just living your life that causes someone to get offended. You have no intention of angering anyone, but some people are perpetually angry and offended no matter what you do. If what you did unintentionally caused legitimate offense, you should address that. Perhaps you should apologize. Perhaps someone is being a snowflake and should be rebuked for being hypersensitive. But in our culture today, neutral triggering is not something we can generally avoid.

Bad triggering is when you intentionally make someone angry for no reason other than to laugh at them for being "triggered." You think you have "owned the libs" by making them angry. But if your only point is making someone angry, what are you accomplishing? If Bubba decides to shoot the jukebox because it is playing a song a Leftist likes, did Bubba actually advance conservative ideas and principles? Is Bubba helping advance conservative policies? No, Bubba is just being a jerk. Stop doing things like that.

Finally, there is good triggering. If I make an argument and/or present evidence for my position and someone is angered by it, then that is their problem. For example, a candidate for office might propose a new policy to make things better, and an incumbent might be irritated or even angered. He or she has been "triggered," if you will. But is this a bad thing? No, it is a good thing. A problem has been identified and a solution proposed to make it better. The fact that the incumbent is "triggered" just shows you have hit the bullseye.