By Sarah Britten
All of us have that button. That thing that makes us see red, the thing we hate, which if we were in charge we’d ban immediately.
In the past, people in power have been deeply offended by the notion that anyone who wasn’t white and male could have the vote. That gay couples could marry. That women could choose to terminate a pregnancy or take contraceptives. There are still many people offended by all of these things. We should be grateful that they do not get to enforce their personal preferences on the rest of us.
And yet, when it comes to certain issues, the state of being offended seems to be regarded as some sort of protected condition, which justifies immediate action from the government and an online petition because OUTRAGE and launching of countless mindless epithets in social media.
Take trophy hunting. I dislike hunting of any kind and always have. But I recognise that it has a role in conservation — specifically the preservation of habitat — and so long there is no unnecessary cruelty and the practice is sustainable and contributes in some way to biodiversity, my personal feelings have no bearing on whether or not hunting is permitted. The world isn’t the way I want it, and I have to accept that there are things that may be legal but which I don’t like.
Somehow, otherwise rational people involved in the outcry over Melissa Bachman and her lion trophy seems to have lost sight of that basic principle. I can’t stand people who pose with dead animals as though it’s some sort of achievement — have a look at this site if you really want to be offended (the dead royal antelope here really gets to me). But I find aggressively self-righteous individuals impervious to reason even more off-putting, and Twitter, Facebook and various blogs have been utterly saturated with them over the past few days.
Somehow, the dislike of hunting is a sort of immunity idol to cloak all sorts of other nasty little issues. Imagine, for a moment, if the insults here were directed at a woman who got an abortion. Misogyny and xenophobia are normally considered verboten, but attach them to hunting and it’s open season. More....