The importance of apologizing, and more specifically apologizing when we have done something wrong, is drilled into many of us as children. Ideally, this helps us develop the ability to have empathy for others. If that was your experience, you will be familiar with the feeling of guilt that can be addressed by acknowledging your errors, and attempting to heal the pain and damage you may have caused.
An apology is based on two core principles. The first is the admission of wrongdoing, and the second is the genuine expression of regret. Lacking the ability to acknowledge transgressions means that apologies are never deemed necessary, and lacking the feeling of regret means that apologies are empty and meaningless.
Often people struggle to apologize because of an underdeveloped ego, leading to fear based upon a binary impression of virtue. Rather than accepting that they are a mixture of “good” and “bad,” they can only see themselves as “good” or “bad.” Therefore, it is too dangerous for them to admit wrongdoing, as this implies that they are wholly bad.
In the past, the generally accepted social norm was to advocate for the virtues of sincere apologies. Acknowledging that it is often difficult to apologize, especially in the public sphere, there was some form of societal reward for genuinely owning our errors and attempting to repair the damage caused.
However, recent years have shown that the radical left’s moral authoritarian nature is destroying the core values of apologies. For example, Kevin Hart was recently criticized for homophobic tweets made between 2009 and 2011. He had previously addressed and apologized for these tweets. Despite this, many of the progressive left demanded he apologize again if he was to be permitted to host the Oscars in 2019. Hart refused, pulled out of the event, then released another public apology.
Many conservative commentators criticized this as an example of the radical left attempting to destroy those who become too successful. While this may be true, there is a deeper and more dangerous ideology at work.
Rather than rewarding the public acknowledgement of wrongdoing or the sincerity of an apology, apologies are now used as a weapon of political submission. Following the binary concept of people being “good” or “bad,” an apology is required to prove “goodness.” Whether the apology is required, sincere, or has already occurred is irrelevant. When they call for an apology, the left are actually asking you to bend the knee.
If you submit to their will, and agree to pay their virtue-membership fee, you may be permitted to remain in their circle of moral superiority. However, you will repeatedly be required to prove your loyalty and pay homage to their demands of supposed righteousness. If you fail to prostrate yourself at their feet, you are ostracized and cast out. This is the same dangerous ideology that has underpinned the crimes of religious groups (such as the Catholic Church during the Spanish Inquisition) and political groups (such as the Nazis or the Soviet Union) throughout history.
The radical left has been ignoring the two core principles of an apology. To them, it doesn’t matter whether any new wrongdoing actually occurred, nor whether regret is actually felt. What matters is public capitulation to their demands.
In an understandable yet ethically disastrous reaction to this absurdity, those who refuse to apologize (regardless of whether they are guilty of wrongdoing) are often celebrated for their “strength” in the battle against the radical left. This also destroys the core virtues of an apology, as it promotes those in society with underdeveloped egos who fail to acknowledge their failures, and those who reject the importance of genuine empathy.
Weaponizing apologies as acts of political submission, and the celebration of those who refuse to apologize under any circumstances, are core reasons for the decay in moral principles, reflecting our unempathetic, selfish, and egotistical society. Clearly, Elton John was right when he sang “Sorry seems to be the hardest word.”