Why, one may ask, stir things up and keep playing the devil’s advocate? For one thing, I think I am an effective history teacher, for younger adults, often more privileged (younger gay men in particular) who don’t understand what it was like in the past, and particularly, why it was the way it was. Society used to be much more collective. (The diagram above of Chickasaw living abodes along the Natchez Trace in Mississippi makes the point.) Interdependence was not avoidable. And even today, in an open society, there is real tension between individualism and fairness (and hidden bad karma) which can lead to instability. At some level, one can be brought low because of the indignation of others, both as an individual and as a whole people. As much as I broadcast “personal responsibility” (like SouthPark), we have to accept that at any point we are what we are, even if others wronged us gravely. Talking about victimhood never goes anywhere.
If someone else did something terrible (I’m thinking of the tragedy in Santa Barbara CA this weekend as an example), and claimed he had been upset or unnerved (as in his own self-image about sexuality) by my own “gatekeeper-less” speech, I wonder if there could be any liability for me. In the US, I don’t think so (and I think I would have won the substitute teaching issue had a litigated, however riskily); overseas, even in western Europe, it could be a different matter. Nothing like this has ever come up. If someone (like the authorities) actually believes an issue like this has actually occurred, the right thing to do is call me by cell phone (“doaskdotell.com” contact link). Leave a specific and clear message. I don’t answer while driving. But I pull over and return serious calls promptly,