In light of tomorrow's Canada Day celebrations, pointing out that outlawing hurting people's feelings is now a regular part of this country's modus operandi may make me a party-pooper. But waiting for another time won't make the truth any easier to bear: From human rights commissions to hate crime laws to civil lawsuits, Canada has made an art of punishing otherwise perfectly legal behaviour simply because it happens to make someone feel bad. We've become a nation of petty grievance-hoarders and tip-toers terrified of offending.
The big problem with this state of affairs (besides how generally unbecoming it is)? It's slowly making us a spiritless, brittle people. The ability to navigate the ups and downs of a life -- with a particular emphasis on the downs--is what fosters resilience and flexibility.
If you never have to face the consequences of getting cut from a team, or turned down for a job, or insulted by a heartless idiot, you never develop the sense of perspective (or sense of humour) that it takes to be a well-rounded and capable individual who has confidence he can handle defeats. That's something parents have to teach their kids, and countries have to teach their citizens. Losing hurts, but you can't expect mom and dad or a human rights commission to shield you from everything but sunshine and roses."Infantilization for the good of the nation" (but really as a means of exerting control and preserving the power of those pushing a particular ideology)--that's what our "human rights" system boils down to; it could well be its motto. (Oddly enough, sharia is all about infantilization, too.)