It has often been argued that the Zoomer generation has been spoiled and demand everything be their way and this has attributed to helicopter parents, safety guidelines, the campaigns against bullying, and the abolition of corporal punishment. While there is truth to the idea that the modern world has been coddled overly, it isn’t because of leftist social causes or gentler parenting. Not spanking kids and stopping bullying may seem like the wussy soft modernity that rednecks complain about so it seems to be true. The actual coddling of the modern mind is done by convenience and consumerism. Demanding trigger-warnings and intersex bathrooms isn’t wussy, but we live in a world where everyone is rated and rudeness, rather than serious misconduct, gets reported to HR. It’s the Guiliani approach to gentrification where the unsightly and the unseemly are cleared away because they offend respectable sensibilities.
It isn’t mostly hipsters wanting their identities accomodated that is the main manifestation of the spoiling of the modern mind. It is Amazon asking me to rate a pair of socks. It is not the professors at liberal arts colleges but the market analysts at Google and Walmart allowing you to customize everything in your life. It is also not a Zoomer issue, it’s an intergenerational problem. We live in a world where customer satisfaction is of the highest importance, everything is supposed to be clean and convenient. The problem with that is that, of course, whatever is unsightly gets removed. There is nothing wrong with gentrification, per se, so long as it doesn’t unreasonably harm the incumbent residents of an area. That is there is nothing wrong with making an area middle-class but the psychological effect of gentrification on the gentrifiers is that the homeless people, the addicts, and the otherwise unattractive are not community members to be cared for but people for the cops to carry away.
The people who call the cops may wish the police to be gentle, polite, and commit their victims to a mental hospital or a rehab center rather than incarcerate them in a jail or a prison and that probably passes as woke for the hipsters. However, that isn’t how communities are made or how people are loved. That’s how people who don’t know their neighbors and make no attempt to but want a nice community-looking non-community of niceness be woke. Those people believe they have a right to not be offended, aesthetically offended. All of the media from their favorite companies tell them the customer is always right and if there is any dirt or bug in the product that it is an unforgivable sin on the part of the retailer. They spend their lives as a customer expected to be treated as one, not as a community member expected to tolerate the ugliness of their fellow members.
As much as I dislike Foucault, that was his single good philosophical point. That we shove away our undesirables rather than nurture them and tolerate them. Foucault was a crazy person who thought this was institutions trying to control people rather than people’s inherent selfishness and pettiness and willingness to destroy people for mere pleasantness. A lot of people have complained about the constant rating of people and we definitely should actively try to abolish it. If someone is having a bad day, they don’t need their character reduced to their grumpiness. If there is a regular homeless person on a street, get to know them and tolerate their irrational ranting from a chair. If someone gives you a less than 5 rating on Uber, delete your account and make a new account. That’s what I do.
It is all to say that the increasing sensitivity of the modern mind is not borne of identity politics but of capitalism’s obsession with pleasing its patrons in every way it cheaply can. Capitalism is more than willing to screw people on the macro, but on the micro it wants you to have everything you have ever wanted. Capitalism will spoil you like a princess’s daddy and screw you like a manor serf, simultaneously. In doing so it makes everyone a spoiled brat but without the money of one. Amazon’s motto is “Obsession with the customer”. You should never enter a consensual relationship where it would be stalking-level creepy if the feelings were unrequited. That was Edward’s relationship with Bella and the relationship Amazon would like to have with you. Twilight is apt since it is the story of being seduced by a demon according to the seduced. Over the course of those books, Bella does make a Faustian bargain that the reader may fail to note, she possesses a goddess-level narcissism and solipsistic egocentricity and her main use of Edward is as a feeder of her narcissism and egocentricity. Edward crosses the line from chivalry to idolatry at which point he no longer treats her well but erodes her character and rots her soul. Which is what that type of relationship does and it makes people less loving and more selfish to the point they’ll destroy people for convenience. Bella did not directly harm anyone but got into a mental state where empathy is an afterthought.