Update 11/11/2017: I am revisiting something I wrote 8 months ago, partly in response to a friend who wanted to know what a literary snowflake is. I am mindful in recent days I have referred to certain people as snowflakes and have been taken to task on the matter. While I get that in the interest of constructive dialogue name calling is not a good idea, part of my reason for so doing was because it was a way to give vent to my rightfully righteous indignation at the wrongfully righteous indignation (of the “snowflakes” – imho).
According to Wikipedia: “Generation Snowflake, is a term used to characterize people who became adults in the 2010s as being more prone to taking offence and less resilient than previous generations, or too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own. It is considered derogatory”.
As the above memes imply, the term can be used by either political extreme to get at the other. While typically it is those in their twenties who might be referred to in this way, I can think of many much older where this might apply and might even at times include myself, despite claiming my experience of being on the receiving ends of insults is like water of a ducks back. I came across this term recently and have noticed, particularly as I have sensed culture wars hotting up and in the light of Brexit and Trump, more snowflakes and the unintended untoward consequences when umbrage is taken.
In the past day or so I have had exchanges with two different folk who I regard as community spirited. One took exception at a meme I posted on Facebook concerning Liberal Fascism. I realize for my friend, true liberalism is about caring for the disadvantaged and fighting to tackle injustices and he saw Fascism as the domain of right wing extremists. My own experience has too often been when offering a view that did not meet the approval of liberal types, I have been castigated, and for me it is rather offensive to be accused of being Fascist. In the other exchange, I mentioned my determination when dealing with a supposed need of one claiming poverty that I felt bound to make an effort to judge between need and greed, truth and deception, while my friend felt a less judgmental approach was needed. In both these instances our views were based on our beliefs and experience, but at least we cheerfully agreed to differ.
As I reflect on these matters, I realize a snowflake is a delicate entity and sometimes it is important to be sensitive in what we say and do and at the same time when people (inadvertently or otherwise) offend us, not to get on our high horse and overreact and thereby miss a chance for our views to be challenged and even refined. Yet I find snowflake behviour often unnecessary, unproductive and annoying. I am pretty much convinced that acting like a snowflake often does a good deal of harm, hinders honest debate, demonizes the good guys, stops us doing what we ought, and holds up progress. Having good, honest, respectful dialogue and trying to find common ground is one way to make progress. Rather than being snowflakes, we need something less fragile, that will resolutely do what needs doing, not reacting or taking offense when people upset us.