….is a quote by Canadian feminist (back when that wasn’t a label of insanity), Nellie McClung. Possibly.
Then again, it may have been Gertrude Stein. Or it might have been Benjamin Jowett.
PG Wodehouse was more verbose but does give us a clue as to why we should never show contrition (highlighting, mine);
It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort of people take a mean advantage of them.
The fact many people may have said something similar about the value of apologies, particularly public ones, might be a clue to a universal truth we might be seeing playing out frequently in “woke” 2019.
Let’s draw a distinction here between being sorry and saying sorry.
An example; “I’m sorry it was discovered that I did cocaine in my youth and then went on to be vehemently anti-drugs when I became Home Secretary (the UK’s minister for crime)” is not the same as, “I’m sorry I did cocaine in my youth”.
The latter is an expression of personal regret. The former is, in effect, offering oneself up for the judgement of the world.
Socialists have long known the difference. They understand the vast power of the public apology and have used it to great effect to further their causes.
The Moscow Trials in the 1930s were simply powerful propaganda pour encourager les autres. If the defendants refused to cooperate in the charade, they were executed anyway.
These are lessons we seem to have to learn the hard way every generation.
Twitter is awash with people who have had to show public contrition for some speech or thought crime from decades earlier as righteous offence archaeologists dig up ancient wrongdoing and present it, in the public interest natch, and sit back smugly as the mob is whipped up and baying for blood.
The Parkland Shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, has recently learned how little value there is to showing public remorse. Similarly, Milo Yiannopoulos made an apology he has since come to regret. There are countless examples to be found and, if you can’t be bothered to look for them, wait a few days and the next one will come along.
Two people seem to have found a method of surviving this problem; Donald Trump and, recently, Boris Johnson. Both have lots of reasons to say sorry in public but generally wave it away as if the burden of someone else.
Depending on your personal animus, this could be taken as a proof they are of poor character and borderline sociopathic.
However, given the left have made it clear there is absolutely no redemption available, regardless of whether or not one shows contrition, it could be argued theirs is the only logical response to a call for sorrow.
The ancient Athenians looked at this unintended consequence following the Mytilenean revolt on the island of Lesbos. During the Mytilenean Debate, an earlier decision to send a boat with orders to execute all men and enslave everyone else was reversed and another boat was sent the following day to halt the implementation of the first order. One of the most compelling reasons offered in support of the reversal was that it would incentivise future revolts to fight to the death, as they would otherwise have nothing to lose.
Science has caught up with what Donald, Boris and the ancient Athenians already knew; academic paper confirms public apologies are, at best, not helpful to the individual and possibly even worse for them.
If you mean it, say sorry to the specific individual you wronged. At the point the apology goes wider than just people you could name from memory, forget it and move on; they weren’t actually hurt and it’s not going to help you in the slightest.
Oh, and to the person who hosted the party I attended in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai in August 1997; it was me who threw up on your bathroom floor and for that I am deeply sorry.