Published Sun Sep 16, 2018 02:47 PM PDT

A key lesson in recent years has been: never apologize. The dynamics of apologizing are pretty interesting, but in nearly every scenario, the person who apologizes comes out worse than if they hadn't.

Today, the political divide could be described elegantly as between two types of people: people who apologize readily, and people who refuse to apologize. These are basically the two fundamental responses to accusation. Accusation has become a powerful weapon used to ruin people, but the funny thing is, it only fully succeeds in ruining them if they apologize.

Consider for example, a situation in which a person has been accused of murder. If you apologize for murder, then you effectively confess to it, and are expected to serve some penalty for it; and even if you're forgiven for the crime, you're expected to make amends to never murder again, under the watchful eyes of justice. Therefore, whether the charge is true or not, it's more common for people to deny a murder accusation. It's preferable to not even defend yourself empirically, unless forced to before a court.

One particular type of apology, the sort of "half-apology" or, perhaps better called the "conditional apology" has become a common "middle-ground" attempt to satisfy critics without owning up to the crime. This never works, because the accusers will reject this apology, and it just makes you look worse to them. The form of this apology is, "If I offended anyone, then I'm sorry." The only form of apology that will be accepted is: "I offended people, and I'm sorry."

Of course, this should never be done in public. If you genuinely want to apologize to someone in private, or if you want to apologize to God in a confessional, that's one thing. But never apologize in public, because it simply invites more accusations, and ultimately makes a person into a sort of slave to accusers. They spend all their life living in fear trying to avoid accusation, and if the accusations start to become based on nothing, or close to nothing, they'll either have to sacrifice their dignity completely and apologize anyway, or face the same sort of exclusion from the camp of accusers as those who never apologize in the first place.

The better option is to welcome exclusion from the camp of the accusers. Those who would dare accuse you, should be disassociated with. An accusation is the same thing as the termination of a friendship. If someone accuses you (or indeed, shows accusatory behavior towards others) then you should immediately begin the work of severing them from your life. They should be scoffed at and ignored as much as possible. It doesn't matter how long you've known them, or how close you are.