Benign apathy

Jared Milne
3 min readApr 16, 2024


(Sklo Studio/Shutterstock)

Over the years, it’s become painfully clear how hostile some people are to others who are either different from them or don’t “know their place” in society. Some Americans flipped out when Barack Obama became the first Black man to become U.S. President. Female public servants have told me how irate some men get at the prospect of taking directions from a woman. Cisgender people get angry at having to share locker room space and compete athletically against trans people. Racists have talked about the ‘ Great Replacement’ where white people are expected to become minorities in Europe and North America.

More locally, St. Albert Muslim women have been attacked for wearing headscarves. Some snivelling coward put a threatening letter in the Indigenous Anderson family’s mailbox while being too chicken to put their name to it. Controversy erupted online about the prospect of local Muslims building a mosque in St. Albert.

Sometimes I wonder if society would benefit from more of what I call ‘benign apathy’. The ‘apathy’ in this sense isn’t indifference towards people’s suffering but simply indifference to the presence of various kinds of people in society, including in positions of authority. For instance, I’ve taken directions from many people in my career, some of were women and/or people of colour. Why should I care if the people telling me what to do have darker skin than me, or they’re female? They do a much better job than I would in a lot of those positions.

Similarly, what does it matter if St. Albert’s and Canada’s populations become more diverse? Most of our new neighbours work really hard at fitting in with the rest of us. If anything, they’re some of the biggest patriots and hockey fans out there. It doesn’t matter if they want to build mosques or temples, either-they have the exact same rights as Christians. And if they want to run for office, so much the better — Ray Watkins was one of my favourite members of our last council, and I wish he was still there.

As for trans people and the “threats” they pose, I’d just point out that sexual assault in locker rooms is sadly a lot more common than it should be even when everyone involved is cisgender. Trans athletes don’t necessarily have an advantage over their cisgender rivals, either. While swimmer Riley Gaines started her activism against transwomen competing in female sports after tying with trans rival Lia Thomas, they both came in fifth place and lost to four other women. How much of an innate advantage did Thomas really have if a bunch of presumably cisgender women managed to beat her?

Hence the value of ‘benign apathy’. A lot of the anger I’ve described in this piece is a reaction against various groups apparently not ‘knowing their place’. What that reaction forgets is that those groups’ ‘place’ is pretty much anywhere they want to be.

And frankly, benign apathy would save everyone a world of grief, especially the complainers.

Originally published at on April 16, 2024.



Jared Milne

Passionately devoted to Canadian unity. Fascinated by Canadian politics and history. Striving to understand the mysteries of Canada. Publishes every few weeks.