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#1 User is offline   pepperonikkid 

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  Posted 13 February 2020 - 08:21 AM

Trump Battles the Progressive 'Fear Society'

Bruce Thornton
Thu Feb 13, 2020



"Fear Society" is Natan Sharansky's term for a socio-political order that flunks the "town square" test: People are too frightened to speak their mind in public spaces because they fear retribution. A victim of Soviet tyranny before emigrating to Israel, for Sharansky the consequences of free expression could be arrest, imprisonment, torture, and death. For us, the regime of political correctness, "cancel culture," "microaggressions," and "woke" commissars reinforces a similar repression, a "softer" one, as Tocqueville called it, but effective nonetheless in silencing dissent and promoting an illiberal progressive ideology.

Sharansky goes on to describe the consequences of living in a fear society, which typically comprises three groups: "true believers," those who sincerely believe in the regime's ideology; "dissidents," those who oppose the regime and speak out against it; and "doublethinkers," the majority who oppose the regime yet do not publicly express their opposition, particularly to outsiders.

Donald Trump's political success has emboldened the conservative and Republican "doublethinkers" to express their opinions in the "town square" and challenge the domination that for several decades the progressives have enjoyed over political speech.

In Europe, hate speech laws and the absence of the legally recognized natural right to free speech that we enjoy allow the state to legally sanction or punish speech the EU doesn't like. In contrast, here in the U.S. indirect methods of enforcement are more typically used. One method is to discredit and ostracize any alternative to progressive doctrine: "The most successful tyranny," Harold Bloom wrote, "is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable."

That is the point of political correctness: to demonize alternatives to the dominant ideology by attributing them to mental disorders like racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and "white privilege." Violence will sometimes be used, as in the mobs shouting down conservative speakers, or the Antifa goons physically attacking opponents. But more effective is the self-censorship of the "doublethinkers" who know that political correctness is illiberal and compromises political freedom, but will not publicly challenge its doctrines. Over time, the assumptions and vocabulary of political correctness become reflexive positions people express in public spaces.

We have seen this process at work in establishment Republicans who accept the Left's degradation of language. "Racism" in particular has been a powerful verbal weapon for bludgeoning opponents into conformity. These "doublethinking" Republicans seldom contest the Left's Orwellian distortion of the word "racism," whose only legitimate meaning is the belief that all members of one group are by nature inferior to all members of another. Instead, these so-called conservatives accept the ideologically loaded meaning that "racism" denotes any speech that disagrees with or challenges dubious progressive shibboleths like "white privilege," endemic "white racism," "implicit bias," "disparate impact," or even the mentioning of established facts, such as police killings of unarmed black males are rare, while 90% of black deaths come at the hands of other blacks. Indeed, mere criticism, no matter how justified or unrelated to race, of a "person of color" is prima facie racism.

Moreover, this progressive revision of language has now become joined to notions of decorum, civility, "principles," or manners, which always have been instruments of social-class identification and elite gate-keeping. Now ideologically skewed terms like "racism" or "homophobia" define public decorum. The "right" people––those with university credentials and a self-proclaimed superiority of intellect, taste, and knowledge––distance themselves from the semiliterate rubes and "bitter clingers to guns and religion" by conspicuously condemning and decrying "racism" and other thought-crimes. Self-censorship has evolved into good manners that sacrifice truth and coherence of argument to one's class identity.

Donald Trump has challenged this whole regime of doublethink, and encouraged the "dissidents" who for decades now have been frustrated by alleged conservatives ceding so much moral and linguistic high-ground to the illiberal Left. Trump's blunt, sometimes crude manner and style relentlessly attack the tyrannical regime of political correctness, and its abettors among NeverTrump Republicans who mask their irrational bitterness and wounded professional and personal self-love in cries of violated "principles" and "decorum." Most important, he has exposed the hypocrisy of both cohorts: The affluent progressives who compensate for their privilege by endorsing the illiberal tenets of identity politics and political correctness, and the NeverTrump careerists and elitists angry that their political country club has been crashed by a brash vulgarian.

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Posted 14 February 2020 - 01:27 PM

I know this is not a "hot" topic but it sure as hell should be. It goes to the heart of the battle. Ayn Rand saw it coming, once you compromise your values you prostitute your entire being. Rand was not a Christian but her observation certainly applies.

It is how collectivists destroy critical thought, morality and freedom.

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