Three related items deserve memorialization:
First, the beating-with-impunity of journalist Andy Ngo by antifa thugs in Portland. Portland police are AWOL; most or all left-of-center condemnations blame the victim, too:
[T]o insist that we call antifa ‘fascists’ only plays into antifa’s own infantile game of seeing fascism everywhere. We can say antifa is censorious, authoritarian and intolerant without having to call them fascists.
But the main problem with singling out antifa idiots for particular opprobrium is that it overlooks the utterly mainstream role antifa plays these days. These people are best seen as the violent enforcers of political orthodoxy, the masked footsoldiers of an elite wounded and dizzied by the votes for Trump and Brexit. It is not remotely coincidental that antifa in its modern incarnation came into its own in the aftermath of these two electoral earthquakes — it is because it embodies … the fury of a bourgeoisie that has found itself rejected by voters.
Brendan O’Neill, Andy Ngo and the Violence of Political Correctness (emphasis added).
Second, Amazon, which got its start in books, has begun retrospective woke corporate book-burning. I will be less inclined now to buy Kindle books and strongly more inclined to buy paper books from other sources.
If you say “Joseph Nicolosi was a crackpot and his quack theories have harmed people,” Rod Dreher has a few words and phrases for you:
- Mein Kampf
- Grover Furr
- David Duke
- The SS Leadership Guide
- Joseph Goebbels
- Healing through crystal therapy
- Marx, Lenin, and Mao
Third, Brett Stephens musters still more damning evidence:
According to last year’s “Hidden Tribes” report on U.S. political polarization, “Around two in three Americans feel that there is a pressure to think a certain way about Islam and Muslims, as well as about race and racism.” Similarly, a 2017 poll by the Cato Institute found that 58 percent of Americans, most of them conservative-leaning, “believe the political climate prevents them from sharing their own political beliefs.”
The data confirm what one hears and experiences anecdotally all the time: In the proverbial land of the free, people live in mortal fear of a moral faux pas. Opinions that were considered reasonable and normal a few years ago are increasingly delivered in whispers. Professors fear their students. Publishers drop books at the slightest whiff of social-media controversy. Twitter and other similar platforms have delivered the tools of reputational annihilation (without means of petition or redress) into the hands of millions, so that no comment except the most private is entirely safe from the possibility of instantaneous mass denunciation.
If the House of York had fallen to the Lancastrians as quickly as corporate and academic America has capitulated to Woke culture, the War of the Roses would have been over in a week.
I’m writing this column on the eve of July 4. But the country I’m describing each year seems to feel the spirit of 1776 less and the spirit of 1789 more. “Armed with the ‘truth,’ Jacobins could brand any individuals who dared to disagree with them traitors or fanatics,” historian Susan Dunn wrote of the French Revolution. “Any distinction between their own political adversaries and the people’s ‘enemies’ was obliterated.”
Today’s Jacobins don’t have the means, but they do have the will. Look at what happened to gadfly journalist Andy Ngo when he tried to report on radical counter-protests in Portland and ended up being violently assaulted by Antifa protesters. Antifa is not typical, but the “yes, but” excuses progressives have offered for Ngo’s assault hint at how readily those progressives would embrace violence if circumstances allowed.
Brett Stephens, Robespierre’s America (emphasis added).
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