The Booby’s back! Summer travels have kept him away from his keyboard, but he has returned just in time to bring your attention to the sad state of our democracies.
You fellas who happen to be younger than 40 are doubtless wondering what all the fuss about “freedom of speech” is about. Quaint isn’t it? There was actually a time when free speech was considered a necessary component of both a democracy and of a free and open society. Most people actually believed it was something worth fighting for, even dying for.
It’s funny how, when you’ve grown up without something (like free speech), you tend not to miss it. Since the revolution of the 60s (see here) the countries of the West have increasingly cracked down on any and all speech that threatens the ideological monopoly that the radicalized left has held on our institutions of higher education and, by de facto, government.
Indeed, so entrenched is the far-left ideology of the 60s in our society that even adel-minded corporate heads, like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs (see here), are all-in when it comes to defending the revolution and its grip on power. It’s not that these people have no right to their opinions; they do. A free and open society should allow the Zuckerbergs and Jobs of the world to hold and express their views. Instead, it’s that these same people hold the obstinate assumption that those who disagree with them have no right to express their views.
Of course, disagreement between citizens is what fundamentally makes a democracy. Democracy isn’t merely about “majority rules” or going to the polls. It’s about a having a free and open society where debate can take place, and where the so-called “majority” can at least hear and (we hope) consider the multiple perspectives of any given issue. For this, freedom of speech and expression are integral.
Now, those of you fellas who have passed through the modern campus know that what the just described Booby’s is not at all what exists on most major campuses in the Western World.
Universities have, at least since the 1960s, been completely usurped by a movement of radicalized leftists who have an ideological vision for society, and also accept that achieving their vision requires totalitarian means (see here). This is why campuses do not allow freedom of speech. There, those who challenge the establishment can expect to be shouted down or even physically attacked. This why diverse ideas and viewpoints are scarcely accepted or presented. This is why what was once intended to be an institution of higher learning, of a free exchange of ideas, has now become a one-party state.
We all know this. Even moderate leftists who do not share the inquisitorial zealotry of their professors or of their radicalized peers are aware of this. Typically, they say nothing about it, to be sure, and do even less to address it. Once you have chosen a side in a civil war, apparently, it’s difficult to concede even an inch to the enemy, even if that means corrupting and destroying the very basis of your democracy. Besides, what happens on campus stays on campus, right?
Well, no actually.
Today, media giants, from Google to Twitter to Facebook, have been busy enforcing the new political establishment’s interests. The recent “social media purge” (see here) is but the latest threat to our democracy (ad opposed to contrived accusations of Russian collusion). Some may argue that, as non-state-owned companies, these corporate giants have the right to police speech any way they please… and to some degree they are right.
However, we are not merely discussing private companies or corporations anymore. Companies like Twitter are virtual monopolies. They control what the world sees. What’s more is that these are monopolies owned and staffed by the outputs of our one-party-state campuses, by people who believe that their ideological viewpoints are not only correct, but that the opposing ones are necessarily evil. For these reasons they also accept that totalitarian means, like suppressing free speech, are the only acceptable means to their utopian ends.
The totalitarian means which the radicalized left have used for decades to crush dissent on campus are now being increasingly used beyond the campus. That is to say, in society, in our democracy, and in our cultural institutions.
One of those means is to create an atmosphere of fear. Our campuses are very good at this. A frightening majority of professors routinely use their positions to dictate their opinions and beliefs to the impressionable pampered minds in front of them, and are very fond of bullying (cowards that they are) those who disagree with them (see here). But the professors are just the tip of the iceberg. They enjoy the obsequious support of their student minions who will shout-down and even attack dissenters. University administrations allow this, and only rarely get called out publicly for doing so (see here).
Such tactics have inevitably become the new norm in wider society. This is particularly true, not just in the government sector but increasingly in the private sector now, too. Google’s now infamous left-wing “echo-chamber” is now beyond debate (see here and here), but similar behaviours exist among countless corporations that have not only adopted the radicalized ideologies of campuses, but also practice their tactics of silencing dissenters in the process.
Monkey see, monkey do. Our youth and our graduates see totalitarianism from grade school through to university and accept it as normal. It now bleeds into the larger society. First the campus, then the state.
Another tactic is eliminating debate and discussion before it even begins. One way this is done is by associating those with dissenting views as evil, which in the puritanical parlance of the post-60s revolution means “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” or at least a half dozen other sins, guilt of which is to be exclusively determined by the high priests of academia and its political correctness movement. Punishment is enthusiastically enforced by its followers (see here), and the holy gospel is lovingly parroted by artists and intellectuals from the Sorbonne to Hollywood.
The wonderful thing about ideologies is that they don’t burden believers with things like humility or mental toil. In others words, by belonging to an ideology you know – by default – all the answers. You know what is right and wrong, and most importantly, you know that those outside your sphere of thought are evil, the enemy, that which prevents your vision of a utopian future from unfolding. Most importantly, thanks to your ideology, you do not have to be burdened with thinking.
This is true of ideologies on the right as well as the left. The Booby spends comparatively little time critiquing the ideologies of the right simply because it is not they who have come to dominate our political and cultural institutions, and it is not they who grow increasingly heavy-handed with each passing day (see here).
When people can lose their jobs for having the “wrong” opinion, get doxed for criticizing the political establishment, or can find themselves being threatened with – or suffering – violence for opposing the mainstream ideology we have crossed a line: the other side of that line leads to totalitarianism and we are well on our way.
This would not have seemed possible just a few decades ago. But as the political establishment continues to realize that what works on campus also works in the broader society, the distinction between campus and the political establishment vanishes.
So, too, does a free and open society, and so, too, does whatever semblance of democracy still exists in Western countries.
For those of you fellas who still care, the upcoming years will be pivotal for the democracies of the West. Whether you’re left or right is of no importance any longer. What matters now is reversing – assuming it’s still possible – the iron fist control that a radicalized movement has taken of our democratic institutions, beginning with our universities. From the Soviet Union to Maoist China we have seen, over and over, the kind of hell that emerges when utopian leftists take control of governments and nations.
While the current crop of utopians does not yet possess the power to wield control like the aforementioned totalitarian states, their power increases by the day, and only time will tell if their soft coup will succeed at producing absolute tyranny. All indications suggest it will.