Opinion | Morgan Liddick: Return of the thought police
Once again, the Left has shown its true nature. Call them Liberals, call them Progressives, call them what you will, they all share a common authoritarian trait: unwillingness to abide any opinion not their own. The past few months have offered an abundance of intolerance from the disciples of “diversity,” defined by the Left as “the intrinsic worthiness of any person, action or thought we find acceptable, and death to any other.”
The current wave of Newspeak and Doublethink began with the Los Angeles Times’ announcement in October of last year that it would no longer publish letters to the editor challenging Anthropogenic Global Warming. So at a point in time when the “consensus” on APG global warming is fraying like cheesecloth in a hurricane, the LA Times agrees with the president that everything to say on the subject has been said. Everyone who doesn’t agree is a dangerous, lying idiot who must be driven from the public square, that the unsophisticated masses may not be incited to think for themselves. The Inquisitors who convicted Galileo of heresy for arguing that the Earth revolved around the sun would have been pleased; in all things, Groupthink must prevail.
The insecure have flooded other media outlets with petitions to ignore those dubious on the APG hypothesis. The Washington Post was the most recently inundated by a wave of anonymous plaints that, although climatological models cannot accurately predict the past, they clearly show the necessity for evil western capitalist societies to immediately return to a homespun-and-horses level of development, while allowing the world’s developing economies to continue unabated. Objections that this is illogical are greeted with derision and worse.
Then there is the proliferation of “speech codes,” the left’s favorite device to ensure that people follow the admonition to “… forget any fact which has become inconvenient … to deny the existence of objective reality, all the while taking account of the objective reality which one denies …” to use George Orwell’s construction. Principally a feature of college campuses, these have lately begun to bleed into everyday life, where their capacity to cripple useful discourse has proven useful to the Left. Thanks to the ever-present thought police, we no longer have the ability to speak common truths, or to play with thoughts outside the herd.
Our nearest example is the excoriation of Dr. Steven Hayward, Visiting Scholar of Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Hayward’s recent comments about the university’s “sensitivity training” and mandated terms for sexual identity not only brought screams of outrage from the university’s intellectual gangsters, they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the Left has the sense of humor of a corpse.
Dr. Hayward’s offhand comment about the university’s growing official list of sexual identities brought a storm of protest from the usual suspects. The chairman of the Faculty Assembly called it “hate speech,” asking “are we going to stand for this on our campus?” Break out the torches and pitchforks, folks. We have to hunt this conservative down before he makes anyone think.
The squealing was echoed by the student government president for student affairs and the student government “director of safety,” who called the comment “oppressive and discriminatory,” and opined that Dr. Hayward should be investigated, if not tarred, feathered and run out of town. Because at CU, that bastion of Liberal acceptance, out-of-the-mainstream opinions and satire are only OK if the most sensitive among us do not have their feelings hurt — or if the target is someone on the Right.
Fear is the common denominator in all of the above. The Left is ever vigilant and quick to take offense because it dreads that its arguments are so weak that they cannot prevail in open argument. Opponents must therefore be prevented from speaking, by any means necessary.
Why does this matter? Because honesty matters. Because fact matters. Because the ability to speak freely, even against the current, matters. Because what “everyone knows” may not be correct, and the only way to discover truth is through free discourse. Cherished beliefs may be challenged, and even overthrown; but this is the path to real progress and improvement of the human condition. In this sense, the ideologues of the Left are correct: the ability to speak one’s mind openly is the foundation of any free society, ours more than most. It’s just a shame they seem unable to abide by their own philosophy.
So the next time someone says that a phrase, theory or idea is hostile, demeaning, stupid, crazy or otherwise worthy only of suppression and interdict, we should all ask why the response is thus, rather than a reasoned counter-argument. And draw the logical conclusion.
Paging Winston Smith …
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.
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