I won’t sugar-coat this – society is more polarized than a stack of Ray-Ban lenses and I’m getting heartily sick of it. But even worse are all the nauseating lies people tell about it.
When you are a single person, a small company, or a private forum, your exercise of the freedom of association doesn’t really cause any loss or inconvenience to anyone else. A person who can’t get a cake at my place can get it two blocks away. A person who can’t post on my blog can make their own.
But if an entire industry blackballs you? That’s a difference of kind – the choice to block someone else on Twitter is a lot different than Twitter itself banning a user. The one is idiosyncrasy, the other is policy; and both law and common understanding can recognize that a policy that is neither objective nor transparent is trouble.
Yet we’re told exactly the reverse: personal choices that must be controlled and enforced, while public policies are beyond reproach.
This inversion of term and meaning is the norm in other areas as well. If I express a different opinion it’s called violent, but if I’m punched in the head it’s called just an expression of opinion. If someone is provoked, they can’t fight back, but if they are attacked, it’s because they provoked it. Journalists openly alter, edit, and lie; those who merely report as is are called “not real journalists” who “distort the facts.” Misandry is called “feminism” and propaganda is called “education” and one’s sex is a matter of subjective declaration rather than biological fact.
This is the reason why I am often dispirited about the society my child is going to inherit. He is growing up in a world where terrible problems are growing worse and nobody can begin to solve them because the attempt to even talk about them is shouted down as “hate” and “bigotry.” It’s to the point where even the attempt to NOT talk about them, in favor of talking about just about anything else, is itself banned; and further, nobody who has disagreed about such things may be allowed to mingle. The common ground we used to have as a starting point has been seized by force.
This wonderful article makes this point (and more) about the recent decision of Ravelry’s founders to banish all pro-Trump users from their site. Note, this isn’t a decision to ban pro-Trump commentary, which would at least be arguable (if still ultimately unhealthy). It’s the people themselves, and anyone who protests the decision.
Those of us who are old enough to remember the 60s, 70s, and 80s remember the problems we faced far less than the ideals we faced them with, because we shared those ideals and faced the problems together. Such things were far bigger than any difference of opinion. We put unity into practice by setting aside differences to do things together – worship, watch the big game, listen to music, pursue hobbies, learn, explore, play – and we grew as people. We learned that many of those differences weren’t a matter of right and wrong, some very different people were actually pretty cool, our hearts were broadened and our minds were sharpened as we heard new ideas and explained our own.
A place like Revelry served as that common ground to grow together. Twitter, Google, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook – all the major players – grew into what they were precisely because at one time they WEREN’T “players.” They were the playing ground upon which the game was set.
One by one, all of them have become polarized, declared off-limits to the Wrong People by would-be kommisars. Now there are all these odious gatekeepers -who join these communities and assume control of them, then demand conformity of everyone else. They even dictate terms to anyone they’ve chased off. It’s more than just “We won’t read what you wrote, we won’t buy what you’ve knitted, we won’t listen when you sing,” it’s “You must never write, knit, and sing ever again. You will be punished for having done so by losing your job, even if you stop. You can lose your kids or be doxxed and attacked if we really feel like it, so you must not protest either.”
Worst of all is that this sort of anti-thought is now in government. People are winning office or lobbying the state or advocating in public to enshrine, in law, an official sanction against unapproved ideas. They have already begun a little ad-hoc private enforcement of same via their costumed mobs called Antifa.
They then claim that all of this is diversity, love, and inclusion. One might as well claim that arson, poison, and fasting are forms of good cooking.