“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.” This quote from the awesome movie The Usual Suspects is a quite succinct version of what I think has been going on in the western world for the past few decades.
In terms of what I am going to talk about, there are three kinds of movements.
One group is utterly inconsequential, as they do not influence society at all, beyond gathering likes and retweets. They shall be ignored once more.
The second group are the Brutes, who suppress opposition through force or threat of force. They like to cast themselves as protectors of society as a whole and victims of some “competing” society’s attempts to kill, crush, and destroy theirs.
The third group are the Manipulators, who seemingly do not suppress opposition at all. They supposedly welcome open discussion about problems in society, and their stated mission is to protect and empower those, who cannot do it themselves.
Joe and Jane average are quite aware of the existence of brutes. If they’re even tangentially related to the “competing” society the Brutes oppose, they fear meeting them, as it could end quite badly for them – with just a few bruises, if they’re lucky. When the Brutes begin organizing and visibly gain in strength, a large part of society tends to resist them and push them back into obscurity.
But the Brutes are not the problem. They are simpletons, who “solve” problems with their fists. They are utterly incompetent to do anything against a group that can physically resist them.
No, the problem are the Manipulators. While their goals are, at least in theory, noble, their methods are anything but. They know there is no way they can intimidate anyone into doing what they want through sheer force. The opposite, they tend to vastly overstate their vulnerabilities and weakness. They cast themselves as a kitten being kicked by the big bad world.
Nobody likes people, who kick kittens.
And this is the core of the problem. The Manipulators do not have to beat you up, if you disagree with them. All they have to do is brand you a kitty-kicker, and there is bound to be someone in society, who will punish you for it… which is exactly how the legal system (kind of) works. If you do something you are not supposed to do, the victim can appeal to a greater force to punish you.
The difference is, the legal system is (at least in theory) objective and fair. And that is, why people do not fear it nearly as much.
In this day and age, one of the worst things one can be labeled is not thief or murderer. Those are objectively determined, accurate descriptions of what someone who committed the crime, really is (for the sake of argument, let’s ignore potential miscarriages of justice).
One of the worst things one can be labeled is – in the light of the refugee crisis – a fascist and a racist. More widely, a homophobe or a misogynist.
Do not get me wrong, there are definitely people, who definitely fulfill the criteria for one or more of these labels. But the problem is, that these labels, which can carry as much power to ruin lives, as thief or murderer, are assigned based on how a random, usually offended person feels about someone else or their deeds.
If I do not get a job, there is nothing to prevent me from claiming it is because of my genetics. I can write an angry blog, and if the blog is angry enough, it is likely to get picked up and blown out of all proportion by the Manipulators. The company that could have genuinely chosen a better candidate will lose its reputation, if it is a startup, their big break might not happen just because of my being offended.
So what happens is, people, who disagree with the Manipulators’ opinions will simply censor themselves. Everywhere. Always. They do not even have to really disagree, they might just think that some clarifications of the Manipulators’ “dogma” are needed. All out of fear of being branded intolerant, chauvinistic etc.
And thus a system of censorship springs to life, which not even the famous secret polices of old could replicate.
Secret polices were feared because of their power to “disappear” people. Yet people still fought back against such oppression.
With various Manipulators’ movements, however, there is no push-back. They have mastered the art of exploiting the one major flaw in the human psyche, which is the fear of social exclusion.
They have invented a system of censorship, which offers perfect deniability and is more effective than any threat of physical force or anything a modern western the state has to offer as just punishment.
And once a movement gets so far inside people’s heads that people themselves start policing not their neighbors, but rather their OWN thoughts, what else can we call this than the wet dream of the most fascist minds that ever lived.
I do not expect anyone to start fighting back.
Especially not straight white men – who are incidentally guilty of everything bad that ever happens anywhere in the world. /s
I would, however, appeal to those, who are members of the “protected” classes, i.e. minorities (real or imagined), to not use the Manipulators’ methods. There are legal remedies for genuine offences.
But nobody deserves to have their life ruined over your hurt feelings and for being an asshole.
And nobody should have to police their own freedom of speech based on your feels.