Let the Revolution Eat Its Own Children
Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, July 24, 2020
If cancel culture goes far enough it may cancel itself.
It has never been more true that no matter how loony a leftist you are, there will always be someone even more loony than you who thinks you are a fascist. Let’s start with this guy, Gary Garrels. He used to be a respected senior curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He raised a lot of money to buy art by women, people of color, and LGBTQs. But he made the mistake of saying that he wasn’t going to cut out white men entirely. That’s all it took to make him a white supremacist, and he had to go.
Until recently, David Shor was a data analyst at a progressive consulting firm, Civis Analytics. His job was to help Democrats win elections. He tweeted about a paper that had found that in 1968, when there were violent black protests, it increased the number of people who voted Republican, while peaceful black protests helped Democrats. Don’t you think that when there is looting and arson in an election year, progressives might want to think about that paper? Instead, this one tweet was interpreted as an insult to blacks — whose righteous rage apparently justifies looting and arson — and David Shor was fired.
Some liberals think this cancel culture has gone too far. On July 7th, Harpers published a letter signed by more than 100 of them. It said that censorship from the Left had created a “stifling atmosphere” of “ideological conformity,” and that “public shaming and ostracism” have got to stop. But then, some of the people who signed the letter accused other people who had signed it of being bigots, and took their own names off the letter. They started doing exactly what the letter was supposed to be bring to a stop: “public shaming and ostracism.” They have no sense of irony.
And then, there’s Bari Weiss, who just left the New York Times after three years as an editor for the op-ed page. She was hired to expand the range of opinions at the Times — that should be easy — but she gave up. As she wrote in her resignation letter, she discovered a problem: “especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else. When she tried to introduce new ideas, she got so much venom and hostility from co-workers that she quit. You can’t survive at the Times — or anywhere in the elite press — if you don’t agree with “the enlightened few.”
Here’s an example of something Miss Weiss wrote in the Times in 2018. She warned that liberals accuse too many people of “fascism” or “misogyny” or of being on the “alt-right.” She wrote that if liberals use those words too often, “they strip us of our sharpness — of our ability to react forcefully to real fascists and misogynists or members of the alt-right.” Many lefties love to call people fascists and don’t like it when someone says they’re overdoing it. But look at what Miss Weiss is doing: She is posing as someone who wants to be open to a variety of ideas, but she draws a very clear line: if somebody *she* thinks is a fascist or misogynist comes along then, in her words, we must “react forcefully” — whatever that means. She wants to be the one who decides who’s respectable and who’s not.
Here’s a guy writing for the Russian site RT, in an article called “Who are the real racists? The woke mob tries to redefine racism to hide their own bigotry.” He’s making Bari Weiss’s point: “Black Lives Matter and ‘Woke Twitter’ are redefining racism to weaponize the charge against anyone they choose.” If you disagree with “the woke mob,” it calls you a racist and destroys you. But then he adds that that kind of treatment is fine for some people: “Individuals like Jared Taylor or Richard Spencer are not tolerated.”
The people who say that name-calling has gone too far can always tell you exactly how far it should go. As the brilliant cartoonist Stonetoss points out, cancel culture is fine, so long as it is crushing your conservative enemies. But it’s gone too far if it crushes a good little liberal like you.
A final example: Ben Shapiro says this:
It’s self-serving to say you don’t like the cancel culture when you’re trying to pry open the Overton Window JUST wide enough to escape, but not wide enough to allow open conversation with others obviously within the mainstream political conversation who disagree with you.
In other words, you’re a hypocrite if you rail against cancel culture but don’t care if it smashes people you don’t like. But Mr. Shapiro is happy to smash people he doesn’t like. Here, he says, “Of course there are legitimate racists and we should target them, we should find them and we should hurt their careers because racism is unacceptable.” Mr. Shapiro has a whole list of what he calls Alt-Right types whose careers should presumably be hurt: Peter Brimelow, Jim Goad, John Derbyshire, Pat Buchanan, Steve Sailer — even Donald Trump — and, of course, your servant.
Mr. Shapiro wants to be exactly what Bari Weiss says was so stifling about the New York Times. He wants to be the high priest of the “enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.” They’re all claiming *they* know who’s good and who’s bad. *They* want to decide what you can read and what you can think. They disagree only on where to draw the line.
Does anyone — truly — defend free speech? Yes. In 2014, Christopher Hitchens said we should imagine a time when all American school children are forced to undergo holocaust awareness and sensitivity training. [[4:32 – 5:13 “If that’s the case . . . think they know.” ]] Later, he warns that things are not true just because everyone says they are so listen to dissidents. The whole talk is excellent, and you can find a link to it in the description to this video. Watch the talk on YouTube — before it gets canceled.
So several things are happening here. Partly in response to the George Floyd business and partly because that’s the way they are, lefties are getting even more viciously intolerant.
Revolutions often get out of hand and eat their own children. During the French Revolution, Robespierre sent thousands of people to the guillotine before the terror turned on him and put him under the knife. Joseph Stalin ran his own terror after the Russian Revolution. Old Bolsheviks like Zinoviev and Kamenev and Bukharin — who made the revolution happen — took bullets in the back of the head. Trotsky got a pickax in the back of the head.
Stalin was the only one of these guys who died in bed.
Nowadays, no one gets shot; just fired and humiliated. But the spirit of tyranny is the same, and the fear it provokes is the same. No one’s immune, famous or not. When Harry Potter author JK Rowling said some mildly unfashionable things about transsexuals, the mob didn’t care that she is a thoroughgoing leftist. It wanted her head. Fortunately for her, she is a self-employed billionaire and can’t be fired.
I think all this is fine. Let the revolution eat its children. I’m sorry for the victims, but I hope they learn something. I hope they begin to wonder if *anyone* should lose his job because of a political opinion.
And I think it’s great when people like Ben Shapiro and Bari Weiss claim to be all in favor of a vigorous exchange of ideas — except for ideas *they* don’t like. That’s pure hypocrisy, and there are few things people dislike more than hypocrisy.
This is a very dark time for a country that used to believe in freedom of speech. But some good could come from this insane craze to cancel people, and from pompous people who claim to oppose cancel culture but just disagree on who should be canceled. This political terror campaign and this hypocrisy might lead us back to something that should have been obvious from the start: That no one — not the government, not Twitter, not Facebook, not YouTube — no one should have the right to decide what you should think.
Maybe, eventually, we’ll get there.