Friday, September 30, 2016

Ultimate Silencings

     Every now and then it all seems to come together.

     I’m sure you’ve read about the several instances in which a “TRUMP 2016” sign has appeared at a college campus, and a torrent of whiny, mock-outraged protests has followed. No doubt you’re aware of the “identity” nonsense that’s got the entire nation, its rest rooms, and its pronouns in a lather. And of course there’s the cult of victimism, and the utterly false notion that “hate speech” – see your local leftist loony for the non-definition – isn’t protected under the First Amendment.

     It’s getting even better, Gentle Reader. Really it is:

     The most recent addition to the lexicon of leftist grievance is “message crime”, which popped up at this year’s OSCE/HDIM conference in Warsaw. According to the annotated agenda, message crimes constitute
     …a rejection of the victim’s identity which can have a marginalizing effect on entire communities. Secondary victimization, where representatives from broader society deny or minimize the seriousness of the incident, can also reinforce and perpetuate this message.

     There is no real attempt to define the new term, just a catchphrase-laden description. And consider the terms used to describe these “crimes”: “rejection”, “identity”, “marginalizing”, etc. That is, the characteristics of what is being anathematized are so vague as to make any judgment entirely subjective.

     Clearly, there are no limits beyond which the Left and its masters will not go. But that’s in the nature of a Ur-totalitarian movement: i.e., a movement that seeks not merely to squelch all opposition, but to prevent even the thought of opposition from entering anyone’s head. Quite obviously, if you can’t think it, you can’t do it. Makes the Ministry of Love’s job a lot easier, and you know how government types hate hard work.

     Speaking of the Ministry of Love, Orwell pinned these developments some seventy years ago, though he wrote about their terminus rather than their evolution:

     Down in the street the wind flapped the torn poster to and fro, and the word INGSOC fitfully appeared and vanished. Ingsoc. The sacred principles of Ingsoc. Newspeak, doublethink, the mutability of the past. He felt as though he were wandering in the forests of the sea bottom, lost in a monstrous world where he himself was the monster. He was alone. The past was dead, the future was unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure for ever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back to him:


     He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters, and on the wrappings of a cigarette packet--everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed--no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.

     As antihero-protagonist Winston Smith discovers through experience, not even that tiny volume within his skull was immune to invasion and prosecution.

     But what is the point, you might well ask? The point, of course, is to induce in the victim – and never imagine that the Left sees you as anything but cattle to be fattened for eventual slaughter – a state of cooperative self-censorship: a condition in which you will be unable to think an unapproved thought because processes installed within your own mind will act to pre-censor it.

     Minority Report’s conception of a Department of Pre-Crime is bad enough, though some might say “Well, if even one life could be saved...” The Left seeks to create billions of automatically acting cerebral Departments of Pre-Crimethink, one per victim. Each of us would become his own, fastest-acting, and most reliable censor.

     Yes, you may well shudder.

     I’ve been having a lot of “What’s the use?” days lately. I’m sure you know the syndrome: that state of total personal enervation in which no effort seems justified by its probable results. Garbage like the above, which is gaining popularity throughout the Western world, is a part of the reason: It’s not being resisted. Not only “not effectively;” not at all.

     Even persons whom you’d expect to know better are falling in line. No less a defender of freedom than Glenn Reynolds, our beloved Instapundit, felt compelled to self-censor and apologize for – God help us all – a tweet.

     If Professor Reynolds can succumb, who is immune?

     How many times must I resurrect this essay?

     The essence of the taboo in American society is linguistic: not to speak the forbidden thought or attitude....But even those of us who defy the taboos ideologically are expected to obey their constraints on our vocabulary.

     But controlling our speech is not the Left’s true goal. The Left seeks the ultimate silencing of dissent: each of us must be ruthlessly, rigorously conditioned to pre-censor our minds.

     The disease is too far advanced to allow it further gains. If we’re ever to re-establish freedom of expression as an inviolable principle, the time to dig in our heels and mount a furious counterattack is now.

     Long ago, the late, great Robert Sheckley wrote a completely serious novel titled The Status Civilization. In it, protagonist Will Barrent awakens in confinement, all his memories having been erased except for “a meager store of generalized knowledge, enough to keep you in touch with reality.” Presently he is told that he was adjudged guilty of murder, for which reason he has been exiled to a prison planet called Omega. However, Barrent is certain, at some level, that he was falsely accused. The remainder of the story tells of Barrent’s struggle to escape Omega, to return to Earth, and to find those who had condemned him. The “robot-confessor” that sentenced him directs him to a particular address, “where you will find the informer.”

     What he finds comes as a stunning surprise:

     He stood in front of 35 Maple Street. The silence which surrounded the house struck him as ominous. He took the needlbeam out of his pocket, looking for a reassurance he knew he could not find. Then he walked up the neat flagstones and tried the front door. It opened, He stepped inside.
     He made out the dim shades of lamps and furniture, the dull gleam of a painting on the wall, a piece of statuary on an ebony pedestal. Needlebeam in hand, he stepped into the next room.
     And came face to face with his informer.
     Staring at the informer’s face, Barrent remembered. In an overpowering flood of memory, he saw himself, a little boy, entering the closed classroom. He heard again the soothing sound of machinery, watched the pretty lights blink and flash, heard the insinuating machine voice whisper in his ear. At first the voice filled him with horror; what it suggested was unthinkable. Then, slowly, he became accustomed to it, and accustomed to all the strange things that happened in the closed classroom.
     He learned. The machines taught on deep, unconscious levels. The machines intertwined their lessons with the basic drives, weaving a pattern of learned behavior with the life instinct. They taught, then blocked off conscious knowledge of the lessons, sealed it—and fused it.
     What had he been taught?
     For the social good, you must be your own policeman and witness. You must assume responsibility for any crime which might conceivably be yours.

     “The informer” is, of course, his own image in a mirror.

     If Orwell, Sheckley, and I haven’t given you enough to think about yet, there’s nothing more to say but...

     Have a nice day.


Bill St. Clair said...

Or, perhaps, "Be seein' ya."

daniel_day said...

Nice "The Prisoner" reference there, Mr. SC.

JWM said...

I got up this morning, caffeinated my bloodstream enough to simulate consciousness, and clicked on the internet in the dark. Articles ran from the depressing to the frightening. My teeth clench up and I start to mutter, "Just kill them all." No quarter anywhere. This is not uncommon in this age and time. I often find myself going from writer to writer hoping to find some voice with authority- not in the sense of someone to tell me what to think, but in the sense of someone with expertise, someone who can make some sense out of what's going on here. I look at Z-man, Peter Grant, Fred, Sensing, Vox, yourself, and others. Of course, there is no true authority. All you guys are smarter than I, and better informed, but no one has *THE ANSWER*. Then I think back on the Old Testament. How did Jehovah deal with his chosen when they went astray and worshiped strange gods? No reassurance there either. The only sure thing is that there will be a reckoning, and I'm probably not going to like it. Ehhh- let's just get to the weekend. I want to ride my bike, and forget about this shit.


Francis W. Porretto said...

JWM: The answer is simple but extremely demanding: RESIST!

Don't concede the smallest point to the Left's censors.
Deliberately use the words they deem most offensive.
Deliberately insult and denigrate their mascot groups.
Deliberately mock their supposed luminaries.

And keep it up until Hell wouldn't have it!

Tell ethnic and racial jokes.
Compliment women on their appearance.
Damn minorities with faint praise (e.g., "I suppose it's about the best we can expect from one of them.")
Invite militant atheists to Bible study groups.
Suggest to homosexuals that they should repent and go to confession "before it's too late."
Laugh riotously, as if you can't control it, at the solemnity of the "social justice warriors."
And of course, be vocally scornful of the Left's proclamations, especially their condemnations of historically prominent Americans.

I've been doing it for years -- and yes, I did it while I was still a wage employee. And it works. It calls the like minded out of their cocoons of fear, overjoyed to learn that not only are they not alone, they're in the majority. And it cows the Left's troops into a sullen, hunched-shoulder silence that sounds like...victory.

Anonymous said...

Yes, FWP.. it is social guerrilla warfare of the mind and we can win it we have the stamina.

Also, while pondering the things discussed in your article today I often start to feel the 'what's the use' or fear. Then I remember that the good Lord has 1) a plan for the world, 2) if we keep His faith we will be rewarded, and finally 3) He said to us, "Let not your heart be troubled." Also, the 23rd psalm is most fitting for our times.

Anonymous said...

JWM, Fran, and all... in my senior years; I am intolerant. I have developed what I call "LSTT" - low stupidity tolerance threshold. Now, when out at the grocers, or at church, or buying motor oil - wherever I may be; when I encounter the foolish, the willfully ignorant, the SJW, BLM, or what not - I laugh. Sometimes just quietly, other times a bit more pointedly. But enough so "they" realize it is 'at them'. They are a joke, they are the minority; and I am completely out of fucks to give about them. Even at my age, I do not quite fit the sterotype of kindly ol' grandpa. I live in an open carry state, I train, I'm fairly fit for an ol' white guy - and I've got a gun. Even if there's a group of these motards; I default to the wonderful line from 'Tombstone'...
"your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, get it?" These low intelligence folks only understand strength, they will get away with whatever we give them, so only give them scorn and ridicule. They deserve nothing else.
Example:a young man with painted on jeans received laughter the other day... he asked "whats so funny old man?" I told him that I was simply curious as to when his girlfriend wanted her pants back. His bravado vanished, and crestfallen; he cursed at me quietly and walked away.
It made my afternoon. Old man, indeed. - Blazing Apostle