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Posts Tagged ‘cancel culture’

Cancel Culture Comes Home: Walter Duranty and the New York Times – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 3, 2021

By Ira Katz

Last summer, when cinemas were open in France, I saw the film Mr; Jones and wrote about it for LRC. As I wrote then, the film dramatizes “the voyage of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones (played by the English actor James Norton) to the Soviet Union in 1933 where he became an eye witness of the forced famine in Ukraine now called the Holodomor, (the word is from the Ukranian meaning murder by hunger). The Holodomor, which consisted of the slow tourtured murder of millions of Ukranian peasants by Stalin’s Communist Party, is barely known by the general public, especially compared to the Holocaust perpertrated by Hitler’s Nazis.”

Also in that article I wrote about Walter Duranty, the New York Times reporter in Moscow at the time. “The response from that era’s mainstream media, the foreign correspondents stationed in Russia, was akin to the cancel culture of today. Taking the lead was the Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent for the New York Times (isn’t it always the Old Gray Lady?) Walter Duranty, known as Stalin’s apologist. From the book on Duranty by S.J. Taylor the events are known. A Soviet press officer told the correspondents that their credentials would be denied unless they repudiated Jones. They even made a party out of the meeting to come up with the phrases to call Jones a liar in all but name. Duranty’s response to Jones included perhaps the most cynical excuse for power ever uttered. “But–to put it brutally–you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the Bolshevik leaders are just as indifferent to the casualties that may be involved in their drive toward socialism an any General during the World War who ordered a costly attack in order to show his superiors that he and his division possessed the proper soldierly spirit.” While admitting that there had been “food shortages” there was no “death from starvation” but only “widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.” Jones responded in the Times (printed about a month later after the furor had died down, but much more from that newspaper than we could expect today) that he would stick to the facts that he had found on the ground, interviewing peasants themselves, not learned second hand through government sources. Jones even felt pity for these compromised journalists who had to be “masters of euphemism and understatement.””

I was recently contacted by the Duranty Revocation Subcommittee of the U.S. Committee for Holodomor-Genocide Awareness to alert me of their new national campaign to demand the revocation of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Walter Duranty.

The Ukranian Weekly explains that the Duranty revocation campaign has the following goals: First, to build a network of journalists and educators, empowering them to continue writing articles, editorials, and promoting the great travesty of mistruths and lies perpetrated by Walter Duranty. Second, to request that the Ukrainian American community, especially students, use social media to promote an awareness campaign to help with media pitching, design work and writing. Third, announce a social media contest to develop and post Duranty memes with the hashtag #RevokeDurantyPulitzer. Fourth, spur a worldwide petition on for the revocation of Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize.

The Committee maintains an information packed website to learn more about the Holodomor.  One historical item posted is a State Department memo from 1931 filed from Berlin, where Duranty had stopped in during his vacation. It is the smoking gun for his complicity, but also critically important to note is the complicity of the New York Times itself. The memo states, “In conclusion, Duranty pointed out that, ‘in agreement with the NEW YORK TIMES and the Soviet authorities,’ his official dispatches always reflect the official opinion of the Soviet régime and not his own.”

I support the efforts of the Committee to expose the pedalling of false news 80-90 years ago.  It is sweet irony to see cancel culture applied to the New York Times where more than ever they are still a key propagator of various flavors of propaganda.

Ira Katz [send him mail] lives in Paris and works as a research engineer for a French company. He is the co-author of Handling Mr. Hyde: Questions and Answers about Manic Depression and Introduction to Fluid Mechanics.

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Truth Is Treason

Posted by M. C. on April 22, 2021

Things are moving fast. Great reset. Build back better. Cancel culture. Media power. Big tech. How can we search for truth in what appears to be a time of deception? RPI Board Member, filmmaker, and philanthropist Gary Heavin joins today’s program.

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Courage in the Face of Tyranny | Chronicles

Posted by M. C. on April 22, 2021

And so we have a choice. We can join the gang of radicals now running rampant in our country. We can keep our mouths shut, close our eyes, and pretend as if nothing is wrong. Or we can fight back against the madness, knowing full well that, like Thomas More, we may well lose the war.

By Jeff Minick

A Man For All Seasons is a film for our time.

In this classic period drama, Sir Thomas More (Paul Scofield), a brilliant writer and intellectual and former Lord Chancellor of England, refuses to approve Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn, rejects his decision to break with Rome, and recognize the king as the Supreme Head of the Church of England. Though he seeks refuge in English law, More is eventually imprisoned, tried for treason, and executed.

What the movie doesn’t show are the events that occurred in the years following More’s death: the dissolution of the monasteries, with the monarch selling off monastic lands and buildings; alterations to the liturgy; demands that bishops and priests renounce their allegiance to Rome and join the English church; and the various rebellions against these policies which followed. A century later, these upheavals culminated in a bloody civil war.

In other words, England’s Catholic culture and the Catholic Church in England underwent what we today would call “cancel culture,” and more than a few hardy souls like Thomas More who were standing in the way found themselves imprisoned or executed.

More was a man of conscience who could not approve a proposition he knew to be false. He saw through Henry’s machinations, his lust, and his desire for a son in divorcing his first wife and marrying Anne, and More refused to accept the king’s wishes as a valid premise for cutting ties with Rome. He also understood the dire consequences for repudiating the king’s demands.

In a scene where More is discussing his ordeal with his friend the Duke of Norfolk (Nigel Davenport), More gives us the central reason for this refusal.The Duke of Norfolk: Oh, confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not, but d—–, Thomas, look at these names! Why don’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship?More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?

Others who love More and want him to live—his wife, his beloved daughter, a son-in-law, and friends—also pressure him to give way and obey the king, but More’s moral compass prevents him from doing so. At the end of his trial, a procedure foreshadowing the show trials of 20th century communists, More further explains himself: “I am the king’s true subject, and I pray for him and all the realm. I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, then in good faith I long not to live.”

Today some demand, as did Henry and his government ministers, that we go along with their attempts to tear down a culture beloved and dear to many of us. If we condone this demolition, we will, like the Duke of Norfolk, be welcomed into the ranks of the cancel culture crew for “fellowship.” If we refuse to join them, if we instead fight back against this destruction, we will be executed, not like Thomas More by ax and chopping block, but by our digital gallows and guillotines, by doxxing, by being banned from social media, and by being deplatformed, as has happened to Intellectual Takeout and other outfits.

And so we have a choice. We can join the gang of radicals now running rampant in our country. We can keep our mouths shut, close our eyes, and pretend as if nothing is wrong. Or we can fight back against the madness, knowing full well that, like Thomas More, we may well lose the war.

In his conflict with King Henry VIII, Thomas More believed that he had one unbeatable ally: God. Many of us today also believe in that Higher Power. Other Americans may not cast their eyes heavenward, yet they may still take comfort and courage from our Bill of Rights and natural law, for these are rights granted by no government but guaranteed to us by dint of our humanity.

In laying out his case to his daughter Margaret (Susannah York), More argues for using the law as a weapon in his defense, but adds these words: “If He (God) suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and yes, Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it.”

What about those of us living through these crazy times? If we come to the place where there “is no escaping,” how will we react? Will we have the backbone and the courage, as did Thomas More, to resist falsehood and oppression?

Jeff Minick

Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.

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‘Want a Job? Get a Shot!’ – Ron Paul’s 22 Mar. Column

Posted by M. C. on March 23, 2021

Mask mandates have as much to do with healthcare as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screenings have to do with stopping terrorism. Masks and TSA screenings are “security theater” done to reassure those frightened by government and media propaganda regarding coronavirus and terrorism that the government is protecting them.

Many employers will be reluctant to hire such an employee for fear their businesses will become the next targets of “cancel culture.” Those who doubt this should consider how many businesses have folded under pressure from the cultural Marxists and fired someone for expressing an “unapproved” thought.

Mar 22 – Mask tyranny reached a new low recently when a family was kicked off a Spirit Airlines flight because their four-year-old autistic son was not wearing a mask. The family was removed from the plane even though the boy’s doctor had decided the boy should be exempted from mask mandates because the boy panics and engages in behavior that could pose a danger to himself when wearing a mask.

Besides, four-year-olds do not present much risk of spreading or contracting coronavirus. Even if masks did prevent infections among adults, there would be no reason to force children to wear masks.

Mask mandates have as much to do with healthcare as Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screenings have to do with stopping terrorism. Masks and TSA screenings are “security theater” done to reassure those frightened by government and media propaganda regarding coronavirus and terrorism that the government is protecting them.

Covid oppression will worsen if vaccine passports become more widely required. Vaccine passports are digital or physical proof a person has taken a coronavirus vaccine. New York is already requiring that individuals produce digital proof of taking a coronavirus vaccine before being admitted to sporting events.

Imagine if the zealous enforcers of mask mandates had the power to deny you access to public places because you have not “gotten your shot.” Even worse, what if a potential employer had to ensure you were “properly” vaccinated before hiring you? This could come to pass if proponents of mandatory E-Verify have their way.

E-Verify requires employers to submit personal identifying information — such as a social security numbers and biometric data — to a government database to ensure job applicants have federal permission to hold jobs.

Currently, E-Verify is only used to assure a job applicant is a citizen or legal resident. However, its use could be expanded to advancing other purposes, such as ensuring a potential new hire has taken all the recommended vaccines.

E-Verify could even be used to check if a job applicant has ever expressed, or associated with someone who has expressed, “hate speech,” “conspiracy theories,” or “Russian disinformation,” which is code for facts embarrassing to the political class.

Many employers will be reluctant to hire such an employee for fear their businesses will become the next targets of “cancel culture.” Those who doubt this should consider how many businesses have folded under pressure from the cultural Marxists and fired someone for expressing an “unapproved” thought.

Politicians and bureaucrats have used overblown fear of coronavirus to justify the largest infringement of individual liberty in modern times. Covid tyranny has been aided by many Americans who are not just willing to sacrifice their liberty for phony security, but who help government take away liberty from their fellow citizens.

The good news is that, as it becomes increasingly clear that there was no need to shut down the economy, throw millions out of work, subject children to the fraud of “virtual” learning, and force everyone to wear a mask, more people are turning against the politicians and “experts” behind the lockdowns and mandates. Hopefully, these Americans will realize that, in addition to coronavirus lockdowns and mandates, the entire welfare-warfare-fiat money system is built on a foundation of lies.

Read more great articles on the Ron Paul Institute website.
Subscribe to free updates from the Ron Paul Institute.
Copyright © 2021 by Ron Paul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Who Dominates Whom? – American Greatness

Posted by M. C. on March 1, 2021

It is amusing listening to Canadian or French academics explain how their country differs morally and philosophically from the reactionary American empire. Unlike us, these non-Americans feature feminism and gay rights and are vigorously opposing white racism. Why should I believe that we borrowed such stuff from French postmodernists or, as Bloom argues, from exposing youth to the (right-wing) writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger? Enough has been going on within our borders to explain the presence of cancel-culture and why we are afflicting ourselves with politically correct nonsense.

By Paul Gottfried

Recent broadsides from the French government, and most conspicuously from French President Emmanuel Macron, against the American woke Left and U.S. cancel culture drew a mixed reaction from me. Frankly, I find no reason as a European historian to believe that French journalists and academics are any less infected than our own with political correctness.

Looking at Le Monde, one can imagine reading the New York Times en francais. An attack on Western civilization and French national institutions has been underway in France since the native Left’s outcry against colonialism and the glorification of Third World revolutionaries after World War II. That was also the time when French intellectuals were talking up the Stalinist side in the Cold War and doing everything humanly possible to undermine any defense against a Soviet takeover of Europe. Raymond Aron’s Opium of the Intellectuals unmasked the antibourgeois radical mindset of the French intelligentsia back in the 1950s. One is struck by a remarkable overlap between these loonies and our own woke crowd. 

Moreover, Macron’s party la République en Marche faces persistent opposition from the Right in the form of the Rassemblement National, which does not hide its French patriotism and its detestation of woke intellectuals. Macron and the head of the RN, Marine Le Pen, are now running neck and neck in polls as they prepare for next year’s presidential election. 

The recipe for electoral success for the French globalist establishment has been to pick off votes from the Right by sending agreeable messages in that direction before elections. This powerful force works to stay in power, by seeking the votes of the working class and rural Frenchmen as well as those of affluent urbanites. In runoff presidential elections, the French establishment solicits support from the multicultural Left, which stands in fierce opposition to the immigration-critical Right.

Macron is playing the same game as other French centrist politicians, who have complained insincerely about things that concern the Right—e.g., North African immigration—as a timely electoral strategy. Jacques Chirac, while still mayor of Paris, delivered a controversial speech in Orléans in 1991 in which he mocked the “sound and odor” of North African immigrants. But once Chirac moved up to become French president, he worked together with the French Left to keep the rightist National Front from winning any representation in the French assembly.

Despite what I think is the dishonest electoral intent of Macron’s lament, what he is saying is essentially true. The French government is bewailing exactly what I have been saying in books and articles for decades, to the dismay of the American conservative establishment. Since the end of World War II, the United States has dominated the Western world not only militarily and economically but also in terms of popular and academic culture. The notion that American culture fell to the anti-Western Left because of alien German and French ideas, a theme popularized partly through Allan Bloom’s bestseller The Closing of the American Mind, overlooks our capacity to generate our own bad ideas. 

In The First Universal Nation, which the late Ben Wattenberg published in 1991, we encounter this astonishing but well-documented fact: the U.S. exports cultural products to Europe relative to what it takes back at the rate of 50-1. From my visits to European and Canadian bookstores, it seems that Wattenberg’s exchange rate has tilted even more decisively in our favor. 

It is amusing listening to Canadian or French academics explain how their country differs morally and philosophically from the reactionary American empire. Unlike us, these non-Americans feature feminism and gay rights and are vigorously opposing white racism. Why should I believe that we borrowed such stuff from French postmodernists or, as Bloom argues, from exposing youth to the (right-wing) writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger? Enough has been going on within our borders to explain the presence of cancel-culture and why we are afflicting ourselves with politically correct nonsense.

Having spent over 40 years in American universities, it is obvious to me that we have a superabundance of home-grown lunatics to account for these disorders.

I would also like to think that we have enough going for us as a country to overcome this prolonged bout of insanity. I am especially heartened by the fact that about half of our voting population seems unaffected by the madness that Macron has complained about. That percentage is higher than the roughly one-third of the French electorate that will likely cast its vote for the RN in next year’s presidential contest. It is also over 35 percent higher than the percentage of those beleaguered non-leftists who vote for the right-of-center AfD in Germany. In Canada, I am still looking for evidence of a non-leftist electorate, unless I factor in the misnamed Conservatives.

What I am suggesting is that we in the United States not only created much of the poison from which other Western countries are now suffering, we may also be among the very few who can offer an example of recovery. 

About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

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The woke purge – spiked

Posted by M. C. on January 11, 2021

Twitter’s suspension of Donald Trump is a chilling sign of tyranny to come.

Cancel culture doesn’t exist, they say. And yet with the flick of a switch, billionaire capitalists voted for by precisely nobody have just silenced a man who is still the democratically elected president of the United States. With the push of a button in their vast temples to technology, the new capitalist oligarchs of Silicon Valley have prevented a man who won the second largest vote in the history of the American republic just two months ago — 74million votes — from engaging with his supporters (and critics) in the new public square of the internet age.

Not only does cancel culture exist — it is the means through which the powerful, unaccountable oligarchies of the internet era and their clueless cheerleaders in the liberal elites interfere in the democratic process and purge voices they disapprove of. That’s what Twitter’s permanent suspension of Donald Trump confirms.

The new capitalists’ cancellation of the democratically elected president of the United States is a very significant turning point in the politics and culture of the Western world. We underestimate the significance of this act of unilateral purging at our peril. It demonstrates that the greatest threat to freedom and democracy comes not from the oafs and hard-right clowns who stormed the Capitol this week, but from the technocratic elites who spy in the breaching of the Capitol an opportunity to consolidate their cultural power and their political dominance.

Twitter’s ban on Trump is extraordinary for many reasons. First, there’s the arrogance of it. Make no mistake: this is the bosses vs democracy; corporates vs the people; exceptionally wealthy and aloof elites determining which elected politicians may engage in online discussion, which is where most political and public debate takes place in the 21st century. Those who cannot see how concerning and sinister it is that a handful of Big Tech companies have secured a virtual monopoly over the social side of the internet, and are now exploiting their monopolistic power to dictate what political opinions it is acceptable to hold and express in these forums, urgently needs a wake-up call.

Secondly, there is Twitter’s deeply disturbing justification for why it suspended Trump. It says Trump’s account ran the ‘risk’ of ‘inciting violence’. And yet the two tweets of his that it cites do nothing of the sort. In one, Trump describes his voters as ‘great American patriots’ and insists they will have a ‘GIANT VOICE’ in the future. In the other he confirms that he will not be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden. That’s it. In what warped moral universe can such standard, boastful Trump-made statements be interpreted as calls for violence?

In the warped moral universe of pre-emptive, precautionary censorship being built by our tech overlords, that’s where. Strikingly, Twitter says its censorship of the president is based on how other people might read and interpret his words. It says its censorious motivation is ‘specifically’ the question of ‘how [Trump’s tweets] are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter’. Trump’s comments ‘must be read’ in the broader context of how certain statements ‘can be mobilised by different audiences’, Twitter decrees. So Trump’s words, strictly speaking, are not the problem; it’s the possibility, the risk, that someone, somewhere might interpret them in a particular way.

This sets a terrifying precedent for the internet age. It legitimises a new regime of online censorship which doesn’t only punish inflammatory speech — which would be bad enough — but which punishes normal, legitimate political speech on the grounds of how other, unnamed people or groups might respond to it.

There would be no end to what could be censored. Trans-sceptical feminists, already victims of Silicon Valley’s woke purges, would be completely wiped out on the basis that some idiot might interpret their intellectual, non-bigoted critiques of genderfluidity as an instruction to bash a trans person. Christians sceptical of gay marriage, pro-life campaigners furious about abortion, radical leftists who say ‘smash the system’ — all could potentially fall foul of this new diktat that says we are not only responsible for what we ourselves think and say, but also for the myriad interpretations that everyone else, from the man in the street to the weirdo incel, makes of what we think and say.

On this basis the White Album should be banned, given its songs ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Piggies’ were ‘mobilised by different audiences’ to terrible ends — the killings carried out by Charles Manson’s Family. Catcher in the Rye? Censor it. Don’t you remember how it ‘mobilised’ Mark David Chapman to kill John Lennon? As for the Bible, the Koran and any number of political texts and anthems — the risks of ‘mobilisation’ that they pose are clearly too great, so, to be on the safe side, let’s scrub those too.

It isn’t just Twitter. Mark Zuckerberg (zero votes) had already indefinitely suspended Trump (74million votes) from Facebook. Reddit has scrubbed its Donald Trump thread. All social-media accounts that promote the mad Qanon conspiracy theory are being suspended. Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell have been banished from Twitter. YouTube is now banning any video and account that says the American election was fraudulent. This shows how ideological Silicon Valley oligarchs have become. For four years leading members of the media and cultural elites in the US and the UK have said the American presidential election and the EU referendum of 2016 were frauds. That they were meddled with, illegitimate, should be overthrown. You’ll find tens of thousands of videos on YouTube featuring people saying the vote for Brexit was a fit-up by Ruskies or an ‘advisory’ vote fraudulently turned into an instructional one. They won’t be taken down. Because our tech overlords are engaged in acts of openly political censorship.

And then there’s Parler, the libertarian alternative to Twitter. Google this week removed the Parler app from its store on the basis that it doesn’t control its users’ inflammatory speech strictly enough. Apple is threatening to do likewise. All those who said ‘Just make your own social-media platform’ clearly underestimated the tyrannical determination of the woke elites to erase ‘offensive speech’ from every quarter of the internet. This is a full-on purge of any voice that significantly runs counter to the worldview of the anti-populist elites.

That the left is cheering this on is cretinism of the most remarkable kind. They are green-lighting the most thorough assault on freedom of speech that the capitalist elites have ever carried out. They are sanctioning the control of speech by billionaires. They are celebrating as corporate oligarchies interfere directly in the democratic process. They are making a fetish of private property rights, insisting that the corporate rights of virtual monopolies like Twitter and Facebook, in this case their right to throw people off their platforms, override the social, democratic good of free public debate.

I know this is unlikely anytime soon — given the entirely bullshit and pseudo ‘leftish’ posturing of the Silicon Valley elites — but imagine if at some point in the future the tech overlords decide that Bernie Sanders or some rabble-rousing organiser of protests outside Google’s HQ might ‘mobilise audiences’ to do something bad and decide to ban them? What will the left say? Nothing, presumably. Or nothing that should be taken seriously, given they will have helped to create this web of tyranny. They have forgotten the cry of the true radical Thomas Paine: ‘He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.’

There is danger in the current moment. It comes not from horn-helmeted idiots and racist scumbags who paraded through the Capitol Building for an hour, but from those who wish to turn that despicable incident into the founding myth of a new era of woke authoritarianism. The business and political elites, determined to crush the populist experiment of recent years, will busily launch wars on ‘domestic terrorism’, clamp down on inflammatory speech, purge from the internet and from workplaces anyone with ‘incorrect’ thoughts, and blacklist those who believe populism is preferable to technocracy. They’re already doing it. The Biden administration isn’t even in power yet and this is already happening. Imagine how emboldened the new oligarchies and their woke mobs will become once Biden and Co are ruling. Brace yourselves; the purge is only beginning.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

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Comedian Rowan Atkinson: Cancel Culture “Like A Medieval Mob” | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on January 6, 2021

Not that warnings are not all over the place.  MIT’s Gideon Lichfield tells us that there is no going back to normal from Covid.  Controls over our behavior are the new normal.  Freedom, liberty, civil rights are not compatible with a Covid world and the Great Reset that the Covid world is being used to put in place. The World Economic Forum isn’t bashful about describing what is being put in place for us.

The change that elites are bringing to us is so radical that people dismiss it.  But their smart devices have already ensnared them into the change.

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

In an interview with the UK’s Radio Times, Atkinson described online trolls trying to ban everything as “the digital equivalent of the medieval mob.”

“The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society,” he said.

“It becomes a case of either you’re with us or against us. And if you’re against us, you deserve to be ‘cancelled’,” the British comedian emphasised.

The Mr Bean creator fears for the long-term future of free expression — The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 5, 2021

Atkinson also blasted social media, saying that it fills him with “fear about the future,” because it continues to lower tolerance for differing opinions, which widens divisions in society.

“What we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn,” Atkinson urged.

He noted that he has been on the end of the hate mob, not only owing to some of the skits in Mr Bean, many of which were written 30 years ago, but also because of his long history of standing up for free speech.

“It is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future,” Atkinson declared.

Atkinson opposed the introduction of so called ‘hate speech’ laws in 2005, describing the legislation as like taking “sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

Atkinson also opposed the introduction of homophobic ‘hate speech’ clauses into UK law in 2009.

At the time in 2009, Atkinson outlined where such moves to quell speech were heading, prophesising “a culture of censoriousness, a questioning, negative and leaden attitude that is encouraged by legislation of this nature.”

The comedian warned that it would only be “considerably and meaningfully alleviated by [a] free speech clause.”

In 2012, Atkinson further railed against “insulting” behaviour being classed as a criminal offence.

“The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult,” Atkinson stated at the time during an impassioned defence of free speech:

In 2020, Atkinson was again targeted by the mob he speaks about when he publicly opposed Scotland’s ‘hate crimes’ bill, saying that it “risked stifling freedom of expression, and the ability to articulate or criticise religious and other beliefs”.

I looked to see why Rowan Atkinson is trending and it’s the usual. A comedian comes out in favour of free speech and is called ’problematic’. Forget the fact his career has been spent lampooning racists and fascism, that’s an inconvenient fact. He’s toxic now. Fuck off, Twitter. — Jonathan Pie (@JonathanPieNews) August 11, 2020

Several other comedians have railed against the rise of cancel culture, including Monty Python star John Cleese, The Office creator Ricky Gervais, the ‘podfathers’ Joe Rogan and Adam Carolla, as well as Bill Burr and ‘politically incorrect’ star Dave Chapelle, to name just a few.

Cancel culture has seen some comedians self-censoring in order to appease the mob:

Great bit by @awilliamscomedy on how comedians play it safe to shield their careers from the outrage mob.

FULL: — Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) April 26, 2019

Comedy is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to cancel culture, however. There are signs that its tentacles are penetrating deeply into all aspects of society.

A recent study by leading education focused think tank Civitas revealed that free speech at the world’s leading universities is being eroded at an alarming rate.

The study found that within the past three years, more than 68 per cent of universities in the UK have seen free speech severely restricted, with academics unable to meaningfully discuss the nuances of issues such as race and gender.

The report notes that universities including Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews, three of the world’s premiere institutions are among those that have fallen into a “red” category for free speech following instances of “no platforming” of scheduled speakers.

Last year, 150 of the world’s top intellectuals, authors and activists signed an open letter decrying leftist cancel culture, censorship and the totalitarian march of “ideological conformity.”

The letter warned that cancel culture is creating a climate of risk aversion that is preventing anyone from dissenting from the monolithic consensus of social justice rhetoric, creating a “stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time.”

In the US, the Deputy Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security also recently warned that the actions of tech companies in embracing cancel culture, and censoring opinions they do not agree with constitutes a “grave threat to national security.”

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The Faithless Paranoia That Drives Woke and Cancel Culture – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on October 20, 2020

There are, though, in the West plenty of people who, for whatever reasons, have a disproportionately jaundiced view of society and other people. Instead of seeing it as jaundiced, they will feel that theirs is a realist view and a smart, clued-up, and sophisticated one for that reason. For them a proper conception of society sees it as no more than a network of competitive hatreds. They haven’t noticed the redeeming Hobbesian artifice of the civil society in which we live and which rescues us from the dangerous predicament of being in competition with our fellow humans.

Guy Walker

L’amor che move le stelle

The great Italian poet Dante Alighieri believed the universe to be moved by Love. There are those who do not believe this, though. After the fall of Ceausescu we saw sad televised images of Romanian orphans abandoned in asylums. Many of these unsocialized, unloved children were insensible, and many were terrified of and flinched at any approach or anything tactile. In a different place and time, just prior to the Death of Stalin, his closest satellites indulged in a ruthless war for ascendency in which they trusted no former ally. In both cases such people had reason for believing the universe to be malign, hostile, and dangerous.

Counter to these kinds of explicable and pitiable paranoia and without advocating wide-eyed innocence or Pollyannaism, it would be fair to say that it would be normal, as a starting point, especially in the West, and for the sake of our mental well-being, to see the universe as generally benign. Sane adults will naturally know that civilized human societies consist of a mixture of both hatred and love and of good and evil, the worst excesses of the latter discouraged by the rule of law, of course. However, they will also believe that human love, beginning in relations between the sexes and spreading into familial love, underpins and provides the cement for society and, like Dante, that much wickedness is really just a deformation of love.

There are, though, in the West plenty of people who, for whatever reasons, have a disproportionately jaundiced view of society and other people. Instead of seeing it as jaundiced, they will feel that theirs is a realist view and a smart, clued-up, and sophisticated one for that reason. For them a proper conception of society sees it as no more than a network of competitive hatreds. They haven’t noticed the redeeming Hobbesian artifice of the civil society in which we live and which rescues us from the dangerous predicament of being in competition with our fellow humans. Their conception is, of course, an impoverished, unimaginative, and paranoid one; they haven’t, in simple trustfulness, slowed their breathing sufficiently and paused long enough to see the whole picture. They are largely driven and haunted by fear, and their unpleasant vision of society actually tells us more about them than about the societies they live in. They have a mean and cynical vision because they are mean, untrusting, and cynical themselves. “Appearance has entirely superseded and displaced truth. It is the only currency in town.”

There is a further layer to this. Human beings are, uniquely, moral creatures to whom, unsurprisingly therefore, reputation matters. Those who subscribe to the idea that society is nothing more than a dog-eat-dog free-for-all see even the important reputational world as an evolutionary battle for survival; a zero-sum game where every person is somehow a competitor for reputation. The idea that the goodness of each individual is not in competition with the goodness of others but is a private matter for each person is alien to people who hold such views. For them, in an unholy reversal of John the Baptist’s dictum—“He must increase but I must decrease”—each other person canceled or diminished represents a personal increase. This is their unforgiving view of the universe. It is in reality a huge mistake; a misconception of our moral relation to one another.

The kind of consciousness that such paranoid people generate dominates societal perceptions, and things have deteriorated further. Moral quality, which used to be considered the private essence of character, is seen by them to be no more than a performance event or a publicly exhibited commodity untethered from any real essence (which used to be grounded in ideas that God “knew” us completely and suchlike). A lot of this can be explained by the way that the “Society of the Spectacle,” delineated by Guy Debord in the 1960s, has become a reality because of the importance of televisual enactment and social media where each of us is obliged to project a persona that may or may not relate to who we really are. Ours has become an entirely self-conscious and enacting society obsessed with public appearance to the cost of moral reality. Shakespeare (“…one may smile and smile and be a villain”) and other artists have treated the gulf between appearance and reality or sein und schein over the centuries, but that gulf is now broadened to the point of a danger of complete severance between the two things. The main imperative now for many people is to have a sense that they are involved in dramatic narratives where they play and, most important, are seen to play virtuous parts or roles. Exhibition is everything. The fact that such narratives are divorced from real life and that appearances bear no relation to their real moral quality is of no interest to them, for appearance has entirely superseded and displaced truth. It is the only currency in town.

All of this means that they believe moral wars have to be won in ruthless public jousts and competitions that resemble the games in Rollerball or The Hunger Games where the appearance of virtue is stripped from the “losers.” Morally uncompetitive dinosaurs, who believe in real moral essence or quality, are baffled by this approach but are often no less damaged by it. They don’t realize that markets in the appearance of virtue have to be cornered at all costs. Monopolies have to be won by superior signaling. The moral forum becomes no more than a game of musical chairs where dignity is stripped from anyone left standing when the music stops. Those who run Twitter mobs know there is safety in numbers but are often heedless until it is too late of Thomas Carlyle’s likening of the French Revolution to Saturn’s devouring of his own children. Thus, paranoia increases with the realization that any of those you formerly ran with can instantly mutate into dangerous competitors. There is no peace, and life becomes constant vigilance on the lookout for exploitable chinks in the armor of others.

This jealous, paranoid, and, indeed, Darwinian, rather than human, conception of things might seem pathological at first, but, in truth, it has moral roots that lie in a condition of faithlessness. Unnecessarily seeing other humans solely as threats against whom you must always militantly and aggressively strike out is a delusion that equates with the more understandable perceptions of the Romanian orphans or Stalin’s henchmen. Some have done this unawares, and one can feel a modicum of pity for them. The worst are those who know what they are doing and, because they think they can better thrive in it, have preferred a malign and loveless view of society to prevail.

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My Corner by Boyd Cathey – Woke Rebellion

Posted by M. C. on September 14, 2020

Boyd Cathey


The noted English professor and philosopher, John N. Gray, is controversial for his views expressed in a number of highly-touted books. If I can summarize one of his main contentions it is this: the experiment in universalist “democratic liberalism,” unleashed by the 18th century Enlightenment (and partially fulfilled by the American Revolution in conservative fashion, but by the Socialists and Marxists in a more radical fashion), is coming to a gagging and sputtering end. In a certain—if remote—sense, what Gray is saying is what the traditionalist Christian poet and author T. S. Eliot once famously wrote in his epic poem “The Hollow Men” (1925), written in the disastrous aftermath of the devastation, both intellectual and material, after World War I: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

In the following essay, Gray examines the current woke rebellion in the streets, but also in the ivory halls of academe and among our elite government and cultural classes. The Age of Enlightenment Liberalism, he asserts, is ending.

And in reading and thinking about it, his short piece seems to go hand-in-hand with something I published recently both at The Abbeville Institute and My essay titled, “Cancel Culture Comes South,” in a different version, was first issued in the MY CORNER series on September 6, as “Cancel Culture and the Religious Origins of the Revolution in the Streets.” I rewrote it to give it more emphasis on the effects of “cancel culture” in the South, and in that new version it was published…and it is that version that I offer today, immediately after Gray’s essay.

Gray compares the present day woke Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) to chiliastic millenarians—religious hyper-fanatics of the past—who attempted to overturn and in effect destroy the traditions of Western Christianity. Those movements, including the Cathares, Lollards, Puritans and Fifth Monarchy Men, and in particular, the Anabaptists with their supreme leader John of Leiden [AKA, Jan Bockelson], sought to either destroy those traditions, or, at the very least to completely re-invent them. And what followed was inevitably a period of social and political anarchy, and quickly the imposition of an authoritarianism more severe and brutal than anything established historic Christianity ever contemplated. They would bring on the thousand year terrestrial reign of the Deity, even if it took the massacre of every human life where they dwelt to do it.

Although there are striking parallels between those earlier millenarian movements and today’s zealots, there are also some significant differences. While both illustrate a kind of frenzied religious fanaticism, these latter day millenarians are mostly characterized by a dominant anarchism. Their religious zeal is secularized. Save for “defunding the police” and demands for total (but ill-defined) equality and reparations of some kind, much of their rhetoric betrays a lack of precision and deeper thought. And unlike earlier movements, our present SJWs are being funded and to some degree directed by our elites, ensconced many times in Silicon Valley, or Hollywood, and on Wall Street. It follows that those empowered elites wish to use the street warriors and the widely-diffused and praised Black Lives Matter campaign for their own purposes, their own well-being, and their own power. And, thus, they have literally cowed and shamed most of our political class into submission; who now dares criticize Black Lives Matter or the s0-called demands for “equality” (and some form of reparations for “white oppression” and past “injustice”) without bringing down the wrath of the entirety of the media and most political leaders? And this includes Republicans and establishment conservatives who run as fast as they can to the tall grass.

Notice one more significant characteristic: many of the street terrorists are rich white kids, children of wealth and position, educated usually (and badly) at places like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, UNC, and Duke, and with families who can afford to live in gated communities, and who, in fact, in their insouciant and sneering liberalism, disdain and despise what the Jewish writer Philip Roth once called despectively, “fly-over country.” In other words, anyone outside of those centers of power and wealth who might possibly challenge their hegemony.  For them the SJWs are effective storm troopers…that is, as long as they don’t get out of control, or go into those posh neighborhoods where a Nancy Pelosi or Madonna live.

Or, if it seems that politically the street terrorism appears to get out of hand, maybe favoring President Trump politically. Ah, then those elites must offer their pro forma, generalized condemnations, just to be on record…despite their real encouragement of the revolution.

Never mind, Gray seems to say, the American faith in a secular universalist redemption and the myth that somehow we are a kind of New Jerusalem, that shining City of a Hill, is dying and we can hope only to pick up the pieces in the new age that is being born.


The woke have no vision of the future

Like medieval millenarians, today’s SJWs believe all that needs to be done to bring about a new world is to destroy the old one

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Academics Are Really, Really Worried About Their Freedom

Posted by M. C. on September 3, 2020

One professor committed the sin of “privileging the white male perspective” in giving a lecture on the philosophy of one of the Founding Fathers, even though Frederick Douglass sang that Founder’s praises. The administration tried to make him sit in a “listening circle,” in which his job was to stay silent while students explained how he had hurt them—in other words, a 21st-century-American version of a struggle session straight out of the Cultural Revolution.

Our national reckoning on race has brought to the fore a loose but committed assemblage of people given to the idea that social justice must be pursued via attempts to banish from the public sphere, as much as possible, all opinions that they interpret as insufficiently opposed to power differentials. Valid intellectual and artistic endeavor must hold the battle against white supremacy front and center, white people are to identify and expunge their complicity in this white supremacy with the assumption that this task can never be completed, and statements questioning this program constitute a form of “violence” that merits shaming and expulsion.

Skeptics have labeled this undertaking “cancel culture,” which of late has occasioned a pushback from its representatives. The goal, they suggest, is less to eliminate all signs of a person’s existence—which tends to be impractical anyway— than to supplement critique with punishment of some kind. Thus a group of linguists in July submitted to the Linguistic Society of America a petition not only to criticize the linguist and psychologist Steven Pinker for views they considered racist and sexist, but to have him stripped of his Linguistic Society of America fellow status and removed from the organization’s website listing linguist consultants available to the media. An indication of how deeply this frame of mind has penetrated many of our movers and shakers is that they tend to see this punishment clause as self-evidently just, as opposed to the novel, censorious addendum that it is.

Another defense of sorts has been to claim that even this cancel-culture lite is not dangerous, because it has no real effect. When, for instance, 153 intellectuals signed an open letter in Harper’s arguing for the value of free speech (I was one of them), we were told that we were comfortable bigwigs chafing at mere criticism, as if all that has been happening is certain people being taken to task, as opposed to being shamed and stripped of honors.

To the extent that the new progressives acknowledge that some prominent people have been unfairly tarred—including the food columnist Alison Roman, the data analyst David Shor, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art senior curator Gary Garrels—they often insist that these are mere one-off detours rather than symptoms of a general cultural sea change.

For example, in July I tweeted that I (as well as my Bloggingheads sparring partner Glenn Loury) have been receiving missives since May almost daily from professors living in constant fear for their career because their opinions are incompatible with the current woke playbook. Then various people insisted that I was, essentially, lying; they simply do not believe that anyone remotely reasonable has anything to worry about.

However, hard evidence points to a different reality. This year, the Heterodox Academy conducted an internal member survey of 445 academics. “Imagine expressing your views about a controversial issue while at work, at a time when faculty, staff, and/or other colleagues were present. To what extent would you worry about the following consequences?” To the hypothetical “My reputation would be tarnished,” 32.68 percent answered “very concerned” and 27.27 percent answered “extremely concerned.” To the hypothetical “My career would be hurt,” 24.75 percent answered “very concerned” and 28.68 percent answered “extremely concerned.” In other words, more than half the respondents consider expressing views beyond a certain consensus in an academic setting quite dangerous to their career trajectory.

So no one should feign surprise or disbelief that academics write to me with great frequency to share their anxieties. In a three-week period early this summer, I counted some 150 of these messages. And what they reveal is a very rational culture of fear among those who dissent, even slightly, with the tenets of the woke left.

The degree of sheer worry among the people writing to me is poignant, and not just among nontenured faculty. (They write to me privately, and for that reason I will not share names.) One professor notes, “Even with tenure and authority, I worry that students could file spurious Title IX complaints … or that students could boycott me or remove me as Chair.” I have no reason to suppose that he is being dramatic, because exactly this, he says, happened to his predecessor.

A statistics professor says:

I routinely discuss the fallacy of assuming that disparity implies discrimination, which is just a specific way of confusing correlation for causality. Frankly, I’m now somewhat afraid to broach these topics … since according to the new faith, disparity actually is conclusive evidence of discrimination.

The new mood has even reached medieval studies; an assistant professor reports having recently just survived an attack by a cadre of scholars who are “unspeakably mean and disingenuous once they have you in their sights,” regularly “mounting PR campaigns to get academics and grad students fired, removed from programs, expelled from scholarly groups, or simply to cease speaking.”

Being nonwhite leaves one protected in this environment only to the extent that one toes the ideological line. An assistant professor of color who cannot quite get with the program writes, “At the moment, I’m more anxious about this problem than anything else in my career,” noting that “the truth is that over the last few years, this new norm of intolerance and cult of social justice has marginalized me more than all racism I have ever faced in my life.”

The charges levied against many of these professors are rooted in a fanatical worldview, one devoted to spraying for any utterances possibly interpretable as “supremacist,” although the accusers sincerely think they have access to higher wisdom. A white professor read a passage from an interview with a well-known Black public intellectual who mentions the rap group NWA, and because few of the students knew of the group’s work at this late date, the professor parenthetically noted what the initials stand for. None of the Black students batted an eye, according to my correspondent, but a few white students demanded a humiliating public apology.

This episode represents a pattern in the letters, wherein it is white students who are “woker” than their Black classmates, neatly demonstrating the degree to which this new religion is more about virtue signaling than social justice. From the same well is this same professor finding that the gay men in his class had no problem with his assigning a book with a gay slur in its title, a layered, ironic title for a book taking issue with traditional concepts of masculinity—but that a group of straight white women did, and reported him to his superiors.

Overall I found it alarming how many of the letters sound as if they were written from Stalinist Russia or Maoist China. A history professor reports that at his school, the administration is seriously considering setting up an anonymous reporting system for students and professors to report “bias” that they have perceived. One professor committed the sin of “privileging the white male perspective” in giving a lecture on the philosophy of one of the Founding Fathers, even though Frederick Douglass sang that Founder’s praises. The administration tried to make him sit in a “listening circle,” in which his job was to stay silent while students explained how he had hurt them—in other words, a 21st-century-American version of a struggle session straight out of the Cultural Revolution.

The result is academics living out loud only in whispers. A creative-writing instructor:

The majority of my fellow instructors and staff constantly self-censor themselves in fear of being fired for expressing the “wrong opinions.” It’s gotten to the point where many are too terrified to even like or retweet a tweet, lest it lead to some kind of disciplinary measure … They are supporters of free speech, scientific data, and healthy debate, but they are too fearful today to publicly declare such support. However, they’ll tell it to a sympathetic ear in the back corner booth of a quiet bar after two or three pints. These ideas have been reduced to lurking in the shadows now.

Some will process this as a kind of whining, supposing that all we should really be concerned about is whether people are outright dismissed. However, elsewhere a hostile work environment is considered a breach of civil rights, and as one correspondent wrote, “It isn’t just fear of firing that motivates professors and grad students to be quiet. It is a desire to have friends, to be part of a community. This is a fundamental part of human psychology. Indeed, experiments examining the effects of ostracism highlight what a powerful existential threat it is to be ignored, excluded, or rejected. This has been documented at the neurological level. Ostracism is a form of social death. It is a very potent threat.”

Especially sad is the extent to which this new Maoism can dilute the richness of a curriculum and discourage people from becoming professors at all. One professor has stopped teaching James Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man” after Black students claimed that it forced them to “re-live intergenerational trauma.” I have heard from not one but two philosophy doctorates who left academia. One explained that he was driven out by the “accelerating creep of what felt to me a pretty stifling orthodoxy. The hiring market was dominated by a concern for diversity statements, the ability to teach fairly ideologically-slanted courses on philosophy and critical race theory or philosophy and gender, etc.; and more generally it felt progressively less like a profession where I could opt out of those trends while still being a competitive job applicant.”

Very few of the people who wrote to me are of conservative political orientation. Rather, a main thread in the missives is people left-of-center wondering why, suddenly, to be anything but radical is to be treated as a retrograde heretic. Thus the issue is not the age-old one of left against right, but what one letter writer calls the “circular firing squad” of the left: It is now no longer “Why aren’t you on the left?” but “How dare you not be as left as we are.”

To some, the evidence of Heterodox Academy’s member survey plus my correspondents will still qualify as mere “anecdata”—after all, both groups are self-selecting—such that only a long-term academic study carefully interviewing at length a good 3,000 professors and submitting their responses to statistical analysis would qualify as empirically compelling. But let’s face it: Half a dozen reports of teachers grading Black students more harshly than white students would be accepted by many as demonstrating a stain on our entire national fabric. These 150 missives stand as an articulate demonstration of something general—and deeply disturbing—as well.

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John McWhorter is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He teaches linguistics at Columbia University, hosts the podcast Lexicon Valley, and is the author, most recently, of Words on the Move.
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