Words are important. They’re a vehicle to self-expression, so it’s really not all that surprising that co-opting language and redefining words has long been a tool used by propagandists spanning the globe. From tinpot dictators to imperial oligarchs to homegrown totalitarians, anyone who wants to seize power and dominate people knows they have to control language.
The the best way to advance a cause that cannot withstand critique is simply to forcibly suppress the opposition. During Mao’s Cultural Revolution in China, Hitler’s ascent in Nazi Germany, Castro’s reign in Cuba, Stalin’s rule of the Soviet Union, and Pol Pot’s dictatorship in Cambodia, silencing dissent through barbarous violence was an extremely effective means to an end.
Some of history’s most infamous mass murderers used paid henchmen to punish perceived troublemakers through firing squads, concentration camps, political imprisonment, gulags, forced starvations, and other macabre measures. The Gestapo of the Third Reich, the Stasi in East Germany, the Soviet Cheka, OGPU and NKVD, and the Khmer Rouge’s Santebal were amazingly deadly at rooting out resistance, whenever and wherever it emerged, even if it were only delusions of the thought-control enforcers or their beloved leader.
But not all tyrants used secret police solely. The Nazis had the “Brown Shirts,” a paramilitary group of loyalists, who the Nuremberg Military Tribunal called “bullies” and “ruffians.” Hitler advised them to “take possession of the streets” in order to cause chaos, terror, and paranoia among citizens. These Sturmabteilung weren’t called Storm Troopers for nothing.
And some dictators sanctioned only well-armed foot soldiers to further the unconscionable aims their movements. Fidel Castro utilized the machismo guerrilla strategies of his “Bearded Ones” to overthrow and maintain control of Cuba, while Mao Zedong mobilized a fierce and fanatical mass student group known as the “Red Guard” to achieve the same ends in Communist China.
On Wednesday night, people saw these very tactics on full display in Berkeley, Calif. “Protestors” rioted against the mere presence of Milo Yiannopoulos, a provocateur who goes on speaking tours dismantling political correctness, all while having big fun poking his finger in the eye of the easily offended who permeate college campuses.
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” ― Salman Rushdie, novelist
Yiannopoulos is popular because he says exactly what many informed non-leftist in the country feels: that progressivism is a scourge, a poisonous ideology that spreads into every nook and cranny of our personal, faith, work, social, and political lives. He never parses words and always delivers his dagger-to-heart rhetoric with equal doses sass and logic.
The Anti-Milo Toolkit, which was created by a handful of female professors and graduate students, asserts that Yiannopoulos cannot be allowed to speak because his “claim for free speech rights” is a “cover for spreading genodical politics.” The pretentious manifesto concludes, “… we cannot ‘defend free speech’ without examining by whom and for whom speech is free.” You know, “Hate speech is not free speech” as the leftist mantra goes.
“He who controls the language controls the masses.” — Saul Alinsky, “Rules for Radicals”
So, from high atop their powerful feminist thrones, these cultural crusaders have cast out their judgement to the peasants that Yiannopoulos wields too much power. They and their royal comrades get to determine what is “hate” and what is permitted opinion. Yiannopoulos’ colonialism, whiteness, and privilege makes him by default unworthy of being heard. Sheesh, no wonder he says “feminism is cancer.”
Now, I agree with much of what Yiannopoulos says. But when I don’t, I would never want to ban him from speaking at a public engagement of which he’s been invited. I would never want to punch him because I dissent.
“Social-justice warriors construct fictional worlds then try to bring real world consequences upon those who refuse to live within them.” — Jordan B. Peterson, psychology professor
In fact, I don’t want to punch anyone. Well, I really do sometimes, but would I actually do it? No, of course not. As I tell my kids when they’re in a hot-tempered mood, “If we just went around punching everyone who said something mean to us, or called us a name, or made us mad, or looked at us the wrong way, all we’d be doing is walking around punching people!”
Not punching people and breaking stuff and pepper-spraying a women and setting things on fire and hitting a woman is called being civilized. It’s called having basic human decency and self-control. It’s called not having a tantrum when you don’t get what you want.
Regrettably, it’s becoming normalized to endorse violence. Take journalist Nesrine Malik. When referencing the inauguration-day brutality against white nationalist Richard Spencer, she said that this assault was “cathartic.” She explained, “Some positions simply cannot be entertained, let alone argued against” and “frightening and dangerous views” mustn’t be allowed to go mainstream. Taking “the moral high ground,” The Guardian writer continued, doesn’t always work.
Couple this with the facts that progressives have never done well at “reasoned debate” and that a growing number of folks are fed up with social-justice tyranny, and the cultural Marxists have come to the shocking realization that they no longer control the debate. Malik is angry about the push back, as is Hollywood, from Sarah Silverman’s call for a military coup, Debra Messing’s declaring that “Resistance Works,” to Judd Appatow’s finger-wagging during the night of the riots.
The “academics” and “educators,” who have been fostering this close-minded indoctrination unabated for decades, are hostile, too. They finally see resistance (of the civilized kind) to their totalitarian lunacy, and they want to break some stuff … or some people. Take Robert Weide, a Cal State professor who reportedly posted “The best response to micro-aggression is macro-aggression” on his office door in response to a speaking event by neo-conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. It’s like professors gone wild.
“Ever since the French Revolution, the birth of the left as we know it … has been about one thing: social reconstruction at the point of a gun.” — Tom Woods, historian
The left is low-information and high time-preference, and they’re mad as hell. Half of them have a displaced sense of entitlement because they’ve been taught they’re the “oppressed,” so they cling to and see everything through the lens of their self-appointed victimization (LGBTs, Muslims, “people of color,” women, etc.)
And the other half sees themselves as “oppressors,” who must repent of their racism and/or misogyny through self-loathing and by joining the ranks of the church of purifying progressivism. Just beat up a Trump supporter, and your sins are washed clean. Silence someone’s expression, and you’re forgiven. Coercively convert an unbeliever to your religion or just shut him up by force, and you’ll be a martyr.
NYU professor Michael Rectenwald calls it “marginalized hegemony”: a social order based upon group rights as being always superior to the ultimate minority of the individual. You might call it supra-rights for some some. This cultural control has gone unchecked for decades, but now there’s dissent to the madness. And the supreme leaders of this noxious ideology obviously can’t handle being challenged. They’ve gone from tearful hand-wringing to unhinged man-handling.
The left is blatantly averse to freedom, which is defined as the “exemption from external control, interference, regulation” and the power to “act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint,” as long as your action doesn’t infringe upon another’s liberties (i.e. aggression). Malik admits that freedom is a “philosophical Achilles’ heel” that the left needs to just get over. So what the protest sign of “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free” really means is “Dominance for us, and the bottom of the barrel for the rest of you.”
“Those who make conversations impossible, make escalation inevitable.” — Stefan Molyneux, blogger/vlogger
The cultural Marxists aren’t only anti-liberty, but they’re also ignorant of history. Fascism and National Socialism (Nazism) are often seen as rightist movements. But I agree with socio-political theorist Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, who says that because of progressives’ emphasis on mass mobilization and their opposition to individualism, those ideologies belong to the left. It is the social-justice warriors and their antifa co-conspirators who are the fascists and the Nazis.
The Toolkit asserts that “Words embolden acts of hatred and violence, and we must also acknowledge the emotional and exclusionary harms, as well as the physical violence, they enable.” So, let’s review some of the left’s own words from Berkeley. “This is war.” “Become ungovernable.” “Queers bash back. Harm any, face the many.” “He has no right to speak at Cal or anywhere else.” “No safe space for fascism, no platform for Nazis.” “Nazi punks fuck off.” “Kill Trump.”
I even read a claim that some antifa rioters were threatening to rape female Trump supporters, but I couldn’t find valid confirmation on that gem. Sadly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true. So much for their protest claim of “This is what community looks like.” It’s cognitive dissonance writ large.
With useful idiots like this and their media, academic, and political enablers, the cult of leftism doesn’t necessarily have to “legislate its creed into law” to get what they want, as writer Robert A. Heinlein once penned. But his other words ring so true: that it’s just as potent by “suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.”
This may allegedly shock old-school liberals, but this is a monster of their own making. It is abundantly obvious to the rest of us that social-justice warriors have finally taken the torch from their jack-booted forefathers. They are the Brown Shirts who shut down speech and smash windows a la Kristallnacht. They are the Red Guard who make their anti-regime parents and other enemies crawl through broken glass. They are the Bearded Ones who threaten, intimate, harm and will eventually kill. They’re not just bullies; they are barbarians.
This piece was originally posted on DissidentMama.net on February 3, 2017.
Truth warrior, Jesus follower, wife, and boymom. Apologetics practitioner for Orthodox Christianity, the Southern tradition, homeschooling, and freedom. Recovering feminist-socialist-atheist, graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and retired mainstream journalist turned domesticated belle and rabble-rousing rhetorician. A mama who’s adept at triggering statists, so she’s going to bang as loudly as she can.