An infirmity once characterizing the past century’s most severe totalitarian regimes has now taken root in Western public discourse and practice, a process akin to Orwellian “doublethink” acting as a form of de facto censorship preempting consideration of major issues and events. This mindset is obliquely shared by a majority of professional journalists, academics, and public office holders—in short, those who represent and lead public opinion. Their collective publicity of the unsaid preserves and perpetuates existing belief systems and power relations. To be sure, there are self-evident injunctions for those straying from such unspoken protocols, including expulsion from this professional class.
Once a state-endorsed narrative of a questionable event has been presented to and conveyed by the mainstream news media, it is almost invariably accepted without question by “Inner Party” members. Such silence is abetted by a mechanical allegiance to prevailing authority figures and institutional power. In possessing such a worldview one reflexively forfeits personal integrity to uphold the collective publicity of the unspeakable and an overarching faith in the given sociopolitical system’s artificial spontaneity. Alternative interpretations of such events by the laity can be dismissed out-of-hand as “conspiracy theories,” thereby further confirming the Party’s creed.
The publicity of the unspeakable ensures that, under penalty of de facto or formal censure, deference to official narratives will increasingly eclipse free inquiry and expression in the West.
The notion that one’s country is becoming a ruthless police state becomes clichéd, particularly with a lack of historical context. Extreme totalitarian regimes based on, for example, Marxist fundamentalism and unquestioning loyalty to the Party famously utilized internment and compulsory psychiatry to quell political dissidents and unorthodox speech. Yet in the US and elsewhere, objectively assessing the facts surrounding events such as the key political assassinations of the 1960s, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing, 9/11, or more recent mass-mediated terror events, is tantamount to political heresy and potential justification for state surveillance, interrogation, obligatory “medical” (psychiatric) treatment, and even a sort of asset confiscation in the form of reputational damage and job loss.
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Tolerate or Be Stamped Out
“Anti-LGBT attitudes are terrible for people in all sorts of communities. They linger and oppress, and we need to stamp them out, ruthlessly,” tweeted Josh Barro, a writer for the New York Times. In subsequent tweets he made clear that those who believe in traditional marriage are not worthy of respect or civility and, most alarmingly, that the government has the power to redefine words such as marriage.
In Houston, Texas, ironies upon ironies abound in an anonymous group publishing the names and addresses of citizens opposed to a gay rights measure. This also happened during the Proposition 8 campaign in California. People who gave money to support traditional marriage had their employers and addresses exposed, and then became subject to harassment.
In New Jersey, a church had its tax-exempt status revoked on property on which it refused to allow a gay marriage. In Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon the nation has seen photographers, florists and bakers compelled against their will to provide goods and services to gay marriages. The gay couples could have gone elsewhere, but instead decided to target these small businesses for ruin because of their religious beliefs.
President Obama and many Democrats no longer talk about “freedom of religion.” Instead, they talk about “freedom of worship.” One is no longer allowed to live and practice one’s religion in the public square. They are only permitted to worship from 11 to noon on a Sunday.