I posted this article from The Federalist on Facebook and was surprised by the response. It’s about how the secular left managed to shut down debate by replacing rational thought and disagreement with the practice of using power to silence people who disagree with them.
The article is long, and very very good. I will try to snip enough of it here to convince you to read it. The thesis is that the secular left is trying to push their views on the masses, and succeeding, but not through rational discourse.
How are they doing pushing their agenda, then?
A lot of Americans watched in shock while cultish mobs suddenly attacked the RFRA that Pence initially defended. But the groundwork for mass hysteria like this was stealthily laid for decades, and the minefields sown.
Family breakdown led to community breakdown, which we can see in the decline of trust in society. Ignorance was cultivated in the schools through political correctness and squashing free debate. The academy’s disparaging of western civilization virtually wiped out respect for any serious study of history and civics, as well as for the Socratic method and the rules of civil discourse. Political correctness sewed confusion into the language, particularly regarding identity politics. Youth are now set to be programmed for conformity through the K-12 “Common Core” curriculum mandates.
All of that and more promotes the semantic fog that allows for mind rape. It amounts to an act of “logicide,” to borrow a term from Meerloo, whom I will continue to quote below. To kill logic and reason that might stand in their way, wannabe dictators “fabricate a hate language in order to stir up mass emotions.” Leaders in Indiana, Arkansas, and Louisiana have been unable to understand this tactic and are grossly unprepared to deal with it. So they simply surrendered. In effect, they joined the mob, further endangering everybody’s freedom.
So, a majority of Americans have been presented with the idea that to some opinions on certain topics can be easily disregarded because they are “hate” – i.e., they make a certain group of people feel bad. And if you try to have a reasoned discourse with them, their response will be non-cognitive. They will call you names, try to shame you, and then comes the coercion as a last resort. The coercion can be anything from getting you fired, to vandalism, to violence, to domestic terrorism – in the case of Floyd Lee Corkins.
It turns out that deep within the human spirit, there is some sort of need to join up with a group of people, to feel righteous, and to let go of reason and just let feelings run wild over the rights of others. This is the so-called “mob mentality” which is so possible with groups on the left.
Most who protest the RFRA laws are more likely pawns than true believers. Like the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd, they tend to be atomized individuals who are drawn to the psychic thrill of being part of a mobilized mass that feeds on emotions and can feel a sense of righteousness in the stated pretext. (In the RFRA case, it’s the semantic device of “marriage equality,” but it’ll just as easily be something else tomorrow.) “The ecstatic participation in mass elation is the oldest psycho drama in the world,” wrote Meerloo.
“Crowds and Power,” by Elias Canetti, is a classic work that explores in detail the draw of the crowd for human beings. With the continued chipping away of the organic family of mother-child-father, human relationships inevitably become diluted and more subservient to a mass state. This detachment cultivates human alienation, which draws more people to answer to the call of the mass state’s mob.
Such protesters and their scores of clueless apologists in the media are also utterly detached from the reality of the meaning of laws such as an RFRA. The RFRA only clarifies that the government doesn’t get to coerce us in private thought or to dictate what we are allowed to feel, believe, think, and express. In other words, the First Amendment is not negotiable if we are to have any semblance of freedom in this country.
But the emotional stew in which we are now boiling doesn’t allow logic or reason to prevail.
I was having a chat with a Christian woman recently. We were just sort of getting to know each other and seeing what we each believed. And what was interesting to me (and this is before I read this article) is how we both 1) had a different view of what counts as good literature, good music, good drama, etc. and 2) we were very comfortable with not liking what everyone else liked. In fact, we were talking about how to get along with friends and co-workers who disagree with us on things like politics, marriage, and so on.
I was just reflecting on that as I was reading the article, and thinking to myself “in order to be a Christian, you have to have arrived at your views on issues independently or you will just abandon it whenever the majority challenges you”. Being a rebel is central to the Christian worldview – we have to do our own homework in order to resist the culture. For her, some of that was from her family experiences and her reading and following current events. For me, some of it comes from watching debates and listening to both sides. But the point is that we are both very conscious that we don’t fit in, and we are OK with it. But I think for the majority of people today, it’s not OK for them. They really have this emotional need to fit in with the “nice” group, and part of how they remain in the “nice” group is by refusing to listen to any views that are not their own. That is literally what they are taught in university, for example. They are taught to call anyone who disagrees with them a name.
I was once told by a particularly foolish East Indian man that I was pro-life because I “hated women”. I was trying to explain to him baby development in the womb, and he cut me off, ran to each of my friends, and whispered to them that I hated women. This was a grown man doing this. A computer programmer. That is what you can expect from the secular left today when disagreements arise. I sometimes wonder what that man would have thought if I showed him plugging his ears and running around in circles telling everyone what a hater I was, as I was flipping through a biology textbook and trying to show him the pictures.
But that’s exactly what’s different today. Somehow, the left has made us want to form our views based on the feelings of some group of victims. It’s the worst thing in the world to make these special people feel bad, and we have to be “on the right side of history” (their side) without ever having a rational debate about anything. Feelings of being hurt and offended short-circuit debate now. All the Christians, including me, have had to shut down talking about these things at work, because you never know what kind of psychopath you are dealing with now, and how far they will go to sanction you. It’s sad because some of my co-workers want me to talk policy and law and current events with them. But I can’t – I never know who is listening who will be offended. And that’s exactly what the propagandists are counting on. They want their followers to be little childish barbarians who organize into mobs and threaten and coerce, as we see with the Christian businesses. And they have no shame about taking a person’s job, savings, home, etc. They are unable to see we who disagree with them as human beings, so strong is their hatred of reasoned discourse and their feeling of being “offended”. I literally cannot have a conversation with some leftists because they start to shout insults at me the minute they apprehend that I don’t agree with them on some issue.