In an interview with satellite radio host Ron Bennington (whose show and interviews I highly recommend), comedian Colin Quinn offered his opinions on political correctness and its deleterious effect on standup comedy, observations of the fear that all the Democratic Presidential candidates have of the “Twitter mob” and how that fear has shaped their words, positions, and promises, and much more. If you have access to SiriusXM on-demand, it’s worth an hour of your time.

The money quote:

A few people decided, “you don’t see what’s happening, we’ll see it for you.”

The people who “see it for us,” who are the aforementioned Twitter mob, drive the political narratives promulgated by the New York Times and its media minions. They deep-mine people’s histories and social-media archaeology for political ammunition. They de-platform dissenting voices through bullying and intimidation tactics. They get those whose opinions they don’t like disinvited from college speaking engagements. They created the “cancel culture” that seeks to destroy the careers of those who don’t meekly submit to their censorious demands.

These are the people who cannot simply not watch a comedy special that they’ve heard contains things that will offend them. These are the people who cannot let others have a debate on a topic on which they’ve established their “correct” opinion. These are the people who won’t simply take their business elsewhere or engage in a peaceful protest against a storefront whose owners won’t bake a cake or craft invitations for a gay wedding.

They choose to use force, whether it be direct intimidation, character or reputation destruction, legal harassment, or government legislation to bend others to their will.

And, as Quinn noted, they are “few.” Last year, The Atlantic published an article that reported only about eight percent of Americans self-identify as “progressive activists.”

They have, sadly, managed to dominate the dialogue, to prompt countless individuals in the public eye, countless businesses big and small, and countless politicians to engage in defensive actions and postures, to filter that which they say or write, to self-censor to the point of silence, and to apologize profusely, no matter whether they agree or not, if they are unfortunate enough to catch the eye of these scolds. The rest of us don’t get to have an opinion.

This is not a “marketplace of ideas,” this is not the free exchange of opinions, this is not debate, this is not an evolution towards consensus, this is not swaying others via strength of argument and irrefutability of logic.

This is not free speech, no matter that they justify it as such.

This is thuggery, the heckler’s veto, and the roots from which totalitarian states like the Soviet Union and Red China. This is Orwell’s Oceania, and the progressive doppelgänger of Margaret Atwood’s Gilead (that, farcically, they warned as the outcome of a Trump presidency). This is a few people seeking to force everyone else to think as they do (or pretend to). It’s wrapped up in righteousness and white-knight-ism, and it’s peddled with notions of respect and courtesy and proper treatment of others. All that is a veneer, because those notions are abandoned with riotous fervor whenever advantage can be gained. That advantage often goes beyond silencing others’ speech, to personal and career destruction. These people would, if they could, jail you for saying the wrong words, having the wrong opinions, or criticizing the utopian State they think they’d create. I’ve met people who’d prosecute someone for using the n-word, if they could.

States that jail political dissidents don’t spontaneously come into existence, like the virtual particles predicted by quantum theory. They emerge from do-gooder political movements (often led by cynical power-seekers) and they are wrapped up in exactly the class warfare rhetoric being peddled by our social justice warriors. And, make no mistake, our “we’ll see it for you” taste-makers will not be content merely with total success in reshaping language, discourse, and opinion. Their power-lust will continue no matter how much they accrue. This is why it’s vital to resist the PC thought-police even when you happen to have an an analogous opinion. It is vital to protect others’ liberty to think and speak as they wish, even when we disagree with those thoughts and words. We can and should challenge opinions we disagree with, but we must do so in a way that does not intimidate or punish, lest we become the selfsame monsters that are growing in our midst.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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