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The Liberal Mob Has Become What They Hate
When Donald Trump was elected president, you couldn’t open up a newspaper without reading an op-ed by some progressive intellectual about how America was looking a lot like Germany in the 1930s. They warned us about a darkness that was falling on America; about how free speech was in grave danger; they said intolerance was taking over the culture.
Well, it turns out that a lot of what they feared has come to pass since Donald Trump was elected. Free speech is in grave danger; intolerance is in full bloom; Americans are afraid to express an unacceptable opinion for fear of public humiliation or losing their jobs.
But it’s not Donald Trump who is responsible for all that. It’s his left wing enemies, the ones who said they were afraid of a crackdown on speech and ideas in America, who went ahead and launched the very illiberal crackdown they predicted.
Say the wrong thing, give an unacceptable opinion and, if you’re lucky, you will only be publicly shamed. If you’re not, you just might find yourself unemployed.
It happened to the basketball announcer who tweeted, “All Lives Matter.” That’s all it took to get fired.
It happened to the professional soccer player in Los Angeles who got fired after his wife posted a message – in Serbian – that was deemed racist – a message he publicly denounced.
It happened at the New York Times in June, when young, progressive journalists threw a temper tantrum because the paper was going to run an op-ed by a conservative U.S. senator that the woke crowd didn’t like. The opinion editor was forced out for green-lighting an unacceptable opinion piece.
And it happened at the Times again in July, when Bari Weiss, an editor and opinion writer resigned, she says, because the intolerant progressive mob at the Times made her life very difficult simply because they found her views unacceptable. (See my column posted last week on this.)
An executive at Boeing resigned after an employee complained about an essay he wrote 33 years ago, while he was in the military, in which he said he didn’t think women should be in combat – not an unpopular opinion at the time.
The editor in chief of Bon Appetite was forced to resign after staffers at the magazine complained about a Halloween picture posted in 2004 that showed him and his wife dressed in what some have called stereotypical Puerto Rican attire – a baseball cap, a Yankees jacket covering a white undershirt.
On his way out, the editor, Adam Rapoport, issued a pathetic apology, promising his tormentors that he would,“reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and to allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place.”
If you ate one of Bon Appetit’s tasty dishes you might throw it up after reading that mea culpa.
In a spot-on op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Gerard Baker, the paper’s editor at large, writes that, “In classrooms, newsrooms and boardrooms across the country, you can almost hear the silence as people internally check what they say in the knowledge that if they cross the line they’ll be publicly denounced and very likely terminated.”
So who are the real tyrants, the real threats to free speech and democracy? Donald Trump and his (let’s call it) unpleasant, divisive character – or his progressive enemies, the sanctimonious foot soldiers in a culture war that is claiming as victims anyone who dares express an unapproved opinion?
“Yes, the president characteristically reaches for the extreme when he calls journalists ‘the enemy of the people,’ Baker continues. “But we’ve seen where the real threat to freedom lies: a climate of ideological intolerance in our nation’s cultural institutions that suffocates any attempt to question it.”
As a general rule, cultural revolutionaries are best known for their certainty, not their introspection – which may explain why they don’t see the absurd irony in all this, why they’re so clueless about what they themselves have become.
They were the ones warning us about Donald Trump’s America, a place where tyrants would rule and punish anyone with unacceptable ideas.
As a headline over Gerard Baker's essay in the Journal puts it: "His enemies warned there would be an all-out assault on freedom of speech. Then they launched one."