The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Skepticism and Silence: ‘Cancel Culture’ and America’s Growing Political Crisis

Posted on | January 2, 2021 | 1 Comment

One of the things that separates 21st-century Americans from previous generations is a loss of liberty that few acknowledge. In particular, Americans have abandoned their First Amendment right to express their opinions, due to fear of what has become known as “cancel culture.”

Consider, for example, how one-sided the public discussion has been about removing Confederate monuments. In Virginia, for example, a number of communities — including the former Confederate capital of Richmond — have voted to rename Jefferson Davis Highway. What is remarkable about this is the near-total lack of vocal opposition to such projects. Arguments against this destructive iconoclasm are not difficult to make, but people are so afraid of being called “racist” that they are silent; this silence creates the false impression of a unanimous consensus in support of the radical “Black Lives Matter” agenda.

Fear of reprisal — indeed, mob violence — has introduced into our public discourse an element of dishonesty and hypocrisy. The consequence is a loss of trust. When people are compelled to endorse beliefs that they do not actually believe, they become suspicious and skeptical about the sincerity of others. One reason the news media are so widely despised in America is because partisan prejudice so controls what is reported in the media that every intelligent person recognizes their dishonesty:

Most voters suspect the news media buried the Hunter Biden story until after the election and think there’s a good chance that new President Biden was involved in his son’s overseas dealings.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 52% of Likely U.S. Voters think many news organizations ignored the Hunter Biden story to help his father’s presidential campaign. . . .
Fifty-six percent (56%) believe it is likely Joe Biden was consulted about and perhaps profited from his son’s overseas business deals including at least one involving a company in mainland China.

CNN broadcasts lies 24/7, but anyone who calls them out about their falsehoods is subject to denunciation as a “right-wing extremist.” To be identified as such can destroy your career — ask James Damore about his experience at Google — and therefore smart and ambitious young people learn to keep their mouths shut. Open dissent is nearly non-existent among the elite. What are the consequences of this regime?

In a recent paper titled “Keeping Your Mouth Shut: Spiraling Self-Censorship in the United States,” political scientists James L. Gibson and Joseph L. Sutherland reveal that self-censorship among Americans has soared.
In the 1950s, at the height of McCarthyism, 13.4 percent of Americans reported that they “felt less free to speak their mind than they used to.” In 1987, the figure reached 20 percent. By 2019, 40 percent of Americans reported that they didn’t feel free to speak their minds.
This isn’t a partisan issue. “The percentage of Democrats who are worried about speaking their mind is just about identical to the percentage of Republicans who self-censor: 39 percent and 40 percent, respectively,” Gibson and Sutherland report.
What are the consequences of this continuous self-censorship? In his book “The Great Terror,” the British historian Robert Conquest suggested one possible answer. In a passage about Soviet show trials, Conquest was troubled by something: Why did innocent people falsely confess to appalling crimes, even when most Soviet citizens themselves didn’t believe these people when they confessed?
Conquest’s chilling answer: Soviet citizens grew so used to lying that expressing one more falsehood was no big deal. People grew conditioned to accept the ever-changing standards and even to affirm support for them.

Read the whole thing. People are not merely afraid to express their opinions, but have become accustomed to ignoring actual facts.

What are the facts, after all, about police and the black community? Is it true that police racism is endangering black lives? No one has researched this issue more diligently than Heather Mac Donald:

In fact, fatal police shootings constitute a smaller fraction of black homicide deaths than they do white and Hispanic homicide deaths. Three percent of black homicide victims are killed by a cop, compared with 10 percent of white and Hispanic homicide victims killed by a cop. . . .
In the weeks immediately following the Floyd riots, homicides were up by 100 percent in Minneapolis, 200 percent in Seattle, 240 percent in Atlanta, and 182 percent in Chicago. The violence continued over the summer and into the fall. In a sample of 27 big cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Louisville, homicide rates rose an average of 53 percent between June and August.

The facts are not on the side of Black Lives Matter activists. Their rhetoric — demonizing police and blaming white racism for every problem afflicting black Americans — is 180 degree contrary to truth.

“Most of the racial tension in America is fomented by journalists,” Glenn Reynolds sagely observes. Everyone who has paid attention realizes that the death of George Floyd — and Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, etc. — cannot be blamed on “systemic racism.” Confederate monuments were not to blame, nor were statues of Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus or Junipero Serra to blame. America endured a summer of riots, and has suffered a massive increase in violent crime, because CNN and other media organizations decided to incite racial hatred as a means of helping “energize the base” for Democrats in the election.

You might suppose that Republican politicians would notice this, and say something about it, but our GOP “leaders” are either hopelessly stupid or lacking in courage. Or perhaps both. Stupidity and cowardice manifest themselves as an unwillingness to speak the ugly truth, in the mistaken belief that there is safety in silence. Republican politicians seem to agree with Hillary Clinton that GOP voters are “deplorables,” and therefore Republicans will not speak up on behalf of the people who elected them.

Is it any wonder that 40% of Republican voters worry about another civil war? Our political system is breaking down because of the dishonesty of the media, and the cowardice and stupidity of our politicians.

We are expected to believe in the Liberal Myth of Social Progress, that America has become “a more perfect Union” as the result of enlightened progressive reform. Skepticism toward these claims is not permitted, and so we are all required to pretend we believe in “progress.”

But Jefferson Davis could not be reached for comment.



One Response to “Skepticism and Silence: ‘Cancel Culture’ and America’s Growing Political Crisis”

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