Repost: What to Say to the Leftist Gestapo

[Continuing my occasional series of reposts of articles published at the old Intellectual Conservative, which fell victim to evil leftist hackers.]

*

Western Civilization is under the rule of the Left, and persons formally accused of “intolerance” (impiety towards liberalism) face serious persecution if convicted. Indeed, even the accusation can bring significant hardship. What can we do to defend ourselves against the Leftist Gestapo?

By way of illustration, consider the following scenario:

Liberal Commissar (LC) We have a complaint from a person who shall remain anonymous that, in his or her presence, you said things intolerant of [insert one of the following: homosexuals, “undocumented” persons, nonwhites, women, non-Christians, et al.]

Non-Liberal Person  (NLP) Did I?

LC: You must take these proceedings seriously!  It is alleged that you said [insert nonliberal, “intolerant” expression.]  Did you say that?

NLP: I may have said something like that.

LC: We do not permit an atmosphere of intolerance and hate here at [insert name of institution.]  If you said something hateful/intolerant, you must apologize to the victim and to the community.

NLP:  You mean I must apologize for my beliefs?

LC:  Apologize for your words, yes.

NLP:  Hmm…  Apologize… Let me think…  OK, here goes:

[Clears throat]  To whom it may concern:  One of the rules of contemporary America is that you must never be intolerant of [insert name of liberal-favored group.]  On rare occasions I have broken this rule, although never in a personally offensive manner.  I therefore apologize for having broken the rule.

They say that we must all celebrate diversity and be tolerant and nonjudgmental.  OK, I celebrate and tolerate, as ordered.

Also know that I do not apologize for the beliefs I hold in the privacy of my mind.  There is no rule in America that you have to think a certain way.  I’m not telling you what those beliefs are, because they’re none of your business, but I do not apologize for them.  Thank you, and have a nice day.

LC:  This is not an acceptable apology.  You must be sincere!

NLP:  But I am sincere.  I meant every word.  You have no right or authority to tell me what to think or to order me to apologize for my thoughts. This is America, isn’t it?

[End of scenario]

Let’s clarify the meaning of the scenario.  America is currently under the rule of liberalism (the most common name for the worldview of the Left), and one of the rules of the Left is that certain “mascot” groups may not publically be criticized, opposed, or badmouthed.  This rule is, however, applied very selectively.  Only when whites, men or Christians criticize these mascots are those who criticize liable to be punished.

The most important of these “mascot” groups are women, homosexuals, illegal aliens, nonwhites, and non-Christians, although to qualify as liberal mascots these groups must be taken in the liberal sense.  Remember, for example, the Left’s famous identification of non-liberal women as “not real women.”  And the list is extended every time the Left discovers a new way to attack traditional America.

But another sacred rule of the Left is the right of the individual to be an individual, free from coercion by the authorities.  The Left supposedly upholds the right of the individual to believe and do whatever he wants in the privacy of his own home and mind.

It could be argued that freedom of belief is only a vestige of classical liberalism, and that the center of the contemporary Left is equality, not freedom.  After all, today’s semi-totalitarian Left is gaining more power every day to coerce and if current trends continue, the “semi” will soon be dropped, and people will no longer legally be free to disbelieve in liberalism.

But a deeper analysis shows that the totalitarianism of the Left is carried out in the name of equal freedom.  Leftists bully people ultimately for their own good, to hasten the advent of the Truly Just Society in which all beliefs and lifestyles are honored, all feel at home, and universal peace and freedom reign.  Leftists, in their own minds, wield their manifest intolerance to serve the cause of personal freedom.

And therefore the above scenario presents an unsolvable dilemma to the leftist: He must either tolerate private dissent — thereby undermining the leftist enterprise — or he must strike at the root cause of opposition to the Left (personal non-liberal convictions), thereby making himself illiberal in his own eyes.

And even a consistent leftist, although he will have no qualms about attacking privately-held non-liberal beliefs, will hesitate before affirming publically that all his talk about respecting the freedom of the individual conscience is just talk, and that his real position is a totalitarian one: No thoughtcrime allowed.

There is therefore a real possibility that an individual brought before a liberal kangaroo court and charged with “intolerance” stands a chance of being able to retain some of his dignity by invoking his sacred, liberalism-granted right to believe whatever he wants, in the privacy of his own mind.

The author does not offer this scenario as a battle-tested tactic.  He has never used it, nor even heard of its use.  But he offers it as a “thought experiment” and as a potentially useful tactic for avoiding the charge of thoughtcrime, if conditions warrant.  Caveat emptor.

[Postscript:  This tactic might work in America, but probably not in other Western nations. Other nations have less tradition of popular sovereignty or freedom of speech, so non-American leftists probably wouldn’t think twice about crushing our hypothetical Non-Liberal Person.]

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43 thoughts on “Repost: What to Say to the Leftist Gestapo

  1. Alan, if leftists were rational, they would react as you describe to the carefully worded responses that you suggest. Unfortunately, leftists, far from being rational, and far from being indifferent to conscience, do emphatically and irrationally care about what people think; there is no privacy where their (transient) dogmas are at stake. Because leftism is essentially nominalistic, and therefore essentially nihilistic, it can have neither principles nor consistency of action, save in its rabid dedication to the destruction of all revealed truths, all created values, and all hierarchical differences. Leftism is motivated by a super-non-principle. My advice to anyone finding himself in the situation that your scenario supposes would be to engage a lawyer and promise immediately to sue. Meet fire with fire.

    • Tom, if you have had actual encounters with the Gestapo, then I should definitely listen to the voice of experience.

      I suppose it depends a lot on the circumstances. If one is formally charged, one should have legal counsel. But there is also a lot of informal bullying, and it just follows from basic human nature that one can often defend one’s self in such circumstances using nothing more than courage and elan.

  2. Yes, trying to get you to be polite to women and minorities is exactly equivalent to the Gestapo. Next stop the gas chambers!

    Such talk would be offensive if it wasn’t so pitiable. There is really nothing more pathetic than white Christian males whining about how much they are oppressed.

    • Apparently Mr. Morphous is unaware (or does not wish to acknowledge) that people have had their careers seriously harmed for using the word “niggardly,” or for observing that women are less capable than men on average in math and science, or for pointing out that the Bible identifies homosexuality as a sin. That’s what we’re talking about here, not the right to hurl petty insults.

    • I must have skipped over the part where Alan recommended that we invoke “freedom of speech” when we wish to hurl gratuitous insults at individuals different than ourselves. I do remember the phrase “never in a personally offensive manner,” and this may have misled me into thinking the hypothetical chap was, you know, polite.

      But I don’t think you really care about the argument of the post, and I’m not altogether sure that you read it. I think you are angry because Alan used the word Gestapo “in vain” (as we religionists would say), and so far as you are concerned, that is blasphemy.

      What is funny is that you have more or less proven Alan’s point. He used the name of a defunct political police force as a metonym for political police forces in general, and you decide to put the worst possible construction on his meaning, shriek, and then shame, shame, shame. It is really too funny. You’re telling us there are no Liberal Commissars when you are a liberal commissar.

      Did you ask for the Orthosphere beat, or were you just assigned to it?

      • Yes, using Nazi rhetoric like that is somewhat blasphemous. Worse, it is idiotic. It indicates someone who has no sense of proportion; who can’t distinguish minor disagreements from radical evil.

        I am not a “liberal commissar”. Commissars can send you to the gulag for expressing the wrong opinion; I am an anonymous blog commenter with no power whatsoever except that found in words. Once again, you exhibit an extraordinary failure of proportion.

    • I’m a Christian, conservative black woman. That’s a “minority group”. For some mysterious reason it’s not deemed necessary, important or vital to be polite to me.

      But if I were a white man wearing a dress and screaming at conservative black women (this happens offline with unfortunate frequency), it would suddenly be very important that those women be “polite to a minority woman”.

      I would certainly agree that being a Christian in Egypt is a much more challenging life than being a Christian in any part of the Anglosphere. But it’s dishonest to keep up the charade that politeness to white women and black men (which is what everyone actually means by “women and minorities” that invokes the phrase) is even an ancillary goal of PC and privilege discourse.

      The goals are genuflection from non-leftists and low-status leftists as a sop for leftists of various colors, continued consolidation of power by elite whitish leftists (why on earth would they really share access to true power), and the general continued destruction of the moral commons that would provide the supposedly desired politeness.

    • Replying to the heroically pseudonymous Amorphous: In reference to your reply to Mr. Smith — Alan Roebuck did not use “Nazi rhetoric.” For a primer of Nazi rhetoric, see Mein Kampf or Julius Streicher’s newspaper Der Sturmer. Or any “Boycott Israel” petition with ten thousand signatures from members of the genteel, politically correct Modern Language Association. Alan invoked one of the two most notorious secret-police agencies of the late and unlamented twentieth century in a discussion of the star-chamber protocols of our ideological regime. That invocation was entirely appropriate. Alan’s rhetoric is not an instance of “whining.” He described a scenario that happens frequently, and with increasing frequency, and that has happened to me.

      Please adduce any specific instance of Alan’s impoliteness to any woman or any person of African ancestry. Do you know Alan personally? And have you observed such an instance? Has someone female or of African ancestry and known to you personally told you directly that Alan has behaved impolitely to him or her? Have you learned indirectly about such an instance. Give the particulars or shut it up.

      No, you are not a commissar. You are a brave member of the valiant mob, the collectively self-vaunting ninety-nine per cent, and an instinctive informer ready courageously to point your finger at anyone who dissents from the reigning Gnostocracy. Go scrape the OGPU off your Birkenstocks.

      • Yeah sorry, I did not mean “Nazi rhetoric”, I meant employing Nazi terminology as a cheap rhetorical move, which is not the same thing.

        The rest of your comment is irrelevant and/or bluster.

        The law, for the most part, makes it perfectly legal for anyone to express the most repellent opinions in the public square. And for the most part “the left” supports this right. There are plenty of exceptions, but I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU, famous for its defense of the right of Nazis to march through Skokie. If any of you have had legal problems expressing your opinions, I suggest you give them a call.

        But you don’t merely want the legal right to express yourself, you want to express repellent opinions and still be respected. There, the law can’t help you.

        Mr. Roebuck was upset that people expressing certain opinions have had “their career harmed”, which I can believe. It’s a tough world out there, jack. If you aren’t willing to take the consequences of expressing unpopular opinions, you’d be well advised to shut up. The law guarantees your freedom to express yourself, it doesn’t grant immunity from the judgement of society.

      • Fun story:

        This girl I work with walks up to me and starts telling me about her week in a barracks. Some “creepy old dude” kept hitting on her all week. I asked, “Would it have been OK if he was a hot young dude?” She flipped the F out. Guess who our boss was? A feminist divorcee baby boomer who had only been there for 3 months but already didn’t like me for some inexplicable reason. She showed a picture of a meeting of execs from the 50s, all men in the woods around a campfire drinking alcohol. Her dad was one of the men. Her comment out loud to the whole office for the picture was, “All men, of course.” *Serious Frown* (Interestingly, the 4 execs and their boss happened to all be women at the time of her hiring.)

        So how did I react to this girl telling me about her weekend? I begged for forgiveness. Groveled. Told her some distracting stories about the time I got a girl fired for sexual harassment. (Yes, she was hot.) Somehow I made it out of there. This was the same white girl who said she wouldn’t vote for Romney because we didn’t need another rich white guy in there.

        I guess I should have come up with some lines like Alan’s. Something really sarcastic? I think I should have just told her that if she didn’t like my comment then she is disinvited from ever telling me about her weekend, or anything else personal, ever again.

      • Okay, Mr. Anonymous, tell us, really, what the particulars are that indict Alan Roebuck, or me, or anyone else who contributes to The Orthosphere, as a perpetrator of insulting speech — against anyone. You are simply making Alan’s argument, as J. M. Smith noted. Liberals, like you, arbitrarily define what is insulting or offensive, and when called to give evidence, they claim, as you have, that evidence is “irrelevant,” and that the requirement of it is “bluster.” So much for procedure.

        When I was called into a star chamber, I contacted the ACLU. They never responded to me, but, as you note, they were happy to argue the case for Nazis in Skokie. Be sure to send them a check so that they can continue their good work.

        Give us the particulars or shut it up.

      • Where did I accuse any individual of insulting speech? I thought you were some kind of academic; your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired. You, on the other hand, are accusing me of all kinds of stuff, like being an informer.

        Sorry the ACLU couldn’t help you; if you give the specifics of your case that would at least make this conversation about something specific.

        “Yes, using Nazi rhetoric like that is somewhat blasphemous. Worse, it is idiotic.”

        Tell us in what circumstance, exactly, Alan used “Nazi Rhetoric,” or shut it up.

        “Yes, trying to get you to be polite to women and minorities is exactly equivalent to the Gestapo. Next stop the gas chambers!”

        Tell us when and where, and specifically how, Alan Roebuck has been impolite to women and minorities, or shut it up. Tell us when and where Alan Roebuck urged that anyone be sent to a gas chamber, or shut it up. (TFB)

      • Mr. Morphous, do you agree with my hypothetical “Gestapo agent” that in America, people are not allowed to say that homosexual acts are sin, or to say that men are significantly better than women, on average, in math and science, or to say certain words that minorities deem intolerably insulting, and so on? That’s what my scenario was about.

        And if they are allowed to say these things, that would not just mean that it is permitted by law to say them. If private, non-governmentally-affiliated leftist thugs are permitted to harass people who speak these thoughts, then they are de facto illegal despite there being no formal laws against holding them. That’s the situation we have currently in much of America.

        So, Mr. Morphous, do you agree with the Leftist bullies that those who say these things, and therefore hold these beliefs, ought to be punished in one way or another?

  3. Well, you seem to be saying it without being sent to a concentration camp, so there’s that. There are over 4 million Google hits on “homosexuality is a sin”.

    “If private, non-governmentally-affiliated leftist thugs are permitted to harass people who speak these thoughts, ” — better unpack that. What does “harass” mean? If it means just calling those people names, then of course that too is permitted speech. If it is private companies deciding they would not hire bigots, then that is generally also legal, unless you want to get bigots declared a protected class under the civil rights laws, which would be a bit ironic. What kind of harassment are you speaking of?

    • a.morphous, you must work somewhere there are no women or minorities. Do you even work at all? Have you ever? Harass, under the gestapo today, means whatever miss wants it to mean. She literally is the decider. The standard. She can even change her mind several months later and get you written up for talking about hunting with a buddy at work where she could hear it. This happened to me. She asked us to stop talking about hunting because she didn’t like it, and my buddy and I said, “Ok, sure.” 3 months later they write me up.

      • Actually we just had anti-harassment training where I work, which was kind of a joke, but it seemed to boil down to “don’t be a raging asshole”. Apparently this is something that for some people (a) needs to be said and (b) is quit difficult for them to put into practice.

        I can believe that to the extent this empowers women and others to complain, that power could be abused. But the power it is intended to balance out was quite definitely and commonly abused. So no, I can’t get too upset by it.

      • Good feedback. Here’s a thought. How many trainings have you been to that tell you not to be so mean and offensive? About a million, right? How many have you been to that tell you not to be such a big pussy all the time? About none, right? I went to one and a half such classes in my entire career so far. One such class was called The US Marine Corps, and the other half-measure was somewhere in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (link to follow).

        One part of the 7 Habits class talked about a man on a train who was going nuts watching some little kids run amok, and he had an amazing paradigm change whereby he realized that the children and their parents really had no impact on his own mental state.

        http://www.naturalhealthstrategies.com/health-paradigm-shift-03-the-power.html

        Another part of the class discussed a woman who took care of the elderly. She had a verbally abusive patient that made her sick and sleepless, until she realized that he didn’t actually have any control over her own emotions.

        That’s it. How much money can EEO save by spending more time teaching people how to STFU at work, and quit acting like a bitch?

      • Earl, oddly enough, I sort of agree with you. It would be better if people could defend themselves or not be bothered by things that offend them, rather than running to the authorities. But there are reasons why it doesn’t work that way.

        I’d agree with you more if you didn’t undermine your own case by larding up your speech with insultingly sexist terminology. Hopefully you don’t do that at work.

        Also oddly: I am surprised to find this point of view here (women should just be one of the boys). That is sort of a dumb-liberal-libertarian point of view which ignores the facts of real gender differences, not something I would expect to find here. A view (whether traditionalist or just realist) which recognizes that women are different and that there are existing power imbalances to address, also recognizes the need for changes in institutional rules and simple manners to accomodate the changing social realities. So, while some of my libertarian co-workers expressed similar sentiments (essentially, that women should just “man up”), it makes less sense here.

    • I presume you remember the Lawrence Summers affair: Summers, then President of Harvard, made the commonsense and obvious observation that man, on average, are better than women at math and science. He was made the target of an intense campaign of vilification, and eventually resigned as Harvard’s president. His career probably suffered in other ways too.

      Was Summers treated unfairly, or do you agree, at least in general, with his enemies?

      • Summers resigned because he was (a) made himself generally unpopular with the faculty, not a good thing to do for a university president, and (b) he embroiled Harvard in a conspiracy to defraud that got it sued successfully by the US Government. He seems to have survived nicely so I would not waste any tears on him.

      • That’s not the point. The point is: Was it proper to attack him and injure him because he said things that feminists hate?

    • If it is private companies deciding they would not hire bigots, then that is generally also legal,

      You are getting close to it here. Now ask why private companies decide that they will not hire “bigots.” It’s perfectly straightforward why. When it comes time to defend themselves against a discrimination lawsuit, the utterances and especially writings of their employees can come out in discovery. If Sally claims that she was the victim of sex discrimination, and Bob, her boss, belongs to Women Don’t Belong in the Workplace United, then Bob’s company loses the lawsuit.

      The existence of non-discrimination laws effectively makes it mandatory for private employers to punish their employees for what otherwise would be protected speech. The government does not punish the speech directly. Instead, the government makes it mandatory for private firms to punish speech.

      Currently, lefties generally engage in just the dance you are engaged in. They alternate between pretending not to understand that non-discrimination law inevitably violates free speech and saying that it is a good thing that it violates free speech. I predict that they will drop the former half of the dance in the next decade or two.

  4. I am not even sure what the “New Left” really believes in these days. For its adherents the whole movement seems to be one large exercise in therapeutic self-affirmation. For the New Left the pretense of “Social Justice” has long been eclipsed by any and all issues touching on sexuality. The New Left treats working people much like Neo-Cons treat “values voters”- they are more than happy come election time to take your donations but after that they will sell you and yours down the river.

    America could sure use some kind of social-democratic party that espouses Christian teachings coupled with pro-family, pro-worker economic policies.

    • I am not even sure what the “New Left” really believes in these days

      Well, you could start by dropping the assumption that there is a single unified Left and they all believe the same thing. It’s like saying “I wonder what religious people believe these days?” (and the term “New Left” hasn’t been current for like 40 years)

      As for working people, there is plenty of support and coverage of the labor movement on the left (eg here is some coverage of the recent unionization attempt at a VW plant in Tennessee, which disastrously failed, but it wasn’t the fault of the left)

      • assumption

        I think my comment presupposes that I don’t think the Left is a monolith.

        As for working people, there is plenty of support and coverage

        I don’t doubt it. But can we also admit that that the democrat party and mainstream left has done little to nothing for working class people in recent years? That many initiatives supposedly pro-labor democrats have supported over the years have actually been disastrous for workers?

      • I don’t know what you mean by the “mainstream left”. The Democratic party is pretty much a tool of big money just like the Republicans, but they put slightly more lip service and actual service into addressing the needs of the non-rich, so still vastly preferable. So I agree, the interests of working Americans are not well represented in our politics. Elizabeth Warren may be the best counterexample.

      • I don’t know what you mean by the “mainstream left”.

        This is a nominalistic (non-)response. There is such a thing as the mainstream left; they and their positions can be identified. Even if some leftists/liberals disagree on certain points, there is still an intellectual consistency to leftism/liberalism. To rephrase it, liberalism exists, as Prof. Roebuck demonstrated in his essay Liberalism 101.

    • If lying about being an ethnic minority to get a job due to being completely unqualified for a job otherwise, taking credit (and money) for writing you didn’t do and fobbed off on underlings, and failing to report six-figure speaking fees on your taxes while claiming the rich aren’t taxed enough are typical problems of working Americans, then I guess Elizabeth Warren is a great example of speaking to their issues and supporting their views.

  5. In one respect the thought police are paying conservatives a compliment, since they assume that conservatives share their impulse to activism. For instance, if a conservative believes that most women realize their telos as a wife and mother, the thought police assume he must be doing something to force women into that role. If a conservative disapproves of homosexual marriage, the thought police assume that he must be doing something to torment and harass homosexuals. The thought police really don’t understand how lazy and unprincipled we are, how averse to political activism.

    Let’s face it, we’re political passivists. We remonstrate, but we do not demonstrate. D.H. Lawrence used to criticize what he called “sex in the head.” Our political passivism might be called “dissent in the head.” Now it may very well be that dissent, like sex, is confined to the head because every alternate outlet is blocked by a snarling Cerberus of political correctness, but my guess is that little would change if these watchdogs were removed. Passivism is inherent to conservatism.

    • What the Left is doing is projection.

      The Left is engaged in a large-scale, ongoing, persistent effort to achieve the total annihilation of their political enemies. They naturally assume the Right is doing the same thing — which, among other things, gives the Left a convenient sense of satisfaction and self-justification, since “we’re only doing to them what they are trying to do to us.”

  6. I have a friend who was in a music program at a university a few years back. One of the music teachers announced that he was transgendering and was doing whatever that entails. The audience gave a standing ovation. My friend and several others declined to stand and applaud. They didn’t boo or even roll their eyes as far as I know, but apparently he was observed and he was called in to a committee meeting and confronted about his “insensitive” behavior and threatened with discipline if he didn’t attend sensitivity training classes. Well, he was on the youngish side at the time and didn’t want to jeopardize his academics, so he capitulated. All for simply refusing to join a standing ovation.

    As I’ve posted on my blog before, while I don’t think concentration camps are around the corner, I do believe what is upon us is a modern version of the Test Acts that England had where if a Catholic wanted a government position higher than Town Dog Catcher, he had to go before an official and formally renounce the doctrine of Transubstantiation. The modern version will be directed at anyone (Catholic or not) who holds to true marriage and will be particularly sleazy because employers will act as a proxy agent for the government. We can expect the Left to whistle and twiddle their thumbs and say well, gee whiz, if you won’t abide by company policies, you shouldn’t expect to keep a job. So no concentration camps, but it raises the question of just how bad does it have to get before progressives acknowledge the point?

    • Hey Scott, I’ve been meaning to ask you…whatever happened to your blog?
      Did you shut it down or something? Or are you making it a private affair from now on?

      Regardless, I’ll miss your blog, it was interesting. Take care!

    • Perfect. Modern liberalism is a protection racket, and like all protection rackets, businesses voluntarily pay the protection fee because the cops are crooked. This doesn’t mean the arrangement itself is voluntary, much less ideal, much less good. It’s also good to see leftists dropping their usual independent-thought horse crap and finally acknowledging that they demand total conformity to their vision of the good.

    • They won’t ever acknowledge the point. They are not in favor of freedom of conscience and never were. They were in favor of it, instrumentally, while they were in the minority, and, for now, they feel the need to preserve rhetorical continuity with that prior stance.

      Nobody but a few crazy people are really in favor of freedom of conscience. This is because to believe in freedom of conscience you have to believe that it is possible for the state to be neutral on fundamental matters. It isn’t; therefore, it isn’t.

      • Indeed Bill. This was confirmed for me when in one discussion the person gassed on about how persecution was just right-wing paranoia, but in the same breath declared that if persecution happens, we deserve it. In other words, he was in favor of persecution, just not ready to say so yet.

      • Nobody but a few crazy people are really in favor of freedom of conscience.

        Good point, Unfortunately most conservatives still religiously insist on this principle except of course when they condemn and marginalize anyone who’s too critical of liberalism.

      • Freedom of conscience is a lot like justice, nobody who values a smoothly or apparently smoothly functioning society is real in favor of it and almost all would be shocked and horrified if it became the norm.

  7. Pingback: Joseph Shaw on the Eich affair | The Orthosphere

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