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1984

News

Classic Books

Recommended Links

Animal Farm

Brave New World

The True Believer

Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism

The Good Soldier Svejk Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism  Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Big Uncle is Watching You The Irony of American History The Power Elite

The Deep State

Winner-Take-All Politics

Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

The Rise of the New Global Elite

Parkinson Law

The Peter Principle

Humor


Introduction

 

Adapted from Wikipedia articles Nineteen Eighty-Four and George Orwell 

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. George Orwell know something about propaganda. He participated in Spanish Civil War and during the Second World war worked at BBC.  That's why 1984 despite viewed typically as a depiction of the USSR and similar communist regimes is actually much deeper and is a novel that researched ultimate limits of propaganda (aka brainwashing). Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and The adjective Orwellian connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past.

Many of  his neologisms, such as cold war, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, doublethink, and thoughtcrime became common English words. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone. Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war, in his essay, "You and the Atom Bomb", published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:

We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham's theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications;— this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of 'cold war' with its neighbours.[122]

As a yong man George Orwell has first hand experience with the security apparatus of British empire and its intelligence agencies. Working as an imperial policeman In Birma  gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon.  A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Blair was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, "was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in 'very high-flown Burmese.'"[27]   Later, he wrote that he felt guilty about his role in the work of empire and he "began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed ..." In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly The People of the Abyss), Blair started to explore the poorer parts of London.

In 1927 he  resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays "A Hanging" (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant" (1936). At the outbreak of the Second World War, Orwell's wife Eileen started working in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information in central London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. In August 1941, Orwell  obtained "war work" when he was taken on full-time by the BBC's Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links.  In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years. In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews[81] and on 3 December 1943 started his regular personal column, "As I Please", usually addressing three or four subjects in each. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the US, on 26 August 1946. In March 1949, while in sanatorium due to deteriorating health, he was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell's list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs.[95] In sanatorium Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim. Early on the morning of 21 January 1950, an artery burst in Orwell's lungs, killing him at age 46.[97]

As he wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,

When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens's photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry—in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.

George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject.[106] Orwell's writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a the second classic dystopian novel by George Orwell (the first was Animal Farm). It was published in 1949 several month before his death.  Orwell managed to predict two negative development after WWII:  the emergence of the  National Security State and stratification of the society into several "parallel" strata with low upward mobility. With the upper strata ( top 0.01% ) possessing almost absolute power over the rest of society by controlling the governing party. He predicted 24x7 total survellance (see Snowden revelations) long before technical capabilities for this were available and only first steps toward it made in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and wartime Britain.  He essentially predicted the situation "Privacy is Dead – Get Over It" that exists today.

His second major achievement is that he predicted emergence of the states,  where the truth didn't exist as such, but is replaced by "artificial reality" created by propaganda picture and systemic, all encompassing brainwashing. The total control of the global mass media has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white.

Truth is what the "Big Brother" said. Rewriting of history is systematic and all-encompassing, to fit the current political needs. Much like in most modern states. The state depicted is a totalitarian one and reminds more Nazi dictatorship, Latin American Junta with death squads, Stalinist Russia or Maoist China then modern Western states, as Orwell did not live to experience Inverted Totalitarism.

But the ideology of inverted totalitarism and its attempt to control the discourse via controlling the language and creation of artificial reality including artificial history was predicted brilliantly.

The book was written near the author death, and that probably partially explains the uncompromising stance that the author demonstrated in the book. Orwell wrote most of it in rather short period of time on the Scottish island of Jura, from 1947 to 1948.

The Last Man in Europe was one of the original titles for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between The Last Man in Europe and Nineteen Forty-Eight.[11] Warburg suggested changing the main title to a more commercial one. Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been either banned or legally challenged as subversive or ideologically corrupting, like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932); We (1924), by Yevgeny Zamyatin; Kallocain (1940), by Karin Boye; and Fahrenheit 451 (1951), by Ray Bradbury.

 It was published on 8 June 1949, six months before the author death (21 January 1950). By 1989, it had been translated into sixty-five languages, more than any other novel written in English at the time.

In 2005 the novel was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. It was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editor's list, and 6 on the reader's list.[5] In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Literary scholars consider the Russian dystopian novel We, by Zamyatin, to have strongly influenced Nineteen Eighty-Four.[16][17]

The novel demonstrates stark predictions in several  aspects. In the novel England is now the province of Oceania called Airstrip One. Oceania with the center in the former USA is in perpetual war with other two global states and its alliances are constantly shifting. 

The total control of population

The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language, and the author's surname are often invoked as a warning against excessive control and intrusion by the state,  made possible by modern technical means and computers.

The adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia characterized by total surveillance that crashes any resistance, compete government control and subjugation of the 99% of the people in the interest  of the top 1% (the elite).

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA  (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):
In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Omnipresent government surveillance, public mind control, fake leaders

Surviving population is suffering from omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc) which is run under the control of a privileged Inner Party elite (the term which instantly reminds me the term nomenclatura) that persecutes all individualism and independent thinking as thoughtcrimes.

With NSA washing our every step we can say that modern technology exceed the dystopian picture provided by the book. Surveillance in modern societies is really omnipresent due to the fact that most communications are now electronic. As for social system the only replacement that reality made to the book is that this new political system is called neoliberalism. See Henry Giroux On the Rise of Neoliberalism As a Political Ideology . Other then we can state that omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control rules the day.

After Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. As one Amazon reviewer put it:"Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual..."

In November 2011, the United States government argued before the US Supreme Court that it wants to continue utilizing GPS tracking of individuals without first seeking a warrant. In response, Justice Stephen Breyer questioned what this means for a democratic society by referencing Nineteen Eighty-Four. Justice Breyer asked

 "If you win this case, then there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States. So if you win, you suddenly produce what sounds like 1984...."[59]

The tyranny described in the book is headed by Big Brother, the quasi-divine Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. Much like modern heads of states, who are essentially placeholders, actors hired for the ruling financial oligarchy clans. Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. We can say in the name of democracy ;-). 

In this respect too the reality provided to be amazingly close to the fiction. Obama is often described as " a pawn of the moneyed interests before he even took office.  He didn't sell out;  he was a well engineered product with a well targeted brand, selected and groomed for it. " Actually it is interesting to compare the picture of political system in the book with the picture of the political system provided in the post Why The Democrats Got Their Clocks Cleaned (Jesse's Café Américain, Nov 09, 2014)

The Democrats failed to make the most of a great moment in history because there was no Democrat brave enough, independent enough, to energize their party around the mandate for reform given to them overwhelmingly by the people in 2008.

Remember when everyone thought that the Republican party was dead, completely and utterly repudiated in 2008?  And how they have risen from the dead!

Obama was a pawn of the moneyed interests before he even took office.  He didn't sell out;  he was a well engineered product with a well targeted brand, selected and groomed for it.  

Less a politician than a thoroughly modern manager, Obama's primary objectives are to please his shareholders, whomever those may be.   And they were certainly not the people who voted for him.   He is not any kind of progressive or reformer once one scratches the surface.

That became clear in his first 100 days with his appointments.  And in his defense, the Democrats on the whole have been throwing their constituents under the bus for the sake of Wall Street money since 1992.  So Obama was not so much a betrayer as a fake, a member of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic party.  He is always fumbling, and making excuses, but at the end of the day, he did as he was told. 

The Democratic leadership has tried to bridge a gap between representing the people and fattening their wallets, and have ended up pleasing few.  They won't become the party of the moneyed interests because they cannot sell out more deeply than their counterparts.  And as for their traditional constituency in the working class, the only rejoinder is, 'the other guys are worse.'  And the other guys say the same thing to their base about them.  And no one is getting served, except the one percent.

I think that the 'other guys' are going to be worse, and people are just going to have to see how bad things can get, again, before they can get any better. 

From an FDR 1936 campaign speech in Madison Square Garden:
"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

The concept of Ministry of Truth and modern MSMs

The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record always supports the current party line. Smith is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.  His daily task is revising historical records to make the past conform to the ever-changing party line and deleting references to unpersons, people who have been "vaporised", i.e. not only killed by the state, but denied existence even in history or memory.

The picture of modern MSM and the level of brainwashing is less intrusive but no less effective, and journalists proved to be willing accomplices of the regime (Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few)

The smokescreen of propaganda is so think that it is impossible for common people of discern the reality.

They live in artificial reality.

Orwell's invented language, Newspeak, satirizes hypocrisy and evasion by the state. For example the names of the  the ministries became classic and nicely illustrate the concept: 

Many of its terms and concepts became common words in English and other languages. The effect of Nineteen Eighty-Four on the English language is so profound that there is a large set of works that were derived directly from the novel, but now entered common usage.

Among them the concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, the Thought Police, thoughtcrime, unperson, memory hole (oblivion), doublethink (simultaneously holding and believing contradictory beliefs) and Newspeak (ideological language) have become common phrases for denoting totalitarian authority. Doublespeak and groupthink are both deliberate elaborations of doublethink, while the adjective "Orwellian" denotes totalitarian state with omnipresent propaganda machine engaged in not stop brainwashing of citizens. It became apt depiction of official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past by a modern neoliberal state with the "Oceiania" as the most prominent of them.  The practice of ending words with "-speak" (e.g. corporate-speak) is also stems from the novel. For example Doublespeak.

The social  system

In describing the future social system George Orwell was strongly influence by the book The Managerial Revolution. This book  written in 1941 book in former Trotskyite James Burnham  described World War II as the first in a series of conflicts between managerial powers for control over three great industrial regions of the world—North America, Europe, and East Asia. The geographic scheme and condition of perpetual war are reflected in Orwell’s novel by the ceaseless struggles between Oceania (America with its Atlantic and Pacific outposts), Eurasia (Russian-dominated Europe), and Eastasia (the Orient). The Managerial Revolution itself appears in 1984 as Emmanuel Goldstein’s forbidden book The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

The Managerial Revolution, attempted to theorize about the future of world capitalism based upon observations of its development in the interwar period. Burnham argued  that capitalism was a temporary form of organization currently being transformed into some non-socialist but Totalitarian rule, strongly influenced by national socialism.

The events depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four are set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental super-states that divided the world among themselves after a global war. Most of the action takes place in London, the "chief city of Airstrip One", the Oceanic province that "had once been called England or Britain". Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption "BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU", dominate the city, while the ubiquitous telescreen (transceiving television set) monitors the private and public lives of the populace.

The social  system of Oceania consists of three classes:

As the government, the Party controls the population with four ministries: the Ministry of Peace (Minipax), which wages wars, the Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty), which deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation), the Ministry of Love (Miniluv), which deals with law and order (torture), the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which deals with propaganda (news, entertainment, education and art)

The Plot

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984:

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"; yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the régime’s continual rewriting and manipulation of history. His memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was absorbed into Oceania. Simultaneously, the USSR conquered mainland Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia. The third superstate, Eastasia, comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The three superstates wage perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, forming and breaking alliances as is convenient.

From his childhood (1949–53), Winston remembers the Atomic Wars fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America. It is unclear to him what occurred first: the Party's victory in the civil war, the US annexation of the British Empire, or the war in which Colchester was bombed. However, his strengthening memories and the story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first (the Smiths took refuge in a tube station), followed by civil war featuring "confused street fighting in London itself", and the societal postwar reorganisation, which the Party retrospectively calls "the Revolution".

Oceanian society: Big Brother atop, the Party in middle, the Proles at bottom, in 1984. The story of Winston Smith presents the world in the year 1984, after a global atomic war, via his perception of life in Airstrip One (England or Britain), a province of Oceania, one of the world's three superstates; his intellectual rebellion against the Party and illicit romance with Julia; and his consequent imprisonment, interrogation, torture, and re-education by the Thinkpol in the Miniluv.

Principal characters in the book are inston Smith—the protagonist, is a phlegmatic everyman. Julia—Winston's lover, is a covert "rebel from the waist downwards" who publicly espouses Party doctrine as a member of the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Big Brother—the dark-eyed, mustachioed embodiment of the Party who rule Oceania. O'Brien—a member of the Inner Party who poses as a member of The Brotherhood, the counter-revolutionary resistance, in order to deceive, trap, and capture Winston and Julia. Emmanuel Goldstein—a former leader of the Party, the counter-revolutionary author of The Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, and leader of the Brotherhood. He is the symbolic Enemy of the State—the national nemesis who ideologically unites the people of Oceania with the Party, especially during the Two Minutes Hate, and other fearmongering by the Inner Party. It is unknown whether he is real or a fabrication of the Party itself for the purpose of propaganda.

Winston Smith

Winston Smith is an intellectual, a member of the Outer Party (middle class), who lives in the ruins of London, and who grew up in some long post-World War II England, during the revolution and the civil war after which the Party assumed power. At some point his parents and sister disappeared, and he was placed in an orphanage for training and subsequent employment as an Outer Party civil servant. He lives an austere existence in a one-room flat on a subsistence diet of black bread and synthetic meals washed down with Victory-brand gin. He keeps a journal of negative thoughts and opinions about the Party and Big Brother, which, if uncovered by the Thought Police, would warrant death. The flat has an alcove, beside the telescreen, where he apparently cannot be seen, and thus believes he has some privacy, while writing in his journal: "Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death." The telescreens (in every public area, and the quarters of the Party's members), have hidden microphones and cameras. These devices, alongside informers, permit the Thought Police to spy upon everyone and so identify anyone who might endanger the Party's régime; children, most of all, are indoctrinated to spy and inform on suspected thought-criminals – especially their parents.

At the Minitrue, Winston is an editor responsible for historical revisionism, concording the past to the Party's ever-changing official version of the past; thus making the government of Oceania seem omniscient. As such, he perpetually rewrites records and alters photographs, rendering the deleted people as "unpersons"; the original documents are incinerated in a "memory hole." Despite enjoying the intellectual challenges of historical revisionism, he becomes increasingly fascinated by the true past and tries to learn more about it.

Julia

One day, at the Minitrue, as Winston assists a woman who has fallen down, she surreptitiously hands him a folded paper note; later, at his desk he covertly reads the message: I LOVE YOU. The woman is "Julia," a young dark haired mechanic who repairs the Minitrue novel-writing machines. Before that occasion, Winston had loathed the sight of her, since women tended to be the most fanatical supporters of Ingsoc. He particularly loathed her because of her membership in the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League. Winston fantasises about making love to her but he would want to kill her at the moment of climax. Additionally, Julia was the type of woman he believed he could not attract: young and puritanical. Nonetheless, his hostility towards her vanishes upon reading the message. As it turns out, Julia is a thoughtcriminal too, and hates the Party as much as he does.

Cautiously, Winston and Julia begin a love affair, at first meeting in the country, at a clearing in the woods, then at the belfry of a ruined church, and afterwards in a rented room atop an antiques shop in a proletarian neighbourhood of London. There, they think themselves safe and unobserved, because the rented bedroom has no apparent telescreen, but, unknown to Winston and Julia, the Thought Police were aware of their love affair.

Later, when the Inner Party member O'Brien approaches him, Winston believes he is an agent of the Brotherhood, a secret, counter-revolutionary organisation meant to destroy the Party. The approach opens a secret communication between them; and, on pretext of giving him a copy of the latest edition of the Dictionary of Newspeak, O'Brien gives Winston the Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, by Emmanuel Goldstein, the infamous and publicly reviled leader of the Brotherhood. The Book explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, and how the régime of the Party can be overthrown by means of the political awareness of the Proles.

The Thought Police capture Winston and Julia in their bedroom and deliver them to the Ministry of Love for interrogation. Charrington, the shop keeper who rented the room to them, reveals himself as an officer of the Thought Police. O'Brien also reveals himself to be a Thought Police leader, and admits to luring Winston and Julia into a trap used by the Thought Police to root out suspected thoughtcriminals. After a prolonged regimen of systematic beatings and psychologically draining interrogation, O'Brien, now Smith's interrogator, tortures Winston with electroshock, showing him how, through controlled manipulation of perception (e.g. seeing whatever number of fingers held up that the Party demands one should see, whatever the apparent reality, i.e. 2+2=5), Winston can "cure" himself of his "insanity" – his manifest hatred for the Party. In long, complex conversations, he explains the Inner Party's motivation: complete and absolute power, mocking Winston's assumption that it was somehow altruistic and "for the greater good." Asked if the Brotherhood exists, O'Brien replies that this is something Winston will never know; it will remain an unsolvable quandary in his mind. During a torture session, his imprisonment in the Ministry of Love is explained: "There are three stages in your reintegration... There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance," i.e. of the Party's assertion of reality.

Confession and betrayal

In the first stage of political re-education, Winston Smith admits to and confesses to crimes he did and did not commit, implicating anyone and everyone, including Julia. In the second stage, O'Brien makes Winston understand that he is rotting away; by this time he is little more than skin and bones. Winston counters that: "I have not betrayed Julia"; O'Brien agrees, Winston had not betrayed Julia because he "had not stopped loving her; his feelings toward her had remained the same." One night, in his cell, Winston awakens, screaming: "Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!" O'Brien rushes into the cell and sends him to Room 101, the most feared room in the Ministry of Love, where resides each prisoner's worst fear, which is forced upon him or her. In Room 101 is Acceptance, the final stage of the political re-education of Winston Smith, whose primal fear of rats is invoked when a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face. As the rats are about to reach Winston’s face, he shouts: "Do it to Julia!" thus betraying her, and relinquishing his love for her. At torture’s end, upon accepting the doctrine of the Party, Winston now loves Big Brother and is reintegrated into Oceania society.

Re-encountering Julia

Some time after being restored to orthodox thought, Winston encounters Julia in a park. It turns out that Julia has endured a similar ordeal to Winston, and has also been purged of rebellion. Each admits betraying the other:

"I betrayed you," she said baldly. "I betrayed you," he said. She gave him another quick look of dislike. "Sometimes," she said, "they threaten you with something – something you can't stand up to, can't even think about. And then you say, 'Don't do it to me, do it to somebody else, do it to so-and-so.' And perhaps you might pretend, afterwards, that it was only a trick and that you just said it to make them stop and didn't really mean it. But that isn't true. At the time when it happens you do mean it. You think there's no other way of saving yourself and you're quite ready to save yourself that way. You want it to happen to the other person. You don't give a damn what they suffer. All you care about is yourself." "All you care about is yourself," he echoed. "And after that, you don't feel the same toward the other person any longer." "No," he said, "you don't feel the same."

Throughout, a song recurs in Winston's mind: Under the spreading chestnut tree I sold you and you sold me— The lyrics are an adaptation of ‘Go no more a-rushing’, a popular English campfire song from the 1920s, that was a popular success for Glenn Miller in 1939.

Conversion

An alcoholic Winston sits by himself in the Chestnut Tree Cafe, still troubled by false memories which he is convinced are indeed false. He tries to put them out of his mind when suddenly a news bulletin announces Oceania's decisive victory over Eurasia for control of Africa. A raucous celebration begins outside, and Winston imagines himself a part of it. As he looks up in admiration at a portrait of Big Brother, Winston realises that "the final, indispensable, healing change" within his own mind had only been completed at just that moment. He engages in a "blissful dream" in which he offers a full, public confession of his crimes and is executed. He feels that all is well now that he has at last achieved a victory over himself, ending his previous "stubborn, self-willed exile" from the love of Big Brother — a love Winston now happily returns.

Secondary characters

Aaronson, Jones, and Rutherford—Former members of the Inner Party whom Winston vaguely remembers as among the original leaders of the Revolution, long before he had heard of Big Brother. They confessed to treasonable conspiracies with foreign powers and were then executed in the political purges of the 1960s. In between their confessions and executions, Winston saw them drinking in the Chestnut Tree Café — with broken noses, suggesting that their confessions had been obtained by torture. Later, in the course of his editorial work, Winston sees newspaper evidence contradicting their confessions, but drops it into the waste disposal pipe. Eleven years later, he is confronted with the same photograph during his interrogation. Ampleforth—Winston's one-time Records Department colleague who was imprisoned for leaving the word "God" in a Kipling poem; Winston encounters him at the Miniluv. Ampleforth is a dreamer and an intellectual who takes pleasure in his work, and respects poetry and language, which traits and qualities cause him disfavour with the Party. Charrington—An officer of the Thought Police posing as a sympathetic antiques-shop keeper. Katharine—The emotionally indifferent wife whom Winston "can't get rid of". Despite disliking sexual intercourse, Katharine continued with Winston because it was their "duty to the Party". Although she was a "goodthinkful" ideologue, they separated because she could not bear children. Parsons—Winston's naïve neighbour, and an ideal member of the Outer Party: an uneducated, suggestible man who is utterly loyal to the Party, and fully believes in its perfect image. He is socially active and participates in the Party activities for his social class. Although friendly towards Smith, and despite his political conformity, he punishes his bully-boy son for firing a catapult at Winston. Later, as a prisoner, Winston sees Parsons is in the Ministry of Love, because his daughter had reported him to the Thought Police after overhearing him speak against the Party whilst he slept. Mrs. Parsons—Parsons's wife is a wan and hapless woman who is intimidated by her own children, who are members of the Party Youth League and represent the new generation of Oceanian citizens, without memory of life before Big Brother, and without family ties or emotional sentiment; the model society moulded by the Inner Party. Syme—Winston's colleague at the Ministry of Truth, whom the Party "vaporised" because he remained a lucidly thinking intellectual. He was a lexicographer who developed the language and the dictionary of Newspeak, in the course of which he enjoyed destroying words, and wholeheartedly believed that Newspeak would replace Oldspeak (Standard English) by the year 2050. Although Syme's politically orthodox opinions aligned with Party doctrine, Winston noted that "He is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly". After noting that Syme's name was deleted from the members list of the Chess Club, Winston infers he became an unperson who never had existed. Goldstein's book says that "Between the two branches of the Party there is a certain amount of interchange, but only so much as will ensure that weaklings are excluded from the Inner Party and that ambitious members of the Outer Party are made harmless by allowing them to rise." It is unknown whether Syme has been killed or promoted in the Inner Party in another province.

Ingsoc

 (English Socialism), is the regnant ideology and pseudo-philosophy of Oceania, and Newspeak is its official language, of official documents.

Ministries of Oceania

In London, the Airstrip One capital city, Oceania's four government ministries are in pyramids (300 metres high), the façades of which display the Party's three slogans. The ministries' names are antonymous doublethink to their true functions: "The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation". (Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism) Ministry of Peace (Newspeak: Minipax) Minipax supports Oceania's perpetual war.

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living. Ever since the end of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes of destruction had been at work. Ministry of Plenty (Newspeak: Miniplenty) The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic production; every fiscal quarter, the Miniplenty publishes false claims of having raised the standard of living, when it has, in fact, reduced rations, availability, and production. The Minitrue substantiates the Miniplenty claims by revising historical records to report numbers supporting the current, "increased rations". Ministry of Truth (Newspeak: Minitrue) The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts. Winston Smith works in the Minitrue RecDep (Records Department), "rectifying" historical records to concord with Big Brother's current pronouncements, thus everything the Party says is true. Ministry of Love (Newspeak: Miniluv) The Ministry of Love identifies, monitors, arrests, and converts real and imagined dissidents. In Winston's experience, the dissident is beaten and tortured, then, when near-broken, is sent to Room 101 to face "the worst thing in the world" — until love for Big Brother and the Party replaces dissension.

Doublethink

Main article: Doublethink

The keyword here is blackwhite. Like so many Newspeak words, this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink. Doublethink is basically the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

— Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism

Perpetual War: The news report Oceania has captured Africa, 1984. Three perpetually warring totalitarian super-states control the world:[30] Oceania (ideology: Ingsoc, i.e., English Socialism); its core territories are the Western Hemisphere, the British Isles, Australasia and Southern Africa. Eurasia (ideology: Neo-Bolshevism); its core territories are Continental Europe and Russia, including Siberia. Eastasia (ideology: Obliteration of the Self, i.e., "Death worship"); its core territories are China, Japan, Korea, and Indochina.

The perpetual war is fought for control of the "disputed area" lying "between the frontiers of the super-states", it forms "a rough parallelogram with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville, Darwin and Hong Kong",[30] thus Northern Africa, the Middle East, India and Indonesia are where the super-states capture and utilise slave-labour. Fighting also takes place between Eurasia and Eastasia in Manchuria, Mongolia and Central Asia, and all three powers battle one another over various Atlantic and Pacific islands.

Goldstein's book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, explains that the super-states' ideologies are alike and that the public's ignorance of this fact is imperative so that they might continue believing in the detestability of the opposing ideologies. The only references to the exterior world for the Oceanian citizenry (the Outer Party and the Proles), are Minitrue maps and propaganda ensuring their belief in "the war".

The Revolution

Winston Smith's memory and Emmanuel Goldstein's book communicate some of the history that precipitated the Revolution; Eurasia was established after World War II (1939–45), when US and Imperial soldiers withdrew from continental Europe, thus the USSR conquered Europe against slight opposition. Eurasia does not include the British Empire because the US annexed it, as well as Latin America, southern Africa, Australasia, and Canada, thus establishing Oceania and gaining control over a quarter of the planet. The annexation of Britain was part of the Atomic Wars that provoked civil war; per the Party, it was not a revolution but a coup d'état that installed a ruling élite derived from the native intelligentsia. Eastasia, the last superstate established, comprises the Asian lands conquered by China and Japan. Although Eurasia prevented Eastasia from matching it in size, its larger populace compensate for that handicap. Precise chronology is unclear, but most of that global reorganisation occurred between 1945 and the 1960s.

The War

See also: Perpetual war

In 1984, there is a perpetual war among Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, the super-states which emerged from the atomic global war. "The book", The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, explains that each state is so strong it cannot be defeated, even with the combined forces of two super-states—despite changing alliances. To hide such contradictions, history is re-written to explain that the (new) alliance always was so; the populaces accustomed to doublethink accept it. The war is not fought in Oceanian, Eurasian or Eastasian territory but in the arctic wastes and a disputed zone comprising the sea and land from Tangiers (northern Africa) to Darwin (Australia). At the start, Oceania and Eastasia are allies combatting Eurasia in northern Africa and the Malabar Coast.

That alliance ends and Oceania allied with Eurasia fights Eastasia, a change which occurred during the Hate Week dedicated to creating patriotic fervour for the Party's perpetual war. The public are blind to the change; in mid-sentence an orator changes the name of the enemy from "Eurasia" to "Eastasia" without pause. When the public are enraged at noticing that the wrong flags and posters are displayed they tear them down—thus the origin of the idiom "We've always been at war with Eastasia"; later the Party claims to have captured Africa.

"The book" explains that the purpose of the unwinnable, perpetual war is to consume human labour and commodities, hence the economy of a super-state cannot support economic equality (a high standard of life) for every citizen. Goldstein also details an Oceanian strategy of attacking enemy cities with atomic rockets before invasion, yet dismisses it as unfeasible and contrary to the war's purpose; despite the atomic bombing of cities in the 1950s the super-states stopped such warfare lest it imbalance the powers. The military technology in 1984 differs little from that of World War II, yet strategic bomber aeroplanes were replaced with Rocket Bombs, helicopters were heavily used as weapons of war (while they didn't figure in WW2 in any form but prototypes) and surface combat units have been all but replaced by immense and unsinkable Floating Fortresses, island-like contraptions concentrating the firepower of a whole naval task force in a single, semi-mobile platform (in the novel one is said to have been anchored between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, suggesting a preference for sea lane interdiction and denial).

Living standards

In 1984, the society of Airstrip One lives in poverty; hunger, disease and filth are the norms and ruined cities and towns the consequence of the civil war, the atomic wars and purported enemy (but quite possibly self-serving Oceanian) rockets. Social decay and wrecked buildings surround Winston; aside from the ministerial pyramids, little of London was rebuilt. The standard of living of the populace is low; almost everything, especially consumer goods, is scarce and available goods are of low quality; half of the Oceanian populace go barefoot – despite the Party reporting increased boot production. The Party claims that this poverty is a necessary sacrifice for the war effort; "the book" reports that this is partially correct, because the purpose of perpetual war is consuming surplus industrial production.

The Inner Party upper class of Oceanian society enjoy the highest standard of living. O'Brien resides in a clean and comfortable apartment, with a pantry well-stocked with quality foodstuffs (wine, coffee, sugar, etc.), denied to the general populace, the Outer Party and the Proles, who consume synthetic foodstuffs; "Victory" gin and "Victory" cigarettes are of low quality.[31] The brand "Victory" is taken from the low-quality "Victory" cigarettes (also known as Vs), made in India, that were widely smoked in Britain and by British soldiers during World War II when American cigarettes could not easily be imported across the U-boat-infested waters of the North Atlantic. Winston is astonished that the lifts in O'Brien's building function and that the telescreens can be switched off. The Inner Party are attended to by slaves captured in the disputed zone. O'Brien has an Asian manservant, Martin.

The proles live in poverty and are kept sedated with alcohol, pornography and a national lottery, yet the proles are freer and less intimidated than the middle class Outer Party, and jeer at the telescreens. "The Book" reports that the state of things derives from the observation that the middle class, not the lower class, traditionally started revolutions, therefore tight control of the middle class penetrates their minds in determining their quotidian lives, and potential rebels are politically neutralised via promotion to the Inner Party or "reintegration" by Miniluv; nonetheless Winston believed that "the future belonged to the proles".[32]

Themes

Nationalism

Nineteen Eighty-Four expands upon the subjects summarised in the essay Notes on Nationalism (1945) about the lack of vocabulary needed to explain the unrecognised phenomena behind certain political forces. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Party's artificial, minimalist language 'Newspeak' addresses the matter.

Positive nationalism: Oceanians' perpetual love for Big Brother; Neo-Toryism, Celtic nationalism and British Israelism are (as Orwell argues) defined by love. Negative nationalism: Oceanians' perpetual hatred for Emmanuel Goldstein; Stalinism, Anglophobia and antisemitism are (as Orwell argues) defined by hatred.

Transferred nationalism: In mid-sentence an orator changes the enemy of Oceania; the crowd instantly transfers their hatred to the new enemy. Transferred nationalism swiftly redirects emotions from one power unit to another (e.g., Communism, Pacifism, Colour Feeling and Class Feeling). This happened during a Party Rally against the original enemy Eurasia, when the orator suddenly switches enemy in midsentence, the crowd goes wild and destroys the posters that are now against their new friend (Eurasia) and many say that this must be the act of an agent of their new enemy (and former friend) Eastasia, even though many of the crowd must have put up the posters before the rally. The enemy has always been Eastasia.

O'Brien concludes: "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."

Futurology

In the book, Inner Party member O'Brien describes the Party's vision of the future:

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always-do not forget this, Winston-always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face-forever.

-Part III, Chapter III, Nineteen Eighty-Four

This contrasts the essay "England Your England" (1941) with the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius" (1941):

The intellectuals who hope to see it Russianised or Germanised will be disappointed. The gentleness, the hypocrisy, the thoughtlessness, the reverence for law and the hatred of uniforms will remain, along with the suet puddings and the misty skies. It needs some very great disaster, such as prolonged subjugation by a foreign enemy, to destroy a national culture. The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children's holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition and yet remain the same.

The geopolitical climate of Nineteen Eighty-Four resembles the précis of James Burnham's ideas in the essay "James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution"[34] (1946):

These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organize society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new 'managerial' societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining uncaptured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom.

Censorship

A major theme of Nineteen Eighty-Four is censorship, especially in the Ministry of Truth, where photographs are doctored and public archives rewritten to rid them of "unpersons" (i.e. persons who have been arrested, whom the Party has decided to erase from history). On the telescreens figures for all types of production are grossly exaggerated (or simply invented) to indicate an ever-growing economy, when the reality is the opposite. One small example of the endless censorship is when Winston is charged with the task of eliminating reference to an unperson in a newspaper article. He proceeds to write an article about Comrade Ogilvy, a fictional party member, who displayed great heroism by leaping into the sea from a helicopter so that the dispatches he was carrying would not fall into enemy hands.

Surveillance

The inhabitants of Oceania, particularly the Outer Party members, have no real privacy. Many of them live in apartments equipped with two-way telescreens, so that they may be watched or listened to at any time. Similar telescreens are found at workstations and in public places, along with hidden microphones. Written correspondence is routinely opened and read by the government before it is delivered. The Thought Police employ undercover agents, who pose as normal citizens and report any person with subversive tendencies. Children are encouraged to report suspicious persons to the government, and some even denounce their own parents.

This surveillance allows for effective control of the citizenry. The smallest sign of rebellion, even something so small as a facial expression, can result in immediate arrest and imprisonment. Thus, citizens (and particularly party members) are compelled to absolute obedience at all times.

The Newspeak appendix

Main article: Newspeak

"The Principles of Newspeak" is an academic essay appended to the novel. It describes the development of Newspeak, the Party's minimalist artificial language meant to ideologically align thought and action with the principles of Ingsoc by making "all other modes of thought impossible". (For linguistic theories about how language may direct thought, see the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis.)[35] Note also the possible influence of the German book LTI - Lingua Tertii Imperii, published in 1947, which details how the Nazis controlled society by controlling language.

Whether or not the Newspeak appendix implies a hopeful end to Nineteen Eighty-Four remains a critical debate, as it is in Standard English and refers to Newspeak, Ingsoc, the Party, et cetera, in the past tense (i.e., "Relative to our own, the Newspeak vocabulary was tiny, and new ways of reducing it were constantly being devised", p. 422); in this vein, some critics (Atwood,[36] Benstead,[37] Pynchon[38]) claim that, for the essay's author, Newspeak and the totalitarian government are past. The countervailing view is that since the novel has no frame story, Orwell wrote the essay in the same past tense as the novel, with "our" denoting his and the reader's contemporaneous reality.

Some sources for literary motifs

Nineteen Eighty-Four uses themes from life in the Soviet Union and wartime life in Great Britain as sources for many of its motifs.

The statement "2 + 2 = 5", used to torment Winston Smith during his interrogation, was a Communist party slogan from the second five-year plan, which encouraged fulfilment of the five-year plan in four years. The slogan was seen in electric lights on Moscow house-fronts, billboards, etc.[39]

The switch of Oceania's allegiance from Eastasia to Eurasia is evocative of the Soviet Union's changing relations with Nazi Germany, who were open adversaries until the signing of the Treaty of Non-Aggression. Thereafter, and continuing until the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, no criticism of Germany was allowed in the Soviet press, and all references to prior party lines stopped.

The description of Emmanuel Goldstein, with a goatee beard, evokes the image of Leon Trotsky. The film of Goldstein during the two-minutes hate is described as showing him being transformed into a bleating goat. This image was used in a propaganda film during the Kino-eye period of Soviet film, which showed Trotsky transforming into a goat.[40] Goldstein's book is redolent of Trotsky's highly critical analysis of the USSR "The Revolution Betrayed", published in 1936.

The omnipresent images of Big Brother, described as having a mustache, evokes the cult of personality built up around Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler.

The news in Oceania emphasised production figures, just as it did in the Soviet Union, where record-setting in factories (by "Heroes of Socialist Labor") was especially glorified. The best known of these was Alexey Stakhanov, who purportedly set a record for coal mining in 1935.

The tortures of the Ministry of Love evoke the procedures used Gestapo and NKVD in their interrogations, including the use of rubber truncheons, being forbidden to put your hands in your pockets, remaining in brightly lit rooms for days, and the victim being shown a mirror after their physical collapse.

Orwell's "Spies", a youth organization taught to look for enemies of the state, appears to be based on the Hitler Youth

A poster showing young Pioneers as future Komsomol members. The "Junior Anti-Sex league" was based on the Young Communists; the komsomol and Bund Deutscher Mädel (the League of German Girls).

The random bombing of Airstrip One is based on the Buzz bombs, which struck England at random in 1944-1945.

The Thought Crime motif is drawn from Kempeitai, the Japanese wartime secret police, who arrested people for "unpatriotic" thoughts.

The confessions of the "Thought Criminals" Rutherford, Aaronson and Jones are based on the show trials of the 1930s, which included fabricated confessions by prominent Bolsheviks Nikolai Bukharin, Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev to the effect that they were being paid by the Nazi government to undermine the Soviet regime under Leon Trotsky's direction.

The song "Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree" ("Under the spreading chestnut tree, I sold you, and you sold me") was based on Glenn Miller's 1939 song of the same name ("Under the spreading chestnut tree, Where I knelt upon my knee, We were as happy as could be, 'Neath the spreading chestnut tree.") The song has its origins in the 1920s, when it was a camp song, sung with corresponding movements (like touching your chest when you sing "chest", and touching your head when you sing "nut"). The original title was 'Go no more a-rushing'. Under these lyrics, the song was published as early as 1891.

The "Hates" (two-minutes hate and hate week) were inspired by the constant rallies sponsored by party organs both in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.

The contractions of words, in which "Ministry of Truth" was shortened to "Minitrue" and "English Socialism" to "Ingsoc" was inspired by the Soviet habit of combining words. Smert Shpionam ("death to spies", a sub-division of the NKVD) was shortened to "Smersh". Dialectical Materialism was similarly shortened to "DiaMat", and The Communist International was referred to as the Comintern.

"Vaporising" criminals (a metaphor for execution) is based on the Soviet word "liquidation" a vague term that usually meant execution or "Internal Exile" to the gulag labour camps. Nikolai Yezhov, walking with Stalin in the top photo from the 1930s. Following his execution, Yezhov was edited out of the photo by Soviet censors.[44] Yezhov became an "unperson".

Winston Smith's job, "revising history" (and the "unperson" motif) are based on the Stalinist habit of airbrushing images of 'fallen' people from group photographs and removing references to them in books and newspapers. In one well-known example, the Soviet encyclopaedia had an article about Lavrentiy Beria. When he fell in 1953, and was subsequently executed, institutes that had the encyclopaedia were sent an article about the Bering Strait, with instructions to paste it over the article about Beria.[46]

Big Brother's "Orders of the Day" were inspired by Stalin's regular wartime orders, called by the same name. A small collection of the more political of these have been published (together with his wartime speeches) in English as "On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union" By Joseph Stalin. Like Big Brother's Orders of the day, Stalin's frequently lauded heroic individuals,[49] like Comrade Ogilvy, the fictitious hero Winston Smith invented to 'rectify' (fabricate) a Big Brother Order of the day.

The Ingsoc slogan "Our new, happy life", repeated from telescreens, evokes Stalin's 1935 statement, which became a CPSU slogan, "Life has become better, Comrades; life has become more cheerful.

Influences

During World War II (1939–1945) Orwell believed that British democracy as it existed before 1939 would not survive the war, the question being "Would it end via Fascist coup d'état (from above) or via Socialist revolution (from below). Later he admitted that events proved him wrong: "What really matters is that I fell into the trap of assuming that 'the war and the revolution are inseparable'".

Thematically Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and Animal Farm (1945) share the betrayed revolution; the person's subordination to the collective; rigorously enforced class distinctions (Inner Party, Outer Party, Proles); the cult of personality; concentration camps; Thought Police; compulsory regimented daily exercise and youth leagues. Oceania resulted from the US annexation of the British Empire to counter the Asian peril to Australia and New Zealand. It is a naval power whose militarism venerates the sailors of the floating fortresses, from which battle is given to recapturing India, the "Jewel in the Crown" of the British Empire.

Much of Oceanic society is based upon the propaganda strategies that emerged after WWI and fully florished during WWII. A similar thing also happened during the French Revolution in which many of the original leaders of the Revolution were later put to death, for example Danton who was put to death by Robespierre, and then later Robespierre himself met the same fate.

In his 1946 essay Why I Write, Orwell explains that the serious works he wrote since the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) were "written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism".

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a cautionary tale about revolution betrayed by totalitarian defenders previously proposed in Homage to Catalonia (1938) and Animal Farm (1945), while Coming Up for Air (1939) celebrates the personal and political freedoms lost in Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Biographer Michael Shelden notes Orwell's Edwardian childhood at Henley-on-Thames as the golden country; being bullied at St Cyprian's School as his empathy with victims; his life in the Indian Burma Police – the techniques of violence and censorship in the BBC - capricious authority.

Other influences include Darkness at Noon (1940) and The Yogi and the Commissar (1945) by Arthur Koestler; The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London; 1920: Dips into the Near Future[53] by John A. Hobson; Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley; We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin which he reviewed in 1946;[54] and The Managerial Revolution (1940) by James Burnham predicting perpetual war among three totalitarian superstates. Orwell told Jacintha Buddicom that he would write a novel stylistically like A Modern Utopia (1905) by H. G. Wells.

Extrapolating from World War II, the novel's pastiche parallels the politics and rhetoric at war's end-the changed alliances at the "Cold War's" (1945–91) beginning; the Ministry of Truth derives from the BBC's overseas service, controlled by the Ministry of Information; Room 101 derives from a conference room at BBC Broadcasting House; the Senate House of the University of London, containing the Ministry of Information is the architectural inspiration for the Minitrue; the post-war decrepitude derives from the socio-political life of the UK and the USA, i.e. the impoverished Britain of 1948 losing its Empire despite newspaper-reported imperial triumph; and war ally but peace-time foe, Soviet Russia became Eurasia.

The term "English Socialism" has precedents in his wartime writings; in the essay "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius" (1941), he said that "the war and the revolution are inseparable... the fact that we are at war has turned Socialism from a textbook word into a realisable policy" - because Britain's superannuated social class system hindered the war effort and only a socialist economy would defeat Adolf Hitler. Given the middle class's grasping this, they too would abide socialist revolution and that only reactionary Britons would oppose it, thus limiting the force revolutionaries would need to take power. An English Socialism would come about which "... will never lose touch with the tradition of compromise and the belief in a law that is above the State. It will shoot traitors, but it will give them a solemn trial beforehand and occasionally it will acquit them. It will crush any open revolt promptly and cruelly, but it will interfere very little with the spoken and written word".

Adaptations in film, radio, television, and stage

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Gregg Silk - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Official Strategy Of Mandatory Poverty Through Eternal War, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

The key part of the book is near the end where O'Brien is brainwashing Winston and explaining how the system works.

The Party's main problem is to keep the middle and lower classes hungry and fearful, and to make sure that the products of automation don't supply them with comfort and leisure.

The only way to do this is through eternal war, so that all excess production goes to weapons that are blown up or sunk in the ocean. It doesn't even matter if the war is real or not - the obsolete weapons are scrapped anyway. The important thing is to keep people poor so the class structure survives with the party on top.

The other key is to keep the population in a constant state of screaming enraged hatred. Anyone that looks "foreign" will get rounded up and executed. The country is saturated in phony "patriotism" over a war that probably doesn't even exist.

The government also pushes a national Puritanical drive to stamp out sex. And of course they use torture on a massive scale, and they apply it more or less randomly to get false confessions.

The only thing that make the book more anti-communist than anti-Fascist is that the Christian churches have been closed. The Nazis did not close churches, only synagogues.

Orwell was a life-long socialist but not a pacifist.

Julie - See all my reviews
The History Lesson You Wish you Had, March 3, 1998

George Orwell's final novel, 1984, was written amidst the anti-communist hysteria of the cold war. But unlike Orwell's other famous political satire, Animal Farm, this novel is filled with bleak cynicism and grim pessimism about the human race. When it was written, 1984 stood as a warning against the dangerous probabilities of communism. And now today, after communism has crumbled with the Berlin Wall; 1984 has come back to tell us a tale of mass media, data mining, and their harrowing consequences.

It's 1984 in London, a city in the new überstate of Oceania, which contains what was once England, Western Europe and North America. Our hero, Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth altering documents that contradict current government statements and opinions. Winston begins to remember the past that he has worked so hard to destroy, and turns against The Party. Even Winston's quiet, practically undetectable form of anarchism is dangerous in a world filled with thought police and the omnipresent two-way telescreen. He fears his inevitable capture and punishment, but feels no compulsion to change his ways.

Winston's dismal observations about human nature are accompanied by the hope that good will triumph over evil; a hope that Orwell does not appear to share. The people of Oceania are in the process of stripping down the English language to its bones. Creating Newspeak, which Orwell uses only for examples and ideas which exist only in the novel. The integration of Newspeak into the conversation of the book. One of the new words created is doublethink, the act of believing that two conflicting realities exist. Such as when Winston sees a photograph of a non-person, but must reason that that person does not, nor ever has, existed.

The inspiration for Winston's work, may have come from Russia. Where Stalin's right-hand man, Trotzky was erased from all tangible records after his dissention from the party. And the fear of telescreens harks back to the days when Stasi bugs were hooked to every bedpost, phone line and light bulb in Eastern Europe.

His reference to Hitler Youth, the Junior Spies, which trains children to keep an eye out for thought criminals -- even if they are their parents; provides evidence for Orwell's continuing presence in pop culture. "Where men can't walk, or freely talk, And sons turn their fathers in." is a line from U2's 1993 song titled "The Wanderer".

Orwell assumes that we will pick up on these political allusions. But the average grade 11 student will probably only have a vague understanding of these due to lack of knowledge. It is even less likely that they will pick up on the universality of these happenings, like the fact that people still "disappear" without a trace every day in Latin America.

Overall, however, the book could not have been better written. Orwell has created characters and events that are scarily realistic. Winston's narration brings the reader inside his head, and sympathetic with the cause of the would-be-rebels. There are no clear answers in the book, and it's often the reader who has to decide what to believe. But despite a slightly unresolved plot, the book serves its purpose. Orwell wrote this book to raise questions; and the sort of questions he raised have no easy answer. This aspect can make the novel somewhat of a disappointment for someone in search of a light read. But anyone prepared to not just read, but think about a novel, will get a lot out of 1984.

1984, is not a novel for the faint of heart, it is a gruesome, saddening portrait of humanity, with it's pitfalls garishly highlighted. Its historic importance has never been underestimated; and it's reemergence as a political warning for the 21st century makes it deserving of a second look. Winston's world of paranoia and inconsistent realities is an eloquently worded account of a future we thought we buried in our past; but in truth may be waiting just around the corner.

Plom de Nume "Rob" (Wolverhampton, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews

1984 is the most "contemporary" book around - read it now!, November 2, 1999

Having just re-read 1984 it struck me that, whilst the quality of the writing is "timeless," (Orwell constructs a better sentence than most "literary artists"), the book's themes get more and more frightening as Western culture decays toward the millennium. My first school reading was in the days when 1984 was literally "the future," (even though Orwell had always intended it as a satire on contemporary Britain, with "1948" the originally intended title); in England today the resonances are especially profound, and what looked "old-fashioned" to `sixties and `seventies sci-fi readers has gained a new and bleaker realism. We're beginning to catch up with the US when it comes to presidential-style "leadership" and "spin," whilst the rewriting of history - with its horrible parallels with the politically correct mythologies espoused in transatlantic universities and the like - is already being implemented, with particular regard to the guilty denial of the achievements of the British Empire, (whilst the Roman and Greek civilisations still manage to escape trendy censure).

The worst shock comes with the realisation that everything 1984 says about the manipulation and reduction of thought by language-control, (Doublethink and Newspeak, respectively), is demonstrably happening right now. Things you can't say become thoughts you can't think, and an attempted conversation with most contemporary English youths on the street will reveal how hard it has become for our ill-educated masses actually to formulate rationale thought: what you get is a monotonic patois recitation of received simplistic opinion - or a boot stamping on your face, followed by a law-suit for your assault on them! One recent encounter left me with the reflection that we are so far from Shakespeare one could weep; then I read 1984 again, where Orwell has Winston wake up one morning with the name on his lips, a fleeting memory of a better past. The book is brilliantly written, shockingly painful and horribly, horribly relevant! (It's also fantastically entertaining and often very funny). Read it, read it again, and read it to your children!

Barry C. Chow (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

Consummately Wrong, October 10, 2004

Orwell wrote 1984 at a miserable juncture in history. The Second World War had just ended, the Europe of his memory was in ruins, the full horror of the holocaust had been laid bare and the victorious powers seemed bent on completing the destruction the planet. The best of optimists would have quailed, and Orwell was no optimist. Surrounded by this stark despairing landscape, he wrote a stark despairing speculation. It was his damning indictment of the dark places of our souls.

It has been called a masterpiece; one of the twentieth century's greatest prophecies; a visionary dystopia that will speak for all time.

I beg to differ.

I do not question the brilliance of Orwell's writing. It exactly conveys the utter dejection and despair that he felt in the aftermath of the war. It is an incredibly taut development of character, theme, setting, and plot that strikes our psyche like a fist to the stomach. It attains exactly the right balance between storytelling and polemic.

It is also all wrong. It felt wrong thirty years ago when I first read it. It feels just as wrong today.

If we ever manage to create hell, it won't be Orwellian. Humans are far more amenable to seduction than oppression. Why spy into every household when one can be persuaded to spy on oneself? Why use techniques as inefficient as torture when far more can be accomplished by appealing to our basest pleasures? Why need doublethink be forced when we will freely embrace it where it is invested with enough allure? And why would the denizens of a misbegotten future bother to listen to voices of discord when their every waking hour can be filled to excess with titillation, shallow ecstasy, and unending bombardment of the senses? The dystopia of the future will not be one of oppression, but of gluttony.

An observant person, looking at the here and now, might conclude that hell has already arrived. But it has arrived via Huxley, not Orwell. We already have the Brave New World of test tube babies, mass pacification, casual sex, and broadcasted voyeurism. The key to keeping a society docile is to make docility so pleasant, so seductive, that we will freely and willingly embrace it over the rigours of a well-examined life. The road to hell is paved with syrup, not vinegar.

Orwell was a brilliant thinker and writer, not just of fiction, but of social and personal commentary. His essays are probably the finest since Montaigne's, and his powers of human observation and his sheer intellect are overwhelming in their stature. This is what makes 1984 so difficult to understand. Such a keen mind should have arrived at very different conclusions from those exposited in this book.

In a really hellish future, there will be no need to destroy malcontents; they will simply be irrelevant.

Doug Vaughn - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)

Control language; control the world, December 8, 1999

So much has been written by others on this classic text that I will limit my comments to that aspect of the book I feel is still the most important - the manipulation of language to control behavior. Orwell understood how crucial meaning and communication is to social and political behavior. The Bolsheviks first and then the Nazis both went to great lengths to manipulate meaning, creating an acceptable vocabulary of politically positive words and images and an equally negative vocabulary for that which was to be vilified and destroyed. Attempting to channel behavior into patterns predefined by these limited modes of expression represents the greatest part of the state propogandist's art. Orwell reduced the complexity of this enterprise to something that could be seen for the con game it is. His invention of 'newspeak' demonstrates the reducto ad absurdum of such verbal restrictiveness.

In our day, whether Big Brother is really watching or not, we suffer from some of the same contraints of limited language and, in term, limited behavioral options. On the one hand we suffer from a language of polictical correctness that strives to offend no one, but makes speech clumsy and artificial. On the other extreme we suffer from the limited categories that the professional news media use - the narrow meanings available to them for understanding and communicating what is considered 'news'. Since politicians contribute to this limited vocabulary and play off of it, it saves them from facing much real in depth analysis and critique and limits the public to shallow expositions that distort reality and make meaningful political choice impossible.

So 1984 has come and gone and we haven't fallen into the dramatic pit that Orwell pictured, but the language we use to deal with social and political issues has been so attenuated that we are in danger of becoming slaves to a limited set of possibilities because we cannot even articulate any alternatives.

Stephen Pletko "Uncle Stevie" (London, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)

WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, September 16, 2005

This novel by George Orwell (whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, 1903 to 1950) is about the effects of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a characteristic of a government or state in which one political party maintains complete control under a dictatorship and bans all others.

This story, which takes place in London in 1984, follows one man (named Winston Smith) and his love interest (Julia) as they struggle against this totalitarian party ("The Party") whose leader (actually dictator) is "Big Brother." The Party political orthodoxy rules the giant country of "Oceania" (in which London is located).

At the heart of this party's political orthodoxy is the process of controlling thought through the manipulation of language and information by the use of "Newspeak" which utilizes what is called "doublethink."

Newspeak is the official language of Oceania (but is not the only language spoken). It is a language that eliminates unnecessary words and is designed to diminish rather than help expressive thought. For example, Newspeak states that there is no good and bad but only good and "ungood." Doublethink is the ability to simultaneously hold two opposing ideas in one's mind and believe in them both. The three Party slogans that title this review are examples of doublethink. Another good example is that (2+ 2 =4) and (2 + 2 = 5).

The Party keeps everybody in line through Newspeak and doublethink. But they also have other methods. For example, they have the "Thought Police" that investigate "thoughtcrimes." These are "crimes" of just having negative thoughts about The Party. Another example are telescreens that watch your every move even in bathroom stalls. Thus, "Big Brother is watching you" at all times.

Winston and Julia are discovered to be guilty of thoughtcrimes by O'Brien (who is the personification of The Party). O'Brien also represents those leaders who use cruelty and torture as their primary method of control (like Hitler and Stalin did). He makes them pay for their "crimes."

This novel clearly shows how totalitarianism negatively affects the human spirit and how it's impossible to remain freethinking under such circumstances.

This novel also contains an appendix written by Orwell. Here he explains various aspects of Newspeak and to my surprise he states that by the year 2050, Newspeak will be the only language that anyone will understand. Why does he state this? He wanted to keep the fear of totalitarianism alive in his readers well past the year 1984. (Thus, this novel is still quite relevant for today!)

This novel is in a word fascinating! It is well written and is filled with symbolism and imagination. It begins slow but gradually picks up speed. And the story is very interesting.

Finally, after reading this book, I recommend watching the 1984 movie "1984" starring John Hurt and Richard Burton (his last movie role).

In conclusion, this novel is a masterpiece of political speculation that serves as a warning to us all. Read it for yourself to see why it brought Orwell world-wide fame!!

(first published 1949; 3 parts or 24 chapters; 325 pages)

Melkor "Lord of Darkness" (Angband) - See all my reviews

Among the Literary Greats for Reason, September 14, 2005

It seemed so innocuous, just sitting there wedged between two other books on the shelf, collecting dust with the others on my "yet to read" list. I may have passed it by altogether had it not been for the fact that I needed to complete my three hundred pages for the second quarter of my junior year. Besides, I'd read this author's work before and knew that I enjoyed his writing fairly well. So, without realizing what I was plunging into, I picked up George Orwell's 1984; the most unceremonious beginning for a most extraordinary event.

As I unconsciously flipped the pages, not realizing that I was still me and not Winston Smith, the story's protagonist, barely cognizant, in fact, that this was a book and not reality, I was dimly aware that this was something special; something far beyond what I had been expecting. If Animal Farm was a slightly humorous, if morbid, look at communism, then 1984 was a ghastly, apocalyptic vision of a demented future. After reading the first twenty pages, I determined that this was the single most quotable book of all time.

The infamous Party slogans:

Chilling words from what could have been, from an averted catastrophe in which the human race subjugates itself through ignorance. Yet who's to say this could never come to pass? None can honestly look another straight in the eye and say, "That is not the future." To presume so is vanity manifest.

The one enemy man need truly fear is himself. The notorious Big Brother, the faceless autocrat in charge of Orwell's nightmare world (incidentally, it is never established whether Big Brother is a single man or a surreptitious group superciliously dealing justice to the masses), mercilessly dominates life on Oceania, one of three nations in existence. These countries, Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia, are continually in a state of war with each other, in which Oceania and one of the others are allied against the last. Big Brother's control over his people is absolute, executed through a methodical censorship that keeps the façade of truth as a contorted mask. Big Brother has the power to efface any record of an event or person - to rewrite the past as he sees fit.

Perhaps less relevant as a prophecy today (1984 has come and gone and no dictatorship has arisen to consolidate the Americas and the United Kingdom into a single communist entity), 1984 remains a very real piece of culture, with its own voice in the way it challenges one's preconceived notions and ideals. My English teacher perhaps said it best, when comparing 1984 to Animal Farm: "Animal Farm hits you with gloves on; 1984 just smacks you bare-fisted." And it's no slap, no half-hearted jab; it is an in-your-face, force of a moving train blow to the jaw from which the reader reels for weeks, even months after. It is an illustration, as well, of the need of consolidation and the hopelessness that such a government can be beaten: Winston, after waging a personal crusade for his secret freedom, winds up a brainwashed pawn of Big Brother.

In the end, Orwell proves that, if the government so wills it, two and two really make five, not four, and no amount of protest is going to change that. This book was a life-changer for me in many ways, but mostly because it made me see a broader view of the world and made me appreciate life as I know it just that much more.

"He gazed up at that enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark mustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast. Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was alright, everything was alright, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

Quotes taken from George Orwell, 1984, copyright 1949 by Harcourt Brace Javonovich, Inc.

The "squirrelMaster" (BROUSSARD, LA United States) - See all my reviews

A masterpiece, misunderstood by many., July 1, 2004

A lot of readers seem to miss the point of this novel (especially the people who gave it 1 star, that's just weak). It's not about Orwell guessing what the world would be like in 1984 or really even a poke at communism.

Orwell presents an exaggerated and seemingly impossible not-so-distant future to the reader and supports it magnificently with parallelisms to religion and ideology. He addresses whether freedom of the mind is intrinsic to the human conscience and whether or not free thought is necessary for human happiness. It also questions what is real or true. Does 2+2=5? If you believe it and everyone else believes it, than why in the hell wouldn't it be so. The novel left me more afraid of the masses and the susceptibility of the human mind than the government. The people can take back control at the drop of a hat and they are the ones who allow it to get out of control in the first place.

Ahmed Ayad (Redmond, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)
A must read for all, October 26, 2005

This is the most depressing tale I have ever read. Though I know it to be fiction, I still can't take myself out of its ending. Although you KNOW for certain how the story will end, one could even imagine writing the plot exactly as it is only half way through the book, you could still not imagine the profoundness in which it was written and the mood it puts you in. It is also one of the most mentally exhausting reads. Taking you from logical absurdities to the haziness of dream worlds to metaphysical discussions.

Ok, so why am I giving it 5 stars despite all this?

Because in doing it the way it is, Orwell has succeeded in transferring to you his absolute HATRED of mental bondage, and of absolute unchecked human authority, and anything and everything that can lead to them. The rate at which the story is advanced towards the darkness and viciousness, the way he never for a moment leaves a prickle of hope in you heart or your mind about the final outcome of the protagonists or the world in which he lives, all reflect in no uncertain terms this hatred. Sometimes you think to yourself reading this "ok, I get it, why all this darkness"? Then, you realize what he was doing. He is shouting with the top of his lungs to all of us to NEVER EVER let things even approach the conditions of "Airstrip one".

What I have found most amazing in the novel towards the end is his resolution of a question that kept lingering in the protagonist's mind throughout the story; the "why?", why would the "Party" or the people in it do that? I have seen few reviewers allude to it. His answer was as simple and unexpected to me as it was to Winston - the protagonist, yet was perfectly inline with the extreme world Orwell built. There is no "why", there is no logic to explain it. Power is an end, not a means. In the words of the party members: "GOD is power". There is no reason for such attrocities but a sheer animalistic lust for power. Again, he is in a way saying: "don't ever try to rationalize it to yourself or others".

What sets "1984" apart from its famous sibling "Animal Farm", which by the way was also very depressing, is that it is not tailored to the history of the Communists. You could see, in a sense, the development of Orwell's thought while writing these two pieces. He started with the first to document one of the worst forms of collectivism that he witnessed, then - seeing at that time no sign of it being defeated or abated - took it to its extreme form. Such a form was sufficiently general to cover all types of mind slavery, to the extent that it can be applicable everywhere. I belive he might have even hinted at that in the part where he recounts the "history of the world" that he imagined from the his time to 1984. In this history, ALL of the globe, is ruled the same way albeit with different names and insignificant changes in ideology.

It is impossible to read 1984 without drawing parallels between contemporary events and something that is taking place in the novel. Indeed, one might never find a place where this kind of world exists. Yet, there is always something to draw parallels upon. Here, in the States, when you here the words "spin masters", you can't help but think of the principle of "doublethink"; in which one can not only muster the ability to consciously think of something and its opposite at the same time, yet somehow be able to believe both of them. You hear the word "alternate reality" in which people hear, read, and see the facts yet still are able to fit them into their worldview. A view in which internment is justified, the poor are robbing the rich, dissent is treason, torture is patriotism, failures are successes, and everything you think is true is a lie fabricated by the an enemy called "the main stream media". Then, you can't help but think of the "Ministry of truth" and the "Ministry of love".

Orwell is a champion of freedom at all levels, but most importantly in "1984", he is a champion of common sense.

"Freedom is the ability to say that two plus two equals four".

1984 is a must read for all.

A.J. (Maryland) - See all my reviews

A great year for the defense industry, June 18, 2001

George Orwell's "1984," published in 1949, projects a parallel world 35 years into the future in which all nations have been combined into three major superpowers in an eternal state of unrest. London still exists, but it is now a part of Oceania, governed by an entity called the Party, headed by a sovereign figure known only as Big Brother. The Party's one goal is power -- power over everybody and everything in Oceania. Surveillance is administered constantly; devices called telescreens are placed in people's homes to monitor thoughts and actions and broadcast Party propaganda continuously, with no way for the resident to turn his off or change the channel. Free thinkers are not tolerated, and roving bands of "Thought Police" are sent to sniff out transgressors. The Party is developing an official language called Newspeak, whose goal is to simplify language by eliminating as many extraneous words as possible and reducing vocabulary to a small number of basic words, thus narrowing the scope of thought.

But there's always a rebel. The protagonist is a man named Winston Smith who works at the Ministry of Truth as a sort of professional history revisionist. His job is to revise newspaper articles and documents in which Big Brother made predictions or statements that did not agree with the actual outcome of events; in other words, to maintain the public illusion that the Party is infallible and omniscient. Unhappy with his state of being, Winston would like to overthrow the Party but is powerless to do so. Teaming up with his love interest Julia, another Party worker, he colludes with a high-ranking Party official named O'Brien, who reveals himself as a secret member of a society called the Brotherhood who are planning to destroy the Party. O'Brien gives Winston a subversive book explaining the ideals and motivations of the Party: The upper classes (the highest Party members) need to retain their economic status, so it is important to control the minds and bodies of the lower classes, and wars are waged constantly only so that capital will be spent on the production of war machinery instead of being converted into wealth which could be distributed to the lower classes.

Winston knows that if he is caught as a dissident, he's dead. The Thought Police are everywhere, and can he trust Julia, O'Brien, and the friendly old shopkeeper Mr. Charrington to be who they say they really are? Predictably, he is apprehended, but the Party's plans involve not killing but reprogramming him, which unfortunately for poor Winston could be a fate worse than death.

"1984" is not strictly an anti-communist rant. (For that, see Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon.") Rather, it attacks the complacency of all people and nations who would let a small number of idealists have their way and take command over the rest of the population. Semantics aside, Communism and Fascism, as practiced by certain Twentieth Century world powers, are essentially the same thing: the individual loses all his importance for the benefit of the nation, which really means the ruling Party. If democracy requires eternal vigilance, "1984" illustrates the consequences of apathy.

New Age of Barbarism "zosimos" (EVROPA.) - See all my reviews

Big Brother Is Watching You., September 23, 2007

_Nineteen Eighty Four_, first published in 1949 by George Orwell (pen name of Eric Blair), is a horrifying dystopian novel of a world in which the individual human being has been completely degraded and deprived of his fundamental humanity that reflects the totalitarianisms of the day, particularly communism and Stalinism. George Orwell (1903 - 1950) was the pen name of the British author Eric Blair, who developed an early enmity towards those in power and their abuses of power. Orwell was a socialist but came to witness the horrors of the Soviet state and the betrayal of his ideals by Stalinists. As such, Orwell came to loathe totalitarianism in general and wrote novels showing the degrading effects such societies had on people. Throughout this book, one can witness the underlying hatred of Orwell and those imprisoned by the system for the totalitarian state and bureaucracy which completely controls their lives and existences. This book in particular shows that rage in the main character of Winston Smith, a mere pawn in a totalitarian society. Orwell's books are indeed prophetic and show us a world in which the very life-force has been sapped out of mankind by those in power. Orwell imagines a highly efficient totalitarian state, capable of enforcing political correctness at the highest levels, tampering with the memories of men, and maintaining a total disregard for the truth. Orwell shows how under such regimes the very notion of truth becomes suspect and the individual can no longer distinguish between fact and state propaganda. This particularly applies to the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin, which is the primary setting for Orwell's stories.

However, Orwell's books are also applicable to the West of today, where the constant menace of totalitarian ideology exists.

1984 gives us a whole slew of new terminology to describe the situation as it exists in a totalitarian state in which political correctness is enforced. The book introduces such terms as thought police, thought crime (and thought criminal), doublethink, memory hole, Ingsoc, and Newspeak. Such terms reflect the complete disregard of the totalitarian state for the truth and the active promotion of propaganda within society. They have also largely entered into our culture as expressions to describe the enforcement of political correctness.

1984 focuses on the main character Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who lives in England and works for the Ministry of Truth. As it turns out, the Ministry of Truth ironically is responsible for spreading propaganda, and as all ministries mentioned by Orwell has a purpose exactly opposite to its stated purpose. The world of 1984 is a very bleak one indeed, run by a single party and its ruling leader "Big Brother", in which all individuals are subject to surveillance by the state should they commit a "thought crime". All expressions of individuality in 1984 have been wiped out and the human being is totally degraded living a pathetic existence of total subservience to the party. Sexuality has been suppressed as part of the "Anti-sex League" as well as religion. Truth itself is highly malleable and memory is constantly distorted, reflected in such ironical and oxymoronic sayings of the party as "War Is Peace", "Freedom Is Slavery", and "Ignorance Is Strength". Further, the nation of Oceania is constantly at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, varying from day to day and reflected in the official propaganda of the state bureaucracy.

All party members revere their leader "Big Brother" (perhaps reminiscent of Josef Stalin or other totalitarian dictators) and despise the rebellious "Goldstein" (perhaps reminiscent of the Soviet hatred for Leon Trotsky). Further, the party exists in a caste system in which the "proles" (the proletariat) live underneath the party members (who are divided into the Inner and Outer Party). Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth but begins to keep a diary (which is strictly forbidden to party members) in which he reflects his hatred for "Big Brother". His work involves developing propaganda for the party. At work he meets up with Julia, who he initially believes is a strict orthodox member of the party. However, eventually he comes to realize that Julia is in love with him and they have a secret encounter in the countryside. Eventually Julia expresses to Winston her complete loathing for the party, though she publicly maintains a persona of utter obeisance and orthodoxy and belongs to the "Anti-sex League". Together they find a new hiding place in a shop in a part of the city where the "proles" live and attempt to re-discover the past of England. Throughout this period, however, the two live in constant fear of the thought police, should they catch onto their affair.

Eventually, Winston meets up with O'Brien at work, a man who he believes is a member of the Resistance, and is given a copy of Goldstein's book which explains the rise of the party and the need for perpetual war. Orwell quotes extensively from Goldstein's book which reflects much of the social thinking of the time, in particular the theory of managerial elites. However, Winston and Julia are captured by the party and it turns out that O'Brien is in fact a member of the party. While taken captive, both are tortured and made to recant their original beliefs about the party. In a particularly disgusting scene, Winston is taken to Room 101 where he must face his worst fear. There he ultimately betrays Julia (as she has already betrayed him) to save himself from being tortured by rats (the worst torture that he can imagine).

Eventually, Winston is completely re-educated and made to love "Big Brother" while his relationship with Julia is forever changed after their mutual betrayals of each other. Thus, ends in the most horrifying of manners Orwell's classic novel. Orwell concludes with an appendix on "The Principles of Newspeak" which effectively shows how even the language itself can be put to the purposes of propaganda within a totalitarian state.

1984 remains a classic dystopia reflecting the darker side of human existence within the Twentieth Century as it played out in the totalitarian dictatorships of the age. Throughout this novel, the very notion of truth remains problematic, as the party re-defines history to reflect its own agenda and thus even memory itself becomes distorted. Orwell shows the sheer degradation that the human being undergoes within such a surveillance society, to the eventual point where a man can be tortured by the powers that be to such an extent that he will eventually even renounce his love and embrace the figure he hates the most. While the novel is made to reflect Soviet society and Stalinism in particular, it also reflects the modern world in general, in which large-scale and efficient bureaucratic structures rob man of his humanity. Orwell's novels prove particularly prescient warnings to mankind to avoid the dangers of totalitarianism. As such, they should be read by all thinking individuals who seek to understand the horrors that can be inflicted upon the human being through totalistic societies.

A Customer

reality then v reality now, January 9, 2004

You've probably already read the other reviews on this site, so i'll just concentrate on my opinion on the relevance of this book in our contemporary society 1984 is a stark warning against totalitarianism. Written in 1948, Orwell's depiction of a government-controlled society seemed absurd when published, contrasting the innumerable amount of people that've said how real it seems now than it did then in western society

One interesting factor is the geography of the planet. We are told very little and all we're told is that there're three 'super-states', Oceania, Eastasia and Eurasia. Oceania is constantly at war with a vague and distant enemy, and is always switching between being allies and enemies with Eurasia and Eastasia. Comparing it to today, just what is this 'war on terrorism, and how threatened do you really feel about it (disregarding media opinion)?. America and Britian, both independantly throughout the years and in allegiance with each other recently, are constantly at war with an enemy. WWI, WWII, Cold war, Korean war, Vietnam war, Falklands War, Gulf war I and more recently Gulf war II. Societal opinions + perceptions are influenced by media, but who are we at war with? The "War on Terror" clearly highlights the fact that there is no tangible enemy anymore. Explained more clearly in Goldstein's passage in the book, we are constantly at war because it keeps us united, and stops us fighting one another, stops us fighting the government.

Another interesting factor in book is the issue of government surveillance. 'Telescreen' in homes, Cameras everywhere you walk, Microphones even in the countryside to detect rebellious behaviour. Although key issues stated in the book aren't as extreme, the power the government now has to keep tabs on people and spy on them has reached limits it has never reached before. The 'Party' explain that this surveillance is for the benefit of the people (note: animal farm) and they constantly reassure the citizens, or 'comrades', that life was worst off before they came along. Similarly, our governments are constantly re-assuring us how much better our lives are because of them. I.D cards are being proposed under the pretence that they will 'eliminate terrorism and benefit fraud', which are something the people are 'persuaded they want' because they media tells them they do.

The third, conclusively and i think most importantly, is the way this book challenges the fact we (society in 1948) take our freedom for granted. One passage in the book which sticks out in my mind specifically is when the main charactor walks through a lower-class area, and is terrified that the police patrols might stop him and ask him questions; 'what are you doing in this part of town? is this your usual way home'? etc. Similarly, if someone was walking down the street at 2am in a dangerous part of town for no particular reason, it would be deemed socially strange, thus encouraging this person not to do so, and do what everyone else does. If someone dresses in clothes that you do not usually see, he/she would be regarded as a weirdo, a social outcast".My point is, how free do we really think we are as a society these days? How easily are we opinionated by the media?

Our society is edging closer and closer to the reality that is 1984, and i recommend that you read it, it will change the way you perceive news articles, and you'll question all these erosions of civil liberties that have been happening.

By the way, Orwell didn't intend for this vision to be reality in the year 1984. He wrote it in 1948, so he just switched the last 2 letters around.

Valentin (Philadelphia) - See all my reviews

Remarkable, January 30, 2009

This excellent book is about life which was deprived of all meaning, whose primary goal was a constantly increasing productivity motivated by an ingeniously designed social system that advocated "love and peace."

I was born in the Soviet Republic of Ukraine. I recall the anxiety that tormented my family during the preceding months that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was seven and lived in my own universe, but I was sort of aware that the Soviet Empire was seeing its last days. Karl Marx must have been doing somersaults in his grave.

I don't remember much about living under communism - except that daily life was "by the book" - but I've talked plenty about it to my parents and grandparents. When Stalin went six feet under, it became a bit more tolerable, but it remained totalitarianism nonetheless. Orwell did an exceptional job at depicting the essential aspects of that kind of state, more precisely Soviet regime.

The detail that he told is fascinating; as if Stalin or Beria had let him in on the juicy stuff. Some of it he exaggerated, some he understated, but fundamentally he was accurate. Also, it is imperative that the reader keeps in mind that it was published in 1949. A vast majority of people in Russia and Europe were isolated from this kind of knowledge - the government made sure of that through an intricate system of secret police - so this book was a revelation. Of course we now know that, aside from the fictitious names, he essentially portrayed reality. The indoctrination that is described in the book still lingered when I attended school in Ukraine in the `80s. Soviet propaganda machine was thorough indeed.

The history of totalitarian states is complex and enormous amount of time and literature has been dedicated to it. This book, however, is a good substitute if one cannot wrestle with a lengthy 700-page tome. It won't make you a political scholar, but it'll educate you on what Soviet Russia was. It's written in a lucid manner; however, one has to read it as nonfiction to truly appreciate the author's vision. George Orwell is a genius and his "1984" will be read for a long time.

Aleksander Coho (Athens Greece, from Albania) - See all my reviews
History of The Communist World, February 20, 2001

No amount of positive reviewing will do justice to the importance and beauty of this book - you have to read if for yourself. What I really want to review are the reviews of some reviewers from Wstern countries. They like the book, but their reviews are of the kind 'This is a book about a hypothetical totalitarian dictatorshp, ..., etc.' What is wrong, is the word 'hypothetical' This book could have been titled 'Bits of the History of the Communist World (albeit a little allegorical)'

I don't know what people born in the West understand in this book. Not much perhaps. The very fact that Orwell is the ONLY Westerner I know of to have written an accurate description (though a bit allegorical) of communism in practice, suggests that most Westerners couldn't understand what was happening in the communist world. I suggest that they read it for what it is: History cast into an allegorical novel.

Now an example or two. There was a famous picture in history textbooks in communist countries. Lenin in a podium holding a speech, his hand streched to the masses listening. On his left you could see Stalin. Everyone of my age has seen this picture. What most people haven't seen, though, is an older version of it: Lenin holding a speech, and on his left, Trotsky. (Winston's job right)

Now my country (Albania) was great friends with USSR, until 1961, that is. Albania broke up with USSR (considering USSR a traitor of real socialism), to advance real socialism together with China. Not for ever of course - in 1978 China became a traitor of real socialism, too, having in fact never been really socialist. There was a famous picture in Albanian history textbooks. The Albanian B.B. (Enver Hoxha) was denouncing the betrayal of real socialism by the Soviet leadership. I have seen all three versions of this painting: In the first one, Enver Hoxha had Chou EnLai on one side and Mehmet Shehu (Albanian Prime Minister) on the other. This was valid between 1961 and 1978. When China betrayed socialism in 1978, Chou Enlai disappeared from the painting, and someone else took his stead. This second version lasted until 1981. That's because in 1981 Mehmet Shehu became a traitor, and 'was suicided'. So he disappeared from the painting, too. This is the last version of it. By the way, the painting stood in the Albanian National Art Gallery. Many people must have seen all three versions of it in original.

I could wrie a book longer than 1984, describing how accurate 1984 is.

Read 1984 as a history of the communist world; it is valid even for the four decades after Orwell's death.

Aleksander Coho

"skaven264" (Rochester Hills, MI United States) - See all my reviews
Through a dark mirrior, George Orwell's world of 1984, December 7, 2003

There are many different types of books out there: fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, history, and biography. But only a few of them have the same impact that George Orwell achieves in his book 1984. It seems part paranoid fantasy, part tribute to the malleability of the human psyche, and part historical allegory.

The issues, even presented in the outdated means that they are, still ring true for our modern society. The line between patriotism and nationalism is a thin one, and one that Americans look at each day. But in Orwell's world that line was crossed, and the result was a totalitarian government beyond anything most of us can imagine. With the government controlling all jobs, information, deeds, and actions, even to the smallest thought of their peoples, his world is stark and horrible to those of us used to a freedom. But the steps into that world are not that far away from our modern media control. In his world of 1984 the media serves the purpose of brainwashing the populace at large, and an ongoing war keeps the pressure on. And while some may claim that the media in our own country has the same control over us, in his world, the media is the government, and has no other agenda than that which the government sets forth.

The strange part is that all of this occurs to us, through the eyes of the main character, Winston Smith, as he falls in love with a young woman named Julia. In Oceania, the nation-state in which Smith lives, love is not allowed, and not tolerated. Winston Smith is, in essence, an insurgent in his own nation. He sleeps each night knowing that something is wrong, but not being able to say exactly what. As a reader we can see exactly the horrors to which he is made to endure, and though they might make us scream and shout, he is unmoved. But love draws him out of that sheltered reality, and into open insurgency against his own nation.

This is the beginning of the end for Wilson, as the romance, and the pleasures, are short lived. Like a terrible wave the police of the world he inhabits come crashing down upon him to break his spirit. The way they torture him is gruesome, and should offend anyone who values our human rights. But in the end, Wilson himself comes to love "Big Brother" the face of the state of Oceania. He forgets his insurgency, through a conscious adaptation of his logic processes. He has to know that whatever the nation does is right, even when it contradicts what he has experienced in the recent past. In Orwell's words, Doublethink.
These are just the surface issues that come across in Orwell's vision world the deeper issues are buried. As in, how could such a world come to exist? Well, he explains that after World War 2, there came a mighty nuclear war that wiped out most of the population centers of the world. And that out of the nuclear ash arose a political methodology that swept the nations, a kind of socialism that blended into totalitarianism. This totalitarian regime took hold and great purges, on the scope of the great purges in the early communist USSR, ran across the world as we know it. 3 stable nations were born: Oceania (The Americas, the Pacific Islands, Australia, and England), Eastasia (China, Mongolia, The Indonesian Peninsula, and Japan), and Eurasia (All of Europe save England, and all of the Former USSR). The rest of the world was in a constant state of conquest by one of these 3 super-nations, with the captured populations used as slaves. The constant state of war between the nations served to keep control over the people within the nations.

This is a world devoid of hope. Indeed, devoid of any emotions except hatred, fanatical delight in the war effort, and the obedience to the governments of the nations. This is the worst vision of what the Nazis in Germany hoped to accomplish in their conquests. A world without any laws, but what the government states to be true at that moment. A world where people disappear, but no one notices, or even cares, a world of total devotion to the state as a whole, without regard to creed, race, or social status.

It isn't often that the characters in a book become common usage in the world at large, but the phrase "Big Brother is watching you" has become synonymous with the government watching over its citizens. It shows up today in almost everyday speech. Especially when people are talking right to privacy issues. This seems apt, as privacy is one of the things that Wilson Smith never had, and will never have. Big Brother (the government) watched his every move of his life, recorded his every word, and rifled through his belongings at their leisure. This book is the origin of that phrase.
Orwell gives us a black and white view of the virtues of that world, and its drawbacks. The astounding thing is that it isn't still more talked about. We have, most of us, read this book. But how many too the time to understand the social and political ramifications it speaks of? I will from now on, that is for sure.

Mike H "Livin in the Past" (Reno, NV USA) - See all my reviews
What More Can You Say: An Abiding Classic That Demands To Be Read, September 21, 2012

It's nearly impossible to reduce what George Orwell achieved with "1984", but here are some good examples: First, that of the nearly 1,800 reviews of this book, it's likely nobody managed to say anything really different than anyone else; yet Orwell managed to do it throughout an entire novel -- and he did it nearly 70 years ago.

Further, Orwell was incredibly prescient and insightful. Take his "telescreen" for instance, which closely mirrors our giant-screen TVs today and soon-to-be two-way viewing technology that we enjoy with our computers. The little helicopters buzzing around spying on everyone could just as easily be drones and satellites today.

And take the ever-changing alliances between the United States, Russia and China -- which could easily be called Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania. There's always a war somewhere and when you turn on what passes for news today and it's all double-talk spin -- not so much concrete reality than it is flip-flop opinion. The world has yet to degenerate to thought control or "thoughtcrime", but the increasing constraints of political correctness has us edging that way.

And when it comes to our economic system, Orwell nailed that too -- "oligarchical collectivism," a system made by the few for the few. The Orwellian lexicon lives on: "Big Brother."

In the end, it boils down to the book itself. In short, it's a once-in-a-lifetime novel that begs to be read. An enduring classic. It's a book you can read time and again -- I know I have. One man resisting authority. The quest for freedom of thought and speech and liberty.

And I've said nothing no one else hasn't said already. You may as well quit reading what people have to say about this great classic and find out for yourself.

P. L. SORUM "Ricia" (FL) - See all my reviews
I attended parochial school as a teen and this book was a huge "no-no." I read it anyway and understood why those who seek control over others are very uncomfortable with this book. Personally, I think it should be required reading as it helps to define manipulative behaviors. It's a great book about a lousy world where thought is actively curtailed and the powers that be are only satisfied when the soul is utterly destroyed.
Carolyn Blades (Dexter, MI) - See all my reviews
Our world today and to come, January 29, 2009

Once science fiction, now daily reality: constant war, newspeak, doublethink, surveillance by hidden cameras (and now satellites), TV sets humming 24/7 in many homes, political cover-ups, repression, restriction of language and the concomitant impoverishment of thought, manipulation on many levels. If you only read this in high school, read it again.

Tikhonov Alexei "nabludatel" (Suwon, South Korea) - See all my reviews

1984 by Orwell, January 3, 2007

As a person who lived at socialism and now at capitalism in Russia and outside Russia I can say... '1984' is still actual, regardless of a political system. UNFORTUNATELY.

A lot of mind controlling methods, may be not as cruel as in '1984' described, but still same unhuman, are applied all over the world.... I strongly recommend to read this book to younger generation and don't think that it is about gone away Stalin's Russia... IT IS ABOUT OUR TODAY...In Russia and elsewhere. It is not too easy to read it, but when you MUST THINK it is always not easy....

James E. Egolf (Florida) - See all my reviews

A Description of the West from 1948 to the Present, March 27, 2006

George Orwell (1903-1950) wrote 1984 in the late 1940s,and the novel was published in 1949. This book was a description of a negative utopia,and served as a warning to the West of not only future events but events that had already occured in Western Europe and the United States. In fact, the original title of 1984 was 1948, but Orwell's publishers thought a futuristic title would increase sales of the book. There are three basic warnings in this book.

The shifting of political alliances in 1984 has an all to familiar ring. Note that during the first had of the decade of the 1940s that the Soviets, Chinese, etc. were gallant allies. On the other had, the Japanese, Germans, and the Italians were the forces of evil beyond redemption. Yet, by 1948, or 1946, the scene dramatically changes. All of a sudden, the Soviets were the evil "Gremlins in the Kremlin." The Chinese suddenly became wicked. The previously defined wicked Germans, Japanese, and Italians were now suddently "good guys." One should also that those who clearly wrote about this in any honest context were badly smeared or condemned for being honest.

Another part of 1984 which should be closely examined is the corruption of language. The politically approved words such as democracy, world peace, etc., are part of the media's cowardly effort to avoid truth. Political hacks use these approval words in a flimsy attempt to pose as experts assigned to explain the changes of "allies" and power shifts. Orwell was always aware of the corruption of language and, in turn, the corruption of thought. The examples Orwell uses in 1984 should attract the attention of thoughtful men.

Orwell was one of the few who saw the connection between war and economics. He was one of the first who saw war production as an economic engine to maintain something close to full employment. He lived through the Great Depression and realized that wars are started not so much to defeat the enemy as to maintain political unity and full employment on "the home front." If a "war" can be prolonged, the better attempt to maintain war production and full employment. While living standards were not good, workers have the illusion that they are reasonable well off and are busy with important work.

Orwell's 1984 should be required reading for any teenager. The political lessons derived from this book are important, and, as some have mentioned, one can learn good prose. Reading 1984 can help explain the shifting of alliances since the start of the Cold War and can help explain phony international tensions from the end of W.W. II to the present. One should reflect how many "enemies" and allies the Americans have had during this time as well as reflect on how enemies quickly become allies and vice versa. This reviewer would not recommend 1984 to anyone who is immune to reason.

john b (Concord, NC) - See all my reviews

2+2=5, December 30, 2005

Too often people summarily dismiss anything with the word 'classic' on the outside of it as something that is either too deep to understand or too tame to be interesting. 1984 defies the second mold and blows away the first, roaring off its pages as an untamable black-hearted novel about society.

That's where the ability to define the novel stops. Undoubtedly, when the reader finishes 1984, the last four words are going to draw a line for them; that line will be the one that demarcates whether the reader is a socialist (that the power of production in society lies in the hands of the state) or a capitalist (that the power of production in society should lie in individuals). The brief bio at the beginning of the novel states that Orwell himself was a socialist...this is a strange thing to have to hear because you get the feeling that the novel is not pulling for that side, nor the other.

Because that is the strange greatness that is this novel -- it pulls for nothing, gives no easy answers, and least of all holds back on the literary punch that it delivers. Some novels put forth a question then attempt to answer it (Dostoevsky's 'The Idiot' is one such attempt) and they are great for their own pattern. 1984 is of the other milieu, giving us only a large, unanswered question which is bound to divide us as much as it helps us to see the problems which we all face.

I've not talked much about the plot of the book, nor the characters to this point. To this I must simply say: why should I? The plot and characters, the whole course of the book...they are all contained in what I've already said. This is not a book, it is a problem, a deep philosophical/sociological one which cannot be pinned down. The novel uses its characters and their situations to stake out the nature of its presentation, and then leaves the reader to wade through it on their own once it is finished. It is a disturbance in the mind, one that is significant more so today than ever before- What is the nature of government and its intrusion into life (the NSA situation)? What controls should be placed on the individual (abortion, censorship, euthanasia)? What form should punishment take (torture in the US run detention camps)?

By the time you finish the book, you're going to be thinking about these questions and several more. Hopefully you will want to find answers, though doing so is no easy task; these are intentionally hard questions, aimed at all strata of society, ones that will stick with you the older you get, facing you every time you look at your pay stub and think about where your effort goes.

And again, the cultural significance of this novel cannot be understated. It has already pervaded our daily lives in such a way that we might take for granted; from the lyrics in songs (who controls the past now, controls the future), to the shows on television (Big Brother), one cannot help but to see 1984 all around us, so ingrained into our lives that we might overlook the impact it has made.

Bottom line: this is required reading in many schools for a reason. Every person should be made to read this book.

-LP

Chris (Washington state, USA) - See all my reviews

A fine piece of work, August 5, 2004

Oceania, with the British Isles, the America's and other lands, and London as its capital is a totalitarian state. Winston Smith works on changing past newspapers and other documents to make them doctrinally consistent with the short term needs of the party running Oceania, INGSOC. Thus documents are changed to make it seem that Oceania has always been at war with one of the two other nations of the world, Eurasia and in an alliance with EastAsia, the other nation; similarly is the construction when Oceania goes to war with EastaAsia. Similarly documents will be changed that have some INGSOC official uttering an inaccurate prediction about economic performance so that the official will have originally made an accurate prediction.. Documents are changed to eliminate mention of former favored party members after they fall out of favor and are sent to a forced labor camp or are "vaporized." Winston and other bureaucrats throw doctrinally inaccurate documents into the "memory hole", a chute, attached to his cubicle where they are sent down to the inner recesses of the government building to be burned.

Party members have in their homes and offices "telescreens" where they receive propaganda, are led in mandatory morning exercises but through which are also watched by officials for suspicious facial expressions, or any activity that might indicate independence of mind or feelings of love, enthusiasm or any other human emotion that are not directed at Big Brother, the possibly non-existent ruler of Oceania. People who exhibit such tendencies towards "thought crimes" are immediately arrested, executed or released back into society brainwashed and then rearrested and shot or sometimes sent to a forced labor camp.

INGSOC indoctrination ensures that its party members will not be able to not think logically and instead be completely subordinated to their emotions, which are completely engrossed in worshipping Big Brother. "Doublethink" is what is called the ability of the INGSOC party member to somewhat recognize the logical fallacies and outright falsehoods the party propagates as truth. At the same time such fallacies and falsehoods are accepted as the truth because one's emotions are trained to accept the party's pronouncements as truth whatever common sense says. Thus, it is easy to accept that two plus two equals five when logic says two plus two equals four. Or to not see anything wrong in the Ministry of Torture being officially called "The Ministry of Love," The ministry of truth management/propaganda, etc, where Winston works, as "The Ministry of Truth, and so on. Or to have the party denounce the original ideals of socialism while declaring itself to be a repository of socialist purity. Logic seems to be only tolerated when examining the crimes of official enemies of Oceania.

The bigger one's vocabulary is, of course, the more one can utilize it to articulate opposition to the party; so INGSOC wants to keep Newspeak-the language it is developing--and the remaining use of "Oldspeak"-old standard English-- as small as possible. In Newspeak there is no bad to good. Instead bad is called "ungood," "very good" in oldspeak is called "doubleplusgood." INGSOC indoctrination and throwing old documents and dictionaries down the "memory hole" has made "freedom" have no political connotations but only is defined as in the sentence "She was now free from the illness." Most documents before 1960 are sent down the memory hole or like the Declaration of Independence, altered to express doctrines of INGSOC.

Orwell is not just talking about Stalinism in this book. He sort of touches on elements of our own society. The bottom eighty five percent of Oceanic society, the non-party members are called "Proles", for Proletarian. The Proles are far less constrained by party discipline than INGSOC members produces for them and encourages them to consume dumb popular songs, pornography, trashy novels, play lotteries.. They are encouraged to jingoist frenzies where they attack foreigners and watch parades where they can jeer at foreign POW's and so on. All this distracts them from organizing to seize economic and political justice for themselves. They are still economically enslaved as they were under capitalism.

The sort of Trotsky of the story, Goldstein, notes that Oceania's rulers want to keep throwing resources into war-making so as not to have to divert them to making an equitable standard of living for the masses. \

Erich Fromm notes in his 1961 Afterward notes a few examples of how we in the U.S. practice "doublethink." He gives the example of the person who works for Corporation A and defends its products and everything about it as perfect regardless of what one's common sense might say. However the person will attack his employer's rival corporation B, trying logically to look for flaws in the latter's products and so on. Then the person might switch to employment in corporation B., thus switching loyalty to the latter, and attack the flaws of Corporation A., its former employer. Fromm also notes how American propagandists described U.S. allies as part of the Free World even though it contained viscous Latin American military dictatorships, apartheid South Africa, Salazar's Portugal, Franco's Spain, and so on.

As a piece of literature, this book is excellent. The structure, the parts of the story, are well put together and flow together well. Winston's struggle to maintain his intelligence and impendence is very realistic and well told. I liked the views of life among the Proles as seen by Winston. How Winston and Julia make contact and their first meeting where they end up fornicating are all a little unreal.. But despite this the Winston-Julia love story is very charming, full of real feeling. Winston's experiences in the last part of the book are described vividly, if being slightly incredible.

1984 (Signet Classics) George Orwell

Amazon.com Books
Julie on March 3, 1998
The History Lesson You Wish you Had

George Orwell's final novel, 1984, was written amidst the anti-communist hysteria of the cold war. But unlike Orwell's other famous political satire, Animal Farm, this novel is filled with bleak cynicism and grim pessimism about the human race. When it was written, 1984 stood as a warning against the dangerous probabilities of communism. And now today, after communism has crumbled with the Berlin Wall; 1984 has come back to tell us a tale of mass media, data mining, and their harrowing consequences.

It's 1984 in London, a city in the new überstate of Oceania, which contains what was once England, Western Europe and North America. Our hero, Winston Smith works in the Ministry of Truth altering documents that contradict current government statements and opinions. Winston begins to remember the past that he has worked so hard to destroy, and turns against The Party. Even Winston's quiet, practically undetectable form of anarchism is dangerous in a world filled with thought police and the omnipresent two-way telescreen. He fears his inevitable capture and punishment, but feels no compulsion to change his ways.

Winston's dismal observations about human nature are accompanied by the hope that good will triumph over evil; a hope that Orwell does not appear to share. The people of Oceania are in the process of stripping down the English language to its bones. Creating Newspeak, which Orwell uses only for examples and ideas which exist only in the novel. The integration of Newspeak into the conversation of the book. One of the new words created is doublethink, the act of believing that two conflicting realities exist. Such as when Winston sees a photograph of a non-person, but must reason that that person does not, nor ever has, existed.

The inspiration for Winston's work, may have come from Russia. Where Stalin's right-hand man, Trotzky was erased from all tangible records after his dissention from the party. And the fear of telescreens harks back to the days when Stasi bugs were hooked to every bedpost, phone line and light bulb in Eastern Europe.

His reference to Hitler Youth, the Junior Spies, which trains children to keep an eye out for thought criminals- even if they are their parents; provides evidence for Orwell's continuing presence in pop culture. "Where men can't walk, or freely talk, And sons turn their fathers in." is a line from U2's 1993 song titled "The Wanderer".

Orwell assumes that we will pick up on these political allusions. But the average grade 11 student will probably only have a vague understanding of these due to lack of knowledge. It is even less likely that they will pick up on the universality of these happenings, like the fact that people still "disappear" without a trace every day in Latin America.

Overall, however, the book could not have been better written. Orwell has created characters and events that are scarily realistic. Winston's narration brings the reader inside his head, and sympathetic with the cause of the would-be-rebels. There are no clear answers in the book, and it's often the reader who has to decide what to believe. But despite a slightly unresolved plot, the book serves its purpose. Orwell wrote this book to raise questions; and the sort of questions he raised have no easy answer. This aspect can make the novel somewhat of a disappointment for someone in search of a light read. But anyone prepared to not just read, but think about a novel, will get a lot out of 1984.

1984, is not a novel for the faint of heart, it is a gruesome, saddening portrait of humanity, with it's pitfalls garishly highlighted. Its historic importance has never been underestimated; and it's reemergence as a political warning for the 21st century makes it deserving of a second look. Winston's world of paranoia and inconsistent realities is an eloquently worded account of a future we thought we buried in our past; but in truth may be waiting just around the corner.

Geekier than thou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2000

Big Brother is watching you - read this book and see how!

George Orwell's classic was incredibly visionary. It is hardly fathomable that this book was written in 1948. Things that we take for granted today - cameras everywhere we go, phones being tapped, bodies being scanned for weapons remotely - all of these things were described in graphic detail in Orwell's book.

Now that we have the Internet and people spying on other people w/ webcams and people purposely setting up their own webcams to let others "anonymously" watch them, you can see how this culture can develop into the Orwellian future described in "1984."

If you've heard such phrases as "Big Brother," "Newspeak," and "thought crime" and wondered where these phrases came from, they came from this incredible, vivid and disturbing book.

Winston Smith, the main character of the book is a vibrant, thinking man hiding within the plain mindless behavior he has to go through each day to not be considered a thought criminal. Everything is politically correct, children defy their parents (and are encouraged by the government to do so) and everyone pays constant allegiance to "Big Brother" - the government that watches everyone and knows what everyone is doing at all times - watching you shower, watching you having sex, watching you eat, watching you go to the bathroom and ultimately watching you die.

This is a must-read for everyone.


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Old News ;-)

[Aug 09, 2020] NYT as an amplifier for the mislabeled US 'Intelligence' Agencies rumor and baseless claims about foreign interferences in US elections

The first and the most important fact that there will no elections in November -- both candidates represent the same oligarchy, just slightly different factions of it.
Look like NYT is controlled by Bolton faction of CIA. They really want to overturn the results of 2020 elections and using Russia as a bogeyman is a perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.
Neocons understand very well that it is MIC who better their bread, so amplifying rumors the simplify getting additional budget money for intelligence agencies (which are a part of MIC) is always the most desirable goal.
Notable quotes:
"... But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr. ..."
"... The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process." ..."
"... But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections? ..."
"... But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn? ..."
"... Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence. ..."
"... Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China? ..."
"... If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them? ..."
"... Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget. ..."
"... Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

The New York Times sensationally headlines:

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:

Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:

For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.

After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?

The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."

But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?

As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :

The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.

But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?

Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.

Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:

The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...

and

Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?

If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?

Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.

Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.

Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

[Aug 08, 2020] The New York Times has finally woken up to the fact that Seattle s CHOP was a complete disaster – a month after it was disbanded by Guy Birchall

Somalia in Seattle ;-)
It would be interesting to see how many of inhabitants of CHAZ zone, who experinced the "summer of love" will vote for Trump in Novemebr.
Notable quotes:
"... The land of soy milk and honey was disbanded on July 1 and was duly eulogised by the usual suspects as basically an extended block party. A month on, the NY Times finally got around to sending a reporter to speak to the people who lived and worked in the area before the protestors moved in and produced an admittedly excellent piece of reportage on the situation. ..."
"... The piece, as journalist Michael Tracey observed on Twitter, would have been dismissed as right-wing propaganda just a month ago and shows that this little experiment in anarcho-communism was a million miles away from paradise. ..."
"... The picture painted by the residents is one of gangs of armed thugs running protection rackets and widespread vandalism. The first person mentioned in the piece, a gay man of Middle Eastern extraction named Faizel Khan, reveals that to get to the coffee shop he runs he had to get permission from "gun wielding white men" who at one point barricaded him and all his customers in the store. ..."
"... In his pre-CHOP days, Mr Hearns was a security guard for many years, but after the police vacated the area (their precinct was taken over by protesters and then promptly set on fire) he became part of the "Black Lives Matter Community Patrol". This patrol had locals "pay for their protection." ..."
"... It doesn't sound like they were particularly good at ensuring community cohesion either, considering six people were shot under their jurisdiction and two of them died. ..."
"... Observers also noted that rather than being a multi-racial melting pot of equality, the CHOP turned into a "white occupation" as the numbers of Antifa activists began to outnumber the BLM protesters. They also established "black only segregated areas" within the CHOP, making it frightening similar to the Confederacy, which also, coincidentally, seceded from the union. ..."
"... The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.rt.com

Following an investigative report the paper of record has revealed that business owners who were stuck in the Capitol Hill Organised Protest 'aren't so sure about abolishing the police'. No sh*t Sherlock.

The New York Times has done something distinctly out of character and actually produced some decent journalism. Taking a break from getting editors sacked for allowing Republican senators to write op-eds and forcing out the few remaining sane people on their staff for not quaffing the identity politics Cool-Aid enthusiastically enough, they dispatched a reporter to Seattle to pick through the remnants of the CHOP , a month after it closed.

The Capital Hill Organised Protest, formally CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), was the area of the city that, for 23 glorious days, declared independence from the United States. A bunch of Black Lives Matter and Antifa radicals hoofed out the police and decided to try and run the area as some sort of Marxist utopia. What they actually established was a gang run hellhole that made the Wild West look like Switzerland.

It wasn't described as such at the time of course. Seattle's mayor said the city was in for a "summer of love" and most of the left-wing press would have had you believe that it was pretty much a hippy commune full of free vegan food and urban collective farms.

The land of soy milk and honey was disbanded on July 1 and was duly eulogised by the usual suspects as basically an extended block party. A month on, the NY Times finally got around to sending a reporter to speak to the people who lived and worked in the area before the protestors moved in and produced an admittedly excellent piece of reportage on the situation. It was headlined, "Abolish the Police? Those Who Survived the Chaos in Seattle Aren't So Sure." The piece, as journalist Michael Tracey observed on Twitter, would have been dismissed as right-wing propaganda just a month ago and shows that this little experiment in anarcho-communism was a million miles away from paradise.

To say they "aren't sure" has to be the understatement of the year. The picture painted by the residents is one of gangs of armed thugs running protection rackets and widespread vandalism. The first person mentioned in the piece, a gay man of Middle Eastern extraction named Faizel Khan, reveals that to get to the coffee shop he runs he had to get permission from "gun wielding white men" who at one point barricaded him and all his customers in the store.

Mr Khan's experiences during these three and a bit weeks of lawlessness were so horrendous that he and a host of other small business owners, described as "lonely voices in progressive areas," are suing Seattle after the local police force refused to respond to their calls for the duration of the CHOP. And as the litany of horrors they were subjected to is laid bare in the NY Times article, it is not hard to see why.

Another character we meet in this saga is Rick Hearns. In his pre-CHOP days, Mr Hearns was a security guard for many years, but after the police vacated the area (their precinct was taken over by protesters and then promptly set on fire) he became part of the "Black Lives Matter Community Patrol". This patrol had locals "pay for their protection." Now what other organisation does that remind you of? If you can't think of it, may I suggest you watch virtually any Martin Scorsese movie and I think you'll get the picture.

It doesn't sound like they were particularly good at ensuring community cohesion either, considering six people were shot under their jurisdiction and two of them died. Interestingly, since they were replacing the "institutionally racist" police force, (run by a black woman incidentally but why let facts spoil it) one of the victims was a black teenager.

Observers also noted that rather than being a multi-racial melting pot of equality, the CHOP turned into a "white occupation" as the numbers of Antifa activists began to outnumber the BLM protesters. They also established "black only segregated areas" within the CHOP, making it frightening similar to the Confederacy, which also, coincidentally, seceded from the union. Oh, and they had a Warlord, Raz from CHAZ, too, just as an icing on the cake.

Quite why these so-called activists felt the need to see how anarchy turns out in a world where Somaila exists is beyond me, and frankly any sane person who is even vaguely aware of history. I'm sure if they'd managed to get hold of the port it wouldn't have been long before they decided to give piracy on the high seas a try, but alas they didn't have the time.

This just makes the tone of the NY Times piece all the more baffling. While it does chart the horrors of the zone well, framing the notion of "abolishing the police" as anything other than irredeemably stupid is frankly ridiculous. I suppose they do deserve praise for finally telling the story, but in no way does it make up for the way they have fomented and given succour to the absurd and dangerous ideas that gave rise to the CHOP for so long.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Guy Birchall, British journalist covering current affairs, politics and free speech issues. Recently published in The Sun and Spiked Online. Follow him on Twitter @guybirchall 7 Aug, 2020 22:11 Get short URL CHAZ/CHOP protesters remove man for bothering them, June 13, 2020

[Aug 08, 2020] Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says

Aug 08, 2020 | www.msn.com

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says Julian E. Barnes 4 hrs ago


Trump falsely claims coronavirus is "disappearing" and Russia Coronavirus updates: School district says 100 students, staff positive for COVID-19 The New York Times logo Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says

WASHINGTON -- Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

a group of people standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week in Wilmington, Del. A new intelligence assessment said Russia continues to interfere in the election on President Trump's behalf, while China prefers Mr. Biden. © Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times Joseph R. Biden Jr. last week in Wilmington, Del. A new intelligence assessment said Russia continues to interfere in the election on President Trump's behalf, while China prefers Mr. Biden.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

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But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

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The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The White House has objected in the past to conclusions that Moscow is working to help Mr. Trump, and Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed growing concern that the intelligence agencies are not being forthright enough about Russia's preference for him and that the agencies are introducing China's anti-Trump stance to balance the scales.

a group of people posing for a picture: Trump supporters in Ohio on Thursday, during the president's visit to a factory in Clyde. © Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times Trump supporters in Ohio on Thursday, during the president's visit to a factory in Clyde.

The assessment appeared to draw a distinction between what it called the "range of measures" being deployed by Moscow to influence the election and its conclusion that China prefers that Mr. Trump be defeated.

It cited efforts coming out of pro-Russia forces in Ukraine to damage Mr. Biden and Kremlin-linked figures who "are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television."

China, it said, has so far signaled its position mostly through increased public criticism of the administration's tough line on China on a variety of fronts.

An American official briefed on the intelligence said it was wrong to equate the two countries. Russia, the official said, is a tornado, capable of inflicting damage on American democracy now. China is more like climate change, the official said: The threat is real and grave, but more long term.

Democratic lawmakers made the same point about the report, which also found that Iran was seeking "to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country" ahead of the general election.

"Unfortunately, today's statement still treats three actors of differing intent and capability as equal threats to our democratic elections," Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam B. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement.

Asked about the report during a news conference on Friday night at his golf club in New Jersey, Mr. Trump said, "The last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have." He said that if Mr. Biden won the presidency, "China would own our country."

Aides and allies of Mr. Biden assailed Mr. Trump, saying that he had repeatedly sided with President Vladimir V. Putin on whether Russia had intervened to help him in 2016 and that he had been impeached by the House for trying to pressure Ukraine into helping him undercut Mr. Biden.

"Donald Trump has publicly and repeatedly invited, emboldened and even tried to coerce foreign interference in American elections," said Tony Blinken, a senior adviser to the former vice president.

It is not clear how much China is doing to interfere directly in the presidential election. Intelligence officials have briefed Congress in recent days that much of Beijing's focus is on state and local races. But Mr. Evanina's statement on Friday suggested China was on weighing an increased effort.

"Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current administration's Covid-19 response, closure of China's Houston Consulate and actions on other issues," Mr. Evanina said.

Mr. Evanina pointed to growing tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea, Hong Kong autonomy, the TikTok app and other issues. China, officials have said, has also tried to collect information on the presidential campaigns, as it has in previous contests.

The release on Friday was short on specifics, but that was largely because the intelligence community is intent on trying to protect its sources of information, said Senator Angus King, the Maine independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

"The director has basically put the American people on notice that Russia in particular, also China and Iran, are going to be trying to meddle in this election and undermine our democratic system," said Mr. King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Intelligence officials said there was no way to avoid political criticism when releasing information about the election. An official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that the goal was not to rank order threats and that Russia, China and Iran all pose a danger to the election.

Fighting over the intelligence reports, the official said, only benefits adversaries trying to sow divisions.

While both Beijing and Moscow have a preference, the Chinese and Russian influence campaigns are very different, officials said.

Outside of a few scattered examples, it is hard to find much evidence of intensifying Chinese influence efforts that could have a national effect.

Much of what China is doing currently amounts to using its economic might to influence local politics, officials said. But that is hardly new. Beijing is also using a variety of means to push back on various Trump administration policies, including tariffs and bans on Chinese tech companies, but those efforts are not covert and it is unclear if they would have an effect on presidential politics.

Russia, but not China, is trying to "actively influence" the outcome of the 2020 election, said the American official briefed on the underlying intelligence.

"The fact that adversaries like China or Iran don't like an American president's policies is normal fare," said Jeremy Bash, a former Obama administration official. "What's abnormal, disturbing and dangerous is that an adversary like Russia is actively trying to get Trump re-elected."

Russia tried to use influence campaigns during 2018 midterm voting to try to sway public opinion, but it did not successfully tamper with voting infrastructure.

Mr. Evanina said it would be difficult for adversarial countries to try to manipulate voting results on a large scale. But nevertheless, the countries could try to interfere in the voting process or take steps aimed at "calling into question the validity of the election results."

The new release comes on the heels of congressional briefings that have alarmed lawmakers, particularly Democrats. Those briefings have described a stepped-up Chinese pressure campaign, as well as efforts by Moscow to paint Mr. Biden as corrupt.

"Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process," Mr. Evanina said in a statement.

The statement called out Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia member of Ukraine's Parliament who has been involved in releasing information about Mr. Biden. Intelligence officials said he had ties to Russian intelligence.

Intelligence officials have briefed Congress in recent weeks on details of the Russian efforts to tarnish Mr. Biden as corrupt, prompting senior Democrats to request more information.

A Senate committee led by Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, has been leading an investigation of Mr. Biden's son Hunter Biden and his work for Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm. Some intelligence officials have said that a witness the committee was seeking to call was a witting or unwitting agent of Russian disinformation.

Democrats had pushed intelligence officials to release more information to the public, arguing that only a broad declassification of the foreign interference attempts can inoculate voters against attempts by Russia, China or other countries to try to influence voting.

In meetings on Capitol Hill , Mr. Evanina and other intelligence officials have expanded their warnings beyond Russia and have included China and Iran, as well. This year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence put Mr. Evanina in charge of election security briefings to Congress and the campaigns.

Intelligence and other officials in recent days have been stepping up their releases of information about foreign interference efforts, and the State Department has sent texts to cellphones around the world advertising a $10 million reward for information on would-be election hackers.

How effective China's campaign or Russia's efforts to smear Mr. Biden as corrupt have been is not clear. Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

The first reactions from Capitol Hill to the release of the assessment were positive. A joint statement by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee praised it, and asked colleagues to refrain from politicizing Mr. Evanina's statement.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the acting Republican chairman of the committee, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the Democratic vice chairman, said they hoped Mr. Evanina continued to make more information available to the public. But they praised him for responding to calls for more information.

"Evanina's statement highlights some of the serious and ongoing threats to our election from China, Russia, and Iran," the two men's joint statement said. "Everyone -- from the voting public, local officials, and members of Congress -- needs to be aware of these threats."

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York.


[Aug 07, 2020] John Cleese- Woke People Have -Zero Sense Of Humour-; They're Killing Comedy -

Highly recommended!
"Yesterday, there was a Tzar and there were slaves. Today, there is no Tzar, but the slaves are still here. We have gone through the epoch when the masses were oppressed. We are now going through the epoch when the individual is to be oppressed in the name of the masses." ― Yevgeny Zamyatin, A Soviet Heretic
Aug 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Legendary British comedian John Cleese has hit out at permanently offended woke people, insisting that they have no sense of humour and are contributing to the death of comedy.

In an appearance on the Daily Beast's The Last Laugh Podcast, Cleese noted that woke people simply do not understand the intricacies of comedy.

"There's plenty of people who are PC now who have absolutely zero sense of humour. I would love to debate, in a friendly way, a couple of 'woke' people in front of an audience. And I think the first thing I would say is, please tell me a good 'woke' joke," Cleese urged.

"What they don't understand is that there's two types of teasing," Cleese continued, noting that "There's really nasty teasing, which is horrible, and we shouldn't do it, full stop. But the other type of teasing is affectionate. You can tease people hugely affectionately and it's a bonding mechanism."

"All humour is critical. You cannot get laughs out of perfect human beings," Cleese continued, adding that "If you've got someone up on the screen who is perfect, intelligent and kind and flexible and a good person, there's nothing funny about that. So we only laugh at people's frailties, but that's not cruel. You can laugh at people's frailties in very funny and generous ways."

https://embed.acast.com/last-laugh-daily-beast/johncleeseishopeless

Cleese was recently at the centre of a 'woke' storm when his Fawlty Towers show, made some 40 years ago was temporarily canceled after complaints that it featured a 'racist' character.

Cleese called the BBC "cowardly and gutless" for removing an episode of the show, pointing out that the racist character in question was the target of ridicule in the show.

Cleese has previously warned that political correctness will lead to the death of comedy, noting that "If you start to say we mustn't, we mustn't criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I'm concerned you're living in 1984."

After daring to question the diversity overlords, Cleese also recently found himself being labeled a 'racist'


Nunyadambizness , 3 hours ago

Cleese is absolutely spot on.

The vast majority of "woke" people have fallen subject to the Cultural Marxism that is political correctness, and frankly have the intellectual capacity of my shoe. Disagree? You're a racist/sexist/homophobe/islamophobe/ etc., etc., etc. One cannot debate ideas because if your idea is different then theirs, they cannot accept the fact that you have a different idea than the "woke" theology--same as Islam demands submission to their theology.

WorkingClassMan , 2 hours ago

The man IS a comedic genius. Even when he made fun of 'The Germans," he did it in such a unique and awesome way it even had this German-American laughing. He can get away with a Hitler skit--he's THAT good.

EvlTheCat , 2 hours ago

"Woke" in itself is a joke and a oxymoron, which if you know the definition makes it ironic also. Touches all bases John.

seryanhoj , 2 hours ago

Also a grammatical error. The chosen ones who may not be questioned, are awakened.

Clese is right . The " woke " have less sense of humour than the state dept. or the Pentagon or the NRA.

Anyone who tskes himself seriously is a threat. Fortunately even he will soon be dead and forgotten.

EvlTheCat , 1 hour ago

Mr. Fawlty will never be forgotten.

Simple past participle.

Bay Area Guy , 2 hours ago

I wonder what George Carlin would have to say about the situation today. I think he would say a lot of things similar to what Cleese has said. Carlin was most definitely a staunch liberal, but he also stood up for true free speech. I recall a skit he did that skewered feminists. Undoubtedly, they would try to silence him today.

I'm not sure a true wokester could ever tell a joke. They'd be deathly afraid of someone in their crowd taking it the wrong way and getting canceled. Besides, the concept of humor is totally foreign to them. When you spend your entire waking life (and probably your dream state as well) constantly finding things to be offended at and be outraged by, humor is going to go completely over their heads. My guess is the best joke in the world would be met with glassy eyes and the need to explain the joke which, of course, totally negates the value of the joke.

ZenoOfCitium , 2 hours ago

Here is a good woke joke for you: Woke people care about only their woke-selves, period!

Being "Woke" is being selfish. Being only interested in oneself. Being woke is believing only minorities can succeed without one's woke self interference.

Being woke is about protesting fascism, while demanding authoritarian and dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy.

El Chapo Read , 2 hours ago

The BBC executive staff transitioned into a chosenite-dominated lineup over the last 20 years.

They ruin everything.

gcjohns1971 , 2 hours ago

I love Cleese's work.

He demonstrated a particular talent for shredding the self-important imbeciles of the 1970s... but somehow became both self important and unwilling to shred crowds with whom he sympathized in the 1990's, 2000's and today.

Mores the pity. His work could have saved a generation. It is a tragedy.

The wokesters are like the terminator...but with sensitive ears that cannot withstand the slightest disagreement, much less criticism. Their motto is the reverse of the one we learned as children, "Words and verbs destroy my world, but sticks can never hurt me".

Cleese, there, could have been a weapon of mass comedy.

You can't really grow up until you can laugh at yourself. But the wokesters are coffee-shop commando's simmering in malevolent pike while eating soy and sipping coffee...but only of the poshest and most stylish blend.

GeezerGeek , 1 hour ago

Cleese is a little late to the party; plenty of others have already announced the death of comedy, particularly on campus. Comedy clubs still exist, but the PC crowd has limited the subjects about which one can tell jokes.

I wonder how the wokesters would treat Carlin if he was still alive. I doubt he'd be very kind to them.

simulkra , 3 hours ago

I read a book years ago, the thesis of which was that humour was closely related to inventiveness. It argued that both involved making connections between the apparently unrelated.

Ideologues, of the useful idiot variety, often do not have the capacity for humour, as they do not have the cognitive ability to think in the abstract and make these connections. Their inferiority drives them to attempt to reduce others to their level, by elevating the slogan's they have managed to learn by rote, to absolute importance. They are the sheep in Animal Farm.

Do not grace them with the moniker of 'woke', as they are sleepwalkers in someone else's dream. What we are seeing here is the media promotion of the idiot horde.

High Vigilante , 3 hours ago

Humour requires intelligence.

Doom88 , 3 hours ago

For the woke crowd comedy is no laughing matter.

Cognitive Dissonance , 2 hours ago

Humour requires intelligence.

Or at the very least perspective and self awareness, something categorically lacking in the so-called 'woke' crowd.

john doeberg , 3 hours ago

People with mental disorders ... can't be funny.

Their brains are fried.

Saddam Miser , 3 hours ago

Woke people have zero sense of anything because they're all closet schizos. Try talking to one. You would think you're talking to a completely psychopathic schizo.

[Aug 07, 2020] Real Time with Bill Maher- John Cleese on Political Incorrectness (HBO)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Like George Carlin once said "political correctness is fascism disguised as politeness" ..."
"... "Almost nobody has any idea what they are talking about." That's the problem with this internet age giving every moron a voice. ..."
"... Social Justice Warriors = political correctness on steroids. ..."
"... "It starts off as a halfway decent idea and then it goes completely wrong" Sums up all this stupidity in the wake of the BLM protests. What started out as legitimate anger about the murder of an unarmed black man by a police officer has denigrated to people trying to cancel comedy shows from 20 years ago and bitching about "inappropriate language" and just ..."
"... Take any ethical position to its extreme and if it holds together it's good. - Kant. Liberalism taken to an extreme fails. Get a clue. ..."
"... I love how Cleese puts it. Fundamentalism does not just have to do with religion, or the far right. It is taking anything to an extreme. The same goes with political correctness. ..."
"... John Cleese outclasses Bill Maher by an absolutely massive margin ..."
"... Political correctness is another way of stating: " I want to make rules of tolerance that only apply to everyone else in society. But only don't apply to everyone on the same side as the group I'm with" ..."
"... Political correctness and Social Justice isn't about protecting minorities, or protecting the LGTBQ community etc, its about control and censoring through bullying. its about telling you how to think, and what you can say. Our Great Grandparents died to protect our right to think and speak freely, and to tell me how to think and speak, you are literally pissing on the graves of the people who died to protect that right, and THAT offends me. ..."
Aug 07, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Martin Macdonald , 1 year ago

'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners.' George Carlin

Jimmy Jenkinson , 1 year ago

Like George Carlin once said "political correctness is fascism disguised as politeness"

njaime70 , 1 year ago

I am Mexican and we joke badly about ourselves. These two guys are amazing.

bobbytookalook , 5 years ago

Cleese's huge laugh at the "religion of peace -- a piece of you here, a piece of you there" was wonderful -- he laughed so hard -- almost as though he'd never heard that before -- and perhaps he hadn't -- but he sure seemed to enjoy it, as did I!

elseptimo77 , 11 months ago

"The world wouldn't work without stupidity." ....was the lost and forgotten conversation.

Lord FRIEZA , 11 months ago (edited)

1:47 absolutely amazing. An elderly man swearing. That's pure comedic gold

M. Strain Jr. , 1 year ago

"Almost nobody has any idea what they are talking about." That's the problem with this internet age giving every moron a voice. Used to be that you had to have some kind of intelligence or talent to get recognition.

11Kralle , 1 year ago (edited)

How were the early protestants teased by the catholic hierarchy: "They read the bible as if it was true!"

harperjack99 , 1 year ago

"He threw the money lenders out of the temple" Clever John, clever.

Evi1M4chine , 5 years ago

Social Justice Warriors = political correctness on steroids.

Kevin Kibble , 1 month ago

"It starts off as a halfway decent idea and then it goes completely wrong" Sums up all this stupidity in the wake of the BLM protests. What started out as legitimate anger about the murder of an unarmed black man by a police officer has denigrated to people trying to cancel comedy shows from 20 years ago and bitching about "inappropriate language" and just

Chris Bonnett , 1 year ago

Take any ethical position to its extreme and if it holds together it's good. - Kant. Liberalism taken to an extreme fails. Get a clue.

Haftepaff , 5 years ago

I love these guys, the whole "political correctness" is an absurd illusion. In my country we love to make jokes about western countries and specifically our neighbors, but you will most certainly get arrested if you make joke about other nationalities, origin or "that" religion.

Marc Law , 5 months ago

PC is just a way of conditioning us into a controlled submission. Fack PC,an individual should be able to be themselves.

winterlandboy , 5 years ago

For John Cleese Fans.. If you've never seen an old 80,s film of his called "Clockwise" Please check it out. Small budget film By Handmade Fims which was in part George Harrison's company.. and very very funny FYI

Jyotsna Gokhale , 2 years ago

"...Stupidity, I've heard you're against it "!!!!! "Australians are so well balanced, because they've a chip on each shoulder"!!!!!! 3:30 "religion of piece - there's a piece of you over there, there's a piece of you over there, ..."!!!!

Michael Rogers , 1 year ago

Understand the following like you have understood nothing else before: (Maher and Cleese obviously had not at the time of this interview.)

'Political Correctness' is now a construct utilised almost exclusively to trivialise and dismiss anything that seeks to redress injustice, unfairness and the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege.

Whatever the issue it will be dismissed as being only 'political correctness' and even common decency of courtesy are disparaged as 'political correctness gone mad' . It has also become at the same time a 'weasel' term used by cowards and bullies to avoid having to openly state that the have no care for the rights, concerns, feelings and well-being of others.

Look for how and by whom 'political correctness' is currently used and you will see what Maher, Cleese and posters commenting on this clip hve not and be less likely to be misled and duped.

MisterCharlton , 4 years ago

I love how Cleese puts it. Fundamentalism does not just have to do with religion, or the far right. It is taking anything to an extreme. The same goes with political correctness.

John Smith , 2 years ago (edited)

It's hard for rich liberal like Maher to be truly subversive against an Establishment they largely control.

AmerginMacEccit , 5 years ago

"Political incorrectness... Could we just bitch about that?"... And here I sense feminist hysteria storm coming Bill Maher's way. I definately prefer the British style. John Cleese was one of those people I looked up to and thought "I want to be like him when I grow up".

Crescendo , 1 year ago

John Cleese outclasses Bill Maher by an absolutely massive margin and Bill Maher is so full of himself he always thinks he's the smartest, most important person on the show. Bill Maher is embarassing to watch.

Bill Cleveland , 3 years ago

George Carlin - Political Correctness is Fascism pretending to be Manners..................

Gulzat Matisakova , 1 year ago

Despite loving Mr. Cleese, I want to point out that when you joke about oppressed group it becomes part of oppression. That's why joking about Mexicans in USA or Britain it is different than joking about Mexicans in Mexico by Mexicans. Context is everything

Robert McElwaine , 2 years ago (edited)

Cleese's logic here is irrefutable; and really shines a light on the incredible double standards that are prevalent in contemporary society. It's rewarding to know; watching this when he speaks about Jesus that there are religious academics, and representatives that see the wise satirical insight of; Life of Brian. If only we had a movie now that lampooned radical Isalm. Oh wait there is; its called; Four Lions.

clarence crawford , 5 years ago

If you read Fahrenheit 451...

Bill Cleveland , 3 years ago

Political correctness is another way of stating: "I not only want my piece of the cake to eat for myself, but I also want the whole cake to eat for myself too." Political correctness is another way of stating: " I want to make rules of tolerance that only apply to everyone else in society. But only don't apply to everyone on the same side as the group I'm with"

Ron Cooney , 5 years ago

Cleese is so spot-on about the madness of political correctness. Goebbels would have loved it, except this fascism is of the left, in the heads of "open-minded" liberals (so-called.)

lachazaroony , 1 month ago

Political correctness and Social Justice isn't about protecting minorities, or protecting the LGTBQ community etc, its about control and censoring through bullying. its about telling you how to think, and what you can say. Our Great Grandparents died to protect our right to think and speak freely, and to tell me how to think and speak, you are literally pissing on the graves of the people who died to protect that right, and THAT offends me.

Ben Jamin , 4 years ago

So annoying watching bill maher. He's so arrogant and conceited. He's always cutting in awkwardly to say some middle-of-the-road boring hum-drum to get an obligatory clap from his audience. Can't we just listen to the fantastic john cleese and not the wannabe political spokes-person?

Jim Coppersmith , 3 weeks ago

It seems to me thar racial tensions in particular or worse now than they Were before they shoved this whole political correctness thing down our gullets. And that statement goes back to before the Minneapolis police killed a man for using a counterfeit $20 bill(being black). Forcing political correctness on people doesn't work. You're not changing peoples ideas you're just suppressing them. When you suppress a persons ideas those ideas fester. When suppressed ideas fester they build up pressure and eventually explode. Instead of telling people what they can't say or do, we need to re-educate our people to except those that are different. Humor is a very good way of getting people to see how ignorant their ideas are.


v1e1r1g1e1
, 2 years ago

''Political correctness'' is for people who have achieved nothing, done nothing, and ARE nothing. It is their way of pretending to have power over REAL people. That's why celebrities and Hollywood actors love being PC so much.

Ozzy Bacchus , 4 years ago

Punching up or across is funny. Punching down isn't funny.

[Aug 07, 2020] John Cleese - Woke People Have -Zero Sense Of Humour

Highly recommended!
Radicals have never had a sense of humor. They are unbalanced. "In jest, there is truth". -- Roman proverb. Radicals has problems with truth. Therefore, they don't like humor.
See also John Cleese vs Extremism - YouTube
Notable quotes:
"... Monty Python was the pinnacle of contemporary comedy precisely because it drew attention to the absurdity of modern society and it pompous hypocrisy ..."
Aug 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

hooligan2009 , 2 hours ago

i saw a joke today

big female BLM supporter wearing a nappy mask that says "i can't breathe" on it

soccer mom says "well take the stupid mask off"

MartinG , 3 hours ago

How many Wokesters does it take to change a light bulb?

tardpill , 3 hours ago

the only one that can possibly change the bulb with it out being a racist privilege is not available because they are too busy burning **** down

DaBard51 , 2 hours ago

You forgot:

When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

<edit> whoever up-voted, my thanks. Shadow-banned, I am not, now, I see...

Roger Casement , 3 hours ago

They are the joke.

philipat , 2 hours ago

Yes, and that is why humor is so important, especially at the margin. Politicians, especially Democrat politicians, don't like comedy because it draws attention to the absurdity of most of what they do.

Monty Python was the pinnacle of contemporary comedy precisely because it drew attention to the absurdity of modern society and it pompous hypocrisy. It gave me more laughs more consistently than anything I have come across since. 'God speed John, you stay with what you believe and ***k the humorless wokesters who need to get a life and lighten up for their own sake and for that of all the rest of us!

45North1 , 2 hours ago

An Antifa member, a BLM'er and a Proud Boy go into a Bar.....

EvlTheCat , 2 hours ago

"Woke" in itself is a joke and a oxymoron, which if you know the definition makes it ironic also. Touches all bases John.

[Aug 04, 2020] Americans are socialized into learning to keep their mouth shut

Notable quotes:
"... Among Americans without a high school diploma, for example, 27 percent self-censor. Among Americans who completed high school, this goes up to 34 percent. And among those who have attended college for at least a few years, 45 percent do. This suggests that Americans are socialized into learning to keep their mouth shut: the longer you spend in the educational system, the more you learn that it is appropriate to express some views, but not others. ..."
"... The implicit claim is that the good people, or at least the people with good taste and good manners, will abuse the bad people out of power is the social media version of "The King's advisors are corrupt!" The political "analysis" which reduces everything to the personal malice of your enemies and their conspiracies and all we need to do is the same politics that says all we need is good Christian leaders, except the morally trivial difference of who "we" are deemed to be. ..."
"... using the immoral methods you advocate is actively immoral in itself. Like Heinlein in Starship Troopers arguing that the whipping post was actually fairer, you're arguing the social media equivalent of pillory and stocks are fairer! ..."
"... reducing the whole issue of the current reliance on moral scandals about individuals in lieu of any principled politics to nothing more than the personal pique of the privileged (who alleged power is as likely to be imaginary as real, incidentally,) by waving away the problems, this is exactly what you are endorsing. ..."
Aug 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Musicismath 08.03.20 at 2:29 pm

I am sure that people restricting what they say because of a fear of ostracism is a thing that happens, but there's no reason to suppose that this is restricted to liberals, or more common among liberals

@147; @150: There is, apparently, some recent data on this. According to a survey conducted in 2019, a full 40% of Americans "don't feel free to speak their minds." (The corresponding figures were 48% in 2015, and 13% in 1954, at the height of McCarthyism. There are no figures for 2020.) Other relevant findings from that study: equal numbers of R and D voters feel unable to speak their minds; but uneasiness about speaking freely correlates most strongly with higher levels of education:

Among Americans without a high school diploma, for example, 27 percent self-censor. Among Americans who completed high school, this goes up to 34 percent. And among those who have attended college for at least a few years, 45 percent do. This suggests that Americans are socialized into learning to keep their mouth shut: the longer you spend in the educational system, the more you learn that it is appropriate to express some views, but not others.

This finding (if valid) would seem to vindicate the functionalist interpretation of self-censorship laid out by @150: that its purpose is to control the range of expression permissible within the college-educated, broadly liberal PMC.

The figure in the Persuasion piece suggests that it's based on a longer paper. If it's this one , then it's still a preprint. But, still: at least something to go on.

bob mcmanus 08.03.20 at 3:03 pm (
159
)

130 is as said before excellent and instructive

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/aug/03/taylor-swift-folklore-hardcore-pop-fans-abusing-critics-stan

I see this kind of thing multiple times every day. I suppose because these reviewers haven't yet been shot and killed, this isn't really "cancel culture," not serious, I'm making it up.

There is some strenuous gaslighting going on in this thread.

steven t johnson 08.03.20 at 2:01 pm (
157
)

Jerry Vinokurov@143 wrote: "I'm sorry, I genuinely do not understand what you mean to say here."

How curious Well then, to be blunt, defending "dragged on Twitter" is defending a storm of abuse as useful political speech, which is ridiculous. It's defending the storm of abuse by gamers of women, for one thing. Pretending it's not because those kind of people only want to pretend this kind of rotten politics is only a problem when people they perceive as "left" do it, doesn't change that. The same tactics used by the right too, for example, demonize Hilary Clinton for thirty years may not be called PC or cancel culture, but that's what it is.

The implicit claim is that the good people, or at least the people with good taste and good manners, will abuse the bad people out of power is the social media version of "The King's advisors are corrupt!" The political "analysis" which reduces everything to the personal malice of your enemies and their conspiracies and all we need to do is the same politics that says all we need is good Christian leaders, except the morally trivial difference of who "we" are deemed to be.

Moral reformation by abuse is not going to work. Frankly, the actual irrelevance of this to ownership of the country is one reason why it is allowed, a way to neuter real opposition. It prevents solidarity between the lowers, while fostering illusions about select masters. Wasn't there some guy who actually wrote about the Obama presidency under the title We Were Eight Years in Power?

And, by the way, if politics were simply just personal morality, then using the immoral methods you advocate is actively immoral in itself. Like Heinlein in Starship Troopers arguing that the whipping post was actually fairer, you're arguing the social media equivalent of pillory and stocks are fairer!

You think for some reason stuff like some guy pulling a Norwegian flag because somebody complained about a Confederate flag being displayed isn't a problem? Even worse, you really think pulling Confederate flags is a real solution to anything? You think a judge who ruled that Ashley Judd could sue Harvey Weinstein for retaliation and defamation (as in blacklisting her,) but couldn't sue him for employer harassment when she wasn't his employee should be purged from the judiciary? And that of course a judge should rule that Judd should be able to sue him for employer abuse when she wasn't employed by him because that will allow fishing expeditions into every employee's work history? You think the movie An Office and A Spy should be canceled but that doesn't make you an anti-Dreyfusard?

Probably the pretense is that none of this was intended. But reducing the whole issue of the current reliance on moral scandals about individuals in lieu of any principled politics to nothing more than the personal pique of the privileged (who alleged power is as likely to be imaginary as real, incidentally,) by waving away the problems, this is exactly what you are endorsing.

[Aug 04, 2020] This first person account by @SwipeWright of his academic cancelling is worth paying attention to. Reputational smears, job market sabotage, lies, etc. Brutal. Follow him for thoughtful insights and smart analysis of scientific subjects.

Notable quotes:
"... You're not allowed to criticise it. And therefore, if you offer even a fairly mild criticism, it really does sound strident, because it violates this expectation that religion is out of bounds. ..."
Aug 04, 2020 | threadreaderapp.com

Save as PDF My Authors

1/ What is cancel culture? A few months ago I was a postdoc at Penn State with an soon-expiring contract, job hunting for tenure track professorships.

Social and peer influences

Parental reports (on social media) of friend clusters exhibiting signs of gender dysphoria [1-4]
and increased exposure to social media/internet preceding a child’s announcement of a trans-
gender identity [1-2,9] raise the possibility of social and peer influences. In developmental psy-
chology research, impacts of peers and other social influences on an individual’s development
are sometimes described using the terms peer contagion and social contagion, respectively. The
use of "contagion" in this context is distinct from the term’s use in the study of infectious dis-
ease, and furthermore its use as an established academic concept throughout this article is not
meant in any way to characterize the developmental process, outcome, or behavior as a disease
or disease-like state, or to convey any value judgement. Social contagion [29] is the spread of
affect or behaviors through a population. Peer contagion, in particular, is the process where an
individual and peer mutually influence each other in a way that promotes emotions and behav-
iors that can potentially have negative effects on their development [30]. Peer contagion has
been associated with depressive symptoms, disordered eating, aggression, bullying, and drug
use [30-31]. Internalizing symptoms such as depression can be spread via the mechanisms of
co-rumination, which entails the repetitive discussion of problems, excessive reassurance seek-
ing (ERS), and negative feedback [30, 32-34]. Deviancy training, which was first described for
rule breaking, delinquency, and aggression, is the process whereby attitudes and behaviors asso-
ciated with problem behaviors are promoted with positive reinforcement by peers [35,36].

Peer contagion has been shown to be a factor in several aspects of eating disorders. There
are examples in the eating disorder and anorexia nervosa literature of how both internalizing
symptoms and behaviors have been shared and spread via peer influences [37-41] which may
have relevance to considerations of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria occurring in AY As.
Friendship cliques can set the norms for preoccupation with one’s body, one’s body image,

I posted the following tweet citing the well-known "social contagion" hypothesis forwarded by Dr Lisa Littman's work on ROGD. This first person account by @SwipeWright of his academic cancelling is worth paying attention to.

Reputational smears, job market sabotage, lies, etc. Brutal. Follow him for thoughtful insights and smart analysis of scientific subjects. Unroll available on Thread Reader

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=SoOppressed&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-2&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1281793002986336256&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthreadreaderapp.com%2Fthread%2F1282404647160942598.html%3Frefreshed%3D1594769677&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=550px

While on the subject, I also recommend reading this thread from @SwipeWright on the topic of cancel culture and academia.

Colin Wright @SwipeWright 1/ The are several ways cancel culture erodes academia:

  1. Directly getting people fired for their heterodox views.
  2. Getting other academics to stay silent &/or avoid certain questions/topics out of fear.
  3. Causing heterodox students to avoid going into academia altogether.

As the following quote suggests that "woke ideology" is a secular religion"

"Yes, yes, I know," Dawkins interrupts. "I know. People say I'm shrill and strident."

Dawkins has a theory about this, which is very persuasive.

"We've all been brought up with the view that religion has some kind of special privileged status. You're not allowed to criticise it. And therefore, if you offer even a fairly mild criticism, it really does sound strident, because it violates this expectation that religion is out of bounds."

[Aug 04, 2020] Cancel culture is the overall environment, the habitus, the totality of 2010+ media and communication. We all can get ostracized and isolated at any time

Aug 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

There is some gaslighting by woke mob going on in this thread.


bob mcmanus 08.03.20 at 3:03 pm (
155
)

130 is as said before excellent and instructive

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/aug/03/taylor-swift-folklore-hardcore-pop-fans-abusing-critics-stan

I see this kind of thing multiple times every day. I suppose because these reviewers haven't yet been shot and killed, this isn't really "cancel culture," not serious, I'm making it up.

There is some strenuous gaslighting going on in this thread.

NickS 08.03.20 at 3:13 pm ( 156 )

The Natalie Wynn transcript is very good, and I hadn't seen that before. Thank you.

It's worth wrestling with a bit, because it has the advantage of not framing the question in terms of Free Speech. I think that the free speech framing often pushes people to draw bright lines that confuse rather than clarify the debate. For example, various statements that I've seen by Yascha Monk he tries to make a clear distinction between, "being dragged on twitter" (which is not a free speech concern, in his opinion) and suffering employment consequences. But that's a difficult distinction to maintain, and Natalie Wynn is, correctly, concerned about to problems of being harassed on twitter.

I read her essay as being less about, "see how this suppresses speech" and more about, "look at the way in which twitter encourages/amplifies/leans towards" bad arguments. That people are engaging in speech but are doing it badly because they are being lazy or careless, or just not inclined to see the people they're arguing with as persons.

Take these two passages (which I'm quoting in reverse order from which they appear in the original).

I recently read a book by Sarah Schulman called Conflict is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility and the Duty of Repair. Basically Schulman's argument is that, in various contexts from romantic relationships to community infighting to international politics, the overstatement of harm is used as a justification for cruelty and for escalating conflict.

... ... ...

bob mcmanus 08.03.20 at 3:25 pm (
157
)

Or this, 5 minutes later

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/the-diversity-trap-jilani

"Just look at the case of Denise Young Smith. Young Smith spent almost two decades working her way up in Apple, becoming one of the few black people to ever reach its executive team. She was named vice president of diversity and inclusion

Then she uttered the sentence that really got her into trouble: "And I've often told people a story -- there can be 12 white blue-eyed blond men in a room and they are going to be diverse too because they're going to bring a different life experience and life perspective to the conversation," she noted.

Within a week, the uproar over her comments forced Young Smith to write an apology. A few weeks later, her departure from the company was announced. She was replaced by Christie Smith, a white woman."

Every day, many times a day. As far as I am concerned. Cancel culture is the overall environment, the habitus, the totality of 2010+ media and communication. We all can get ostracized and isolated at any time.

[Aug 04, 2020] Cancel culture and Maoism: cancel culture is the social media equivalent of the criticism/self-criticism sessions on campuses in the Cultural Revolution

Aug 04, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

steven t johnson 08.01.20 at 4:19 pm ( 93 )

Like PC, the term cancel culture is an effort by right-wingers to re-brand their own practices as something horrible when they are on the receiving end. As such, if cancel culture were honestly applied what they do, some of us would agree that it is a bad thing. Notably, everyone who has indignantly invoked their private property rights to delete comments, shriek about trolls, ban commenters or even refuse comments, has agreed, whether or not they concede the point, has agreed there is an active harm from it, even when it isn't rape/death threats to women.

The real problem is not just that things like presumption of guilt, guilt by association, etc. aren't moral. The real problem is they can't possibly do the job alleged. Causing mental agony to people, even "bad" people, isn't political reform. Not only is this kind of thing a diversion from politics, it is totally amenable to misuse, and everybody knows it. Making excuses for Biden while harping about Trump is hypocritical gossip, partisanship, not principle. Bill Cosby's accomplices got away scot free and Harvey Weinstein's stooges still have their cheating Oscars! I suppose one of the biggest triumphs of cancel culture is suppressing movies like the Gore Vidal biopic and the movie An Officer and a Spy. But what kinds of victories is joining the anti-Dreyfusards?

To put it another way, cancel culture is the social media equivalent of the criticism/self-criticism sessions on campuses in the Cultural Revolution. Except today's version lacks any changes in party/state personnel, lacks any significant redirection of resources to the people left behind, lacks any hint of fundamental political differences in the future of the country. This current iteration of this kind of "politics" is even more apt to disguise score settling or even puritanism. As near as I can tell, there isn't even a strong case to be made that "puritanism" as such was helpful even to the Puritan revolution, not like congregations paying their pastors.

And I don't think the pleasure of getting "our" own back on the reactionaries is enough to pay for giving up any moral condemnation of the injustice of such methods, any more than building clinics in the countryside in China was helped by criticism/self-criticism sessions.

One link: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/exiting-vampire-castle/ The people outraged at this can be satisfied the miscreant reformed his brain later.

For those who favor cancel culture, here's a defense, in the particular case of Aristotle:
http://moufawad-paul.blogspot.com/2020/07/apparently-aristotle-is-in-danger-of.html There are a couple of funny things to this, notably the fact that Aristotle is already canceled as far as popular culture goes. For the SF fans here, consider Neal Stephenson's abuse of "Aristotle" in Anathem. Or the nearly universal assumption in popular discourse that Aristotle was an enemy of science. (See The Lagoon.)

Also, despite being a professional, our Maoist friend seems to think Aristotle was a major philosopher in ancient times, when as near as I can tell from reading Peter Adamson is that Aristotle's preeminence was a product of Arab/Persian/Central Asian culture, and hence not really a white thing at all. (And Black Athena, while documenting influence from Egypt, is incomplete, neglecting the cultural influences on the Greek cities of Ionia, which were more important originally than Athens.)

Andres 08.01.20 at 7:46 pm ( 95 )

I may have missed something after a cursory reading of the thread, but neither Chris B. nor any of the commenters have attempted to place strict definitional boundaries on "cancel culture" in order to make the debate more manageable. So not surprisingly we get a bunch of commenters who object to hypothetical extreme examples of the tendency that "cancel culture" is only a narrow subset of.

Some examples of the general tendency that I and most civilized people vehemently oppose:

–Damnatio memoriae (ancient Rome) and un-personhood (communist countries).
–Firing for political opinions held outside of the workplace.
–Hiring blacklisting based on political opinion.
–Death threats and other threats of violence against people with objectionable opinions. (Of course, if the objectionable individual was the first to issue such threats, then it is fully justified to issue retaliatory threats, action movie-style).
–Legalized segregation or physical exile targeting people with objectionable opinions.
–Last, definitely not least and most obviously, the actual genocide of groups based solely on their political opinions or actions (The legalized killing of individuals based on their actions is another matter).

These are what the critics of cancel culture such as Sebastian H seem to have in mind. But either they are projecting their own fears or they are dishonestly using straw men. What we've seen of "cancel culture" in the U.S. so far is:

–Attempts in public education to re-write false history, the Lost Cause most prominently.
–Pulling down statues and other memorials of people who should not have been "sainted" in the first place.
–Renaming of places/institutions named after either people who are very far from sainthood (e.g. Bragg and Hood of CSA Army infamy) or objectionable nicknames.
–Calls for boycotts of commercial products or franchises whose CEOs voice anti-democratic cultural or political opinions (e.g. ChickFila and homophobia).
–Along the same lines, the refusal to grant media platforms and public speaking engagements to individuals with such opinions.
–Refusal to allow blog comments from people with a past history of objectionable opinions (e.g., Chris B. rightly keeping Ralph Musgrave away from this comment thread).**
–Social ostracism that is either absolute (refusal to be physically near an objectionable person, especially if such a person has made inflammatory public comments) or more conditional (same refusal, but with the precondition that said person refused to be respectful or to consider other opinions in previous debate).

... ... ...

likbez 08.03.20 at 7:48 pm (
162
)

@Andres 08.01.20 at 7:46 pm (95)

Pulling down statues and other memorials of people who should not have been "sainted" in the first place.

And who are you to judge particular statue historical and cultural value? Re-writing of history was attempted in the past. And we know the results.

This is Red Guard mentality, pure and simple.

This farce of replaying Cultural revolution will do a great damage to the US society. Already did.

[Aug 03, 2020] Natalie Wynn also refers to Jo Freeman's 1976 piece on "Trashing," in which she describes her experience of being ostracized by fellow feminists for alleged ideological deviation. The dynamic of cancellation predates the internet.

Highly recommended!
Aug 03, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

oldster 08.03.20 at 1:17 am 141

Natalie Wynn also refers to Jo Freeman's 1976 piece on "Trashing," in which she describes her experience of being ostracized by fellow feminists for alleged ideological deviation. The dynamic of cancellation predates the internet.

(I don't know where a young you-tuber probably not born before the millennium encountered Shulamith Firestone's old partner in crime, but I am delighted that she did! I know it shows my age, but I think that young activists today could benefit a lot from reading what my generation's activists wrote. Also, from getting off my lawn.)

oldster 08.03.20 at 1:21 am ( 142 )

and I forgot the link:
https://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/trashing.htm

[Aug 03, 2020] KEEPING YOUR MOUTH SHUT by James L. Gibson & Joseph L. Sutherland

Highly recommended!
This is a shadow of USSR over the USA. Dead are biting from the grave.
Notable quotes:
"... Over the course of the period from the heyday of McCarthyism to the present, the percentage of the American people not feeling free to express their views has tripled. In 2019, fully four in ten Americans engaged in self-censorship. Our analyses of both over-time and cross-sectional variability provide several insights into why people keep their mouths shut. We find that: ..."
"... those possessing more resources (e.g., higher levels of education) report engaging in more self-censorship ..."
"... fully 40% of the American people today reported being less free to speak their minds than they used to. That so many Americans withhold their political views is remarkable -- and portentous. ..."
"... Self-censorship is defined as intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others in [the] absence of formal obstacles ..."
Aug 03, 2020 | poseidon01.ssrn.com

Over the course of the period from the heyday of McCarthyism to the present, the percentage of the American people not feeling free to express their views has tripled. In 2019, fully four in ten Americans engaged in self-censorship. Our analyses of both over-time and cross-sectional variability provide several insights into why people keep their mouths shut. We find that:

(1) Levels of self-censorship are related to affective polarization among the mass public, but not via an "echo chamber" effect because greater polarization is associated with more self-censorship.

(2) Levels of mass political intolerance bear no relationship to self-censorship, either at the macro- or micro-levels.

(3) Those who perceive a more repressive government are only slightly more likely to engage in self-censorship. And

(4) those possessing more resources (e.g., higher levels of education) report engaging in more self-censorship .

Together, these findings suggest the conclusion that one's larger macro-environment has little to do with self-censorship. Instead, micro-environment sentiments -- such as worrying that expressing unpopular views will isolate and alienate people from their friends, family, and neighbors -- seem to drive self-censorship.

We conclude with a brief discussion of the significance of our findings for larger democracy theory and practice. Electronic copy available at: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3647099

There can be little doubt that Americans today are deeply divided on their values, many issue preferences, and their ideological and partisan attachments (e.g., Druckman and Levendusky 2019). Indeed, these divisions even extend to the question of whom -- or what kind of person -- their children should marry (Iyengar et al. 2019)!

A concomitant of these divisions is that political discourse has become coarse, abrasive, divisive, and intense. When it comes to politics today, it is increasingly likely that even an innocent but misspoken opinion will cause a kerfuffle to break out.

It therefore should not be surprising to find that a large segment of the American people engages in self-censorship when it comes of expressing their views.1 In a nationally representative survey we conducted in 2019 (see Appendix A), we asked a question about self-censorship that Samuel Stouffer (1955) first asked in 1954, with startling results: fully 40% of the American people today reported being less free to speak their minds than they used to. That so many Americans withhold their political views is remarkable -- and portentous.

... ... ...

===

1 Sharvit et al. put forth a useful definition of self-censorship (2018, 331): " Self-censorship is defined as intentionally and voluntarily withholding information from others in [the] absence of formal obstacles ." Studies of self-censorship have taken many forms, ranging from philosophical inquiries (e.g., Festenstein 2018) to studies of those withholding crucial evidence of human rights abuses (e.g., Bar-Tal 2017) to studies of self-censorship among racial minorities (e.g., Gibson 2012).

[Aug 03, 2020] Natalie Wynn link is an excellent discussion of the cancel culture that I see all the time.

Aug 03, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Sebastian H 08.03.20 at 4:57 am

I 1000% recommend that Natalie Wynn link. It is an excellent discussion of the queer facebook/twitter/social media cancel culture that I see all the time. The discussion of the step to abstraction plus essentialism is especially good and totally applicable to most of the real cancelations (the step from 'here is research about violent vs. non-violent protests' to 'Shor is racist' is a classic).

I'm going to provide a lot of examples and I'll use the Wynn tropes. Not all of them have all of the tropes, but I think it is a true cultural issue, so I'm not sure you need all of them at the same time. One that I won't mention every time is the Transitive Property of Cancellation. But you should realize that it exists in every case where someone does something off the job, and the cancelers try to get them fired, because the logic is "your company is horribly tainted by have X as a worker". There are a few cases using words that are forbidden. I'm not going to type them outright only because I don't want to get dragged into the discussion of the appropriateness of using them directly when discussing them, third hand. However the appropriateness is important to the context (eg "dont call me a N!gg$%" or black artists who deliberately use it to be provacative)

Shor. I won't recite the fact but the link (along with some of the names that Quiggin wanted) is a good discussion of it. It exhibits problematic Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism

https://www.vox.com/2020/7/29/21340308/david-shor-omar-wasow-speech

Emmanuel Cafferty: power company worker fired because he allegedly gave the OK symbol which is allegedly a white power symbol. This very obviously Hispanic man in San Diego says he has no idea that the OK symbol is a white power symbol and that he was just cracking his knuckles. BTW the OK symbol thing is it's own area of insanity, where WP groups intentionally troll us to make us look like overreacting ninnies. It requires so much context to explain to the non-hyper-woke that it would be way easier to just never take the bait–because if you can strongly suggest someone is racist without it, just do so. If you can't it is definitely not worth it. Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism, Dualism

https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/sdge-worker-fired-over-alleged-racist-gesture-says-he-was-cracking-knuckles/2347414/

Dominique Moran fired from Chipotle because she insisted on getting payment from a group of black men who specifically had had their cards declined only 2 days before, and who she had been warned that those specific men had "dine and dashed". She became an internet exemplar of racism so much so that her mother found out about it across the country. It wasn't until later that other internet sleuths demonstrated that Chipotle had been set up for an internet anti-racist mob. (Note that the company itself never figured that out on their own). Presumption of Guilt, Essentialism,

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/25/us/false-racism-internet-mob-chipotle-video/index.html

Marlon Anderson was a [black] security guard at a Wisconsin high school. He was repeatedly taunted as being a N!gg$% by students. He told the students that they absolutely could not call him a N!gg$%. The students accused him of using the word N!gg$%, and he was fired for using racial slurs. The only good news is that this firing is so ridiculous that it has generated some serious pushback. (I could not however find out what happened). Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Pseudo-Moralism, No Forgiveness

https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/10/19/black-high-school-security-fired-after-telling-student-not-call-him-n-word/

... ... ...

Sarah Silverman fired from her movie because she appeared in blackface in her show from more than a decade before . The piece clearly indicates that white people take blackface too casually and that they are wrong to do so. Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, No Forgiveness, Dualism.

https://pagesix.com/2019/08/12/sarah-silverman-fired-from-new-movie-for-blackface-photo/

Israel Morales. Jewish restaurant attacked for being Nazi sympathizers because they didn't overreact to a patron wearing a shirt with the work "Luftwaffe" on it. The owner didn't believe it was as clear as the accuser said and tried to stop a confrontation in the restaurant. The most annoying part is the final paragraph "For its part, Kachka's owners says they fear the rumors could lead racists and neo-Nazis to assume the restaurant is a place that welcomes their views. "Our fear is that this misinformation could cause discriminatory groups to think Kachka is a safe haven, which it most certainly is not," Israel Morales wrote in a statement to Eater. "We would like to reiterate that we never kicked anyone out for speaking up, we had no idea what the symbol on the shirt meant, and if we had known, we would not have served him." Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, Dualism, Transitive Property (serving someone in a restaurant must mean you're a Nazi sympathizer).

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/03/16/25923286/jewish-owned-eatery-in-portland-accused-of-nazi-sympathizing

Ahmad Daraldik accused of anti-Semitism for his comment "stupid jew thinks he is cool" which he posted in response to a photo which is now said to be staged of an Israeli soldier stepping on a child. Daraldik was TWELVE and living in the Palestinian territories at the time. This one is still very much in process as it was just reported in July of 2020. I presume he will not be actually removed from FSU. But it exhibits many of the cancel culture tropes. Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, No Forgiveness, Dualism.

https://www.thefire.org/city-of-aventura-demands-florida-state-universitys-administration-remove-student-senate-president-over-social-media-comments/

Neal Caren. UNC associate professor of sociology. Accused of creating an unsafe environment for students of color for asking a white student to role-play a black person in order to try to better understand racial issues. This was reported in early 2020 so it is too soon to tell where the investigation will go. Presumption of Guilt, Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Intellectualism, Dualism.

https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2020/07/sociology-professor-racism-allegations-0707

Gary Garrels. Senior curator of painting and sculpture at the SF Museum of Modern Art. Museum employees sent a petition saying "Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?" This apparently was in response to his statements that he wanted to increase diversity and "Don't worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists".

This may require a new trope of 'gross exaggeration', but I guess that is a Presumption of Guilt issue, Abstraction, Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, Dualism.

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/gary-garrels-departure-sfmoma-1893964

https://reason.com/2020/07/14/gary-garrels-san-francisco-museum-modern-art-racism/

Jonathan Friedland. Removed from Netflix for saying in a meeting that certain words were not OK to broadcast in comedy and specifically saying that the word N!gg$% was one of them (he said it aloud in the meeting).

This one might not be directly cancel culture in that there was no internet furor, but it exhibits many of the tropes so I included it. Essentialism, Dualism, No Forgiveness. It also took place on the job, so I understand that it is more of an edge case.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/jonathan-friedland-exits-netflix-1122675

Gordon Klein. Currently suspended from teaching at UCLA for the following response to an ask that exams be delayed for black students to allow participation in local BLM rallies (which continued every day for more than a month). He contributed a rather snarky response which I will copy here in full so that no one accuses me of hiding it. But not a firing/suspension offense.

Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota. Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we've been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis? I assume that they probably are especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they're racist even if they are not. My TA is from Minneapolis, so if you don't know, I can probably ask her. Can you guide me on how you think I should achieve a "no-harm" outcome since our sole course grade is from a final exam only? One last thing strikes me: Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the "color of their skin." Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK's admonition?

Thanks, G. Klein

He also noted elsewhere that "previously he had received a directive from his supervisor in the undergraduate Accounting program that instructors should only adjust final exam policies and protocols based on standard university practices regarding grading[:] {"If students ask for accommodations such as assignment delays or exam cancellations, I strongly encourage you to follow the normal procedures (accommodations from the CAE office, death/illness in the family, religious observance, etc.)."

Essentialism, Pseudo-Moralism, Transitive Property, Dualism

https://reason.com/2020/06/10/ucla-business-school-lecturer-placed-on-leave-for-e-mail-to-student-rejecting-request-for-exam-leniency-for-black-students/

Gibson's Bakery. Black Oberlin student detained for shoplifting, Oberlin school hierarchy involved in an attempt to portray the Bakery as racist. The good news is that school's behavior was terrible enough to cause them to lose a lawsuit over it. The bad news is that it was that terrible.

https://archive.vn/KUuHM

Kathleen Lowrey. Forced out of her job in the University of Alberta as undergraduate programs chair for what she believes are her views on gender. Shockingly the school won't even tell her who accused her or exactly of what.

https://nationalpost.com/news/university-of-alberta-loses-admin-role-over-views-on-gender

Niel Golightly. Boeing communication officer, resigned after pressure centering around a 33 year old article he wrote objecting to women in combat. He said that the dialogue around that article 33 years ago changed his mind on the issue. This one is interesting because it is in one of the few kinds of positions that I might believe off the job behavior could be relevant. But I tend to think that 33 year old articles (of fairly common positions for the time) might not be enough. Essentialism, No Forgiveness, Dualism.

https://nypost.com/2020/07/03/boeing-communications-boss-niel-golightly-resigns-over-article/

Iranian-Canadian atheist (raised Muslim) fired for being anti-Islamic in his personal facebook page rant against honor killings. "In response to these killings, Corey wrote 'F*** Islam. F*** honour killing. And f*** you if you believe in any of these barbaric stone age ideologies.'" The response after ordering him to take down the post (he complied) "Despite Corey's compliance, Wray responded "Your anti-Islamic social media post is in direct contradiction with Mulgrave School's and Canadian values. It is racist and highly offensive. As a result, I am immediately terminating any further relationship with you. You will no longer be allowed to [do business with our school] and you should not enter the school building under any circumstances.""

This report has been anonymized, so I understand if you want to take it as less demonstrative.

https://thepostmillennial.com/man-fired-for-speaking-out-against-honour-killings

Brian Leach was fired for sharing on Facebook a Billy Connolly sketch which colleagues complained was anti-Islamic.

It was from Connolly's "Religion is Over" stage act, and if you listen to it is just as hard on Christians as it is on Islam. It is essentially an atheistic rant. (The link has the clip)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7174761/Grandfather-sacked-Asda-sharing-anti-Islamic-Billy-Connolly-sketch-Facebook.html

This discussion is on the bizarre article run by the Washington Post which got a woman of no public interest fired for wearing blackface to try to make fun of Megan Kelly's stupid comments about blackface. It has Abstraction, Essentialism, No Forgiveness, Transitive Property (via 3rd parties! this was apparently newsworthy because the person who threw the party that the costumed person showed up at also works at a newspaper!) and dualism.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/why-did-the-washington-post-get-this-woman-fired.html

... ... ...

Sebastian H 08.03.20 at 5:09 am ( 146 )

I forgot to include the Vox accusations. They have a bunch of the tropes.

Emily VanDerWerff accuses Matt Yglesias of making her feel less safe at work as a trans person for signing the Harper's letter which she asserts contains "many dog whistles toward anti-trans positions".

Her definition of anti trans dog whistles is included at the link. It has huge Presumption of Guilt and Abstraction problems. She claims to not want any consequences for Yglesias, but if that is the case she shouldn't have used "feel less safe at work" which is less of a dog whistle and more of an alarm bell for Human Resources to immediately open an investigation into the (for cause) firing of someone.

https://twitter.com/emilyvdw/status/1280661254118322177

likbez 08.03.20 at 2:17 pm (154 )

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

@Sebastian H 08.03.20 at 4:57 am

Thanks. A good antidote from lunatic posts.

oldster 08.03.20 at 1:17 am (141 )

Natalie Wynn also refers to Jo Freeman's 1976 piece on "Trashing," in which she describes her experience of being ostracized by fellow feminists for alleged ideological deviation. The dynamic of cancellation predates the internet.

(I don't know where a young you-tuber probably not born before the millennium encountered Shulamith Firestone's old partner in crime, but I am delighted that she did! I know it shows my age, but I think that young activists today could benefit a lot from reading what my generation's activists wrote. Also, from getting off my lawn.)

kinnikinick 08.02.20 at 10:59 pm ( 134 )

From @130 oldster's Natalie Wynn link (good find!), I now have a description of "cancel culture" that satisfies me. YMMV.
I lifted these straight from Natalie's headings – they're mostly self-explanatory. The whole transcript is well worth reading; the back half has a nightmarish fractal-hall-of-mirrors quality that's a good illustration of what it describes.

Trope 1: Presumption of Guilt
Trope 2: Abstraction
Trope 3: Essentialism
Trope 4: Pseudo-Moralism or Pseudo-Intellectualism
Trope 5: No Forgiveness
Trope 6: The Transitive Property of Cancellation
Trope 7: Dualism

Donald 08.02.20 at 3:57 pm ( 129 )

For people who want data, here is the longest list of real or alleged cancel culture incidents that I have seen. 156 cases. Have fun analyzing.

I think the list has a mostly rightwing bias, so I didn't see Finkelstein or Salaita listed ( though maybe I missed it.)

For myself, I would have to look into them before judging, but of the handful that I know something about, some I agree are genuine cases of people being unfairly cancelled, and others I might possibly cancel myself. There are also gray areas.

I found the list via a piece by Cathy Young, but am too lazy to go back and link her piece.

Donald 08.02.20 at 3:58 pm ( 130 )

Darn it. I forgot the link.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1282404647160942598.html?refreshed=1594769677

[Aug 02, 2020] Purges is a mopping-up operation that is a product of media-activated mass psychosis that derives from the already existing witch hunts and purges that have going on for decades

Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

fnn , says: August 1, 2020 at 3:40 pm GMT

This is a mopping-up operation that is a product of media-activated mass psychosis that derives from the already existing witch hunts and purges that have going on for decades. Moldbug is a Zionist ultra, but he explains it well:

It's actually not hard to explain the Brown Scare. Like all witch hunts, it's built on a conspiracy theory. The Red Scare was based on a conspiracy theory too, but at least it was a real conspiracy with real witches -- two of whom were my father's parents. (The nicest people on earth, as people. I like to think of them not as worshipping Stalin, but worshipping what they thought Stalin was.) Moreover, the Red Scare was a largely demotic or peasant phenomenon to which America's governing intellectual classes were, for obvious reasons, immune. Because power works and culture is downstream from politics -- real politics, at least -- the Red Scare soon faded into a joke.

As a mainstream conspiracy theory, fully in the institutional saddle, the Brown Scare is far greater and more terrifying. Unfortunately no central statistics are kept, but I wouldn't be surprised if every day in America, more racists, fascists and sexists are detected, purged and destroyed, than all the screenwriters who had to prosper under pseudonyms in the '50s. Indeed it's not an exaggeration to say that hundreds of thousands of Americans, perhaps even a million, are employed in one arm or another of this ideological apparatus. Cleaning it up will require a genuine cultural revolution -- or a cultural reaction, anyway. Hey, Americans, I'm ready whenever you are.

The logic of the witch hunter is simple. It has hardly changed since Matthew Hopkins' day. The first requirement is to invert the reality of power. Power at its most basic level is the power to harm or destroy other human beings. The obvious reality is that witch hunters gang up and destroy witches. Whereas witches are never, ever seen to gang up and destroy witch hunters. By this test alone, we can see that the conspiracy is imaginary (Brown Scare) rather than real (Red Scare).

Think about it. Obviously, if the witches had any power whatsoever, they wouldn't waste their time gallivanting around on broomsticks, fellating Satan and cursing cows with sour milk. They're getting burned right and left, for Christ's sake! Priorities! No, they'd turn the tables and lay some serious voodoo on the witch-hunters. In a country where anyone who speaks out against the witches is soon found dangling by his heels from an oak at midnight with his head shrunk to the size of a baseball, we won't see a lot of witch-hunting and we know there's a serious witch problem. In a country where witch-hunting is a stable and lucrative career, and also an amateur pastime enjoyed by millions of hobbyists on the weekend, we know there are no real witches worth a damn.

https://www.unqualified-reservations.org/2013/09/technology-communism-and-brown-scare/

[Aug 02, 2020] Cancel mob in the USA reenacts Stalin purges as a farce instead of tragegy

Aug 02, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

chrisare 07.30.20 at 9:20 am (no link)

I found this piece unconvincing.

"People can have their voices amplified or silenced by their wealth, connections or prestige but also by other speech which aims to deny them the right to participate on equal terms with others."

It's unclear if this refers to those at the receiving end of speech the author wants to prevent or the speaker deserving of canceling.

"As Jeremy Waldron has argued in his book The Harm in Hate Speech, racist speech aims not just at hurting the feelings of its victims or expressing a view but at reconstituting the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it."

It is very dubious that most slurs "aim" to "reconstitute the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it." Do you have any support for this theory?

"It says that those people are not a part of "us" and that their opinions and arguments have no place as we decide where our country should go."

It's not clear how a racial slur "says" any of this. Perhaps the author is reading subtext?

"Racist speech by some also legitimizes and emboldens racist speech and opinion by others, telling bigots that they are not alone, that others think as they do, and strengthens an ideal of exclusive community based on ethnic or racial lines."

On this point it's worth quoting Henry Louis Gates Jr: "Why would you entrust authority with enlarged powers of regulating the speech of unpopular minorities unless you were confident that unpopular minorities would be racists, not blacks?"

"Anti-racist speech, has the opposite effect, it affirms a view that those targeted by the racists, be they black, or Asian, or Muslim, are full members of the democratic political community in good standing with as good a right to a say as anyone.

"It also reinforces a social norm about what may not be said, telling those who are tempted to stigmatize migrants or minorities that they will pay a price for doing so."

It also creates a precedent for excluding views by shaming based on current sentiment. Only someone oblivious to history wouldn't see the danger in that precedent.

"The role that speech plays in defining who is and isn't included in our vision of democratic community can have powerful real-world consequence."

Who to include as part of your community is an important issue that should be discussed openly by all of society. What you're trying to do is to elevate advance your position without having to defend it.

"One way to understand the ease with which the victims of the Windrush scandal could lose their jobs, their homes, their liberty or be deported to far-away countries, is that in the public imaginary that is partly constituted by speech, many people did not see them as proper members with equal standing to others."

Were we to do away with everything that had a downside we would have very little good. Therefore arguing that something has potential downsides is not sufficient to establish that it's not good. Can you argue that free expression and debate by citizenry on the most important issues facing a democratic nation is not good, besides by arguing that there might be some cost?

"Racist speech is just one example that makes clear how the practice of open discussion isn't simply a matter of unfettered conversation among people who are already present but also involves choices about who gets to speak and involves sensitivity to the way that speech by some has the effect either of depriving others of a voice or of making it impossible for others to hear what they say. A society which is full of highly sexualized messages about women is also a society in which it is harder for women to get a hearing about sexual violence and income inequality. A society where trans people are the objects of constant ridicule, or are represented as dangerous, is one in which it is also more difficult for them to argue for their rights and have their interests taken seriously."

This implies that the intolerant are the powerful group capable of suppressing minorities with their speech alone. This is disproven by the very fact that anti-racist etc speech is so successful. The success of antiracist codes of social conduct is because the group exercising them is the powerful group. This very fact implies their obsolesce.

"Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront. Ironically, while being quick to take offence themselves they demand that those less powerful than they are should toughen up and not be such "snowflakes"."

This is an uninformed or dishonest characterization of the pushback against cancel culture. The pushback is due to intolerant enforcement of ideological conformity and homogeneity through threat to job and reputation. And no this is not only ideological conformity in that you can't say overtly racist things; it's ideological conformity in that you can't criticize BLM or cite scientific literature on biological differences between the sexes without risk.

"But if we take seriously the idea that speech can silence speech or make it unhearable, then a concern with whether the heckling of cancel culture makes it harder to say some things also has to take account of the fact that saying those very things can make it harder for other voices to be heard."

This piece hasn't given any reason to make us take seriously the idea that speech against one group can silence another, other then through threat to livelihood or reputation. It's not clear though how for example referencing scientific but currently unpopular claims, criticizing a social movement, having a narrower view on who should be considered a citizen or even using a slur silences people.

John Quiggin 07.30.20 at 10:17 am ( 7 )

An important problem is the conflation of public opprobrium actual sanctions like being fired. This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will. In most countries, unfair dismissal laws would protect people being sacked because of their political views, unless they related directly to job performance.
https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/04/free-speech-unfair-dismissal-and-unions/

But the fact that the same example (David Shor) is cited every time the issue is raised suggests that losing your job for breaching left orthodoxy not a major problem in the US, or at least that other possible examples are much less sympathetic (racists fired from Fox, for example).

Mostly, AFAICT, being cancelled means having to read rude things said about you by lots of unimportant people on Twitter, as opposed to engaging in caustic, but civilised, debate with your peers in the pages of little magazines.

aepxc 07.30.20 at 12:11 pm (
10
)

The question is who decides? Most readers here would agree that "[a] society that refuses to tolerate speech like David Starkey's recent racist remarks about "damn blacks" and the slave trade is better for it", but of the world's ~8 bln people, I strongly suspect that most would believe that a society would be better off for refusing to tolerate speech about abortions and homosexuality. So do we decide democratically? Through the ethics of enlightened elites? An ever ongoing fight between the majority and the elite? Some other method? Perhaps we fracture into mini-societies, each with their own standards of "better off", which do not talk to one another?

From my perspective, there is thought and thought-like speech (anything without direct call to action) , which ought to be maximally tolerated for both ethical and practical reasons. Ethical because it dispenses with the requirement for absolute and inviolable knowledge (and disempowers people who would otherwise need to select and enforce "allowed" views. Practical because it encourages transparency (shutting racists up will not stop them from thinking racist thoughts), intellectual development (new ideas can emerge to challenge the existing wisdom) and rigor (having to often hear opposing viewpoints hones your understanding of your own). Not to say that such tolerance has no costs whatsoever (e.g. making it easier for racists to be racist in the short term, that you mention), but that the benefits of such tolerance outweigh the costs.

What cannot be limitlessly tolerated are actions and action-like speech. To use my own nationality as an example, I would have to fight back were a person to decide to try to kill all Russians. For action-like speech, I would also be against an unlimited freedom for a person to stand on the corner shouting "pick up a gun and go find a Russian to kill". But change the phrasing slightly to "all Russians are evil, sub-human scum, I wish none of them lived" and I would be hurt but okay with that, until and unless the speaker or their listener decided to try to act on the sentiment. Indeed, it would give me a heads up about which person (or people) to avoid. In a less extreme example, "shout that stupid Russian dow, how dare he try to even voice an opinion!" is action-like speech (therefore needs limits), while "I don't see the need to listen to Russians" is thought-like (and therefore better to be tolerated). The problem with modern cancel culture is that it often responds to thought-like speech with action-like speech.

Obviously, no one owes it to anyone else to listen to them. If you hear something you do not like, you should be free to close the door on that person and never again invite them into your company. But from my perspective it is an intellectually small and fragile mind that looks to exercise this freedom at a mass scale or anything other than a last resort. People who say stupid, hateful or offensive things are not examples to be emulated. This is exactly the reason not to join a crowd saying rude or offensive things back at them. Surely, we can form and promote communities of respect and diversity without needing to destroy communities that are exclusionary and hateful? If we are right about what makes communities better off, we will simply outcompete the latter, which will wither of their own accord.

[Aug 02, 2020] Cancel culture my ass by Roy Edroson

Aug 02, 2020 | edroso.substack.com

Examples given show quite clearly that "cancel mob" is an established form of the political struggle. And in this case the reasons behind the particular attack of the "cancel mob" is far from charitable.

Cancel culture my ass Justice for Brad Hamilton Roy Edroso Jul 14 38 30

You remember way back before social media and Thomas Chatterton Williams , when Phil Donahue lost his MSNBC show because he opposed the War in Iraq ? And the Dixie Chicks got the pre-Twitter equivalent of Twitter-mobbed for criticizing George W. Bush? ("Toby Keith famously joined the fray by performing in front of a backdrop that featured a gigantic image of Natalie Maines beside Saddam Hussein.") Ah, those carefree, pre-cancel-culture days!

Might's well also flash forward to 2001, NFL.com :

Mendenhall loses endorsement deal over bin Laden tweets

[Steelers running back] Rashard Mendenhall's candid tweets about Osama bin Laden's death and the 9/11 terror attacks cost him an endorsement deal.

NFL.com senior analyst Vic Carucci says Rashard Mendenhall has become an example of the risks that social media can present to outspoken pro athletes.

Athletic apparel manufacturer Champion announced Thursday that it had dropped the Pittsburgh Steelers running back after he questioned the celebrations of bid Laden's death and expressed his uncertainty over official accounts of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, suburban Washington and Pennsylvania.

Things haven't gotten any better. I've already written about Springfield, Mass. police detective Florissa Fuentes, who got fired this year for reposting her niece's pro-Black Lives Matter Instagram photo. Fuentes is less like Donohue, the Chicks, and Mendenhall, though, and more like most of the people who get fired for speech in this country, in that she is not rich, and getting fired was for her a massive blow.

Speaking of Black Lives Matter, here's one from 2019 :

The controversy began after [Lisa] Durden's appearance [on Tucker Carlson], during which she defended the Black Lives Matter movement's decision to host a Memorial Day celebration in New York City to which only black people were invited. On the show, Durden's comments included, "You white people are angry because you couldn't use your white privilege card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter's all-black Memorial Day Celebration," and "We want to celebrate today. We don't want anybody going against us today."

Durden was then an adjunct professor at Essex County College, but not for long because sure enough, they fired her for what she said on the show. (Bet Carlson, a racist piece of shit , was delighted!) The college president defended her decision, saying she'd received "feedback from students, faculty and prospective students and their families expressing frustration, concern and even fear that the views expressed by a college employee (with influence over students) would negatively impact their experience on the campus..."

Sounds pretty snowflakey to me. I went looking in the works of the signatories of the famous Harper's letter against cancel culture for some sign that any of them had acknowledged Durden's case. Shockingly, such free speech warriors as Rod Dreher and Bret Stephens never dropped a word on it.

Dreher does come up in other free-speech-vs-employment cases, though -- for example, from 2017, Chronicle of Higher Education :

Tommy Curry, an associate professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University at College Station, about five years ago participated in a YouTube interview in which he discussed race and violence. Those remarks resurfaced in May in a column titled "When Is It OK to Kill Whites?" by Rod Dreher in The American Conservative.

Mr. Curry said of that piece that he wasn't advocating for violence and that his remarks had been taken out of context. He told The Chronicle that online threats had arrived in force shortly after that. Some were racial in nature.

At the same time the president of the university, Michael K. Young, issued a statement in which he appeared to rebuke the remarks made by Mr. Curry...

In his column on Curry , Dreher said, "I wonder what it is like to be a white student studying under Dr. Curry in his classroom?" Imagine worrying for the safety of white people at Texas Fucking A&M!

Curry got to keep his job, but only after he "issued a new statement apologizing for how his remarks had been received," the Chronicle reported:

"For those of you who considered my comments disparaging to certain types of scholarly work or in any way impinging upon the centrality of academic freedom at this university," [Curry] wrote, "I regret any contributions that I may have made to misunderstandings in this case, including to those whose work is contextualized by understanding the historical perspectives of events that have often been ignored."

Sound like show-trial stuff, doesn't it -- the kind of show-trial stuff Dreher is always claiming liberals are bringing to the United States . (Though he doesn't seem to mind when Vladimir Putin does it .) Yet I never heard him or any conservative lament this shameful episode.

Bottom line: Most of us who work for a living are at-will employees -- basically, the boss can fire us if they don't like the way we look at them or if they don't like what they discover we feel about the events of the day. There are some protections -- for example, if you and your work buddies are talking about work stuff and the boss gets mad, then that may be considered " concerted activity " and protected -- but as Lisa Guerin wrote at the nolo.com legal advice site, "political views aren't covered by [Civil Rights] laws and the laws of most states. This means employers are free to consider political views and affiliations in making job decisions."

Basically we employees have no free speech rights at all. But people like Stephens and Dreher and Megan McArdle who cry over how "the mob" is coming after them don't care about us. For window dressing, they'll glom onto rare cases where a non-rich, non-credentialed guy gets in trouble for allegedly racist behavior that he didn't really do -- Emmanuel Cafferty, it's your time to shine ! -- but their real concern isn't Cafferty's "free speech" or that of any other peon, it's their own miserable careers.

Because they know people are starting to talk back to them. It's not like back in the day when Peggy Noonan and George F. Will mounted their high horses and vomited their wisdom onto the rabble and maybe some balled-up Letters to the Editor might feebly come back at them but that was it. Now commoners can go viral! People making fun of Bari Weiss might reach as many people as Bari Weiss herself! The cancel culture criers may have wingnut welfare sinecures, cushy pundit gigs, and the respect of all the Right People, but they can't help but notice that when they glide out onto their balconies and emit their received opinions a lot of people -- mostly younger, and thoroughly hip that these worthies are apologists for the austerity debt servitude to which they've been condemned for life -- are not just coughing "bullshit" into their fists, but shouting it out loud.

This, the cancel culture criers cry, is the mob! It threatens civilization!

Yet they cannot force us to pay attention or buy their shitty opinions. The sound and smell of mockery disturbs their al fresco luncheons and weddings at the Arboretum . So they rush to their writing desks and prepare sternly-worded letters. Their colleagues will read and approve! Also, their editors and relatives! And maybe also some poor dumb kids who know so little of the world that they'll actually mistake these overpaid prats for victims and feel sorry for them.

Well, you've already heard what I think about it elsewhere: Protect workers' free speech rights for real, I say -- let them be as woke, as racist, or as obstreperous they wish off the clock and the boss can't squawk. The cancel culture criers won't go for that deal; in fact such a thing has never entered their minds -- free-speech is to protect their delicate sensibilities, not the livelihoods of people who work with their hands!

And in the new tradition of the working class asking for more rather than less of what they want, I'll go further: I give not one flaming fuck if these assholes suffocate under a barrage of rotten tomatoes, and I think Brad in Fast Times at Ridgemont High got a raw deal from All-American Burger and should be reinstated with full back pay: That customer deserved to have 100% of his ass kicked!

likbez 08.01.20 at 7:00 pm

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@Jason Weidner 07.31.20 at 9:29 pm (73)

This is a brilliant response to the idea of "cancel culture": https://edroso.substack.com/p/cancel-culture-my-ass?fbclid=IwAR30mrg9sIVo6RqRbNDHGgNIcj2OgELyb9mg_mydF12a-5d5Ht6q9oCkWk4

Examples given show quite clearly that "cancel mob" is an established, albeit somewhat dirty, form of the political struggle. Often the reasons behind the particular attack of the "cancel mob" is far from charitable. Orwell's 1984 describes an extreme form of the same.

[Aug 02, 2020] "Racism quotient" and "exemplary cancellation" make me sound like taken directly from Orwell

Highly recommended!
there is a difference between Prudent speech and Free speech.
When punishment for voicing dissenting opinion includes physical assault it doesn't much matter how rare the actual instances of physical violence are
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, it is not (yet) possible to determine the exact racism quotient of each individual, so exemplary cancellations are the means of influencing individuals to modify their behaviour. I appreciate that "racism quotient" and "exemplary cancellation" make me sound like one of those right-wing Orwell cosplayers, but I can't think of a better way of putting it. ..."
Aug 02, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Cancel culture, I suggest, matters most when our ability to access diverse opinion is curtailed as a result of speech policing, either by algorithms or individuals, especially in the run-up to an election. Self-censorship in universities is equally important. When Chomsky signed the Harper's letter, he reported he receive a great many letters of support from academics terrified of being cancelled.


rjk 08.01.20 at 10:44 am (
86
)

We're coming out of a certain kind of (neo-)liberal consensus in which politics was viewed as a mostly technocratic business of setting laws in the abstract. That perspective was sufficient to get some things right: many blatantly discriminatory laws have been repealed across the Western world over the last 70 years. But it turns out that racism and sexism don't require explicitly racist or sexist laws on the books: they can subvert neutral-seeming laws to their purposes, and can bias the behaviour of individuals and networks of individuals to the extent that widespread discrimination can continue...

The other strand focuses on the moral reform of white people. It proceeds from the assumption that the law has only a limited role in moral conduct, and that the evidence of the last 50 years is that removing explicitly racist legislation, and even legislating anti-racism (e.g. affirmative action) isn't enough to secure good outcomes. If your individual acts have the practical outcome of furthering or defending racist interests, then you are part of the problem. The demands here are much harder to define. Rather than focusing all attention on a specific reform that can be enacted in a single moment by an executive or legislature, attention is cast broadly across all actions occurring at all times by all people. Of course, it is not (yet) possible to determine the exact racism quotient of each individual, so exemplary cancellations are the means of influencing individuals to modify their behaviour. I appreciate that "racism quotient" and "exemplary cancellation" make me sound like one of those right-wing Orwell cosplayers, but I can't think of a better way of putting it.

All of this intersects with the modern reality of social media: things that "normal" people might be able to say in a bar or a cafe discussion with friends or colleagues are now part of the permanent public record, searchable and viewable by millions. Social media provides excellent tools both for taking things out of context and re-contextualising them. Secondly, "brands" or organisations are now direct participants, and can be subject to public pressure in much more visible ways than previously.

kinnikinick 07.31.20 at 3:36 pm ( 6 )

@49 Andres "fake populism as pandemics"

I'm a big fan of biological metaphors; they keep one humble about the inevitability of unintended consequences. The metaphor gets strained when it moves from external viral spread to internal immune response, though; in the former, we're assuming a team of informed medical professionals, seeing things from the "outside" with the authority implied by specialized and objective knowledge. I'm not sure who these people correspond to in the world we inhabit, where even the real doctors have trouble getting traction.
The internal immune response feels like a closer match, as surface protein markers are proxies for identity, microbes display "false flags" to avoid detection, and auto-immune and inflammatory responses often do more damage than the threats they're reacting to.
On both levels of metaphor, it seems clear that the structure of social media is explicitly designed to create and exploit "virality"; we need to rethink what this means for us.
More: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/29/social-distancing-social-media-facebook-misinformation

L2P 07.31.20 at 5:05 pm ( 67 )

" No one seems to reflect here that silencing people because of their politics is historically and usually the preserve of those with the power to silence – that is, conservatives. Be careful what you wish for."

And here we have the cancel culture "problem" in a nutshell. The complaint isn't that Musgrave lost a job or is literally forbidden to speak or even lacks reasonable ways to be heard. The complaint is that blog found him distasteful and doesn't want him commenting there. This isn't a right to speak issue, it's a demand to be heard issue.

Far worse things are done to BLM protesters. Being denied a blog posting? Try being denied the right to even assemble, and shot with tear gas and rubber bullets. That didn't stop me from protesting. Being denied a blog post and hearing some harsh criticism is nothing.

engels 07.31.20 at 5:37 pm ( 68 )

I broadly agree with the points about free speech in the post, and Waldron's arguments, but I don't think it's right to equate the debate about "cancel culture" with these issues.

John's understanding of it is even more dismissive (and imo off-target).

being cancelled means having to read rude things said about you by lots of unimportant people on Twitter, as opposed to engaging in caustic, but civilised, debate with your peers in the pages of little magazines

It seems to me cancel culture is both an ethos and a tactic. The ethos involves a zero tolerance approach to certain ethical transgressions (eg overt expressions of racism) and an absolute devaluation of people who commit them. The tactic is based around achieving cultural change by exerting collective pressure as consumers on managers of corporations (or corporation-like entities, like universities) to terminate transgressors, as a way of incentivising other emplpoyees to fall into line. It seems to me to be heavily shaped by and dependent on American neoliberalism as the ethos is both punitive and consumerist and the tactic is dependent on at-will employment and managers' deference to customer sentiment, and while most of its current "successes" have been broadly of the Left there's no reason to assume that will be the case in future. I think it does represent a weakening of liberal norms of freedom of discussion and I think Chomsky's right to be concerned.

ph 07.31.20 at 12:30 pm ( 63 )

Interesting discussion and OP.

There's nothing new about speech codes. Puritans and others refused to employ the Book of Common prayer demanded by the Act of Uniformity of 1662. Scolds and speech police can be found among agnostics, people of faith, and across the political spectrum. Nor is the common sense exercise of good judgement regarding when, or if, to suggest to a friend he, she, or they might like to lose a little weight, or to refrain from pointing out the questionable personal grooming habits of a colleague, client, superior, or family member.

Do I need to declare my beliefs and opinions on every topic freely in every forum. In my own case, no. And there's a big difference between being shunned and being imprisoned, or executed, for mocking the wrong text or monarch.

As I courtesy, I might well avoid broaching topics I'm aware may distress another. But that's a far cry from what's happening in modern old media. Bari Weiss evidently had her privileges to write and edit others freely severely curtailed. And, yes, I'm aware that she had cancellation issues of her own. But forcing James Bennett to resign, who put Ta-Nehisi Coates on the cover of the Atlantic, for permitting a US senator to publish an op-ed in the NYT?

We need a diverse set of values and beliefs, argues Henry, J. S. Mill, and others. The head of Google is just now trying to explain why "Washington Free Beacon, The Blaze, Townhall, The Daily Wire, PragerU, LifeNews, Project Veritas, Judicial Watch, The Resurgent, Breitbart, the Media Research Center, and CNSNews" somehow disappeared from the Google search engine. https://thefederalist.com/2020/07/29/google-ceo-dodges-question-on-blacklisting-of-conservative-websites/

Cancel culture, I suggest, matters most when our ability to access diverse opinion is curtailed as a result of speech policing, either by algorithms or individuals, especially in the run-up to an election. Self-censorship in universities is equally important. When Chomsky signed the Harper's letter, he reported he receive a great many letters of support from academics terrified of being cancelled.

When punishment for voicing dissenting opinion includes physical assault it doesn't much matter how rare the actual instances of physical violence are. I spoke with an American colleague employed this week who stated that any dating which is going on among staff and adults of one kind or another on campus is done in secrecy, if at all. Do Democrats feel that they're better off having thrown Al Franken under the bus?

Adhering to speech codes and surrendering to a tiny, highly vocal mob seems a very bad idea to me, and I suspect, many, many others. We don't quite know what to do with the screaming adolescents of varying ages, but we wish they'd stop yelling.

The good news is that we live in societies, for the most part, which permit the upset to act out freely. I wonder whether the folks currently trying to burn down the US federal courthouse in Portland believe their rights to privacy must be respected? The double-standards on display roil what should be reasonable debate. It should be possible to disagree civilly with anyone.

Trying to get someone fired, or shunned, for any reason, is about the saddest waste of energy and time I can imagine – I mean, talk about a poverty of imagination. It's happened to me here on occasion. When the pitchforks come out, I know my opponents 'got nothing.' That's small solace, however, when watching those I'd prefer to respect do their best to stifle debate.

Relative to other nations, we enjoy liberties others can only dream of. These liberties are worth protecting. I'm not sure we're doing such a good job.

[Aug 02, 2020] 'Cultural Marxism' isn't political Marxism. It is a method a tool if you wish used by the oligarchs who wield true power to 'divide and rule' (not least by deflecting attention from the yawning gulf that lies between their own excesses and monstrous wealth on the one hand, and the increasing indigence of the great mass of people on the other)

Highly recommended!
Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

GeeBee , says: August 1, 2020 at 7:42 am GMT

The government will eventually be Marxist

With all due respect, you – like the great majority of people – fail to understand the dynamics involved. 'Cultural Marxism' isn't political Marxism. It is a method – a tool if you wish – used by the oligarchs who wield true power to 'divide and rule' (not least by deflecting attention from the yawning gulf that lies between their own excesses and monstrous wealth on the one hand, and the increasing indigence of the great mass of people on the other). It is called 'Cultural Marxism' purely because it uses Marx's technique of dividing society into a small clique of 'oppressors' and 'the masses' who are 'oppressed'. Marx, of course, had the capitalists in mind when he wrote of the oppressors, and the proletariat naturally were the oppressed.

Today, the last thing the oligarchs desire is a unified and organised proletariat with 'agency': that would constitute a serious threat to their existence. Instead, they divide the sacred role of 'the oppressed' into a multitude of more or less fissiparous groups, whom we are all aware of, but of which those comprising 'BAME' are perhaps the most useful. Others include feminists (more or less all young women in today's world), homos, those suffering from sexual dysphoria (that's 'trannies' in today's 'Newspeak') and the disabled.

These groups will never discover any common ground between themselves, and thus will fight among themselves for the scraps thrown from the oligarchs' table. No danger there, and that's just how they planned it. As for the 'oppressors', there are no prizes for guessing that they are White, heterosexual (i.e. normal) males.

So much for your fear of actual Marxism. As for 'the government', it is important to understand that no government in today's West is invested with any meaningful power. Not only are they not 'sovereign' but they are little more than puppets, dancing to their masters' dismal tunes.

Who are these oligarchs – these Masters of the Universe? That's a story for another day. But you won't go far wrong if you place the word 'oligarchs' in triple parentheses

[Aug 01, 2020] Everyone working in academia, the non-profit sector, and journalism is aware that there are many ideas broadly held which people hesitate to say because they are worried a group of their strident colleagues will try to destroy their career

Highly recommended!
Free speech is not a dimmer switch, its on or its off – you can’t have it both ways. Cancel culture is a reincarnation of Stalinist purges, or McCarthyism.
Notable quotes:
"... The sort of "lose your job for engaging in speech" thing happens in other contexts, too. Companies routinely censor their employees' speech in ways small and large, and this includes completely non-political speech about purely technical matters. ..."
"... the government severely punishes employers whose employees speak in ways the government/the identity politics left (they are working together here) dislike, and so effectively outsources speech regulation to employers. ..."
"... The concern about cancel culture is in my observation largely driven by this dynamic: the frequent tagline right-leaning speech is violence, while left-leaning violence is speech" reflects the fact that getting some particular approach to a topic defined as "discrimination" ..."
"... Think about Rebecca Long-Bailey's recent demotion from the Labour shadow cabinet over a tweet she made. Last month, she retweeted a newspaper interview with prominent Labour-supporting actress Maxine Peake, calling her an "absolute diamond." The interview included an inaccurate claim from Peake ( based apparently on information in a Morning Star article, and which Peake subsequently withdrew when she was challenged on it) that the specific knee restraint used on George Floyd had been taught to Mineapolis police by Israeli secret police consultants. ..."
"... Long-Bailey lost the Shadow Education role, and her political career is likely over, ostensibly on the basis of this one tweet. ..."
"... The RLB case also throws a spotlight on language. The various rationales for cancelling listed in the OP -- racism, transphobia, or (in this case) antisemitism -- are rarely clear-cut in real-world instances ..."
"... This, I would suggest, is also related to power. The purpose of an accusation like this is to demonstrate the power or dominance of the cancelling agent, and to intimidate others by example. ..."
"... These concepts are capable of apparently endless linguistic elasticity. Indeed, it's when they're at their most extended or diffuse, that these grounds for cancellation seem to have the most signifying power. ..."
"... Everyone working in academia, the non-profit sector, and journalism is aware that there are many ideas broadly held which people hesitate to say because they are worried a group of their strident colleagues will try to destroy their career ..."
"... it is unquestionable that "canceling from the left" is a bigger threat from the right. ..."
"... Remember that the academic institutions in which controversies about 'cancel culture' exist are bourgeois institutions, pretty much like corporations. It is a world of authority, hierarchy, and carefully controlled behavior. ..."
"... As the power and prestige of the bourgeoisie shrink, the inmates of that particular cage will fight more fiercely for what's left. One way of fighting is to get someone's job by turning up something disreputable, such as the use of an apparently racist epithet. ..."
"... It seems to me that "cancel culture" is based on the infosphere's equivalent of the technological progress that now allows a small group of determined people with AK-47s to render a region ungovernable. ..."
"... The arms dealers don't care – they sell to everyone, and the more ammunition they sell, the more you'll need. ..."
"... Whether justified or not, a significant minority of Americans, across multiple lines, are fearful that their political opinions could endanger their jobs; this suggests the problem might be more than just people getting "bent-out-of-shape that they can't be raging bigots" . ..."
"... Purveyors of what-aboutery will probably appreciate that Steve Salita now makes a living as a bus driver ; I have no reason to think that the Harpers Letter signers (even Bari Weiss) would regard that situation as any more just than other examples. ..."
"... My position on this is that individuals shouldn't face public opprobrium unless there is 1) Clear and convincing evidence they are motivated by fundamentally malicious ends and 2) They have no remorse about it. Even when these conditions are met the opprobrium they receive should be clearly proportional to the wrong they've committed. We should relax these rules somewhat for celebrities, and a great deal for politicians, who have implicitly agreed to face criticism as a consequence of their role. ..."
"... In that testing sense, cancel culture can be seen as a type of supplementary social defense mechanism compared to the standard immune system response of trying to prove the political cult wrong in the eyes of unbiased observers; in too many historical cases, the immune response is weakened by factors such as adverse economic or geopolitical circumstances (e.g., a lost war) ..."
"... Cancel culture then works as (a) tracking and removal in the form of boycotts and ostracism, in that the infected cells(individuals) are removed from positions of influence, and (b) as a type of lockdown measure (censorship) that is warranted when the infected individual is transmitting patently false versions of current events or past history, and is starting to infect others around him. ..."
"... As to Peter's argument that cancel culture disfigures the left, I would add that the only cases where the radical left has seized power took place in the brutal aftermath of right-wing pandemics: e.g. the hyper-nationalism that led Germany and Russia among others to war in 1914, or KMT/warlord attempts to violently and brutally suppress peasant demands in the case of China. In such situations, it is no surprise that the radical left becomes infected with political cultism. ..."
"... Between those two positions there's a large space where people get harassed, threatened, ostracised and silenced for minor slips, reasonable disagreements, details that were lost in translation and failures to recite the correct thought-terminating cliches with sufficient conviction – basically, things that don't threaten anyone else's ability to speak. ..."
Aug 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

J-D 07.30.20 at 9:16 am

When I read this, I got the idea that there'd been a related discussion here at Crooked Timber before, and indeed there was!

https://crookedtimber.org/2016/08/27/the-university-of-chicago-is-nothing-more-and-nothing-less-than-a-complex-of-safe-spaces/


Tim H. 07.30.20 at 11:21 am ( 8 )

Racism from my perspective, looks like an unwillingness to evaluate people on an individual basis, whether it's from sloth, contempt or disability and it's a terrible look for an intellectual.

CHETAN R MURTHY 07.30.20 at 1:08 pm ( 11 )

JQ @ 1: The sort of "lose your job for engaging in speech" thing happens in other contexts, too. Companies routinely censor their employees' speech in ways small and large, and this includes completely non-political speech about purely technical matters.

I know of a case where a famous chip designer got up at a conference and said "none of you people talking about Itanium [Intel's ia64 chip that was the future of microprocessors once upon a time] actually think it's going to succeed -- why don't any of you admit it?"

Within moments he was covered in PR and lawyers basically taping his mouth shut. When I worked in global enterprise IT, I didn't post blog comments (neither political nor technical) b/c it was clear that there would always be the possibility of career repercussions for making statements that would have post-hoc repercussions

Companies censor their employees speech before-and-after-the-fact for lots of reasons, sometimes political. This is a fact of life, and you're very right to point out that if people actually cared about this [as opposed to getting bent-out-of-shape that they can't be raging bigots] they'd support strong unions.

SamChevre 07.30.20 at 1:25 pm ( 13 )

This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will.

Employment at will may contribute, but a larger part of the problem is that the US laws around free speech are odd. Technically, the government cannot regulate speech at all (with very limited exceptions, not relevant here.) In practice, though, what has happened (via so-called "antidiscrimination" law) is that the government severely punishes employers whose employees speak in ways the government/the identity politics left (they are working together here) dislike, and so effectively outsources speech regulation to employers.

The concern about cancel culture is in my observation largely driven by this dynamic: the frequent tagline right-leaning speech is violence, while left-leaning violence is speech" reflects the fact that getting some particular approach to a topic defined as "discrimination" means that it is severely punished by government, at second-hand.

Musicismath 07.30.20 at 1:42 pm (16 )

One thing that might be useful is distinguishing "cancel culture" as a phenomenon from cancellation more narrowly defined as a tactic . So many of the discussions I've seen recently about the issue seem content to operate at the big-picture level, asking whether such a thing as cancel culture even exists (the New Statesman approach) or (if it does) whether it's a good thing or a bad thing. Focussing in on actual cases, and thinking about who (precisely) benefits from individual instances, might instead help us think about the specific function of cancel culture, and the role that language plays in it.

Think about Rebecca Long-Bailey's recent demotion from the Labour shadow cabinet over a tweet she made. Last month, she retweeted a newspaper interview with prominent Labour-supporting actress Maxine Peake, calling her an "absolute diamond." The interview included an inaccurate claim from Peake ( based apparently on information in a Morning Star article, and which Peake subsequently withdrew when she was challenged on it) that the specific knee restraint used on George Floyd had been taught to Mineapolis police by Israeli secret police consultants.

Long-Bailey lost the Shadow Education role, and her political career is likely over, ostensibly on the basis of this one tweet. This, to me, is a fairly clear instance of cancellation at work, but it would be inadequate to leave it at that. The complete lack of commensurability between the transgression and the outcome would be incomprehensible without asking how RLB's cancellation fits into Labour Party politics; that is, the function of cancelling in this specific instance. Absolutely no one I know thinks this tweet proved Long-Bailey was genuinely antisemitic, or that it was even the primary reason she was demoted. Instead, it's been broadly (and, I think, correctly) interpreted as a signal from the Starmer wing of the party that the Corbyn faction with which RLB is aligned has no future in Labour. Cancellation, in this case, is a naked piece of power politics: a way of getting political opponents out of the way.

The RLB case also throws a spotlight on language. The various rationales for cancelling listed in the OP -- racism, transphobia, or (in this case) antisemitism -- are rarely clear-cut in real-world instances. In fact, there's a kind of homeopathic logic at work, where the more tendentious the attribution is, the more cut-through it often seems to have.

This, I would suggest, is also related to power. The purpose of an accusation like this is to demonstrate the power or dominance of the cancelling agent, and to intimidate others by example. ("If RLB got cancelled for this , then how little would I need to do to suffer the same fate?") As Jonathan Dollimore has pointed out, there's a certain in-built "linguistic imprecision" in many of the terms that cancellation depends on, and it's from that imprecision that the capacity for intimidation or fear generation stems from.

These concepts are capable of apparently endless linguistic elasticity. Indeed, it's when they're at their most extended or diffuse, that these grounds for cancellation seem to have the most signifying power.

Anon For Obvious Reasons 07.30.20 at 5:31 pm (
23
)

I find this deliberately misleading. "Cancel culture" in practice refers to the idea that you shouldn't be ostracized by your peers, friends, or professional field for holding and voicing ideas that are essentially mainstream.

Everyone thinks that if you insult someone with a racial slur, there should be consequences.

But after that, what should be the proper "bound" that discourse should not cross? I would argue that "any idea which can be studied rigorously" and "any idea held by a reasonably broad cross section of society" is clearly within the bound, and we do ourselves a huge disservice by refusing to countenance ideas in those sets. Further, as a commenter above notes, most people in the world are not left-wing activists. Setting the norm that you shouldn't be friends with/work with/hire/buy from people with ideas you find acceptable, but which are not extreme, will be and has been a disaster for gay people, atheists, and many others.

Everyone working in academia, the non-profit sector, and journalism is aware that there are many ideas broadly held which people hesitate to say because they are worried a group of their strident colleagues will try to destroy their career. The Shor example comes up because, as Matt Yglesias pointed out yesterday, it is so obviously ridiculous to lose your job for linking to a paper in APSR by a prominent (young, black) political scientist, and yet there really are many people in that world, progressive political campaigns, who would refuse to work with you if you hired Shor . It wasn't just his boss or "workplace protections" – he was kicked out of the listserv that is the main vector for finding jobs in that sphere, and his new employer remains anonymous on purpose!

And yes, this is not just a lefty thing. I'm sure that right-wing media sites, and church groups, and the rest all have similar cases. Trump clearly "canceled" Kaepernick, with the NFL's help. Yet we all agree that is bad! And in the sphere many of us are in, academia, it is unquestionable that "canceling from the left" is a bigger threat from the right.

Anarcissie 07.30.20 at 8:35 pm ( 30 )

Trader Joe 07.30.20 at 2:17 pm @ 17 --
Remember that the academic institutions in which controversies about 'cancel culture' exist are bourgeois institutions, pretty much like corporations. It is a world of authority, hierarchy, and carefully controlled behavior. Obviously there is little expression which may not have adverse consequences.

As the power and prestige of the bourgeoisie shrink, the inmates of that particular cage will fight more fiercely for what's left. One way of fighting is to get someone's job by turning up something disreputable, such as the use of an apparently racist epithet.

This didn't start yesterday. There is a certain spillover into popcult as students emerge from academia into the outer, also declining world and repeat the patterns which they have observed. Numerous stories are available, but I'll spare you. Anyway, Mr. Taibbi has been ranting well, and you can go there.

kinnikinick 07.30.20 at 9:08 pm (
34
)

Surprising to see so little emphasis on social media as the main catalyst. Tribalism is the driver of "engagement" online, and if righteous anger at the out-group gets the clicks, so be it. Consider how any Twitter post can become a tiny gleaming tableau, a battle flag, an allegory of sin or virtue. Context and interpretation cannot be arbiters, and must only serve the self-evident cause of loyalty to one's synthetic tribe. Faith and bad faith merge; that's just optimal use of an app's system of influence. "We shape our tools and then our tools shape us".

It seems to me that "cancel culture" is based on the infosphere's equivalent of the technological progress that now allows a small group of determined people with AK-47s to render a region ungovernable. This does not imply that the region's current government is a good one. It does not imply anything about the group's views, except that debating them is not likely to be on the agenda when they visit your village. There will no doubt be some unpleasant people among the casualties; perhaps that counts as a silver lining.

The arms dealers don't care – they sell to everyone, and the more ammunition they sell, the more you'll need.

Kiwanda 07.31.20 at 12:00 am ( 45 )

John Quiggin:

"But the fact that the same example (David Shor) is cited every time the issue is raised " here is one attempt to tabulate cancellations, at least on the left identitarian side; I am not endorsing any particular example. (NB: Sophie Jane in this case, not Sophie Grace.)

I would be curious about whether Henry approves of the suppression of speech as much as the OP does.

Whether justified or not, a significant minority of Americans, across multiple lines, are fearful that their political opinions could endanger their jobs; this suggests the problem might be more than just people getting "bent-out-of-shape that they can't be raging bigots" .

Purveyors of what-aboutery will probably appreciate that Steve Salita now makes a living as a bus driver ; I have no reason to think that the Harpers Letter signers (even Bari Weiss) would regard that situation as any more just than other examples.

J-D 07.31.20 at 12:05 am ( 46 )

There have been occasions in my life when I have justly and rightly experienced adverse consequences as a result of things that I have said. The proposition that nobody should ever experience adverse consequences as a result of statements made is utterly indefensible.

de Pony Sum 07.31.20 at 2:16 am ( 48 )

Discussions over "cancellation" can make things unnecessarily difficult because it's a very hard term to define- exactly how badly does your public reputation have to be before you are cancelled. All too often debates turn into "well so and so wasn't cancelled because they still have a job/they still have a platform/they're still living their life." (Although your post does avoid this by describing it in terms of an attempt instead of outcome) So to avoid ambiguities that attend "cancellation", I prefer "opprobrium"

My position on this is that individuals shouldn't face public opprobrium unless there is 1) Clear and convincing evidence they are motivated by fundamentally malicious ends and 2) They have no remorse about it. Even when these conditions are met the opprobrium they receive should be clearly proportional to the wrong they've committed. We should relax these rules somewhat for celebrities, and a great deal for politicians, who have implicitly agreed to face criticism as a consequence of their role.

I support this anti-opprobrium position because being shamed publicly is extremely painful. I would rather lose a limb than be widely publicly shamed and reviled, and I think a lot of people feel the same way, so, by the golden rule and all of that

In terms of the position you outline it seems to me that we're going to agree on a lot of issues. Pre-meditated use of racial slurs, for example. But I think there are a lot of instances of cancel culture that we won't agree on.

Here's some people I think have been unfairly subject to vast amounts of pubic opprobrium that some people would call cancel culture:

The p**nstar ( I won't spell it out because I'm at work) who killed herself in part because of the criticism she received when tweeted out (homophobically) that she didn't want to work actors who had done gay male scenes. While criticism would have been appropriate, the torrent of backlash she received was disproportionate.

The woman who went to the Washington Post's cartoonist party in blackface in a very misguided but not malicious attempt to satirize blackface and subsequently lost her job when the Washington post named her in their paper. Natalie Wynn of Contrapoints – for many different things.

Glenn Greenwald over the age difference between him and his partner

Now I'm picking cases of opprobrium that came from the left broadly construed, because I think of this as an internal conversation on the left. However, one thing that frustrates me about this debate is that no one is acknowledging that the right are masters of excessive opprobrium. Some examples:

But maybe my position amounts to a silly apolitical wish that people would be nice to each other, unless there's a very, very good reason not to.

Andres 07.31.20 at 3:07 am ( 49 )

Chris: An interesting case can be made in favor of cancel culture if we start thinking of most political cults including communism, fascism, maga-Trumpism and other types of fake populism as pandemics.

For starters, there is the testing. A positive test result is indicated by

(a) the talking points or analysis are exclusionary toward one or more social groups that are being "othered" based on any common aspect other than political actions that are unethical by some well-defined criterion; the extent indicates the severity of the symptoms, and

(b) the speaker or commenter is repeating someone else's talking points or writing rather than their own attempts to understand the issue; the extent indicates the degree of infectiousness.

In that testing sense, cancel culture can be seen as a type of supplementary social defense mechanism compared to the standard immune system response of trying to prove the political cult wrong in the eyes of unbiased observers; in too many historical cases, the immune response is weakened by factors such as adverse economic or geopolitical circumstances (e.g., a lost war).

Cancel culture then works as (a) tracking and removal in the form of boycotts and ostracism, in that the infected cells(individuals) are removed from positions of influence, and (b) as a type of lockdown measure (censorship) that is warranted when the infected individual is transmitting patently false versions of current events or past history, and is starting to infect others around him.

I am not in complete agreement with the above political cults-as-pandemics theory, but it has some compelling aspects in exceptional situations. Normally, the political-economic-cultural discourse is sufficiently healthy that the standard "cure for bad speech is more good speech" response is sufficient. Commenters above such as Peter Dorman are assuming that the "body politic" has a healthy and undisrupted immune system, but I would argue that is far from being the case right now; the U.S. is afflicted by oligarchic politics, highly unequal and quasi-feudal economics that make appeals to the free market laughable, and by standard of living deterioration in a large number of inner urban areas as well as mid-tier and small cities. So the patient is immuno-compromised and additional interventions are called for.

As to Peter's argument that cancel culture disfigures the left, I would add that the only cases where the radical left has seized power took place in the brutal aftermath of right-wing pandemics: e.g. the hyper-nationalism that led Germany and Russia among others to war in 1914, or KMT/warlord attempts to violently and brutally suppress peasant demands in the case of China. In such situations, it is no surprise that the radical left becomes infected with political cultism.

The important thing is to know when to apply cancel culture (and other resistance measures including mass disobedience) to left-wing movements that are "infected". Post-1989 Eastern Europe is a good example, though now it is right-wing pandemics that are taking hold. That is, cancel culture is not just for Lost Cause racism and proto-fascism, but for all political movements that cross the border into cultism and "othering".

Aubergine 07.31.20 at 3:14 am ( 50 )

CB:

Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront.

I don't think this is fair. As EB says @22:

The (wealthy, high profile) signers of the Harper's letter were not complaining on their own behalf; they were complaining on behalf of the millions of people with no power or money who are also threatened with mobbing if they voice divergent (not racist, not transphobic, not misogyist) views.

JK Rowling is pretty hard to cancel; she has a mountain of cash, and her books are still selling. But people who don't have a mountain of cash are going to look at examples like children's author Gillian Philip, who appears to have been "let go" by her publisher after being targetted by a cancellation campaign for tweeting "#ISTANDWITHROWLING", and think very carefully about whether they can afford to stick their head over the parapet. Personally, I've made a number of comments on Crooked Timber which I don't think were at all outside the bounds of acceptable discourse – certainly not in the same category as the racist speech you refer to (and at least one moderator must have agreed, because they were posted) – but which I simply couldn't risk making without a pseudonym.

I often detect a bit of motte-and-bailey in the anti-anti-cancel culture argument. The outer bailey is something like "cancel culture isn't the problem it's made out to be; it's just how norms of acceptable behaviour are worked out these days"; the motte is "it's okay to deplatform hardcore racists and holocaust deniers".

Between those two positions there's a large space where people get harassed, threatened, ostracised and silenced for minor slips, reasonable disagreements, details that were lost in translation and failures to recite the correct thought-terminating cliches with sufficient conviction – basically, things that don't threaten anyone else's ability to speak. Often this is done with the assistance of the false-flag social media "activist" accounts that right-wing agitators use to pick away at fault lines on the left.

Even when there are no serious real-world consequences this tends to create a narrow, stifling intellectual environment, which is what a large part of the opposition to "cancel culture" is trying to prevent. You do realise, don't you, that Crooked Timber's willingness to acknowledge heterodox views, on certain subjects, from the broad left puts it radically out of step with most of the "progressive" Western Internet?

(There are other parts where cancel-culture tactics are used against different targets, such as apostates and feminists in general (not just the wrong kind of feminists), which hopefully we can all agree is not good.)

Basically, I don't think it's an adequate response to critique of cancel-culture to pick out the cases where relatively mild tactics were used against acceptable targets, without acknowledging that the critique is much broader than that.

[Aug 01, 2020] Great Purge - Wikipedia

Aug 01, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Great Purge From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from Stalin era purges ) Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the 1936–1938 Soviet purge. For political purges in general, see Purge .

Great Purge
Part of Purges of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Vinnycia16.jpg People of Vinnytsia searching for relatives among the exhumed victims of the Vinnytsia massacre , 1943
Location Soviet Union
Date 1936–1938
Target Political opponents, Trotskyists , Red Army leadership, wealthy peasants (so called " kulaks "), ethnic minorities , religious activists and leaders
Attack type
Deaths 681,692 [1] –1,200,000 [2]
(higher estimates overlap with at least 136,520 [3] deaths in the Gulag system)
Perpetrators Joseph Stalin , the NKVD ( Genrikh Yagoda , Nikolai Yezhov , Lavrentiy Beria , Ivan Serov and others), Vyacheslav Molotov , Andrey Vyshinsky , Lazar Kaganovich , Kliment Voroshilov , Robert Eikhe and others
Motive Elimination of political opponents, [4] consolidation of power [5]
Part of a series on the
History of the
Soviet Union
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History [show]
1917–1927: Establishment [show]
1927–1953: Stalinist dictatorship [show]
1953–1964: Khrushchev Thaw [show]
1964–1985: Era of Stagnation [show]
1985–1991: Perestroika and collapse [show]
Soviet leadership [show]
Related topics [show]
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union portal

The Great Purge or the Great Terror ( Russian : Большой террор ), also known as the Year of '37 ( 37-ой год , Tridtsat sedmoi god ) and the Yezhovschina ('period of Yezhov '), [6] was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union that occurred from 1936 to 1938. [7] It involved a large-scale repression of wealthy peasants ( kulaks ); genocidal acts against ethnic minorities ; a purge of the Communist Party, government officials , and the Red Army leadership; widespread police surveillance; suspicion of saboteurs; counter-revolutionaries ; imprisonment; and arbitrary executions. [8] Historians estimate the total number of deaths due to Stalinist repression in 1937–38 to be between 680,000 and 1,200,000. [1] [2]

The "Kulak Operation" and the targeting of national minorities were the main components of the Great Terror. Together these two actions accounted for nine-tenths of the death sentences and three-fourths of Gulag prison camp sentences. Of the operations against national minorities, the Polish Operation of the NKVD was the largest one, second only to the "Kulak Operation" in terms of number of victims. According to historian Timothy Snyder , ethnic Poles constituted the largest group of victims in the Great Terror, comprising less than 0.5% of the country's population but comprising 12.5% of those executed. [9]

In the Western world, Robert Conquest 's 1968 book The Great Terror popularized the phrase. Conquest's title itself was an allusion to the period from the French Revolution known as the Reign of Terror (French: la Terreur , 'the Terror'; from June to July 1794: la Grande Terreur , 'the Great Terror'). [10] While Norman Naimark deemed Stalin's 1930s Polish policy " genocidal ," he did not consider the entire Great Purge genocidal because it also targeted political opponents. [11]

[Aug 01, 2020] The ethnic and sex-based groups created and supported by neoliberal oligarchy are constructed so that they can never discover any common ground between themselves, and thus will fight among themselves for the scraps thrown from the oligarchs' table.

Highly recommended!
Aug 01, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 08.01.20 at 6:30 pm

John Quiggin 07.30.20 at 10:17 am (7)

An important problem is the conflation of public opprobrium actual sanctions like being fired. This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will

No. The cancel culture is just a new incarnation of the old idea of religious and pseudo-religious (aka Marxist or Maoist) "purges". A new flavor of inquisition so to speak.

The key idea here is the elimination of opposition for a particular Messianic movement, and securing all the positions that can influence public opinion. As well as protection of own (often dominant) position in the structure of political power (this was the idea behind Mao "cultural revolution")

You probably can benefit from studying the mechanic of Stalin purges. Mechanisms are the pretty similar ("History repeats ", etc) .

If opposition to the new brand of Messianism is suppressed under the smoke screen of political correctness, the question arise how this is different from Stalinist ideas of "Intensification of the class struggle under socialism" and Mao Red Guards excesses (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensification_of_the_class_struggle_under_socialism )

You can probably start with "Policing Stalin's Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953 (Yale-Hoover Series on Authoritarian Regimes)"

A new book which waits for its author can be similarly titled "Policing US neoliberalism : Repression and Social Order in the USA 1980-2020") ;-)

Here is one thought-provoking comment from the Web:

GeeBee, August 1, 2020 at 7:42 am GMT

The government will eventually be Marxist

With all due respect, you – like the great majority of people – fail to understand the dynamics involved. 'Cultural Marxism' isn't political Marxism. It is a method – a tool if you wish – used by the oligarchs who wield true power to 'divide and rule' (not least by deflecting attention from the yawning gulf that lies between their own excesses and monstrous wealth on the one hand, and the increasing indigence of the great mass of people on the other).

It is called 'Cultural Marxism' purely because it uses Marx's technique of dividing society into a small clique of 'oppressors' and 'the masses' who are 'oppressed'. Marx, of course, had the capitalists in mind when he wrote of the oppressors, and the proletariat naturally were the oppressed.

Today, the last thing the oligarchs desire is a unified and organised proletariat with 'agency': that would constitute a serious threat to their existence. Instead, they divide the sacred role of 'the oppressed' into a multitude of more or less fissiparous groups, whom we are all aware of, but of which those comprising 'BAME' are perhaps the most useful. Others include feminists (more or less all young women in today's world), homos, those suffering from sexual dysphoria (that's 'trannies' in today's 'Newspeak') and the disabled.

These groups will never discover any common ground between themselves, and thus will fight among themselves for the scraps thrown from the oligarchs' table. No danger there, and that's just how they planned it. As for the 'oppressors', there are no prizes for guessing that they are White, heterosexual (i.e. normal) males.

So much for your fear of actual Marxism. As for 'the government', it is important to understand that no government in today's West is invested with any meaningful power.

Not only are they not 'sovereign' but they are little more than puppets, dancing to their masters' dismal tunes.

Who are these oligarchs – these Masters of the Universe? That's a story for another day. But you won't go far wrong if you place the word 'oligarchs' in triple parentheses

[Jul 31, 2020] What's wrong with "cancel culture"

Jul 31, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

"Cancel culture" has recently been in the news as a threat to free speech and open debate, most notably with the publication the other week of that open letter in Harpers. Cancelling is essentially a kind of crowdsourced attempt to boycott and ostracise individuals for their words or actions, sometimes including calls for them they be fired from their jobs or denied contracts and opportunities by media organisations.

In the democratic space of social media this can sometimes tip over into unpleasant mobbing and sometimes bullying. But is "cancelling" people always wrong? Is the practice always an attack on the norms of free speech and open debate? Might cancelling some people be necessary to ensure others get the voice and platform to which they are entitled?

One objection to "cancellation" is that it chills open debate and makes people self-censor.


casmilus 07.30.20 at 7:19 am (no link)

Discrediting and marginalisation already occurred – just look at how David Irving's status changed over the decades (notoriously, the early book about Dresden is cited in "Slaughterhouse 5"). So we've simply accelerated the process in the digital age.

My contrarian take is that "the campus Left" actually had more power in the 70s/80s. In a world with no internet and limited independent publishing and distribution, public meetings were the route to disseminate new ideas, so no-platforming and picketing could have an effect. Look at "The History Man" (the 1981 BBC TV adaptation) for a portrayal of what it was like; all that "soft power" is forgotten because of course Thatcher and Reagan won the grown-up elections. Also note that that was a world where the university as an institution had much less to fear from individual students who might feel discriminated against. In comparison, no one can actually suppress ideas nowadays and even banning books from the libraries leaves them available in the virtual library of websites.

The reality also is that "cancelled" authors acquire new readerships and can move into different circles. Ex-lefties have been doing that since the 1930s: Freida Utley, Eugebe Lyons, James Burnham and of course Whittaker Chambers fell-out and immediately fell-in to bigger audiences.

chrisare 07.30.20 at 9:20 am (no link)

I found this piece unconvincing.

"People can have their voices amplified or silenced by their wealth, connections or prestige but also by other speech which aims to deny them the right to participate on equal terms with others."

It's unclear if this refers to those at the receiving end of speech the author wants to prevent or the speaker deserving of canceling.

"As Jeremy Waldron has argued in his book The Harm in Hate Speech, racist speech aims not just at hurting the feelings of its victims or expressing a view but at reconstituting the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it."

It is very dubious that most slurs "aim" to "reconstitute the public arena of democratic debate and argument so that some people are not seen as forming a proper part of it." Do you have any support for this theory?

"It says that those people are not a part of "us" and that their opinions and arguments have no place as we decide where our country should go."

It's not clear how a racial slur "says" any of this. Perhaps the author is reading subtext?

"Racist speech by some also legitimizes and emboldens racist speech and opinion by others, telling bigots that they are not alone, that others think as they do, and strengthens an ideal of exclusive community based on ethnic or racial lines."

On this point it's worth quoting Henry Louis Gates Jr: "Why would you entrust authority with enlarged powers of regulating the speech of unpopular minorities unless you were confident that unpopular minorities would be racists, not blacks?"

"Anti-racist speech, has the opposite effect, it affirms a view that those targeted by the racists, be they black, or Asian, or Muslim, are full members of the democratic political community in good standing with as good a right to a say as anyone.

"It also reinforces a social norm about what may not be said, telling those who are tempted to stigmatize migrants or minorities that they will pay a price for doing so."

It also creates a precedent for excluding views by shaming based on current sentiment. Only someone oblivious to history wouldn't see the danger in that precedent.

"The role that speech plays in defining who is and isn't included in our vision of democratic community can have powerful real-world consequence."

Who to include as part of your community is an important issue that should be discussed openly by all of society. What you're trying to do is to elevate advance your position without having to defend it.

"One way to understand the ease with which the victims of the Windrush scandal could lose their jobs, their homes, their liberty or be deported to far-away countries, is that in the public imaginary that is partly constituted by speech, many people did not see them as proper members with equal standing to others."

Were we to do away with everything that had a downside we would have very little good. Therefore arguing that something has potential downsides is not sufficient to establish that it's not good. Can you argue that free expression and debate by citizenry on the most important issues facing a democratic nation is not good, besides by arguing that there might be some cost?

"Racist speech is just one example that makes clear how the practice of open discussion isn't simply a matter of unfettered conversation among people who are already present but also involves choices about who gets to speak and involves sensitivity to the way that speech by some has the effect either of depriving others of a voice or of making it impossible for others to hear what they say. A society which is full of highly sexualized messages about women is also a society in which it is harder for women to get a hearing about sexual violence and income inequality. A society where trans people are the objects of constant ridicule, or are represented as dangerous, is one in which it is also more difficult for them to argue for their rights and have their interests taken seriously."

This implies that the intolerant are the powerful group capable of suppressing minorities with their speech alone. This is disproven by the very fact that anti-racist etc speech is so successful. The success of antiracist codes of social conduct is because the group exercising them is the powerful group. This very fact implies their obsolesce.

"Much of the pushback against cancel culture has come from prominent journalists and intellectuals who perceive every negative reaction from ordinary people on social media as an affront. Ironically, while being quick to take offence themselves they demand that those less powerful than they are should toughen up and not be such "snowflakes"."

This is an uninformed or dishonest characterization of the pushback against cancel culture. The pushback is due to intolerant enforcement of ideological conformity and homogeneity through threat to job and reputation. And no this is not only ideological conformity in that you can't say overtly racist things; it's ideological conformity in that you can't criticize BLM or cite scientific literature on biological differences between the sexes without risk.

"But if we take seriously the idea that speech can silence speech or make it unhearable, then a concern with whether the heckling of cancel culture makes it harder to say some things also has to take account of the fact that saying those very things can make it harder for other voices to be heard."

This piece hasn't given any reason to make us take seriously the idea that speech against one group can silence another, other then through threat to livelihood or reputation. It's not clear though how for example referencing scientific but currently unpopular claims, criticizing a social movement, having a narrower view on who should be considered a citizen or even using a slur silences people.

John Quiggin 07.30.20 at 10:17 am ( 7 )

An important problem is the conflation of public opprobrium actual sanctions like being fired. This is mainly a problem in the US because of employment at will. In most countries, unfair dismissal laws would protect people being sacked because of their political views, unless they related directly to job performance.
https://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/04/free-speech-unfair-dismissal-and-unions/

But the fact that the same example (David Shor) is cited every time the issue is raised suggests that losing your job for breaching left orthodoxy not a major problem in the US, or at least that other possible examples are much less sympathetic (racists fired from Fox, for example).

Mostly, AFAICT, being cancelled means having to read rude things said about you by lots of unimportant people on Twitter, as opposed to engaging in caustic, but civilised, debate with your peers in the pages of little magazines.

[Jul 30, 2020] Financial capitalism is bloodthirstily by definition as it needs new markets. It fuels wars.

Jul 29, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

steven t johnson 07.29.20 at 3:14 pm (50 )

PS likbez@46 reminded me of a line from the movie Reds. Warren Beatty's John Reed spoke of people who "though Karl Marx wrote a good antitrust law." This was not a favorable comment. The confusion of socialism and what might be called populism is quite, quite old. Jack London's The Iron Heel has its hero pointing out even before the Great (Class) War that the normal operations of capitalism, concentration and centralization, destroyed the middle class paradise of equal competition. It wasn't conspiracies.

likbez 07.29.20 at 3:30 pm

@steven t johnson 07.29.20 at 3:14 pm (51)

Jack London's The Iron Heel has its hero pointing out even before the Great (Class) War that the normal operations of capitalism, concentration and centralization, destroyed the middle class paradise of equal competition.

I think the size of the USA military budget by itself means the doom for the middle class, even without referring to famous Jack London book (The Iron Heel is cited by George Orwell 's biographer Michael Shelden as having influenced Orwell's most famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.).

Wall Street and MIC (especially intelligence agencies ; Allen Dulles was a Wall Street lawyer) are joined at the hip. And they both fully control MSM. As Jack London aptly said:

"The press of the United States? It is a parasitic growth that battens on the capitalist class. Its function is to serve the established by moulding public opinion, and right well it serves it."
― Jack London, The Iron Heel

Financial capitalism is bloodthirstily by definition as it needs new markets. It fuels wars. In a sense, Bolton is the symbol of financial capitalism foreign policy.

It is important to understand that finance capitalism creates positive feedback loop in the economy increasing instability of the system. So bubbles are immanent feature of finance capitalism, not some exception or the result of excessive greed.

[Jul 29, 2020] America's Own Color Revolution by F. William Engdahl

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Color Revolution is the term used to describe a series of remarkably effective CIA-led regime change operations using techniques developed by the RAND Corporation, "democracy" NGOs and other groups since the 1980's. They were used in crude form to bring down the Polish communist regime in the late 1980s. From there the techniques were refined and used, along with heavy bribes, to topple the Gorbachev regime in the Soviet Union. For anyone who has studied those models closely, it is clear that the protests against police violence led by amorphous organizations with names like Black Lives Matter or Antifa are more than purely spontaneous moral outrage. Hundreds of thousands of young Americans are being used as a battering ram to not only topple a US President, but in the process, the very structures of the US Constitutional order. ..."
"... Alicia Garza of BLM is also a board member or executive of five different Freedom Road front groups including 2011 Board chair of Right to the City Alliance, Board member of School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Forward Together and Special Projects director of National Domestic Workers Alliance. ..."
"... The Right to the City Alliance got $6.5 million between 2011 and 2014 from a number of very established tax-exempt foundations including the Ford Foundation ($1.9 million), from both of George Soros's major tax-exempts–Open Society Foundations, and the Foundation to Promote Open Society for $1.3 million. Also the cornflake-tied Kellogg Foundation $250,000, and curiously , Ben & Jerry's Foundation (ice cream) for $30,000. ..."
"... That front since 2009 received $1.3 million from the Ford Foundation, as well as $600,000 from the Soros foundations and again, Ben & Jerry's ($50,000). ..."
"... And Garza's SOUL, which claimed to have trained 712 "organizers" in 2014, when she co-founded Black Lives Matter, got $210,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and another $255,000 from the Heinz Foundation (ketchup and John Kerry family) among others. ..."
"... Nigeria-born BLM co-founder Opal Tometi likewise comes from the network of FRSO. Tometi headed the FRSO's Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Curiously with a "staff" of two it got money from major foundations including the Kellogg Foundation for $75,000 and Soros foundations for $100,000, and, again, Ben & Jerry's ($10,000). Tometi got $60,000 in 2014 to direct the group . ..."
"... The BLMF identified itself as being created by top foundations including in addition to the Ford Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation and the Soros Open Society Foundations. They described their role: "The BLMF provides grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working advance the leadership and vision of young, Black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America." ..."
"... Notably, when we click on the website of M4BL, under their donate button we learn that the donations will go to something called ActBlue Charities. ActBlue facilitates donations to "democrats and progressives." As of May 21, ActBlue had given $119 million to the campaign of Joe Biden. ..."
"... What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America. ..."
"... The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest. ..."
Jun 17, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

Color Revolution is the term used to describe a series of remarkably effective CIA-led regime change operations using techniques developed by the RAND Corporation, "democracy" NGOs and other groups since the 1980's. They were used in crude form to bring down the Polish communist regime in the late 1980s. From there the techniques were refined and used, along with heavy bribes, to topple the Gorbachev regime in the Soviet Union. For anyone who has studied those models closely, it is clear that the protests against police violence led by amorphous organizations with names like Black Lives Matter or Antifa are more than purely spontaneous moral outrage. Hundreds of thousands of young Americans are being used as a battering ram to not only topple a US President, but in the process, the very structures of the US Constitutional order.

If we step back from the immediate issue of videos showing a white Minneapolis policeman pressing his knee on the neck of a black man, George Floyd , and look at what has taken place across the nation since then, it is clear that certain organizations or groups were well-prepared to instrumentalize the horrific event for their own agenda.

The protests since May 25 have often begun peacefully only to be taken over by well-trained violent actors. Two organizations have appeared regularly in connection with the violent protests -- Black Lives Matter and Antifa (USA). Videos show well-equipped protesters dressed uniformly in black and masked (not for coronavirus to be sure), vandalizing police cars, burning police stations, smashing store windows with pipes or baseball bats. Use of Twitter and other social media to coordinate "hit-and-run" swarming strikes of protest mobs is evident.

What has unfolded since the Minneapolis trigger event has been compared to the wave of primarily black ghetto protest riots in 1968. I lived through those events in 1968 and what is unfolding today is far different. It is better likened to the Yugoslav color revolution that toppled Milosevic in 2000.

Gene Sharp: Template for Regime Overthrow

In the year 2000 the US State Department, aided by its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and select CIA operatives, began secretly training a group of Belgrade university students led by a student group that was called Otpor! (Resistance!). The NED and its various offshoots was created in the 1980's by CIA head Bill Casey as a covert CIA tool to overthrow specific regimes around the world under the cover of a human rights NGO. In fact, they get their money from Congress and from USAID.

In the Serb Otpor! destabilization of 2000, the NED and US Ambassador Richard Miles in Belgrade selected and trained a group of several dozen students, led by Srđa Popović, using the handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy, translated to Serbian, of the late Gene Sharp and his Albert Einstein Institution. In a post mortem on the Serb events, the Washington Post wrote, "US-funded consultants played a crucial role behind the scenes in virtually every facet of the anti-drive, running tracking polls, training thousands of opposition activists and helping to organize a vitally important parallel vote count. US taxpayers paid for 5,000 cans of spray paint used by student activists to scrawl anti-Milošević graffiti on walls across Serbia."

Trained squads of activists were deployed in protests to take over city blocks with the aid of 'intelligence helmet' video screens that give them an instantaneous overview of their environment. Bands of youth converging on targeted intersections in constant dialogue on cell phones, would then overwhelm police. The US government spent some $41 million on the operation. Student groups were secretly trained in the Sharp handbook techniques of staging protests that mocked the authority of the ruling police, showing them to be clumsy and impotent against the youthful protesters. Professionals from the CIA and US State Department guided them behind the scenes.

The Color Revolution Otpor! model was refined and deployed in 2004 as the Ukraine Orange Revolution with logo and color theme scarves, and in 2003 in Georgia as the Rose Revolution. Later Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the template to launch the Arab Spring. In all cases the NED was involved with other NGOs including the Soros Foundations.

After defeating Milosevic, Popovic went on to establish a global color revolution training center, CANVAS, a kind of for-profit business consultancy for revolution, and was personally present in New York working reportedly with Antifa during the Occupy Wall Street where also Soros money was reported.

Antifa and BLM

The protests, riots, violent and non-violent actions sweeping across the United States since May 25, including an assault on the gates of the White House, begin to make sense when we understand the CIA's Color Revolution playbook.

The impact of the protests would not be possible were it not for a network of local and state political officials inside the Democratic Party lending support to the protesters, even to the point the Democrat Mayor of Seattle ordered police to abandon several blocks in the heart of downtown to occupation by protesters.

In recent years major portions of the Democratic Party across the US have been quietly taken over by what one could call radical left candidates. Often they win with active backing of organizations such as Democratic Socialists of America or Freedom Road Socialist Organizations. In the US House of Representatives the vocal quarter of new representatives around Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib and Minneapolis Representative Ilhan Omar are all members or close to Democratic Socialists of America. Clearly without sympathetic Democrat local officials in key cities, the street protests of organizations such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa would not have such a dramatic impact.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Neoliberal Color Revolution in America

To get a better grasp how serious the present protest movement is we should look at who has been pouring millions into BLM. The Antifa is more difficult owing to its explicit anonymous organization form. However, their online Handbook openly recommends that local Antifa "cells" join up with BLM chapters.

FRSO: Follow the Money

BLM began in 2013 when three activist friends created the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag to protest the allegations of shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin by a white Hispanic block watchman, George Zimmermann. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi were all were connected with and financed by front groups tied to something called Freedom Road Socialist Organization, one of the four largest radical left organizations in the United States formed out of something called New Communist Movement that dissolved in the 1980s.

On June 12, 2020 the Freedom Road Socialist Organization webpage states, "The time is now to join a revolutionary organization! Join Freedom Road Socialist Organization If you have been out in the streets this past few weeks, the odds are good that you've been thinking about the difference between the kind of change this system has to offer, and the kind of change this country needs. Capitalism is a failed system that thrives on exploitation, inequality and oppression. The reactionary and racist Trump administration has made the pandemic worse. The unfolding economic crisis we are experiencing is the worst since the 1930s. Monopoly capitalism is a dying system and we need to help finish it off. And that is exactly what Freedom Road Socialist Organization is working for ."

In short the protests over the alleged police killing of a black man in Minnesota are now being used to call for a revolution against capitalism. FRSO is an umbrella for dozens of amorphous groups including Black Lives Matter or BLM. What is interesting about the self-described Marxist-Leninist roots of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) is not so much their left politics as much as their very establishment funding by a group of well-endowed tax-exempt foundations.

Alicia Garza of BLM is also a board member or executive of five different Freedom Road front groups including 2011 Board chair of Right to the City Alliance, Board member of School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL), of People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Forward Together and Special Projects director of National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The Right to the City Alliance got $6.5 million between 2011 and 2014 from a number of very established tax-exempt foundations including the Ford Foundation ($1.9 million), from both of George Soros's major tax-exempts–Open Society Foundations, and the Foundation to Promote Open Society for $1.3 million. Also the cornflake-tied Kellogg Foundation $250,000, and curiously , Ben & Jerry's Foundation (ice cream) for $30,000.

Garza also got major foundation money as Executive Director of the FRSO front, POWER, where Obama former "green jobs czar" Van Jones, a self-described "communist" and "rowdy black nationalist," now with CNN, was on the board. Alicia Garza also chaired the Right to the City Alliance, a network of activist groups opposing urban gentrification. That front since 2009 received $1.3 million from the Ford Foundation, as well as $600,000 from the Soros foundations and again, Ben & Jerry's ($50,000).

And Garza's SOUL, which claimed to have trained 712 "organizers" in 2014, when she co-founded Black Lives Matter, got $210,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation and another $255,000 from the Heinz Foundation (ketchup and John Kerry family) among others. With the Forward Together of FRSO, Garza sat on the board of a "multi-racial organization that works with community leaders and organizations to transform culture and policy to catalyze social change." It officially got $4 million in 2014 revenues and from 2012 and 2014, the organization received a total of $2.9 million from Ford Foundation ($655,000) and other major foundations .

Nigeria-born BLM co-founder Opal Tometi likewise comes from the network of FRSO. Tometi headed the FRSO's Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Curiously with a "staff" of two it got money from major foundations including the Kellogg Foundation for $75,000 and Soros foundations for $100,000, and, again, Ben & Jerry's ($10,000). Tometi got $60,000 in 2014 to direct the group .

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization that is now openly calling for a revolution against capitalism in the wake of the Floyd George killing has another arm, The Advancement Project, which describes itself as "a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization." Its board includes a former Obama US Department of Education Director of Community Outreach and a former Bill Clinton Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. The FRSO Advancement Project in 2013 got millions from major US tax-exempt foundations including Ford ($8.5 million), Kellogg ($3 million), Hewlett Foundation of HP defense industry founder ($2.5 million), Rockefeller Foundation ($2.5 million), and Soros foundations ($8.6 million).

Major Money and ActBlue

By 2016, the presidential election year where Hillary Clinton was challenging Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter had established itself as a well-organized network. That year the Ford Foundation and Borealis Philanthropy announced the formation of the Black-Led Movement Fund (BLMF), "a six-year pooled donor campaign aimed at raising $100 million for the Movement for Black Lives coalition" in which BLM was a central part. By then Soros foundations had already given some $33 million in grants to the Black Lives Matter movement . This was serious foundation money.

The BLMF identified itself as being created by top foundations including in addition to the Ford Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation and the Soros Open Society Foundations. They described their role: "The BLMF provides grants, movement building resources, and technical assistance to organizations working advance the leadership and vision of young, Black, queer, feminists and immigrant leaders who are shaping and leading a national conversation about criminalization, policing and race in America."

The Movement for Black Lives Coalition (M4BL) which includes Black Lives Matter, already in 2016 called for "defunding police departments, race-based reparations, voting rights for illegal immigrants, fossil-fuel divestment, an end to private education and charter schools, a universal basic income, and free college for blacks ."

Notably, when we click on the website of M4BL, under their donate button we learn that the donations will go to something called ActBlue Charities. ActBlue facilitates donations to "democrats and progressives." As of May 21, ActBlue had given $119 million to the campaign of Joe Biden.

That was before the May 25 BLM worldwide protests. Now major corporations such as Apple, Disney, Nike and hundreds others may be pouring untold and unaccounted millions into ActBlue under the name of Black Lives Matter, funds that in fact can go to fund the election of a Democrat President Biden. Perhaps this is the real reason the Biden campaign has been so confident of support from black voters.

What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America.

The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.

***

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook" where this article was originally published. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © F. William Engdahl , Global Research, 2020

[Jul 27, 2020] The narratives are breaking down: The entire media class will now spend years leading the public on a wild goose chase for Russian collusion and then act like it's no big deal when the whole thing turned out to be completely baseless by Caitlin Johnstone

Jul 27, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

People's old ways of understanding what's going on in the world just aren't holding together anymore.

... ... ...

New Cold War escalations between the U.S.-centralized empire and the unabsorbed governments of China and Russia are going to cause the media airwaves around the planet to become saturated in ever-intensifying propaganda narratives which favor one side or the other and have no interest in honestly telling people the truth about what's going on.

[Jul 27, 2020] Black Lives Matter Con Artist, Shaun King, Demands All Images of White Jesus Destroyed - The Last Refuge

Notable quotes:
"... ...According to the UN Convention Against genocide, erasing a people's heritage, religion, culture, values traditions, and history is an act of genocide. ..."
Jul 22, 2020 | theconservativetreehouse.com

Black Lives Matter Con Artist, Shaun King, Demands All Images of White Jesus Destroyed Posted on June 22, 2020 by sundance

Shaun King is a well known Black Lives Matter con artist who has grifted on racial grievance for a decade even lying about his own family and race. Shaun King is white, provably white , and he found his professional & financial niche by conning black people, including Oprah Winfrey, into believing he is black. [ Shaun King ]

After spending several years drumming up racial division King attached himself to the very first well publicized BLM effort in Ferguson Missouri. There was a lot of money to be made selling the completely false Mike Brown story; so Shaun King hooked up with DeRay McKesson to create the new financial conduit known as Black Lives Matter. His scams and cons are very well known to long-term CTH readers.

Together McKesson and King sell a toxic stew of Marxism, racism, and hatred; and as a consequence their business model intersects with Islamic extremism. As we noted earlier there is a lot of similarity between 2010's Islamist Spring and 2020's BLM protests. Here's the latest example courtesy of the lying, liar who lies for a living:

Under the ideology of Black Lives Matter Islam is the dominant and preferred religion; Christianity is viewed as against their interests. The reason is simple, the doctrines of Islam are political, the doctrines of the BLM movement are identically political.

Within the overall U.S. movement Antifa is essentially white ISIS and the Black Lives Matter crowd are racial grievance activists funded by coastal liberals and Marxists.

Here's a video from about five years ago when Shaun King was exposed as a white man making money from the "black movement". Watch how CNN anchor Don King instantly evolves into a defender and apologist These people are sick, mentally.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Kh4yo0JmXhE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent REPORT THIS AD

.

" Con Artist "

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Super elite covfefe999 loves her President! , June 22, 2020 at 10:07 pm

They're still gonna lose the election. 🙂

Liked by 8 people

nimrodman , June 22, 2020 at 10:47 pm

Yeah, but we're losing our heritage, our history, and our antiquities

Christian churches are next Shaun specifically mentioned "stained glass windows depicting Christ as a white man"

If you attend a church with such stained glass windows, you outta be starting a citizen-defense cadre in cooperation with your church and divvy up shifts to stand guard with whatever firearms you're legally able and cartridges "with the most clips"

Patrick Healy , June 23, 2020 at 3:58 am

It not be too surprising to see history repeat itself.

Where I live the sad desecrated ruins of two wonderful mediaeval Abbeys are a stark reminder of Satanism. In the 1640 to 1650 decade a "gentleman" called Oliver Cromwell raped plundered and pillaged all Catholic churches, monasteries, convents and country mansions which did not succumb to the "New normal" One of his most notable habits was to tether his famous cavalry to the altar rails of the sanctuaries after desecrating and destroying all statues, pictures and murals – and when leaving setting the buildings on fire. So every town and city in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales has its sad reminder of that era. One of Cromwells other little legacies are to be found in North America. He had the habit of kidnapping young fit men – mainly Irish for which he held a particular contempt – and sending them overseas as slaves. Most modern 're writers of history deny this and call them indentured servants. You can split hairs if you wish. So no – this white guy Davis (Welsh?) is a pathetic amateur – Cromwell, John Knox, Calvin and The Taliban perfected the art of the destruction of Catholic icons long ago. For one thing the U.S. does not contain enough material of old to destroy. Secondly I am sure it would be a bridge too far and the final awakening of American patriots to say "Enough!!!," God bless America and President Trump – the last bastion.

Dax Jaket , June 22, 2020 at 11:45 pm

...According to the UN Convention Against genocide, erasing a people's heritage, religion, culture, values traditions, and history is an act of genocide.

Our City, State and Federal govts are allowing and thereby complicit in the mass murder of the American people.

Genocide never stops until the all of the Nazis and conspirators -- like Gates and Soros snd all of the public officials they bought off are dead.

sync , June 22, 2020 at 10:50 pm

"Every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."- '1984,' George Orwell

The Phantom Stranger , June 23, 2020 at 1:40 am

One could say Orwell was prescient about the coming future. More likely is that the globalists and Left read Orwell not as a dire warning, but as an instruction manual.

[Jul 26, 2020] Political Climate Preventing 62% Of Americans From Sharing Their Views by Ivan Pentchoukov

Jul 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Ivan Pentchoukov via The Epoch Times,

A growing number of Americans feel that the political climate is preventing them from sharing their views, according to a new survey by the Cato Institute.

The institute surveyed 2,000 Americans and found that 62 percent are reluctant to share their views due to the political climate. In 2017, 58 percent of people surveyed expressed the same opinion.

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https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.398.1_en.html#goog_1550063135

Republicans are much more likely to be afraid to share their opinions than Democrats and independents, the survey found. More than 3 in 4 Republicans -- 77 percent -- said they are afraid to share their views compared to 52 percent of the Democrats and 59 percent of the independents.

The reluctance to share one's views appears to grow as respondents shift right on the political spectrum, the survey found.

Compared to 2017, the reluctance to share one's views increased across the political spectrum. Liberals, moderates, and conservatives were all 7 percent more likely to be afraid to express their opinions.

The increase in reluctance was more pronounced among strong liberals, rising 12 points to 42 percent, compared to 2017. Reluctance to share their views among strong conservatives notched up 1 point to 77 percent.

"This suggests that it's not necessarily just one particular set of views that has moved outside of acceptable public discourse," Emily Ekins, research fellow and director of polling at the Cato Institute, wrote about the survey.

"Instead these results are more consistent with a 'walking on eggshells' thesis that people increasingly fear a wide range of political views could offend others or negatively impact themselves."

The self censorship cut across demographic groups as well, with roughly 2 in 3 Latino Americans and white Americans and nearly half of African Americans holding views they are afraid to share. More men (65 percent) than women (59 percent) said the political climate prevents them from speaking their mind.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

The Cato Institute also polled respondents on whether they would support firing someone if they had donated to President Donald Trump or presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

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The cancel culture manifested stronger among staunch liberals than staunch conservatives. Half of all the people who identified as staunch liberals said they would support firing Trump donors, compared to 36 percent of staunch conservatives who would support firing someone who donated to Biden.

Nearly a third of Americans said they are afraid that their political views may cost them their jobs or career opportunities. In line with the results on cancel culture, the fear was slightly stronger among conservatives (34 percent) than liberals (31 percent).

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[Jul 26, 2020] Pretty symbolic

Jul 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Formerly T-Bear , Jul 26 2020 16:40 utc | 12

Posted last Open Thread - 58:

Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving star of 'Gone With the Wind' star, dies at 104.

RT headline.

Another addition to the cancel movement? Be very careful what you wish for.

JC , Jul 26 2020 17:36 utc | 16

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jul 26 2020 15:54 utc | 7

"Made the mistake of watching Fareed Zakaria show"

Real funny HaHaHa... I knew of better things to do than watching plagiarism .

[Jul 24, 2020] At Animal Farm, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

This all deflection from the oligarchy rule
Jul 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com
Tucker- There are two versions of the law - YouTube

America's shutdown exposed huge double standard.


I M , 1 month ago

I never understood why Americans are so protective of the Second Amendment and their right to bear arms. I get it now.

Victor Del Prete , 1 month ago

Tucker is the last best journalist in the U.S.A.

Stephen Tumlin , 1 month ago

If someone is treated special all the time, when they get treated normally, they feel oppressed.

blurglide , 1 month ago

At Animal Farm, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Metal Faced DOOM , 1 month ago

Tucker Carlson is vilified by leftists but his viewership is skyrocketing. Has to mean something

lil doe , 1 month ago

Trump didn't create the hate in the left. He exposed it

Tommy Brackett , 1 month ago

"To argue with someone who has renounced all reason, is like administering medicine to the dead"

See the Light , 1 month ago

When all else fails, there's still the Second Amendment. Why do we have a Second Amendment? In case all else fails.

Paul collins , 1 month ago

you talk from the heart and you never cave. Free speech is a rare thing these days and must be protected.

Lorry Camill , 1 month ago

No one ☝️ is above the law only Antifa and Pelosi and Maxine Watters 😂😂😂😂and there rioters

Casinoman , 1 month ago

The only truth teller on cable right now.

GutteralEviceration , 1 month ago

If we fall there will be "nowhere to escape to" - Ronald Reagan This is the last stand on earth.

danny adventurer , 1 month ago

I hope Tucker will be able to continue with his message. He's the only one left to communicate the truth.

Flamethrower82 , 1 month ago

The Democrats want their slaves back.

Martin Coté , 1 month ago

Am I the only one who hears the urgency in Tucker's voice, we are in real trouble and it's only going to get worse!!!

droneultimatum , 1 month ago

When a criminal shoots someone the left blames the gun. When a cop shoots a criminal the left blames the cop.

Loco Motives , 1 month ago

"No one is above the Law" Translation: 'You are not above the Law and... We, Are The Law'

Edward Oliver , 3 weeks ago

"All animals are equal. But some are more equal than others..." 🐖 🐕🐑 🐎🐄🐐🐓

Jackie Eastom , 1 month ago

ONCE AGAIN! THEY ARE "ELECTED " REPRESENTATIVES! NOT LEADERS!

FmnstsRDumb MAGAMAN , 1 month ago

It's hilarious hearing democrats say "no-one is above the law" as they cheat the system becoming multi millionaires via insider trading and selling their influence.

Andrey Kravets , 1 month ago

Over these last few weeks Tucker has been one of the few people to stand up to the mob and refuses to give in. Tremendous respect for people who refuse to give up their dignity.

[Jul 19, 2020] Real cancel culture is a psyop to cancel truth or make it unrecognizable from lie via coloring and half-truths such as Russiagate, White Helmets, Skripals, MH-17, Integrity Initiative, Russian Bounties

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jul 18 2020 21:38 utc | 53

The establishment's massive propaganda campaigns and psyops CANCEL the truth or make it unrecognizable via coloring and half-truths. Russiagate, White Helmets, Skripals, MH-17, Integrity Initiative, Assange, Russian Bounties & remaining in Afghanistan, "China virus", hydroxyChloroquine, etc.

The Trump Administration has CANCELED entire countries via terminating peace treaties, imposing sanctions, covert war, and conducting a propaganda war.

Where is the outrage from writers, artists, and academics about THAT?

[Jul 19, 2020] Galileo was declared a heretic and excommunicated for daring to claim the sun and not the earth was the center of our solar system. He and his ideas were canceled and he died in prison

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

willow , Jul 19 2020 1:53 utc | 83

Galileo was declared a heretic and excommunicated for daring to claim the sun and not the earth was the center of our solar system. He and his ideas were canceled and he died in prison. Cancel culture is the economic and/or social punishment of people who hold unpopular, unscientific or politically incorrect viewpoints. Cancel culture has the chilling effect of self-censorship. Only the fabulously rich can afford to lose their job, their friends, their reputation. The criticism of the signees of the letter rather than the content of the letter itself is a perfect example and proof of cancel culture at work.

[Jul 19, 2020] Why Don't People Speak Up by David Henderson

Notable quotes:
"... Allen started laughing and I felt hurt. "Why are you laughing at me?" I asked. He answered, " Then I said, "My view is that in a faculty of 40 people, you should have 40 independent minds." Allen started laughing and I felt hurt. "Why are you laughing at me?" I asked. ..."
"... He answered, " My view is that if in a faculty of 40 people you have 2 or 3 independent minds, you're doing well ." ..."
"... So my answer to the question that's the title of this post, "Why Don't People Speak Up?", is because they don't have the courage to do so. ..."
"... Yes, academia is full of cowards and bullies. But then the entire world is full of cowards and bullies. ..."
"... While that is true, Academics have a greater responsibility to society than the "average Joe". Academia has historically been nonpartisan, and respectful of alternative views. And if history has taught us anything, its that when academics fail to lend their voice to truth, the madness of crowds win. ..."
"... So my answer to the question that's the title of this post, "Why Don't People Speak Up?", is because they don't have the courage to do so. ..."
"... Or the energy to start start or join a fight they know they really don't want to spend the effort following through on. ..."
"... losing one's job is a very serious punishment that should be reserved for those who have criminally violated the law (there are probably exceptions to this). I wish people would treat it as seriously as it deserves. ..."
"... It's shocking how many terrible things people will just "go along with. But if one person has the courage to stand up and contradict the prevailing opinion, often many of the "sheep" discover their own reasons to be skeptical, and the tide can be turned. ..."
"... I have noticed this too, the general sheep-following instinct I see people have (and I'm sure I myself am prone to), occasionally punctuated by the independent thinker. ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.econlib.org

I posted on Facebook a few days ago about the bullying that Justin Wolfers and other economists are doing to try to get an editor of the I posted on Facebook a few days ago about the bullying that Justin Wolfers and other economists are doing to try to get an editor of the Journal of Political Economy fired. I start by saying that I don't know if he should be fired. I don't know enough about how good an editor he is, which, in my view, is the only thing that should matter.

Justin hasn't made a case that he's a bad editor.

Rather, Justin doesn't like what the editor, Harald Uhlig, said about Black Lives Matter(ing). (Disclosure: I had a very civil debate with Justin about lockdowns. He seemed to be a nice guy. He is not nice on Twitter.)

At Cornell University Law School, a number of people are At Cornell University Law School, a number of people are At Cornell University Law School, a number of people are trying to bully the Dean into firing law professor William Jacobson over 2 of his criticisms of Black Lives Matter. (Disclosure: I read Professor Jacobson's posts at least once a week because I find them informative.) The Dean, to his credit , defended Jacobson's academic freedom, but to his discredit, made a nasty attack on Jacobson's posts, managing to badly misstate the posts in the process. It's interesting how easy it is to win an argument when you badly misstate what the person you're arguing against says. Dean Eduardo M. Peñalver will not soon be winning any ideological Turing test awards. Professor Jacobson appears to have received little public support from his colleagues. He writes: Professor Jacobson appears to have received little public support from his colleagues. He writes: Professor Jacobson appears to have received little public support from his colleagues. He writes:

None of the 21 signatories [of a public letter denouncing him], some of whom I'd worked closely with for over a decade and who I considered friends, had the common decency to approach me with any concerns. Instead they ran to the Cornell Sun while virtue signaling to students behind the scenes that this was a denunciation of me. Such is the political environment we live in now at CLS.
I'm not surprised.

The reason has to do with an "aha" moment I had in the summer of 1979. I was leaving the University of Rochester's Graduate School of Management even before my tenure clock was up. I had become friends with W. Allen Wallis , the Chancellor of the university, and he invited me to lunch in the nicer section (the part that served booze) of the faculty club, housed in the Frederick Douglass building. Early in the lunch, I realized that this wasn't just a warm good-bye, although it was that too, but also an exit interview. So I ordered a whisky sour and loosened my tongue. Allen wanted to know what I thought of the management school. I said that it had a lot going for it.

The Dean, William H. Meckling, was great and there were a lot of strong faculty, especially in finance. But, I said, it could be so much better, even with existing faculty if there were a more open discussion and not so much kowtowing to Michael Jensen, the most prominent member of the faculty. Everyone had figured out that Michael was Bill's buddy and so the majority were hesitant to challenge him in workshops or faculty discussions about policy issues. I said that I was one of the few willing to do this. (I didn't name Richard Thaler, who was also one of the few, because he had left and it looked as if he wasn't returning.) Then I said, "My view is that in a faculty of 40 people, you should have 40 independent minds." Allen started laughing and I felt hurt. "Why are you laughing at me?" I asked. He answered, " Then I said, "My view is that in a faculty of 40 people, you should have 40 independent minds."

Allen started laughing and I felt hurt. "Why are you laughing at me?" I asked. He answered, " Then I said, "My view is that in a faculty of 40 people, you should have 40 independent minds." Allen started laughing and I felt hurt. "Why are you laughing at me?" I asked.

He answered, " My view is that if in a faculty of 40 people you have 2 or 3 independent minds, you're doing well ."

His insight has served me well. His insight has served me well. His insight has served me well. So my answer to the question that's the title of this post, "Why Don't People Speak Up?", is because they don't have the courage to do so.

By the way, Wallis was a major figure in the move to abolish the draft. We had become friendly early in my time there and the friendship had strengthened after I called him up in December 1976. Incoming president Jimmy Carter had said he would grant amnesty to draft dodgers. Because Allen was the highest-ranking Republican I knew, I called him to make a pitch to his buddies in the Ford administration to steal a march on Carter by granting amnesty first.

Allen didn't agree with me but we had an interesting discussion. In case you're wondering about the pic at the top, it wasn't so much to advertise co-blogger Bryan Caplan's book In case you're wondering about the pic at the top, it wasn't so much to advertise co-blogger Bryan Caplan's book In case you're wondering about the pic at the top, it wasn't so much to advertise co-blogger Bryan Caplan's book The Myth of the Rational Voter , excellent as it was, as to show a picture of sheep.

The pettiest battles are often fought in the halls of academe.

Scott Sumner, Jun 12 2020 at 2:18pm
Yes, academia is full of cowards and bullies. But then the entire world is full of cowards and bullies.
Idriss Z, Jun 12 2020 at 4:59pm
I don't know about that Scott, I think the above post demonstrates that the world is filled with people who have the capacity to be cowards and/or bullies (perhaps out of survival reflexes) and also the capacity to be more evolved and oscillate between them depending on mood, life events, medium, just having a bad/good day etc

And I do not know if I agree with the premise of post about these professors being bullied for expressing their "academic freedom," I mean what if the speech is un-academic, dishonest, and is of the type that has been proven unhelpful in creating a more equal and just nation/community/university?

Are those grounds for other professors to express their free speech and contribute to academia but pointing at terrible opinions and explaining why they are such? I too would recommend reading more into the racial history of any issue that you deem "ideological," if we do not separate those from issues that are "moral," "ethical," "professional," "civil," and "academically honest" then we will be doomed to repeat history and continue on down the horrible decline in racial relations brought about by the rise in power of people dedicated to a philosophy (libertarianism) that has heretofore had no valid, positive, or succesful thoughts to add to race issues.

mishano, Jun 13 2020 at 4:59am
While that is true, Academics have a greater responsibility to society than the "average Joe". Academia has historically been nonpartisan, and respectful of alternative views. And if history has taught us anything, its that when academics fail to lend their voice to truth, the madness of crowds win.

If more academics were as courageous as Glenn Loury, and stuck their neck out -- like the piece he wrote in the WSJ and City Journal, the narrative would begin to change.

Robert EV, Jun 13 2020 at 2:50am

So my answer to the question that's the title of this post, "Why Don't People Speak Up?", is because they don't have the courage to do so.

Or the energy to start start or join a fight they know they really don't want to spend the effort following through on.

Civilly losing one's job is a very serious punishment that should be reserved for those who have criminally violated the law (there are probably exceptions to this). I wish people would treat it as seriously as it deserves.

Ricky, Jun 13 2020 at 4:36am
This is clearly the most pressing issue of our times. And it was so brilliantly stated by Dr. Glenn Laury in his city-journal piece published a few days ago titled "I must object". It has clearly gone to far. We now have Universities issuing political statements, and declaring with one voice, as if everyone agrees, what the Universities political positions are. It is a historically dangerous proposition, and one that reminds us of a Russian politburo.
RPLong, Jun 13 2020 at 8:34am
What saddens me most about this issue is the fact that, often times, it only takes one or two people's speaking up to bring the rest of the community back to their own independent thinking. It's shocking how many terrible things people will just "go along with. But if one person has the courage to stand up and contradict the prevailing opinion, often many of the "sheep" discover their own reasons to be skeptical, and the tide can be turned.
Kane , Jun 16 2020 at 6:18am

I have noticed this too, the general sheep-following instinct I see people have (and I'm sure I myself am prone to), occasionally punctuated by the independent thinker.

But just thinking a bit abstractly here, has this always been the case? Or is it new this decade? I don't even know how to answer the question as I don't have the historical knowledge.

Has the tribal culture (that blogs like this lead me to believe are the biggest problem in society right now) been particularly revamped in the past few years, or has it always been around and we've only just given a label to it.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Robert EV, Jun 13 2020 at 1:12pm
Do you perhaps think that the education system itself may be to blame for encouraging this homogeneity and followership? At the very least I don't see the education system (or hell, typical employee-employer dynamics and laws) doing much to encourage the reverse.

Thinking about this with respect to academic careers I did a search on tenure and on the first .edu page found ( https://fsu.umb.edu/content/fsu-guide-tenure-process ):

Remember that your aim is to shape a career -- and a life! -- that you feel good about. Along the way you may need to make some compromises , but start by thinking about what you want and value, and how you can explain to your colleagues why that's valuable and a contribution.

At least whoever wrote this is trying for some honesty.

Idriss Z, Jun 15 2020 at 4:07pm
I do not know that you have that entirely right Brandon. The dispute is not whether Black lives matter, but rather to what extent do they (or don't) matter to our gov't, law enforcement, media, politicians, and the various industries in the public sector. It is an incredible broad issue in that respect, a hydra of sorts in so far as correcting one problem often leads to it growing back if the others are not dealt with in a timely manner as well. Therefore, I am very sympathetic to BLM- a movement to holistically confront the ways that Black lives are not treated with equal and appropriate value in this society , not an ideology as was misstated- and their antipathy that want to critique and not help. The margins of error are low when confronting racial inequality, it is reasonable to treat attempts and speech that in effect lowers those margins of error as hostile to a beneficial and moral cause -> that of making Black lives matter, which we've agreed is not in dispute and should be treated as such.

And to everyone saying the University has been a cherished institute of Academic Freedom and Free Speech, please tell me me when in the US that has been the case for Black Lives. When have universities found Black Lives to Matter enough to give them equal opportunity, equal support, equal coverage. I'm 99.99% sure the answer is never. In fact, I'm fairly sure we are less than 75 years removed from the majority those bastions of free speech and academic freedom barring Black Lives from access to those hallowed rights. That is why someone who supports the BLM movement would be skeptical of this freedom of speech, they are using their freedom of speech to provide a free and valuable history lesson.

Therefore, I am sorry but Academics and Academic Institutions deserve no pass on whether others are skeptical of their support of Black lives mattering. You can say you think they matter, someone else can say that they don't believe you. The latter has the historically and substantially better argument based on the available evidence -> it is your job to prove you actually think Black lives matter.

MikeDC
Jun 15 2020 at 12:35pm
Reply Let's put morals (talk of courage) aside and admit that the economics of the situation rule. The costs of speaking up usually outweigh the benefits.

Take the marginal university professor. Speaking out in favor of abstract principle (like free speech) can have significant and obvious negative consequences. The benefits of doing so are not so obvious.

In fact, the opposite seems more and more likely. Attacking individuals is a beneficial endeavor, and doesn't appear to impose much cost at all.

So, how can we design our "cultural systems" to reverse these incentives back to a healthier, self-reinforcing state (incentives to defend outweigh incentives to attack)?

David Seltzer
Jun 15 2020 at 2:57pm
Reply It seems the cherished idea that university is a crucible for free expression died a longtime ago. I suspect that staying silent is often done out of pragmatic self-interest. For example, look at the treatment endured by whistle blowers in government and corporate America. Edward Snowden, no matter one's opinion of him, has paid a huge price for blowing the whistle.

Finding courage in the face of compromised conscience is rare.

[Jul 19, 2020] Meet Your New Elites- The Woke Cancel Mobs -

Jul 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Meet Your New Elites: The Woke Cancel Mobs

They trot out old power dynamics and pathetically shadowbox authority. Yet they're the ones who are in charge now. Former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss. Credit: HBO/YouTube Screenshot

JULY 16, 2020

|

12:01 AM

MATT PURPLE

If only we could all lead pampered lives like Salman Rushdie.

Last week, several dozen writers and intellectuals published a letter in Harper's Magazine that condemned -- though they never used the term explicitly -- cancel culture. The signatories included Margaret Atwood and Martin Amis, Gloria Steinem and Steven Pinker, while the missive itself was a fairly routine statement of classical liberal principles. "The free exchange of information and ideas," it reads, "the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted." Also: "The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation." The political right under Donald Trump long ago grew illiberal, the signers say. Now the resistance to Trump and the online woke are going the same way.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.theamericanconservative.com&width=838

What happened next was utterly predictable. Conservatives, despite being denounced as illiberal in the very first paragraph, did not attack the letter, demand consequences for the signers, sneer themselves into post-anoxic comas on Twitter; mostly they praised the document and passed it around. The left, meanwhile, began a four-alarm hissy fit that's somehow still ongoing today. The letter was accused of fanning a moral panic. Cancel culture was dismissed as fake news, a repackaging of normal political passions and activism into a counterfeit bogey.

Mostly though, progressives just crammed the letter into their usual class war. The signatories were tagged as elites desperately trying to safeguard their privilege, in contrast to their targets, the huddled masses of the Twitter woke. The letter's critics, as Michael Hobbes of the Huffington Post put it, were "ordinary people" who lack "institutional power" and "point out the failures of those institutions." A woke response letter published at The Objective, which appears to have been penned by an illiterate -- it may be that the real divide here is between those who can write and those who can't -- claimed of the first letter, "The content of the letter also does not deal with the problem of power: who has it and who does not." It continued, " Harper's has decided to bestow its platform not to marginalized people but to people who already have large followings and plenty of opportunities to make their views heard."

A few words on all this.

First, you don't get more "marginalized" than having a fatwa declared against your novel by a national government, becoming the target of riots and book burnings, being forced into hiding, and dodging repeated attempts on your life, as happened to Salman Rushdie, one of the Harper's signers. Another, Garry Kasparov, was exiled from Russia for supporting democracy. To be sure, this hardly compares to the tribulations undergone by your average Huffington Post staffer, who risks ennui-filled glances from her coworkers every time she shares the wrong Handmaid's Tale GIF. But it does seem like Rushdie and Kasparov might know something about standing up for free expression. It may even be that we should consider what they have to say.

me title=

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.396.0_en.html#goog_424665540 00:13 / 00:59 00:00 Next Video × Next Video J.d. Vance Remarks On A New Direction For Pro-worker, Pro-family Conservatism, Tac Gala, 5-2019 Cancel Autoplay is paused

Second and more importantly, the reaction to the letter demonstrates just how oblivious the left has become to its own power. Back in the 1960s, to be a leftist was to be countercultural, smashing monogamy and fighting the man. Today's left wants that same rebellious aura, except that they've since marched through just about every major institution. Academia swallows whole their assumptions; so does the publishing industry, many corporate boards, much of the media, the federal bureaucracy, a healthy section of the internet. Those who speak out against the Harper's letter are thus not remotely "marginalized"; they are heard loudly and often. Many of them have blue Twitter checkmarks, that garish amulet of the modern elite. This is how power works now: money and rank matter less than they used to, visibility and influence count for more. And by those yardsticks, the woke are plenty powerful.

This is why a social media mob -- an aggregate of all that power -- can be just as coercive, just as authoritarian, as an out-of-control government. Yet the wokesters refuse to see this. They act as though by participating in cancel culture, they're merely exercising their own free speech, their right to critique authority, a far cry from the state shutting someone up. In this, they make a mistake usually committed by only the most doctrinaire libertarians. There's a tendency among some libertarians to divide the world into the private sector and the public sector. And right on -- that bifurcation is healthy and necessary, even if these are imprecise and overlapping terms. But emblazon that line too brightly and the division can become a moral one. You start treating everything on the public side as suspect and worthy of criticism, while rationalizing away the bad on the private side. That's just business being business , you say. You come to view Google, for example, as not just free to do as it likes, but fundamentally justified in its actions by mere virtue of its epistemological geography in the private sector.

The woke left is now falling into a similar trap. So long as the government isn't kicking down anyone's door, they say, there's no censorship at work, since their angry letters and boycotts all fall under the umbrella of private expression. Yet such private expression can be a bullying force all its own. A professor who risks being fired from his position and permanently stigmatized on the internet because he says the wrong thing is not really free to speak his mind. He may not receive a cease-and-desist order in the mail, but he's still being suppressed. Yet the left has willfully blindfolded itself to this. Over at The New Republic , Osita Nwanevu notes, "When a speaker is denied or when staffers at a publication argue that something should not have been published, the rights of the parties in question haven't been violated in any way." That's technically true. But the result can be close to the same. The idea that the spirit of free speech can't be squashed by private actors, by a culture or a crowd, is absurd.

From here, the woke left issues another denial: cancel culture doesn't really exist. What the Harper's letter frets about, they say, is just a smattering of incidents that hardly amount to a pattern. Really? A University of Chicago economist was recently put on leave for criticizing Black Lives Matter and opposing efforts to defund police departments. A political data analyst was fired for tweeting out academic research that found that riots in 1968 helped Richard Nixon. A children's author was sacked for saying she stood with J.K. Rowling . A novelist stopped her own book from being published after it was attacked for depicting intra-racial slavery.

Another novelist had his book yanked for the crime of being set during the Kosovo War. Two professors at Yale stepped down as heads of a residential college because they'd suggested the university didn't need a policy against offensive Halloween costumes. A New York Review of Books editor resigned for publishing an essay by a broadcaster who'd been acquitted of sexual assault. Conservatives like Charles Murray, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Ben Shapiro have been regularly attacked and disrupted when they try to speak on college campuses. How much more needs to happen before we're allowed to acknowledge a trend? This isn't prudent maintenance of the Overton window, weeding out genuine hatred and bigotry; it's the enforcement of the whims of a neighing, infantile mob. Its aim isn't to inquire and improve, but to ossify and silence.

The Harper's signers thus aren't "the real illiberals," as the woke have asserted. Nothing in their letter suggests they want to use their power to silence their critics. What they desire is the opposite: an end to hair-trigger punishments that have sent a chill through our intellectual life. It shouldn't be remotely surprising that artists and academics support free expression. What should really flabbergast us is that the consensus in bohemia and the ivory tower is tilting in the other direction. As I wrap up this column, Bari Weiss, one of the Harper's signers, has just left the New York Times , citing a hostile woke work environment. Steven Pinker, another signatory, has narrowly survived an attempt to cancel him. The new orthodoxy is intolerant, hell-bent on enforcing its views, pathetically shadowboxing an elite it long ago joined. It threatens nothing less than our essential ability to communicate. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Purple is a senior editor at The American Conservative .


MPC 21 hours ago

Well, it should be very obvious now what you shouldn't do - throw a Trump against them. It just revs them up more, and his group are too radical in their own way to win away the middle from them.

"When you cannot attack then defend. When you cannot defend then retreat." Retreat. Curse them with victory. Without a force like Trump to allow them to unify a group under their banner they'll make innumerable enemies, as these shots over their bow indicate, who no longer have any reason to tolerate them whatsoever.

BillDaytona MPC 12 hours ago

True.

I believe the left and their elite enablers are intentionally trying to provoke a response from middle America, so they can crack down. So far, they have been stuck blue-on-blue. Not only that, but when they do win, they lose, as you said. There is learning.

They are also rapidly accelerating the number of people they alienate.

A friend of mine was a Navy SEAL. He said sometimes, you just keep quiet and watch.

Civis Romanus Sum BillDaytona 8 hours ago

Most of the victims of cancel culture seem to fall into two groups: 1. people who share most of the ideology of the cancellers but differ on one or two points, and 2. old-fashioned (usually older and white) liberals who don't realize that the rules of the game have changed.

JK Rowling, for instance, belongs to group 1: she was a flaming social liberal who enthusiastically accepted all liberal assumptions until she found one she couldn't accept. Examples of group 2 include the dismissed Poetry Foundation officials, and the museum curator in San Francisco who was canned because he said he wasn't going to discriminate against white artists.

It is much harder to cancel religious fundamentalists, ethno-nationalists, neo-reactionaries, and other anti-liberals because they normally refuse to play the liberal game (correctly seeing at as rigged against them), and therefore they often develop strategies for surviving "off the grid" of the standard media and institutions.

BillDaytona Civis Romanus Sum 7 hours ago

That's true. You can't go an inch down the road with them. I treat them like a guy trying to sell me a watch on the street.

Victor_the_thinker Civis Romanus Sum 4 hours ago

Your last paragraph isn't true. Many of the Charlottesville people were canceled. They lost their jobs and lost their income when they were sued for damages. Most of these people weren't actually living off the grid.

Civis Romanus Sum Victor_the_thinker 4 hours ago

True, but I'm thinking of people like Vox Day (who started his own publishing house) and the various alt-right/ alt-left/ alt-whatever types who got kicked off YouTube and wound up at other platforms. "Build your own platforms" is a principle with many of them, because they assume they will eventually get kicked off of someone else's.

marisheba BillDaytona 5 hours ago

Wait, what? Why would the woke be trying to provoke a crackdown response? Confused.

d_hochberg MPC 4 hours ago

I hate Trump and didn't vote for him in 2016 but am going to this year because the left has gone off the deep end. And does not recognize how extreme it is. Won't matter though since I live in Western Washington. But other people must feel the same way.

Libby d_hochberg 39 minutes ago

Exactly the same way. I did not vote for him in 2016 and began his term set firmly in the anti-Trump camp. I no longer 'hate' Trump (remember he is not a politician but a real estate developer): nothing he does, not a single tweet, nor even their sum total, comes anywhere close to the damage the current left is inflicting. He is the dam holding back total chaos.

Victor_the_thinker 16 hours ago

" A woke response letter published at The Objective, which appears to have been penned by an illiterate -- it may be that the real divide here is between those who can write and those who can't -- claimed of the first letter,"

This is a totally unnecessary and mean spirited line.

Gary Keith Chesterton Victor_the_thinker 13 hours ago

The letter was "a group effort"

Ray Woodcock Victor_the_thinker 9 hours ago

I don't think criticizing poor grammar or whatever is necessarily meanspirited. But I expected that the ensuing quote would illustrate what was "illiterate" about that letter. As far as I can tell, the alleged illiterate managed to communicate in writing, thereby disproving Purple's assessment.

Civis Romanus Sum 13 hours ago

If the cancel culture continues, at some point a critical mass will be reached, and the cancellees will be numerous enough to set up their own media and institutions.

GMW Civis Romanus Sum 11 hours ago

Has anyone ever noticed that many people who seem to be participating in this cancelling behavior are the groups of people (e.g., black, LGBTQ) who are/have typically been vulnerable to "cancellation" efforts of a more aggressive kind? Is it possible that is more of an "offense as defense" situation?

marisheba GMW 11 hours ago

I think this is to some degree the case, yes. Ezra Klein makes the point that the argument of the letter writers would go down much better if they acknowledged the way that marginalized people have been cancelled forever, and had some active concern for addressing the ways that some of the debates that the woke want to shut down have real implications for the rights and safety of marginalized groups.

GMW marisheba 10 hours ago

I also think that given the climate right now people have the mindset that they have to take what they can get. There is nothing substantive being done to reunite separated families at the border, but they can make the Goya people uncomfortable for standing with those in power for example. If marginalized people felt like their concerns were being taken seriously by those in power, the value of these boycotts and disruption would likely be reduced.

marisheba GMW 9 hours ago

Yes, cancel culture, like riots, are to some degree the language of the unheard. There are plenty of cases where I think cancel culture was the best outlet available, since our justice system has failed so hard to adequately address injustices. #metoo is a huge example of this, and was effective and appropriate when it was bringing town powerful people with multiple accusers (though the real takedowns of #metoo happened less on twitter and more through journalism). But, of course, this kind of tool is extremely dangerous and unweildy and is only appropriate for exceptional cases.

What I can't stand are the people that decry cancel culture AND think the status quo is okay for marginalized people (or for the way sexual assualt is handled in this country). If you don't address injustice, people will find a way to be heard, and you probably won't end up liking it.

Again, I say this as someone deeply critical of cancel culture.

cka2nd GMW an hour ago

Well, the elites have no real problem with cancel culture, especially when they can fund its purveyors to keep people distracted from demanding health care and living wages for all, among other things that would actually help a lot more people than tearing down some statues.

Is it just me, or has most of the Fortune 500 come through the last few years of cancel culture fairly unscathed?

d_hochberg marisheba 4 hours ago

If they cared about safety they would not be trying to defund police, the net result of which will certainly be more dead black people.

marisheba d_hochberg an hour ago

It's just not that simple to analyze others' psycology. It's so easy to say "if they REALLY believed X, then they would Y." Liberals would say that if conservatives really cared about safety they'd be pro-gun control and if they really cared about life they would be anti-capital punishment and for the social safety net.

I think the defund movement is a ridiculous pipe dream, up there with how libertarians think we'd all just get along if government got out of the way. But it's bad logic, not bad faith, that leads them to think this way--they are very, very much motivated by safety.

kouroi 12 hours ago

Given all the comments on Mr. Dreher's post concerning the ousting of Bari Weiss, I would have placed a different picture for the article... Nobody seems to shed a tear for that particular person, who appears to have gotten on her position for being a very skillful at cancel culture herself...

HarrySaber kouroi 3 hours ago

She wasn't ousted. She resigned.

Pete Barbeaux 11 hours ago

I'll take 'woke' 111 times out of 100 over "literally banning masks to ensure the pandemic is genocidal", thanks.

marisheba 11 hours ago

Not sure why this took me so long to figure out. But the reason the woke feel like this letter is trying to silence them is clear. While the letter in no way trying to silence anyone, it IS in a very real way, asking to strip the woke of recently achieved power. No one wants to give up power, and the wokes' power is of a special kind since, as laid out in this piece, it's power the woke wield while denying they even have it. Someone trying to take your power away does feel like being silenced.

It's a conundrum I do sympathize with in this sense: no, the Twitter woke are not marginalized withing the social-political sphere. However, they are still championing and often made up of the representatives of genuinely marginalized groups who still face descrimination and threats to their real, actual safety in their daily lives. This is particularly true of trans people, a deeply vulnerable group who get nothing but ridicule, political attacks, and efforts to restrict their rights from the right and even from the center. That is why trans activists are the most militant, their people are the most vulnerable. So there's this sense that the powerless finally have some power to wield, and now they are being asked to give it up. None of that changes the dangerousness of the power held by a righteous mob; it IS illiberal, and and the woke need to (haha) wake up to that fact and do better.

bradleyscreek marisheba 9 hours ago

Transactivists, unlike actual transpeople 20 years ago, are NOT deeply vulnerable, at all. They are the most militant because half of the males are autogynephiliacs who literally fetishize transgressing into women's spaces. Their rape and death threats and endless sexualizing of their transition to their new "identity" and forcing other women (especially lesbians) to validate their false identity is the behavior of heterosexual males WITH POWER. This is the most dangerous movement in the past 30 years, causing untold damage to children and teens. I'm sorry you don't see that and hope you can open your eyes and ears to alternative media like Women Are Human, Feminist Current, and 4th Wave Now to learn the facts.

Reddit just cancelled several gender critical groups--international support groups including for teens going the painful process of "detransitioning"--because saying trans women are not biological women is "hate speech." Meanwhile Reddit keeps up its militant mens rights groups and several rape and teen focused pornography sites, because that apparently isn't hate speech. If you can't see the power dynamics here, I don't know how to help you.

marisheba bradleyscreek 5 hours ago

Gross.

marisheba bradleyscreek 5 hours ago

To elaborate: do you even know any trans people? Because I know plenty. And follow some on the internet, and read their writings. I hate to break it to you, but they are just people. Like any people, there are some unsavory people amongst them, of course. But you are deeply, deeply misguided in your sources, and are slandering people that just want to live their lives in peace. Due to the difficulty they have doing that, yes, some are rather militant in their activism; I don't support that, but I do support trans people and trans rights.

By the way, as an intellectually curious person who doesn't want to miss things, I've looked into the "gender critical" world, and it's not the least bit convincing. I have a certain amount of sympathy for women who feel like trans-women are encroaching on their spaces (they're wrong though, their reactions are a lot like male gatekeeping as women gain rights), but I have no sympathy whatsoever for the abusive, dehumanizing language about trans people that is all over those sites (just as I have no sympathy whatsoever for trans people that throw abuse at detractors).

d_hochberg marisheba 4 hours ago

Your first comment was pretty good but you are wrong on some points here;
1) Biological men don't belong in women's safe spaces.
2) The trans movement is doing enormous damage to children and teens who are sucked up into its ideology and making (or having their parents make) irreversible choices. See the suppressed study on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria by Lisa Littman among others.
There are in addition increasing numbers of people who are transitioning and then coming to regret their choice, though granted others claim it rescued them. How anyone can ignore the hige downside of this phenomenon is beyond me.

Libby bradleyscreek 16 minutes ago

Thank you. The left today, at least in its extremes, seems to borrow more from the underworld than from an essay -erred or not -of human reason. The problem is that these elements are seeping into the left's main current like a weaponized infiltration.

Gio Con 10 hours ago • edited

Liberal elites are so steeped in virtue-signaling that they have convinced themselves that anything they do is just and righteous. That leaves no room for discussion or disagreement, and opens the door for cancellation. The real "sin" of the letters is to see in illiberal cancel culture the mirror image of the intolerance that liberals have been attributing to Trump. It's obvious now that the atmosphere around the left has become brutally authoritarian, and the responses to Weiss's letter and the Harper's letter demonstrate this. Both letters contain necessary critiques of the intolerance of cancel culture/wokeness, but liberal critics chose to ignore the critiques and focus on the characters of the signers. This is woke culture in action. Using the typical academic ad hominem attack, liberal critics opted to kill the messengers because they feared the message.

plains dealer 10 hours ago

If the "woke" are just a tiny number of "four alarm hissy-fit" throwers, how can they cancel anything?

How is what they are doing any different than boycotts, plenty of which have been orchestrated by so-called conservatives?

And this author's example of Rushdie as marginalized by having a well publicized fatwa against him issued makes me conclude that he really doesn't understand the concept.

marisheba plains dealer 4 hours ago

Boycotts are powerful tools--when weilded effectively. But it's hard to do so. You have to have a LOT of widespread support, organization, and commitment, to make a boycott work. Plenty of attempted boycotts fail because there just aren't enough people committed to them for a long enough time. This is a built-in, self-limiting component of them.

Cancellation, on the other hand, requires little more than thought-free keyboard warriorism. Canecllation has sometimes involved the woke targetting small local businesses, where the woke mob can be enough to send a business under, as in the Denver yoga studio case: https://coloradosun.com/202... I, personally, think the bar for boycotting a local business should be FAR higher than what is exhibited here.

HarrySaber marisheba 3 hours ago

You explained, but I still don't get it. Something about one is hard to do and the other is easy. So that's it?

marisheba HarrySaber an hour ago

Essentially, yes. Raising the bar for how difficult it is to inflict mass/mob punishment seems pretty consequential.

Gary Bebop 7 hours ago

Cancel culture wokeness will never "make America good again." The more we indulge that foul spirit, the more diseased and debased our culture becomes. We don't need more mob vitality; we need more reasonable actors.

cstahnke 7 hours ago

While I basically agree with you on the substance of your piece, I resent dismissing the left of the 60s as wanting to end monogamy--really? I was part of that movement and I can tell you we were against the Vietnam War and for the end of segregation, and recognizing the crimes against people of color, native peoples, the poor, sexual minorities and women's rights and, above all, the right to free speech. We wanted the values we expounded thunderously around the world to actually mean something. We weren't all united on everything but pansexualism was a very minor issue among a very small minority of our number.

I don't recognize the current "left" as leftist at all but precisely who they appear to be effete cultural snobs from the upper-middle-class who resemble the "know-nothings", Maoists and have little to do with class-struggle.

Doom Incarnate 5 hours ago

The rando mob on twitter are the "elites"?

Ummm...
Ok then...

cka2nd an hour ago • edited

"Nothing in their letter suggests they want to use their power to silence their critics."

There is an entire paragraph devoted to suggesting that some of the signatories of the original letter - specifically Bari Weiss, Katha Pollitt, Emily Yoffe, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Cary Nelson - have tried to use their power to silence their critics, and provided links to the allegations. I didn't actually follow the links, but the suggestion is certainly there.

"A woke response letter published at The Objective, which appears to have been penned by an illiterate -- it may be that the real divide here is between those who can write and those who can't -- claimed of the first letter..."

I didn't find the Observer letter illiterate, at all, myself.

[Jul 19, 2020] By making things personal and consequential in real life, cancel culture is fanning divisive flames that could one day turn into a real civil conflagration.

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

lizard , Jul 18 2020 21:41 utc | 54

has anyone commenting here actually been targeted by cancel culture? I have and it's not fun having to talk to HR about why your boss is receiving anonymous letters trying to get you fired for stuff said online. in my case it was the celebratory tone I took upon hearing John McCain had died that inspired this gutless piece of shit to act IRL.

even the New York Times got a piece of the action by threatening to name the blogger behind Slate Star Codex. this is from New Statesman:

Scott Alexander are the real first and middle names of the author, a psychiatrist based in California, who had kept his full identity secret. However, as he revealed in a post this week, a New York Times tech reporter decided to write about his blog and the community around it, and intended to publish Scott Alexander's full name. In response, Alexander decided to close down Slate Star Codex, claiming that revealing his identity would undermine his ability to treat his patients, and expose him to death threats, something he said he had already received in small numbers.

The response on Twitter, where many of the blog's readers often dwell, has been one of outrage. Luminaries such as Steven Pinker described it as a "tragedy on the blogosphere". Others such as software inventor and investor Paul Graham talked of cancelling their NYT subscriptions. The title's "threat" has been widely described as "doxxing", a term more commonly used for posting online the personal details of an individual behind a social media account than publishing someone's name in a newspaper story.

by making things personal and consequential in real life, cancel culture is fanning divisive flames that could one day turn into a real civil conflagration.


karlof1 , Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 64

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay , but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same.

What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud.

The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

Peter AU1 , Jul 18 2020 23:30 utc | 69

karlof1 "Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke?"

I looked up a couple of random names that had signed the letter. One was an ex US ambassador and it now consultant to a private security company GardaWorld Federal Security. https://www.academyofdiplomacy.org/member/frances-d-cook/
https://garda-federal.com/index.html

The other turned out to be a 'Novelist'. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zia_Ha
"Rahman was a college scholar at Balliol College,[6] one of the constituent colleges of Oxford University, and received a first class honours degree in mathematics,[7] before completing further studies in mathematics, economics, and law at the Maximilianeum, a foundation for gifted students, and Munich, Cambridge, and Yale universities. He briefly worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs in New York before practising as a corporate lawyer and then as an international human rights lawyer with the Open Society Foundations focusing on grand corruption in Africa.[8] He has also worked as an anti-corruption activist for Transparency International in South Asia.[9]"

Perhaps a small sample but Culture Cancel and Crooke's Woke most likely intersect, perhaps being one and the same.

William Gruff , Jul 18 2020 23:48 utc | 70

GardaWorld Federal Security - Headquarters in McLean, Virginia (don't laugh!). I guess they don't want to be too far from their bosses in Langley.

Most employees work in Afghanistan. Minimum wage cannon fodder.

OK, so why is the CIA getting worried about "cancel culture" ? Are they afraid that it will get out of hand?

[Jul 19, 2020] What the MSM cliche According to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter actually means

Highly recommended!
Yet another evil rumor designed to poison relations with Russia. This time from Yahoo
Jul 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

JLee2027 , 1 hour ago

according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

So, it's made up garbage.

[Jul 19, 2020] American Maidan is social revolution that is pushed forward by radical children of the bourgeoisie. Their leaders have nothing to say about poverty or unemployment. Their demands are centered on utopian ideals: diversity and racial justice ideals pursued with the fervor of regious converts

Highly recommended!
Just look at the cost of smartphone that they display at the riots and you instantly get a certain impression about income of their parents
Notable quotes:
"... And their radicalism would be resisted, Lasch predicted, not by the upper reaches of society, or the leaders of Big Philanthropy or the Corporate Billionaires. These latter, rather, would be its facilitators and financiers." ..."
Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Peter AU1 , Jul 19 2020 1:35 utc | 80

A section quoted by Crooke in the piece karlof1 linked to

"A social revolution that would be pushed forward by radical children of the bourgeoisie. Their leaders would have almost nothing to say about poverty or unemployment. Their demands would be centred on utopian ideals: diversity and racial justice – ideals pursued with the fervour of an abstract, millenarian ideology.

And their radicalism would be resisted, Lasch predicted, not by the upper reaches of society, or the leaders of Big Philanthropy or the Corporate Billionaires. These latter, rather, would be its facilitators and financiers."

And Crooke's thoughts..

"So, what can we make of all this? The US has suddenly exploded into, on the one hand, culture cancelation, and on the other, into silent seething at the lawlessness, and at all the statues toppled. It is a nation becoming angrier, and edging towards violence.

One segment of the country believes that America is inherently and institutionally racist, and incapable of self-correcting its flawed founding principles – absent the required chemotherapy to kill-off the deadly mutated cells of its past history, traditions and customs.

Another, affirms those principles that underlay America's 'golden age'; which made America great; and which, in their view, are precisely those qualities which can make it great again."

The link again https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/07/13/is-this-awokening-a-revolution-or-not/

[Jul 18, 2020] That self-admitted CIA linked, deep state propaganda puppet outlet lecturing the rest of us about the virtues of fact-checking and journalistic integrity

Notable quotes:
"... Any NYT reporting on Epstein is meant as a distraction -- to cover up the facts. The NYT is the elites' protector, it punches down instead of up. The NYT 'revelations' about guards are a) punching down to protect elites and b) a distraction to protect elites. The NYT is one of the Augean Stables. ..."
Aug 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Aug 12 2019 2:05 utc | 42

@ Posted by: vk | Aug 11 2019 20:42 utc | 11

Oops, it seems I was too optimistic about the NYT. Not even 24h later, we already have these in its home page:

Jeffrey Epstein's Opaque Finances Could Become a Focus for Investigators

[emphasis on the "could"]

Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned

Now, people who are doubting the USG are automatically labelled "conspiracy theorists". Except that, in this case, it is perfectly sensible to doubt about his death. He could've put down really powerful people. He wasn't your daily mafia-boy struggling against his mafia boss over US$ 1 billion in cocaine; no: he could put down half the American royalty.


JW , Aug 12 2019 2:48 utc | 48

Ah yes, that self-admitted CIA linked, totally-not deep state propaganda puppet outlet lecturing the rest of us about the virtues of fact-checking and journalistic integrity...
bjd , Aug 11 2019 21:33 utc | 19
Any NYT reporting on Epstein is meant as a distraction -- to cover up the facts. The NYT is the elites' protector, it punches down instead of up. The NYT 'revelations' about guards are a) punching down to protect elites and b) a distraction to protect elites. The NYT is one of the Augean Stables.

[Jul 18, 2020] Divide We Fall -- America Has Been Blacklisted and McCarthyism Refashioned for a New Age

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Not to be outdone, the censors are also taking aim at To Kill a Mockingbird , Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Atticus Finch, a white lawyer in the Jim Crow South who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. Sixty years after its debut, the book remains a powerful testament to moral courage in the face of racial bigotry and systemic injustice , told from the point of view of a child growing up in the South, but that's not enough for the censors. They want to axe the book -- along with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- from school reading curriculums because of the presence of racial slurs that could make students feel "humiliated or marginalized." ..."
"... What started with Joseph McCarthy's headline-grabbing scare tactics in the 1950s about Communist infiltrators of American society snowballed into a devastating witch hunt once corporations and the American people caught the fever. ..."
"... McCarthyism was a contagion, like the plague, spreading like wildfire among people too fearful or weak or gullible or paranoid or greedy or ambitious to denounce it for what it was: an opportunistic scare tactic engineered to make the government more powerful. ..."
"... Battlefield America: The War on the American People ..."
Jul 18, 2020 | www.mintpressnews.com

For those old enough to have lived through the McCarthy era, there is a whiff of something in the air that reeks of the heightened paranoia, finger-pointing, fear-mongering, totalitarian tactics that were hallmarks of the 1950s.

Back then, it was the government -- spearheaded by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee -- working in tandem with private corporations and individuals to blacklist Americans suspected of being communist sympathizers.

By the time the witch hunts carried out by federal and state investigative agencies drew to a close, thousands of individuals ( the vast majority of them innocent any crime whatsoever ) had been accused of communist ties, investigated, subpoenaed and blacklisted. Regarded as bad risks, the accused were blacklisted, and struggled to secure employment. The witch hunt ruined careers, resulting in suicides, and tightened immigration to exclude alleged subversives.

Seventy years later, the vitriol, fear-mongering and knee-jerk intolerance associated with McCarthy's tactics are once again being deployed in a free-for-all attack by those on both the political Left and Right against anyone who, in daring to think for themselves, subscribes to ideas or beliefs that run counter to the government's or mainstream thought

It doesn't even seem to matter what the issue is anymore (racism, Confederate monuments, Donald Trump, COVID-19, etc.): modern-day activists are busily tearing down monuments, demonizing historic figures, boycotting corporations for perceived political transgressions, and using their bully pulpit to terrorize the rest of the country into kowtowing to their demands

All the while, the American police state continues to march inexorably forward.

This is how fascism, which silences all dissenting views, prevails.

The silence is becoming deafening.

After years of fighting in and out of the courts to keep their 87-year-old name, the NFL's Washington Redskins have bowed to public pressure and will change their name and team logo to avoid causing offense . The new name, not yet announced, aims to honor both the military and Native Americans.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, a delegate to the House of Representatives who supports the name change, believes the team's move " reflects the present climate of intolerance to names, statues, figments of our past that are racist in nature or otherwise imply racism [and] are no longer tolerated."

Present climate of intolerance, indeed.

Yet it wasn't a heightened racial conscience that caused the Redskins to change their brand. It was the money. The team caved after its corporate sponsors including FedEx, PepsiCo, Nike and Bank of America threatened to pull their funding

So much for that U.S. Supreme Court victory preventing the government from censoring trademarked names it considers distasteful or scandalous.

Who needs a government censor when the American people are already doing such a great job at censoring themselves and each other, right?

Now there's a push underway to boycott Goya Foods after its CEO, Robert Unanue, praised President Trump during a press conference to announce Goya's donation of a million cans of Goya chickpeas and a million other food products to American food banks as part of the president's Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

Mind you, Unanue -- whose grandfather emigrated to the U.S. from Spain -- also praised the Obamas when they were in office, but that kind of equanimity doesn't carry much weight in this climate of intolerance.

Not to be outdone, the censors are also taking aim at To Kill a Mockingbird , Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Atticus Finch, a white lawyer in the Jim Crow South who defends a black man falsely accused of rape. Sixty years after its debut, the book remains a powerful testament to moral courage in the face of racial bigotry and systemic injustice , told from the point of view of a child growing up in the South, but that's not enough for the censors. They want to axe the book -- along with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn -- from school reading curriculums because of the presence of racial slurs that could make students feel "humiliated or marginalized."

Never mind that the N-word makes a regular appearance in hip-hop songs. The prevailing attitude seems to be that it's okay to use the N-word as long as the person saying the word is not white . Rapper Kendrick Lamar "would like white America to let black people exclusively have the word."

Talk about a double standard.

This is also the overlooked part of how oppression becomes systemic: it comes about as a result of a combined effort between the populace, the corporations and the government.

McCarthyism worked the same way.

What started with Joseph McCarthy's headline-grabbing scare tactics in the 1950s about Communist infiltrators of American society snowballed into a devastating witch hunt once corporations and the American people caught the fever.

McCarthyism was a contagion, like the plague, spreading like wildfire among people too fearful or weak or gullible or paranoid or greedy or ambitious to denounce it for what it was: an opportunistic scare tactic engineered to make the government more powerful.

The parallels to the present movement cannot be understated.

The contagion of fear that McCarthy helped spread with the help of government agencies, corporations and the power elite is still poisoning the well, whitewashing our history, turning citizen against citizen, and stripping us of our rights.

What we desperately need is the kind of resolve embodied by Edward R. Murrow, the most-respected newsman of his day.

On March 9, 1954, Murrow dared to speak truth to power about the damage McCarthy was inflicting on the American people. His message remains a timely warning for our age.

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine; and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.

America is approaching another reckoning right now, one that will pit our commitment to freedom principles against a level of fear-mongering that is being used to wreak havoc on everything in its path.

The outcome rests, as always, with "we the people." As Murrow said to his staff before the historic March 9 broadcast: "No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices."

Take heed, America.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , this may be your last warning.

Feature photo | Nehemiah Nuk Nuk Johnson, left, with JUICE (Justice Unites Individuals and Communities Everywhere), confronts a counter protester who did not give his name in Martinez, Calif., July 12, 2020, during a protest calling for an end to racial injustice and accountability for police. Jeff Chiu | AP

John W. Whitehead is a constitutional attorney, author and founder and president of The Rutherford Institute . His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org .

[Jul 18, 2020] Walter Williams Blasts The Despicable Behavior Of Today's Academicians -

Jul 18, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Walter Williams Blasts The Despicable Behavior Of Today's Academicians by Tyler Durden Fri, 07/17/2020 - 19:25 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Walter Williams, op-ed via Townhall.com,

The Michigan State University administration pressured professor Stephen Hsu to resign from his position as vice president of research and innovation because he touted research that found police are not more likely to shoot black Americans. The study found:

"The race of a police officer did not predict the race of the citizen shot. In other words, black officers were just as likely to shoot black citizens as white officers were."

For political reasons, the authors of the study sought its retraction.

The U.S. Department of Education warned UCLA that it may impose fines for improperly and abusively targeting white professor Lt. Col. W. Ajax Peris for disciplinary action over his use of the n-word while reading to his class Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" that contained the expressions "when your first name becomes "n----r," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are). Referring to white civil rights activists King wrote, "They have languished in filthy, roach-infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as 'dirty n----r-lovers.'"

Boston University is considering changing the name of its mascot Rhett because of his link to "Gone with the Wind." Almost 4,000 Rutgers University students signed a petition to rename campus buildings Hardenbergh Hall, Frelinghuysen Hall, and Milledoler Hall because these men were slave owners . University of Arkansas students petitioned to remove a statue of J. William Fulbright because he was a segregationist who opposed the Brown v. Board of Education that ruled against school segregation.

The suppression of free speech and ideas by the elite is nothing new. It has a long ugly history. Galileo Galilei was a 17th-century Italian astronomer, physicist, and engineer, sometimes called "father of modern physics." The Catholic Church and other scientists of his day believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. Galileo offered evidence that the Earth traveled around the sun -- heliocentrism. That made him "vehemently suspect of heresy" and was forced to recant and sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition and was later commuted to house arrest for the rest of his life.

Much of today's totalitarianism, promotion of hate and not to mention outright stupidity, has its roots on college campuses. Sources that report on some of the more egregious forms of the abandonment of free inquiry, hate, and stupidity at our colleges are College Reform and College Fix.

Prof. William S. Penn, who was a Distinguished Faculty Award recipient at Michigan State University in 2003, and a two-time winner of the prestigious Stephen Crane Prize for Fiction, explained to his students, "This country still is full of closet racists." He said:

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

"Republicans are not a majority in this country anymore. They are a bunch of dead white people. Or dying white people."

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The public has recently been treated to the term -- white privilege. Colleges have long-held courses and seminars on "whiteness." One college even has a course titled "Abolition of Whiteness." According to some academic intellectuals, whites enjoy advantages that non-whites do not. They earn a higher income and reside in better housing, and their children go to better schools and achieve more. Based on that idea, Asian Americans have more white privilege than white people. And, on a personal note, my daughter has more white privilege than probably 95% of white Americans.

Evidence of how stupid college ideas find their way into the public arena can be seen on our daily news. Don Lemon, a CNN anchorman, said, "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." Steven Clifford, a former King Broadcasting CEO, said, "I will be leading a great movement to prohibit straight white males, who I believe supported Donald Trump by about 85 percent, from exercising the franchise (to vote), and I think that will save our democracy."

As George Orwell said, "Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them."

If the stupid ideas of academic intellectuals remained on college campuses and did not infect the rest of society, they might be a source of entertainment -- much like a circus.


[Jul 16, 2020] Ideological Purges and the Lord Voldemort Effect by Ron Unz

Jul 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Our website traffic easily broke all records for the month of June, and these high levels have now continued into July, suggesting that the huge rise produced by the initial wave of Black Lives Matters protests may be more than temporary. It appears that many new readers first discovered our alternative webzine at that point, and quite a few have stayed on as regular visitors.

This represents a sharp turnaround after May, when our near-simultaneous banning by both Google and Facebook at the beginning of that month caused our previously strong traffic to decline by 15% or more.

A longer-term factor that may be strengthening our position is the unprecedented wave of ideological purges that have swept our country since early June, with prominent figures in the intellectual and media firmaments being especially hard hit. When opinion-leaders become fearful of uttering even slightly controversial words, they either grow silent or only mouth the most saccharine homilies, thereby forcing many of their erstwhile readers to look elsewhere for more candid discussions. And our own webzine is about as "elsewhere" as one could possibly get.

Take, for example, the New York Times , more than ever our national newspaper of record. For the last few years, one of its top figures had been Editorial Page Editor James Bennet, who had previously run The Atlantic , and he was widely considered a leading candidate to assume the same position at the Gray Lady after next year's scheduled retirement of the current top editor. Indeed, with his brother serving as U.S. Senator from Colorado -- and a serious if second-rank presidential candidate -- the Lifestyle section of the Washington Post had already hailed the Bennet brothers as the potential saviors of the American establishment.

But then his paper published an op-ed by an influential Republican senator endorsing President Trump's call for a harsh crackdown on riots and looting, and a Twitter mob of outraged junior Times staffers organized a revolt. The mission of the NYT Opinion Pages is obviously to provide a diversity of opinions, but Bennet was quickly purged .

A similar fate befell the highly-regarded longtime editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer after his paper ran a headline considered insufficiently respectful to black rioters . Michigan State University researchers had raised doubts about the accepted narrative of black deaths at the hands of police, and physicist Stephen Hsu, the Senior Vice President who had supported their work, was forced to resign his administrative position as a consequence.

Numerous other figures of lesser rank have been purged, their careers and livelihoods destroyed for Tweeting out a phrase such as "All Lives Matter," whose current classification as "hate speech" might have stunned even George Orwell. Or perhaps a spouse or other close relative had denounced the black rioters . The standards of acceptable discourse are changing so rapidly that positions which were completely innocuous just a few weeks ago have suddenly become controversial or even forbidden, with punishments sometimes inflicted on a retroactive basis.

I am hardly alone in viewing this situation with great concern. Just last week, some 150 prominent American writers, academics, and intellectuals published an open letter in Harpers expressing their grave concern over protecting our freedom of speech and thought.

Admittedly, the credentials of some of the names on the list were rather doubtful . After all, David Frum and various hard-core Neocons had themselves led the effort to purge from the media all critics of Bush's disastrous Iraq War, and more recently they have continued to do with same with regard to our irrational hostility towards Putin's Russia. But the principled histories of other signers such as Noam Chomsky partially compensated for the inclusion of such unpleasant opportunists.

Although the Harpers statement attracted many stars of our liberal firmament, apparently few people read Harpers these days, with its website traffic being just a tenth of our own. Therefore, the reaction in the media itself was a much more important factor, and this seems to have been decidedly mixed. 150 rather obscure activists soon issued a contrasting statement, which major outlets such as NYT , CNN , and the Los Angeles Times seem to have accorded equal or greater weight, hardly suggesting that the ideological tide has started to turn.

Back a couple of years ago, there was a popular joke going around Chinese social media in which Chairman Mao came back to life with all sorts of questions about the modern world. Among other things, he was informed his disastrous Cultural Revolution had shifted to America, a prescient observation given the events of the last few weeks:

The controversial May 25th death of a black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody soon set off the greatest nationwide wave of protests, riots, and looting in at least two generations, and the once-placid hometown of the Mary Tyler Moore Show alone suffered some five hundred million dollars of damage. Some of the main political reactions have been especially surprising, as the newly elevated activists of the Black Lives Matter movement have received massive media support for their demands that local urban police departments be "defunded," a proposal so bizarre that it had previously been almost unknown.

Statues, monuments, and other symbolic representations of traditional American history quickly became a leading target. Hubert Humphrey's Minneapolis has long been an extremely liberal bastion of the heavily Scandinavian Upper Midwest, having no ties to the South or slavery, but Floyd's death soon launched an unprecedented national effort to eradicate all remaining Confederate memorials and other Southern cultural traces throughout our society. Popular country music groups such as the Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum had freely recorded their songs for decades, but they were now suddenly forced to change their names in frantic haste.

And although this revolutionary purge began with Confederacy, it soon extended to include much of our entire national history, with illustrious former occupants of the White House being the most prominent targets. Woodrow Wilson ranked as Princeton University's most famous alumnus and its former president, but his name was quickly scraped off the renowned public policy school , while the Natural History Museum of New York is similarly removing a statue of Theodore Roosevelt . Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant had together won the Civil War and abolished black slavery, but their statues around the country were vandalized or ordered removed. The same fate befell Andrew Jackson along with the author of the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem.

The leading heroes of the American Republic from its birth in 1776 face "cancellation" and this sudden tidal wave of attacks has clearly gained considerable elite backing. The New York Times carries enormous weight in such circles, and last Tuesday their lead opinion piece called for the Jefferson Memorial to be replaced by a towering statue of a black woman, while one of their regular columnists has repeatedly demanded that all monuments honoring George Washington suffer a similar fate . Stacy Abrams, often mentioned as one of Joe Biden's leading Vice Presidential choices, had previously made the destruction of Georgia's historic Stone Mountain Memorial part of her campaign platform, so we now seem only a step or two away from credible political demands that Mount Rushmore be dynamited Taliban-style.

The original roots of our country were Anglo-Saxon and this heritage remained dominant during its first century or more, but other strands in our national tapestry are suffering similar vilification. Christopher Columbus discovered the New World for Spain, but he has became a hated and despised figure across our country , so perhaps in the near future his only surviving North American monument will be the huge statue honoring him in the heart of Mexico City . Father Junipero Serra founded Hispanic California and a few years ago was canonized as the first and only Latin American saint, but his statues have been toppled and his name already removed from Stanford University buildings. At the time we acquired the sparsely-populated American Southwest, the bulk of our new Hispanic population was concentrated in New Mexico, but the founding father of that region has now had his monument attacked and vandalized . Cervantes, author of Don Quixote , is considered the greatest writer in the Spanish language, and his statue was also vandalized .

Perhaps these trends will abate and the onrushing tide of cultural destruction may begin to recede. But at present there seems a serious possibility that the overwhelming majority of America's leading historical figures prior to the political revolution of the 1930s may be destined for the scrap heap. A decade ago, President Obama and most prominent Democrats opposed Gay Marriage, but just a few years later, the CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign when his past political contribution to a California initiative taking that same position came to light, and today private individuals might easily lose their jobs at many corporations for expressing such views. Thus, one might easily imagine that within five or ten years, any public expressions of admiration for Washington or Jefferson might be considered by many as bordering on "hate speech," and carry severe social and employment consequences. Our nation seems to be suffering the sort of fate normally inflicted upon a conquered people, whose new masters seek to break their spirit and stamp out any notions of future resistance.

A good example of this growing climate of fear came a couple of weeks ago when a longtime blogger going under the name "Scott Alexander" deleted his entire website and its millions of words of accumulated archives because the New York Times was about to run an article revealing his true identity. I had only been slightly aware of the SlateStarCodex blogsite and the "rationalist" community it had gradually accumulated, but the development was apparently significant enough to provoke a long article in the New Yorker .

The target of the alleged witch-hunt was hardly any sort of right-winger. He was reportedly a liberal Jewish psychiatrist living in Berkeley, whose most notable piece of writing had been a massive 30,000 word refutation of neo-reactionary thought. But because he was willing to entertain ideas and contributors outside the tight envelope of the politically-correct canon, he believed that his life would be destroyed if his name became known.

Conservative commenter Tucker Carlson has recently attracted the highest ratings in cable history for populist positions, some of which have influenced President Trump. But just a couple of days ago, his top writer, a certain Blake Neff, was forced to resign after CNN revealed his years of pseudonymous remarks on a rightwing forum, even though the most egregious of these seemed no worse than somewhat crude racially-charged humor.

Our own website attracts thousands of commenters, many of whom have left remarks vastly more controversial than anything written by Neff let alone Alexander, and these two incidents naturally inspired several posts by blogger Steve Sailer , which attracted many hundreds of worried comments in the resulting threads. Although I could entirely understood that many members of our community were fearful of being "doxxed" by the media, I explained why I thought the possibility quite unlikely.

Although it's been a few years since my name last appeared on the front page of the New York Times , I am still at least a bit of a public figure, and I would say that many of the articles I have published under my own name have been at least 100 times as "controversial" as anything written by the unfortunate "Scott Alexander." The regular monthly traffic to our website is six or seven times as great as that which flowed to SlateStarCodex prior to its sudden disappearance, and I suspect that our influence has also been far greater. Any serious journalist who wanted to get in touch with me could certainly do so, and I have been freely given many interviews in the past, while hundreds of reasonably prominent writers, academics, and other intellectuals have spent years on my regular distribution list.

Tracking down the identity of an anonymous commenter who once or twice made doubtful remarks is extremely hard work, and at the end of the process you will have probably netted yourself a pretty small fish. Surely any eager scalp-hunter in the media would prefer to casually mine the hundreds of thousands of words in my articles, which would provide a veritable cornucopia of exceptionally explosive material, all fully searchable and conveniently organized by particular taboos. Yet for years the entire journalistic community has scrupulously averted their eyes from such mammoth potential scandal. And the likely explanation may provide some important insights into the dynamics of ideological conflict in the media.

Activist organizations often take the lead in locating controversial statements, which they then pass along to their media allies for ritual denunciation, and much of my own material would seem especially provocative to the fearsome ADL. Yet oddly enough, that organization seemed quite reluctant to engage with me, and only after my repeated baiting did they finally issue a rather short and perfunctory critique in 2018, which lacked any named author. But even that lackluster effort afforded me an opening to respond with my own 7,300 word essay highlighting the very unsavory origins and activities of that controversial organization. After that exchange, they went back into hiding and have remained there ever since.

In my lengthy analysis of the true history of World War II, I described what I called "the Lord Voldemort Effect," explaining why so much of our mainstream source material should be treated with great care:

In the popular Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort, the great nemesis of the young magicians, is often identified as "He Who Must Not Be Named," since the mere vocalization of those few particular syllables might bring doom upon the speaker. Jews have long enjoyed enormous power and influence over the media and political life, while fanatic Jewish activists demonstrate hair-trigger eagerness to denounce and vilify all those suspected of being insufficiently friendly towards their ethnic group. The combination of these two factors has therefore induced such a "Lord Voldemort Effect" regarding Jewish activities in most writers and public figures. Once we recognize this reality, we should become very cautious in analyzing controversial historical issues that might possibly contain a Jewish dimension, and also be particularly wary of arguments from silence.

However, even dread Lord Voldemorts may shrink from a terrifying Lord Voldemort of their own, and I think that this website falls into that category. The ADL and various other powerful organizations may have quietly issued an edict that absolutely forbids the media outlets they influence from mentioning our existence. I believe there is strong evidence in favor of this remarkable hypothesis.

Among Trump's surviving advisors, Stephen Miller provokes some of the most intense hostility, and last November the SPLC and its media allies made a concerted attempt to force his resignation based upon some of his private emails, which had promoted several controversial posts by Steve Sailer. The resulting firestorm was discussed on this website, and I analyzed some of the strange anomalies:

Just as might be expected, the whole SPLC attack is "guilt by association," and Ctrl-F reveals a full 14 references to VDare, with the website characterized in very harsh terms. Yet although there are several mentions of Steve and his writings, there is absolutely no reference to this webzine, despite being Steve's primary venue.

Offhand, this might seem extremely odd. My own guess is that much of the material we publish is 10x as "controversial" as anything VDare has ever run, and many of my own personal articles, including those that have spent over a year on the Home page, might be up in the 30x or 40x potency range. Moreover, I think our traffic these days is something like 10x that of VDare, seemingly making us an extremely juicy target.

Now admittedly, I don't know that Miller fellow, but the horrifying VDare post that Miller supposedly shared was actually republished by VDare from this website. And that would surely have made it very, very easy for the SPLC to use the connection as a opening to begin cataloguing the unspeakingly horrifying list of transgressions we regularly feature, easily expanding the length of their attack on Miller by adding another 6,000 words. Yet the silence has been totally deafening. Puzzling

Here's my own hypothesis

As everyone knows, there are certain "powerful groups" in our society that so terrify members of the media and political worlds that they receive the "Lord Voldemort Treatment," with mainstream individuals being terrified that merely speaking the name would result in destruction. Indeed, the SPLC is one of the primary enforcers of that edict.

However, my theory is that even those dread Lord Voldemorts greatly fear an even more dreadful Lord Voldemort of their own, namely this webzine. The SPLC writer knew perfectly well that mere mention of The Unz Review might ensure his destruction. I'd guess that the ADL/SPLC/AIPAC has made this prohibition absolutely clear to everyone in the media/political worlds.

Given that Miller's main transgression was his promotion of posts originally published on this website, the media could have easily associated him with the rest of our material, much of which was sufficiently explosive to have almost certainly forced his resignation. Yet when the journalists and activists weighed the likelihood of destroying Trump's most hated advisor against the danger of mentioning our existence, the latter factor was still judged the stronger, allowing Miller to survive.

This hypothesis was strongly supported by a second incident later that same month. We had previously published an article by Prof. Eric Rasmusen of Indiana University, and I read in my morning Times that he had suddenly become embroiled in a major Internet controversy , with a chorus of angry critics seeking to have him removed. According to the article, he had apparently promoted the "vile and stupid" views of some anti-feminist website in one of his Tweets, which had come to the attention of an enraged activist. The resulting firestorm of denunciations on Twitter had been viewed 2.5 million times, provoking a major academic controversy in the national media.

Being curious about what had happened, I contacted Rasmusen to see whether he might want to submit a piece regarding the controversy, which he did . But to my utter astonishment, I discovered that the website involved had actually been our own, a fact that I never would never have suspected from the extremely vague and circuitous discussion provided in the newspaper. Apparently, the old-fashioned Who-What-Where provisions of the Times style manual had been quietly amended to prohibit providing any hint of our existence even when we were at the absolute center of one of their 1,000 word news stories.

Highly-controversial ideas backed by strong evidence may prove dangerously contagious, and the political/media strategy pursued by the ADL, the Times , and numerous other organs of the elite establishment seems perfectly rational. Since our Bill of Rights still provides considerable protection for freedom of speech, the next-best alternative is to institute a strict cordon sanitaire , intended to strictly minimize the number of individuals who might become infected.

Our webzine and my own articles are hardly the only victims of this sort of strategy -- once dubbed "the Blackout" by eminent historian Harry Elmer Barnes -- whose other targets often possess the most respectable of establishmentarian credentials.

Last month marked the 31st anniversary of the notorious 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, and elite media coverage was especially extensive this year due to our current global confrontation with China. The New York Times devoted most of two full pages to a photo-laden recapitulation while the Wall Street Journal gave it front-page treatment, with just those two publications alone running some six separate articles and columns on those horrifying events from three decades ago.

Yet back in the 1990s, the former Beijing bureau chief of the Washington Post , who had personally covered the events, published a long article in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review entitled The Myth of Tiananmen , in which he publicly admitted that the supposed "massacre" was merely a fraudulent concoction of careless journalists and dishonest propagandists. At least some of our top editors and journalists must surely be aware of these facts, and feel guilty about promoting a long-debunked hoax of the late 1980s. But any mention of those widely-known historical facts is strictly forbidden in the media, lest American readers become confused and begin to consider an alternative narrative.

Russia possesses a nuclear arsenal at least as powerful as our own, and the total break in our relations began when Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012, targeting important Russian leaders. Yet none of our media outlets have ever been willing to admit that the facts used to justify that very dangerous decision seem to have been entirely fraudulent, as recounted in the article we recently published by Prof. John Ryan.

Similarly, our sudden purge from both Google and Facebook came just days after my own long article presenting the strong evidence that America's ongoing Covid-19 disaster was the unintentional blowback from our own extremely reckless biowarfare attack against China (and Iran). Over 130,000 of our citizens have already died and our daily life has been wrecked, so the American people might grow outraged if they began to suspect that this huge national disaster was entirely self-inflicted.

And the incident that sparked our current national upheaval includes certain elements that our media has scrupulously avoided mentioning. The knee-neck hold used against George Floyd was standard police procedure in Minneapolis and many other cities, and had apparently been employed thousands of times across our country in recent years with virtually no fatalities. Meanwhile, Floyd's official autopsy indicated that he had lethal levels of Fentanyl and other illegal drugs in his system at the time of his demise. Perhaps the connection between these two facts is more than purely coincidental, and if they became widely known, popular sentiments might shift.

Finally, our alternative media webzine is pleased to have recently added two additional columnists together with major portions of their archives, which will help to further broaden our perspective.

Larry Romanoff has been a regular contributor to the Global Research website, most recently focusing on the Coronavirus outbreak in China, and earlier this year he published an article pointed to the considerable evidence that the virus had originated in the U.S., which was cited by Chinese officials and soon became a flashpoint in American-Chinese relations . After having been viewed millions of times, that piece and several others seem to have disappeared from their original venue, but along with the rest of his writings, they are now conveniently available on our own website .

For the last quarter-century, Jared Taylor has probably been America's most prominent White Nationalist writer. Although Black Nationalists such as Al Sharpton have cable television shows and boast of many dozens of visits to the White House, the growing climate of ideological repression has caused Taylor and his American Renaissance organization to be deplatformed from YouTube, Twitter, and numerous other Internet services. One of his main writers is Gregory Hood, whom we have now added as a regular columnist , together with dozens of his pieces over the last few years.

[Jul 16, 2020] Has Cancel Culture Infected Your Kids' School- A Parent Group May Have A Remedy by Mark Glennon

Jul 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Mark Glennon of Wirepoints

Claiming 'Unique Opportunity to Lead the Nation,' Parents Ask High School to Adopt 'Freedom of Expression Resolution'

Has the cancel culture infected your kids' school? A parent group may have a partial remedy. A resolution submitted to the New Trier High School board in north suburban Chicago would, if adopted, assure:

New Trier High School's fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the New Trier High School community to be offensive, unwise.

It would guaranty all members of the school community "the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn."

The resolution apparently would be the first of its kind in the nation at the high school level. It is modeled on The Chicago Statement , which was adopted by the University of Chicago in 2015 in response to the illiberal trend of free speech intolerance on college campuses . The full resolution appears below.

It was drafted by New Trier Neighbors , a parent group that grew out of opposition to what was criticized as one-sided content in the school's "Seminar Day" in 2017, which a Wall Street Journal article called "Racial Indoctrination Day."

The seminar received extensive, national media attention because of its exclusive focus on topics like systemic racism, implicit bias and, as the Journal put it, the "divisive view of race as a primordial fact, the essence of identity, a bright line between oppressed and oppressor."

We wrote about it here at the time. My son attended the school then. I was among the critics who asked for a broader range of viewpoints like those of Robert Woodson, Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter and Corey Brooks. The school rejected our requests.

New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois

Since then, the school has only broadened what it describes as its "equity initiative," expanding what dissenting parents regard as authoritarian imposition of the far left's single-minded views on race – as well as other topics. Last year, the school moved to infuse its administration's views on "equity" into virtually all subject areas including math, science, sports, language and more, which you can see in the memo linked here .

Some right-of-center students have spoken up about having their viewpoints squelched, and even being penalized on grading for their views. My kids reported the same things when there.

New Trier is hardly alone. Similar stories from high schools and even grade schools around the country are now common.

The resolution presents the school with an opportunity to move in a more balanced direction that respects diversity of opinion and returns the school to a focus on critical thinking skills. New Trier Neighbors drafted the resolution in consultation with the K-12 policy experts at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

No word yet on how or when the school board will act on it.

We often receive emails at Wirepoints from ordinary citizens asking "What can I do? How can I get involved to stop what's happening?"

This resolution is one answer. Push for a similar one in your school districts.

The cancel culture that now plagues the nation has its roots where it should have no place whatsoever – schools. That's especially true about the disastrously counterproductive orthodoxy on systemic racism, implicit bias and the like. Its easily predictable consequences are now apparent across the nation – more racism and division. Race relations have been set back by fifty years.

For those reasons, what New Trier itself does with the resolution is actually secondary. While we hope it will adopt the resolution, it's far more important that its introduction set a trend for districts around the nation.

Indoctrination long ago replaced education on most college campuses. Freedom of expression resolutions might help save high schools from the same fate.

Parents, it's in your hands.

The New Trier High School Freedom of Expression Resolution, presented to the Board for adoption in its entirety, and based on The Chicago Statement:

Because New Trier High School is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the New Trier High School community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of New Trier High School, New Trier High School fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the New Trier High School community "to discuss any problem that presents itself."

Of course, the ideas of different members of the New Trier High School community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of New Trier High School to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive. Although New Trier High School greatly values civility, and although all members of the New Trier High School community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.

The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. New Trier High School may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, or that is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of New Trier High School.In addition, New Trier High School may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of New Trier High School. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, and it is vitally important that these exceptions never be used in a manner that is inconsistent with New Trier High School's commitment to a completely free and open discussion of ideas.

In a word, New Trier High School's fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the New Trier High School community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the New Trier High School community, not for New Trier High School as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the New Trier High School community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of New Trier High School's educational mission.

As a corollary to New Trier High School's commitment to protect and promote free expression, members of the New Trier High School community must also act in conformity with the principle of free expression. Although members of the New Trier High School community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, New Trier High School has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it."

[Jul 16, 2020] Numerous other figures of lesser rank have been purged, their careers and livelihoods destroyed for Tweeting out a phrase such as "All Lives Matter," whose current classification as "hate speech" might have stunned even George Orwell.

Notable quotes:
"... Indeed: In some ways, our 'normal' is more insane than anything in Orwell's fiction. ..."
Jul 16, 2020 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: July 15, 2020 at 3:07 am GMT

Numerous other figures of lesser rank have been purged, their careers and livelihoods destroyed for Tweeting out a phrase such as "All Lives Matter," whose current classification as "hate speech" might have stunned even George Orwell.

Indeed: In some ways, our 'normal' is more insane than anything in Orwell's fiction.

[Jul 16, 2020] NYT 'Chief Threat To Democracy'- Eric Weinstein Takes Flamethrower To Paper Of Record After Bari Weiss Quits

Bari Weiss probably deserved what she got as she practiced the same methods herself.
Jul 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital and hsot of The Portal podcast, has gone scorched earth on the New York Times following the Tuesday resignation of journalist Bari Weiss.

Illustration via DanielMiessler.com

Weinstein describes how The Times has morphed into an activist rag - refusing to cover "news" unpaletable to their narrative, while ignoring key questions such as whether Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking ring was "intelligence related."

Jump into Weinstein's Twitter thread by clicking on the below tweet, or scroll down for your convenience.

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https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.395.0_en.html#goog_1119462986 NOW PLAYING

Trump Administration is Reportedly Out to Smear Dr. Anthony Fauci for Early Comments on Coronavirus

Image Deleted From Trump's Tweet After NYT Complaint

New York Times Ends Apple News Partnership

Trump Says His Niece Is Not Allowed To Publish 'Tell-All' Book

Book with 'Salacious' Stories on Trump Set to Be Published by His Niece

Jon Stewart Spoke Out About Police Issues

Trump Accuses New York Times Of `Virtual Act Of Treason` Over Russia Story

Ben Smith Departs BuzzFeed To Join New York times

* * *

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(continued)


At that moment Bari Weiss became all that was left of the "Paper of Record." Why? Because the existence of Black Racists with the power to hunt professors with Baseball Bats and even redefine the word 'racism' to make their story impossible to cover ran totally counter-narrative.

At some point after 2011, the NYT gradually stopped covering the News and became the News instead. And Bari has been fighting internally from the opinion section to re-establish Journalism inside tbe the NYT. A total reversal of the Chinese Wall that separates news from opinion.

about:blank

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This is the paper in 2016 that couldnt be interested in the story that millions of Americans were likely lying to pollsters about Donald Trump.

The paper refusing to ask the CIA/FBI if Epstein was Intelligence related.

The paper that can't report that it seeks race rioting:

I have had the honor of trying to support both @bariweiss at the New York Times and @BretWeinstein in their battles simply to stand alone against the internal mob mentality. It is THE story all over the country. Our courageous individuals are being hunted at work for dissenting.

Before Bari resigned, I did a podcast with her. It was chilling. I'd make an innocuous statement of simple fact and ask her about it. She'd reply " That is obviously true but I'm sorry we can't say that here. It will get me strung up ." That's when I stopped telling her to hang on.

So what just happened? Let me put it bluntly: What was left of the New York Times just resigned from the New York Times. The Times canceled itself. As a separate Hong Kong exists in name only, the New New York Times and affiliated "news" is now the chief threat to our democracy.

This is the moment when the passengers who have been becoming increasingly alarmed, start to entertain a new idea: what if the people now in the cockpit are not airline pilots? Well the Twitter Activists at the @nytimes and elsewhere are not journalists.

What if those calling for empathy have a specific deadness of empathy?

Those calling for justice *are* the unjust?

Those calling "Privilege" are the privileged?

Those calling for equality seek to oppress us?

Those anti-racists are open racists?

The progressives seek regress?

The journalists are covering up the news?

Try the following exercise: put a minus sign in front of nearly every banner claim made by "the progressives".

Q: Doesn't that make more sense?

NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST

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Those aren't the pilots you imagine. And we are far closer to revolution than you think.

Bari and I agree on a lot but also disagree fiercely. And so I have learned that she is tougher than tough. But these university and journalistic workplaces are now unworkable. They are the antithesis off what they were built to stand for. It is astounding how long she held out.

Read her letter. I have asked her to do a make-up podcast & she has agreed. Stay tuned If you don't want to be surprised again by what's coming understand this: just as there has been no functioning president, there's now no journalism. We're moving towards a 🌎 of pure activism.

Prepare to lose your ability to call the police & for more autonomous zones where kids die so that Govenors & Mayors can LARP as Kayfabe revolutionaries . Disagree with Ms Weiss all you want as she isn't perfect. But Bari is a true patriot who tried to stand alone. Glad she's out.

We are not finished by a long shot. What the Intellectual Dark Web tried to do MUST now be given an institutional home.

Podcast with Bari on The Portal to come as soon as she is ready.

Stay tuned. And thanks for reading this. It is of the utmost importance.

Thank you all. 🙏

P.S. Please retweet the lead tweet from this thread if you understand where we are. Appreciated.


[Jul 16, 2020] Cancel culture letter is about stifling free speech, not protecting it by JONATHAN COOK

Criticisms of "cancel culture" often is hypocrtical, as was the case with Weiss, and are connected with prioritizing speech that shores up the status quo -- necon dominance in the US MSM.
Jul 13, 2020 | mondoweiss.net

An open letter published by Harper's magazine, and signed by 150 prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new "cancel culture".

The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J K Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defence of free speech.

Although the letter doesn't explicitly use the term "cancel culture", it is clearly what is meant in the complaint about a "stifling" cultural climate that is imposing "ideological conformity" and weakening "norms of open debate and toleration of differences".

It is easy to agree with the letter's generalized argument for tolerance and free and fair debate. But the reality is that many of those who signed are utter hypocrites, who have shown precisely zero commitment to free speech, either in their words or in their deeds.

Further, the intent of many them in signing the letter is the very reverse of their professed goal: they want to stifle free speech, not protect it.

To understand what is really going on with this letter, we first need to scrutinize the motives , rather than the substance, of the letter.

A new 'illiberalism'

"Cancel culture" started as the shaming, often on social media, of people who were seen to have said offensive things. But of late, cancel culture has on occasion become more tangible, as the letter notes, with individuals fired or denied the chance to speak at a public venue or to publish their work.

The letter denounces this supposedly new type of "illiberalism":

"We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.

"Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; The result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."

Tricky identity politics

The array of signatories is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former US State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting "interventions" in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.

That is one clue that these various individuals have signed the letter for very different reasons.

Chomsky signed because he has been a lifelong and consistent defender of the right to free speech, even for those with appalling opinions such as Holocaust denial.

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Frum, who coined the term "axis of evil" that rationalised the invasion of Iraq, and Weiss, a New York Times columnist, signed because they have found their lives getting tougher. True, it is easy for them to dominate platforms in the corporate media while advocating for criminal wars abroad, and they have paid no career price when their analyses and predictions have turned out to be so much dangerous hokum. But they are now feeling the backlash on university campuses and social media.

Meanwhile, centrists like Buruma and Rowling have discovered that it is getting ever harder to navigate the tricky terrain of identity politics without tripping up. The reputational damage can have serious consequences.

Buruma famously lost his job as editor of the New York Review of Books two years ago after after he published and defended an article that violated the new spirit of the #MeToo movement. And Rowling made the mistake of thinking her followers would be as fascinated by her traditional views on transgender issues as they are by her Harry Potter books.

'Fake news, Russian trolls'

But the fact that all of these writers and intellectuals agree that there is a price to be paid in the new, more culturally sensitive climate does not mean that they are all equally interested in protecting the right to be controversial or outspoken.

Chomsky, importantly, is defending free speech for all , because he correctly understands that the powerful are only too keen to find justifications to silence those who challenge their power. Elites protect free speech only in so far as it serves their interests in dominating the public space.

If those on the progressive left do not defend the speech rights of everyone, even their political opponents, then any restrictions will soon be turned against them. The establishment will always tolerate the hate speech of a Trump or a Bolsonaro over the justice speech of a Sanders or a Corbyn.

By contrast, most of the rest of those who signed – the rightwingers and the centrists – are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them . They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views – something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little.

The center and the right have been fighting back ever since with claims that anyone who seriously challenges the neoliberal status quo at home and the neoconservative one abroad is promoting "fake news" or is a "Russian troll". This updating of the charge of being "un-American" embodies cancel culture at its very worst.

Social media accountability

In other words, apart from in the case of a few progressives, the letter is simply special pleading – for a return to the status quo. And for that reason, as we shall see, Chomsky might have been better advised not to have added his name, however much he agrees with the letter's vague, ostensibly pro-free speech sentiments.

What is striking about a significant proportion of those who signed is their self-identification as ardent supporters of Israel. And as Israel's critics know only too well, advocates for Israel have been at the forefront of the cancel culture – from long before the term was even coined.

For decades, pro-Israel activists have sought to silence anyone seen to be seriously critiquing this small, highly militarized state, sponsored by the colonial powers, that was implanted in a region rich with a natural resource, oil, needed to lubricate the global economy, and at a terrible cost to its native, Palestinian population.

Nothing should encourage us to believe that zealous defenders of Israel among those signing the letter have now seen the error of their ways. Their newfound concern for free speech is simply evidence that they have begun to suffer from the very same cancel culture they have always promoted in relation to Israel.

They have lost control of the "cancel culture" because of two recent developments: a rapid growth in identity politics among liberals and leftists, and a new popular demand for "accountability" spawned by the rise of social media.

Cancelling Israel's critics

In fact, despite their professions of concern, the evidence suggests that some of those signing the letter have been intensifying their own contribution to cancel culture in relation to Israel, rather than contesting it.

That is hardly surprising. The need to counter criticism of Israel has grown more pressing as Israel has more obviously become a pariah state. Israel has refused to countenance peace talks with the Palestinians and it has intensified its efforts to realize long-harbored plans to annex swaths of the West Bank in violation of international law.

Rather than allow "robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters" on Israel, Israel's supporters have preferred the tactics of those identified in the letter as enemies of free speech: "swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought".

Just ask Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour party who was reviled, along with his supporters, as an antisemite – one of the worst smears imaginable – by several people on the Harper's list, including Rowling and Weiss . Such claims were promoted even though his critics could produce no actual evidence of an antisemitism problem in the Labour party.

Similarly, think of the treatment of Palestinian solidarity activists who support a boycott of Israel (BDS), modeled on the one that helped push South Africa's leaders into renouncing apartheid. BDS activists too have been smeared as antisemites – and Weiss again has been a prime offender .

The incidents highlighted in the Harper's letter in which individuals have supposedly been cancelled is trivial compared to the cancelling of a major political party and of a movement that stands in solidarity with a people who have been oppressed for decades.

And yet how many of these free speech warriors have come forward to denounce the fact that leftists – including many Jewish anti-Zionists – have been pilloried as antisemites to prevent them from engaging in debates about Israel's behavior and its abuses of Palestinian rights?

How many of them have decried the imposition of a new definition of antisemitism, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, that has been rapidly gaining ground in western countries?

That definition is designed to silence a large section of the left by prioritizing the safety of Israel from being criticized before the safety of Jews from being vilified and attacked – something that even the lawyer who authored the definition has come to regret .

Why has none of this "cancel culture" provoked an open letter to Harper's from these champions of free speech?

Double-edge sword

The truth is that many of those who signed the letter are defending not free speech but their right to continue dominating the public square – and their right to do so without being held accountable.

Bari Weiss, before she landed a job at the Wall Street Journal and then the New York Times, spent her student years trying to get Muslim professors fired from her university – cancelling them – because of their criticism of Israel. And she explicitly did so under the banner of "academic freedom", claiming pro-Israel students felt intimidated in the classroom.

The New York Civil Liberties Union concluded that it was Weiss, not the professors, who was the real threat to academic freedom. This was not some youthful indiscretion. In a book last year Weiss cited her efforts to rid Columbia university of these professors as a formative experience on which she still draws.

Weiss and many of the others listed under the letter are angry that the rhetorical tools they used for so long to stifle the free speech of others have now been turned against them. Those who lived for so long by the sword of identity politics – on Israel, for example – are worried that their reputations may die by that very same sword – on issues of race, sex and gender.

Narcissistic concern

To understand how the cancel culture is central to the worldview of many of these writers and intellectuals, and how blind they are to their own complicity in that culture, consider the case of Jonathan Freedland, a columnist with the supposedly liberal-left British newspaper the Guardian. Although Freedland is not among those signing the letter, he is very much aligned with the centrists among them and, of course, supported the letter in an article published in the Guardian.

Freedland, we should note, led the "cancel culture" campaign against the Labour party referenced above. He was one of the key figures in Britain's Jewish community who breathed life into the antisemitism smears against Corbyn and his supporters.

But note the brief clip below. In it, Freedland's voice can be heard cracking as he explains how he has been a victim of the cancel culture himself: he confesses that he has suffered verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Israel's most extreme apologists – those who are even more unapologetically pro-Israel than he is.

He reports that he has been called a "kapo", the term for Jewish collaborators in the Nazi concentration camps, and a "sonderkommando", the Jews who disposed of the bodies of fellow Jews killed in the gas chambers. He admits such abuse "burrows under your skin" and "hurts tremendously".

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And yet, despite the personal pain he has experienced of being unfairly accused, of being cancelled by a section of his own community, Freedland has been at the forefront of the campaign to tar critics of Israel, including anti-Zionist Jews, as antisemites on the flimsiest of evidence.

He is entirely oblivious to the ugly nature of the cancel culture – unless it applies to himself . His concern is purely narcissistic. And so it is with the majority of those who signed the letter.

Conducting a monologue

The letter's main conceit is the pretence that "illiberalism" is a new phenomenon, that free speech is under threat, and that the cancel culture only arrived at the moment it was given a name.

That is simply nonsense. Anyone over the age of 35 can easily remember a time when newspapers and websites did not have a talkback section, when blogs were few in number and rarely read, and when there was no social media on which to challenge or hold to account "the great and the good".

Writers and columnists like those who signed the letter were then able to conduct a monologue in which they revealed their opinions to the rest of us as if they were Moses bringing down the tablets from the mountaintop.

In those days, no one noticed the cancel culture – or was allowed to remark on it. And that was because only those who held approved opinions were ever given a media platform from which to present those opinions.

Before the digital revolution, if you dissented from the narrow consensus imposed by the billionaire owners of the corporate media, all you could do was print your own primitive newsletter and send it by post to the handful of people who had heard of you.

That was the real cancel culture. And the proof is in the fact that many of those formerly obscure writers quickly found they could amass tens of thousands of followers – with no help from the traditional corporate media – when they had access to blogs and social media.

Silencing the left

Which brings us to the most troubling aspect of the open letter in Harper's. Under cover of calls for tolerance, given credibility by Chomsky's name, a proportion of those signing actually want to restrict the free speech of one section of the population – the part influenced by Chomsky.

They are not against the big cancel culture from which they have benefited for so long. They are against the small cancel culture – the new more chaotic, and more democratic, media environment we currently enjoy – in which they are for the first time being held to account for their views, on a range of issues including Israel.

Just as Weiss tried to get professors fired under the claim of academic freedom, many of these writers and public figures are using the banner of free speech to discredit speech they don't like, speech that exposes the hollowness of their own positions.

Their criticisms of "cancel culture" are really about prioritizing "responsible" speech, defined as speech shared by centrists and the right that shores up the status quo. They want a return to a time when the progressive left – those who seek to disrupt a manufactured consensus, who challenge the presumed verities of neoliberal and neoconservative orthodoxy – had no real voice.

The new attacks on "cancel culture" echo the attacks on Bernie Sanders' supporters, who were framed as "Bernie Bros" – the evidence-free allegation that he attracted a rabble of aggressive, women-hating men who tried to bully others into silence on social media.

Just as this claim was used to discredit Sanders' policies, so the center and the right now want to discredit the left more generally by implying that, without curbs, they too will bully everyone else into silence and submission through their "cancel culture".

If this conclusion sounds unconvincing, consider that President Donald Trump could easily have added his name to the letter alongside Chomsky's. Trump used his recent Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore to make similar points to the Harper's letter. He at least was explicit in equating "cancel culture" with what he called "far-left fascism":

"One of [the left's] political weapons is 'Cancel Culture' – driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly."

Trump, in all his vulgarity, makes plain what the Harper's letter, in all its cultural finery, obscures. That attacks on the new "cancel culture" are simply another front – alongside supposed concerns about "fake news" and "Russian trolls" – in the establishment's efforts to limit speech by the left.

Attention redirected

This is not to deny that there is fake news on social media or that there are trolls, some of them even Russian. Rather, it is to point out that our attention is being redirected, and our concerns manipulated by a political agenda.

Despite the way it has been presented in the corporate media, fake news on social media has been mostly a problem of the right. And the worst examples of fake news – and the most influential – are found not on social media at all, but on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

What genuinely fake news on Facebook has ever rivaled the lies justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that were knowingly peddled by a political elite and their stenographers in the corporate media. Those lies led directly to more than a million Iraqi deaths, turned millions more into refugees, destroyed an entire country, and fuelled a new type of nihilistic Islamic extremism whose effects we are still feeling.

Most of the worst lies from the current period – those that have obscured or justified US interference in Syria and Venezuela, or rationalized war crimes against Iran, or approved the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange for exposing war crimes – can only be understood by turning our backs on the corporate media and looking to experts who can rarely find a platform outside of social media.

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Algorithms changed

I say this as someone who has concerns about the fashionable focus on identity politics rather than class politics. I say it also as someone who rejects all forms of cancel culture – whether it is the old-style, "liberal" cancel culture that imposes on us a narrow "consensus" politics (the Overton window), or the new "leftwing" cancel culture that too often prefers to focus on easy cultural targets like Rowling than the structural corruption of western political systems.

But those who are impressed by the letter simply because Chomsky's name is attached should beware. Just as "fake news" has provided the pretext for Google and social media platforms to change their algorithms to vanish left-wingers from searches and threads, just as "antisemitism" has been redefined to demonize the left, so too the supposed threat of "cancel culture" will be exploited to silence the left.

Protecting Bari Weiss and J K Rowling from a baying left-wing "mob" – a mob that that claims a right to challenge their views on Israel or trans issues – will become the new rallying cry from the establishment for action against "irresponsible" or "intimidating" speech.

Progressive leftists who join these calls out of irritation with the current focus on identity politics, or because they fear being labelled an antisemite, or because they mistakenly assume that the issue really is about free speech, will quickly find that they are the main targets.

In defending free speech, they will end up being the very ones who are silenced.

UPDATE:

You don't criticise Chomsky however tangentially and respectfully – at least not from a left perspective – without expecting a whirlwind of opposition. But one issue that keeps being raised on my social media feeds in his defence is just plain wrong-headed, so I want to quickly address it. Here's one my followers expressing the point succinctly:

"The sentiments in the letter stand or fall on their own merits, not on the characters or histories of some of the signatories, nor their future plans."

The problem, as I'm sure Chomsky would explain in any other context, is that this letter fails not just because of the other people who signed it but on its merit too . And that's because, as I explain above, it ignores the most oppressive and most established forms of cancel culture, as Chomsky should have been the first to notice.

Highlighting the small cancel culture, while ignoring the much larger, establishment-backed cancel culture, distorts our understanding of what is at stake and who wields power.

Chomsky unwittingly just helped a group of mostly establishment stooges skew our perceptions of free speech problems so that we side with them against ourselves. There is no way that can be a good thing.

UPDATE 2:

There are still people holding out against the idea that it harmed the left to have Chomsky sign this letter. And rather than address their points individually, let me try another way of explaining my argument:

Why has Chomsky not signed a letter backing the furore over "fake news", even though there is some fake news on social media? Why has he not endorsed the "Bernie Bros" narrative, even though doubtless there are some bullying Sanders supporters on social media? Why has he not supported the campaign claiming the Labour party has an antisemitism problem, even though there are some antisemites in the Labour party (as there are everywhere)?

He hasn't joined any of those campaigns for a very obvious reason – because he understands how power works, and that on the left you hit up, not down. You certainly don't cheerlead those who are up as they hit down.

Chomsky understands this principle only too well because here he is setting it out in relation to Iran:

"Suppose I criticise Iran. What impact does that have? The only impact it has is in fortifying those who want to carry out policies I don't agree with, like bombing."

For exactly the same reason he has not joined those pillorying Iran – because his support would be used for nefarious ends – he shouldn't have joined this campaign. He made a mistake. He's fallible.

Also, this isn't about the left eating itself. Really, Chomsky shouldn't be the issue. The issue should be that a bunch of centrists and right-wingers used this letter to try to reinforce a narrative designed to harm the left, and lay the groundwork for further curbs on its access to social media. But because Chomsky signed the letter, many more leftists are now buying into that narrative – a narrative intended to harm them. That's why Chomsky's role cannot be ignored, nor his mistake glossed over.

UPDATE 3:

I had not anticipated how many ways people on the left might find to justify this letter.

Here's the latest reasoning. Apparently, the letter sets an important benchmark that can in future be used to protect free speech by the left when we are threatened with being "cancelled" – as, for example, with the antisemitism smears that were used against anti-Zionist Jews and other critics of Israel in the British Labour party.

I should hardly need to point out how naive this argument is. It completely ignores how power works in our societies: who gets to decide what words mean and how principles are applied. This letter won't help the left because "cancel culture" is being framed – by this letter, by Trump, by the media – as a "loony left" problem. It is a new iteration of the "politically correct gone mad" discourse, and it will be used in exactly the same way.

It won't help Steven Salaita, sacked from a university job because he criticised Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza, or Chris Williamson, the Labour MP expelled because he defended the party's record on being anti-racist.

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The "cancel culture" furore isn't interested in the fact that they were "cancelled". Worse still, this moral panic turns the whole idea of cancelling on its head: it is Salaita and Williamson who are accused – and found guilty – of doing the cancelling, of cancelling Israel and Jews.

Israel's supporters will continue to win this battle by claiming that criticism of Israel "cancels" that country ("wipes it off the map"), "cancels" Israel's Jewish population ("drives them into the sea"), and "cancels" Jews more generally ("denies a central component of modern Jewish identity").

Greater awareness of "cancel culture" would not have saved Corbyn from the antisemitism smears because the kind of cancel culture that smeared Corbyn is never going to be defined as "cancelling".

For anyone who wishes to see how this works in practice, watch Guardian columnist Owen Jones cave in – as he has done so often – to the power dynamics of the "cancel culture" discourse in this interview with Sky News. I actually agree with almost everything Jones says in this clip, apart from his joining yet again in the witch-hunt against Labour's anti-Zionists. He doesn't see that witch-hunt as "cancel culture", and neither will anyone else with a large platform like his to protect:

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This essay first appeared on Jonathan Cook's blog: https://www.jonathan-cook.net/blog/

[Jul 16, 2020] 'Cancel culture' prevents the truth about Israel-Palestine from being discussed -- including the rising risk of a war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times ..."
"... Washington Post, ..."
Jul 16, 2020 | mondoweiss.net

BY JAMES NORTH

JULY 13, 2020

There is no issue in American life about which the mainstream media ignores or distorts the truth more than Israel/Palestine, and censors or "cancels" the people who could tell it.

So far, the growing debate over "cancel culture" has understandably focused on individual cases. Certainly, Israel/Palestine has many examples of courageous thinkers who have suffered for their views: Steven Salaita and Norman Finkelstein come immediately to mind. But the blackout has been so far-reaching for so long that we can say that an entire subject has been ignored or distorted in the mainstream almost beyond recognition.

Right now, Israel is conducting a violent sabotage campaign against Iran, in an effort to provoke America into war -- and there is a nearly complete news blackout in the United States.

Maybe the 153 celebrated signatories to that now famous letter to Harper's magazine that warned about "cancel culture" could draft another epistle, one that appeals for an end to suppressing free discussion about Israel and Palestine.


On July 10, another explosion hit near near Tehran, the latest in a string that have struck at, among other targets, Iran's nuclear energy program at Natanz. The New York Times , to its credit, is reporting on the sabotage campaign, and the paper even said that one of the attacks was "apparently engineered by Israel." But beyond the basic facts, nothing: no editorials, no opinion pieces warning about the risk of war, no reminder that Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to instigate the U.S. against Iran for at least a decade. There was no effort to explain that Israel's attacks are meant to goad Iran into retaliating, which will draw in the U.S., and possibly help Donald Trump's sinking reelection campaign.

At least the Times is doing the bare minimum. So far in the Washington Post, not a word from its own reporters or commenters; you would think that the paper could find sources in the D.C. intelligence community to explain the danger of war. On National Public Radio, one short, confused report that provided no context at all. Foreign coverage on the U.S. cable networks continues to be an insignificant joke.

U.S. soldiers, sailors and pilots could soon find themselves in a shooting war that would stun our citizens with its suddenness.

The mainstream U.S. media's failure to report Israel's effort to provoke fighting with Iran is happening at the same time as American journalistic malpractice continues over Netanyahu's plan to illegally annex up to 30 percent of occupied West Bank Palestine. There has been very little news coverage of annexation, and Palestinian voices continue to be ignored. Three members of the New York Times editorial board have extensive experience with Israel/Palestine: Thomas Friedman, Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss. None of them has yet written a single word about annexation.

Here is a final paradox. "Cancel culture" means that the New York Times and the rest of the mainstream are nearly closed to the truth about both Israel's instigation over Iran, and its probable illegal annexation in the West Bank. But Friedman, the most influential foreign affairs columnist in America, has to, along with his editorial page colleagues, self cancel -- because he, like them, can't write anything without sharply criticizing Israel.

[Jul 16, 2020] Cancel culture and the Israel lobby

Jul 16, 2020 | mondoweiss.net

When Sportsnet fired Canadian hockey and media personality Don Cherry in November 2019 for his bigoted remarks on Coach's Corner , we heard the usual right-wing complaint chorus about the suppression of free speech by the liberal left.

A favored method of censorship nowadays is said to be "de-platforming," or denying those you disagree with a platform to speak. This is also called "cancel culture." Most recently, a group of around 150 prominent intellectuals signed a " Letter on Justice and Open Debate " in Harper 's magazine, setting off a firestorm of debate about the limits of free speech on the left.

In reality, though, cancel culture is (at best) a marginal activity on the left. By and large, progressives still believe in reasoned debate.

This article refers to experience in Canada, but it has its counterpart in many other countries as well.

If we want to identify the real masters of cancel culture, however, we need to follow the modus operandi of the institutional pro-Israel lobby and its adherents, like the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), B'nai Brith Canada (BBC), the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) and other organizations on the Jewish right. They can teach us a thing or two about how to kill free speech, and how cancel culture works to stop an utterance before it is even spoken.

Presumably, the reason to nip an Israel-critical event in the bud is that if it goes forward, people might attend and learn something, especially from a rigorous debate. Even a picket-line outside an event or a disruption during one might draw attention to what is being said. For the avid intellectual protectors of Israel, that must be stopped at all costs.

The Pro-Israel Cancel Culture Playbook

A spate of examples will follow, but first, to summarize, here are what might be called the "rules of engagement" for the pro-Israel de-platformers.

The minute you hear about an event featuring a critique of Israel, employ the following formula:

Have a number of organizations at work. If the CIJA is squeamish, then get B'nai Brith Canada to do it. If they or the Simon Wiesenthal Center have qualms, then the imprudent and belligerent Jewish Defense League or Herut Canada can rush in. No matter how distinguished and credible the speaker, try guilt-by-association, however tenuous. Did their uncle belong to a questionable organization? Did their cousin write something critical of Israel? Do they pay dues to a student union that supports Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)? Shut them down! If the speakers are academics, go after their publications or insist their tenure be denied. If they are students, demand that their degrees be withheld. The Canadian Jewish News recently reported : "Rather than debating them about Israel, Manfred Gerstenfeld, the former chair of the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs (JCPA), makes the case for professionally discrediting the enemies [sic] of Israel. 'Find plagiarism or a wrong footnote and make it public,' he said at a fundraising event for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, in Montreal on Dec. 1 [2019]. 'Only about 10 per cent of academics are hard-core anti-Israel and the rest are not going to risk their careers. Academics are cowards.'" Absent real evidence of antisemitism, a mere accusation will suffice. Find out where the event is being held and who are the sponsors. Contact both the venue and the sponsors and tell them that the speaker or the event is antisemitic. If you don't want to threaten violence yourself, suggest that there might be violence from some unknown quarter if the event proceeds. Tell the host or sponsor that they too will be considered antisemitic if they continue involvement. If any of the venues or sponsors accede to these demands, publicize it to shame the non-acceders. If an event you don't like is cancelled or postponed, claim credit. Even if the shut-down attempt is not completely successful, the cost and effort involved in resisting your attack will frighten the organizers and make others think twice about doing something similar in the future. What I call the "cringe effect" is particularly useful with the media. When a critic of Israel appears, initiate an avalanche of disparaging letters, emails, and phone calls. Even if the preponderance of material in the particular media outlet has been pro-Israel, criticize the "lack of balance." If all else fails, demand "equal time" of equal prominence for an opposing view. That should scare the media outlet away from the topic. The Playbook in Action

While pro-Israel cancel culture goes back a long way, the following are more than two dozen fairly recent examples of the playbook in action. They are taken mostly from published reports, but a few are taken from accounts by people who were directly involved.

Vancouver

In 2016, anti-Israeli-occupation activists were slated for a panel at a Simon Fraser University (SFU) conference on genocide. One presenter would argue that what had been done to the Palestinians constituted genocide. (The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide definition involves any of the following: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and/or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.) B'nai Brith reached out to SFU to have the panel cancelled. Organizers pushed back, reaching out to a range of supporters at SFU. The panel and conference went ahead.

In 2017, the University of British Columbia (UBC) Alma Mater Society (student union) gave notice of a referendum to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement: "Do you support your student union in boycotting products and divesting from companies that support Israeli war crimes, illegal occupation and the oppression of Palestinians?" Rather than campaigning to get students to reject that motion on its merits, Hillel, an organization that purports to represent Jewish university students, filed a court motion to bar the referendum entirely. That court action failed .

In 2018, the Canadian Association of Cultural Studies sponsored a conference at SFU entitled "Carceral Culture" including a panel on Israel/Palestine. Again, B'nai Brith attempted to get it cancelled. Counter-mobilization defeated the B'nai Brith gambit.

Calgary

In 2014, the group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) prepared a photo exhibit entitled " Dispossessed, but Defiant: Indigenous Struggles from around the World " which juxtaposed the Palestinian travails with those of other objects of colonialism, like South African blacks under apartheid and Canadian indigenous peoples. The exhibition was meant to travel to venues around Canada, but pro-Israel opponents attempted repeatedly to block those displays. In Calgary, they managed to de-platform the exhibit from a small community centre. When the hosts finally found a United Church location, opponents inundated the new venue with calls and emails. The show went ahead but the activists have never been able to rent that church since, validating points 10 and 11 in the playbook, above.

In 2016, local activists booked space at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind for a talk by Haider Abu Ghosh of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, about the eradication by the Israelis of three Palestinian villages in 1967. The activists were forced by complaints to switch the event to the Calgary Public Library. Pro-Israel groups put so much pressure on the library that the hosts were forced to provide security, at significant cost.

Calgary writer Marcello Di Cintio won the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize in 2012 for " Walls: Travels Along the Barricades " and, again, in 2018 for " Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense ." But local pro-Israel organizations opposed his appointment as writer-in-residence at the public library, insisting, against all evidence, that he was an antisemite.

Winnipeg

In February, 2018, several groups, including Independent Jewish Voices-Winnipeg, the Canadian Arab Association of Manitoba and the United Jewish Peoples Order-Winnipeg, organized a public meeting at the University of Winnipeg entitled "My Jerusalem" to discuss the US government's recent decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. One of the speakers was Rabbi David Mivasair, a member of Independent Jewish Voices. Unable to have the meeting cancelled, B'nai Brith Canada complained to the university that the speakers were antisemitic and demanded that the university apologize. B'nai Brith claimed that one of the speakers accused Israel of committing a "genocide" against Palestinians and that another referred to Israeli Jews as "European settlers." The university's Human Rights and Equity officer investigated the complaint and, claiming to have consulted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism, allowed the smear to stand, concluding that the criticism of Israel amounted to antisemitism. When asked by meeting sponsors precisely which statements in the meeting were antisemitic, the officer declined to answer.

Rabbinical student Lex Rofeberg, an activist with the American Institute for the Next Jewish Future, had been invited as a keynote speaker to Limmud Winnipeg (an annual Jewish cultural and educational event) in March 2019. Limmud canceled the invitation when the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg threatened to withdraw its sponsorship, complaining that Rofeberg was a critic of Israel and a supporter of BDS and the organization IfNotNow . Neither of Rofeberg's planned presentations (one on digital Judaism, the other on Judaism and sports) had anything to do with his views on Israel, but he was guilty by association.

In April 2019, the Winnipeg Social Planning Council and the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute invited American-Palestinian activist and co-founder of the 2017 women's march Linda Sarsour to speak. The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and B'nai Brith Canada, among others, lobbied to get the event cancelled and convinced the Winnipeg mayor and the provincial deputy premier to oppose it. The opponents managed to get Sarsour shut out of the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre and the meeting moved to the Ukrainian Labour Temple, where it continued .

A MEMBER OF THE JDL DEFACING THE FOODBENDERS STOREFRONT (PHOTO: TWITTER)
Toronto

With Canada's largest Jewish as well as Muslim and Arab populations, Toronto can be a lightning rod for de-platforming outrages. In 2007, CanStage, a theater company, decided to cancel its plans to mount a production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie" (a play taken from the writings of the American activist killed in Gaza by an Israeli bulldozer while protesting), and two years later Crow's Theatre presented no more than a few "staged readings" of "Seven Jewish Children" (by British playwright Caryl Churchill). Both plays were critical of Israel, and both of these Toronto productions had been subject to negative lobbying by the pro-Israel lobby who labelled them antisemitic.

A more sensational example of cancel culture occurred when, in 2009, scholars at Queen's University and at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School organized an international conference called "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace." The advisory board of the conference included four Israelis. Yet, pro-Israel organizations including the Jewish Defense League, CIJA, Hasbara, B'nai Brith, and United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto went on the warpath, demanding the conference be cancelled. York University was warned of boycotts and the cessation of donations and was denounced in full-page newspaper ads. When B'nai Brith accused one of the speakers of being a Holocaust denier, a threatened lawsuit forced B'nai Brith to apologize on its web page. When the university refused to cancel the event, the Stephen Harper Conservative federal government ordered the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to reconsider its funding of the event (which the SSHRC refused). The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) set up an independent commission of Inquiry under mathematician Jon Thompson to investigate. The commission and the book that emerged from it (" No Debate: The Israel Lobby and Free Speech at Canadian Universities ," Lorimer 2011) concluded that, although the event went ahead, academic freedom had been grievously damaged.

In 2009, the Koffler Centre for the Arts (associated with Toronto's Jewish community) commissioned an art project from Reena Katz commemorating the history of Kensington Market. But when its executive director discovered that Katz had called Israel an "apartheid state", the organization dissociated itself from the project . As in the Limmud case in Winnipeg, above, and other examples, below, the Kensington exhibit had nothing to do with Israel. But Katz was guilty by association.

In 2011, a master's thesis critical of Israel by University of Toronto student Ben Peto entitled "The Victimhood of the Powerful: White Jews, Zionism and the Racism of Hegemonic Holocaust Education," was roundly denounced by pro-Israel groups , who demanded that the university withdraw their degree. University officials demurred.

For years, pro-Israel organizations have attempted to have the Quds Day march in Toronto entirely shut down. Occurring annually in June and originally sponsored by the Iranian government, the event has drawn fire from pro-Israel organizations, mostly due to the strength of its criticism of the Israeli regime. In March 2019, after consultations with legal specialists and other stakeholders, Toronto city staff reported that shutting down the entire activity was not advisable. After demands to reconsider, staff reported a month later that the city already had means at its disposal to counter specific acts of alleged hate speech. According to this second report , moreover, in response to complaints by pro-Israel advocates about the 2018 rally, Toronto police had concluded "the words spoken during the rally, which were captured and posted to YouTube, did not fit the criteria of a Hate Crime." Undeterred, opponents initiated other actions to disallow the event. The rally went ahead in June 2019, with 1,000 participants and proceeded online amid the coronavirus lockdown in 2020.

In summer of 2019, the Palestine Youth Movement was planning an event at Toronto's Trinity St. Paul's United Church to launch a new scholarship named after Palestinian novelist and nationalist Ghassan Kanafani . B'nai Brith Canada appealed to the board of the church to cancel the event, based on its claims that Kanafani was a spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was implicated in the 1972 Lod Airport Massacre (he was assassinated soon afterward by the Israelis). The church board quickly capitulated . Kanafani has a martyr's cachet among Palestinians similar to that of Josef Trumpeldor for Israeli Jews.

Sometimes the pro-Israel cancel culture crowd targets moderate pro-Israel Jews, too, reminiscent of the toxic internal feuds that tear family businesses apart. In January 2020, York University's Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies canceled a panel discussion about the climate for Jewish students on campuses. The Jewish Defense League boasted online that it was responsible, explaining that it opposed the appearance of moderate Mira Sucharov (which the JDL labelled, incorrectly, a "BDS enabler"). To make the intervention truly bizarre, the JDL also opposed the presence of Alexandre Joffe, who is the editor and BDS monitor for the group Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, which is anti-BDS.

In July 2020, an individual with the Jewish Defense League (JDL) was filmed defacing the storefront of the Foodbenders sandwich shop in Toronto in broad daylight. According to Yves Engler, writing at Mondoweiss :

"JDL thugs held a rally in front of Foodbenders, which has 'I Love Gaza' painted on its window. During their hate fest they scrubbed a Palestinian Lives Matter marking from the sidewalk and, similar to what Jewish supremacist settlers do to Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, someone painted the symbol on the Israeli flag onto the restaurant window. Alongside painting Stars of David on her storefront, Foodbenders' owner Kimberly Hawkins has faced a bevy of online abuse. Hawkins has been called a 'dirty Palestinian whore' and told 'Palestine sucks I will burn your business down' and 'I hope your family gets trapped inside the restaurant when it burns.'"

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Hamilton

For over 25 years, Hamilton has hosted the Gandhi Peace Festival. In 2019, B'nai Brith attempted to have two speakers kicked off the program, organized by McMaster Professor Rama Singh. One of the speakers targeted was Azeezah Kanji, an Islamic law scholar and director of programming at the Toronto-based Noor Cultural Centre. The other was McMaster Professor Emeritus Dr. Atif Kubursi, an economist specializing in oil and the Middle East and former Acting Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. He is the recipient of the Canadian Centennial Medal for his outstanding academic contributions. Neither of them was expected to even speak about Palestine at the event, but both had made statements critical of Israel in the past and thus were accused of guilt by association. At B'nai Brith's urging, the Hamilton Jewish Federation withdrew its participation . The event went on without the Federation's participation but with those two speakers presenting.

Institutional Jewish organizations have tried for many years to get university presidents across the country to ban Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). One of the more aggressive campaigns against IAW has been at McMaster University. In 2020, several groups, including the Jewish Defense League and Hillel Ontario asked McMaster University to outlaw the annual event , claiming it makes Jewish students on campus uncomfortable and unsafe. The university declined to comply with the blanket request to shut down the activities. A spokesperson insisted that "The group organizing the event in question is a student group registered with the McMaster Students Union [these] groups are governed by McMaster's Student Code of Conduct, which promotes the safety and security of all students and encourages respect for others."

London

The University of Western Ontario's Student's Council has a long history of trying to de-platform campus organizations devoted to criticism of Israel. At first, it was Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), then UWO Public Interest Research Group (UWO-PIRG). One of the speakers that UWO-PIRG had sponsored (and presumably offended the Student's Council) was renowned Jewish-Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, author of, among other books, " The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine ." The Ontario Human Rights Commission upheld three complaints against the university and one against the Student's Council and required the Student's Council to apologize and to ratify the organizations.

Ottawa

Rehab Nazzal is a multidisciplinary artist of Palestinian origin based in Toronto, some of whose work deals with the harsh treatment of Palestinians by Israel. Nazzal's 2014 exhibition "Invisible" at the Karsh-Masson Art Gallery on the ground floor of city hall in Ottawa was publicly condemned by Israel's ambassador to Canada, and several pro-Israel groups, including B'nai Brith Canada demanded that the mayor cancel the exhibition. The mayor refused, citing freedom of expression. But the city posted a disclaimer outside. The groups also protested the fact that Nazzal had received a financial award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Nazzal later spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in Ottawa and received a standing ovation. In 2015, an Israeli sniper shot Nazzal in the leg while she was photographing a confrontation in Bethlehem. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Israeli spokesperson Eitan Weiss commented , "It's very difficult to ascertain what happens during a riot, because you have to imagine hundreds of people throwing rocks, Molotov cocktails, using live firearms it's very difficult to prove that it ever happened, and it's very difficult to prove that it didn't happen."

Montreal

Zahra Kazemi was an Iranian-Canadian photographer who died in 2003 under mysterious circumstances in an Iranian jail after being arrested for taking pictures of a demonstration in that country. In June 2005, five photographs were pulled from an exhibition of her work at the Côte St Luc (in Montreal) municipal library. The controversial photos were taken in Palestine. A borough official explained that consideration of the borough's large Jewish population played a role in the decision. Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi, refused to let the display continue without the censored photos, arguing that it was an insult to his mother's legacy.

In January 2009, the Combined Jewish Appeal cancelled at the last minute a lecture at its Gelber Centre by the noted Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper. Halper was on a Canada-wide tour to criticize Israel's Operation Cast Lead against Gaza, which killed 1,417 and wounded 5,303 Palestinians. A similar cancellation of Halper occurred in Winnipeg, though Halper filled other auditoriums across the country.

In February 2010, pro-Israel organizations attempted to block the CJPME photo exhibit (see Calgary above) from being shown at the Cinema du Parc theatre. Lawyers for the cinema's landlord insisted that the premises were only "for cinemagraphic [sic] use." The cinema, which had hosted other political displays in the past, refused to back down, and the exhibit went on.

In November 2013, a Limmud Montreal conference (named "Le Mood") funded by the local Jewish federation canceled two presentations by Sarah Woolf , an activist behind "Renounce Birthright" (a website critical of junkets to Israel for Jewish youth). One session was entitled "Where are all the radical Jews?" and another focussed on the history Jewish garment workers in that city. Woolf and co-facilitator Aaron Lakoff wrote on Lakoff's blog: "Ultimately, we've been banned from speaking at Le Mood because of our personal politics (or whatever Le Mood and Federation CJA perceive our respective politics to be), not based on the content of our panels, which were reviewed, accepted, and scheduled months ago." In response to the de-platforming, Lakoff and Woolf set up the presentations in a parking lot outside the main conference site and garnered a crowd of over 100 people.

Halifax

In October 2016, the Halifax Pride Annual General Meeting entertained a motion from the group "Queer Arabs of Halifax." The resolution would disallow the distribution at the annual Pride Fair of materials touting the state of Israel for its alleged LGBT-friendliness. QAH and its allies claimed that these materials allowed for the 'pinkwashing' of Israel's violations of human rights against the Palestinians. Another group, the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project, had collected over 500 names on a petition condemning the pinkwashing. In response, the Atlantic Jewish Council organized hundreds of Jewish community members to attend the AGM to protest and disrupt the vote, although the vast majority of the interlopers were not LGBTQ+. AGM organizers made the controversial decision to allow all attendees at the meeting to vote. This resulted in the defeat of all Israel-critical resolutions and a walkout by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) participants claiming, "Straight white pride wins again." A Palestinian LGBTQ+ participant said the meeting takeover reminded him of the Israeli occupation. Another commentator summed it up thus : "This is a classic example of where one group hides behind the guise of free speech until the moment where they can take their free speech and beat it over the head of everyone else."

During the 2018 Naim Ateek tour mentioned above, the Religious Studies Department of Saint Mary's University, one of the sponsors of the Halifax event, received a letter from B'nai Brith Canada demanding the cancellation of the talk . The department, familiar with Ateek's work and repute, refused, and the event continued.

In June 2019, a Dartmouth, Nova Scotia NDP candidate standing for the 2019 federal election was discovered to have made some tweets a year earlier comparing the Israeli shooting of Gazans in the "March of the Return" to the actions of Nazi Germany. Rana Zaman, a tireless community activist, issued an apology with the help of IJV-Halifax, but the NDP federal office suggested she run it by the Atlantic Jewish Council, the local institutional Jewish organization. The AJC had no response to the apology other than sending Zaman a copy of the IHRA definition, which labels as automatically antisemitic "drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis." The NDP Federal office removed Zaman from the candidacy .

In December 2019, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission bestowed a coveted "Individual Human Rights Award" on Zaman. The Atlantic Jewish Council immediately began a campaign to have Zaman stripped of the award, and the revocation followed a mere ten days later. Jewish institutional organizations refused to accept Zaman's original apology, insisting that it was insincere.

Conclusion

All of the above de-platforming takes a lot of work. And it makes the pro-Israel lobby look like the bullies they are. Right now, there is altogether too much messy debate. Consequently, the lobby wants to build a better mousetrap; one that will alleviate the need to intervene each and every time there is an event or activity criticizing Israel. How much easier if the better mousetrap operates to slam shut automatically, breaking the mouse's neck without untidy arguments and recrimination.

Such a better mousetrap is the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism. As Independent Jewish Voices has pointed out , the IHRA definition is remarkably sloppy and vague. But it does contain eleven "examples" of antisemitism, seven of which involve criticism of Israel.

The lobby is trying to get the IHRA definition adopted by legislatures, city councils, non-governmental organizations, student unions, human rights bodies, police departments, universities, and any forum that could possibly be in a position to shut down or sanction activity critical of Israel. We do not know whether or how the adoption of the IHRA definition by these bodies could actually criminalize criticism of Israel. In Canada, after all, we still have freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

However, we have seen how the mere accusation of antisemitism -- accurate and deserved or entirely bogus -- has been used to hobble political and other types of careers.

We have also seen how the IHRA definition has been used to punish people and organizations who have run afoul of it. The case of the University of Winnipeg cited above is one example. Claiming to have employed the IHRA definition, the university's diversity officer declared the meeting antisemitic, and the university apologized for allowing the meeting to take place.

We have seen that B'nai Brith Canada employs the IHRA definition to decide which occurrences should be added to their audit of antisemitic incidents.

Finally, we have seen that the increasingly open use of the term antisemitic to label those who criticize Israel could encumber legitimate lawsuits for defamation by victims of that slur.

That is why defenders of Palestinian human rights and proponents of peace and justice in the Middle East need to double our vigilance to ensure that the IHRA definition goes no further and that freedom of expression and sanity returns.


A version of this article first appeared in Canadian Dimension on July 10, 2020, and an expanded version appeared in SocialistProject.ca . ANTI-SEMITISM CANADA CANCEL CULTURE FREE SPEECH IHRA DEFINITION INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICES ISRAEL APARTHEID WEEK JEFF HALPER JEWISH DEFENSE LEAGUE MCMASTER UNIVERSITY PINKWASHING SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

[Jul 16, 2020] America is channeling its Inner George Orwell

Jul 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ak74 , Jul 16 2020 2:14 utc | 53

@ vk

"So, in this case, I think there is a significant portion of the American intelligentsia who genuinely believe in this mad thesis that perpetual war will always solve positively all the domestic problems of the USA. I don't think this is pure cynicism: many of those Cold War living fossils really envision an even better America for their children and grandchildren by promoting an all-out war against China, Russia, Iran, North Korea et al - even in the stances where USA proper is attacked and Americans directly die because of it."

America is channeling its Inner George Orwell, as the only solution the Americans have to deal with their fading global hegemony and domestic national implosion is to recycle their old Cold War tactic of Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace.

The United States of Oceania has always been at war with East Asia or Eurasia or Osama Bin Goldstein!

America is truly a sick country, and its worse than any COVID-19.

[Jul 15, 2020] 'Cancel Culture' Letter Really About Stifling Free Speech Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... Jonathan-Cook.net ..."
"... The New York Review of Books ..."
"... for themselves and those like them ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... unless it applies to himself ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... on its merit too ..."
"... This article is from his blog ..."
"... The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News. ..."
Jul 15, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

'Cancel Culture' Letter Really About Stifling Free Speech July 15, 2020 Save

Most of the signers are simply pleading for a return to the status quo, writes Jonathan Cook.

By Jonathan Cook
Jonathan-Cook.net

A n open letter published by Harper's magazine, and signed by dozens of prominent writers and public figures, has focused attention on the apparent dangers of what has been termed a new "cancel culture."

The letter brings together an unlikely alliance of genuine leftists, such as Noam Chomsky and Matt Karp, centrists such as J. K. Rowling and Ian Buruma, and neoconservatives such as David Frum and Bari Weiss, all speaking out in defense of free speech.

Although the letter doesn't explicitly use the term "cancel culture," it is clearly what is meant in the complaint about a "stifling" cultural climate that is imposing "ideological conformity" and weakening "norms of open debate and toleration of differences."

It is easy to agree with the letter's generalized argument for tolerance and free and fair debate. But the reality is that many of those who signed are utter hypocrites, who have shown precisely zero commitment to free speech, either in their words or in their deeds.

Further, the intent of many them in signing the letter is the very reverse of their professed goal: they want to stifle free speech, not protect it.

To understand what is really going on with this letter, we first need to scrutinize the motives , rather than the substance, of the letter.

A New 'Illiberalism'

"Cancel culture" started as the shaming, often on social media, of people who were seen to have said offensive things. But of late, cancel culture has on occasion become more tangible, as the letter notes, with individuals fired or denied the chance to speak at a public venue or to publish their work.

The letter denounces this supposedly new type of "illiberalism":

"We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.

Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; The result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."

Tricky Identity Politics

David Frum in 2013. (Policy Exchange, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The array of signatories is actually more troubling than reassuring. If we lived in a more just world, some of those signing – like Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former U.S. State Department official – would be facing a reckoning before a Hague war crimes tribunal for their roles in promoting "interventions" in Iraq and Libya respectively, not being held up as champions of free speech.

That is one clue that these various individuals have signed the letter for very different reasons.

Chomsky signed because he has been a lifelong and consistent defender of the right to free speech, even for those with appalling opinions such as Holocaust denial.

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Frum, who coined the term "axis of evil" that rationalized the invasion of Iraq, and Weiss, a New York Times columnist, signed because they have found their lives getting tougher. True, it is easy for them to dominate platforms in the corporate media while advocating for criminal wars abroad, and they have paid no career price when their analyses and predictions have turned out to be so much dangerous hokum. But they are now feeling the backlash on university campuses and social media.

Ian Buruma, at right, with the writer Martin Amis at 2007 New Yorker Festival. (CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile, centrists like Buruma and Rowling have discovered that it is getting ever harder to navigate the tricky terrain of identity politics without tripping up. The reputational damage can have serious consequences.

Buruma famously lost his job as editor of The New York Review of Books two years ago after after he published and defended an article that violated the new spirit of the #MeToo movement. And Rowling made the mistake of thinking her followers would be as fascinated by her traditional views on transgender issues as they are by her Harry Potter books.

'Fake News, Russian Trolls'

But the fact that all of these writers and intellectuals agree that there is a price to be paid in the new, more culturally sensitive climate does not mean that they are all equally interested in protecting the right to be controversial or outspoken.

Chomsky, importantly, is defending free speech for all , because he correctly understands that the powerful are only too keen to find justifications to silence those who challenge their power. Elites protect free speech only in so far as it serves their interests in dominating the public space.

If those on the progressive left do not defend the speech rights of everyone, even their political opponents, then any restrictions will soon be turned against them. The Establishment will always tolerate the hate speech of U.S. President Donald Trump or Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the justice speech of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour Party in the U.K.

By contrast, most of the rest of those who signed – the right-wingers and the centrists – are interested in free speech for themselves and those like them . They care about protecting free speech only in so far as it allows them to continue dominating the public space with their views – something they were only too used to until a few years ago, before social media started to level the playing field a little.

The center and the right have been fighting back ever since with claims that anyone who seriously challenges the neoliberal status quo at home and the neoconservative one abroad is promoting "fake news" or is a "Russian troll." This updating of the charge of being "un-American" embodies cancel culture at its very worst.

Social Media Accountability

In other words, apart from the case of a few progressives, the letter is simply special pleading – for a return to the status quo. And for that reason, as we shall see, Chomsky might have been better advised not to have added his name, however much he agrees with the letter's vague, ostensibly pro-free speech sentiments.

What is striking about a significant proportion of those who signed is their self-identification as ardent supporters of Israel. And as Israel's critics know only too well, advocates for Israel have been at the forefront of the cancel culture – from long before the term was even coined.

For decades, pro-Israel activists have sought to silence anyone seen to be seriously critiquing this small, highly militarized state, sponsored by the colonial powers, that was implanted in a region rich with a natural resource, oil, needed to lubricate the global economy, and at a terrible cost to its native, Palestinian population.

Nothing should encourage us to believe that zealous defenders of Israel among those signing the letter have now seen the error of their ways. Their newfound concern for free speech is simply evidence that they have begun to suffer from the very same cancel culture they have always promoted in relation to Israel.

They have lost control of the "cancel culture" because of two recent developments: a rapid growth in identity politics among liberals and leftists, and a new popular demand for "accountability" spawned by the rise of social media.

Cancelling Israel's Critics

Former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn at campaign rally in Glasgow, December 2019. (Jeremy Corbyn, Flickr)

In fact, despite their professions of concern, the evidence suggests that some of those signing the letter have been intensifying their own contribution to cancel culture in relation to Israel, rather than contesting it.

That is hardly surprising. The need to counter criticism of Israel has grown more pressing as Israel has more obviously become a pariah state. Israel has refused to countenance peace talks with the Palestinians and it has intensified its efforts to realize long-harbored plans to annex swaths of the West Bank in violation of international law.

Rather than allow "robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters" on Israel, Israel's supporters have preferred the tactics of those identified in the letter as enemies of free speech: "swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought."

Just ask Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labour Party who was reviled, along with his supporters, as an anti-Semite – one of the worst smears imaginable – by several people on the Harper's list, including Rowling and Weiss . Such claims were promoted even though his critics could produce no actual evidence of an antisemitism problem in the Labour party.

Similarly, think of the treatment of Palestinian solidarity activists who support a boycott of Israel (BDS), modelled on the one that helped push South Africa's leaders into renouncing apartheid. BDS activists too have been smeared as anti-Semites – and Weiss again has been a prime offender .

Pro-Israel counter demonstration against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions demonstration outside School of Oriental and African Studies in London, April 2017. (Philafrenzy, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The incidents highlighted in the Harper's letter in which individuals have supposedly been cancelled is trivial compared to the cancelling of a major political party and of a movement that stands in solidarity with a people who have been oppressed for decades.

And yet how many of these free speech warriors have come forward to denounce the fact that leftists -- including many Jewish anti-Zionists -- have been pilloried as anti-Semites to prevent them from engaging in debates about Israel's behavior and its abuses of Palestinian rights?

How many of them have decried the imposition of a new definition of anti-Semitism, by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, that has been rapidly gaining ground in Western countries?

That definition is designed to silence a large section of the left by prioritising the safety of Israel from being criticised before the safety of Jews from being vilified and attacked – something that even the lawyer who authored the definition has come to regret .

Why has none of this "cancel culture" provoked an open letter to Harper's from these champions of free speech?

Double-Edge Sword

The truth is that many of those who signed the letter are defending not free speech but their right to continue dominating the public square – and their right to do so without being held accountable.

Bari Weiss, before she landed a job at The Wall Street Journal and then The New York Times , spent her student years trying to get Muslim professors fired from her university – cancelling them – because of their criticism of Israel. And she explicitly did so under the banner of "academic freedom," claiming pro-Israel students felt intimidated in the classroom.

The New York Civil Liberties Union concluded that it was Weiss, not the professors, who was the real threat to academic freedom. This was not some youthful indiscretion. In a book last year Weiss cited her efforts to rid Columbia university of these professors as a formative experience on which she still draws.

Weiss and many of the others listed under the letter are angry that the rhetorical tools they used for so long to stifle the free speech of others have now been turned against them. Those who lived for so long by the sword of identity politics – on Israel, for example – are worried that their reputations may die by that very same sword – on issues of race, sex and gender.

[Weiss just quit her post at The New York Times , citing an illiberal environment. As part of her full statement she writes, "Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions."]

Narcissistic Concern

To understand how the cancel culture is central to the worldview of many of these writers and intellectuals, and how blind they are to their own complicity in that culture, consider the case of Jonathan Freedland, a columnist with the supposedly liberal-left British newspaper The Guardian . Although Freedland is not among those signing the letter, he is very much aligned with the centrists among them and, of course, supported the letter in an article published in The Guardian.

Freedland, we should note, led the "cancel culture" campaign against the Labour Party referenced above. He was one of the key figures in Britain's Jewish community who breathed life into the anti-Semitism smears against Corbyn and his supporters.

Jonathan Freedland in 2013. (Chatham House, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

But note the brief clip below. In it, Freedland's voice can be heard cracking as he explains how he has been a victim of the cancel culture himself: he confesses that he has suffered verbal and emotional abuse at the hands of Israel's most extreme apologists – those who are even more unapologetically pro-Israel than he is.

He reports that he has been called a "kapo," the term for Jewish collaborators in the Nazi concentration camps, and a "sonderkommando," the Jews who disposed of the bodies of fellow Jews killed in the gas chambers. He admits such abuse "burrows under your skin" and "hurts tremendously."

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And yet, despite the personal pain he has experienced of being unfairly accused, of being cancelled by a section of his own community, Freedland has been at the forefront of the campaign to tar critics of Israel, including anti-Zionist Jews, as anti-Semites on the flimsiest of evidence.

He is entirely oblivious to the ugly nature of the cancel culture – unless it applies to himself . His concern is purely narcissistic. And so it is with the majority of those who signed the letter.

Conducting a Monologue

The letter's main conceit is the pretence that "illiberalism" is a new phenomenon, that free speech is under threat, and that the cancel culture only arrived at the moment it was given a name.

That is simply nonsense. Anyone over the age of 35 can easily remember a time when newspapers and websites did not have a talkback section, when blogs were few in number and rarely read, and when there was no social media on which to challenge or hold to account "the great and the good."

Writers and columnists like those who signed the letter were then able to conduct a monologue in which they revealed their opinions to the rest of us as if they were Moses bringing down the tablets from the mountaintop.

In those days, no one noticed the cancel culture – or was allowed to remark on it. And that was because only those who held approved opinions were ever given a media platform from which to present those opinions.

Before the digital revolution, if you dissented from the narrow consensus imposed by the billionaire owners of the corporate media, all you could do was print your own primitive newsletter and send it by post to the handful of people who had heard of you.

That was the real cancel culture. And the proof is in the fact that many of those formerly obscure writers quickly found they could amass tens of thousands of followers – with no help from the traditional corporate media – when they had access to blogs and social media.

Silencing the Left

Occupy Wall Street protesters engaging in the "human microphone," Sept. 30 2011. (David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Which brings us to the most troubling aspect of the open letter in Harper's . Under cover of calls for tolerance, given credibility by Chomsky's name, a proportion of those signing actually want to restrict the free speech of one section of the population – the part influenced by Chomsky.

They are not against the big cancel culture from which they have benefited for so long. They are against the small cancel culture – the new more chaotic, and more democratic, media environment we currently enjoy – in which they are for the first time being held to account for their views, on a range of issues including Israel.

Just as Weiss tried to get professors fired under the claim of academic freedom, many of these writers and public figures are using the banner of free speech to discredit speech they don't like, speech that exposes the hollowness of their own positions.

Their criticisms of "cancel culture" are really about prioritizing "responsible" speech, defined as speech shared by centrists and the right that shores up the status quo. They want a return to a time when the progressive left – those who seek to disrupt a manufactured consensus, who challenge the presumed verities of neoliberal and neoconservative orthodoxy – had no real voice.

The new attacks on "cancel culture" echo the attacks on Bernie Sanders' supporters, who were framed as "Bernie Bros" – the evidence-free allegation that he attracted a rabble of aggressive, women-hating men who tried to bully others into silence on social media.

Bernie Sanders' 2020 Campaign Co-chair Nina Turner at Los Angeles City Hall rally, March 2019. (Sara Mossman, Flickr)

Just as this claim was used to discredit Sanders' policies, so the center and the right now want to discredit the left more generally by implying that, without curbs, they too will bully everyone else into silence and submission through their "cancel culture."

If this conclusion sounds unconvincing, consider that President Donald Trump could easily have added his name to the letter alongside Chomsky's. Trump used his recent Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore to make similar points to the Harper's letter. He at least was explicit in equating "cancel culture" with what he called "far-left fascism":

"One of [the left's] political weapons is 'Cancel Culture' -- driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters, and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly."

Trump, in all his vulgarity, makes plain what the Harper's letter, in all its cultural finery, obscures. That attacks on the new "cancel culture" are simply another front – alongside supposed concerns about "fake news" and "Russian trolls" – in the establishment's efforts to limit speech by the left.

Attention Redirected

This is not to deny that there is fake news on social media or that there are trolls, some of them even Russian. Rather, it is to point out that our attention is being redirected, and our concerns manipulated by a political agenda.

Despite the way it has been presented in the corporate media, fake news on social media has been mostly a problem of the right. And the worst examples of fake news – and the most influential – are found not on social media at all, but on the front pages of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times .

What genuinely fake news on Facebook has ever rivalled the lies justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that were knowingly peddled by a political elite and their stenographers in the corporate media. Those lies led directly to more than a million Iraqi deaths, turned millions more into refugees, destroyed an entire country, and fuelled a new type of nihilistic Islamic extremism whose effects we are still feeling.

Most of the worst lies from the current period – those that have obscured or justified U.S. interference in Syria and Venezuela, or rationalized war crimes against Iran, or approved the continuing imprisonment of Julian Assange for exposing war crimes – can only be understood by turning our backs on the corporate media and looking to experts who can rarely find a platform outside of social media.

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Algorithms Changed

I say this as someone who has concerns about the fashionable focus on identity politics rather than class politics. I say it also as someone who rejects all forms of cancel culture – whether it is the old-style, "liberal" cancel culture that imposes on us a narrow "consensus" politics (the Overton window), or the new "leftwing" cancel culture that too often prefers to focus on easy cultural targets like Rowling than the structural corruption of western political systems.

But those who are impressed by the letter simply because Chomsky's name is attached should beware. Just as "fake news" has provided the pretext for Google and social media platforms to change their algorithms to vanish leftwingers from searches and threads, just as "antisemitism" has been redefined to demonise the left, so too the supposed threat of "cancel culture" will be exploited to silence the left.

Protecting Bari Weiss and J K Rowling from a baying leftwing "mob" – a mob that that claims a right to challenge their views on Israel or trans issues – will become the new rallying cry from the Establishment for action against "irresponsible" or "intimidating" speech.

Progressive leftists who join these calls out of irritation with the current focus on identity politics, or because they fear being labelled an antisemite, or because they mistakenly assume that the issue really is about free speech, will quickly find that they are the main targets.

In defending free speech, they will end up being the very ones who are silenced.

UPDATE:

Noam Chomsky. (Duncan Rawlinson)

You don't criticize Chomsky however tangentially and respectfully – at least not from a left perspective – without expecting a whirlwind of opposition from those who believe he can never do any wrong.

But one issue that keeps being raised on my social media feeds in his defense is just plain wrong-headed, so I want to quickly address it. Here's one my followers expressing the point succinctly:

"The sentiments in the letter stand or fall on their own merits, not on the characters or histories of some of the signatories, nor their future plans."

The problem, as I'm sure Chomsky would explain in any other context, is that this letter fails not just because of the other people who signed it but on its merit too . And that's because, as I explain above, it ignores the most oppressive and most established forms of cancel culture, as Chomsky should have been the first to notice.

Highlighting the small cancel culture, while ignoring the much larger, Establishment-backed cancel culture, distorts our understanding of what is at stake and who wields power.

Chomsky unwittingly just helped a group of mostly Establishment stooges skew our perceptions of free speech problems so that we side with them against ourselves. There is no way that can be a good thing.

UPDATE 2:

There are still people holding out against the idea that it harmed the left to have Chomsky sign this letter. And rather than address their points individually, let me try another way of explaining my argument:

Why has Chomsky not signed a letter backing the furor over "fake news," even though there is some fake news on social media? Why has he not endorsed the "Bernie Bros" narrative, even though doubtless there are some bullying Sanders supporters on social media? Why has he not supported the campaign claiming the Labour Party has an anti-Semitism problem, even though there are some anti-Semites in the Labour Party (as there are everywhere)?

He hasn't joined any of those campaigns for a very obvious reason – because he understands how power works, and that on the left you hit up, not down. You certainly don't cheerlead those who are up as they hit down.

Chomsky understands this principle only too well because here he is setting it out in relation to Iran:

"Suppose I criticise Iran. What impact does that have? The only impact it has is in fortifying those who want to carry out policies I don't agree with, like bombing."

For exactly the same reason he has not joined those pillorying Iran – because his support would be used for nefarious ends – he shouldn't have joined this campaign. He made a mistake. He's fallible.

Also, this isn't about the left eating itself. Really, Chomsky shouldn't be the issue. The issue should be that a bunch of centrists and right-wingers used this letter to try to reinforce a narrative designed to harm the left, and lay the groundwork for further curbs on its access to social media. But because Chomsky signed the letter, many more leftists are now buying into that narrative – a narrative intended to harm them. That's why Chomsky's role cannot be ignored, nor his mistake glossed over.

UPDATE 3:

Apologies for yet another update. I had not anticipated how many ways people on the left might find to justify this letter.

Here's the latest reasoning. Apparently, the letter sets an important benchmark that can in future be used to protect free speech by the left when we are threatened with being "cancelled" – as, for example, with the anti-Semitism smears that were used against anti-Zionist Jews and other critics of Israel in the Labour Party.

I should hardly need to point out how naive this argument is. It completely ignores how power works in our societies: who gets to decide what words mean and how principles are applied. This letter won't help the left because "cancel culture" is being framed – by this letter, by Trump, by the media – as a "loony left" problem. It is a new iteration of the "politically correct gone mad" discourse, and it will be used in exactly the same way.

It won't help Steven Salaita, sacked from a university job because he criticized Israel's killing of civilians in Gaza, or Chris Williamson, the Labour MP expelled because he defended the party's record on being anti-racist.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-3&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1281281345243799552&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2020%2F07%2F15%2Fcancel-culture-letter-really-about-stifling-free-speech%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

The "cancel culture" furor isn't interested in the fact that they were "cancelled." Worse still, this moral panic turns the whole idea of cancelling on its head: it is Salaita and Williamson who are accused – and found guilty – of doing the cancelling, of cancelling Israel and Jews.

Israel's supporters will continue to win this battle by claiming that criticism of Israel "cancels" that country ("wipes it off the map"), "cancels" Israel's Jewish population ("drives them into the sea"), and "cancels" Jews more generally ("denies a central component of modern Jewish identity").

Greater awareness of "cancel culture" would not have saved Corbyn from the anti-Semitism smears because the kind of cancel culture that smeared Corbyn is never going to be defined as "cancelling."

For anyone who wishes to see how this works in practice, watch Guardian columnist Owen Jones cave in – as he has done so often – to the power dynamics of the "cancel culture" discourse in this interview with Sky News. I actually agree with almost everything Jones says in this clip, apart from his joining yet again in the witch-hunt against Labour's anti-Zionists. He doesn't see that witch-hunt as "cancel culture," and neither will anyone else with a large platform like his to protect:

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-4&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1281957010880307201&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2020%2F07%2F15%2Fcancel-culture-letter-really-about-stifling-free-speech%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. S upport his work via his blog.

This article is from his blog Jonathan Cook.net .

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

[Jul 15, 2020] Chris Hedges- Don t be Fooled by the Cancel Culture Wars by Chris Hedges

Notable quotes:
"... The cancel culture -- the phenomenon of removing or canceling people, brands or shows from the public domain because of offensive statements or ideologies -- is not a threat to the ruling class. Hundreds of corporations, nearly all in the hands of white executives and white board members, enthusiastically pumped out messages on social media condemning racism and demanding justice after George Floyd was choked to death by police in Minneapolis. ..."
Jul 14, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

ScheerPost.com

The cancel culture -- the phenomenon of removing or canceling people, brands or shows from the public domain because of offensive statements or ideologies -- is not a threat to the ruling class. Hundreds of corporations, nearly all in the hands of white executives and white board members, enthusiastically pumped out messages on social media condemning racism and demanding justice after George Floyd was choked to death by police in Minneapolis. Police, which along with the prison system are one of the primary instruments of social control over the poor, have taken the knee, along with Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of the serially criminal JPMorgan Chase , where only 4 percent of the top executives are black . Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world whose corporation, Amazon, paid no federal income taxes last year and who fires workers that attempt to unionize and tracks warehouse laborers as if they were prisoners, put a "Black Lives Matter" banner on Amazon's home page.

The rush by the ruling elites to profess solidarity with the protestors and denounce racist rhetoric and racist symbols, supporting the toppling of Confederate statues and banning the Confederate flag, are symbolic assaults on white supremacy. Alone, these gestures will do nothing to reverse the institutional racism that is baked into the DNA of American society. The elites will discuss race. They will not discuss class.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1269162731522883584&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fconsortiumnews.com%2F2020%2F07%2F14%2Fchris-hedges-dont-be-fooled-by-the-cancel-culture-wars%2F&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

We must be wary of allowing those wielding the toxic charge of racism, no matter how well intentioned their motives, to decide who has a voice and who does not. Public shaming and denunciation, as any student of the Russian, French or Chinese revolutions knows, is one that leads to absurdism and finally despotism. Virulent racists, such as Richard Spencer, exist. They are dangerous. But racism will not end until we dismantle a class system that was created to empower oligarchic oppression and white supremacy. Racism will not end until we defund the police and abolish the world's largest system of mass incarceration. Racism will not end until we invest in people rather than systems of control. This means reparations for African-Americans, the unionization of workers, massive government jobs programs, breaking up and nationalizing the big banks along with the for-profit health services, transportation sector, the internet, privatized utilities and the fossil fuel industry, as well as a Green New Deal and the slashing of our war expenditures by 75 percent.

Occupy Wall Street Sept. 25, 2011. (David Shankbone via Flickr)

Politically correct speech and symbols of inclusiveness, without a concerted assault on corporate power, will do nothing to change a system that by design casts the poor and working poor, often people of color, aside -- Karl Marx called them surplus labor -- and forces them into a life of misery and a brutal criminal caste system.

The cancel culture, with its public shaming on social media, is the boutique activism of the liberal elites. It allows faux student radicals to hound and attack those deemed to be racist or transphobic, before these "radicals" graduate to work for corporations such as Goldman Sachs, which last year paid $9 million in fines to settle federal allegations of racial and gender pay bias. Self-styled Marxists in the academy have been pushed out of economic departments and been reborn as irrelevant cultural and literary critics, employing jargon so obscure as to be unreadable. These "radical" theorists invest their energy in linguistic acrobatics and multiculturalism, with branches such as feminism studies, queer studies and African-American studies. The inclusion of voices often left out of the traditional academic canon certainly enriches the university. But multiculturalism, moral absolutism and the public denunciations of apostates, by themselves, too often offer escape routes from critiquing and attacking the class structures and systems of economic oppression that exclude and impoverish the poor and the marginal.

The hedge fund managers, oligarchs and corporate CEOs on college trustee boards don't care about Marxist critiques of Joseph Conrad. They do care if students are being taught to dissect the lies of the neoliberal ideology used as a cover to orchestrate the largest transference of wealth upwards in American history.

The cancel culture, shorn of class politics, is the parlor game of the overeducated. If we do not examine, as Theodor Adorno wrote, the "societal play of forces that operate beneath the surface of political forms," we will be continually cursed with a more ruthless and sophisticated form of corporate control, albeit one that is linguistically sensitive and politically correct.

"Stripped of a radical idiom, robbed of a utopian hope, liberals and leftists retreat in the name of progress to celebrate diversity," historian Russell Jacoby writes. "With few ideas on how a future should be shaped, they embrace all ideas. Pluralism becomes a catchall, the alpha and omega of political thinking. Dressed up as multicultural, it has become the opium of disillusioned intellectuals, the ideology of an era without an ideology."

The cudgel of racism, as I have experienced, is an effective tool to shut down debate. Students for Justice in Palestine organizations, which almost always include Jewish students, are being banned on college campuses in the name of fighting racism. Activists in these outlawed groups are often barred from holding any student leadership positions on campus. Professors that dare to counter the Zionist narrative, such as the Palestinian American scholar Steven Salaita, have had job offers rescinded, been fired or denied tenure and dismissed. Norman Finkelstein, one of the most important scholars on the Israel-Palestine conflict, has been ruthlessly targeted by the Israel lobby throughout his career, making it impossible for him to get tenure or academic appointments. Never mind, that he is not only Jewish but the son of Holocaust survivors. Jews, in this game, are branded as racists, and actual racists, such as Donald Trump, because they back Israel's refusal to recognize Palestinian rights, are held up as friends of the Jewish people.

May Day 2015 demonstration at Union Square, New York City. (All-Nite Images, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

I have long been a target of the Israeli lobby. The lobby, usually working through Hillel Houses on college campuses, which function as little more than outposts of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), does not attempt to address my enumeration of the war crimes committed by Israel, many of which I witnessed, the egregious flouting by Israel of international law, exacerbated by the plans to annex up to 30 percent of the West Bank, or the historical record ignored and distorted by the lobby to justify Jewish occupation of a country that from the 7 th century until 1948 was Muslim. The lobby prefers not to deal in the world of facts. It misuses the trope of anti-Semitism to ensure that those who speak up for Palestinian rights and denounce Israeli occupation are not invited to events on Israel-Palestine conflict, or are disinvited to speak after invitations have been sent out, as happened to me at the University of Pennsylvania, among other venues.

It does not matter that I spent seven years in the Middle East, or that I was the Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times , living for weeks at a time in the Israel-occupied territories. It does not matter that I speak Arabic. My voice and the voices of those, especially Palestinians, who document the violations of Palestinian civil rights are canceled out by the mendacious charge that we are racists. I doubt most of the college administrators who agree to block our appearances believe we are racists, but they don't also want the controversy. Zionism is the cancel culture on steroids.

The Israel lobby, whose interference in our electoral process dwarfs that of any other country, including Russia, is now attempting to criminalize the activities of those, such as myself, who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The lobby, with its huge financial clout, is pushing state legislatures, in the name of fighting anti-Semitism, to use anti-boycott laws and executive orders to punish companies and individuals that promote BDS. Twenty-seven states have so far enacted laws or policies that penalize businesses, organizations and individuals for supporting BDS.

AIPAC gathering. (Wikimedia Commons)

The debate about the excesses of cancel culture was most recently ignited by a letter signed by 153 prominent and largely privileged writers and intellectuals in Harper's Magazine , a publication for educated, white liberals. Critics of the letter argue , correctly, that "nowhere in it do the signatories mention how marginalized voices have been silenced for generations in journalism, academia, and publishing." These critics also point out, correctly, that signatories include those, such as The New York Times columnist David Brooks and Malcolm Gladwell, with access to huge media platforms and who face no danger of being silenced. They finally note that a few of the signatories are the most vicious proponents of the Zionist cancel culture, including The New York Times editor Bari Weiss, who led campaigns while at Columbia University to destroy the careers of Arab professors ; literary scholar Cary Nelson, who was one of those who denounced the Palestinian American scholar Salaita as a racist; and political scientist Yascha Mounk, who has attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar as an anti-Semite.

I find the cancel culture and its public denunciations as distasteful as those who signed the letter. But these critics are battling a monster of their own creation. The institutional and professional power of those targeted by the Harper's letter is insignificant, especially when set against that of the signatories or the Israel lobby. Those singled out for attack pose little threat to the systems of entrenched power, which the signatories ironically represent, and indeed are more often its victims. I suspect this is the reason for the widespread ire the letter provoked.

The most ominous threats to free speech and public debate do not come from the cancel culture of the left, which rarely succeeds in removing its targets from power, despite a few high profile firings such as James Bennet , who oversaw a series of tone-deaf editorial decisions as the opinion page editor at The New York Times. These corporate forces, which assure us that Black Lives Matter, understand that the left's witch hunts are a harmless diversion.

Corporations have seized control of the news industry and turned it into burlesque. They have corrupted academic scholarship. They make war on science and the rule of law. They have used their wealth to destroy our democracy and replace it with a system of legalized bribery. They have created a world of masters and serfs who struggle at subsistence level and endure crippling debt peonage. The commodification of the natural world by corporations has triggered an ecocide that is pushing the human species closer and closer towards extinction. Anyone who attempts to state these truths and fight back was long ago driven from the mainstream and relegated to the margins of the internet by Silicon Valley algorithms. As cancel culture goes, corporate power makes the Israel lobby look like amateurs.

The current obsession with moral purity, devoid of a political vision and incubated by self-referential academics and educated elites, is easily co-opted by the ruling class who will say anything, as long as the mechanisms of corporate control remain untouched. We have enemies. They run Silicon Valley and sit on corporate boards. They make up the two ruling political parties. They manage the war industry. They chatter endlessly on corporate-owned airwaves about trivia and celebrity gossip. Our enemies are now showering us with politically correct messages. But until they are overthrown, until we wrest power back from our corporate masters, the most insidious forms of racism in America will continue to flourish.

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times , where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News , The Christian Science Monitor and NPR. He wrote a weekly column for the progressive website Truthdig for 14 years until he was fired along with all of the editorial staff in March 2020. [Hedges and the staff had gone on strike earlier in the month to protest the publisher's attempt to fire the Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer, demand an end to a series of unfair labor practices and the right to form a union.] He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show "On Contact."

This column is from Scheerpost , for which Chris Hedges writes a regular column twice a month. Click here to sign up for email alerts.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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Tags: AIPAC cancel culture Chris Hedges corporate media Neoliberalism Oligarchy

Post navigation ← The Impossible Dream Woodrow Wilson's Racism & His Support For Zionism → 10 comments for " Chris Hedges: Don't be Fooled by the Cancel Culture Wars "

jdawg , July 14, 2020 at 19:35

:::stands up slowly::: :::starts a slow clap::: Reading Chris Hedges is like dancing with the truth. Well done, sir.

Chumpsky , July 14, 2020 at 19:34

Cancel culture comes across as more of a form of woke guerilla marketing than as a phenomenon supported by the economically exploited. Ex. all the FAANG companies that are essentially propping up the stock market – see how quickly they've embraced this "culture" when they realized it was excellent for business.

IMO, such is a trend, and it too, will pass -- when folks realize that the powers that be have hijacked their ideas for profit. Lesson learned: when fringe goes mainstream it's all over – 1960's redux.

Litchfield , July 14, 2020 at 17:04

"I find the cancel culture and its public denunciations as distasteful as those who signed the letter. But these critics are battling a monster of their own creation. The institutional and professional power of those targeted by the Harper's letter is insignificant, especially when set against that of the signatories or the Israel lobby. Those singled out for attack pose little threat to the systems of entrenched power, which the signatories ironically represent, and indeed are more often its victims. I suspect this is the reason for the widespread ire the letter provoked."

Basically I agree with Hedges. But I cannot follwo what he is saying in this graf.

Also this:
"As cancel culture goes, corporate power makes the Israel lobby look like amateurs."

What? I thought the beginning portion of the piece was about the power of AIPAC and other Israel Lobby entities to shape narrative and cancel out those who defend Palestinian rights.

IMO and for my understanding t he essay wanders toward the end until I am not sure who Hedges thinks is doing the actual canceling and who is actually powerful: Israel lobby? corporate interests? Misguided young people?

Andrew Thomas , July 14, 2020 at 15:43

A beautifully written argument. Cheers to Chris Hedges and Robert Scheer and Consortium News.

Cal Lash , July 14, 2020 at 15:11

Excellent. Thanks.

Skip Scott , July 14, 2020 at 14:05

Great article as always from Chris Hedges. Jonathan Cook also has an excellent article published today at Global Research regarding the open letter from Harper's. Censorship is never the answer.

firstpersoninfinite , July 14, 2020 at 13:51

Chris Hedges and Cornel West are always worth listening to and/or reading. Very pleased to have the actual situation with "cancel culture" brought into light with such clarity. We are living in the rarefied air of late-stage capitalism, in which an identifying feature is more important than our collective humanity. When someone argues over their right to their particular piece of pie while arguing against sharing the whole pie, I can't tell if they're an academic or a billionaire. All I hear is the ca-ching of people protecting the last scraps thrown to them by an inhuman system.

DW Bartoo , July 14, 2020 at 13:34

Chris Hedges, in this article, lays out substantial portions of the many corruptions people of conscience and actual principle must confront if a sane, humane, and sustainable global human society is to be established.

He briefly suggests that, in academia in particular, there are to be found very few articulated visions of what that society could, should, and must be premised upon, how it might function, and what forms of critically necessary participatory democracy, guiding such a society, would look, and feel, like.

He makes very clear that symbolic "progress" is simply a rhetorical deceit employed to ensure that the currently destructive, and fully corrupt, "system" may prevail, even as many are lulled into believing that "things" are "improving", that semantic fiddling will keep the fire, next time, harmlessly contained and its energy bent and dissipated into meaningless gesture.

As Hedges points out, were universities, indeed, all of education, dedicated to developing critical thinking, rather than to breathlessly proclaiming the sandbox "politics" of childish bullies as being highly evolved example of social competence, or of praising private equity as proof that vulture capitalism is the "end of history", or of touting Panglossian pronouncements of U$ian virtue and exceptionalism as inevitably placing all of humankind in the pinker regions of a rose-colored present, then the young might, intentionally, be provided with the tools of actually comprehending the massive fraud and corruption which controls and curtails the lives of most human beings on this planet, to the immense benefit of approximately two thousand kakistocratic elites.

In other articles, over the years, Hedges has stressed, time and again, that there is no guarantee of success in the struggle which must be undertaken if humanity is to have any future at all.

Some may regard such sober assessment as "negative" or even "defeatist".

However, considering what we are up against, beyond the relatively "easy" target of symbols, it is the deeper recognition that Hedges provides, which is the first real step toward understanding what must be changed and why.

And, unless, there is a clearly articulated destination, a coherent idea of where we wish to arrive, of the pathways, maps, and a developed sense of the terrain that must be crossed, fraught, as it will be, with pitfalls and land mines of distraction, and of being maliciously led astray, with "movements" being absorbed into dead end detours and dissipation, then a very real risk of going nowhere, of becoming disoriented and fatally lost, is more than likely.

We may not envision defeat, yet it is foolhardy to assume success.

As there are, quite literally, no existing forums for such discussions and considerations as we must enjoin, it is to be hoped that "education" will be understood as a group effort which, of necessity, involves listening quite as much as talking.

Frankly, we are not even to square #1, yet.

Getting there will not be easy.

And that, rather than toppling symbols, is only the beginning.

Clear strategy must evolve, which cannot happen until organization with the intent of engaging a coherent sense of collective plight is first undertaken.

This process is not about saviors or awaiting some "one" who will magically provide a guaranteed plan of success.

Rather, it is about the hard slog of getting from the untenable moment of increasing precarity, to an shared awareness of individual competence and wholeness, among the many.

That is the basis of the power and energy which we must bring into being.

We must find it in each of our selves and then encourage it in each other.

That may well sound both trite and obvious.

Yet it leads to a beginning, not of following, but of becoming.

James Whitney , July 14, 2020 at 13:13

Thanks to Chris Hedges for this informative article.

"Twenty-seven states have so far enacted laws or policies that penalize businesses, organizations and individuals for supporting BDS."

BDS is also illegal in France since 2015 (not the fault of the dreadful president Macron, it was the "socialist" Hollande president at that time). A reference is

hXXps://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2015/11/06/l-appel-au-boycott-de-produits-israeliens-est-illegal_4804334_1653578.html

which seems now to be no longer available, but the link indicates the content.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , July 14, 2020 at 11:39

Yes, Chris Hedges has it exactly right.

But look at so very much of American society – especially the young – involved in the almost game-like empty battles about slogans on t-shirts.

Social media could almost have been a security services invention.

I don't know whose words can reach those people.

I'm afraid a great many have little more grasp of the realities of history and the shaping of their society than Trump has.

And in a sense, I think it is a continuation of a politics that rarely struggles with anything important. Too much invested in wealth and serving wealth, as with the empire.

[Jul 14, 2020] Harper's -Bizarre- Letter The Woke Revolution -

Jul 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Harper's "Bizarre" Letter & The Woke Revolution by Tyler Durden Sun, 07/12/2020 - 23:00 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Paul Craig Roberts,

150 prominent intellectuals and Ivy League academics of leftish persuasion have signed a letter in Harper's protesting the breakdown in civilized debate and imposition of ideological conformity.

The signatories made the obligatory bow to denouncing Trump as "a real threat to democracy" and called for "greater equality and inclusion across our society."

But this wasn't enough to save them from denunciation for stating these truthful facts:

" The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought.

More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.

Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement."

The signatories to the letter do not understand that time has passed them by. Free speech is no longer a value. Free speach is an ally of oppression because it permits charges against Western civilization and the white racist oppressors to be answered, and facts are not welcome. The purpose of the woke revolution is to overthrow a liberal society and impose conformity with wokeness in its place. Whiteness has been declared evil. There is nothing to debate.

The signatories do not understand that today there is only one side. In place of debate there is denunciation, the purpose of which is to impose ideological conformity. It is pointless to search for truth when truth has been revealed: Western civilization and all its works are a white racist construct and must be destroyed. There is nothing to debate.

To make clear that in these revolutionary times not even prominent people of accomplishment such as Noam Chomsky are entitled to a voice different from woke-imposed conformity, the letter was answered by a condescending statement signed by a long list of woke journalists of no distinction or achievement , people no one has ever heard of.

The 150 prominent defenders of free speech were simply dismissed as no longer relevant.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Noam Chomsky and the other prominent signatories were dismissed as irrelevant just as the prominent historians were who took exception to the New York Times 1619 project, a packet of lies and anti-white propaganda. The famous historians found that they weren't relevant. The New York Times has an agenda that is independent of the facts.

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The message is clear: shutup "white, wealthy" people and you also Thomas Chatterton Williams, a black person with a white name. Your voices of oppression have been cancelled.

The "oppressed" and "marginalized" voices of woke revolutionaries, who have imposed tyranny in universities, the work place, and via social media, are the ones that now control explanations. No one is permitted to disagree with them.

Lining up on the woke side are CNN , New York Times , Los Angeles Times , Slate , and other presstitute organizations desperately trying to remain relevant. Everyone of these institutions quickly took the side of the woke revolution against facts and free speech.

The revolution is over unless the guillotine is next. Academic freedom no longer exists. Free speech no longer exists. The media is a propaganda ministry. Without free speech there can be no answer to denunciation. White people are guilty. Period.

me name=


[Jul 11, 2020] Free Speech Fantasies- the Harper's Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism by ANTHONY DIMAGGIO

Highly recommended!
May good ideas about the level of suppression of "free thought" in US universities.
But this Red Guard persecution are really bizarre and contradict all moral norms.
Notable quotes:
"... One of the main problems with this sort of lofty rhetoric is that it misrepresents the severely deficient reality of American political discourse. We live in a period when the rise of neoliberal capitalism and untrammeled corporate power have cheapened "public" political discourse to serve the interests of plutocratic wealth and power, while assaulting notions of the common good and the public health. Idealistic rhetoric about exploring diverse views falls flat, and is a mischaracterization of reality to the deficiencies in U.S. political discourse under neoliberal corporate capitalism, when debates are perverted by political and economic elites who have contempt for the free exchange of ideas. ..."
"... Ours is a reactionary culture, which celebrates ideas that service political and economic power centers. In this society, views that are elevated to being worthy of discussion include milquetoast liberal values that are sympathetic (or at least not antagonistic) to corporate power, apolitical content that's aimed at mindless entertainment and political diversion, and reactionary authoritarian views that border on fascistic, but are vital to demonizing immigrants, people of color, and other minorities, and reinforce a white patriarchal corporate power structure. Radical lefties, or even progressive-leftists, need not apply to be included in this circumscribed discourse. Their views are routinely blacklisted from the mass media, and are increasingly marginalized in higher educational institutions. ..."
"... My understanding of how the mass media operates is based on extensive personal experiences, and those from countless left intellectuals I know. Many of us have struggled (and mostly failed) to break into "mainstream" discourse because of the limited space in corporate news devoted to marginalized perspectives. With this marginalization comes the near erasure of critical views, including those seeking to spotlight record (and rising) economic inequality, repressive institutions that reinforce racial, gender and transphobic systems of repression, the corporate ecocidal assault on the environment, the rise of unbridled corporate power and plutocracy, the rising authoritarianism in American politics, and the increasingly reactionary and fascistic rhetoric that has taken over the American right. ..."
"... Reflecting on my own experiences within this system, the very notion of academics serving as public intellectuals has been under systematic assault by the rise of a "professionalization" culture that depicts political engagement as "biased," "unprofessional," and "unacceptable." Whatever lingering commitment to higher education as a public good was rolled back decades ago with the rise of corporatized academic "professional" norms. Scholars are now primarily concerned with publishing in esoteric, jargon-laden journals that no one reads, and almost no one cites, while elevating a discussion of the methods of how one does research over a discussion of the political and social significance of our work. In this process, there's been a suppression of any commitment to producing active citizens who see themselves as having an ethical or moral responsibility to be regularly politically engaged. ..."
"... The reactionary "professionalization" that's celebrated in the ivory tower is relentlessly promoted at every step of the process through which academics develop and are socialized: in the graduate school experience, in the job hiring, tenure, and promotion processes, and in the process of peer review for academic publications. Those who don't get with the program are filtered out at some point in this process. Very few who are committed to challenging professionalized academic norms make it through PhD programs, and fewer still obtain tenure-track jobs and tenure. It is a rare to find academics who learn how to effectively hide their political values in grad school, and who then actively draw on those same values in their scholarship once they've secured an academic job. ..."
"... I see zero interest in elite academic publishing houses – the Oxfords, Princetons, and Cambridges of the world – in making space for openly leftist frameworks of analysis, let alone for the sort of applied Gramscian and Marxian empirical research that I do on media propaganda, hegemony, indoctrination, and mass false consciousness. Neither do any of the reputable journals in most social science disciplines express interest in this sort of research. ..."
"... There's little interest in prioritizing high-profile campus speaking events for such topics in the neoliberal corporate academy. Considering the utter contempt for such scholarship, it's difficult for me to focus my limited time and energy lamenting campus attacks on authoritarians like Milo Yiannopoulos, or whatever other reactionary pseudo-intellectual flavor of the week who has been disinvited from paid speaking engagements that I and other leftist scholars couldn't dream of receiving in the first place. ..."
"... I won't shed a tear for reactionaries who seek to appropriate dwindling university resources for their own personal publicity and self-aggrandizement, considering that their ideology actively supports gutting the very institutions that they so shamelessly take advantage of. ..."
"... U.S. media and educational institutions have never been committed to the free exploration of competing views, at least not for those who question corporate power. The sooner we stop pretending this landscape represents a free and open exchange of ideas, the better. ..."
Jul 11, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Harper's Magazine's July 7 th " Letter on Justice and Open Debate " is making its rounds in popular political discourse, and takes aim at the "PC" "cancel culture" we are told is being fueled by the most recent round of Black Lives Matter protests. This cancel culture, we are warned, is quickly and perniciously taking over American discourse, and will severely limit the free exploration of competing viewpoints.

The Harper's letter signatories run across the ideological spectrum, including prominent conservatives such as David Brooks and J.K. Rowling, liberals such as Mark Lilla and Sean Willentz, and progressives such as Noam Chomsky and Todd Gitlin. I have no doubt that the supporters of the letter are well meaning in their support for free speech. And I have no interest in singling out any one person or group of signatories for condemnation. Rather, I think it's warranted to focus on the ways in which "free speech" is being weaponized in this case, and in contemporary American discourse, to empower reactionary voices, under the façade of a free exploration of ideas.

The ideas established in the Harper's letter sound just fine in principle, and when examined in a vacuum. The supporters embrace norms of "open debate" and "toleration of differences," and opposition to "dogma[s]," "coercion," and "intolerant climate[s]" that stifle open exploration of competing views. The letter's supporters celebrate "the free exchange of information and ideas," which they deem "the lifeblood of a liberal society," contrary to a rising "vogue for public shaming and ostracism and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty." The letter elaborates :

"But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal."

Appealing to Americans' commitment to civic responsibility for open dialogue, the Harper's letter warns, "restriction of debate" "invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away."

One of the main problems with this sort of lofty rhetoric is that it misrepresents the severely deficient reality of American political discourse. We live in a period when the rise of neoliberal capitalism and untrammeled corporate power have cheapened "public" political discourse to serve the interests of plutocratic wealth and power, while assaulting notions of the common good and the public health. Idealistic rhetoric about exploring diverse views falls flat, and is a mischaracterization of reality to the deficiencies in U.S. political discourse under neoliberal corporate capitalism, when debates are perverted by political and economic elites who have contempt for the free exchange of ideas.

Numerous passages in the Harper's letter create the impression that U.S. political discourse is characterized by a vibrant and open exploration of diverse and competing views. The letter includes :

All of these claims are romanticizations of American life. They obscure the reality that progressive left and radical dissident views are routinely blacklisted from "mainstream" political, economic, and social discourse by the media and by mainstream academic institutions.

The "let's engage in a diversity of competing views" position sounds great until one realizes that we do not, and have never lived in, that sort of pluralistic democracy. We live in a political culture that, on its face, is committed to free speech protections for all, in which through the respectful exchange of ideas, we arrive at a better understanding of truth, to the benefit of all. But we don't really live in that society. Ours is a reactionary culture, which celebrates ideas that service political and economic power centers. In this society, views that are elevated to being worthy of discussion include milquetoast liberal values that are sympathetic (or at least not antagonistic) to corporate power, apolitical content that's aimed at mindless entertainment and political diversion, and reactionary authoritarian views that border on fascistic, but are vital to demonizing immigrants, people of color, and other minorities, and reinforce a white patriarchal corporate power structure. Radical lefties, or even progressive-leftists, need not apply to be included in this circumscribed discourse. Their views are routinely blacklisted from the mass media, and are increasingly marginalized in higher educational institutions.

I don't draw these conclusions lightly. My understanding of how the mass media operates is based on extensive personal experiences, and those from countless left intellectuals I know. Many of us have struggled (and mostly failed) to break into "mainstream" discourse because of the limited space in corporate news devoted to marginalized perspectives. With this marginalization comes the near erasure of critical views, including those seeking to spotlight record (and rising) economic inequality, repressive institutions that reinforce racial, gender and transphobic systems of repression, the corporate ecocidal assault on the environment, the rise of unbridled corporate power and plutocracy, the rising authoritarianism in American politics, and the increasingly reactionary and fascistic rhetoric that has taken over the American right.

Despite complaints about a pervasive liberal bias in higher education, available evidence reveals the opposite. As I've documented through my own comprehensive analysis of hundreds of national opinion polling questions on Americans' political and economic values, there's virtually no empirical evidence to suggest that increased education in the U.S. is associated with increased likelihood of holding liberal attitudes. The reason for this non-link between education and liberalism is obvious to those leftists who have struggled to carve out a space in the increasingly reactionary American university: there's very little commitment to progressive or leftist values in the modern corporate collegiate "experience"-oriented schooling system.

Reflecting on my own experiences within this system, the very notion of academics serving as public intellectuals has been under systematic assault by the rise of a "professionalization" culture that depicts political engagement as "biased," "unprofessional," and "unacceptable." Whatever lingering commitment to higher education as a public good was rolled back decades ago with the rise of corporatized academic "professional" norms. Scholars are now primarily concerned with publishing in esoteric, jargon-laden journals that no one reads, and almost no one cites, while elevating a discussion of the methods of how one does research over a discussion of the political and social significance of our work. In this process, there's been a suppression of any commitment to producing active citizens who see themselves as having an ethical or moral responsibility to be regularly politically engaged.

The reactionary "professionalization" that's celebrated in the ivory tower is relentlessly promoted at every step of the process through which academics develop and are socialized: in the graduate school experience, in the job hiring, tenure, and promotion processes, and in the process of peer review for academic publications. Those who don't get with the program are filtered out at some point in this process. Very few who are committed to challenging professionalized academic norms make it through PhD programs, and fewer still obtain tenure-track jobs and tenure. It is a rare to find academics who learn how to effectively hide their political values in grad school, and who then actively draw on those same values in their scholarship once they've secured an academic job.

In my more than two decades in higher ed, I can say there's no such thing as a fair hearing for the progressive-radical left when it comes to academic publishing. Thinking of my own research, I see zero interest in elite academic publishing houses – the Oxfords, Princetons, and Cambridges of the world – in making space for openly leftist frameworks of analysis, let alone for the sort of applied Gramscian and Marxian empirical research that I do on media propaganda, hegemony, indoctrination, and mass false consciousness. Neither do any of the reputable journals in most social science disciplines express interest in this sort of research.

Considering the research I do focuses on social movement protests, media propaganda/fake news, and inequality studies, one might think these timely topics would draw a large number of requests for university speaking engagements. These are, after all, defining political issues of our time. But this isn't at all the case. The academy remains as reactionary as ever in terms of sidelining and blacklisting leftist ideas and frameworks for understanding the world. There's little interest in prioritizing high-profile campus speaking events for such topics in the neoliberal corporate academy. Considering the utter contempt for such scholarship, it's difficult for me to focus my limited time and energy lamenting campus attacks on authoritarians like Milo Yiannopoulos, or whatever other reactionary pseudo-intellectual flavor of the week who has been disinvited from paid speaking engagements that I and other leftist scholars couldn't dream of receiving in the first place.

I won't shed a tear for reactionaries who seek to appropriate dwindling university resources for their own personal publicity and self-aggrandizement, considering that their ideology actively supports gutting the very institutions that they so shamelessly take advantage of. The reality of the matter is that there's no First Amendment "free speech" right to be invited to numerous campus engagements, to be paid a generous speaking fee, or to have campus security resources devoted to protecting arch-reactionary authoritarian speakers in light of the large student protests that are mobilized against these campus events.

We should recognize that the recent wave of laments against PC "cancel culture" from the right reinforce a specific power dynamic in American society. It is one in which reactionaries have initiated an assault on what little remains of independent and critical thinking within the media and higher ed.

They have done so by draping their contempt for free and critical inquiry in the rhetoric of "free speech." But U.S. media and educational institutions have never been committed to the free exploration of competing views, at least not for those who question corporate power. The sooner we stop pretending this landscape represents a free and open exchange of ideas, the better.

More articles by: ANTHONY DIMAGGIO

Anthony DiMaggio is Associate Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He earned his PhD from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and is the author of 9 books, including most recently: Political Power in America (SUNY Press, 2019) and Rebellion in America (Routledge, 2020). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com

[Jul 11, 2020] Basic arithmetic is now too offensive for the 'cancel culture' - Zero Hedge -

Jul 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Basic arithmetic is now too offensive for the 'cancel culture' by TDB Fri, 07/10/2020 - 14:37 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Via Sovereign Man

Are you ready for this week's absurdity? Here's our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.

2 + 2 = imperialism

Making its rounds on Twitter is a Tweet stating: "Nope the idea of 2 + 2 equalling 4 is cultural, and because of western imperialism/colonization, we think of it as the only way of knowing."

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https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.393.1_en.html#goog_823449589 NOW PLAYING

Nutritionists Say You Should Never Drink Coffee On An Empty Stomach

The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Throwing A Wrench Into The Lives Of High School Juniors

How Some People End Up With Brewery Inside Their Bodies

Amazon Ditches $2-An-Hour Raise For Essential Workers

Having A Few Drinks A Week Is Good For Your Brain

Unsold Guinness Used To Fertilize Christmas Trees

Harvard and MIT Sue Trump Administration Over Foreign Student Visa Rule

California Suing Trump Admin Over New Visa Rule For International Students

You might think this is a troll, intentionally causing controversy while remaining anonymous. No one could seriously believe this, right?

But this is an actual PhD student specializing in mathematics education. She is even listed on Rutgers' PhD student directory,

In fact, she already has a Master's Degree in architecture but I'm not sure you would want to go into any buildings she has designed, just in case she thinks structural integrity is another imperialist lie.

This is how far the Bolshevik worldview has reached. You'd expect this from an underwater-basket-weaving major. After all, colleges are the bastion of the Marxists.

But this is math. And she is part of the next generation of instructors and educators.

Maybe it's time to start rethinking the value of a degree.

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Click here for the Twitter thread.

University hiring professors, but men need not apply

Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands figured out a great way to boost its numbers of female professors.

The university simply banned all men from applying for the jobs.

The university said that for an 18 month period, it will not accept applications from men seeking academic jobs.

It also offered women a €100,000 bonus which could be used towards their own research.

Over 50 people complained to the Dutch human rights council.

Shockingly, the council actually agreed that this was unacceptable sexism and ruled against the university.

But the council doesn't actually have any judicial authority.

And the President of the university said, "Our commitment to this very important cause is unchanged."

Click here to read the full story.

British man convicted for drinking carrot juice from a beer can

A British man was angry about open container laws in his town, so he filled a beer can with carrot juice, and walked around downtown.

As expected, he was cited by police, and given a ticket for drinking alcohol in public.

But challenging the ticket in court, the case was dismissed since he hadn't actually been caught with alcohol in public.

You'd think it would end there. Man hassles town, town hassles man, and we're done.

But the town decided this case was important enough to appeal the court's decision.

After going back to court and arguing why drinking carrot juice out of a beer can should be enough for an open container ticket, the defiant man lost the case. He will be forced to pay the fine.

This was a two year legal battle at the taxpayers' expense, for drinking carrot juice out of a beer can.

Clearly the man was just trying to troll the town government.

But who is more ridiculous– one guy with a bone to pick, or a town that spent two years prosecuting a man for drinking carrot juice, just to prove who's really in charge?

Click here to read the full story.

Spain called. They want their statues back

The Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya has reached out to local, state, and federal authorities in the US.

She's concerned about some statues of Spanish colonizers that have been targeted for toppling and vandalization by protesters.

For instance, the statue of a Spanish priest was torn down in Sacramento last Saturday. And we talked about the vandalism of the statue of Miguel Cervantes , the Spanish author of Don Quixote who was actually held as a slave himself.

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González Laya said that if the US doesn't want these statues, the least they could do is send them back to Spain.

Spain would even take Columbus statues, since even though he was Italian, his exploration was funded by Spain.

Click here to read the full story.

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[Jul 11, 2020] AOC says only entitled moaners think cancel culture exists

Notable quotes:
"... "People who are actually 'cancelled' don't get their thoughts published and amplified in major outlets," ..."
"... "held accountable" ..."
"... "an entire TV network" ..."
"... "stoking hatred" ..."
"... "white supremacist [with] a popular network show" ..."
"... "in dangerous ways," ..."
"... You and your mob have been destroying careers and reputations and livelihoods on a whim. Now you're being hoist by your own petard. Those of us blacklisted, libeled, and falsely maligned have zero sympathy. You all started it. May you be devoured by it. https://t.co/PGzMzNa0ku ..."
"... "fired from their jobs and have their livelihoods threatened." ..."
"... There was similar disillusionment with the lawmaker's assertion that she is being maliciously smeared by news networks and "white supremacists." "You're not a victim, you're a United States congresswoman," observed an unsympathetic Twitter user. ..."
"... Whether AOC wants to acknowledge it or not, a seemingly endless internet crusade has ruined the lives of countless individuals (many of them private citizens with little or no power) accused of holding politically incorrect views or of expressing insensitive remarks. ..."
"... An open letter published by Harper's Magazine which criticized the "vogue for public shaming and ostracism" among journalists, academics, and other figures ended up backfiring spectacularly after several signatories of the document rescinded their endorsements. They explained that they'd been unaware that 'problematic' people had also signed the letter. ..."
Jul 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has denied the existence of cancel culture, suggesting it is an invention of privileged moaners who can't handle criticism. Her thesis prompted speculation that the powerful lawmaker has no self-awareness. The rookie New York congresswoman, whose 'woke' Twitter takes have made her a hero to many on the Left, attempted to debunk the concept of cancel culture in a series of profound posts.

"People who are actually 'cancelled' don't get their thoughts published and amplified in major outlets," she argued , adding that the whiners who complain about being 'cancelled' are actually just entitled and hate being "held accountable" or "unliked."

To prove her point, she claimed that "an entire TV network" is dedicated to "stoking hatred" of her, and that a "white supremacist [with] a popular network show" regularly misrepresents her "in dangerous ways," but that she never complains about it. (The congresswoman may be referring to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who is white and undoubtedly not a fan of hers.)

Also on rt.com The open letter against cancel culture was a ray of hope until some signatories canceled themselves out of it

According to Ocasio-Cortez, the people who "actually" get cancelled are anti-capitalists and even abolitionists – apparently a hat-tip to activists who campaigned to end slavery, which was formally abolished in the United States in 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment.

Her airtight dissertation received poor marks from many on social media, however. Countless comments accused her of being part of the very movement which she claims doesn't exist.

"You and your mob have been destroying careers and reputations and livelihoods on a whim. Now you're being hoist by your own petard," quipped actor James Woods.

You and your mob have been destroying careers and reputations and livelihoods on a whim. Now you're being hoist by your own petard. Those of us blacklisted, libeled, and falsely maligned have zero sympathy. You all started it. May you be devoured by it. https://t.co/PGzMzNa0ku

-- James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 10, 2020

Others argued that AOC was technically correct. Instead of having their views broadcast by mainstream outlets, 'cancelled' individuals are often "fired from their jobs and have their livelihoods threatened."

Correct. Instead, they are often fired from their jobs, harassed by twitter mobs, & have their livelihoods threatened. And so since they cannot speak up, we who have a platform choose to use our power responsibly to speak up on their behalf. You should do the same. Join us, AOC https://t.co/lQ5yiuKFq6

-- Chloé S. Valdary 📚 (@cvaldary) July 10, 2020

There was similar disillusionment with the lawmaker's assertion that she is being maliciously smeared by news networks and "white supremacists." "You're not a victim, you're a United States congresswoman," observed an unsympathetic Twitter user.

However, her remarks also garnered applause from social media users, who dismissed cancel culture as a right-wing talking point.

Cancel culture is fake. It's a right wing framing of social accountability and people need to stop giving the term any credence.

-- Ya mutha (@_diggity_dog) July 10, 2020

Whether AOC wants to acknowledge it or not, a seemingly endless internet crusade has ruined the lives of countless individuals (many of them private citizens with little or no power) accused of holding politically incorrect views or of expressing insensitive remarks.

An open letter published by Harper's Magazine which criticized the "vogue for public shaming and ostracism" among journalists, academics, and other figures ended up backfiring spectacularly after several signatories of the document rescinded their endorsements. They explained that they'd been unaware that 'problematic' people had also signed the letter.

[Jul 10, 2020] The Illiberalism At The Heart Of Cancel Culture by John Lloyd

Notable quotes:
"... Then in June 2020, he forced the resignation of James Bennet , editor of the NYT 's op-ed page. Why? Because they carried an opinion piece by the Republican senator Tom Cotton which argued that demonstrations which turned violent should be met with "an overwhelming show of force" – a phrase that caused outrage among some of the staff. Bennet had been tipped as the future Editor of the New York Times . Now he was out the door. ..."
"... Journalism, in the protesting staffs' view, must conform to novel, liberal verities, which include the protection of audiences from material seen as hurtful, even dangerous. The view of John Stuart Mill in On Liberty (1859) – "to utter and argue freely, according to conscience"- is now discarded in many parts of the cultural landscape . The sharpening of one's own convictions by setting them against opposing opinions would now, under this approach, be impossible. ..."
"... Part of this may be the phenomenon which Jonathan Swift noted when he wrote that "you cannot reason someone out of something that he or she was not reasoned into": that views held because fashionable, or approved by one's circle, or regarded as morally beyond question, are sometimes too shallow to be able to sustain argument. Dogmatic positions adopted with little thought except for signaling virtue often collapse when questioned hard. ..."
"... A letter signed by prominent writers, scholars and others organized by Harper's Magazine on July 7 – " On Justice and Open Debate " – noted that "it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms". ..."
"... The concession to staff protests in the great New York titles and the punishments to Buruma and Bennet were "hasty and disproportionate". These journals stood as examples to others: their example has been weakened. Journalists have been trained to keep an open mind to all events they chronicle, conscious of their complexity: and to listen to and allow space for views which are far from their own. That tradition is not past its useful life. ..."
Jul 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by John Lloyd via CAPX

​In 2018, David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, cancelled a public interview with Steve Bannon, a former senior adviser to President Donald Trump, which he had organised for the magazine's annual festival. Several staff members had complained and two or three participants in the festival had said they would withdraw if Bannon appeared . Two of the magazine's most distinguished writers, Malcolm Gladwell and Lawrence Wright, strongly criticised Remnick's decision: " journalism is about hearing opposing views" , said Wright. Gladwell noted that " If you only invite your friends over, it's called a dinner party ". The episode was a worrying sign of things to come.

In 2019, New York Review of Books publisher Rea Hederman – who has a proud history of anti-racism – fired Ian Buruma, editor of the Review for only sixteen months, after pressure from the staff . Buruma's crime? He had printed an essay – 'Confessions of a Hashtag' by Jian Ghomeishi, a former Canadian Broadcasting radio host, who had been accused of violence to around twenty women, but had been recently acquitted in a case brought by some of them. Ghomeishi's piece, which addressed these accusations, was deemed to be out of step with the spirit of the #MeToo movement. That the next issue of the NYRB was to devote a large amount of space to rebuttal was not enough to save Buruma.

A G Sulzberger had, in his apprentice journalist years, used relentless coverage to force a Lion's Club in Narragansett to reverse its decision to bar women, and revealed misconduct in an Oregon sheriff's office, causing his resignation. He took over as publisher of the New York Times in 2018, the sixth Sulzberger to take that position: he strongly criticized President Trump, in an Oval Office meeting, for calling the Times "treasonous" and rendering journalists' work more dangerous.

Then in June 2020, he forced the resignation of James Bennet , editor of the NYT 's op-ed page. Why? Because they carried an opinion piece by the Republican senator Tom Cotton which argued that demonstrations which turned violent should be met with "an overwhelming show of force" – a phrase that caused outrage among some of the staff. Bennet had been tipped as the future Editor of the New York Times . Now he was out the door.

In each case, the main actors were men I admired – Hederman and Sulzberger by reputation, Remnick (whom I met when we were both correspondents in Moscow) by his writing and editing. They had faced difficult decisions, made enemies and hard choices. In each case, the men worked for a journal with a history of innovative, no-hold-barred criticism of the powerful.

And in each case, they had folded because of pressure from the staff – pressure which stemmed from an article or an event the complainants deemed unsuitable for any audience. For those staff, opinions they dislike are seen as intolerable in a publication on which they work. A red line had been crossed.

Journalism, in the protesting staffs' view, must conform to novel, liberal verities, which include the protection of audiences from material seen as hurtful, even dangerous. The view of John Stuart Mill in On Liberty (1859) – "to utter and argue freely, according to conscience"- is now discarded in many parts of the cultural landscape . The sharpening of one's own convictions by setting them against opposing opinions would now, under this approach, be impossible.

Part of this may be the phenomenon which Jonathan Swift noted when he wrote that "you cannot reason someone out of something that he or she was not reasoned into": that views held because fashionable, or approved by one's circle, or regarded as morally beyond question, are sometimes too shallow to be able to sustain argument. Dogmatic positions adopted with little thought except for signaling virtue often collapse when questioned hard.

What's to be done about this? First, the phenomenon itself has to be held up to the light as much as possible. If, as I suspect, much of it is loudly proclaimed but lightly ingested, argument and debate has to be brought to bear. The best argument remains Mill's: that opinions, many of them having to do with central issues of our time, are too important not to be challenged, worked over, considered anew and either strengthened or weakened – and, in the latter case, either modified or discarded.

Journalism needs now, more than ever, to build debate and contestation into news media worlds. The challenge is to rediscover the fundamentals of journalism – without which it ceases to be a necessary pillar of democratic, civic societies: in short, journalism needs to rediscover a belief in the fact of facts, and in the plurality of opinion. No liberal would for a moment agree that criticism of President Trump, distasteful to his supporters, should be censored.

Editors' mission is to insist that, barring the dangerous extremes, all opinions deserve airing and contesting, just as all facts deserve to be checked and given context . Those in journalism who object to views in their journal, channel or website must accept that the robust clash of beliefs remains a necessary insurance against enforced conformity, and indeed reaction. In a society built on diverse ways of looking at the world, some upset on seeing or reading an account or a conviction which strongly contradicts your own has to be borne, considered and where possible replied to, not shut down.

A letter signed by prominent writers, scholars and others organized by Harper's Magazine on July 7 – " On Justice and Open Debate " – noted that "it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms".

The concession to staff protests in the great New York titles and the punishments to Buruma and Bennet were "hasty and disproportionate". These journals stood as examples to others: their example has been weakened. Journalists have been trained to keep an open mind to all events they chronicle, conscious of their complexity: and to listen to and allow space for views which are far from their own. That tradition is not past its useful life.

John Lloyd is a Contributing Editor to the Financial Times, ex-editor of The New Statesman and a co-founder of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.


[Jul 10, 2020] Mao Red Guards occupy the USA by Matt Taibbi

This is about a new generation of Red Guards, not so much about watching Bruce Springsteen And Dionne Warwick Be Pelted With Dogshit For Singing We Are the World
Notable quotes:
"... This Marxian denunciation of the defense of free speech as cynical capitalist ruse was brought to you by the same Ezra Klein who once worked with Yglesias to help Vox raise $300 million . This was just one of many weirdly petty storylines. Writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, who organized the letter, found himself described as a " mixed race man heavily invested in respectability politics ," once he defended the letter, one of many transparent insults directed toward the letter's nonwhite signatories by ostensible antiracist voices. ..."
"... The whole episode was nuts. ..."
"... In this conception there's nothing to worry about when a Dean of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is dismissed for writing "Black Lives Matter, but also, everyone's life matters " in an email, or when an Indiana University Medical School professor has to apologize for asking students how they would treat a patient who says 'I can't breathe!' in a clinical setting, or when someone is fired for retweeting a study suggesting nonviolent protest is effective. The people affected are always eventually judged to be "bad," or to have promoted "bad research," or guilty of making "bad arguments," etc. ..."
"... In this case, Current Affairs hastened to remind us that the people signing the Harper's letter were many varieties of bad! They included Questioners of Politically Correct Culture like "Pinker, Jesse Singal, Zaid Jilani, John McWhorter, Nicholas A. Christakis, Caitlin Flanagan , Jonathan Haidt, and Bari Weiss ," as well as "chess champion and proponent of the bizarre conspiracy theory that the Middle Ages did not happen, Garry Kasparov," and "right wing blowhards known for being wrong about everything" in David Frum and Francis Fukuyama, as well as -- this is my favorite line -- "problematic novelists Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie , and J.K. Rowling." ..."
"... Where on the irony-o-meter does one rate an essay that decries the "right-wing myth" of cancel culture by mass-denouncing a gymnasium full of intellectuals as problematic? ..."
"... Mao and his Red Guard invented cancel culture. This is the Chinese cultural revolution American style. Same ****, just round eyes instead of slant eyes. ..."
Jul 10, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Matt Taibbi. As excerpted from " If it's Not "Cancel Culture," What Kind of Culture is it ? "

Any attempt to build bridges between the two mindsets falls apart, often spectacularly, as we saw this week in an online fight over free speech that could not possibly have been more comic in its unraveling.

A group of high-profile writers and thinkers, including Pinker, Noam Chomsky, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem and Anne Appelbaum, signed a letter in Harper's calling for an end to callouts and cancelations.

"We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom," the authors wrote, adding, "We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences."

This Hallmark-card-level inoffensive sentiment naturally inspired peals of outrage across the Internet, mainly directed at a handful of signatories deemed hypocrites for having called for the firings of various persons before.

Then a few signatories withdrew their names when they found out that they would be sharing space on the letterhead with people they disliked.

"I thought I was endorsing a well meaning, if vague, message against internet shaming. I did know Chomsky, Steinem, and Atwood were in, and I thought, good company," tweeted Jennifer Finney Boylan, adding, "The consequences are mine to bear. I am so sorry."

Translation: I had no idea my group statement against intellectual monoculture would be signed by people with different views!

In the predictable next development -- no dialogue between American intellectuals is complete these days without someone complaining to the boss -- Vox writer Emily VanDerWerff declared herself literally threatened by co-worker Matt Yglesias's decision to sign the statement. The public as well as Vox editors were told:

The letter, signed as it is by several prominent anti-trans voices and containing as many dog whistles towards anti-trans positions as it does, ideally would not have been signed by anybody at Vox His signature on the letter makes me feel less safe.

Naturally, this declaration impelled Vox co-founder Ezra Klein to take VanDerWerff's side and publicly denounce the Harper's letter as a status-defending con.

"A lot of debates that sell themselves as being about free speech are actually about power," tweeted Klein, clearly referencing his old pal Yglesias. "And there's a lot of power in being able to claim, and hold, the mantle of free speech defender."

This Marxian denunciation of the defense of free speech as cynical capitalist ruse was brought to you by the same Ezra Klein who once worked with Yglesias to help Vox raise $300 million . This was just one of many weirdly petty storylines. Writer Thomas Chatterton Williams, who organized the letter, found himself described as a " mixed race man heavily invested in respectability politics ," once he defended the letter, one of many transparent insults directed toward the letter's nonwhite signatories by ostensible antiracist voices.

The whole episode was nuts. It was like watching Bruce Springsteen and Dionne Warwick be pelted with dogshit for trying to sing We Are the World .

This being America in the Trump era, where the only art form to enjoy wide acceptance is the verbose monograph written in condemnation of the obvious, the Harper's fiasco inspired multiple entries in the vast literature decrying the rumored existence of "cancel culture." The two most common themes of such essays are a) the illiberal left is a Trumpian myth, and b) if the illiberal left does exist, it's a good thing because all of those people they're smearing/getting fired deserved it.

In this conception there's nothing to worry about when a Dean of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is dismissed for writing "Black Lives Matter, but also, everyone's life matters " in an email, or when an Indiana University Medical School professor has to apologize for asking students how they would treat a patient who says 'I can't breathe!' in a clinical setting, or when someone is fired for retweeting a study suggesting nonviolent protest is effective. The people affected are always eventually judged to be "bad," or to have promoted "bad research," or guilty of making "bad arguments," etc.

In this case, Current Affairs hastened to remind us that the people signing the Harper's letter were many varieties of bad! They included Questioners of Politically Correct Culture like "Pinker, Jesse Singal, Zaid Jilani, John McWhorter, Nicholas A. Christakis, Caitlin Flanagan , Jonathan Haidt, and Bari Weiss ," as well as "chess champion and proponent of the bizarre conspiracy theory that the Middle Ages did not happen, Garry Kasparov," and "right wing blowhards known for being wrong about everything" in David Frum and Francis Fukuyama, as well as -- this is my favorite line -- "problematic novelists Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie , and J.K. Rowling."

Where on the irony-o-meter does one rate an essay that decries the "right-wing myth" of cancel culture by mass-denouncing a gymnasium full of intellectuals as problematic?

Continued reading on Matt Taibbi's Substack


booboo , 16 seconds ago

How long before Tiabbi is forced into a life of dumpster diving. I am pretty sure his world is rocking right now but free speech needs all of the defenders it can get.

Jackprong , 7 minutes ago

They're even throwing Orwell to the dogs! They have no shame!

Secret Weapon , 10 minutes ago

Mao and his Red Guard invented cancel culture. This is the Chinese cultural revolution American style. Same ****, just round eyes instead of slant eyes.

Justus_Americans , 13 minutes ago

The Overton Window The Illusion Of Choice Free Speech Respectful Discourse The Best Interests of USA

https://youtu.be/FrLi7-O9llU

" The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum—even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate " Noam Chomsky

[Jul 09, 2020] Fearing Cancelation, Public Figures Withdraw Support For Open Letter Decrying Cancel Culture by Paul Joseph Watson

Notable quotes:
"... As we highlighted yesterday , 150 intellectuals, authors and activists including Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie and JK Rowling signed the letter, which was published by Harpers Magazine. ..."
"... The letter criticized how "the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted" as a result of "an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty." ..."
Jul 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

Some of the public figures who signed an open letter decrying the rise of cancel culture retracted their support, presumably fearing they too might become a victim of it.

As we highlighted yesterday , 150 intellectuals, authors and activists including Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie and JK Rowling signed the letter, which was published by Harpers Magazine.

The letter criticized how "the free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted" as a result of "an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty."

"Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes," states the letter.

Following its publication and pushback from leftists, some of the signatories caved and publicly withdrew their support.

... ... ...

Vox journalist Matt Yglesias was also reported to his own employers by a transgender colleague because she claimed his support for free speech and his association with JK Rowling was an 'anti-trans dog whistle'. (tweet since deleted)

Is it any wonder that free speech is in such dire straits when this is the reaction to a letter that simply expresses support for it?

* * *

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Demeter55 , 41 minutes ago

Such cowardice! They put Joseph McCarthy's victims in heroic contrast to their stupid selves.

Ohiolad , 1 hour ago

We have never seen the degree of cowardice that we are now seeing from the so-called "intellectual" class. How can these people be so spineless?

[Jul 03, 2020] A secularised 'illusion' is metamorphosing back into woke religion by Alastair Crooke

Jul 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Many commentators have noted the wokes' absence of vision for the future . Some describe them in highly caustic terms:

"Today, America's tumbrils are clattering about, carrying toppled statues, ruined careers, unwoke brands. Over their sides peer those deemed racist by left-wing identitarians and sentenced to cancelation, even as the evidentiary standard for that crime falls through the floor But who are these cultural revolutionaries? The conventional wisdom goes that this is the inner-cities erupting, economically disadvantaged victims of racism enraged over the murder of George Floyd. The reality is something more bourgeoisie. As Kevin Williamson observed last week, "These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks, playing Jacobin for a while, until they go back to graduate school".

Is that so? I well recall listening in the Middle East to other angry young men who, too, wanted to 'topple the statues'; to burn down everything. 'You really believed that Washington would allow you in', they taunted and tortured their leaders: "No, we must burn it all down. Start from scratch".

Did they have a blueprint for the future? No. They simply believed that Islam would organically inflate, and expand to fill the void. It would happen by itself – of its own accord: Faith.

Professor John Gray has noted "that in The God that failed, Gide says: 'My faith in communism is like my faith in religion. It is a promise of salvation for mankind'' . "Here Gide acknowledged", Gray continues, "that communism was an atheist version of monotheism. But so is liberalism, and when Gide and others gave up faith in communism to become liberals, they were not renouncing the concepts and values that both ideologies had inherited from western religion. They continued to believe that history was a directional process in which humankind was advancing towards universal freedom ".

So too with the wokes. The emphasis is on Redemption; on a Truth catharsis; on their own Virtue as sufficient agency to stand-in for the lack of plan for the future. All are clear signals: A secularised 'illusion' is metamorphosing back into 'religion'. Not as Islam, of course, but as angry Man, burning at the deep and dark moral stain of the past. And acting now as purifying 'fire' to bring about the uplifting and shining future ahead.

Tucker Carlson, a leading American conservative commentator known for plain speaking, frames the movement a little differently:

"This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself We're too literal and good-hearted to understand what's happening We have no idea what we are up against These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement" .

Again, nothing needs to be done by this new generation to bring into being a new world, apart from destroying the old one. This vision is a relic – albeit secularised – of western Christianity. Apocalypse and redemption, these wokes believe, have their own path; their own internal logic.

Mill's 'ghost' is arrived at the table. And with its return, America's exceptionalism has its re-birth. Redemption for humankind's dark stains. A narrative in which the history of mankind is reduced to the history of racial struggle. Yet Americans, young or old, now lack the power to project it as a universal vision.

'Virtue', however deeply felt, on its own, is insufficient. Might President Trump try nevertheless to sustain the old illusion by hard power? The U.S. is deeply fractured and dysfunctional – but if desperate, this is possible.

The "toy radicals, and Champagne Bolsheviks" – in these terms of dripping disdain from Williamson – are very similar to those who rushed into the streets in 1917. But before dismissing them so peremptorily and lightly, recall what occurred.

Into that combustible mass of youth – so acultured by their progressive parents to see a Russian past that was imperfect and darkly stained – a Trotsky and Lenin were inserted. And Stalin ensued. No 'toy radicals'. Soft became hard totalitarianism.


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N2M , 22 minutes ago

Vision? What vision that might be?

"'Freedom' is being torn down from within"

What freedom? Could be "Freedom" they decide how, when and where you can express your thoughts? There is only one true freedom that exists and that is human free will to tell the truth.

Today vision of Freedom is a joke, this game was never about freedom for in a world of ideology, there is always lurking a deceits of lies and control.

There are 3 types of Americans.

  1. A sharp ones and well tune to what has been going on and those I had a chance to talk to and become friends when I was in U.S.A
  2. The imbeciles of totally clueless generation of people who will listen to any wave of information in propaganda as true and must be and their government is so beloved, no others can even compete and they only have good intentions /s /c
  3. And there is this group, shrewd, conniving, self-moral, warmongering, evil to a core psychopaths who only follow different orders to impose their will on other nations to makes sure they follow what? USD.

So when author speaks about vision it must separate few things!

Washington is running around imposing sanctions, destroying relationship/interest with nations, trying all this regime changes at a cost of death of millions of people and then dropping "Freedom bombs' almost every 8 to 9 minutes somewhere in this world, because these freaks vision is way different, then some regular people either be in South America or other continents that these regular people have.

Real vision is based on corporation, and U.S.A had that before, however after being hijack, now they trying to start a war of unimaginable proportions so few fat bosses in one Chamber can feel as super masters of the world and everyone as slaves.

I would like to remind some people about vision – Marx had a vision to, and rest is history.

Becklon , 1 hour ago

It's a lack of shared purpose, I think. Without a common focus, such as an external threat (as once provided by the USSR) groups tend to fracture and turn on themselves and each other.

It's got nothing to do with any one religious or political group having more power than others. It's to do with homo sapiens - and maybe entropy.


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David Wooten , 1 hour ago

Well, if all this is true, there is far, far more at stake than the US being unable to "Re-Impose Its Civilisational Worldview" (which I would be fine with).

This is about the destruction of the US itself.

[Jul 03, 2020] Is math unjust and grounded in discrimination ? Sometimes I wonder if the world is some kind of sitcom for aliens

Notable quotes:
"... This lady is sitting there lying trying to prove a point. I have been in enough arguments to kow when someone is just arguing to keep the discussion going ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.youtube.com

John Smith , 7 months ago

Crazy lady: Math is discriminatory!

Mia Light , 8 months ago (edited)

Sometimes I wonder if the world is some kind of sitcom for aliens.

Johnny West , 7 months ago

Comprehending mathematics requires IQ ! Not equality. Lord, this woman lives in a rabbit hole.

Ruttigorn Logsdon , 7 months ago

And son that's how America became a third world country over night!

L0nN13 , 8 months ago

The bottom line is, they want to take away any problem solving skills that might build character, because someone might get hurt! Victimhood culture run amuck.

Sal Pacheco , 8 months ago

Mathematics is the cornerstone of all forms of trade, communications, home economics and every other aspect of life. Truth is they're dumbing everyone down to control populations!

Oprah and Michael Jordan are black billionaires , 4 days ago

As a black American, this is so ignorant and offensive to me

Jewel Heart , 7 months ago

The brilliant NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson just proves what a load of bx this latest rubbish is.

Mach 1 , 2 years ago

I have Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and I'm 62-years old. I have never once cared about the history of mathematics, other than a curiosity. Knowing the history of mathematics never helped me once to solve an ordinary second order differential equation.

Aric Lyles , 8 months ago

When a person lies while giving an interview they should be shocked or something. This lady is sitting there lying trying to prove a point. I have been in enough arguments to kow when someone is just arguing to keep the discussion going. She has already lost the argument deflected and differed responsibility when confronted with the legitimacy of the paper.

Go exercise healthy body makes a healthy mind not the other way around.

[Jul 03, 2020] Kurt Vonnegut's Literary Prophecy Coming True by Larry C Johnson

Jul 03, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal.

They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213 th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen- year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about.

... ... ...

Continue reading "Kurt Vonnegut's Literary Prophecy Coming True by Larry C Johnson" "

[Jul 03, 2020] 01 July 2020 at 06:24 PM

Jul 03, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
div Dostoyevsky had a good definition of the woke movement of his day, from his very prescient novel "The Possessed" [by devils]. He defined it as "a combination of self righteousness, and the unwillingness to hold an independent opinion."

Dostoyevsky had a good definition of the political correctness of his day, from his very prescient novel "The Possessed" [by devils]. He defined it as "a combination of self righteousness, and the unwillingness to hold an independent opinion." (They were then as now called "liberals," the "resistance" then to Tsar Aleksandr II, who had just freed 23 million serfs, created a court system with trial by jury, and instituted elected local and regional governments. Elements of the resistance assassinated him en route to proclaim an elected national parliament, the proclamation physically on his person.)

[Jul 02, 2020] Superman actor Dean Cain takes heat for arguing cancel culture would censor truth, justice, the American way motto today

Notable quotes:
"... Speaking with Fox's Ainsley Earhard on Thursday, the conservative actor took aim at 'cancel culture,' dubbing it "like an early version of George Orwell's 1984" which would have barred the 90s-era character from uttering his iconic slogan. ..."
"... "I promise you that Superman – I wouldn't today be allowed to say: 'Truth, justice, and the American way,'" ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.rt.com
Actor Dean Cain, who portrayed Superman for a 1990s TV show, has set Twitter ablaze after arguing that modern 'cancel culture' would have outlawed the superhero's catchphrase – "Truth, justice and the American way."

Speaking with Fox's Ainsley Earhard on Thursday, the conservative actor took aim at 'cancel culture,' dubbing it "like an early version of George Orwell's 1984" which would have barred the 90s-era character from uttering his iconic slogan.

"I promise you that Superman – I wouldn't today be allowed to say: 'Truth, justice, and the American way,'" Cain said, responding to a recent op-ed in Time Magazine calling for a "re-examining" of how superheroes are portrayed on screen.

Also on rt.com 'You're 25 years late': Non-white Superman actor trolls site calling for 'diverse' Man of Steel

[Jul 02, 2020] Some jobs matter: Harvard grad fired by Deloitte after threatening to stab anyone who thinks 'all lives matter'

Notable quotes:
"... "I'ma stab you, and while you're struggling and bleeding out, I'ma show you my paper cut and say, 'My cut matters too,'" she declared in the TikTok clip. ..."
"... Holding back tears, Janover said she'd "worked really hard" to receive a position at the company, and complained that her contract had been terminated even though Deloitte claims to "stand against systemic racism." ..."
Jul 02, 2020 | www.rt.com

Is this a new type of female hysteria or what ?

A Harvard graduate has reportedly lost her job after posting a now-viral TikTok video in which she vowed to assault anyone who didn't support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

...

Claira Janover became an overnight sensation after several news outlets caught wind of a video in which she threatened to attack anyone "entitled" enough to believe that "all lives matter."

"I'ma stab you, and while you're struggling and bleeding out, I'ma show you my paper cut and say, 'My cut matters too,'" she declared in the TikTok clip.

...Holding back tears, Janover said she'd "worked really hard" to receive a position at the company, and complained that her contract had been terminated even though Deloitte claims to "stand against systemic racism."

..."File under Schadenfreude or Karma," noted conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin.

...Janover's firing is unusual as it marks a rare case of 'reverse' cancel culture. Social-justice activists have typically been the ones using social media to attack anyone who is suspected of holding politically incorrect views.

[Jul 01, 2020] The Corporate Thought Police Are Merciless by Judith Bergman

Notable quotes:
"... The riots in the US since the killing of George Floyd, or more specifically the debate about the riots, have exposed the stunning extent to which corporate America is willing and able effectively to shut down speech that does not conform to the orthodoxy of the moment. ..."
"... In the past two weeks alone, corporate America got rid of the following people for their "thought crimes": ..."
Jul 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Judith Bergman via The Gatestone Institute,

Our corporate thought police have been working overtime, and from the look of it, they are only beginning.

Mats Skogkär, a journalist and editorial writer at one of Sweden's largest regional newspapers, Sydsvenskan , was recently demoted from editorial writer to a non-writing position for tweeting the following :

" When you see the Left's almost sexual excitement over the riots in the United States, over the looting, fires and violence, it also becomes easier to understand its desire to create similar conditions here with a large... segregated underclass of migrants ".

"A tweet way over the line," wrote Jonas Kanje, editor in chief at Sydsvenskan , after receiving backlash on Twitter. "A way to express yourself that Sydsvenskan can never support. I dissociate myself from it."

According to the Swedish publishing house Bonnier, which owns Sydsvenskan , "Bonnier defends freedom of expression... a diversity of voices and perspectives should be heard in our media".

Less than a week later, Sören Åkeby, who had an advisory role on the board of the Swedish football team, ÖFK, was let go by the board for sharing a Facebook post that " directly violate[s] ÖFK's values". The post that Åkeby shared contained the following:

"Another Swede murdered by a racial stranger!... [The boy] was stabbed when he helped a Swedish girl who was being raped by a Somali... Don't stand by and watch your own people get murdered, raped and humiliated. Organize and resist this alien invasion. We are at war!"

"I read it too quickly and just [shared it]," Åkeby apologized .

"I certainly don't have those (thoughts)... I have trained foreign players for more or less all my life... For me, this became so surreal... I'm definitely not a racist. I'll take it back. I will delete the posts immediately if it is interpreted this way. I didn't mean to."

Alexander Bard, a Swedish artist and author was fired from Swedish TV Channel 4, after tweeting:

"If black lives want to matter, then black lives get their fucking shit together, study hard, go to work, make their own money instead of depend on welfare, stop lying, get out of prison, and become heroes instead of self-appointed victims for the world to laugh at. That matters!"

Bard's tweet was also reported to the Swedish authorities for "inciting hatred".

Sweden has been steeped in political correctness for decades. The country's failed immigration policies, which have had multiple negative consequences, as reported by Gatestone Institute here , here , here , here and here, have long been taboo and those who criticized the policies were, in the words of Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party, reviled and frozen out. In addition, Sweden's hate speech laws have seen people who have criticized Swedish migration policies and their consequences on social media sentenced and fined for "inciting hatred".

The idea that freedom of speech is not a fundamental liberty that must be defended at all costs runs deep in Sweden. So deep, in fact, that in 2018, Tomas Åberg, founder of the private organization, " Näthatsgranskaren " ("The Web Hate Investigator") was nominated for a prestigious prize, the "Swedish Hero" award, by one of Sweden's largest national newspapers, Aftonbladet . The nomination came after Åberg's organization reported no fewer than 750 Swedish citizens in 2017 to the authorities for "web hate". Åberg's organization has been generously funded by government grants , another telltale sign of the scant value placed on free speech.

In the United States, people used to stand up for freedom of speech as an inviolable liberty -- until recently. While free speech has been highly unappreciated on US campuses for years, it still appeared to be a liberty that most Americans appreciate. This appreciation no longer seems to be generally the case, at least not in corporate America.

The riots in the US since the killing of George Floyd, or more specifically the debate about the riots, have exposed the stunning extent to which corporate America is willing and able effectively to shut down speech that does not conform to the orthodoxy of the moment.

In the past two weeks alone, corporate America got rid of the following people for their "thought crimes":

  1. Radio personality and NBA announcer Grant Napear was fired from his radio show at KHTK radio and resigned as the Sacramento Kings play-by-play TV announcer after tweeting on June 1, "All Lives Matter... every single one!" , in reference to protests by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

    KHTK's parent company, Bonneville International Corporation, said in a statement that Napear's comments "do not reflect the views or values" of the company, and the timing of his tweet was "particularly insensitive."

    Apparently, as one Twitter user told Napear, "All lives matter" is the "go-to response from racist individuals, when they're asked about BLM". Napear apologized . "I'm not as educated on BLM as I thought I was," Napear told the Sacramento Bee. "I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across".

  2. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago terminated its contract with University of Chicago economics professor Harald Uhlig , after a tweet he wrote criticizing Black Lives Matter's desire to defund US police departments:

    "Too bad, but #blacklivesmatter per its core organization @Blklivesmatter just torpedoed itself, with its full-fledged support of #defundthepolice : 'We call for a national defunding of police.' Suuuure. They knew this is non-starter... "

    The termination of Uhlig "reflects our determination that his views are not compatible with the Chicago Fed's values and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion" said the bank. The termination came even as Uhlig apologized for his tweet. Uhlig was also suspended from his position as editor at the Journal of Political Economy at the University of Chicago at the urging of several professors who said that Uhlig was "trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement."

  3. New York Times opinion page editor James Bennett was forced to resign from his position, after he ran an op-ed piece by Senator Tom Cotton, titled, "Send in the troops". The article argued that the U.S. military should be called in as a backup if police failed to get the recent riots under control. Bennett's resignation came after more than 800 Times staff members signed a letter protesting the publication of Cotton's op-ed, and many claimed it "puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger". Bennett apologized for the op-ed, saying that it should not have been published. The New York Times said it would make changes to its opinion section.

  4. A young Democrat data scientist, David Shor, was fired by the research firm for which he was working , Civis Analytics, after tweeting about the electoral effectiveness of peaceful protest as opposed to violent protest. He referenced the work of a Princeton assistant professor, Omar Wasow, that violent protests turn voters away from the Democrat Party.

    Shor experienced a backlash on Twitter, where he was accused of racism and "anti-blackness". In addition, "at least some employees and clients on Civis Analytics complained that Shor's tweet threatened their safety", according to New York magazine.

    "I regret starting this conversation and will be much more careful moving forward" Shor apologized -- to no avail. One Twitter user, Trujillo Wesler tagged Dan Wagner, the CEO of Civis Analytics, telling him to "go get your boy". That was all it took. Shor was fired.

  5. Serbian soccer player Aleksandar Katai was also fired from the Los Angeles Galaxy team. Not because of anything he said or wrote, but because of his wife's social media posts. The Instagram posts made by Tea Katai, according to The Guardian , "showed a police SUV attempting to drive through protesters in New York. A caption in Serbian read, 'Kill the shits!' while a second showed a picture of an individual carrying boxes of Nikes with the caption 'Black Nikes Matter'".

    Galaxy fans immediately called for Katai's dismissal. He posted a message on Instagram in which he apologized "for the pain these posts have caused the LA Galaxy family and all allies in the fight against racism". He added, "This was a mistake from my family and I take full responsibility. I will ensure that my family and I... learn, understand, listen and support the black community".

  6. The vice-president and executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Stan Wischnowski, resigned after being hit with a backlash for running an article with the title, "Buildings Matter, too." Although the newspaper apologized almost immediately for running the headline, the staff and the public demanded still more. According to the newspaper's publisher, Lisa Hughes:

    "We will use this moment to evaluate the organizational structure and processes of the newsroom, assess what we need, and look both internally and externally for a seasoned leader who embodies our values, embraces our shared strategy, and understands the diversity of the communities we serve,"

The United States nominally enshrines the most far-reaching freedom of speech, thanks to the First Amendment of the Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".

Corporate America has circumvented the first Amendment by appointing itself the thought police over employees and associates who do not adhere strictly to the "rules" of the current orthodoxy. It administers its ruthless justice -- Cultural Revolution style -- through the destruction of employee livelihoods and careers.

The new corporate thought police are merciless; they do not accept apologies, however groveling. Perhaps, in the future, corporations will have "reeducation" departments, as in China or the former Soviet Union, for those who still have the courage to open their minds and their mouths.


Snaffew , 11 minutes ago

This is a media induced frenzy where the overwhelming majority are far left social justice warriors combined with an irate and urban black populace that have been on the government teat for generations and they want more and more and more for doing less and less and less. The violence, anger and hatred will accelerate and soon enough, even the whitey leftists will abandon the movement for fear of their own lives as they will never be "woke" enough because their skin ain't brown and they'll "never know". The truth is, a strong family unit consisting of good moral fiber and ethics along with love, nurturing and prioritizing education and intelligence along with hard work are the keys to success and equality for everyone---whether you are a rocket scientist or a plumber---learn your craft, do it to the best of your ability, work hard, go the extra mile to be polite, respectful and clean and you will ensure success whatever your endeavor in life is. It seems the problems with the majority of the blacks that are crying racism is because they don't have these essential qualities throughout their lives and generations. Grow up and take some responsibility, everyone gets put in a box at some point in their lives and it is up to you to change the impression. Acting gangsta, ghetto, demanding reparations and crying how every word, picture, business or person that isn't black is racist isn't change---it's a disaster waiting to happen.

Fantasy Free Economics , 37 minutes ago

Each top American corporation is bigger than most entire economies of other countries.

The power of Tech + Banks + Health Insurance together have more revenue than most larger economies.

These corporations are so huge and powerful, not one politician dares cross them.

They came by the knowledge of the virus threat before governments did.

The national response to the Corona Virus was put together by these industries and sold to government, so that all steps taken work out for their benefit.

Agenda driven censorship is for their benefit and no one else's.

http://quillian.net/blog/overall-scheme-of-things-quiz-1/

charwoman , 56 minutes ago

I didn't realize there were real Swedes still.

Rest Easy , 1 hour ago

Sure. Hey here's something. To not cheer ya up.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/07/01/christopher-columbus-statue-removed-columbus-city-hall-ohio/5354761002/

Given to Columbus, Ohio by its sister city Genoa, Italy in 1955.

Ajax_USB_Port_Repair_Service_ , 1 hour ago

The Trinity:

createnewaccount , 1 hour ago

Cucks and predators. Never any doubt as to the outcomes.

booboo , 1 hour ago

So they post a fairly innocuous and popular comment about current events get **** canned AND THEN APOLOGIZED? They took their livelihoods away, the proper response would have been to double down. They now lose the respect of that part of society that said “hell yes!!”

and another thing about “the timing of the tweet” well there you go, those higher ups are admitting they think this is all temporal, if they would have waited two weeks it would just be another tweet. This is like medieval self flagellation by high priest during the Black Death.

hocus pocus by unhinged priest cutting and whacking themselves with board with nails. This world has gone mad and we now fight possessed individuals in high places.

Zappalives , 1 hour ago

If you depend on mega-corps for your daily beard...........you are a democrat !

Lots of butthurt tea-party ja&koffs on ZH.

Get over my singling out democrats.................rinos are you.........grow up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welfarebum , 1 hour ago

This madness is getting scary. It's not just a passing fad. It's Bolchevik Revolution 2.0. In 10 years, Disneyland will have statues of Lenin and Stalin and Pirates of the Caribbean will be replaced with White Supremists of Racist America.

Zappalives , 1 hour ago

it will all match your avatar..........happy now hillary troll ?

CatInTheHat , 1 hour ago

This is truly frightening..

And how this could be interpreted for anything other than what it is, is mind blowing.

"Radio personality and NBA announcer Grant Napear was fired from his radio show at KHTK radio and resigned as the Sacramento Kings play-by-play TV announcer after tweeting on June 1, "All Lives Matter... every single one!" , in reference to protests by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement."

IT. IS. TRUE.

Apparently the only lives that matter is Corp fascists and their neoliberal TERRORISTS

Because what they are doing is calculated and evil: TERRORIZING people and VIOLATING ALL HUMAN RIGHTS.

Maybe had he said just that it may have turned out different but These people need to be called our for whom they are.

BILLIONAIRE HIRED TROLLS AND TERRORISTS

Rest Easy , 50 minutes ago

Well until then. These are illegal acts. In my opinion.

These companies can all be sued. If monuments, are such a pressing concern now, in the middle of a pandemic. Where are the referendums to vote on their removal or renaming or altering?

Governments cannot just do things out of fear or political affiliations. They do of course. All the time. Right now for example. But this is not legal.

Nor are governments or business immune to boycotts. Or numerous other very legal ways to be difficult.

****. Move. Do not give them your tax money anymore. F 'em. Universities are harassing students for exercising their 1st Ammendment rights. Sue them. Or take your business elsewhere.

Same goes for corporations. Enough people resist them supporting terrorists and trampling on people's rights. May, in addition to bad word of mouth, litigation, and boycotts. Change their freaking tune right quick. You are not powerless. Get creative. Are there ways you can legally deny them anything other than what you absolutely must? And make things difficult for them. At this point.

What are legal ways to require officials from not protecting monuments and or names of places, to do so? This cannot be that difficult.

If they don't want their jobs anymore. Get someone else. That's all. Who do they answer to? Take it up with the governor, the Lt.gov . the state's attorney.

And if they will not listen and follow their duties to the letter. Then that is their problem

cowboyted , 1 hour ago

Corporate fascists is what they are...these are the spoiled, trust fund, ivy league asses who have no concept of the First Amendment. They are purely partisan ideologues motivated by their white guilt (why), educated by marxists at their ivy league halls who hide from contradictory views, and are of zero tolerance from opposing views. They pride themselves on being as left as possible to be in the PC forefront--tripping over each other to the extreme PC position.

At the end of the day, they are "Useful Idiots."

CatInTheHat , 1 hour ago

And they are human rights abusers. Nothing more than sociopaths.

Btw, who does the tyrannical tribe hate the most?

yerfej , 1 hour ago

Says something about a society that it is perfectly reasonable to import a violent culture that hates western society BUT not ok to question this policy, and heaven forbid you ever speak out against the murder, rape, assault, theft,,,,,no, no you can't do that.

fersur , 1 hour ago

Not'

Article Reads; The Corporate Thought Police Are Merciless

call it like it is; Are Mercenaries !

[Jun 28, 2020] Unsophisticated disinformation Moscow rebuffs NYT story alleging Russia offered Taliban money to kill US troops in Afghanist

Notable quotes:
"... "covertly offered rewards" ..."
"... On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the NYT story as "fake information." ..."
"... This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists from US intelligence, who, instead of inventing something more plausible, resort to conjuring up such nonsense. ..."
"... "Then again, what else can one expect from intelligence services that have bungled the 20-year war in Afghanistan," the ministry said. ..."
"... Moscow has suggested that this misinformation was "planted" because the US may be against Russia "assisting" in peace talks between the Taliban and the internationally-recognised government in Kabul. ..."
Jun 27, 2020 | www.rt.com

The Russian Foreign Ministry has rejected a US media report claiming Moscow offered to pay jihadi militants to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan. It said such 'fake news' merely betrays the low skill levels of US spy agencies. Citing US intelligence officials – unnamed, of course – the New York Times reported that, last year, Moscow had "covertly offered rewards" to Taliban-linked militants to attack American troops and their NATO allies in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the NYT story as "fake information."

This unsophisticated plant clearly illustrates the low intellectual abilities of the propagandists from US intelligence, who, instead of inventing something more plausible, resort to conjuring up such nonsense.

"Then again, what else can one expect from intelligence services that have bungled the 20-year war in Afghanistan," the ministry said.

Moscow has suggested that this misinformation was "planted" because the US may be against Russia "assisting" in peace talks between the Taliban and the internationally-recognised government in Kabul.

US-led NATO troops have been fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2001. The campaign, launched in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has cost Washington billions of dollars and resulted in the loss of thousands of American soldiers' lives. Despite maintaining a military presence for almost two decades, the US has failed to defeat the Taliban, which is still in control of vast swaths of the country.

Moreover, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has compiled several reports detailing how tens of millions of US taxpayers' funds have been spent on dubious regeneration projects.

[Jun 28, 2020] It is the US intelligence s job to lie to you. NYT s Afghan bounty story is CIA press release by Caitlin Johnstone

This whole "story" stinks to high heaven. Judy Miller redux - regime-change info ops, coordinated across multiple media organizations.
Notable quotes:
"... To be clear, this is journalistic malpractice. Mainstream media outlets which publish anonymous intelligence claims with no proof are just publishing CIA press releases disguised as news. They're just telling you to believe what sociopathic intelligence agencies want you to believe under the false guise of impartial and responsible reporting. This practice has become ubiquitous throughout mainstream news publications, but that doesn't make it any less immoral. ..."
"... "Same old story: alleged intelligence ops IMPOSSIBLE to verify, leaked to the press which reports them quoting ANONYMOUS officials," tweeted journalist Stefania Maurizi. ..."
"... "So we are to simply believe the same intelligence orgs that paid bounties to bring innocent prisoners to Guantanamo, lied about torture in Afghanistan, and lied about premises for war from WMD in Iraq to the Gulf of Tonkin 'attack'? All this and no proof?" ..."
"... "It's totally outrageous for Russia to support the Taliban against Americans in Afghanistan. Of course, it's totally fine for the US to support jihadi rebels against Russians in Syria, jihadi rebels who openly said the Taliban is their hero," ..."
"... On the flip side, all the McResistance pundits have been speaking of this baseless allegation as a horrific event that is known to have happened, with Rachel Maddow going so far as to describe it as Putin offering bounties for the "scalps" of American soldiers in Afghanistan. This is an interesting choice of words, considering that offering bounties for scalps is, in fact, one of the many horrific things the US government did in furthering its colonialist ambitions , which, unlike the New York Times allegation, is known to have actually happened. ..."
Jun 28, 2020 | www.rt.com
By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

Whenever one sees a news headline ending in "US Intelligence Says", one should always mentally replace everything that comes before it with "Blah blah blah we're probably lying."

"Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill Troops, US Intelligence Says", blares the latest viral headline from the New York Times . NYT's unnamed sources allege that the GRU "secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan -- including targeting American troops", and that the Trump administration has known this for months.

To be clear, this is journalistic malpractice. Mainstream media outlets which publish anonymous intelligence claims with no proof are just publishing CIA press releases disguised as news. They're just telling you to believe what sociopathic intelligence agencies want you to believe under the false guise of impartial and responsible reporting. This practice has become ubiquitous throughout mainstream news publications, but that doesn't make it any less immoral.

Also on rt.com There they go again: NYT serves up spy fantasy about Russian 'bounties' on US troops in Afghanistan

In a post-Iraq-invasion world, the only correct response to unproven anonymous claims about a rival government by intelligence agencies from the US or its allies is to assume that they are lying until you are provided with a mountain of independently verifiable evidence to the contrary. The US has far too extensive a record of lying about these things for any other response to ever be justified as rational, and its intelligence agencies consistently play a foundational role in those lies.

Voices outside the mainstream-narrative control matrix have been calling these accusations what they are: baseless, lacking in credibility, and not reflective of anything other than fair play, even if true.

"Same old story: alleged intelligence ops IMPOSSIBLE to verify, leaked to the press which reports them quoting ANONYMOUS officials," tweeted journalist Stefania Maurizi.

America to end 'era of endless wars' & stop being policeman, Trump gives same old election promises he broke

"So we are to simply believe the same intelligence orgs that paid bounties to bring innocent prisoners to Guantanamo, lied about torture in Afghanistan, and lied about premises for war from WMD in Iraq to the Gulf of Tonkin 'attack'? All this and no proof?" tweeted author and analyst Jeffrey Kaye.

"It's totally outrageous for Russia to support the Taliban against Americans in Afghanistan. Of course, it's totally fine for the US to support jihadi rebels against Russians in Syria, jihadi rebels who openly said the Taliban is their hero," tweeted author and analyst Max Abrams.

On the flip side, all the McResistance pundits have been speaking of this baseless allegation as a horrific event that is known to have happened, with Rachel Maddow going so far as to describe it as Putin offering bounties for the "scalps" of American soldiers in Afghanistan. This is an interesting choice of words, considering that offering bounties for scalps is, in fact, one of the many horrific things the US government did in furthering its colonialist ambitions , which, unlike the New York Times allegation, is known to have actually happened.

It is true, as many have been pointing out, that it would be fair play for Russia to fund violent opposition the the US in Afghanistan, seeing as that's exactly what the US and its allies have been doing to Russia and its allies in Syria, and did to the Soviets in Afghanistan via Operation Cyclone . It is also true that the US military has no business in Afghanistan anyway, and any violence inflicted on US troops abroad is the fault of the military expansionists who put them there. The US military has no place outside its own easily defended borders, and the assumption that it is normal for a government to circle the planet with military bases is a faulty premise.

'Unsophisticated' disinformation: Moscow rebuffs NYT story alleging Russia offered Taliban money to kill US troops in Afghanistan

But before even getting into such arguments, the other side of the debate must meet its burden of proof that this has even happened. That burden is far from met. It is literally the US intelligence community's job to lie to you. The New York Times has an extensive history of pushing for new wars at every opportunity, including the unforgivable Iraq invasion , which killed a million people, based on lies. A mountain of proof is required before such claims should be seriously considered, and we are very, very far from that.

I will repeat myself: it is the US intelligence community's job to lie to you. I will repeat myself again: it is the US intelligence community's job to lie to you. Don't treat these CIA press releases with anything but contempt.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Jun 28, 2020] Trump himself demolished NYT provocation -- the Russia/Taliban story

Jun 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Brendan , Jun 28 2020 14:18 utc | 4

Trump himself has rubbished the NYT's Russia/Taliban story on Twitter today:

"Nobody briefed or told me, @VP Pence, or Chief of Staff @MarkMeadows about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians, as reported through an "anonymous source" by the Fake News @nytimes. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us..... "
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1277202159109537793

"The Fake News @ nytimes must reveal its "anonymous" source. Bet they can't do it, this "person" probably does not even exist! twitter.com/richardgrenell "
https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1277215720418484224

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 28 2020 15:17 utc | 11

NYT exclusive: breaking, bombshell report, bombshell report, Russia pays Taliban to kill U.S. Troops

The puppets dance for their puppet masters yet again. I was struck that in all of the MSM responses on CNN and FOX every single host accepted it as an absolute fact that this was true. If an unnamed source said something to a reporter at the NYT then it must have happened in that way and the facts are irrefutable. Wow our 'journalists' are pathetic.

1. The guy who leaked this could be twisting a half or even quarter truth to embarrass Trump, derail our withdrawal from Germany or Afghanistan ... nahh impossible. Our CIA guys never have an agenda.

2. This c