Politics, Regressive Left, Top Stories

Weighing the Threats to American Democracy

In recent years, there has been a tendency among many to present liberal democracy in the United States as being under threat from the actions of the right, yet little or no attention is given to the actions of the regressive left, which has also engaged in behavior hostile to democratic norms such as free speech, due process, and equal rights. One prominent intellectual who is an exception is Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, who in his new book Enlightenment Now recognizes that “a faction of academic culture composed of hard-left faculty, student activists, and an autonomous diversity bureaucracy (pejoratively called social justice warriors) has become aggressively illiberal.”1 However, Pinker goes on to claim that the regressive left is a lesser threat because it does not hold power in government, apparently viewing it as largely contained to academia:

Of the two forms of politicization that are subverting reason today, the political is far more dangerous than the academic, for an obvious reason. It’s often quipped (no one knows who said it first) that academic debates are vicious because the stakes are so small. But in political debates, the stakes are unlimited, including the future of the planet. Politicians, unlike professors, pull the levers of power. In 21st-century America, the control of Congress by a Republican Party that became synonymous with the extreme right has been pernicious, because it is so convinced of the righteousness of its cause and the evil of its rivals that is has undermined the institutions of democracy to get what it wants…Their erosion, disproportionately by the right, has led many people, including a growing share of young Americans, to see democratic government as inherently dysfunctional and to become cynical about democracy itself.

In this, Pinker is mistaken. It is an oversimplification to assume that the present control of government by the Republicans means that the regressive left is a lesser threat to our freedom in the long term.

First of all, the dominance of the regressive left is not contained to academia. It is also present in the mainstream media, as we can see from the lack of viewpoint diversity present in most coverage of issues involving race, gender, sexuality, or any other identity classification where political correctness comes into play. It is present in Hollywood, as we can see from the ocean of black dresses worn to the Golden Globes, turning what was nominally an awards show into a display of conformity and blind loyalty to the #MeToo movement.2

It is present in Silicon Valley, as we can see from the stunning display of closed-minded intolerance at Google revealed by the screenshots in James Damore’s lawsuit against the company, as well as from a second lawsuit filed by an employee claiming to have been fired after raising concerns that the company was illegally denying consideration to applicants for certain positions who were not from “underrepresented” demographics.3,4

The power vested in the government is not the only form of power in our society, nor is it necessarily the strongest. The ability to fire someone for their politics or deny them a job on account of factors unrelated to their qualifications is a form of power. The ability to control what facts or opinions are broadcast to millions of viewers is a form of power. These powers are generally held by private individuals and businesses who can use or abuse them as they see fit, checked in theory by the market. Then, of course, there is the power of the angry mob, which last year silenced dissenting views at schools such as Berkeley, Middlebury, and Evergreen State.5,6,7 This is a form of power that ought not be exercised by anyone on either side of the political spectrum in a functioning democracy.

The power in government, on the other hand, is subject to a constitutional system designed to prevent its abuse. Our founders wisely recognized that merely holding popular elections is not sufficient to produce a genuine democracy and that such a system can easily degenerate into a tyranny of the majority. Therefore, they put in place such safeguards as federalism, separation of powers, checks and balances, and protections of individual rights. These structures serve to ensure that the amount of power placed into the hands of a single person or institution is strictly limited and that certain forms of power are not held by anyone. Pinker rightly celebrates this type of system as one of the greatest achievements of the Enlightenment.

If Trump were to be given the power of a dictator, there would be cause for grave concern over the high level of damage that he would likely inflict. However, as much as Trump might admire and appear to envy authoritarian rulers such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the President of the United States is not a dictator.89 The institutions of our democracy have largely been working to curb Trump’s excesses. With the exception of the tax reform law passed last year, his legislative agenda has been stalled due to opposition from members of Congress from both parties.10 Judges have issued stays halting his executive orders until judicial review can take place to determine their constitutionality.11 As much as Trump might fantasize about amending libel laws to go after reporters who criticize him, he is powerless to do so in the real world.12 The power to pass laws rests with the Congress, not the president. Of course, none of this is reason for complacency concerning Trump. The Constitution as ink on parchment does not magically cause democratic institutions to appear. Trump has been checked precisely because other people in government have been doing their jobs and ensuring that he wields only the powers vested in the presidency and no more.

There has been widespread complacency, though, surrounding the uses and abuses of power by the regressive left. The power to control the flow of information is particularly dangerous if abused, and those who wield it today can use it to gain other forms of power tomorrow. If people are only exposed to the arguments in favor of one ideology, it will create an environment where only candidates who espouse that ideology are electable. Even the mere perception that a backlash would arise against deviating from ideological dogma can be enough to ensure that no candidates violate it. We already see this with affirmative action. While public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans oppose preferences on the basis of race or gender, candidates who advocate abolishing these preferences are few and far between.13

The presence of politics in the technology industry is particularly troubling. Given the lack of ideological diversity in the mainstream broadcast and print media, many of the most eloquent voices speaking out against the ideas of the regressive left disseminate their perspectives through the Internet on YouTube. They include Dave Rubin, Jordan Peterson, Blaire White, Candace Owens, Carl Benjamin, Dennis Prager, Christina Hoff Sommers, and following his departure from Evergreen State College, Bret Weinstein. Many have been subject to demonetization, meaning that YouTube has stopped running ads on their videos and taken away their ability to earn money from ad revenue. It is an open question whether YouTube will eventually opt to move beyond demonetization to outright censorship.14

In a free market economy, this type of behavior would be discouraged by dissatisfied customers taking their business elsewhere. However, the actions of other major technology companies raise questions of whether they are in fact any better than Google. Allegations of “a concerted purge of conservative employees” at Apple are especially troubling, as they would mean that both of the major players in the smartphone oligopoly are intolerant of dissent.15 Facebook remained silent when false and misleading information was disseminated by left-wing social media campaigns such as #YesAllWomen, yet Mark Zuckerberg has resolved to combat “fake news” now that it is believed to have contributed to Trump’s election.1617 Even Microsoft has given cause for concern as CEO Satya Nadella sent an email to employees this past summer that seemed to compare James Damore’s memo to the violent protests in Charlottesville, making the sort of dangerous false equivalence between political speech and violence that one would generally encounter from radical far-left groups such as Antifa.18

Although a bona fide regressive leftist has yet to occupy the White House, we can get an idea of what would await by looking at some of the actions of the Obama administration. While President Obama is unquestionably far more moderate than many of the voices heard on campus or at Google, he has nonetheless been far more willing to flirt with the ideology of the regressive left than any other president in United States history, and this has affected his policies. Perhaps most disturbing is the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter on sexual assault, which ordered the nation’s colleges and universities to adjudicate these cases under procedures that did away with “innocent until proven guilty,” replacing it with the much weaker “preponderance of the evidence” standard, and to eliminate other constitutionally guaranteed due process protections such as the right to cross-examination and the right to be represented by an attorney.19 This policy was in effect for more than six years, sparking lawsuits from male students across the country claiming to have been wrongfully expelled for crimes they did not commit, until the “Dear Colleague” letter was revoked by the Trump administration last year.2021 The fact that this could go on for so long with criticism of it largely contained to conservative-leaning media outlets is testament to the danger posed by having people of one ideological persuasion control so much of the media.

Also troubling is President Obama’s decision to use executive orders to grant de facto legal status to millions of immigrants in the country illegally. Whether or not this was the right decision from a policy perspective, the power to set immigration policy is vested in the Congress, not the president.22 For Obama to singlehandedly make that decision undermines our democratic structures — exactly the argument that is repeatedly made against Trump. Finally, Obama’s first Supreme Court appointee, Sonia Sotomayor, had a record of repeatedly boasting that her race and gender made her a superior judge to others who did not share her demographics, saying that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”23 We ought to be concerned that one of nine votes on how to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects all Americans from discrimination by the government, is held by someone who views others as less competent by virtue of the accident of their birth.

We can also look to the policies being instituted in other countries for an idea of what might await us if we fail to protect individual rights. The Canadian parliament recently passed Bill C-16, which subjects citizens to fines or even imprisonment if they call a transgender person by the wrong pronoun, even accidentally.24,25 The South African parliament recently voted to amend their constitution to allow expropriation of land owned by white citizens without compensation, effectively imposing a collective punishment on them for the crimes of their ancestors.26 In Australia, under Section 18-C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which deems it is unlawful to offend a person or group on the basis of their race, colour or national origin, cartoonists have been investigated for cartoons, and university students have been investigated for Facebook posts.27 Clearly, human rights can be violated in the name of advancing social justice.

In addition to the direct threat to democracy proposed by regressive left, there is also an indirect threat that is just as great. Radical left-wing and right-wing ideologies feed off of one another. The true believers of either ideology view themselves as justified by the threat posed by the other, and they are energized by seeing their opposing extremists in power.

A protestor in Portland, Oregon

Furthermore, moderates may vote for an extremist who they do not like if they view the alternative as being even more extreme, or extreme in a way that they consider to be more dangerous. There is every reason to believe that this played a role in getting Trump elected in the first place, especially in light of the fact that both candidates faced disapproval from the majority of the American people.28 Similarly, if the Democrats nominate a bona fide regressive leftist in two years, it could potentially increase the risk of a second term of Trump, even if a more moderate Democrat would have been able to defeat him. On the other hand, if such a candidate were to be elected as president, the resulting anger at his or her policies could increase the risk of then electing another Trump-like president or perhaps even someone more extreme. Having a president who behaves as Trump does only increases the temptation to turn to the sort of illiberal measures proposed by the regressive left to curb his excesses.

We should think carefully about the kind of world in which we wish to live. Do we wish to see the right of all to free speech replaced by the right of some to not be offended? Do we wish to live in a world where, as George Orwell brilliantly put it, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others?”29 Do we wish to turn our backs on the innocent, as due process is abandoned? Do we want to risk sparking a backlash that could land us with four more years of Trump or someone like him—if not in 2020, then in 2024 or 2028? If not, then the time to stand up and speak out is now. We cannot wait until one of the extremes gains enough power to begin tampering with the Constitution, either by appointing a majority of the Supreme Court or by gaining the supermajority necessary to pass constitutional amendments. If we wish to preserve our democratic institutions and pass them on to the generations to come, we must support candidates from either party who recognize the gravity of the threats posed by both extremes. “Anyone but Trump” won’t cut it—and neither will ignoring the danger that is posed by him and those like him.

 

The author is a software engineer. Gideon Scopes is a pseudonym. Given the current climate surrounding political expression in the technology industry, his real name has been withheld.


References:

[1] Pinker, Steven. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. New York: Viking; 2018. 556 p.
[2] Gibbs, Nancy. Free Speech, Forced Speech, and the Right to Silence [Internet]. New York: Time; 2018 Mar 1 [cited 2018 Mar 18].
[3] Scopes, Gideon. Lawsuit Exposes Internet Giant’s Internal Culture of Intolerance [Internet]. [place unknown]: Quillette; 2018 Feb 1 [cited 2018 Mar 18].
[4] Robertson, Adi. YouTube recruiter sues Google for allegedly refusing to hire white and Asian men [Internet]. New York: The Verge; 2018 Mar 2 [cited 2018 Mar 18].
[5] Park, Madison; Lah, Kyung. Berkeley protests of Yiannopoulos caused $100,000 in damage [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): CNN; 2017 Feb 2 [cited 2018 Mar 18].
[6] Beinart, Peter. A Violent Attack on Free Speech at Middlebury [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Atlantic; 2017 Mar 6 [cited 2018 Mar 18].
[7] Allen, Charlotte. The Appalling Protests at Evergreen State College [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Weekly Standard; 2017 Jun 9 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[8] Kaczynski, Andrew; Massie, Chris; McDermott, Nathan. 80 times Trump talked about Putin [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): CNN; 2017 Mar [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[9] Liptak, Kevin. Trump on China’s Xi consolidating power: ‘Maybe we’ll give that a shot someday’ [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): CNN; 2018 Mar 3 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[10] Caldwell, Leigh Ann. GOP Legislative Agenda Stalled Amid Ideological Divides [Internet]. New York: NBC News; 2017 Jul 23 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[11] Kerr, Orin. Four federal judges issue orders blocking parts of Trump’s executive order on immigration [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Washington Post; 2017 Jan 29 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[12] Wilkie, Christina. Trump wants to make it easier to sue the media, but that almost definitely won’t happen [Internet]. New York: CNBC; 2018 Jan 11 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[13] Newport, Frank. Most in U.S. Oppose Colleges Considering Race in Admissions [Internet]. Washington (DC): Gallup; 2016 Jul 8 [cited 2018 Mar 21]. Available from:
[14] Breland, Ali. Online right fumes after YouTube ad crackdown [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Hill; 2017 Sep 30 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[15] Lieberman, Eric. The Large Majority Of Conservatives Working In Silicon Valley Feel Uncomfortable, Says Survey [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Daily Caller; 2018 Feb 2 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[16] Hemingway, Mollie Ziegler. The Ten Most Asinine Things About #YesAllWomen [Internet]. Alexandria (VA): The Federalist; 2014 May 28 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[17] Folkenflik, David; Wertheimer, Linda. Mark Zuckerberg Addresses Fake News On Facebook [Internet]. Washington (DC): NPR; 2016 Nov 19 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[18] Murphy, Mike. Read Satya Nadella’s letter to Microsoft staff after the events in Charlottesville [Internet]. New York: Quartz; 2017 Aug 15 [cited 2018 Mar 21].
[19] Grossman, Judith E. Judith Grossman: A Mother, a Feminist, Aghast [Internet]. New York: The Wall Street Journal; 2013 Apr 16 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[20] Gersen, Jeannie Suk. College Students Go to Court Over Sexual Assault [Internet]. New York: The New Yorker; 2016 Aug 5 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[21] Department of Education Issues New Guidance on Campus Sexual Misconduct [Internet]. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of Education; 2017 Sep 22 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[22] Von Spakovsky, Hans A. DACA Is Unconstitutional, as Obama Admitted [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Heritage Foundation; 2017 Sep 8 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[23] Bash, Dana; Sherman, Emily. Sotomayor’s ‘wise Latina’ comment a staple of her speeches [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): CNN; 2009 Jun 8 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[24] Prestigiacomo, Amanda. ORWELLIAN: Canadians Can Now Be Fined Or JAILED For Using Wrong Gender Pronouns [Internet]. Sherman Oaks (CA): The Daily Wire; 2017 Jun 21 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[25][25] Peterson, Jordan B. Canadian gender-neutral pronoun bill is a warning for Americans [Internet]. Washington (DC): The Hill; 2016 Oct 18 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[26] Roelf, Wendell. Vote in South Africa’s parliament moves land reform closer [Internet]. London: Reuters; 2018 Feb 27 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[27] Leak, Bill. Bill Leak’s full submission to 18C parliamentary inquiry, [Internet]. Sydney: The Australian; 2017 March 13 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[28] England, Charlotte. Record number of people disapprove of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, new poll shows [Internet]. London: The Independent; 2016 Nov 1 [cited 2018 Mar 25].
[29] Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Signet; 2004. 140 p.

Filed under: Politics, Regressive Left, Top Stories

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The author is a software engineer. Gideon Scopes is a pseudonym. Given the current climate surrounding political expression in the technology industry, his real name has been withheld.

26 Comments

  1. Morti says

    Donald Trump is an old man. He’s restricted by his 2-term limit. Climate change denying Republicans will go away eventually leaving their place to a new generation of politicians, public servants, intellectual elites, celebrites etc.

    What the next generation will be? If you want to answer just look at the schools, universities and campuses. This is where they are currently raised and educated. This is where their worldviews are being shaped. They are your future MPs, professors, lawyers, judges, doctors etc. This is the future of your country.

    Therefor I would not downplay the threat from the far-left just because it’s mostly (not fully) contained within campuses. Each professor has the power to intoxicate dozens of young people with his zealotry. This is the power any religious preacher can only dream of.

  2. RemAcuTetigisti says

    Dr. Pinker fails to mention the third head of this neo-Marxist Cerberus.
    That being of the media- entertainment – internet complex and propagandists.
    Political, academic and cultural onslaught against this free speaking, realist society might be a tide that breaks the dam of the “American experiment “.

    • Pinker is a creature of the academy and, therefore, up too close to make an objective analysis. And rather naive too, I think.

  3. I am glad to see someone took the time to drive this point home. Activists are not so different from other political actors. They test the limits of what they can get away with doing. And the more their misdeeds are indulged by civic and political leaders, the more crap they will pull.

  4. Kay Anth says

    The Left has immense, immense, immense social capital from domination of Hollywood, media, and academia, a potent combination that makes the progressive opinion–at least on a big chunk of issues–the automatic view.

    It’s why, inexplicably, you get social justice essays in places like Cosmo, Pitchfork, and GQ, none of which are explicitly political outfits. There is no right/center-right equivalent of Pitchfork, as far as I know; if you want to consume music news/reviews/journalism on the Internet, you’re going to be forced to sit through progressive interjections, even in places you might not expect to see them (for example, in a brief album review.)

    So the Left dominates the cultural conversation. Appealing to freedom of speech in these corners will often be met with “it’s only censorship/violation of free speech if the government is doing it.” But in reality, they really don’t need the government to freeze “undesirable” opinions out of the conversation. All they have to do is bring their social capital to bear, i.e., for Twitter to ban you; for YouTube to de-monetize your videos; for the board of your company to force you out if you dare break from conventional wisdom (Eich vis a vis Mozilla, for example.)

    These are private companies that are free to make personnel and policy decisions, of course. But it’s still censorship, just of a cultural variety. Many progressives seem highly intolerant of differing opinions having a large or semi-substantial platform, so cultural power is used to make certain kinds of speech unfathomable, with no need for government flexing.

    • Craig Willms says

      The left has dominated the conversation for decades going back at least as far 1980 when I came of age. Yet today almost 40 years later the Republicans hold both houses of Congress, the Presidency and majority of governorship’s – and the state house 30+ states. How is it possible? People aren’t stupid or fooled and kids grow-up.

      The left eats it’s own. Many pundits on the so-called right are/were Democrats who ran afoul of the the leftist orthodoxy and have been shunned. I was once a Democrat and only vote (R) with my nose held closed – because they are less bad.

      A reckoning is coming – Europe will awaken, Canada is rubbing it’s eyes and America burning.

      • America is demonstrably capable of tearing itself apart; they have history. The regressive Left is on an ultra-dangerous path.

  5. Sean`Leith says

    the begin with, the communist sign is a sign of murder. Communism and socialism are murderous, they killed more people than Nazi Hitler. Someone is holding a flag of that evil thing is totally unacceptable in the a civilized world.

  6. MadAmos says

    It begins with picking and choosing which speech is ok. Which civil right or human right can be restricted to protect someone’s feelings or for ‘fairness’. End ends, inevitably, with people imprisoned or killed over it.

    Whether that is done by a business, school, or government its wrong.

  7. The problem Gideon Scopes addresses is serious, make no mistake. But, to “solve” it, our society’s thinkers and problem solvers must begin viewing this and other categories of problems in medical terms. Meaning, our regressive-left/regressive-right problem must be seen as just one of a countless number of symptoms of America’s myriad of major economic, financial, fiscal and societal (EFFS) problems – all of which, in turn, are symptoms of our “diseased” democracy, which is (by my definition) diseased because Congress is and has been permanently controlled by two political factions overwhelmingly dominated and controlled by self-serving “politicians” whose first two concerns (by far – think: astronomical units) are their political careers AND the acquisition of political power, much of it solely for power’s sake.

    Seen through that lens, Gideon’s prescription — “If we wish to preserve our democratic institutions and pass them on to the generations to come, we must support candidates from either party who recognize the gravity of the threats posed by both extremes.” — is a variation of nearly every remedy offered by concerned (for America) analysts for generations (i.e., we must elect folks to Congress who care about doing what’s in the best interest of the American people a lot more than they care about a political career or political power).

    What Gideon SHOULD have said was: in order to make our diseased democracy healthy, our political science and civics educators must develop a new, 21st century civics curriculum that teaches our nations 75 million students (and 140 million voters) a new, 21st century self-governance “skill” – namely, how to IDENTIFY and ACTIVELY SEEK OUT highly capable (mostly) liberals and conservatives who don’t have (relatively speaking) a self-serving, politically ambitious or power hungry bone in their body. Then SUCCESSFULLY ARM-TWIST them into running in our 435 congressional and 50 Senate Democratic and Republican primaries – in order to insure that, regardless of which candidate is elected in the general election, he or she will not be a self-serving politicians. (aside: then only allow them to serve for a few years as a one-time civic duty because both they and the voters know how much political power will eventually corrupt even the best of us).

    An outside-the-box solution to be sure. Even an impossible to imagine solution. But it is THE solution — and the alternative is to continue doing what our society’s best and brightest thinkers have been doing for generations: (see Gideon’s prescription).

  8. Debbie says

    “Rights” — including constitutional ones — are not inviolate. For instance, the US government can “violate” some of your constitutional rights, like the fundamental right to equal protection of the laws, so long as the violation is rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest.

    That’s why government discrimination based on race or sex is perfectly acceptable in many arenas. For instance, the courts have determined that universities have a legitimate interest in promoting student body racial diversity, and thus race-based admission criteria are OK when they are rationally related to increasing campus diversity.

    Indeed, Title IX is explicitly a sex-based preference law that promotes discrimination (in favor of women) in rational furtherance of the governmentally-legitimate goal of academic equality. Can you imagine a similar statute that guarantees equality (or at least population proportionality) of scholarship sports opportunities for hispanic or asain students? It’s not different: US law treats sex and race discrimination similarly.

    I make this post because a lot articles here and in other places appear to work from the position that rights guaranteed to individuals are, in fact, guaranteed. They are not.

    • ADM64 says

      That is the current, erroneous interpretation put on rights based on a legal positivist view of rights first advanced by progressives more than a century ago. The natural rights view is more consistent. Anti-discrimination laws violate rights by compelling private citizens to associate with one another or provide services. The so-called rational basis test means any justification, no matter how flimsy, can be used to violate rights.

      Rights, properly understood are legal recognition and protection of an individual’s freedom to think, and to act non-violently or non-fraudulently upon his thoughts. Rights arise from our nature as humans and the requirements of our life. No one has a right to someone else’s property, labor, time or good opinion. Understanding that would resolve a lot of our political disputes, but it would comprehensively reign in government. Many people don’t like that. The notion of rights as social permissions, in contrast, renders them utterly meaningless and IA an invitation to violate them.

      • Debbie says

        You describe natural rights. And maybe the cosmos should honor natural rights. However, the only rights that actually exist are those that that are legally enforceable, and those are legal rights, which my post described (with respect to some constitutional rights in the USA).

  9. ADM64 says

    Politics follows culture, and culture is determined in the arts and education system long before we get to politics. That’s one reason why Republicans can’t effect meaningful, sustained change even when they hold massive political majorities.

    • augustine says

      That really makes sense. How can a “dominant” party effect change when they are not in the cultural vanguard. Ever. Great insight, thanks.

  10. LOL – of course an article in Quillette is going to conclude the threat to democracy is The Left. Will you all stop pretending to be centrists now?

    • Robert Paulson says

      Are you saying that one cannot be a centrist if one criticizes the left? That if you criticize the left you must, by necessity, be on the right?

  11. Mark Turpin says

    Hell, I have voted liberal democrat my whole life, including Hillary (for my wife). Guess what?— Democrats used to support free speech. The Far left (in the US) supported free speech until they found a reason not to. In a democracy, free speech is the whole game.

    So, Nancy, at the very least, I’d say you lack imagination.

  12. Brad Carpenter says

    “…yet little or no attention is given to the actions of the regressive left, ”

    That’s where I stopped reading.

    Either the author has been living in a cave for the past 5 years, or he is deliberately trying to con his readers. We’ve been bombarded on a daily basis with stories and headlines about how SJW college students are destroying free speech and dismantling Western Civilization.

    • You only hear that in dedicated, non-liberal outlets. You hear nothing or next-to-nothing about it in the dominant media. Little in the NYT or LAT or WaPo or Boston Globe or any other major newspaper. The same for ABC, CBS, NBC. The same for virtually every late night talk show and virtually every show like The Daily Show and Jon Oliver and Samantha Bee and SNL. The same for virtually every actor and actress and director.
      The significant presence of communists on the left and in academia proves the point! The Boston Globe gave fawning coverage to ‘peaceful counterprotesters’, while photos in the much smaller Boston Herald showed young black males assaulting an elderly white woman and many people with hammer-and-sickle shirts. The Globe MIGHT not have seen the assault, but there is no way they missed all those communist shirts. If there were people wearing swastika shirts we would have never heard the end of it from the dominant media. I saw news footage of protesters in TX carrying a sign and chanting the standard ‘No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA’. The sign had a website on it, so I went there. It was a hardcore communist website. Again, we would be deluged with coverage and SJW wailing if protesters were carrying signs with Nazi web addresses. Communism has killed far more people than Nazis did, and communism remains a viable force ruling over 1.4 billion people. The presence of communists should provoke AT LEAST as much outrage as the mostly imaginary presence of Nazis.

  13. augustine says

    Great post, especially highlighting the contrast between legally constrained government power and theoretically limitless social or “market” power.

    I enjoy reading articles like this to gain a better understanding of our politics but in the end this is war, an internal (Western) cultural cold war that seems to be warming up. The Left knows this and is all in, violent revolution being their forte. I pray the Right will not be animated by similar passions, that some default social mechanisms will temper the extremes, but in the short to medium term I am not very hopeful. Insightful commentary on human nature is inspired by warfare, after the fact, and is seldom if ever employed to prevent it.

  14. Considering that Mr. Gideon gives no quarter at all to President Trump, painting him as unalloyedly evil, blowing off his supporters as rubes and dimwits, and suggesting that More Trump is the wicked downside of the excesses of the SJW Left and the primary reason to oppose it, I don’t quite understand why he not-so-courageously posted this under a pseudonym. That kind of cowardice makes this essay unworthy of being respectfully considered, and I wonder why Quillette’s robust ID criteria for thread commenters are not at least as applicable to long-form essay authors here?

  15. ga gamba says

    Just spend a few minutes viewing peoplekind-in-the-street interviews uploaded to youtube – Nuancebro, Fleccas Talks, Mark Dice, and even Jimmy Kimmel.

    You’ll find people have opinions of about Richard Nixon’s candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination; ending the pain of women’s suffrage; Martin Luther King being the first African American to walk on the moon and also a “huge general for the Confederacy”; approve of Hillary Clinton’s promise to bring Sharia law to the urban community and the middle-class whilst also lowering the standard of living and repealing the “outdated” Bill of Rights to bring about “change”; support Taylor Swift’s initiative to bring soylent green to school lunchrooms because “celebrities know better”; and disapprove of Trump’s sons killing triceratops, sabre-tooth tigers, and pterodactyls on a hunting safari. And it isn’t trivia. People will sign petitions demanding Twelve Years a Slave be dropped by Netflix, pulled from distribution, and have its Oscar rescinded to “eradicate racism”, and they will provide all kinds of personal info (full name, address, phone number, bank, etc) to a man holding a clipboard telling them he needs it to “help the programmes”.

    Are these people a “threat” or not to democracy you may decide for yourselves. Of course these videos are edited, so what percent of people think adding infanticide to Obamacare is a good idea is unknown. Though some people say “I don’t know” and even admit they’re inattentive to politics, almost no one bothers to ask “could you tell me more about that?”

    In the end, people get the government and the society they deserve.

  16. As White House is destroying hundred years institutions and ethics, let’s talk about how people advocating for less discrimination are the real problem! A+ fascist propaganda

  17. Pancho says

    Apparently the author of this article has not read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Have he done so, he would have known that the U.S. is NOT a democracy and it was never intended to be one, because the Founding Fathers were aware that all democracies sooner or later turn into tyrannies. That is why they choose to create a Republic instead.

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