Political correctness has always been a form of tyranny dictating which political opinions one may hold. Brendan Eich was recently ousted as CEO of Mozilla, a company he founded, when it was discovered he donated to California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. That voter initiative was passed with a sizable margin by the people and made traditional marriage the only form of marriage legally recognized in California, but just briefly. A left-wing federal judge quickly ruled it unconstitutional.
Now the gay mafia (the gay activists richly deserve that description) has whacked Brendan Eich for holding political views they find unacceptable. They seek to purge from public life, and perhaps from life itself, anyone who fails to pledge his or her absolute loyalty to their preferred and highly opinionated way of thinking. This is McCarthism on steroids.
From climate change alarmists to Barack Obama on his oppressive takeover of the health care industry, the refrain is always, “the debate is over,” as if “shut up” were a decent argument. Speaking of decency, what is badly needed now is a Joseph Welch to ask the Left, “At long last, have you no sense of decency.”
Joel Kotkin writes today in the Orange County Register on the “debate is over” syndrome of the Left’s secular dogmatists, and its totalitarian leaning:
This shift has been building for decades and follows the increasingly uniform capture of key institutions – universities, the mass media and the bureaucracy – by people holding a set of “acceptable” viewpoints. Ironically, the shift toward a uniform worldview started in the 1960s, in part as a reaction to the excesses of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the oppressive conformity of the 1950s.
But what started as liberation and openness has now engendered an ever-more powerful clerisy – an educated class – that seeks to impose particular viewpoints while marginalizing and, in the most-extreme cases, criminalizing, divergent views.
Today’s clerisy in some ways resembles the clerical First Estate in pre-revolutionary France, which, in the words of the historian Georges Lefebvre, “possessed a control over thought in the interests of the Church and king.” With today’s clerisy, notes essayist Joseph Bottum, “social and political ideas [are] elevated to the status of strange divinities … born of the ancient religious hunger to perceive more in the world than just the give and take of ordinary human beings, but adapted to an age that piously congratulates itself on its escape from many of the strictures of ancient religion.”
In pre-revolutionary France this sort of thought control eventually lead to Robespierre, the Jacobins and the guillotine. Today’s thought police might want to remember that eventually the Jacobins guillotined Robespierre, to keep him from guillotining them.