How Progressives Hate Bullying-- Until It Works For Them
Unless you’ve been out of the universe since Y2K you’ve no doubt heard that a plague is sweeping the nation. Bullying has become a dread curse for the progressive left. There are online campaigns, in-school codes of conduct and television commercials decrying this bane on society.
Here’s one such campaign from Stopbullying.gov: https://www.stopbullying.gov/videos/index.html. And another from something called the National Bullying Prevention Center: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/video/ . Here’s Kids Against Bullying: http://www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org/kab/what-is-bullying/what-is-bullying-videos/
You get the idea. Arbitrating online shaming and exposing schoolyard intimidation has become an obsession for helicopter parents and crusading school consultants. After all, who could disagree with making the world a more peaceable place for children and employees and students? No one.
Which makes liberals’ use of political bullying so rich. This bullying is not about your stupid shoes, your bad haircut or your choice in music, No, this is about your stance on the issues of the day. Or, to be more precise, making certain that heretical opinions be punished until they hew to the proper attitudes on climate, race, gender and peace.
The bullying employs white liberal guilt about a multitude of sins from the past to humiliate those of a different opinion. It’s open and raw and reinforced in the popular culture by media and the Hollywood hierarchy. There are any number of outlets for this mocking. SNL, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher use public shaming to ostracize opponents like it was The Crucible.
This clip of Ann Coulter correctly picking Trump as the next president on Maher’s show illustrates how nasty groupthink works. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3ZkmcGFUSM). And how wrong they often are about important issues. But how many can stand this mocking, this derision before simply being reduced to silence?
Much of the moral preening draws its power from events decades, even centuries ago. (Who can forget Barack Obama evoking The Crusades to buttress his stance on Islam?) No matter; the expiration date for these arguments is open-ended. Writer Shelby Steele, a black historian at Stanford, showed how the fake-guilt-industry’s lethal bullying works in this column for the Wall Street Journal. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-exhaustion-of-american-liberalism-1488751826?mod=e2two)
“White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.”
As example, Steele cites a father who voted for Barack Obama simply because he feared his son knowing that he didn’t vote for the first black American president. This calculated campaign to intimidate is why safe spaces and violent demonstrations against unpopular ideas have become so popular with progressives. Status-seeking young people mortified about being seen in the wrong place or listening to the wrong ideas can retreat to safe spaces to protect them being seen in the wrong company. Throwing benches through storefront windows gives you cred. This mind control is today’s liberalism.
Steele does offer hope that Trump’s election might mark the start of the pushback. POTUS 45 famously spoke the words so many were afraid to speak and offended the powerful people that considered themselves above reproach. Steele points out one instance to show that there tide is turning.
“There are so many public moments now in which liberalism’s old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks—Elizabeth Warren in the Senate reading a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King, hoping to stop Jeff Sessions’s appointment as attorney general. There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist. When Ms. Warren was finally told to sit, there was real mortification behind her glaring eyes.”
If anyone expects liberals to experience a moment of self-revelation, they’ll be waiting a long time for Warren (who claimed 1/32 native blood to get a minority teaching position at Harvard) or Nancy Pelosi to have their “Saul on the road to Damascus” moment.
These aging relics of 1960s radicalism will probably be stigmatizing the hospice nurse for racism with their dying breath. There’s zero chance they recognize browbeating opponents as the same bullying they deplore in other areas.
The antidote for this bullying is, in the words of Hillary Clinton, to resist. Remember that the left thought the stony silence of many people heading into the 2016 presidential election indicated they’d won the debate. The science was settled. And remember the repudiation of these bullies that came when so many “silent” voters cast their vote for Donald Trump.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)