The self-silencing majority

By Bari Weiss, Deseret News

I know a lot of people who live in fear of saying what they really think. In red America and in blue America — and, perhaps more so, on the red internet and the blue internet — we are in the grip of an epidemic of self-silencing. What you censor, of course, depends on where you sit.

My liberal friends who live in red America confess to avoiding discussions of masks, Dominion, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, the 2020 election and Donald Trump, to name just a few. When those who disagree with the surrounding majority speak their mind, they suffer the consequences. …

But there are two illiberal cultures swallowing up the country. I know because I live in blue America, in a world awash in NPR tote bags and front lawn signs proclaiming the social justice bonafides of the family inside. In my America, the people who keep quiet don’t fear the wrath of Trump supporters. They fear the illiberal left.

They are feminists who believe there are biological differences between men and women. Journalists who believe their job is to tell the truth about the world, even when it’s inconvenient. Doctors whose only creed is science. Lawyers who will not compromise on the principle of equal treatment under the law. Professors who seek the freedom to write and research without fear of being smeared. In short, they are centrists, libertarians, liberals and progressives who do not ascribe to every single aspect of the new far-left orthodoxy.

After I resigned from The New York Times over the summer for their hostility to free speech and open inquiry, I began to hear almost daily from such people. Their notes to me sound like missives smuggled out of a totalitarian society. …

“Self-censorship is the norm, not the exception,” a student at one of the top law schools in the country wrote from his personal email because he was worried about sending it from his official school account. “I self-censor even when talking to some of my best friends for fear of word getting around.” Practically all of the faculty subscribe to the same ideology, the student went on. And so, he confessed, “I try to write exam answers that mirror their world view rather than presenting the best arguments I see.”

We live in the freest society in the history of the world. There is no gulag here, as there was in the Soviet Union. There is no formal social credit system, as there is today in China. And yet the words that we associate with closed societies — dissidents, double thinkers, blacklists — are exactly the ones that come to mind when I read the notes above.

Please read Bari Weiss’s entire essay HERE

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