We live in an age in which the world’s thought leaders have been corrupted by the philosophically unsound, morally depraved, and politically dangerous ideas and ideologies. An open letter (https://harpers.org/a-letter-on-justice-and-open-debate/) that prominent authors and intellectuals have written bemoaning the rise of “forces of illiberalism” is testimony to this corruption.
About 150 writers, artists and activists, including such luminaries as Noam Chomsky, Anne Applebaum, Salman Rushdie, J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood, and Fareed Zakaria, have warned about the threat to free speech. However, their attitude towards the enemies of liberty is servile.
Unsurprisingly, the letter is a blend of truths, half-truths, and downright lies. “Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial,” begins the letter. It’s true; half-truths and lies follow.
The letter goes on to say. “Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts.” This is a bundle of half-truths and lies.
The letter doesn’t name Black Lives Matter but the reference is obvious. We have written on several occasions that it is a Leftwing movement, determined to impose the logically precarious norms of Marxism and Maoism on humankind (https://indianarrative.com/opinion/jihad-maoism-hop-on-to-the-black-lives-matter-bandwagon-3860.html). We wrote that BLM is “against not US President Donald Trump—whom BLM-types hate rabidly—and the historical figures the protesters abhor but against the very concepts of America, indeed the Western civilization. In fact, the movement should be seen as a jihad against civilization per se.”
Further, “Nothing else explains the defacement of the statues of Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi—the men who fought against slavery and inequality. Make no mistake about it, BLM and Antifa activists are against civilization as we know it.”
Also, BLM bigots “are not just righting the wrongs of history; they are agitating against history. They want to smear everything from the past—art, culture, literature, philosophy, religion, et al—and begin anew. Begin with a clean slate, so that they—with assistance from the ideologists masquerading as academics—can write every rule of human behavior and define every norm of social conduct, economic policy, and political system.”
Notice that the authors of the letter have unquestioningly accepted the phony, New Leftist concept of “racial and social justice.” It is phony because it distorts and debauches the Enlightenment concept of ‘justice,’ transmogrifying it into a collectivist doctrine, a doctrine that privileges birth-based (ethnic, racial, caste, etc.) categorization over everything else in the world. It thus divides humankind into racial, ethnic, etc., groups that are compartmentalized in a watertight manner, thus dispensing with any meaningful coexistence and the assertion of individual identity.
Therefore, only groups exist, individuals don’t. Consequently, only groupthink is allowed, not individual thinking. The eminent intellectuals indeed exhibit groupthink when they say: “The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy.”
Trump-bashing has become a totemic activity among cognoscenti; it is like a wannabe intellectual in the 1980s in India, slamming communalism all the time—and hoping to be admitted into the ivory towers of intellectualism.
There is no evidence to suggest that the US President or any of the conservative leaders or organizations in America (or, for that matter, anywhere else in the West) have done anything to undermine free speech or liberty. And yet they are all maligned as the “forces of illiberalism.”
By writing the letter, the 150-odd liberal luminaries are trying to deliver a simple message to BLM and Antifa: ‘Listen, folks, we are with you. See we hate Trump as much as you do. But you are going too far with cancel culture, with the obliteration of all history, culture, civilization. Please spare us. Just focus on Trump and his supporters, who are, as Hillary Clinton said a basket of deplorables.’
In the ultimate analysis, the letter is an appeasing move, beseeching the cancel culture czars to spare the liberal establishment.
Winston Churchill said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” The liberal establishment nurtures similar hopes..