Totalitarian regimes — from Germany’s Third Reich to the Soviet Union to Communist China— have consistently imposed censorship on the freedoms of thought and expression of their citizens. And today, we can witness the same pattern repeated here in America through “cancel culture.”
Hailing from a country where freedom of speech is widely prohibited, I can tell you this: once you have lived for years under conditions of censorship and you now have complete freedom of expression, you do not want to go back to censorship. And yet here I am, watching as America falls more and more into self-censorship.
Self-Censorship in America
Censorship starts when we don't allow others around us to speak as they want. The recent resignation of opinion columnist and editor Bari Weiss from the New York Times illustrates this growing problem of censorship through the pressure of the online mob. As she stated in her open letter of resignation, the Twitter mob has become the ultimate arbiter in what can and can't be expressed openly.
The Twitter mob has become the ultimate arbiter in what can and can’t be expressed openly.
Bari Weiss isn’t alone in being persecuted. The Twitter mob has successfully silenced many other creators, like in the case of Young Adult fiction writer Amélie Wen Zhao. Zhao, who had her publishing deal (worth half a million dollars) destroyed because her fictional novel contained an “insensitive depiction about slavery.” According to the mob who “canceled” her, Zhao’s sin was that she attempted to tell a story that had elements of slavery which she supposedly had no right to tell.
Thought Control in the Worst Form
Writers work with language, and what a dictatorship does is restrict the use of language. When a creator of a story can’t even conjure up a world that only exists in the imagination of their own mind, let alone share that world they’ve created with someone else, you need to recognize that this is thought control in its most terrifying form.
It’s not an exaggeration to point out how in the case of Amélie Wen Zhao, the mob of online SJWs decided that the creator can’t speak at all. And in order to prohibit ideas that are unacceptable to them, the online mob employs high volume pressure in the form of fear to silence any undesirable creative expression. Cancel culture is totalitarian culture, with their clearest manifestation being the dictatorship of the angry online mob.
Modern Day Fatwa
When the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, was alive, he ordered the murder of poets who satirized his brutality. Quite a number of these critics, believe it or not, were women. They were killed for daring to criticize Muhammad’s brutal and ruthless expansion of his religion.
A dictatorship restricts the use of language.
One of the often-mentioned incidents in Islamic history was the silencing of the poetess Asma bint Marwan. Asma spoke out against the murder of another poet Abu Afak. For this, she was killed. Describing the night of her assassination: “She had five children, and the youngest was sleeping at her breast. The assassin gently removed the child, drew his sword, and plunged it into her, killing her in her sleep.”
Silencing dissidents isn’t unusual for totalitarian cultures. Attacks against free speech and opposing ideas are carried out on a regular basis. Just like the 1989 fatwa against author Salman Rushdie by the angered Iranian mullah, the mob of angry woke warriors declares its fatwa against any and all literature that doesn’t conform to the ideological model of its beliefs.
Institutional Powers Silencing the Lone Voice
As it was politically correct for the Iranian regime to kill Salman Rushdie for his blasphemous novel, it is thus also right for the “woke warriors” to kill the careers of anyone who dissents from the “correct” political beliefs. Cancel culture is strong because the mob holds in their hands the power to destroy anyone’s reputation.
Cancel culture is strong because it holds in its hands the power to destroy anyone’s reputation.
Amélie Wen Zhao was canceled by the SJW mob because her book claimed “oppression is blind to color.” Since identity politics is rooted in the amplification of race (skin color), it’s unacceptably offensive to be color-blind. “How dare Amélie Wen Zhao write a book about slavery for Western audiences without taking into account American chattel slavery?”
Totalitarian Methods To Crush Freedom of Thought
Sadistically, just like the slavers who inflicted fear on their slaves, the cancel-culture mob takes pleasure in inflicting fear to control what people think. Just like the slavers restricted the physical freedoms of their slaves, the champions of identity politics restrict the freedom of our minds. And just like the slavers had no remorse in enslaving men who should be free, the SJW mob has zero hesitation in suppressing the freedom of thought and creativity in men.
For Zhao, in the end, her work was published, but only after she made changes and revisions to her novel. Zhao made her own revisions, and then more revisions after her publisher sent the revised version of her novel to scholars and to sensitivity readers to evaluate the text. I can’t help but wonder if Salman Rushdie would have let his publisher send his work to the angry mullahs so he could edit it afterward to suit their religious sensitivities.
The SJW mob has zero hesitation in suppressing the freedom of thought and creativity.
Normal people, if they dislike a book, will simply not buy it. Only the enraged and brainwashed people like the SJW mob will go one step further to destroy the lives of those with dissenting ideas. They do this to crush the freedom of thought and creative expression.
In time, normal, sensible people will realize how intolerant the cancel culture mob is. In time, the silent majority will be tired of being constantly terrorized into silence. Sooner or later, we normal people who believe in the freedom of expression and cherish creative freedom will stand up for what we value and refuse to be intimidated any longer into submission. Perhaps that time is now.