I have always enjoyed Facebook posts that show someone sitting on a folding chair at a card table on a college campus. Draped over the front of the table is a sheet with a challenge such as “There are only two sexes! Prove me wrong!”
I celebrate and appreciate anyone willing to debate controversial issues in public. Especially in hostile territory. It is an effort to engage people in intellectual contests to explore difficult social conflicts. It is an act of true Americanism.
Americans enjoy an immense amount of freedom because the Constitution of the United States protects our God-given right to speak freely, to gather and associate without government intimidation, and to express our opinions. The Constitution doesn’t qualify that freedom. It doesn’t distinguish between self-serving, petty or ill-informed speech. It doesn’t mention pedantic or hate speech.
Americans don’t have to meet any litmus tests to exercise our freedoms.
Our Constitution also protects us from assaults on our person or property by anyone violating laws written and adopted by the legislative branch of our government. It does not authorize renegade, self-appointed authorities to enforce their own rules. The Constitution defines a process for establishing community standards through legal review based on case history by the Judicial Branch of our government.
Citizens challenging other citizens to exercise their brains and to promote social lubrication are symbolic of everything good about Americanism. It is a beautiful thing!
I am a big boy and I don’t get frightened easily, but I am now. Because in just a few short years it has become increasingly acceptable to ignore the Constitution, to attack alternative viewpoints and to shame and impugn certain groups of people. The most ubiquitous form of social intercourse, social media, has become an enforcement arm of a certain political viewpoint. Just last year Twitter had the audacity to suspend the account of the President of the United States! This should have outraged every American, but it didn’t.
Suddenly it has become acceptable practice for media platforms to censor opinions and to restrict access to information. Major corporations and academic institutions are using litmus tests to measure “Wokeness.” People are going to jail, careers and reputations are being ruined. The largest book publisher in the world is making value judgments on who they will publish and who they won’t.
This behavior is not only anti-American, it is 21st century Fascism.
“Wokeness” disregards the principles that our nation was founded on. Measuring a person’s “acceptability” is a litmus test. It may not look like the totalitarianism of Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin, but left unchecked, it will become a junta sooner rather than later. That is why the Founding Fathers implemented a different form of representative government as an alternative to a pure Democracy.
The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. —John Dalberg-Acton
The North Koreans have become so completely hypnotized by their abusive leadership that they worship their absolutism. That kind of psychological grooming is a hallmark of Communism. Americans are starting to move in that direction as academia, entertainment, news and social media information systems fall increasingly in line with a GroupThink “Woke” political dogma.
Instead of using machine guns and gulags, the 21st century Woke Fascists use social pressure to enforce conformity. And because people go about their everyday life, struggling to make ends meet, don’t see an armed militia occupying their communities, they look the other way.
“You are being pressured to conform! Prove me wrong!”
Rick Elkin is an artist, columnist and author. He is a longtime resident of Escondido.
Follow him at RickElkin.com.