by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It was a year when we freaked out over symbols and scared ourselves with fake statistics. It was a year when the facts weren’t allowed to get in the way of a good, overwrought slogan. It was a year when we convinced ourselves that Earth was nearly beyond saving. It was a year of the safe space and micro-aggression.
It was, in short, a year of hysteria.
By now, we should be familiar with the workings of hysteria, since — usually whipped up on social media and stoked by an inflamed Left — it has become such a familiar feature of our culture and politics.
Hysteria doesn’t know when to stop. After it was collectively decided that the Confederate flag shared responsibility for Dylann Roof’s hellish murders in Charleston, S.C., Confederate symbols were hunted down as if they were armed fugitives from justice. The Memphis City Council voted to exhume Nathan Bedford Forrest and — for good measure — his wife. Warner Bros. halted production of General Lee toy cars — the iconic Confederate flag-emblazoned vehicle from the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard — and the owner of the car from the show, golfer Bubba Watson, announced he would paint over the Confederate flag on the car’s roof.
Hysteria doesn’t care about the facts. In an extraordinary feat, Black Lives Matter protestors took something that didn’t happen from a case of justifiable use of police force in Ferguson, Mo., and made it the slogan — “Hands up, don’t shoot” — of a movement alleging systemic police racism. The truth of Ferguson didn’t matter so much as the myth of Ferguson, into which could be poured great urgency and moral fervor.