by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A half-century ago, progressives used to push limitless free expression, blasting conservatives for their allegedly blinkered traditionalism. They boasted of obliterating once-normal boundaries in art, music, and literature to allow nudity, profanity, sexuality, and anti-American boilerplate.
The Left is Victorian — increasingly puritanical, regressive, and hypersensitive. Even totalitarian censorship and book-burning have weirdly become part of their by-any-means-necessary methods.
University of California, Berkeley, professor Grace Lavery was so outraged by author Abigail Shrier’s latest book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, that she went way beyond the usual calls to ban the book. Lavery advocated burning Shrier’s book.
“I DO encourage followers to steal Abigail Shrier’s book and burn it on a pyre,” Lavery tweeted last month.
Did the self-appointed liberal watchdog the American Civil Liberties Union step in to defend free expression?
No. Instead, one ACLU official poured gas on the book-burning fire.
“Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on,” tweeted Chase Strangio, the ACLU’s deputy director for transgender justice.
Note all of these melodramatic humanitarian verbs such as “steal,” “burn,” and “die.”
Staffers at the Canadian branch of Penguin Random House recently confronted management over the company’s publication of libertarian Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order, a sequel to his earlier bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.
What were their objections to the book? Peterson, who has criticized the notion of white privilege and contends that masculinity is under attack, was accused of “white supremacy,” “hate speech,” and “transphobia.” These are simply our generation’s synonyms for their predecessors’ bogeyman labels “heretic,” “witch,” and “Communist.”
Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are more refined in suppressing books, films, communications, and ideas they don’t like — and don’t want others to like, either.