Back in Maoist China, one of the communists’ favorite tactics to keep people under control was to hold events known as “struggle sessions.” When someone was caught dissenting from the party line or otherwise pissing off the wrong people, he or she was dragged to a public place and shamed by an angry mob. There was often an element of physical torture, but the main weapon was psychological. The target would be berated and insulted and humiliated for hours on end. Even the most self-assured dissenter could be broken down and made to repent, given enough public pressure. Shaming people made them compliant, and it served as a warning to everybody else not to step out of line.
Of course, that was decades ago and mankind has come a long way since then. Now we don’t hold struggle sessions in auditoriums or sports stadiums. We hold them on the Internet.
Look at what just happened to actor/writer/director Mark Duplass, most recently seen on Amazon Prime’s Goliath. Yesterday, Duplass tweeted this:
Fellow liberals: If you are interested at all in “crossing the aisle” you should consider following @benshapiro. I don’t agree with him on much but he’s a genuine person who once helped me for no other reason than to be nice. He doesn’t bend the truth. His intentions are good.
Well, that’s nice, isn’t it? Imagine that, a genuine effort to make peace with a political opponent. A recognition of our common humanity, in a time when demonizing anybody who disagrees with you is a tactic of first resort. How refreshing.
Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, Duplass was loudly and harshly shamed by his peers for his thoughtcrime. The outrage mob saw him consorting with the enemy and screamed for justice.
And, of course, it worked. Here’s Duplass now, insisting he’s been rehabilitated and pleading for forgiveness:
— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) July 19, 2018
Shapiro has responded:
Today’s Leftist lesson on Twitter: write a nice tweet about someone with whom you disagree politically, get labeled a racist sexist homophobe. Good stuff, guys. Really showing that tolerant streak.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 18, 2018
It doesn’t matter that Ben Shapiro isn’t a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, or any other sort of -phobe. What matters is that the people who hate Ben Shapiro believe that he is. And if you think of yourself as a “liberal” in 2018, you’d better hate the same people they hate, or you’re gonna hear about it.
They can tolerate anything except dissent.
I don’t know why Duplass was surprised by the backlash. He’s hardly the most famous person lately who’s been shamed into submission for talking out of turn. Scarlett Johansson was excoriated for announcing that she’d be playing a transgender man in an upcoming movie, and instead of mewling for mercy from her critics, she defiantly pointed out that a lot of other actors in the past have portrayed transgender people. That really pissed off our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, so they turned up the volume and ramped up the invective. Finally, Johansson dropped out of the movie and begged everybody not to be mean to her anymore. As a result, now the movie might not get made at all.
Then there’s Henry Cavill, who recently complained in an interview that he’s reluctant to flirt with women because in today’s culture, feminists might call him a rapist. In response… feminists called him a rapist. And he groveled to them, repenting for his crime of accurately predicting their response.
Remember: Liberals want conservatives to shut up, and conservatives want liberals to keep talking. Let them keep showing us who they are. Let them keep proving that they’re the intolerant bigots they keep claiming we are. Their ideas don’t work, so they feel compelled to silence anybody who questions them.
Are you going to let them?
P.S. Yes, a lot of people on the right do this crap too. I see it whenever I criticize Trump. All his fans try to shame me into compliance. But it only works if you care what they think. Shaming campaigns didn’t stop me from speaking my mind when Obama was president, and they’re not going to stop me from speaking my mind now. Sorry, Trumpkins. I neither seek nor require your approval.