The Hissy Fit Generation and the Loss of Free Speech II: Microaggressions and Trigger Warnings (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

“Never has never there been a modern age more saturated in irony and hypocrisy, where blind emotion shreds any semblance of measured reason.”

In the last post we explored the bedrock of postmodernist thinking which informs so much of the present left-liberal system of beliefs. The ridicule and disdain of so called conspiracy theorists – most of whom are merely highlighting the camouflaged nature of social and geopolitical realities – is a frequent hobby of the postmodernists who delude themselves and others into thinking that social constructivism and the very notion of free speech is …a delusion! Certainly, there is a case to made that much of our world is socially constructed and deterministic – especially when we factor in social engineering. However, broadly speaking, for postmodernists subjectivity is an end in itself, nullifying any attempts to arrive at an objective appraisal of reality, and thus the search for truth that potentially binds us together. It is a vacuum of endless open-ended relativity that shuns solutions in favour of an intellectual and epistemological void where anything goes because nothing really exists – its all in the mind as a materialist soup of interaction without practical meaning. Such people draw their emotional succor (masquerading as intellectualism) by focusing on a perceived institutionalised racism, sexism, and a social science that has over emphasised the ‘nurture’ interpretation of social dynamics. This has produced an unhealthy, wholly out-of-balance platform for change, elevating the rights of minority groups over the majority.

Being against Monsanto, the evils of capitalism and the general tenets of anti-globalisation is laudable on paper. However, what use is protest if one is high on the drama of division rather than solutions? Engaging directly with the beast merely feeds it. Peaceful protest is necessary but only as an adjunct to creating alternatives. It’s even worse if you are unknowingly in the pay of Establishment minions like fake philanthropist George Soros who funds various left leaning organisations and activist groups for an entirely different agenda. Hugely important issues raised from the spectre of of 9/11; state-sponsored terror; the weapons industry; child sex rings; human trafficking; the modern-day infiltration by CoIntelpro or even the obvious and continuing conspiratorial nature of the National Security State as a whole, are deemed strangely unworthy for much of the left and radical left, thus easily dismissed as conspiratorial nonsense.  (Noam Chomsky and the late Howard Zinn are prime examples of this conscious or unconscious gate-keeping).

We have witnessed how easily activists on the radical left have fallen for obvious psyops and limited hangouts which mobilised progressive and anarchist movements on behalf of the Deep State. Left academics lament Trump while ignoring overarching realities which encompass patterns of criminal corruption that traverse the right-left divide. Meanwhile, their erstwhile activist colleagues on the street demonstrate Trump and on occasions, turn out to be more violent than the local Neo-Nazis whom they frequently bait.

The wish for a just society and equality for all is the reason for this type of social activism, we are told. Yet, it can be as superficial as it is disingenuous, often based on nothing more than personal dissatisfaction with one’s lot and the sense of power and meaning that comes from being a member of a cause. It emboldens the ego and the individual’s idea that s/he is socially significant; that s/he has earned a self-righteous badge of honour in fighting for freedom and the emancipation of the oppressed. If you cannot or do not wish to see the core reasons for how easily crowd psychology can be used against you, that one is merely a pawn and fighting for nothing but one’s own fragile identity, such energy can be swiftly exploited for all its transient worth by those in power. Without the wisdom to accompany this adherence to “social justice” more false narratives and ineffective “solutions” will nibble at the edges of resolution.

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”

— Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Identity politics reflects the same unhealthy postmodernist programming and activism of choice. Whatever dark projections of unresolved trauma one wishes to externalise in order to exercise meaning and/or exorcise pain – group identity becomes the arbiter of reality rather than substance and facts.  Of course, like any addiction that just makes it worse for the individual and much worse for all of us who have to deal with the psychic pollution and material chaos it creates. We don’t have social activism on the real issues. Instead, we have the collective hissy fit best represented by the Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) who are neither warrior-like or just. We have the violent emergence of Antifa who label themselves as anarchist and anti-fascist yet in truth, they are about as far from true anarchism as it is possible to be, whilst employing distinctly fascist methods to impose their views.

Photo: Morgan Basham | Unsplash

The drowning out of free speech by aggressive sociopolitical tactics and postmodern sophistry justifies a necessary evil to enforce the “good.” As stated, it has resulted in an inversion of traditional ideological and ethical foundations of tolerance that are now manifesting as an authoritarian intolerance. We can see the same qualities in the far right, but the difference is we now have equal extremes on both sides, with much of the activism of the left languishing in apathy and torpor regarding the Four Drivers of the Overworld. This allows mass reaction to dominate, ironically fanning the flames of fear which is playing right into the hands of extremists, whether a lone wolf shooter, FBI entrapment patsy or the stand-off between police officer and a Black Lives Matter protester. Worse still, the culture of victimhood reaches stratospheric levels of “offence” from not using correct gender pronouns or that someone told a “racist” joke. Meanwhile, women in Saudi Arabia are stoned to death; children are trafficked across America and Europe and weapons are shipped to ISIS by via Israel and the US Pentagon.

How bizarre that we now have a complex mix of ignorance and extremism on the left (Antifa; ultra-left; 3rd Wave feminism; LBGT rights, postmodern social engineering etc.) and on the right (Neo-Nazism, neo-nationalism, Islamophobia; ultra-religious conservatism) that moderate, critical thinking from all sides is being squeezed out in favour of fame, self-expression and emotional reaction; all of which are defined by an indifference to truth and a misreading of power. Such people have no interest outside their own image and feelings. Instead, victimhood and blame is the collective cudgel of choice to which everyone is held hostage. Never has there been a modern age more saturated in irony and hypocrisy, where blind emotion shreds any semblance of measured reason.

Where does this leave free speech?

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

— John  F. Kennedy

Free Speech Under Attack

There is an alliance between those who favour the dilution and restriction of free speech with their origins in six main groupings. These are:

The State – What makes this so alarming is that the anti-free speech advocates are now part of our government, judiciary, law courts and regional/town/city councils. One example of this is the early outgrowth of Health and Safety bureaucracy sometimes called the “Nanny State” in the UK which has led an overemphasis on safety leading to, for example, the closing down of otherwise perfectly adequate children’s play areas but deemed dangerous. Mandatory vaccinations for children in the United States and increasingly in Europe; the imprisonment of those believed to be conducting “hate speech” online and the institutionalised bias against the detection and prosecution of minority groups involved in crime – because they hail from minority groups. The State is a key enabler in the infantilism and narcissism in Western culture, inevitably steering a path toward the erosion of free speech. We will look further at all these examples and more later in the series.

The Internet  and Social Networks – Google, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and thousands of forums and community groups are all policed by a largely younger generation of student petitioners and group-think mobs who have absorbed a melange of left-liberal ideology and postmodernist influences. Such people have become thought-police trolls censoring others who have the temerity to have opinions which go counter to Official Culture’s consensus of belief. Underpinning this kind of censorship of dissenting views is the practice of virtue signalling which is more about tribalism and narcissistic entitlement. People are now going to prison for online thought crimes. Hate speech is now fused with aggressive opinions. Words are now weapons it seems. Twitter is particularly Orwellian as it is hugely hypocritical in this regard and policies its billions of tweets with its Trust and Safety Council to makes sure everyone sticks to the guidelines derived from “safety advocates, academics, and researchers; grassroots advocacy organizations that rely on Twitter to build movements; and community groups working to prevent abuse.” What this “abuse” actually means is anything that doesn’t fit with Twitter’s ideology. And if you take a peek at its voluminous list of “safety partners” you’ll get an idea as what this means for anyone stepping outside of the group think – account deletion. Heaven forbid that people don’t feel safe. That would mean an opportunity for mind expansion and we can’t have that…

Arts, Entertainment and Sport – The war against free speech means that even these areas are now – fair game, so to speak. Something which appears to go hand in hand with the new left-liberal authoritarianism is the desperate lack of humour. Comedians have come under fire for hate speech rather than a healthy sense of dark humour.  To mess with the ultimate freedom to make fun of anything is an attack not only against free speech and freedom of expression but a crucial barometer of a nations health. Those that cannot experience the cathartic healing that laughter can provide appear to want to deny others the same. Laughing at ourselves and the absurd nature of our world is essential to gain a more balanced perspective on life – something those intent on restricting comedian’s material are desperately in need of. The reader may recall the German government foolishly granting a Turkish request to allow the possible prosecution of a TV comedian who wrote a crude poem about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, which was ultimately quashed. As one Twitter user commented: “Prosecution of satire due to ‘lese-majeste’ does not correspond with modern democracy.” Then we had the censorship and banning of French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala for baseless accusations of anti-Semitism and racism which reached unbelievable heights of ludicrous hysteria. Who wants the type of conformist comedy sanctioned by the State and grey little neo-Marxists?

This ideology is notable for its lack of humour. Making light of an issue with humour deflects energy away from victimhood, while fully identified with the latter as means to blackmail the public into all manner of reparations for real or imagined slights/violations is a form of vampirism: aka narcissism. The shadow side seeks to suck the light from joy, laughter, and the search for true knowledge and an expansion of awareness that is never easy. The light is consumed by these people who demand allegiance to their pitiless victimhood that demands the red carpet. These people are light-eaters masquerading as social justice.

TV and Hollywood – suffer from the same hypersensitivity to the delicacies of our apparently fragile psychological constitutions. Now genuine trauma is equal to feeling mildly uncomfortable. Hence the trigger warnings at the start of some programmes, literature and movies. Students can opt out of almost anything now if it encroaches on their safe space of cultivated helplessness. This represents a new codified language designed to undermine free speech under the guise of protection, making everyone normalised to hypersensitivity and indulgent sense of entitlement whether the context is hat-tip to ethnic grouping or a perceived sexist sleight of hand.

Football games have also come under the hob-nailed boot of the PC brigade. Where once it was a place to allow collective energies to be exorcised and released; to let the instincts go a little wild outside the usual confines of Official Culture in managed tribal competition, now players and the crowd alike have been forced into a sanatorium of political correctness where free speech (free chanting) is nowhere to be seen unless thoroughly sanitised and monitored. For now, crowds are allowed to cheer and roar. For now. Perhaps it will ultimately be deemed an incitement to hate speech and rather unseemly. You are shouting in my ear which offends me. I am offended. Your chanting is a violent act against the delicate membrane of my ear-drum. Therefore, I have the right for you to cease said shouting as stated in the Little Red Book of Official Behaviour

Social Activism / Universities – Perhaps the most pernicious form of self-censorship and group-think is taking place in our universities and colleges across the UK and the USA. It is more worrying because there are a significant number of lecturers not only teaching that free speech needs to be modified or limited but it is now the bastion of left-liberal and postmodernist influence, thus having a direct effect on young minds – hence the reason so much of this ideological cancer is now being seen in new graduates. No longer are universities places where talented minds are challenged to grow by being exposed to alternative viewpoints and controversy. Rather, it is protection from that which threatens to expose the cracks in left-liberal thinking; it the creation of “safe spaces” and zones of free speech which insulate students from the real world. Deference to “microaggressions” and “trigger warnings” has now meant that many universities support the “No Platform” initiative which means anyone who has an opinion different to the group-think of ubiquitous offence is now labelled hate speech and banned from having the opportunity to discuss it on campus.

It seems being comfortable and protected is of much greater importance than knowledge and growth.  An active cultivation of victimhood – often on behalf of ethnic or LGBT minorities and derived from a very privileged position seems to be reason enough. It is even more ironic since it is the much touted “white privilege” screamed at people just for being white that feeds into the exact same perceived racism. Trauma is often behind these hysterical call to arms against ordinary people, since it is clear to most that such people are defined by their pathology not by the righteousness of their cause.

“Most new speech codes around the country are proposed by members of the left, even though the same far Left for many years complained about the heavy-handedness of university administrations and championed freedom from university restrictions. So there is an irony in the shift of tactics in the Left’s campaign for authoritarian, politically correct speech-restrictions.”

— Stephen R. C. Hicks, Professor of Rockford College

The issue of private and public institutions makes this more problematic. The First Amendment is a political rule that applies to political society. It is therefore not a social rule or philosophical principle. So, the First Amendment applies to governmental actions only. Public institutions come under this umbrella while private ones do not; the latter is left up to the lecturers to decide what is and isn’t permissible in terms of free speech. And here we often come back to the die that is loaded towards postmodernist thinking.

Social activist groups like Antifa and various feminist, transgender, anti-globalisation and eco groups all have within their ranks what has come to be known as the somewhat oxymoronic label of “Social Justice Warriors.” They are largely an outgrowth of university and college life programming where a mix of genuine social conscience and its fake twin is hoisted on the petard of self-importance. It is the rejection of reasonable debate in favour of “direct action” which often comprises various infantile attempts at blocking cameras; standing in doorways so that students are denied entry; screaming obscenities at potential attendees; occupying various public places and employing tactics of group intimidation of individuals; attending demonstrations to actively bait and incite violence, etc. Histrionics are the defining quality of SJWs, often with little to no understanding of what it is that they are protesting about, although they may be as passionately convinced that they do. Rational debate is impossible, giving vent to their frustrations takes precedence.

The tragedy is that so many of these students genuinely believe in social justice. Yet, they appropriate the language and discourse of the socially oppressed and victimised, adopting the fashionable dictates of left-liberal principles but choose not incorporate their own psychological context and awareness of history outside a culture of victim hood. Such beliefs are tied to their identity, in turn, enmeshed in their postmodern belief, consciously or otherwise. In order to see how these principles can be inverted it requires humility and pause; contemplation and reflection to better access creative solutions. Otherwise, what we are seeing is a massive diversion of potentially creative energy whilst giving “activism” a platform for those exhibiting traits of mental illness transposed to social justice. If someone has the temerity to oppose these beliefs then this is automatically assumed to be “the perfect example of how a white privileged male can speak over a non-binary, trans-fem person.”

In the next post we’ll explore how microaggressions and trigger warnings are shaping language and activism and the flimsy evidence behind their growing use.

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