Someone tweeted this cartoon today, which apparently is intended to depict me.
A few thoughts:
- I love the caricature. It’s really good. I may steal the second panel and use it for advertising.
- I hear this line of criticism fairly often from people who are not very bright or well-informed; in truth, I have never complained of “being silenced.” As I have written and said probably 200 times, the mob-mentality culture of conformism and homogeneity is a relatively minor problem for people like me — people who are in the controversy business, for whom this sort of thing is only a vexing professional hazard — but it is a very large problem for people who are not employed in writing and speaking about public affairs but nonetheless threatened with educational or employment sanctions for holding unpopular views. You hear about people like me because we are media figures, but the people who really have to worry about this sort of thing are Starbucks managers in Philadelphia and Silicon Valley nerds who are dumb enough to believe that the bosses at Google mean it when they ask them for their opinions.
- Which brings us to the problem of trying to have a productive conversation with people who are caught up in the vast sprawling electronic apparatus of self-moronization. It does not matter what anybody actually has said or written. The rage-monkeys have an idea about what it is they want you to have said, or what people like you are supposed to think about x or y. I cannot count how many times I have had some person respond to something critical I’ve written about some lefty fruitcake with “What about Trump, huh?” When I point out that, among other things, I wrote a little book called The Case against Trump, the response is: “Well, Republicans . . .” And then when I point out that I am not one of those, either, the retreat into ever-vaguer generality continues incrementally. The fundamental problem is that what’s going on in “conversations” such as these is not conversation at all but a juvenile status-adjustment ritual. These people do not care about ideas — they care about who sits at which cafeteria table in the vast junior high school of American popular culture.