What do Adam Lambert, Cass Sunstein, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama have in common? They share it with countless other political leftists – those who can be described, variously, as "liberals" (a euphemism that belies the word's roots and traditional meanings), as "progressives" (another euphemism that confuses or mislabels as progress what is merely invasive government control), often as "Democrats" and perhaps most accurately as "socialists." They use the technology of popular culture mass-media – television and, increasingly, streaming/real-time or downloaded video and audio available online, which forms an increasing portion of Americans' entertainment and news consumption – to tell us, over and over again, what we should think because they think it. This is a fundamental expression of insecurity. It is the need for validation, and it forms the backbone of all left-wing sociopolitical thought.
Never was this need for validation, this intolerance for disagreement, on more public display than since the election of our president. Previously in Technocracy, we discussed the disturbing prevalence of President Barack Hussein Obama on the nation's television screens. Not content merely to win the election and to govern, Obama seemed, particularly in the first months of his presidency, to be obsessed with inflicting his clucking, stuttering visage on us in every conceivable venue, shrewdly using and then not so wisely overusing the power of technology to pervade American popular culture. There was no issue too big or too small for Obama not to address it in a nationally televised monologue; there was no contentious or unpopular piece of totalitarian legislation about which Obama would not take to the airwaves to demand we support; there was no citizen who dared to disagree with Glorious Leader Obama who could not expect to be addressed, directly or indirectly, in some brittle, plaintive speech decrying certain intractable Americans' stubbornness in failing to be persuaded by Obama's brilliant sociopolitical insight. When he wasn't asking, through his minions, that those guilty of the thoughtcrime of disbelief in his agenda be reported to his fascist brownshirts, he was hectoring us to grant him sanction, and quickly, to nationalize vast swaths of our economy – or else.
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On a smaller but no less national scale, Americans were treated this past week to the spectacle of "glam rocker" Adam Lambert – a rising pop star thanks to exposure on "American Idol" (you may remember his psychedelic rendition of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire") – availing himself of consumer entertainment technology to remind the world that he is gay. Lambert's overtly sexual performance at the American Music Awards prompted 1,500 complaints. Lambert refused to apologize, and doubtless he believes he did nothing inappropriate. The immediate response from the scions of political correctness, meanwhile, was that any outrage evoked by these televised homosexual antics was indicative of a heterosexual double standard. Yet those who speak so ardently of "tolerance" were quick to destroy Carrie Prejean for daring to express honestly, when asked to do so, that she did not approve of legalizing gay marriage. I am a libertarian who has no problem with gay rights or the notion of gay marriage – and yet I will be accused of anti-gay bigotry for daring to bring up the facts in this paragraph.
This attitude – that denying a left-winger validation of his or her opinion is not just a disagreement but an act of hatred – pervades all left-of-center political thought and action. When a census worker committed suicide, staging it to look like murder, "liberal" talkers and bloggers rushed to condemn "talk radio" and those "extremist" conservatives for daring to hold the opinions they do. This is nothing new. President Bill Clinton tried to blame talk radio for creating some sort of anti-government climate prior to the Oklahoma City bombing. I can also remember, not so long ago, when we were all publicly chided for daring to question our robed masters among the judicial branch, because daring to suggest that a judge is fallible and human encourages unidentified and ill-defined whacko extremists to assassinate that judge. (If the judge is conservative, however, we may presumably feel free to vilify him or her all we like, especially in preventing a confirmation.)
This is disturbing enough when it comes from individual political left-wingers – but what happens when they are appointed to unaccountable positions of government power, as in the case of the legion of Marxist czars with which Obama has surrounded himself? This very website reported recently that "regulatory czar" Cass Sunstein, at least according to what he's written in his own book, wants to muzzle conservatives for daring to oppose the president – and wants to take sweeping totalitarian measures that would silence free political speech on the Internet in the guise of anti-libel regulations. And who could forget Nancy Pelosi's crocodile tears, affected as she equated protesting Democrat legislation with fomenting hatred and threatening murder? This was the attitude repeatedly displayed by publicly arrogant, secretly insecure Democrats when confronted by the tea party phenomenon: Anyone who speaks out against them is guilty of hatred – of the manufactured crime of making these leftists "uncomfortable."
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One of the most insidious acts of intellectual dishonesty a human being can perpetrate is accusing another human being of making him or her "uncomfortable." When we claim that another man has committed the crime of making us "uncomfortable," we make it impossible for him truly to confront his accuser – for how do you prove your innocence so subjectively? Emotions are not tools of cognition – and no individual can be held accountable, honestly, for how he or she makes you feel.
Forcing ideological opponents to validate them, through the threat of social sanction or legal reprisal, is only too common among the political left and the Democrats. It is disgusting, it is wrong, and it is mentally and emotionally weak. Until we recognize this ploy for what it is, we as conservatives and libertarians will continue to be victimized by it.