Authored by Michael Shellenberger via PUBLIC substack,
The antidotes of whistle-blowing, sunshine, and defunding are near the poison
For the last half-decade, elites in government and the media have created a culture of self-censorship on race, climate change, and trans issues. In the workplace, in schools and universities, and online, politicians, activists, and journalists instilled in ordinary people a paralyzing fear of saying the wrong thing and finding oneself accused of being a “climate denier,” a “racist,” or a “transphobe.”
It’s now clear that, at this very moment, media elites are seeking to turn this culture of informal self-censorship into formal government censorship. They call their legislation, which would destroy free speech, based centrally on their hatred of the masses, “pro-democracy” and “anti-hate.”
To be sure, Wokeism is a genuine grassroots religion. It demonizes and scapegoats heretics, journalists, and truth-tellers. And it demands sacrifices from ordinary people in the form of more expensive energy, the sterilization of psychiatrically disordered children, and self-censorship.
But it is also a state religion. News media and social media elites took Wokeism from being a marginal cult into being the dominant ideology of every major institution, from NBC and the CDC to the AMA and the CIA.
“Think tanks” and “journalists” behaved as propagandists, leading much of the public to believe that police were wantonly murdering thousands of unarmed black Americans, that climate change threatened human existence, and that surgeons can (and should) “change the sex” of children.
Most troubling, they persuaded the leadership of the CIA, FBI, and NATO militaries to join them in using Woke fear-mongering campaigns to demand Internet censorship.
It’s clear now that military and intelligence community elites feared that populist nationalism would undermine their ability to control the news media in the ways they had since World War II. And so they funded think tanks like the Atlantic Council to run Woke campaigns demanding censorship.
Elites used fear-based campaigns in order to demonize, scapegoat, and marginalize the people and institutions in society who opposed their demands to make energy expensive, replace meritocracy with structural racism, control the minds and bodies of children, and be able to engage in wars abroad.
Totalitarianism may be inevitable.
Western civilization may be nearing an end. Woke totalitarianism may be replacing Enlightenment liberalism in the same way Christianity replaced the Roman empire. And it may be too late to stop government censorship.
Elites have over-reached, in our view, and badly. But we must also make that apparent. As such, the most important thing we can do is shine a light on their demands for censorship since once they are debated openly, they will fail.
We can’t resist formal censorship without resisting informal censorship in the workplace, in schools and universities, and online.
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