Robert Knight

Dr. Carson gave a masterful critique of political correctness and a defense of conservative principles at last year’s National Prayer Breakfast in February. He was shortly thereafter subjected for the first time in his life to an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audit of his real estate records. “After that proved pristine, they said, ‘well, let’s do a full audit,’ he said. “After that proved pristine, they said, ‘well let’s audit another year,’ and finally after three months they went away.”

Perhaps the most overt case of selective enforcement is the Jan. 24 arrest of Dinesh D’Souza, author of the 2010 book The Roots of Obama’s Rage and producer of the hit documentary 2016: Obama’s America, on a charge of illegal campaign donations to a friend in a New York state race.

Millions of dollars flow to “green” companies that give heavily to Democratic candidates, but their executives are not hauled to jail like Mr. D’Souza.

For sheer breadth of abuse by U.S. government agencies, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht and her husband rate a special place. In her Feb. 6 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mrs. Engelbrecht said:

“Since that filing [for nonprofit status] in 2010, my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.” These include the IRS, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and even the FBI.

“There is no other remarkable event, no other reason, to explain away how for decades I went unnoticed, but now find myself on the receiving end of interagency coordination into and against all facets of my life, both public and private,” she testified.

Four weeks later, IRS official Lois Lerner, who is at the heart of the IRS’ Tea Party targeting scandal, invoked the Fifth Amendment nine times to avoid testifying before the same House Oversight committee. Who will hold her accountable?

When lawlessness keeps happening at the highest levels, people become reluctant to voice their opinion even in private. They aren’t sure where it will end up or who will take offense.

In a Feb. 15 essay for the Wall Street Journal, Russian writer Mikhail Shishkin described how difficult it is to resist authoritarianism:

“To be sure, taking a stand against power, force, your own government … is not easy. Especially if you are responsible for a family, your children. It is precisely on this care for loved ones that regimes have always caught people, as on a hook. …It is easy to sacrifice one’s self for a good cause. It is very difficult when sacrificing one’s self would entail the sacrifice of one’s loved ones.”

As political correctness expands its suffocating reach, not everyone is lying down for it. Catherine Engelbrecht and Ben Carson say they won’t back off. A handful of conservative leaders say the same. And there’s the Cathy family who run Chick-fil-A. Faced with threats from government leaders, the restaurant chain owners refuse to recant their belief in God’s institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Neither will “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, whose program ends with grace said in Jesus’s name.

Speaking of Jesus, He warned that following Him would not always be easy: “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22)

The Age of Tolerance, which rewards cowardice, encourages group think and punishes dissent, is quickly morphing into the Age of Bullying.

Whether it morphs further into outright totalitarianism will depend on whether millions of heretofore politically inactive Americans join the growing resistance before the shackles are too thick to break.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.