In 1964, comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted in New York City on obscenity charges. It wasn’t for anything he did, it was for what he said…while doing stand-up comedy. It seems absurd now that an American could face jail time, as did the owner of the comedy club where he’d uttered the offending words (he was sentenced to four months in prison but died of an overdose while appealing the case).
What destroyed Lenny Bruce has ultimately destroyed itself - those words are now commonplace on basic cable television, and sometimes broadcast networks. The words were “banned” by social conservatives at a time when nearly everyone in power was what would have been called a social conservative. Societal norms were that you not only shouldn’t say those words in public, but you couldn’t.
There was no real pushback, by politicians anyway, against the restrictions. “Liberal” celebrities spoke out in support of Bruce, but his conviction stood until he was posthumously pardoned by then New York Governor George Pataki in 2003.
While the “conservatives” at the time were the ones imposing penalties on speech, it’s now the liberals seeking to do the same, and worse.
The idea of criminalizing so-called “hate speech” has been popular with college-aged liberals for a while now. While normal people laughed at those stupid college kids needing safe spaces when someone was on campus saying things they didn’t agree with and requiring “trigger warnings” before engaging in normal human conversations on subject that might cause them to need a diaper change, liberals were busy looking for an opportunity to use this childishness to their advantage. They found it…by becoming them.
Adults, chronologically anyway, began embracing what they should have grown out of and joined the outrage mob. Ideological corporations like CNN and MSNBC took up the cause of being the nation’s tattletale, tracking down people who’d posted things deemed impure of thought by the progressive left and exposing them, leaving it to the mob to inform employers in the hopes of ruining lives.
This Nazi tactic has been institutionalized by groups like Media Matters (which is somehow a tax-exempt non-profit) and Sleeping Giants. Sleeping Giants exists explicitly to enforce conformity of speech in public. They go after websites publishing unacceptable words and have damaged many by getting cowardly corporations to block out their ability to sell ads.
While it seems like these fascists are on the ascension, and in many quarters they are, they are also suffering from what always plagues leftists – greed and jealously.
Who would’ve thought there was so much money in advocating for the poor and oppressed? There is.
The admitted Marxists who run Black Lives Matter are raking in the cash. ANTIFA leaders aren’t missing any meals. Al Sharpton has a TV show in addition to his race-baiting extortion racket. All manner of grievance grifters are starting organizations and milking moneyed liberal suckers hoping to prove their purity, show that they’re “allies,” to avoid the rage for anything they may have said or done in the past that could be deemed unacceptable now. It’s a profitable scam, with tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars sifting through the hands (bank accounts) of these “leaders.”
But with money and power comes the greed to control it and the source of its power (the mob), and jealously over who gets that control and the attention that accompanies it.
A group of leftists signed a letter this week begging for permission to continue to speak their minds. They weren’t seeking approval to disagree in the way normal people think of the word -- they all agree with progressive dogma -- they just differ on tactics and degrees of government control. These “intellectuals” even framed their letter as an attack on President Trump, in the hope that their show of solidarity with purists would give them some leeway and forgiveness should they ever run afoul of the mob. It didn’t work.
The signatories were denounced as “rich, mostly white” apostates. In the tradition of begging for mercy, shown during the Maoist purge called the Cultural Revolution, the slightest pushback was met with denunciations. Some signatories renounced their own actions, which were little more than a pleading to be able to think.
Nothing in that letter was a defense of conservatives who experience violence when invited to speak on college campuses. None of it could have remotely be read as an embrace of free and open debate or a defense of the concept of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. It was the equivalent of asking to be allowed to support a “public option” in Obamacare rather than a full government takeover of health care – simply a matter of degrees.
That wasn’t good enough. If you are a 99.9 percent ally of the left, you are their 100 percent enemy. Even asking for the leeway to possibly, at some point in the future, be allowed to deviate on a potential issue (which was what the letter was really doing) was not good enough.
There were calls for firings, public pressure brought to silence signers, and a second letter, this one by other liberals arguing that the first letter deserves scorn because it wasn’t woke on the right issues.
Here are a few choice passages from this second, much longer, letter denouncing the ability to disagree, marginally, with fellow leftists:
“In truth, Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ people — particularly Black and trans people — can now critique elites publicly and hold them accountable socially; this seems to be the letter’s greatest concern.”
“The letter reads as a caustic reaction to a diversifying industry — one that’s starting to challenge institutional norms that have protected bigotry. The writers of the letter use seductive but nebulous concepts and coded language to obscure the actual meaning behind their words, in what seems like an attempt to control and derail the ongoing debate about who gets to have a platform.”
“The signatories claim that “books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity.” This could be a reference to American Dirt, a book by Jeanine Cummins — a non-Mexican white woman who recently began identifying as Puerto Rican — about a Mexican bookseller, which was roundly criticized by Latinx writers and authors like Myriam Gurba and Los Angeles Times writer Esmeralda Bermudez.”
These are just a few, but the whole thing is worthy of mockery.
It ends the way every progressive declaration does – in a woke-off, with participants trying to out-victim each other. “Their letter seeks to uphold a ‘stifling atmosphere’ and prioritizes signal-blasting their discomfort in the face of valid criticism. The intellectual freedom of cis white intellectuals has never been under threat en masse, especially when compared to how writers from marginalized groups have been treated for generations. In fact, they have never faced serious consequences — only momentary discomfort.”
Over at Sleeping Giants, a woman named Nandini Jammi announced she was leaving the fascistic sect she co-founded not because she suddenly realized they were everything they’d claimed to be campaigning against, she quit to form her own group because she wasn’t getting enough credit for their group’s “successes.”
The subtitle of her resignation column is, “How my white male co-founder gaslighted me out of the movement we built together.”
Jammi’s beef is about attention and power, probably money too. Someone’s funding this stuff. With her own group, she controls all of it.
Each of these intrasquad slap-fights are akin to the fight between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks – two sides of the same coin hoping to be the ones wielding the sword of power over everyone else. They want to be the arbiters of what is acceptable and what isn’t and be able to punish accordingly. They want to decide what can and cannot be said, and what happens if you cross their blurry, ever-moving line of conformity.
These are dangerous people, all of them. Their impulses and ideology are totalitarian. That they demand and obtain the ruination of heretics without the power government under their control, just imagine what they’d do with it.
People never believed Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and other leftists were as fanatical as the signs indicated they were or that they’d go as far as they did in the last century and were horrified to learn they were wrong. When someone tells you who they are, believe them – especially when it’s horrible.
Lenny Bruce would still be arrested today, not because his words were obscene, but because they offended the sensibilities of leftists. That they’re eating their own now, when they expect to obtain power in the fall, think about how hungry they’ll be if they win and the rest of us are the only meal around.
Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter and on Parler at @DerekHunter.