There’s a basic rule that far too many conservatives ignore: if some alleged conservative principle makes you less free, then it’s not a good conservative principle and you should toss it in the trash. After all, principles are merely shorthand for the best practices of a just society. When some alleged principle helps leftists enserf-ify you, then it’s a pretty Schiffy principle, isn’t it?
Weaponizing principles is one of the left’s favorite tactics, and it’s right out of Alinsky 101. Rule for Radical No. 4 is "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." And it works really well, right up until the moment that you stop playing by the rules that the left is trying to jam down your throat.
Now, the objection to my view – offered in good faith by good faith conservatives (you old softies) and in bad faith by the cruise-shilling Fredocon hacks who make common cause with our enemies – is that this kind of wokeness makes one unprincipled. It doesn’t. Those of us who see what’s happening and refuse to go full lemming – never go full lemming – are not abandoning conservative principles. We’re just not trying to hold onto the alleged principles that have abandoned us.
This comes up a lot recently as the left has redoubled its efforts to weaponize our principles to create a monopoly on power. We’ve seen Big Tech do it for a while now, but today it’s happening even more. The idea is to leverage our purported beliefs so that we are diverted from protecting and asserting our own interests by blind adherence to a version of conservative dogma that our opponents force-feed us and that we, for some reason, all too often fail to puke back up all over them like a supermodel exiting a Golden Corral.
Time to get woke to the scam and stop playing their no-win game.
One of the best examples of this is the argument that we conservatives cannot make a moral argument against, or use their political power to provide legal remedies to, the liberal cancellation game. This game is the informal process by which individuals and companies deter dissent and enforce conformity of thought and expression by threatening and sometimes destroying the livelihood of dissenters. One of the conservative principles we aspire to is individual choice, manifesting in not interfering with the choices of individuals and companies over who they do business with. This often means a conservative is stifled or fired.
But another conservative principle is freedom of expression. This is distinct from the First Amendment, which bars the government from preventing or punishing free speech. The left makes a great deal of this distinction – “Cancelling you racist sexist cisgender monsters does not violate the First Amendment, and individual and companies have a right not to do business with anyone they want” – when we seek to use our power to correct these outrages. The lib objection sounds plausible, until you understand that individuals and companies punishing you by preventing you from earning a livelihood is as much of a punishment as the government coming and punishing you under criminal law – except in the cancellation kangaroo court you have no rights, no due process, and no appeal. And, in fact, this is not even an accurate representation of the allegedly operative principle. We already bar individuals and companies from discriminating on the basis of many attributes – race, sex, religion. What’s the – wait for it! – principle that bars all that kind of garbage invidious discrimination, yet somehow requires us to accept invidious discrimination on the basis of our political views, specifically views that are pro-American?
There is not one, and there is no valid principle preventing us from demanding formal legal protection. States like mine, California, actually already have political discrimination protection laws (check a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction if this issue comes up for you). But some argue that because we cons generally support allowing individuals and companies to run their businesses as they choose, we’re supposed to allow them to drive us conservatives out of full participation in society merely because we like America and dare say so?
After all, liberals control almost all the major institutions of society. The premise that a coder can just go across the street to a more tolerant version of Google, or that an oppressed professor can go grab tenure at one of the myriad conservative colleges, is nonsense. They have the power that comes from infiltrating institutions, but we have the power that comes from winning elections, yet we’re not supposed to use our power to enact laws that protect ourselves when the left uses its power against us without restraint?
Nope, not buying it. The politicians we support should be aggressively pushing regulation and legislation to protect our rights. “BUT CONSERVATIVES ARE SUPPOSED TO HATE REGULATION!” Yeah, maybe, but we definitely hate being oppressed. After all, any principle that is construed in a manner that makes us second-class citizens, unable to speak without the threat of retaliation, is not a principle worth having.
When they tell us that our own beliefs – to which they do not subscribe – force us to accept serfdom, we need to tell them to go pound sand.
Then there is the cancellation selection criteria issue. Some people are more cancellable than others. The insufferable liberal Jimmy Kimmel utters racial epithets and prances about in blackface, but he’s cool. But if a patriot like you accurately observes that “all lives matter” instead of just some of them, you’re Bull Connor II: Electric Boogaloo. Please point out what principle makes that cool so I can light it on fire and watch it burn.
Of course, we have not stood for this double standard, and many social media cons took a break from following Jesse Kelly’s admonition to #CancelYale – Elihu Yale built Yale on the skulls and bones of slaves – to demand Kimmel’s ritual defenestration. We were then informed that demanding cancellation is not what conservatives do.
Well, it’s what conservatives who refuse to accept dual-track justice do. See, they don’t get to win.
As I have pointed out before, there are three scenarios in descending order of preferability.
Option 1: We all live freely and say what we wish and no one gets canceled.
Option 2: Conservatives get canceled, but liberals get canceled too.
Option 3: Conservatives get canceled, but liberals never get canceled.
My preference is Option 1, everyone says whatever they want and no one gets canceled. This seems like the best arrangement, and until recently it seemed to be the one that we had adopted as a society. If we can’t have Option 1, then we will take Option 2, mutually assured destruction. But Option 3, liberals do whatever they want and we get gagged, is a non-starter. They do not get to win.
Hence, Jimmy Kimmel must be canceled. Maybe this will inspire them to return to Option 1, but maybe not. What is not happening is that we get locked in the social gimp box and they get to do whatever. Nope.
Any principle that applies to us but not to them is not a principle but a mini suicide pact, and we’re not doing it.
Principles are nice things to have. They are a marker of a healthy society. But today our society is not healthy, and we are not morally obligated to pretend that it is by observing to our own detriment norms and rules that are not universally applicable. And we won’t cure what is wrong with society by further empowering those who have sickened it at the expense of our own liberty.
My principle is freedom, and any principle that doesn’t make me freer is not a principle worth having.
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