The Assault On Free Speech And Thought Continues: No, The “OK Culture” Isn’t A Problem, But The Progressive Police Are An Existential Threat To Democracy

One of the ways you can tell that the creeping totalitarianism of progressives seeking to enforce thought and speech conformity on us all “for the greater good” is getting closer is that advocacy for punishing thought has become mainstream. Indeed, it’s respectable. The supporters of punishing Americans not only for conduct but for “wrongthink” (“1984” lexicon might as well be considered common tongue today) are now not even slightly hesitant to reveal their goal: Agree with them, or lose jobs, friends, associations—rights.

A smoking gun in this regard is an op-ed page (the Times doesn’t call them op-eds any more for some reason: I don’t care) dominating essay by regular Lindsay Crouse—not to be confused with the now-retired actress of the same name—titled “‘Cancel Culture’ Isn’t the Problem. ‘OK Culture’ Is.” Using the firing of NFL coach Jon Gruden as her launching pad, Crouse argues that America is too tolerant of jerks and others who say or think things people like her—you know, good people—-object to, disagree with or find offensive.

“Here’s how it works,” the aspiring censor writes. “Do you have a sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic or fat-shaming thought? Are you smart enough to know you shouldn’t say it in public but want to say it anyway? Are you a powerful and successful person? If so, just make your mean remark or crass joke to a select group who hold similar views or at least wouldn’t dare challenge yours. Don’t worry. It’s OK!”

The writer apparently thinks this statement is so self-evidently ridiculous that she doesn’t feel it necessary to explain why expressing ideas, thoughts and beliefs that she regards as per se unacceptable to those who don’t feel as she does must be prevented and punished. “A common aspect of OK Culture is the tendency to look the other way when someone is professionally excellent but personally awful,” she adds later. Wait a minute: if the individual is really professionally excellent, then he or she isn’t “awful” in the workplace. Not being able to interact professionally with colleagues and subordinates is not professional excellence. So Crouse is referring to personal, private opinions, beliefs, tastes and speech habits that have no relationship to the workplace at all—in short, opinions, beliefs and speech habits that are none of the employing organization’s damn business, none of the government’s damn business, none of public accommodations’ damn business, and especially none of Lindsay Crouse’s damn business.

Crouse doesn’t understand what is so wrong with her position, because Crouse, like a frightening number of progressives today, no longer supports, if she ever did, pluralism and basic individual freedoms. After all, it is all those stick-in-the-mud, racist conservatives who are blocking the progress of the current push to make the United States a socialist, Leftist paradise.

Who gets to define “sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic or fat-shaming” so the miscreants who hold such beliefs can be swiftly destroyed? Why, people who agree with Lindsay Crouse, like, presumably, the New York Times editors and staff! “Sexist” is not thinking Hillary Clinton or Kamala Harris wouldn’t make dandy Presidents. “Racist” is not falling into line behind Black Lives Matter, and objecting to college admissions, hiring and promotions that are based on racial discrimination. “Xenophobic” means opposing the enforcement of immigration laws. “Homophobic” means not wanting to have Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special banned. “Fat-shaming” is making fun of Rosie O’Donnell, like Donald Trump did, but not making fun of the late Rush Limbaugh, because he deserved it, the fat Nazi. It’s all so clear!

The essay quickly veers into Soviet snitch-on-your-neighbor-and co-worker, Comrade! territory, which is the logical next step. After all, you can’t destroy someone guilty of wrongthink if nobody knows what they’re thinking. She writes,

“A 2018 analysis of internal whistle-blower hotline reports at public U.S. companies showed that encouraging employees to speak up, and listening to them when they do, is crucial to curbing bad behavior and toxic culture, reported Harvard Business Review. When employees recognize behaviors minor and major as not OK — and report them — companies face fewer lawsuits and pay out less in settlements.”

So now whistle-blowing is supposed to flag beliefs and opinions, not only conduct. Remember, Jon Gruden is the test case here, and Gruden was fired for his private emails that surfaced in a separate investigation years later. Thus the author believes “Pssst! He emails tasteless jokes to some friends!” is something workplace whistleblowers should be reporting to company managers. Also, presumably, “He owns a MAGA hat!” “He thinks Dave Chappelle is funny!” “He’s told friends that Joe Biden is senile!” warrant the same laudable treatment.

Then, without any evidence or even an argument, Crouse uses the examples of sexual abusers in various well-publicized scandals to prove her point, when they have nothing whatsoever to do with her point. What sexual abusers do is a crime, and it doesn’t matter if they have never expressed a controversial thought in their lives. Her implied argument, however, is that those who have bad thoughts, make tasteless jokes and have politically incorrect beliefs do bad things—except that wasn’t her own definition of “OK Culture.” Larry Nasser, the sick doctor who abused female gymnasts for decades, was not “professionally excellent” by any definition of the phrase. What is he doing in the op-ed?

He’s there, along with references to the scandals in the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, Enron, Theranos, Hollywood and elsewhere, because Crouse’s crude, oppressive, ominous and totalitarian message is that people who have private thoughts and opinions that people like her—you know, progressives, Democrats—find repugnant will surely commit real crimes sooner or later, so we need to purge society of them now, or at least intimidate and frighten them sufficiently that they change their ways. Look how she ends her piece:

“I suspect that many of those still mad about Gruden’s firing are worked up not just on his behalf. They’re horrified by his punishment because they fear it themselves. They may be able to recall or imagine themselves thinking, and saying, similar things in private conversation. So they shrug off Gruden’s offense with the well-worn excuse of locker room banter and cry “cancel culture.”But that helps nothing. It’s time to stop litigating whether these punishments are fair and to start thinking more deeply about why the behavior they punish seemed OK in the first place. And if others who act like Gruden are scared, perhaps they should be. More important, they should change.”

The Ehics Alarms analysis: Crouse’s essay and the Times decision that it is worth publishing are far, far more harmful and dangerous than Jon Gruden’s ugly emails. At least he had the good sense to try to keep them private: he wasn’t making an effort to encourage racist and sexist behavior. Crouse’s essay, however, creates a threat to all Americans who want to keep the right to believe or say things that Lindsay Crouse and her mob disagree with, and that is a threat to democracy itself.

Is it time for Gina again already? It is.

20 thoughts on “The Assault On Free Speech And Thought Continues: No, The “OK Culture” Isn’t A Problem, But The Progressive Police Are An Existential Threat To Democracy

  1. This woman is clearly tragically, hip-ly irreligious but ironically, she’s made wokeness the new religion. This is “having impure thoughts” stuff from grade school Catholicism. Unfortunately, in this new secular religion, there is no confession and no forgiveness of sin. This is a very, very dark religion. The wages of woke sin are death.

    These people are clinically depressed. But maybe Puritanism has always been present in American culture. It’s kind of like the Spanish Inquisition. No one expects it. Boy, am I ever glad Mrs. OB and I fled the Acela corridor. What an awful place. It must be exhausting always being right and superior and without fault. Whew.

  2. I got an attempt at a talking to by a co-worker who noticed my “Sons of Italy” pin on my coat, which I had not removed following last week’s parade. I tried to brush it off by saying everyone has their own side to the story and was told the only two sides to any story are the oppressor and the oppressed. Apparently every time a white guy like me cites the Constitution or the Founding Fathers, or celebrates the early events of America, or even uses the neutral male pronoun, I add to the oppression of the oppressed. That’s when I said I was going back to work now, and, with respect, not to bring up this subject again.

    I did say something once to the effect that it isn’t the stars and bars on a piece of cloth anyone needs to worry about. It’s the stars and bars that fly in someone’s heart. However, by that I meant that taking down a symbol doesn’t change hearts and minds, and that’s really where the problem is. I did NOT mean that anyone should try to literally look into someone’s heart or mind and seek to punish him just for having thoughts that were not considered politically correct. I certainly didn’t mean that you are justified for punishing someone because his thoughts are wrong. That’s a Soviet attitude, where the doctrine was that they had achieved the perfect form of government, so anyone who suggests anything else is wrong and dangerous and must be silenced. Is that where we’re headed?

  3. A minor point. I’m reluctant to call anything a “threat to democracy.” The left has rendered the term meaningless, as they’ve done with “racist.” Anything and everything the left disapproves of is a threat to democracy. The very existence of a party other than the Democratic party is a threat to democracy. Any politician who isn’t a Democrat is a threat to democracy. Anything Nancy Pelosi deems to be a threat to democracy is a threat to democracy. Let’s just give threats to democracy a rest. The country’s not going anywhere. Action and reaction. It’s simply physics.

    • Don’t you think an organized effort to punish Americans for not towing an ideological line IS a threat to democracy? The fact that scare-mongering about a non-existent threat to democracy has gone on for five years shouldn’t dull awareness of a real threat. That’s like wolves encouraging boys to cry “Wolf!” so the unsuspecting victims the wolves are stalking say, “That’s enough of THAT!”

      • I guess I think it tends to give too much power to these idiots. I guess I think there’s a larger reservoir of common sense in the American populous. Do a significant number of Americans really believe you can legislate or imprison assholery out of existence? This woman is a lunatic. As is Bernie Sanders. These twerps at the New York Times are preaching to their actually fairly small choir. Maybe the sky isn’t falling. Maybe I’m just feeling like Mr. Perspective today, who knows.

      • Some African folklore asserts that hyenas do, in fact, call out to travellers to lure them away from camp. Repeated false alarms are part of the repertoire (they are also one of four standard ways to get past physical security).

  4. Personally, Since the United States of America is all about “We the People” I much prefer the phrase enemy of the people over threat to democracy, but both aptly apply to what’s going on.

    The political left and the political right couldn’t be further apart in their ideological leanings in the 21st century, especially right now in 2021. The political right wants to stick with what’s worked well for the United States of America since it’s inception nearly 250 years ago and that’s to keep the power of the government in the hands of we the people and the political left wants to transform our society and culture into some kind of totalitarian society where the state controls the people. Keep this in mind when listening to the rhetoric and observing the actions of the progressives that have consumed the political left, they will choose “the state” over “we the people” and our individual rights to control our own lives every time and they will say and do anything and promote any narrative to promote their version of the state and demonize those that oppose their ideology.

    Enemy of the ________!

    We are seeing more examples every day that show how the radical political left has dragged a huge cross section of the USA’s mindset into the dark abyss of totalitarianism. Their years of societal brainwashing and dumbing down has paid off. I think we’ve already gone beyond the tipping point from a society based on individual rights for the people to a society, culture and mindset that’s totalitarian. It takes a special kind of stupid to think the government is going to turn down more power over its’ people when it’s handed to them on a silver platter by a vocal majority of totalitarians that have intimidated the public into submission. The new norm coming from the totalitarian hive mind is where rights for me but not for thee, open bigotry and persecution is completely acceptable against anyone that opposes the totalitarian hive mind. The totalitarians have found their evil to fight, it’s you and they’re damned proud of their anti-American unethical and immoral behaviors.

    Our society and culture has dramatically changed in the 21st century.

  5. The deeper problem is that, sooner or later, the reactions to screeds like Crouse’s will be, “how do we silence her?”, which if successful would lead to winning the battle to lose the war.

    “Sexist” is not thinking Hillary Clinton or Kamala Harris wouldn’t make dandy Presidents.

    Should I post this here or on the typo page, or am I missing something?

    The essay quickly veers into Soviet snitch-on-your-neighbor-and co-worker, Comrade! territory, which is the logical next step.

    Actually, S.O.P. is first to send out agents provocateurs to utter sedition and so highlight those who fail to report it.

    • That is a great and ironic point. Of course, not publishing such dreck in the Washington Post isn’t silencing her, and judging the Post harshly for believing such a badly-reasoned argument for thought control is appropriate.

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