Should we agree right here and now that people’s political opinions have nothing to do with how they do their job? Even when their job has an intellectual and emotional component.
There are — or should be — good teachers of all political stripes, more or less in proportion to those political stripes in the nation. And there are — or should be — artists of all political stripes, more or less in proportion with the existence of those politics in the nation. Also same proportion of psychiatrists, technicians, mathematicians, etc.
It doesn’t mean that the teacher wouldn’t, at times, let his politics influence him. A leftist teacher, for instance, might give more group work. But if he is a good teacher, he’ll balance this with experience, so it wouldn’t impair learning. In the same way a good artist might be a leftist, but his work will still mirror the real world and have enough insights about it that non-leftists can appreciate him. I give you sir Terry Pratchett, or Early Heinlein.
However, if you look around the nation, at artistic professions, news reporting, entertainment, art, education, some tech sectors, what you find is that the people there are either 99.9% leftist, or that the right is very, very quiet.
Several excuses have been adduced for that. My favorite, which even people on the right in my field were using as little as ten years ago was “the right is not creative. They just follow what they’re told.” As indie has revealed, that is not only not true, it’s a damnable lie. In fact, because the right is NOT the establishment, but the left is, the mavericks are almost all on the right. But they were being determinedly kept out by the gatekeepers. As they are in all these fields.
We could spend several posts analyzing (debunking) the left’s tendency to equate their political opinions with both moral superiority and intellectual superiority. At the root of it it’s a refusal to look at how their ideas have played out in the world, but most of all it’s a brandishing of politics as a positional good that excuses you from actually having any accomplishments/making any sacrifices for others. But it is real. What I mean is that, against all sense, they REALLY believe that they are the good, moral and smart people.
Their illusions were abetted, once a certain critical mass had been reached, by the way they were portrayed in all media/entertainment/news and particularly the way their opponents are strawmanned in those same outlets.
How it started I don’t know, but probably with a little bit of agitprop to make the “progressive” view hip back in the days before WWII. And with the taking of key positions.
But now? Now it’s not a conspiracy. It goes on its own. When one of the prominent puppy kickers said that they didn’t have to give us a seat at the table, because they also wouldn’t give child molesters a seat at the table (he was probably wrong on that second one) he was absolutely sincere. To them, when you advocate a cut back of onerous regulations, a flat tax or abolishing the department of education, it’s the equivalent of saying you want to have sex with toddlers.
Now this doesn’t make sense in any way, shape, form or even vague suspicion. It’s not a rational thing. It’s an emotional thing.
They KNOW they’re good and want all the GOOD things. So if you don’t agree with them, you must want all the BAD things.
They never articulate it, of course. If they did, even they would have to laugh at it. They just conveniently project all their sins onto you and, no matter how little sense it makes, call you racist, sexist, homophobic. And knee-jerk believe you are that, with such fierce intensity that no amount of proof would convince them otherwise. This is how they call claim a man in an interracial marriage had planned this twenty years ago to cover up his racism.
The problem is that this non-conspiracy but sincere belief results exactly in the type of injustice that shouldn’t happen: competent or even brilliant people kept out of fields dominated by the left because they’re on the right. (Or, in recent years, because they’re insufficiently left.)
It doesn’t happen the other way. We on the right, because the left controlled all arts and entertainment learned to like the product and despise or even dislike the artist’s opinion.
But the result of that imbalance, while there are gatekeepers, is to make everyone to the right of Lenin, in a field dominated by the left, live in a state of fear.
You double think. You watch your mouth. You control everything you say and almost everything you think.
As someone who has been there, this isn’t good for you. Little by little it poisons your soul, your ability to enjoy life, your ability to create anything new. You become obsessed with detail and manner, so as to keep yourself from thinking heretical thoughts. You become a little crazy. Your health suffers. You have bills to pay and people who depend on you. You need the job. You keep quiet.
I don’t know the percentage of people who — in America of all places — are living like this, every day, but I know it is staggering.
It has two effects: in fields totally taken over by what I’d call the punitive left, those who examine every moment and every gesture and every look for signs of deviance from the orthodoxy, whatever it is this week, creativity dries up. People are afraid of where the slap will come from. There are no true friendships. And the product becomes an endless rehash of things done before, whether books or movies or, really, anything else.
And the other effect is that no one in the field, not even the most zealous keepers of orthodoxy know what people’s opinions really is.
In a totalitarian regime, you say what the top people want to hear. Really — trust me, I’ve been there — you talk yourself into thinking what they want to hear. You lie to yourself, first of all.
It hurts you. But it also means they have an illusion of conformity, of uniformity. They think they’re secure.
Until things turn.
I know that a great part of the reaction to Sad Puppies was that they didn’t know there were any dissenters in their ranks. We’re not even all in any description “right wingers.” (I’m… I’m for liberty. Which means I’m against big government and its intrusive grip. I never understood how the people with the bumperstickers enjoining us to “question authority” can be such lovers of big government. Never mind.) But what we are is sick and tired of posturing fiction, giving itself airs of relevance. And we’re tired of there only being one type of expression allowed. They didn’t know that. Because they’ve demanded the external rituals of compliance. To step out of line, to be the nail that sticks up, was to get pounded. Still is. I mean, they’ve brought their full machine of slander against us and can’t imagine why we won’t shut up.
We won’t shut up because the mechanics of their power in my field are crumbling. They can no longer gatekeep either distribution or even publication. And so we’re free. And they’ve found their hold is not absolute. In fact, if more people were attuned to Indie and knew they don’t have to kowtow, they might find they’re a minority.
The thing is that pretty much all of entertainment, teaching, industry is going that way. The industry of our time is an industry of personalization, of individualization, just as much as the industry of the fifties and sixties was a “mass” industry.
Which means more and more industries will be escaping their grip. The shock the other side got when the Sad Puppy Movement talked back? They have a lot of those in stock, in the years ahead.
And that should be some comfort for those of you who still must keep your mouth zipped and live in shadows.
Technology is running our way. It’s freeing more people from the totalitarian control of the left, their dead ideology and their anti-competence policies.
And thinking how shocked they’ll be should make all those times you have to swallow your words easier to bear.
Be Not Afraid! In the end we win they lose.