There was a time — listen to me, children — when the left had the power to utterly destroy anyone they chose to.
They would descend in a swarm, find some little thing you had said, take it out of context, then pound you with it until you no longer had a job, a marriage, any friends willing to admit to knowing you.
Actually it wasn’t even required that they take something you said and take it out of context. They controlled all the gate keeping positions and a whisper campaign could go out — the equivalent of having your papers stamped PU for Politically Unreliable — and depending on how much money they could make off you, you’d either be turned out without references (so to put it) or, in my field, be kept in midlist durance vile. (In other fields there are equivalents, where you do all the work, but never get anywhere with money, let alone power.)
This is partly how they GOT all the gatekeeping positions, and kept them, or in other words, how they gutted all the important institutions of our culture and then wore the institutions’ skin, demanding respect.
The farce either worked for a while, or people like us saw through it, but there wasn’t a heck of a lot we COULD DO about it, so we shut up and pretended.
The difference was immaterial, really, since the result was the same. The left had the power to destroy.
I would say the apex of their power was that amazing weaponizing of Mitt Romney’s innocent reference to “women in binders” (which meant women’s resumes in binders, and which meant he was bragging of AGGRESSIVELY seeking women for positions of power.) Women in binders didn’t even mean anything bad, and couldn’t even mean anything bad. But by repeating the words, and wearing binders (!) to his events, the left projected the image that he wanted to do something unspeakable to women.
Note that their attempt at a much more grounded hit on Trump for using the word Pussy in a bit of locker room talk, netted them… nothing, except the usual academics and high middle class women wearing the usual vajazzled costumes while demanding respect.
Part of what’s adorable about this is that the left thinks they STILL have this power. Well, their branding you sure destroys you in THEIR circles. They just don’t GET that in a lot of fields and professions, their circles have become utterly irrelevant.
So it’s entertaining as all get out to watch them threaten me and my fellow rebels with the ruins of our careers. Uh… we never had careers in the halls of the left. Our careers are entirely outside their institution — sort of a parallel track — and we’re doing just fine, thank you. In fact in terms of money we’re doing way better than the darlings of the left, by and large. (Well, okay, my getting very ill and not having a new book for two years is an issue, but it would be an issue anywhere.)
They keep pulling the levers of the outrage machine and our public yawns, or points and laughs… at them. This increases the outrage, just as the Pussy Hatters keep redoubling their impotent fury at the results of free and ethical elections. It’d be funny if it weren’t so weird.
So, do they still retain the power to destroy, the way you know who is in charge of a society?
Sure they do. Well, sort of.
If your career and your power comes from having penetrated their institutions they can at the very least still take you down a peg. They can cancel your big book contract, or they can have you fired from the halls of academia.
Weirdly these days they need the RIGHT to cooperate in this kind of attack. Their attack on Milo was the new new model for this. “Find someone who also annoys people on the right. Look for a sin the right would agree is a sin. No matter how unsubstantiated the charge, the right will break a left piling on.”
Mind you, they can cost you a book contract or a job. But they can’t prevent you from creating another job, or publishing your book indie. They have the power to hurt — even with the right cooperating — but not the right to destroy anymore.
And the thing I don’t think the left understands, is that this level of outrage can be ginned up only a limited number of times. And sooner or later even the right stops cooperating, because well, Lucy keeps moving the football. (Granted they don’t catch on as soon as I’d hoped, but well, I have years of experience with socialist maneuvering that most of you are lacking.)
Every time the left pulls that lever for the outrage machine, they’re spending capital. Every time they start a witch hunt, the skin suit slips a little and the respect we owed the gutted institution is lost.
It won’t be long till our only reaction to outrageous accusations is what it already is in Science Fiction outside their circles: point and make duck noises.
Anything we can do to accelerate that, from providing alternate paths to success, to refusing to join the outrage machine, only speeds up the time no one falls for their tricks.
They no longer have a monopoly of opinion-making sources. And to sell their pov, they need a monopoly.
Go forth and have no fear. For the times, they are achanging.