Progressives are always looking forward to the next iteration of burning down the present to fashion a future in their image. In 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong initiated “great leaps” in that direction, outlawing private farming and starving 20 million Chinese to death.
When fellow Communists started to wise up to communism’s failure, Mao doubled down. Truth was rewritten. Nature was reordered. “Destroy the old world; forge the new world,” the red propaganda declares.
Mao orderered sensitivity training for heretics, including admission of sins and public humiliation, for not believing in the lie enough. Those who wouldn’t conform were starved or murdered.
In 2014, American progressives have a long way to go to equal Mao. The Colorado baker whom the state forced to make a cake for a homosexual couple, effectively commandeering his property for service to the state—an effect of the fatally flawed Civil Rights Act of 1964—is being processed for reeducation:
[Jack] Phillips is being ordered by the State of Colorado not only to undergo sensitivity training, but to enact new policies for him and his staff, and to file quarterly reports with the state that prove he has not turned away any business from homosexuals.
As George Will notes: “Tolerance required declaring the bakers’ beliefs and practices intolerable.”
This case of government hiring itself out to the gay mafia is the exception that proves the rule. The overwhelming number of cases of PC cleansing with respect to homosexual acceptance have been imposed from the bottom up, not the top down. One’s marginalization always begins with controversy and boycott, followed by willing participation in quasi-ritual purification to appease whatever idol of the mob one has offended.
Which is why Ramesh Ponnuru’s essay on illiberal liberals rings hollow. He remarks: “The most troubling of these stories is the last one, because the government is getting involved.” How is being purged for thoughtcrime by a government official more troubling than being targeted by your neighbors? Government engenders contempt. It is an appendage of society. It can be lopped off while preserving the whole.
More and more, though, government is taking its cues from the people, and the people are rapidly converting to a lie. Being made an alien in your own land is far and away the most troubling.