Americans are now waking up to the realities of the progressive politics, but is it too late?
If we are to save our unique American culture, then it will take more involvement by almost everyone. A first step must begin among those of us who never accepted communist ideology —we must begin to push back as never before, albeit intelligently and peacefully. It won’t be easy. The second step will involve convincing, through rational dialogue, those who have acquiesced to the assault upon our culture. Conversion may be possible for those who fully accepted communist tripe, but that task will be extremely difficult —not impossible, just difficult.
All of us have witnessed the assaults upon our cultural institutions, and if you read previous essays in this series, you also understand why it has happened, and the extent of the damage so far. We know that part of the assault has been to force citizens to “conform” to the standards established by the communist left. Here’s one quick example of conforming behavior: technological addiction to social media, where the purveyors of leftist ideology inform us, and reinforce to our children, that everything that goes on inside the cloud is okay because there is never any accountability.
How does one force another person to “conform.” Peer pressure is one example, but one of the most successful techniques is through what Laird Wilcox calls ritual defamation.
“Defamation is the destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character, or standing within a community by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. The central element is defamation in retaliation for real or imagined attitudes, opinions, or beliefs with the intention of silencing or neutralizing an individual’s influence. It is essential to “make an example” of the target so as to discourage similar expressions by others. It goes beyond simple criticism in that it is aggressive, organized, and skillfully applied—often by an organization or special interest group.
“The power of ritual defamation lies entirely in its capacity to intimidate and terrorize. It embraces some elements of primitive superstitious belief, as in a “curse” or “hex.” It plays into the subconscious fear most people have of being abandoned or rejected by the tribe or by society and being cut off from social and psychological support systems.
“The weakness of ritual defamation lies in its tendency toward overkill and in its obvious maliciousness. Occasionally a ritual defamation will fail because of poor planning and failure to correctly judge the vulnerability of the victim, or because its viciousness inadvertently generates sympathy.” —Laird Wilcox
Who might become the victim of such tactics?
Essentially, the likely target of ritual defamation is anyone who disagrees with the political left on such cultural issues as the preservation of traditional marriage, anyone who supports merit-based immigration, anyone who calls for an end to illegal immigration, someone angered by Islamic terrorism, or anyone who doesn’t think that the American taxpayer should pay for transgender medical procedures. These people would be classified and berated as a “—phobe” of one kind or another, which is to say an “unreasonable fear of (fill in the blank).” We thus observe a growing trend toward ritual defamation, evident by the number of times the left accuses any conservative American of racism, Islamophobia, transphobia, or fascism.
Let’s avoid vagueness here. There are numerous examples where the leftist press suddenly becomes aware of the alleged sexual misconduct of prominent persons seeking public office.
- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas comes to mind, wrongfully accused of sexual assault and the political left pulled out all stops in order to accuse him of disgusting conduct. It didn’t work in Thomas’ case, but it did leave him with a deep and enduring scar.
- Three young men at Duke University were wrongfully accused of raping a black stripper; after months of pre-trial publicity, they were eventually found not guilty of the charges, but their reputations were forever stained as the result of spurious allegations and the prosecutorial misconduct of a leftist district attorney who wanted to demonstrate that American society is a racist society.
- More recently, Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore stands accused of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred 40 years ago. Whether there is any basis for such allegations has yet to be substantiated, but it is remarkable that the claims only surfaced a few days before state-wide elections.
For too long in this country, allegations of misconduct have been used to sully the reputations of good people. These are examples of ritual defamation. A just society would have laws to protect people from spurious allegations.
In an essay titled The Final 3 Phases In The Slide From Freedom to Communism, writer Stella Morabito explains how the field of psychiatry has been effectively used as a weapon to force social conformity.
“Although such widespread abuse is not the case in America today, we can see signs that the political weaponization of psychiatry is growing. Consider the LGBT lobby’s drive to outlaw any conversations in a therapist’s office that do not enforce the LGBT agenda, including imposing transgenderism on any child who claims to be transgender. Laws that have been enacted against reparative or “conversion therapy” aim to prevent people from changing their minds about living out a homosexual orientation or a transgender identity.” —Stella Morabito
Psychiatric weaponry is a one-way street, of course, because while special interests protecting the rights of the LBGT community were able to restrict therapists from asking questions about a lesbian’s sexuality, these rules do not apply to the American Left. CASEL’s agenda toward Social Emotional Learning proposes mental health screening to school-aged children without their parent’s knowledge or consent. Similarly, leftist politicians are demanding mental health screening for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm. We have even witnessed leftist media declaring that Donald Trump isn’t mentally fit to serve as President of the United States. But it is true that Mr. Trump is a white man. Can anyone even imagine the consequence should anyone have accused Barack Obama of the same thing?
By now, all of us should begin to wonder how American society ever arrived at this position. The answer, of course, is that most Americans are unaware of the scope and depth of policies and programs undertaken by government agencies and special interest, to change society from its cultural origins into something most desired by advocates of the progressive agenda.
In essence, Americans have been asleep.
This is no indictment of hard working people who have not the time (or inclination) to look below the surface. Few parents today attend PTA meetings on behalf of their children above elementary school level, and so, unless their children tell them about such things as mental health screening, they simply wouldn’t know. The political left knows that most families today include either two full time wage earners or a single parent raising children —and they’ve taken advantage of such opportunities to invade space previously reserved for families.
Nevertheless, now may be the time (or long past the time) when conservative-minded parents begin to reclaim their rights as citizens. Less government means more freedom —and what is needed is for parents to reassert their right of self-determination —for themselves, on behalf of their children, and for their communities. It is also time for churches, as one of our most important social institutions, to make themselves heard.
If you will return next week, I’ll pull the curtain back a little further. Thank you for reading Thoughts from Afar.
 Wilcox is a scholar/archivist of extremist movements in the United States. His books include The Practice of Ritual Defamation (1990), Nazis, Communists, Klansmen, and Others on the Fringe (with John George) (1992), and Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America (1994)
 Stella Morabito is a senior contributor at The Federalist. Her essays have also appeared in the Washington Examiner, American Thinker, Public Discourse, Human Life Review, New Oxford Review.
 Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, which states as its mission the introduction of a process through which children acquire and apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions —which I imagine originates from the perspectives of the progressive left.