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Speech Crimes and Ideology

Postmillennialism —  Leave a comment

TruthXChange — Fifteen years ago James Twitchel’s For Shame: The Loss of Common Decency in American Culture argued for the socially redeeming character of shame: “Shame is the basis of individual responsibility …It is where de-cency comes from… shame inhibits behavior— that’s the point. It retards action, it increases reticence, it invokes self-censorship. Its final object is not banishment, but reintegration.”

Twitchell’s book describes a past moral ethos eroded by an ideology of radical sexual freedom that shamelessly rejected the “old ways.”  In 1996 Senator Fred Thomson said of Bill Clinton: “He is a man of his times…He literally has no shame.” And Bill agreed, saying: “I do not regard this impeachment vote as some badge of shame.”

But shaming has not disappeared. It is now used to punish speech against the new reigning orthodoxy of politically correct relativism, rather than to condemn personally reprehensible moral acts. People lose their jobs because of one misplaced word. Pat Buchanan recently observed: “The new mortal sins are not filthy talk or immoral conduct, but racism, sexism, homophobia and nativism. The establishment alone defines these sins and enforces the proscriptions against them, from which there is no appeal, only the obligatory apology, the act of contrition and the solemn commitment never to sin again.”

Ideologues control the cultural discourse, and have become the new thought police. This new shaming seeks to seed the collective conscience with new principles of acceptable human behavior, thereby integrating “dissidents” into the reigning new “social conscience.”

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