Who are the brain police?

Dear M,

We talk a lot about public censorship, but even if you live without the public you'll end up with the private.  Simply put, there is no time and place where a man is free to violate the terms of the society he lives in.  Each of us are thoroughly and subtly policed by our family, friends, neighbors, customers, lovers and coworkers; and the invisible pressure they apply can be braved momentarily, but not entirely, and certainly not for eternity.  You buck too many of their norms and you pay for it.  They retract their goodwill from you and as a social animal you're finished.  A free-thinker has thus got to be a charmer, or wealthy, or useful.  If he bites more than he licks he'll be left out like a stray dog. 

Lord Acton (and I think Tocqueville) once said that the more democratic a society is, the more the society itself tries to police your ideas.  They know the individual makes the society, and so in self-defense society tries to make the individual.  Who wins in this case?  Whoever can convince the others he best represents the ideas of society.

I suspect that in every case of man versus society, there exists some amount of fraud.  In truth every one of us, no matter how rotten his position, has allies who won't speak out; and when any small group has cultural supremacy, say the Puritans of Cromwell's age or the Social Justice Warriors of ours, there are bound to be lots of people faking their allegiance.

The most annoying picture ever taken of the public opinion
First off there are the people without moral fibre, who go along with whoever's in charge just because it's easy, or lucrative.  These are best known as the sellouts.  Then there are the people who leave arguing to the arguers.  These people are known as the drones and the dunces and the "decent" folk.  Then there are people who genuinely disagree with the modus operandi and don't want to lose what they have.  These people, depending on the situation, are either wise men or cowards.  But in any situation where there's a cultural "consensus**," especially one run by a minority, the person standing outside it is always ranked lower than he is.  He has lots of people who agree with him but simply won't say it; and his numbers are constantly underrated by the simple fact that those in charge count the cowards and dunces and sellouts on their side.  Truth is they aren't.

If you want to change the world, you need to speak out.  Right now it's said by The Atlantic that people identifying as Social Justice Warriors, the ideology espoused by our legal system, media, corporations, and colleges, make up 8% of Americans, and that hardcore conservatives make up 25%.  Adjusting for the cowards and dunces and sellouts, this means the SJW's are absolutely miniscule and the conservatives ought to own this country.  But we forget that power is always psychological -- and that Bolshevik means majority when they were actually the minority.

Your father,

*It's no surprise to me that the most outlandish and backward theories come from the upper classes.  Solomon says the poor man pleads, but the rich answer roughly.  I would add that the rich man has dreams -- and it's the poor man who has to live with them.

**If you want to know the cultural consensus, never look to the fighters.  The things your society agrees about are the things they aren't arguing about.  In the overwhelming majority of cases, when someone is telling you society believes in one thing, it's because they're terrified that tomorrow society might believe the other.

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