Silencing dissent in the modern world

It is extraordinary to me how something mad and evil, which was unheard of a couple of years ago, can suddenly become something which it is positively dangerous to oppose.  But so it is, in our unhappy world.  In this case I refer to “gay marriage”, but it could be any number of causes, where disagreement is suddenly dangerous to express.

I read today this blog post, which discusses how, in the USA, opposition to this cause is being silenced, by a “wall of hatred” technique.  It spells out particularly well, how dissent is silenced.

… it’s basically unprecedented for a professor to be formally investigated on a charge of scientific misconduct because a blogger didn’t like his findings. …

What is the purpose of his baseless charge?  I suspect it is twofold: first to get the university to let him conduct a fishing expedition through Prof. Regnerus’s personal correspondence to find anything that can be used to a.) tar this scholar and/or b.) harass others close to him, for being close to him.

Second, Rose hopes the hassle will discourage any other professor from investigating how children fare raised by gay parents, unless they can pretty much guarantee the results will be favorable to the Scott Rose’s of the world.

Marriage is important.  Religious liberty is important.  The structures of scientific inquiry are also important.

In a society that has lost faith in other modes of reasoning, science has become a trump card in public and moral debates.

Therefore, if you want to establish a new public morality, it becomes important to control the scientific processes to suppress dissent, to make dissent costly and therefore rare.

A culture war is a struggle over who has the power to name reality.

Celebrities, professionals and scholars are all now subjected to this dynamic: to oppose gay marriage is to be subjected to an outpouring of hatred and threats.

The goal is to silence.

It doesn’t matter what the cause is, although this one is particularly vile.  For we may be sure that the next one will be worse: the vileness is intentional, the purpose is to give offence, and then to force compliance.

It is not enough for evil that someone does what they want; they must be made to do it against their will.

Until we have some mechanism to push back against this technique of censorship, we may be sure that more, and worse will follow.


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