Thoughtcrime, the San Bernardino Terror Attacks, and @LindaStasi

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It didn’t take long.  The victims’ blood on the ground in San Bernardino hadn’t even dried when the NY Daily News writer Linda Stasi’s pretzel logic twisted reality further beyond recognition.

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If you haven’t read Orwell’s 1984–you really should–this is a species of what Orwell referred to as “thoughtcrime.”

This set of thought patterns is based on the conviction that it’s not behavior that makes people virtuous; it’s their adherence to politically correct policies.  To wit: what you think about Syrian refugees makes you virtuous, regardless of how you behave.

So:

  • When President Obama says, “The arc of history is bending toward …”
  • When the mainstream media eagerly searches for reasons to blame the victims rather than blame the aspects of Islam that make such violence more problematic in Islam than in any other major religion …
  • When your Facebook friend says, “If you don’t agree with me about Syrian refugees/marriage equality/amnesty and citizenship for immigrants who just happen to be here illegally/gun control, JUST UNFRIEND ME,”…

They’re saying that the way they think about that particular issue is the only way to think about that issue.  Heterodoxy is stupid, or wrong-headed, or even dangerous, or even damaging to the thinker and the people around him/her, … and even potentially criminal.

Thoughtcrime, in other words.

Here’s the thing.  Heterodoxy is not stupid.  In a free society, it’s required; if there’s no heterodoxy, there’s no freedom, by definition your society is not free.  That’s why the attacks on the first amendment are so pernicious, so dangerous.

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