Op-Ed: WESTERN FRONT: Consensus Wants You (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) Daniel Greenfield 03/20/12)
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Israel suffers from the age of consensus, where Palestinian Arabs are
the only victims allowed and political debates exist only to allow
candidates to affirm that consensus. Ashton could thus compare the
murder of Jewish children in France to Gaza.
While terms like "The Marketplace of Ideas" are still tossed about
occasionally like confetti out of a tenth story window, they mean
about as much as the soiled mass of tape that everyone has stepped on
by the time the parade is over.
The age of ideas, when issues might actually be debated, instead of
answered immediately with talking points derived from an inflexible
ideology whose only two poles are outrage and guilt, ended some time
Today we live in the age of consensus. The cultural elites no longer
debate opposing points of view, they dismiss them as racist or
ignorant, ridiculing not only the argument, but the arguer and the
very premise that there can even be an argument.
The "marketplace of ideas" is replaced with "I´m offended that we´re
even having this discussion" or "Only ignorant people believe that."
These alternating poses of victimhood and superiority make it illegal
or pointless to even discuss the subject and leave every issue
settled by consensus.
Scientific debates end before they have begun.
Political debates exist only to allow candidates to affirm the
consensus or castigate them for standing outside the consensus.
Personal exchanges of views either reflect the consensus or become
perilous and illegal.
The left veers between outrage and ridicule, between cries of "I´m
oppressed" and "You´re an idiot". Both are wholly subjective emotion-
driven perceptions that cannot be rationally debated because they do
not exist in the sphere of reason. They are the root of the "I Feel"
creed which follows no intellectual or moral rules, striking poses of
empathy and superiority for effect.
Everyone on the left is at once superior and oppressed, they are all
part of the 99 percent being ground under the boot of the 1 percent,
or members of minority groups oppressed by the white heteronormative
patriarchy or creative people repressed by faceless corporations, and
if they aren´t any of those, then by virtue of their empathy they
slip under the wire until like Bill Clinton, they are acknowledged as
the first black president of the United States.
The teenager lives the illusion of being deep in a world of shallow
people, identifying with outside groups because they reflect his
fantasies of alienation. Rather than empathy, this is actually a
failure of empathy that time usually remedies. Time has never
remedied that failure of empathy for the left, which buries itself in
fantasies of victimhood, wealthy white men and women trek to the
ghetto or to Africa to nourish themselves on true suffering like
emotional vampires who need someone else´s pain to affirm their own
Outrage is eternal. There is something to always be outraged about
and they are always on the hunt for it. If you aren´t outraged, then
you aren´t paying attention. And if you are outraged, then you can
silence any opposition by appealing to the plight of the suffering
people somewhere. When you pay enough attention, then you can collect
so many things to be outraged by, that you can shut down any
discussion with an outrage card from your playing deck.
The emissions of outrage silence ideas with self-righteous outbursts
of emotion. Their morality is singular, not universal. Their force
derives from shock value that tests for an emotional response with
photos of dead children in Africa or the plight of migrant workers.
You are not permitted to respond with context or to bring in the
plight of children or workers anywhere else. Consistency is an aspect
of reason and when you attempt to reason with outrage, then you have
already failed their empathy test.
Only those who pass the empathy test are permitted to serve as the
unofficial spokesmen for all the world´s griefs and miseries. The
more faux empathy they process into outrage, the higher their rank
becomes and the less they need to abide by any social norms. The
truly outraged may hurl abuse, threaten and even kill. The more
violent their behavior becomes, the more it is taken as the depth of
their goodness for empathizing with the suffering of the designated
The outraged gain moral power from their outrage that outweighs their
actual status and wealth, and power for the left is measured in the
ability to fragment ideas, social norms and any and all standards.
Perpetual outrage is perpetual disruption for perpetual power.
Outrage shouts down opposition and if it cannot shout it down, it
physically attacks it. And the outraged, no matter how privileged,
are not held responsible for their actions and disruptions by virtue
of their selflessness. Their empathy makes them into transcendent
beings who are not acting for the self, moral creatures who are
sacrificing themselves for the sake of the world.
Ridicule is a chief tool of the cultural elites because it allows
them to maintain an intellectual pose, while employing anti-
intellectual tools. It bypasses ideas to attack entire groups on
stereotypical grounds, representing dissent as a symptom of mental
weakness, personal corruption or dishonesty. Directly ridiculing
ideas risks bringing them into the discussion, but ridiculing the
people who hold them avoids even a farcical version of a debate.
Humor is aggression. Ridicule is aimed at establishing two groups.
The in-group and the out-group. The in-group is smart, savvy and
going places. The out-group is ignorant, unsophisticated and a dead
end. Delayed maturity gifts us with an adolescent political culture
leaving us with leaders who are playing by High School rules, winning
style over substance wars for the hearts and minds of the
The first pseudo-intellectual pose of ridicule is skepticism. This
isn´t a genuine skepticism in which the hearer disbelieves what he is
hearing and can defend that skepticism, it is a pose for when the
hearer does not know what is being said and does not care what is
being said. His only purpose is to cast doubt on the credibility of
Soledad O´Brien´s skepticism on a subject that she had no familiarity
with and whose definition had to be read out to over her earpiece by
a producer browsing Wikipedia on his iPhone is a classic example of
the breed. It is not concerned with the ideas and cannot ask a single
question which challenges those ideas. It is a teenager´s pose of
skepticism that mimes being all-knowing without actually knowing a
The second pseudo-intellectual pose of ridicule is contempt toward
the speaker for challenging the consensus. A consensus that every
right-thinking person knows to be true. The consensus is sacred
because it is linked to outrage. Those who challenge the consensus
risk destroying the planet, bringing back segregation, setting back
worker´s rights, killing homosexuals, ending science, polluting the
oceans, killing children and doing a thousand terrible things.
To challenge the consensus is to expose yourself as an immoral person
who either wishes to cause harm to millions or is too ignorant to
understand that the consequences of challenging the consensus will
doom the human race. Either one only merits contempt. It does not
matter whether or not he is factually right. All that matters is that
the consensus represents the forward march of mankind out of poverty,
ignorance and hate. E
ven if a factual challenge to it is correct, it does not matter
because the consensus represents the absolute good of all mankind.
The absolute good of all mankind may be wrong in some minor respects,
but its moral position gives it a rightness immune to reason.
The third pseudo-intellectual pose of ridicule is mockery. Having
passed through skepticism at the speaker for expressing an opposing
point of view, and contempt for his disregard for the absolute good
of all mankind, it is time to ridicule him and his ideas off the
stage. Skepticism and contempt armor the progressive with a pseudo-
intellectual pose of superiority that says the mockery derives not
from ignorance, but from knowledge.
Ridicule reassures the in-group of its superiority without
challenging its views and homilies. It affirms its identity by
excluding those who are different, paradoxically in an identity built
on empathizing with those who are different. It postures intellectual
superiority while running away from a debate. It is the xenophobic
reaction of the apostles of tolerance who need the illusion of
superiority for their always fragile self-esteem.
Ridicule is the chief weapon of those who fear being ridiculed.
Contempt is the chief weapon of the contemptible. Skepticism is the
best pose of those who cannot distinguish between truth and lies.
By completely refusing to discuss a topic because of their outrage at
the topic or the ridiculous notion that the topic is even worth
discussing-- no ideas are allowed into the public sphere without
being sneered and mocked off the stage with varying degrees of
vituperation, from the high galleries in the black ink press of
mainstream journalism, down to the pundits, the editorials, the
blogs, the movies and television shows, the standup comedians and the
internet comedians. From the galleries to the gutter, the consensus
sets up a gale of false laughter until the dissenting voices go away.
The consensus triumphs. Dissent is silenced to manufacture a
consensus and when it cannot be silenced, it is denounced and
ridiculed until it serves as an example of the folly of opposing the
consensus. The dissenters become examples of the type of bad people
who will not go along with it. They become a warning not to deviate,
not to engage in heresies, not to ask questions or step out of the
permitted boundaries of ideas within the consensus.
Within the camp of the saints, all believe in the religion of peace,
in global warming, in the mandate, in diversity and positive rights.
Outside the damned question everything, goosestepping around while
waving graphs and charts, burning thermometers and mosques by the
dozen. Within the consensus, the faithful progress on to utopia.
Outside the consensus are the bigots, the breeders, the reactionaries
and the religious, who represent a threat to the civil order of the
The consensus has killed ideas within, and it strives to impose
itself on those outside the circle. Poems and plays are written about
the glories of the consensus. The consensus makers are the heroes of
movies and novels, battling the evil forces of the corrupt and the
unenlightened. They are the lawmakers who impose the consensus on
all, the educators who teach the consensus in schools, the
consultants who integrate the consensus into every business and
The more people, willingly or unwillingly, adopt elements of the
consensus, the stronger it becomes. It is a missionizing creed,
expanding by the word, the sword or by the government, which wields
and uses both.
The personal is political and the political is personal, obligating
each of us to participate in the consensus and affirm it with our
actions. The law demands that we recycle, that we pay for abortions
and fund Muslim empowerment programs. It leaves fewer loopholes for
dissent and a diminishing distance between our physical selves and
the obligation to take part in the consensus.
Dissent is not allowed within the consensus. If the consensus cannot
reach directly into your head, it will do its best to force you to
violate your principles to the extent that it can, knowing that
people rationalize the compromises that they are forced to make and
that such rationalizations lead them away from their principles. If
it cannot alter your thoughts, then it will do its best to prevent
you from expressing them.
The consensus wants you. All of you. If it cannot have you, it will
have your children or your grand-children. It is through talking and
done debating. It has climbed up to the steeple, past the gargoyles
and shouts down at the world. It is not interested in ideas, only in
submission to its will. It will sneer at you, laugh at you and do its
best to compel you to obey its doctrines. Because it knows that if it
cannot, then the consensus will dry up and blow away on the wind.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/20/12)
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