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No One Expects the Leftist Inquisition

Entry 2026, on 2020-02-03 at 20:56:11 (Rating 4, Politics)

Religious fanatics can be really annoying. Sure, they can be the source of great entertainment too, but in general they are just a nuisance. Why? Because they have - through some unfortunate sequence of events - found themselves in the situation where they belong to a group whose foundational beliefs are as strong as they are ridiculous. But that's not the problem; the real problem is they want to spread those beliefs to everyone else, and anyone who doesn't hold them is seen as inferior and perhaps even evil.

That's not a big deal though, is it, so what is my point here? Well, my point is that the sort of religious fanaticism we used to see only manifest through genuine religious belief is now becoming apparent in other areas, especially politics.

As a moderate, with beliefs near the political center, I see this coming from both sides of the political divide. Note my use of the word "divide" there, because the division between the left and right seems stronger now than it ever has been, because of this pseudo-religious way political issues are now treated.

But, surprisingly perhaps, the most fanatical ideas, and the wish to spread those ideas to everyone, now seems to be primarily concentrated on the left. It is the left who are attempting to dictate what is right and wrong - particularly in regards to controversial social issues such as gay rights, women's equality, etc. And, like the fanatics I mentioned above, they aren't happy with just possessing what they see as a virtuous political view themselves, they insist on it applying to everyone, and for anyone who fails to "convert" being inflicted with severe consequences.

These consequences vary from simple criticism and name calling (the same old tedious claims of racism, sexism, Islamophobia, etc) to being forced out of a job, to actual physical violence (such as the actions taken by extremist groups like Antifa, who are more fascist than the groups they claim to oppose).

After making the "fascist" claim above I should try to justify it. The word has two meanings. Here they are from the OED: "fascist (noun) an advocate or follower of the political philosophy or system of fascism. 1 a person who is extremely right-wing or authoritarian. 2 a person who is very intolerant or domineering in a particular area". Clearly the first definition doesn't apply, because it specifically applies to the political right, but I think equally clearly the second definition does apply, and is equally damning.

Of course, I welcome people with views which I disagree with, because as a free speech advocate I welcome all views. What I don't welcome is the fanatical drive to inflict those opinions on everyone else, especially through harmful tactics such as de-platforming, and even more so through physical violence.

I think the world would be pretty boring if we didn't have people who believed nutty stuff, like creationism, moon landing denial, and 9/11 conspiracy theories. But those people have no real power and can't force others to believe what they do. The left wing "fascists" though, do have considerable political power, and use it to stifle opposition to their views, and force others to follow their "religion".

This doesn't happen, you say? Well, here's a list of people, with what the left seem to think are unacceptable opinions, and who have been de-platformed on college campuses in recent years: Ben Shapiro, Ann Coulter, Richard Dawkins, Jason Riley, Steve Bannon, Jordan Peterson, Christina Hoff Sommers, Charles Murray, John Brennan, and Milo Yiannopoulos.

OK, some of those people have controversial views, but so what? And how could anyone see Richard Dawkins as a threat? Well, if having reasoned and fair points against your worldview is a threat then sure, he is a modern Hitler! And we all know that Milo deliberately makes a lot of controversial claims, but they are just words. What's the harm there, compared with the outright violence of Antifa?

One reason I suspect religious fundamentalists are so enthusiastic about converting people is that having opposition to their clearly mythological ideas is dangerous to them, so an active program of conversion is a good strategy. And in the past, anyone who opposed the dominant religion was tortured or killed. Christianity has lost that power, although Islam still has it to some extent, but now the extreme left seem to have taken up the same tactics with considerable enthusiasm.

The left are the new religious fanatics, the dangerous purveyors of ideas which others must follow, and if you like, follow the new religious orthodoxy. It's like an inquisition. And no one expects the Leftist Inquisition!

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Comment 1 (5215) by EK on 2020-02-04 at 10:57:20:

Re leftist/PC fascism. Interesting. I am working on something about extremist ideologies and agendas including religious fanatics as well as secular political fanatics. I see a lot of similarities between them. I wonder: if you use this negative hype about leftists (I presume you mean the PC brigade) how would your rate Isis or alt-right or even White Supremacism? Is there a superlative step beyond PC fanaticism?

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Comment 2 (5216) by OJB on 2020-02-04 at 12:32:50:

Well obviously the extensive violence perpetrated by Isis is far worse than even the worst cases of modern leftists violence (we can move on from the Soviet era), such as what we get from Antifa. But that is so obvious that it is barely worth mentioning. I generally like to discuss the issues that people might not be aware of.

I think a lot of the hysteria about the alt-right and white supremacy is just that: hysteria. I think people should be able to state views which might be labelled that way (as alt-right or white supremacist) freely as long as no intentional incitement to violence is included. In fact I have been labelled with both of those terms for simply stating facts.

Of course, when real violence from the right occurs, that should be treated as harshly and critcised as much as it would be if any other group had been responsible.

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