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conformists political correctness the wayward press woke

Right-wing conformists attack leftists for their alleged conformity

Because you know that life is full of pain and total conformists

So there I was, scrolling through my RSS feeds, when I ran across a little gem of an article from the Epoch Times — you know, the Trump-besotted newspaper run by a literal cult. I was drawn in by the title “We Live in the Era of the New Conformists.”

The article, by Roger L. Simon, didn’t disappoint.

[T]he left and the semi-left, progressives and liberals, masses of them in our country from the corporate world to the media to the academy to entertainment, are the New Conformists.

Well, not completely new, but conformists beyond doubt. Hardly ever an original thought among them.

A forceful argument! But it seems rather … familar. Where have I heard this before?

How about this article from, well, also from The Epoch Times? In it, self-described “heterodox” writer Rikki Schlott highlights what she sees as “the Peculiar Conformity of Modern Radicals.”

Social affirmation abounds in these ideological echo chambers. Friends and acquaintances post the same activist Instagram stories and attend the same protests and demonstrations. They might even have the same unique and quirky tattoo. In the realm of collective values, a peculiar phenomenon has occurred: The radical non-conformists have become the greatest conformers, after all. …

If every person and every institution in one’s orbit reinforces the same orthodoxy, are they truly thinking for themselves? Are they really a radical in any meaningful sense of the word?

Good question. Let’s look for answers in yet another Epoch Times article. In it, Rikki Schlott — wait, that’s the same person we just read — declared that in the contemporary world,

Pressure to conform comes from all social and institutional corners, leaving many feeling like thought criminals going along to get along in an age of conformity. When friends, family, and even livelihoods hang in the balance, it often feels as though one has everything to lose.

The Epoch Times isn’t the only publication devoted to this particular narrative. No, in fact, to borrow a line from art critic Harold Rosenberg, there’s a vast herd of independent minds in the conservative press, calling out their ideological enemies as a bunch of conformity-pushing conformists.

There’s the American Thinker blog decrying sef-described progressives for having

effectively killed creativity, rewarded mediocrity and dumbed down our society to maintain control through mandatory, unquestioning conformity.

The Washington Times weighed in with a piece by talk-radio host Tammy Bruce accusing critics of Republican senator Tim Scott and Caitlyn Jenner of offering an “unhinged reaction” to these

two high-profile people refusing to be compliant and conforming, and instead honoring the power of individualism and the American civil rights movements by daring to be themselves, no matter what the mob may demand. …

[T]he bigoted left … expect conformity and insist all Black people, gay people and transgender people think the same. That is what explicitly destroys the power of the individual, and the left reveals their putrid lie every time they condemn someone who acts on their truth.

There’s an anti-mask rant on LewRockwell.com taking aim at, among other things, “crowded cities” for “pil[ing] the Morons atop one another, engendering even more conformity.”

Townhall.com offers an equally strange rant about the Oscars, declaring that

Freedom and creativity are the enemy of the progressive political philosophy, where conformity is required or else. … That’s what Hollywood is now: a conformity factory. 

White nationalist site Counter-Currents fumed that

The phrase “Liberal hivemind” is a familiar one. It is, also, unfortunately, the main clue as to why the Left has such crushing control over Western culture. They not only think identically, but they have also put in place a proxy social credit system that can enforce this conformity. 

I could multiply examples almost endlessly but I’ll stop with this last one, in which anti-PC propagandist Roger Kimball offered a dire assessment of the world in a piece with the artlessly unsubtle title “Slow Suicide of the West.” He declares,

If being offended is grounds for interdicting speech then the goal is not tolerance, comrade, but conformity. And it is a short step from that realization to a bureaucracy whose primary aim is the enforcement of that conformity.

Kimball, best known as the author of a book-length polemic called Tenured Radicals, has been making this same argument over and over and over again for decades now.

Back then, instead of lambasting “woke conformists” Kimball and his comrades bashed the so-called “politically correct,” who were always supposedly on the verge of destroying higher education forever.

The words may have changed a little but it’s the same old tune. Get some new material, you conformists!

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Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

If every person and every institution in one’s orbit reinforces the same orthodoxy, are they truly thinking for themselves?

This describes conservatives sooo much better than it describes the Left. So much projection…

Dalillama
4 months ago

Anyone who thinks the Left agree on everything has never spent 30 seconds with any actual leftists, that being about how long it usually takes before we start reenacting The Life of Brian.

Snowberry
Snowberry
4 months ago

It’s pretty difficult not to be conformist and also have a social life. Purely non-conformist groups don’t usually last long; people get irritated by a lot of the others and leave, and the remainder tend to be the most similar. Practical non-conformity means ignoring what the larger society tells you to do and instead do what’s right for you (when possible, and within ethical limits), and get involved with people who have similar preferences/needs/desires. That produces its own conformity within groups, but creates a greater diversity of groups.

That said, I think there’s a bit of difference of definitions here. “Non-conformity” as it’s being used means “failure to conform to the universal truth”, as if there were such a thing even among conservative groups.

Talonknife
Talonknife
4 months ago

The weirdest thing about this to me is the implied notion that beliefs can never be sincerely held. If two leftists believe the same thing, it’s because they’re trying to fit in and not because they’ve reached the same conclusion.

jsrtheta
jsrtheta
4 months ago

These are the same people who think Saul Alinsky is a major influence on the Left.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
4 months ago

If beliefs can be sincerely held, and independently arrived at based on actual data, then conservatives can be proven wrong, and they can’t have that, now, can they?

Dalillama
4 months ago

@jsrtheta
Right? If it weren’t for my academic specialty, I’d’ve never heard of the dude. Most leftists I know couldn’t tell you who Saul Alisnky was if their lives depended on it.

Crip Dyke
4 months ago

You know what I love about feminist spaces? No one ever disagrees with anyone else. Trans spaces too. You never have one trans person disagreeing with another trans person. It just never happens. It’s soooooooo relaxing. I just can’t imagine how I could tolerate my life without this level of conformity.

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
4 months ago

This just in: Leftists all conformists, while right welcomes diversity of opinion. Meanwhile, polling numbers continue to show the right wing vote swinging behind the Tories while the left vote remains evenly divided among the People’s Liberation Front, the Liberation Front of the People, and the Front for the People’s Liberation, whose party leaders are all accusing each other of being insufficiently or insincerely left …

*sigh*

Battering Lamb
Battering Lamb
4 months ago

I’m reminded of this Key & Peele sketch.

Anyway, if we were such a Hive-Mind we would have taken over the world by now.

rv97
4 months ago

It’s sad that The Epoch Times are turning to skeptic bullshit when there are legitimate threats to China’s minorities and dissidents (and the same worldwide) that need addressing.

Sure, I think they do (read quickly some article about how Britain and Germany apparently were too influenced by and dependent on Beijing), but being “anti-woke” and living life to “own the libs” unfortunately has its supporters who engage in anti-Asian racism and does nothing to fight for freedom.

Jon
Jon
4 months ago

It should be noted conservative often get hysterical at the notion of immigrants or certain ethnic groups not conforming to fit in even the most aesthetic ways, cry about when cis men wear dresses and get horrified at the thought of many women not going the way of the housewife.

To be clear conforming or not conforming isn’t good by itself. Literal pedophiles can say they’re non-conformist in their desire to tuck children. Doesn’t mean their stance on fucking children is admirable.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 months ago

One of the thing I immediatly note is that it’s *much*, *much*, *MUCH* easier to be non conformist in a city than in a village. In my 100k inhabitant suburb, nobody really feel the need to ask me questions or small talks, so I can not have to justify my lack of TV, my “passion above work” ethos, or my political views. [not that I am truly non-conformist, just a little less behold to standard than the average]

(also, as say Snowberry, your social life will alway be with people at least somewhat compatible with your views. Internet make that easier tho)

And yes, the level of projection in theses pieces is rather staggering.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
4 months ago

Hang on … I thought leftists were weak because we have no unity, unlike the mighty right?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
4 months ago

Is this conformity thing another one of the endless series of right-wing talking points released into the Fox/OANN/Breitbart echo chamber by the Heritage Foundation?

.45
.45
4 months ago

Conformity noun

con·​for·​mi·​ty | \ kən-ˈfȯr-mə-tē
\
plural conformities

Definition of conformity

Correspondence in form, manner, or character with stuff I don’t like or agree with: agreement behaved in conformity with the beliefs of others, not mine

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

Re: Alisnky paranoia.
I saw that on Ponychan once. They were basically afraid of the potential of the rules for radicals. Well-poisoning with something no one was talking about.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
4 months ago

Might want to ask Liz Cheney if the right welcomes non-conformity. Because she’s a right wing extremist who voted with Trump pretty much always and is getting shunned right now for not being Trumpy enough.

Dalillama
4 months ago

@Brony
It’s clear these clowns have neve actually read the book in question. It’s about as applicable to the modern world as The Book of Five Rings.

Mabret the Virile Maiden
Mabret the Virile Maiden
4 months ago

I always confuse Lew Rockwell (ancap) with George Lincoln Rockwell (dead American Nazi), and occasionally confuse either of them with Porter Rockwell (thug for Joseph Smith and later Brigham Young).

Alan Robertshaw
4 months ago

@ mabret the virile maiden

I only know this one.

Brony, Social Justice Cenobite

@Dalillama
Well-poisoning about people is a retrospective impression. At the time I couldn’t even get to the point of usefulness. It was just the idea of “bad because potentially useful tactics” without a reason, which, what? I could see they didn’t like the people and that’s it.

Dalillama
4 months ago

@Brony
It’s basically just an antisemitic dogwhistle, same as yelling about George Soros.

Rina
Rina
4 months ago

Does this Rikki guy know how demonstrations work? Cause… usually many people attend the same one. If everybody had their own unique individual little demonstration just by themselves, that wouldn’t do much?

SpecialFFrog
SpecialFFrog
4 months ago

@Victorious Parasol: Fascists need their enemies to be simultaneously weak and incredibly powerful.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
4 months ago

I “love” being lectured on conformity by a group who all wear the same stupid red hat.

@Dalillama: Splitter!

Kevin
Kevin
4 months ago

Thanks for the heads-up on Alinsky, broadened my perspective on the American Left. Some good news here, Khan has retained London.

Full Metal Ox
4 months ago

Just felt the compulsion to leave this here (warning for cartoon gore played for dark comedy):

http://64.media.tumblr.com/feb0ffde9c6950839fda099d95a9e75e/9f5f65f8719ef6e3-d9/s500x750/243d97b5f90cd5828efaf2824ad547e07b10e552.jpg

Last edited 4 months ago by Full Metal Ox
Steve D
Steve D
4 months ago

I notice I can’t read anything until I conform and open an account.

Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
4 months ago

@Bookworm: One of the movie theaters within Uber distance of my apartment runs 17 shows a day, and it STILL does less projecting than most conservatives.

@jsrtheta: Considering he died almost half a century ago, I’d say Alinsky isn’t in much of a position to influence anybody on anything.

@Dalillama: Sometimes it doesn’t even take ten seconds.

Ninja Socialist
Ninja Socialist
4 months ago

That’s a lot of projection.

occasional reader
occasional reader
4 months ago

The phrase “Liberal hivemind” is a familiar one.

It is well known we are all part of the Universal Brotherhood, bzz…

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 months ago

@rv97:
Sadly, based on my reading over the years, The Epoch Times isn’t ‘turning’ at all; they’ve always been like this. While it’s true that they speak from the Falun Gong viewpoint about injustices created by the people running China, it’s become quite clear over the years that they’re much like the Puritans in what would become the U.S.: they don’t disagree with authoritarian regimes on general principle, they’re just upset they’re not the ones in charge. And the antipathy towards them from the Chinese government appears to stem from an attempt to get many of their own members into the government via lower ranking functionaries as part of an internal takeover attempt. Decades ago they were actively supported by many in the government before they started being seen as an internal threat.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jenora Feuer
rv97
4 months ago

@Jenora Feuer

Aside from reading radical news sources like on Mastodon (sometimes, there are tankies on there too and apparently fascists and racists as someone who used to be more active on Mastodon, I’ve just been sheltered from the fascist shitshow that others have reported seeing on the platform), I wonder what would be decent sources of anti-CCP and overall anti-authoritarian outlets.

I’m sad it’s only like Tumblr with regards to informal news sources, the only source I’ve seen that is quite consistently anti-authoritarian (well, if you avoid TERF Tumblr). I’ve seen posts against the CCP and the US alike. Most other outlets, be it social media or the news, will take sides, with Reddit preferring the US despite it reporting news against US affairs, and the CCP being preferred on like Twitter and YouTube (although less consistently so considering how reactionaries also maintain an influential presence pretty much everywhere including those two websites) from a cursory perspective.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
4 months ago

@Chris: A multiplex near me is showing movies about 2x a day in maybe a dozen theaters, one of which is full IMAX, and they’re projecting less than your average conservative. At full capacity in the Before Times, they were still doing less projection.