Censoring and Punishing the Heterodox

The practice of power that presumes an orthodoxy, i.e., that there is a right way to think about some matter, for example the claims of the genderist, such that a side can claim to be offended or harmed by contradiction and therefore justifiably censor any heterodox position and even punish the person expressing the contrary position, is quintessentially authoritarian in character. It follows that resisting censorship of, and punishment for, contrary speech has its own purpose: the preservation of liberty and democracy.

Censorship and punishment for heterodox views occur because those who assert the orthodoxy of their own view lack confidence in them and therefore exclude contradiction by censoring and silencing those who dissent from them. Those who truly have confidence in their views, that is, those who expect their views to win the day after a full airing of them and their contradictions, do not fear contradiction.

The geocentrists sought to prevent heliocentrism from having its day in the sun. Flat-earthers marginalized the round-earthers. Creationists sought to exclude the arguments of the evolutionists. But, today, the geocentrists, the flat-earthers, and the creationists are neither censored nor punished; their theories pose no real threat to the orthodoxies to which they now find themselves subordinated. These orthodoxies are confident in themselves because they won the debates on merit in the face of the censors. But the crackpot theory of the genderist cannot win the day on fact and reason, so he must censor and punish the contrarian.

For the genderist to operate–or at least count on others to operate for him–the machinery of censorship and punishment, his apparent orthodoxy must find purchase in the institutions of power, for this where lie the cultural, economic, political, and social forces necessary to impose ideologies upon the masses.

Whereas in the past, false orthodoxies were backed by dominant religious institutions, today, these forces converge in the corporate state, the intersection of big industrial and financial organizations, public administration, and the associated political framework that reproduces and normalizes that power through culture, law, and policy. If gender theory, as well as queer theory and critical race theory, did not have in back of them the corporate state, they would wither and die; their claims could not withstand the lights of fact and reason.

One question with which we must therefore concern ourselves is why the corporate state settled on these particular crackpot theories as the foundation of modern-day quasi-religious dogma. In Galileo’s day, the Church was concerned with his theory not merely because they lacked confidence in their own (many of them already knew they were wrong about the relationship of the sun to the earth) but because the apparent orthodoxy concerning the solar system preserved the dogma that legitimized their power–and not only the institution of religion, but the order of things that had prevailed all around for centuries. They knew that, if science were to replace religion, then the presence of the priest would diminish, and the forces the priest operated would be worked anew by those who had reason on their side.

Today, the body of critical theories, developed to transgress the normative structures of ordinary and stable human existence, is the new religious dogma of the corporate state. Alienating the man from his species-being, from the thing he is naturally, a fact objectively ascertained by science, critical theory prepares the ground for the incorporation of individuals into the bureaucratic collective by uprooting people from the soil of the common humanity.

It is not inevitable that science and technology should end in transhumanism. Science and technology are, after all human productions. Transhumanism is the consequence of science and technology in the hands of concentrated power. It is science as church. The corporate doctor who claims the alchemic power to transition men to women has become in priest in this new church.

Like the Church in Galileo’s day, through unchallengeable dogma, man was alienated from himself to perpetuate an elite structure of power. So it is today that, by denying the ability of man to challenge the dogma of the powerful, man is estranged from himself, the purpose of which is perpetuate elite power over man.

In this fight against the transhumanism of the corporate state, we cannot return to the previous transhumanism of the old religion. We must instead reclaim the ideas of the enlightenment–the ideas of secular humanism, of liberalism and democracy–and steel them against the forces of unreason and unfreedom.

There are those who argue that censoring and marginalizing those who disagree with the apparent orthodoxy is justified on the grounds that their objections are not rational–they do not hail from an appreciation of fact and reason–but are instead irrational expressions, issuing from a place of bigotry and hated. But this argument is a rationalization of the failure of their ideas to win the day. Geocentrism and evolution won the day in the face of irrational forces. So did those who struggled for racial equality. So did those who struggled for marriage equality.

Today, one can appear on social media expressing the view that human beings are divisible into racial groups with variable attributes or that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. In a free society, men will also be able to claim they are women without fear of censorship or punishment. What they won’t be able to do is expect that a social media company will punish other users of that platform for refusing the affirm delusions.

That is, if we can reform the structure of communications such that it reflects not the power of unaccountable corporate entities but instead the principles of free and open society. As we have learned over the last little while, the executive of the United States has instead been working hand-in-glove with the communications industry to push false orthodoxies across a range of issues.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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