Preparing a country for totalitarianism

From Robert Tracinski at the Federalist:

The warning shot is the way Google recently fired one of its high-level engineers, James Damore, for posting on an internal discussion board an anonymous memo making a measured argument against the company’s approach to “diversity.” The big irony? He began the memo by warning that “Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety. This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed. The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.” Everything that happened subsequently at Google, on Twitter, and in the technology media has validated this warning a thousand times over.

For those who point out that Google is a private company that can hire or fire anyone it wants—and for all those “liberals” who have suddenly embraced big corporations’ power to dictate terms to their employees—this is absolutely correct. It is also beside the point. A country does not have a dictator pop up spontaneously, out of nowhere, and suddenly push the bonds of repression down on everyone. The people have to be ready for dictatorship. They have to learn to embrace its habits and practices voluntarily, or at least to show little resistance. In that regard, what is more important than Damore’s firing was the reaction to it, which show us how many people are willing to cheer on and participate in the ruthless suppression of dissent against the prevailing orthodoxy.More.

Reality check: Indeed. Self-satisfied mediocrities embrace totalitarianism because they need no longer fear competition, exposure, or the need to think. Only now-contested concepts of civil liberties ever kept them in check.

See also: New York Times op-ed tells ACLU to reject free speech