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This, my conservative friend will sound exaggerated and “impossible in America.” Still, the truth is that the fundamental objective of woke cancellation is to establish a diffuse and dispersed regime of terror. We are not yet in a decentralized control of terror, but the truth is that different surveys report that between 84% and 62% of Americans are already afraid of expressing themselves freely.
Woke cancellation is imposed in universities and companies as a system of “exemplary punishment” and “moral assassination” copied from the worst totalitarianisms of yesterday and today. The novelty is that it is first imposed on autonomous institutions and private organizations through the seizure of institutional control and the imposition of an official ideology of woke intolerance that had already managed to censor and persecute much of the opposing speech long before taking power.
The goal of “canceling,” destroying lives and careers in academia, the press, the entertainment industry, and the wide range of woke businesses, are to serve as an example to one and all. The goal is for you to know that anyone can be canceled, and therefore be afraid to speak your mind at the risk of losing your job or having your business or career destroyed. It is not necessary to impose a regime of terror from the government when countless private and governmental institutions impose it in a decentralized way with the same unique ideology. And that is what is happening to us.
They want everyone to think that expressing what they do not wish to be told is so dangerous for everyone that it remains a secret belief publicly denied. And they know that against the great totalitarianism of the past and present, there will always arise a tiny minority that will not submit, regardless of the consequences. As Solzhenitsyn recalls in Gulag Archipelago:
“…an old woman. They interrogated her every night. She shouted at them (…) You won’t be able to get anything out of me, even if you cut me to pieces. Because you are afraid of your superiors, you are afraid of each other, and you are even afraid to kill me (they would lose a link in the chain). But I am not afraid of anything! I am ready to present myself before the Lord even now!”
Woke cancellation, which makes the ordinary people keep quiet to “avoid problems,” is of little use against these recalcitrant minorities. That is why they strive to legislate crimes of opinion, typical of totalitarian legislation. They call them “hate crimes,” and their final objective is that those who do not respond to the “voluntary” “re-education” in companies, schools, and universities, are imprisoned and “re-educated” by force. And serve as an example to others.
If it is not stopped now, when we are still in time, if cancel intolerance continues to be tolerated, it will reach the point where it will no longer be possible to stop it.
Woke cancellation knows very well that inner freedom cannot exist in its permanent external negation, and that is why the materialization of totalitarianism requires the renunciation of conscience on the part of its subjects. It needs to bring them to the point where every one of them comes to believe in the duty, not only to denounce any other person at the slightest suspicion —however close they may be —but also to confess what they have not done when their simple arrest becomes irrefutable proof of their guilt before themselves. That, and nothing else, is really what their constant and hypocritical insistence that you “check your privileges” is about.
The woke need to impose themselves through threats and terror because they know that their ideas will never convince the average America that rejects them. The irony and the tragedy is that they believe that “goodness” and “virtue” is for everyone to submit and actively collaborate in exerting all the necessary coercion on others to subject them to the woke terror, from which they believe that a “heaven on earth” will emerge. At the same time, what they are creating is nothing more than a “hell on earth.”
Guillermo Rodríguez is a professor of Political Economy in the extension area of the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences at Universidad Monteávila, in Caracas. A researcher at the Juan de Mariana Center and author of several books // Guillermo es profesor de Economía Política en el área de extensión de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas de la Universidad Monteávila, en Caracas, investigador en el Centro Juan de Mariana y autor de varios libros