It’s “1984” and we are living in schizophrenic times. Dickensian times. Orwellian times. The best of times, but yet the worst.
Times where we demand the truth while reveling in our lies. Times of great material gain but times of even greater moral loss. Times of monetary advancement, yet times of shocking mental decline. Times of the pathology of the intellect and the reprobate mind. Times of calling good evil and evil good; bitter sweet and sweet bitter. Times of the “tolerant” not tolerating what they find intolerable.
These are times when Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook honors our Constitution’s commitment to free speech and inclusion while at the same time his company’s editorial staff excludes paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence because they find it to be antithetical to inclusion and free speech.
These are times when California legislators, who claim to be proponents of truth and “fairness for all,” actually propose legislation that would make it unlawful, even for those within the church, to provide products or services that specifically help congregants learn how to govern their behavior within the boundaries of what the Bible says is fair, right, moral and true.
These are times, when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission denies an artist the civil right to paint, craft and bake images consistent with his moral convictions and to produce art that accurately reflects his worldview and his passions.
These are times when colleges and universities in nearly every state of the union are issuing speech codes requiring faculty and students to stop honoring the millennia-old practice of using gender-specific pronouns and, instead, immediately adopt the tortured grammatical nonsense of ze, zer, zim, and zis.
These are times when students and faculty try to silence people from speaking freely at the University of California, Berkeley; the purported “birthplace of free speech.”
These are times when Jews such as Dennis Prager, David Horowitz and Ben Shapiro are protested, shunned and banned by those who claim to stand against ghettos, gulags and racism.
These are times when Candice Owens, a black woman, is heckled out of a restaurant by a bunch of white students chanting, “down with white supremacy.”
These are times when those who claim to champion democracy think it makes sense to boycott a restaurateur who dares to contribute to the democratic process. These are times when cultural elites no longer even attempt to hide their disdain for the self-evident truths upon which our country and our culture was founded. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom in general, are now considered to be antiquated and inferior ideas that should be discarded and replaced by the governing class which believes the unwashed masses are too foolish to manage our own freedom.
Intolerance under the banner of “tolerance” and fascism under the flag of “freedom!” This is now their driving force, their mission, their unapologetic cheer.
From our schools, where open debate and proper grammar are now prohibited, to our places of work, where florists, photographers and the guy who just wants to sell hamburgers, can be put out of business for believing in the wrong ideas, we now hear their mantra: “We won’t tolerate your intolerance! We hate you hateful people! We are sure that nothing is sure! We know that nothing can be known, and, we are absolutely confident there are no absolutes! We will force you to march for freedom — Ours, but not yours!”
It is shameless duplicity. It is self-refuting hypocrisy. It is literal nonsense on parade.
Any schoolboy can see it is really not about tolerance. It never has been. To the contrary, these self-styled advocates of “openness and peace” are really more interested in tyranny and power.
At every turn we see them on our campuses, in our courts, in our culture, and even in our churches, with their angry red faces of “love,” shouting, “You must agree with us! You must celebrate everything we do! You must believe everything we believe! We will make our private lives public and you must watch and you must applaud!”
No dissent, no differences and no diversity. It is the rule of the gang — a worldview of unquestioned and unchallenged power. Their bumper sticker is “Conquest,” not “Coexistence.” These are not people of compromise but rather those who demand lockstep compliance.
In deference to Martin Niemoller, I offer this in closing: “First they came for the bakers and I said nothing because I wasn’t a baker. Then they came for the photographer and I said nothing because I wasn’t a photographer. Then they came for the florists and I said nothing because I wasn’t a florist. Then they came for the conservative black woman and the conservative Jew and I said nothing because I wasn’t black or Jewish. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak “
Perhaps the time for silence is over. Maybe the time for speaking is now.
• Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is the author of “Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth” (Regnery 2017).