- The Washington Times - Monday, October 18, 2021

Gay political provocateur Andrew Sullivan this weekend told a group of right-leaning college newspaper editors to resist critical race theory and gender ideology as elements of a neo-Marxist “cancel culture.”

In remarks Friday night at a gathering of the Collegiate Network in Northern Virginia, Mr. Sullivan said the idea of parents telling a 4-year-old boy that he’s racist because he’s White or that he might be a girl is “inimical to a free society.”

“It’s a culture of victimhood,” Mr. Sullivan said. “Your moral stature is actually enhanced the more persecuted you are or want to be. It’s a generation of overparenting, protecting children from every conceivable harm, helicoptering over them and infantilizing them.”

The longtime blogger cited George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” to illustrate how U.S. journalism feeds a culture of dependence on authority. In the novel’s depiction of totalitarianism, journalists continually rewrite history and facts to suit the government’s latest narrative.

“This is something that happens routinely now in all newspapers and magazines, in which the expression of views and even the reporting of facts are regarded as so harmful to people they must be repressed,” Mr. Sullivan said. “And if facts happen that don’t fit into the narrative that they want, they have to find a way to spin the narrative so that it fits into this notion that social justice theory … has of the world.”

He also elaborated on his July 2020 resignation from New York magazine, citing “constant bullying” from younger staffers who believed his critique of prevailing race and gender narratives to be actively harmful. The British-born writer said “it feels great” to be “canceled” and noted that he has quadrupled his income since rebooting his “The Weekly Dish” blog as a paid subscription service on Substack.

He said he left the magazine because the “massive, suffocating” orthodoxy of neo-Marxism had turned U.S. journalism into a “priesthood” advancing the reductionist idea that history is a story of different identity groups trying to oppress each other.

“Its job is to dismantle America and remake it in a Marxist image,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan, a self-identified conservative, said the media had twisted the public conversation about race by featuring extremist voices and silencing dissenters as “White supremacists.”

“I mean, it tells you something that the journalistic elite genuinely believed defunding the police was a good idea,” he said.

He added: “Racism exists, these things do exist, but do they define us? Do they mean that the right to express yourself and the imperative to find out the objective truth has to be suppressed to avoid harm? Do we have to suppress whole areas of understanding, whole arrays of facts and the reality of objective views, in order to sustain a world in which no one’s feelings are ever hurt, no one’s identity is ever wounded and we all live in this cold, hard universe of suffocating orthodoxy?”

Lamenting that the trend of reducing people to their group identities had impacted discussions of gender and sexuality, the longtime gay marriage advocate bristled at recalling a publication that once called him an “LGBT+ writer.”

“It’s literally impossible. If I’m gay, I can’t be lesbian, can I? I can’t be trans, either. And now they’ve included every woman with blue hair in the queue,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“It’s transparent ideology. It’s not real,” he added.

Mr. Sullivan, who served as editor of the liberal New Republic magazine from 1991 to 1996, noted he had thrived there as a self-identified conservative because it had long published dissenting views such as Judge Robert Bork’s critique of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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