Simply put, it's a form of coercion by popular opinion. It's an exercise in macroaggression by a minority against a majority and often works somewhat like a pack of hyenas isolating a single animal from the herd, pouncing upon it, and tearing it to pieces. A hapless student, faculty member, businessman, or public figure who has transgressed in word or deed the small-minded orthodoxies of the pack of thought-predators staffing our media outlets and roaming the halls of our universities and government agencies is targeted, isolated, pounced upon, and devoured.
This is the fate which crushed Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of a now closed family bakery, who were ordered to pay out $135,000 for refusing to participate in a lesbian wedding. It's the judgment imposed upon a clerk in Kentucky named Kimberly Davis who refused to sign marriage certificates for gays because doing so violated her religious beliefs, and it has damaged the lives of a host of others. These simple folk were publicly humiliated and/or financially ruined in order to punish them for their insolence in standing on the First Amendment and pour encourager les autres
Professors have been denied tenure and students threatened with dismissal from their colleges for voicing opinions which deviate from the "approved" views on race, religion, evolution, or sexuality. Yet, had they been engaged in speech or deeds acceptable to the left, speech that called for the deaths of white police officers, for instance, they'd be feted this week at the Democratic National Convention.
The larger herd stands apart as the unfortunate victim is mauled by the hyenas. The herd's angry, perhaps, but helpless, unable to do much of anything to aid their stricken member but exhaling in relief that it's not them who was chosen to be dinner.
They're helpless because they don't realize that if they would band together, lower their horns, and charge at the hyenas they'd send them scampering for their lives. Likewise, Americans, if they could bestir themselves, could lower their rhetorical and electoral horns and put the media and university thought-police and inquisitors to flight. We can't stand by dumbly, like the herd, waiting for someone else to speak out against the hyenas. We can start by working to elect people to office this November who believe in freedom of speech and individual justice.
Every American would do well to commit to memory the words of philosopher Bertrand Russell who wrote that,
One should respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.Indeed, anything that goes beyond this is the herd standing by while it's numbers slowly diminish under the tyranny of ideological predators and bullies.