Liberalism thrives on the façade of a single lie to which all must subscribe—that there is no absolute truth. Of course, everyone knows or at least suspects that absolute truth does exist. In a liberal order, however, people pretend it does not exist so that everyone can get along. Behind the fiction of this façade, people can believe whatever they want as long as they hurt no one and abide by the rules of polite, civil discourse.
The problem with a system without absolute truth is that every error can also find shelter. Every absurdity must be welcomed, and the most glaring contradictions reign and clash. Behind this grand, lying façade that hides and tolerates everything, disorder festers. To the degree that common sense declines, the system eventually breaks down. People get hurt, and civil discourse unravels.
The Bullying of Bari Weiss
The bullying of the New York Times editor Bari Weiss marked a milestone in the breakdown of the liberal order that has so long ruled in America and the West. The writer recently startled the world by her blistering letter of resignation posted on her website. The astute writer saw the handwriting on the now-crumbling façade wall. Error no longer seeks shelter behind the façade but takes command. A revolutionary mob has created a “cancel culture” that dispatches those who dare to disagree. Resigning was the best way for her to avoid the guillotine and hold on to her head.
An Attempt to Buttress the Façade
Ironically, the Times’s Opinion section hired Ms. Weiss as an editor three years ago to uphold the liberal consensus and buttress the tottering façade. Her job was to let all opinions be heard, even the most contradictory ones, behind the tolerant façade of the Times’s Opinion page.
After failing to anticipate the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, the Times sought to correct its errors of judgment by facilitating the opinions of centrists, conservatives, and others that rarely appear on the Times’ editorial page. Her hiring was to be liberal journalism at its best. It would facilitate the free exchange of ideas.
Such optimistic hopes were soon ill-founded. By introducing moderate writers, the centrist editor found herself facing the wrath not of an enraged reading public but from colleagues and staffers who opposed her efforts. Her promotion of diverse views outside the official progressive narrative could not be tolerated.
The Bullying and Accusations
In her letter to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, she decries the bullying from her coworkers. Because she attempted to interject some degree of objectivity to the editorial page, they falsely accused her of being a racist and even of being a Nazi, despite her being Jewish. She writes, “My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name.”
The letter claims that the Times management did nothing against those employees who publicly smeared her “as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action.”
Replacing One Narrative for Another
Ms. Weiss still holds firm to the liberal narrative of a façade without absolute truth. She is disappointed that polite, civil discourse was no longer possible on the Opinion page. Perhaps she hopes that the liberal order can still be found outside The New York Times.
However, her letter’s most terrifying aspect is her discovery of a new “orthodoxy” that points to another narrative that tolerates no opposition and suppresses others with brutal efficiency. It exercises itself with “extreme selectivity,” favoring all those who promote progressive, ecological and LGBTQ+ themes and causes. No one dares to oppose it.
She says editors live in fear of offending this orthodoxy. Writers are careful lest they ruin their careers. The Times plays it so safe in accepting op-eds that Twitter has become the “ultimate editor.” She notes that “self-censorship is the norm.”
Ms. Weiss claims that “If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome.”
A New Tyranny in the Works
The most frightening thing about this new orthodoxy is that it applies not only to The New York Times and the media in general. This new Gestapo is sweeping America in all fields. It no longer cares about rights and public discourse. It brutally knocks down the façade that screened the errors it now proclaims and imposes them on the public. No offending statue must be left standing. All must bow and submit to its demands.
And yet no one questions this orthodoxy. No one seeks to find by what illegitimate authority it claims to exercise its power.
However, such tyranny is predictable. It is found in liberalism’s denial of absolute truth and corresponding divine authority. Inside such a system, as Leo XIII noted, every man determines his truth and becomes his own authority. The eventual outcome is a regime of boundless license of the unbridled passions.
The bullying of Bari Weiss marks a new phase in the liberal paradigm by which it throws off its old mask of tolerance and reveals its radical Jacobin face.
Under the guise of freedom and diversity, everything must be allowed. Every opposing authority must be overthrown. The old moralities, structures, religious beliefs, and legal systems that restrain the passions are now obstacles to the free exercise of liberal ideas. The new orthodoxy consists of destroying even the tiniest and most moderate manifestations of these restraining structures.
This change represents not a reform of the system but a revolution against Christian order. The sooner the public realizes that the old rules no longer apply, the easier it will be to rally around the absolute truth and God’s divine authority, meeting the coming tyranny with a counter-revolution.
Source: Return to Order
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