I Am Not Safe

 

If I am not free to speak my mind, that is one thing (and not a good thing). But if I am not free to point to an objective standard, if my belief in words like “fact” or “truth” are questioned, now I have become unacceptable for saying some things are “fictions,” some things are “false,” and I am not safe. Now when I question a top-down mandate or authoritarian decisions which are based on one point of view, others denounced out-of-hand, I am not safe. What is more damning is when leaders can say one thing one day, another thing on another day, and those given the responsibility to question and report leave that role to me because they are silent, I am not safe. When my field of inquiry ignores then dismisses another point of view after which authorities attack their work eliminating their voice, and I stand up for them, I am not safe. When creators who create content whose position runs contrary to the cultural narrative of the day, their videos taken down, their words no longer accepted, and I point this out, I am not safe.

The slow slide toward dictatorship that some warn about which is then pooh-poohed by the intelligentsia because checkers of facts declare it so, and I point out the hypocrisy of choosing some facts but not all facts, I am not safe. When autocrats demean the very people they have sworn to protect, and I point out the psychology of refusal after the population is demeaned, I am not safe. When a person of color is egregiously attacked by both untruths and physical violence – but the individual does not subscribe to mainstream accepted views – that attack attracts little attention in the mainstream news outlets, and I point this out, I am not safe. The assaults on freedom of speech (or the active suppression of speech) depend not just on freedom “from” censorship but freedom “to” ground truth-telling in certainty.

Read historical accounts of the people who lived through dictatorships. Each story revolves around Hannah Arendt’s thesis in “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” Hannah Arendt, who understood discrimination as a Jew, and was a critic of Hitler and Stalin during and after WWII, wrote,

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.

The seeds of Arendt’s thinking have fully blossomed in every area of culture, in every discipline in the academe. Some would want us to accept a created reality where we just do what we’re told by “the blue-pill” fiction-sellers, fact-checkers, and law-givers. But there are others who take “the red pill” and are welcomed “to the desert of the real.” There will come a day when even writing these words will have me censored from the public square, a voice left to cry in the wilderness. I have been writing, speaking, and teaching on these themes for decades. And I have not been safe for a long time. [Full disclosure, I have kept this stand-up of “The Matrix” since 1999 when the film came out. I believed then and now that the thesis of this movie is evergreen, that is, always applicable.]

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  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Not the most important comment you’ll get on this thread, maybe the least important, but it’s about all I can manage on a super-busy Monday:

    We have a Matrix 4 trailer out, and it looks fun! I’m not sure about profound, or original, or doing any good for the story, but it looks like a fun movie to watch on an airplane or on Netflix at least.

    • #1
  2. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I never liked The Matrix, but now it seems less like fiction which is beyond bizarre. Those sci-fi movies are never a happy ending for us humans………entering The Twilight Zone…..

    • #2
  3. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    The character (The Cypher) played by Joe Pantoliano in the first Matrix movie is a truly modern man.  He knows the Matrix is a complete lie but does not care so long as he has creature comforts (or even just the illusion of them).  Let the true believers own all the academic departments and HR offices.  Just let me keep my sizeable income and all that goes with it.

    • #3
  4. carcat74 Member
    carcat74
    @carcat74

    “IT’S A COOKBOOK!”

    • #4
  5. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The character (The Cypher) played by Joe Pantoliano in the first Matrix movie is a truly modern man. He knows the Matrix is a complete lie but does not care so long as he has creature comforts (or even just the illusion of them). Let the true believers own all the academic departments and HR offices. Just let me keep my sizeable income and all that goes with it.

    Yes! One of my favorite theologian-philosophers said people just want “personal peace and affluence.” 

    • #5
  6. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Not the most important comment you’ll get on this thread, maybe the least important, but it’s about all I can manage on a super-busy Monday:

    We have a Matrix 4 trailer out, and it looks fun! I’m not sure about profound, or original, or doing any good for the story, but it looks like a fun movie to watch on an airplane or on Netflix at least.

    I am very much looking forward to seeing if Lana deviates from or adheres to her original worldview commitments. But yes, as you said, it will be “fun” :) And if you are ever in Indy you have a place to stay and a big theatre screen to view and I’ll let you pick the movie. :)

    • #6
  7. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Well, this one’s received quite a few “likes” so far — 22 at the moment — but few comments.

    I’ve refrained from commenting so far, out of curiosity about how the “not safe” argument would fly with folks at Ricochet.  It has quite a negative connotation to me, as I’ve mostly heard and seen it from Wokeist snowflakes.  I understand the possible effectiveness of turn-about with respect to this tactic, but I doubt that it will work.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel safe, Mark.  I feel quite safe with respect to the matters that you discuss.  Annoyed, and sometimes worse than annoyed, but not unsafe.

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet.  If I still have any.  :)

    Friends, I mean.  I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones.

    • #7
  8. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet.  If I still have any.  :)

    Friends, I mean.  I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones

    A curmudgeon is never alone on Ricochet.

    • #8
  9. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Well, this one’s received quite a few “likes” so far — 22 at the moment — but few comments.

    I’ve refrained from commenting so far, out of curiosity about how the “not safe” argument would fly with folks at Ricochet. It has quite a negative connotation to me, as I’ve mostly heard and seen it from Wokeist snowflakes. I understand the possible effectiveness of turn-about with respect to this tactic, but I doubt that it will work.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel safe, Mark. I feel quite safe with respect to the matters that you discuss. Annoyed, and sometimes worse than annoyed, but not unsafe.

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet. If I still have any. :)

    Friends, I mean. I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones.

    I was surprised that you added the word “feel” to my essay. And that you would reference my thinking as that of a “snowflake”?! Seriously?! I am SMH on this comment. The whole focus is drawing a line in the sand, the essence of Arendt’s statement. Please reread my essay. Without feeling.

    • #9
  10. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Well, this one’s received quite a few “likes” so far — 22 at the moment — but few comments.

    I’ve refrained from commenting so far, out of curiosity about how the “not safe” argument would fly with folks at Ricochet. It has quite a negative connotation to me, as I’ve mostly heard and seen it from Wokeist snowflakes. I understand the possible effectiveness of turn-about with respect to this tactic, but I doubt that it will work.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel safe, Mark. I feel quite safe with respect to the matters that you discuss. Annoyed, and sometimes worse than annoyed, but not unsafe.

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet. If I still have any. :)

    Friends, I mean. I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones.

    I was surprised that you added the word “feel” to my essay. And that you would reference my thinking as that of a “snowflake”?! Seriously?! I am SMH on this comment. The whole focus is drawing a line in the sand, the essence of Arendt’s statement. Please reread my essay. Without feeling.

    That is a remarkable achievement, isn’t it.  The insertion of one little word, simultaneously changes the meaning of the original statement, dismisses the argument, and leads to a rebuttal of some other statement that you didn’t make.  Very good.

    • #10
  11. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Well, this one’s received quite a few “likes” so far — 22 at the moment — but few comments.

    I’ve refrained from commenting so far, out of curiosity about how the “not safe” argument would fly with folks at Ricochet. It has quite a negative connotation to me, as I’ve mostly heard and seen it from Wokeist snowflakes. I understand the possible effectiveness of turn-about with respect to this tactic, but I doubt that it will work.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel safe, Mark. I feel quite safe with respect to the matters that you discuss. Annoyed, and sometimes worse than annoyed, but not unsafe.

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet. If I still have any. :)

    Friends, I mean. I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones.

    I was surprised that you added the word “feel” to my essay. And that you would reference my thinking as that of a “snowflake”?! Seriously?! I am SMH on this comment. The whole focus is drawing a line in the sand, the essence of Arendt’s statement. Please reread my essay. Without feeling.

    Mark, the principal place that I’ve heard claims of being “unsafe” or “not safe” are among the snowflake set.  I thought that your work involved college students, so I assumed that you would be aware of this.

    I interpreted your claim as feeling unsafe.  Your response seems to indicate that you do not agree with this characterization, so I will interpret your claim as a factual assertion of being actually unsafe.

    In what way do you think that you are unsafe?  Physically?  Psychologically?  Have you been attacked, or suffered some other sort of aggression?

    • #11
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Well, this one’s received quite a few “likes” so far — 22 at the moment — but few comments.

    I’ve refrained from commenting so far, out of curiosity about how the “not safe” argument would fly with folks at Ricochet. It has quite a negative connotation to me, as I’ve mostly heard and seen it from Wokeist snowflakes. I understand the possible effectiveness of turn-about with respect to this tactic, but I doubt that it will work.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel safe, Mark. I feel quite safe with respect to the matters that you discuss. Annoyed, and sometimes worse than annoyed, but not unsafe.

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet. If I still have any. :)

    Friends, I mean. I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones.

    I was surprised that you added the word “feel” to my essay. And that you would reference my thinking as that of a “snowflake”?! Seriously?! I am SMH on this comment. The whole focus is drawing a line in the sand, the essence of Arendt’s statement. Please reread my essay. Without feeling.

    Mark, the principal place that I’ve heard claims of being “unsafe” or “not safe” are among the snowflake set. I thought that your work involved college students, so I assumed that you would be aware of this.

    I interpreted your claim as feeling unsafe. Your response seems to indicate that you do not agree with this characterization, so I will interpret your claim as a factual assertion of being actually unsafe.

    In what way do you think that you are unsafe? Physically? Psychologically? Have you been attacked, or suffered some other sort of aggression?

    Alternative phrasing of the situation here, with another Matrix reference.

    • #12
  13. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Well, this one’s received quite a few “likes” so far — 22 at the moment — but few comments.

    I’ve refrained from commenting so far, out of curiosity about how the “not safe” argument would fly with folks at Ricochet. It has quite a negative connotation to me, as I’ve mostly heard and seen it from Wokeist snowflakes. I understand the possible effectiveness of turn-about with respect to this tactic, but I doubt that it will work.

    I’m sorry if you don’t feel safe, Mark. I feel quite safe with respect to the matters that you discuss. Annoyed, and sometimes worse than annoyed, but not unsafe.

    My feelings, lately, do seem to be out of step with most of my friends here at Ricochet. If I still have any. :)

    Friends, I mean. I do still have feelings, mostly grouchy ones.

    I was surprised that you added the word “feel” to my essay. And that you would reference my thinking as that of a “snowflake”?! Seriously?! I am SMH on this comment. The whole focus is drawing a line in the sand, the essence of Arendt’s statement. Please reread my essay. Without feeling.

    Mark, the principal place that I’ve heard claims of being “unsafe” or “not safe” are among the snowflake set. I thought that your work involved college students, so I assumed that you would be aware of this.

    I interpreted your claim as feeling unsafe. Your response seems to indicate that you do not agree with this characterization, so I will interpret your claim as a factual assertion of being actually unsafe.

    In what way do you think that you are unsafe? Physically? Psychologically? Have you been attacked, or suffered some other sort of aggression?

    With Solzhenitsyn, Milosz, Sakharov, Havel, and so many other dissidents I say that anyone who stands for truth (Arendt’s point in my original post) the world hates. Jesus had much to say about this. “The world will hate you because the world hates me.” Dissidents, “aliens, and strangers” on the earth are never safe since Truth claims are a strike against the gates of hell. Do I have my detractors in the public university? Sure. Have I suffered some kind of aggression? In academics, yes. My concern in the original post was to point out the need to stand for freedom which allows us to speak Truth. I temper my words in the public sphere “with gentleness and respect” but no one wonders what I believe. Thank you for asking.

    • #13