Take Yourselves Off Mute
(Interviews, Investigations, and a New Book on Gen Z underway)
Because I write about the culture, and ours happens to be falling apart — I’m inundated. I’m trying to think of that as a good thing.
I’ve begun work on another book about this fearful, anxious generation — Gen Z. If you are an expert in developmental psychology, moral psychology, parenting, or pain (or can recommend books for me to read, people for me to talk to) please get in touch. If you are a member of Gen Z, of course, I’d also love to hear from you:
I’m also excited to share with you what I learned from a talk with Maya Forstater very soon.
I was very honored, this week, to have been invited to contribute a piece, The Books Are Already Burning, to Bari Weiss’s publication, Common Sense. Please click the link and subscribe to her wonderful Substack.
In the fight for an open society, Bari has emerged as one of America’s most important generals. You might even say she was Made for These Times (Potential biographers out there: not a bad title, eh?).
One of the positive implications of my piece, The Books Are Already Burning, is that we’re not as divided as we seem. In fact (shhh) almost no one actually believes the lies we are fed by gavage: ‘transwomen are women,’ ‘hard work and objectivity are hallmarks of whiteness,’ ‘America was founded to preserve slavery.’ We pinch our noses and dutifully swallow, like the caged creatures we’ve become.
But although few people believe most of these lies, they have real-world consequences. I wrote recently about the threats to parent custody. I assure you, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Woke med students are fast becoming Woke E.R. doctors, Woke Psychiatrists and expert witnesses (including expert witnesses in custody hearings). Woke law students will quickly be appointed judges. Woke graduate students will soon guide public health policy and distribute research funds. We cannot afford for the illiberalisms of Gender Ideology and divisive racial ideologies to prevail. We cannot afford to forfeit our meta commitments—free speech, equal protection, religious liberty, the rule of law. On these, we must not budge. They are threatened by a screeching minority. With respect to these commitments, we must become an intractable majority.
If we lose these, the pendulum will not swing back; there will be no pendulum left to swing.
The great historian Niall Ferguson recounted a story recently, in which a friend had called him asking whether the friend ought to publicly object to a new race-based hiring practice in his profession. Dr. Ferguson told his friend: “Do not under any circumstances be that one person—particularly not that one white guy—that fixes his bayonet and jumps out of the trench and runs toward the other side because at some point you’ll look behind you and find yourself completely alone.”
I respect Dr. Ferguson immensely. And, of course, he’s correct that it’s ideal to fight with your comrades, shoulder to shoulder. But I am not sure his metaphor is apt. Speaking the truth clearly and publicly is not like a solo infantryman’s fervid charge, unlikely to create anything beyond another casualty. When someone speaks unpopular truths publicly, the fog lifts, and we witness not the reckless martyrdom of a lone soldier, but the blaze of a single torch across a moonless plain.
So wherever you are, whatever you do—be the torch. Or to use a very 2020 phrase: Take yourselves off mute.
And if you have a story to tell—I’m here. Reach out. I’m not afraid of the truth.
No doubt you’re already aware of it, but just in case:
THE CODDLING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff
Thank you for your courage and leadership, and the important work you’re doing.
The good news is with the right tools even a single person can fight back but people need the tools.
Beating Back Cancel Culture a case study