Thanks to the sneerocrats, the political bores are back in power, by Brendan O’Neill.
For there’s a worse ‘ocracy than those, one which has an even greater draining effect on politics, one which leeches the life and colour from public debate. And that’s the sneerocracy, the rise of a meme-making, mick-taking, cynicism-stoking Twitterati and commentariat who never — but never — give a politician the benefit of the doubt and whose trade is snide rather than substance.
That’s how the politically correct work. They don’t play the ball, but the man. They are bullies who never argue, just discredit and abuse. Even in a scientific arena, like global warming. Their most-used weapon is the sneer, not the counter argument — if they had decent counter arguments, they’d use them.
Consider the fall of Andrea Leadsom. It was the intolerance aimed at Leadsom that was alarming. As it happens, I think she was wrong to say that having kids gives one a greater stake in the future. But we seem increasingly incapable of simply saying ‘I disagree with you’. In these feverish, always-on, politically tribalised times, ‘I think you’re wrong’ has been replaced with ‘OMG. I can’t even. WHAT IS THIS RUBBISH’. The former nurtures debate, the latter destroys it. In the sneerocracy, whose kingdom is Twitter, whose heroes are the snider newspaper commentators (no names!), and whose weapons are photoshop and arch 140-character putdowns, politicians are never wrong or misguided: they’re ridiculous or pathetic or evil, creatures to be sneered at rather than engaged with.
So it was that Leadsom was not merely criticised — as all politicians ought to be — but set upon, viciously, branded backwards and insane and possibly not fully human. The attacks on her were infinitely uglier than anything she actually said. The sneerocrats never say ‘You’re wrong to say that’ — they say ‘You can’t say that’.
And the politically correct won, because Leadsom quite naturally thought she’d had enough and withdrew from the race. This is what politically correct bullies attempt to do — intimidate you into not fighting back against them.
[W]e’re losing the ability to have cool, deep debate; to disagree; to discuss; to do politics at all.
That’s the end result of the sneerocracy, of the tweeting-and-bleating outrage machine: politics itself becomes impossible. Dreading being Twitch-hunted, politicians keep their more experimental or eccentric ideas to themselves.
Duh. Only politically correct utterances are allowed. Anything else is hate speech, deserving of the utmost outrage forever.
hat-tip Stephen Neil