Why did the protests over George Floyd turn into mass hysteria? By Frank Furedi.
One of the most distinctive things about the eruption of Black Lives Matter protests across the world is the speed with which they were endorsed by virtually every powerful institution and individual. From Hollywood to the churches, from big business to public-health officials, the word is out: support for BLM is essential, and in some cases mandatory.
Online influencers are vying with each other to show how much they support BLM. Elite institutions are now telling their people that they have a duty to come to terms with their racism. Prestigious institutions from Eton College to the British Museum have issued statements in support of the movement. Elsewhere, employees have come under pressure to adopt the symbols of solidarity associated with BLM.
There is something perplexing about the way that elite institutions and powerful people are falling over themselves to be on the side of the angels. It is almost as if they have concluded that unless they act with haste in relation to supporting BLM, they will be in trouble. …
“Silence is violence” is not what it seems:
The language of intolerance is most strikingly expressed in the phrase ‘silence is violence’, or ‘white silence is violence’. At first, this statement seems unobjectionable. It even contains an important truth, which is that human beings have an obligation to speak out against acts of injustice and racism.
But the people who are most ferociously saying ‘silence is violence’ are not actually encouraging people to voice their views. What they’re really saying is that you are allowed to express one view — the view that accords with our doctrine. That is why even many people who have stated that they are against racism have been shut down. It is not enough to hate racism -– if you are a white person, you must also acknowledge that you are complicit in all crimes committed against black people. Until white individuals acknowledge their privilege and signal their willingness to re-educate themselves, they remain on the wrong side of history.
So the demand ‘silence is violence’ does not represent a call for discussion and debate; rather, it is a demand for linguistic conformity to a non-negotiable truth. It is actually about silencing those who disagree with the BLM narrative. …
Political desperation to conform to the group psychosis, a master class in manipulation:
The climate of groupthink has now become a kind of mass psychosis among white people desperate to communicate that they ‘get it’. We have seen videos of groups of white people getting on their knees and begging for forgiveness for their sins. These disturbing images resemble a medieval ritual of self-abasement. All that is missing is actual self-flagellation. …
Is it here to stay? If they can manipulate people and organizations into debasing themselves and begging forgiveness for what they did not do, what are the limits?
Today’s prevailing climate of intolerance is deep-rooted. The zeitgeist of intolerance that has already been institutionalised in higher education is now spreading through the rest of society. It will overwhelm our lives unless we have the courage to challenge its attempts to dictate what we may say and what we may think.
Maynard Keynes was a terrible economist and investor, but he had a knack for saying what powerful people wanted to hear. His “economics” is pitch perfect music to the ears of governments and banks. Be that as it may, he did make some astute observations:
“Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”
And we thought those Humanities academics were mostly harmless.