The 1990s was intellectually much freer than today

The 1990s was intellectually much freer than today. By the Z Man.

Around the same time [1994], Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray published the The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. Not only did they publish the book, but lots of people bought, read and discussed it. Those alive during this period probably recall that it was a popular topic of conversation. Murray was actually allowed on television to frankly discuss the findings. Again, mainstream conservatives did not ritually denounce the book.

These are two examples of where now taboo subjects were acceptable. During this interregnum, a wide range of topics and people were allowed to operate. Jared Taylor, the founder and leader of American Renaissance, was allowed on television to talk about his views. His conference was shown on C-SPAN. Here is an old clip of Sam Francis speaking at the conference. Notice the lack of fainting and hysterical demands for violence against the people in the clip.

So different today, now that the left rules:

Today it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to live in a country where people could openly debate the topics of the day.

One of the only benefits of the communications revolution is that we now have easy access to archival video from the time before the crazies took over the public square. We know there was once a place where adults could speak freely about difficult topics. …

The 1990s was a time of freedom:

That is the context in which Brimelow and Derbyshire usually discuss this. The 1990’s was a peak time for them and the older dissidents. It was not just the peak years of their personal careers, but a peak for honest inquiry. The end of the Cold War and the apparent transition back to normalcy was a hopeful time. Instead of everything organized around a twilight struggle against communism, the focus of public life could return to the practical and productive.

There are two questions at the heart of this. Why did this period of relative tolerance occur and is it possible to return to such a state? For two decades now the lights have been going out in America and the West. The former Soviet Union offers more political freedom, because they have clear rules. The public square in the West is now controlled by a feckless, emotionally unstable mob that flits from panic to panic, destroying whatever happens to be in its way.

The answer to the first question is rooted in the past. What appears to have been an interregnum was actually a continuation of the Cold War consensus. Maintaining a broad public debate was an essential part of opposing communism. The West was where people could question the state. The Soviet Union did not permit public debate or questioning the state. This consensus carried forward after the end of the Cold War but shifted to more relevant topics.

Note that the closing of the American mind started with the 2000 election. During the Clinton years both sides of the consensus had to search around for a reason to exist now that the communists were gone. One side settled on post-Marx culturalism and the other embraced neoconservatism. For the former side, white people and heritage America would be the enemy around which the ruling class would organize, while the other side wanted Islam to be the new enemy.

With the end of communism came the great political realignment, wherein the left dropped the working class and started making out with identity groups instead. Cancel culture and woke politics followed, and now we are stepping up a gear into full-on censorship all the time.