Civil Society And Its Abusers

One of domestic abusers most insidious forms of brainwashing is telling, and eventually convincing, their partners that the abuse is partly, or all, their own fault. “You provoked me”. “You shouldn’t have said __“. “You’re as much to blame as me. Maybe more”.

We’ll come back to that.


Years ago, I was at an event – political convention, election night coverage, something along those lines [1], in my capacity as a blogger and talk show host. I was hobnobbing with Big Minnesota Media.

As I was walking back from a concession stand, one of the Big Media people, someone who doesn’t have a byline or get seen on camera, walked up to me, and furtively whispered “Hey – PLEASE don’t tell anyone, but I’m a huge fan of you guys’s show. I’m a conservative. But I gotta keep it quiet. Anyway, keep up the good work”.

And then, as suddenly as the exchange began, it ended. The person peeled away and went back to work, making sure not to be seen talking to me. I felt like a Western reporter in East Berlin or Warsaw, in the seventies, getting a furtive, samizdat message from a covert dissident who was on the lookout for the Stasi or ZOMO.

This person – a successful media professional – was worried about being “canceled”. For being a conservative.

This was years ago – long before “Cancel Culture” was a term.



Last week, Erin Maye Quade, a former state rep and Lieutenant Governor candidate, tweeted this:

We covered this last week.

“People who rail against “cancel culture” are actually just upset about a culture of consequences.”
Is this just an isolated example of a person with an invincible sense of Urban Progressive Privilege #progsplaining people (“actually…”) to accept some premise that flies directly in the face of what they see with their own eyes?

Sadly, no.


A few weeks back, “progressive” theology site Patheos posted this article: “No, You’re Not Being Canceled Because You’re Conservative

The article makes one plausible but misguided point – “conservatives and Christians do it too” – using the examples of John McCain (who got attacked for bucking conservative orthodoxy, and got a political response from people in a political party that has political stances they argue about – seeing a theme, yet?), and the Dixie Chicks (an example they undercut later in the piece). Nothing about non-political people losing non -political jobs, oddly enough.

The other points are worse.

The author posits “Either you’re for the free market or you’re not” – thereby cutting his own “Dixie Chicks” argument off at the knees. And he finishes with a slightly more elegant version of Maye Quade’s bit of #progsplaining – “the stuff you’re being canceled over is neither Christian nor Conservative”, holding that everyone that’s been “canceled” has gotten it because they peddle QAnon theories or are Kloset Klansmen.

And the author doesn’t even address the notion that dishing out consequences to a person’s personal and vocational life over political differences is appropriate “consequences” for any mainstream political view. Indeed, the Patheos article makes the “hear no evil / see no evil / speak no evil” monkey face and ignores the real issue entirely. To this “progressive” Christian author, it’s a non issue.

Which must’ve come as news to the conservative professors, and in the past 20 years teachers and school administrators who’ve been hounded into silence, or out of academia, as a “consequence” of having a considered worldview based on Friedman rather than Alinsky.
Or to the conservative students who are bullied into silence or exile as a “consequence” for dissenting from academia’s oppressive leftist slant.

Or the actors, artists, journalists and other soft-skills professionals and craftspeople who worry, legitimately, about the “consequences” to their career of being “outed”. Like the person in my story at the top of this piece. They worried about being slandered, pilloried and ousted from a decent job in their field, for *being a mainstream Republican and conservative” , albeit not even an activist – something that wasn’t considered “thoughtcrime” 20 years earlier, when that person entered the field.

Or Gina Carano, whose views leading to her defenestration from Disney have been misrepresented by the Left’s noise machine to the point of slander. Carano did *not* say Republicans today were like the Jews of the 1930s. She said – quite correctly – that tyrants succeed by turning neighbor against neighbor. That is Totalitarianism 101 , a point made in fiction by Orwell and in history by Solzhenitzyn, among many others.

Or…me.

I get some flak for my blog and my show – the occasional demented stalker, no big deal. But I’ve also gotten harassed by ex-co-workers who learned about my alter ego life [2]. And there’ve been two jobs in the past ten years where managers with highly progressive views that they were (significantly) unafraid to espouse in the office gave off muted but pointed indications that my contracts were ending because while my work was just fine, even superlative, my views – which they had had to expend some significant effort to find, since not even a whiff of them came out in the office – were not.


So yes – “cancel” culture is about consequences. In most cases, consequences for principled, but not infrequently silent, dissent from a dominant world view.
And the current narrative – from Erin Maye Quade, Patheos, and much of the rest of the dominant culture in media, academia, education and Big Tech – that “you got canceled because you provoked it and have it coming?”

That’s gaslighting. It’s a key tactic of abusers – among many others that have become commonplace weapons in today’s culture war:

Is it any different from the tactics that abusers use to shut their partners up?
Convince me.

Good luck.


[1] I’m profusely concealing this person’s identity, to this day. Don’t even ask.

[2] Which I keep scrupulously out of the workplace – literally, I’ve never mentioned my radio or blog lives once over the past 19 years. In that time, I’ve had two people, both fans, ask me “aren’t you the Mitch Berg that’s on the radio”. And my response, every time, is “There IS a Mitch Berg who does that. But he’d never talk about that on company time”. Every single time.

UPDATE: Jenn at Redhead Ranting has a personal take on the whole thing.

The New McCarthyites

I really can’t boycott “Hollywood”. because given the fact that Tinseltown can’t seem to get its heart into doing much of anything but comic book movies, and I just can not bring myself to go to a comic book movie, I mean, why bother?

So I’ve never seen any of Disney’s various Star Wars spinoff productions. The last, “first” three chapters of the Star Wars saga soured me on the whole franchise to the point where I just don’t care much. I’m told The Mandalorian is worth watching – but I honestly wouldn’t know.

So when I heard Gina Carano had been jettisoned from Mandalorian, after talk of her getting her own spinoff series was making the rounds, it took me a moment to dig and find out why it mattered.

It’s alleged by some media that she was tubed for being just a little too irascibly un-woke:

Carano was the subject of much criticism recently when, in a now-deleted Instagram post, she compared being a modern-day Republican to being Jewish during the Holocaust. The hashtag #FireGinaCarano has trended on social media in recent months after other incendiary comments by the television and film star.

And what were those “incendiary comments?” Especially as to “comparing” modern GOPers to German Jews in the ’30s?

Details are very, very thin. But I’ll defer to that not-remotely right-wing outlet, Variety, for the closest we have to core facts:

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children,” Carano wrote Instagram. “Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.” The post originated on a different Instagram account.

In other words, totalitarians turn societies against themselves?

If the Woke Mob things that’s politically incorrect, we’re gonna have a real difference of opinion in our society sooner than later.

In another post, Carano shared a photo of a person wearing multiple cloth masks with the caption, “Meanwhile in California…

If riffing on California is politically incorrect, I don’t wanna be PC.

Not An Animal

“Protect” Minnesota has a new executive director.

We’ll come back to that.


Modern American “progressivism”, like all its many forebears in the past 200 years, has been all about rallying people against boogeymen. From “monarchists” in the French Revolution, to “Wreckers” in Stalin’s USSR to the Wobbly’s “Bosses”, up through “the patriarchy” and “the man” and “counterrevolutionaries” in Red China and San Francisco in the sixties and seventies, and if you have a hard time distinguishing between ’em, join the club.

Today, the boogeymen…er, boogiepeople on the left are pretty much all the things that people who are included are told to be “anti”. “Anti-Racism” “Anti-Misogyny” (not just sexism, anymore – it’s the more active, more malevolent noun these days), “Anti-Fascism”, “Anti-Transphobia”, and on and on – all of which sounds like good things to be “anti”…

…and, unsurprisingly, when you dig into the “Root Causes” of all those nouns, all things trace back to “Western Civilization” in all its particulars: the Judeo-Christian value on the individual and their worth, value, rights and responsibilities and potential of each and every person, as a person with a mind, a point of view, and at the end of the day an indivisible soul of personal, societal, political, intellectual and metaphysical worth.

Those aspects of humanity are anathema to progressivism in all its flavors. The focus is on the group – the Marxists “classes”, the Nazi’s irreducible focus on race, the modern academic Left’s obsession with a byzantine network of intersectional identity groups. The individual is nothing but a vote (for now), an appetite, a widget to be moved through the production line of life (like Obamacare’s awful caricature of Progressive humanity, “Julia”). Progressivism is “Materialist”. Souls, individual intellects and thoughts and reams, all are ephemeral; humans are widgets that consume and produce, and whose worth and value (to those in power) is expressed via their membership in the collective.

Those widgets have a term. “Bodies”. Not people. Not brains. Not souls.

Bodies.


Anyway – “P”M has a new director. And unlike the dotty, dizzy neverending font of comedy that was Heather Martens, or the serial fabulist The “Reverend” Nancy Nord Bence, the new director presents us with a few surprises.

She’s “a gun owner herself” – which might be seen in several ways. Is “P”M moderating? Are they realizing that the culture war has slipped far enough away from them, especially over this past year, that they have to start speaking to people who need to be convinced?

And she’s apparently incredibly famous, since she apparently just goes by “Rashmi”. I’ve turned “Protect” Minnesota’s website, Facebook feed and other social media upside down, and not been able to find any reference to a last name, which is Seneviratne, by the way.

But even during the reign of the serial fabulist the Reverend Nord Bence, “Protect” MN wasn’t nearly extreme enough in its hatred of guns and (law-abiding) gun owners, enough for some people.

“P”M spawned a breakway group, “Survivors Lead” – basically a woman, Rachel Joseph, with a long history of progressive activism and a story; an aunt who was murdered, according to Ms. Joseph’s story, by a gun.

Quick aside: I don’t minimize anyone’s trauma over having a loved one murdered. But in the many times I’ve heard Ms. Joseph’s story, she’s never once mentioned a perpetrator, someone actually holding and using the gun that killed her aunt; that persons evil motivation, the legal fallout from the murder, whether that person was sentenced or not. It’d be wrong to crack wise – “what, did the gun animate itself?” – but omitting a perpetrator, his/her motives and the like from the conversation is incredibly intellectually dishonest.

Anyway – “Rashmi” and her apparent moderation are not going over well with “Survivors Lead”:

The extreme heckling the not-as-extreme about getting less extreme. That qualifies as “dog bites man”, at the very most.

Rather less so? There followed some more, er, ethnically pointed traffic on one social media feed (from which I’ve long been blocked) or another.

After which “P”M – operating through its usual social media persona, the omniscient third person that used to be Martens and Nord Bence – responded:

On the one hand, watching the agents of Big Left eating each other is one of my favorite spectator sports.

And if the biggest semi-organic anti-gun group in MInnesota (shaddap about Moms Want Action already) is pivoting from pushing Linda Slocum’s gun grab bill to highlighting the inequity of gun control (“Race, class and geography all play into who gets to have a gun and who doesn’t” – which is something every Second Amendment activist has known for 50 years) and speaking in the first “person” to the prudence of victims of violence to arm up, then in culture war terms that’s the sound of the first tank crossing the pontoon bridge at Remagen.

But…”white bodied privilege?”

What the flaming hootie hoo?

I thought for a moment – is this a shot back at the Rachel Dolezals and Elizabeth Warrens of the world, with their flip-flopping identities, by “actual” “people of color”, reinforcing the idea that while you might “identify” with one degree melanin or another, your apparent appearance still wins out in the great privilege lottery (which will, I suspect, get pilloried hard by the Trans crowd, for whom perceived identity is everything? I’ll let the fight that one out).

But no. It’s much less hilarious than that.

It’s “inclusion language” – slang or argot that one class of people use to track who is in, and who is “out” – to be sure. That’s part of it, and people are noticing:

Referring to people as bodies is a reminder, writer Elizabeth Barnes says in an interview, that “racism isn’t just about the ideas that you have in your head.” Barnes is the author of “The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability, The Girl Behind the Wall.” In intellectual discussions, theories about social oppression sound almost disembodied; “we talk about prejudice,” Barnes says, “like it’s just a matter of ideas.” The point is to emphasize the physical violence done to black people through slavery, lynching, and police brutality. In the case of women, the term “bodies” highlights “what happens to women’s bodies in health care contexts, in sexual contexts, in reproductive contexts.”

But behond that?

It’s a nod to the materialism of the left – that the mind, the thoughts, the indivisible soul of the indivisual human being is not merely irrelevant, but inconvenient to the obsession with identity.

Your melanin defines you.

In some ways its a cheap ad hominem – “of course you’d think that, you are (add a reference to your target’s melanin, or lack thereof)”. But pointing logical fallacies out to the foot soldiers of Big Left is a little like arguing salinity with sharks; it’s just part of the water they swim in.

So – gun groups eating each other? Good.

The debate contributing to the ongoing hijacking of the language? Bad.

The whole thing participating, in its own little way, in the further erosion of one of the ideals that’s made Western Civilization the most successful, and humane , civilization in human history?

Worse.

“But Mitch – Why Does Berg’s Twentieth Law Exist?”

I’ll cop to it – I’ve been pretty cynical about “hate crimes” lately. Let’s stipulate in advance – they do happen.

But Berg’s 20th Law – “All incidents of ‘hate speech’ not captured on video (involving being delivered by someone proven not to be a ringer) shall be assumed to be hoaxes until proven otherwise” – is a law for a reason.

Or, rather, many, many reasons – including this one from, what else, a poitician from the west coast:

Jonathan Lopez, who is Latino and was a recent candidate for Umatilla County commissioner, claimed he discovered the hate-filled missive in his mailbox on June 23, the East Oregonian reported.

On his now-deleted Facebook account, he shared a photo of the letter, which said that Lopez and other “Mexicans” were “not welcome here,” according to local news station KEPR-TV.

“Don’t waste your time trying to become anything in this county we will make sure you never win and your family suffers along with all the other f–king Mexicans in the area!” the letter said.

Lopez wrote in the post that he “holds no resentment for whomever wrote this,” the outlet reported.

Oh, I bet he holds some resentment for the writer – or at least the writer’s judgment…:

“Our investigation has shown that Mr. Lopez wrote the letter himself and made false statements to the police and on social media,” Hermiston Police Chief Jason Edmiston told the East Oregonian.

“The end result is a verbal and written admission by Mr. Lopez that the letter was fabricated.”

Edmiston said the case would be forwarded to the Umatilla County District Attorney’s Office for review on charges for initiating a false report.

“This investigation is particularly frustrating as we are in the midst of multiple major investigations while battling a resource shortage due to the current pandemic,” Edmiston told the outlet.

In a party where reputations and political capital are ever-more based on intersectional virtue-signaling and dog-whistling, politicians are gonna virtue signal and dog-whistle.

Well, presuming the guy’s a Democrat.

Because Mr. Lopez’s party is never mentioned in the article.

Weird, huh?

Items For The “Cancel” Agenda

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking out of the local Korean joint with a container of Galbi. As he’s committing to going out the door, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats.

SILBERMAN: Mister Berg.

BERG: Er, hi, Ms. Silberman. What’s new?

SILBERMAN: Not much time for small talk. I’m doing a story about cancel culture.

BERG: You mean, about how the titans of the progressive media, the Guardian, have their roots in laissez faire policies regarding slavery and the future of the American union during the civil war?

SILBERMAN: No, no. I’m looking for examples in the world of politics.

BERG: You mean like the town in Alabama whose entire base of wealth was built on the products of slavery, but posits itself as a bastion of “progressive” thought today.

SILBERMAN: Alabama?

BERG: Yuuup.

SILBERMAN: Go ahead. I’m listening.

BERG: This town in Alabama built its entire civic wealth between 1815 and 1865 on textiles – an industry based on slave-produced cotton – and tobacco, which was…

SILBERMAN: …raised by slaves. Yes. Yes. Keep going.

BERG: And they voted for the Democrat, pro-slavery candidates for President, in 1860 and 1864.

SILBERMAN: I already hate them.

BERG: And then, when the Civil War was well underway, they undertook a pogrom against not only blacks – whom they blamed for the war, and for the economic hardships the war brought them – but against whites that supported abolition, destroying their businesses in an epic riot.

SILBERMAN: Perfect. Probably fundamentalist Christianists to boot. These people need canceling.

BERG: I’ll say.

SILBERMAN: What town in Alabama?

BERG: It was…wait, did I say Alabama?

SILBERMAN: You did.

BERG: My bad. It was New York City. Your hometown, if I recall.

SILBERMAN: (Stands, stunned).

BERG: You’ve been canceled.

SILBERMAN: (Jaw flaps, but no sound comes out)

BERG: Try the dok buk uhm. It’s divine. (BERG walks out)

And SCENE

Open Letter To Midtown Global Market

To: Midtown Global Market
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant
Re: Cancel This

In response to the “revelation” that one of the Holy Land Deli’s employees – the daughter of the owner, himself an immigrant and inspirational story – had some “racist” social media in her past (as in, years ago, while a teenger) you canceled the Holy Land’s lease in your Midtown Marketplace building, at Lake and Chicago, effective immediately

I’m going to guess if you went through the social media feeds of every single employee in your building who grew up in the era of South Park and Idiocracy, you’ll fine something regrettable.,

Speaking of regrets? While I’ve been a fan and customer of Midtown Market ever since it opened, I will never spend another dime there as long as you follow through on this absurd, selective, and by all appearances grudge-driven “cancellation” of the Holy Land space.

I urge you to reconsider forthwith. This is the lowest form of cultural cowardice, I won’t reward it with my time or money, and I’ll be urging everyone I know to do the same when they are able to get out and start spending money again.

M Berg
The Midway