Over the past couple of years, anyone familiar with the basic details of the Salem Witch Trials would by now have developed a healthy appreciation of the mob justice that’s been meted out to any number of innocents, based on interpretations of social justice principals and good old fashioned progressive hysteria.
The Salem debacle is synonymous in the main with the notion that an accusation made from a point of higher moral (religious) Authority is by its very nature irrefutable; once made, the accusation will lead to a finding of guilt because there is no acknowledged defence to it.
The events of almost 330 years ago may be well-recorded in folk law, and should serve as a warning to all of us, but somehow society seems to have given that lesson the middle-finger; we have hurtled into another age of mass hysteria and mob rule, and there are two reasons for this:
Firstly, the relative anonymity of social media has eroded the norms of common courtesy that have existed for hundreds of years, meaning anybody can abuse, vilify and outright attack anyone else without much in the way of consequence. That attitude has now seeped out into the wider community, with activists now openly calling for similar attacks and abuses to be levelled at opponents, whether it be someone they don’t like eating at a restaurant, or a gang of leftist thugs violently protesting a free speech event they believe is a convention of fascists.
The second reason is that the Left has established its own set of Moral Absolutes, much like the religious authority which guided the Salem trials, against which there can be no challenge nor defence, because once charged with the sin of contravening the Left’s modern canon, the transgressor has no recourse but to throw himself at the mercy of the social justice tribunal.
In recent years we’ve had the Title-ix college and university “sexual assault epidemic” that saw due process removed from US college campuses, to be replaced by kangaroo courts; numerous young men found guilty of rape or sexual assault were expelled from campuses, their reputations and academic records ruined, all to the cheering chorus of the education authorities and the feminist “civil rights’ activists. Next to none of these cases was true – with Mattress Girl the most prominent and nauseating of them.
We’ve had the utter lunacy of the #metoo movement, a confected witch-hunt of self-righteous feminists and their allies, that started with the twisting the odd case of sexual assault in Hollywood a la Harvey Weinstein, and morphed into a full-scale attack on the very core of femininity by All Men – ratcheted up by ululating from every conceivable progressive media outlet, desperate to smoke out an improper advance, a wandering hand or, God forbid, a case of actual consensual sex after which the female participant felt a bit dirty.
Count Dankula and the Nazi Pug (copyright pending, look out for this in all good children’s book stores soon), Roseanne Barr and the “atrocious” racist Tweet, former US Senator Al Franken and the case of the naughty photo; the list is long. As recently as Friday, the media was aflutter with outraged progressives going into conniption fits because Mark Zuckerberg had made a comment about free speech, with him thereafter being accused by the hate mob of literal holocaust denialism.
Just this week Elon Musk, the greatest publicity whore of our time, found himself suddenly the brunt of the wrong sort of publicity after calling one of the Thai cave divers a paedophile on Twitter – Tesla’s share price plummeted 4% on the back of the “storm of controversy” as the media and social justice mob triangulated their visceral attacks on his character. I’m no fan of the guy and his shiny, carbon-credit, government-subsidised perma-hype, but it was bizarre to watch one of the media’s darlings suddenly fall prey to the humourless cucks at HuffPo et al who proceeded to excoriate the man by dredging up his political donations to Republicans and generally turning the whole saga into a character assassination.
As far as Zuckerberg and Musk are concerned, I could hardly be more indifferent to their embarrassment or inconvenience; they are both part of the liberal elite that has facilitated the elevation of social justice to its exulted status, as its expansion into every facet of our lives pumped ever greater amounts of money into the businesses they head. They can afford to ride out the outrage.
But for those without the means, the everyday pleb found guilty of hate speech by an online hate mob, or by UK blasphemy laws for posting about Muslim grooming gangs, the result is ostracization, loss of employment and even prison.
On Saturday night however, while up late watching the Tour de France, I got to witness in real time a Twitter mob pile-on of a different kind. You may have by now read of the firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, from Marvel-Disney for a legacy of what the media is calling “offensive tweets” – as reported by lefty media here and here.
In summary, the saga started with media personality, Mike Cernovich, zeroing in on Gunn’s snarky involvement in another social media pile-on of one Mark Duplass, a relative unknown in Hollywood who this week naively suggested that liberals follow Ben Shapiro (the Great Jewish Satan) on Twitter. Once the social media horde had finished with Duplass, Cernovich commenced posting a series (read dozens) of tweets from Gunn’s Twitter past that, at best, evidenced a seriously edgy sense of humour when it comes to sick jokes and comments about little kids and teenagers.
An hour or two later, Gunn was frantically deleting thousands of tweets, and the non-progressive side of Twitter was gloating that it had exposed him as a paedophile.
It doesn’t really matter what your politics are, or who you support in these situations – there’s something genuinely disconcerting about a society that is so ready to throw any number of people onto the sacrificial alter of political correctness, no matter their level of fame, because that’s What Outrage Culture Does Now.
It’s no better than screaming “she’s a witch, burn her!” in a stupid English accent. No-one’s even asking “How do you know she’s a witch?”
For all I know, Gunn may be a bloody pedo, and in any event should have been fired after the terrible follow-up that was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but if we’ve descended to the point where an expose of his Twitter history is considered proof thereof, we’ve officially entered territory where Goody Proctor would be eyeing the kindling nervously.
Photo by Gage Skidmore