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The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech

a book by Kirsten Powers

(our site's book review)

The Left's Illiberal War on Free Speech

The Amazon blurb says that Lifelong liberal Kirsten Powers blasts the Left's forced march towards conformity in an exposé of the illiberal war on free speech. No longer champions of tolerance and free speech, the "illiberal Left" now viciously attacks and silences anyone with alternative points of view. Powers asks, "What ever happened to free speech in America?"

Free speech and freedom of conscience have long been core American values. Yet a growing intolerance from the left side of the political spectrum is threatening Americans' ability to freely express beliefs without fear of retaliation. USA Today columnist and Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers calls it "The Silencing."

Powers chronicles this forced march toward conformity in an exposé of the illiberal tactics deployed to shut down debate on some of the most important issues of the day. While preaching tolerance and claiming to hold liberal values, the "illiberal left" works to delegitimize political and ideological opponents in ways that stifle freedom of expression, thought, and religious belief.

While preaching tolerance and claiming to hold liberal values, the 'illiberal left' works to delegitimize political and ideological opponents in ways that stifle freedom of expression, thought, and religious belief
While preaching tolerance and claiming to hold liberal values, the 'illiberal left' works to delegitimize political and ideological opponents in ways that stifle freedom of expression, thought, and religious belief

In The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, Kirsten Powers, herself a proud liberal—but from a far more tolerant Jeffersonian tradition—exposes the illiberal left. You'll learn:


The Illiberal Left Has Become an Orwellian Big Brother

The illiberal left has become an Orwellian Big Brother, policing what it deems acceptable speech and opinions
The illiberal left has become an Orwellian Big Brother, policing what it deems acceptable speech and opinions

Kirsten Powers Is Getting a Lot of Kudos

"A searing and courageous indictment of the growing intolerance of the American left—written with passion and eloquence by one of the nation's most principled and fair-minded liberals. An important book on a subject many are simply too afraid to touch."—Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Things That Matter

"Kirsten Powers convincingly calls out her fellow liberals for being astonishingly illiberal. A great read."—Brit Hume, Fox News senior political analyst

"Kirsten Powers explodes and skewers 'The Silencing'—the demonizing and repression of different views, especially conservative views. Here is a liberal calling out other supposedly liberal people who claim to believe in free speech but tell all who disagree with them to shut up. Hallelujah—you are lucky to have this book in your hands!"—Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst and New York Times bestselling author of Muzzled

"I salute my friend Kirsten Powers for boldly and eloquently breaking the spiral of silence on silencing."—Eric Metaxas, New York Times bestselling author of Miracles and Bonhoeffer

Shining a harsh light on the 'illiberal left,' Kirsten Powers exposes a grim campaign to silence speech
Shining a harsh light on the 'illiberal left,' Kirsten Powers exposes a grim campaign to silence speech

"Tolerance and free expression are founding values of our republic and yet they're under attack from the extreme wings of the American political spectrum. Shining a harsh light on the 'illiberal left,' Kirsten Powers exposes a grim campaign to silence speech. This is an important book."—Ron Fournier, senior political columnist and editorial director of National Journal

"In this examination of the multiplying attacks on freedom of speech, Kirsten Powers casts a cool eye on the damages done to politics, academia, and civic discourse by the aggressive assertion of a perverse new entitlement. It is the postulated right to pass through life without being disturbed, annoyed, offended, or discomposed by the expression of anyone else's thoughts."—George F. Will, Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times bestseller A Nice Little Place on the North Side

The PC Police ensure that everything we see and hear conforms to their bigoted standards
The PC Police ensure that everything we see and hear conforms to their bigoted standards

Deviation from the Liberal Narrative Can Get One Incredible Harrassment

Powers puts it like this: "Here's the problem: disagreement is fine; discrimination is not. Liberals are supposed to believe in diversity, which should include diversity of thought and belief. Instead, an alarming level of intolerance emanates from the left side of the political spectrum toward people who express views that don't hew to the "settled" liberal worldview. The passion for silencing isn't reserved for conservatives or orthodox Christians. Moderate Democrats, independent minded liberals, and the ideologically agnostic become targets if they deviate on liberal sacred cow issues."

The passion for silencing isn't reserved for conservatives or orthodox Christians; moderate Democrats, independent minded liberals, and the ideologically agnostic become targets if they deviate on liberal sacred cow issues
The passion for silencing isn't reserved for conservatives or orthodox Christians; moderate Democrats, independent minded liberals, and the ideologically agnostic become targets if they deviate on liberal sacred cow issues

"The illiberal left, on the other hand, believes that people who express ideological, philosophical, or political views that don't line up with their preferences should be completely silenced. Instead of using persuasion and rhetoric to make a positive case for their causes and views, they work to delegitimize the person making the argument through character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics. These are the self-appointed overlords—activists, university administrators, journalists, and politicians—who have determined what views are acceptable to express. So, shut up—or else."


Campuses Are "Political Correctness" Hell Especially for White Males and People Who Think for Themselves

"On campuses there are speech codes, so-called "free speech zones," and a host of "anti-discrimination" policies that discriminate against people who dissent from lefty groupthink. Christian and conservative groups have been denied official university status by student government organizations for holding views not in line with liberal dogma. . . . Pushing someone out of his job for dissenting on an issue that has nothing to do with the mission of the company and then portraying the purge as a "free" conversation that boosted humanity is creepily Orwellian. . . . This is McCarthyism." See Big Brother: The Orwellian Nightmare Come True.

The 2019 PC-obsessed Thought Police seek any thoughts or ideas that are not in the accepted liberal narrative so they can hit the offenders with character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics and silence them
The 2019 PC-obsessed Thought Police seek any thoughts or ideas that are not in the accepted liberal narrative so they can hit the offenders with character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics and silence them

In Orwell's 1984, the word "crimethink" means a "thoughtcrime," thoughts that are unorthodox or outside the official government platform. And a "facecrime" is an indication that a person is guilty of thoughtcrime based on their facial expression. And "goodthink" means thoughts that are approved by the Party and follow its policies, ideals and interpretations. It is the opposite of crimethink. And "misprints" are errors or mispredictions which need to be rectified in order to prove that the Party is always right. And "thinkpol" is the Thought Police. And "thoughtcrime" is the criminal act of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question the official government platform. And "doublethink" is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct—today this is called doublespeak.

The NSA says all this Orwellian Big Brother stuff is for our security, but only a moron could believe such nonsense
The NSA says all this Orwellian Big Brother stuff is for our security, but only a moron could believe such nonsense

George Orwell’s description of the world of 1984 is as apt a description of today’s world as we’ve ever seen: 'You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." The NSA says all this Orwellian Big Brother stuff is for our security. But only a moron could believe such nonsense.

The NSA says all this Orwellian Big Brother stuff is for our security, but only a moron could believe such nonsense; here the NSA is burning the Constitution
The NSA says all this Orwellian Big Brother stuff is for our security, but only a moron could believe such nonsense; here the NSA is burning the Constitution

The Thought Police Will Be Coming to a Town Near You

The illiberal left is even removing historical statues that deviate from the liberal narrative!
The illiberal left is even removing historical statues that deviate from the liberal narrative!

Alexis de Tocqueville, in Democracy in America, noticed that our country's freedom stems not so much from laws as from Habits Of The Heart engaged in by freedom loving Americans. But the illiberal left is rapidly erasing these social-civic heart habits to such an extent that Americans will soon have difficulty recalling a time when citizens could speak their minds without fear of a retaliating mob of self-righteous PC-obsessed extremists or even Antifa thugs. Goodbye democracy, hello tyranny. They're even removing historical statues that deviate from the liberal narrative. See Erasing America: Losing Our Future by Destroying Our Past.

Americans will soon have difficulty recalling a time when citizens could speak their minds without fear of a retaliating mob of self-righteous PC-obsessed extremists or even Antifa thugs; goodbye democracy, hello tyranny
Americans will soon have difficulty recalling a time when citizens could speak their minds without fear of a retaliating mob of self-righteous PC-obsessed extremists or even Antifa thugs; goodbye democracy, hello tyranny

Killing Speech Will Kill Democracy Over Time

The more success the illiberal left has in their terrorizing citizens who express dissenting viewpoints, the closer the U.S. comes to tyranny and the farther it wanders from democracy, the more the thought police will stop dissent from the liberal narrative so we are all conformists spewing the party line
The more success the illiberal left has in their terrorizing citizens who express dissenting viewpoints, the closer the U.S. comes to tyranny and the farther it wanders from democracy, the more the thought police will stop dissent from the liberal narrative so we are all conformists spewing the party line

The more success the illiberal left has in their terrorizing citizens who express dissenting viewpoints, the closer the U.S. comes to tyranny and the farther it wanders from democracy, the more the thought police will stop dissent from the liberal narrative so we are all conformists spewing the party line. Oppression may succeed at gagging most dissent, but at what cost? The answer to that question is very scary—because the cost is democracy and freedom!

Oppression may succeed at gagging most dissent, but at what cost? The answer to that question is very scary—because the cost is democracy and freedom!
Oppression may succeed at gagging most dissent, but at what cost? The answer to that question is very scary—because the cost is democracy and freedom!

Leftists Killing Speech Manifests an Extreme Failure of American Education

It boggles the mind to observe things in today's liberals that manifest an extreme failure of American education. Civics education is either absent from 7th-12th grade education core curriculum, or the teachers are abysmal. Liberals have abandoned democratic principles en masse and replaced them with fascist tactics without blinking an eye. Worse, the teachers and administrators are supporting this outrage wholeheartedly—again without blinking. Why is it so easy to abandon democratic principles in favor of tyranny? Because to the degree subjects like civics and U.S. history were taught at all, they were taught in the form of boring and annoying facts to memorize long enough to regurgitate them in a test, after which the student purges his mind of these things and goes back to texting, tweeting, and Facebooking.

 Liberals have abandoned democratic principles en masse and replaced them with fascist tactics without blinking an eye. Worse, the teachers and administrators are supporting this outrage wholeheartedly—again without blinking
Liberals have abandoned democratic principles en masse and replaced them with fascist tactics without blinking an eye. Worse, the teachers and administrators are supporting this outrage wholeheartedly—again without blinking

This is not education. Any teacher with enough grey matter to realize what his real purpose is knows that the fact memorization is just a sideline of his pedagogical task. The real issue is somehow getting across the MEANING of the material. Assuming that kids living in a democracy already know the meaning of it for their lives, their thinking, their freedom, their family, and their society is a grave mistake. They obviously know nothing of the kind. One can tell that by the way the liberals cheerfully gave up on democracy and adopted fascism without giving it a second thought, and teachers and administrators supported this outrage. Neither teacher not student know the meaning of it for their lives.

To the degree subjects like civics and U.S. history were taught at all, they were taught in the form of boring and annoying facts to memorize long enough to regurgitate them in a test, after which the student purges his mind of these things and goes back to texting, tweeting, and Facebooking
To the degree subjects like civics and U.S. history were taught at all, they were taught in the form of boring and annoying facts to memorize long enough to regurgitate them in a test, after which the student purges his mind of these things and goes back to texting, tweeting, and Facebooking

Leftists Have Exchanged Democracy for Fascism without a Moment's Thought

Although conservatives have learned the hard way the meaning of democracy for their lives by virtue of its absence in the free speech area of their lives, liberals have learned nothing except that they love to push people around and not only get away with it but be supported in their efforts. It took several decades of students not getting the meaning of free speech, and then turning into teachers not getting the meaning of free speech, who then taught more students to not get the meaning of free speech, to produce the precursors of an authoritarian fascist mindset like in present day America.

The chickens have come home to roost. We are much closer to tyranny than anyone realizes, because we are now cursed with a whole generation of liberal fascists who see nothing wrong with applying fascist tactics on people and not just denying them their Constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech but also character assassination, demonization, threatening, blackmailing, doxing, trolling, getting fired, getting blackballed, getting set up, getting slandered, getting harrassment, and other dehumanizing tactics even including violence.

Here a fanatical crazed PC wacko assaults a conservative speaker
Here a fanatical crazed PC wacko assaults a conservative speaker

The so-called adults who are supposed to be responsible for preventing all these fascist tactics are busy looking the other way, so the ugly situation feeds on itself, deteriorating rapidly. We need the judges, police, teachers and administrators to grow a pair and put a stop to this disaster. We need the political correctness disease to be confronted and seen for the mistake it is—80% of our citizens are against this PC debacle, including some Democrats and liberals and blacks.


Why Haven't Judges, Police, Teachers and Administrators Stopped the Social "Justice" Warriors?

Why are the judges, police, teachers and administrators not putting a stop to this disaster? Because the reward for their courage would be character assassination, demonization, threatening, blackmailing, doxing, trolling, getting fired, getting blackballed, getting set up, getting slandered, getting harrassment, and other dehumanizing tactics even including violence. They not only apply Mafia tactics to conservatives, they apply them to liberals that dissent or stray outside the liberal narrative. If the judges, police, teachers and administrators are unwilling to do their jobs and confront SIWs (social injustice warriors) acting in the disguise of SJWs (social justice warriors), then the situation will result in mass bloodshed and tragedy all of which will trigger martial law and the loss of freedom for everyone.

It is considered blasphemous to question either Biblical truths or PC liberal narrative truths since, in their minds, both possess absolute truth—but 80% of us citizens disagree
It is considered blasphemous to question either Biblical truths or PC liberal narrative truths since, in their minds, both possess absolute truth—but 80% of us citizens disagree

Harvard psychology professor and bestselling author Steven Pinker singled out university campuses for their hostility to free speech, likening them to the worst authoritarian regimes in history. The left no longer wants to support their views with logic and argument and discussion. They are so sure they are right and everyone else is wrong that they are unwilling to even hear other points of view. The liberal narrative has hardened into a moral and spiritual scripture that tolerates no dissent or even the suggestion of a meeting wherein they can support their views.

They are in the position of having absolute truth, like how Evangelists feel about Biblical issues. It is considered blasphemous to question either Biblical truths or liberal narrative truths. Dissenting from or questioning this truth if you talk to an Evangelist will simply get you pity, scorn, or rejection as the Evangelist walks away. If you are an Evangelist, you will knock off the questioning or be asked to leave and quit the church. On the other hand, dissenting from or questioning liberal narrative truths if you talk to a liberal will get you character assassination, demonization, threatening, blackmailing, doxing, trolling, getting fired, getting blackballed, getting set up, getting slandered, getting harrassment, and other dehumanizing tactics even including violence.

This is egregious hypocrisy, of course, because liberals are supposed to be more openminded than conservatives, and full of relativistic values and not absolutist values. They used to bitch about conservatives' absolutist values. And here they are in 2019, full of inflexible, closeminded, absolutist values that they back up with threats, harrassment, trolling, and other dehumanizing tactics even including violence. The left is in favor of government power to curtail freedom of thought, speech, and conscience, and that is very troubling, according to Powers, the author of this book.

Society must always allow individuals the sacred right to determine their own beliefs and make up their own minds without authoritarian illiberal leftists harrassing, threatening, or assaulting them. The character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics and silencing employed by leftist fanatics is way too close to the SS tactics in Hitler's Germany to be tolerated in a free society.

Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1989-034-21, Warschau, Parade vor Adolf Hitler
The character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics and silencing of dissent by leftist fanatics is way too close to the SS tactics in Hitler's Germany to be tolerated in a free society; if they are not stopped, all is lost and fascistic stormtroopers will be goosestepping their way to our door

Leftist legal scholars consider the 1st Amendment an annoying impediment to progressive policy goals. A lot of the weakest and most obnoxious theories in law schools, ones that have developed on college campuses, allow for punishing speech they don't like but accept speech they do like, and are likely to have an increased presense in courtrooms and perhaps even on the Supreme Court. This bodes ill for freedom of speech and freedom and democracy in general. Read Powers' The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech and be prepared to cringe.

"Bifurcated means to split or divide something into two parts. It is a term often used to describe trees, but today it can also be applied to our politics in America."—Dennis Powell

To balance out this cultural assault from the illiberal left loonies, kooks, radicals, and wingnuts, there is also rising violence from rightwing loonies, kooks, radicals, and wingnuts—all of which indicates the nation's bifurcation and polarization is accelerating: "The Washington Post reported this week that “violence by white supremacists and other far-right attackers has been on the rise since Barack Obama’s presidency—and has surged since President Trump took office.” Per the Post’s data analysis, “over the past decade, attackers motivated by right-wing political ideologies have committed dozens of shootings, bombings and other acts of violence, far more than any other category of domestic extremist.”" (Source: Violence from the Far-Right is Growing. Why Aren’t We Doing More to Stop it?, Melissa Ryan, the Progressive)

Democracy is being less valued by the young in the U.S. and rule by authoritarians is becoming more acceptable to the young in the U.S. as our schools fail to educate and more U.S. churchgoers are fundamentalist—the U.S. has a scary future ahead
Democracy is being less valued by the young in the U.S. and rule by authoritarians is becoming more acceptable to the young in the U.S. as our schools fail to educate and more U.S. churchgoers are fundamentalist—the U.S. has a scary future ahead

Illiberal left and alt-right are the radical fringes of Left and Right in the U.S. Neither of these groups are known for highly valuing democracy, no matter some of their rhetoric seems patriotic and pro-country. The fact that both groups are getting more violent in actions and less democratic in words is occurring concomitantly with democracy being less valued by the young in the U.S. and rule by authoritarians becoming more acceptable to the young in the U.S. Since this nation has been an oligarchy for quite a few years, it's not surprising to see people accepting the death of democracy goodnaturedly—see illustration below. After all, pseudo-democracy and predatory capitalism have worked hand-in-hand to create a huge income gap with those at the very top getting most of the benefits from our economy, while the nonrich are getting screwed.

See:

Democracy is an annoyance to corporations because following democratically generated regulations negatively affects the bottom line. The biggest oligarchs and corporations would prefer to bury democracy six feet under.
Democracy is an annoyance to corporations because following democratically generated regulations negatively affects the bottom line. The biggest oligarchs and corporations would prefer to bury democracy six feet under.