Former New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss claims that there are writers out there who are afraid to speak up for fear of being shamed or canceled.
Weiss, who departed the major news outlet last year where she served on the opinion staff and wrote for three years, said that both liberals and conservatives who decide to stand up to what is no known as the mob are attacked and maligned as a result, according to the Daily Mail.
Weiss tweeted at the beginning of the month: “Any ideology that asks people to judge others based on their skin color is wrong. Any ideology that denies our common humanity is wrong.”
Weiss recently published a piece for Deseret News where she noted that many young writers want to publish their pieces and write their own thoughts on exams but fear that straying too far away from “wokeness” will result in backlash from the “zealous cabal.”
“Today’s taboos…are often fringe ideas pushed by a zealous cabal trying to redefine what is acceptable and what should be shunned,” Weiss wrote in the piece.
“It is a group that has control of nearly all of the institutions that produce American cultural and intellectual life: media, to be sure, but also higher education, museums, publishing houses, marketing and advertising outfits, Hollywood, K-12 education, technology companies and, increasingly, corporate human resource departments.”
“There are two illiberal cultures swallowing up the country,” Weiss, 36, wrote in the OpEd, adding: “I know because I live in blue America, in a world awash in NPR tote bags and front lawn signs proclaiming the social justice bonafides of the family inside.”
“In my America, the people who keep quiet don’t fear the wrath of Trump supporters. They fear the illiberal left.”
Weiss went on to say that she first heard of people complaining in this way on almost a daily basis while employed at the New York Times. She mentioned in her resignation letter that the paper refused to come to her defense when she was bullied by her colleagues.
As a result, her comments received praise from members on both sides of the political aisle, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; Donald Trump; and former Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson.
She finally decided to leave the Times after their “hostility to free speech and open inquiry.”
“For woke-skeptical young writers, banishment and rejection awaits if you attempt to depart, even in minor ways, from the sacred ideology of wokeness.”
Aside from fielding emails from students around the country who have expressed their discontent with the state of censorship today, Weiss also addressed a study from Cato Institute that found that up to 62 percent of Americans self-censor, with Republicans more likely than Democrats to do so—by 77 percent to 52 percent.
“Of course they are afraid. In an era when people are smeared for petty things, small grievances and differences of opinion in a supposedly liberal and tolerant environment, who would dare share that they voted for a Republican?” she asks.
Weiss despaired over some of the emails she received from the student, stating that she likened them to the product of austere regimes such as the former Soviet Union and today’s communist China.
“And yet the words that we associate with closed societies – dissidents, double thinkers, blacklists – are exactly the ones that come to mind when I read the notes above,” she wrote.
“The liberal worldview that we took for granted in the West from the end of the Cold War until only a few years ago is under siege.”
Weiss said that these issues have arisen due to the extremism of the far-right and the far-left. She also noted that being born in 1984, she is part of the last generation to have been born before the phrase “cancel culture” even existed.”
Weiss claimed that during that time, the U.S. was based on a “few fundamental truths,” including the belief that “biology, birthplace, class, rank, gender, race” are not a person’s destiny.
“It was possible for Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be the best of friends, because, as Scalia once said, some things are more important than votes,” she wrote.
“Most importantly, this worldview insisted that what bound us together was not blood or soil, but a commitment to a shared set of ideas.” She noted that now this worldview has been overrun by illiberal orthodoxy.
“It promises revolutionary justice, but it threatens to drag us back into the mean of history, in which we are pitted against one another according to tribe,” she continued.
She carried on:”According to the new illiberalism, the past cannot be understood on its own terms, but must be judged through the morals and mores of the present.”
“In this ideology, if you do not tweet the right tweet or share the right slogan or post the right motto and visual on Instagram, your whole life can be ruined,” Weiss also claims, citing examples.
“In this ideology, you are guilty for the sins of your father. In other words: you are not you. You are only a mere avatar of your race or your religion,” she added.
“Perhaps most importantly, in this ideology, speech — the way that we resolve conflict in a civilized society — can be violence, yet violence, when carried out by the right people in pursuit of a just cause, is not violence at all.”