The Left has been at this for a long time. By “this,” I mean its authoritarianism verging on fascism. Justin Trudeau’s little tantrum up north is just the latest in a long string of actions by leftists in and out of government that for decades have announced their illiberal intentions. Those actions have always had much in common – a disdain for democracy, the exercise of arbitrary power, a distrust of “others,” i.e., anyone not them, a rejection of due process of law, a desire to control the flow of information and a willingness to misrepresent the true state of affairs. All that came from a doctrinaire certainty that “their truth” was the only one and that all disagreement was heresy or perhaps treason. In the process, and not coincidentally, it all tended to increase the power of governments and corporations.
Needless to say, Trudeau embodies all of the above. He’s lied about who the truckers are and what they want, attempted to “other” them to make them easier targets for the misrepresentations of the news media and illegally jettisoned due process of law to allow him literally unprecedented exercise of autocratic powers.
For all that, we should thank him. We now know that leftist heads of state will unilaterally and illegally suspend the rights and liberties of their people on the slightest pretext. No serious person believes that Trudeau’s will be the last, or even the most egregious, such assertion of power. It’s a valuable lesson in woke authoritarianism, but only the most recent. This began long ago, and extremist feminism bears a large burden of the guilt.
In 1971, British domestic violence advocate Erin Pizzey discovered that the women she was sheltering from abuse were, in her words, “as violent or more violent than the men they were leaving.” Subsequent research revealed her anecdotal observations to be accurate – men and women were equally likely to commit DV. Now women’s perpetration exceeds that of men.
Extremist feminists weren’t pleased. For many years they lied about the facts of DV in order to tar men as the sole abusers of women and demand radical changes in the law and police practice. Governments, seeing an opportunity to expand their power, readily agreed. Individual women soon came to understand their ability to recruit state power against their male partners. Due process of law went out the window as police were trained that, in any case of alleged DV, it was the male who was at fault. He could be removed from his home, children and belongings, and placed under a court order solely on the say-so of his wife/girlfriend. DV restraining orders routinely violated the most obvious constitutional strictures.
Much the same happened with radical feminists’ ideas about allegations of rape and sexual assault, particularly in university settings. As with DV, the facts didn’t fit their narrative, so they manufactured some that did. Notably, Susan Brownmiller confected the factoid that only 2% of rape allegations are false. Later, when faced with a disturbingly (to them) low rate of sexual assault on campus, Mary Kos and MS. Magazine conducted their own “study” that – surprise! – produced enough “rapes” to make the worst areas of Detroit or Baltimore look like strawberry fields forever. That of course was done to, once again, recruit the power of the state to diminish the due process rights of college men. In 2011, Barack Obama’s Department of Education made the matter official with its “Dear Colleague” letter that sharply curtailed due process rights in college tribunals in which accused males had little-to-no chance of being found innocent. That of course was the whole point.
Enter #BelieveWomen, the movement whose core message demands that all claims of sexual assault be taken as true regardless of their believability. Once again, rules of evidence and due process were/are ignored. Now, rape cases have been adjudicated for eons, so the applicable law has been pretty well decided and criminal courts still insist on evidence, not just a presumption of guilt, to convict the accused.
So extremist feminists found it necessary to do their work outside the strictly-legal arena. That accounts for the “Dear Colleague” letter and less formal situations like those of Stephen Galloway, Al Franken, Richard Voge, Woody Allen and others too numerous to mention. The spectacle of Brett Kavenaugh being nearly denied the seat on the Supreme Court for which he’d been nominated and was fully qualified, based solely on the uncorroborated and quite suspect claims of sexual assault 38 years before, made the matter entirely clear. The Left’s regard for due process of law and basic fairness had dwindled to near nothing. To be accused was to be considered guilty, to be found innocent, an outrage.
More recently of course there’s cancel culture that for years was confined to campus, but more recently has spilled out into corporate culture. There, lifetime careers are destroyed in the blink of an eye for the most minor infractions of rules that appear nowhere in writing and change, seemingly, with the weather. The threat of cancellation is so great and pervasive that those who suspect themselves of the crime of heterodoxy go into hiding for fear of uttering a “wrong” word. Justin Trudeau’s remark that the truckers harbored “unacceptable ideas” was (a) a clear iteration of the cancel culture mindset, (b) proof positive that woke progressivism takes for granted its own precepts and (c) more evidence that the woke Left never questions the rightness of punishing unbelievers.
I’ll have more to say on the inbred authoritarianism of today’s Left next time.