Home/Rod Dreher/Soft Totalitarianism Hardens

Soft Totalitarianism Hardens

It. Never. Stops.

I don’t care if football is gay. I don’t care if football is anti-gay. I don’t want football to be either. I want football to be football. I know I sound like a broken record, y’all, but this kind of crap advances the totalitarianization of our society. From Live Not By Lies:

One of contemporary progressivism’s commonly used phrases—the personal is political—captures the totalitarian spirit, which seeks to infuse all aspects of life with political consciousness. Indeed, the Left pushes its ideology ever deeper into the personal realm, leaving fewer and fewer areas of daily life uncontested. This, warned Arendt, is a sign that a society is ripening for totalitarianism, because that is what totalitarianism essentially is: the politicization of everything.

Infusing every aspect of life with ideology was a standard aspect of Soviet totalitarianism. Early in the Stalin era, N. V. Krylenko, a Soviet commissar (political officer), steamrolled over chess players who wanted to keep politics out of the game.

“We must finish once and for all with the neutrality of chess,” he said. “We must condemn once and for all the formula ‘chess for the sake of chess,’ like the formula ‘art for art’s sake.’ We must organize shockbrigades of chess-players, and begin immediate realization of a Five-Year Plan for chess.”

Another sign of the totalitarianization of US society:

California added five more states, including Florida, to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, the state attorney general announced Monday.

Democratic Attorney General Rob Bonta added Florida, Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia to the list that now has 17 states where state employee travel is forbidden except under limited circumstances.

“Make no mistake: We’re in the midst of an unprecedented wave of bigotry and discrimination in this country — and the State of California is not going to support it,” Bonta said.

Lawmakers in 2016 banned non-essential travel to states with laws that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The 12 other states on the list are: Texas, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee.

The five states newly added to the list have introduced bills in their legislatures this year that prevent transgender women and girls from participating in school sports consistent with their gender identity, block access to health care and allow the discrimination of the LGBTQ community, Bonta said.

They hate the rest of us. Do you think Texas, Florida, Arkansas, and the rest of those states on California’s blacklist give a rat’s rear end about how the laws of California treat LGBT people? No, they don’t. They are happy to let California be California. But California wants all of America to be California. These Californians, they tell themselves that they love virtue, but they really just hate their fellow Americans who don’t agree with them about LGBT.

We have heard this kind of thing before. Here, for example:

What is the goal toward which we are heading? The peaceful enjoyment of liberty and equality; the reign of that eternal justice whose laws have been inscribed, not in marble and stone, but in the hearts of all men, even in that of the slave who forgets them and in that of the tyrant who denies them. We seek an order of things in which all the base and cruel passions are enchained, all the beneficent and generous passions are awakened by the laws; where distinctions are born only of equality itself; where the citizen is subject to the magistrate, the magistrate to the people, and the people to justice; where our country assures the well-being of each individual, and where each individual proudly enjoys our country’s prosperity and glory; where every soul grows greater through the continual flow of republican sentiments, and by the need of deserving the esteem of a great people…

… Since the soul of the Republic is virtue, equality, and since your goal is to found, to consolidate the Republic, it follows that the first rule of your political conduct ought to be to relate all your efforts to maintaining equality and developing virtue… Thus everything that tends to excite love of country, to purify morals, to elevate souls, to direct the passions of the human heart toward the public interest ought to be adopted or established by you. .If the mainspring of popular government in peacetime is virtue, amid revolution it is at the same time [both] virtue and terror: virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice; it is therefore an emanation of virtue. It is less a special principle than a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country’s most pressing needs.

That was from a famous speech by Maximilien Robespierre, in 1794, justifying the Reign of Terror. An early historian of the French Revolution, Aulard, described the politics of the Jacobins like this:

All politics, according to Robespierre, must tend to establish the reign of virtue and confound vice. He reasoned thus: those who are virtuous are right; error is a corruption of the heart; error cannot be sincere; error is always deliberate.

We are creating a Jacobin state in America. It’s accelerating. I know some of you are sick and tired of me banging the drum on all this, but dammit, we are losing our country — and if we do, there won’t be any going back. At the rate we’re going, there will be blood.

Look what they’re doing to the military:

Mandatory military celebration of LGBT Pride. If you are a traditional Christian in the military, you are SOL. Violate your convictions with this required affirmation of something you regard as sinful, or be dishonorably discharged. This is one reason why I am strongly discouraging my son from joining the military. The point is not that you have to serve alongside LGBT soldiers. Everybody can do that. The point is that you are compelled to affirm homosexuality and transgenderism, and thus deny your religious beliefs.

I am in Vienna today. Last week in Budapest, I told an American I know there that I would be back in the city on July 4, and asked him if he wanted to get together as two temporary expats to celebrate Independence Day. He said he wasn’t sure. “I’m not feeling too bullish on America these days,” he said, with audible sadness. I thought of that this morning when I read this shocking op-ed essay in the Washington Post, illustrating the depths of our moral decline. Excerpts:

Rowello explains that she is married to a transsexual, once her husband, now her wife. More from the Pride Parade:

Just as we got settled, our elementary-schooler pointed in the direction of oncoming floats, raising an eyebrow at a barechested man in dark sunglasses whose black suspenders clipped into a leather thong. The man paused to be spanked playfully by a partner with a flog. “What are they doing?” my curious kid asked as our toddler cheered them on. The pair was the first of a few dozen kinksters who danced down the street, laughing together as they twirled their whips and batons, some leading companions by leashes. At the time, my children were too young to understand the nuance of the situation, but I told them the truth: That these folks were members of our community celebrating who they are and what they like to do.

Children! Her own children! More:

As much as I want them to spend time in queer spaces so they can be with families like their own, I also want them to know that they shouldn’t limit their understanding of what relationships or expression look like to whatever’s most familiar. I want them to see that they can make their own ways in the world — and know that they’ll be supported and celebrated by their community. If we want our children to learn and grow from their experiences at Pride, we should hope that they’ll encounter kink when they attend. How else can they learn about the scope and vitality of queer life?


Children who witness kink culture are reassured that alternative experiences of sexuality and expression are valid — no matter who they become as they mature, helping them recognize that their personal experiences aren’t bad or wrong, and that they aren’t alone in their experiences. I can’t think of a more relevant or important reminder for youth, who often struggle with feelings of isolation and confusion as they discover more about themselves and wrestle with concerns about whether they’re normal enough. Including kink in Pride opens space for families to have necessary and powerful conversations with young people about health, safety, consent, and — most uniquely — pleasure. Kink visibility is a reminder that any person can and should shamelessly explore what brings joy and excitement. We don’t talk to our children enough about pursuing sex to fulfill carnal needs that delight and captivate us in the moment.

Sharing the language of kink culture with young people provides them with valuable information about safe sex practices — such as the importance of establishing boundaries, safe words and signals, affirming the importance of planning and research and the need to seek and give enthusiastic consent. I never want my children to worry that exploring any aspect of consensual sex or touch is too taboo.

Read it all. 

This filth is something that the Washington Post, the leading newspaper in the American capital, a newspaper owned by the richest man in the world, sees fit to publish. They consider this legitimate public debate.

This is demonic, you know — and it is a sign of something horrible to come. From Live Not By Lies:

The post-World War I generation of writers and artists were marked by their embrace and celebration of anti-cultural philosophies and acts as a way of demonstrating contempt for established hierarchies, institutions, and ways of thinking. Arendt said of some writers who glorified the will to power, “They read not Darwin but the Marquis de Sade.”

Her point was that these authors did not avail themselves of respectable intellectual theories to justify their transgressiveness. They immersed themselves in what is basest in human nature and regarded doing so as acts of liberation. Arendt’s judgment of the postwar elites who recklessly thumbed their noses at respectability could easily apply to those of our own day who shove aside liberal principles like fair play, race neutrality, free speech, and free association as obstacles to equality. Arendt wrote:

The members of the elite did not object at all to paying a price, the destruction of civilization, for the fun of seeing how those who had been excluded unjustly in the past forced their way into it.

Regarding transgressive sexuality as a social good was not an innovation of the sexual revolution. Like the contemporary West, late imperial Russia was also awash in what historian James Billington called “a preoccupation with sex that is quite without parallel in earlier Russian culture.” Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common. And not just among the elites: the laboring masses, alone in the city, with no church to bind their consciences with guilt, or village gossips to shame them, found comfort in sex.

The end of official censorship after the 1905 uprising opened the floodgates to erotic literature, which found renewal in sexual passion. “The sensualism of the age was in a very intimate sense demonic,” Billington writes, detailing how the figure of Satan became a Romantic hero for artists and musicians. They admired the diabolic willingness to stop at nothing to satisfy one’s desires and to exercise one’s will.

“They read not Darwin, but the Marquis de Sade.” Today they read the Washington Post, where a perverted Philadelphia mother teaches her little children to celebrate a sadomasochistic parade in the streets. Wake up, people, and see what’s around you. Prepare! 

I don’t know about you, but I cannot share a country with these people. I mean, I will — what choice do I have? — but they are not my opponents. They, and the elites who are forcing all this on us, are my enemies. History tells us where this is all headed. When it all falls down, the fault will be on them, these barbarians.

UPDATE: I feel better now. Spent the morning in a museum, and then in early afternoon went to a restaurant to drink beer and eat schnitzel. A man walked down the street past us. Big man. Black. About my age. He was wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey. I asked him about who dat. Turns out he’s from New York, but loves the Saints. He and his buddies are traveling around Europe together. He was so American, and so normal. I wanted to hug him. We had a normal American conversation, and wished each other well. Off he went to find his friends. I’m with that man. Screw these American elites and their pornographic decadence.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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