Who You Can't Criticize

"To find out who rules over you, find out who you can't criticize." -- Voltaire

Granted, Voltaire was alive at a time when there were actual monarchs and, in many cases, criticizing those in power resulted in beheadings and archaic shit like that.  

Today, due to the bizarre crowdsourcing power of the internet and social media, it is not the powerful we are unable to criticize but those with the power of the mob.  For example, anyone with a voice or a finger to type with can take potshots at Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the Koch Bros., Apple computers, Wal Mart, all arguably among our most powerful people and corporations.  Without any negative consequence.

Try criticizing #Black Lives Matter and see how that works out for you.  Dispute the charges of racism or sexism or patriarchal misogyny from a young woman and watch the mob leap online and attempt to destroy you (even if you are a woman disputing the charges or are disputing an article in the Rolling Stone about a campus rape proven fictitious.)  Make the argument that there is no such thing as "rape culture" or that those on the Far Right are bigots and watch the online villagers jump on and publicly beat you down until your place of employment fires you and your family disowns you.  For that matter, make a poorly worded joke online and watch the cyber-fireworks pile up in nothing short of an effort to bury you alive.

Rarely does the mob slow down and ask if the person criticizing them is actually a threat to their ideas.  Aside from evidence of bigotry or misogyny, how do you tell if someone is those things? Is the accusation enough? The court of public opinion is a crippled method of conviction and is in many ways far less just than the frequently tainted legal system.  At least with the Justice System in place there is the notion of "innocent before proven guilty."

Many accused just don't acquiesce to the Progressive Way of Things.  The New Rule of Thumb is to "Shut Up and Listen to Me."  The concept that if I say my pain is real, it must be real and if you don't suffer from my pain, my pain is in some part your fault so just listen to me as I yell in your face about your need for shame and contrition.  If you aren't apologetic enough or bother to question my logic, I will yell you into silence or make sure the mob puts you in the digital stocks and throws cabbage and shit at you.

There are those who will simply not listen to reason or an argument that progress must be made in the areas of race and sex and gender in this country.  These are the people who use propaganda and power to continue to marginalize those with less voice and the response to these demagogues to adopt their methods of screaming down opposition is the same logic behind detente.  If we have more weapons than them, we win.  If we bark the loudest and silence dissent to our ideas, we win.  But we don't win.  Everyone loses.

To find out who rules over you, find out who scares the shit out of your employers.
To find out who rules over you, find out who your peers are terrified of.
To find out who rules over you, find out who you can't reason with or have a logical disagreement with without a scorched earth vendetta waged against you.

See?  It's so simple.  If someone weighs as much as a duck, he is a bigot and a rape apologist and must be burned.  It's science.