In a time when families, faith and community ties seem more tenuous than ever for most individuals, the ability to withstand the pressure to conform to fashionable yet oppressive ideas has broken down, says JNS editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin. Speaking with author Stella Morabito, the two discuss how the breakdown of these vital institutions provides the context for how woke ideologies and cancel culture have become so dominant in our culture.
Morabito, the author of The Weaponization of Loneliness: How Tyrants Stoke Our Fear of Isolation to Silence, Divide and Conquer, explained that throughout history, oppressive regimes have used the fear of isolation and the impulse to conform to bully dissenters into silence. The ability of left-wing ideologues to win control of the education system, the arts and the media has helped accelerate the breakdown of faith and family. But as Morabito points out, the isolation imposed during the coronavirus pandemic could lead Americans to abandon their belief in individual rights with those who wouldn’t go along branded as wrong-doers who needed to be shunned.
Rather than just an isolated example of fear stoked by the spread of a disease, the weaponization of isolation that characterized public discourse during COVID led directly to the ability of ideologues to create a moral panic about race after the death of George Floyd in May 2020. The imposition of the woke catechism of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) that seeks to crush a vision of equal opportunity and the spread of gender ideology throughout society is directly related to the way mobs can stifle independent thought.
The only way to resist this is, Morabito says, a willingness to speak up and to create alternative institutions that can throw a wrench into the “machinery of loneliness” that is working to undermine our rights.
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