Our mainstream culture is so saturated with wokeness and social justice that it's become far more normalized than it should have ever been. One bit of fallout from this hyper-sensitive and constantly outraged trend is “cancel culture,” the idea that anyone who steps out of line from the approved social guidelines should have their lives destroyed.
It doesn't always take but even one person destroyed is too many, and there are far too many cases where cancel culture wins the day.
We can easily describe our current culture as authoritarian, even despotic. Everyone from individuals to major corporations is afraid to step out of line for fear of facing the wrath of the woke mob, the media, and the politicians answering to permanently outraged. If you were an alien observing America from afar, you'd guess that the most powerful force in the country is the extreme-left, who managed to normalize anti-science, violence, racism, sexism, and irrationality, and then make too many obedient to it.
While this has affected many, it's done a real number on Gen Zennials, the generation currently making their way into adulthood. So saturated with this woke mentality is this generation that many don't see its hypocrisy or evil in it. In fact, they too become zealous in their enforcement of it. While this may be a trend among the young, it's a tale as old as time.
Using children to push extremist politics has been a strategy of despots and tyrants for ages. We can now see this happening in America thanks to a concerned parent writing to an advice column at Slate.
The mother discovered an excel spreadsheet on her 14-year-old son's laptop that had his classmates featured on it. Written next to their name were bits of data under dates. This data was descriptions of non-woke behavior and the times they did it:
My son, “Jack,” 14, has been maintaining a spreadsheet that tracks all of his classmate's problematic actions. Jack has always had difficulty fitting in, but he is a compassionate and intelligent boy. We do not allow our children to have their own computers to prevent the risk of them being radicalized by alt-right websites, so our kids share a laptop that we monitor and control access to. We found an excel spreadsheet in Jack's folder that listed the names of all of his classmates, as well as dates and descriptions of their problematic behavior. Some of the descriptions I saw include “has a mom who is a cop,” “no pronouns in insta bio,” “laughed at a fat joke,” “lists problematic show as one of their favorites,” “mimicked a foreign accent,” and “used cis-normative language.”
“Jack” denies to his obviously leftist parents that the list is actually his and to her credit, the advice given is to recommend he delete the list to see if he's lying to them and recommended enrolling him in therapy so a professional could help dissuade him from making these kinds of lists.
Interestingly, Jack's parents were closely monitoring his online activity in order to stop him from being radicalized to the right but ended up with a son radicalized to the left instead. They clearly weren't looking for that kind of behavior but the truth is that in today's society, radicalization to the extreme left is far more likely to happen as it's accepted by mainstream society.
But perhaps more interesting is the fact that Jack was keeping a list. One has to wonder what he planned to do with it.
In all likelihood, he probably planned to use it as leverage over his classmates at some point in the future. Jack, now radicalized to the left, probably thought it his duty to do this. Moreover, he likely understands that the might in society rests with the current king of the mainstream mountain; social justice ideology. To his naive teenage brain, might makes right. The ability to cancel someone is power and he was only too happy to act as an observer in order to record and report un-woke behavior mainstream society frowns upon. He's been made a true believer and he wants to enforce his belief…just as woke society has taught him to.
Journalist Ian Miles Cheong, who first brought this story to the public's attention, noted that this kind of behavior was foreseen by author George Orwell who wrote of the despotic dystopia of 1984. In that book, children became spies for the body politic, and it was so bad that even parents became afraid of their own children:
“Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it…. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.”
Orwell had seen the result of authoritarians and having been a propagandist himself for a time, had seen their effect on the minds of those around him. He witnessed the Soviets and Nazis brainwash their people, including their children.
While Jack wasn't reporting his findings to any governmental authority, he was recording his fellow student's behaviors for the benefit of what he saw as an authority, even if it was a nebulous one.
If you wanted proof that what the radical left is driving us toward is an Orwellian future of despotism, tyranny, and distrust, then here's your canary in the coalmine.