The Luxury of Opinion
Why This Blog Exists
“For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.” — George Washington, March 15, 1783
Naturally, I have to answer the most fundamental question first: “Why?”
Simply put, this blog exists because expressing my opinions in any non-anonymous forum will undoubtedly lead to the loss of my job, and possibly the end of my career in my current field.
That truth has become apparent in the past five years, exceedingly so in the past two, but even providing the details of that revelation potentially exposes me to risk I dare not take. At least not yet.
In fact, the greatest challenge I’ll face in writing here will be to resist the temptation to use real-life examples or details that may disclose my identity.
Even as I write those words, I also know that, if this blog is ever measurably successful, it is almost inevitable that some enterprising lowlife will “out” me in order to destroy my ability to earn a living.
That inevitability is the essence of the answer to “why.”
It is no secret that anyone who expresses views that deviate from the Approved Orthodoxy risks personal and financial ruin. Recently, upon being forced out as Levi’s Brand Manager, executive Jennifer Sey turned down $1 million to avoid signing an NDA. She chose to forgo the money for the sake of being able to describe her experiences.
I don’t mean to downplay her story, as it’s valuable and instructive in two respects. First, she admittedly toed the progressive line on most topics (e.g. actively and visibly supported and participated in “Pride” events), but even that wasn’t enough to save her. The moment she began asking questions about COVID policy, she had committed enough of a violation of the Approved Orthodoxy to lose the support of the company that had previously lauded her.
Second, her story provides a rare glimmer of hope that these very public divorces may make enablers of corporate woke-ism think twice. Negative attention won’t deter true believers, but the high-ranking executives who quiver in the presence of narcissistic junior staffers may begin to rediscover their spines if they can cite clear public backlash over controversies like Sey’s.
However, Jennifer Sey’s story — or Joe Rogan’s or Dave Chappelle’s, for that matter — doesn’t squarely address the most damaging aspect of the total dominance of the woke / the Elect / the Successor Ideology in most mainstream institutions.
That’s because, as much as I disagree with the reaction to Sey or Rogan or Chappelle, they will still have viable professional and financial options in the wake of such treatment.
These individuals have the luxury of opinion. It is reprehensible that high-profile figures often pay a stiff price for voicing heterodox opinions — but, as with other luxuries, it is a stiff price that they can ultimately afford to pay.
Contrast that with a public-school teacher losing his job over refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns. Or an executive terminated by his company for failing to heap sufficient praise on the Black Lives Matter movement. Or a seasoned, respected manager who gets the axe thanks to a handful of fresh-out-of-college employees who feel “unsafe” after discovering the manager donated to the “wrong” politicians.
It’s those people whose names you’ll never know who will bear the brunt of this cowardly cultural decline.
As disgraceful as it is for some public figure to get “canceled” over something he said when he was 16, or for a joke a handful of Twitterati pretend to find distasteful, most people in that category will still have options.
This is not to excuse cancel culture in any way, but merely to point out that the consequences can be far more severe for run-of-the-mill conscientious objectors — or even for inadvertent heretics who unwittingly transgress some contemporary secular orthodoxy.
I am most assuredly someone who would fall into that category. Again without revealing anything too specific, my job and my non-work life both afford me some measure of visibility. But, whether due to insufficient financial security, insufficient talent, or both, I am not currently in a position to test the limits of what I might say.
This is the case despite the fact that my personal ideology isn’t especially remarkable. It’s fair to call me a reasonably traditional conservative who believes in America with a depth and intensity that borders on naïve at times.
To be clear, none of my principles or opinions would seem outrageous to the median American. But the median American has minimal influence on institutions, and therein lies one of the major cultural problems I’ll discuss in the weeks and months to come.
The crux of that problem is someone who holds traditional American values no longer has a place in any institution that isn’t explicitly right-leaning. My employment comes with an implicit or explicit agreement to keep my views to myself, even as coworkers openly celebrate progressive triumphs or publicly lament whatever meager (and usually temporary) conservative victories torment their poor little souls.
Meanwhile, media organizations are more than willing to devote significant resources to publicize and pursue those who run afoul of the Approved Orthodoxy. This is true whether these organizations are investigating private citizens, or ousting members of their own staff who prove insufficiently hostile to dissent.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am in no way framing myself as some kind of “victim.” I despise that mentality, and look down on those who embrace it.
Instead, I am merely recognizing reality: the cause-and-effect relationship between speaking my mind and remaining employed.
This blog exists because I now know for a fact that I would lose my current position if I were to share my views, even in a non-work context, and that it’s probably just a matter of time before these same views make me altogether unemployable in the type of job I currently possess.
From that perspective, part of me hates that this blog exists.
Or, rather, I hate that it’s necessary. But I will never stop speaking my mind.
But I also do not have the luxury of opinion.
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