Consider the bipolar nature of our society today. Modern society, thanks to the new tool that is social media, has created an enormous reward system for people who manage to stand above the crowd, who get themselves noticed, who are exceptional enough to attract followers, adherents, acolytes, and worshipers. We have countless examples of people “famous for being famous.” “Influencer” has gone from self-indulgence to career path. Ditto for myriad other avocations that we find on social media.

Simultaneously, people build fame (and often fortune) by tearing others down, a phenomenon that has been amplified (and indeed weaponized into what has been dubbed ‘cancel culture’) by social media. This is born of a tendency, one that may very well be innate in human nature, to target and “cut down to size” those who stand out, to be above or better than the norm. One summation of this tendency is dubbed Tall Poppy Syndrome. It is often justified as taking down the arrogant, as sharing humility, as creating a better, more just, and more equitable society. It echoes the Scandinavian Law of Jante, albeit in a more American form.

It’s getting worse by the day.

The views, attitudes, and policy prescriptions of these negative aggressors can be summarized thus:

If you are too successful, your success must be taken.

If you are too vocally critical, you must be silenced.

If you use forbidden words, you must be punished.

If you are noticed, you must be cut down.

If you are buyable, you will be bought.

If you are sellable, you will be sold.

If you are armed, you must be disarmed.


You are a card-carrying member of the Party, say what the Party tells you to say, do what the Party tells you to do, denounce all not of the Party, and report all transgressors to the Party.

That Party isn’t one of the political parties. It is the Party of Woke, the progressive-activist movement in its current incarnation, led by a number of agitators, activists, social-justice- and culture-warriors who tell us, in no uncertain terms, not only how we must behave, but what we must think. And I stress “must” here – there is no “being left alone” under this Party’s Eye of Sauron, as evinced by the “teachings” of such as Ibram X. Kendi, who asserts that if you are not actively anti-racist, you are racist. No in-between, no golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” no “left alone in your toil,” no pursuit of happiness.

These demands are, we are told, necessary for making our society better, for fixing race relations, for correcting and atoning for past sins (not ours, mind you, but the sins of people long dead), and for the sake of “equity” and “diversity.”

Equity is not equality – in fact, it reject equality of opportunity in favor of a coerced equality of outcome (a very selective equality of outcome, by the way, one that is both defined and judged by the PoWoke’s high priests). Diversity is also similarly coerced and delimited to include certain forms and exclude other forms. Diversity of skin color is good (with exceptions), diversity of political views is bad (without exceptions).

The bottom line of all this is a quest for a society that is homogeneous in a long list of ways, that rejects diversities born of liberty and individual differences, but is “diverse” in outward appearance. A town, a neighborhood, a boardroom, a company’s employee pool, a school, must reflect a mix of identity markers that approximates a set of ratios that the PoWoke high priests dictate. In some cases, it’s to mirror society at large. In other cases, there is a demand for over-weight of some identities – that’s the “equity” game.

Again, this is all coercive in nature, both culturally and (increasingly) legislatively. The goal is a superficial diversity (of identity markers) achieved through the enforcement of an underlying conformity (of thought, belief, and worldview).

The latter – a homogeneity of thought – can be argued as a goal for any political belief set, even libertarianism, to some degree. However, therein lies a form of moral relativism that would lead us to a false conclusion – that all belief sets are on equal moral footing. If we take as axiomatic the twin premises of self-ownership and equality, then moral relativism instantly falls apart. As just one example, there have been countless societies throughout history, including our own for its first eight decades, wherein slavery was legal. If all homogeneities of thought are on equal moral footing, why would slavery be wrong? The only way a society can elevate itself above the worst sorts of human predation is to start with a moral foundation of individual liberty and self-ownership.

There’s another fallacy herein – that this particular homogeneity of thought – the premise that coerced diversity is the road to a better (better meaning, I presume, more harmonious and just for all) society, fails both on evidence and on human nature. We see all around us the rancor and ill will created by this coercion – rancor and ill will among good people, not just the actual racists such as those who rejected equal rights for minorities during the civil rights movement. We see in history the repeated failures of societies that sought to inculcate thought that subordinated the individual to society at large. We have the reality that any structure that is predicated on inequality will inevitably produce internal zero-sum, crab-antics fighting, where people tear each other down so that they can elevate themselves.

The worst part of our progressive fellows’ worldview, one that most of them, I’d argue, are too uncomfortable to admit to themselves, is the support for unequal treatment of individuals. It’ll be rationalized in countless ways, and I’m sure you’ve seen countless memes that explain why some must be given preferential treatment, but this is a path to ruin. Once coercive inequality is normalized, there is no foundational underpinning for its ever ending.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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