The objective is to create fear

As Monty Python told us “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

Jeff Thomas writes:

The Social Justice trend has appeared in recent years, and has rapidly gained momentum.

It appeared first on college campuses, where students accused a professor or, indeed, another student, of making a statement or using a word that was deemed socially unacceptable. The premise by the accuser was that a campus must be a safe space, where people should not be exposed to comments that may possibly make anyone feel demeaned or uncomfortable.

The accusers have earned the name “snowflakes,” as they tend to melt down at the slightest provocation. However, the Social Justice trend has given snowflakes considerable power, a power that’s often used recklessly.

Importantly, whether the offensive comment is correct or incorrect is not an issue. The “offense” is that the speaker has stated something that should not ever be mentioned, as it might upset the listener in some way. The “justice” that takes place is that one or more people file a formal complaint with a person or body that holds power over the speaker and demand that he be punished for his “wrongdoing.”

This has led to teachers and professors being warned, suspended, or fired from their positions, based merely on the existence of a complaint. In addition, “offending” students have been warned, suspended, or expelled, again, without what might be regarded as due process.

A related form of Social Justice is the vigilantism seeking to destroy those who are prominent. Former Miss Americas demanded that the entire board of the Miss America Pageant be dismissed for making disparaging remarks about pageant contestants. Several have been forced to resign in disgrace.

And, of course, we’re seeing the rise of complaints against actors, politicians, and other prominent individuals regarding alleged sexual denigration of women, even if it’s merely verbal. In each case, witnesses are “bravely coming forward,” en masse, although they often were silent for decades (if, indeed, the individual incidents ever occurred at all).

Whether a given individual has actually committed a crime or not seems immaterial in the new Social Justice trend. The focus is on vehement condemnation of an individual, usually by a host of others. Importantly, regardless of what process is used to prosecute (or persecute) those accused, a general assumption of the Social Justice trend is that, once someone is accused, he’s guilty and punishment must take place.

But, in fact, this trend is not new. Rabid groups of accusers appear throughout history, generally during times of existing social tension.

The Salem Witch Trials: 1692-1693 […]
The Nazi Sondergerichte: 1933-1945 […]
The Great Soviet Purge: 1936-1938 […]
The Red Scare – McCarthyism: 1947-1956 […]
The Spanish Inquisition: 1478-1834 […]

[…]Others that used the Social Justice approach to great effect were China, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Egypt (as recently as 2014), and Turkey (as recently as 2016).

And there are many more examples, far too numerous to mention.

In 1970, Monty Python did a series of sketches in which Michael Palin plays a cleric, saying, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

And, of course, this is true. The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, the McCarthy hearings, and the present Social Justice trend, are so over-the-top that their very existence is clearly absurd.

However, historically, whether it be a political leader like Stalin or Hitler, or a religious organisation, like the Catholic Church, or the present-day, self-styled “Social Justice Warriors,” such campaigns begin through the desire for power over others. What they have in common is that anyone can be targeted, group accusations carry greater weight than individual accusations, and the punishment invariably exceeds the level of the offense, if, indeed, there is any unlawful offense at all.

The objective is to create fear. The initiative begins with finger-pointing and mild punishment, such as the loss of a job. But it evolves into a circus that often grows to include more serious punishment, sometimes including execution.

Vigilantism grows out of troubled periods when frustrations and resentment run high. Because it’s emotionally driven, not logic-driven, it almost invariably morphs into irrational victimisation… and is always destructive in nature.

It is all good stuff when you are the SJB’s meting out the “justice”.  What would happen if the tables turned?

As Martin Niemöller so eloquently penned:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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Dr Seuss may have been describing WH when he wrote, “He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.”  WH, however, is tallish and only just fits in his MG.