The Thought Police of the American left now rule what's called the "cancel culture." You know this.
Ask yourself: What is it doing to the young? Some will go through life kneeling. And others may be driven deeper into the arms of the hard far right.
What kind of country are we building here?
"Cancel culture" is a force of Democratic politics now, just as Joe McCarthy, a thoroughly evil man, used his political witch hunts to become a force of Republican politics years ago.
Now Democrats hope to use it to win power. If you disagree, show me Democratic politicians who dare condemn this cultural terror?
Who wants to be the witch?
Just say the wrong thing. Merely like the wrong tweet — say, of someone criticizing Black Lives Matter — and you may lose your career. Your employer will be pressured to fire you. You will be shunned as were liberals of the 1950s, terrorized that they would be marginalized as communists.
It's the same dynamic, only now with Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms, which skew left. If that's not terror, then what is?
In the recent past, "cancel culture" was used by the left on liberals who strayed too far to the center. The new thought police would also attack prominent conservatives, but most of those had support from conservative magazines and other platforms and just kept writing and talking.
And what of those who don't have such support? And what of young people, who may have to suppress the urge to like a conservative take on Twitter? Just imagine if you were canceled for liking tweets by columnists who loathe Trump and who praise Black Lives Matter and appreciate antifa.
Can you imagine being canceled (i.e., fired and humiliated) for that?
No? Neither can I.
The new wrinkle is that cancel culture has spread, like a virus, out from the universities and into elementary schools, mainline churches, corporate HR departments.
It has spread to newsrooms, as The New York Times proved when it disgraced itself recently, by firing its editorial page editor for the sin of daring to run commentary from U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton.
Will the cancel culture come for me? I suppose so.
But as a boy, I never thought the Thought Police would come from the left.
I was taught the terror would come from the right. The McCarthy hearings were still in the public mind. We didn't call it "cancel culture" then, but "cancel culture" movies were popular, like "Fahrenheit 451," directed by Francois Truffaut, from the novel by Ray Bradbury.
My older cousins, liberal teachers and artists wanted me to read the novel first.
It was horrifying. The firemen were the ones who burned the books.
I was about 12 years old when I read it. I couldn't think of a world more frightening than one without books, thoughts, the freedom to speak your mind.
John Kass writes for the Chicago Tribune.