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E-Pluribus | December 27, 2021
China's ultimate cancel culture, fighting woke hiring practices, and remembering the lessons of the U.S.S.R. 30 years later.
A round up of the latest and best writing and musings on the rise of illiberalism in the public discourse:
Noor Greene: She Survived China's Attempt to Erase Her
While cancel culture can have a devastating impact on individuals here in the U.S., the version practiced by the Chinese Communist Party can literally make people disappear. Tursunay Ziyawudun, an Uyghur Muslim from China who managed to defy the odds and now lives in the U.S. was interviewed about her experiences for Reason.
Tursunay Ziyawudun is part of the Turkic ethnic group known as the Uyghurs. […]
Ziyawudun says she spent 11 months in jail for no stated reason. She reports that she was sexually assaulted and tortured during that period.
Communist Party officials have attributed their treatment of the Uyghurs to the fight against terrorism. […]
But Human Rights advocates say that terrorism is just an excuse. In reality, these advocates argue, the Chinese government has oppressed the Uyghurs as part of its push for radical conformity. Chinese officials describe the camps as focused on "re-education" and career training. In 2017, when the crackdown intensified, Uyghurs were targeted for wearing head scarfs, for abstaining from drinking alcohol, and for displaying "abnormal behavior" like purchasing dumbbells.
Some attribute the Chinese government's push for conformity to capitalism, and to Beijing's desire to staff its factories, increase production, and surpass the U.S. on the global stage. But the Chinese Communist Party says its goal is to build a "Modern Socialist Country," not a capitalist one. Capitalism is about diversity and allowing citizens to prosper as individuals. It's the antithesis of coercion and uniformity. Most of the world's most successful companies were founded in the U.S. because of that freedom. Think Apple, Microsoft, Walmart, Tesla, and Facebook, which is banned in China.
China seeks to impose one identity, culture, and language on all of its 1.37 billion people, erasing that which does not conform. When command and control societies seek to impose uniformity—from the policies of Mao to those of Lenin and Stalin—those societies inevitably abuse human rights in the process.
Read it all.
Louis K. Bonham: Fighting Behind Enemy Lines: Three Tactics for Resisting Wokeness from Within
The DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) push on college campuses has complicated the hiring process for both potential faculty and staff as well as those at the colleges responsible for employment decisions. Attorney Louis Bonham writes for the website Minding The Campus with three practical suggestions for pushing back, one of which is excerpted below.
[U]niversities routinely conceal what they are doing by describing their policies in vague, amorphous terms (e.g., the University of Texas at Austin’s mandate for training and hiring based on demonstrated “diversity skills,” as that term is interpreted by the university’s diversity commissars). The schools then implement these policies a la “the first rule of Fight Club”—don’t write down what you are actually doing.
[H]ere are three proven tactics for resisting academic wokeness from within:
1. Confirm the Instructions in Writing
When, for example, you are told that “we are only going to hire/interview women/BIPOC/etc. for this position,” ask that such instructions be reflected in the committee or department’s minutes and/or records. If the administration obliges, you’ve now established what is likely a conclusive record of illegal discrimination by the institution.
If it resists (and it probably will), then ask why it is reluctant to put its own instructions in writing. (“If this is our policy, why are we afraid to record it?”)
If asked why you want the instructions documented, say “I am concerned about the legality of what we are doing/being told to do, and I want to make it clear that these are the administration’s instructions.” You might also want to point out that adopting the Kendian approach to employment decisions can result in multimillion-dollar judgments for Title VI violations.
Read it all here.
Roland Merullo: Empire of Lies
Comparisons of present-day America to the late Soviet Union are at times as risible as the worst offenders of Godwin’s Law with Nazi references, but this does not mean lessons cannot be drawn from the tactics of the USSR. Roland Merullo writes at Persuasion of some of his experiences living under that regime and how insidious the undermining of truth is to individuals and a society.
This Sunday marks thirty years since the collapse of the onion-domed palace of mendacity once called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—a collapse which filled so many of us with hope until Vladimir Putin arrived on the scene. That nation’s relatively brief lifespan has led me to believe that the truth exerts a kind of invisible pressure on human constructs, continuously leaning against us as individuals and societies, pushing us in the direction of honesty and harmony.
Dictatorships cause an immeasurable amount of suffering on this earth, but, in many cases, they don’t last. Whether it’s the junta in Argentina or the iron fist of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania, Idi Amin’s reign of terror in Uganda or the closed nation built by Lenin and Stalin and supported by their heirs, the tidal pressure of the truth eventually erodes the dictator’s power and breaks apart the system. Sometimes, as is the case in Iran, Burma, and Cambodia, and now in Russia, that breakage leads only to new lies, a new boss, more misery. At other times, as in Uruguay and what was once called East Germany, the collapse lets in a flood of light and the society blossoms and thrives.
It also happens—and perhaps this is happening in our country now—that a healthy society’s truthful foundation can undergo a slow erosion. In such cases, ordinary citizens begin to question even the idea of truth, whether it’s the evolving and complicated truth of science, fairly-counted votes in a national election, or the facts presented by multiple respected media outlets.
The human experience is painfully complex and, as a result, many of us long for simple answers. Autocrats on both right and left are more than happy to provide those simple answers if it serves their own purposes. First, they muddy the waters with conspiracy theories and disinformation, and then they construct their own narrative, based on a foundation of lies but presented with great conviction, and backed up by mockery, censorship, duplicity, and violence.
Read the whole thing.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education revises a holiday classic:
Via the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism, a testimonial about one state’s DEI “training”:
Matt Taibbi on further evidence of mission-drift (or maybe shipwreck) of the ACLU:
Finally, a thread from Yascha Mounk on Persuasion’s Word of the Year. Click through for the whole thing: