While the communists were defeated decisively in the Cold War, looking at today’s culture one could be forgiven for thinking that it was the West that in fact lost. One salient feature of the communist world was the inability to speak the truth in public; people living under communism would say one thing in private and something totally different in public due to fear of offending the approved ideology of the government authorities and suffering serious consequences. George Orwell’s “doublethink” and “newspeak” dominated the scene. Dare to speak the truth and the communist authorities would call you an “enemy of the Revolution” and a traitor. You would lose your job, be harassed, beaten and imprisoned, and society would be urged to treat you like a pariah. Importantly, the regime hoped that by harshly punishing people who spoke the truth, the rest of the people in the country who believed as these outcasts did (and who could number in the millions) would be deterred from likewise speaking the truth. The communist regime could not let one bit of truth to enter the public domain, because that truth, no matter how small, would threaten a regime built upon lies; the emperor would be seen with his clothes off and the whole system would collapse.
The same oppressive system of the suppression of truth dominates in America and most of the West today. People are afraid to speak the truth in public for fear of offending the authorities and suffering the consequences. The only difference today is that the “authorities” are the cultural elites in the media, Hollywood, big business, the government, and the universities (and even in some circles of the Church and other religious organizations). Say anything that offends these authorities and their regime of political correctness, and you will pay dearly. At a minimum they will ostracize you, call you a bigot and Nazi, and demand that everyone in society avoid you. You could also lose your job, business, or tenured faculty position and be threatened with and actually suffer expensive litigation, massive fines, and even imprisonment.
Dare to say a truth like children, adults, and society do best when marriage is strong in society (a fact confirmed by nearly all researchers from the left, right, and center), and you will be called an insensitive, judgmental bigot by the elites. Say the truth that affirmative action and quotas are discrimination or that more police officers are killed each year in the line of duty than are black men wrongly killed by police (a fact confirmed by FBI statistics), and you will be called a racist. Say in public that America needs to protect her borders to stem human trafficking and illegal drugs and to prevent violent gang members and terrorists from entering the country, and the elites will brand you an anti-Hispanic bigot. State that radical Islam and its use of terror pose a serious danger to the world, and the politically correct elites will accuse you of being an anti-Muslim extremist. Dare to say that men and women are not identical in all ways (a fact confirmed by differences in average muscle density and stature, brain development, emotional intelligence, and nurturing instincts, among other things), and you will be called a misogynist; say this while working for big business and you could lose your job (as happened to James Damore at Google) or while president of an elite university and you could be forced to resign (as happened to Larry Summers at Harvard). Claim that there are only two sexes/genders (a fact confirmed by biology and acknowledged by every civilization from the beginning of time up until a few years ago), and you will be labeled a binary-gender extremist. Make a donation to an organization that supports traditional marriage or take a stand for traditional marriage by refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, and you could be forced to resign from your job (which happened to Brandon Eich of Mozilla) or ordered by the government to shut down part of your business and reeducate your staff (which happened to Jack Phillips in Colorado). Refuse to admit homosexual members, homosexual leaders, or even girls into your boys’ character forming organization because doing any of these things would violate your constitutionally protected core beliefs, and big business will cut off or threaten to cut off its donations to you and you will be harassed with expensive law suits (which is what happened to the Boy Scouts). Pass a law that requires people to use the public restroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate, and the elites will call you an anti-transgendered Nazi, big corporations and athletic leagues will cancel events in your state, and elite leaders in other states will forbid official travel there (as happened in North Carolina). Schedule a conservative speaker at a university, and elites will demand that the speech be cancelled because it would be offensive and bigoted and will do all they can to disrupt it (as happens regularly to any number of speeches by conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro and Ann Coulter).
To depart in public in any way from the approved ideology of the elites is to be guaranteed of its wrath. By harshly ostracizing and punishing people who dare to speak the truth, the politically-correct elites hope to prevent other people (who could number in the millions) from attempting to speak the truth. These elites know that if even one bit of truth is allowed to remain in the public domain, their entire politically correct regime would fall like a house of cards as its mendacious roots cannot survive exposure to the light.
So how can we regain freedom in America and the West? We can do so by learning from those East European dissidents like Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Vaclav Benda, and Victor Orban, who successfully brought down seemingly impregnable politically correct communist regimes in their countries in 1989. When faced with oppressive authorities whose rule was based on lies, these dissidents in the 1970’s and 1980’s decided on a novel strategy; rather than continuing to live “the lie” of these regimes, they decided to “live in truth.” They resolved to live as if they were truly free, to say the same things in public that they said in private, to live as if there were only the one world of truth—no matter the consequences. As Havel wrote in his essay “The Power of the Powerless”:
“As long as living a lie is not confronted with living the truth, the perspective needed to expose its mendacity is lacking. As soon as the alternative appears, however, it threatens the very existence and appearance and living a lie in term of what they are, both their essence and their all-inclusiveness. And at the same time, it is utterly unimportant how large a space this alternative occupies: its power does not consist in its physical attributes but in the light it casts on those pillars of the system and on its unstable foundations.”
And Havel warned that living in the truth would lead to harsh personal consequences: “If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living in the truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else.” He then cites the example of Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhinitsyn, who was expelled from the USSR in 1974 for speaking the truth. “Why was Solzhenitsyn driven out of his own country? Certainly not because he represented a unit of real power, that is, not because any of the regime’s representatives felt he might unseat them and take their place in government. Solzhinitsyn’s expulsion was something else: a desperate attempt to plug up a dreadful wellspring of truth; a truth which might cause incalculable transformations in social consciousness, which in turn might one day produce political debacles unpredictable in their consequences.”
As with Solzhenitsyn, harsh consequences did come to those people in Eastern Europe who lived in the truth—public denunciations, harassment, beatings, job firings, arrests, imprisonment. Havel, Benda, and Walesa themselves were repeatedly harassed, arrested, and imprisoned. But these courageous individuals still continued to fight for and live in the truth, chipping away at the pillars of the lies upholding communist rule. And in 1989, these pillars came crashing down in Eastern Europe; tens of millions of people were freed from tyranny and oppression, an outcome seen as almost impossible just a few years before.
Defenders of truth and sanity in America and the West today should follow the same strategies of these brave individuals who defeated communism at the end of the 20th century. We need to stop living the lie upholding the oppressive regime of the elites and start living in the truth, no matter the cost. We need to fearlessly speak in public what we say in private and expose the lies of the politically correct elites in the media, Hollywood, big business, the universities, and government (and in many circles of the Church and religious organizations). We must confront every lie of the elites and show that the emperor really is naked. And while we will be ostracized, threatened, harassed, fired from our jobs, lose corporate sponsorships and government grants, be fined, and possibly even serve time in prison, we must never give up living in the truth. If enough people expose the false “pillars of the system and its unstable foundations” political correctness will collapse like the communist regimes of Eastern Europe. Even though the odds may seem long against our ultimate victory, we must never forget that not even the most optimistic cold warriors, not even the East European dissidents themselves, expected communism to collapse as swiftly as it did. But that is the power of truth. “Then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”