The Thought Police

[Content Note: Emotional auditing; projection.]

Over the past month or so, I've read so many retreads of familiar handwringing about "thought police" and "political correctness" and how what amounts to asking people to be kinder is having a "chilling" effect on freedom of expression.

This garbage is cyclical. It's grim predictions about how trigger warnings will ruin the world for three months, and then it's grim predictions about how affirmative action will ruin the world for three months, and then it's the thought police, and then it's something else, and then it's back to trigger warnings again, as though the same debate, such as it was, didn't just happen the year previous.

So we're in a "thought police" moment. Or, if you prefer, a "political correctness gone wild" moment.

And so, as a person who expects more, and thus is accused of being the thought police, let me just say once again: I am not the thought police.

Setting a higher standard and encouraging someone to reach for it, urging them not to settle into the well-tread grooves of their socialization but instead interrogate the vast and varied prejudices and myths with which they've been indoctrinated, isn't thought policing.

Asking someone to consider that maybe, just maybe, it isn't marginalized people who are too sensitive, but privileged people who are simply not sensitive enough, isn't thought policing.

Challenging someone to think about things in a way in which they may have never thought about them before isn't thought policing.

The entire rest of the world, with its privileging of men and straight people and cisgender people and thin (but not too thin!) and tall (but not too tall!) and able and healthy white bodies and religious people and people who have sex and people who can and want to be parents and the wealthy and the educated, and all the ways in which the rest of the world facilitates and upholds that privilege, and all the ways in which the rest of the world marginalizes and demeans and treats as less than all the people who deviate from those privileged "norms," and all the ways the rest of the world indoctrinates you into that system of privilege, and socializes you to believe it's the natural and right and immutable state of the world, and all the shills for the kyriarchy who fill the ether with self-reinforcing rubbish on a constant loop so you swim in a sea so thick with the detritus of Othering that you don't even notice it on a conscious level anymore, and all the bullies who manifest to kick you back in line if you do, if you have the temerity to question the message, and all the other bits and bobs of the brainwashing to which we are all subjected since the day we're born as part of scheme, nearly incomprehensible in scope, to ensure that challengers to these traditions are never made, and, if they're born, are squashed with the weight of mountainous tidal waves of blowback in the other direction…? The purveyors of that shit are the goddamn thought police.

And you know what one of the biggest lies they tell you is?

That it's the other way around.

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