We Need More Civic Engagment—No, Not That Kind!

*Alert.* Washington wonk warning: I’m about to employ a Tocqueville quote to prove how clever and well-read I am. Feel free to report me to the cringe police, aka irony bros on Twitter.

“A despot will lightly forgive his subjects for not loving him, provided they do not love one another,” Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America. I know, I know. What a cliché way to start a political column. But I couldn’t think of a more apt truism to describe our golden shower of a state. Plus, that Frenchy chronicler really had tyranny’s number back in the pre-indoor-plumbing days.

If Cali Governor Ghastly Newsom’s goal is to boost the penal conditions of his open-air progressive prison, he’s doing a real bang-up job, fecal-splattered streets and all. The next step in clinking the bars tighter is—what else?—punishing wrongthink even harder.

(Yes, I’m also about to commit another conservative cringe sin by ragging on midnight-blue California, which is a bit like aiming for the special ed kid during p.e. dodgeball.)

California’s Civil Rights Department is instructing residents to report on any hate speech they chance overhear while traversing the hobo-ridden sidewalks. The initiative is dubbed CA vs. Hate, which has the ring of a Super Smash Bros. level. The ominous bureaucratese from the official .gov website: “The goals of CA vs. Hate are to help individuals and communities targeted for hate; identify options for next steps after a hate incident; connect people targeted for hate with culturally competent resources; and to improve hate incident and crime reporting data to enhance hate crimes prevention and response.”

Did ChatGPT compose that while immersed in Orwell and isopropyl? The jargon sounds like the last words Joseph K. might hear before his summary execution over misgendering a judge.

“Hate crimes prevention and response” comes across as an innocent description of a woke Gestapo, festooned with rainbow patches instead of brass badges, designed to kick down the doors of anyone who Googles “FBI crime statistics by race.” And “culturally competent resources” for the victims of hate? Are illegal immigrants questioned for an ID to buy Modello served a plate of tamales to make up for the indignity of being treated like everyone else?

Then there is the practicality of implementation. What firewalls will be put in place to prevent this oh-so-necessary hotline from becoming a Karen snitch-vent, where all phyla of microaggressions, from the innocent use of “you guys” to having plastic bags in Whole Foods, are documented? And what poor souls will be employed to comb through the amassing tattle trove? As internet comment sections have confirmed, there’s nothing the neurotic enjoy more than anonymously sounding off about whatever rankles their hide at any given moment.

Instead of addressing the widening wealth inequality gap that makes the Golden State resemble the antebellum South, or stopping Silicon Valley from developing Skynet to kill us all in the name of fast food convenience, California’s two-hundred-thousand paper pushers are focused on pitting residents against themselves. Gov. Newsom is pulling a play right out of the Girard handbook: scapegoating minor slights to distract from his own failure. Topped with the state’s “Reparations Task Force” that recommends handing out fat stacks of $1.2 million to every black resident, California is about to become a sanctuary state for anyone with an identitarian chip on their shoulder.

So Governor L’Oreal and his merry band of Calicrats want everyone to be more proactive in policing language? Sounds suffocating. Then again we’re talking about people who breathe in LA smog on a daily basis. The left values civic engagement, but only insomuch as it’s aimed at the right ends. Dialing up OSHA to report your coworker for refusing to add his pronouns to his email signature. Being a conscious citizen! Subduing an erratic mental defective who’s behaving menacingly on the subway? Clear-cut racism and a hate crime!

Only half-joking on the last part—though the chances of Daniel Penny getting a fair trial in Manhattan are about the same as Joe Biden passing a first-grade spelling test. We may never find out if Jordan Neely truly posed a threat to surrounding straphangers. Multiple 911 calls made before Penny’s fatal full nelson seem to belie the media narrative that Neely was just another hungry beggar, singing “Beat It” for his supper. The facts hardly matter when we’re lectured that disturbed transients draining the main vein in full-view of children is just the “price to pay for public transit.”

The message is clear: avert your eyes to impending physical danger. But keep those ears unmuffled for any racial or sexual microaggression! Qui habet aures audiat thoughtcrimes, audiat! Then whip out your smartphone and report it.

For the wokely orthodox, the spiritual is more significant than the physical. Who are you to complain if this social justice Gnosticism gets you assaulted by a raving schizo? Get over it, bigot. Lest you want jackbooted p.c. police knocking down your door in the middle of the night.

And of course, Tocqueville saw this paranoid mobocracy coming as well. Couldn’t end another highfalutin column without bringing that far-seeing frog again, could I?

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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