India is aware of what Bari Weiss is speaking about: The intolerance of ‘liberals’

Weiss’ observations hold true for most self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ newsrooms across the world.

Last year on 5 August, when India mainstreamed its state of Jammu and Kashmir by taking away special status under Article 370, liberal western media erupted with war cries. An unending stream of articles started appearing, targeting India and nationalist Hindus.

None of those pieces took into account that India as a sovereign nation is entitled to grant a part of its territory equal, not inferior, status under law. Or that Article 370 was a tool to egg on separatism and Islamic terrorism in Kashmir. Or that it impinged on the rights of women, Dalits, migrant labourers, and even LGBTQIA persons.

After relentlessly attacking India in its op-eds, when The New York Times approached India’s nationalist government’s ideological anchor organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), it was met with scorn.

On being told that it never carries the other view, NYT apparently agreed to carry a piece by RSS ideologue Manmohan Vaidya. But senior RSS leaders say that when the piece was submitted on the condition that portions would not be conveniently edited out, it never appeared.

The NYT apparently cited a lone piece by the Indian ambassador to the US to say it had done the needful, implying it would be an excess to give the Indian view any more space. It, however, continues to carry scores of articles from the Left and Islamist anti-India standpoint on Kashmir.

Most Indians, therefore, are not surprised to read Bari Weiss’ scorching resignation letter to the NYT, accusing it of the most nauseating, oppressive censorship and bullying in the name of liberalism.

“Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions,” she writes. “My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist.”

She says her work and character “are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name.”

Weiss’ observations hold true for most self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ newsrooms across the world.

Mainly because the very world ‘liberal’ has been hijacked by the world’s two most illiberal ideologies: Islamism and Communism.

And these two ideologies have systematically taken over campuses in the West and democracies elsewhere, and are now baring their wolf fangs from under their sheep skin of sanctimony and political correctness.

In his piece ‘The Rock That Broke Liberalism’ in the Dhaka Tribune after Narendra Modi’s 2019 election sweep, Shafiqur Rahman does some hard analysis on the failure of the liberal order.

“Stubborn defence of group identity by Muslims of the world has made upholding group identity respectable for all groups, majority or minority, powerful or weak… If Muslims can be unabashedly assertive about the sanctity of their religious identity and traditions, other groups can be unapologetic about their respective identities too,” Rahman writes.

“In established democracies, Muslims are generally politically allied with liberal progressives, and this alliance has opened liberals up to accusation of double standards in protecting a very illiberal minority identity. Abandoning universalism and embracing identitarianism is hollowing out liberalism from within. Either the principles of liberalism apply for all groups or none at all.”

It is this hypocrisy that Weiss repeatedly dwells on while talking about the NYT newsroom.

“If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinised. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets,” she writes.

Indian journalists, students, academicians and intellectuals with a Right-leaning, Indic or nationalistic view have suffered this ‘secular’, ‘liberal’ apartheid for over seven decades. They would be taunted, hounded, denied peer review of their books, called “regressive” or “vernac”, not hired in jobs, marginalised or sacked.

On TV, there would be a token dissenting voice in a large panel and the anchor would seldom allow that person to speak uninterrupted even for a short while.

The situation has changed in the last six years, but derogatory labels like “sanghi” or “bhakt” or “fascist” are widely used to cut them down to size and avoid genuine debate on issues.

Such is the intolerance of the Left activists that even basic conservative or nationalist ideas of capitalism, individualism, limited government, strong defence and pride in tradition are portrayed as tyrannical. The West’s new ‘social justice warriors’ justify violence against those who hold such ideas.

American journalist Sasha Polakow-Suransky argues in his book Go Back To Where You Came From that “failure [of liberals] to confront the real tensions and failures of integration, by pretending violent extremism and attacks on free speech were not problems, infuriated many voters and left them feeling abandoned by mainstream parties.”

Alexis Levit elaborates on this violent, head-shrinking intolerance on campus in the Stanford Review: “Ben Shapiro spoke at Memorial Auditorium in November, causing intense upheaval. Following the speech, Daily headlines asked, ‘When will Stanford begin to protect its students?’ Activists portrayed Shapiro as a cockroach to be exterminated. A large crowd amassed outside Memorial Auditorium to harass attendees, shouting loudly about the lives that had “come under attack” as a result of Shapiro’s appearance. Does something so trivial as a speech by a conservative really warrant this type of hysteria and outrage?”

Francis Fukuyaka’s 1989 prediction of the “end of history” and a permanent liberal order with the collapse of Soviet Union was grossly premature.

By sleeping with the worst illiberals and condoning them, liberals have set off something quite the reverse.

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