The Hivemind Enforcement Brigade has claimed another victim. This time it’s the seemingly harmless comedian Rob Schneider. Schneider, who recently resurrected his quiet funny “making copies guy” Saturday Night Live persona for a State Farm add, has been canned by the fearful eunuchs at State Farm. Why? Because he said something racist? Because he was once involved in a domestic dispute? Because he once spanked his kid? No, because he is “anti-vaccine” and the dutiful enforcers of the correct opinion on that issue rose up in collective indignation. How dare State Farm hire a funny guy to reprise a funny role since he once voiced a stray opinion? Doesn’t State Farm realize that once some malcontent voices an opinion that deviates from the accepted script, then he should no longer be allowed to pursue gainful employment? Jenny McCarthy was the victim of a similar campaign when she was hired to be on The View, but managed to keep her job, at least for a while. (As an aside, when I got all excited seeing the making copies guy again, I had to explain to my kids what the big deal was. They didn’t get it.)
Sigh! This hivemind enforcement is getting totally out of control. We are all aware of the PC Hivemind Enforcement Brigade which scours the country for any sign of deviation from equalist dogma. But we are now seeing the emergence of a related phenomenon, the Conventional Wisdom (CW) Hivemind Enforcement Brigade that likewise scours the country for any sign of independent thought that contradicts what the Powers That Be have deemed unassailable truth.
I’m not anti-vaccine, but I’m anti-anti-anti-vaccine, if you follow. It intuitively strikes me as more dangerous to condone the quashing of contrarian thought by the CW Gestapo, than it is to allow the contrarian thought to sink or swim in the arena of open discussion and debate. If the anti-vaccine folks are wrong, then counter them with facts and research, and I’m sure they’ll have their research as well. Let the chips fall where they may.
Now the CW shills will likely object that the anti-vaccine crowd doesn’t listen to research and that their own research is flawed. Perhaps so. Perhaps not. As a long time denizen of the nether regions of acceptable political thought, I am well acquainted with a certain mindset that seemingly reflexively rejects the conventional wisdom in favor of the alternative or contrarian viewpoint. They reject conventional medicine in favor of alternative medicine. They reject the pharmaceutical industry in favor of supplements and natural remedies. They reject big agriculture in favor of organic produce. They reject the accepted explanation for historical events in favor of conspiratorial explanations. They reject the mainstream media in favor of alternative media sources. Etc. These beliefs do not always come as a package, but one recognizes certain trends and tendencies. And these types inhabit both the left and right.
But while I don’t always agree with them, unlike the righteous defenders of the CW, I do not fear them. In fact, I think they represent a healthy tendency for the population as a whole. You don’t want a whole population of contrarians, but neither do you want a whole population that reflexively marches in lock step with the conventional wisdom.
I don’t get the mentality of the rabid defenders of the CW. What emotional stake does someone have in upholding the CW? It’s the CW, it will take care of itself. It doesn’t need your help. But these types pop up all over. They are well represented on social media. Just ask Jenny McCarthy. They are very much over represented in the mainstream media, just ask any creationist, birther, truther, “gold bug,” etc. who has managed to be noticed by them. “Ha ha … suchanother doesn’t believe in evolution. What a buffoon.” “Ha ha … suchanother doesn’t believe in global warming. What a buffoon.” “Ha ha … suchanother doubts the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate. What a buffoon.” “Ha ha … suchanother doesn’t believe that plane was shot down by Russian separatists. What a buffoon.” “Ha ha … suchanother rejects central banking. What a buffoon.” I could go on, but you get the point.
For the record, I consider myself something of a tweener. I neither reflexively accept nor deny the CW or the alternative. I try to weigh both sides before coming to a conclusion. I accept the CW in some cases. I accept the alternative in others. Imagine that. But I recognize that I’m inherently more tolerant of the reflexive rejecters than I am the reflexive acceptors. Reflexive acceptance strikes me as thoughtless and a position of weakness. No one was ever criticized for spouting the conventional wisdom. While reflexive rejection is also … well reflexive, at least it’s bold.
I am convinced that the emotional investment in dutifully upholding the CW is, like dutifully spouting PC platitudes, a form of cultural signaling. It’s (often blue) flag waving. It lets the world know that the waver is a pristine upholder of acceptable and allowable opinion and not one of those silly “deniers” or “anties.” This viscerally strikes me as cloying and pathetic. Even where I accept the CW, I am careful to be respectful of the other side lest I be seen as a shill. Please get over yourselves CW lock steppers. You’re embarrassing yourselves and suppressing dissident thought. You never know, today’s dissident opinion may be tomorrow’s conventional wisdom. Just relax and let the free-market of ideas work it out, and let harmless comedians make a living.