Sullivan is correct that intolerance is very real, but he’s wrong that present conditions are “very reminiscent of totalitarian states.” There is a substantial difference between state censorship—enforced at gunpoint—and the professional and social intolerance that dominates illiberal institutions. The East German Stasi would leave your body in a ditch. That’s a different universe of oppression compared to the harms woke America inflicts on its victims today..
Yeah… No. I’m not a specialist on the Stasi but in the USSR there were no bodies in ditches after 1924 and no bodies anywhere after 1953. The society didn’t stop being totalitarian because the purges ended, though.
This obsession with the state as the only possible source of totalitarianism reminds me of the old joke about a WWII partisan who kept blowing up trains 50 years after the war ended.
Yes, the US is infinitely better than Stalin’s USSR. Yippee. That doesn’t mean totalitarian tendencies aren’t very present here. There’s also a lot of ignorance in the quoted analysis. After 1953 Soviet people had no fear of gunpoint or ditches. It was not part of the Soviet reality, and anybody who claims otherwise is an idiot. They were afraid of what that anonymous Berkeley professor (or whoever authored his letter) is afraid of. They were afraid of what I’m afraid of today.
All of these inane and uninformed stories about gunpoints and ditches are meant to soothe primitive minds.