Today’s progressives often argue for canceling and deplatforming experts and pundits on the grounds that opinions deviating from progressive orthodoxy literally threaten the safety of individuals exposed to those opinions. Someone who disagrees with you, even someone who does not robotically recite the woke left formula of the day, is literally assaulting you and deserves to be fired and banned from the public square and erased from historical memory. Many on the right mistakenly attribute this mentality to “cultural Marxism,” which hoped to substitute college students and racial minorities for the working class as the agents of socialist revolution. But this is not 1960s-vintage cultural Marxism; it is 1900s-vintage Social Gospel Protestant progressivism, in a new, secular form.
Absent another lethal pandemic, at some point in the next year or two, thanks to a combination of vaccination programs and herd immunity, lockdowns will be ended by state and local governments that have not already done so. But sooner or later there will be another crisis, and the dominant culture of technocratic progressivism and its adherents will insist it can only be addressed by expert-led, top-down, centralized government allocation of resources or jobs. Once again, whatever the new problem happens to be, we will be told that it is an emergency, that democratically elected officials must defer to the policy views of unelected academics or career civil servants, and that disagreement and debate threaten the survival of America and the personal safety of us all.
Just wait and see.