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CHARLES BANNERMAN: We must break free of this social media nonsense

By Charles Bannerman

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There are multiple online applications that can be classed as social media.
There are multiple online applications that can be classed as social media.

A Twittermob hounding Fiona Bruce out of her role as a charity ambassador simply for putting a Question Time statement into necessary legal context is the latest example of the unacceptable influence exerted by tiny, self-appointed woke minorities.

Similarly, 83-year-old Lady Susan Hussey was sacked as a royal aide because somebody needed to become offended about alleged questions on ethnic origins.

This witch hunt mentality, currently a cornerstone of wokery and tedious political correctness, is by no means new and repeatedly emerges throughout history. It’s been greatly helped on its way by an enormous emotional and psychological con trick – the fabrication of self-righteous moral rectitude by perpetrators whose “holier than thou” pretensions inhibit challenges and intimidate challengers.

Top of the historical list is religion where self-righteousness is endemic, as wonderfully satirised by Burns in Holy Willie’s Prayer. Usurp that moral high ground and you become very difficult to dislodge. Specific episodes within Christianity include Puritanism where they were so po-faced that they briefly managed to get Christmas cancelled. Then there was the Inquisition where the most dreadful atrocities were committed in the name of an alleged true Catholic orthodoxy.

Among history’s most terrible instances was the epidemic of witch hunts, an orgy of burning and torture with its epicentre in the 1600s, when the self-appointed righteous victimised anyone they could, but especially old ladies. That later inspired Arthur Miller’s allegorical play The Crucible, attacking the post-war Un-American Activities Committee which, under chief inquisitor Senator Joe McCarthy, persecuted not witches but alleged Communists, including Miller himself. People’s belief that they occupy the moral high ground promotes within them unthinkable delusions of entitlement.

The current penchant for jumping on a moral soapbox and presuming influence well out of proportion with your tiny minority view isn’t therefore new. And the modern tragedy is that, with everyone now running so scared of these sometimes crank fringe groups, freedom of speech is disappearing. Nowadays, it’s crucifixion by social media – that epitome of our ability to create means of communication vastly outstripping our capacity to use them responsibly. Righteousness is no longer measured by how big a Bible you take to church but by the content of your Twitterfeed.

Take Veganism. Old fashioned vegetarianism, the humble preference not to eat meat, has been completely ousted by this new fringe evangelism that brands you morally inferior and in danger of destroying the planet if you use any animal product.

I could add a clutch of other soapboxes that really only involve microscopic numbers, while their self-righteous propaganda is acquiring a public and media presence way out of proportion with too frequently concealed majority opinion.

And therein lies the threat. That silent majority is in danger of being bullied into silence and into fear of making challenges by this abject “holier than thou” con trick. We must break free of this nonsense because it’s really time to stand up for ourselves and tell these people where to go.

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