Years ago my friend Michael Malice told me about Paul Graham’s essay “What You Can’t Say,” and said the ideas in it had influenced him quite a bit.
Well, I finally got around to reading it, and I see what he means.
Here’s a passage I like:
Let’s start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?
If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you’re supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn’t. Odds are you just think what you’re told.
The other alternative would be that you independently considered every question and came up with the exact same answers that are now considered acceptable.
And that’s pretty unlikely, isn’t it?
This passage reminds me of the challenge that Professor Robert George poses to his students at Princeton. He asks them: how many of you, in 1840, would have been abolitionists?
Of course all their hands go up. Why, they would all have been abolitionists, silly!
And George says to them, in effect: I don’t believe you.
Approximately two percent of northerners were abolitionists. And yet everyone in George’s classes would have been among them. What are the odds!
His point is: it’s easy to say now that you would have been an abolitionist, when that is the opinion of everyone. It would have been hard to be one in 1840, when you would have been shunned.
And how many times, he asks, have you taken a position that caused you to lose friends, possibly your job, and become exceedingly unpopular? May I guess probably never?
So why am I supposed to believe you would have done so in 1840?
What we have is a very large population that considers itself brave for believing what all right-thinking people are expected to believe. Meanwhile, they condemn anyone who has the genuine bravery to stand against the crowd.
Here’s an example of something you can’t say, or you’ll be shunned and ruined. Try arguing, in a woke HR indoctrination session at your company, that disparities in income among the races is not evidence of “discrimination.”
It won’t matter that Thomas Sowell smashed this woke argument in his books Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? and Discrimination and Disparities. Because none of this has to do with facts or reason.
Here’s the podcast episode I did on Graham’s essay and these topics:
Now think about this:
There are things you can’t say in health — as we’ve seen with Big Tech suppression of dissident voices, and the Fauci/Collins collaboration against dissident scientists.
There are things — perfectly true things — you can’t say on the job.
Schoolteachers are going out of their way to teach things that are downright false.
The Biden Administration is redefining what a recession is, and its compliant media is dutifully spreading that redefinition.
This is Clown World, ladies and gentlemen.
And we either live in a world of lies, or we live by the truth.
That means withdrawing from the liars, and rallying to the truth-tellers.
And of course, those truth-tellers are the people you’ll hear from and have your life improved by inside my School of Life.
We reopen on Monday. Watch this space.
This article was originally published in Tom Woods’ newsletter. Subscribe and receive his free Ebook at NationalDivorce.com. Republished with permission.