Thursday, June 3, 2021

Stop Talking, Stop Thinking


A couple of days ago, I posted the following comment at Paul VanderKlay’s site:

PVK: “You know things are getting tyrannical when there’s a law against patience.  DON’T THINK, JUST OBEY!  Oh, OK, I see some tyranny coming down the road here.”

Paul, if that’s the criteria (and I think it is appropriate), we are already there.

To think, we must talk.  If we cannot talk, we cannot think.  There are many things worth discussing that have been made illegal to discuss.  And this is just in the legal / state realm; with the relationship of big business and big tech with the state, there may not be prison involved, but one can be equally shut out of society for saying the wrong thing.

Hence, we cannot think because we cannot talk.  All that is left is to obey.

Then today I came across this essay by Stella Morabito, entitled How Ending Freedom Of Expression Gives Up Your Right To A Private Life.  Morabito offers much more depth to the brief comment I offered, and it is worth touching on.  For example:

We rarely discuss the deeper purpose of the First Amendment, which is to preserve our right to build families, our right to make friends without state interference, and even the right to think our own thoughts.

To think, we must talk.

In short, the First Amendment serves as a shield against social isolation. You are being socially isolated whenever the mass state or Big Tech regulates your speech so that you can’t express an opinion without fear of losing your livelihood.

If we cannot talk, we cannot think.

Thus, cut off from open conversation, your ability even to think — to generate new ideas, consider new ideas from others, improve those ideas by communicating — evaporates.

We cannot think because we cannot talk.

Political philosopher Hannah Arendt noted that all totalitarian systems depend upon cultivating social isolation in people. Isolation renders people powerless. So it’s no wonder that freedom of expression is always first on the chopping block during and after authoritarian takeovers.

As VanderKlay said: “You know things are getting tyrannical when there’s a law against patience.  DON’T THINK, JUST OBEY!  Oh, OK, I see some tyranny coming down the road here.”


From G.K. Chesterton (and taken from Morabito’s essay): “There is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped.”


  1. But they socially isolate because we may get sick and there is an off chance we may die because of it. Social isolation is now being compassionate and considerate. Blah.

  2. Quote: "To think, we must talk. If we cannot talk, we cannot think"

    Oh, I'm not so sure about that. When I want to think, it's usually enough to secure some peace and quiet, or at least to eliminate loud noises and to suppress (or move away from) distracting inanity like Rock & Roll, hip hop, news speakers and so on. Thinking≠dialectics. You are surely correct, however, that the practice of dialectics requires communication.

  3. That very same sentiment was expressed by Jordan Peterson in a panel discussion on the theme of the documentary "Better Left Unsaid." I very interesting group that included Michael Rectenwald, examined the effect and goal of Critical Race Theory is to destroy the ability to actually think critically at all.

  4. Christ is risen!
    I think of the condition of contemporary society as one grounded philosophically in Hobbes's obsession with fear regarding the survival of the body and whose culture embodies the "morals" of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh, and lest I forget, it is a society that appropriates Orwell's 1984 as a how-to-do-it handbook. As Winston Smith, Orwell's narrator in 1984, puts it, "Freedom is the right to say two plus two equals four. Everything else derives from this." I am told, by my department chair, by the University, by the State, and, yes, by the Church, or the ruling officials thereof, to address somebody whom my senses report as a single person as a "they". The imposers of this command want me not only to lie about the evidence of the senses, but to suppress any inclination to do otherwise as indicative of thought crime. If the current thought police are reminded that what they are commanding is identical to what the Inner Party's Thought Police attempts to do through New Speak, they will deny that equivalence. If the Inner Party, or their useful idiots, come to see the baselessness of this denial, it will be by way of Orwellian Double Think. Perhaps our cultural "leaders" know what they are doing or could be made to see their behavior as hypocrisy. But that's exactly the problem: not the existence of wide spread corruption, hypocrisy but no real concern to avoid being hypocritical. Names will never hurt them.

  5. Irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable is simply not condoned. It is always the case that the pronouncements of authority are so considered. The current term is 'misinformation'. It used to be called 'blasphemy'.

    All authority is parasitic and parasites always need to curtail communication because what they are doing is evil and they must stop those who see the evil from pointing it out to those who don't.

    1. "All authority is parasitic..."

      Do you really mean "all"?

    2. It is never a question of authority vs. no authority. It is always the question of which authority, whose authority will be dominant. Everyone has authority over something and, even though it may be nothing more than something most would consider trivial, it is still authority.

      Sacred or inviolable are relative terms and irreverence towards what those relate to is also relative, meaning different things in different times to different people. Today, it is called 'misinformation'. Yesterday, it was 'blasphemy'. Tomorrow, it will be something else. While these may change, sacredness and irreverence, like authority, will always remain.

      In Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote this.
      "Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."

      No one can claim that life does not set tasks for everyone, which they are responsible for solving in their own way. This, by itself, requires authority over those tasks. Even though the circumstances of those tasks change, there is still the responsibility to solve the new set of tasks and, therefore, a new version of authority.

      Authority never ceases. It is the manner of action we take over our authority which is important and for what we are ultimately responsible.