One might question why Biden’s military leadership finds it necessary to go after Tucker Carlson – Professor Hayek provides a likely possibility:
“It is not difficult to deprive the seat majority of independent thought. But the minority who will retain an inclination to criticize must also be silenced. Public criticism or even expressions of doubt must be suppressed because they tend to weaken support of the regime. As Sidney and Beatrice Webb report of the position in every Russian enterprise: ‘Whilst the work is in progress, any public expression of doubt that the plan will be successful is an act of disloyalty and even of treachery because of its possible effect on the will and efforts of the rest of the staff.'”
Never forget the intellectual basis for contemporary progressivism is “conventional wisdom”, and its enforcement mechanism is ad hominem.
Conventional wisdom is the “everybody knows” version of communal or collective knowledge – an uncritical, unchallenged acceptance of “we just know”, simply because the other members of a particular tribe have decided it is easiest to just not think about things too much. Conventional wisdom does not have to be based in science or observational reality, as a matter of fact, it does not need a basis in fact or data at all. A couple of examples of conventional wisdom that existed for centuries are that millions of people once believed that the Earth is flat, and millions also believed that the Earth is the center of the universe. It is a version of herd mentality, it is sometimes right, often wrong, but is rarely ever a basis for an honest inquiry into anything without a healthy dose of skepticism.
Conventional wisdom is often created by propaganda and the banning of alternate theories and information, like the way radical Islam claims that America just wants to destroy it, how North Koreans believe the United States always wants to attack their country and how the left believes that white people are irredeemably racist just because they are white (and yet white progressives are never racist).
Question or deviate from the accepted conventional wisdom and you WILL be attacked – personally. It is known as ad hominem (short for argumentum ad hominem), a situation where someone attacks the character, motive, or some other attribute of the person making an argument rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself. Common in the leftist media these days, this tactic is employed to smear and besmirch people (and groups of people) who do not ascribe to the conventional wisdom as racist, dishonest, or just simply evil absent of any facts proving that they are any of those things.
The single aspect that ties these two characteristics together is that neither require any sort of intellectual discipline. It is easy to believe things that fit your worldview (makes you feel good) and to believe that people who do not believe the same way are just evil (how dare they not see the truth!).
As Hayek noted, it isn’t that hard to deprive the majority of independent thought.
As a matter of fact, progressive ideology depends on people never recognizing objective reality. It depends on people railing about how the steak sizzles, not the quality of the meat (or even if the steak even exists). Many contemporary “movements”, the BLM “movement” in particular, are based on events (Hands up, don’t shoot!) that are objectively false but are sustained by propaganda and agitprop. It is unfortunately all too common that clashes and violence rest upon the perpetuation of a perception of some offense (white cops are hunting young, unarmed black men) that has no basis in fact and yet, authorities are too afraid to correct for fear of violent reaction – or, in the case of many cause celebre of the left, the correction would end the group’s political usefulness.
The problem is this – uncorrected perception will become a sort of pseudo-objective truth (i.e., conventional wisdom) if it is not effectively countered with objective fact – and why progressives tend to constantly prevaricate, parse, and dissemble.
Objectivity is the left’s biggest nightmare. That is why they must wage war against any public criticism or public expression of doubt. That is why cancel culture, bans on free speech and de-platforming of the opposition are all the rage on the left.
But this is also why truth is the most effective weapon rational people possess. Progressivism cannot survive a head on crash with reality. That is why progressivism takes so many detours.