Trevor Noah: Selective Outrage In a Trigger-Warning Culture

Trevor Noah (Reuters)

The new host of the Daily Show, Trevor Noah, is the latest celebrity to face career death in the unforgiving wastes of Twitter. Thanks to liberal double standards and enduring left-wing loyalty to the Daily Show as an institution, Noah may yet survive the experience, but he really shouldn’t.

Either trigger-warning culture expires, or his job does. If you’re a liberal sincerely invested in the cult of hypersensitivity, an unfunny comedian you barely know should be a small price to pay for keeping that rolling Internet freak-out going. You won’t have Indiana to hyperventilate about forever, right?

Personally, I’d rather see Noah stay and trigger-warning culture go, but I don’t have any illusions about liberals realizing their double standards make no sense and granting blanket dispensations for “edgy humor” to everyone. Watching Noah’s defenders shriek about “hate brigades,” because people they hate have the nerve to quote his “jokes” about Jews, Asians, fat girls, and so forth accurately, is cringe-inducing. The new breed of enforced intellectual conformity is so tedious and shrill. Fascists don’t even bother to put on snappy uniforms any more.

The defense of Noah boils down to the same old totalitarian garbage about how people with the “correct” politics can say anything they please, because the collective hive-mind has declared their souls purified by left-wing ideology. Mock the Scientologists and their “going clear” philosophy all you want, but Western liberals do the same thing every day of the week. They just don’t bother with theatrical equipment props and sci-fi backstories about disembodied aliens. If you strike the proper political stances, you are pronounced “clear” and can freely contradict hyper-sensitivity narratives as a Fully Operant Liberal. At the highest stage of Fully Operant Liberalism, you can leave a woman to drown in your car and still be hailed as a hero of feminism.

Neurotic hyper-sensitive culture is bad enough on its own, but combined with these political double standards, it devolves into an ugly regime of speech and thought control. We can scarcely get through a single news cycle without some prominent liberal skipping away free and clear from a toxic sound bite that would kill the career of anyone on the right. It’s all about the presumption of intent now, combined with politics as the sole acceptable measure of personal character. Those who subscribe to the correct public policies are given limitless credit for good intentions, while those who don’t are assigned the most scurrilous secret motives for everything they do and say.

Supporters of that Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act can speak logically about what the bill actually says, and offer high-minded defenses of religious liberty, until they’re blue in the face, but liberals ignore everything they say and issue dire pronouncements against the secret homophobia lurking in right-wing hearts. But the new Daily Show host can say things about protected minorities that would get him carted off any college campus in the land, and it’s cool because he has the right political credentials to prove freedom from malice?

Nuts to that.

This business of divining spiritual purity based on who someone is, no matter the quality of their words and ideas, has made America stupid and submissive. We’re saying we can no longer evaluate ideas or parse even the most obvious rhetoric – just point at the people we’re supposed to approve of, and we’ll clap like baby seals, then vote for whoever they judge least worthy of mockery.

One other point made clear by recent events: groups that wish to resist the coercive power of the collectivist State had better get started on closing the passion gap, pronto. Passion is more persuasive than reason now. Throw a fit, scream your head off, howl crude insults at your opponents, and vow to destroy their livelihood (or maybe even destroy their biology) if you want to be taken seriously by the Ruling Class. Let’s avoid the Left’s penchant for economic and physical threats, but we need to get serious about mastering the art of defensive outrage, because the polite demographics of America are getting their teeth kicked in. “Tolerance” is not achieved through a rigid hierarchy that makes some people fair game for the most vicious insults, while others are held immune to even the most carefully reasoned criticism.

We must also push back against the narrative that “social issues” are radioactive, and the public has no desire to discuss them for longer than a few hours at a stretch. The Left most certainly isn’t shy about hitting “social issues” with organized campaigns lasting for years, or using the power of the State to force social change down our throats. Our central government has grown so rich and powerful that everything is a “social issue” now, and there are no sidelines in the culture wars. It won’t be much of a contest if only one side accepts rules, agrees the game is running too long, and concedes defeat.


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