I encountered a very strange and crazy phenomenon in public discourse – not only in online comment sections and chat-rooms, but the main stream media as well, and that is preconditioning of dialogue.
Basically, that means that you can label someone as having non-permissible opinions or attitudes, basically not being ideologically appropriate, and you simply refuse to talk to that person, to “give him platform” for expressing his “propaganda”, because if an idea is different from yours, it is “propaganda”, and you need to suppress it by non-platforming it.
I’ve seen things like that before, in socialist Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Basically, this politically correct thing that has infiltrated public discourse and preconditions dialogue with having politically correct opinions, it’s not a new thing. All totalitarian systems did this.
I think it all started with antisemitism (in our modern post-WW2 society, at least). When it was basically outlawed, the precedent was set for removing certain intellectual and political options from public discourse and effectively penalizing them. Once that was in place, the list of attributes that put you on a no-speak and no-work list was extended to encompass everything some shitty group deemed unfavorable to their interests. Once the pedophiles manage to get enough public support, they will force the lawmakers to decriminalize fucking children, they will force the psychiatrists to stop viewing pedophilia as a disorder, and will invent a newspeak term “pedophobe” for someone who has a “pathological fear of pedophilia”, basically putting the inmates in charge of the asylum. If you think this is unrealistic, you need to wake up and smell the coffee. The inmates have been in charge of the asylum for decades already. Normal people are seen as a problem that needs to be solved, and all kinds of perverts and minority groups are praised as the best thing ever and something the world needs more of, not because they did something of value, but because they are minorities. They now treat being a “white male” as membership in some crime syndicate, and every instance of failure is attributed to oppression; and of course, you blame oppression on the group in power.
So, being labeled as one of the oppressors is the way of excluding people from public discourse – you shouldn’t have a voice because you’re part of the problem, because I say so. I see no difference between that and Stalinism. You shouldn’t have a voice because you’re [insert label here] and you should be deported to Gulag. So, basically, it should be called “argumentum ad Gulag”, which is a combination of ad hominem (because it discredits the person and not the arguments), ad consensu gentium (because “we all know” that [label] is evil and those who are evil need to be suppressed”) and ad baculum (because of the implicit threat of sanctions that result from the labeling).
My recommendation is that this entire approach should be abandoned immediately, and that people should be judged individually and on basis of the actual merit of their ideas and actions, and not by some label that is attached to them. I also recommend that any attempt at labeling is to be seen as a symptom of a desire to oppress others, essentially of passive aggression, and that it should be seen as very suspicious and indicative of malicious intents. There are simply too many historical precedents showing this.
And you know what the funny thing is? The very fact that this strategy is used shows that the one using it is in power and is using oppression against others. This is evident from the very fact that the true oppressors are never afraid of being labeled as such. When the racists were in power and owned slaves, if you accused them of being racists they would laugh at you: of course I am, you fool. When the Nazis were in power, accusing them of being antisemites and Nazis would yield the same result. So it’s proven that the one using labeling to direct social outrage and legal sanctions is in fact in power and is using oppression to fight dissent. Think about that for a while.
The test of a free society is whether you are free to respond to a label with “yes” or “maybe I am”, suffer no sanctions, and the debate continues with the actual arguments. If you need to defend yourself from the accusation in order to even participate in the discussion and not suffer repercussions, you live in a totalitarian society.