This is the fourth and last of the current series of open letters to NAME. There may be more at some time, but this is the last in reaction to the increasingly intolerant and autocratic censorship of the NAME mailing list that has been increasing in the past year. Unlike the first three letters, this is specifically written to the conservative members of NAME who have been marginalized and silenced both in the mailing list and at their jobs.
The first letter is here.
The second letter is here.
The third letter is here.
One of the more eye-opening things that occurred after my banning and censorship by the NAME mailinglist was the numerous contacts that were made by conservative forensic pathologists and investigators who voiced support, but said that they were afraid to say anything because they would lose their jobs or be attacked at work. And that’s the difference between conservatives and “tolerant” Progressives. When someone says something I disagree with, I want to debate them. When I say something a Progressive disagrees with, they want me silenced and fired. This stunning intolerance of dissenting thought has become a hallmark of the left. There are good reasons why secular Progressives are so threatened by dissent, but that is beyond the scope of this letter. One very illuminating discussion can be found in Joseph Bottum’s “An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America.”, which argues that this is a result of post-religious moral anxiety more than real moral certainty.
Because of this increasing intolerance, it has become dangerous for conservatives to reveal their traditionalist viewpoints. I mentioned forming a forum for conservative forensic pathologists, but it was uniformly rejected out of fear. Here is one response I got (modified to protect anonymity):
“You’re correct, of course, about the organizing, but I’m sorry to have to disappoint you, I can’t sign or publicly be recognized as opposing the
current nonsense. I work for local government “at the pleasure of” [a Progressive Chief], in a 75%+ liberal community with many [Progressive activists], including the home of [a prominent Progressive politician], and I just bought a house here [not too long ago]. I can’t chance losing this job to the cancel mob. …I’m not single, or I wouldn’t worry so.”
“Well, if I am an example, then we’ve lost. [I’m afraid for me or my spouse to] get involved politically in the community or on social media, I’m reluctant to
teach at church because I’d have to [publicly voice unpopular conservative positions], and I won’t cancel [other memberships and credit cards] because I’d have to tell them why, and that’d be leaked somehow to woke activists, I fear. Even giving money to campaigns is risky, as that is public information. And in [my state], if my campaign donations went to a losing candidate or party and the victorious [public official] is vindictive, my chances [of a promotion or] surviving a complaint … go waaaay down. I feel like the only thing I can safely do privately is vote…
…And I don’t really have friends on the ListServ that I can trust. People I thought would be conservative seem to be posturing or taking unpredictable
stances. I’d resign from NAME, but that’d be taking a public stance; plus, [my office pays for it], so I can’t just quietly not send a check and let it go. So yeah, it’s almost over…”
This is the atmosphere the NAME leadership maintains with its selective approach to calling something “political” or “religious” or “insensitive.” The embrace of the cancel culture by the left leadership in all sorts of organizations and institutions is creating a profoundly oppressive culture. And it’s getting worse, as the woke culture becomes increasingly strident.
Traditionally, Christians have reacted to this by renewing interest in monasticism and retreat from society. More recently, this approach has been suggested by some, best voiced, I think in the popular book by Rod Dreher called “The Benedict Option,” referring to the establishment of monasteries by St. Benedict that preserved literature and much of civilization during the early so-called “Dark Ages.” Dreher and others who support this approach believe that in post-Christian America, Christians must retreat from the world into self-supporting groups, hopeful to re-emerge after the fires die down.
But there are also those who suggest the opposite. A recent proponent of this different approach labeled it the “Samuel Adams Option.” This was explained very well in a recent column by JS Winter at American Greatness. Because it is so well-written, I’m going to quote extensively from it — it makes almost every point I was going to make.
There is something deeply attractive about withdrawing from a sick culture and society. Why bother with people who do not share your values and don’t understand or appreciate your point of view? Countries rise and fall all of the time. Many mainstream Americans are well-off and do not want to rock the boat in any way. Maybe the storm will burn itself out and Christianity, constitutionalism, and the American Dream will make a comeback organically.
But there is no remote monastery. There is no Galt’s Gulch [referring to “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand]. Rather, choosing the Benedict Option ultimately leads to destruction, marginalization, ridicule, or silence—because for the Left, Christians, conservatives, and mainstream Americans in general are the enemy. As long as America is committed to liberty and has a robust middle class, it will naturally oppose statism, crony capitalism, and corruption. It will inherently oppose unchecked power.
Instead of the Benedict Option, mainstream Americans who are interested in preserving their country should consider the “Samuel Adams Option.”
In the 1760s, the British Empire was the most powerful political and military force in the western world. The British navy, treasury, and technology were second to none. Like an anaconda, the king and parliament were slowly strangling the rights of the colonists, reducing them to second-class citizen status with their restrictions on American commerce, currency, and self-determination. They were aided and abetted by up to 30 percent of the colonists who called themselves Tories.
So what did Samuel Adams and other patriots do?
- They formed Committees of Correspondence—connecting patriots to each other across the different towns and villages within individual colonies and with each other.
- They developed their own media to promote “the rights of the colonists, and of this province [Massachusetts] in particular, as men, as Christians, and as subjects; to communicate and publish the same to the several towns in this province and to the world as the sense of this town.”
- They protected themselves from the “cancel culture” of their era by often using pseudonyms and forming secret societies.
- They used symbolic acts of resistance like the Boston Tea Party to mobilize public opinion.
- They worked within the system as much as possible—petitioning allies within the British government.
- They published the names and exposed the merchants who imported British goods and undermined American industry.
The conditions are not exactly the same today. Instead of a monarchy, the radical leftist ideology that has swept through the commanding heights of academia, Hollywood, the media, and big business basically aspires to establish what Tocqueville might have called a “soft despotism” through one-party rule.
Read the rest at the link above.
I suggest that conservative and traditionalist members of the medicolegal death investigation community consider this strategy. Don’t be silent, and don’t allow yourselves to be isolated. You are not alone. There are many here who still believe in individual liberty, the Bill of Rights and the basis of the right of free speech and exercise of religion, who believe that progress is based on open discourse instead of censorship and intimidation. Consider the points that Winter makes.
- Create a forum so that like-minded forensic scientists can correspond, organize action, and find others who share their values. This is nothing new — when I was banned from the NAME mailinglist for daring to criticize the activists who were threatening the ME office in Minneapolis, it came out that there was a woman-only forum that had apparently been agitating for this for some time. If what I have been told is correct, the censorship of my position was apparently due in part to their efforts. Organization works. Many conservative forensic folk feel alone and isolated, but there are, in fact, many of us still. We need to organize.
- Develop outlets for expression that NAME and other Progressive organizations cannot silence. It will start out small, but it will grow, and as long as it is out there, people will be able to see it.
- One of the things I suggested to some of the folk who corresponded with me was the idea of anonymous forum. It *is* possible to do, depending on the degree of anonymity one wishes. Just as the woman-only Progressive forum that was involved in silencing me, it can be invitation only. It can further make use of pseudonyms, etc. One could have both open and closed forums. There are a number of platforms that can host it, and, frankly, if someone want’s to run with it, I can host it on my server.
- Don’t be completely cowed. Don’t allow yourself to be silenced, or at least be silenced as little as possible while maintaining safety. This could mean, for instance, making open statement and open letters using pseudonyms rather than posting using your name on the NAME mailinglist, where you will be punished by the leadership, and by your employer.
- Work within the system. Run for leadership positions. Leadership in organizations like NAME are profoundly self-selected. Almost nobody “runs” for these positions — the outgoing officers choose their successors. It doesn’t have to be that way. Get on committees *along with those who will support you.* You don’t have to do it alone.
- When people do outrageous things, out them for it. Criticize it when someone who preaches “tolerance” acts like a bigot and condemns someone for their religion and such. Make them play by their own rules. Even if you have to do it anonymously.
It won’t be easy. And, as I’ve said, I’m getting out of the business. This is something that people who are younger and have energy and drive should do. I can’t drive it myself. I’m old, tired, and, most importantly, put on notice by the NAME leadership. But I can help, and I would be happy to do that.
So, those of you who are not Progressives, look to your friends. Think about organizing. I will be worth it to you. You are *not* alone. And don’t give up. Contact me if you are interested, and I will collect names of people who want to establish something. I can’t drive it, but I can act as facilitator.
Let me know. Because if you stay passive, it will only get worse.