Then take in this one.
So much to think about there. But the following quote had particular resonance for me, because I often find myself in this “emperor’s new clothes” position regarding performances:
At the Salzburg Festival, in particular, people will say to me, “Wasn’t that a wonderful production?” (This will refer to an opera production.) I’ll say, “No, actually. I thought it was abominable, a disgrace. It did violence to the score and the libretto. The director hijacked the opera. It made no artistic sense whatsoever.”
They’ll say, “Really? I think so too.”
You see, all they needed to know was that it was okay to stand up to the commissars — not even to stand up to them, merely to disagree with them, in private. They needed to know that it was okay to think what they actually thought. They needed someone to say, “Come on in, the water’s fine.”
People are terrified of being thought uncool, conservative, square, not with-it. Bold others can help them get over their terror.
A lot of people know it’s wrong that junior-high kids are screwing one another. They just need to know that it’s all right to think that — that they are not bad, repressive people.
I have a friend who works for a celebrity. The celebrity often mouths left-wing views. Has all the left-wing attitudes and poses. My friend says, “It’s not that he has come to these views on his own. They were not formed from years of study, thinking, and experience. He’s just impressionable. If it were cool in his circles to be right-wing, that’s what he’d be.”
Nordlinger goes on to talk about people coming out to him and to others as secret conservatives. I’ve had that happen to me many times, both in groups (especially of women) in which I’ve spoken out as the sole conservative voice, and in emails I’ve received from people in the arts and/or academia. People come up to me and tell me, in a voice no one else can hear (or in emails), that they agree with me but must keep it quiet because of fear of the consequences. As many times as it’s happened, it remains a shock to learn of the extent and reach of the thought police out there.
We all need to keep speaking out as conservatives, in order to show others that we don’t have horns and are quite intelligent and well-informed (I was once told by a liberal man I had just met, in tones of stunned disbelief, “I can’t believe it; you’re so intelligent, and yet you’re a conservative!”). This is especially true of those in academia and the arts. Their fear, of course, is job loss and/or lack of promotion as much as social ostracism. Both are, unfortunately, very real risks.
[NOTE: Sometimes people assume that in my private life my friends and family don’t know about my politics. I just want to make it clear that they do. I don’t always speak up in more public ways—such as, for example, at parties or in groups where I don’t know people all that well. It depends on the situation. But I often do, much to my social detriment. I’ve actually seen people who were previously cordial recoil in horror, even if all I’ve done is say I disagree with some viewpoint being expressed.]