For the second time in a week, I have written a post that I have deleted in an act of self-censorship.
A little while ago, Paul Graham had an essay about all those things that you are not allowed to say.
The Conformist Test
Let’s start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?
If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you’re supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn’t. Odds are you just think whatever you’re told.
To be clear – the opinions that I censored are things that I often talk about with my peers. We had such a good time discussing one of those topics at the pub last week that I rushed home to blog about it but then, in an act of cowardice, found myself unable to push the publish button. It’s not my peers that I am afraid of. It’s liberal orthodoxy (it would probably offend conservative othodoxy too, but I don’t care so much about offending that).
Paul Graham goes on…
Like every other era in history, our moral map almost certainly contains a few mistakes. And anyone who makes the same mistakes probably didn’t do it by accident. It would be like someone claiming they had independently decided in 1972 that bell-bottom jeans were a good idea.
If you believe everything you’re supposed to now, how can you be sure you wouldn’t also have believed everything you were supposed to if you had grown up among the plantation owners of the pre-Civil War South, or in Germany in the 1930s– or among the Mongols in 1200, for that matter? Odds are you would have.
How does an opinion rise to the level of orthodoxy when it is so obviously wrong? More to the point – how to we bring it down again?
It’s not easy being a blogger when all the best topics are forbidden.