A series of increasingly absurd beliefs are required...
Acceptance of the progressive narrative over the years has required belief in a series of things which have progressed from speculative, to demonstrably incorrect, to completely absurd.
Likewise the permissibility of questioning these beliefs has diminished over time, and currently no deviation is allowed - voice doubt on any one of these things and you are outcast, finished, canceled.
For me, the most notable beliefs on the timeline have been:
The changing climate is a “crisis” - an extinction level event that will kill us all. Therefore no restrictions and alterations of our way of life are too much to ask. The alternative is extinction!
Believe all women - they never lie or make false accusations so anything they say must be believed unquestioningly and due process for the accused is not necessary.
The USA and western democracies in general are horribly racist, indeed are defined by systemic racism which is the lens through which all things in the world must be seen.
Covid is/was such a threat that we must shut down the world. Masks must be worn. Vaccines are safe and effective and must be mandated.
Biological sex is nearly meaningless. Women can have penises. Men can have periods.
Along the way, many of us who used to be democrats have been peeled off, no longer willing to go along with the increasing level of madness. (For more on people experiencing this “turn”, I cannot recommend this essay enough https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/news/articles/the-turn-liel-leibovitz)
Although I never believed any of the things on this list, I was still generally a democratic voter until pretty recently. Yes I knew climate change is not the emergency that some make it out to be. Yes I knew women do sometimes make false accusations, and that due process is extremely important. No, I did not think that our society is horribly racist and I certainly didn't think it was productive to see everything through the lens of race. But on balance I was still generally in the democratic camp … until covid.
In retrospect, I do sort of wonder how I stayed the camp as long as I did. But I was busy. I went along with some of these things for as long as I did because I did not really think people would take them seriously. I believed common sense would prevail. But it didn’t.
The game-changer for me was covid. From early on, it was clear to me that the things we were doing in response to covid had the potential to cause way more harm than good. And, even worse, it was clear that many in politics and public health were not even trying to tell the truth about covid or these measures. This was clearly the case in the flip flops about masking. It was even clearer in the determined effort to ignore natural immunity.
It also seemed clear to me that all this was a *really* big deal. The disruptions and harm from a panicked reaction that threw away all the accumulated wisdom on pandemic response would be enormous. John Ioannidis’ warning about the elephant being scared by a mouse and jumping off a cliff to his death was definitely in my mind. (From March 17, 2020! https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/17/a-fiasco-in-the-making-as-the-coronavirus-pandemic-takes-hold-we-are-making-decisions-without-reliable-data/)
For the first time, I felt compelled to say things that not only were against the narrative, but were things that were literally getting people silenced, kicked off of Twitter, canceled.
I cannot overemphasize what a big deal this was. It was a completely shocking experience to have deeply held opinions, carefully thought through, and to have those in power find those opinions to be so dangerous and repugnant that they cannot even be allowed to be said! It was surreal. It was disorienting. Suddenly *I* was one of those people whose opinions were being mocked, vilified and banned by the mainstream press, by the US government, and by academia. Me!? It was a very eye-opening experience.
For me, the most worrisome part of all this is, by far, the infringements on free speech and due process. I can understand disagreeing with someone on the degree of threat climate change poses, and what to do about it. Same with disagreeing on vaccine or mask mandates. But never in a million years would it occur to me that the people I disagreed with should be silenced, canceled, fired, muzzled, or shunned. Yet this urge to silence the opposition is overwhelmingly present on the left for all of the issues I have mentioned. “Climate deniers” do not deserve to be given any right to speak. “Covid minimizers” the same.
I am thinking we are past the peak of all this madness, but I don’t know. Outside of the wokest institutions, I think we are. I hope so.