Thoughtcrime: The criminal offense of holding unspoken beliefs or doubts that oppose or question officially mandated views. “Crimespeak” is the act of voicing such thoughts.

– From George Orwell’s “1984”

Conservatives always saw Orwell’s dystopian novel, based on his Spanish Civil War experience with the twin tyrannies of fascism and communism, as a warning to free societies.

So why are some on the left starting to use it as an instruction manual?

A few examples:

I wrote recently about the nearly two dozen Democratic state attorneys general (and one independent) who vowed to take on “climate change deniers” (as if anyone denies that the climate changes, and always has), with a special focus on energy companies and their allegedly “fraudulent claims.”

As University of Tennessee law professor Glenn H. Reynolds wrote in an April 11 column in USA Today, “Federal law makes it a felony ‘for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).'”

He pointedly notes that the law provides grounds for civil action against those who join such conspiracies.

On April 8, Bloomberg News’ columnist Megan McArdle called such acts “prosecutorial power run amok.” She said the officials “spent a lot of time talking about global warming, and how bad it was, and how much they disliked fossil fuel companies. They threw the word ‘fraud’ around a lot. But the more they talked about it, the more it became clear that what they meant by ‘fraud’ was ‘advocating for policies that the attorneys general disagreed with.'”

Then the AG for the U.S. Virgin Islands decided to subpoena the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank that holds a contrarian view on the issue, for its “communications regarding climate change” over a full decade.

McArdle noted, “Prosecutors know the damage they can do even when they don’t have a leg to stand on. The threat of investigation can coerce settlements even in weak cases.”

However, “in a liberal democracy, every guerrilla tactic your side invents will eventually be used against you. Imagine a coalition of Republican attorneys general announcing an investigation of companies that have threatened state boycotts over gay-rights issues, and you may get a sense of why this is not such a good precedent to set.”

Regarding such boycotts, some may wonder why progressives want to subject women and even young girls to having a fully equipped male use their public restrooms.

But it is a matter of progressive opinion that “gender identity” is entirely up to the person involved, and not agreeing to that is thoughtcrime of the highest level.

Of course, it isn’t mentioned that many of the corporations (such as Coca-Cola and PayPal) threatening to boycott North Carolina due to that state’s “bathroom bill” currently do substantial business in Middle Eastern nations where gays are persecuted and even put to death.

Is such profitable hypocrisy newsworthy? I guess not.

How brainwashed are some of us? In a scary video, the Family Policy Institute of Washington asked college students on the University of Washington campus what they would tell the interviewer (a youngish white man of average height) if he said he was a 6-foot, 5-inch Chinese woman.

None of the half-dozen students interviewed dared to contest the claim, despite its obvious ridiculousness.

Moving on, let’s consider a new development involving campus “crybullies,” students (and some faculty and administrators) who find the slightest disagreeable word or action enough to send them to their “safe spaces” to recover.

On numerous campuses, administrators have threatened disciplinary action against people who have written Donald Trump’s name in chalk on sidewalks.

Garnering the hashtag “#thechalkening,” the practice has been spreading. Any parent knows that some kids will double down on behavior that upsets adults, so ignoring this would have been the wise move, right?

Nope. Bowing to the complaints of special snowflakes who felt “oppressed” by this mild prank, many campuses have been in an uproar over it, even calling for “banning chalk” at some schools.

Why parents would waste tens of thousands of dollars sending their offspring to such places is beyond me.

As Dr. Ben Carson said in the 2013 speech opposing political correctness that propelled him to national prominence, “PC is dangerous. In this country, one of the founding principles was freedom of thought and freedom of expression. (Political correctness) puts a muzzle on people.”

Want to get past concerns about thoughtcrime? It’s easy. Just believe and say what you think is right, and if someone doesn’t like it, tell them you’re not about to be muzzled.

That’s what freedom is all about.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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