Thoughtcrime

The Thought Police would get him just the same. He had committed — would still have committed, even if he had never set pen to paper — the essential crime that contained all others in itself. Thoughtcrime, they called it. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. – George Orwell, 1984

I wondered how long it would take. Dateline 23 March 2021.

Paraphrase:

Please tell whoever is responsible for this to pick someone who’s NOT a mysogynist.

So, I facilitate a Book Club. I’ve done that in various positions for over a decade. This is the first time the author’s attitudes have come to bear on a technical topic.

I won’t name the book or the author, but suffice it to say, my club chose a certain book to go over on technical merit and when word got out, people objected. They objected because the author his (apparently) a letch. He’s on the record belittling women in tech.

The book is fine. The content is fine. The author is not.

So, being the Good Corporate Citizen®, I pivoted us to another book and sent out communications about it.

Do I wish the author hadn’t said those things? Yes. Do I believe he has the RIGHT to believe those things. Also, yes. Because, anything other than “I support your right to believe whatever the hell you want” leads to a dystopian hellscape that would make Lenin blush.

We now live in the world where you not only need good ideas, you need to hold the Right Attitudes.

Thought becomes a crime.

Scenario

Your surgeon will now not only be the one with the good Board Certification scores, but they (we use the singular ‘they’ now, mind. It’s inclusive.) will also need to have signoff from the commissar for their Righthink attitudes. I’m sure technical merit will outweigh political leanings. Good luck with that triple-bypass this afternoon!

This is today. The Commissar is in town. Uh-oh.

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