The New Witch-Hunt

Since fall 2016, I'm a regular contributor to the magazine Yliopisto-lehti. I write columns, based on my experiences as a professional, an expat, and even simply as myself. Articles are translated and published in Finnish, but I'll be publishing a translation of my pieces in English here on my blog.

The New Witch-Hunt

(originally published on Y / 03 /2017)

The new threat to the civil development of the Western society is not capitalism, but radical liberalism, by hand of politically correctness. I am observing a worrying trend especially on social media, by which any opinion that vaguely contradicts the self-calling liberal loud voices, provokes waves of indignation, derision, rudeness, even bullying. Healthy debate is out of trend and the new concept of "respect" does not include discussion. The game is succeeding at polemicise on anything or find two-faced meanings that allow us to fill with indignation.

This is simply the modern version of witch-hunting, with torch and pitchfork held high against who threatens the modern "mono-thinking". Spits and public humiliation, anything is allowed, including strip of humanity and identity layers any virtual stranger. Feeling strong from their ideology, some people feel authorised to scream in the face of those who disagree.

To show an example, few weeks ago the story of a (Caucasian) girl who had slowly poisoned her (Afro-American) college roommate and bragged about it on Instagram went viral. I came across it when the picture of the accused, complete with full name, went viral with the caption "Be a nasty bigot and we will make you famous for it". I found myself wondering which one was the worst example of human nature, the original story or the long series of deplorable comments and threats which followed. A woman with the same name has to temporarily suspend all her social media accounts out of the verbal abuse she had endured.

I believe our ideas never allow us to rejoice of other people's misery, nor to verbally assault or superficially judge others. From those who claim to champion for diversity, I except that they do the same with ideas. I conclude by quoting Evelyn Beatrice Hall's famous words, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

Paola Elefante

Digital Scaling Project Manager at Plan International. Proud mother & wife. Shameless nerd&geek. Feminist. Undercover gourmet.

2 thoughts to “The New Witch-Hunt”

  1. Great article. The thing I teach myself everyday is: “don’t read the comments”. I don’t get why diversity threat so many people. Why they are scared? The “anonymous” part of the internet bring the wrost in people, so they put this fear out and shout to people they don’t agree. I think the world is boring if everyone thinks in the same way. We are humans, every one has a different need and a different context. Maybe the radicalism is coming from the fact that some times people feel hopeless or they want to be accepted in a certain group of thinking. They want to follow the lead of someone louder. I don’t know why people are scared of changing their minds. There’s no right or wrong. I defend the free speech, even the guys marching with torches, but all the speeches has consequences. Same with professional. You have all the rights to talk bad things about your work publicly, but it has consequences. We just need to evolve enough to listen more, be more empathetic and learn from people and think in your own way. True democracy is when empathy is bigger than ideology, but some people just want to be right and not do the right thing for everyone (or the most of the people).

    1. I think you nailed it when you said people wants to be right more than they want to feel empathy.
      If you wanna read more on the subject, I recommend the book "Shame nation", I've recently started and sounds really good.

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