History is not about emotions… I think at some point people find themselves in a situation where they think it is unbearably oppressive and they want to get themselves out of it. I have found myself in that situation and you get yourself out of it, and you make alliances. You understand that you are not the only one, and you get yourself out of it not by wallowing in it, not by being resentful, not by being vengeful. By lifting yourself up and out of it with… help… [Y]ou look at the story of slavery or civil rights … or … any other narrative of history. It hasn’t been only that the people who are oppressed lifted themselves out, but they were also helped by the classes of people who came from the oppressive side.
The extreme peer group pressure placed upon anyone who refuses to succumb to this epidemic of apology is nothing new. The ancient Greek were quite familiar with this process, which they referred to as ostracism – a political process used in fifth-century BC Athens whereby those individuals considered too powerful or dangerous to the city were exiled for 10 years by popular vote. These days it would seem that those who have the ‘wrong’ opinions face a similar form of censure.
A notable example of peer group ostracism in recent times has been the case of Bari Weiss, an opinion editor at The New York Times. She found herself forced to resign due to constant bullying for crimes of ‘wrongthink’ by her colleagues, as she outlined in her formal letter of resignation.
The accelerant in the past months’ mass hysteria of Black Lives Matters protest marches, all around the world, was the recent criminal behaviour of a policeman.
The courts of law will no doubt judge his behaviour and punish him severely. However, any amount of self-harm to the human race by continued hysterical protests will not aid the cause of returning to the levels of human dignity to which our civilisation is entitled.
Could this epidemic of apology be caused by our inability to defend exactly what we stand for — as evidenced by how few corporate executives are fluent enough to defend their own companies from constant attacks from the concerted efforts to ‘bring them to their knees’?’
Getting up off your knees’ has been an ongoing theme for me for quite some time, and it is my firm view that we need to do so, more now than ever.
Ron Manners AO is the Executive Chairman of Mannwest Group and the founder and Chairman of the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation. He was recently included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the minerals and mining sectors, and to youth through philanthropic support for educational initiatives”.
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