These days we repeatedly confess our racism and misogyny, suppressing any sense that we are perhaps not as sinful as we are told. Maybe we haven’t harassed, demeaned, or insulted anyone—but the very impulse to defend ourselves indicates our guilt. After all, we are all part of “the system,” and only a thoroughgoing racist would dispute the idea that the system is guilty.
Of course, America is not Soviet Russia, or, for that matter, Xi’s China. Our new political commissars don’t use torture, prison cells, and executions. Today’s woke ideology can be publicly attacked, unlike communism in the Soviet Union. Its critics are in fact legion: According to polls, most Americans of all genders and ethnicities think political correctness is a problem. But people are afraid for their careers, and so they remain silent—no matter how much “power” or “privilege” they ostensibly have.
Top: Yuri Pyatakov in 1916, before becoming one of the accused in Stalin’s show trials.