The more one dissents from political orthodoxies, the more the attacks focus on personality, style and character.
Noam Chomsky, delivering the Edward W. Said lecture in London on 18 March 2013 Photograph: guardian.co.uk
(updated below – Update II [Sun.])
One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, “style” and even mental health of those who challenge them. The most extreme version of this was an old Soviet favorite: to declare political dissidents mentally ill and put them in hospitals. In the US, those who take even the tiniest steps outside of political convention are instantly decreed “crazy”, as happened to the 2002 anti-war version of Howard Dean and the current iteration of Ron Paul (in most cases, what is actually “crazy” are the political orthodoxies this tactic seeks to…
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