There’s a game radicals, progressives, and liberals like to play. We are always looking for the turncoat in our midst. Did you catch someone confusing transsexual with transgender? Five points for you. Someone ignorantly, but not sarcastically, asks “what’s wrong with the phrase All Lives Matter,” 10 points for you. Sexist blonde joke? 4 points.
It is early autumn and helicopters are circling the UC Berkeley campus as I write this. I can see them from my window. The tut-tut-tut of their propellers punctuate my thoughts.
A few days ago, I rode my bike up to the university to use the library, and had to navigate through a swarm of media and security workers. An Alt Right speech was scheduled on campus that evening, but it was still several hours away. There were no protestors yet, but cable news teams were already milling all over the place, setting up their equipment, preparing their spins.
Moral panic is a sociological phenomena in which individuals or groups are persecuted within a larger social group. These panics are precipitated by the presence of several key ingredients: social order, fear of that social order being threatened, and the existence of taboos—unnameable things which members of the group cannot address without experiencing fear.