I suppose one could argue about generalizations. Yes, not all people on the left want to censor the opposing side. However, it does appear that most of the current voices attempting to censor are on the left. It also appears that while those speaking may represent a small group of people, a significant portion of the left as a group does not seem to have a problem with the attempted censorship.
We are seeing the attitude appear in every sphere, from the news to entertainment. Look at the situation with Cassie Jaye and her film The Red Pill. Feminists have successfully blocked its showing at several theaters, despite that most, if any, of those objecting to the film have never watched it. They are blocking not based on its content, but based on their feelings about what they assume the film discusses.
We can see this within the comic book industry, where several covers were pulled or replaced because of complaints from the left. This has happened in the video game industry, which led in part to Gamergate. The most recent instance occurred a few days ago at E3. This attitude has even made its way into the news, an outlet that is supposed to be unbiased, yet proves highly partisan.
So I think it is worth asking what is going on with modern liberalism that makes its adherents so inclined to this behavior.
My guess is the intensity of the ideology and its religious like demand for strict adherence. Anyone who rejects it is a non-person and therefore undeserving of equal treatment. Those who leave the ideology forfeit their humanity and are indeed worse because they should “know better”.
As Eric Hoffer states in his book The True Believer:
All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.
What makes the left’s behavior so bizarre is that they are opposing the very things they say they fight for. They are supposedly against disenfranchisement, humiliation, vilification, questioning people’s feelings, and controlling people’s lives, yet they attempt to disenfranchise men, humiliate Christians because of their religion, vilify heterosexuals and question the veracity of their orientation, and wish to control the behaviors and opinions of people en masse.
Despite all the left’s claims about supporting diverse opinions, they are often the most closed-minded and ironically bigoted group of people one might encounter. Much of what they do seems like projection rather than analysis, and their need to control themselves in turn gets projected onto others. Hoffer offers an explanation for this:
Whence comes the impulse to proselytize? Intensity of conviction is not the main factor which impels a movement to spread its faith to the four corners of the earth. […] Nor is the impulse to proselytize an expression of an overabundance of power. […] The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgiving, some pressing feeling of insufficiency at the center. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. […] It is also plausible that those movements with the greatest inner contradiction between profession and practice – that is to say with a strong feeling of guilt – are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others.
That feeling of guilt and shame explains the left’s current need to control language, media, and behavior. While the left professes love of diversity, they push abject uniformity. Their beliefs ironically strip them of their individuality, and they again inflict this on others, particularly those doing what the left wishes they could do. This is how one ends up with feminists saying that they need to “turn off” their feminism to enjoy certain films or books.
This bind, as Hoffer explains, leads to a specific result:
[The true believer] subordinates creative work to the advancement of the movement. Literature, art and science must be propagandistic and they must be “practical.” The true-believing writer, artist or scientist does not create to express himself, or to save his soul or to discover the true and the beautiful. His task, as he see it, is to warn, to advise, to urge, to glorify and to denounce.
Hence the left’s need to ban everything. In order to protect the ideology and to shield themselves from the truth of their own flaws, the left seeks to destroy that which would dismantle their movement. It is not enough to merely ignore it, as the dissenting opinion will continue to prosper. No, it must be silenced, preferably by strangling it in full view of the populace so that other dissenters know what to expect.
Perhaps the grandest irony is that none of this can happen without the dissenter giving in to the demand. As seen with various businesses, those with power who refuse to play to the left’s demands ultimately walk away unscathed. Even those without power can still resist without serious consequences most of the time.
This should be a lesson for those who object to the growing push for banning opposing views. If you do not give in, the left will lose by default.