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Sorry: A progressive fascist’s threat isn’t going to silence me

This month, someone left an anonymous note on my home, and on several lampposts around my block, telling me to delete a tweet the stalker didn’t like.

The printed black-and-white note added the leftist refrain “hate has no place here” and accused me of celebrating the deaths in the explosion in Beirut.

Of course I had done no such thing. I had mocked the idea that it was a fireworks factory that had exploded, a lie disproved as more details emerged.

The stalker either misunderstood it or willfully misread my tweet. My bet is the latter. She had been waiting for me to say something even mildly offensive so she could pounce. Coming to my physical space was a threat, as opposed to, say, responding on Twitter, and that’s exactly how I took it.

Too bad for her, I am not new to harassment. I’ve gotten anti-Semitic hate mail at my house. I’ve had neo-Nazis text me. I’ve had to turn off notifications on Twitter because of all the random hate. If she imagined that I would cower to a progressive fascist like her, she imagined wrong.

Still, the action is unnerving, because it’s the logical next step of the spreading cancel culture and the mad progressive rush to shut down offending speech. I’ve written in these pages about how people come for your job when they don’t like something you’ve said. Last August, I wrote about how conservative public figures are largely outside of this leftist circular firing squad.

Because they can’t come for our jobs, they do things like leave anonymous notes on our homes to threaten us into silence.

When I wrote about my “America-versary” last month, the celebration of the day my family arrived in the United States from the Soviet Union, I praised the fundamental goodness of America.

Part of that goodness comes from our freedom of expression. In the Soviet Union, you had to espouse the correct opinion — or else.

The bully’s goal is conformity: You will think like us, or you will be targeted and harassed.

Unfortunately, this very Soviet attitude is fast becoming part of American culture. It needs to be stamped out.

We’re watching forced conformity explode into violence in cities across the country. When protesters block highways or set fires, they’re not convincing anyone of their opinions — they’re scaring ordinary Americans into acquiescing.

True, freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from disagreement. But anonymous notes don’t promote authentic debate. I welcome being challenged for anything I say. I am very responsive to readers of this column. I encourage dissent and argument.

But these notes are intended to make me afraid and silence me. Putting the note on lampposts is meant to let my neighbors know there is someone on the block who thinks differently. She’s not like us, join me in hating her, the note implies. It encourages a mob to form to take me down.

I have security at my home. I am in contact with the NYPD. But my main response to this threat will be telling everyone about it and living fearlessly.

Bullies rely on silence. After coming out on Twitter about the threat, I heard from many other writers and media figures about how they, too, are being targeted.

We need to be more open about it.

The vast majority of people, left and right, don’t want to see internet venom poison the real world.

Pushing back will also help protect nonpublic figures, who are terrified to be open about any ideas that don’t please the new, militant left.

So many liberal friends share with me that they are afraid to speak up, because that anonymous note can appear all over their block, too.

The punishment for wrong-think is becoming ever more severe.

I won’t be quiet, and I won’t shrink. I will be louder than ever, and I encourage everyone reading this to be the same. Freedom wins when we aren’t afraid to say what we believe.

Twitter: @Karol

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