The Bravery Deficit
Do you feel forced to keep your values to yourself? Are you afraid to speak up about your views and opinions for fear of creating family tension or losing your friends—or your job? Dave Rubin calls this being in the political closet—and it’s time to come out.
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Do you watch Fox News with your finger on the back button in case someone enters the room? Do you methodically clear your browser history to erase all evidence of PragerU videos? Do you hide your subscription to The Ben Shapiro podcast? Or, and perhaps most dangerous of all, are you afraid of getting caught watching The Rubin Report, which is hosted by the very scary—but quite dapper—Dave Rubin?
If the answer to any of these questions is '’yes,” then you’re in the political closet, and it’s time to come out.
Here’s the good news: If you currently reside in the United States of America, you live in the freest country in the history of the world. Beyond some basic limitations, you can do whatever you want and, with hard work, become whatever it is you want to be.
Pretty great, ain't it? So why the long face? Because you know that something is out of whack. You really don't feel free to say what you want. Or share your true thoughts on Facebook. Or even associate with those you'd like to.
And why is that?
I’ll tell you why: because there’s a mass affliction spreading throughout the Western world. It’s called “the bravery deficit.” People—good people like you—are afraid to say what they think.
And there’s little wonder.
Believe that men can't give birth? Congrats, you’re a transphobe. Want people to keep more of what they earn because they know how to spend it better than the government does? Bravo, you’re a greedy capitalist! Understand that the gender pay gap is because men and women often choose different professions and different hours, not because of rampant sexism? Hooray, you’re a misogynist!
Take the “wrong” side of any hot-button issue and your reputation, your friends, and your job can all be lost in an instant. You will likely never get a chance to confront your accusers, most of whom are anonymous. And you may feel forced to issue a faux apology to save yourself (which, by the way, it usually won’t).
The understandable temptation is to think that this politically correct madness will soon end—just die out on its own. Well, it won’t.
Activists and their mainstream media allies like the New York Times and CNN, propaganda outlets like Media Matters and the Southern Poverty Law Center, and your local university will make sure of that. Big Tech, with its control of search algorithms, its shadowbanning and deboosting, are also in on the game.
If you’re one of the people who believes that if you just remain quiet that things will get better, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re a frog in a slowly boiling pot. And it doesn’t end well for the frog.
So what can you do? Believe it or not, the solution is not that hard.
Step One: Think for yourself.
Step Two: Say it out loud.
Just because a former bartender says the world is going to end in twelve years because of climate change doesn’t mean it’s true. Doomsdayers have been saying the same thing for decades and we’re still here.
Just because a filmmaker says we should model our health care system on Cuba’s doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Would you rather have heart surgery in Houston or in Havana?
And just because a career politician is a millionaire with three houses who rails against the rich doesn’t make him a hypocrite. Oh, wait—in that case, it actually does.
The point is, perhaps your most important job as a human being is to stand up for the things you believe in. Don’t take the path of least resistance. Be better than those who would silence you, deplatform you, and mob you.
The mob depends on the fact that everyone is scared to say what they think. Don’t give them that power.
All of the successes of America, and the Western values that gave birth to America, are being eroded as we speak. We can’t just blame Hollywood, the media, and the political establishment any longer. It’s time to look in the mirror.
Think of the bravery of your grandparents, and your ancestors before them, who undoubtedly had it far worse than you do today. If they were brave, then you can be brave too.
It’s time to come out of the closet—the political one.
You are the solution to the bravery deficit.
So what are you waiting for?
I’m Dave Rubin, author of Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason, for Prager University.