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America’s Dangerous Shortage Of Free Thinkers

Our country has become a conformist society where free expression is rewarded with the swing of a truncheon. We’re on a road that leads to repression, and we are not far from the destination.

This nation owes its existence and its never-seen-before prosperity to free thinkers. The founders were men of the enlightenment. They stand in stark contrast to our ruling class of today, a corrupt and depraved cabal of politicians, state media, institutional leaders, militant activists and corporate executives that is hurtling us into an era of darkness. In the 2020s, the only “truth” is what the narrative, invariably fabricated by the worst people who have ever held power and influence in this country’s history, says it is.

We see those yard signs, the ones that proclaim their occupants’ unwavering grand tolerance and thirst for diversity. But we know that those who put up those signs are the most intolerant, limited thinkers among us. They don’t believe in diversity of thought. Their objective is to force conformity to their way of thinking while immodestly displaying their superior virtue.

“​​There is a new use for tolerance today, and, quite frankly, it is self-serving and hypocritical,” says Paul Chappell, a pastor and president of the West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, California. “It doesn’t mean tolerance in the traditional sense of the word at all. It means, ‘You must condone and support my choices – even at the expense of your beliefs.’”

Some conformity is useful. Civilized people agree that hurting others and stealing is wrong, that it’s important to be polite and respectful, that protest is acceptable and even necessary but violence in the service of activism is not.

Conformity of thought, however, is dangerous. This is obvious when we look at the atrocities of our 20th century wars. We are not there, but in the U.S. we are now here, as described by progressive journalist Zaid Jilani:

“​​The power of conformity and cascades has deep implications for political polarization.” 

Eventually, those poles will no longer be roughly equal. The one that’s pulling us to the left’s demand for conformity has the momentum. It’s dragging us into a black hole.

What this country sorely needs are fearless independent thinkers who are willing to go into that cold and lonely place and point out that our national emperor is as divisive as he is mentally impaired, that the government-media complex is corrupt, and constantly feeds us lies, that truth has been murdered in the West. We have a few who do these things, but not nearly enough.

Less conformity and more free thinking would have headed off the disastrous, oppressive pandemic policies. We can say the same about the energy and climate policies that threaten our economy and liberty. Independent thought could prevent the next effort by the ruling class to force us to think and act in ways that benefit its members and those who live to “earn” the approval of the elites.

Regrettably, our civil society is giving ground every day to a political society. Objections to the narrative that has been constructed by the ruling class are not accepted and the objectors are marginalized and banished, handy words we used before “canceled” and “unfriended.” There is a strong need to conform for reasons of social status.

A society without free thinkers, dissenters and contrarians is not only one that lacks color and vibrance, it is accelerating toward a wreck. Some might recognize that happening right in front of them.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • There are still plenty of freethinkers in the US but they are now fighting against censorious corporations, such as Google, which uses algorithms to automatically censor any comments on YouTube that deviate from the leftist narrative. There is a plethora of other sneaky things that they do, such as artificially throttling ‘problematic’ creators by slowly and randomly de-subscribing their viewers, to create an echo chamber where only one narrative is allowed to be heard by the masses. There are many similar tricks used by other corporations to silence unorthodox opinions.

    Thinking freely is not the problem. Speaking freely without overt censorship or covert manipulation is the problem.

  • As usual I find myself in agreement your interesting commentary. I’m Long in The Tooth but remember when the demand for free thinkers seemed to be on the other shoe. Often it was referred to as McCarthyism. Keep up the good work I & I.

  • Wow what a dystopian view of the USA!! Apparently the Editorial Board needs to admit that they are done with the USA and they need to move to a country that suits them better. They should try Saudi Arabia.

    Obviously most of this is totally false – the violent people are found at right wing rallies. If you want to find violent people look for rallies where they fly the Confederate battle flag, where they have the Gadsen flag.

      • No. But like many people I like freedom and appreciate those who, like me, want to extend it to more people. We don’t like those people who want to restrict voting to the right wing. We realize that President Biden is an honest person who is trying to do the right thing for the USA – and we support him.

    • Indeed, those violent people found reliably at politically “right” rallies will be the left counterprotestors.

      • Come on kilty think of some new lies!! The violent ones wear trump shirts and hats, they wave Confederate flags, they hold burning torches. They are the radical Right which is the trump base.

    • ExGOPTexas, I have read your comments here. I sincerely doubt you are an ex-GOP from Texas. If you were a Texas GOP member you must have been a RINO and probably from Austin. In any case your comments are straight leftist and definitely not coming from a “straight thinker.”

      • Bill – thanks to people like you, red Georgia has two Democratic Senators. Thanks to people like you, red Arizona has a Democrat and an Independent. There are many examples. I am from Houston and indeed worked in the John McCain campaign – you certainly would now say that a hero like that was a RINO. Thanks to people like you, we had a President who saluted a North Korean General.

        Thanks to people like you, the GOP has split into hostile factions. We are going to see Ron DeSantis tearing at donald trump, we are going to see a civil war. Possibly the GOP will break up like the Whigs did.

    • There is no where to move to, and smart people avoid rallys of any kind, they never accomplished anything. Presidents are controlled by the globalists (uniparty) and congress is also sold out. America is no longer, as few patriots exist in 2023, and most people are nihilists, (not critical thinkers), unconcerned about their kids, g’kids futures, and spend much time on social media, video games, texting or keeping up w/ sports and celebrities. I live in retirement community and spend days reading and watching old movies, Very little interacting in past four years with anyone near me. Few can carry on conversations unless it’s about shopping and where to dine.

      • Just make sure that you avoid any voting!! Try to avoid talking to people or interacting with them!! Avoid contributing to any political campaign.

  • I’d like to get to the root of why all of these corporations are supporting all this woke nonsense so they keep a social credit rating that is favorable for what reason? who is putting weight behind these ESG and DEI rating organizations…is it mostly just blackmail? is it worse than that?

    • Corporations have realized that we have long disregarded the contributions of many people. Women were not welcome in engineering schools and technical careers for generations. Alan Turing was a huge part of the British ability to break German codes, he made a big contribution to the war effort. But he was gay. Today, corporations want to allow us all to live our lives and contribute. DEI just tells everyone that they too can apply for jobs or opportunities, it does not prevent the best people from being selected.

  • I find free and independent thinking at Hoover, Manhattan, Hillsdale, Hudson and several other of our best institutions.
    The main media, on the other hand, remind me of the old story of our Chinatowns where there were numerous restaurants on the four sides of the city block, with different signs, different menus, and a different style, but they all got their food from the one and only kitchen hidden in the middle of the block. One kitchen, many restaurants. Our main media, perhaps?
    The similarity of the thinking and opinions from our main media mastheads is a bit shocking, especially as they try so earnestly to be morally superior to thee and me.
    One beneficial solution would be to replace the editors of the “main media,” by some delightful magic, with independent, free, wise and more mature thinkers.

  • Seems to me both ultra right and ultra left people are self describer free thinkers. I’m aware many would disagree, saying the other guys are the closed-minded, intractable, hard-core, kool-aid drinking idiots.

  • We owe the modern world to skepticism — the assumption that authority doesn’t know it’s rear-end from a pineapple and one should research the topic critically to find truth for one’s self. Nullius in Verba! Skepticism is prerequisite to critical thinking. It is a preexisting tendency which is exactly why teaching critical thinking skills, as many college curricula proclaim to do, is nigh impossible.

  • Conformity helps one to get government money, and that is a bigger and bigger part of the economy.

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