If you had the misfortune of living in 17th century colonial Massachusetts, it would not have taken much for you to be labeled a witch. Those suspected of witchcraft, and executed for it, did not need to be seen flying through the air on a broom. Some were burned simply for associating with other suspected witches. Some for having certain physical traits thought to be marks of witchery. Your age and gender, your social class, your family, all of these were thought to be passive clues, potentially indicating that you are a witch, or possibly a witch, or witch-adjacent.
We would like to think that things are different now in our enlightened times, but humans are humans. The witch trials were born from the very human tendency to invent new enemies in our heads, and then to suddenly find them everywhere we turn. We have many such bogeymen in our culture. They are more likely to be punished with mockery and alienation rather than incineration, but, as we have seen, the latter option hasn’t been taken off the table entirely. The actor Chris Pratt has experienced this week, and not for the first time, the wrath of the modern witch hunters. His suspected crime: being a Christian, a conservative, and, worst of all, a Trump voter.
While Pratt is a professed Christian, and does seem to perhaps be more politically conservative than the average Hollywood celebrity (which is sort of like calling him cleaner than the average dumpster cat), there is no reason to think that Chris Pratt supports Trump. There is even less reason to care if he does or doesn’t. But the witch hunters on the Left cannot tolerate dissent, even theoretically, and especially not from someone in a profession or demographic group of which they have claimed ownership. And that is why Pratt has been trending on social media all week. Not because leftists are outraged by things that he has said or beliefs he has professed — which would be bad enough, if that were the reason — but because of their suspicions about beliefs he might hold. As Twitter describes it on their trending section, the Chris Pratt controversy that has sparked over 260 thousand tweets, is focused on “his alleged political and religious beliefs.”
This seems to have started with news that some Avengers actors are taking part in a Joe Biden virtual fundraiser cringily titled “Voters Assemble!” Marvel luminaries Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, and Zoe Saldana all volunteered for the noble cause. But a few actors were missing from the Biden fundraiser roster, and this fact became cause for great concern. It was apparently decided that some of the missing superheroes should be given an excused absence because they are not from this country. But Chris Pratt has no such alibi, and this raised suspicion. As an article in the AV Club put it:
The fundraiser will feature a “trivia game” and Q&A, which we hope will at least be partially dedicated to asking about every single member of the Avengers who isn’t there. A good number of them aren’t from the U.S., so we can’t expect them to clean up our mess in this dumb country, but this is the second one of these Biden fundraiser reunion things that Chris Pratt has missed out on. We theorized last time that he’s either a Republican or just wants everyone to get along and can’t endorse anyone since he’s all “buff and churchy now,” but we’ll have to wait and see what happens if the Biden campaign organizes an Everwood reunion.
From there, it was off to the races, with great numbers of people attacking Chris Pratt for what they assume his political views probably are. And the circumstantial evidence that Pratt secretly wears MAGA hats in his spare time goes beyond his absence at a Biden fundraiser. He also attends, according to leftist critics including fellow actor Ellen Page, an “anti-LGBT church.” Plus, as Vanity Fair points out: “Pratt’s personal life has also led to speculation about his politics. Last year, Pratt married Katherine Swarzenegger, daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a long-time Republican.” Though the article points out that Katherine publicly supports Biden. Well, at least someone in the Pratt house isn’t a white supremacist.
Other media outlets have weighed in. Newsweek ran a fact check analyzing the claims that Pratt is “allegedly a Republican and Trump supporter.” The article sifts through all of the clues eventually landing on verdict of “unknown.” Newsweek says: “We cannot verify if Pratt is a Trump supporter because he hasn’t confirmed it either way himself. The Hollywood actor has not shown any support publicly for the president or his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.” But “unknown” is not good enough. Especially when Pratt, as some on Twitter pointed out, follows notorious Nazis Ben Shapiro and Dan Crenshaw. If Pratt wants to absolve himself of his assumed thought crimes, he must come out and publicly support Biden and denounce Trump. Anything less will be insufficient.
To their credit, many of Pratt’s cast mates have come to his defense against the slobbering hordes. But they have come in for harsh criticism because of it, especially Zoe Saldana, who was attacked with racial slurs by the racially tolerant left. One person calling her a “nasty biracial woman” and another saying they’re “tired of defending your cracka loving ass,” adding “shut up.” Along with many other comments that I cannot repeat. All of this, again, it cannot be emphasized enough, merely because of political views that the man might hold. Gone are the days when people can be viciously attacked only for the opinions they express. We are now living in a time when you can be attacked for opinions you did not express. Silence is violence, as the slogan goes. And the people who say it really mean it.
This is the sort of cultural power Leftism wields. It still positions itself as the counter culture, but it is not. It is the culture. And now, having won every significant cultural battle, it can concern itself with issues like Chris Pratt’s hypothetical political leanings. Only the dominant cultural narrative can demand allegiance to this extent. Counter culture movements aren’t usually the ones conducting witch hunts.
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The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.