During the Cultural Revolution of Communist China (1966-1976), a favorite tactic of Mao’s fanatical followers was the “struggle session”. If the Red Guard (the youthful fans of Chairman Mao who believed in his infallibility) thought that you were “counterrevolutionary” or that you were not radical enough, they would surround your house and drag you out into the town square. There you and others equally accused of imaginary crimes were screamed at (and beaten) by the Red Guard. Of course your relatives and neighbors would join in, because they would not want to fall into disfavor with the politically correct mob.

They would scream at you that you were a “running dog of capitalism” or that you were an “imperialist” or that you were “rightist”. You would be subjected to “criticism/self criticism” time: they would criticize you and you were expected to agree with the mob and criticize yourself. Or else.

They came up with these charges because someone heard you complain that the government made mistakes. Or maybe you didn’t make your quota on your work team. Or maybe you just ticked off the wrong person. No matter; the charge was laid and you were automatically guilty. The solution? Confess. Confess to all accusations. Make sure you cry a lot. Make sure you curse yourself and beg and please for forgiveness from the “proletariat” and the infallible communist party. Make sure you swear that you will never ever entertain a thought that is counter to the prevailing thoughts. You have gotten your mind right.

The communist party god may forgive you, and let you go. But usually your punishment was to be sent to the gulags. Along with all your immediate family. Your family would be damned by the politically correct for the next three succeeding generations. Your unacceptable thoughts may have contaminated other generations who were too close to you. Therefore the extreme punishment.

Do we have similar “struggle sessions” in our culture today where if someone (let’s say, a sports figure) says something that is politically incorrect—then the media and social media descends upon that person pressuring him/her to “confess” their “crimes” of “incorrect thinking” and “incorrect speaking”?