Saturday, December 10, 2022

Dystopia Is Here. The Time to Speak Up Is Now.

I had to check out of politics at the height of COVID hysteria. It was destroying my mental health to watch the mass irrational behavior and slavish groupthink. Challenge the narrative on masks, mortality rates, vaccines, alternative meds, or the redefinition of herd immunity, and you’d get “fact-checked” into silence and mobbed by panicked people asking why you want to kill their grandma. Society devolved into a mass psychosis that we haven’t really recovered from, and the reasons it happened are, I believe, threefold. First, people are tribal and don’t want to go against the grain. Second, people obey authority figures to often dangerous and destructive ends, as Milgram famously proved. And, as much as I hate to say it, most folks just aren’t very good at independent critical thought.

I’ve been thinking about this as I watch the news about the Twitter Files unfolding. I hate to be an I-told-you-so kind of person, but everything I’ve always said about social media and Big Tech was 100% correct. They were shadow-banning and silencing people based on political opinions they disliked and justified it by calling the targeted content “hate” or a TOS violation when they knew it was neither. They were using “fact-checks” not to actually correct misinformation but to silence information that ran counter to the institutional narrative, so that they could promote their own propagandistic misinformation and pass it off as the truth. We even know now that Twitter was in bed with the alphabet agencies and actively worked with them to suppress not just certain viewpoints but actual news stories – like the Hunter Biden laptop. Twitter suspended the New York Post for breaking the story, while the feds all piled on to tell us the story was “Russian disinfo,” when they knew full well it was nothing of the sort. They just knew the story had the potential to harm Joe Biden’s election chances. If we could stop saying that “private companies can do whatever they want,” especially now that we know how deeply enmeshed Big Tech is with promoting government narratives, that would be awesome.

As the Twitter Files continue to roll out, we’re now seeing that Twitter prioritized the censorship of conservative and populist viewpoints even above taking down posts involving child trafficking. We aren’t just dealing with woke ideologues here; these are genuinely evil people. Can you imagine the rot that would be uncovered if someone like Elon Musk took over Facebook and revealed what goes on behind the scenes? There’s a reason that those in power want you to think of Musk as a hateful Nazi: It deflects the public’s attention from what he’s busy exposing.

The problem – and it’s a massive problem – is that this isn’t just a Big Tech phenomenon. People of the same ideological persuasion have captured every major institution of power, leaving their agenda unchecked. Everything from science to higher education has been taken over by authoritarians who place ideology above truth and will marginalize or silence you if you challenge them.

But what can you do about it? Vote Republican? We see how that worked out. Republicans are a train wreck. They sit back and complain and think that will be enough, while the woke left steamrolls right over them, deepening their own institutional capture. You’d think that after the Republicans got their asses handed to them in the midterms, when control of Congress was ripe for the taking in the face of rampant inflation and woke intolerance, they’d realize that playing defense doesn’t work anymore. You’ve got to play offense once in a while. You’ve got to push back.

I say things like this and get called a right-winger, when all I really long for is decency and tolerance. Not the fake tolerance of those who suppress viewpoints they dislike, but an actual pluralistic society based on the ideals of classical liberalism, where we observe equal protection under the law and the majority protects the rights of the minority, rather than subordinating the majority to the minority and trying to pass off upside-down discrimination as progress.

Republicans pay lip service to the same, but they’re of one mind with establishment Democrats when it comes to protecting the privileges of moneyed interests over the common man. No one stands up for the poor and working class. The Democrats gang up on their populists (Bernie) or make their party ideology so intolerable that the populists leave (Tulsi). The Republicans have, well, Trump, and the less said about him, the better. I think DeSantis would make a great president inasmuch as he knows how to play offense against the woke, but I don’t know how well he’d stand up for everyday working Americans, and I highly doubt he’d do anything to even try to downsize our tools of empire and its sickening $850 billion military budget.

All I know is that somebody has to stand up and say this isn’t right. All of it. The woke are successful at shutting down their opposition not only because they hold so much institutional power, but also by playing on people’s sympathies, causing opponents to self-censor and back down. They make it seem like they’re defending the underdog, which makes their agenda all the more insidious. You might be told that you just hate gay people, for example, in order to obfuscate the truth of what’s really going on and to shut down genuine criticism. But here’s the thing: I couldn’t care less what consenting adults do in the privacy of their homes, and I really doubt that most reasonable people do. It’s the woke who have politicized immutable characteristics and played on people’s emotions to shut down dissent. After all, there’s a world of difference between a genuine bigot who says “I hate gays” and a reasonable person who might say, “You know, maybe it’s not such a great idea to have sexualized drag queens reading to kids in public libraries, or to encourage children to go on puberty blockers and maim their bodies, or to allow men to infiltrate women’s sports and personal spaces.”  

Kirk Cameron has a new kids’ book out that talks about the fruits of the spirit, and according to his publisher, at least 50 libraries have declined requests to let him speak on his book tour, usually citing their commitment to “diversity” and “equity.” And yet they throw their doors open wide for drag-queen story hours. We’ve gotten to this point because the woke left has conditioned enough of the public to think that the slightest modicum of criticism of their agenda is tantamount to bigotry. They go on about diversity and tolerance, when in truth they’re the most intolerant of all when it comes to allowing alternative points of view to be heard.

People might think these are petty criticisms, but what’s essentially happening all around us is death by a thousand cuts. We’re the frog sitting in a pot of slowly heating water until one day we end up boiling to death.

And again, this is not just about woke intolerance. It’s also about how the corporatocracy is crushing the poor and working class. The woke are in allegiance with them, so in a sense it’s one and the same monster we’re fighting. Conservatives and libertarians still seem to be stuck on the idea that it’s only government overreach we have to resist. But corporations hold enormous power and wealth, and the Twitter revelations should remind us of how deep in collusion the government and corporate powers in our world really are. 

You know who else married government power to corporate power and favored certain groups of society over others? They controlled Germany 75-odd years ago, and they weren’t very nice people.

Just because I’m a college grad who doesn’t do manual labor doesn’t mean I can’t stand in economic solidarity with the poor and working class. I grew up as one of them and continue to live in their midst and admire their hard work and resolve. And at the same time, just because I have a degree and some moderate smarts doesn’t mean I’ve become a pointy-headed elite who’s handed my brain over to the irrational authoritarianism of the woke left. But I feel like someone stranded between the increasingly rigid viewpoints of two political parties, neither of whom seems either willing or capable of doing the right thing for the people, and few of whom seem to see the world the way I do. The American Solidarity Party comes closest to mirroring my views. In Europe I’d fall in with the Christian democrats (small “d”). But here, I feel adrift. I always have, but the feeling has grown much more acute in the past few years. Worst of all, I despair over the future my daughter will have to live in.

The only thing that will change our course is for people to speak their truth. They have to stop self-censoring and being pushed around and bullied. They have to say no. The events that have unfolded since 2020 don’t give me much hope that they will. But if the tide doesn’t turn, and soon, I fear there’s going to be a point of no return.

There’s no time to waste. Dystopia isn’t on the way. It’s already here.

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