How well do you remember the before times1, when personal agency and privacy were dear to most of us? We are told it is necessary to replace those values with a new normal. It would have to be because of a misreading of history that anyone would consider giving up principles like those. In the words of Benjamin Franklin,
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
How much fear would you say is required before the average man considers rational thought to be the privilege of a few, in the interests of the many? How much confusion before he loses sight of the vortex he is captured in? Appropriate passion is Duty. Great Panic is Virtue. Rational Reasoning, is Treason. Can the signs be any clearer?
Some will feign the appropriate reactions and perform the required deeds, just to be left alone. We must question how a society changes from one priding itself on liberal values, to one so brazenly authoritarian. In the case of the pride marchers that took to the streets in the 1980s or those of the 1930s in Europe, there was no room for objectors. The end was viewed by most as a fait a compli. The early demands of the movement appeared innocuous. By circumstances of the period, they gathered momentum, forcing the average man to step back in awe. Shame or a sense of self-loathing or guilt played a role too. Where such emotions were absent, the movement would create them. The modern-day movements can be seen in some cities today. The citizens convinced these parades are a sign of progressive modernity, observe or even participate. Corporate-funded media organisations and other social organisations play their part in fostering a positive public image and furthering the movement’s aims. The objectives grow more and more obvious, to alter perceptions, entice by way of sexual perversions, normalize social rewards for displaying perverse sexual proclivities. And in all this, there is never room for counter opinion.
The marchers of the National socialist German workers’ party and its affiliates in other European and American cities and their modern versions, pride parades, have the effect of intimidating the observers and by coercion, the movement gains acceptance. The rational man retreats in silence, conceding each demand made by the increasingly powerful movement. Opposition is met with insults. Objectors are mandated to identify themselves or are hounded publicly, branded as anti-social, abusive or unclean. Forced away from the rest of society in shame. The smart or sane way to adapt is to feign compliance rather than face the untested dangers of being sanctioned.
In each case, the observant person would have noticed the early cracks in the seals which govern civilized social discourse. To advance the case for adopting new values, there was no room for rational argument. Nor were there strong arguments for adopting the new values. Instead, social discourse grew populated by emotions, controlled by censorship and propaganda. Objectors and their opinions were branded as not worthy of being heard. They were deemed dangerous. When ad hominem becomes the persuasive tool of preference, one should recognise the dangers that are on the way. The arena is cleared for all but a protected category. Society becomes one large safe space for some and dangerous space for everyone else. Objectors are knocked out. Reasoned evaluation of argument in civil debates go the way of the dodo, making way for the dildo or whatever other obscenity with sufficient shock value. Words and symbols take on new meanings, making debate even more challenging. Common ground can no longer be found. Where any debate still appears to take place, it is occupied with constructs invented by the movement, to further push their ever-shifting demands. The debates become time-consuming and non-productive. The goal is after all not to reach a consensus, but to permanently eradicate the former majority. To frame it as a majority that was lost in darkness, driven by evil and taking the rest of mankind on a path of destruction. Having no right to persist, censoring its proponents becomes a matter of society’s preservation. Though the movement portrays itself to represent the powerless, should the marginalized voice an objection, their views will be branded as part of the problem, backward, ignorant. Their views are to be campaigned out of existence. The casualties are often the native communities. The old form of colonisation by modernity has reappeared to take on once again the powerless and the lead personalities stand at the front of the queue for hire as liberators.
Our malaise and silence enamoured this ridiculous clowning, giving it god-like power until it cancelled the people we didn’t like. We applauded that. Then it cancelled the people we did like until one day, it cancelled us. It was the heyday of the mob, as long as it didn’t shake the already tenuous foundations upon which the corporations stood, it was supported by them. Close on the heels of corporations, the state staring down its own crisis of legitimacy followed. This is how the mob became the state’s Plan B. To return to matters of today, what better group is there to lead a social experiment in authoritarianism?
Addressing the 18th annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi2 in October this year, Russian president, Vladimir Putin drew parallels between the post-1917 Bolshevik revolution and current social discourse in the west, saying that
“The recipes they come up with are nothing new. Paradoxical as it may seem, but this is something we saw in Russia. ..
.. In Hollywood there are leaflets reminding what you should do in the cinema, in the films, how many personalities and actors you’ve got, what kind of color, what sex, and sometimes it’s even tighter and stricter than what the Department of Propaganda of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee did ..”
Many people, previously disabused of their independence, know it as well as the Russians do. The mobs that once paraded proudly will be seen less often as the farce draws to an end. As hedonism breeds excess, inequality, and chaos, it is sure to meet its demise.
We must dare to birth that end, by risking the insults, labels, or worse as we question the Big Benevolent hand of corporation, and of the State, media and all of their proxies. As this year’s new yet strangely familiar Orwellian phrase is coined, let’s exercise cautious conservatism and speak more and more loudly for values which we hold dear.
If there are to be any demands in debate, it is that all social spaces be safe spaces and that every individual has access to opportunity. Economic opportunity, the opportunity of movement, and the opportunity to formulate and express ideas. This is the meaning of diversity, equity, equality. Ironically, those words have been manufactured new meanings in this new normal. Meanings that are completely reversed to their original ones; their exact opposites. The basis of human rights and freedoms is to ensure safe spaces exist for everyone, yet the new normal is to be beaten out of the streets by goose-stepping pride marchers, state police enforcing authoritarian mandates or ensuring safe spaces exist for arbitrarily-designated citizens. And where might we find the socially righteous marchers in all of this? I will leave that to you to discern.
My warning is simple. If we are coaxed into compliance in exchange for freedom, we must remember who stripped us of that freedom. Can the same hand that strips us of freedom be the one that hands it back to us? We are born free. Freedom is never given to anyone. Where it is denied, then it is something we reclaim. Where they are handed over without a fight, the free man stands alone and in the most precarious situation, surrounded by those who were his friends, and who now stand opposed to him.
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1. Meyersohn, N. (27 Oct 2021). Grocery store shelves aren’t going back to normal this year. CNN Business. [Rag article] <https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/09/business/grocery-stores-food-supply-chain/index.html>
2. Dreher, R. (22 Oct 2021). Putin gets it. Why don’t we? The American Consevative. [Blog post] <https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/putin-soft-totalitarianism-live-not-by-lies-wokeness/>