Most neoliberal nations no longer talk about the global ideological struggle once pitting “free” and “controlled” states against each other. Why? Because that distinction makes little sense when Australia is hunting down citizens for fleeing its quarantine concentration camps and Finland is putting Christianity on trial. I’m trying to remember…who won the Cold War again?
Instead of admitting that they are waging war against free speech, Western governments claim that they are protecting their people by censoring “misinformation” that might cause social harm or “disinformation” that might be coming from Russia or China. It’s for your own good to let political bureaucrats first determine what arguments people may consider and which ideas should be quickly stricken from the public conversation. People with power, you see, are naturally endowed with extra genetic abilities that allow them to distinguish fact from fiction, and they can always be trusted to monitor “misinformation” with such impartiality and acumen that political calculation never remotely interferes with their benevolent duty to censor only what is “bad.” Hillary Clinton calls it necessary “gatekeeping” to protect the masses from seeing and thinking scary things, and that woman is a paragon of truth and virtue, so she must have our best interest at heart. Of course Western governments believe in free speech, so long as that speech has been officially inspected, prodded, and approved by political committee. It’s perfectly normal for freedom to feel like a colonoscopy.
Sure, you can practice your faith, engage in commerce to make a living, and associate with like-minded citizens to protest the policies of your government Except during a pandemic. Then all bets are off. You didn’t know that super-secret carve-out to your rights? It’s for your own good. We’re trying to save lives here! Tell you what: we’ll have some of our trusted government medical advisers announce when the pandemic is over and it’s safe for freedom to return. They’re “scientists” and are therefore not only unbiased and trustworthy, but also above political influence and self-interest. Truly, they are the priests of the modern age, so nobody should doubt their judgment in making wise decisions that affect absolutely every aspect of each citizen’s life. Ooh, bad news, friends. Our priests inform us that there are new pandemics of uncontrollable racism and unpredictable weather heading our way, and you’ve figured out what happens during government-declared pandemics, right? That’s correct — all your rights get put back into storage for use at a later time. So sorry.
Do you think having such flexible standards for safeguarding constitutionally protected rights in their own backyards might make it a little more difficult for NATO countries to repudiate the crimes of authoritarians around the world?
U.S. lawmakers are outraged that Beijing should be allowed to host the 2022 Winter Olympics when the communist dictatorship is locking people up for “merely exercising their most basic freedoms.” Meanwhile, a large number of Americans who showed up at a political rally in January to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly and protected right to petition their government for a redress of grievances — specifically, their contention that the 2020 presidential election was conducted fraudulently to put Biden in the White House — have been rounded up by the FBI, forced to endure wretched jail conditions and alleged torture from guards, and left languishing in solitary confinement without bail for most of the last year in order to face charges that amount to nothing more serious than trespassing inside the “people’s house.” Of course, because the federal government has decided the First Amendment exists only when it’s not too much of a bother for the ruling aristocracy to tolerate, these political prisoners are receiving punishments more severe than a lot of rapists and murderers. So Congress has decided it is virtuous to posture against China’s human rights abuses while simultaneously disregarding those perpetrated at its behest just outside its doors. Is it possible for one world power that falsely brands trespassers as “insurrectionists” to marshal the requisite moral legitimacy to call out another world power for falsely rebranding genocide as a “war against terrorism?” Of course not. Only hypocrites condemn tyranny abroad while embracing it at home. Yet that is where we are today.
There will be a lot of discussion in the future about how formerly “free” countries became so totalitarian in their outlooks. By and large, they did so through a quiet linguistic sleight of hand that replaced the language of freedom with the language of democracy. For several hundred years, Westerners have fought first and foremost for freedom while pushing democratic forms of government as procedural mechanisms for keeping power in check. But freedom is not democracy, and until quite recently, most people understood this obvious truth. If you take a hundred people, and fifty-one of them can vote to close your business, how free can you possibly feel? What if they decree that you must pray each day to a framed picture of the “Great Fauci” hanging on the wall? How about if that slim majority decides you shouldn’t be allowed to speak your mind and chooses to cut out your tongue instead? What happens when they vote to take away your property, burn your Bible, or chop off your head for backing the wrong leader? At some point, let’s hope, even the most ardent defenders of “democracy” might come to the correct conclusion just before the guillotine’s blade comes crashing down that inalienable rights and liberties are the true cornerstones of any free society. Without those, a simple majority can be every bit as bloody and unjust as even the worst tyrant. And when it’s your head about to fall into the basket, you might very well prefer the benevolent dictator to the authoritarian democracy cheering on your demise.
In essence, Western governments have initiated a silent campaign to “find and replace” freedom with democracy in order to rewrite history, dilute the public’s protected powers, and expand government control. Just days ago, D.C. Judge Amy Berman Jackson lectured one of the political prisoners being held by the federal government by actually arguing that the American War for Independence concerned people “who went on to form a democracy” and that the “point of 1776 was to let the people to decide who would rule them.” So we have another federal judge who knows so little about the U.S. Constitution and America’s history that she erroneously thinks both that we are a “democracy” and that the Revolutionary War was fought so that the people could erect a system under which they would be ruled over in perpetuity Neither is remotely correct, yet only by pretending that inalienable rights are nonexistent and that power exists not with the people, but with the ruling class can another daft judge reframe something as American as a political rally as if it were strangely foreign and unprecedented. It is Judge Jackson whose ignorance betrays the spirit of 1776, yet she knows no better because she exists as part of the same ruling class committed to swapping the idea of freedom with the idea of democracy before the public figures out what it has lost.
Ask yourself this, though: if protecting “democracy” requires obeying an entrenched ruling class, then haven’t we just replaced the chains of English monarchy with the chains of American oligarchy? If so, then don’t let those with power redefine rights into suggestions, or the value of those rights will continue to depreciate just as quickly as the fiat money controlled by governments, too.✪
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