Tyranny By Any Name Still Stinks

JB SHURK: Tyranny takes hold when good people are lulled into inaction. Those of us who mind our own business and prefer government to leave us alone are particularly prone to falling into this trap…

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ecause we have no use for government, we hope government will have no use for us. So we are silent while evil grows far from our homes.  We tend to our basic comforts and ignore evil as it nears. And, eventually, we even collaborate with evil in order to avoid making a public scene. In an effort to “get by” without causing too many waves, tyranny’s waves grow bigger and stronger until they crash upon our homes. By then, it is too late to batten down the hatches. Evil has already broken through our doors.

I had hoped that we would have more time. That must be the common sentiment shared by every generation grappling with what comes next. I had hoped that the sheer destruction of the Twentieth Century would be enough to buy us many more decades of relative peace. Regrettably, two world wars and a nuclear-tipped Cold War did nothing to temper governments’ lust for power or their financial backers’ lust for wealth. WWI’s clash of empires should have discouraged the growth of trigger-happy alliances and endless conquest. The evil unleashed by WWII’s totalitarian regimes should have discouraged the growth of centralized institutions and vast, unaccountable, “just following orders” bureaucracies.  

Instead, military alliances, central banks, international governing bodies, administrative Leviathans, and trade organizations have accumulated more power today than at any other time in history. The Twenty First Century is the century of empire-building and totalitarianism; and unless ordinary people rein in the excesses of their own governments, the mass destruction that follows will make the first two world wars look like measly hors d’oeuvres.

Can it be done? Can global bloodshed be averted?  Can Western nations be saved before they devolve into hotbeds of revolution and civil war? Or do the mounting conflicts all around us signify that we are already too late? The answers to those questions depend, in part, on whether regular citizens sufficiently resist being used as cannon fodder in the years ahead and whether global leaders sufficiently fear losing everything they now have. Had the great monarchies of Europe understood that WWI would facilitate their demise, perhaps they would have been more hesitant to allow a tangled web of military alliances to decide their fate. Chasing honor and glory led European nobles straight to their graves. Had Mussolini, Hitler and Tojo known that they would die shamefully, perhaps their thirst for empire could have been quenched. Lord Acton’s famous observation deserves a corollary: those who seek absolute power must be destroyed absolutely.

One of the peculiarities of our own time is that so many people remain blind to the totalitarianism growing and spreading around them. Western governments have seized the authority to tell us what is true and what must be censored as harmful “disinformation.” They openly spy on our phone calls, read our emails, record every Internet search and keyboard click on our computers, and monitor our social media conversations. They tell us which “politically correct” words we must use and which words are outlawed for inciting “hate.” They have criminalized reading from parts of the Bible or acting with religious conviction.  

They insist on manipulating the value of money and rigging markets in ways that confiscate the meager savings of the have-nots and further enrich the well-to-do. Corporations and government ministers work together to spread the same propaganda. Mainstream news media operate as compliant mouthpieces for the State. Banks discriminate against customers due to their personal beliefs. Companies fire employees for not being sufficiently “woke.” Prosecutors contort statutes into weapons that can be used to punish innocent people for their political speech. Westerners have no need to learn about the rise of totalitarianism from dusty history books describing the decades between WWI and WWII. It thrives right outside our windows. Hell, it operates on every piece of technology with a camera or microphone already inside our homes.

Totalitarianism has triumphed under the guise of “progress.” Behind every shiny new toy’s discreet surveillance of our private lives is a steroid-induced, rage-filled strongman working not-so-secretly to enslave us. Would you like to safeguard your most intimate photographs? All you have to do is upload them to a magical cloud. The corporations entrusted with your valuable secrets promise to respect your privacy. Would you like your automobile to provide real-time traffic alerts? Then just tap, “yes,” when the geolocation satellite system seeks to track your movements. Would you prefer the ease of buying convenience store items with a wave of your hand? Then please allow your Obamacare government doctor to insert a computer chip under your skin, so that the Federal Reserve can track how you use its central bank digital currency. Technological convenience is the gateway drug to universal surveillance. And universal surveillance is an iron fist in a velvet glove demanding compliance.

Western governments learned nothing from global war, famine, economic depression, or State-sponsored genocide except how to hide their worst impulses inside the glittery wrappers of Orwellian language. How many times have we heard unaccountable functionaries from the United Nations, the Bank for International Settlements, or the World Health Organization claim to be acting on the public’s behalf? Yet regular people have no control over these immensely powerful organizations. The UN, BIS, and WHO are elitist institutions that cater to other elites. There is no way for an average Joe or Jane to influence their policy decisions, even when those decisions regulate the most personal details of an individual’s life. There is nothing remotely “democratic” or “representative” about self-described “experts” using their powers to coerce ordinary people into submission. 

How many times have we heard U.S. State Department officials, Canadian politicians, U.K. prime ministers, NATO strategists, or European Union talking heads lecture citizens about the need for Western “democracies” to fight “authoritarian” regimes? Yet Western governments were every bit as authoritarian during the “Reign of COVID Terror” as the authoritarian States that they denounce.  Communist China implemented the most draconian COVID lockdowns in the world — incarcerating entire cities with scarce supplies of food and “disappearing” those who dared to resist — and Western governments not only applauded China’s brutal despotism but also attempted to replicate its evil machinery throughout the West. Even more perplexing, the same Western “democracies” that routinely demonize Russia as an authoritarian boogeyman that must be destroyed nevertheless enrich communist China with lucrative trade deals and shower Chinese tyrants with obsequious displays of respect. Could it be that Western leaders are perfectly happy with authoritarianism so long as they are the authorities making money and maintaining total political control? Their hypocritical actions speak for themselves.

Communism, fascism, Nazism, Maoism, socialism — it doesn’t matter what it’s called. To butcher Shakespeare’s Juliet: Tyranny by any other name still stinks. All forms of collectivism are inherently totalitarian. They are unsustainable without violence and eventually survive on force alone. So-called “anti-fascists” are the most fascist street thugs operating today; they use billionaire donations to fund domestic terrorism that is meant to intimidate civilians into complying with the wishes of wealthy elites who already control the levers of government. If Antifa members were really anti-fascist, they would beat up themselves.

The prudent way to understand our volatile times is to recognize them as the opening battles in an incipient war between government totalitarians and staunch defenders of human liberty. What is globalism, after all, if not a system for maximizing the coercive power of a small number of international elites while denying citizens inalienable rights and freedoms? Everything else is a calculated distraction. ✪

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