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How to resist the new totalitarianism Those who fled Communist regimes for the West are hearing terrifying echoes from the past

Totalitarianism's back in business Credit: Georges DeKeerle/Sygma via Getty Images

Totalitarianism's back in business Credit: Georges DeKeerle/Sygma via Getty Images


November 12, 2020   6 mins

In late 2018, a woman called Kristie Higgs was sacked from her job at a school in Gloucestershire because of comments made on her private Facebook page, in her own time, concerning sex education in schools. Last month, an Employment Tribunal upheld her dismissal, on the grounds that her employer believed that her posts “might reasonably lead people…to conclude that she was homophobic and transphobic”. The Tribunal flatly denied any link between her Christian convictions and the school’s decision to sack her, a remarkable piece of sophistry clearly intended to avoid the finding that Ms Higgs had been dismissed because of her religious beliefs — which she quite plainly had been.

Days later, it was reported that the Metropolitan Police were investigating Darren Grimes, the Conservative activist, because of a racially insensitive remark made by Professor David Starkey during an interview on Mr Grimes’ YouTube channel at the end of June.

In the United States, meanwhile, the company Yelp, whose website features crowd-sourced reviews of millions of businesses, announced that they were introducing a new feature on their website: a “Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert,” which will be accompanied by “a link to a news article where they can learn more about the incident.”

All of these stories broke while I was reading Rod Dreher’s new book, Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents. These were immediately followed by two further developments from the other side of the Atlantic. First, Webster’s online dictionary responded to a manufactured row over Amy Coney Barrett’s use of the phrase “sexual preference” by changing the entry for the word “preference” to state that it was an “offensive” term when used in connection with sexual orientation.

On the very same day it became clear that Twitter was refusing to publish any Tweet linking to a story in the New York Post concerning corruption allegations against Hunter Biden, son of the US Presidential candidate Joe Biden.

All of these occurrences illustrate Dreher’s central thesis: that inhabitants of Western countries are seeing the development of a new soft totalitarianism. Under this dispensation, interpersonal freedoms — those related to sexual expression and sexual self-definition, to the actualisation of a Self created by an individual for themselves — are sacrosanct, whereas old-fashioned concrete liberties of speech and thought and assembly and debate, are up for grabs. This is Philip Rieff’s “triumph of the therapeutic”, where the state will protect us from disapproval, challenge and criticism — even if that requires the destruction of proper freedoms.

Dreher quotes Hannah Arendt’s definition of a totalitarian society as “one in which an ideology seeks to displace all prior traditions and institutions, with the goal of bringing all aspects of society under the control of that ideology”. This can be distinguished from authoritarianism, where a state aims to monopolise political control but does not seek a more thoroughgoing and intrusive transformation in its citizens’ worldviews and habits of mind.

Many people will raise a sceptical eyebrow at this. As with Dreher’s last book The Benedict Option — to which Live Not By Lies is a sequel, or companion piece, of sorts — there have already been accusations of paranoia and alarmism. However, the evidence he marshals is compelling and hard to rebut, and any intelligent and honest observer of current affairs will find it hard to deny that in Western countries the list of things that simply cannot be said without provoking a possibly career-ending storm of controversy and denunciation is growing by the day.

A problem for people like Dreher who wish to sound the alarm about soft totalitarianism — and a useful rhetorical tool for their critics — is that the phenomenon is not always clearly defined. There is no party whose programme explicitly outlines their support for it (although of course it has the implicit support of most mainstream parties in Western countries). It has never been put to any electorate. There is no Mein Kampf or Little Red Book for this movement, if indeed it can be described as a movement at all. It is hard to define and hard to pin down, despite its vast power.

Various attempts have been made at description. “Political correctness” was popular for a while, but suffered the terrible fate of many terms coined to describe Left-wing censoriousness: it quickly became low-status, endlessly mocked by cultural gatekeepers. Nowadays we have “cancel culture”, which is a useful term without quite capturing the way in which soft totalitarianism works. The writer Dan Hitchens calls it The Thing; the US intellectual James Poulos calls it “the pink police state”. In some internet circles the loose and informal but extremely powerful alliance between the media, academia, the public sector and the political Left — which polices and dictates the parameters of acceptable opinion — is known as The Cathedral.

Terminology per se is perhaps less important than a clear understanding of what exactly “soft totalitarianism” means. It can be best defined, I think, as a legal and cultural regime in which the expression of morally and socially conservative ideas and opinions is aggressively policed and punished by a combination of legal and social sanctions, backed up by corporate power.

The deepest animating impulse of what writer Wesley Yang calls the Successor Ideology is a ferocious egalitarianism, based on what has been called the “blank slate” view of human nature. This results in a furious hostility to hierarchy, natural distinction, traditional Western cultural norms, or any concept of limits on the perfectibility of human societies. Its most precious taboos are those around ethnic characteristics, sexual expression, relations between the sexes, and comparisons between cultures. The ruling presumption is that differences in outcome are ipso facto evidence of structural injustices.

It has become a cliché of conservative rhetoric to point out that modern progressive belief and activism has many of the characteristics of religious doctrine and ritual. Nevertheless, I do think this is a useful insight, because it helps us to understand what exactly it is that we are dealing with. Contemporary progressive activism resembles religious belief insofar as it provides an all-encompassing epistemological and moral framework into which everything else must be incorporated, and a set of moral standards against which people and their actions and thoughts must be judged.

This means that it is extremely hostile to the normal business of politics: the consideration of empirical findings about what the world is really like, the recognition of trade-offs, and the necessity of compromise between competing interests. To approach politics with a religious sensibility is dangerous, because it leaves no room for the obvious reality that in political deliberation we must pay attention to people’s differing conceptions of what is good and important in life. The ideologue, of course, will find it hard to admit this fact, because to reckon with it honestly is to reject the totalising, moralistic fervour which is so central to a great deal of progressive politics and activism.

Dreher approaches the problem of the totalising ideology under which we increasingly live from an unexpected angle, in light of the experiences and concerns of people who lived under Communist dictatorship in the Eastern Bloc in the years before 1990. Live Not By Lies features testimony from many such individuals, including some who fled to the United States many years ago and now say they are concerned by the resemblances between the cultural-political atmosphere in the USA and the stifling control they thought they had left behind.

The title of the book refers to a message published by the Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn on the day of his arrest by Soviet authorities in 1974. He had come to realise that one of the most powerful supports for Communist dictatorship came from the willingness of people to passively co-operate with the official lies published by the regime. The propaganda put out by tyrannies is very often not meant to convince people, so much as to humiliate and demoralise them by surrounding them with obvious nonsense that they dare not contradict.

Solzhenitsyn said that you can stand up to this by refusing to co-operate with official dishonesty and deception. He knew that most people cannot be heroic public dissidents, but he did challenge them to live in truth in a small-scale way as far as they were able. He gave several examples of how his readers might do this: avoid speaking lies themselves; leave or boycott meetings where lies are told; refuse to support demonstrations that they do not genuinely believe in.

This way, he argues, you can begin to live with integrity against a regime that tries to make this impossible, and you can strengthen others by your example.

The relevance of the imperative to live in truth to our current plight is not hard to see. We too are asked to swallow many lies — not just Christians, to whom Dreher’s book is principally addressed, but cultural and social conservatives of all kinds. In resisting the spread of such lies, we face what game theorists call a co-ordination problem: a situation where lots of people are trying to make decisions about the best way to act based on incomplete information.

Perhaps other people in the meeting also think privilege theory is mostly nonsense, or have read the papers debunking the science behind implicit bias training, or believe that ethnic minorities don’t need to be patronised with special treatment. Maybe all the parents at the school think that six-year-olds shouldn’t be learning about gay marriage and transgenderism. But who is going to dare to say that? Who will speak first? Solzhenitsyn has the antidote; we must speak up, we must be willing to take the risk and bear the cost.

This is easy in theory, and much harder in practice. For many of us resistance in these areas is liable to affect professional advancement and prestige, even our ability to earn a living altogether. It may lead to social ostracism and rifts with family and friends. Equally, we must ask ourselves whether we can live with the alternative, of compliance and endless white lies and ultimately the surrender of all public space to fanatics and those willing to bend to them.

There is a certain bracing comfort in having the choice presented so starkly. Dreher’s book is sobering, and clarifying. As I put it down, some words from Evelyn Waugh’s Sword Of Honour trilogy came to mind: “The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms.”


Niall Gooch is a public sector worker and occasional writer who lives in Kent.

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Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

A very good article that synthesises and expresses so many of the developments and themes that have come to the fore in recent years. The latest example in the UK is the absurdity of the FA resigning because he said ‘coloured footballers’ instead of ‘footballers of colour’, or whatever the latest prescribed terminology might be. And this within the context of highlighting some of the problems that footballers of colour face.

This writer and many others refer to a ‘soft totalitarianism’, but one wonders how long it will be before that totalitarianism becomes much harder.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I sat in ‘awe’ listening to a replay of that interview on Radio 4 the other morning, as it was replayed at length by the BBC, as if it were about to provide irrefutable ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ proof of this man’s complete unsuitability for his job only to be left thinking, ‘Jesus, is this seriously what we’re coming to’.

A damning indictment this most certainly wasn’t of the man in question.

A man who arguably failed to use the precise and yet simultaneously ever-shifting lexicon demanded by ‘a system’ that seems intent on catching seemingly otherwise well-qualified for the job individuals out for simply failing to constantly move with it as if their livelihoods depended on it (which they clearly now do) and as if they’ve got nothing else better to do (which of course they should have).

Peter Lockyer
Peter Lockyer
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

His abiding sin was he was an older white man.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Lockyer

A young black woman saying those things in public at an event to promote diversity from a position of power and authority would have faced the same criticism.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

And, generally, they will believe anything that reinforces the narrative

Jeri Flynn
Jeri Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Just one example, please!

Ben
Ben
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Meanwhile ‘Times Radio’ has taken up the cudgels on behalf of Radio 4 by promoting Michelle Obama’s biography during their commercial breaks in tones so saccharine that you feel sick just listening. This seems to be the preferred lifeboat of choice for broadcasters abandoning BBC Titanic…

Lydia R
Lydia R
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes indeed. At one time it was offensive to say black. Then that was changed to people of colour. It would be nice to have a world where everyone is just a person without any racial description attached.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

This has caught me out… I thought it was more polite to say ‘coloured person’ rather than ‘black person’. I must have missed the memo when they changed that. Also, when did ‘queer’ become an acceptable word to refer to homosexuality?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

To homosexuals always. To heterosexuals, not so far, at least that I can see. This is the basic problem in a nutshell. We no longer have words that independently acquire and lose meaning in context, but words wielded as weapons, whose ‘meaning’ depends on who is using them.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Is sausage jockey ok?

Ben
Ben
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Or ‘gay’ come to that – which could be interpreted as a trite insult…the world really is disappearing down its own rabbit hole! Or is ‘rabbit hole’ offensive now..?

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Rabbit Warren…..Please sir!

Until Warren takes offence.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

Then that was changed to people of colour.
Which prompted a black co-worker to wonder how long before “colored people” is back in style. And the ghost of MLK agrees with your last statement. Today, the left would consider him a sellout.

Jeri Flynn
Jeri Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Like Justice Clarence Thomas recently called Uncle Tom on CNN – anchor still has her job, praised for her honesty as a matter of fact.

Dorothy Webb
Dorothy Webb
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

I get so tired of these people who have chips on their shoulders regarding the colour of their skin.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

I read somewhere that coloured was out, and black was in, so far as offensiveness ratings.

I actually think there are two sides to this.

One side it that it’s the thought that counts, not the word. A generous heart behind any comment or wording should be fine. Judge the heart, not the choice of word. Or don’t judge at all of course.

The other is, while trying to have a generous heart, the choice of word may be more relevant to the speaker, than to the listener. Maybe it upsets a speaker to say some word the listener prefers to hear, more than the reverse, of upsetting the listener by the choice of word.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Clark

I think I kind of like that logic. 🙂

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It won’t I think in the main be prison that they will use, it will be the mental health system at least initially. compulsory bias training, toxic masculinity = mental illness, hate crimes. More and More of the same.

We have to start asking what is the agenda here and I think its something like this:-

China and India and the Islamic world are responsible for large proportions of the worlds population. The globalists want control of and money from and power in these parts of the world but also the west. Therefore they are pushing us closer to communist China and Socialist Caste system (Identity politics anyone) India because they see these as the future world leading states and because they like control. The excuses for control are already all there – dubious claims of climate change, pandemics etc. People buy in because this is a long term goal supported by the establishment throughout the world, Eventually democracy will go but right now it will be undermined by stealth as much as possible.

Are these people evil? I wonder, they probably justify themselves by believing they are preventing nucclear war and that they are naturally smarter so should be in charge but basically yes all tyrants justify themselves.

Can we resist? We have to all understand the extent and we would have to create our own international resistance and we would have to convince people to side with us and we would have to ideally do it in a cost free way. So basically very very difficult. At the very least we can’t keep voting for the same old corrupted parties. We will need to choose the likes of Farage’s reform party but that will need to happen across the west.

I am not very optimistic. We are not suddenly going to get our half decent Liberal democracies back, it will be more like a cross between Brave New World and Big Brother but for the entire world, meaning no external threat. That is the dystopia that looks most likely to me.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago

I read an article from a well known GP, and online blogger that went something like this:

“If our governments can’t collectively organise an effective response to Coronavirus, how could we possibly imagine they could organise a global conspiracy”.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

Well the World Economic Forum and even the UN are organised world “governments”. It looks likely to me the chaos was a feature from their point of view. They will say something like look at this shitshow if only we had more power concentrated in world government we would have done so much better. Cue less democracy more technocracy.

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago

‘Cue less democracy more technocracy.’ The latter already firmly established. I am more an more amazed at the numbers (of my own generation) ‘wedded’ to the gadgets. Even throughout meals!!

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

not technology, technocracy, unelected burueacrats with the real power.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

It looks to me like the opposite conclusion would be the logical one — that highly centralized, highly authoritarian power tends to create chaos. That conclusion would please not only right-wing libertarians, but autonomist lefties. It would be attributed to the inability of a single authority or power to integrate billions of divergent and competing interests. That which can’t be integrated or left alone — and the totalitarian mindset can’t leave anything alone — becomes the chaos.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

I hope you are right but that is not the nature of our world I fear.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

Depends on what they are trying to achieve. If chaos, confusion, public acquiescence etc then they will have organised brilliantly.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

I think that is exactly what they want as an excuse to centralise.

Dean Barwell
Dean Barwell
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The other day I saw a video clip showing a protest (ahem!) somewhere in America. The marchers were outside a typical American style house and on the veranda there was an older white couple. They were pointing at a lawn sign in their yard and saying “there’s our Biden sign please don’t destroy anything” The voices from the crowd – white and black – included “no one cares what your white ass thinks” and then a black woman stepped up and screamed “telling Black people how to protest is white supremacy”.
So, the left, like the lions taking over a new pride kill the cubs so that no other will interfere with their dominance. You’d have to be quite the optimist if you think a Biden administration will do anything against such insane behavior and it is just as easy to find similar here in the UK. Sasha Johnson of Oxford BLM would be a good place to start.

Kenneth MacKillop
Kenneth MacKillop
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

What would the other footballers be called — “footballers of pallor”?

Or would they be “uncolored footballers”?

Ben
Ben
3 years ago

Viewed from the outside, people must be baffled at the insanity of those in charge of us. Do you suppose they’re agonising over gender dysphoria or white privilege in Stockton on Tees or Stoke on Trent? Truly a discussion for that tiny, self-obsessed minority on in the inside.
The truly shocking thing is how much influence these idiots seem to wield: part of the Unelected State which is doing so much damage to our country and which desperately needs to be exposed to public scrutiny to bring an end to this madness.

Andrea X
Andrea X
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Welcome to Scotland 😀

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I left the place 30 years ago for Sunny Kent, largely because of the appalling sectarianism. The SNP have done nothing about that, despite their promises, instead they just pile on more divisive crap.

Dorothy Webb
Dorothy Webb
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben

They have bought up the media. That is the trouble. They make a lot of noise with their idiot ideas then they get a terrible shock when something goes to the voting public, e.g. Brexit, Boris Johnson’s party getting a huge majority, etc. They will try to get things through without votes or referendums, now, but we must stop this and keep awake (not woke – silly word.)

Erik Unherdson
Erik Unherdson
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Webb

Yes, they gained control of media and education system – and now they can control the narrative and push their agendas fully to achieve the results they crave and feel so entitled to.
As they have just done on the biggest stage yet, with the US Presidential elections this year.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Erik Unherdson

thank you for your candor and confirming your identity.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Humza Yousaf would consider your comment sufficient to have you dragged off to the Gulag, along with Erik.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

I doubt very much that anyone in Scotland would allow the to happen.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Erik Unherdson

On the education of which the Left has gained control: would a voucher system help cure that?

Erik Unherdson
Erik Unherdson
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Krehbiel

Sorry, not sure what you mean, what voucher scheme?

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy Webb

ah yes…they…the media is owned by the likes of Rupert Murdoch and other corporate oligarchs.

speaking of silly words”Brexit…did you all ever see that £350 million a week for the NHS?

Barry Wetherilt
Barry Wetherilt
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

I think it’s been more like 350bn

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

“….Solzhenitsyn…… had come to realise that one of the most powerful supports for ….dictatorship came from the willingness of people to passively co-operate with the official lies…”

Such as “trans women are women” ” pregnant men” etc.

David George
David George
3 years ago

“The simple act of an ordinary brave man is not to participate in lies, not to support false actions! His rule: Let that come into the world, let it even reign supreme”only not through me. But it is within the power of writers and artists to do much more: to defeat the lie! For in the struggle with lies art has always triumphed and shall always triumph! Visibly, irrefutably for all! Lies can prevail against much in this world, but never against art”¦

One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.”

““From the speech delivered by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to the Swedish Academy on the occasion of his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Inspiring words… But in the modern world artists and writers, with a few notable and minor exceptions, seem to be doing the most to spread the lies and repression of the state and corporations.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Hang on Mike, I’m an artist and I never said a word. Honest. I have enough problems (like many people) just getting proportions, perspective, tonal values and colour sorted and that looking at a blank canvas:-)

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

He forgot the scientist’s.

But it’s like anything else really, for every activist artist, there’s a thousand cringing in the background.

Paul Wicks
Paul Wicks
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

Hope you’re right!

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

That sounds like an idealised and dated picture of the artist as unflinching hero standing bravely alone against an oppressive system. The image doesn’t really hold up when you consider the consensus that has become the norm for our creative class. The higher levels of creativity confer a jealously guarded status and approval of one’s peers is vital if reputation and status are to be maintained.

We are constantly subjected to patronising moral lessons by Left-liberal creatives who probably see themselves, not as “new totalitarians”, but rebels doing their bit to counter a corrupt old system that is supported by an ignorant populace who need to be “woke up”.

How do you rebel against those who consider themselves rebels? In their eyes you will inevitably appear to be a defensive reactionary trying to turn back the tide of history.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

The problem there begins when ‘artists’ don’t work out of a normal desire for money or patronage, but ‘conviction’. And ‘conviction’ is always dangerous.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Yes, I think it was Tom Stoppard who neatly flipped the old adage about “having the courage of ones convictions” when he talked about the courage NOT to have convictions ““ a courage seriously lacking among virtue signallers so eager to impress.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I don’t have any convictions. My criminal record is pristine……….

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  David Redfern

Oh, that British sense of humor ““ the envy of the world we are told. Could you not scrape up just a bit of it? Was it worth the effort of reaching for the keyboard to tap out such a lame unfunny quip?

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

“And ‘conviction’ is always dangerous.”

Like Solzhenitsyn’s?

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Yes, I don’t think that Solzhenitsyn had in mind the sanctimonious bunch of hypocritical group thinking fools that call themselves artists these days. The writers, the comedians used to be the ones willing to speak the unspeakable. Now they’re the ones trying to shut everyone up.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Lionel Shriver says “writers used to be ‘cutting edge’, now they’re ‘cookie-cutter.'”

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

The 80’s alt-comedy circuit has a lot to answer for. And I bet the late Bernard Manning could give them the answers!

Paul Savage
Paul Savage
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

Would that be the same Lionel Shriver who wrote the apologia in the Spectator and voted for Biden? Her belief in free speech seems to come second to snobbery when faced with someone she considers vulgar.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Savage

I dunno, but announcing the intention of voting for Biden doesn’t undermine free speech, at least not in my books.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

I prefer comedians who just entertain and amuse.

Problems started when comedians were told by highbrow types that it was their purpose to challenge and subvert ““ in fact comedy which wasn’t challenging audience complacency could hardly be called comedy at all ““ send off the clowns and bring on the activist comics!

Ben Scott
Ben Scott
3 years ago

This is a piece I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Having recently read Anne Applebaum’s “Iron Curtain” – a history of how the Communists gained power in post-war Eastern Europe – I’ve noticed striking similarities with how people have ceded control to the authorities this year. Sadly, the whole thing seems to have been on fast forward due to the cross-party, big tech backed, COVID-19 propaganda.

John Findlay
John Findlay
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

I read that book a couple of years ago, and it is excellent. The destruction of civil society that it documents is quite chilling in the current context. I must dig it out and read it again. I can also recommend The Captive Mind by Czesław Miłosz.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

“…..this year”??????

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben Scott

The Communists gained power in Eastern Europe mostly because the Nazis wiped out the local civil societies and the Soviet Army moved into the vacuum they left behind when they were defeated. The Soviet Army took its orders from the leadership in Moscow, who were interested in surrounding their state with obedient satellites as a matter of self-defense. The people of these countries did not cede control; they were at the point of a gun, first a German one, then a Soviet one. Eventually the Soviets went home, and now everything is wonderful.

The measures taken against COVID-19 don’t seem totalitarian to me. All of them are rational, if not always correct, responses to an actual public danger, one not very well understood at the time.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Only rational if you only listen to 1 sort of scientist, refuse to pay attention to other scientists’ theories and refuse to learn when your predictions are shown wrong time and time again.

Jeri Flynn
Jeri Flynn
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

While COVID has an illusory nature to it, being positive but asymptomatic, there is more than enough data now to draw workable conclusions. Starting with the obvious as far as which underlying health conditions, and age group, are most vulnerable. Totalitarian? When the Blue State Governor’s in US dictate that no more than 5 family members can gather indoors over the holidays, masks on, and can only lower masks “between bites,” when dining, and may not “sing or chant” to reduce transmission…we have a control problem ie: Totalitarianism. We laughed here in the Southeast…can’t enforce this nonsense. But I hear AU Gov uses drones to identify ppl on the beach breaking guidelines, for punishment, no doubt. Scientists? I can point you to 1000’s from Oxford, and Harvard, from Israel to France that disagree with lockdowns, but they’ve all been discredited by mainstream media…go figure 🙄

tiffeyekno
tiffeyekno
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Starry thank you for that calm, reasonable input. Most of the puerile / shrill / ranting comments here simply dont understand the distinction between sometimes blundering authoritarianism and totalitarianism. To suggest that the efforts of world governments to address a global pandemic are leading us to hell in a Panzer is like reading the letters page of Viz. Oh, and thank you for not mentioning a book, any book, that you read sometime ago.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

I’m struck at how casually so many in the States dismiss what is happening before their very eyes. Maybe it’s easy to do that when the target of the latest witch hunt is someone the observer disagrees with. But eventually the mob comes for you, too, because that’s what mobs do. Not long ago, the entertainer Ellen DeGeneres took a lot of heat for daring have a civil conversation with George Bush in skybox during a football game in Dallas. What was she supposed to do, physically attack him? Go on a verbal tirade?

Equally, we must ask ourselves whether we can live with the alternative, of compliance and endless white lies and ultimately the surrender of all public space to fanatics and those willing to bend to them.
I suggest you ask this first, without the ‘equally’ or any other equivocation because this is where tactics like this lead. When you give the mob an inch, it will always push for more. There is no bargaining or reasoning to be done; this is a group that will go after its own for daring to stray from dogma.

Erik Unherdson
Erik Unherdson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

My thoughts too. The privileged mob who portray themselves as “liberals” has been brainwashing the masses so successfully that the noisy majority are incapable or totally unwilling to see what has been unfolding in front of them with the US elections.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
3 years ago
Reply to  Erik Unherdson

No, not all the “masses”. Far too many, though.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

“Not long ago, the entertainer Ellen DeGeneres took a lot of heat for
daring have a civil conversation with George Bush in skybox during a
football game in Dallas. What was she supposed to do, physically attack
him? Go on a verbal tirade?”

So no one should have a bad opinion of Ellen DeGeneres’s choice of company? Many people consider George W. Bush to have been a war criminal, with good reason, I think, although perhaps he could get off by pleading ignorance and stupidity. DeGeneres could have taken a walk. There are limits to sociability.

Paul Savage
Paul Savage
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

And in a couple of paragraphs you prove the writer’s point. Because in your opinion something is so, anyone who thinks differently is fair game for a public hounding. Re education camps coming soon?

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

only someone living in cloud-cuckoo land with no sense of practicality whatsoever could advocate that a leading media personality ought to have snubbed the president of the United States.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

The left in close cahoots with powerful business interests, together reshaping society. It’s actually not that new. There was an experiment along those lines in Germany in the 1930s and 40s. It didn’t work out then, but I’m sure they’ve ironed out the glitches this time. It’ll probably be fine.

Erik Unherdson
Erik Unherdson
3 years ago
Reply to  ard10027

Instead of National Socialism they are pursuing a Globalist Socialism this time. Wth China’s direct and indirect support with finance and technology appreciating their work from behind the scenes.

S Trodare
S Trodare
3 years ago

A dystopian world is creeping up on us, not just through the woke world, education and Stasi like oversight of language and beliefs that do not fit the narrative of political correctness. In addition through the proselytising of the World Economic Forum headed up by Klaus Schwab and their “Great Reset” concept using Corvid-19 to initiate a new form of communism controlled by the mega rich of the industrial world which entails a transformation of society resulting in permanent restrictions on fundamental liberties and mass surveillance on populations, in return for owning nothing which they plan to have in place by 2030.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  S Trodare

Oh FFS….see my comment above about conspiracies.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  S Trodare

sounding a lot like this monty python sketch from way back:
” I can’t even take a bath without 6 or 7 communists jumping in with me. They’re in my shirt cupboard and Brezhnev and Kosygin are in the kitchen now eating my wife’s jam. Oh, they are cutting off my legs! I can see them peeping out of my wife’s blouse! Why doesn’t Mr. Maudling do something about it before it is too late?”

Greg Eiden
Greg Eiden
3 years ago

Hey, not to worry. If Biden in fact wins, China will be our masters in short order. And I don’t think they’ll put up with any of this nonsense. Or maybe they’ll just leave us with our Cathedral as a cancer on the West to keep us under control, from re-emerging as an economic threat, wasting our money on Green New Deals forever and making sure those in power are with the (China) program whether they know it as such or not.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Greg Eiden

Haven’t China committed to more far reaching green measures than the USA.

Mr Biden would, at least initially, only be catching up China wrt Green New Deal.

https://www.bloomberg.com/n

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Greg Eiden

We don’t need China.

We are f*****g our country up all by ourselves thanks very much.

David Shaw
David Shaw
3 years ago

Another good article on this subject to go with Douglas Murray’s articles and books. The solution is quite simple but also quite dangerous for the individual/Political Party. It is for that individual and Party to say that ‘Enough is enough, we have had it with minority groups attempting to dictate to the majority. Democracy means doing what the majority want and within democracy Freedom of Speech is the most important element. We probably I/We have all the prescribed prejudices of racism, sexism etc in differing percentages(like everyone else in society) but that is life! I/we are about Free Speech and with that in mind we will campaign on that and that alone and we will sweep away this ‘Cancel Culture’ or whatever you might want to call it.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  David Shaw

Errrr……That would be Farage, but dare not his name pass the lips of those scared to seek him out and actually listen to him.

We all asked for Trump, and we got him. A plain speaking politician who couldn’t be corrupted by money; who didn’t want to be the worlds Policeman; who was human with all the character faults of the rest of us; who did what he promised to do (check his 2016 manifesto) or at least tried to; who took on China head on; who didn’t have a family riddled with deadbeats (Biden, Clinton, Bush) or as sweet as saccharine (Obama) and what did most of you do?

You trashed him.

May Allah bless you all, because you’ll need it.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  David Shaw

In the US, which as you may have heard is a multiethnic country, the Ruling Classes would find Balkanization and civil war inconvenient. One the other hand, they do find a certain amount of IdPol convenient — divide and rule. So it’s a delicate balance. And the elites seem to be deteriorating, so they are doing the balance less well as they go along.

Democracy and freedom of speech are antagonistic concepts.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

RE: Democracy and freedom of speech are antagonistic concepts.

More utter nonsense.

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago

We live in the most pampered, ridiculous society in human history. Where the poor is fat. If you cannot be bothered to stand in your own name to fight this because you might not get a promotion just think of this. Men died of trench foot, for your freedom to choose not to stand in your central heated home. All the men who died (average 19) in bomber command shouldnt have bothered.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago

I always like to consider what one of the US founding figures said. Ben Franklin said,
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Of course the quote is out of context as the issue he was addressing was more mundane having to do with whether the Penn family should have the right to pay money to the Pennsylvania State Assembly to ensure that they would not fall under taxation. But I think it’s very apt to the current situation as well.

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

Today if you want promotion in the British army or the Nhs you have to undergo re education of a failed evil ideology. All they have done is swap race for class which by the way was the only thing that separated communists from the the National socialists.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“…swap race for class which by the way was the only thing that separated communists from the the National socialists.”

nonsense.

georgie george
georgie george
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

you should rename yourself All Mybizness, as evidenced by all the threads you chime in on

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  georgie george

being a polymath isn’t a bed of roses.

georgie george
georgie george
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

European Civilisation: 2500yrs of scholarship, discovery, creativity and innovation – study, discuss, enjoy
Marxism: shut up, shut up, your ideas have been driving me crazee for nearly 200yrs
European Civilisation: nope. you were already crazy, telling everyone else to shut up came after

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  georgie george

your fixation on Marx is noted as is your absolute ignorance on…well everything.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“Where the poor is fat.” And semi-literacy abounds.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

I like it. It sounds sort of Middle-Englishy.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Where semi-literacy abounds, is celebrated and idolized…not in a bad way.

animal lover
animal lover
3 years ago

If we don’t stand up against this now, it’s going to get much worse!! Talk is cheap.

Neil John
Neil John
3 years ago
Reply to  animal lover

“Talk is cheap”, some talk may be, some however may cost you dearly, not just you job and home, but quite literally your life.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  animal lover

When are you organising the central London demonstrations. I’m up for coming along.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
C. S. Lewis

Lydia R
Lydia R
3 years ago

It’s already noticeable that neighbours and friends are willing to inform on each other for minor infractions of the so called rules during this pandemic.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Lydia R

I trust the HM Constabulary are keeping a record of these wretched informers?

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

They will probably put them on the payroll.

Vóreios Paratiritís
Vóreios Paratiritís
3 years ago

Wokeness never Sleeps. So the only choice is to build a life that is explicitly anti-woke and to the best of your ability surround yourself with likeminded souls.

Billy Fild
Billy Fild
3 years ago

No, we have a duty to remedy this madness ..free speech & association, & freedom to travel are utterly essential, or one is a “slave” ..Billions depend on this & us! Expose the lies & propaganda by word of mouth..it’s v powerful…if you are ostracised by “friends” for this …well good! …They are likely closed minded idiots anyways! …tell everyone you see..everywhere you go…,,,& sooner or later people will see murderous, thieving & manipulative propaganda for what it is…in the face of this rapidly creeping Tyranny we better get on with it too,,,only we the people can protect the people.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Billy Fild

I don’t have many friends left these days. The Woke have gone a’Woking and I don’t really give a monkeys.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

What would the components of an anti-Woke life be? Would I have to discriminate against the ‘colored’? When I was a child, that was absolutely required. That was definitely an anti-Woke world.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

No you wouldn’t have to “discriminate against the ‘coloured'”. You would have to keep an open mind and retain a sense of humour in an anti-woke world.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
3 years ago

This is very good. The question I have is: is this just an interesting observation, or is it a present danger? I think it is the latter. I am fairly sure that I would lose my job if I expressed perfectly normal opinions that run counter to twitter fashion. The question then is: what do we do about it? The guardians control the media and the institutions. Our only hope is laws to prevent it. But the lawmakers themselves are cowed by the media and the institutions.

tomas.hylmo
tomas.hylmo
3 years ago

It’s a rather naive idea that “the normal business of politics: the consideration of empirical findings about what the world is really like”.

Normally, politics are at best vaguely related to empirical findings, the best source of which is what we call science…

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  tomas.hylmo

Good point. Only very rarely does politics have anything to do with empiricism. Instead, its chief pre-occupation is cynicism. Specifically, the cynicism of gaining short-term advantage by giving people free stuff or telling them what they want to hear.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Indeed, it can be disheartening.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Nothing wrong with political cynicism, in fact we could do with more.

And nothing wrong with short term gain; tell a man he’ll get £100 next week and he’ll have more faith in that than telling him he’ll get £1M in ten years.

The ideological concept that politicians should be planning for the ‘long term’ is simply stuffing the world with more politicians and bureaucrats figuring out how they can sell the daft idea to the even dafter public that believe them.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  tomas.hylmo

On the contrary, ’empiricism’ is irrelevant to science, which is the process of abstraction, and statistical enumeration. That ‘E=mc2′ cannot be ’empirically’ demonstrated. Nor can ‘gravity’. Gravity is an inference.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

empirically
adverb
by means of observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

I do hope you’re joking

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago

Thank you. A more concise, and less cruel answer than I would have given.

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

That’s why those things are called theories, the theory of relativity for example or the global warming theory. Once they are proved they are elevated to laws – the first law of thermodynamics for example.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  David George

Every scientific conclusion is a theory, be it “abstraction, and statistical enumeration” or otherwise.

There was a time when, by empirical (observational) means, powered flight wasn’t possible.

That theory lasted an awful long time.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  tomas.hylmo

The single most unsuccessful community in society are scientists.

By their very nature, they must fail more than they succeed, else there would be no need for experiments or Peer Review, neither of which work very well – experiments because they (should) fail most of the time, and Peer Review because it has a habit of accepting failed experiments.

Never trust a scientist until he puts his hand in a cold fire first.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘There is no Mein Kampf or Little Red Book for this movement,…’

There are any number of Harry Potter books for this movement. Not to mention the Koran.

Andy Clark
Andy Clark
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yet, the author of the Harry Potter books was herself ostracised for breaking required standards of inclusiveness.

Like many (most ?) things, it maybe isn’t so simple as to be reducible to an easy black and white.

As the article quoted of Solzhenitsyn “challenge them to live in truth in a small-scale way”.

The Harry Potter books are by all accounts a good read, harmless fun.

Demonising them seems against the gist of the article, that accepting wide norms is what is needed, not a totalitarian limit, which can easily create a clash of my totalitarian ideas vs your totalitarian ideas.

So Harry Potter, a great read, though some of the characterisation isn’t my cup of tea seems more the Solzhenitsyn “small-scale” truth.

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Brilliant, thank you. My thoughts elsewhere on this thread.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

COVID-19: The Great Reset https://www.amazon.com/dp/2

Sure there is! And a German wrote it!

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

That’s a very fine article, thank you Niall.

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
3 years ago

Pathologist: ‘Mass testing in Liverpool shows testing we have had has failed.’

YOU TUBE watch?v=yPG8d3e43Xk

A consultant pathologist has told talkRADIO the mass testing of Liverpool has proven the original coronavirus tests “failed.”

Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer, Dr Clare Craig said she was initially against the idea of mass testing, but “what’s happened in Liverpool has completely turned the tables.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has said more than 44,000 people have taken part in the city’s mass coronavirus testing pilot, which began on Friday. Dr Craig says only 0.5% of those testing were found to be positive.

“What that means is we have a really good test at showing who has definite Covid. It has shown up the testing that we’ve had to have failed.

“Mass testing the whole of Liverpool is not the key.

“We need to be re-testing people who have been misdiagnosed and get the diagnosis right.”

Dorothy Webb
Dorothy Webb
3 years ago

Yes, a very good article.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

There seems to be a constant flow of cases in which Christians are discriminated against because of their faith, particularly in the area of employment. Some take their case to the highest courts but are ruled against more often than not. It is incredible to me that our legislators cannot frame laws which give some freedom of conscience and beliefs to people of all faiths. So much for our liberal, tolerant society.
Not all, but many Christians see themselves as living in a counter-culture and there are some strategies we can use as well as trying to live an authentic Christian life. No doubt Rob Dreher’s new book will help and encourage us.
The most important strategy is prayer. We believe we are engaged in a spiritual battle for the soul of our nation, and prayer is a very powerful weapon. Increasing numbers of Christians are praying for a great spiritual awakening across our land. It’s happened before and it will happen again.
We can also support those Christian organisations which are devoted to bringing Christian and biblical principles to the public square.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

“There is no party whose programme explicitly outlines their support for it “. I wish this was true. Unfortunately it is the Davos and Bilderberg crowd. This is their technocracy dream. It is them. This is why they launched the covid plandemic. “Build back better” is their motto. https://www.weforum.org/age

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Boylon

conspiracy theory alert.

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

It isn’t a conspiracy when they publicly tell you what they are going to do.

COVID-19: The Great Reset https://www.amazon.com/dp/2

Schatzi Jenkins
Schatzi Jenkins
3 years ago

Of course I am strongly opposed to censorship and would want to uphold freedom of speech, but before decrying out descent into chaos and totalitarianism it might be useful to examine the facts more closely. I have looked at the case of Kristie Higgs cited here and this article is not telling us the truth. First of all the article does not tell us in which capacity Kristie Higgs was employed by the school which may lead many readers to believe that she was a teacher and that this case relates to academic freedom of speech. In fact Mrs. Higgs was a pastoral assistant and therefore would be directly involved with the pastoral care of LGTB pupils. Although she posted on her private Facebook page it was established that her comments and the postings she made would be visible to a hundred or more members of the school. She was attacking the sex education provided by her own employer in a manner that was deemed offensive by some who saw it. None of this is explained in this article. The Employment Tribunal determination is in the public domain. The allegation that she was sacked for her social or religious beliefs was rejected by the tribunal. The article considers this to be false but offers no actual argument to sustain this conclusion. It is not my place to say whether she should or should not have been disciplined and sacked, but this article is highly misleading on this case. Before we lament the state of free speech we need to be really sure that the cases we use to support such judgements hold water. If we go to the next example of the Hunter Biden story, this has been clearly revealed as invented falsehoods which is the reason why the entire press rightly rejected the mendacious New York Post story, so again the author does not do due diligence on the various examples cited. The general phenomenon referred to in this article has existed for a long time and was much more pronounced during the Cold War period when there were many dogmatic marxists in the West. Dogmatic moralistic views such as described here exist but are not nearly as powerful as the author suggests, and he himself acknowledges that it is not actually an organised movement. Liberal democracy and society’s commitment to its values which includes free speech are much more robust then this article seems to presume. Moreover, it is right that we should fight racial discrimination and discrimination against persons of different sexual orientation. These are important advances in society. The kind of discourse offered in this article threatens a return to oppressive attitudes that plagued society in the past.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
3 years ago

Very good article, thank you. Resisting and challenging lies is a powerful and simple and do-able option for all of us. So is the art of being truthful, and communicating a positive vision of what western society mostly has been, and for the moment still is.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Diana Durham

Still, there’s a big philosophical problem, no? How to define “truth”?

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

Objective truth isn’t that hard to find unless you don’t want it to be there at all.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

Capital punishment? Abortion? War? Torture? Bioengineering? How can any of these be decided strictly on the basis of science? The Modern Age worshipped at the altar of Positivism and so could as easily as easily pronounce Pro-Life is true, politically incorrect, as the former religionist, a sin; but, we’re now Post-Modern s declaring the word itself untrue. …and I think Aristotle has the final, most profound, word: “poetry is truer than history [fact].” compassing both.

But finally, the idea of a Ministry of Truth which rules on truth and heresy, and enforces correctness is crudely reactionary and will as infallibly produce samizdat and sycophants. In this sense, Trump was thus ironically tonic.

henrysporn
henrysporn
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

nobody ever claimed objective truth could solve all human problems. The claim made by me here and by lots of others, is simply that objective truth exists. The fact of its existence doesn’t mean it can end war or make a determination about abortion, etc. I see goalposts moving…

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  henrysporn

Is it true or false that human life has transcendent value? Or does its only value consist in the material value of set of relations (economic, social, political) with other natural organisms and nature in general?

No need to be defensive. I’m unable to answer the question objectively. Positivism claims the one; Hellenic Xtianity, the other. And both are substantially true. But, Pomo says both are nonsense; that all “truth” is interpretation.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

I think there is some truth to what this article is saying. But here is the problem. The right itself has its own intolerance that is just as pervasive and might even be more powerful.

Barry Sharp
Barry Sharp
3 years ago

Welcome to the future:
https://off-guardian.org/20

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

An excellent essay, and an apposite warning of what may come.

However come the Spring, when “the drum begins to beat” and unemployment stands at many millions, most of this nonsense will be confined to the bonfire, hopefully with some of these virtue signalling malefactors.

“and gentleman in England now a-bed shall think themselves accursed they were not
here, and hold their manhoods cheap, whilst any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s Day”

LUKE LOZE
LUKE LOZE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

If only that were true. It’s hard to believe that it’s not going to get worse with large scale unemployment and resulting relative poverty coming down the tracks.

This authoritarianism is the standard, a return to the norm. The powerful and the ‘clergy’ dictate what is to be said and done.

Our brief decades of freedom are the anomaly in history.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  LUKE LOZE

Don’t despair, there was the Pax Romana! The ‘excesses’ of which we have yet to surpass.

Authoritarianism has a feeble record in England, it tends to flourish among, as Kipling put it, ” lesser breeds without the Law”. We are still a long way from requiring the services of an Oliver Cromwell, advantageous as that might be.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Sadly I fear you are correct.
History has shown that economic disaster rather than body count is usually what it takes for the public at large to reach the “emperor has no clothes” tipping point.
Nobody will give a crap about BIPOC ‘lived experiences’ or ‘systemic racism’ when they’re fighting for the last can of beans on the shelf.

Barry Sharp
Barry Sharp
3 years ago

Another piece which is very relevant to this piece is “Own Nothing and Be Happy”: The Great Reset’s Vision of the Future ” by Colin Todhunter, I tried to post a link to this but it was deleted. No reason was given. It abided by all the Comment Policy standards.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Barry Sharp

You can be sure that the people writing things like ‘Own Nothing and Be Happy’ own a lot of stuff themselves.

Barry Sharp
Barry Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Perhaps you should read it. It’s an ironic title. I wld give you the link but last time I did that it was deleted. If you are interested duck.duck it.

Barry Sharp
Barry Sharp
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Duck Duck the title before jumping to conclusions

stephensjpriest
stephensjpriest
3 years ago

Hello Unherd
Pathologist: ‘Mass testing in Liverpool shows testing we have had has failed.’


A consultant pathologist has told talkRADIO the mass testing of Liverpool has proven the original coronavirus tests “failed.”

Speaking to Julia Hartley-Brewer, Dr Clare Craig said she was initially against the idea of mass testing, but “what’s happened in Liverpool has completely turned the tables.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has said more than 44,000 people have taken part in the city’s mass coronavirus testing pilot, which began on Friday. Dr Craig says only 0.5% of those testing were found to be positive.

“What that means is we have a really good test at showing who has definite Covid. It has shown up the testing that we’ve had to have failed.

“Mass testing the whole of Liverpool is not the key.

“We need to be re-testing people who have been misdiagnosed and get the diagnosis right.”

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wesliejoe888
3 years ago

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Billy Fild
Billy Fild
3 years ago

Brilliant article, thanks Niall. “Control Freaks” as ever out to “protect folks”! The interesting notion for me is, often it is not “Big Brother” that protects the “people”,.. it fellow citizens. In fact questionably, it is “The State” (&/or the corruption of it!) that preys on “the people” using “tricks” as noted in this article). Do support Assange…hundreds of “people” Worldwide are protesting to Free & protect him from this gross injustice…& in the end also protect ourselves from ever advancing “State Tyranny” …Do go to all worthwhile demonstrations if you can…Politicians hate them!! Cheers again Niall.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

Jo Cox”RIP.

hectorcombe
hectorcombe
3 years ago

Around the terminology thing, the best phrase I have heard that sums the whole “thing” up is “Liberal Fascism”

nyambi2000
nyambi2000
3 years ago

Thank you for this excellent article!

jwbuckee
jwbuckee
3 years ago

For a moment I thought it was a statue of Corbyn being toppled.

jjwd678
jjwd678
3 years ago

Great stuff guys! – Bogbrush.

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
3 years ago

For quite a while now I have been feeling frustrated at the endless reams of nonsense and hypocrisy being spat out by the media. The way we are expected to agree or be denounced as ” part of the problem ” makes me worried for the future of the UK.
The writer of this article has done a great job, previous to reading this article I had never heard of the “Cathedral”, this name relates to a group I have held in contempt for a while now. They patronise people who identify as non-white and come down hard on those who dare to disagree with their new orthodoxy.
Soft Totalitarianism……a good name, but destined to morph into something harder I think.

GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
3 years ago

YOU CAN TRUST THOSE WHO LIVED UNDER COMMUNIST REGIME. THEY ARE LIKE THE CANARY IN THE COAL MINE.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago

“We too are asked to swallow many lies ” not just Christians, to whom Dreher’s book is principally addressed, but cultural and social conservatives of all kinds. In resisting the spread of such lies…”

Mr. Gooc’s approach to resistance is the spread of lies clothed in the High Church political cant all good monarchists appreciate.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

You are living in the wrong century, or is it too cold on Mt Hood?

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

The whole point of this is not that people find those words offensive. They don’t. It’s more that definitions keep getting changed so as to keep people on their toes, thus making it harder to speak truth to power. We’re rapidly losing control of our countries as they succumb to cultural and political pressures from elsewhere.

Greg Greg
Greg Greg
3 years ago

Very well put. I am going through ‘Live Not By Lies’ with a number of friends and inviting them to form small groups of their own among fellow Christians and/or the civically concerned. Dreher learned from Soviet dissidents that small, cell groups were essential for living with honor and integrity in the face of a totalizing ideology that today commands the culture-shaping heights in the US and beyond. Would encourage any who share Dreher’s concern to find 4-5 friends with whom to discuss the book and then, to continue to gather going forward. Small groups and, I’d argue, orthodox religious institutions, will be the last bastion of freedom of speech and conscience.

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago

I think there is some truth to what the article is saying of the left trying to repress viewpoints they find offensive. But here’s the thing. The right has its own ‘cancel culture’ that is just as pervasive and might even be more powerful.

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago

Do you have any examples of this?

aemiliuspaullus
aemiliuspaullus
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

Here you go:

– Trump has weaponized anti-trust powers against media organisations whose coverage he dislikes. He has repeatedly ordered his cronies to block the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, which owns CNN.

– Trump has threatened to “revoke” licenses of media organisations whose coverage he dislikes such ac NBC.

– Trump has urged his followers to cancel subscriptions of to the cable companies that own the news organisation in question (for e.g. Comcast who owns MSNBC and NBC)

– Trump has weaponised the US postal service against Bezos who owns the Washington Post, a media organisation he dislikes.

– Trump has tried to block publication critical of him (for e.g. John Bolton and Mary Trump’s book) using the Justice Dept and the courts.

– Trump has encouraged/tacitly condoned violence against protestors, journalists and dissidents.

– Max Boot (a conservative columnist) was nearly fired from the WSJ for running an op-ed on Krugman. He was told that if his readers wanted to read more than one liberal column a week, they could turn to the NYT.

– When Stern at the City Journal wrote an article about “Trump’s hate filled campaign rallies” he was told “we’re steering clear of that now”. This pressure to toe the Trump line came because their publishers include strong Trump donors Rebekah Mercer/Paul Singer.

– The Weekly Standard was one of the most anti-Trump publications until it was shuttered at the end of 2018 by its owner, a major Republican donor named Anschutz.

– Prof Ciccariello-Maher (Drexel Univ) received numerous death threats for tweeting “All I Want for Xmas is White Genocide”

– Prof Cox (Orange Coast College) received death threats after giving a speech in which she called Trump “a racist & sexist megalomaniac”

– Professor Bond (Univ of Iowa) received threats of violence after discussing white supremacy in the context of ancient statues.

– Prof Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor (Princeton Univ) received death threats for criticizing Trump in a speech.

– Prof Curry (Texas A&M) faced racist threats after National Review ran a piece on comments he made on violence against whites during an interview rgd the movie Django Unchained.

– Prof Weinstein (Evergreen State College) received threats to his safety after he questioned the logic of a student request that all white students/faculty should stay off campus during a day of protest.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

All very interesting. But Trump is NOT a ‘right-winger (or as we would say here in the UK, a ‘small-C’ conservative). He’s an economic ‘Liberal’, which is a left-wing theory (as is ‘Libertarianism’). True conservatism is wholly British. It occurs nowhere else on earth. It has no ‘ideology’. It’s the absence of an ideology, and is more a sceptical ‘disposition’. US ‘Conservatives’ are all Liberals.

Nun Yerbizness
Nun Yerbizness
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

that is some high grade snake oil you’re pushing

David Redfern
David Redfern
3 years ago
Reply to  Nun Yerbizness

Pish as far as I can gather. He can’t seriously believe the crap he spouts.