January 23, 2021 | From The Epoch Times
The formation of a totalitarian state is just about complete in America as the most powerful public and private sector actors unify behind the idea that actions to stamp out dissent can be justified, according to several experts on modern totalitarian ideologies.
While many have warned about the rise of fascism or socialism in “the land of the free,” the ideas have largely been vague or fragmented, focusing on individual events or actors. Recent events, however, indicate that seemingly unconnected pieces of the oppression puzzle are fitting together to form a comprehensive system, according to Michael Rectenwald, a retired liberal arts professor at New York University.
But many Americans, it appears, have been caught off guard or aren’t even aware of the newly forming regime, as the idea of elected officials, government bureaucrats, large corporations, the establishment academia, think tanks and nonprofits, the legacy media, and even seemingly grassroot movements all working in concert toward some evil purpose seems preposterous. . . .
Despite the lack of formal overarching organization, the American socialist regime is indeed totalitarian, as the root of its ideology requires politically motivated coercion, he told The Epoch Times. The power of the regime is not yet absolute but it’s becoming increasingly effective as it erodes the values, checks, and balances against tyranny established by traditional beliefs and enshrined in the American founding.
The effects can be seen throughout society. Americans, regardless of their income, demographics, or social stature are being fired from jobs, getting stripped of access to basic services such as banking and social media, or having their businesses crippled for voicing political opinions and belonging to a designated political underclass. Access to sources of information unsanctioned by the regime is becoming increasingly difficult. Some figures of power and influence are sketching the next step, labelling large segments of society as “extremists” and potential terrorists who need to be “deprogrammed.” . . .
Is It Really Totalitarian?
Totalitarian regimes are commonly understood as constituting a government headed by a dictator that regiments the economy, censors the media, and quells dissent by force. That is not the case in America but it’s also a misunderstanding of how such regimes function, literature on totalitarianism indicates.
To claim power, the regimes don’t initially need to control every aspect of society through government. . . .
Dissenting media in America haven’t been silenced by the government directly as of yet. But they are stymied in other ways.
In the digital age, media largely rely on reaching and growing their audience through social media and web search engines, which are dominated by Facebook and Google. Both companies have in place mechanisms to crack down on dissenting media.
Google gives preference in its search results to sources it deems “authoritative.” Search results indicate the company tends to consider media ideologically close to it to be more authoritative. Such media can then produce hit pieces on their competitors, giving Google justification to slash the “authoritativeness” of the dissenters.
Facebook employs third-party fact checkers who have the discretion to label content as “false” and thus reduce the audience on its platform. Virtually all the fact checkers focused on American content are ideologically aligned with Facebook. . . .
To the degree that a totalitarian regime requires a police state, there’s no law in America targeting dissenters explicitly. But there are troubling signs of selective, politically motivated enforcement. Signs go back to the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups or the difference in treatment received by former Trump adviser Lt. Gen Michael Flynn and former FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe—both allegedly lying to investigators but only one getting prosecuted. The situation may get still worse as the restrictions tied to the CCP virus see broad swaths of ordinary human behavior being considered “illegal,” opening the door to nearly universal political targeting. . . .
The element “that holds totalitarianism together as a composite of intellectual elements” is the ambition of fundamentally reimagining society—“the intention to create a ‘New Man,’” explained author Richard Shorten in “Modernism and Totalitarianism: Rethinking the Intellectual Sources of Nazism and Stalinism, 1945 to the Present.” . . .
The most dominant among the current ideologies stem from the so-called “critical theories,” where the perfected society is defined by “equity,” meaning elimination of differences in outcomes for people in demographic categories deemed historically marginalized. The goal is to be achieved by eliminating the ever-present “white supremacy,” however the ideologues currently define it.
While such ideologies commonly prescribe collectivism, calling for national or even international unification behind their agenda, they are elitist and dictatorial in practice as they find mankind never “woke” enough to follow their agenda voluntarily. . . .
Elements of this intellectual foundation can be found in ideologies of many current political forces, from neo-nazis and anarcho-communists, through to progressives and to some extent even neoliberals and neoconservatives, Lindsay acknowledged.
“This is why you see so many people today saying that the only possible answers are a full return to classical liberalism or a complete rejection of liberalism entirely as fatally disposed to create progressivism, neoliberalism, etc.,” he said.
That’s not to say these ideologies are openly advocating totalitarianism but rather that they inevitably lead to it.
The roadmap could be summarized as follows:
- There’s something fundamentally and intolerably wrong with current reality
- There’s a plan to fix it requiring a whole society buy-in
- People opposing the plan need to be educated about the plan so they accept it
- People who resist the persuasion need to be reeducated, even against their will
- People who won’t accept the plan no matter what need to be removed from society. . . .
Points four and five now appear to be in progress.
Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos recently labeled the widespread questioning of the 2020 election results as “violent extremism,” which social media companies should eradicate the same way they countered online recruitment content from the ISIS terrorist group.
The “core issue,” he said, is that “we have given a lot of leeway, both in traditional media and on social media, to people to have a very broad range of political views” and this has led to the emergence of “more and more radical” alternative media like OAN and Newsmax.
Stamos then mused about how to reform Americans who’ve tuned in to the dissenters. . . .
The logic goes as follows: Trump claimed the election was stolen through fraud and other illegalities. That has not been proven in court and is thus false. People who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and managed to break inside and disrupt the electoral vote counting did so because they believed the election was stolen. Therefore, anybody who questions the legitimacy of the election results is an extremist and potentially a terrorist.
With tens of thousands of troops assembled to guard the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) recently told CNN that all guard members who voted for Trump belong to a “suspect group” that “might want to do something,” alluding to past leaders of other countries who were “killed by their own people.”
Former FBI Director James Comey recently said the Republican party needs to be “burned down or changed.” . . .
Under the regime, allegations of election fraud—de facto questioning the legitimacy of the leader—have become incitement of terrorism. YouTube (owned by Google), Facebook, and Twitter have either banned content that claims the election was rigged or are furnishing it with warning labels. Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was recently recorded as saying that banning the president’s account was just the beginning.
The approach closely mirrors that of the Chinese communist regime, which commonly targets dissidents for “subverting” the state or “spreading rumors.”
What’s the Alternative?
If calls for radically reorganizing the world are inherently totalitarian, how is the world to avoid them? The question appears to be its own answer. If totalitarianism inherently requires allegiance to its ideology, it can’t exist in a society with a lack of such allegiance.
The United States was founded on the idea that individual rights are God-given and unalienable. The idea, rooted in traditional beliefs that human morality is of divine origin, stands a bulwark against any attempt to assail people’s rights even for their own good. . . .
(Excerpt from The Epoch Times. Article by Peter Svab. Photo Credit: Unsplash.)