Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning the Totalitarian ABC


George Orwell lived here...
George Orwell lived here...

Quite recently I was warned more than once that I had to be careful what I wrote and published. But why? I am not engaging in any subversive activities or conspiracies of any kind so why should I be careful what I say? I am a free thinker and do not feel comfortable wearing a muzzle. Never did and never will. 

I love to share my opinion and wish I had more time to write. I love honesty and courage and most of all, I love intellectual discourse. Great things can happen when intelligent minds meet together to explore possibilities that open with every new twist and turn of the mind.

But things are not really that simple. If you have thought you were living in a free world where eloquent opinions were highly valued, you might have to consider some adjustments of your worldview. You are neither free, nor is your opinion highly valued. What really counts is your ability to self-censor your statements. Better even if you were able to self-censor your thoughts, because sooner or later a slip of a tongue might spark an outrage or worse. And you better start early in your life so that nobody could sue you for something you said or wrote twenty or thirty years ago...

The subject of this article is so vast that I do not really know where to begin so let us start with the definition of totalitarianism. 

Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life whenever it is necessary. 

Europe had its affair with totalitarianism and it did not end well. Till today the remains of the totalitarianism hunt the collective European mind. 

For the freedom-loving Americans totalitarianism is simply inconceivable. And yet, every person in America is subject to scrutiny thanks to the Patriot Act that was introduced by Congress and signed by President George Bush in response to the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

People were not extremely over-joyed about the Act, but most were and still are willing to give up their privacy in exchange  for their own safety. The Patriot Act made totalitarianism palatable to Americans: "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about, and when you see something, say something."

The Patriot Act gave birth to many conspiracy theories since no one in his right mind could imagine that something like that was even possible in America. "They" could only control free people through fear of another attack. Whether this was the case or not, Patriot Act is a success. More than a decade later we are still taking off our shoes at the airports and allow complete strangers to go through our personal belongings every time we want to travel. And the NSA scandal does not really shock anybody. We kind of knew that "they" were listing to our phone conversations. They only did it for our own good. 

The way it looks, Patriot Act is here to stay. Surveillance is part of our reality and it might be expanded in the future as new technologies will be applied to monitor every move we make whether we want it or not. 

However, what worries me even more than the "physical" monitoring of my whereabouts is the coercion to a particular form of thinking. It sells as "political correctness" and is practiced diligently by all "enlightened" minds who never question the stupidity of it and willingly apply self-censorship to prove their superiority. Anyone who disagrees with the current popular view will be shut up. To make sure that any person submits to their pressure, a race card, a gender card, or any such means of coercion is used. The fear of public ridicule or even punishment leads to a behavior modification. Sooner or later the recalcitrant person, for his own sake, starts applying self-censorship or stops voicing critique altogether. And this is exactly what is desired of a respectful person in an enlightened, tolerant society. You only say and think what is allowed. 

George Orwell would have been very proud. His disturbing vision of a dystopian society is coming true in modern, visibly confused, America. Although the politically correct liberals never describe themselves as fascists, they use methods of coercion and indoctrination that would make the brown shirts and the red shirts blush. And mind you, the indoctrination starts as early as the kindergarten where kids as young as four years old get suspended for doing or saying something the thought police disapproves of. This is quite scary development and should be stopped if America is to remain the land of the proud and the free.

By Dominique Allmon ©2013