2022’s Danger Signs: From Totalitarian Paranoia to Authoritarian Madness

The danger signs were everywhere in 2022.

With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, we were reminded that in the eyes of the government and its corporate accomplices, “we the people” possess no rights except for that which the Deep State grants on an as-needed basis.

Totalitarian paranoia spiked. What we have been saddled with is a government so power-hungry, paranoid and afraid of losing its stranglehold on power that it has conspired to wage war on anyone who dares to challenge its authority. In a Machiavellian attempt to expand its powers, the government unleashed all manner of dangers on an unsuspecting populace in order to justify its demands for additional powers to protect “we the people” from emerging threats, whether legitimate, manufactured or overblown.

The state of our nation suffered. The nation remained politically polarized, controlled by forces beyond the purview of the average American, and rapidly moving the nation away from its freedom foundation. The combined blowback from a contentious presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Americans being subjected to egregious civil liberties violations, invasive surveillance, martial law, lockdowns, political correctness, erosions of free speech, strip searches, police shootings of unarmed citizens, government spying, and the criminalization of lawful activities.

Thought crimes became a target for punishment. For years now, the government has used all of the weapons in its vast arsenal—surveillance, threat assessments, fusion centers, pre-crime programs, hate crime laws, militarized police, lockdowns, martial law, etc.—to target potential enemies of the state based on their ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that might be deemed suspicious or dangerous. In other words, if you dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s, you may well be suspected of being a domestic terrorist and treated accordingly. In 2022, those who criticized the government—whether that criticism manifested itself in word, deed or thought—were flagged as dangerous alongside consumers and spreaders of “mis- dis- and mal-information.”

Speech was muzzled. Those who want to monitor, muzzle, catalogue and censor speech continued to push for social media monitoring, censorship of flagged content that could be construed as dangerous or hateful, and limitations on free speech activities, particularly online. Of course, it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act. If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry.

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14 Signs of Totalitarianism

We all know the cons of Twitter, but one of the pros is discovering new and interesting people.

One of my favorite new follows is Benjamin Carlson, a public relations guru and former editor at The Atlantic. Carlson’s tweets are among the best you’ll find on Twitter, and he clearly has a keen understanding of the intersections between media and government, power and propaganda (both current and historically).

One of his recent tweets caught my eye, and I share an adaptation of it below.

1. Dissent is equated to violence

2. Media is controlled

3. The legal system is co-opted by the state

4. Power is exerted to quash dissent

5. State police protect the regime, not the people

6. Rights—financial, legal, and civil—are contingent on compliance

7. Mass conformity of beliefs and behaviors is demanded

8. Power is concentrated in inner ring of elite institutions and people

9. Semi-organized violence is permitted (in some cases)

10. Propaganda targets enemies of the state regime

11. Entire classes singled out for persecution

12. Extra-legal actions are condoned against internal regime opponents

13. Harsh legal enforcement against unfavored classes

14. Private and public levers of power are used to enforce adherence to state dogmas

The list is a bit troubling. At the very least, some of these techniques are playing out before our eyes. This is certainly not to say that the US is a totalitarian state, however.

There are many definitions of totalitarianism, and I don’t believe one can seriously argue that the United States has arrived there. But authoritarianism is certainly in the air, and it emanates most strongly from our nation’s capital.

While both the political Right and the political Left accuse each other of harboring tyrannical ambitions, the philosopher Karl Popper offered a clue as to when a legitimate government crosses the line and becomes a tyrannical one.

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14 Signs of Totalitarianism

We all know the cons of Twitter, but one of the pros is discovering new and interesting people.

One of my favorite new follows is Benjamin Carlson, a public relations guru and former editor at The Atlantic. Carlson’s tweets are among the best you’ll find on Twitter, and he clearly has a keen understanding of the intersections between media and government, power and propaganda (both current and historically).

One of his recent tweets caught my eye, and I share an adaptation of it below.

1. Dissent is equated to violence

2. Media is controlled

3. The legal system is co-opted by the state

4. Power is exerted to quash dissent

5. State police protect the regime, not the people

6. Rights—financial, legal, and civil—are contingent on compliance

7. Mass conformity of beliefs and behaviors is demanded

8. Power is concentrated in inner ring of elite institutions and people

9. Semi-organized violence is permitted (in some cases)

10. Propaganda targets enemies of the state regime

11. Entire classes singled out for persecution

12. Extra-legal actions are condoned against internal regime opponents

13. Harsh legal enforcement against unfavored classes

14. Private and public levers of power are used to enforce adherence to state dogmas

The list is a bit troubling. At the very least, some of these techniques are playing out before our eyes. This is certainly not to say that the US is a totalitarian state, however.

There are many definitions of totalitarianism, and I don’t believe one can seriously argue that the United States has arrived there. But authoritarianism is certainly in the air, and it emanates most strongly from our nation’s capital.

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Techno-Authoritarianism Is Here to Stay: China and the Deep State Have Joined Forces

“If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.”—Senator Frank Church

The votes are in.

No matter who runs for office, no matter who controls the White House, Senate or the House of Representatives now or in the future, “we the people” have already lost.

We have lost because the future of this nation is being forged beyond the reach of our laws, elections and borders by techno-authoritarian powers with no regard for individuality, privacy or freedom.

The fate of America is being made in China, our role model for all things dystopian.

An economic and political powerhouse that owns more of America’s debt than any other country and is buying up American businesses across the spectrum, China is a vicious totalitarian regime that routinely employs censorship, surveillance, and brutal police state tactics to intimidate its populace, maintain its power, and expand the largesse of its corporate elite.

Where China goes, the United States eventually follows. This way lies outright tyranny.

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The Antidote To Tyranny Is Liberty, Not Democracy Or International Government

Political language manipulates political debate. Abortion opponents who define themselves as “pro-life” semantically render abortion proponents as “pro-death.” Abortion supporters who define themselves as “pro-choice” semantically render any opposition as “anti-choice.” Who wants to be “pro-death” or “anti-choice,” after all? Such is the nature of politics. Words are weapons: when wielded deftly, they shape the battlespace for our minds.

So what does it mean when Western leaders these days speak so much of democracy but so little of individual rights? Or that they preach the virtues of international institutions, while demonizing nationalism as xenophobic and dangerous? It means that national sovereignty and natural, inviolable rights are under direct attack throughout the West.

It has become rather common for European and American politicians to divide the world between “democratic” and “authoritarian” nations, the former described as possessing inherent goodness and the latter declaimed as threatening the planet’s very existence. Of course, after two-plus years of COVID-19-related mask, vaccine and travel mandates, often imposed in the West through unilateral executive or administrative action — and not through legislative will or public referendum — it is somewhat difficult to assert that democratic nations are free from authoritarian impulse.

When presidents and prime ministers make and enforce their own laws under the pretext of “emergency powers,” then citizens should not be surprised when their leaders discover an endless supply of “emergencies” requiring urgent action. Should that truth be in any doubt, one need only look to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s iron-fisted decision to quell truckers’ peaceful Freedom Convoy protests against experimental vaccine mandates earlier this year by confiscating bank accounts and effecting forceful arrests with little regard for due process or respect for Canadians’ free speech. Trudeau’s declared “emergency” trumped Canadian citizens’ personal rights.

It is also true that democracy in and of itself is no guarantee for a noble and just society. In a properly functioning democracy of one hundred citizens, fifty-one can vote to deny the other forty-nine property, liberty, and even life. Should a member of the minority find himself enslaved to the state or slated for execution simply because the majority wish it so, he will not be singing the praises of democracy while his neck is squeezed within the noose.

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