THE NEW END OF HISTORY

THE NEW END OF HISTORY

Regular readers may know that we’re not exactly optimistic about the future country or of the world more generally.  You could call us Inverse Fukuyamas.  Whereas Francis Fukuyama once posited, more or less, that liberal, capitalist democracy had proven itself as man’s end-governmental state, a culmination toward which all societies would eventually progress, we think we’re all headed for a much uglier, much less virtuous, and much more caustic universal condition: soft totalitarianism of some sort or another.

Unfortunately for us as political prognosticators but fortunately for all of us as people, we were never really able to conceptualize how that transition would happen here in the United States.  All we could say about it was that it would be a slow erosion over time, with some of the more egregious incidents of constitutional rights violations being normalized and the permanent politicization characteristic of the Total State serving as the ultimate excuse for tighter and tighter control by a hegemonic ruling-class elite.  In short, we knew what we thought the end state would look like, we just couldn’t explain in any concrete sense how we’d get from here to there.

And then came Covid.

Now, this isn’t to say that every action that federal, state, and local governments have taken to enforce “public health” is proto-totalitarian.  It isn’t even to say that the heavy-handed actions that some – or most – of these governments took at the start of the pandemic should be considered proof of malicious intent.  Not every instance of government overreach or excessive is evidence of totalitarian or even authoritarian inclinations.  Sometimes, arrogance, ignorance, and power lust – which our rulings class possesses in excess – can precipitate poor policy prescriptions, even without signaling a trend toward total control.

It is, however, to say that much of what governments have done in the last few months – after the contours of the pandemic were better understood – is highly suspect and bears watching.  The evolution of “mandates” for example, is troubling.  The reinstitution of lockdowns elsewhere in the West is also troubling.  Our consumption of foreign news is, we’ll admit, less than fair and balanced (to coin a phrase), but we’d be lying if we said that what has taken place in New Zealand and Australia didn’t horrify us more than a little.  Events in continental Europe – and yes, Frau Merkel, we’re looking at you – have been unsettling as well.  And then there’s this, from the AP just 10 days ago:

To enforce President Joe Biden’s forthcoming COVID-19 mandate, the U.S. Labor Department is going to need a lot of help. Its Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have nearly enough workplace safety inspectors to do the job.

So the government will rely upon a corps of informers to identify violations of the order: Employees who will presumably be concerned enough to turn in their own employers if their co-workers go unvaccinated or fail to undergo weekly tests to show they’re virus-free.

What’s not known is just how many employees will be willing to accept some risk to themselves — or their job security — for blowing the whistle on their own employers. Without them, though, experts say the government would find it harder to achieve its goal of requiring tens of millions of workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or be tested weekly and wear a mask on the job….

To enforce President Joe Biden’s forthcoming COVID-19 mandate, the U.S. Labor Department is going to need a lot of help. Its Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have nearly enough workplace safety inspectors to do the job.

So the government will rely upon a corps of informers to identify violations of the order: Employees who will presumably be concerned enough to turn in their own employers if their co-workers go unvaccinated or fail to undergo weekly tests to show they’re virus-free.

What’s not known is just how many employees will be willing to accept some risk to themselves — or their job security — for blowing the whistle on their own employers. Without them, though, experts say the government would find it harder to achieve its goal of requiring tens of millions of workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or be tested weekly and wear a mask on the job.

Huh.  Not sure why, but that reminds us of this, from a 1983 Christian Science Monitor article:

The Kremlin is on a major law-and-order drive, drawing on police, civilian militiamen, and a figure long prominent in Soviet life: the informer. Official concern over public drunkenness and street crime - and other ''antisocial'' acts like absences from work - has been building for several years. Yet new Soviet leader Yuri Andropov has from the start made ''social order'' a particular priority.

The police seem to have got the message: In Moscow, 3 million fill-in cards have been printed for distribution to city residents. A visiting policeman asks whether residents have had any problem with neighborhood drunks or other unruly elements. He takes out a card, fills in his name and phone number, and asks his hosts to call in case of any such nuisances.

Krasnodar, a city near the Black Sea, has a more limited, but much more direct campaign to get citizens' help in keeping Soviet society in order. Apparently following up a 1981, Brezhnev-era experiment in Kiev, the authorities have printed some 10,000 cards in hopes some of the city's 500,000 inhabitants will use them to report misdeeds.

The vigilant civilian simply marks one of various categories of disturbances listed on the card - such as drunkenness or playing hooky from work - and names the offender. The informant need not sign his name….

Propagandists and schoolteachers still celebrate the memory of a 13 -year-old boy named Pavlik Morozov who, in 1932, denounced his father to Stalinist authorities as an enemy of the state. The boy's irate grandfather and cousin murdered him. But, as the tale is told, right won out when they, too, were shot by a firing squad.

Do your part, Comrade! Nark on your boss!

Of course, the problem isn’t just that Covid is causing otherwise possibly normal people to advocate abnormal solutions.  There’s also the matter of abnormal people finally being able to advocate the abnormalities that have always been in their brain but are only now becoming technologically possible.  There’s this abnormality, for example (or watch it here):

Speaking from the private jet and super yacht owners gathering, otherwise known as the COP 26 summit, Al Gore touted his latest solution to curb carbon emissions, mass surveillance via satellites, sensors and artificial intelligence.

In the interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Gore declared that technology created by the so called Climate TRACE coalition will monitor greenhouse gas emissions and root out the culprits.

“We get data consistently from 300 existing satellites, more than 11,000 ground-based, air-based, sea-based sensors, multiple internet data streams and using artificial intelligence,” Gore explained, adding

“All that information is combined, visible light, infrared, all of the other information that is brought in, and we can now accurately determine where the greenhouse gas emissions are coming from.”

Gore, who in 2008 said there would be no polar ice caps left within five years, continued, “And next year we’ll have it down to the level of every single power plant, refinery, every large ship, every plane, every waste dump, and we’ll have the identities of the people who are responsible for each of those greenhouse gas emission streams.”

And what, pray tell will happen to these climate criminals Al?

“If investors or governments, or civil society activists want to hold them responsible, they will have the information upon which to base their action and holding them responsible,” Gore proclaimed.

What a frightening creep.

(And Al Gore is pretty creepy too!)

“We’ll have the identities of the people who are responsible for each of those greenhouse gas emission streams.  And If investors or governments, or civil society activists want to hold them responsible, they will have the information upon which to base their action and holding them responsible.”

Honest to Gaia.  It boggles the mind to think that this person came within a few hanging chads of being President of the United States.  And now he’s out there touting the fact that he and his pals are going to be able to spy on you and then unleash government, your employer, or vigilantes on you for being an enemy of the state – or of “humanity,” if you prefer.

We’d love to believe that our dear, old Constitution will protect us from the coming totalitarian surveillance state.  We’re not foolish enough, however, to think that it will.

Comments

Comments coming soon