Saturday, May 15, 2021

Political Correctness, Cancel Culture, and Useful Idiots

Everyone knows the National Anthem right?  It seems that when we get to the last line, you know---"Home of the Free and Land of the Brave"---we tend to sing that part just a little louder; with just a bit more pride. After all, this is America and we're the freest country on earth aren't we?  Well, that's not necessarily the case. In fact, we may be among the least free in the West.

According to one recent survey, the Human Freedom Index Report, which looked at 162 countries, the freest countries on earth are Netherlands, followed by the "socialist democracies" of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. In terms of economic freedom, Hong Kong and Singapore are the highest. For overall freedom (economic, personal, political, etc), we have to look to New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Canada, and Australia.  

Even when considering the largest "democracy", the title goes to India.  In fact, the U.S. doesn't even make it into the top tier for any of these categories.  When it came to our ranking under overall freedom, we were ranked 15th in the world; tied with the former Soviet republic of Estonia (we are just behind the UK and just ahead of Iceland and Norway).

For personal freedom, the U.S. was ranked a pitiful 26th. How does the survey define personal freedom? Security, rule of law, freedom of religion, speech and assembly, and movement.  We were 5th in terms of economic freedom, which includes the size of the government, the legal and political system, regulation, free trade, and fiscal responsibility.

In terms of human freedom, we were ranked  15th. Human freedom includes personal and economic freedom, as well as other factors such as access to impartial information (ie: news), gender/identity discrimination, availability of affordable housing, jobs, debt, and so forth. 

It's worth nothing that when it comes to government, the United States is rated as a "flawed democracy", which is a polite way of saying that it's not quite a failed democracy, but it's quickly headed that way. As readers of Another Opinion already know, America is no longer a democratic (or Constitutional) Republic. Instead, we've morphed into a Corporatocracy, which is a merger of big business and government (a "Corporatocracy" may be viewed as a fascist or neo-fascist state).

Our particular form of Corporatocracy is aptly described as being "managed" by a relatively small handful of super wealthy elites collectively known as Oligarchs. Who says money can't buy happiness? And most importantly, it's not a zero-sum form of management of "either/or".  Both the Democrats and Republican parties are equally guilty because both parties (and their politicians) are literally and figuratively owned by corporate money (thanks largely to Citizens United and a out of touch Supreme Court).

The ruling elite also controls the media, which includes TV programming, movies, radio, newspapers, cable and satellite, video games, and so forth. Anyone who doesn't believe that they try to manipulate what we read, hear, or watch, has already succumbed to the message of compliance. The ancient Romans, under the Caesars, discovered that if they could keep the populace busy, their bellies full, and everybody generally safe, they could do whatever they wanted. Such was the notion of "Bread and Circuses". Various authoritarian governments ever since have applied this approach, although some have included the use of fear (or terror) as a weapon.

Fear, along with intimidation, has also proven to be highly effective in keeping the population in line, including any would-be "troublemakers" who wished to avoid public ridicule, censorship, social stigma, loss of their job, possible fines, jail time, "accidents" like Karen Silkwood or Steven Luke,  or simply "disappear" as they did in General Pinochet's  Chile or Mao's China.

We haven't quite ventured that far here in the U.S....yet. However, don't entirely rule it out. Very few of history's authoritarian governments started off by shooting people. Typically, they started by trying to humiliate individuals and groups, cut off their connection to the masses such as shutting down newspapers and radio stations, beating up people, conducting covert and overt surveillance (to inspire fear), burning books, denying employment or entry into schools, and so on. It has rarely begun with mass roundups or executions.

In America, those who control social media have used economic bullying to force "non-compliant" sites and servers to toe the line while engaging in not just censorship of those who use their platforms, but also subtly encouraging mass bullying to attack  anyone who doesn't follow the desired message. They present only one side of a story, while ignoring, downplaying, or mocking the other side.

 In some cases, they block or "blacklist" individuals who oppose their agenda. They also "shadow block" individuals or groups on social media by restricting their viewership unbeknownst to the publisher (I have and continue to be the victim of both forms of this kind of censorship) and demonetize their sites. Worse, they attempt to deny others the opportunity to publicly speak, even when they've been invited to do so. They've also attacked individuals and institutions who extend these invitations to speak.

Collectively, this type of behavior is referred to as "Cancel Culture". It's nothing less than a form of censorship masquerading as "social justice" or "diversity" under the broader banner of "political correctness", which Orwell called "Good think" in his book "1984".  Cancel Culture pretends to encourage equality while promoting a type of reverse racism designed to stimulate a new kind of economic/social conflict by replacing class with race as found in traditional Marxism.

An interesting poll recently found that 77% of Conservatives have been so conditioned by this "Good think" of Cancel Culture as to be afraid to speak up publically on issues of race, social equality, or even politics out of fear of being attacked, but it goes further than that.

According to a report by the Cato Institute, 62% of individuals---regardless of party---self-censor themselves out of fear that their opinions would trigger an attack of some sort. 32% said that expressing their opinion on certain political or social issues could get them fired from work (as an aside, this also included Independents). ow

 

However, the same poll indicated that 58% of liberals felt they could say whatever they wanted without any fear whatsoever of a backlash.

We've already seen instances where, in lieu of mass book burnings, books removed from libraries, school curriculums, or academic debate stymied if it veers from the desired outcome. We've witnessed cultural icons such as the cartoon character "Pepe Le Pew", and those created by Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain among others removed for being "socially insensitive". Others are sure to follow. Meanwhile, books which promote a non-traditional lifestyles are peddled to children far too young to being remotely concerned with the content of such material.

People are being intimidated into supporting causes they disagree with or simply don't care about. Corporations are conducting "sensitivity" or "diversity" training in which some participants are being told to "stop acting white" or "renounce their white privilege". A few have reported having been asked to write imaginary apology letters to minorities, asking "forgiveness" for past transgressions, be it their own or that of their ancestors. Again, supposedly in the name of "social justice".

There's no question that injustices have taken place; some recent and some in the past. But this attempt to rewrite history by suppressing positive events while playing up, exaggerating or even lying about others doesn't do society any favors. Demanding "equality" while in reality promoting reverse racial, religious, sexual orientation discrimination will do this country far more harm than good.

At the same time, promoting economically one group over another in order to end some perceived  imbalance will only hurt society. The most qualified individual should always be sought out and hired. They should also be paid a fair and livable wage based on the requirements of the job irrespective of their gender, age, orientation, race, religion, or any other factor.  America should promote equal opportunities, not manufactured equal outcomes.

The current wave of political correctness and its illegitimate offspring---Cancel Culture---seeks to silence Americans. It attempts to control and limit discussions about society, and in doing so, hampers our ability to solve the real problems facing us. It wants to rule by fear. We cannot let the ruling Oligarchy and its minions dictate the parameters of the national discussion, nor can we allow them to control the language of that conversation.

Many of those who participate in this Cancel Culture believe they are working toward some form of Marxism. They believe they are bringing us closer to "socialism", as if Wall Street, the mega banks, energy companies, or defense industry will suddenly throw in the towel and accept a government takeover (Marxism means no private ownership of property or business). They are, to use Lenin's term, "useful idiots". They are making it easier for the Oligarchs to disappear the freedoms we cherish, albeit under the false premise of "social justice".

The goal of Corporatocracy is the creation of the Corporate State, a merger of big business and government, where everyone is equal...in their misery.  The Corporate State doesn't care what your political ideology is, or your race, religion, gender, or orientation. It only cares about your compliance. Your opportunities are based on your usefulness to the Corporate State.  Once you're no longer a productive and profitable cog in their machine, you're replaced without a moment's hesitation.

We cannot let this happen. We must speak the truth, and we must do it loudly despite all attempts to silence us. We must accept that, for now, our Republic is gone. The only way to get it back is aggressive reform. We need term limits. We need to end partisan gerrymandering. We need rank choice voting. We need to end Citizens United. We need to stop partisan voting. We need to elect the best we can find, not the least of the worse. Electing the lesser evil is still electing evil. We need to demand voter referendums and ballot initiatives. We need to vote on all taxes, fees, rate changes, and salary increases.

We also need to work with other countries as equals, but we need to seek fair trade. We need government transparency. We need to end defacto monopolies. We need unions. Like them or hate them, they helped create and sustain the Middle Class. We must get back to basics in education. We are continually coming in the bottom half when it comes to math and sciences, not to mention history.

We need to teach students to think critically. We need to restore quality in education and stop dumbing it down. We need discipline in the classroom. We need to stop passing students who failed to grasp the basic concepts of the grade level just because it will hurt their feelings. Students must pass a comprehensive HS test before being allowed to graduate. The emphasis in high school must be on academics, not sports. Not everyone is going to the NBA or NFL.

We need to bring back Civics and trade schools if we seriously want to compete globally. College isn't for everyone and not every job requires a college degree. Trades schools produce skilled "ready-to-work" employees. The trades pay well, provide good benefits, and are low debt.  Speaking of degrees, colleges should require students to major in programs where there is a demand for that degree. The only thing that goes with some majors like minority or gender studies (besides outrageous student debt) is "do you want fries with that?".

There are things we can do. I've named just a few. The situation isn't hopeless. There is hope. But we will have to fight for it. Power and control are never surrendered willingly. I think this country is worth it. So did a lot of brave men and women who came before us. Do you?

 

The United States of Oligarchy


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