The American Flight from Freedom and Mental Health

Zbigniew Janowski's latest book, Homo Americanus, states clearly in its preface that "[t]his book revolves around four topics: the state of America and democracy today, liberalism, equality, and totalitarianism."  Actually, we see a complex and penetrating analysis showing not that there is a fight between the values of liberalism/equality/democracy and totalitarianism (which fight was the overarching theme of the Cold War), but that we are moving directly into the implementation of Soviet-style totalitarianism.  The woke generation, the obsessive anti-white rhetoricians, the "liberated" voices of sexuality (recommending gender fluidity and other twisted theories of sex), and those obsessively committed to "equality" are ramping us up toward the totalitarianism we have struggled against for generations.

Prof. Janowski sees that a threat of mind control and conformity is beginning to envelop American society and even the West.  Increasing numbers of leaders are demanding this new level of conformity.  And the conformity being inculcated and required is doing just the opposite of cultivating the equality and justice for all that democratic systems strive for.  A crushing uniformity of thought, speech, and behavior is being impressed upon the people.

The book's opening chapter gives a powerful warning to the driven progressive advocates who wish to control all speech and behavior in the "name of the people" (sic).  In prophetic mode, the author ends Chapter One by saying:

After the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the former 'socially progressive values' were found morally abominable, the monuments of 'new' heroes were torn down to be replaced by the monuments with the 'old villains,' and history had reversed its course. The old awards and medals returned; the streets had regained their original historical names, and the 'museums of atheism' became houses of religious worship again.  The events that followed the burial of the Communist past ought to be a dire warning for the present-day progressivist social reformers. They can end up in the graveyard for the disgraced proponents of Progress, buried there while still alive. It has already happened to Hillary Clinton. On September 14, 2018, the Texas Board of Education voted to remove her name from the list of famous historical figures. History can be a real b----.

The author links employer sensitivity training sessions to the Orwellian mind control found in the classic 1984.  The sensitivity training sessions of the 1970s and 1980s were child's play compared to the intense mind control sessions that now cover the entire range of topics from sex to race to health to male-female identity to religion.  The entire ideology behind protected classes in our law has moved to center stage, replacing the classic constitutional protections of rights.  I'll never forget when, 35 years ago, I was talking with a gentleman who told me that he had complimented a fellow employee on a dress she was wearing, and she reported him to Human Resources, which led to a letter of reprimand being put in his personnel file.

Since then, we have unquestionably moved much farther toward mind control.  A New York City high school for gifted students on its website at the beginning of the COVID-dominated 2020–2021 school year recommended that all parents, administrators, students, and teachers over the summer read the bestseller How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi.  That book explicitly makes statements to the effect that capitalism commits one to being a racist.  Knowing that this is now a mainstream proposition being encouraged, can any reader think Prof. Janowski is exaggerating in his thesis about the totalitarian orientation of "democracy"?

The author's extensive discussion of the manipulation of language is an intellectual tour de force as he brings in a range of authors including George Orwell, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sinclair Lewis, Alex Tocqueville, and many others.  New distortions are introduced daily to supposedly correct the pro-male and pro-white skewing of language.  Prof. Janowski takes the side of the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson in his personal war against "new pronouns."  This is no small matter, but Peterson's fight is the tip of the iceberg of a movement to co-opt literature to reflect and express new modes of thought that supposedly resist gender stereotyping, which new-pronoun advocates claim is debilitating for many individuals.

This writer found Chapter 8 particularly compelling.  Its title is "From Dostoevsky to Huxley to Eric Fromm towards a Humanized Technology."  The author deals with the works of these three authors and shows how they dovetail to prove Fromm's vision that we have indeed turned toward mass schizophrenia.  He states, "Observing the behavior of millions of Americans, fifty years after what Fromm predicted would happen, one cannot resist the feeling that we are living in a society which displays all the symptoms of low-grade schizophrenic behavior."  Prof. Janowski seems to have a vivid understanding that these three writers from such different cultural and intellectual contexts all understand that mind control and different pathologies occur nowadays that threaten human freedom.  Although the author does not pound home the idea of inherent autonomy (the right to "liberty" found in our Declaration of Independence), he enlists these great minds of literature and psychology to reveal that rationality, responsibility, and freedom from intense manipulation by the "authorities" are part and parcel of that freedom.  Political freedom hundreds of years ago meant "get out of my private life" and more importantly now also means "get out of our minds," both subliminally and in terms of enforced social and governmental pressures.

This book is a call for a return to reason, common sense, decency, Jewish and Christian values, mental health, and truly liberal ideals based on ideas from many of the greatest thinkers from Plato to the present.  The morbid turn of our society toward collective schizophrenia and mind control is made with no punches pulled.  Prof. Janowski is a voice of hope challenging us all to remain on a healthier and more reasonable path than the one we seem to be on at present.

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