COVID Amnesty is a Distraction from What’s Coming: Greater Censorship and Atomization

A lot of outrage followed from The Atlantic’s recent proposal for a “Pandemic Amnesty.” 

It’s more than justified, given the essay’s cavalier attitude towards everyone who suffered greatly under cruel shutdowns and brutal medical mandates. On top of that, if you questioned the COVID narrative, insults like “killer” were added to your injuries.

Perhaps most galling about the proposal is its premise of moral equivalence. Clearly, those with grievances about the mandates are not at fault for anything.

But author Emily Oster packaged a neat explanation: we were all “in the dark . . . we just didn’t know” how it would turn out.

That absurd presumption brings to mind an old skit (maybe from an early Saturday Night Live) in which the excuse for murder was: “Oh! I forgot it was against the law!”

If there were unknowns in the COVID era, it’s likely because we were kept in the dark.

The authorities had no interest in investigating the life-saving usefulness of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID. Or investigating vaccine injuries and deaths. Or the origins of the virus. Reporting such things would have been routine in a sane society governed by sane people. And now that we do know more, why are so many mindless mandates—like injections for six-month-olds and sixth jabs for young men at risk for myocarditis from the jab--still being promoted?

But we shouldn’t waste time arguing with people who have zero interest in facts.

Rather, we should view the amnesty proposal—and other weird suggestions sure to follow--as part of an ongoing process. So let’s shift our focus there.

Control is the common theme of that process. Control over society by a power elite.

If Oster’s essay means anything, it signals that we are in a new phase of a long movement towards totalitarianism. One clue is that its push to forget, to nudge us into cultural amnesia, is a constant hallmark of totalitarianism. Another giveaway is that our elites—the “experts” who tell us what’s best for us and what we can say and do--have for decades pressed hard for control over all conversations in the public square. 

It should not go unnoticed that Oster’s piece twice flacks for the idea that “misinformation”--i.e., speech--should be regulated. Interestingly, the essay came out at the same time as the explosive investigative report at The Intercept that uncovered chilling government and corporate collusion with Big Tech to regulate speech.

We could certainly feel a massive censorship push with the faceless Big Tech “fact-checking” that still runs interference for the official COVID narrative. This is a process that won’t change whatever “emergency” may come after COVID. It will continue to be a goalpost-moving progression towards social control. Think of it as a pattern of psychological conditioning that nudges us closer to accepting their terms: the unconditional surrender of our fundamental First Amendment rights to think and speak freely. For our own good.

Why is there such a persistent interest in enforcing political censorship? I believe it’s because it produces social isolation in us. This is key. Totalitarians must always isolate people in order to control them. When you can’t talk openly to others, you become increasingly atomized, uncertain of whom to trust. When you’re fearful of being demonized, it’s easy to give in to the conformity impulse. This whole process works like a charm for tyrants because our fear of ostracism then triggers a contagion of self-censorship. And, voilà, we comply with their agendas, no matter how insane they are. An extra bonus for them is that our compliance isolates us even further.

I call this whole process a “machinery of loneliness.” Its primary components today are identity politics, political correctness, and mob agitation. They work together to induce demonization campaigns, terror, self-censorship and the atomization that comes with all of that. The machinery was in motion in the Jacobin Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, during Stalin’s Reign of Terror in the Soviet Union, in Hitler’s program of “racial hygiene,” and Mao Zedong’s program of violent and humiliating “struggle sessions.”

America today is not (yet) the same as those regimes. But the same dynamics are at work here. Our authorities and bureaucrats are just as human, and therefore just as flawed as totalitarians of the past and present. Consider how Americans--once renowned for their skepticism of authority--have been officially compared to murderers for daring to question the official COVID line, as happened with the brutal demonization of the “unvaccinated.”

So we ought to shift the conversation from COVID itself to what this process is really all about: moving us farther into a state of isolation from one another in order to better control us. COVID was an important part of that process because it blatantly enforced our isolation, and also cultivated hostilities within families and communities.  But it was just one phase.

More bad things are certain to happen. When they do, the experts will be there telling us what to say and what to do, and who to demonize for not accepting the narrative. So, whatever happens next, we should expect to see more political censorship, more demonization, and more punishment of political dissent. We should also expect more pressures against healthy intact families and faith communities since authoritarians have always viewed such bonds in the private sphere of life as roadblocks to their agendas. Indeed, we already know that family breakdown has played a huge role in building dependence upon the mass state.

Let’s pay much closer attention to the processes behind the propaganda. Yes, the “amnesty” pitch is outrageous, but don’t get distracted by it. Those seeking to atomize us have neither the interest nor the capacity to understand our grievances anyway. They are too busy conditioning us for the next phase of our atomization.

Let’s also understand that free speech is the biggest wrench we can throw into that machine. So let’s keep speaking freely no matter what, emboldening others to do the same. We must also guard our protective bonds of family, faith, and friendship no matter what.

Stella Morabito is the author of The Weaponization of Loneliness: How Tyrants Stoke Our Fear of Isolation to Silence, Divide, and Conquer. She is a senior contributor at The Federalist.

Image: Felton Davis, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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