The Power of Americans' Rising Political Self-Consciousness

Sometimes amid the doom and gloom left in the Deep State's wake, it is easy to see only cruel waves of tyranny battering America's shores, while missing completely the undercurrent of rising political self-consciousness remaking the American public today.  While defending ourselves from unexpected blows, it can seem as if the same government officials who once took oaths to defend the nation have inexplicably decided to conquer it instead, and the brutal shock of our situation leaves us feeling as if there is nothing we can do.

Yet we are doing something: we are thinking for ourselves.  And it is this independent, unauthorized, unofficial public thinking that has led to this great head-on collision between the governing and the governed.  Sure, the government's accelerating war against free speech can and should be seen as further proof that a latent totalitarian impulse has long been lurking within the marble halls of D.C.'s bureaucratic playground, but the Deep State's obsession with what we think and say comes now precisely because those who wish to rule over us have already lost control over our minds — maybe forever.

There's a "chicken or egg" problem here.  Has the rise of modern technology — personal computers, cellular phones, wireless networking, drone units, inexpensive video cameras, cloud storage, advanced digital processing, etc. — created an environment so flooded with tools perfect for public surveillance and manipulation that formerly "free" Western nations cannot help but jump right into the totalitarian tempest once considered the domain of "closed" States such as the Soviet Union, its Iron Curtain vassals, and its communist countries-in-arms still extant today?  Or have citizens used these technologies to liberate their own minds to such an extent that Western governments are grasping desperately to maintain control over their "awakened" populations?  

Think about how the balance of power between citizens and their government has changed over the last quarter-century.  The internet has allowed strangers to communicate in ways once unimaginable.  Citizen-journalists have broken the traditional news monopoly.  No longer do a small number of government spokespeople and corporate news executives exclusively control the dissemination of public information.  Ordinary people have pocket cameras perfect for recording arrests, police conduct, and the actions of government agents more broadly.  Ideas that never would have been aired on television or taught in schools are introduced and shared online on a massive scale — and some of those ideas take hold and shape popular opinion.  Books that never would have received a second glance from publishing houses now find homes that are only one click away.  The emergence (albeit fraught with the ever-present dangers of unscrupulous actors —caveat emptor!) of decentralized digital currencies has provided a workaround for avoiding central bank manipulation and inflation destroying fiat currencies.

In other words, seen in a vacuum apart from their use by Big Brother, the last couple decades have provided ordinary people with extraordinary means to connect, exchange information, organize, circumvent control, engage in commerce, and rebel against authority.  All of the primary tools once articulated by Czech dissident Vaclav Benda to create a "parallel polis" capable of escaping totalitarian and oppressive regimes have become readily available — several decades too late for the Cold War, but right on time for the modern battle taking shape between absolute State control and inviolable personal freedom.  For those committed to defending liberty, we have never been more empowered, even while governments use these same technologies to preserve their dominion, influence, and ultimate authority. 

The cultural turbulence we feel today is not so much the result of unexpected forces, but rather the result of rapidly sped up forces.  The conflicts between good and evil, individual rights and tyranny, freedom and enslavement have been part of a war waged throughout human existence.  America's great political experiment has been but a small reprieve from organized oppression.  To the extent that America has inspired other countries and peoples all over the world, she has truly remained a beacon for liberty.  

That said, we all have watched as communist sympathizers and other authoritarian collectivists have continued their "long march through the institutions" this last century — radically changing or destroying school curricula, culture, constitutional rights, religious principle, family structure, and social cohesion.  If you were to ask anybody who has "won" the culture wars during the last hundred years, the answer would almost certainly be "the left."

Now, what have we witnessed during the last two-plus decades?  Cultural and political moves in the opposite direction that have shocked the "long marchers" and "awakened" a lot of Americans who had drearily slumbered while Big Government tyranny took over their lives.  Westerners are talking about free speech, individual rights, and liberty again.  They are questioning the banking and monetary systems that have stolen their wealth and kept them indebted.  They are demanding an end to open borders and renewed respect for citizens' prerogatives.  They are judging unpopular foreign wars as money-laundering operations meant to enrich D.C. politicians and their corporate patrons.  They are rejecting government-directed propaganda meant to twist their minds, influence their behaviors, and harm their children.  They are openly questioning the legitimacy of suspicious "elections" and rejecting unchecked bureaucratic authority.  They are repudiating "politically correct" indoctrination and trespassing beyond the unwanted imposition of the left's cultural "taboos."  They are mocking "elites" to their faces!  They are, in other words, rebelling against a rotten, wobbly, increasingly totalitarian system that cannot naturally last.

The telltale sign that the "system" is afraid is its remarkable campaign to rid Westerners of their free speech by criminalizing it as harmful misinformation.  Do you think even the worst American politicians on the left — think Hillary Clinton here — could have imagined in the 1960s that they would be actively calling for prohibitions against discourse?  Definitely not.  America's monument to freedom took shape in the crucible of unfettered political speech.  Only when the system is so vulnerable that it must bar dissenting points of view will a nation betray its foundational ideals in a misguided effort at preservation.

"Elites" embrace censorship because they have lost a monopoly on the writing of history's events.  Everyone's heard that history is written by the victors and that history is a set of lies agreed upon, but what if these rather cynical sayings no longer pack as much unvarnished truth?  Two years after the Establishment declared victory for Joe Biden, well over half the country believes his "election" to be the result of cheating and fraud.  Decades of nonstop global warming hysteria and three years of COVID-1984 propaganda — both disguising religious fanaticism as "science" — have yet to brainwash a stubborn contingent of freethinkers who refuse to be swallowed by State-sponsored lies.  Almost sixty years after JFK's assassination, over 60% of Americans still do not believe the government's official story surrounding his murder.  And nearly 60% of American voters see mainstream news organizations as a direct "threat to democracy."

If history were still largely written by the victors, then why do so many Americans doubt Biden's legitimacy?  If history were nothing more than agreed upon lies, then why do the great majority of Americans believe that the U.S. government was directly involved in either President Kennedy's assassination or its cover-up?  When corporate media disparage points of view held by majorities of the population as "conspiracy theories," while insisting that real truth is found only in the "narratives" pushed by a collection of fringe minority "elites" and government operatives, then lies told by putative victors have lost their absolute power.  Maybe that's why Americans view the same news corporations that laughingly knight themselves as "guardians of democracy" as one of democracy's gravest threats.

This is certain: Americans' rising political self-consciousness is real, it is here to stay, and it is potent.

Image: Jeff Turner via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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