America’s Authoritarians Echo Chinese and Iranian Tyranny

Against the pulsating scenes of Shanghai police pummeling COVID-19 protesters in China, Iranian mullahs cracking down on Tehran's demonstrators, and the World Economic Forum’s supporting digital passports allowing governments to control the movement of people, the forces of authoritarian control are clearly on the march.  Nor is this problem limited to East Asia or the Middle East.  This issue directly implicates the West.  

Arising out of our cultural elites’ disdain for the concerns and values of the common folk, the West’s increasing capitulation to authoritarianism may be more subtle but no less pernicious than China’s coercive lockdowns featuring stormtroopers welding apartment doors shut.  This move has led to several deaths by fire and suffocation.  At the same time, Iranian religious police continue to crack skulls and kill citizens demanding freedom.

Embracing the authoritarian inclination and preferring the suppression of truth, private actors in the West refuse to accept verifiable reality while demanding coercive government intervention in our social media platforms, schools, and churches.  Following a pathway blazed by China’s authorities, they seek to eliminate freedom of speech and eradicate nonconforming individuals and organizations like Elon Musk and Twitter from public life.

Consider the heated response to news reports linking the recent deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub with conservative-backed legislation regarding gay and transgender policies.  This incident confirms that proof of serious charges is not necessary before they are concretized as fact.  After evidence surfaced showing that the Colorado suspect was nonbinary, private actors and mainstream news outlets seeking to control the prevailing hate-crime narrative and seeking to cancel conservatives aired claims that the attacker’s self-identification couldn’t be valid because he is a man.  Similarly, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was hammered during a brutal attack by a psychotic drug addict with wide-ranging sympathies for liberal causes, private and public actors quickly concluded that conservative rhetoric against Pelosi must be to blame.  These hyperbolic claims are designed to provide the Left with sufficient moral ammunition to justify free speech suppression, which mimics China and Iran. 

Although we should mourn the loss of life and the infliction of harm, we should also acknowledge that the nation’s privileged elites have become zealous advocates of victimhood.  Fear-based victimhood fuels support for tyrannical government intervention and the self-righteous demand for censorship whenever the whiff of free speech surfaces.  Responding to insistent demands for a hybrid (public and private) form of censorship, the Biden Administration appointed a Disinformation Czar to regulate alleged misinformation, unleashed the FBI to classify public school parents as domestic terrorists, and announced that it is monitoring Elon Musk’s Twitter over misinformation.

Against this backdrop, the West has become an unsustainable world of make-believe. This world includes (1) journalists who have become speech police, (2) universities that have become indoctrination camps, (3) prosecutors who decline to prosecute criminals who wear victimhood’s mantle, and (4) politicians who prefer falsehoods to the truth arising out of participation in an informed debate.  These moves reflect the unreal nature of contemporary American politics.  In this world of unreality, elites insulate themselves from everyday life and advance politically profitable language as part of their unconstrained thirst for power and wealth.  As foreseen by George Orwell, our cultural elites offer political speech designed to fashion a narrative justifying their control of people as they make lies truthful and tyranny respectable.  Hence, we should not be surprised to learn that Taylor Lorenz, a Washington Post columnist and a leading source of fear-based victimology, defends the Chinese Communist Party's violent "zero-COVID" policy.  Oblivious to evidence that masks are epidemiologically ineffective and data showing the majority of deaths from COVID occur among the vaccinated and boosted, she accused the U.S. of killing "millions of vulnerable people" by reopening the country.  Lorenz’s hysterics imply that reopening our schools and churches, and resisting the Left’s preferred narratives, put her life at risk.

Chantal Delsol’s book Icarus Fallen: The Search for Meaning in an Uncertain World suggests that isolated Westerners -- particularly our cultural elites -- are roused by feelings of being locked in as they dream of liberation beyond the confines of daily life.  The isolation of the West’s neo-Marxist technocratic class encourages Westerners to fall prey to shrill authoritarian voices dominating our political discourse.  This move represents the loss of what Britain’s Kemi Badenoch calls epistemic authority, which is the ability to separate truth from falsity.  Instead of accepting the value of epistemic authority, Western societies have surrendered to the importance of feelings of injustice, claims of vulnerability, and the political advantages of moral superiority grounded in fictional evidence.  In sum, isolated elites pursue liberation by suppressing contrary ideas.  

Driven by emotional feelings, isolated elites and their followers become COVID-19 authoritarians who demand compliance with ineffective policies. Wishing to remain untroubled by the facts, they attempt to control our lives.  They ignore the harm COVID-19 vaccines impose on children's health and educational prospects in favor of vaccine supremacy.  Equally plain, western authoritarianism metastasizes in demand for “safe spaces” by university students at elite institutions because their center of gravity disappears at the sound of a windblown leaf or the appearance of a different opinion on campus.  The totalitarian ambition also takes flight in the proliferation of climate change apocalypticism led by environmentalists who hector the common folk while breathing fumes from their private jets.  More than ever, totalitarianism advances due to the insistent demand for recognition and reparations for alleged oppression systemically suffered by ever-proliferating identity groups.  Nikole Hannah-Jones, Ibram X. Kendi, and Robin DiAngelo have perfected this scheme.  They profit from outrage while earning up to $40,000 per hour, advancing an all-consuming victimization agenda grounded in the thesis that racism explains everything.  

Academics, political grifters, mainstream journalists, grievance profiteers, and “woke” corporations seek to eliminate liberty, including the free expression of contrary views, in the name of saving democracy, advancing compassion, and promoting tolerance.  These moves resemble a savage scam.  Such activities allow society’s “victims” to be used by elites to advance the ambitions of left-wing ideologues.  Building on the ideas of neo-Marxist Critical Theorists from Germany’s Frankfurt School, ideologues seek America’s destruction in order to impose Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as America’s unchallenged dogma. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, after expressing admiration for China’s dictatorship, justified his thuggish crackdown on the Canadian trucker’s Freedom Convoy by suggesting that truckers and their sympathizers were racists and misogynists while maintaining his moral superiority by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

From Canada to the U.S. and China to Iran, the authoritarian disposition bleeds into every impending crisis.  In this new world constructed on falsehoods, WEF leader Klaus Schwab sees China as a role model for the world even though China is a giant prison with slave labor, sweatshops, and coercive lockdowns.  Against this backdrop, now more than ever, resistance to globalist elites rather than capitulation is required of everyone who believes in liberty and truth.  Otherwise, dominant elites will be empowered to violate our fundamental rights, lock us in our homes, and prevent us from worshiping our God.  

Harry G. Hutchison is a Distinguished Law Professor at Regent University. His latest book is Requiem for Reality: Critical Race Theocrats and Social Justice Dystopia.

Image: Etan Liam

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