As a Digitized Iron Curtain Descends, Spiritual Faith Rises
Two trend lines extend into the future. One tracks government's increased oppression, surveillance, and social control. The other tracks people's rising spiritual faith, desire for personal freedom, and determination that government should leave them alone. This is our reality. It also exposes the chink in totalitarianism's armor. The greater the government's coercion, the more convinced a growing share of the population becomes that illegitimate government must go.
The same tug of war has played out time and again. With the luxury of hindsight, there is a clear trigger point when governing authorities cross a line into such unacceptable tyranny that their eventual fall becomes certain. The only question then is how much time is permitted before the reigning power's inevitable end. The Roman Empire squeezed out five hundred years following the demise of the Republic. The Soviet Union's communist state lasted only seventy. Ever since the term "color revolution" entered into the general lexicon, volatile regime change has become more common by the week.
In many instances, outside governments play agent provocateur to sow geopolitical unrest. In other instances, domestic populations foment internal rebellion. Whether as chess pieces being used by foreign powers or chess pieces that have decided to chuck the game rules out the window and take down their own king, the people once regarded as mere "pawns" comprehend that novel tools for mass communication have changed everything. Intelligence services regularly engage in mass manipulation because they fear uncontrolled thinking.
Information is the key. Ideas are more powerful than bombs or bullets. At this point, that truth should be obvious. In the United States, the president in name only and his political colleagues still deliver speeches praising freedom of speech, while the national security surveillance State actively works with tech titans and corporate news stenographers to censor dissenting points of view. We are now years into a Western propaganda campaign intended to convince the public that information should be compartmentalized as "mis-," "mal-," or "dis"-information whenever it is at odds with the State. If knowledge and opinion were not so threatening to the government, federal police would not dedicate so many resources to monitoring private conversations and expunging unapproved thoughts from the public sphere.
Talk of WWIII brings thoughts of troop movements, electric grid collapse, and nuclear conflagration, but unlike the wars of last century, this one is first and foremost for control of individual minds. WWI fashioned new forms of State propaganda; WWII transformed that propaganda into an applied science; Cold War generations of private advertising firms and secretive intelligence agencies used that science to sculpt the future for power and profit. We have been inside a reality distortion field ever since. Even in "free" Western nations, most people watched the handful of news stations and enjoyed entertaining television shows without ever suspecting that their thoughts were being shaped. The "free" press, after all, represents a Fourth Estate perpetually at odds with government power. Entertainers and other celebrities are often counterculture artists who would never parrot the State.
Yet a funny thing happened over the last three decades with the rise of the internet and the explosion of available technologies connecting ordinary people across long distances as never before: the more easily members of the public could bypass the agents in charge of mass communication and speak directly to one another, the more diverse points of view flourished and contradicted the State. When three nightly news anchors no longer maintain a monopoly over how a story is told, people ask questions that reporters do not. When normal people tell jokes and entertain one another outside network filters and beyond the control of corporate executives, opinionated dissent becomes bitingly effective. When online chat rooms, camera phones, and messaging apps provide more concrete details than national newspapers, then information embargoes are easily circumnavigated.
In the West, the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall is celebrated as a demonstrable victory over communism. Perhaps the more important wall that fell around that time, however, was the one protecting the State's exclusive dominion over publicly available information. Before the internet, ideas could be stored in government silos and kept from inquiring minds. Once the internet broke open those silos and put powerful gatekeepers out of business, the world changed forever. Throughout the globe, governments have been working to take that power back ever since. Instead of celebrating the fall of information walls as indistinguishable from the Berlin Wall, Western governments act as if information is now the world's most dangerous threat. That can be true only if governments' reality distortion field is too weak to survive scrutiny.
President Kennedy understood that a permanent Deep State empowered to control what ideas Westerners could consider would mean that freedom is irreparably lost. "We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values," he said. "For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people." Given how invested the U.S. government has become in censorship and political persecution, there is little doubt that President Kennedy would look harshly at the landscape today and conclude that the federal bureaucracy is, indeed, afraid of the American people. The Berlin Wall may have been demolished, but its essence has been steadily reconstructed throughout the West.
People watch what Western governments are doing, and they are flabbergasted. ABC News openly admits that it censored a presidential candidate's interview for voicing unapproved opinions. Ukraine intelligence services admit to using the FBI to remove unfavorable American Facebook posts. The Biden administration seeks to criminalize "racist" data if they perpetuate "discriminatory outcomes" or "historical bias." The private central banks manipulating global markets are just itching to replace worthless paper currencies with even more worthless and entirely oppressive central bank digital currencies. In concert with Western leaders abdicating national sovereignty, the World Health Organization has nearly secured legal authority to impose its bureaucratic will unilaterally in the name of "public health." A former U.S. Army psy ops expert summed up Tucker Carlson's Fox News firing as necessary to maintain an "uninformed, semi-lobotomized, quasi-retarded population." King Macron of France is arresting citizens for daring to flip him the middle finger. Inspector General Michael Horowitz has revealed that in the first year of the Biden presidency alone, over a million illegal searches were conducted of Americans' private documents and communications. Furthermore, he confirmed that over ten thousand federal agents have access to the vast surveillance system tracking Americans' emails, text messages, phone calls, purchase histories, bank records, social media posts, browsing histories, locations, and movements. Just about any electronic device a person uses is monitored, and the national security surveillance State operates in grotesque violation of the U.S. Constitution. These are the unmistakable symptoms of totalitarianism's awful disease.
This is the government's abusive reaction to emerging technologies that have naturally fostered greater freedom. Unhappy with losing control over their own reality distortion field, what we endure today is the result of flailing, weakened, reactionary agents of the State desperate to fight back. Yet as government answers cries for freedom with new forms of oppression and social control, it stokes the flames of its own resistance. Not surprisingly, spiritual faith in a higher power grows, just as faith in government power craters.
In Shawshank Redemption, the stories of two prisoners are told. One has been imprisoned for so long that he is "institutionalized" and takes his own life after being set free. The other, who has been wrongfully incarcerated for twenty years, crawls through five hundred yards of human excrement to escape. That is our stark choice today: crawl through the muck for freedom or accept the government's chains. All you need is faith.