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How Would You Know?
If you were living in a totalitarian system, who would tell you?
It can be hard to know what to make of politics and society these days. Events seem to have overtaken us—there’s hardly enough energy to adapt to the massive societal shifts we’re living through. There’s hardly enough time to stop and consider whether or not we agree with these changes. To save us that time and energy, we’ve been offered a fairly simple narrative to explain things. It goes something like this:
There’s an incredibly dangerous pandemic raging, and duty-bound world leaders are scrambling hard to patch together a response to protect the people and prevent as much harm as possible. Fortunately, these leaders are able to consult with the finest scientific and medical minds in industry and academia, and at NGOs like the World Health Organization and the CDC. These responsible and honest technocrats have suggested a variety of important public safety measures such as imposing mass lockdowns, social distancing, business and school closures, and mandatory wearing of face masks. These measures have all been helpful in curtailing the deaths and harm caused by the pandemic, even though billions of people around the world have had to sacrifice to do so.
Meanwhile, the modern miracle of medical and scientific advancement has yielded a powerful new tool in the ongoing fight against the pandemic: a vaccine which offers very high levels of protection against the virus in question, and is extremely safe for all people to take. There are a few exceedingly rare cases of people having bad reactions to the new vaccines, but it probably doesn’t cause any actual deaths. After all, our leaders are encouraging, coercing, and mandating these vaccines with vaccine passport regimes. It would be ghoulish of them to force or coerce every man woman and child to take a vaccine if it actually killed or seriously injured some of them. The fact that they are imposing these mandates and coercions is evidence enough to assure us we can trust this policy.
That first-glance take on things is sufficient for many people, but many others find holes and gaps in it. You wouldn’t be reading this article in the first place if you were totally satisfied by that first-glance narrative. You would know better than to even open a link to an article talking about totalitarianism. Our leaders in government and media have made it clear that such subjects of thought are off limits: Do not open the links. Do not entertain dangerous ideas. Stay away from people who critique what is going on. Speak no words to them. Maintain barriers in your mind. Do your part to stop the spread of ideas that undermine public health and confidence in our government. Rest assured—totalitarianism is something that doesn’t really happen. Or maybe it happened back in the bad old days, but it’s impossible now. After all, if we were watching a totalitarian system implement itself before our very eyes, we would know it. Right?
But how would you know? Who would tell you? Would the news media tell you? Would your government tell you? Would the public health institutions tell you?
Let us consider the features of life that currently prevail in the zeitgeist of 2021. Most people in the Western World are currently living under a system in which governing institutions have declared and exercised the right to police the free movement of citizens, to prevent or limit public and private gatherings, to curtail free speech and the free press, to shut down small businesses and churches, to fire people from their jobs (and prohibit them from working at a new one)—all by executive decree issued under emergency powers with no due process. Even the most personal and intimate parts of the citizen’s life and body are regulated by these decrees. Examples include the forced obstruction of the breath and face, mandatory pharmaceutical products that must be injected into the body, and the need to provide digital or paper compliance passports in order to enter public spaces or work.
Any reader familiar with the meaning of the word totalitarian will recognize the paragraph above as describing the foundations of a totalitarian system. In a totalitarian system, the governing authorities assume power over and micromanage every aspect of life. There are no individual or minority group rights that constrain this power. That is what makes totalitarianism “total.” This governing agenda is promulgated by the mass media, the state, industry representatives, public health institutions, and by other NGOS, depending on how the system is constructed.
In addition to formal prohibitions and decrees, totalitarianism includes a cultural/societal element. Certain ideas and beliefs become verboten: namely, ideas and beliefs that undermine or criticize the totalitarian measures. When such ideas are expressed, they are met with swift denouncement and condemnation. The speaker of such ideas is shunned. The ideas must never be entertained—must never be engaged with—must never receive a fair hearing. Any speech that undermines the governing authority is too dangerous to merit consideration.
“Sure,” you might say, “In that sense, you could describe current conditions as totalitarian, but what you’re saying totally lacks context. These measures are all temporary. They are all required to fight a deadly pandemic. As soon as the need to fight the deadly pandemic goes away, so will the conditions you describe as totalitarian.”
All very well and good. But what if these conditions aren’t meant to be temporary? What if they aren’t even helpful in dealing with covid? How would you know? Who would tell you?
How long must this form of governance persist before you suspect it is intended to be permanent? How long before you suspect you are being conditioned to accept a New Normal that has nothing to do with covid? After two weeks to flatten the curve has come and gone? After Three months? One year? Two years? Five years? Ten years? How will you know when it has been too long? Who will tell you?
Even the most faithful believer in the prevailing system has likely heard rumblings of rumored objections to the prevailing narrative. Some examples include the claim that the covid vaccines don’t prevent infection or transmission—Or that natural immunity provides much stronger protection than the vaccines (in addition to actually preventing infection and transmission)—Or that the protection the vaccines do provide wears off in only a few months—Or that tens of thousands of people have been killed by the vaccines, with hundreds of thousands injured (often seriously injured)—Or that effective early treatments such as ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and vitamins C and D3 are being suppressed—Or that the risk and deadliness of covid has been greatly exaggerated, and would furthermore be greatly reduced by the widespread use of the suppressed early treatment protocols—Or that mask-wearing does nothing to stop the spread of covid—Or that covid almost never spreads through asymptomatic transmission—Or that covid testing protocols produce a high rate of false positives—Or that the death counts from covid are inflated by counting anyone who dies from any cause after a recent positive covid test as having died from covid—Or that the spread of the Delta Variant, and other covid variants, were actually caused by immune escape due to mass vaccination—Or that the same governments and public figures ordering mandates and lockdowns are themselves responsible for creating SarsCov2 as a bioweapon in contravention of international law.
You may have heard some or all of these things, and you may have heard them described as misinformation, or conspiracy theories, or fake news. You may have heard this from the corporate media or public officials. But what if some of the things listed above were true? How would you know? Who would tell you?
“The media would tell me,” may be an automatic response. Or perhaps, “The government would tell me,” or “public health officials would tell me.” And they would tell you. If you weren’t living in a corrupt system—they would tell you. But what if you were living in a corrupt system and you didn’t know it? How would you find out? Who would tell you?
That podcast or documentary you’re not supposed to look at would tell you. That friend you stopped talking to because they won’t take the jab would tell you. I would tell you. But you’re not supposed to talk to or listen to any of us. The government/media/public health complex has told you not to. Here’s an interesting question to ask: Who would be more likely to forbid you from listening to someone warning you of encroaching totalitarianism? A totalitarian? Or an honest actor only interested in faithfully reporting the truth?
But why listen to me? Or the friend or family member you canceled? Or the forbidden news source or podcast? We’re just people. We don’t have any special claim to truth. We might be able to provide you with facts, evidence, and reasoning. CNN and Dr. Fauci have facts, evidence, and reasoning too. You would have to compare and contrast what you were being told and see what lines up and what doesn’t. You would have to consider the possibility that you might be living in a totalitarian system. You would have to trust yourself and check in with your own intuition and reasoning. You would have to decide for yourself.
Dare to Consider
This leads us to the primary obstacle in resolving the questions above. If you were living in a totalitarian system, there is one thing that would keep you from realizing it, more than anything else: Refusing to consider it as a possibility.
Let’s imagine the example of a congenial fellow by the name of Credulous Craig. He wishes no particular harm to anyone and would like to just go about his business in peace, trusting the authorities to basically take care of things. When the authorities tell him what the new rules are, he doesn’t question those rules. Instead, he closely studies the new rules are so he can comply with them correctly. Craig doesn’t believe he could be living in a totalitarian or corrupt system. That seems outlandish to him.
If Craig were living in a totalitarian system, it would be impossible for him to know it as long as he refused to consider the possibility. The totalitarian media would tell him he was free. The totalitarian government leaders would tell him he was free. The totalitarian public health officials would tell him he was free. There would be a dissident down the road losing her access to work, free movement, places of public accommodation, medical care, and other human rights—that person would tell Craig he wasn’t free. But Craig wouldn’t listen to her. He would know that if anything wrong was happening, the media, government, and public health officials would tell him so. Craig would know that it was impossible for him to be living in a totalitarian system as long as he continued to deny it as a possibility.
Perhaps the dissident (let’s call her Incredulous Ingrid) would insist to Craig that he at least consider the possibility they were both living in a totalitarian system. “Fine,” says Craig. “Prove it to me. Show me the evidence that it could be true.” Ingrid shows him the evidence. She shows him data, sources, and reasoning to link the evidence together. But even if Craig finds Ingrid’s reasoning convincing based on the evidence she shows him, his position will not change. “It just couldn’t be true,” Craig will say. “There must be something wrong with your evidence.”
Craig may have been hoping Ingrid’s evidence would be easily refutable, which is why he challenged her to present it to him. But when Ingrid’s reasoning actually started to make sense to Craig, he defaulted back to his initial premise of “it just couldn’t be true.” In this way, Craig protects his sense of security and safety in knowing that his life is in the hands of people he can trust—not people seeking to exploit and harm him (and others). He wants to continue trusting those in power, even if he doesn’t understand why they are doing what they’re doing.
Ingrid could be correct or incorrect about her beliefs, and her evidence could be credible or flimsy. But as long as Craig refuses to consider the possibility of what she is saying, their conversation can have no other conclusion than for Craig to declare, “It just couldn’t be true.”
Ingrid might press him a little bit: “Why couldn’t it be true?” she asks. Craig might respond with something like, “If anything like that was true, there would have to be a massive conspiracy of evil people cackling and twirling their moustaches. That’s not how the world really works. I know that’s not how people really are.”
And then Ingrid might talk to him about how power operates, particularly in a hierarchical model. She might explain to Craig how those at the top of the power structure will always keep secrets, and that these secrets and the social relationships that cement these secrets form the basis of their power. She might explain to him how power is compartmentalized. Those lower down in the hierarchy are only given information on a need-to-know basis, and are not aware of the goals and motivations of those above them. She might explain to him how he is already familiar with such hierarchical and bureaucratic models of power—that this is the model of power that exists in a corporation, in a government, or in a military. She might point out to Craig that even among those who occupy positions of relative power, many will be oblivious to the totalitarian system they serve under. Like Craig, they are also telling themselves that it couldn’t be possible they are living in a totalitarian system. They simply affirm the narrative that tells them those with the most power are acting in service of the greater good. Then they close their eyes and follow the orders given to them from the next rung up on the hierarchy.
Ingrid might describe the Milgram experiment to Craig, which showed a majority of people were willing to administer electric shocks to torture a test subject—even to the point of death—as long as an authority in a white coat told them they were supposed to do so. She might give him examples of totalitarian systems from the past, such as the Soviet Union, Maoist China, or Nazi Germany. She might explain that in such systems, there were only a few super predators in select positions of power at the very top. There were many others in power who were complying to protect themselves, many others who were true believers in the ideology of the system and lost their moral compass along the way, and many others who were just “going along to get along,” assuring themselves that it couldn’t be possible they were living in a corrupt system.
Ingrid might explain to Craig the concept of regulatory capture, showing how predatory corporate interests in pharma, big tech, and finance have paired with philanthropic foundations to “donate” to institutions like the CDC, the NIH, the WHO, and the major media outlets—and to line the pockets of politicians with campaign contributions and multi-million dollar consulting gigs once they’re out of office. She might show him how the bulk of the world’s economy is controlled by a very small number of transnational corporations—how the people who control them serve on multiple boards of directors of multiple companies in various industries. She might explain how the corporations themselves are cross-invested in each other, how gigantic investment firms like Vanguard and Blackrock own controlling interests in every major corporate concern in the world, and how these firms are also cross-invested in each other.
She might demonstrate to Craig how this network of massive capital accumulation and cross-ownership has created a global system in which a small handful of people—just a few thousand, or ultimately even just a few hundred—have ubiquitous control over global policy decisions in both the public and private sectors, crossing international boundaries. When these stakeholders meet to coordinate policy at Davos, Bilderberg, or Jackson Hole, they are able to act as a self-appointed congress, parliament, or politburo. The policies they agree to become policy in governments across the world due to their coordinated financial power.
Having just heard Ingrid explain how it could all be possible, Craig will again declaim, “It just couldn’t be possible.” He will insist that the people in power would tell him about it if this were happening. Ingrid will point out that if the people in power were part of a totalitarian system, they definitely would not expose the corruption behind it. Craig would concede the point, but then he will insist that “someone” would expose the corruption. Ingrid will point out that the corruption already has been exposed. This work has been done by independent journalists, writers, historians, and researchers, as well as by whistleblowers and former insiders—that’s how she learned about it. Then she will provide Craig with a list of websites, books, and publications he can access to view this journalism and research for himself. Craig will decline to look at this information because, “It just couldn’t be true.” He will go back to insisting that if it actually were true, the corporate media, industry spokespersons, and public officials would have told him about it.
What is going on here? What keeps Craig from opening up to the possibility that the system he lives under might be corrupt? One potential reason is that Craig may suspect (or fear) that if he opens up to the possibility he is living under corrupt rule, he may actually become convinced of the fact that he is living under corrupt rule. Then he would have to deal with it.
What would that entail? First, it would entail processing a lot of grief and fear. Craig’s heart would be broken, having trusted the society he lived under, having believed in it, having participated in its rituals, having built personal dreams based on its promise, having supported the flourishing of that system and all that it has done. He would need to process the fear of the unknown, suddenly unsure of who he can trust anymore, or how to trust. He would need to process the fear of living under the power of people who are willing to harm him if it is useful to the realization of their objectives. Most difficult, Craig would now have to adjust his entire social life. He might need to conceal what he really thinks from friends, family, and acquaintances, knowing many of them will shun him if he shares what he has learned. He might need to prepare for losing friends and family if he is not willing to conceal his beliefs from them. He might need to prepare for being shut out of society, finding that he is no longer willing to comply with certain rituals and orders expected of him. He will need to process large amounts of emotional confusion and distress, wondering what is to become of him.
Nobody wants to have to do any of those things. We don’t want to live in a world where such emotional upheavals are a necessity. As a result, most of us will avoid considering the possibility that we live under a thoroughly corrupted leadership class as long as it is possible for us to do so. Someone like Craig might tell himself he already knows his society is corrupt. He knows better than to trust those bumbling and lying politicians and business leaders. He knows the media is slanted and biased. But he is unwilling to consider the possibility of totalitarian corruption—a type of corruption wherein there are no limits. In such a society, it’s not only the politicians, business leaders, and media institutions that are compromised, but so are the medical and scientific institutions we trust with our safety. We trust these institutions to tell us what is true even more than we trust the corporate media. In a totalitarian system, the institutions of science and medicine are indeed compromised, just as they were in Germany, Russia, China, and in other totalitarian societies of the past and present.
If enough members of the public believe “it just couldn’t be true,” then no amount of evidence will ever convince them otherwise, even when it’s happening right under their noses. Totalitarianism will proceed without obstruction. Only when citizens become able to consider the possibility that they might be living under a totalitarian system is it possible for them to acknowledge evidence of its existence.
It is not possible to resist totalitarianism without this awareness, and that is the purpose of this article. Because the covid measures adopted by our governments are totalitarian in their nature, it is paramount that each of us at least consider the possibility that the object of these measures is totalitarian rather than altruistic. If we are not in fact living under a totalitarian system, there will be no harm done in making sure. It’s good practice for citizenship. If, on the other hand, we are currently watching a totalitarian system attempting to take full control over society, it is imperative that we become aware of this so we can break the spell of compliance.
At this point, it will become helpful to examine totalitarianism as a social-psychological phenomenon. This will shed light on the psychological distress incurred in confronting the possibility that society has become totalitarian. It will also help explain how it is possible for an entire society to fall under a totalitarian spell without even realizing it.
Here, I will be summarizing the work of Mattias Desmet, Belgian professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University. Professor Desmet specializes in mass formation and totalitarianism, drawing from past preeminent scholars on the subject, particularly Gustave le Bon and Hannah Arendt. For a deeper dive into the subject, you can watch this full-length interview with Desmet.
The process by which an entire society falls into a totalitarian way of thinking and living is called mass formation. It is necessary that four psychological conditions exist in ample supply for a society to become vulnerable to mass formation. They are:
1. Abundant levels of free-floating anxiety among the populace
2. Widespread social isolation and alienation
3. Frustrated sense-making and confusion in individual lives
4. Abundant levels of free-floating psychological discontent and lack of purpose and meaning
In considering the state of Western societies in recent years, most of us will recognize that these four conditions have indeed been in abundant and growing supply. Our societies are populated by people who are increasingly isolated from each other, living bereft of meaning and purpose. We have become increasingly anxious as we realize that all is not well in our world, yet we struggle to identify the source of the illness, or to make sense of the societal dysfunction we live within. We are anxious, alienated, confused, and discontented.
With conditions ripe for mass formation, an aspiring totalitarian leadership class will need to utilize mass media to supply the populace with a unifying narrative. This narrative will present the populace with a concrete object of anxiety to focus on in the form of a new threat. The level of fear attached to this new object will be amplified as much as possible. This converts the agonizing free-floating anxiety into manageable concrete form; all anxieties are subsumed and poured into the newly proffered object. The narrative also provides a strategy about how to deal with this object of anxiety, and this resolves the lack of sense-making in the populace. Since all anxiety has been linked to and directed at the proffered object, the people are willing to follow the strategy to deal with this object no matter the cost. This is the beginning of mass formation.
Mass formation now progresses to step two, in which people implement the strategy presented to them and begin waging a heroic battle with the object of anxiety. If the strategy requires personal sacrifice, so much the better. Through sacrifice, the struggle becomes more meaningful, helping to resolve the individual’s free-floating discontent and lack of purpose. The ordeal also creates a social bond with other members of the crowd—there is shared struggle and shared sacrifice. The radical lack of social connection is transformed into a massive experience of social connection with the crowd. The narrative has now resolved all four of the psychological conditions necessary for mass formation to occur and solidify. The resolution of these conditions creates a state of mental intoxication in the populace, equivalent to a state of hypnosis.
Now that mental intoxication has taken hold, the crowd will continue to go along with the narrative, no matter how contradictory or blatantly false it is. It will not matter to them if the narrative is wrong. In addition, the call to action supplied by the mass media will include ritual behaviors which symbolize the social connection of the crowd and their heroic struggle. These rituals actually increase in power the more absurd and meaningless they are. The rituals are stripped of all practical significance by their arbitrary nature, serving to purify them as expressions of adherence to the mass formation.
Applying these principles to 2020-2021, we can observe how mass media presented the world with covid as the new object of concrete anxiety, together with instructions about how to address it: lockdowns, social distancing, masking, vaccinations, censorship, and obedience. The absurdity of the lines of tape on the floor, the hanging Plexiglas barriers, wearing masks at restaurants while standing but not while sitting, double masking, standing six feet apart, arbitrary changes in all of these rules, and all the rest of it solidified the power of these rituals. They became signifiers of the newly meaningful struggle against the virus that imparted purpose and social solidarity into the lives of the people.
The next step was for the mass media to supply the populace with enemies. Just as all anxiety was poured into the concrete object of covid, all aggression was to be directed at these proffered enemies: the unvaccinated, those opposed to face masks or lockdowns, and anyone else who spoke out against the narrative. When captured by mass formation, people become radically intolerant of dissident voices. The dissidents threaten to break the spell of the mass formation, which would dissolve the state of mental intoxication and plunge the populace back into the previous state of anxiety, alienation, confusion, and discontent/purposelessness, now in amplified form. With the mass media and public officials fanning the flames of hatred, the populace develops a zeal in denouncing and persecuting the enemy.
In the inverse, the populace develops radical acceptance and adulation for the leaders and media voices who propagate the mass narrative. In fact, the more corrupt and abusive these leaders become, the stronger the level of mass adulation. The crowd implicitly recognizes the role of the imposed sacrifices in fueling and maintaining their state of mental intoxication. Abusive and deceptive leaders who perpetuate the narrative become suppliers of this intoxication the same way a drug dealer supplies an addict. In contrast, dissidents who seek to dissolve the narrative by exposing its falsehoods and contradictions threaten to pitch the subject back into psychological disarray.
According to Professor Desmet, only about 30% of the populace is fully captured by the mass formation, becoming true believers. But about 40% of the populace go along with the narrative, led by the pressure and power exerted by the leadership class and mass media. Only the remaining 30% seem to have immunity to mass formation and are able to see through it. The 40% will eventually see through it as well, and that will break the spell—the question is how long it will take.
As of this writing, in October 2021, we are living through a critical juncture in the totalitarian life cycle. The absurd and draconian parameters of the mass narrative are starting to cause major disruptions in the social fabric. In response, the 40% will either come to recognize the features of the burgeoning totalitarianism and break the spell, or will remain aligned with the mass formation. This choice point will determine whether totalitarianism fades out before it can take root, or whether society will descend fully into the dark nightmare of a totalitarian epoch.
Identifying the Features of a Totalitarian System
This article is an attempt to communicate to members of that 40%. I have written a number of articles and have engaged in many conversations since the summer of 2020, seeking to convey my concerns about the direction society is moving. These efforts have met with some success, but most of the time I have found myself in the position of Ingrid speaking to Craig. No amount of evidence, data, references, sources, or reasoning can avail when communicating with someone who has already predetermined that what you are saying is impossible.
That is why this article is not full of links and evidence, or arguments dispelling the vaccine narrative, the lockdown narrative, the mask narrative, the death counts, or any of the rest of it. I’ve already written articles that lay out the case for those perspectives, along with links to the sources of information behind them. Instead, I am seeking to address that primary barrier to communication—the belief that “it couldn’t be true,” or “it’s just not possible” that our leadership class is compromised and unified enough to be misleading us to this extent.
In our society, we have not yet seen widespread arrests of political dissidents. In most places, speech has only been censored so far—it is not yet an arrestable offense. Targeted minority groups are being barred from public life, but they have not yet been confined to ghettos or camps. Digital passports and checkpoints are being rolled out for all aspects of life, but they have not yet achieved mass acceptance.
If we insist on waiting for totalitarianism to reveal itself in full flower before believing it could be possible, it will be too late to prevent it. When I suggest we are living under a totalitarian system, I do not mean this system has achieved societal dominance as of yet. What I mean is that the leadership class has demonstrated their commitment to moving society in a totalitarian direction through incremental steps. That is to say, the totalitarian system already exists, and its ideology has already captured the leadership class—but it has not yet achieved full expression in the society at large.
If you do not believe it is possible that our leadership class has adopted a totalitarian ethic, then you are the reader I most want to connect with. I want to ask you again, if you were living under a totalitarian system—How would you know? Who would tell you?
If you were living under a totalitarian system, would your news outlets leave it to you to decide what you believe and what your opinions are? On matters of great public dispute, would news outlets refrain from settling the dispute for you? Would they constrain their reporting to provide you only with verifiable facts about the who, what, and where of events? When exploring contested opinions and questions of why and how, would they provide balanced coverage of opposing views, with reasoned discourse and investigations of possible corruption in government and business?
Or would your mass media outlets tell you what you are supposed to believe? Would they tell you what you are not supposed to believe? Would they urge you to be angry and afraid? Would your news articles and broadcasts instruct you on which opinions are correct and which are incorrect with fact-check and debunking articles? Would the major media outlets express the same opinions and beliefs as each other on these matters of great public dispute? Would they provide platforms to powerful public officials without challenging their statements? Would the news media denounce minority opinions as misinformation or as “unhinged conspiracy theories?” Would news commentators denounce entire minority groups on air, instructing viewers to likewise condemn and shun members of these groups? Would they opine that members of these groups be denied jobs or medical care, or that they be blacklisted?
If you were living under a totalitarian system, would the process of science, knowledge, and learning be encouraged? Would unorthodox ideas and challenges to prevailing concepts be welcomed as part of the scientific process? Would prevailing scientific views be subject to scrutiny and testing, and would alternative views and studies receive funding and media coverage? Would freedom of speech be cherished and encouraged as a benefit to science, knowledge, and learning?
Or would media and state authorities proclaim that “the science is settled?” Would these authorities denounce those who challenge the scientific conclusions endorsed by the state? Would politicians prohibit doctors from prescribing medications endorsed by many in their field? Would the state revoke the licenses of doctors who inform the public about medical options endorsed by many in their field? Would tech executives deplatform doctors and scientists who publish their medical and scientific knowledge online? Would these executives censor all scientific or medical opinions that differ from those promulgated by the state-approved agencies? Would they also censor and deplatform ordinary citizens or independent journalists engaging in public discourse on these matters? Would politicians mandate a single medical procedure for every man, woman, and child rather than leave medical decisions to individuals and their doctors, tailored to each individual’s unique needs?
If you were living under a totalitarian system, would major changes in law, governance, and the rights of individuals occur only with ample public debate and comment? Would they occur through due process and legislative procedures enshrined in law? Would the actions of government be constrained by limited powers and by rights reserved to the people?
Or would governance issue via executive decree under emergency powers? Would these emergency powers extend for weeks, months, and years? Would these decrees and emergency powers be used to prohibit the movement and gathering of citizens, to prevent them from working or operating their businesses, or to mandate their compliance with medical procedures chosen by the executive? Would the same sets of policies be adopted by executive decree simultaneously in countries throughout the world? Would governments and businesses promote use of a digital identification with proof of compliance to state mandates? Would presenting this digital ID become a condition of entry into every public building or public transport vehicle?
If you were living under a totalitarian system, would a diversity of views and perspectives be welcomed? Would a spirit of tolerance and respect prevail in society regardless of race, sex, religion, belief, creed, or political views? Would political leaders and mass media promote these values of social cohesion despite differences? Would the values of privacy, speech, and free association and movement prevail as pillars of a free society?
Or would certain widely-held beliefs, creeds, and political views be roundly condemned by the leadership class and mass media? Would the nation’s executive leader publicly disparage large segments of the population for following their beliefs? Would that executive leader pronounce that members of this minority group be barred from accessing public accommodations and lose their livelihoods unless they submit to a medical procedure selected by that executive? Would businesses and members of the public follow the lead of the leadership class, segregating and discriminating against the targeted minority group? Would it become common for members of the majority group to refer to members of this minority group in dehumanizing terms, even wishing for their deaths?
The questions listed above will not yield crisp answers to the question of whether one is living in a totalitarian society. They are meant to provoke the mind. They are meant to point out that most of the mass media and prevailing leadership class in our global society are behaving as though they are totalitarian-aligned. If the global leadership class is behaving in a totalitarian manner, the possibility cannot be denied that they might—just might—be functionaries in a totalitarian system.
Breaking the Spell
Perhaps there is no spell—no hypnosis. It is good to consider all possibilities. Perhaps we are not living through the collective illness of mass formation. It is not necessary to conclude that we are. It is only necessary to honestly consider that we might be. We might be witnessing the attempted installation of a global totalitarian system.
If we consider this as a real possibility, two things will happen:
We will begin honestly exploring the evidence, facts, and reasoning of the counter-narratives and discover whether or not they hold water.
We will begin opposing the prevailing totalitarian covid measures as a safeguard—just in case the possibility that we are living under a totalitarian system is actually true.
There are no downsides to this approach. If we are not actually living under a totalitarian system, we will have improved our abilities as diligent citizens. We will have contributed to the flourishing of our free society by supporting open discourse, civility, and compassion for others in a diverse social context. If we discover through our research that authoritarian measures are actually logical and effective policies by which to address covid, we can rest assured that we have double-checked this assumption before assenting to it. We will have performed our duty in holding power accountable to the people.
On the other hand, if we are indeed living under the leadership of aspiring totalitarians, these steps will enable us to discover this is happening. These steps will also help to prevent those aspirations from bearing fruit. These steps will assist us in helping to break the spell of mass formation.
The hypnosis of totalitarianism cannot be broken through evidence or argument alone, for reasons I have already delineated. It is nevertheless paramount that those who see through the hypnosis keep speaking out—keep pointing out the absurdities, contradictions, and falsehoods of the narrative.
Exposing the internal contradictions of the mass narrative will not break the spell, but it will weaken the spell. The use of light, gentle humor and playfulness can also help weaken the spell. Exposure to divergent viewpoints and attitudes lessens the depth of hypnosis. That’s why the censorship regime and a controlled media are absolutely crucial to perpetuate mass formation. That’s why the mass narrative encourages followers to shun, banish, and discriminate against those who resist. In order to keep the spell going, the targets of the mass narrative need to be isolated from those who can see through it. Continued contact with people and ideas that contradict the narrative gradually dissolves the glue that holds a mass formation together.
For the reader who came into this article already aware of the totalitarianism we are living through, the call to action is to keep speaking. Resist the urge to silence yourself. Don’t expect to change any minds, and don’t get discouraged when minds don’t change. Just remember that your voice weakens the strength of the spell with every word.
For the reader who came into this article without awareness of the totalitarianism but stuck with it all the way to the end, I salute you. Having made it this far, you are probably at least open to the possibility that we might be living under a totalitarian system. And if you have come to recognize that possibility, it would be a good idea to look into the evidence that supports it. I’d suggest taking a look at this resource article I’ve put together, with many pages of links to information sources that dispel the prevailing covid narrative. You can also take a look at my series of articles that walk through the reasoning supported by this evidence step by step. A good place to start would be What to Make of Covid and the Lockdowns?
We’ve come too far as a people to fall back into the worst follies and collective illnesses of the twentieth century. Oftentimes a trauma repeats itself, like a loop or an echo of the original wound. It may not seem like it, but I believe humanity is ready to experience a rebirth of dignity, wisdom, and sovereign awareness. This flirtation with totalitarianism we’re experiencing serves as a reminder of what we’re leaving behind, and why our change in consciousness is needed.
One way or another, we are destined to leave totalitarianism behind us. Better to expose it and reject it before it can take root, rather than wait until we’ve suffered through its devastation, atrocities, and inhumanities. We can either do this the easy way or the hard way.
Or, in the words of Seneca the Younger: Fate leads the willing; the unwilling it drags.
If you’d like to learn more about totalitarianism and mass formation dynamics, here are a series of informative links for your elucidation:
Mattias Desmet is a Belgian professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University, where he lectures on mass formation and totalitarianism. He draws from scholarship regarding the phenomenon of totalitarian systems and the psychological conditions necessary for totalitarianism to take hold in a society (termed mass formation), Professor Desmet is able to explain how mass formation has taken hold on a global level in response to covid. He details the conditions that led to this mass formation, the reasons it has persisted, provides examples of its expression in unquestioning adherence to mainstream narratives and authoritarian policies, and describes the conditions necessary for mass formation to dissolve, led by the 20-30% of people who are psychologically immune to this process.
Mark Crispin Miller is an NYU professor whose expertise is the use, propagation, and identification of propaganda. Ironically, for the past year NYU has been attempting to overcome his tenure protections and fire him for speaking out against covid propaganda. In the following video series he details the masterwork of propaganda unveiled across in the world in 2020 by way of covid.
2020: A Propaganda Masterpiece, Part 1
2020: A Propaganda Masterpiece, Part 2
2020: A Propaganda Masterpiece, Part 3
Academy of Ideas - I can’t speak highly enough of this series of educational videos on the subjects of psychology, conformity, societal sickness, personal strength and freedom, and mass psychosis. There could be no better school to foster understanding of what is happening throughout the world right now. Because these videos are so valuable, I am including links to a lengthy list of specific gems:
How to be Free in an Unfree World
Edward Bernays and Group Psychology: Manipulating the Masses
Do We Live in a Sick Society?
The Psychology of Power – How to Dethrone Tyrants
How The “Greater Good” is Used as a Tool of Social Control
How Civil Disobedience Safeguards Freedom and Prevents Tyranny
Is Mass Psychosis the Greatest Threat to Humanity?
Can Ideas Induce Mass Psychosis?
The Manufacturing of Mass Psychosis – Can Sanity Return to an Insane World?
Do We Live in a Brave New World? Aldous Huxley’s Warning to the World
Why an Obsession with Safety Creates Sick Minds and a Sick Society
Is 1984 Becoming a Reality? George Orwell’s Warning to the World
How to Escape from a Sick Society
In this brilliant three-part series published on his Consent Factory platform, satirist and writer CJ Hopkins details the parameters and dimensions of the covid ideology that has swept the world beginning in March, 2020. Among other things, he demonstrates that this ideology has all the features of a cult, and of totalitarianism, explaining that totalitarianism itself is a cult writ large across society.
Richard Grannon is an expert on codependency and narcissistic abuse. He also offers extensive insight on how these dynamics, enacted on the micro level, are also enacted on the macro level as a tool of domination by the ruling class. These four videos provide an excellent summary of this information:
Mass Psychosis & You - Why People Have Lost Their Minds — Dr. Chris Martenson breaks down the elements necessary to induce mass psychosis, cites historical examples, demonstrates their presence in the current covid hysteria, and provides examples of how the flames of this hysteria/psychosis are being deliberately fanned by establishment actors in government and media institutions.
Yuri Bezmenov was a Soviet KGB Agent in the 1960s who defected to Canada after coming to recognize the hypocrisy and corruption of totalitarian society. In this compilation of lectures and interviews from 1983-1984, Bezmenov provides an indispensible education in propaganda, intelligence agency psyops, manipulation of the masses, and other topics pertinent to propaganda and media control, delivered with his unique brand of humor and personable style.
This is what mind control looks like. This is Operation Mockingbird – This brilliant video compilation speaks volumes about mainstream media control and propaganda, with no commentary, no interpretation – just clips from TV news, displayed in context.
I’ve also included links to a selection of my own articles—written and published over the course of 2020–2021 in response to the wave of authoritarian governance, thought, and belief that swept the world in those years. They represent an appeal to freedom of thought, speech, and conscience, and advocate for a return to democratic, human, and spiritual values. These articles also offer research, critique, and insight regarding the nature of the crisis of this time and the possible intentions and implications of these events.
What to Make of Covid and the Lockdowns? My original article stating the case against lockdowns, masks, and social distancing regimes. An appeal for open discourse. December, 2020
Why Are They Doing This? An exploration of the possible reasons or motives for the continuing lockdown regimes in light of the evidence that they are neither necessary nor useful, and in light of the considerable harm they have caused and continue to cause. March, 2021
On the Mind-Altering Power of Taboo. A critique of censorship as antithetical to human flourishing accompanied by an examination of taboo and censored areas of inquiry—and of who is protected and harmed by their taboo status. April, 2021
Toward a New Religion. An exploration of the “New Normal” societal changes in values and belief that have accompanied the lockdown regimes, seen through the lens of religion and spirituality. April, 2021
Understanding Technocracy. An exploration of the nature of technocracy in further depth, examining it from psychological, ideological, and spiritual perspectives. April, 2021
Fact-Checking is the New Pravda. A dissection of the propaganda technique of fact-checking, which has become a ubiquitous phenomenon in the corporate press in recent years. Fact-checking is perhaps the most effective and important tactic available for shaping and controlling popular thought and belief. July, 2021
How to Inform Yourself when Living under a Censorship Regime. Following a short discussion of censorship and its dangers, this article collects many pages worth of links to independent media sources, podcasts/videocasts, articles, documentaries, peer-reviewed scientific journal studies, and other useful information sources. These sources can provide the reader with access to all the knowledge, reasoning, and references needed to fully explore and understand the critiques of the prevailing mass narrative regarding covid and other issues. September, 2021