Why Not Totalitarianism?

As China rises, with its 'social credit' monitoring of every aspect of human life, we see a new kind of totalitarianism: not one pointed at an ideology, such as Communism, but totalitarianism for its own sake.

It has all the downsides for human expressions of religion as the liberalism ascendant in America, coupled with the state actually inserting agents into your home to monitor religious expression, and sending you to concentration camps for reeducation if they don't like what they see.

Should we believe that this will remain confined to China, or at least to its sphere of influence once it is done with its intended expansion? Perhaps not, since the Chinese have made use of the American tech elite as partners in effecting their totalitarianism. Coincidentally, perhaps, these same giants -- Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube among them -- have all decided to suppress American conservative speech.

Nor is it only China that is interested in this project. The European Union has enlisted these same tech giants to suppress what they call 'extremist' speech. And, of course, our own IRS has admitted to targeting conservative nonprofits for extra scrutiny under the Obama administration, a clear attempt to prevent political organization on the right.

The cultural power being wielded against our traditions is immense. I wonder what limits, if any, our opponents are prepared to accept on their accumulation of power over us?


E Hines said...

One small thing. Alphabet, owner of Google, has gone farther: it refuses to help our own defense establishment with artificial intelligence, while it actively is helping the PRC government with AI. Apple, after first (pretending to, as it turns out) eschewing the PRC's censorship requirements, has decided to aid the PRC in developing domestic-to-the-mainland search engines that automatically censor Government-disapproved search parameters.

I'm not sure, in the American cases, that it's a matter of culture so much as it's a matter of a few who've gained the power deciding they Know Better and are exercising their Know Betterness, albeit they're actively abetted by the Progressive-Democratic Party. Or those few and their Party brothers are exercising their power for the ego of it.

Eric Hines

douglas said...

" I wonder what limits, if any, our opponents are prepared to accept on their accumulation of power over us?"

I don't think I realized until fairly recently that the left thinks of everything first in terms of power- who holds it, who they think should have it- all other considerations are secondary.

It sort of hit me today as I was driving to work and saw a billboard for the Marvel Universe show "Runaways" where the pitch line was "We hold the power now", how much this has become rather openly admitted and part of the popular discourse now. It's frankly alien to me by nature, but here we are, and so we too have to consider the power dynamics around us as they're apt to be misused against us.

Grim said...

It's of a piece with the capture of the Left by critical studies -- itself a product of Marxism, which imposes Marx's basic structure of class oppression on every sort of narrative but only with different classes. So instead of the bourgeoisie oppressing the proletariat, you have whites oppressing 'people of color' or men oppressing women. The whole purpose of those stories is to re-order our understanding of the facts of history into a narrative of power and oppression.

Once you buy that, and it is now the only thing being sold in a lot of places, then obviously everything is really about power. You don't need honor to ensure that you treat another independent person fairly, or that they do so with you; you need power to compel. You don't need constitutional mechanisms to ensure that the majority's wishes are broadly respected, but minority rights are respected; you need to concentrate power with the side you've decided is right.

The instability this generates was obvious to the Founders, who worried about the mob but also about insurrections by minorities (such as the Whiskey Rebellion). They did their best to avoid concentration of power.

That insight is totally lost to the rising young left, which sees power as a good in the hands of the righteous. If it provokes a revolt, a flight of capital, an insurrection -- well, that just means more power is needed to beat those things back, and impose that righteous solution on those not evolved enough to grasp its worthiness.

(Evolution as a synonym for 'progress' is another basic error; evolution is just random, purposeless mutation. Natural selection is the process that perfects a creature for a given environment, but it does so only through ruthless destruction. But they 'know' that evolution is good, just as they know that power in the hands of the 'righteous' is good. It is deadly and depressing, realizing what lessons they have been taught.)

E Hines said...

(Evolution as a synonym for 'progress' is another basic error; evolution is just random, purposeless mutation. Natural selection is the process that perfects a creature for a given environment, but it does so only through ruthless destruction. ....)

Except that Progressives argue for both sides of that, especially natural selection, depending on which is convenient to the point they're "proving," as noted in Thomas Leonard's Illiberal Reformers.

Eric Hines

Eric Blair said...

WE are all Uighurs now.

douglas said...

Yeah, I think I always understood all that, Grim, it's just that I don't think I realized how- despite the claims that they seek to apply power to good ends- just how much the power issue has become the central tent pole to their tent. It's as if they see nothing else anymore. Like fire, if allowed to get out of control it consumes all it touches, I suppose.

But then, how else to explain all the previous 'failures' of the socialist utopia? I should have seen it earlier- it's baked in the cake of human nature.

Ymarsakar said...

All of this is small fry stuff compared to the real power alliances at work in this world.

It may have been hard to visualize the so called Deep State and Leftist alliance back in 2007, when USA was kicking AQ out of Iraq. That's because Westerners are indoctrinated with too little imagination.

The Leftist alliance, for all that their power reserves are still unchallenged to this day, is merely less than 1% of the power of the Deep State, and the Deep State itself is merely using the FBI and CIA as sacrificial pawns. The Deep State itself also has a higher hierarchy it answers to, and it ain't communism or China.

This world was a lot more complicated than what Americans were told on their tvs.