For all its flaws, Twitter occasionally delivers gems of information that would otherwise pass one by. Thus the news that Los Angeles rock band Rage Against The Machine (known for ‘leftist anti-authoritarian and revolutionary political views’, says Wikipedia) is imposing vaccine mandates at concerts. So, after Big Brother forces Big Pharma’s experimental products into everyone’s limbs, comrades, it’s back to the barricades! This is political posturing as mere branding, a laughable hypocrisy, to be dispensed with if it becomes inconvenient.
The hippie-inspired rebellion of the late Sixties seem to have now come full circle, with today’s leftists falling over themselves in their eagerness to impose draconian restrictions on society, all for our own good, of course. From screw the establishment and the free-wheeling, free-spirited counterculture as the prevailing hippie creed, now it’s obey the establishment, mask up, and do what you’re told. Louche and fashionably glamourous Sixties dissidents, who then basked in what Tom Wolfe nailed as ‘radical chic’, are now the pallid technocrats of Danistan and the state chief health officers, enacting casual tyrannies unthought of in those more innocent times.
The writer Barbara Amiel, in her delightful memoir Friends and Enemies, wrote that there are two types of people: those who want to control other people’s lives, and those who don’t. Scratch a left-winger, find an authoritarian, has been a longstanding conservative trope, although in their moral self-righteousness the Left has long thought tyranny the exclusive province of the Right. But even the Atlantic magazine, recently tagged the house journal of US globalists, has noticed the elephant in the room, hilariously running a piece entitled ‘The Experts Somehow Overlooked Authoritarians on the Left’ with the kicker ‘Many psychologists wrongly assumed that coercive attitudes exist only among conservatives’. (Which tells you a lot about the wisdom of psychologists, by the by).
And indeed, how could they ignore today’s growing left-leaning authoritarianism? With the Left ascendant in the culture wars, controlling much international machinery, and in power in the US, and much of Europe, they are turning the screws in ways that were previously unimagined outside the old Soviet bloc. (That may explain why it was Polish MPs who jumped to protest against Australian human rights abuses recently).
Here in Australia we have Dan’s politicised police forces, bowing before some protesters but savaging others, and the vaccine passports, lockdown sagas and petty tyrannies involved in his marathon Covid-19 stringencies, such as the long-ago bans on fishing and golf, of a piece with the ban on children’s playgrounds. In the US, there’s the intelligence community’s treasonous complicity in the Russia hoax against Donald Trump, the hounding and imprisoning of anyone found within cooee of the US Capitol building on 6 January, the ludicrous misrepresentation of that single Trump supporters’ protest as an ‘insurrection’, the recent US Department of Justice rebranding of concerned parents at school board meetings as domestic terrorists – all are examples of rampant left-leaning authoritarianism. In this new world, not yet quite the New World Order, it is not the principle that matters, as Andrew Bolt is fond of saying, but the side. And one side can get away with anything, even pretending to be blazing revolutionaries when the real concern is making money from bums on seats.
In this environment it was unsurprising to learn last week that trust in US media fell four points in a Gallup poll this year, with a mere 36 per cent trusting what they saw reported in the mass media. This is the second lowest on record and down from 53 per cent in 1997. Given the declared anti-Trump partisanship of the New York Times, CNN and Washington Post, that 36 per cent probably just agree with the bias.
Vaccine news is taking political partisanship to even greater heights, with splits between the vaxxed and unvaxxed splintering friendships and communities; I know of one family where two siblings have diametrically opposite positions on Covid vaccines, and each rages that the other is brainwashed. Much of your opinion on these issues will be governed by the news you choose, with legacy media trumpeting a solid pro-vaxx, pro-restriction line, and social media censoring some vaccine data as ‘misinformation’.
In this climate of mistrust and suspicion, with unprecedented government overreach into our daily lives, I’m fascinated to see emerging a kind of samizdat, an underground grapevine that the like-minded use to share illicit information of various kinds, such as how to buy ivermectin, recently put out of reach by Australia’s TGA ban. There are email chains that share information, chatter on which websites and social media accounts to follow to keep up to date with inconvenient science, even thoughts on how to get across state borders. A beach encounter with strangers recently was typical, with Covid surfacing casually as a topic, people quietly demurring saying they might have a different opinion, and that then developing into a full-on alliance over coffee minutes later.
Much is made of media censorship and control these days, and yes, it is damnable. But alas for the authoritarians, it is no longer perfect control of information. In pre-internet days, narratives were far easier to craft and control – only a few had access to public pulpits of any kind, and by extension, almost everyone drew from the same data to inform their opinions.
Long ago, as Town Hall reporter for the Age newspaper, a desperate Melbourne CBD jeweller pleaded with me to get a story run on his issue. He was twice my age, with much skin in the game, and yet I had all the power; he had no voice without me. That wrong has now been righted. He could now go straight to Twitter or any number of internet sites to get his information before others. Ex-CIA analyst Martin Gurri was correct in his book Revolt of the Public, that elites no longer control the flow of information and they live in constant fear of being undone, hence the exaggerated repression.
Long live all those wonderfully human networks and chains of information, even if they spread as much misinformation as truth. That is a far preferable state of affairs to the utter darkness of censorship and control.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.
You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10