“Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other. . . .
Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about.”
—Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Social isolation has always been the primary weapon in the totalitarian arsenal. Tyrants know how to manipulate the primal human terror of isolation through threats of defamation, firings, and worse.
Pick a dictator, any dictator—Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Jim Jones (dictator of his own realm)—and you’ll find a common pattern of imposing aloneness and the terror of it on their prey. You can probably name more examples from the world stage as well as from smaller domains. They may vary in their methods and territories, but all use social pressure to live out the ancient principle of divide-and-conquer. As political philosopher Hannah Arendt noted, totalitarians must first get people isolated against one other in order to rule over them.
Tactics for grabbing power always involve some form of imposed isolation through social pressures: mob swarming, forced false confessions; struggle sessions; hostility towards family, religion, and history; snitch culture; censorship; constant propaganda; and more. “Cancel culture” is just a new term for an old custom of tyrants who use social pressures to go after the raw power they crave. Former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss aptly described cancel culture as social murder.
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We should keep all of this in mind as we navigate the fallout of today’s leftist war on reality. Social murderers on Twitter will swarm and attack anyone who states sex distinctions are real, as author J.K. Rowling showed. The hit men of “white fragility” will tell you it’s racist to be colorblind in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Another example is The 1619 Project, whose author got a Pulitzer Prize for her blatant condemnation of America and Americans. It’s a narrative designed to isolate people by sowing rancor, guilt, and ignorance. If you don’t get on board, well, you’re a bigot.
Wuhan Virus Offers Cover to Make Isolation More Sadistic
And what of today’s backdrop of the Wuhan virus? We seem to be living ever more in a masked dystopia, even after the proverbial curve was flattened.
How much of the hype about this flu is really about public safety? How much is it about cultivating the social isolation that breeds distrust, division, and malaise, all to be exploited for political purposes? Should we really believe that blue city mayors and blue state governors, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, et al., are pushing the cataclysmic view of this flu only for our own safety?
Blatant double standards clarify that their hype is meant to continue our isolation, and is not for our own good. As far-left mayors and governors enforce social distancing for law-abiding citizens, they have pretty much smiled upon Antifa rioters as “peaceful protesters,” especially those who gather en masse for more than 60 nights in a row to provoke and attack federal officials protecting a federal court house in Portland.
Such officials are also content with forcing us apart from loved ones dying in the hospital, with prohibiting proper funerals for them while bigwigs get big funerals with no social distancing. At the recent funeral of Rep. John Lewis, former president Barack Obama even used angry rhetoric that isolates Americans further from one another.
Officials Resist Reopening to Keep Us Isolated
Most underhanded is the apparent intent to make social isolation a “new normal” with no end in sight. Did certain officials string us along from the very beginning to believe the shutdowns were temporary? Or did they realize along the way that this was just another crisis too good “to go to waste”? To be used to consolidate their power and rid themselves of political opponents, like, say, President Trump and his supporters?
What better way to do that than through a bait-and-switch approach that keeps us locked down indefinitely, economically strapped, and demoralized with closings and continued isolation? We were told that the initial 45 days of shutdowns in March and April were to prevent overwhelming hospitals with Wuhan virus patients. Most of us sucked it up and complied with good faith and good will and at massive social and economic cost.
No work, no school, no church, no outings, no weddings, no graduation ceremonies. Everyone in the entire nation—most excruciatingly, people living alone—was placed under virtual house arrest.
Normal Americans reasonably expected to start re-opening after so many weeks of successfully “flattening the curve” for health-care workers and hospitals that turned out not to be overburdened. All of that imposed isolation has had some deadly effects. For example, Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfeld stated on July 14, “We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than deaths from COVID.” Yet the masking and mandated isolation goes on.
6 Strategies to Enforce Isolation
Here’s a very short list of how certain officials and the media continue to push us further into social isolation and misery.
Unprecedented censorship of medical information. Tech oligarchs seem committed to keeping us ignorant—and thus isolated—from medical information they deem inexpedient. Google, Twitter, and Facebook have all censored reports from numerous board-certified physicians on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine as a safe and effective treatment for the Wuhan virus in certain circumstances.
Why block Americans’ access to a second medical opinion? Well, it seems any good news on the virus front goes against the preferred narrative of certain power grabbers. Their stringent censorship will likely mean more deaths from the virus, with more loneliness, more deaths of despair.
The Mask Wars. Masks became a big thing after expert-in-chief Anthony Fauci did a 180 on his initial pronouncement that masks aren’t effective. Now he says you should wear goggles too. The media has scared and nudged busybodies to publicly accuse anyone who prefers to go maskless—even outdoors—of endangering the lives of others.
Masks also serve as an allegory for our times. Even if they are effective, mandatory face coverings put us all into a state of anonymity and isolation. They make real face-to-face conversations impossible.
Constant closures. Democrat officials seem to be enjoying extending the misery of closures indefinitely. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is intent on shutting down the Atilis Gym, even as its owners comply with all safety guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). A Federal Reserve representative recently called for another “hard shutdown” nationally.
Arlington County, Virginia recently announced a new rule: No groups of three or more people permitted on streets or sidewalks. And Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced he will shut off water and power to homes of people having parties.
No singing in church. Like the Grinch hoping to destroy Whoville, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a ban on singing and chanting in places of worship. Fauci agrees. Such bans verify that churches and worshippers have been disproportionately singled out for attacks by statist officials. To criminalize communal singing, an activity that promotes social cohesion, is another means of demoralizing people, and keeping them isolated.
Resistance to opening schools. As if to demonstrate the left’s narratives about virus dangers are just a political ruse, a Los Angeles teachers union recently announced they’d consider opening schools under two conditions: abolish charter schools and defund the police. And even though the CDC has guidelines for opening schools, Montgomery County, Maryland’s health officer forbade all private schools to open as long as public schools are closed.
Death of baseball. Race-baiting politics has now leapfrogged the NFL and NBA to pollute the formerly all-American sport called “baseball.” I know they stood up for the anthem on opening day at the Yankee-National game, but that was only after they bowed down to the mob with an odd form of unanimous kneeling.
The imagery of kneeling in sports cannot be separated from its symbolic disrespect for the American flag. We can’t help but feel isolated by losing yet another apolitical outlet for relaxation, fun, and friendship.
We Need to Build Immunity Against Social Pressure
Imposed social isolation is unnatural for human beings. It’s torture that makes us highly vulnerable to any social pressures that suggest some relief from it. Whatever their motives, today’s wannabe social controllers are clearly using the virus as a sort of obedience school where we can be conditioned through isolation to conform to their demands.
Many likely comply in hopes of being rewarded—maybe we’ll get to go for a walk someday if we’re good dogs. The irony is that mindless conformity creates even more isolation and even more vulnerability, even as we believe we’re escaping it through compliance.
But what if enough good people were immune to social pressure? Or resistant enough to it that they spread some immunity to others? Well, then, our power-mongering elites would be disarmed. Game over.
In this light, here’s a fascinating question to ponder: What exactly do they hate most about President Trump? Doubtless they hate him mostly because he seems immune to their social pressures.
That’s the bottom line. They can’t control him the way they do other Republican leaders who are so fearful of being called mean names. Worse for these power elites is that they can’t seem to isolate Trump’s supporters from him.
No matter what you think of Trump or his tweets, we should all meditate on the power of that sort of immunity from social pressures. We should find ways to develop it in ourselves. Because if tyrants had less ability to instill social isolation, they’d be less able to induce the fears that allow them to control people’s lives.