Sunday, March 11, 2012

Totalitarianism: All the Rage

Totalitarianism is becoming more popular in the West. Australia is discussing the implementation of a "News Media Council", which, like the Ministry of Truth, would have the power to reprimand news organizations that it thought were being "irresponsible." The American left is forever advocating various forms of restriction of speech in the name of tolerance. The term "hate speech" has been expanded to cover any form of speech critical to them or things they like. In Canada a bureau with the Orwellian name of "Human Rights Commission" has been prosecuting people who run afoul of dicates against speech critical of certain ethnic groups, especially Islam. News organizations have been sympathetic to Muslim insistance that Islam not be criticized, and so they self-censor in a way that they will not to protect Christianity and other religions.

One gets the impression that many of these people long for the regularity and regimentation of the totalitarian society. Commentators such as Thomas Friedman at the New York Times wax eloquent in their praise of the Chinese Communist government that can get things done without the obstructions thrown up by democracy. Over at The Nation magazine when they publish stories about free speech it is often about the "right" of left wing mobs to occupy buildings and disrupt business and services on a campus or some other venue. The "right" most of all to shut down the free speech of others. The "right" in other words to use intimidation and even violence in the name of some leftist cause. The "right" to act like a bunch of brownshirts.

It never seems to dawn on them that their own concerns and passions might be the ones crushed by such a regime. Many of them are so used to being in the elite that they can't imagine it otherwise. They did whatever it takes to become one of the elite, they will do whatever it takes to stay in the elite, but what they don't realize it that it might not be in their hands, that things like identity can be used to exclude them. For example, in Cambodia it was simple markers of identity, the possession of reading glasses, the possession of books, that decided who would go to the killing fields.