Groupthink and the Totalitarian Mindset

Could this covid marshal police compliance with future climate lockdowns?

Until the early 2000s I had taken it for granted that only outwardly autocratic dictatorships such as the former Soviet Union, Maoist China, Nazi Germany or North Korea required their citizens to think alike. As a cultural lefty, I’ve always prided myself on independence of mind, but also hoped humanity would converge on a more caring and sharing society. Could socialism ever come about without suppressing either people’s individuality or the true cultural diversity of communities with different interpretations of morality? Let us just consider that one section of American society believes life begins at conception, but gun ownership is a God-given right, while another believes only the state-authorised agencies can be trusted with guns, but a woman’s emotional wellbeing trumps the rights of the unborn. Perversely, many who support a woman’s right to choose over the survival of a foetus in her womb, do not support her right to choose which pharmaceutical drugs are injected into her body or have any meaningful say over her child’s education. If we cannot reconcile conflicting worldviews, we can at least agree to have different jurisdictions that enforce different laws reflecting the will of local peoples. That’s called democracy, but it only works when commoners can override the will of the ruling elites who do not necessarily have their best interests at heart. Increasingly, our rulers treat us like zoo animals who have to be tamed and kept in captivity for our own good.

The greatest shock over the last couple of years has not just been the overall tyrannical drift, but the acquiescence of the liberal professional classes, who have long vaunted their tolerance and philanthropy. The biggest cheerleaders for lockdowns, mask mandates and jab coercion were not old-fashioned conservatives or intolerant ethno-nationalists, but trendy progressives who see themselves as heirs to the hippies of the 1960s and 70s or the later new-age movement. We have somehow progressed from smoking pot at rock concerts, growing organic vegetables and skinny-dipping in pristine lakes in search of a greater connection with mother nature to embracing an obsessive bio-security regime that exploits our fear of contagions and environmental Armageddon only to empower technocrats to confine most of us to compact human habitation zones.

As I write, Dutch farmers have blocked their country’s highways and byways to protest against their government’s radical nitrogen-reduction measures. Their government wants to cut dairy and livestock farming in favour of the kind of genetically engineered crops and food processing plants favoured by big food startups such as the Dutch supermarket chain Picnic. The country’s prime minister, Mark Rutte, has openly boasted about his plans to transform the Netherlands into a high-tech food hub, run by engineers and artificially intelligent robots rather than by families who have farmed the land for generations. By sheer coincidence, Justin Trudeau’s Canadian administration is rolling out a variant of the same policies by letting soaring fertiliser prices force farmers to sell their land to the same predatory biotech multinationals that have gained the most from the last two years of top-down crisis management.

Yet the mainstream media keeps alive the myth of democracy with controlled opposition groups who indulge in identity politics, while ignoring the greatest power grab ever in human history. The Italian election campaign may provide the temporary illusion of choice between advocates of national sovereignty and progressive antiracists. Only a year ago all major parties in the government of national unity under the former president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, agreed to roll out WEF-inspired green pass (digital health passport) schemes to police biotech compliance at great public expense while squandering hundreds of billions more on UBI trials, racking up unstainable debts. The same politicians who wanted to keep the unvaccinated under house arrest now accuse the opposition, mildly critical of medical apartheid, of fascism. The media seizes the tragic murder of a Nigerian immigrant by a jealous Italian husband to guilt-trip indigenous Italians critical of uncontrolled mass immigration. The trendy managerial classes can virtue-signal their racial tolerance, while native Italian doctors and nurses are still on unpaid leave because they refused to cooperate with Pfizer and Moderna.

Many on the left still believe in the fairy tale of endless regeneration through immigration to wealthier countries with low birth rates. This would be fine if we had the technology not only to sustain a projected ten billion human beings with Western European living standards but could also let all young people be architects of their destiny, enjoying the kind of freedom and opportunities that once abounded in the prosperous West. The fourth industrial revolution is fast putting an end to that dream with the smart automation of most manual and clerical jobs that might sustain the livelihoods and personal independence of both the native and migrant working classes. Over the last twenty years we’ve seen a rapid shift away from long-term careers in practical trades to the gig economy of short-term contracts and extreme labour mobility. Uber drivers and Amazon delivery agents may earn a few quick bucks with only a standard driving licence, but their employers are busy investing in driverless vehicles and drones. Their jobs are temporary because their services will soon be superfluous to requirements. More disturbingly, the tech giants have abandoned the consumer growth model that favoured endless market expansion for disposable goods. With armies of drones and strict regulation of natural socialisation, Big Tech now needs people more as compliant guinea pigs than either as workers or consumers. Strong-willed and independent-minded workers pose a threat to their hegemony. Human beings may withdraw their labour and may not always follow orders. Robots may malfunction, but they are both dispensable and easily replaceable. Our tech overlords may need some engineers, marketers and middle managers, but they are phasing out their reliance on truckers, farmers, fishermen, builders or even on human nurses. The neoliberal dream successfully lured people away from traditional self-reliant communities to urban landscapes owned by controlled by big business and governments. Now with the advent of artificial intelligence, most humble human workers will be unable to compete and be lured instead into lifelong dependence on universal basic income with social credits for good behaviour.

The notional left no longer stands up for workers’ rights or challenges the extreme concentration of power in fewer and fewer hands. Instead its leaders advocate paternalism for the largely workless masses with special privileges only for the compliant managerial and engineering classes. They champion identity politics around whimsical lifestyle choices and personality traits, while blaming the socially conservative working classes for the crimes of colonialism. They obsess with LGBTQ++ rights and mental health, while turning a blind eye to the plight of young families who want to earn a living and raise the next generation with the ethics and culture of their forebears. Today’s fake left is not anti-establishment at all, it is the establishment. If you have BlackRock, Vanguard, Big Tech, CNN, the BBC and the leading NGO’s on your side, you cannot claim any grassroots credentials. Progressivism, for want of a better term, hinges on the belief that an upper caste of scientific experts should be the only masters of our destiny. Unchallenged, they have the ultimate power of life and death over the rest of humanity.