Democrats or autocrats?

It seems to me that the biggest question in this lockdown business is this: are governments like the UK’s conservative government under Boris Johnson freedom-lovers constrained by a pandemic to impose temporary restrictions on many of our God-given liberties, or are they (for one reason or another) intent on centralising power in the longer term? This question seems to be the thing that differentiates the “mainstream” from “the dissenters.”

Here’s my calculus. If I were a Premier forced against my freedom-loving will, because of my understanding of the science, to lock down my population, I would be doing my darndest to maximise their freedom in every other area of speech and action, not only out of good will and the desire to prevent the harms of suppressing our rights, but simply in order to quieten the dissenters.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case. I don’t simply mean that, behind the vaccine passports, there appears to be an international project to impose them that was initiated by another multi-national group keen on achieving digital traceable identities for all, as I wrote in my last post. Nor do I just mean that government policy at home and abroad appears to be following the entire agenda of The Great Reset whilst either not mentioning it or dismissing it as a loony conspiracy theory.

No, there are also several other plans and bits of legislation going through just now, apparently with no great crisis to make them essential before Parliament returns to its normal scrutinising role. They just seem to be policies our rulers think are good ways to run a country.

The first is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, a proposal that led to the “Kill the Bill” protests involving all kinds of people from Marxists, through ER and BLM activists, to ordinary people who had experienced the violent shutting down of protests against lockdown when it was made illegal to protest more than one at a time. The relevant part of the bill ostensibly arose from the nuisances caused by BLM and ER – but they have never been anything like as much of a nuisance as the government’s shutting down of the entire country for 16 months. But the bill gives the police rather vague powers to put restrictions on protests that could, in effect, make any mass movement against a totalitarian regime impossible, should the police be politically motivated. It’s a problem because the police have demonstrated themselves to be just that during COVID. It is hard to deny that the role of the police is no longer community protection, but state enforcement.

Then there is a bill proposed which would bring UK law very close to the draconian US Espionage Act by an Act of the same name (nothing suspicious there, then). The US version is that which has put Edward Snowden into exile and Julian Assange into solitary confinement, under the threat of life imprisonment, for blowing the whistle on corrupt government security operations against their own populations. The Espionage Act would not only strip away the defence of “public interest” from whistleblowers, but make any journalistic outlet publishing the revelations liable to long imprisonment without benefit of clergy. In effect, it would make the accountability of Big Government absolutely zero.

This is not an inconsiderable matter, when one considers how Britain has already been shown to have participated in the transportation of prisoners to be tortured abroad, and when there is strong evidence that our security services conspired with the BBC to fake a poison gas attack in Syria, in order to create public hostility to the Syrian government. It would be quite possible for our troops to be sent to war, or even for our youth to be conscripted to kill and to die, for the sake of such a fake cause, without any legal possibility of those responsible being held to account. Apart from wanting to crucify Assange in this country if extradition fails, there seems no urgent issue requiring that the government’s accountability for its actions should be reduced. The Gulf War cover-up, after all, is long forgotten with all the unnecessary deaths and political instability it caused. It is nothing but the removal of already much weakened checks and balances between citizens and State. Some of us would say COVID has made it vital that the whole truth is fully revealed for the sake of the whole world’s future.

Then there are discussions here, as in the US, about exerting controls on (or co-opting the policies of) social media in order to silence “misinformation” and “disinformation.” We are increasingly aware that the definition of these misleading categories is “whatever social media or the government in power wishes to silence.” Public discourse in science has already been destroyed by this kind of censorship during COVID, and it must be quite nice as a Cabinet Cabal to be able to decree that ones particular opinion on any issue is incontrovertible truth since no other opinion may be voiced.

Already, particularly in the US, the two powers of government and social media appear to be in lockstep: those crossing an invisible line on a whole range of issues from COVID and climate change to elections and transgenderism have been banned not only from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, but from financial services, their own websites, the broadcast media and mainstream press. Wikipedia was captured a decade ago. Such a law would enable the remaining means of dissent to be brought into line and shut down. Once more, the net result is the removal of public accountability and dissent. This can only be seen as illiberal, in the sense that the Soviet treatment of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn was illiberal, that is, “evil.”

Lastly (though I suspect I’ve forgotten some examples) we still have the sword of “hate speech” hanging over the heads of ordinary people, often voicing ordinary opinions. There are encouraging noises from government, but why would we take any notice of those when “no vaccine passports” can become “vaccine passports” overnight, and “irreversible” returns to freedom turn out to be a revolving door to lockdown on a whim? In practice it seems that nothing is being done very urgently, unlike the clamping down on public dissent, to prevent police forces calling on private citizens to check their thinking on transgenderism, or harassing street preachers reading the Bible.

Once again, remember that all these things have been going on whilst the government, oh so reluctantly, removed three or four centuries of hard-won civil liberties, and our democratic systems, to prevent us all dying. If COVID were that much of an emergency, the rest could surely have waited – unless the motive is not public health at all, but the opportunity to seize control.

One thing that has occurred to me recently in connection with this progressive removal of freedom of speech and choice, and with the behavioural science “nudging” that has concertedly tried to mould our thought through propaganda, is that maybe the whole shebang revolves around the government’s disbelief in the existence of free-will.

Classic materialism, after all, does not admit the existence of free-will, but only of chance and necessity. We are, in Jacques Monod’s world, the product purely of genes and environment, and our individual autonomy is an illusion. Behavioural psychology, as made an organ of government in the Behavioural Insights Team and SPI-B, has its origins in the behaviourism of B. F. Skinner and others, who did not so much believe that behaviour could be moulded to circumvent free-will (which would be evil), but that there is only moulded behaviour, in which case the State may as well be doing the moulding as random influences like parents, religions or “misinformation.”

If I’m right in this, then lying behind “the Great Reset” could be a belief that, in the end, the world’s peoples will accept the new order because they will inevitably be passively moulded by the new agenda once the old is silenced. “Genes and environment – there isn’t anything else,” I was told in social psychology lectures. Control the environment, and you control the minds, or so they think. It seems likely that the movers and shakers in the WEF and so on exempt themselves from being merely objects of behaviourist manipulation: they, after all, give the psychologists the “truths” with which they wish the public to comply. It is characteristic of Technocrats that they are blind to their own subjectivity and flatter themselves they are “following the science.”

Their imposition of a new order is not evil, because it cannot be evil to replace bad conditioning with good conditioning. This makes them the worst kind of tyrants, because once one is convinced one has a gnostic superiority for the good of the world, then nothing is beyond bounds in imposing it on the Broad Masses. It is, like Bolshevism, for their ultimate benefit.

And like Bolshevism, it is bound eventually to fall before the freedom of the human soul.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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