The big-picture story of American politics of the last four years has been a battle royale between elite power structures and millions of ordinary Americans. Donald Trump’s 2016 election win, the Russia collusion hoax, and the impeachment drama were all essentially tussles between elite control and democratic norms, between the will of the powerful and the will of the 2016 voters, a.k.a. Trump supporters.
A loose assortment of unelected bureaucrats, D.C. power players, Democratic leaders, and Hollywood, academic, and media elites have tried and mostly failed in the last three years to establish false narratives about Trump, Russia collusion, impeachment, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and more.
Enter coronavirus, and you see the same power play. Virus management and mitigation efforts essentially entail power and control over the masses, something the elite relish. Therein lies the danger—you have right now what is unimaginable during non-crisis times: a subjugated populace that is fearful, anxious, pliable, and willing to temporarily suspend many civil liberties. Based on past experience, we’d be naïve to think the elites won’t exploit, misuse, and try to make semi-permanent some of the corona-related changes.
Again, based on bruising national experiences in the recent past, many regular Americans like myself have realized some things about many U.S. elites: 1) they hold ordinary Americans and their lifestyles in contempt 2) they’ve often demonstrated they don’t have the best interests of these voters at heart and 3) they often don’t operate in good faith or from a place of reason, common sense, wisdom, and wide-angle perspective.
The last couple months have only confirmed the above. In the first couple weeks in March, an unsuspecting American public went along with the top-down narratives in an unprecedented national crisis. But as time passed, muscle memories have kicked in and alarm-and-skepticism meters have been blaring. Many voters have become fairly skilled at recognizing these now-familiar patterns.
To use a virus analogy: We’ve been attacked by the virus of elite dissembling in the past, and have developed antibodies to it that recognize the disease. So in recent weeks, we’ve seen the familiar pattern of coordinated dissembling, fake-narrative pushing, and trying to engineer desired outcomes.
First, media and many other elites shifted their reaction to the virus. First they pooh-poohed it, now they are alarmist about it. Second, they demanded open-ended lockdown and state control over free movement no matter the economic, social, and other consequences. Third, they incessantly debunk the fairly widely used drug hydroxycholoroquine, and instead advocated lockdown for a year or two until a vaccine emerges. Fourth, with barely disguised relish, they announce the dismal economic figures: the unemployment figures, food bank lines, and more.
If prominent media and other elites had visible thought balloons over their heads, they’d probably read: Take that, Trump! Where’s your booming economy now and your record unemployment figures?
For them, everything is related to Trump’s re-election and their hatred of him. This blinds them to how anti-Trump attitudes and policies may hurt the nation in the course of dinging the president. Also, an extended period of national disarray could mean making elite hay while the corona sun shines: trying to shove down the throats of a subjugated public things like even more mass surveillance, tracking, and state control, election changes like mail-in ballots, and more.
Indeed, when coronavirus collides with an overall loss of faith in institutions, the mind of an average voter gets queasy and asks strange questions: For instance, what if Dr. Anthony Fauci, respected though he is, is the new Robert Mueller—a trusted, respected frontman for the elites to push theories and narratives they want? Are the flawed models (notably the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Imperial College models) that led to widespread lockdown and economic damage akin to the distorted intelligence that led to the disastrous Iraq War? If not, how would we know?
With the elites’ known envy of Trump’s economic success and their rooting for a recession in the past year, was the current recession that came from an elite-advocated total lockdown an almost-engineered one that could’ve been avoided?
Such is the strange time we live in that the mind turns to questions like these. But it is also not long ago that voters faced the unbelievable and improbable: their own federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies were almost successful in sabotaging and removing a duly elected president. This corruption of institutions almost assuredly affects the public health organizations now directing highly critical state and national policies.
COVID-19 is of course a deadly virus and has caused much suffering. But it is disquieting to take stock of things coming from influential quarters—talk of immunity cards, leaders encouraging snitching on fellow citizens, Amazon and Google hooking up to enable phone alerts on nearby infected citizens, increased mass surveillance, the Michigan governor’s draconian measures, and even the recent news of France banning all outdoor exercise.
When those in a position of power get comfortable talking of slowly curtailing civil liberties, it makes one start questioning motives and suspecting an agenda. For all his faults, Trump is perhaps the one bulwark for ordinary Americans against the power-grab of the elite. Among his strengths are his canny intuition and ability to do the right thing for the American people while ignoring elite shrieking.
Mr. President, we’re counting on you to protect our republic from the power grabs of the elite.