Following decades of grooming, our once-liberal society teeters on the edge of totalitarian control. Proof of this thesis appears daily, with no more surreal example than last week’s demand that a gameshow contestant prove himself not a white supremacist.
Last Tuesday, when cameras panned to “Jeopardy!” champion Kelly Donohue, he flashed a smile while tapping three outstretched fingers to his chest to celebrate his previous victories. After a rando on Twitter with 30 followers claimed Donohue had displayed a white supremacy sign, more than 450 former “Jeopardy!” contestants issued a public letter “to speak out against the messaging that these choices communicated—either intentionally or unintentionally—by the contestant Kelly Donohue and, implicitly by association, the producers of “Jeopardy!”
The letter went on to condemn Donohue for answering “gypsy” to a question posed during the April 26 show, before targeting the “Jeopardy!” champion for his three-finger victory sign displayed at the beginning of the April 27 show:
During his on-camera introduction, Kelly made a gesture with his hand that he has since claimed was an indication that he had won three games. He had, on previous episodes, indicated with one finger and two fingers that he had won one and two games, and no reasonable person would have interpreted those gestures differently. However, this gesture was not a clear-cut symbol for the number three. He held his thumb and forefinger together with his other three fingers extended and palm facing inward, and he tapped his chest. This, whether intentional or not, resembled very closely a gesture that has been coopted by white power groups, alt right groups, and an anti-government group that calls itself the Three Percenters…Regardless of his stated intent, the gesture is a racist dog whistle.
Initially, Donohue saw the “controversy” for what it was—laughable—responding in a Facebook post “That’s a 3. No more. No less.” He also tossed in a little shade to the hyperventilating ninnies by adding a photograph behind his profile picture of Frank Sinatra flashing an OK sign.
The mob was not amused, with the former “Jeopardy!” contestants’ letter calling Donohue’s refusal to apologize for something he did not do “problematic.” After his Facebook page filled with vitriol and corporate media pushed the story as a serious one, Donohue bowed:
Rather than an apology, Donohue’s inquisitors deserved a one-finger salute. Of course, that’s easy enough for those of us beyond the glow of the torch lights to quip. To the average citizen looking up at the tines of a pitchfork, apologizing for a non-sin proves much preferrable to public impalement. So people seek forgiveness as the innocent Donohue did, hoping to end the matter.
This comedy of the absurd illustrates how conditioned Americans have become to cave to the mob. It represents but a small facet of our slide towards totalitarianism.
The totalitarian tag may sound hyperbolic. It is not. It represents an accurate label for the oppressive environment threatening our country.
What Is Totalitarian?
Totalitarianism need not stem from dictatorship. Polish philosophy and political science professor Ryszard Legutko recognized this reality in other Western countries some 50 years ago, and in “The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies,” he catalogued the many “similarities between communism and liberal democracy.”
Legutko, who lived under Soviet rule before Poland regained its independence, serving as the editor of Solidarity’s underground philosophy journal, first saw the same totalitarian tics in the 1970s when he traveled, as he put it, “to the so-called West,” then later again when he served in the Polish Senate and on the European Parliament.
Those same totalitarian impulses have since seized our country—something Legutko experienced when he traveled to Vermont to lecture on “The Demon in Democracy.” Shortly after he arrived at Middlebury College, administrators canceled his speaking engagement in response to campus protests.
In an interview with The American Conservative’s Rod Dreher, Legutko identified the qualities characteristic of communism also replete in our civil society: “pervasive politicization, ideological zeal, aggressive social engineering, vulgarity, a belief in inevitability of progress, destruction of family, the omnipresent rule of ideological correctness, severe restriction of intellectual inquiry, etc.”
Last week’s “Jeopardy!” outrage represented a thread on the “omnipresent rule of ideological correctness” patch of the totalitarian quilt being quickly stitched across America. While a laughable example, it is emblematic of the ideological zeal running through society, more seriously seen in the other spheres.
We’re Being Forced to Embrace Absolute Insanity
Transgender ideology represents a more sobering example, with the government forcing citizens to profess the falsehood that man can become women, or women men, with children as young as five indoctrinated in the ideology; teachers fired for refusing to pretend along; lawyers reprimanded by judges for failing to fall in line; bakers investigated by the state for refusing to celebrate genital mutilation; social media outlets silencing dissent; retailers banning books; athletic organizations and corporations punishing states for standing up for science; parents losing custody of their children; and children chemically castrated before the age of consent.
Further features of totalitarian regimes exist throughout our country: pervasive politicization; “destruction of social, legal, and political traditions”; branding dissent evil; “permitting large-scale organized violence”; the police targeting of political enemies; “severe restrictions of intellectual rigor”; destruction of religious ties; and “mass conformity to the beliefs and behaviors sanctioned by the state.”
The pervasive politicization of race provides another clear example of the totalitarian temptation permeating our country, with students and employees indoctrinated in critical race theory, the revisionist 1619 Project seeking to destroy the classical liberalism on which our country was founded, voter integrity laws branded as Jim Crow and corporate America punishing states and their citizens for refusing to capitulate, justifiable police shootings peddled by politicians and the press as evidence of systemic racism while shredding the social fabric of our nation, and black politicians of the “wrong” party targeted and impugned.
This same extreme politicization paints all Donald Trump supporters as violent insurgents or their supporters while the government permits self-professed anarchists to riot, loot, maim, and kill, and cartels to control our borders.
Further, while America may not be a police state nor have a state-run media, the law and the ethics of journalism restrain neither. Illegal spying on the Trump campaign and obtaining surveillance warrants based on altered evidence later morphed into the criminal targeting of Trump and his associates, all while Hunter Biden avoided criminal gun charges. Along the way, the press propagandized utter lies to cover up and obfuscate all these stories.
Never-ending Lockdowns Are Also Totalitarian
Intellectual rigor vanished long ago, with science declared “settled”—unless it is the science of sex or human development—academics silenced, education unlearned, and debates and debaters canceled. We haven’t even broached the government’s overreach with COVID by closing businesses and school, barring disfavored (read: religious) gatherings, mandating masks, coercing vaccinations, and manipulating or silencing science.
The COVID case study proved two things: Our government seeks authoritarian control, and a large segment of society will willingly accede to its ever-increasing dictates. And politicians took note, now suggesting climate change and systemic racism equal the pandemic in emergency.
America in no way compares to the killing fields, gulags, and horrors of totalitarian regimes, but the impulse of total control has overtaken our country, from the mob to corporations and the corrupt media—social and legacy—to educators and intellectuals all demanding allegiance.
What good are our individual liberties of freedom of speech, association, and religion if a tyrannical society silences and separates us? When dissent is squelched, the social fabric torn, and traditional mediating units disbanded, how long before “popular support permits the state the widest latitude of action of any form of government”? How long before the consent of the governed becomes acquiescence to complete control?
Last week’s “scandal” over Donohue’s innocent hand gesture provided conservatives another eye-rolling-worthy example of the idiocy of wokeness. It should have instead awoken Americans to the precipitous cliff on which our country stands.