Are you wealthier, freer, or happier than you were a year and a half ago? Assuming you aren’t on the board of a large multinational corporation or don’t belong to the political establishment, it’s almost certain that your life, just like the lives of millions of other Americans, has gotten harder since the onset of the pandemic.
But while average Americans have suffered, our elites have taken advantage of the pandemic at every turn to enact new measures that fulfill their overarching agenda. There’s perhaps no example more obvious or egregious than the seismic changes to our voting process that’ve led many to question the legitimacy of our electoral system, but other power grabs have had more acute consequences in our day-to-day lives.
The government-mandated shutdowns, for example, have laid waste to any belief that our freedom to peaceably assemble, even to take part in religious ceremonies, is still intact. For many more, particularly children, lockdowns have stunted their educational and social development, all of which is a small price to pay for our elites to pay for what some are calling “one of the greatest wealth transfers in history.”
Other power grabs have proven just as dangerous, but far more subtle.
The Elite’s Expanded Ability to Curate Information
Since the onset of the lockdowns, the ability of the state and social media companies to control information has grown substantially. The pretext of public health has been employed to greatly expand the power of those who already have a great deal of it. Now sharing an obviously satirical Instagram meme that mentions the virus or the vaccine will prompt a notification that implores you to read the Centers for Disease Control’s latest guidance.
Just recently, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki bragged about the Biden administration’s collusion with Big Tech to stifle dissent. She even told reporters the White House has asked that Facebook algorithmically boost content the administration approves of. Is it really beyond the pale that these tech giants may one day be asked to algorithmically boost system-approved political speech, or even campaign messages? They’re already banning unapproved speech. Would they even have to be asked?
It is not at all hard to imagine a not-so-distant future where the Biden administration, or perhaps an even more ruthless Harris administration, teams with Silicon Valley’s oligarchs to unveil this same strategy on “hate speech” or “racism,” two terms that have lost much of their meaning but can still carry significant influence when uttered by those in power.
In fact, it already seems that this plan is well underway, with the White House calling white supremacy America’s top terror threat and racism, now a catch-all term used to indict any dissenting opinion, being deemed a “public health crisis” by hundreds of cities.
What does this mean for political communication when the last five years saw every corporate media outlet, every platform in academia, every bit of left-wing rhetoric, and every liberal nongovernmental organization march in lockstep to brand Donald Trump and his supporters as racist extremists?
Regardless of how this ability to curate information is specifically used in the future, it is a safe bet that powers gained by the state or its allied corporations will not be relinquished when they deem the pandemic officially over.
The Public-Private Attack On Medical Freedom
The public-private attack on American liberty even extends beyond the digital world, with Americans who are hesitant to take the vaccine facing a two-fold threat. While New York is becoming America’s first major city to mandate vaccines for those who want to hit the gym, enjoy a concert, or even eat at a restaurant, some businesses elsewhere are following suit.
Soul Cycle and Equinox are implementing policies mandating vaccines at their New York City locations and will be extending the mandate to the rest of their franchises. In a move that should surprise no one, CNN fired three employees when they were found to be unvaccinated. Other companies are taking less coercive measures, like the dating app Tinder, which is now offering users a free “super like” if they support the vaccine on their profile.
America’s Newly Deputized Hall Monitors
But the most harrowing development is that much of the elites’ social control has been outsourced to society at large, with average people becoming ground-level enforcement arms of government diktats through shaming tactics that find a comfortable home in our polarized political climate.
Just the other day when riding the DC Metro, a double-masked passenger informed me that I was “supposed to wear a mask.” When I told her I was fine without one, she began to film me, which I greeted with an illegally brandished smile.
She presumably filmed me with the intent to shame me on social media, contact an employer, or perhaps just so she could boast of surviving a near-death experience to friends who “trust the science.” She sat quietly after collecting her dirt on me.
All sarcasm aside, you probably weren’t actually afraid of the police taking you away if you went into a burger joint without a mask or to your neighbor’s house for a barbecue, but you almost certainly had to contend with the glares and derision of your more enlightened peers.
Elites in the media, the government, and the medical establishment have deputized our fellow citizens, giving adults the confidence to relive their glory days as hall monitors. This false sense of superiority has proven intoxicating for those who frame their rhetoric in the language of equality but seem desperate to signal their moral superiority, which they display through sycophancy.
Do Elites Really Care about Controlling COVID?
What’s worse, these power grabs, cloaked under the patina of public health, apparently haven’t even achieved the stated goal of mitigating the virus, with new mask mandates just recently rolling out in DC and much of the Bay Area. Meanwhile, some in the media suggest that another wave of lockdowns may be on their way and others beg for it, even while some data suggests lockdowns may have ended more lives than they saved.
While American citizens could foreseeably be thrust back into another unending “14 days to slow the spread” and even many vaccinated people are being forced to wear masks again, Obama hosted a massive 60th birthday party and Rep. Rashida Tlaib partied without a mask.
These types of insulting actions from our ruling class and others on the left are not new. Last summer, while some couldn’t even visit their dying loved ones because of lockdown restrictions, rioters gathered en masse, sometimes completely uninhibited by law enforcement, to wreak havoc on American cities.
Meanwhile, many in our medical establishment came out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement’s mass gatherings, which was covered in a hysterically named New York Times piece titled “Are Protests Dangerous? What Experts Say May Depend on Who’s Protesting What.” Some even joined in after they had condemned anti-lockdown protests just months earlier but told the Times, “I have a hard time articulating why that is O.K.”
To call this hypocrisy is far too charitable, as it presumes these neoliberal totalitarians have an underlying set of values that can be betrayed by their actions. For many, it appears ethics exist purely as utilities that can be appealed to when useful and discarded when they become too restrictive.
For our elites, COVID was the perfect storm. It’s why so many of them want a permanent pandemic. It’s also why average Americans, not the ones who benefited from COVID, can’t let them have one.