Traditional affiliations and identities associated with concepts of left and right are now so disordered that they have become meaningless. The real questions is, do we want to be governed or do we want to be free?
The definitions of everything that helps anchor our understanding and communicate with one another on agreed grounds, are changing or have already been changed, in a remarkably rapid period of time. Less than ten years.
Personally, I don’t think any of this is an accident. I believe there is a lot of money and influence working behind the scenes on multiple fronts via PR firms, front groups, corrupt regulators, universities and media that has diligently worked to subvert and corrupt accepted norms and standards and impose new values. It is not organic.
The groupthink, the mass formation, simply follows as a consequence – except where people are in touch with themselves and their own thoughts intellectually, morally and spiritually.
For example the definitions of a pandemic, a vaccine and herd immunity have all been changed to make it easier for pharmaceutical companies to manipulate and profit off of us. Even how we talk about covid obscures the truth.
Covid did not impose restrictions or close the border. It did not mask our kids or close our schools. That was the government, but we are still not permitted to be honest about that.
E.g. ‘27,000 businesses wiped off companies office due to covid’ – this kind of insideous language is a hallmark of news reporting these last few years. There are a lot of things we are not allowed to be real about these days. It makes pretenders of us.
The definitions of right and left and extremism are also being flipped on their heads. The Overton Window, also called the window of discourse, describes the accepted mores of the day in relation to the left and right political spectrum. The Overton Window has definitely shifted, possibly fractured, and now everything is arse about face.
Here is my simple contribution to public philosophy in the covid era. It’s not meant to be academic, it’s my opinion.
What is an extremist?
We’ve heard this term a lot lately. It’s being applied to people who have grievances with the current Labour government and its discriminatory and punitive covid response policies.
Here’s the latest from Marc Daalder.
Extremism, in my lifetime, was defined by people with rigid and fixed views, often political or religious, that were intolerant of deviation, and which accepted no nuance.
It was embodied by people willing to kill others for their beliefs – ISIS and its acolytes, a death cult, with a penchant for beheading ‘infidels’. Recently Salman Rushdie had an attempt made on his life, by someone who might have traditionally been defined as a ‘violent extremist’ – willing to enact violence in the name of their cause.
Now, the way the word is used is to describe people who oppose the Government’s covid response policies and their censorship for being illiberal and invasive.
Groups like Voices for Freedom – founded by three professional women and mothers – are being defined as extremists. People who have chosen not to take the covid vaccine are called extremists. The protesters and the 30 per cent of Kiwis who supported them – extremists?
What exactly makes them so? Watch the White House press secretary explain here:
In New Zealand’s tightly controlled media and information ecosystem, which pays uncritical lip service to its intelligence agencies, we get a very one-sided view of groups like VFF.
I’ve written before about the security pivot from foreign terrorism to domestic terrorism that happened last year. Five Eyes countries – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and UK – all seem to be following suit.
This has been made completely overt this week in US President Joe Biden’s address at the Philadelphia Independence Hall, where he brought “the war on terror home”, as reporter Matt Taibbi put it. The stage setting was nothing short of propaganda theatre, and Biden’s words were creepy.
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”
It was reminiscent of George W Bush’s “You’re either with us or against us” diktat on foreign policy during the Iraq War and his axis of evil, but this time the President was talking about everyday working class Americans, Hillary Clinton’s ‘deplorables’.
This looks like an escalation in what has been the steady roll out of the new domestic extremism narrative that effectively seeks to criminalise so called ‘right wing’ politics and, frankly, all dissent.
In the US it’s Trumpism, in New Zealand it’s Brian Tamaki and Voices for Freedom – although for my money VFF bares no resemblance to anything I have known as ‘right wing’ in my life.
Edward Snowdon, in a 2014 interview for the German media, described the Five Eyes coalition as “a supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries.”
It’s the intelligence agencies who have turned their sights on domestic dissent. The media have played along nicely. This is the result. An ‘extremist’ is anyone who isn’t going along with the current new normal fascism.
What is an anti-vaxxer?
Recently a UK organisation called Control Group Cooperative published its findings from self-reported data collected from unvaccinated people, between September last year and February this year. It is a citizen-led initiative that seeks to provide an independent, worldwide, long-term study of the health outcomes of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine-free.
More than 18,000 unvaccinated people from Europe, North America and Australasia reported that their reasons for avoiding the covid injections were as follows:
- a preference for natural medicine
- distrust of pharma
- distrust of government information
- poor/limited trial data
- fear of long-term adverse reactions
To my mind, nothing here leaps out as crazy or unhinged. Rather, these seem like reasonable and even responsible positions to take.
Between 20 per cent and nearly 50 per cent of respondents, varying from region to region, reported being personal targets of hate due to their covid vaccination status.
This is highlighted in a law suit for damages taken by an unvaccinated employee against Disney corporation in California. It has revealed some highly intolerant attitudes towards people who choose not to be vaccinated.
The woman was bullied by a female colleague at Disney who posted some telling things online. Read the filing here.
“OH MY F*****G GOD, GET THE F*****G VACCINE ALREADY, YOU F*****G F***S …. As for the unvaccinated: Unfriend them, don’t talk to them, don’t hire them. The woods is where they live now.”
“Time’s up, f***ers. We’re literally waiting on you to end this pandemic. Please kindly pull your head out of your ass, quit making this about you, and pull your god damn
weight, amen. #mcsweeneys #GETVACCINATED #VACCINESSAVELIVES #covidvaccine.”
There has been plenty of this kind of commentary in New Zealand.
What is a liberal?
Liberalism is pretty straightforward. It means you live and let live. You allow others to practice their beliefs (religious or otherwise) or lifestyle without judgement or interference.
It was liberals who advanced progressive politics in the late 20th and early 21st Century. Liberals championed all the things which society, until very recently, more or less took for granted as being good and right – non-discrimination, tolerance and inclusivity.
Liberalism brought society broadly to a place where everybody accepted other people as they are and also agreed to leave people alone. Importantly, liberalism was embraced by the centre left and right. Free speech has been at its core.
It’s not perfect, it’s an ideal that doesn’t always equate to reality, but it is what has been lost in today’s increasingly authoritarian and censorious ‘left’ politics.
What is the left?
The left of the 2020s has abandoned liberalism, for a kind of new quasi-fascism. It seeks to limit all ideas that deviate from this new orthodoxy.
It is punitive and seeks life and career destroying punishment for those who step out of line – hence cancel culture.
The left happily went along with vaccine mandates, the suspension of civil liberties, passes that imposed a medically segregated society, and the needless masking and injection of children. It vocally supported state violence against peaceful protesters.
It aligns with and defends power and money and attacks working class people. Did the left give a hoot about the secret Pfizer contract, or that governments gave them a liability-free US$37billion ride, courtesy of the tax payer?
The left has not spoken out again egregious state overreach, including the forced internment of Australians in quarantine camps or the horrific Shanghai lockdown that saw 26 million people confined to their homes for months using AI to digitally monitor and control them, ostensibly to stop the spread of covid (yeah right – see this eye opening interview).
The left looks on passively as teachers have their pay docked in Australia as punishment for choosing not to have an unwanted and unneeded injection.
Don’t want to take a gene therapy that has been woefully inadequately tested and prefer to take your chances? You are a selfish dirty unhuman and Paula Penfold doesn’t want you anywhere near her sister, got it?
Glen Greenwald made a number of well-articulated, salient observations in a fantastic twitter threat this week:
“It is astonishing to watch Dems and their allies in media corporations posture as opponents of “fascism” – while their main goal is to *unite state and corporate power* to censor their critics and degrade the internet into an increasingly repressive weapon of information control …
“So many new tactics of censorship repression have emerged in the West: Trudeau freezing bank accounts of trucker-protesters; Paypal partnering with ADL to ban dissidents from the financial system; Big Tech platforms openly colluding in unison to de-person people from the internet …
“It’s not melodrama or hyperbole to say: what we have is a war in the West, a war over whether the internet will be free, over whether dissent will be allowed, over whether we will live in the closed propaganda system our elites claim The Bad Countries™ impose. It’s no different.”
What is ‘right wing’?
Forget traditional conservatism – what is ‘right wing’, right now?
Anyone who has traditionally voted centre left or centre right but refuses to go along with the illiberal politics of the ‘left’ are now lumped in the new ‘hard right’ bag.
Also see ‘what is an extremist’.
What is a fascist?
I’ve written about it here. Won’t bore you with it again.
Left and right mean nothing anymore.
In a recent Trish Wood is Critical podcast, American historian Chris Bray noted that at a recent gay pride parade in Wales, trans activists successfully had the police throw the lesbians out. This was because they were so called TERFS, to use woke terminology.
It illustrates how completely dysfunctional things have become. Bray observes:
“The left and right breaking down, the political parties not mapping cleanly onto the cultural context, when lesbians are being thrown out of gay pride marches – that’s happening all over the culture.
“We have a disordering of identities and alignments and affiliations that is spinning out of control, that has obtained this force that is tearing apart old conceptions of our identities.”
Left and right are not going to get us out of this mess.
So, can we agree on some basic rights and wrongs? Can we be reasonable, respectful and loving humans? Can we not try to control what others feel and think? Can we accept each other?
I suggest the following (it’s obviously not exhaustive):
- Don’t force people to take pharmaceuticals or any medicine they do not want
- Protect children from policies that are hostile towards them and their sacredness
- Don’t remove freedoms in the name of ‘safety’
- Let people think what they want and live their lives how they choose
- Embrace free speech including robust, combative and offensive speech, and allow everyone’s needs to be voiced and heard
- Reject censorship everywhere you find it
- Take responsibility for your own life and do what you agree to do
- Don’t propagandise, inform and debate
- Speak up in principled opposition to tyrannical and ideological policies so that others are emboldened to speak out too
- Stop pretending to go along with stuff you do not actually believe in