Pop-quiz: Can you name the Regime I describe below?
- There is complete control over communications network where every person using it can be identified within minutes down to the exact location.
- Every piece of communication is archived and is accessible in perpetuity, and the State has access to it at any time. (Anything you say can and will be used against you.)
- There is no privacy.
- There is a cadre of hundreds of thousands of people who freely volunteer their time and resources to assist the regime to monitor all communications made by citizens.
- Anyone who is deemed to make an inappropriate comment or communication is immediately identified; their transgression publicised, and is mocked and ridiculed by all other citizens relentlessly.
- Perceived transgressors are then marked for life and are monitored by other citizens, the press or anyone who stands to gain from any further transgression.
- The standard of what is acceptable is very narrow, and must conform to the view of the masses in every respect. These standards are not published anywhere and are subject to change at any time at the whim of the opinion leaders. Additionally, these standards govern a wide range of issues, including matters of opinion, science, religion, politics, sport entertainment – in fact it covers every sphere of life.
Can you guess the regime?
This is how Wikipedia describes the role of STASI in the Nazi Regime:
One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents.
Or were you thinking maybe Cuba or North Korea? Russia perhaps - despite the demise of the Cold War and Communism?
Sadly, it is Australia.
Actually this regime is everywhere. It exists in your pocket or wherever you keep your mobile phone. It exists pretty much everywhere you care to go and every one of us now lacks the freedom to speak our minds. It's the new internet.
I am not suggesting the impact is anything like what happened in Germany and I am not trying to suggest the situation then and situation now are the same, except for the process by which one group dominates the conversation. I am using an extreme example to illustrate that suppression of free speech is a bad thing; even if you happen to agree with the argument, the other side should always have the right to argue their case peacefully.
The left-leaning pseudo-intellectuals have taken over public discourse and they shall brook no interference. On social issues; unless you are pro-climate change, pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion, anti-racism and anti-religion; you don’t have a voice the vigilante trolls will allow.
- Speak your mind at a conference and you will be howled down.
- Publish a tweet and you are tolled into submission.
- Publish a disagreeable blog and you become a hashtag.
- Published a book and the critics are scathing.
Of course, they often hide behind the anonymity of an avatar.
The latest example of this is that of Gavin McInnes being asked to take leave of absence for publishing this article. (WARNING: Don’t read if you are easily offended.)
Naturally there are contrarian views around; human nature will see to it that there always are. What has changed now is that social media has equipped individuals with a megaphone that enables them to have a disproportionate influence on any debate.
The notion of ‘Social Proof’ has now entered the everyday lexicon so most readers will be acquainted with the idea. It is indeed a powerful motivator of human behaviour and is the force behind ‘crowd mentality’. And now we are the rule of this mindless mob.
Too often the loudest voices are least qualified to articulate an issue and their responses are characterised by a pseudo-intellectual self-righteousness that boggles the mind more than a Vodka smoothie.
And it is not only individuals who suffer:
- 13 Epic Twitter Fails By Big Brands
- Just trying to do your job?
- Sponsors run when the mob comes calling.
There are literally too many to mention: Google “PR disaster on twitter” and you get almost 12 million results and “celebrity disaster on twitter” gets you 29 million plus.
Tell me what we have today is not a close sibling of that STASI regime of the NAZI era?
Soon, Christians and Conservatives will have to consider whether they ‘come out’ to society. Doing so will jeopardise their employment prospects and social standing. If you don’t believe Climate Change is what the climate lobby makes it out to be and if you dare question the science or methodology, then you do so at your own risk.
If your response is ‘serves them right’ or ‘now they will know what it feels like’ you exhibit exactly the infantile powers of reasoning that determines the level of the debate.
In the world we live in now, these are the things that are now normalised:
- Using illicit drugs is now socially acceptable.
- Calling someone a c*#t is OK too.
- Mocking all forms of authority (from the PM to the local police officer) is a badge of honour.
As it happens, I share some of the views of the rabid rabble, even as I seek to distance myself from their general conduct. I have written about this before in 2012, and it has only gotten worse.
In her biography on Voltaire, Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote:
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
This is often misattributed to Voltaire himself as an illustration of Voltaire's beliefs, but no matter who said it, Hall's quotation is often, rightly, cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech, and I personally could not agree more.
In Australia the Liberal Government recently tried to amend the definition of Free Speech by repealing a few words of Section 18C - that something that is ‘offensive’ should not naturally be classified as hate speech. The UK edition of The Spectator summarised it smartly:
If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all.
(I found this piece when I was searching for the Voltaire quotation above, and it is along the same theme I am writing here – only written by a professional – Mark Steyn - who articulates some of the issues more eloquently. Well worth reading, and don’t miss the comments; all 1300 of them.)
I find it offensive that you may call someone a c&*t, but I respect the right you have to say so. Everyone is now gluten intolerant and pro-abortion. How the world turns on the whims.
I suppose that is what happens in the absence of an absolute moral authority when everything is relative; society begins to unravel at the edges as the moral tide ebbs and flows with the whims of the easily led masses.
C’est la vie.