Handmaidens of SerfdomSteven Lieberman
“Washington, Nov. 12, 2022. Republican voters took back the House and Senate, showing their displeasure with the Biden Administration’s speed at eradicating the Corona Virus.”
Expect that headline from most news outlets next November.
This week we saw a dress rehearsal of it from the BBC: “Hundreds of Cubans take to the streets to protest the government’s handling of Covid-19”.
Oh, good lord.
Authoritarianism, globally, is on the rise. We see it as China continues its trajectory towards regional hegemony with eyes on even greater global dominance. We see it throughout Latin America. Russia has never really been without it. It has always been a nascent presence in Europe. And, now we are seeing an unbridled manifestation here in the U.S.
The oddity here is that it should run counter to liberal democratic principles, championed by both the press, as well as business. Yet, there has been a discernible pivot.
A new collective, it would appear, is necessary for a well-established and incidentally stratified society. Generalists have been marginalized in both politics and business and replaced with specialists. The ubiquitous “subject matter expert” has taken hold and helps to guide us through the byzantine world of modern life. How could we even possibly attempt to “exist” without Mandarines above us dictating the minutiae of our lives? The fact that we will most likely never actually meet any of these people makes the whole scheme rather exciting, doesn’t it?
Small business has become a problem for the Mandarines. Sometimes they simply ignore the edicts issued from the Temples of Democracy and try to eke out a living. One or two doing this is problematic, but when a whole nation refuses to accept the irrefutable supremacy of their betters, well… that’s going to be a problem. The easiest solution is agency. Rather than simply making everyone state employees (including business owners), they can simply use corporate America to facilitate their agenda. The most powerful and feared institution in any company is Human Resources. Once a holding cell for those who offered little to direct consumer value, now HR basically runs corporations. HR directors have themselves become subject matter experts, not from the standpoint of recruiting and retaining talent, but experts in employment and labor law, essentially demanding compliance to stave off regulatory audits. This is not to reduce the expenditures of civil litigation. A company can develop the most ironclad policies to avoid internal lawsuits and it will prevent nothing. Plaintiffs will still sue, and it is typically cheaper to settle than litigate. Thus, the cost of compliance cannot be rationally related to civil liability mitigation. Why spend a $100K to prevent lawsuits when those lawsuits are still going to come regardless? You spend $100K to prevent the government from coming in and shutting down your business. It would be unpalatable for the public to think that vast amounts of economic resources are being used as a bulwark against the government. It helps the narrative if it is thought that the expenditures are being used against the workers.
The media, as I mentioned above, is just as agenda driven to move us towards a collectivist union. After all, they have been flummoxed for years with the advent of the citizen journalist, individuals taking it upon themselves to engage in investigative journalism without editorial oversight and… of all things… being successful at it. The only way to centralize (and, thereby, sanitize) the flow of information is to re-centralize it. Social media platforms have clearly been working overtime to this end, but traditional media outlets are also laying the groundwork for authoritarianism.
(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)
I started this blog with a fictitious quote from the media. The idea is predicated on a belief that the American people are going to return both houses of Congress to the Republicans in the midterm election. This prediction is not particularly risky to make. The margins are incredibly narrow and for many it is a foregone conclusion this will happen. The issue is the way the media will report it.
Since the election of Biden, we have moved at light-speed towards domestic authoritarianism. The left was always happy to point out that Donald Trump was an authoritarian. He was, but an ineffectual one when it came to predictive shifts in domestic and foreign policy. He did not elevate the State to a level of religious stature as authoritarians are wont to do. Instead, he attacked the veracity of the Mandarines, essentially brining authoritarianism to the authoritarians. Boy, they did not like that!
Now with them back in the saddle, they need to ensure that our march towards centralization and authoritarianism is not interrupted again. Expressions of anti-government sentiments are not to be tolerated, even on the foreign stage. People are expected to become irate with their masters, but under no circumstances can they be allowed to question the relationship of themselves to their leaders.
Cuba and the press around Cuba are an interesting case study. When the Cuban people began to protest en masse on the failings of the Communist Party, the BBC initially reported that the Cubans were protesting the government’s response to Covid. There was literally no basis for this statement. No interviews were citied and no spokespersons quoted. The BBC simply could not allow the world to know the Cubans were protesting those above them who had created a failed state.
The New York Times was slightly more granular in its headline analysis, stating the Cubans were clamoring for “freedom” and chanting other “anti-government” slogans. This conflagration of thought is entirely consistent with the collectivist thinking over at the New York Times. In their world “freedom” has become an unacceptable impediment to well-regulated utopia. The idea that a government is established for the singular purpose of protecting freedom is anathema to their world view. Freedom, in effect, is now “anti-government”.
This also scares them. Like the Arab Spring, people will ultimately reject the powers of Mandarines. It is inevitable. The result can very well be chaos. It can also be the blossoming of individual liberty and, as such, self-actualization and empowerment. That the people will one day wake up and realize they can handle their own affairs, just as competently as the Mandarines, is what keeps the bureaucrats awake at night. Anything that threatens their supremacy… even events on a Caribbean island, must be explained away.