The United States is not just dealing with mutations of COVID-19. Our government and our culture have been infected with mutated strains of collectivism and corporate authoritarianism, already engaged in censorship and moving swiftly toward perpetual surveillance and control over our property, our finances, our health care and our most personal decisions.
And those who are busy cramming authoritarianism down our gullets are simultaneously maintaining the illusion of our meaningful participation in government.
We're being led to believe that we have some control of our representative government and its policies. Meanwhile, our elected officials make backroom deals and ignore our country's most urgent concerns. And the integrity of our elections has been eroded to the point where we cannot be sure that all votes are cast by actual citizens and not unlawfully multiplied, manufactured or manipulated electronically.
It's perhaps obvious that in free nations such as the United States, effective government depends on belief in the integrity of the system and voluntary compliance with its laws. But even the governments of expressly authoritarian regimes endure only at the sufferance of their subjects. If enough people decide not to comply, they will have a revolution on their hands.
In fact, the worst human rights abuses recorded in history could not have taken place without the willing participation of citizens. In Hitler's Third Reich, for example, citizens of Germany and the occupied countries turned on one another. They attacked Jews, stole their property, destroyed their businesses and ratted them out when Nazi authorities were rounding them up by the millions to send to the death camps. Homosexuals, the disabled and Roma (Gypsies) were similarly targeted.
Communist regimes such as the former Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Cambodia and North Korea are notorious for citizen participation. People were (and are) encouraged to turn in their fellow citizens for being "bourgeois," "capitalist," "individualist," "enemies of the state" or other concocted ideological violations.
And turn them in, they did. Millions of human beings lost everything they owned and were sent to concentration camps, often with their entire families, where they were (and are) imprisoned, tortured, starved and murdered.
Perfectly ordinary people subjected their neighbors, co-workers and friends to horrific abuse, deprivation and death because they were willing participants in massive propaganda campaigns. The perpetrators of those campaigns never say, "Attack your neighbors just for fun." They create rationales, provide justifications and incessantly chant slogans that people choose to believe.
I say "willing" and "choose to" deliberately. There were always those who warned of what would come, who tried to debunk falsehoods, who appealed to their fellow citizens' better instincts and who implored them to reject the pernicious ideologies espoused by those blaming scapegoats and promising utopia.
In the end, those warnings fell on deaf ears.
Americans love to tell themselves, "That can't happen here." On the contrary, it is happening here.
For at least the past 20 years, we have been ensnared in one massive propaganda campaign after another. Yet no matter how many times it's proven that what we're being told are lies, millions of Americans still choose to believe the liars.
Who's peddling the codswallop? First and foremost, our politicians -- a robust majority of nationally visible Democrats and Republicans. The entertainment industry. Huge numbers of corporate CEOs. Vast swaths of academia. Most destructively, nearly all of the national media, who betray the American people by actively participating in the propaganda.
The pattern is consistent and immediately recognizable: A statement is made or a position is taken by those in power. It is factually suspicious, if not transparently false, yet no one is permitted to question it. Real scientific inquiry is forbidden. Data that supports the official narrative is falsified, and that which refutes it is suppressed. Scholarly papers are withdrawn from publication. Social media companies censor anyone who tries to present accurate information or alternative theories. Corporations fire outspoken employees. Friends and family shun loved ones who refuse to toe the party line.
Later, the official story is revealed as false, or the forbidden facts are revealed to be true. This is quietly dismissed or ignored.
We're watching this play out with climate change, transgenderism, the Trump/Russia collusion story, the story of Hunter Biden's political, financial and sexual exploitation, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the November 2020 election, the Jan. 6 non-"insurrection," the COVID-19 lab leak theory, the efficacy of drug treatments for it, the risks of the experimental vaccines and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Our government is undertaking massive restructuring of our country and our economy, including catastrophic levels of debt and unconstitutional deprivation of our rights and civil liberties. They are doing this over the objection of a majority of citizens, aided by the ignorance of millions of others. They are using propaganda, deflection and outright lies to turn us against one another and distract us from their machinations.
You probably tell yourself you wouldn't have helped the Nazis, the Bolsheviks or the Khmer Rouge. You like to think you're wise to those who would manipulate you.
If you're asked to exclude your fellow citizens from your place of business unless they're vaccinated, will you do it? If you are asked to fire employees who have had COVID or who have concerns about the vaccines, will you do it? If you are told that you'll lose your medical license unless you perform abortions, will you do it? If you are asked by the FBI to turn in names of people you think disagree with you politically, will you do it?
You've been told that millions of your countrymen -- your friends, neighbors and co-workers -- are "white supremacists" and "domestic terrorists. " Do you believe it? Because if you do believe that, what won't you do if asked?
You have a choice to make. Are you going to be a willing pawn in propaganda campaigns conducted by powermongers, who will come for you, too, eventually, as they always do? Or will you think for yourself, defend free inquiry, demand the truth and help keep this country free?
What kind of person are you, really?