We all suffer from recency bias: we tend to exaggerate the importance of our own time.
In 2020, however, the world really did change in a fundamental way that hasn’t been seen since 1991, or maybe 1945. Let’s examine how while trying to avoid overstatement or hysteria.
Of course, all these seed were planted prior to 2020.
I long doubted that China, with its dependence on intellectual theft and its lack of freedom and imagination, would surpass the West.
Now I’m convinced. Their culture remains inferior to the WEIRD West at its height. Nevertheless, China’s star is rising due to its comparative sanity. A bradbury win is a win all the same:
Most Western countries, like Japan, will never pay down nor attempt to pay down their national debts. Quantitive easing and extremely low interest rates appear to be here to stay, at least until some sort of failure leads to the collapse of this system and the establishment of a new one.
Japan’s experience shows it may be possible for governments to carry on with enormous budget deficits for decades so long as domestic financial institutions cooperate. I think they will because we have reached:
All within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the state.– Mussolini
The banks, tech sector and other companies are now arms of the government. To some extent, the government is itself an arm of these organizations. They are entangled.
Major corporations do the government’s bidding, sometimes without needing to receive instructions: refuse service to political rivals, censor dissidents, fund friendly NGOs, support official propaganda etc.
Along with this comes:
Retreat of Freedom
Governments from now on will have much greater control over what we can or can’t say. Speech deemed to incite violence (i.e. questioning an election result) or to be misinformation (i.e. complaining about lockdowns) can be banned. Where constitutional rights stand in the way, private businesses can step in.
This will also be ‘Lite’ because small voices will be ignored, unlike in China where anyone critical may receive a visit from the police. Dissidents will be targeted more for their size than for the extremity of their views. See: Sargon.
Like Trump and his most prominent supporters, public figures who express low status opinions will be silenced.
As in China, the main tool used to control the masses will be social credit. If you are not in good standing with TPTB, forget about opening a bank account, booking a hotel or speaking online.
Other freedoms will also be curtailed – the right to enter or leave one’s country, the right to travel freely within one’s country, the right to not wear a face covering, the right to gather freely, and many others besides.
The reason for this is clear: we surrendered our traditional rights due to Covid and we internalized the elite view that freedoms are not rights to be demanded but privileges to be requested.
Even if restrictions ease, the line has been crossed and it will be lightly and frequently recrossed from now on.
Just wait for the next flu season, terrorist attack, mass shooting or natural disaster.
Retreat of Democracy
Elections will no longer be venerated in the United States and many conservatives will no longer bother to participate.
In other countries fair elections will continue but the rot at the heart of the Free World will no doubt have a corrupting effect elsewhere.
You’ll be hearing this word more often from now on.
Pulling together threads from above, China’s campaign to make the rest of the world more like itself is succeeding.
First African countries were following its lead. Now formerly WEIRD countries have abandoned their longstanding principles and have accepted the Chinese concept that order and security require a firm central government, and that the common weal (as defined by the government) must always triumph over individual rights.
The idea that elites should enjoy special privileges also seems to be catching on.
This is the underlying change that has taken place in the West in 2020: classical liberalism has been quietly replaced by a combination of Woke theology and CCP-style technocratic autocracy.
To say that the West is freer than China, Russia or Iran is now arguable. Some freedoms exist in the West that do not exist there; some freedoms exist there that do not exist in the West.
Freedom of speech? Depends what you want to say.
Freedom of movement? Depends where you want to go and why.
Freedom of assembly? Depends
on the cause whether it poses a public health hazard.
It will get worse after it gets slightly better. In 2020, our .gov/com overlords prodded us to test our reaction. What did they get? The strongest resistance to curtailed freedoms was in the US where about half the country are dead against it, and even there the resistors appear to be on the back foot.
Across the rest of the Empire things are dire indeed. In Victoria, despite one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, and despite strict national limits on who may leave the country and how many may return, the only resistance was a few hundred protesters causing a ruckus at the Shrine.
Being so few, they were of course arrested for breaking the rules.
Most people wanted tighter restrictions. Let that sink in.
If we won’t even stand up for our right to assembly, what are the chances that any of our other rights will be respected from now on? We’ve proven ourselves worms.
The average, modern Westerner, though he does not see it, wants to be a well-fed peasant who has no rights but enjoys sedentary employment and gets to watch Netflix on the weekend.
So it has come to pass.
When conditions are ideal, if we’ve been good boys and girls, we’re allowed to out and do some things according to reasonable, ‘new normal’ limits. On days Mother Government decides it’s too risky then we have to stay home, shut up and maybe watch OnlyFans if we’re still permitted a debit card.
There’s not even an Offworld to go to.
The past was an era of an ascendent West, personal freedom and vigorous debate.
The future is Orwellian Lite. Step out of line and watch establishment corporations make you disappear from public life. Truly determined malcontents will have to live in Mexico, use a Georgian bank account and shitpoast about President Harris on the Dark Web.
Most of us will retrofit pre-2020 days in our minds as a lawless period of online hate, insurrection, people wandering about like Brown’s cows spreading disease, and rampant patriarchy and white supremacy. Many will not even notice that anything’s changed.
A few of us will miss the good old days.
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