The Power of the Powerless Is Real By J.B. Shurk for American Thinker
One of the most challenging obstacles working against ordinary citizens in the West is the self-satisfying presumption that Western institutions and philosophies are inherently immune from the rise of totalitarianism. This is an understandable blind spot. Their identities have been forged, to various degrees, in the great traditions of Enlightenment notions of liberty, free speech, and natural rights. Surely the victors over communism, fascism, and Nazism cannot then fall victim to the madness of those same philosophies collapsing their systems from within. This “Us/Them” self-delusion has kept the citizenry from recognizing tyranny inside its gates.
It is good for people to take pride in the achievements and histories of their nation states. It is natural for the inhabitants of countries founded in fights for freedom to assume that the costs of obtaining that freedom are behind them and not ahead. It is easy to self-define the victors of WWII as cultures standing firmly opposed to authoritarianism, to believe that nations not bound by the Iron Curtain would never choose to build their own, and to assume that millions of graves and monuments attesting to the great human sacrifices over the last century in the defense of freedom are sufficient safeguards against future generations ever detouring from the blessings of human liberty. But all of these good and natural and easy mental prisms become mental prisons when they keep us from seeing what is happening in our own backyards.
The growing tyranny in the West has not happened overnight. It did not suddenly arrive at our doorsteps with the Chinese Flu. It has been a nightmare decades in the making. The difference today is that previously slumbering citizens once sublimely content in the normal humdrum of their lives are waking up to realize that the enemies from our past have returned with a vengeance. Free speech is treated as dangerous. Western governments, corporations, and social media platforms engage in rampant censorship. Race and sexual identity are used as the defining attributes of a person to the exclusion of talent, character, and achievement. Teachers’ unions openly demand the right to indoctrinate children according to the interests of the State. Parents are threatened for believing that their children belong to them. The criminal justice system is used as a place to punish political opponents and to protect political friends. Religious expression is outlawed. Leftists’ “secularized religion” is imposed. Freedom is disparaged as “right-wing.” Coercion has replaced consent. Victimhood has replaced virtue. Conformity has replaced individuality. “Correct” thinking has replaced freethinking. “Social justice” has replaced real justice. And the protection of government has become more important than the protection of human rights.