Just Stop Listening

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Here’s a new-year’s resolution for those still kicking around for one: In 2022, let’s ignore the entire Western democracy-promotion machine. For good. Not that our indifference will stop the machine doing its work. The men and women who operate the thing stopped caring about what you and I think a long time ago, if they ever cared at all. But by tuning them out, we can at least avoid feeding the monumental hypocrisy.

By the democracy-promotion machine, I mean the entire complex of governmental agencies, think tanks, academic departments, foreign news desks and journalistic busybodies, civil-society organizations, and even for-profit firms, whose business it is to spread democracy (read: liberalism) to the ends of the earth, often legitimating overt Western military adventurism or serving as a substitute for it.

The machine ranks other countries on how free or unfree—and transparent or opaque, pro-business or anti-business, etc.—they are. It publishes glossy ad campaigns highlighting the plight of goat-worshipping minorities in goat-eating lands and likewise of goat-eating minorities in goat-worshipping lands. The machine wants you to be extremely exercised about Russia’s anti-democratic machinations in her own neighborhood of otherwise perfect democracies. It wants you to be even more worked up about authoritarian “backsliding” in certain democratic regions, where voters are…picking non-liberal parties at the ballot box. The machine wants you to sign this letter urging tougher sanctions against Belarus and that petition for Chinese men’s right to wear eyeliner.

The machine wants you to care about bad things being done by bad people out there, rather than notice things happening right here. And this is why we have to tune it out definitively.

A few years ago, the machine “merely” prepared the groundwork for the bloody and stupid regime-change wars of the post-9/11 era. That was noxious enough. Today, amid the full-spectrum liberal authoritarianism encircling Western populations, the machine’s work is downright unbearable—and pernicious. The more time you spend worrying about the sacred right to get kinky in Beijing, the less time you have to notice and fight back against Big Tech censorship, Covid medico-tyranny, and woke racism in the Land of the Free.

So far in this brand new year, Facebook “has ‘permanently disabled’ the ads account of a conservative children’s book publisher,” according to Fox News. The social-media giant claims that “Heroes of Liberty, which has published books about Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, former President Ronald Reagan and author Thomas Sowell, violated the company's rules against ‘low-quality or disruptive content.’”

You can take a look at sample ads on the Fox site. It looks and reads like any other Facebook ad for children’s books (trust me, as a parent, I see a lot of those). There is no offensive content present, unless you consider “family,” “freedom,” and “America” controversial. The ayatollahs didn’t censor Reagan. The Kremlin didn’t do it, either, nor did the Chinese Communist Party. An American firm overseeing our digital public square did this.

Another tech giant, Twitter, removed videos of Joe Rogan’s interview with Dr. Robert Malone, the renowned virologist who co-authored the 1990 paper first suggesting the use of mRNA to develop vaccines. Malone, whose own Twitter account was suspended just before the new year, had vocalized thoughtcrimes against the Covid-19 vaccine regime. Scientific knowledge, you see, proceeds by censoring scientists.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, police in Amsterdam used hounds to maul anti-lockdown protesters. If you watch the footage and scan the photographs not knowing the scenes are from the Netherlands, you might well blame the Belarusian government for its latest brutalities. Except the images are indeed from the Netherlands, one of the states regularly ranked among the world’s freest by the same democracy machine. I’m prepared to bet good money that the recent anti-democratic savagery of its security forces won’t cause Dutch democracy rankings to budge.

Here’s one of the most discomfiting tweets I’ve ever encountered. It’s from Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a professor of English at the University of Tehran often described as close to the “hard-liners”:

I can’t say where he’s wrong.

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