“Democracy worldwide goes into deeper recession”, “Democracy in crisis”, and “The Life and Death of Democracy”, scream the headlines from the so-called prestigious pages of The New York Times, the status-conscious Melbourne newspaper, The Age, and the title of a far more celebrated tome between hard covers known as a book respectively, as our great western writers lament our fall from political grace, as if from some kind of hallucinatory heaven they wax lyrical about our imminent descent into the inferno of hell. People power now rendered redundant to be replaced by robots reckoning with a new age of Orwellian control. Not Newspeak, just No-speak, silencing those few, reasonably deluded souls who still adhere to the ancient philosophical liberties about freedom and a voice of dissent against the encroaching conspiracy of nations who seem intent to harness all our most nefarious antipathies for the common good. Bulldozing billions to balance the budget has created a potent, psychedelic pastime, hastening the demise of the last vestiges of compassionate humanity, simultaneously decrying pleasurable habits like smoking nicotine (and undoubtedly cannabis, too), imbibing alcoholic beverages and indulging in sexual porn paraphilia (as so much is perceived) because all of the above are hurting our health. Do our sanguine dispositions take precedence over economic restraint where our physical well-being dominates our domain, over and above our mental capacity to think, individually or collectively, or am I missing the point? What’s the logical, rational argument that rates peak prowess of the physical as more important than genuine intellectualism? Or is it all a ploy to deaden even more of our mental cellular activity so we don’t notice how our voice has become soundless and mute while even more disturbing perhaps, is that too many ordinary mortals have forgotten they have a voice at all! Extinct, vanished into the epoch of a quirky quicksand where only Tyrannasorous Rex hovers over us as a giant bestriding the conspiracy to control our personalities, erroneously dubbed democratic government, enshrined in the guise of one person, one vote, surrendering to slumber at night believing there is some vestige of value still left in our system.
It’s not so much an invalidation of our so-called democracy in the west and/or wherever the politicos applaud its supposed practice, but enveloping us all is a much more ominous, though far less overt manipulation of our minds, where it’s not thought control that is tied to the stake, but a big blanket of fear that discharges democracy into the dust, masquerading as a mask of tolerant harmony instead of perceiving it as a pollution of breathless air that is asphyxiating us all. In its place is an ultra-conservative conspiracy that equals totalitarian order, albeit subtle and below the surface, with our vision of a humane, compassionate and just society but a mere memory of our own immature imaginings. Now grown up, we have misplaced our beliefs in a better world because they’re no longer ‘politically correct’, instead we must sit with the abject pain of a poverty of sensitive dreams simply dismissed as juvenile, naive or even psychotic, maybe just a toddler tantrum because our immaturity fails to recognise the supposedly salient, sagacious and successful ways of the adult world. The rise and rise of totalitarianism, be it fascism or communism, left or right, is not spoken of, written about, or even discussed, certainly not in our media; instead, it’s always about how democracy is waning, rather than trying to explore what else is rearing its ugly head to haunt us in its place. The mere suggestion of ‘totalitarianism’ is too perilous to contemplate; euphemisms are paramount instead; autocracy, oligarchy and plutocracy, too; far less dangerous words that shroud the reality of ever increasing anti-democratic and totalitarian control mechanisms to keep us, the ‘elite’ proletariat, in our subservient, subordinate roles to maintain the status quo.
If not democracy, what else is it? Using the frightening, but most apt title of ‘The Mass Psychology of Fascism”, author Wilhelm Reich wrote in 1970 that “The democratic politicians fail to go back to the starting points of democratic principles, to correct them in keeping with the radical changes that have taken place in social life and to give them a useful direction.. ..One cannot impose legally guaranteed freedoms on a sick social organism”. Reich’ concept is brilliantly epitomised by an intellectual Chinese dissident who recently talked about having to say ‘nice things and agreeable words’ to his country’s intimidating authorities, but how different are we in our glorious, democratic free world as dare we confront our pundits of power, we are out of touch with the reality that is designed for our well-being. As one esteemed political philosopher/analyst, Jean-Francois Revel wrote in his book in 1976 “The Totalitarian Temptation” ‘self-censorship is in the long run more effective than the official kind’. Tyranny, he conjectures, enjoys the complicity of its victims. ‘Even in the best-informed societies, there exists a domestic third world of ignorance.’
There is a deafening blast of this ignorance resounding as civilised, orthodox behaviour around our world, where freedom of thought and the right to dissent, once recognised as precious tenets of democracy now twisted into fine layers of deceit, threaten to engulf us not with a bang, but a whimper, so quietly we’ve hardly noticed. If the mainstream media is complicit in this covert conspiracy what are the possibilities for the impetus for a directional change? Is there some unconscious agreement nestling in our social psyche that renders people incapable of seeing and understanding the conspiracy at all? What are the benefits of such awareness and perception? What indeed, are the costs -unemployment, poverty, social ignominy, disgrace and maybe too, isolation and enforced aloneness? Controlling others when there’s no stated risk to self or state, oft perceived as thwarting their position on pedestals of power, is akin to a wicked infamy of totalitarianism. Don’t disturb the tranquil environs with a tsunami of contrary ideas as the quake might force them to question themselves against their conscious will! Or is that another form of totalitarianism, challenging them to question their apathetic complicity? Too many people bury the complex and at times, confusing conspiracy in their unconscious psyche, too often revealing itself in their projected control. Hiding behind a ‘supposedly’ safe vernacular about our political system is a convenient excuse for blaming others for their silent acquiescence, but this language is just as integral to the disintegration of democracy as much as saying nothing at all. We must clarify these shadows of conservative conformity and blot out the blurred disguise with a commitment to public exposure albeit discourse that can, if we are willing, lead us back down a road of democracy instead of perdition.