Intermezzo Guest Blog: Petr Svab; Experts’ Warning

This is a rather long piece compared to my usual blogs of ~1000 words, but well worth reading.  C.S. Lewis once wrote: “A tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  The robber baron’s cruelty may sometime be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment without end for they do so with the approval of their conscience[s].”  Read on and pray for the USA.  This article has minor formatting and grammatical edits from the original.

Ideological Alignment Pushing America Toward Totalitarianism

2021-01-21 Intermezzo Blog by Petr Svah
The US Flag at half-mast in front of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

Concerns about the nexus of big tech, big media, and big government.
By Petr Svab  January 20, 2021; Updated: January 21, 2021

The formation of a totalitarian state is just about complete in America as the most powerful public and private sector actors unify behind the idea that actions to stamp out dissent can be justified, according to several experts on modern totalitarian ideologies.

While many have warned about the rise of fascism or socialism in “the land of the free,” the ideas have largely been vague or fragmented, focusing on individual events or actors.  Recent events, however, indicate that seemingly unconnected pieces of the oppression puzzle are fitting together to form a comprehensive system, according to Michael Rectenwald, a retired liberal arts professor at New York University.

But many Americans, it appears, have been caught off guard or are not even aware of the newly forming regime, as the idea of elected officials, government bureaucrats, large corporations, the establishment academia, think tanks and nonprofits, the legacy media, and even seemingly grassroot movements all working in concert toward some evil purpose seems preposterous.  Is a large portion of the country in on a conspiracy?

The reality now emerges that no massive conspiracy was in fact needed — merely an ideological alignment and some informal coordination, Rectenwald argues.  “Despite the lack of formal overarching organization, the American socialist regime is indeed totalitarian, as the root of its ideology requires politically motivated coercion,” he told The Epoch Times.  The power of the regime is not yet absolute, but it is becoming increasingly effective as it erodes the values, checks, and balances against tyranny established by traditional beliefs and enshrined in the American founding.

The effects can be seen throughout society. Americans, regardless of their income, demographics, or social stature are being fired from jobs, getting stripped of access to basic services such as banking and social media, or having their businesses crippled for voicing political opinions and belonging to a designated political underclass.  Access to sources of information unsanctioned by the regime is becoming increasingly difficult.  Some figures of power and influence are sketching the next step, labelling large segments of society as “extremists” and potential terrorists who need to be “deprogrammed.”

While the onset of the regime appears tied to events of recent years — the presidency of Donald Trump, the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, the Capitol intrusion of January  6 — its roots go back decades.

Is It Really Totalitarian?
Totalitarian regimes are commonly understood as constituting a government headed by a dictator that regiments the economy, censors the media, and quells dissent by force.  That is not the case in America, but it is also a misunderstanding of how such regimes function, literature on totalitarianism indicates.

To claim power, the regimes do not initially need to control every aspect of society through government.  Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Workers Party in Nazi Germany, used various means to control the economy, including gaining compliance of industry leaders voluntarily, or through intimidation, or through replacing the executives with party loyalists.

Similarly, the regime rearing its head in America relies on corporate executives to implement its agenda voluntarily but also through intimidation by online brigades of activists and journalists who take initiative to launch negative PR campaigns and boycotts to progress their preferred societal structure.

Also, Hitler initially did not control the spread of information via government censorship but rather through his brigades of street thugs, the “brown shirts,” who would intimidate and physically prevent his opponents from speaking publicly.  The tactic parallels the often successful efforts to “cancel” and “shut down” public speakers by activists and violent actors, such as Antifa.  Dissenting media in America have not been silenced by the government directly as of yet. 

But they are stymied in other ways.  In the digital age, media largely rely on reaching and growing their audience through social media and web search engines, which are dominated by Facebook and Google.  Both companies have in place mechanisms to crack down on dissenting media.  Google gives preference in its search results to sources it deems “authoritative.”  Search results indicate the company tends to consider media ideologically close to it to be more authoritative.  Such media can then produce hit pieces on their competitors, giving Google justification to slash the “authoritativeness” of the dissenters.  Facebook employs third-party fact checkers who have the discretion to label content as “false” and thus reduce the audience on its platform.  Virtually all the fact checkers focused on American content are ideologically aligned with Facebook.

Attempts to set up alternative social media have run into yet more fundamental obstacles, as demonstrated by Parler, whose mobile app was terminated by Google and Apple, while the company was kicked off Amazon’s servers.

To the degree that a totalitarian regime requires a police state, there is as yet no law in America targeting dissenters explicitly.  But there are troubling signs of selective, politically motivated enforcement.  Indicators go back to the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups or the difference in treatment received by former Trump adviser Lt. Gen Michael Flynn and former FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe — both allegedly lying to investigators but only one getting prosecuted.  The situation may get still worse as the restrictions tied to the CCP virus see broad swaths of ordinary human behavior being considered “illegal,” opening the door to nearly universal political targeting.

“I think the means by which a police state is being set up is the demonization of Trump supporters and the likely use of medical passports to institute the effective equivalent of social credit scores,” Rectenwald said.  While loyalty to the government and to a specific political party plays a major role, it is the allegiance to the ideological root of totalitarianism that gives it its foot soldiers, literature on the subject indicates.

Totalitarian Ideology
The element “that holds totalitarianism together as a composite of intellectual elements” is the ambition of fundamentally reimagining society — “the intention to create a ‘New Man,’” explained author Richard Shorten in Modernism and Totalitarianism: Rethinking the Intellectual Sources of Nazism and Stalinism, 1945 to the Present.

Various ideologies have framed the ambition differently, based on what they posited as the key to the transformation.  Karl Marx, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, viewed the control of the economy as primary, describing socialism as “socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature,” in Das Kapital.

Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Workers Party in Nazi Germany, viewed race as primary.  People would become “socialized” — that is transformed and perfected — by removing Jews and other supposedly “lesser” races from society, he claimed.

The most dominant among the current ideologies stem from the so-called “critical theories,” where the perfected society is defined by “equity,” meaning elimination of differences in outcomes for people in demographic categories deemed historically marginalized.  The goal is to be achieved by eliminating the ever-present “white supremacy,” however the ideologues currently define it.

While such ideologies commonly prescribe collectivism, calling for national or even international unification behind their agenda, they are elitist and dictatorial in practice as they find mankind never “woke” enough to follow their agenda voluntarily.  In Marx’s prophecies, the revolution was supposed to occur spontaneously.  Yet it never did, leading Vladimir Lenin, the first head of the Soviet Union, to conclude that the revolution will need leadership after all.

“The idea is that you have some enlightened party … who understand the problem of the proletariat better than the proletariat does and is going to shepherd them through the revolution that they need to have for the greater good,” explained James Lindsay, author of Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity — and Why This Harms Everybody.”

Elements of this intellectual foundation can be found in ideologies of many current political forces, from neo-nazis and anarcho-communists, through to progressives and to some extent even neoliberals and neoconservatives, Lindsay acknowledged.  “This is why you see so many people today saying that the only possible answers are a full return to classical liberalism or a complete rejection of liberalism entirely as fatally disposed to create progressivism, neoliberalism, etc.,” he said.

That is not to say these ideologies are openly advocating totalitarianism but rather that they inevitably lead to it.  The roadmap could be summarized as follows:

  1. There is something fundamentally and intolerably wrong with current reality.
  2. There is a plan to fix it requiring a whole society buy-in.
  3. People opposing the plan need to be educated about the plan so they accept it.
  4. People who resist the persuasion need to be reeducated, even against their will.
  5. People who will not accept the plan no matter what need to be removed from society.

“I think that is the general thrust,” Lindsay said. “We can make the world the way we want it to be if we all just get on the same page and same project. It is a disaster, frankly.”

Points Four and Five Now Appear To Be In Progress.
Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos recently labeled the widespread questioning of the 2020 election results as “violent extremism,” which social media companies should eradicate the same way they countered online recruitment content from the ISIS terrorist group.  The “core issue,” he said, “is that we have given a lot of leeway, both in traditional media and on social media, to people to have a very broad range of political views” and this has led to the emergence of “more and more radical” alternative media like OAN and Newsmax.

Stamos then mused about how to reform Americans who have tuned into the dissenters.  “How do you bring those people back into the mainstream of fact-based reporting and try to get us all back into the same consensus reality?” he asked in a CNN interview.
“And can you? Is that possible?” CNN host Brian Stelter added.

The logic goes as follows: Trump claimed the election was stolen through fraud and other illegalities.  That has not been proven in court and is thus false.  People who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and managed to break inside and disrupt the electoral vote counting did so because they believed the election was stolen.  Therefore, anybody who questions the legitimacy of the election results is an extremist and potentially a terrorist.

With tens of thousands of troops assembled to guard the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) recently told CNN that all guard members who voted for Trump belong to a “suspect group” that “might want to do something,” alluding to past leaders of other countries who were “killed by their own people.”

Former FBI Director James Comey recently said the Republican party needs to be “burned down or changed.”

“They want a one party state,” commented conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza in a recent podcast.  “That is not to say they do not want an opposition.  They want a token opposition.  They want Republicans where they get to say what kind of Republican is okay.”

Just as Marx blamed the ills of the world on capitalists and Hitler on Jews, the current regime tends to blame various permutations of “white supremacy.”

“Expel the Republican members of Congress who incited the white supremacist attempted coup,” said Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) in a recent tweet, garnering some 300,000 likes.  She was referring to the Republican lawmakers who raised objections on Jan. 6 to election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.  Their objections were voted down.

“Can U.S. Spy Agencies Stop White Terror?” Daily Beast’s Jeff Stein asked in a recent headline, concluding that a call for “secret police” to sniff out “extremist” Americans “may well get renewed attention.”  Under the regime, allegations of election fraud — de facto questioning the legitimacy of the leader — have become incitement of terrorism.  YouTube (owned by Google), Facebook, and Twitter have either banned content that claims the election was rigged or are furnishing it with warning labels.  Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey was recently recorded as saying that banning the president’s account was just the beginning.  This approach closely mirrors that of the Chinese communist regime, which commonly targets dissidents for “subverting” the state or “spreading rumors.”

What Is The Alternative?
If calls for radically reorganizing the world are inherently totalitarian, how is the world to avoid them?  The question appears to be its own answer.  If totalitarianism inherently requires allegiance to its ideology, it cannot exist in a society with a lack of such allegiance.

The United States were founded on the idea that individual rights are God-given and unalienable.  The idea, rooted in traditional beliefs that human morality is of divine origin, stands a bulwark against any attempt to assail people’s rights even for their own good.

“If you are not a believer in actual God, you can posit a God’s ideal on the matter … We have to posit some arbiter who is above and beyond our own prejudices and biases in order to ensure these kinds of rights. … Because otherwise you have this infinitely malleable situation in which people with power and coercive potential can eliminate and rationalize the elimination of rights willy-nilly,” Rectenwald said.

Intermezzo: President-Elect Joe Biden – Chosen By God

The Electoral College on Monday began voting to make President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election official.(NBC News) “According to an NBC News tally, Biden was leading Trump by 240 votes to 229 as of 4 p.m. ET. Biden will mark the occasion with an address to the country around 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday.”

Finally, after five weeks of “officially” calling the election, a major news network is finally admitting they made a mistake. Well, not in so many words, like “We’ve been lying to you all month.” But NBC News just announced the Electoral College vote which would “make Joe Biden’s 2020 victory official.”

Since the Associated Press called the “official” results on the night of November 3rd, most of the mainstream media echoed this theme, calling Trump’s contesting “baseless, without evidence, a false narrative” and other pejorative terms to make sure we all “knew” that there was “nothing to see here, folks.” In spite of significant irregularities and multiple legal affidavits affirming suspicions of voter fraud and machine tampering (subject to criminal prosecution if lying), the courts, including some judges appointed by Trump, avoided the conflict to stay out of politics.

Whether the outcome of these complaints by the Trumpers would have changed what Democrats expected to happen, it disturbs me that the media continued to pile on that he was “trying to overturn the election,” when what his legal team was trying to do was assert that the election was not over until the legal challenges had been heard.

Unfortunately, inaction is itself a form of action, and only God can assess whether the judges were just afraid of the leftist mobs that would attack if they validated any of the questions, or if they truly believed that Trump’s team had no legal basis for challenging the election processes in the contested states. I am not a lawyer and have not read any of the briefs presented to the courts. In any case, unless Trump “pulls a rabbit out of the hat” (as I have referenced his winning before), and gets Congress to refute the Electoral College, throwing the election into the House of Representatives, then Biden will have prevailed, however dubiously.

Thucydides, about 400 years Before Christ, said in his History of the Peloponnesian War, “In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.” While this is true in any democratic/republican election, it is particularly concerning that this election was SOOO close in the so-called “battle-ground states” that it is very possible there were illegal activities that delivered the election to Biden.

However, as a Christ-follower I must keep in mind that it is my Father who actually determines our leaders per Daniel and Paul in the Bible: He removes kings [presidents] and sets up kings [presidents].”  (Daniel 2:21) “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 12:21-31:1) Thus, whether illegal actors or incompetent officials were responsible in human terms for the outcome of this election, I must admit that God has chosen the Biden/Harris ticket for our next president and vice-president.

That does not mean Christ-followers should simply lie down now and let the pro-abortionists, the Green New Deal, and the antisemitism of the BDS congress people bowl us over into submission to ungodly activities. But we must tread carefully and make sure the places we take stands are, in fact, places Jesus would stand. We ARE supposed to be “little Christs,” the derisive term that initially got us called Christians. It may be that some of us will have to take stands as Jesus did before Pilate and the Sanhedrin and allow ourselves to be crucified. Isn’t that what being a “little Christ” means?

As a Christ-follower, I am enjoined by the apostle Paul to pray for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. NOTE: we are to pray FOR them, not against them. (See https://capost2k.wordpress.com/2020/04/05/who-are-you-praying-for-during-this-wuhan-virus-crisis/.) This may be difficult if you voted for Trump, but I did not write the rule book. You may want to check out Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa TerKeurst for some guidance on dealing with what many of us consider “unforgivable sins,” remembering that there is only one thing that goes by that ID. And Ms. TerKeurst addresses how one deals with the frustration of forgiving someone who does not want or ask for it; well worth reading.

So whether you voted for our President-elect or the current President, let your faith grow into Jesus. God did not make a mistake. Now, how will we react to what God is going to do in our nation? How will we participate in what God wants to do for our neighbor?

Intermezzo: Election Embroilments Endure a Little Longer

2020-12-09 Intermezzo Election Embroilments

“A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”  Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, whose father was Jewish.

In these troubled times, it is disconcerting that there is so much confusion over the news outlets that are supposed to inform us.  Mark Twain once remarked, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”  How much more so when a president accuses media of fomenting fake news, and then the media cooperates by declaring an “official” winner in a disputed election, as if the Associated Press or CNN or Fox News had the prerogative to make claims that are the exclusive domain of the Electoral College.  Fortunately this will all be over soon as far as the election is concerned.  January 20, which is the only certain deadline in the Constitution, is barely over a month away.

2020-12-09 Biden vs Trump

But I fear for our Democratic Republic that the troubles that plagued Trump’s summer of 2020 will not go away whether Biden or Trump prevail by January 20, 2021.  “Trumpers” will likely not riot en masse in response to a Biden win as some of the pundits are predicting.  Conservatives tend to be more conservative than that.  Sporadic and short-lived eruptions of fringe-right groups may occur, but even most conservatives will condemn them.

On the other hand, groups of Biden’s supporters are expecting big allowances and favored treatment if he wins.  If Biden does not acquiesce, but instead attempts to “reach across the aisle” as he has in the past as a senator, even he will inflame riotous antagonism to his attempts to unify the nation.  If Trump pulls a rabbit out of the hat and wins, all hell will break loose with almost civil war arising from the factions that supported Biden.  If Biden finally prevails some on the left are calling for a “scorched earth policy” for anyone who even considered supporting Trump.

My encouragement to Christ-followers is to recognize that Father will decide which of the contenders will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.  Daniel said explicitly that He removes kings [presidents] and sets up kings [presidents].”  Paul reaffirmed this perspective to the Romans, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

We might ask incredulously, “Really? Lenin, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Xi, Putin, Bush, Obama, Trump?”  Let’s address this more fully after 2021 has begun, but suffice it to say for now, the Bible is explicit: “There is NO authority except from God.”

In spite of the troubling news about Smartmatic, Sequoia Voting Systems, and Dominion Voting Systems, when we think are in control, or they think “they” are in control, there is actually a Sovereign Ruler who can override any of our apparent tricks or decisions.  Even that democratic defender of  deterrence, the ever-honest-1/164th-Native-American Elizabeth Warren worried about the electronic voting systems as recently as December, 2019.  But she and her colleagues did not have to worry.  The international intrigue that surround the electronic voting systems will in the end only fulfill Father’s decision.

In the 18th century, Joseph de Maistre said “Democracies get the leaders they deserve.”  So it is that Jimmy Carter was our last really honest and Godly president, and he only lasted one term because of his commitment to do what really was best for the nation as a whole, instead of pandering to selfish special interest groups, as each subsequent president has increasingly done.

As long as we constantly look for our own personal advantage, for our own political goals and our own financial security we will miss what God intends for us: lives of peace, security, and blessing, but not blessing to sit back and enjoy, and let the rest of the world go to hell.  His blessings are always for the sharing of His Good News with others who are in need.

So while the election winds down to its conclusion, the pandemic keeps us from loved ones at the holidays, and wildfires burn up California while internationally alarmists warn of even greater so-called “climate-change crises,” remember Who is really in control.  And remember His love, even for His enemies, which at one time included you . . . and ME!  And follow in His steps.

Intermezzo Guest Blog by Mimi Ly: Dershowitz: Biden is Not the President-Elect

Alan Dershowitz at the White House in Washington on Jan. 28, 2020.

Dershowitz: ‘Biden Is Not the President-Elect’
By Mimi Nguyen Ly of The Epoch Times November 17, 2020

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that Joe Biden is not the president-elect but is entitled to describe himself as such.

“The president-elect doesn’t get named as president-elect until at least he has 270 state certification of electors, or his opponent concedes. Neither of that has happened as of now,” the high-profile lawyer told NTD News.

He added: “I think that he is entitled to describe himself as the president-elect. At the moment he’s won 305 or so electoral votes and President Trump is entitled to dispute that. That’s freedom of speech. That’s politics. Neither is entitled as a matter of law or constitutionality to say that they are the president-elect.”

Dershowitz, who served on Trump’s legal team during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, said he believes the Trump legal team is seeking to have the election forced into the House of Representatives, by not letting Biden reach the 270 electoral college votes required to secure the presidency. Republicans have a 26-23-1 state delegation majority in the House of Representatives.

One possible way the Trump campaign can legally get electors to not vote is that if the challenges in court haven’t been resolved, some state secretaries of state, many of whom are Republican, may refuse to certify the vote by mid-December, Dershowitz said.

“That will be challenged in court. And that will be a mess, it would create a constitutional crisis of a kind we haven’t had before,” he said.

He noted that Trump’s lawyers are counting on a constitutional provision that moves the election to the House of Representatives if there is no definitive winner in the Electoral College by mid-December.

“I understand why the Trump legal team is trying to have the election thrown into the House of Representatives. That’s their constitutional right. And I can’t condemn them for using every possible legal recourse. That’s what lawyers do.”

“I think that the lawsuits in the end will not bring about a reversal of fortune for Donald Trump,” he later added. “I think that on January 20, Biden will be elected president and inaugurated as President of the United States, but I have no criticism of the Trump team for fighting and battling and trying everything they can legally, ethically, constitutionally, politically, to try to preserve his presidency.”

Trump’s campaign or legal team haven’t publicly described what specific kind of strategy they are employing. Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of lawsuits that have been filed by the Trump campaign in several states, according to Dershowitz.

“One I call the kind of wholesale constitutional lawsuits, like in Pennsylvania, where they’re challenging legally, whether all the votes that came in after Election Day have to be discounted, even if they were voted, even if they were submitted before Election Day,” he said. “That’s a constitutional challenge based on Article Two of the Constitution. It’s wholesale and involves many, many thousands of votes. And that has a good chance of succeeding.”

“The other challenges are retail challenges. They are case by case in a few people who shouldn’t have been eligible to vote, voted. Was there fraud? Was there a computer glitch? Those are much harder, because those require actual trials, witnesses’ evidence, and they will take time, and it will be very hard for them to succeed,” he said.

He said he is aware that Trump’s lawyers have spoken about potential computer anomalies that, if they turn out to be true, could trigger a “major disruption and shift.”

“We’ve never had anything like this before, because we’ve never had computers play such a major role in the election … The big challenge is whether or not there were computer malfunctions that turned many, many thousands of votes away from Trump and toward Biden, if that turned out to be true. And again, I haven’t seen the evidence. I’ve just heard the lawyers talk about it. That would change a lot of things.”

“And, of course, the American public would be very upset because they’ve been told by the networks who the winner is already. Remember that the networks don’t declare the winner, legally and constitutionally.”

NTD News reporter Christina Kim contributed to this report.
Bold and italics added.