Tag: Freedom

An Upside Down Dystopia

If you haven’t seen it, the Handmaid’s Tale is a fabulous series. It describes a dystopian world in which an ultra-right religious group has seized control of portions of the former United States following a civil war and subjugated women to be nothing more than breeders and servants. It’s probably an accurate picture of what many left-leaning thinkers feel the conservative right would enact given the chance. Mrs Troutdog and I started re-watching season 3 in preparation for the newly dropped season 4. Naturally since our phones are always listening to us in the background (cue foreshadowing) I logged on to YouTube and had a bunch of Handmaid’s Tale video suggestions.

One of those video suggestions was a discussion of a map of the former United States and the territories that Gilead (the new country) occupied. This map was created by a fan of the series, pieced together by vague references in the series and the original book by Margarat Atwood. My first thought was who has enough time (or interest) to create an elaborate map on a work of fiction? But then again I don’t get people who cosplay and I didn’t play dungeons and dragons in high school. But what got me thinking is a comment the video creator made. In the TV series, most of the regions of the country seized by Gilead are the Northeast, East and West coast. The Midwest is controlled by the former United States. Here’s the rub. Gilead is a far-right religious group. The East and West coasts are dominated by left leaning progressive folks. How is it the far-right took over the liberal centers and, presumably, the left occupied the middle of the country? It doesn’t make sense.

Which leads me to where we are today. Our world has been flipped upside down. What used to be conventional wisdom, isn’t any more. For years articles, news stories, and movies have been made that declared the threat of the right wing. The right wanted to suppress speech. The right was intolerant. They were potentially violent, spawning shadowy right-wing militia groups. The left were the creative thinkers, lovers of free speech, and defenders of individual rights. Today it feels like we’re in opposite world. The right are the new counter culture. The woke left have spawned a cancel culture that strives to shut down any independent thinking. When the pandemic which shall not be named arrived, the left seized the opportunity to exert control over every aspect of your life. Power hungry governors and mayors quickly shut down business, restricted free movement and gatherings, and all but mandated martial law in some cities.

Censorship and restricting free speech are now a thing. From killing the Hunter Biden laptop story, banning a sitting president from speaking, to the intentional shutdown of Parlor, the left has done everything possible to control what information you see. Just in the last few days they actually started brazenly saying it out loud. The Whitehouse press secretary said that they are working with Facebook and other social media entities to “flag” problematic posts that spread disinformation. This should scare the hell out of you. Twitter, Facebook, and Google were already banning, suspending, or flagging accounts by the thousands that mentioned anything they deemed harmful information. Now they’re coordinating directly with the deep state to suppress any non-conforming thoughts? Scary stuff.

Of course all of this is done for your own good. We locked down to protect you. Unfortunate that you lost your business, but it was for the greater good. We’re not going to allow you to see data refuting the effectiveness of masks because that might spawn disharmony. You will not be allowed to question a mandatory vaccine, government lockdowns, election audit results, who killed Ashley Babbitt, Hunter Biden’s business dealings, or border policies. You silly little citizen, not to worry, the adults are in charge now. Go back to your fun Facebook password phishing memes, the state is here to protect you. The bad orange fascist is gone now. And if any of your family members or friends seem to be, you know – “extremists”, you can always report them to the FBI.

“The beatings will continue until moral improves”

Captain Bligh, HMS Bounty

The Enlightened State Of Wokeness

We are fast approaching an inflection point in this country. I like this definition of inflection point from investopedia: “An inflection point is an event that results in a significant change in the progress of a company, industry, sector, economy, or geopolitical situation and can be considered a turning point after which a dramatic change, with either positive or negative results, is expected to result.” Our inflection point is the cult of wokeness. Failure to embrace all things woke means being branded as anything from an intolerant rube to a white nationalist Nazi. The fear of not being woke enough has intruded upon virtually every aspect of our lives. Schools, your work, corporate PR, social and news media – every public statement or action taken today must be weighed against the sin of offending the woke army. That army will come down on you with a fury if you trespass against their dogma.

A trio of events made me think of this. The first was Tucker Carlson’s rant this week about wokeness in our military. He commented that the signal the Biden administration was giving is that our military is embracing wokeness by providing new maternity flight suits to pregnant pilots (I don’t know if I’m allowed to say female any more), while China’s military is becoming increasingly, well, militaristic. By pointing out the focus of our military seems to be drifting, Tucker committed the ultimate sin – he seemingly disrespected women. The woke army instantly began falling all over themselves to condemn and shame Tucker from every corner of the social media world. Cancel culture is in full effect with calls to boycott advertisers to the show, etc… Who cares what his actual point was – he implied women aren’t capable of fighting wars, which we hate anyway (wars, not women or whichever pronoun is preferred), but that doesn’t matter because this week we love our military again, I think (it’s hard to keep track), because we’re purging all those MAGA people from the military because, you know, Nazi’s.

Meanwhile, I watched Bill Maher’s monolog highlighting China’s relentless push forward while America gnashes their teeth and wails about being triggered by statues and the naming of sports teams or pancake syrup. Maher: “In China alone, they have 40,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. America has none. … We’ve been having Infrastructure Week every week since 2009 but we never do anything. Half the country is having a never-ending woke competition deciding whether Mr. Potato Head has a dick and the other half believes we have to stop the lizard people because they’re eating babies. We are a silly people,” You know things have gone bad when an ultra lefty is the one calling out the ridiculousness of our wokeness.

Last night I had a moment of sadness while watching the series “For all mankind”. Excellent, highly recommend. Spoiler alert – it’s about an alternate reality similar to “The Man in the High Castle”. What made me sad is I realized that our brief moment of American exceptionalism is probably done. Sure, there are still plenty of pockets of innovation scattered throughout the country. But every step forward will be dragged down by the burden of being woke. As a country we seem determined to quash our can-do spirt by ensuring that every endeavor spends equal amounts of time devoted to having the exact right minority representation, that we properly highlight all ethnic and religious celebrations, and that #internationalindigenouspeoplesday is appropriately celebrated. We’re probably not far from the government mandating that all businesses have an office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) that reports into the Federal Office of Fairness.

It’s not that social progress is a bad thing. We’ve made huge strides from our past in how we treat people in this country. That is a good thing. The problem is that equity is not the same thing as equality and we’re losing that balance in our rush to make everything fair. We want everyone to have the same chance at life. While it hasn’t always been upheld, that principle of equality is what made this country exceptional. What you make of your life is entirely up to you, your life choices, and your work ethic. While some people have more roadblocks than others, you have the freedom to determine what course your life will take. Yes, the rich and societally blessed will always have an advantage. It’s been that way since the beginning of time and will always continue. If your parents have the means to send you to an Ivy league college, you probably have one step up on the gal who has to go to community college and work nights to pay for it. But the beauty of today is that community college gal has the same opportunity to start a business, run for office, or become a fabulously wealthy Instagram influencer, as the Ivy league guy if she’s smart and works hard. There’s a reason much of the lower income world aspires to move to America.

Equity and wokeness is pulling our society towards mediocrity. Nobody is allowed to be exceptional because of the fear that someone’s success was at the expense of someone who was less fortunate. We cancel anything that doesn’t reflect the group think. Corporate PR departments heavily influence business decisions as they run them through their DEI filters. Today, any individual is one poorly worded tweet away from losing their job and being ostracized from their local community. We just had two presidential elections in which people were actually afraid to publicly express their choice for fear of retribution. Depending on what city you live in, having the wrong bumper sticker on your car could mean a smashed window, or wearing a the wrong political red baseball hat could result in harassment (or worse) if you walked in the wrong woke area. Is that really the society you want? I suppose it’s all good as long as you’re on the right side of the mob.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the inflection curve will turn towards something more sane. I hope so, but I have my doubts. Personally, I think we’ve already crossed the inflection point. We’re going to have to follow this curve down for now and see where it leads. At least until a new inflection point arrives.