Welcome to the bonfire of the governments, history’s greatest conflagration.
Think of an activity that’s essential for a government bent on subjugation: censorship and the suppression of expression. Governments on both sides of the present conflict have further jacked up their efforts to control expression from the plateau reached with Covid. Russia just passed a law imposing a 15-year prison sentence for anyone spreading “fake news” about its invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. and European governments and lapdog legacy and social media have blanketed populaces with official propaganda. Just as with Covid, questions and deviations from the approved narrative are stifled, censored, and punished.
It was all so much easier back in the post World War II, pre-internet good old days. In the U.S. and Europe, there were several “papers of record” that had been infiltrated by intelligence agencies, and state-licensed radio and television stations. In the Soviet Union there wasn’t even that, just a few official propaganda organs.
Yet even with that degree of control, government repression wasn’t wholly effective. In the U.S. the truth got out about the Vietnam War. The Soviets could stop everything but people talking with each other, albeit in hushed tones. The cynical humor became legendary. (“They pretend to pay us, we pretend to work.”) Humor always contains an element of truth, which is why statists can’t do humor. The number of citizens red-pilled to Soviet corruption and incompetence and the comparative freedom and wealth of the West reached critical mass and the government fell. It took way too long, but it happened.
Today, there are billions of potential journalists and video producers—anyone with a cell phone and access to the internet—and trillions of text and email communications. People still occasionally engage in face-to-face conversations. The infrastructure needed to monitor all this is complex, gargantuan, and costly. Only algorithms and artificial intelligence can sort through it to identify threats to the state. Once identified, a separate infrastructure is necessary to apprehend, arrest, process, incarcerate and perhaps execute those engaged in wrongthought, wrongspeak, wrongwrite, and wrongact.