Just as time is a one-way arrow, “the politicization of everything” is a one-way
road to dissolution and collapse.
The essence of any Totalitarian society is the politicization of everything, as
everything must be either supporting the status quo or it’s a threat to the status quo.
There is no middle ground in a Totalitarian society and so everything–literally everything–
must be politicized to assess its true nature of being “for” or “against” the status quo.
In such a society, what cannot be politicized ceases to exist. It isn’t counted
or recognized, and so it fades into a netherworld of shadows, a dangerous realm where
the mere act of attempting to recognize a non-politicized experience is itself a threat to
the status quo.
You will of course be thinking of the former Soviet Union (USSR) and other Totalitarian
societies. Here’s an extreme example of how the politicization of everything
works: a conventional worker in a conventional factory happens to mention to a co-worker that he
dreamed Stalin had fallen ill, and this worried him. The co-worker reported this disturbing dream
to the proper authorities, who instantly recognized the true nature of the dream
and sentenced the worker to 10 years in the Gulag for having an anti-Soviet dream.
(A 10-year sentence in the Gulag was so common that it was nicknamed “a tenner.”)
In America circa 2020, “a tenner” for the wrong thought, opinion or dream takes other
forms. Indeed, even the claim that a dream might not have a political angle is itself cause
for being sentenced to “a tenner,” because the core of the Totalitarian society is the
politicization of everything.
Every object, entity, image, document, historical “fact,” person, thought, emotion, reaction, narrative,
opinion, everything tangible or intangible, has a barely concealed political subtext in a
There is nothing innocuous, innocent or whimsical in a Totalitarian society, at least in the public
sphere. In an era permeated by the cruel marriage of surveillance capitalism and the
bitterly divided state, even the once-private sphere is subject to public exposure and
shaming / sentencing.
As in an Orwellian nightmare, your “smart” phone, vehicle, TV or Alexa-powered doorbell can eavesdrop
and record your private conversations and behaviors, and somebody somewhere has access to this data
and can share it with others.
The ostensible justification is “your safety” or “to catch wrongdoing,” but this is
transparently false. The
real reason is to discern your political crimes. You need not
commit any crimes per se to be persecuted; all that’s needed is some tiny bit of evidence that
reflects your true beliefs which by definition must be supportive of the status quo
via endless virtual-signaling; if not, then they are necessarily a threat to the status quo.
To remain confidential, everyday life must be treated as wartime. Your hand-written journal
is safe, as long as you don’t share it digitally. But since we’ve morphed into an engagement-based
social order, your selfhood now depends on engaging others digitally via “likes,” shares,
etc. and sharing your most “engaging” images and experiences.
A non-shared, non-digital private life is now a form of non-existence that most people find
painful and isolating. Hence the obsessive addiction to social media and “sharing” one’s
(carefully edited) life online.
Alas, even the most careful editing cannot conceal your true beliefs which will be
revealed by the smallest detail: your location, the brand of items you’re wearing, etc.
In a bitterly divided society, your beliefs will be political crimes to one camp
or another. Any attempt to “find common ground” will be dismissed as a self-serving ploy,
or more dangerously, as a hidden agenda of the forces attempting to destroy the Party.
Those furiously virtue-signaling to maintain their political righteousness within
their chosen camp find the sands shifting beneath their feet. The most extreme virtue-signaling
is rewarded until it becomes a new threat, and then those who strayed unknowingly beyond
the invisible lines will find themselves cast out for political crimes whose definition is
Science has long be politicized, of course, but now it is being hyper-politicized
as the stakes keep rising. Claims of neutrality are necessarily viewed as nothing more
than clever facades to mask the real motives of self-interest and collusion.
Just as time is a one-way arrow, the politicization of everything is a one-way
road to dissolution and collapse. Wishing it wasn’t so doesn’t make it so.
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