Many Gentle Readers are already acquainted with this subject, owing to the rise of cancel culture and the impediments the giants of Big Tech have dropped upon our freedom of expression. Mind you, while there are many persons ready, willing, and able to offer opinions about what should be done, the subject is considerably more complex than most imagine. For cancel culture is made possible by private enterprise. The proximate cancellers are private corporations, whether their actions are moved by human wills or are algorithmically driven. So the guarantees of freedom of expression enshrined in the Bill of Rights don’t apply directly to those entities.
Does that mean nothing can be done about them? Not necessarily. However, some of the remedies proposed are guaranteed to fail completely, while others will not produce improvements sufficient to satisfy the majority of those who reject and condemn the cancellers. In part this stems from the diversity of opinion, and in part from the network effect.
But we have not yet mentioned one aspect of the political angle: the attitude of elected officials toward cancel culture. Those on the Left are largely fine with it. Indeed, some hope to see it expand still further, such that those who don’t share the Left’s positions and agenda are completely erased from political exchange. Those on the Right are likely to decry it, though the attitude is not uniform. The constitutionalist is caught between two fires, for he knows that the temptation to award governments the power to intervene in such things would inevitably be used against him when his political adversaries rise to power once again.
It is, as the King of Siam said to Anna, a puzzlement.
As enraging as contemporary cancel culture and the suppression of non-Left opinion can be, there’s worse in the offing – and this goes directly to the accounts of governments.
At Tablet magazine, Michael Young is eloquent about the terrors that could easily be unleashed against us. The thrust of the article:
The loss of real-world friction coupled with the increasing centralization of the financial system has opened up possibilities for new forms of coercion, control, and power—particularly when governments and the private sector decide to cooperate. Which brings us to the case of the Canadian prime minister….
What happens when a government is no longer required to do the very difficult, friction-filled work of finding people, writing tickets, arresting them, charging them, granting them due process, obtaining convictions, and jailing the guilty? When the government can bring a person’s practical participation in society to a standstill with the push of a button, it becomes silly to even talk about individual rights or due process. In the face of this new kind of push-button power, exercised at the whim of the governing party with zero legal oversight, individuals can simply be deleted from the system—even if, technically speaking, they are never charged with or convicted of a crime.
Please read it all. Canada’s Freedom Truckers surrounded Ottawa in hopes of compelling prime minister Justin Trudeau to lift the many restrictions that impede their practice of their trade. But Trudeau, who aspires to being Canada’s first Fuhrer, was unwilling to allow that he might have overstepped. Instead, he used “emergency powers” to blot hundreds, perhaps thousands of truckers and supporters out of “practical participation in society.” He even threatened law-abiding married couples with the loss of their children. How far his exertions have gone, I cannot say…but the mere possibility that he could do what he did – even to a single individual, and even if it were later reversed – is enough to freeze the blood.
What makes Trudeau’s bullying possible? Young is specific:
- Digital communications technology;
- The digital integration of the financial systems of the Western world;
- The willingness of nominally private financial institutions to comply with the State’s decrees.
Items 1 and 2 are generally considered major advances in efficiency and convenience. Item 3 is made possible by a species of political evil that I’ve condemned before and will again: licensure:
Licensure, when it first appeared, applied to very few things: mainly the practice of medicine and law. The rationale was “the public safety:” the protection of the layman from the quack practitioner of little or no actual skill. That rationale now applies to trades as unthreatening as the braiding of hair.
A case from some years ago, to which I was privy simply as an observer, involved a state official in Massachusetts who entered a unisex hair salon and demanded service. The attendant on duty politely asked if he could wait for the specialist in his sort of hair, who was expected to arrive shortly. When the official saw the attendant give immediate service to a subsequent arrival, he had the state police shut down the salon, invoking the state’s licensure laws for his authority.
Yes, the official was a Negro.
This is what comes of allowing the State to decide who may ply what trade and under what conditions.
The contemporary financial system, of course, is made possible by fiat money: money that is not redeemable in some physical commodity. “It’s money because we, the Omnipotent State, say it is.” Fiat money is divided between physical currency – i.e., the Federal Reserve Notes in your wallet – and accounting entries in the computer systems of financial institutions. The physical notes are a tiny portion of the “money” now “circulating” in these United States…and for that matter, in every other nation on Earth. Most “money” is merely an entry in the digital accounts of some bank.
The nature of “money” today makes it plausible that banks should be licensed and regulated. After all, we wouldn’t want the banks that hold our savings to play fast and loose with the numbers. They could pauperize us at the press of a button. So let’s have the State look over their shoulders to make sure they stay honest.
Trouble is, that merely transfers the power to pauperize us to the licensing and regulating authorities – and to the officials to whom they answer.
There’s a particularly stinging irony about the way Justin Trudeau went about his machinations. He didn’t impose fines on the truckers or their supporters; that would have been an exercise of penal authority – punishment – which in Canada as in the U.S. requires the verdict of a jury. Instead, he froze access to their accounts. Thus, he could say that he hadn’t taken a dollar from them; he’d merely limited their use of money. What banknotes and coins they had in their pockets was all they could use, until Trudeau should choose to relent.
The banks had to go along with it. Had they demurred, Trudeau could have pulled their licenses to operate and destroyed them. Thus the integrated financial system that had seemed a pure convenience only a day earlier had been transformed into an instrument of torture. That instrument is as ready to the hand of an American tyrant as it was to that of Justin Trudeau.
Inflation, the ongoing campaign against cash, cancel culture, and other current phenomena bear on the increasing fragility of our “money.” If the necessary realization hasn’t penetrated the majority of Americans’ heads, it certainly should. Perhaps it will take time.
Time, however, is not on our side. The Usurper Regime is becoming desperate as the national economy declines. The Usurpers have no intention of relinquishing power this side of the grave. Now that they face electoral disaster in 2022, we must fear arbitrary, unpredictable incursions on Americans’ freedom to avert the loss of their perches. They’re aware of what Justin Trudeau did to the Freedom Truckers, and aware that the same lever is in their hands.
Reread this essay. Buy gold and silver while you still can. And pray.