Back in 2007, I was very much a young man, as I had only existed for two decades.
I knew next to nothing about politics or how the real world worked, but I was quite disturbed by the jingoist propaganda that the Bush administration spouted. From start to finish, that bore a lurid semblance to the political events that shaped my consciousness, where I couldn’t walk down the street for a half a mile without stumbling upon some sort of a monument commemorating the fallen heroes of World War II. With a sense of dread, I still recall how my first grade teacher took a classmate to task for failing to do his homework, insisting that had this been the “patriotic war”, the Nazis would have slaughtered him a long time ago. A year or so later, I recall how that same classmate was fortunate enough to enter a foreign exchange student program that took him to the U.S for a year. Upon returning to Russia, he walked in a more upright posture, made eye contact and didn’t feel in the slightest bit intimidated by his teachers. Needless to say, they hated him even more for it, as there was an air of dignity about him that the Russian politico-economic system was designed to suppress on every level.
About 15 years earlier, the USSR lost their “people’s artist”, Vladimir Vysotsky.
In the 1970s, he arrived in Hollywood to deliver a performance. Without comprehending a single word, the listeners could not help but sense the spell-binding mystique he exuded with every utterance. In his inimitable, deep and raspy voice, Vysotsky became a legend ridiculing the commissars, the absurdity of life under socialism and gross corruption of the system.
When Spassky lost his crown to Fischer, Vysotsky released a song lampooning the communist party leader who threatened to “physically crush Fischer, be it by checkmate or not”. In a similar vein, his song on clowns with down-syndrome was an obvious caricature of Brezhnev, the senile Soviet premier who presided over the infamous “era of stagnation” that is now well known to be the leading cause of the collapse of the USSR. His other less well-known performance aptly titled as “the hunt on wolves” satirized the KGBs relentless persecution of political dissidents.
Needless to say, Vysotsky was summarily banished from the polite society and the state-owned media never aired any of his performances. Despite this, the underground prices for his concerts went through the roof, as he embodied something a universal value: freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Such liberties can arise in all parts of the world, irrespective of the people’s ethnicity, nationality, race, language or creed. That is why when he died, the bureaucrats diligently suppressed all possible leaks of information about the whereabouts of Vysotsky’s funeral, yet tens of thousands have shown up to pay their final respect.
In the most tyrannical society known to civilization, Vysotsky rejected the culture of censorship and the people lived vicariously through him. After 9-11, I was quite alarmed to see the Republicans stigmatize dissent as a fundamentally unpatriotic action. Regrettably, I cast my vote for Obama, not even a year after I’ve been granted the privilege to participate in an election.
To this day, I regret that very much. Back then, I never could have imagined that the Democrats could outdo the Bush administration in pathologizing dissent. At least Bush junior had a respectable pretext for doing so, as he claimed to have been guided by the interests of all Americans. Despite how much we can question the sincerity of his proclamation, what he did pales in comparison to the comprehensive measures of thought control that the PC left aspires to institute.
On a broader level, I strongly identify with people of all cultures who fled leftist regimes and the Scarface anti-hero embodies that theme. In first few minutes of the film, Tony wastes no time accusing the inquisitive INS agent of being a communist who wants to tell people “what to do, what to think and what to feel”.
The Bush administration may have been guided by the ulterior and self-serving ambitions of a rent-seeking government operating in a crony-capitalist system, but today’s left is attempting to undertake a profound transformation of our collective consciousness. Even in the leftist departments of Political Science, there is a consensus among professors that this is a hall-mark of totalitarianism. That is a low that the Bush administration has never stooped down to.
What I find most frightening about it is that they’ve perfected Dale Carnegie’s technique of “making people glad to do what you want them to do”. .
In contrast to the Gen Xers who naturally associated leftist utopian visions with Stalinist gulags, the millennials are vociferously clamoring for the government to curtail their liberties in every possible way imaginable. If that’s not what Dale Carnegie meant by “make people glad to do what you want them to do”, then I don’t know what is.
Something needs to be done about the PC culture, it is a cancer that’s infiltrating every sphere of our society.
Taleb had it right, this is the direct application of “the rule of the most intolerant minority” and with them, we must be especially intolerant. If we fail to do so, we’ll soon wake up to a country that we will no longer recognize. Instead of the court of justice bound by the constitution, we may well be facing a ferocious people’s assembly to enforce laws concerning thought-crimes and micro-aggressions.