“Great” is the it-word of our day.

The pandemic has motivated some to push for a Great Reset, wherein capitalism is set aside in favor of some presumably better way of economic interaction (i.e. the Best-and-Brightest will run our lives for us). That this form of society (aka socialism, communism, fascism, and the like – yes, they’re all kissing cousins) has produced nothing but misery and death isn’t going to deter those Best-and-Brightest.

Flying under the radar for now, but not for much longer, is the Great Resignation, where people who’ve been shown the “better life” of not working by the pandemic leave their jobs for good. Supported, no doubt, by eternal government largesse. That the Best-and-Brighest have proposed Universal Basic Income can’t be a coincidence.

Overriding both of these is what I’m calling the Great Gaslighting, the giant con job being perpetrated on us by the proponents of Critical Race Theory, post-modern cultural thinking, “woke” ideology, and social justice.

It both is and isn’t what you think.

It’s easy for those on the Right to assert the Left is attempting to gaslight them as to the realities of this seismic cultural shift, and they’re not wrong. Thing is, they see it, and they’re reacting to it. Which actually helps the gaslighters quite a bit.

The Great Gaslighting is being perpetrated on liberals as well. Even more so than on the right, and some prominent liberals are noticing. Some have gathered, along with notable voices from the other side of the aisle, at the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), where they decry the “cynical and intolerant orthodoxy” being “enforced” in our institutions, public, private, and educational.

Finding common cause with your ideological counterpart is one of the great taboos of modern discourse – a sad state of affairs that’s leveraged by the gaslighters via “guilt-by-association” and reactive “if the Right says wet, you clearly must say dry” gainsaying. Liberals are steered, by the reactions the cultural warriors have elicited from the Right into supporting their agenda, into telling the Right that they’re overreacting, that they are being “fragile,” that they won’t admit their inherent racism, or that they’re paranoid. Gaslighting-by-proxy, while being gaslit themselves.

What is this gaslighting? That CRT is just about different perspectives and learning history. That political correctness is just about politeness and respect. That being “woke” is simply being a good person, mindful of others’ plight and life-difficulties.

All this masks the much starker reality.

Andrew Sullivan, a bona-fide liberal if there ever was one, warns us in his column today (well worth reading) of what another columnist dubbed “successor ideology:”

[T]his ideology wishes, first and foremost, to repeal and succeed a liberal society and democracy.

Like the Great Reset, all these seismic shifts in cultural thinking are at their core about instituting (nay, imposing) a post-capitalism order on society. What comes after capitalism? Well, clearly, a society ordered by the aforementioned Best-and-Brightest, who’ve rebranded and rehabilitated the word “socialism” by adding a happy little adjective to the front, and they’ve recruited the ranks of well-meaning liberals to the defense of their decidedly illiberal worldview.

Yes, illiberal. There is nothing liberal about punishing people for saying the wrong things. Cancel culture (if you deny its existence, you’re just lying to yourself) is about punishment and intimidation, not about education or correction. The rapid modification of language, purportedly to remove any whiff of potential “offense” from the public forum, is about the suppression of discourse above all else. Use the wrong words, and you flag yourself as a problem. Tolerance is replaced by intolerance, human interaction is weaponized (guilt-by-association is all the rage among the cancelers), religious beliefs of the wrong sort are an invitation for endless harassment and economic warfare, and any criticism of orthodoxy is treated as Inquisitors treated heresy or apostasy.

I’ve made it a point to start drawing a sharp distinction between “liberal” and “leftist,” because the two have less and less in common as the Left continues its jackbooted march.

I’ve been assured on many occasions that I’m nuts for seeing Marxism underlying all this. No matter that what we are witnessing today bears every hallmark of Marxist thinking, modified to be about identity division and divisiveness rather than about class. No matter that the leaders of Black Lives Matter (the organization) have self-identified as Marxists and are engaging in an updated form of the Cloward-Piven strategy meant to cause societal collapse and the emergence of a new, socialistic order. No matter that the Democratic Socialists of America are according-to-Hoyle socialists (no matter their rebranding efforts) who unapologetically support Venezuela’s dictator Nicolas Maduro, and intend to replace capitalism. See: Successor Ideology.

There is no liberalism in any of this. There is no tolerance, there is no respect for others, there is no “good person” standard being applied. Above all, there is no room for the individual. That individual rights and equal treatment under the law are the cornerstones of our nation and society, actual or aspirational, is, for these Best-and-Brightest of todays Left, the problem. You, the individual, don’t matter. You only matter in your conforming to the(ir) demands for your identity group and your conformity to those demands. Your individual rights: speech, religion, association/assembly, self-defense, property, and so on, are of no use to the Left, and will receive no defense from them.

There is no reasoning or common ground with the illiberal. You might as well try to find common ground with Stalin, Pol Pot, or Guevara (and if you own/wear a Che t-shirt, you’re an asshole).

We’re witnessing a great cultural crackup, and a massive gaslighting of not just the Right, but liberals themselves. Liberals are being played. They’re the “useful idiots” they’ve so often accused the “deplorables” of flyover country of being. They’e unwitting accomplices in a destruction of the core values of this nation, in favor of a totalitarian and autocratic cultural order that seizes what it wants, exploits whomever it chooses, and deliberately turns us against our fellow citizens. Left unchecked, it will destroy the nation. What will succeed it will horrify the liberals who abetted that destruction.

Sullivan spells it out:

Liberalism leaves you alone. The successor ideology will never let go of you. Liberalism is only concerned with your actions. The successor ideology is concerned with your mind, your psyche, and the deepest recesses of your soul. Liberalism will let you do your job, and let you keep your politics private. S.I. will force you into a struggle session as a condition for employment.

It’s by now an endless refrain: Orwell warned us of this.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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