LIVING under the mental strictures of our modern woke overlords is no easy task.
Any good regime works its way into the minds of the populace, its ideological tentacles spreading, gradually becoming an accepted and all-encompassing element of everyday life. Any residual resistance can be later mopped up with the more heavy-handed accoutrements of state power.
This is why every morning in North Korea loudspeakers blare out ceaseless verses from the hymn book of Juche – the DPRK’s hodge-podge socialist philosophy. It is why every street in China is adorned with communistic slogans extolling 中国特色社会主义–’socialism with Chinese characteristics’.
The content of such proclamations is mostly nonsense. Ask a Chinese person how their system is communist and you will be met with a wall of waffle learnt in their mandatory Marxism classes. I’d say ask a North Korean about Juche too, but they are a bit harder to find.
But still, the state needs to drill its message ceaselessly into the grey matter of the population at large. Inconsistencies between the pronouncements made and observable reality are clear enough, but to mention them becomes an act of defiance. Witness the ‘Core Socialist Values’ – 社会主义核心价值观 – that one can see in almost any public place in China.
These values consist of 12 two-character phrases and are the doctrinal word salad the Chinese Communist Party purports to advance. Some of these are standard fare in China – you can’t walk five yards in the Middle Kingdom without hearing or seeing the phrase 和谐 (héxié, ‘harmony’) or 文明 (wénmíng, ‘civilisation’ or ‘culture’).
The latter of these is most commonly seen on signs in urinals, which encourage pinklers not to pinkle on the floor in Armstrongian terms: ‘one small step forward, a giant leap for civilisation’ (向前一小步，文明一大步).
It’s certainly a laudable aim. However, some of the other Core Socialist Values are harder to read with a straight face: 自由 (zìyóu, freedom), 法制 (fǎzhì, rule of law) and 民主 (mínzhǔ, democracy) spring to mind. In touting these as its core principles, the Chinese Communist Party is surely pushing the limits of believability too far.
At this point it would be pleasant to say something along the lines of: ‘Thank goodness we Westerners are free from such mental mumbo-jumbo. As children of the Enlightenment, we are immune from such ideological trickery.’
This would, I’m afraid, be wishful thinking. There is a vast assortment of glaring inconsistencies in modern thought that any good citizens of the post-reality world have to maintain simultaneously.
Cognitive dissonance is everywhere. Society applauds the hypersexualisation of women and normalises ‘sex work’, yet it is in a perpetual moral panic about the slightest sexual impropriety. Selling custom sex tapes online is in, but a clumsy knee-touch is out.
Whilst this is happening it is claimed there are no differences between men and women, although feminine attributes are, simultaneously, preferable to masculine. Despite there being no differences – with even the category of ‘woman’ facing erasure in face of a pick-and-mix approach to gender identity (‘menstruating people’, anyone?) – women perpetually suffer under the yoke of male oppression. Clearly a simple solution to all this would be for all men to ‘identify’ as female.
Additionally, Boris Johnson’s recent pledge to Build Back Better in a ‘more gender-neutral, more feminine way’ is a surely a hot contender for the most mind-bendingly nonsensical example in the canon of gender rubbish.
Then there are flags. Draping yourself in the flag of the European Union or painting your cheeks in the Palestinian colours is an act of unparalleled virtue. Showing affection towards the Union Jack is an act of high gammonry, however.
And there are thousands of others. The NHS is the ‘envy of the world’ but we have had to cancel our lives to make sure it doesn’t fall apart like some clapped-out British Leyland motor. Covid-19 is a threat, but highly survivable for most. Face masks aren’t proven to be effective, but they must constantly be worn. The Western world is the most racist place on earth, yet non-white people flow there in their masses to live. Our history is uniquely marred by the crime of slavery, but we were the first nation in history to outlaw it. We are constantly facing an impending climate catastrophe, but it never arrives.
It’s enough to make your head spin.
There are very clear ripostes to most of these lines of ideological assault that conservatives could use. Men have penises, women have vaginas. Western countries are among the least racist in human history. Patriotism is a virtue, not a vice.
These are obvious enough, one would have thought. The problem doesn’t lie in the simple truths that underpin conservative thought, but instead in the nature of conservatives whose predilection it is to be left alone. When the ideological Vikings land, threatening to lay waste lest you fail to recognise their preferred pronouns, it is much easier to pay the ideological Danegeld to make them go away. Accept the demand and toe the line.
The Danegeld never gets rid of the Dane, of course. The problem conservatives face now is that although they may wish to push back, in a world without a foundational belief system they have no red lines that cannot be crossed. In wishing to accommodate the Left, they have surrendered on fundamental principles underpinning reality.
If God didn’t create man and woman, then what is the harm in deconstructing the idea? If we don’t recognise the perils of false idols, then why get worked up about the cults surrounding the eco-gnome Thunberg or the convicted criminal George Floyd?
Conservatives sit by, hoping that the storm will run its course. They optimistically think that the inherent contradictions which mutate without end from progressive ‘thought’ mean it is likely to eventually collapse in on itself under the weight of contradictions. I am less optimistic. I do not see the metric tonne of cognitive dissonance as a bug in a system but a feature.
By piling high the clear insanities, the Left is undertaking the largest gaslighting exercise in history. It destabilises people’s mental equilibrium and leaves them vulnerable to the predations of ideological snake-oil salesmen.
The job of the conservative is to show that the wares of the Left are but hollow imitations. You cannot build a reliable engine with shoddy parts: the brittle and violently incompatible components of woke thought can engineer only the most meagre of machines. But if you fail to present the alternative, don’t be surprised if people opt for these second-rate goods.
Like anyone living under a regime of intense propaganda, most people know this truth. It’s just they’re often too frightened to speak out.
It should be the role of conservatives to decry all the madness and offer clear, timeless truths in their stead. It is something that, until now, we have resolutely failed to do. It’s ultimately why we’re in such a God-awful mess.
In countries such as China and North Korea the official lie reigns unassailably supreme. Here we still at least have the possibility of launching a counter-attack.
However, the more territory we cede, the less likelihood we have of pulling it off. We must stop flying the white flag.