If you have ever seen the first of the Rambo films (First Blood), you will know that a Vietnam War vet who just wants to be left alone is harassed mercilessly by some small-town law enforcement folks. That is a big mistake, and it leads to all sorts of trouble not just for the sheriff and his colleagues, but for an entire community in America’s northwest.
The idea of just wanting to be left alone is of course one that many of us can approve of and seek for ourselves, our families, and our loved ones. However, I am here to inform you that while this might have been viable not all that long ago in the West, it seems that it is no longer something we can count on.
The sad truth is, modern Western states have decided – much like the cruel, sadistic sheriff – that they will NOT leave you and me alone. In the name of creating a better world – and giving themselves much more power and control – they have declared that we citizens must be fully brought under the authority of the state. Everything is now being politicised – including our leisure time, sport, entertainment, and even what we might grow in our own home veggie patch.
The state wants full access to and control over every aspect of our lives. Hmm, sounds just like communism, doesn’t it? It sure does, but the sad reality is, the West is more and more heading fully in the direction of the communists of old.
There are many others I can draw upon here to make this case, but let me focus here on just one author that I have discussed before. The Polish philosophy professor Ryszard Legutko has lived under communism and is now a member of the European Parliament – so he fully knows all about both communism and liberal democracy.
In his important book The Demon In Democracy (Encounter Books, 2016), he compellingly makes the case for how both systems are much closer aligned than we might have imagined. Let me feature just three quotes from this vital work. Early on he says this:
[T]here is some interplay between liberal democracy and communism. This book explains this interplay in detail. At the outset, I will point to one obvious link. Both communism and liberal democracy are regimes whose intent is to change reality for the better. They are — to use the current jargon — modernization projects. Both are nourished by the belief that the world cannot be tolerated as it is and that it should be changed: that the old should be replaced with the new. Both systems strongly and — so to speak — impatiently intrude into the social fabric and both justify their intrusion with the argument that it leads to the improvement of the state of affairs by “modernizing” it. (pp. 5-6)
A bit later he says this:
Having cast away the obligations and commitments that come from the past, the communist and the liberal democrat quickly lose their memory of it or, alternatively, their respect for it. Both want the past eradicated altogether or at least made powerless as an object of relativizing or derision. Communism, as a system that started history anew, had to be, in essence and in practice, against memory. Those who were fighting the regime were also fighting for memory against forgetting, knowing very well that the loss of memory strengthened the communist system by making people defenseless and malleable. There are no better illustrations of how politically imposed amnesia helps in the molding of the new man than the twentieth-century anti-utopias 1984 and Brave New World. The lessons of Orwell and Huxley were, unfortunately, quickly forgotten. In my country at the very moment when communism fell and the liberal-democratic order was emerging, memory again became one of the main enemies. The apostles of the new order lost no time in denouncing it as a harmful burden hampering striving for modernity. In this anti-memory crusade, as in several other crusades, they have managed to be quite successful, more so than their communist predecessors. (pp. 8–9)
And this quote I have run with several times before:
All the objectives the communists set for themselves, and which they pursued with savage brutality, were achieved by the liberal democrats who, almost without any effort and simply by allowing people to drift along with the flow of modernity, succeeded in converting churches into museums, restaurants, and public buildings, secularizing entire societies, making secularism the militant ideology, pushing religion to the sidelines, pressing the clergy into docility, and inspiring powerful mass culture with a strong antireligious bias in which a priest must be either a liberal challenging the church or a disgusting villain. In short – one may wonder – this nonreligious and antireligious reality of today’s Western world very close to the vision of the future without religion that the communists were so excited about, and which despite the millions of human lives sacrificed on the altar of progress, failed to materialize. (pp. 167-168)
One simply has to look at how states used the excuse of “keeping us safe” during the Covid panic – they so quickly and efficiently stripped away our freedoms and human rights. And most people bought this. And of course now an excuse like the ‘climate crisis’ is also being used. To save the planet we must radically change everything. We need a ‘Great Reset.’ The project of Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum to do just this is a clear case in point.
To ‘make things better’ the West is now as fully on board with the search for utopia on earth as were the communists. And in both cases this is a coercive utopianism. Because the masses do not want to give up their cars, their steaks, their plane flights, their homes, their private property, and their right to decide for themselves how they should live their lives, the statists will force us to do it – all for our own good of course.
And that will include things like radical depopulation programs, government control of farming, energy and so much else, and Big Brother statism working hand in hand with crony capitalism. We will own nothing, eat insects, and be happy. It is all Brave New World kind of stuff, and we see it happening everywhere in the West today.
For someone like me – someone as old as me – all this is a painful reality to behold. For many decades I and other conservatives and Christians rightly rejected the myth of moral equivalence: the idea that there was no moral difference between godless, totalitarian communism, and a free, democratic West.
We knew full well that things like the rule of law, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, free and fair elections between competing political parties, the separation of powers, a free press and the like, WERE hallmarks of the West – even if not always perfectly realised and practiced. And we knew that these things were NOT hallmarks of places like the Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe.
And the greatest proof of all to show how this idea of moral equivalence was utter baloney was this: people voted with their feet – constantly – and the traffic was always in one direction only. That is, millions of people risked life and limb to flee communist hellholes to get to the free West. People never fled the West to get into Cuba or East Germany or communist China. That alone tells us all we need to know about how the two systems differed.
But notice how I just said “differed,” and not “differ”. That is because things have changed, and changed massively. While the Iron Curtain came down and the Berlin Wall fell, communism did not disappear. Now the place where we find those most enamoured with Marxism and socialism is the Western university – along with Western media, Western entertainment, Western corporations, Western bureaucracies, Western politics, Western culture, and so on.
Sure, there are still millions of freedom-loving and faith-affirming conservatives and Christians in the West, but they seem to be quickly becoming a minority. And they are less and less able to exercise power and control over their own lives and values and beliefs as statism is on the rise, and as all aspects of life are becoming politicised.
Now I happen to be the kind of guy who is not willing to see centuries of Western civilisation be flushed down the toilet overnight. Some things are worth fighting for. Freedom and the like are always worth championing. But sadly, nothing in this world will last – including the West itself. And that is what we are now witnessing.
So it may be time to realise that while old Western values are still worth standing up for, they are fast disappearing as the all-powerful state more and more seeks to take over everything there is. And given that reality, the desire to just be left alone – while understandable – is no longer viable.
The secular left, including the secular left state, will NOT leave us alone. That is not part of their plan. They ARE going after us. And that means we must resist. We must push back. So if you are looking for some sort of relaxing life in the woods or in the middle of nowhere with self-sustaining farms, and so on, that may no longer be an option – at least for the great majority of us.
Instead, standing up and resisting is our most vital need. That is what we are now called to do. We do not need a Great Reset. We need a Great Resistance.