Mind Police

In sum, no one knows what to do in the face of such broad and sweeping changes in the world, and in turn, artificial intelligence (AI) is taking all of us for the ride of our lives amidst these broad and sweeping changes. And amidst this vacuum of sorts is a battle of ideas and narratives about reality which is raging and being waged at a fever pitch. The case of Donald Trump is an anecdote or an example of how fierce and ferocious this battle of ideas and narratives about reality has become. For one, while the fact that Donald Trump is now being dragged to court has to do with the upcoming election, Donald Trump is also being dragged to court for not shutting up. Thus, there is yet another issue that is broader and deeper than just a mere election and it overarches all other issues, namely, the issue of mind-policing and silencing voices and getting people to stop talking. 

In a sense, this court case is not just about Donald Trump. For the most part, this case is about making an example out of Trump so that perhaps other voices can be silenced, and in turn people can stop talking. There was more than just an issue of an election that went into a continued and sustained effort at intimidating and pressuring Trump for a number of years now. But it is hard to silence people and to get people to stop thinking and talking in an economically and socially advanced Western society like the United States. And now, the effort to silence people and to get people to stop thinking and talking has gone as far as controlling and policing what people should think and what not to think. Orwell was not bluffing. 

American culture is an offshoot or an offspring of Anglo-Saxon culture. And as Orwell wrote: “Like all other modern people, the English are in the process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated.’ But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no colored shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.” 

And no matter what happens, official and mainstream culture can never cancel or erase authentic and grassroots culture. Orwell added: “But in all societies the common people must live to some extent against the existing order. The genuinely popular culture of England is something that goes on beneath the surface, unofficially and more or less frowned on by the authorities. One thing one notices if one looks directly at the common people, especially in the big towns, is that they are not puritanical. They are inveterate gamblers, drink as much beer as their wages will permit, are devoted to bawdy jokes, and use probably the foulest language in the world. They have to satisfy these tastes in the face of astonishing, hypocritical laws (licensing laws, lottery acts, etc., etc.) which are designed to interfere with everybody but in practice allow everything to happen. Also, the common people are without definite religious belief, and have been so for centuries.” 

And consider how we were all herded and hounded into thinking that Iraq had WMDs and that Osama Bin Laden planned American global hegemony in a cave in Afghanistan and we had to go get him there when in reality, he was in Pakistan. In essence, all of it was an attempt to get people to think a certain way and to control and police what people could think and what people could not think. It was an imposition of the ‘groupthink’ which exists at the top onto the grassroots. And will they be able to get everyone to shut up and stop thinking and talking? From the looks of it, it is highly unlikely. 

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