For a Polish translation of this essay, see Totalitaryzm i wygodne odrętwienie.
Consider the racism and sadism of Black Lives Matter. Now think of the blind eagerness with which thousands of otherwise decent people around the world rushed to associate themselves with these out-of-control racists to show that they were very much not racists. It was heady stuff. Right before our eyes, I Have a Dream metamorphosed into I Have a Nightmare, and nobody seemed to notice, except those already condemned as “far-Right”. They’ve all gone a bit quiet about Dr Martin Luther King Jr. of late — a bit of an inconvenient truth. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” They’ve all gone a bit quiet about that.
It seems that the more vacuous the character, the more meritorious the judgement. In Minneapolis, a man, George Floyd, died when an overzealous police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on Floyd’s neck during his arrest. It was murder. For more than six thousand years we’ve recognised that murder is seriously wrong and had mechanisms in place both for preventing it, and for ensuring justice when it did occur. Today that mechanism is so sophisticated that the content of George Floyd’s character, insubstantial as it was, ought to play no role in the dispensing of justice. When BLM and “social justice warriors” were “triggered”, this obvious grand milestone in civilisation was the first to be torn down.
The fact that George Floyd had been murdered became irrelevant, and our mechanism for dispensing justice along with it. What mattered was that he was black, and the one who had murdered him was white. That the murderer was a police officer added value to the case as it allowed for a general activist antipathy towards the police to be weaponised and pressed into service to advance another Left wing agenda: paralyse the capacity of the state to protect its citizens, including, naturally, its capacity for dealing with Floyd’s murder.
The opportunity to terrorise and “burn down” the cities of America was too good to pass up, leaving only one way for the matter to be dealt with. And from coast to coast, Mayors capitulated. In a foreshadowing of America's own Year Zero, statues were pulled down and public spaces renamed. Even cities in other countries got in on the orgy of mayhem and destruction. According to Wikipedia, this is how it ended: “The City of Minneapolis settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd's family for $27 million. Chauvin was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter on April 20, 2021 and on June 25, 2021, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.” Clearly, the state still had the capacity to act. What had been drawn into question was its capacity to act justly, because the only thing that mattered was a black life. This is racism.
At the same time as Derek Chauvin’s trial was underway, a conviction of another police officer in another case of race and police brutality was being appealed. This other case involved the same police force in the same city, Minneapolis, only this time the police officer was black and the murdered civilian was white. Since black lives matter, it would all have been a straightforward case of nothing-to-see-here, except for the fact that the officer who committed the murder was not only black; he was also a Muslim, Mohamed Noor. This case was radioactive. Here is Robert Spencer’s overview:
[Minneapolis Mayor Betsy] Hodges wasn’t excited because Mohamed Noor had the skills necessary to become a fine police officer. She was only excited because he represented a religious and ethnic group that she was anxious to court. And it became increasingly clear — as we learned about Mohamed Noor’s nervousness and jumpiness and lack of respect for women, and from his own account of events that he relayed to friends (that he was “startled” and reacted by opening fire) — that Mohamed Noor was not cut out to be a policeman. He did not have the temperament for it, and if he hadn’t killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond, he would likely have done something similar at some point.
A black (Somali) police officer was too good an opportunity for the multiculturalist Mayor to pass up; she was not going to let his known unsuitability for the role get in the way of such a colourful diversity feather, oblivious to the fact that she was setting herself up as a hostage to Muslim supremacism and entitlement, in other words, Shari’a. Not even Noor's known misogyny could dent his impeccable diversity credentials. When his boss expressed the wish that he cooperate with the investigation (he had refused to speak), the Mayor, also a woman, sacked her. She had said something that tarnished the character of a Muslim. Mohamed Noor had been sentences to 12.5 years imprisonment in June 2019. But that capitulation, as we shall see, did not go anywhere near far enough.
If the reader thought that the 10-year longer sentence for Derek Chauvin would raise eyebrows, they would be right. It raised more than just eyebrows; it raised fists, not because of unfairness towards Chauvin — don’t be silly — but because of unfairness towards Noor. Mohamed Noor should not have been convicted at all. He is a Muslim. Only a Muslim may judge a Muslim, and he must be harsh towards the infidel (in this case a white kafir woman) and must be lenient towards the Muslim (in this case a Somali police officer). Bless the poor fools; they did their best, but an infidel court has no right to try a Muslim at all. It was a grievous affront to the entire Muslim community. Christine Douglas-Williams offers a disturbing insight not only into the character of one of "America's finest," but also into the extent to which submission to Islam and capitulation to Muslims have become ingrained in the American body politic.
In September 2021, the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned Noor’s conviction for third-degree murder, and directed he be sentenced for the lesser offence of second-degree manslaughter, for which, in October 2021, his sentence was reduced to 4.75 years imprisonment, widening the gap between his treatment and that of Chauvin by a further seven years and nine months. A discrepancy between the treatment of a black murderer and a white murderer had been upgraded to a discrepancy between the treatment of a Muslim murderer and a kafir murderer. Needless to say, the Muslims of Minneapolis were still outraged, as were the battalions of social justice warriors and, of course, the lost city's public officials, charging “Islamophobia” and racism. Few dared to call them out on it. This is much more serious than racism, serious enough as that is. This is dhimmitude.
It seems that the only one involved in this sorry episode of ethical collapse in the subjugation of a great free nation to Shari'a, the one who remained untainted by racism and held the banner for civilisation high, was a small band of embattled people of conscience, among whom Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, spoke some of the few sane words to make it out from a rapidly-forming 'Great Lakes Caliphate' (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario):
We were satisfied that Justine's killer was found guilty, but we remained concerned that the police force, as an institution was deeply flawed. …The fact that another person has died at the hands of the Minneapolis police using excessive force shows that they have not made adequate changes to their practices and training as we had been told they would after Justine's murder.
“A lot of work [and lives, AP] went into creating a society where that choice [between bigotry and justice] was a fairly easy one to make, but that wasn't the case with George Orwell at a time when assumptions of this kind [bigotry] were very common,” said Christopher Hitchens of Orwell’s resignation as a British colonial policeman in Burma, fearing that if he remained in his job, colonial bigotry and injustice would invade his character.
And very common such bigotry has once again become, educated Western people have occupied the darkest crevasse in the moral pit, and there made themselves comfortable. George Orwell and Martin Luther King’s lives overlapped like that of father and son, and from the vantage point of the heart of darkness we’ve come to know as Black Lives Matter, these two beacons seem to have lived in a Golden Age when human could still speak truth unto human. 1968 started the long death of all that, culminating in the supreme ignominy of Joseph Conrad’s 1897 novella, The Nigger of the “Narcissus”, in 2009 being published under the title, The N-Word of the Narcissus. At first I thought this was a parody, but no. Concerning the change, Google books offers the following whitewash, “The story originally appeared with a title featuring a racial slur,” not daring even to say its name. The skin colour black has itself become schizophrenic. Even from his mountaintop, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. would not have seen that coming.
The critical thing about it is he [Orwell] didn't face this prejudice in other people. He wasn't a liberal humanitarian facing down policemen in Selma Alabama, who had horses and dogs on their side. He was facing that policeman in himself. He was wondering what it would be like to be that person and decided he'd have to vanquish it within his own personality and that, I submit, is often the harder of the struggles to undertake.
George Orwell judged himself by the content of his character, and took steps to ensure that the content of that character, when one day judged by others, would not be found deficient. We often hear the perverse claim that “jihad is inner struggle”. It is the struggle against the self to become a better person. This is all well and good, except for the difference that the context makes to how this “better person” is understood. To Orwell and King (and Hitchens and all who still have their humanity intact), a better person was one who did not judge by the colour of skin, but by the content of character, or, what amounts to the same thing, did not judge by religious faith, but by the content of doctrine. Muslims are “the best of people raised up from mankind,” asserts their scripture. The best deed a Muslim can perform is jihad warfare against non-Muslims, and the best of such war-faring Muslims is the one who dies in the act of killing non-Muslims in jihad. There is nothing irrational about fearing Islam.
The Western useful idiots who conspire with Muslims to impose Shari’a onto free people, be they politicians beholden to “the Muslim vote” (as if Muslims exercise free votes) or officials enamoured with Islam, or feminists promoting the hijab, or priests and rabbis who imagine themselves involved in “interfaith dialogue”, they, together with bigoted policemen, vindictive judges and psychopathic torturers, are all that George Orwell feared he might become, before he resigned his role as a colonial policeman.
I think it was a tremendous advice to Orwell, as a writer, to have understood this [the pornographic nature of power] right from the start. Just strip away the hypocrisy that underlies authority. He'd done all this and come back to England where he decided to go out to be a tramp and then to take the dirtiest jobs he could find and pretend to be someone who was going to be arrested for drunkenness and thrown in the cells for a few nights, or sleeping in the doss houses or hanging around among the unemployed. He went native, as we used to say, as if he was in a colony, but in his own country. He'd done all this by the time that what we call the ’30s — the great political decade of the century — had got underway, so that when the grand confrontation of our democracy, communism, Stalinist and fascism, Nazism hit not just Europe but the world, he was ready for it in a way. He knew what the subtexts were, and I believe that helped him to be prescient.
As this text, the first in a long series, is a contribution to a debate, I had better spell out how I understand the distinctions between fascism, totalitarianism and religion. Karl Marx saw the original condition of man as subject to an array of nature-imposed necessities, the most basic of which being the necessity to eat; necessities that consumed the totality of human time and effort. Freedom, for Marx, consists in liberating time from allocation to procuring or safeguarding our food, sex, shelter, etc. How that free time is socially distributed is a different matter, as is what we do with it once we have it. But it is free time that allows humans to escape the nature-imposed bestial condition. Marx’s conception is: to be human is to be free. Freedom represents the triumph of free time over necessary time, over nature-imposed necessity. This idea is not original to Marx. It is already present in Publius Terentius Afer’s famous “Nothing that is human is alien to me”.
In a fly-on-the-wall documentary some two decades ago, a small group of families in Britain took part in an experiment in which, for a period, they would live as hunter-gatherers did. Everyone was rather jolly and excited about their jaunt into the Stone Age. They sat cross-legged in their circles discussing everything until they eventually got around to voting on what actions they would take. It gradually dawned on them that there was not enough hours in the day to both sit around discussing things and procure enough food for everybody. Some appreciated sooner than others that unless one of them took control and imposed on everyone else what needed to be done, and they did it immediately without question, they would soon have nothing to eat. To others, this registered as a failure. Either way, it was a rude awaking for the hippie-esque idealists. So before matters got to where they would have had to kill the neighbours to take their food, they abandoned the Stone Age for the supermarket vacuum packs that they could microwave and savour while sitting cross-legged in circles solving the problems of the world. Whether the experience had taught them anything about the relationship between freedom and food was not clear. Thomas Hobbes offers a sense of the condition that affords only necessary time:
In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor the use of commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
And Karl Marx does the same for the condition in which free time has replaced necessary time:
Where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.
I understand the distinction to be between the lack of humanity and the consummation of humanity. Totalitarianism imposes the former condition by the total negation of humanity; the continuation of necessary time by other means. Power consists in seizing the free time of others, degrading their time to necessary time, might is right, the original condition of oppression and poverty. It also consists in controlling, if not directly seizing, the free time of others. Free time allows contemplation, seeking answers to questions. Religion, by offering ready-made answers to questions, occupies this free time, and rents it back the believer in exchange for the means of life.
The Catholic Church would not permit the Bible to be available in the vernacular, thereby rendering the believing poor perpetually dependent on the clergy and paying for the privilege. From the rich the Church extracted rent in exchange for their knowledge on how to fix things for them after they are dead. Islam insists that its believers cannot know anything that the “scholars” have not vouchsafed for them. Their condition is one of doctrinally-enforced ignorance. “We hear and we obey,” (Qur’an 24:51), and the ulema have secured the means of life at the believers’ expense. Only today is this fantastic scam breaking down, forcing the “scholars” to take time off from bamboozling the believers to shore up their system of bamboozling the believers.
To possess all answers to all questions, especially what it means to be human, holding these answers to be sacrosanct and ensuring that they are never contradicted, is hence a total negation of humanity. I understand fascism to mean not merely the total negation of humanity, but the positive affirmation of inhumanity, the restriction to necessary time in the most evil ways imaginable. Under totalitarianism, uniformity is everything; under fascism, the enforcement of uniformity is everything.
All religions are totalitarian, but not all religions are necessarily fascist. Christianity, for example, is totalitarian: everyone in the world must accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and “come to the Father” only through Christ, and it is prepared to proselytise, and in former times kill, and most gruesomely so, to achieve that end. Islam, on the other hand, is not only totalitarian; it is also fascist. Everyone in the world must accept that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and it makes virtues of the grossest evil to accomplish that.
- I remain unconvinced that Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin can be coupled together in the term “Marxism-Leninism”. Few would want to publicly take a closer look at this term any time soon, let alone drop it. There is still too much bad blood to sensibly get to the bottom of this particular propaganda coup, which is a convenient untruth still propping up too many prejudices on all sides.