The Valorization Of The Tyrants

Brownstone Institute
Published on October 4, 2023

 

This is surely one of the strangest twists in official narratives in perhaps hundreds of years. The bad guys have been christened as the good guys, and the good guys have been purged, de-platformed, canceled, and demonized.

It’s a turn of events none of us could have imagined back in 2020. It cries out for an explanation. I truly fear knowing the answer as to why.

Just consider the fate of former New Zealand Prime Jacinda Ardern.

She locked down her country, trampling all rights of the people under the guise of controlling the spread of a virus. You could not go to church. You could not be unmasked. You could not leave the country and return. No one could travel there without official permission.

As bad as the United States and Europe were during this period, New Zealand was worse, and it was backed up by speech controls. Anyone protesting the policies was risking everything. And when the vaccine came along, Ardern outright said it: the people who get it will have rights but those who do not will not. It was a new biomedical caste system.

Eventually, the country did open. Now speakers decrying the whole period are attracting audiences in the thousands, and Ardern is widely unpopular. Her successor who continues to defend all this despotism is under a cloud and also deeply unpopular. The tables have completely turned. Of course the virus came anyway, as it must, so the junta that did this has turned their attention to climate change, the defense of censorship, and the escalation of the Russia/Ukraine war.

Five years ago, anyone would have supposed that a leader that acted this way would live in shame. I certainly assumed so. My supposition is that Ardern had made horrific misjudgments and would be widely decried as a confused tyrant. She would live out her days in disrepute, surely.

The opposite has happened. She is now the subject of celebratory biographies. She is lauded by mainstream media. She addressed the United Nations last year in a speech that was an open call for a new global censorship regime. True, the fact-checkers disagree with this interpretation. Instead she was merely calling out “the weaponization of free speech societies and platforms by misinformation agents.”

Oh.

In any case, in my imagination, I could not have dreamed up a specimen of error and tyranny more deserving of devaluing than Jacinda Ardern. Everything she did during the COVID era flies in the face of values that the West has held for almost a thousand years since the Magna Carta.

But I was wrong. Completely. I underestimated just how broken the world is. Instead of being disgraced, she is enjoying not one but two fellowships at Harvard University where she enjoys massive prestige and adoration by faculty, staff, and students. To me, this seems like the Twilight Zone—an ending to the story that I could not have imagined. Are we supposed to be against segregation, house arrest, forced medical treatments, locking people in nations, and censorship? I thought at least we would agree on that much. Apparently not. Apparently, it is the opposite. Everything that I believed was deprecated is exalted and all the public virtues I believed we extolled are now denounced.

It’s not just Ardern. The whole tiny but global junta that imposed all these policies seemed to be enjoying a glorious send-off by the entire establishment, even though they have been 100 percent wrong about everything. Fauci’s successor is Fauci II, and same with Walensky’s successor at the CDC. And the media propagandists who for three years lied to the public about lockdowns, masks, school closures, and shots are now writing books that are calling people like me the bad guys!

I almost cannot imagine that this has happened and I cannot fathom why.

As another example, the New York Times op-ed page has carried an amazing and very long article by Yoel Roth, the former chief censor of Twitter 1.0 before he was summarily fired by Elon Musk. The Times let him tell his tale of woe on how oppressed and beaten down he is merely for enforcing trust and safety. He was only doing his job to stop online lies!

The Twitter Files revealed that the company was obeying government priorities and blocking and throttling content that took issue with COVID policies, questions surrounding election integrity, and vaccine effectiveness. Roth, in cooperation with federal agencies, set himself up as the arbiter of truth and arguably distorted information flows based on his personal bias.

Like Ardern, I might have expected that he would retire from public life and deploy his considerable communication for a small company somewhere. But I was wrong again. Instead he holds a coveted position at the University of Pennsylvania and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

For that matter, Anthony Fauci himself is enjoying a comfy sinecure at Georgetown University.

This is not just about how high-end academia has become a haven for woke politics, censorship, and wildly pro-statist thinking across the board. That battle seems to have been won by the bad guys perhaps two decades ago. The problem is much larger. It has to do with the entire academic, corporate, political, and deep-state establishment that was heavily involved in imposing a despotic turn for the entire globe.

They are right now in the business of protecting their own, trolling the rest of us by granting awards and honors to the absolute worst offenders of core Western values. It’s like the world has been turned upside down. As grim as I believed the lockdowns that began in March 2020 were, and as much as I expected some terrible economic and cultural fallout from that period, I never would have imagined that the lockdowners and mandaters would be riding high at 42 months of this.

And at the very same time, the purges of the people who were right all along are continuing at a furious pace. Every day, we observe sneaky attacks on the greatest champions of basic liberties on which I thought everyone agreed back in 2019. Every unflattering bit of personal information on the resistors is fair game, amplified by the media, and then realized in the form of demonetizations by Big Tech, the courts, and the professional circuit generally.

The battle lines are very clear and only one side stands for the rights and liberties for which humanity worked for a millennium. The other side stands for controls, impositions, divisions, surveillance, censorship, degrowth, and corporate cartelizations. Can someone explain to me why we are supposed to think that the bad guys are now the good guys? In short, how can we account for the valorization of tyrants?

 

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute and the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and ten books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown.

Jeffrey A.Tucker’s interview with David Leis on Leaders on the Frontier can be seen here.

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