Interview conducted by David Josef Volodzko

by Margaret Anna Alice. Originally published on her Substack.


When David Josef Volodzko proposed a letter exchange with me, I realized as soon as I read his first letter that this is someone with the intellectual acuity; breadth of literary, historical, and cultural knowledge; depth of character; and sheer writing talent capable of upholding the high standard I have established for my Dissident Dialogues series.

So for this Dissident Dialogue, David will be reversing roles with me, asking provocative questions and guiding the conversation until we reach a natural conclusion. This is the first entry in our letter exchange with more to follow as our schedules permit. David will also be posting our letters at his Stack, which is a must-follow if you enjoy the topics I write about.

David Josef Volodzko

David’s writings have been published in New York MagazineForeign PolicyThe NationThe New RepublicBloombergForbesThe Wall Street JournalSlateVice, and The Seattle Times, but don’t hold that against him. David has earned his dissident credentials, having been canceled by The Seattle Times for daring to criticize Lenin’s “secret police raids, mass torture, forced resettlements, and genocidal killings” and refusing to grovel before the Twitter mob. But I’ll let him tell that story since he does it so well.

A richly nuanced, free thinker, David has merrily escaped the maw of the propagandists and is now forging his own path in the world of independent journalism. He writes about “communism, fascism, and political extremism in all its forms” at The Radicalist. I gratefully welcome him to his newly liberated role and encourage you to sign up for his Substack.

Margaret Anna Alice

written by David Josef Volodzko

This begins my conversation with Margaret Anna Alice on fascism, censorship, and humor. We have no set schedule and we intend to exchange letters until the conversation runs its course. Margaret Anna writes about propaganda, psychology, and health with a focus on COVID at Margaret Anna Alice Through the Looking Glass, where every post she publishes is an intellectual journey and her brilliant use of literary, film, and music references makes each one a digital pocket museum all its own. She is also frighteningly clever and possesses a formidable wit so I expect the conversation will not only be educational but also hella fun to read. Enjoy.

Q&A #1

David Josef Volodzko: Illustration of a Man Laboring over a Letter


Dear Margaret Anna,

I have been reading your work with admiration. I see your concerns about Covid restrictions and, more generally, propaganda and totalitarianism. We agree on much but maybe not everything, so I think there is fertile ground for a constructive conversation.

You reference a lot of artistic work in your political essays, from Robert Eggers’s film The Lighthouse to Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s book The Gulag Archipelago and de La Boétie’s The Politics of Obedience. I love the references. I think art is a crucial form of dissent, maybe especially comedic art because of its power to handle serious issues in a way that slips past people’s defenses. Indeed, some scholars have included seriousness and the restriction of humor in their definitions of “fascism.”

I don’t think opposition to humor is an essential part of the definition of “fascism,” but it is a very common element. I have previously written about how to best define fascism in an essay titled “What is fascism?,” in which I disagree with the political commentator Robert Reich for calling Donald Trump a fascist. I also disagree with his definition of “fascism,” and in the essay, I outline what I think are the fundamental aspects of the movement as well as the fact that it evolved from socialism.

I think Reich’s rhetoric is dangerous for the same reason I shake my head when climate change scientists are caught fudging the numbers. They do this to raise alarm, but what they fail to realize is that if and when they are caught, people will not merely think to themselves, “those numbers were wrong.” They will think,” I better not trust climate scientists anymore.” This is precisely why scientists should be as accurate as possible at all times, especially if their field is a highly politicized one. This is also why we shouldn’t throw the word “fascist” around simply to describe our political rivals.

With that in mind, in your essay “Letter to the German Bundestag,” you draw comparisons between Nazi Germany and modern Germany’s pandemic policies. You compare the unvaxxed to Jews in terms of social ostracism, and I don’t disagree that unvaxxed individuals are ostracized, but the comparison strikes me as similar to the error Reich made. Namely, hyperbole.

That said, I mentioned at the top of this letter the importance of humor, and hyperbole can accomplish something similar. In fact, many jokes are based on hyperbole. So I wonder to what degree you think drawing such comparisons is fair, unfair now but a warning of what may come, or just a useful piece of rhetorical hyperbole.

In Sioux culture, there are individuals known as heyoka who are essentially contrarians and satirists. They go around countering the dominant narrative and causing people to think twice. They are not trying to tell the truth. They are trying to get people to question The Truth. So is this an example of your inner heyoka?

If so, I imagine some of these hyperbolic points land better with unvaxxed individuals than with your political rivals, so I wonder, do you have concerns about preaching to the choir? I assume most of my readers share many of my views or they wouldn’t be reading my work, therefore I also struggle with the problem of choir-preaching. I often find some of my essays that I am most proud of are the ones that land favorably with readers across the political spectrum.

Anyway, eager to hear your thoughts. Thanks and talk soon.

P.S. The X shape is the symbol of the heyoka and in their dreams heyoka are visited by X-shaped thunderbirds. I wonder if Elon Musk, the famous contrarian with an X bird of his own, knows about this.

David Josef Volodzko: Illustration of a Man Writing a Lengthy Letter


Dear David,

I first want to thank you for suggesting this letter exchange. As I told you when I read your opening prompt, I love how thought-provoking your questions are, I love that we aren’t in perfect agreement on everything, and I love that I’m learning new concepts from you (heyoka is frabjous—just discovered that Carrollinian portmanteau and couldn’t resist using it). This is going to be so fun 🙂

I think it’s exceedingly astute of you to pick up on the relationship between humor and fascism—not only in its absence within societies governed by fear, paranoia, rage, and conformity but also in its power to defuse that rigid, dehumanizing authoritarian structure.

Your observations instantly made me think of Lin Yutang’s 1937 book The Importance of Living, where he outlines a “pseudo-scientific formula” “by which the mechanism of human progress and historical change can be expressed”:

Lin Yutang's The Importance of Living: Pseudoscientific Formula Key

As if that wasn’t fascinating enough, he then goes on to apply this formula to various nations on a scale of one to four. (He even scores famous writers, which I’ll include below for bonus delight.)

Lin Yutang's The Importance of Living: Pseudoscientific Formula Applied to Countries and Writers

With his characteristic dry humor, Yutang notes these formulas are “entirely personal and completely incapable of proof or verification,” having just explained:

“I distrust all dead and mechanical formulas for expressing anything connected with human affairs or human personalities. Putting human affairs in exact formulas shows in itself a lack of the sense of humor and therefore a lack of wisdom.…

“That is why we get so much pseudo-science today.… and specialists have risen to usurp humanized scholarship. But if we recognize that these formulas are no more than handy, graphic ways of expressing certain opinions, and so long as we don’t drag in the sacred name of science to help advertise our goods, no harm is done.”

To Reality (R), Dreams (D), and Humor (H), he adds Sensitivity (S), and the formulas can be read as, “3 grains of Realism, 2 grains of Dreams, 2 grains of Humor and 1 grain of Sensitivity make an Englishman.”

At that particular moment in history, fascism was crescendoing in Germany, Italy, and Japan, but war had not yet broken out; it wasn’t until the following year that Anschluss was to occur, with World War II kicking off the year after that.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at his rating for 1937 Germany: R₃D₄H₁S₂. Dreams (idealism) is high, while Humor is virtually nil, a recipe for “Fanaticism” according to Yutang’s key.

We see the same disproportionate D₄H₁ ratio between Dreams and Humor in Russia, itself having just embarked on the Great Terror (a.k.a. the Great Purge) under Stalin: R₂D₄H₁S₁.

Yutang pointedly asks, “Where are the smiles of the European dictators?” He half-jokingly adds, “We are not indulging in idle fooling now, discussing the smiles of dictators, it is terribly serious when our rulers do not smile, because they have got all the guns.”

Like Germany and Russia, Japan has one grain of Humor, which is overshadowed by three grains of Dreams: R₂D₃H₁S₁.

Yutang’s warning regarding the volatile combination of high idealism with low humor reminds me of today’s transhumanism and the religion of Scientism in which “logical necessity” trumps individual rights and humanity itself:

“I do believe that the Japanese and the Germans suffer politically at present, and have suffered in the past, for lacking a better sense of humor.… A certain belief in ‘logical necessity’ (often ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’), a tendency to fly too straight at a goal instead of circling around it, often carries one too far. It is not so much what you believe in that matters, as the way in which you believe it and proceed to translate that belief into action.”

Interestingly, Yutang ranks China as R₄D₁H₃S₃, giving it the highest score out of all the countries on both Humor and Sensitivity, which perhaps betrays his own cultural bias. I find it curious that the Dreams-to-Humor ratio is inverted from those of the totalitarian regimes and wonder if he would have reversed that score by 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) founded the People’s Republic of China.

Coincidentally, 1937 was the year that launched the Second Sino-Japanese War (known as the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in China and what some consider the beginning of World War II), and it was the Nationalist government’s decision under Chiang Kai-shek to unite with the Communist Party against Japan that led to the Nationalists’ eventual defeat by the Communists a dozen years later.

Yutang also understands the horseshoe theory of authoritarianism, writing:

“The state can be easily transformed into a monster, as it already is in some countries, swallowing up the individual’s liberty of speech, his freedom of religious conscience and belief, his personal honor, and even the last and final goal of individual happiness. The theoretical consequences of such a collectivistic view are quite apparent in both Fascism and Communism, and in fact have been already logically worked out by Karl Marx. A total annihilation of the parental instinct seems to be aimed at by the Marxian state, in which family affection and loyalty are openly denounced as bourgeois sentiments, sure to become extinct in a different material surrounding. How Karl Marx was quite so cocksure about this point in biology, I do not know. Wise in his economics, perhaps he was a moron in common sense. An American schoolboy would have guessed that five thousand years were too short for the atrophy of an instinct which had the momentum of a million years of development behind it. But such an argument, strange as it may seem, could appeal to a Western intellect as strictly logical. It is, in the words of the writer of the New York Times’ ‘Topics,’ ‘consistency gone mad.’ The conception of man waging a class war in obedience to certain mechanistic laws naturally deprives man of individual freedom of belief and action.”

He recognizes how grave a threat fanaticism poses, an insight that rings chillingly true today:

“In the sphere of politics, there is something terribly inhuman in the logic of the minds of men and conduct of affairs in certain states of Europe. And I am less terrified by the theories of Fascism and Communism than by the fanatical spirit which infuses them and the method by which men push their theories doggedly to logical absurdities. The result is a confusion of values, a weird mixing-up of politics with anthropology, art with propaganda, patriotism with science, government with religion, and above all an entire upset of the proper relationship between the claims of the state and the claims of the individual. Only an insane type of mind can erect the state into a god and make of it a fetish to swallow up the individual’s right of thinking, feeling and the pursuit of happiness.

“Communism and Fascism are both products of the same mind. As Albert Pauphilet says, ‘No type of mind is so like the extreme right as the extreme left.’ Characteristic of both regimes and ideologies are, firstly, the sheer belief in force and power, which I regard as the most stupid and shallow manifestation of the Western mind, and secondly, the belief in logical necessity, for after all Fascism, as much as Communism, is based on the Marxian dialectic, which ultimately is based on the logic of Hegel. Would that someone realized how man in the second quarter of the twentieth century is suffering for the sins in logic of his father committed some hundred years ago!

“In a sense we may say that today Europe is not ruled by the reasonable spirit, nor even by the spirit of reason, but rather by the spirit of fanaticism. Looking at the picture of Europe today gives one a feeling of nervousness, a nervousness which comes not so much from the mere presence of conflicts of national aims and state boundaries and colonial claims, which the spirit of reason should be amply able to deal with, but rather from the condition of mind of the men who are the rulers of Europe. It is like getting into a taxicab in a strange city and being suddenly overcome by a distrust of the driver. It is not so bad that the driver doesn’t seem to be acquainted with the map of the city and cannot take one to his destination by the proper route, it is more alarming when the passenger in the back seat hears the driver talk incoherently and begins to suspect his sobriety. That nervousness is decidedly heightened when the inebriate driver is armed with a gun and the passenger has no chance of getting out. One has reason to believe that this caricature of the human mind is not the human mind itself, that these are mere aberrations, mere stages of temporary insanity, which will burn themselves out like all waves of pestilence. One has reason to express a reassurance in the capacities of the human mind, to believe that the human mortal mind, limited as it is, is something infinitely higher than the intellect of the reckless drivers of Europe, and that eventually we shall be able to live peaceably because we shall have learned to think reasonably.”

Again, I repeat, Yutang was writing this breathtakingly prescient analysis in 1937.

And what is the antidote to this drunken fanaticism? Why, humor, naturally:

“Therein lies the danger of Utopian liberals as well as of Fascist propaganda chiefs, and as a very necessary corrective, they can have nothing better than a sense of humor.”

Yutang—who, incidentally, founded China’s first humor magazine, The Analects Fortnightly, in 1932—explains that humor counterbalances the dangers of runaway idealism:

“A vague, uncritical idealism always lends itself to ridicule and too much of it might be a danger to mankind, leading it round in a futile wild-goose chase for imaginary ideals. If there were too many of these visionary idealists in any society or people, revolutions would be the order of the day. Human society would be like an idealistic couple forever getting tired of one place and changing their residence regularly once every three months, for the simple reason that no one place is ideal and the place where one is not seems always better because one is not there. Very fortunately, man is also gifted with a sense of humor, whose function, as I conceive it, is to exercise criticism of man’s dreams, and bring them in touch with the world of reality. It is important that man dreams, but it is perhaps equally important that he can laugh at his own dreams.”

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking the wild-goose chase he’s describing sounds much like the past decade, during which we’ve witnessed the rise of dogmatic idealism detached from both reality and a grounding sense of humor.

That shouldn’t be surprising, however, because, as Dr. James Lindsay explains, Wokeism is little more than Marxism rebranded in packaging palatable to Western audiences, so the cultural and totalitarian tumult that was rocking Yutang’s world shares the same roots as our own:

Dr. James Lindsay on Marxism

Published in Current Psychology in March 2023, a paper titled Understanding Left-Wing Authoritarianism: Relations to the Dark Personality Traits, Altruism, and Social Justice Commitment presents empirical evidence of a relationship between left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) and narcissism with a specific focus on Dark Triad personality traits.

The authors introduce the concept of the dark-ego-vehicle principle in which they suggest that people with dark personality traits such as narcissism and psychopathy are attracted to particular ideologies and forms of political activism (using the example of BLM protests) that enable them to “meet their own aggressive motives and thrills” and enjoy “opportunities for positive self-presentation (e.g., virtue signaling).”

This reminds me of the Aldous Huxley quote:

“The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of some good cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’—this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.”1

We saw this horseshoe convergence of petty tyranny in Covidianism, as described in the December 2020 Personality and Individual Differences paper Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Left-Wing Authoritarianism, and Pandemic-Mitigation Authoritarianism.

The author, Joseph H. Manson, found that authoritarianism—whether left or right—strongly correlated with “endorsement of putatively authoritarian responses to COVID-19” such as “would report to police, need threat of punishment, certificate of immunity, mandatory tracking app, restrict right to protest, ban nonessential items, government-run economy, restrict right to trial by jury, restrictions by executive decree, emergency-enhanced punishment, and mandatory COVID-19 testing.”

Manson found left-wing authoritarians endorsed some policies right-wing ones did not, such as “must follow distancing orders and prohibit misinformation,” indicating that left-wing authoritarians are willing to go further in stripping people of their civil rights than their right-wing counterparts.

I just took a look at your thought-provoking essay What is fascism? and see you also referenced the horseshoe theory. It was satisfying to watch you deliver a well-deserved but gentlemanly walloping to Robert Reich for his flawed and biased definition. I thought this was a perceptive observation:

“Identity politics is a modern example of the individual being replaced by the collective, and again, if it’s bottom-up we call it socialism but if it’s top-down we call it fascism.

“Another aspect of fascism we see today is the politicization of everything. This is what Mussolini means when he talks about fascism being totalitarian. Not that the government has total power but that the ideology seeps into every aspect of life.”

Your latter point echoes Milton Mayer’s definition of “totalitarianism” in They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933–45:

“Every private act—a telephone call, the use of an electric light, the service of a physician—becomes a public act. Every private right—to take a walk, to attend a meeting, to operate a printing press—becomes a public right. Every private institution—the hospital, the church, the club—becomes a public institution. Here, although we never think to call it by any name but pressure of necessity, we have the whole formula of totalitarianism.” (see longer excerpt and additional quotes in my first Recommendations Roundup)

I find Reich’s second criteria—“Stoking rage against elites for displacing regular people”—repulsive and yet further evidence that he is aligned with the philanthropaths over the people. I’d love to Ludovico-Technique him with Neil Oliver’s savage diatribe against the philanthropaths and their war on humanity—only with opiates so Reich becomes addicted and finds himself devouring the entirety of Oliver’s oeuvre:

Neil Oliver: To Hell with Spinelessness (Philanthropaths' War on Humanity)
Clockwork Orange: Ludovico Technique on Alex

I think vilifying the people—a.k.a. the “Deplorables” in Reich’s mind—is yet another way of splintering us so we fear one another instead of joining together in mass peaceful noncompliance as was demonstrated in the Canadian truckers’ Winter of Love. Everyday people uniting against our oppressors is the only way to defeat fascism rather than being one of its defining traits.

Your point that “fascism depends on violence and collectivism” reminds me of how Brock Chisholm justified the use of violence to bring about cultural revolution in his 1946 lecture The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress:

“There is something to be said for taking charge of our own destiny, for gently putting aside the mistaken old ways of our elders if that is possible. If it cannot be done gently, it may have to be done roughly or even violently—that has happened before.”

Back to your letter. I could not agree more with your statement, “This is precisely why scientists should be as accurate as possible at all times, especially if their field is a highly politicized one.”

This is where the citizen scientists, data analysts, science writers, and journalists have proven their mettle against the publicists passing for scientists on television. I can think of no better illustration of the contrast between a scientist of integrity and a corrupt philanthropathic tool than Mark Lawrie’s A Letter to Dr Andrew Hill featuring Dr. Tess Lawrie’s fearless confrontation of Gates Foundation shill Hill:

A Letter to Dr Andrew Hill by Dr Tess Lawrie

You make a valid point about the need to be cautious in our use of loaded terms like “fascism” lest they lose their power by careless application (much as “racist” means little in the mouths of the Woke these days).

You were also perspicacious to catch that I was intentionally using hyperbole in my Letter to the German Bundestag. I don’t think Karl Lauterbach is literally Hitler, obviously, and the visual side-by-side of their Bellamy salutes, for example, serves as comic relief.

That said, I do believe the extremist rhetoric and discriminatory policies Lauterbach and his cohorts have practiced during COVID can legitimately be compared to the gradual progression of increasingly exclusionary laws under the Third Reich.

In my Letter to the Washington State Board of Health, I quote the United States Holocaust Museum’s article Defining the Enemy: The Excluded:

“One crucial factor in creating a cohesive group is to define who is excluded from membership. Nazi propagandists contributed to the regime’s policies by publicly identifying groups for exclusion, justifying their outsider status, and inciting hatred or cultivating indifference.… But a second, more sinister aspect of the Nazi myth was that not all Germans were welcome in the new community. Propaganda helped to define who would be excluded from the new society and justified measures against the ‘outsiders.’”

You would likely agree this is what occurred with the treatment of the unvaccinated, both through the policies intended to segregate; coerce; inflict suffering; and deny access to society, education, and certain jobs as well as in the multifrontal propaganda attack pushed through every talking orifice, social media platform, and public-opinion–engineering consent manufacturer.

COVID Retrospective Series, Vol. 1: Media, The Unvaccinated Are Scum

As I discuss in my Letter to the New York State Department of Health, the stigmatization and ghettoization of the uninjected is akin to the Jews being described as “spreaders of disease” and the depiction of them as a threat to the public health.

In my Letter to the UK Government, I show how the “greater good” is always the “alibi of tyrants,” as Albert Camus says.

In this epic 257-tweet threadCJ Hopkins compiled a blow-by-blow unrolling of the New Normal Reich that bears a striking resemblance to the Third Reich’s treatment of their defined enemies—and this only spans March and April 2020.

CJ Hopkins Twitter Thread on New Normal Reich Rollout

As CJ and I discussed in his Dissident Dialogues interview, he is not directly comparing what is occurring now with the Holocaust but rather with the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, which is the precursor that enabled the Holocaust to transpire.

I, on the other hand, do draw direct comparisons between the present democide underway and the Holocaust in pieces like Letter to a Holocaust Denier and Letter to an Agree-to-Disagree Relative.

Holocaust survivor Vera Sharav makes the same comparison in her seventy-fifth anniversary Nuremberg Code speech and five-part documentary series Never Again Is Now Global featuring interviews with Holocaust survivors and their relatives.

Vera Sharav's Never Again Is Now Global Documentary

On May 17, 2023, Dr. Denis Rancourt—one of the world’s foremost experts on excess mortality analysis—testified before the National Citizen’s Inquiry that 13 million deaths2 can be directly attributable to the experimental injection, an audacious claim supported by exhaustive evidence in the 894-page book of exhibits he supplied to accompany his testimony. I have cataloged thousands of additional pieces of evidence documenting the lethal and injurious nature of these gene therapy products, but Denis’s presentation is perhaps the best starting point for those willing to examine proof of wide-scale harm.

Dr. Denis Rancourt Testifying Before the National Citizen’s Inquiry

In Letter to a Holocaust Denier, I walk through the 10 Stages of Genocide and show we are already at number ten.

When people are in the midst of a genocide—or in this case, a democide—it is extremely difficult for them to see much less believe what is occurring. Most people prefer to live in denial as facing the worldview-shattering reality that governments, corporations, agencies, and colluders are intentionally orchestrating a mostly peaceful depopulation is too painful to accept—even though tens of thousands of scientists, physicians, researchers, data analysts, attorneys, writers, and other diligent individuals have compiled enough evidence to prove the case for crimes against humanity in a fair court of law if one could be found.

As I have repeatedly stated, Mistakes Were NOT Made.

Those of us who are attuned to the signs of genocide and totalitarianism have been jumping up and down trying to alert others, but they have been conditioned to dismiss us as far-right-wing–extremist science-denying conspiracy theorists to shut down their critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, intuition, and self-preservation instincts so they will be afraid to look behind the curtain for themselves. Pride, contempt, and willful blindness keep them enslaved to the narrative thanks to the continuous reinforcement of behavioral-psychologist–formulated propagandizing.

In They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer relays the observations of a philologist friend who describes how easily a society can be overtaken by totalitarianism if people aren’t paying attention:

“‘The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway.… Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about—we were decent people—and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

‘To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

‘How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice—‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘Consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have changed here before they went as far as they did; they didn’t, but they might have. And everyone counts on that might.’”

What people today call “conspiracy theorists” people called “alarmists” during WWII:

“‘[O]ne doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to “go out of your way to make trouble.” Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

‘Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, “everyone” is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none.” … In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, “It’s not so bad” or “You’re seeing things” or “You’re an alarmist.”

‘And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.’”

Those engineering the progression to one-world tyranny know they must maintain the illusion of democracy up until the point where the digital prison bars slam down around us. As Frank Zappa cautioned:

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

The illusion equates to covert totalitarianism. They aren’t going do anything overt that people can point at. Why would they line people in front of a ditch and shoot them when they can terrorize them into volunteering for their own suicide and incarceration?

What we are experiencing at this moment in history is arguably more dangerous than the Holocaust—because it is global, because it is inescapable, because it is bolstered by a technical and scientific infrastructure tin-pot despots would have killed (more) for.

Klaus Schwab muse Yuval Noah Harari understands this perfectly, stating:

“COVID is critical because this is what convinces people to accept, to legitimize, total biometric surveillance. If we want to stop this epidemic, we need not just to monitor people, we need monitor what’s happening under their skin, their body temperature …

“Yes, now they’re using it to see whether you have the coronavirus, but exactly the same technology can determine what you think about the government. You know, anger is a biological phenomenon, just like disease. It’s not some spiritual thing out there, it’s a biological pattern in your body. With this kind of surveillance, I mean you watch the big president, a big leader give a speech on television, the television could be monitoring you and knowing whether you’re angry or not just by analyzing the cues, the biological cues coming from your body.…

“This is the kind of power that Stalin didn’t have. When Stalin gave a speech, everybody of course clapped their hands and smiled. Now how do you know what they really think about Stalin? It’s very difficult. You can’t have a KGB agent following everybody all the time. And even if you do it, he’s just watching your outside behavior. He doesn’t really know what’s happening in your mind. But in ten years, the future Stalins of the twenty-first century, they could be watching the minds, the brains, of all the population all the time and also, they will have the computing power to analyze all it.…

“Now you don’t need human agents, you don’t need human analyzers. You just have a lot of sensors and an AI which analyzes it, and that’s it, you have the worst totalitarian regime in history. And COVID is important because COVID legitimizes some of the crucial steps even in democratic countries.”

So to answer your question, yes, I suppose I am unintentionally playing the role of a heyoka (coincidentally, one of my readers introduced me to the term heyoka empath just a few days after you sent your letter, and I was struck by how deeply I resonated with the description). Evidently, that approach is effective because my satirical piece 50 Reasons to Give Your Child the COVID Shot is still my most popular post to date.

Margaret Anna Alice Tweet About 50 Reasons to Give Your Child the COVID Shot

I also had a number of readers tell me they were able to share my fairy tale with people who otherwise refused to read anything they perceived as “anti-vaxxer” content, and it made them reflect in a way that a straightforward article citing facts can’t do.

Returning to Yutang, heyokas are very much like what he describes as the “scamp,” which he views as the only one who can save us from tyranny:

“In this present age of threats to democracy and individual liberty, probably only the scamp and the spirit of the scamp alone will save us from becoming lost as serially numbered units in the masses of disciplined, obedient, regimented and uniformed coolies. The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships. He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered. All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.”

Throughout history, heyokas ranging from Jonathan Swift to Bill Hicks, George Carlin to CJ Hopkins have played the noble role of heyoka satirists, and their mercilessly honest humor has punctured the telescreen lining Plato’s Propaganda Cave and helped people spelunk toward the surface of the earth.

In The Narcissist’s Playbook, Dana Morningstar describes a video taken by a tourist in Thailand just as a tsunami was about to engulf them. The tourists didn’t understand what was happening, though, because—unlike the locals, who had begun running—they didn’t recognize the signs. They didn’t understand that the ocean suddenly receding, the air growing eerily quiet, and the boats becoming stranded on the reconfigured shoreline meant danger. They were confused but didn’t have the mental map to make sense of the collection of strange experiences … until it was too late.

Those of us who are screaming and running may appear to be acting hyperbolically to those who don’t recognize the signs of tyranny enveloping us, but we are merely fleeing the tsunami, and those who are humble, brave, and wise enough to listen to the voices being drowned out by the propagandists may just save their lives. And if enough people wake up, we may be able to outrun the tsunami together.

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  1. This quote is attributed to Crome Yellow. I have not been able to find it in the electronic versions I’ve checked, but it may be in an introduction to a particular edition, as I discovered when hunting down one obscure Huxley quote in the introduction to the 1946 edition of Brave New World. The Los Angeles Times cited the crusade quote, suggesting it is legitimate, although as we have learned, just because legacy media prints something doesn’t mean it’s true 😉 ↩︎
  2. Since I penned this response, Denis Rancourt, Marine Baudin, Joseph Hickey, and Jérémie Mercier have published a new report titled COVID-19 Vaccine-Associated Mortality in the Southern Hemisphere in which the tally of deaths directly attributable to the injection has now been updated to 17 million. You can download the full 180-page report to view their extensive evidence for causality. The authors write:
    “We quantify the overall all-ages vDFR for the 17 countries to be (0.126 ± 0.004) %, which would imply 17.0 ± 0.5 million COVID-19 vaccine deaths worldwide, from 13.50 billion injections up to 2 September 2023. This would correspond to a mass iatrogenic event that killed (0.213 ± 0.006) % of the world population (1 death per 470 living persons, in less than 3 years), and did not measurably prevent any deaths.” ↩︎