by Josiah Lippincott
In 1972, three black men, Melvin Cale, Louis Moore, and Henry D. Jackson, Jr., hijacked Southern Airways Flight 49, demanding $10 million and safe passage to Cuba. The hijacking lasted nearly 30 hours and involved multiple stops throughout the United States, Canada, and eventually, Cuba. In the process of negotiating with the FBI, the hijackers threatened to ram their aircraft, a Douglas DC-9, into the High Flux Isotope Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee if their demands weren’t met.
Until that point, American airlines had resisted installing metal detectors in airports, worried that treating Americans like common criminals to board a plane would wreck their burgeoning industry. But that threat of nuclear attack, and the 130 other hijackings between 1968 and 1972, convinced the government to take a stand at last. In 1973, the FAA used its bureaucratic and administrative powers to make passenger screening mandatory. In 1974, Congress validated the requirement, ignoring passenger rights’ groups that protested the intrusive screening of luggage and persons in order to board aircraft.
There is an important lesson here: Once the modern American state imposes surveillance measures it never relaxes them, even when the threat no longer exists. That’s why, even after American troops have left Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden was killed, and ISIS has been destroyed, Americans are still removing their shoes in airports, treated like would-be terrorists for traveling. The humiliating X-ray machines that force grandmothers, children, and ordinary businessmen alike to stand like felons with their hands up while probing machines attempt to peek under their clothes at their naked bodies is the height of ritual humiliation.
The seeming elimination of this surveillance network’s reason to exist doesn’t mean these leftover policies of the war on terrorism are over—far from it! My children and grandchildren, barring some dramatic political shift, will be subject to the same post-9/11 security measures I grew up with.
The bureaucratic state moves in one direction—it always gets bigger, more powerful, and more entrenched. There is never any reversal of state power, even when the threats that seemingly necessitated government interference in the first place are gone.
COVID will follow the same course. The attention and energy the regime gives to the illness will wax and wane but it will never disappear entirely. The biomedical security state created in the virus’ wake is here to stay. Ten years from now, for instance, discussion about boosters, vaccine efficacy, health checks, asymptomatic spread, and “flattening the curve” will still be part of our national discourse, permanently ingrained in our collective psyche by the innumerable bureaucracies, corporations, and media entities that see in this “global health crisis” a never-ending potential for grift.
At a psychological level, liberals gravitate to despotic surveillance measures. Liberalism is a feminine tyranny. Like a neurotic mother trying to protect her toddler from every possible pain, the liberal longs for a world without any possibility of danger. The padded cell with every risk and inconvenience removed is her paradise.
A diverse, androgenous, inhuman, impersonal mode of being without any kind of blood or ancestral ties—this is the vision—John Lennon’s “Imagine” made flesh! If you want to understand the leftist mind just look at their art. The flat, childish, soul-dead, primary color laden, “inclusive” cartoon-style that virtually every major corporation gravitates to in order to market their products. I call this art form “liberal surrealism” and like all art, it reveals the soul. Or, in this case, the absence of one.
The spiritual inclination toward weakness and ugliness explains why, in the face of all rational decision-making, leftists collectively decided that closing schools, cutting off the elderly from the outside world, and crushing small businesses were the only ways to stop the illness. There was never any concern for the possible social, economic, or political side-effects. In fact, those very pains and challenges made the draconian social measures all the more enticing.
Crisis gives our decrepit, aging, and ideologically fanatical ruling class something to live for. COVID is just one more narcotic with which to fill the God-shaped hole in the liberal heart. Like any good religion it has its prophets (Fauci) its villains (the unvaccinated) and its own demand for ritual sacrifice—in this case, of the young. And like all religions, it does not tolerate heretics.
The crackdown on the unvaccinated reveals how deep and rotten the liberal instincts have become. Joe Biden’s pre-Christmas message promising a “winter of death” explains exactly who these people are. The Biden regime will never declare victory over COVID. There will be no return to the way things were. In 2020, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as much: There will be no return to the “old normal.” That is why the World Economic Forum was already hawking the slogan “build back better” in the summer of last year.
Whether the COVID response was a product of a global conspiracy or not is irrelevant. The ruling class of the world is already on the same spiritual sheet of music. They all want the same thing—the reduction of the world into one homogenous, undifferentiated mass that they can shake down for the foreseeable future. The destruction of all higher life, all aspiration, all real science, and all real human community is what these people mean by “democracy” and “human rights.”
If there is to be any freedom for Americans from the techno-medical despotism spreading across the world, it will require either a supreme act of statesmanship or cataclysm. And by cataclysm I don’t mean another hyperventilating media-driven “crisis” like COVID. Financial collapse, famine, and war might finally liberate us from the rule of the spiritual hysterics and grifters who currently run the world.
That is a tough “black pill” to swallow. But, in human life, every black pill is also a white pill. Every abyss is a chance at rebirth. Like the phoenix rising from the flames of the cleansing fire, new possibilities can emerge out of moments of profound terror and death.
This is a problem, of course. No one prays to live through Armageddon. It would be better if we could have a life of liberty and peace without terror and crisis. But that requires a fighting spirit and a willingness to push back against the administrative tyranny that rings round all of modern life.
The West isn’t too far gone. Not yet. But we need leaders willing to fight. Let us pray that we find such men.
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Josiah Lippincott is a contributor to American Greatness. He is former Marine officer and current Master’s student at the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. You can find him on Twitter at @jlippincott_