n infirmity once characterizing the past century’s most severe totalitarian regimes has now taken root in Western public discourse and practice, a process akin to Orwellian “double think” acting as a form of de facto censorship preempting consideration of major issues and events. This mindset is obliquely shared by a majority of professional journalists, academics, and public office holders—in short, those who represent and lead public opinion. Their collective publicity of the unsaid preserves and perpetuates existing belief systems and power relations. To be sure, there are self-evident injunctions for those straying from such unspoken protocols, including expulsion from this professional class.
Once a state-endorsed narrative of a questionable event has been presented to and conveyed by the mainstream news media, it is almost invariably accepted without question by “Inner Party” members. Such silence is abetted by a mechanical allegiance to prevailing authority figures and institutional power. In possessing such a worldview one reflexively forfeits personal integrity to uphold the collective publicity of the unspeakable and an overarching faith in the given sociopolitical system’s artificial spontaneity. Alternative interpretations of such events by the laity can be dismissed out-of-hand as “conspiracy theories,” thereby further confirming the Party’s creed.
The publicity of the unspeakable ensures that, under penalty of de facto or formal censure, deference to official narratives will increasingly eclipse free inquiry and expression in the West.
The notion that one’s country is becoming a ruthless police state becomes clichéd, particularly with a lack of historical context. Extreme totalitarian regimes based on, for example, Marxist fundamentalism and unquestioning loyalty to the Party famously utilized internment and compulsory psychiatry to quell political dissidents and unorthodox speech. Yet in the US and elsewhere, objectively assessing the facts surrounding events such as the key political assassinations of the 1960s, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing, 9/11, or more recent mass-mediated terror events, is tantamount to political heresy and potential justification for state surveillance, interrogation, obligatory “medical” (psychiatric) treatment, and even a sort of asset confiscation in the form of reputational damage and job loss.
Such informal measures were brought against New Hampshire State Representative Stella Tremblay, who was compelled to resign from public office after she questioned the causes of the Boston Marathon bombing, and similarly played out when this author questioned the official storyline of the Newtown Connecticut shooting in early 2013.
The most recent example is New York state school teacher Adam Heller. Following the suspicious disclosure of his private instant messaging communications to another party where he raised questions regarding the Sandy Hook massacre and other dubious events vis-à-vis the legal purchase of two long guns, Heller was forced by local law enforcement, acting under probable direction of the FBI, to endure a 12-day inpatient psychiatric evaluation. Then, upon the conclusions of another assessment by a “forensic psychiatrist,” Mr. Heller was terminated from his tenured teaching position. The school teacher’s experience is an especially dangerous precedent; one in which the state, with the aid of psychiatry, has imposed forced institutionalization and severe monetary punishment for “thought crimes” in a fashion commonplace to Soviet Russia and similar police states.
“An individual in our country has basic civil rights, and [Heller’s] were fundamentally violated,” the former school teacher’s attorney, Michael Sussman observes. After being visited by the local police, Heller proceeded to the hospital and “thinks he’s getting some sort of physical checkup,” Mr. Sussman continues. After the checkup, hospital personnel direct Heller to the facility’s mental health unit. “For what purpose?” Heller responds. “You’re confused. You seem sick,” they advise.
Sussman maintains that Heller is neither confused nor sick.
This is Siberia in the United States! They keep him in the mental health unit for twelve days, and after twelve days they can find nothing wrong with him. He’s a cogent, bright, well-read, urbane young man. He’s in his mid-thirties. There’s nothing about him that’s peculiar—other than, as you’ll find out—perhaps from somebody’s point of view, some of his beliefs or explorations or considerations; the stuff that we hope people will engage in in their own intellectual curiosity.
In a similar vein, on July 30, 2014 UK blogger Christopher Spivey was arrested on “suspicion of harassment” in a 2AM police raid on his Essex residence. A few days prior to his arrest Spivey posted an article on his site arguing that the May 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby was a deception intended to incite anti-Islamic sentiment. Police refused to disclose what parties were subject to potential harassment. “Among Mr Spivey’s online supporters are David Icke, the former footballer and BBC Grandstand presenter who has become known for his conspiracy theories,” theDaily Mail reports.