The new normal might be the façade of freedom with amped up tyranny overseeing it all, pulling prop levers whenever it feels like it.

July 5, 2021

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

tyrannyEver watch the movie with Jim Carey called “The Truman Show? It was a movie about a man who from birth was living in a simulation. Everyone he ever knew was an actor, and every event in his life was contrived and scripted.

If it was the next day, special effects would simulate a sunrise. If it was a stormy day, they would turn the rain thunder effects on. Nothing that happened to Truman was actually happening in the rest of the world.

The project fell apart eventually because they couldn’t keep up the ruse anymore.

That’s how 2020 through to 2021 feels:

We are in an emergency. Cue emergency effects and powers! Roll out solemn advertising with hopeful music! We need lots of coverage and news on deaths. Ready the politicians with messages of hope, praise, heroism, and vigilance!

And people stayed home. Their emotions followed the stories being released. They supported the script by shaming those who didn’t play along and deifying those who trudged forward. Even day to day conversations and correspondence would be prefaced with some reference to “trying” or “unprecedented” times.

Prior to 2020, no one actually cared if people had their vaccines. They had strong opinions on it, but that never prevented them from going into public places, handling grocery carts, riding public transportation, or jumping into an elevator with total strangers.

General regard toward vaccines was like that of a driver license: we all jump on the roads in fast moving metal, with no real assurances that the person behind the wheel has a license to do so.

People didn’t pay attention until they were told to.

Here we all are in 2021. The theme has changed to “reopening” and “recovery”. (Cue sunrise, and images of wildlife returning after a storm.) Much like the illusion of choice in elections, so too is this an illusion of returning to “normal”.

To the average civilian, stores are reopening, mask mandates are loosening, people are returning to work as businesses start hiring! This is fantastic right?

It’s fantastic in the same way giving you a buttered slice of bread is fantastic after a year of melba toast. You and I both know there’s much better than toast in the world to eat. But after coming off so many restrictions, your appreciation for the smallest of things becomes exaggerated.

But while society is being rationed their meager liberties back, is government reeling in the emergency powers?

Absolutely not.

If you recall, I discussed how it is and has been in the United States:

The interesting thing about states of emergency is that it doesn’t end until it either is allowed to expire, or the executive calls it off. States of emergency have been allowed to continue long after their original purposes were served.

One example was under Truman: he declared a state of emergency which lead to the Korean War. It never was called off… and next thing you know we’re in Vietnam.

States of emergencies are at the whim of the Executive. The powers allowed under those circumstances is decided by Congress. In 1973 alone, 470 additional powers were enacted by congress to the President in times of crisis. While the National Emergencies Act was supposed to keep endless emergencies in check, the US still has emergencies dating back to 1979.

Some of these “emergencies” are directly connected to our continued tumultuous relationship with Iran and the middle east in general.

In a Post Emergency world, individual liberties are greater than they were during lock-down, but far less than they were prior to lock-downs. Likewise, in a Post Emergency world, the governments’ powers and overreach are far greater, than they were prior to lock-down, but flexed more covertly.

The idea of “Vaccine Passports” has of course been floated around, and every iteration of it is awful. But that’s the least of the worries, which is saying a lot.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE has a stellar reputation for being one of the safest countries in the world, despite being located in a hotbed of political and ideological unrest. It consistently ranks in the top three safest countries year over year.

Needless to say, that comes at a heavy(handed) cost. Many people who push for safety over freedom might think, “So perhaps they have a little less civil liberties… that’s a small price to pay.”

They have NO civil liberties. None. Everything they do is at the benevolence of their government. Full stop. The UAE is one of the most surveilled countries in the world as well. On the one hand, car theft is nearly impossible to get away with. On the other, so is not wearing a mask.

Obviously, the UAE is not a bastion of freedom, so anything they do in the way of overreach is hardly unexpected. So when you read stories about how they are expanding their surveillance post Covid, it’s not shocking.

Dubai police also are experimenting with thermal helmet cameras for officers to check passers-by’s temperatures. Malls and other business have implemented a variety of thermal image scanners. At Dubai International Airport, for instance, those coming in walk past a thermal scanner that also checks people for masks. Dubai’s Silicon Oasis neighborhood similarly has been tracking passers-by with cameras.

Here’s the thing: other countries are watching. As the UAE uses Chinese technology to play around with surveillance enhancements, countries around the world are keeping an eye on its efficacy. They will keep those learnings in their back pocket for future reference and possible use.

France

Back in December, France considered a piece of legislation that required mandatory vaccination to even access basic public services like transportation. It failed due to protests, but not for lack of trying.

Now, because France is nervous about it’s low vaccination numbers, it is looking to impose vaccine mandates on those between the ages of 24 and 59.

Low vaccination numbers could be indicative of people’s general skepticism of the vaccine itself, but that’s of little concern to a government that doesn’t want to be last in the global race toward compliance.

If they made it mandatory, how would they go about the social engineering of making it happen?

The government is also considering introducing other measures aimed at increasing inoculation levels, such as sending doctors lists of unvaccinated people in order to encourage them to get the jabs. France is also considering scrapping free ‘convenience’ Covid tests for unvaccinated people who wish to travel.

Make it so uncomfortable to be unvaccinated that you finally suck it up? One of the many reasons why centralized or universal services through government is a terrible idea. The government giveth… and the government taketh away.

Spain

Spain is getting a little bold with its emergency powers. Under what the government defines as a state of emergency or a matter of national security (an all too familiar prelude to tyranny), the proposal calls for the citizens to cooperate in suspending their rights to serve the ends of the government during that time.

“Any person of legal age shall be obliged to carry out the personal obligations’ required by the competent authorities, following the guidelines of the National Security Council, when a state of crisis is declared in Spain. In this case, all citizens without exception must comply with the orders and instructions issued by the authorities.

The translated coverage from the publication “El Pais” goes on to say:

In the event that a state of crisis is declared in Spain (‘situation of interest to National Security’ is the name given by law), the authorities may also proceed to the temporary requisition of all types of property, at the intervention or provisional occupation of those that are necessary or the suspension of all kinds of activities.

This obligatory cooperation applies to the individual and to businesses as well as the press. Individuals’ rights would be suspended and controlled, corporate property and policy would yield to the state, and the press would avail itself to pushing out the state’s messages or propaganda, to the masses.

There is of course light discussion of compensation that would flow once the dust settles, which I would find no consolation in, but nonetheless is part of the overall discussions.

The first two words that come to mind is: MASS EXPROPRIATION.

While the UAE is long past the proposal stage in their surveillance agenda, France and Spain are still going through their “democratic protocols” to push these agendas forward.

The US and Canada still see examples of state and provincial level governments reluctant to let go of their emergency powers as well.

As Milton Friedman to succinctly put it: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

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