Julius Reuchel writes at substack The Emperor Has No Clothes: Finding the Courage to Break the Spell. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
To all the silent good people watching our society tear itself in two, this essay is for you.
Those in charge have long since signalled that they have no intention of returning to a liberal democracy founded on the recognition of inalienable individual rights and freedoms. If data were the ingredient required to confront them, they would have folded long ago. They are impervious to data. This isn’t about a virus. This is a psychological game and it’s all about power and control.
In this Brave New World, the regime will grant temporary conditional privileges tied to virus seasonality, good behaviour, or whatever other conditions they choose to set to achieve the social engineering agenda of the day. Once they opened Pandora’s Box to a society based on conditional rights, there is no limit to where their imaginations will take them.
How do we stop this neo-feudal re-imagining of society? How do we play chicken with a regime that appears to hold all the cards? At this point it is clear that regaining our freedom depends entirely on the government losing the support of the crowd. To use the words of Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless folktale from 1837, we need to shake our frightened fellow citizens out of their stupor by getting them to see that “the emperor has no clothes” but, more importantly, we need everyone who sees it to be willing to say it out loud.
So, in this essay, I am going to dissect the psychology of dissent.
Winning Hearts and Minds – How to Open the Mind to Doubts
Data plays an important role in changing hearts and minds, but only as a secondary ingredient.
We are fighting a psychological battle, not an intellectual one.
Data will help those who start to ask questions, but first they need to ask their first question. First there needs to be a seed of doubt. Data will not plant that seed of doubt. Data does not have the power to break the spell.
A frightened mind seeks certainty because certainty feels safe, which is why a frightened mind rejects anything that undermines the feeling of certainty. Uncertainty is scary. This desire for certainty makes people savagely hostile to conflicting data and capable of entertaining the wildest of logical fallacies. The facts simply do not matter to their feelings. People only begin to seek out data after the spell begins to break. Something else must first plant that initial seed of doubt.
Uncertainty is uncomfortable so if it cannot be pushed aside, then and only then will the mind enlist rational thought processes to work through the dilemma in order to regain a sense of certainty. That is the psychological game we need to play. We need to create the sense of uncertainty that forces our frightened peers to enlist their rational minds. Once doubt sets in, the data will take them the rest of the way.
Thus, the willingness to look at data is merely the second step along each individual person’s journey to recognizing that the emperor has no clothes. Much of our effort in this battle for our freedom has been focused on that second step. More data. But the first step along that path requires planting the initial seed of doubt. How do you seed doubt without data?
The simple reality is that this first step is fought with symbolism, with herd psychology, and with the courage to bear the cost of speaking out when others will not. Navigating this first step is the focus of this essay because that is where we are falling short.
To plant a seed of doubt, to help people take that first step, it is not what you say that matters so much as being seen to say it, out loud, in public, in a way that allows you to be identified and counted, and being willing to face the music when the world can see what you really think. And saying it over and over again, relentlessly, until enough voices join in, until the counter chorus can no longer be dismissed as fringe.
Doubt is created by breaking the illusion of consensus.
This first seed of doubt happens on a deeply subconscious emotional level. There are three different ways that it can happen:
Many only start to ask questions after getting their first COVID vaccination. As they begin to feel safe, they regain their ability to think, which gives rise to questions and doubts. It is why the regime is creating a hyperventilating drumbeat about “variants” and stoking hysteria about the unvaccinated. The regime is trying to keep the vaccinated in fear in order to prevent them from regaining their ability to see clearly and think independently.
Doubt can also be created when someone’s personal experience doesn’t match the propaganda that they’ve been fed. The regime is fighting that part of the battle for us. When someone is injured by a vaccine, sees a loved one trapped in isolation in a nursing home, or is at risk of losing their business to lockdowns, doubt in the narrative begins to creep in. There is only so much pain that anyone can bear before their certainty in the regime begins to waiver.
And doubt can be created simply by depriving someone of the illusion of consensus. Remember Hans Christian Andersen’s folk tale. It was a child that broke the illusion because it was unafraid to say out loud that the emperor’s fine gown didn’t exist, that he was wearing nothing at all. Data didn’t break the illusion. All it took was a pointed finger, a well-timed laugh, and the courage to speak out.
Doubt creates conflicting emotions that can only be resolved by enlisting the rational mind. Doubt leads the mind to seek out data, not the other way around. The regime is doing everything it can to prevent the fearful from thinking. This is a psychological war.
This is a war about the role of government. It is about your freedom to think, to speak, and to ask questions, and about whether your individual autonomy is downgraded to a conditional privilege or whether it remains a right. It is a war about whether you are to remain a citizen or become a subject. It is about who owns you, you or the state.
The question at the forefront of this psychological battle, accelerated by the lens of COVID, is about whether we will remain a society based on legal equality and inalienable rights or whether, in the name of safety, equity, and political correctness, we will allow ourselves to be reduced to a society of masters and servants, as was the norm throughout much of human history, with the masters granting or withdrawing conditional privileges to pursue whatever they perceive as the greater good.
To have a psychological impact, you have to voice your dissent in person, out there in the real world where the risk of repercussions is real. Where you can make eye contact while you are doing it. At work, at home, at school, at church, at the gym, at the mall, and out on the street. You have to say it where those who disagree with you can see you saying it. You have to be the little boy who stood in front of the crowd and pointed at the emperor’s lack of clothes. That is how democracy works in its rawest form when the institutions of liberal democracy cease to function.
Words are not violence. Words are 100% peaceful, no matter how much you disagree with them or how much you are offended by them. But censorship in any form is a form of implied violence because, without your voice, you are held hostage by your censor and have no peaceful means of self-defence.
A liberal democracy cannot function in an atmosphere of censorship. Brute force begins with censorship. Allowing yourself or others to be silenced ushers in a world where the only means of self defense is through brute force. That is what is currently being normalized under the guise of saving the world from COVID.
History shows that once the norms of a liberal democracy give way to brute force politics, even if the regime does change hands, those that emerge on top are themselves rarely champions of freedom and tolerance. The only way to prevent brute force politics from becoming normalized is if the good people refuse to shut up. So, this is not just a war against bad people with bad ideas, it is equally a war to defend the only system ever invented that gives citizens autonomy over their own bodies, minds, and voices, along with the mechanism to defend that autonomy through peaceful means.
Our opponents are well aware of the power of conformity and are using it to their advantage. Do not mistake their feigned ignorance about basic medical facts as stupidity. Do not mistake the media’s blockade of dissenting views as ignorance. They all know the game they are playing. Why do you think they are so careful to avoid any debate about the data?
The desire for conformity is one of the most powerful emotions in the human species. It is our natural herd instinct – our hive mind – asserting itself. We are a social creature. Safety lies in numbers. Our herd instinct is so strong that when the dominoes line up just right, it can lead us into blind groupthink, cults, and mass hysterias in defiance of all rational logic. The rational mind is a thin crust perched precariously on a much larger, highly emotional, subconscious neurological tool kit. Conformity is the subconscious search for safety. We are wired to seek safety at the center of the herd even when that conformity is leading us straight over a cliff.
If you have never seen the videos of the Asch Conformity Experiments, take the time to watch this brief clip before reading further. It is one of the keys to fighting the psychological battle to regain our freedoms.
Currently the regime is manufacturing an illusion of consensus to use herd instinct as a means of control. But the moment we deprive the herd of the comfort of consensus, we will be in the driver’s seat. Breaking the illusion of consensus is what will give us the power to force the herd to think for itself. That is why it is so important that the silent good people speak out.
We don’t need to agree with one another to challenge the regime. We don’t need to speak with one voice. To break the illusion, we simply need enough people to speak out in disagreement of the “consensus”.
The Ash Conformity Experiments taught us that even a single person standing up in a room will give others with doubts the courage to speak out. Breaking the illusion begins with a single voice. But for a phenomenon as global as the current mass hysteria, it will take more than a few voices to create a loud enough counter-chorus to break the spell.
As the counter-chorus becomes more visible, the regime has no choice but to ramp up or lose the illusion of consensus it has manufactured. This traps the regime in a catch-22 in which doing nothing allows the counter-chorus to reach that 10% tipping point but doing something increases the pain so quickly that it erodes its support base. Visibility puts us in the driver’s seat because it traps the regime in that untenable catch-22.
A slow consolidation of power allows the regime to strip our freedoms slowly enough that the crowd becomes accustomed to its own subjugation. That is why they keep letting off a little pressure after a period of control. They are teaching us to accept the bridle of our serfdom.
The actions taken by our government made it clear, “if you want to practice medicine or pursue an academic career in Canada, toe the line by self-censoring or we will destroy your reputation and come after your career.” If this is allowed to go unchallenged, it will mark the end of academic freedom and professional discretion in Canada. The regime is watching, waiting to gauge the response.
Publishing more data won’t fix this. The regime doesn’t care about data. And frightened members of the crowd will never look at it. In this game, more data is the equivalent of silence. More data is the nod of consent.
The only way to confront this is for the silent good doctors, medical professionals, and academic professionals to publicly stand up and speak out, on principle, to break the illusion of consensus that has been cultivated by our public health authorities and media. The silent good doctors must speak out to signal that the censorship of Dr. Christian was wrong, that they will not be cowed by the regime’s treatment of Dr. Christian, that scientific questions should be settled through debate and not through sanctions, and that they have lost faith in our public health authority’s ability to function as an evidence-based policymaking institution.
I hear rumors that up to 50% of medical professionals are not okay with the public health response. I also hear rumors that outspoken doctors who faced a deluge of ridicule and chastisement from peers in the early days of the pandemic are now rapidly seeing that criticism fade away. I have no way of gauging if those rumors are correct, but it suggests that the tide is turning in the medical community and that the numbers have long since crossed the 10% threshold needed to break the illusion. If only they were all willing to step out from behind a veil of anonymity and say it out loud.
The Soft Underbelly of the Regime Is Exposed
In Quebec, the healthcare system is already on the brink of collapse (see my Twitter thread) because of a mass exodus of staff quitting the system during COVID. Some hospitals have already lost over 50% of their staff.
Anecdotal reports from other provinces show they are not far behind. There has never been a time when medical professionals have had more leverage to force a revival of scientific debate and evidence-based policymaking. And there has never been a better time speak out in defense of Dr. Christian.
Public health officials cannot afford to alienate more doctors and nurses. They cannot afford alienating or firing a horde of outspoken disgruntled medical professionals. The soft underbelly of the regime is exposed.
In short, as long as enough medical professionals speak out, now is the time that they have the upper hand in this game of brinksmanship. Now is the time that they can throw off both bridle and saddle and take back their professional and academic freedoms. The window of opportunity to rescue the system from itself is now. But only if enough of silent good doctors break their silence.
[Note Reuchel is focused on the Covid tyranny, but there are three cudgels beating on free enterprise democracies: Covid, Climate and Racism. See also: Climate Reductionism]