Vote ‘Yes’ on Class Warfare
Tyrants at home who would take away our liberties are a greater threat than despots abroad.
Police at anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, Australia. (By Auliviart/Shutterstock)
Last month, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, was busy trying to persuade other European states to take a stand against the USA. The immediate cause of the contretemps was AUKUS, a U.S.-U.K.-Australia military agreement. Under the terms of this agreement, Australia will receive technological support to build nuclear-powered submarines—a clear upgrade from the diesel-powered subs which France was to have provided. Australia and Washington schemed behind France’s back and, without warning, canceled the contract with the French submariner supplier. Hence the Gallic displeasure with the Anglo-Saxons.
Why does Australia need nuclear-powered submarines? In a word, China. Chinese belligerence in the Asia-Pacific by now needs no introduction. Australia, claims Canberra, needs nuclear-powered subs to mount a “riposte to China’s growing maritime power,” as the staid Nikkei Asia puts it. Chinese designs on Australia are, in fact, no secret, and very real. Clive Hamilton’s bestselling 2018 book Silent Invasion details the depths of the People’s Republic’s infiltration of Australian institutions.
Lately, things have not been so silent. In November of last year, Deputy Director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Department Zhao Lijian tweeted a doctored photo of an Australian soldier holding a bloody dagger against the throat of an Afghan child. This shocking breach of diplomatic decorum was probably tit-for-tat at one level. Australia had condemned China’s Uyghur camps in Xinjiang, so China trolled Australia over a report released by the Australian Defence Force concerning possible war crimes against Afghani civilians.
More broadly, this kind of ugly harassment is now part of the PRC’s “wolf warrior” playbook. China continues to openly taunt Australia, and pretty much the rest of Asia and the Western Pacific. Ergo, Australia needs nuclear submarines.
But something is strange about all this. The above is undoubtedly true—China is, unarguably, targeting Australia. On that reading, nuking up seems like a very good idea. However, the Clintonian question remains: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” If Australia were to defeat China in a war, or even keep the PRC from subverting Australia more than it already has, would that really make Australia a free country again?
As I write this, Australian police are going door to door interrogating people about rumors of planned demonstrations against the Stasi-like Covid restrictions there. Monica Smit, from Melbourne, was recently held for 22 days in jail, in isolation, for the crime of organizing rallies against Australia’s draconian lockdown policies. Scenes of Australian police beating up and pepper-spraying old women for not vaccinating have shocked the world. One of America’s closest allies, and closest civilizational cousins, has devolved into East Germany. Even TheAtlantic is asking if Australia still ranks as a liberal democracy.
It is hardly just Australia. Joe Biden is now leading the charge to mandate the injection of experimental drugs for all Americans. Democrats in California, New York, and elsewhere are following suit. Black Lives Matter is denouncing the vaccine mandates as racist—which they are, and totalitarian and unconstitutional and immoral, to boot. I doubt it will stop the political class, though. “Do as I say!” has become, these past few decades, the mantra of the people who stand at podiums in this country, in the West as a whole. (Quaint, quiet Canada is probably ahead of the U.S., for once—although on the dubious index of liberal tyranny.) Political party makes very little difference. Gretchen Whitmer, George W. Bush. Jimmy Kimmel, Frank Luntz. If you are on the tweeting end of the spectrum (and not the tweeted-at, as the rest of us are), then you are probably contemplating making the forced inoculation of an entire continent a “whole-of-government problem.”
How did we get here? Why do politicians and pundits now speak and act as though they were Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu? Who the hell is Jen Psaki to tell me what to do? Who the hell is Joe Biden, for that matter? My understanding of “constitutional republic” was that natural rights trump government strong-arming. But now I look at Scott Morrison squaring off with Xi Jinping, and Washington talking tough with China, and I ask myself, “Would it really be any different if the internet were throttled by the Politburo and not Jack Dorsey? Would I really care whether I were being glared at and harangued by Mark Milley or Hua Chunying?”
The dividing line between the freedoms we once enjoyed as Americans, and the de facto police state in which we now find we must watch our words and our backs, is, I think, Berlin, 1989. Not 9/11, as is commonly argued. November of 1989. In that month of that year, the Berlin Wall came down. No—it was pushed down, by people fed up with living by lies. But then came a subtle, but fateful, rhetorical shift. It wasn’t that totalitarianism had lost, we were told, but that freedom and democracy had won. Not just had won, but must go on conquering, forever. Not even one year later, George H.W. Bush was announcing a “new world order,” essentially the beginning of a Potomac jihad against everyone on the planet whom Washington found to be not free and democratic enough.
The attacks on 9/11 were the nitrous oxide to an already-revving engine of world ideological conquest. Now, 32 years out from Berlin, Washington has realized that Americans are not free and democratic enough. Like Monica Smit in Australia, the United States federal government keeps political prisoners, too. If you entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with a Trump flag, you are probably getting the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed treatment right about now. And why not? You refuse to obey the dictates of the enlightened class, so you are just as dangerous as any other terrorist. More so, in fact. For you are a domestic terrorist, which means the secret police (which out of inertia we still refer to as the FBI) are stalking your family and friends while you rot in jail. New world order, indeed.
There used to be a natural brake to this perennial temptation of politicians to act like incarcerating messiahs. It was called the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, Washington had to at least pretend to be on its best behavior. Renditions and assassinations and dirty deals and disappearings—there were plenty of those from the little Caesars of the Beltway. But Washington was obliged to act constitutional-like, or else be humiliated for being “no better than the Russians.” (Many black Americans saw through the ruse anyhow, funny enough—the books of Gerald Horne are highly recommended on this score.)
But then the Berlin Wall tumbled. Then the Kremlin. In the intervening years, while China was “rising,” Washington was morphing, into the behemoth it has become. As if to signal its blood brotherhood with the godless communists who have their jackboots on the necks of the Chinese people, Washington is now threatening to codify Roe. I have no doubt that, once that is accomplished, abortion will be mandated, too. Because we are the land of the free.
The political elites of all parties, of all countries, are the enemy now. The irony of “Marxist” China is that, in the end, it was the inexorable enmity between the working class and the political class that would frame history’s dialectic. The bourgeoisie is old hat. Either you’re a prole or a senator—either you pay taxes, or you get kickbacks from Ukraine. That’s the real class distinction today. So this old-line anti-communist is now voting “yes” on class warfare—the class warfare that sees voters throw every last politician out of office and elect plumbers and accountants instead. We were promised freedom and democracy, but the Rousseauian costs of being forced to be democratic and free are too high for the average Joe and Jane to pay.
France is “grip[ing]” that it has been wronged in the submarine deal, and rightly so. Biden strung Paris along like De Gaulle among the Pieds-Noirs, finally stabbing them in the back when the moment was right (for him). But isn’t Paris now, like Washington and Canberra, also one of the world capitals of vaccine-passport tyranny? Why do authoritarian despots bicker amongst themselves so?
What difference, at this point, does it make? Vote “Yes” on class warfare, my friends.
Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.