What would Captain Kirk say about today's liberals?
“This is a soulless society, Captain. It has no spirit, no spark. All is indeed peace and tranquility—the peace of the factory; the tranquility of the machine; all parts working in unison.”
-Mr. Spock to Captain Kirk in Return of the Archons.
What is a liberal?
After all the horror of COVID and the dysfunctional response of our society that proved more lethal and damaging than the virus itself, I have begun to question what it means to be a liberal. I am a liberal, and I always have been. But I’m not just a card-carrying Democrat who falls in line with whatever the party, and fellow liberals, tell me that I am supposed to believe. You see, liberalism is the very antithesis of dogmatism, of dictatorial governmental power, of using fear to control people, and that’s not the way it’s been playing out these days among our liberal leaders and their flock.
In the Geriatrics Vengeance Club, Julie tells Ben to be wary of clinging too tightly to the liberal label. She reminds him that liberals created and championed the Eugenic movement in this country, they called for and ultimately enforced the interment of innocent Japanese Americans whose only crime was their nationality, they shoved us into Vietnam, they are more deeply embedded in the corporate world than many conservatives. “If you want to see where liberalism can lead when it becomes a label rather than a way of thinking about things,” she tells Ben. “Just look at the French Revolution, where progressives slaughtered more people than even the King. Either you did what they said, or you were an enemy of the people. They were happy to end and ruin lives to forward their agenda and their power.”
I have never seen liberalism in that light. And yet, with COVID, liberalism embraced an unassailable adherence to unsubstantiated rituals and singular truths declared to be gospel by self-selected “experts,” “requisite” suppression of people’s choices and rights when they verged from the liberal orthodoxy, fear-mongering and allusions to an impending apocalypse, and a rejection of analytical science when it contradicted their own speculation and opinion. To me, this is not liberalism, it is religious fundamentalism, it is fascism (or Faucism as it’s called in my book), it is everything that I as a liberal fear and despise.
It is very telling that I was often drawn to Fox news during the pandemic as the voice of reason! Before COVID hit, even the mere mention of Fox would make me nauseous. Now, when I hear someone making sense on TV and I walk over to see who it is, it is invariably someone from Fox! CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Morning Joe; they just keep shaming and scaring and lying and touting the inviolable beliefs of Anthony Fauci and other academic “TV” scientists, even as facts disprove everything that they claimi to be absolutely true. And they respond just like Anthony Fauci does when people reveal his perfidy: “If you disagree with me, then you’re anti-science!”
Since when did liberals start defining science as being comprised of blind compliance and dogma?
Listening to my liberal friends and to liberal media makes me feel like I am living in the Middle Ages! Follow the “truths” as we utter them lest you be seen as heretics. Especially watching flocks of masked zealots marching around, sometimes in their cars or outdoors, washing their hands over and over, wearing gloves at times, cleaning off everything anyone touched, even though all of these rituals have been clearly and definitively proven to be ineffective against COVID. In our obsession with hand sanitizer and 20-second washing rituals against a virus that does not live on surfaces we slaughtered so much of our protective bacteria that likely we’ll be more prone to viruses, not less so!
This is liberalism? These are the smart and scientific people?
If any TV show is timeless and eternally relevant, it is Star Trek. The original series especially touched on issues of race and humanity and power that still reverberate in our world today. One episode to which I refer often in my book is called “The Return of the Archons,” chronicling a world in which all the people have been transformed into emotionless zombies. They walk around saying “Good day to you sir,” unless they sense that you are somehow different than them, in which case they beckon the robot-like protectors of the peace (the people pictured above) who give you two choices: be absorbed into the body (in other words, become an unquestioning citizen of this zombie-world), or die.
A thousand years earlier, this planet’s society was rocked by civil unrest and war. That is when Landrew and other scientists and thinkers (liberals, no doubt!) realized that to quell societal unrest they must create a collective community in which hate and destruction are removed. They wanted the ultimate liberal nirvana! And so, being the scientists they were, they created a computer system that controlled people’s thoughts and actions, dropping them into a thousand-year haze of absolute compliance. There were no wars, no hate, no fighting, but there was (as Kirk observed) also no life left. To stay safe against a perceived threat, they had stripped from humanity its soul.
As Landrew said to Captain Kirk: You will be absorbed. Your individuality will merge into the unity of good, and in your submergence into the common being of the body, you will find contentment, fulfillment. You will experience the absolute good.
Are we not thinking exactly this way with COVID? Is not liberalism telling us that we must be absorbed into the dogma of Faucism to erase the current threat, even if we have to relinquish everything that makes us alive? Isn’t that what the CNN anchors and so many of our scientists and political leaders are telling us every day? How is liberalism different than the world Landrew created?
One of the villains of Geriatrics Vengeance Club is Joe Seigel, a New York Times reading liberal who has spent his life fighting "the good fight" for all the "right" causes. The character is based on several people I actually know and with whom I have sparred over the past year. These are people who refuse to relinquish their masks even after I toss at them ample data proving that masks are likely more harmful than helpful, data that these scientific-minded liberals refuse to acknowledge because it verges from the gospel that they have declared to be unimpeachable.
“That’s not what the doctors from Hopkins and University of Washington say,” my Joe Seigels say to me. “It’s not what the New York Times says, and not what Dr. Fauci says. And I’m sorry but I’m going to believe Dr. Fauci and not you and your facts.”
Yes, today’s liberals will believe the all-knowing charismatic leader and his media and academic accomplices rather than the facts. If fact, not only do my Joe Seigels continue to wear masks and insist on using copious hand cleaners and keeping people locked up indefinitely, but too they insist that everyone else do it as well. Facts will not deter them in their crusading zeal, the very zeal that prompted Landrew to create his safe and tranquil world.
And my Joe Seigels, in their liberal self-righteous haze, go even further. One of them said, at the beginning of the crisis, that it was ok if people lost their jobs and businesses, if kids stayed out of school for a few years, if all holidays and vacations were cancelled indefinitely, because this was serious stuff and it’s time that all of us do whatever Dr. Fauci declares to be necessary to protect people like him. He’s a pretty well-off guy, as are most of my Joe Seigels, and they have plenty of money and resources to stay shut in for a few years. They are retired, they’re done with school; hell, it’s not hurting them to shut down all of society. They now want to fire anyone who refuses to get vaccinated. They are more than wiling to take away everyone’s rights, to transform America into a society in which everyone is covered by masks and in which all human contact is extinguished, in which millions will suffer and perish in the wake of what he considers a necessary quarantine, as long as Dr. Fauci says it will protect HIM. I can show him fact after fact, and he won’t budge. Dogma always trumps facts to Joe Seigel.
This is liberalism? It does sound like the French Revolution! Like the Dark Ages. Like Landrew’s world. Like every dystopia that we see on the movies and think can never happen.
An early chapter of my book discusses Ben’s musical that he wrote at the beginning of COVID, a story that reflected my own fears and experiences as the pandemic starting morphing into a non-scientific ritualistic cloud that absorbed all of society. In it, America is controlled by a band of scientists, and people are removed from their families and their homes and placed in protective space suits that shock them if they get closer than the scientifically validated 4.3 feet of separation. They must comply with the scientific orthodoxy that now rules the land, and are punished for uttering thoughts that verge from the One Truth. Areas of the world in which the virus surges are destroyed by nuclear strikes. “People must be killed so that they don’t die of COVID,” the new-scientists tell us. Fear is omnipresent; new variants come every day, some can move through computer screens, some are planted by Anti-Scientists to try to harm the New Science. All of society must be “protected” by the New Truth and the New Science until the accentuating threat is extinguished. Humanity falls prey to dogma and fear.
I wrote that well over a year ago, and while it was an exaggeration then, it seems all too real now. Joe Seigel and some of my liberal friends may even think that such a world would be a good thing!
Yes, these are our liberals! This is Joe Seigel. In Geriatrics Vengeance Club, he helps support a band of terrorists called the Sons of Fauci who spread COVID around and try to blame the “surge” they create on those (like Ben’s band of singers) who don’t comply with masks and the quarantine. He constantly threatens the governor with retribution if he dares to open schools or any part of society. Facts means nothing to Joe Seigel. Human compassion is buried by a zealous need to protect himself from what he believes to be the worst threat that has ever struck the world. The Times is his bible, Fauci is his Christ, and any deviation from the one absolute truth they utter is a heresy punishable by damnation.
“Just as many people died in the flu outbreaks of 1957, 1968, and even 2017,” I tell Joe Seigel. “More people die every year of smoking, of other infections, of accidents, of starvation. AIDS was far more lethal, and in a historical sense, COVID is a blip of a disease, no worse than what people face on a regular basis. And the data on masks is clear as day: they don’t work.”
But Joe Seigel, in his liberal smog, tells me again that I am naïve and dangerous, that Dr. Fauci and a lot of smart doctors at Hopkins say otherwise, that the New York Times is all-knowing. Be absorbed, or die. I am a heretic. In today’s land of Landrew, I am a threat to society. That is what liberalism had become.
Sometimes I call myself a Bill Maher liberal, because he’s the one guy, both before the pandemic and during it, who said it like it was. Facts are facts. When the cure is worse than the disease, we really have to question the cure. He has said recently that today’s liberals are yesterday’s conservatives; everything we hated about conservatives we now are preaching ourselves.
“Well,” says Joe Seigel. “This is different. This is a threat beyond all others. This requires us to sacrifice for the good of the whole. We can’t worry about people’s alleged rights when life is on the line.”
To me that sounds eerily similar to a pro-lifer who says: “We can’t worry about the rights of a mother when the life of her baby is on the line.”
Yes, liberals have become the dogmatic, selfish, anti-science, intolerant, anti-democratic, oppressive, one-right-answer caricature of conservatives that so many of us have disparaged all these many years. But today’s liberals refuse to look in the mirror. To them, this is different. They are being good stewards of liberalism by desecrating everything the word means. Just ask Joe Seigel. “You can’t argue with Dr. Fauci. There are times we must make sacrifices for the good of the whole.”
You will be absorbed, or you will die. Mussolini couldn’t have said it any better!
And what’s even more tragic is how these same liberals treated Donald Trump, a man who I voted against twice but who often sounds more reasonable than the Joe Seigels of the world. How many times did Jake Tapper on CNN rail against Trump’s lies, his seizure of power, his inhumanity. And now you see Jake Tapper lying about COVID, justifying the seizure of power by “strong and well-meaning” governors, and preaching the need to suppress human rights and happiness in the wake of this threat. CNN and others slammed Trump with their fact checker, even as they spouted out “facts” about COVID that were utterly false, “facts” whose only legitimacy was that they were uttered by Dr. Fauci or one of his academic sycophants. They were quick to want to remove the right of assembly, and the right of free speech, demanding that President Trump be extracted from all social medial and essentially muffled, even as they accused the President of threatening our rights.
This is liberalism? This is certainly not the brand of liberalism I signed up for!
I am and always will be a liberal. Why? Because...
I believe in science. I don’t trust what “experts” declare to be the one and only truth merely because they tell me to believe them; rather, I investigate everything myself. There’s never one truth, there’s always nuance. Self-declared experts are no different than religious fundamentalists. Science is the discipline of always asking questions, assessing and reassessing our beliefs and presumptions, demanding facts and data to back up everything we say. I am a scientist because I do just that. Fauci is the very antithesis of a scientist because he demands blind compliance, and so too is Joe Seigel.
I believe in the rights of people to be free and to make their own choices, as long as those choices don’t harm someone else. Sure, some would say that people going into big crowds can cause a viral surge that will harm someone else, hence we must legislate against gathering. Some common sense measures may be prudent, when done in a limited way for a brief period of time. But with COVID, we have somehow justified a totalitarian desecration of individual liberty for more than a year, we have turned our back to the human suffering instigated by our zealous policies, and the Joe Seigel liberals want it to continue until the last COVID bug is gone. Liberty is too precious for so harsh an assault. When COVID first struck, sure, we had to be more carful, but then we should have opened up society, protected the vulnerable, educated everyone about how to be safe and who was at high risk of death, and then let people make their own choices. We can always find some threat to justify taking everyone’s freedoms away and triggering massive harm to people and society; despots have been doing that throughout history. But it’s up to us liberals to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’re not supposed to be the guys doing it!
I am opposed to dogmatic and ritualistic thinking. We can’t just do stuff because people tell us to do it. We can’t force others to think and do what we believe to be right. We have to realize that there are many ways people perceive a threat, and everyone should be able to think and act in a way that is right for them. If you want to wear a cross, fast during certain days, eschew blood transfusions, marry a person of the same sex, use birth control, or either wear or not wear a mask, that’s up to you. As a liberal I won't judge you, but I will insist you don’t tell me what to do. There is no one right way of doing things. Once we think that there is, then we retreated from liberalism, right back into the Dark Ages!
I will not endorse a monothetic propaganda-driven media. Twenty-five years of being immersed in our health care system has shown me that the New York Times is wrong far more than it’s right. It will tout “truths” uttered by “experts” without doing any research to confirm what they say. So often they claim that a certain drug or treatment or test is life-saving because some expert says it is, even as facts show it to be both ineffective and dangerous. I do the hard work of looking into these things, as all liberals should. We don’t merely accept what the media spits out at us, like Joe Seigel is wont to do. That’s not liberalism. That’s a religious fundamentalist who believes everything uttered by the priests and written in the bible. Once the media becomes the instrument of dogma, than it’s no different than what Goebbels did in Nazi Germany. It is a tool of propaganda, not a clarion of democracy and truth.
Liberalism is a philosophy that I have always endorsed because it is both humanistic and scientific. At its core it espouses a belief that we must use the best of what we have to assure for all people “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In a liberal system, people are able to make their own choices as long as those choices don’t strip from others their own liberties. In a liberal system, we use science and humanism to help people prosper. Only when there is an egregious threat to our rights from the actions of others should the government intervene in a way that suppresses our rights. And even that has to always be limited lest it morph into what liberals now espouse: a reactionary, doctrinaire, oppressive form of conservatism that is propelled by an incessant dose of fear.
COVID has challenged liberalism, transforming it into religious dogmatism propelled by fear and led by men like Joe Seigel who is happy to destroy all of human happiness, liberty, prosperity, and education in the pursuit of his own errant beliefs. That is not liberalism. It is the very opposite. Or, as Captain Kirk concluded in Return of the Archons: “Without freedom of choice there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life.”
Welcome to the land of Landrew!