Truth Over Tyranny: Biblical wisdom for defeating the Technocrats.
These are my insights for defeating the Transhumanist Technocracy movement, based on the teachings of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, on the weekly Bible portion.
During the Covid scam, and subsequent “vaccine” fraud, so many people throughout society became “mini-dictators.” They used whatever leverage they had over people to coerce conformity to “public health policy.”
Adult children used emotional blackmail to get their parents to take the shot.
Teachers and school administrators used school policies to force children to wear masks and social distance.
Hospitals and health systems used employment authority to force doctors to give the shot.
State and federal government officials used emergency powers to coerce compliance among local businesses and large corporations.
And the list goes on.
The cost to society was tragically horrific, in terms of loss of life, widespread sickness, broken families, impaired childhood development, loss of jobs, loss of income, closed businesses…
And the list goes on.
Yet people persisted in demanding conformity at all costs. What turned them into compliance automatons? How did they lose their ability to think and act for themselves?
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks addresses the dilemma of people losing their free will in his commentary on Parashat Vaera called, aptly, “Freewill.”
He starts off by asking a fundamental question about Pharaoh. The text says that “God hardened his (Pharaoh’s) heart.” Does it mean that Pharaoh lost his free will?
“The question is ancient. If God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, then it was God who made Pharaoh refuse to let the Israelites go, not Pharaoh himself. How can this be just? How could it be right to punish Pharaoh and his people for a decision – a series of decisions – that were not made freely? Punishment presupposes guilt. Guilt presupposes responsibility. Responsibility presupposes freedom. We do not blame weights for falling, or the sun for shining. Natural forces are not choices made by reflecting on alternatives. Homo sapiens alone is free. Take away that freedom and you take away our humanity. How then can it say, as it does in our parsha (Ex. 7:3) that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?”
To answer, Rabbi Sacks gives us examples of how people put themselves on “automatic,” by relinquishing their freedom. Mindlessness takes on a life of its own. He starts with addiction:
“Consider addiction: The first few times someone gambles or drinks alcohol or takes drugs, they may do so freely, knowing the risks but ignoring them. Time goes on and their dependency increases until the craving is so intense that they are almost powerless to resist it. At a certain point they may have to go into rehabilitation. They no longer have the ability to stop without external support. As the Talmud says, “A prisoner cannot release himself from prison.” (Brachot 5b)”
Then there is the failure of character:
“Addiction is a physical phenomenon, but there are moral equivalents. For example, suppose on one significant occasion you tell a lie. People now believe something about you that is not true. As they question you about it, or it comes up in conversation, you find yourself having to tell more lies to support the first. “Oh what a tangled web we weave,” Sir Walter Scott famously said, “when first we practise to deceive.”
There is corporate malfeasance:
“That is as far as individuals are concerned. When it comes to organisations, the risk is even greater. Let us say that a senior member of staff has made a costly mistake that, if exposed, threatens the entire future of the company. They will make an attempt to cover it up. To do so they must enlist the help of others, who become co-conspirators. As the circle of deception widens, it becomes part of the corporate culture, making it ever more difficult for honest people within the organisation to resist or protest. It then needs the rare courage of a whistle-blower to expose and halt the deception. There have been many such stories in recent years.”
On a national level, there is insurrection and totalitarian control:
“Within nations, especially non-democratic ones, the risk is higher still. In commercial enterprises, losses can be quantified. Someone somewhere knows how much has been lost, how many debts have been concealed and where. In politics, there may be no such objective test. It is easy to claim that a policy is working and explain away apparent counter-indicators. A narrative emerges and becomes the received wisdom. Hans Christian Anderson’s tale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, is the classic parable of this phenomenon. A child sees the truth and in innocence blurts it out, breaking the conspiracy of silence on the part of the monarch’s counsellors and townspeople.”
Rabbi Sacks shows us that freedom is always at risk. It is always under numerous threats. One such threat is emotional:
“We lose our freedom gradually, often without noticing it. That is what the Torah has been implying almost from the beginning. The classic statement of freewill appears in the story of Cain and Abel. Seeing that Cain is angry that his offering has not found favour, God says to him: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Gen. 4:7). The maintenance of freewill, especially in a state of high emotion like anger, needs willpower. As we have noted before in these studies, what Daniel Goleman calls an ‘amygdala hijack’ can occur in which instinctive reaction takes the place of reflective decision and we do things that are harmful to us as well as to others. That is the emotional threat to freedom.”
Another threat is social:
“Then there is a social threat. After the Holocaust, a number of path-breaking experiments were undertaken to judge the power of conformism and obedience to authority. Solomon Asch conducted a series of experiments in which eight people were gathered in a room and were shown a line, then asked which of three others was the same length. Unknown to the eighth person, the seven others were associates of the experimenter and were following his instructions. On a number of occasions the seven conspirators gave an answer that was clearly false, yet in 75 per cent of cases the eighth person was willing to agree with them and give an answer he knew to be false.”
“Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram showed that ordinary individuals were willing to inflict what appeared to be devastatingly painful electric shocks on someone in an adjacent room when instructed to do so by an authority figure, the experimenter. The Stanford Prison Experiment, conducted by Philip Zimbardo, divided participants into the roles of prisoners and guards. Within days the ‘guards’ were acting cruelly and in some cases abusively toward the prisoners and the experiment, planned to last a fortnight, had to be called off after six days.”
Then we have the moral threat:
“Most tragically, there is the moral threat. We sometimes forget, or don’t even know, that the conditions of slavery the Israelites experienced in Egypt were often enough felt by Egyptians themselves over many generations. The great pyramid of Giza, built more than a thousand years before the Exodus, before even the birth of Abraham, reduced much of Egypt to a slave labour colony for twenty years. When life becomes cheap and people are seen as a means not an end, when the worst excesses are excused in the name of tradition and rulers have absolute power, then conscience is eroded and freedom lost because the culture has created insulated space in which the cry of the oppressed can no longer be heard.”
That is the key. People create a social environment, and then become the type of person that environment requires. That’s what happened to Pharaoh:
“That is what the Torah means when it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Enslaving others, Pharaoh himself became enslaved. He became a prisoner of the values he himself had espoused. Freedom in the deepest sense, the freedom to do the right and the good, is not a given. We acquire it, or lose it, gradually.”
The people who advocate conformity at any cost have become their own slavemasters. They are pushing us to become the same. They have stopped asserting their God-given ability to think and act for themselves. If you don’t use your freedom, you lose it. And they have lost it.
But those of us who fight to maintain our freedom – both within ourselves, and in the world at large – will prevail:
“In the end tyrants bring about their own destruction, whereas those with willpower, courage, and the willingness to go against the consensus, acquire a monumental freedom. That is what Judaism is: an invitation to freedom by resisting the idols and siren calls of the age.”