2021: The Year of the Ruling Class' Crackdown on Dissent | Opinion

The year 2020 was the year of the lockdown, when the Ruling Class arbitrarily, capriciously and selectively suspended the natural rights bedrock upon which American life—indeed, life itself—relies.

The year 2021 closes as the year of the crackdown, when the Ruling Class weaponized its powers to crush dissenters from its Wokeist-Scientist orthodoxy in arguably the most far-reaching, brazen and lawless assault on Americans by the state and its private-sector adjuncts in our nation's history.

This was the year that the campus became the country. Those engaging in speech that ran afoul of the Ruling Class' party line were treated as physical dangers to the homeland, demanding the full force of the public and private sectors to deter, punish and subdue them.

Every free-thinking individual became a potential Donald Trump, liable to be ostracized, harassed and punished for daring to cross the regime in a society-wide Russiagate.

January 6, for which the scope of the Ruling Class' own role is still unfolding, served as the bridge from Trump to his tens of millions of supporters that the conquering Ruling Class trod over, as foretold in its wake.

A national strategy for countering "domestic terrorism," associated homeland security threat bulletins and official DOJ/FBI policy directives made crushing dissent an official state objective.

Civil society's commanding heights worked hand in glove with the regime, for it is part and parcel of it. Censorship, algorithmic suppression, deplatforming, cancelation, social media mobs, sackings, subpoenas, show trials, surveillance—these became part of the daily drumbeat, desensitizing us to what we would usually recognize as both abnormal and un-American.

Periodic purges of social media accounts now look quaint. Today, everyday Americans may not only easily lose their ability to communicate in the digital public square, but also to bank, to work or to raise a family in peace should they engage in an ever-shifting list of thoughtcrimes—or even refuse to get a jab of an experimental drug.

Sometimes, the thoughtcrimes themselves became legal, demonstrating the absurdity of it all, as the dizzying deluge of flip-flops and goalpost-shifts on everything from the lab leak theory of COVID origin to the efficacy of masking to isolation periods and hospitalization data reflect.

This jihad, often running under the banner of "counter-terror," comes from the very cohort currently shrieking about how "democracy" hangs by a thread if Republicans win in 2022 and, gasp, 2024—wins that would be direct rebukes of the Ruling Class' anti-democratic, tyrannical acts, and which the Ruling Class now seeks to pre-delegitimize.

There were three subjects above all others that Americans could not broach without facing the regime's wrath: The integrity of the 2020 election; the draconian, unscientific and self-evidently punitive Chinese coronavirus policies and proclamations; and indoctrination in critical race theory—racial Marxism—in schools.

What made these three subjects sacrosanct? Questioning the Official Narrative on each of them uniquely threatened the regime's legitimacy, power and privilege.

Question the integrity of the first essentially un-auditable mass mail-in election in American history, which the Ruling Class proudly sought to rig—ahem, "fortify"—in which state authorities openly flouted election laws and in which all manner of irregularities ensued, and you question the legitimacy of the regime's rule. Worse, you could be an "armed insurrectionist"—notwithstanding that of the more than 700 charged so-called January 6 "insurrectionists," none were carrying firearms in the Capitol and none are being prosecuted for "insurrection."

Question the Chinese coronavirus policies and proclamations and you threaten the authorities' ability to usurp maximum control over our lives—the whipsaw of narratives as the Xi (a.k.a. "Omicron") variant spread in the final weeks of 2021 demonstrated the politics of "The Science" for all to see. Worse, you could be a living, breathing, super-spreader of dangerous misinformation, if not disease, death and destruction.

Question Critical Race Theory and you challenge the regime's ideology. Worse, you could become not only a racist (by rejecting race essentialism), but by daring to make your voice heard about what you believe your children ought to be taught in the schools you pay for, you might even be a domestic terrorist.

Dissent, in short, is dangerous and will not be tolerated.

This is in part why January 6—the event concerning which the Ruling Class' narrative has largely collapsed, yet which serves as the foundation for the Ruling Class' society-wide purge—is so significant.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President, gives an update on the Omicron COVID-19 variant during the daily press briefing at the White House on December 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

By treating the January 6 U.S. Capitol breach as somehow equivalent to the flying of planes into the World Trade Center, the Ruling Class makes the infinitesimal number of Americans who acted pathetically for several hours on a single day into al-Qaeda—and tens of millions of Trump supporters into would-be co-conspirators.

Rendering their political opponents terrorists—while, during the summer of 2020, they had cheered on the destruction of cities and the anti-police movement that has now resulted in record violent crime—was necessary to justify their own terror as they sought to usurp maximum power.

Consider how disturbing the treatment of Capitol rioters has been, no matter how contemptible the actions of the worst actors among them. There are people with no prior criminal record who participated in the breach now rotting in a squalid D.C. prison for months on end in pretrial detention, allegedly facing assaults, stuck in solitary confinement for hours a day and made to plead before judges before whom they repent their political views in order to try and garner their release. The process is the punishment. The cruelty is the point. The message to Americans is clear: You no longer live in a nation with anything remotely resembling equal, impartial justice. Enemies of the regime will be brought to heel; woke social justice warriors will get off scot-free. This is meant to both instill terror in and demoralize dissenters.

It also serves as a prior restraint on dissent because Americans know that every critical response the Ruling Class' actions provoke will provide yet another pretext to turn the screws tighter in order to "save democracy." We see similar themes in the pursuit of the perfectly peaceful political foes of the regime—the dozens and dozens of them—subjected to the Soviet justice of the lawless and limitless January 6 Select Committee.

It is also worth pausing to consider the Biden administration's unique contempt for unvaccinated Americans—an eerie, disturbing and chilling wedge it has created in our society. Why the need to scapegoat these tens of millions of Americans of every race, creed and political stripe? Because refusing to get the jab—or ever-increasing number of jabs—to meet the sure-to-vacillate definition of "fully vaccinated" stands as a direct vote of "no confidence" in a regime that has done nothing to earn that confidence. And you simply cannot be permitted to challenge the regime—hence the need for ever-greater punitive measures to make the unvaccinated, unwashed masses comply.

Every action from the regime is clearly about raising the cost of dissent to such great heights that it will fall away—liberty and justice, stumbling blocks to total rule, be damned.

The reality is that the only threat dissenting Americans pose is to the Ruling Class' unmitigated power. Its intimidation and coercion is proportional to its failure to maintain power because of the failure of its agenda. The more it touches, the more it destroys. And it loathes to be called out for it.

The fundamental problem the Ruling Class faces, going forward, is that while it scapegoats, smears and suppresses the non-progressive patriots who refuse to submit to its reign, it can't distract the public from the fact its agenda is killing the country.

The Ruling Class can endure its children being shut out of school, spiraling inflation, supply chain breakdown, surging crime, suspended sovereignty and all manner of tyrannical policies that serve to widen the gulf between the Ruling Class and America. But America itself cannot.

In the final days of 2021, the Ruling Class limped to the finish line, personified by its confused, irritable and frail figurehead—the president of the United States.

It is stuck between its lust for power and its imperative to strangle its political opposition on the one hand, and its desire to survive—with the American people rejecting its reign at the ballot box in 2021, and threatening an even greater rejection in 2022—on the other hand.

Let us resolve in this new year to make the Ruling Class' worst fear a reality—to punish it for the suffering it has inflicted on our republic.

Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). Ben is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and production company. Subscribe to his newsletter at bit.ly/bhwnews, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.