Recently I ordered a copy of Naomi Wolf’s The Bodies of Others: The New Authoritarians, COVID-19 and the War Against the Human, and began the book the day it arrived.
Like you who are reading my words, I lived through the lockdowns, the masks, the school and church closures, and all the rest of it. Nonetheless, The Bodies of Others is an eye-opener about the freedoms squashed or stolen from us during the pandemic. It is a blistering j’accuse of the politicians, corporations, tech companies, and international elites whose policies wreaked havoc and damage on societies around the world while often enriching themselves at the expense of the poor and the middle class.
Interspersed in this account are Wolf’s personal experiences during those months when God-given freedoms like the right to assemble and the right to worship were gutted, often with little outcry from a cowed citizenry. On several occasions, she takes us into the enclaves of the people who made and supported these decisions, the wealthy and the powerful, and shows us firsthand the contempt they feel toward the average person.
It’s also a powerful analysis of ways this ordeal of fear was inflicted on our country: the propaganda, the threats, the deliberately manufactured divisions between the vaxxed and the unvaxxed, the misinformation and outright lies put out by the government and the legacy media.
Near the end of The Bodies of Others, Wolf reminds us that this “Great Reset” of nations is ongoing. “In this moment when freedom itself is in the balance, when the alternative is servitude forever, this decision on whether to speak up makes all the difference,” she writes. “Tyrannies only fall when there is mass resistance.”
And in the last lines of the book, Wolf wonders if our children and grandchildren will one day ask us whether we stood up for them and for liberty:
‘Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma,’ they will ask. ‘What did you do?’
So let me leave you with this question:
What did you do?
Any answer to that question is ongoing. What will we do if this fall our state and federal governments again issue dictates and edicts demanding social distancing, masks, and seclusion? What will we do if the administration that has crippled American energy and fossil fuel production rations gas and restricts travel?
Two years ago, the majority of Americans passively obeyed the orders from on high during the pandemic, partly from fear, partly from an attitude of “go along and get along.” We were taken off-guard, driven into uncertainty by the frightening reports pouring out of federal health agencies and the legacy media.
But now we are forewarned, we have tools and options we previously lacked, and we also have the time to make necessary preparations for resistance.
First, we can exercise prudence about any information we receive. We know now not to take any news—whether from a government agency or outfits like CNN—at face value until we check and double-check the source. The fiasco of the pandemic destroyed the trust of many Americans in its officials and reporters. They are the ones who must restore that trust. Until then, we should regard all reports with a wary eye until they are proven true.
Nor should we ever again allow ourselves to become so divided. We might talk now with likeminded family members and friends, and make plans for a show of solidarity against dictatorial directives. We might speak with other parents and agree that if the authorities decide once again to shutter our schools, we will initiate at-home schooling co-ops, allowing our children to continue their education, to develop social skills, and to be with their friends. We can urge the leaders of our houses of worship to reject future mandates that declare such gathering places as “non-essential.”
Finally, we need to find the moral backbone to disobey unjust, unreasonable, or frankly, unhinged orders. Speaking out against injustice becomes an easier task when we stand with others. For some inspired comments on this form of peaceful disobedience, read Charlton Heston’s 1999 speech to the Harvard Law School. There you’ll find plenty of advice for such a resistance.
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” goes the old saying.
True. But if we don’t stick up for our rights and liberties, shame will be the least of our worries.
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