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We're All In This Boxcar Together
Beware of self-righteous billionaires and their government lackeys
BY JOHN LEAKE
Author’s Note: The following is my second address to the Northern Light Convention, Bornholm, Denmark, June 17, 2023.
In his e-mail to me about the Northern Light Convention, Mr. Mads Palsvig explained: “We oppose global totalitarianism in all its disguises.”
I was pleased to see his use of the word “disguises,” because I have long believed that totalitarians work primarily by projecting the semblance of morality. I call it the Moral Masquerade of Tyrants.
Of this phenomenon, the British writer and theologian C.S. Lewis, remarked:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
A particularly distressing feature of our current state of the affairs is that the Robber Barons and the Omnipotent Moral Busybodies are now one and the same.
Every year in Davos, a coterie of self-righteous billionaires convene to discuss their schemes for tormenting us for our own good.
Generally speaking, the trouble with self-righteous people is that the lack self-awareness of their own capacity for doing terrible things. As the Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung put it, they fail to recognize their own “Shadow”—that is, the dark side of human nature that dwells in all of us.
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
The Russian novelist, Vladimir Nabokov, characterized this moral deficiency as a form of sentimentality.
Sentimental Rousseau, who could weep over a progressive idea, distributed his many natural children through various poorhouses and workhouses and never gave a hoot for them. A sentimental old maid may pamper her parrot and poison her niece. The sentimental politician may remember Mother’s Day and ruthlessly destroy a rival. Stalin loved babies. Lenin sobbed at the opera, especially at the Traviata.
Lewis, Jung, and Nabokov used different idioms to describe the same moral and spiritual catastrophe so garishly on display in Davos Man. In North America, brutal self-righteousness is especially evident in the characters of California Governor Gavin Newsom, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In conclusion: We must all beware of billionaires such as Klaus Schwab telling us we “will own nothing and be happy.” We must be ever vigilant about the danger of granting emergency power to preening malignant narcissists like Trudeau. The revolting exhortation, “We’re all in this together” bears an eerie resemblance to slogans promulgated by Italian and German fascist propagandists. As an old friend here in the States satirizes this expression: “We’re all in this boxcar together.”