In her 2008 book, “End of America,” Naomi Wolf outlined the 10 steps those in power use to close down democracies. Sadly, she writes today, as governments use the pandemic to justify the suppression of civil rights, America is now in the throes of “Step Ten.”
By Naomi Wolf
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In 2008, I wrote a book, “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.” In it I warned, based on my study of closing democracies in 20th century history, that America needed to beware of an all-too-possible slide into totalitarianism.
I warned that would-be tyrants, whether they are on the left or the right, always use a map to close down democracies, and that they always take the same ten steps.
Whether they “Invoke an External and Internal Threat” or “Develop a Paramilitary Force” or “Restrict the Press” or the final step, “Subvert the Rule of Law, these steps are always recognizable — and they always work to crush democracies and establish tyrannies. At the time that I wrote the book, the “global threat” of terrorism was the specter that powers invoked in order to attack our freedoms.
The book was widely read and discussed, both at the time of its publication and over the last 12 years. Periodically over the last decade, people would ask me when and if we had reached “Step Ten.”
We — my brave publisher, Chelsea Green, and I — are releasing videos of me reading the first and last chapters (see videos below) of “The End of America” now, in 2021, for free. And I am calling the sequel to this book, which I am now writing, “Step Ten” — because as of March of last year, we have indeed, I am so sad to say, arrived at and begun to inhabit “Step Ten” of the 10 steps to fascism.
Though in 2008, I did not explicitly foresee that a medical pandemic would be the vehicle for moving the entire globe into “Step Ten,” I have at various points warned of the dangers of medical crises as vehicles that tyranny can exploit to justify suppressions of civil rights.
Today, a much-hyped medical crisis has taken on the role of being used as a pretext to strip us all of core freedoms, that fears of terrorism did not, despite 20 years of effort, ultimately achieve.
In 2015, I was widely mocked in mainstream news outlets for warning about the hysteria that accompanied Ebola reporting, and I cautioned then that infectious diseases could be used as a justification for ushering in the suppression of liberties, always under the guise of emergency measures.
In 2020, I showed in my book, “Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love,” how infectious disease epidemics, such as cholera and typhus, had been exploited in the 19th century by the British state in order to crush freedoms and invade people’s privacy. I wrote about how the first anti-vaccination movements arose among British parents in the Victorian period.
That book was initially cancelled, and its message of warning continues to be assailed. But that book, too, was prescient: In early March of 2020, of course, a global pandemic was announced — COVID-19.
In the immediate wake of the announcement and narrativization of that pandemic, most of the elements of a locked-in, 360-degree totalitarianism have been put into place in most of the countries of the West, including in what had been robust democracies. It all happened very quickly and comprehensively.
In the U.S. we now have:
- Emergency measures in many states, which suspend due process of law. This is the hallmark of a police state. COVID-19 is invoked as the reason for the introduction of emergency law — but there is no endpoint for lifting these emergency laws.
- The closures of schools, which break the social contract with the next generation.
- Bills being passed for “vaccine passports,” which bypass the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution by allowing the government and Big Tech companies to intrude on medical privacy, and to create a comprehensive digital surveillance state. (Indeed, the fact that tech stocks rose by 27% each quarter of the pandemic shows one driver of this war against the human: Every minute human beings spend in a classroom, at the pub or restaurant or in a church or synagogue, is time that tech companies lose money by being unable to harvest that data. COVID-19 policies driven by “COVID-19 Response” — actually, by Big Tech companies — ensure that humans are not allowed to connect except via digital platforms. The reason is profit as well as social control).
- Forced closures of businesses. By intervening directly in the economy and allowing certain businesses to flourish (Amazon, Walmart, Target) at the expense of small businesses, Main Street shops, restaurants and sole proprietor businesses in general, the State has merged government and corporations in a way that is characteristic of Italian fascism and modern Chinese communism.
- Restrictions on assembly. Some states such as California are fining people for seeing their friends in their homes, and making it unlawful for kids to have playdates with their friends. Massachusetts restricted gatherings of more than 10 people at a time, forcing synagogues and churches to stay closed, in spite of a Supreme Court ruling against states forcing churches to close. Parks and playgrounds and beaches have been closed. In countries such as Britain, people are fined for leaving their homes for more than an hour’s exercise a day.
- Forced face coverings. In Massachusetts, people are fined if they are not wearing masks outdoors — even children as young as 5 are forced to do so by law. Again, this mandate has not been undergirded by peer-reviewed studies showing medical necessity. And there is no endpoint proffered for these extraordinary violations of personal freedom.
- Suppression of free speech. Big Tech companies are censoring critics of COVID-19 policy and vaccine policy, as well as censoring views that are on the right hand of the political spectrum. Incitement, a word that has a long history in the 20th century for closing down free speech, has been weaponized by the left to shut down First Amendment freedoms of expression. In other forms of censorship and management of speech and public debate, tycoons such as Bill Gates have been funding major news outlets, with millions of dollars directed to “COVID-19 education.” As a result, dissenting voices are marginalized and shamed, or even threatened with legal action or job losses.
- Science being hijacked in the interests of “biofascism.” By heavily funding scientific commentators such as Dr. Fauci in the United States, Imperial College and SAGE in the U.K. and Dr. Christian Drosten in Germany, a dominant set of policies and pronouncements about COVID-19 that benefit a small group of bad actors — notably tech and pharmaceutical interests, acting in concert with governments — have built an army of secured, credentialled supporters. But when other scientists or institutions seek debate or transparency, they are threatened with job loss or are reputationally attacked, as in the case of Dr. Simon Goddeke of the Netherlands, who was told to keep quiet by his university when he challenge the flawed COVID-19 PCR test protocols.
- Data being hijacked to serve the interests of this biofascism. This manipulation of truth, which I foreshadowed in “The End of America,” is typical of the Soviet censors. COVID-19 platforms such as the COVID Tracking Project and Johns Hopkins University, funded by technocrats such as Michael Bloomberg, serve unverifiable COVID-19 data that directly affect the stock markets. Again, while this un-American merger of corporate interests and public policy is reminiscent of Italian fascism, the twist provided by digital data presentation and its relationship to the stock market is very much of the 21st century.
- Attacks on religious minorities. The orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn and Christian churches in California have been singled out for punishment if they do not follow COVID-19 rules — a targeting of religion that is characteristic of communist policies on the left, especially in China.
- Policies that weaken bonds between human beings and weaken the family being introduced and policed. This is the most serious development of all.
The new biofascism, very much driven by Big Tech leaders, is a war against human beings and the qualities that make us human.
Masks break human beings’ ability to bond face to face and enjoy human contact, smiles and jokes. Masks turn down the effectiveness of human “technology,” essentially, by making it hard for us to “read” each other and to pick up social cues.
Forbidding assembly keeps us from forming human alliances against these monstrous interests. Forbidding human assembly also prevents new cultures, new heroes and new business models from arising. We are all stuck with the Rolodex and the ideas we had in March of 2019.
Forcing kids to distance at school and wear masks ensures a generation of Americans who don’t know how to form human alliances, and who don’t trust their own human instincts. Those are counterrevolutionary training techniques.
Driving all learning onto (already prepared) distance-learning platforms ensures that kids do not know how to behave in human space, space not mediated by technology.
Many COVID-19 policies seem designed to ensure that humans will have no “analog” space or “analog” culture left — no way to feel comfortable simply gathering in a room, touching one another as friends or allies, or joining together.
Lastly, driving all human interaction onto Zoom (which is a window for the Communist China Party, as China owns the platform) is not only a way to harvest all of our tech, business secrets and IP, it is a way to ensure that intimacy and connection in the future will be done online and that human face-to-face contact will be killed off.
Why is this? Why develop policies that punish, encumber and restrict human contact in analog (un-surveilled, unmediated) spaces?
Because human contact is the great revolutionary force when it comes to human freedom and resistance to this form of comprehensive biofascism — the biofascism represented by the New Normal — the medico-fascist “Step Ten.”
Now let me recap from the year 2008, and read you my intro to “The End of America”, as well as the warning at the close of that book. Its message has never, sadly, been more timely. This time, the threats to freedom that were then justified by terrorism, have re-clothed themselves in the trappings of a medical pandemic.
But this time we do not just face a war on freedom. This time we face a war on human beings, and on all that makes us human.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.
Naomi Wolf was born in San Francisco in 1962. She was an undergraduate at Yale University and did her graduate work at New College, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Watch Chapter 1
Watch Chapter 11