I have fun with AI sometimes. I ask it questions rather than doing my own search and it tends to yield a pretty good synthesis of results. For example, recently I asked Perplexity the following question about protecting freedom:

How do we protect ourselves from totalitarian or authoritarian governmental policies?

Here’s what perplexity had to say:

To protect ourselves from totalitarian or authoritarian governmental policies, it is crucial to be vigilant and take specific actions based on the insights provided by various sources:

1. **Stay Informed and Vigilant**: Be aware of proposed laws that may infringe on fundamental rights, criminalize disinformation, or silence dissent within public institutions[1].

2. **Protect Minority Rights**: Uphold the rights of minorities, including political and demographic minorities, as they are often targeted by authoritarian regimes to sow division and consolidate power[1].

3. **Defend Free Press**: Fight for press freedom and support independent media outlets to prevent state control of information and propaganda dissemination[2].

4. **Promote Unity**: Resist attempts to divide society by staying united against efforts to label certain groups as enemies of the state or unpatriotic[2].

5. **Challenge Misinformation**: Combat the spread of misinformation by fact-checking, thinking critically, and exposing lies and distortions of the truth[2].

6. **Advocate for Judicial Independence**: Protect the independence of the judiciary to prevent the erosion of checks and balances that could lead to unconstitutional legislation[2].

7. **Engage in Civic Education**: Educate citizens about the threats posed by authoritarian regimes and empower them to defend democracy against external influences like election interference, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns[5].

By following these guidelines and actively engaging in safeguarding democratic principles, individuals can contribute to resisting authoritarianism and protecting democratic values.

[1] https://protectdemocracy.org/work/the-authoritarian-playbook/
[2] https://verfassungsblog.de/the-authoritarian-regime-survival-guide/
[3] https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2022/global-expansion-authoritarian-rule
[4] https://www.reaganfoundation.org/reagan-institute/publications/democracy-and-authoritarianism-how-should-values-matter-in-foreign-policy/
[5] https://www.bushcenter.org/topics/freedom-and-democracy/confronting-authoritarian-regimes

Here’s What I Have to Say

I find this somewhat alarming given the current state of our world. It sure seems like we are failing to live up to these guidelines. For example, it is getting almost impossible to keep up with all of the legislation being proposed and passed by governmental bodies these day. And quite often, items are snuck through or passed without any consideration of future dangers. Who does that serve? And why is it becoming increasingly difficult and even dangerous to express a dissenting idea?

I have personal experience with the rights of minorities at risk because I was one of the people unwilling to take an untested injection these last few years. As a white privileged female, I might not otherwise have ever had an understanding of how awful it is to have one’s rights removed and to be villainized by the majority. Now I do. And that makes me much more sympathetic to those who feel their rights are ignored or denied altogether, even if it has no impact on me personally. The fact is, any attack on anyone’s rights leads to a deterioration of everyone’s rights.

As for a free press, is that even possible when sources of information are corporately sponsored and/or owned? There is ever more encroachment in the form of censoring, de-platforming, and the proliferation of “approved” narratives and the like. Because I tend to listen to a multitude of voices rather than relying on mainstream media, and because I live in a different country than the one in which I grew up, I am perhaps blessed to hear a variety of perspectives from which I can then stitch together more likely truths.

But I have also seen just how widespread the silencing is as well as just how deep the propaganda from all sides is infiltrating in an attempt to confuse the masses. It’s scary. It is not just tin-foiled lunatics who are silenced, either. In fact, it is very often experts or journalists who maintain inconvenient truths. (Seems to me like plenty of lunatics actually remain free to spout whatever idiocy their wish.)

It’s interesting how a lack of free press actually works to destroy the unity which is necessary to prevent society’s breakdown. The news is already polarized (ie: MSNBC vs. FOX) and of course, those who watch one tend not to watch the other, which only reinforces bias. Social media and its demonstrated “mob mentality” doesn’t help. Humanity has a long way to go to realize that blame is actually disempowering and that there is no greater enemy than the one inside. And as long as emotions are so easily manipulated by the masses and those in power, societal actions will always be at odds with its own values.

When it comes to misinformation and challenging it, how does one do that when the information is processed through corrupted channels?  When words are redefined, statistical measures adulterated, scientific methods bypassed, and propaganda legalized against one’s own people, how do we ever arrive at legitimate truths? Without a functioning intuition and ability to challenge one’s own thinking, it becomes quite plainly impossible to discern.

I can’t comment on the sixth point. I don’t have enough knowledge. But I can say how immensely grateful I am to those on the frontlines doing their utmost to protect liberty.

But as a former educator, I can honestly say that our education system has been failing kids for decades. It’s why I left the public school system in the early 2000’s and then the community college system in 2013. As long as we don’t first provide the absolute basics – healthy diets, safe homes, and emotional intelligence – how can we expect any child to thrive? That some do is a testament to the resilience of children. Education needs a major paradigm shift that includes real-life skills, self-awareness, and critical thinking. The fact that is doesn’t serves who, exactly?

It’s Almost Midnight

Have you ever heard of the doomsday clock? It signals how close humanity is to complete destruction. According to it, we are 90 seconds to midnight, the hour of catastrophic outcomes. It mostly represents nuclear threat, but taking into consideration the guidelines above, I think it signals the destruction of authentic democracy as well. I don’t know where we are headed as a species, let alone as a civilization but I sincerely hope humanity awakens before it is too late when we finally realize how much we’ve lost due to apathy or fear.

You may be wondering why I am sharing this. It’s not exactly inspirational. And on the surface, it would seem to have little to do with selfcare. But I believe that our lack of self-knowledge and selfcare is at the heart of the problem, as is our disconnection from our own Divinity. Too many are externally focused, waiting for someone else to save them. Too many remain blind to frightening realities because it is easier to stick one’s head in the sand. And too many fail to do the work necessary to free themselves from the tyranny of our psychological and societal conditioning.

My point in writing this is simply to speak up. We all need to find our voice and realign our values with our actions.

If you’ve bothered to read this, it’s probably safe to assume you are one of the people on this planet as concerned as I am for humanity’s future. I am grateful you exist.