Former consultant to Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and one time poster girl for third wave feminism, Naomi Wolf has seen the light, and it was COVID mania that turned on the switch.
For those of us who lived our lives in 2020-2021 much as we had in 2019, Wolf’s new book, “The Bodies of Others: The New Authoritarians, Covid-19 and the War Against the Human,” comes as a revelation.
Wolf shows us from the inside what happened to “my people, my tribe, my whole life, the progressive, right-on, part of the ideological world” during the presumed pandemic, and it wasn’t pretty.
“It was as if these communities were in the grip of a collective hallucination,” Wolf writes, “like the witch crazes of the sixteen and seventeenth century.”
“Whole understandings and belief systems were abandoned overnight,” she continues. “Intelligent, informed people suddenly saw things that were not there and were unable to see things that were incontrovertibly before their faces.”
As admirable as her truth seeking is, Wolf has yet to grasp that there was nothing “sudden” about the blind authoritarianism of the American left.
Increasingly, over at least the last half-century, progressives have refused “to see things that were incontrovertibly before their faces” and punished those who could see.
I could cite a score of neglected phenomena that attest to the left’s willful myopia, but the one threat to life and liberty that awakening liberals like Wolf, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Bill Maher, Russell Brand and Elon Musk need to address first is so-called “climate change.”
Wolf gets the big picture when speaking about COVID-19. She acknowledges that the enemy is a global elite whose “magnitude of … evil” negates the possibility of rational debate and “evokes the necessity of a countervailing force – that of God.”
On the subject of climate, Wolf can take her cue from the late Michael Crichton, a hugely successful author and producer as well as a Harvard-minted M.D. Twenty years ago, he had taken it upon himself to challenge the prevailing scientific orthodoxy on what was then called “global warming,” a name conveniently ditched when the earth stopped warming.
Crichton did so most flamboyantly on the evening of Sept. 15, 2003, at the famed Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. As to the nature of his talk, he had been handed a weighty assignment, namely to address the most important challenge facing mankind.
The one he chose was unexpected – “distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda.” Without the ability to make these distinctions, Crichton argued, as Wolf has, it was useless to try solving more tangible problems.
As an example of the challenge at hand, Crichton spoke about environmentalism. Reassuring those in attendance that, like all rational people, he understood man has a responsibility for his environment, he cautioned them that too often civic leaders failed to make the right decisions and, even worse, refused to learn from their failures.
They had ceased to make their decisions based on evidence, Crichton argued. They were making decisions based on faith, a faith unrooted in the Western traditions of fairness and honesty.
For the Western world, said Crichton, “one of the most powerful religions” was environmentalism. He called it, in fact, “a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.”
Wolf describes the fight to determine the fate of the bodies of others a “spiritual battle.” As she now understands, the forces of evil are not constrained by truth or common decency.
As Wolf may understand, the COVID mania was a preview of coming attractions. Climate has now taken center stage, the latest battleground in a larger war that has been waged since the serpent first showed up in the garden.
In 1978, famed Soviet dissident Alexandr Solzhenitsyn tried to warn us of the battles ahead at his now notorious Harvard commencement address.
Knowing that many in the audience, faculty and students alike, played at socialism, Solzhenitsyn coldly stripped them of their illusions.
“Socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death,” he told them.
Solzhenitsyn spoke of socialism as the inevitable path men take when they see themselves as “the master of the world,” free of personal evil and confident that “all the defects of life are caused by misguided social systems, which must therefore be corrected.”
All of this was disturbing enough, but Solzhenitsyn shocked his audience when he described how America’s ruling classes had gone wrong.
Thinking themselves “the center of all,” they had forgotten what the nation’s founding fathers well understood, namely that “man is God’s creature.”
“The forces of evil have begun their decisive offensive,” he railed. “You can feel their pressure, yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about?”
Good question. Wolf concludes her book urging her readers to stand up and fight, and the fight begins by seeing the enemy for what – and who – it is.
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