Stella Morabito’s ‘The Weaponization of Loneliness’ Is a New Classic on Totalitarianism

There is a growing realization that Generation Z — those among us today who are between the ages of 11 and 26 — is the loneliest generation ever. Stella Morabito’s The Weaponization of Loneliness explains why this reality means every lover of individual liberty should be more worried today than ever.

Morabito’s subtitle captures the essential point: How tyrants stoke our fear of isolation to silence, divide and conquer. A former propaganda analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Morabito is an expert on communist media, agitprop, and disinformation. Her Masters in Russian and Soviet History is from Southern Cal.

Morabito has been studying and writing about these issues for nearly four decades, most recently at The Federalist, where she has been a senior contributor since 2014. Prior to that, I had the pleasure as opinion editor of publishing a number of her columns in The Washington Examiner.

From our first conversation years ago, Morabito has reminded me of two of the most important thinkers of the 20th century: Jean Francois Revel, the French political thinker who wrote the classic The Totalitarian Temptation, and Hannah Arendt, author of an equally important volume entitled The Origins of Totalitarianism.

It was Revel who wrote:

“The totalitarian phenomenon is not to be understood without making an allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or – much more mysteriously – to submit to it.”

And Arendt who wrote:

“Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries.

“It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence (who think that everything is possible if one knows how to organize masses for it) and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives.”

Morabito’s accomplishment is to update these truths in the context of the virtual world of the Internet and, God help us, the accelerating proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As she explains in her Prologue:

But patterns of weaponized loneliness writ large really stood out to me when I studied Russian and Soviet History as a graduate student. Totalitarian forces always seek to destroy private life and setup a surveillance state. If they succeed, it heightens a sense of isolation that results in dependance upon the state. (emphasis mine)

And Morabito continues:

“The underlying dynamic is the same: a machinery of loneliness that threatens to turn people into social pariahs in order to extort compliance. History is filled with sordid documentation of the damage done by totalitarian regimes that rely on the machinery fueled by the conformity impulse and terror of isolation. We can only imagine how much worse it gets with such tactics wielded on a global scale through exponentially growing digital technologies.” (emphasis mine).

Americans and much of the rest of the Western world received a lengthy preview of what is coming, absent multiple major changes in public perception of the legitimacy of governance, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recall the controversies over proposed and actual vaccine mandates and passports imposed by governments at all levels and by corporate powers. No vaccine, no job. No vaccine, no access to public services. No vaccine, no travel. And ultimately, no vaccine, no public contact.

(Note, too, that the World Health Organization [WHO], with support from the Biden administration, is preparing its “Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Accord” under which nation-states around the globe will cede significant portions of their sovereignty to the UN group headed by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is one of the Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] most important allies on the world stage.)

Related: WHO’s Dystopian ‘One Health’ Initiative and the Burgeoning Global Biomedical Police State

Morabito notes that “the picture of a totalitarian revolution in the making” is formed when such mandates are combined with the continuing development of intrusive digital technologies. This leads to controls such as the “kill switch” that would enable the authorities to dispense with the Smokeys and simply turn your car or truck off in the event you commit any of what are sure to be a growing list of sins, as well as the adaption of digital currencies that replace hard-paper and metal money, which enables bureaucrats to approve or deny any or all of your purchases.

“But it is a new form of revolution afoot that is highly technological and seemingly unlimited in scope. The formidable new technologies allow their operators to modify human behavior on a global scale. And yet, its underlying methods — such as nonstop propaganda, mob action and demonization campaigns — haven’t changed. The primary goal of remaking society into some sort of utopia has not changed, either.”

Put otherwise, the fundamental goals, as well as many of the essential tactics of the modern revolutionary movements that emerged in the 18th century — notably excepting the American revolution, which in some important senses was a counter-revolution — remain today.

The striking difference Morabito warns us about so effectively is that the pervasiveness of the totalitarians’ use of digital technologies of control is now becoming capable of abolishing the private realm entirely; and the spread of loneliness accelerates the process:

“The common denominator of such revolutions past, present and future is the weaponization of loneliness. All its features pit people against one another. All were at work in various ways in past revolutions of modern history. And all result in our further atomization, our further separation from one another.”

If you doubt the importance of what Morabito is telling us, here’s an experiment you should conduct in your own home. All that is required is that you have in your home Amazon’s Alexa or any of the similar AI-based voice “services.”

Then have a conversation with your spouse or another individual in your home concerning the tools and materials you will need for an upcoming home improvement project.

Don’t be surprised when ads suddenly begin popping up on your laptop screen for Home Depot, Angi’s, and a host of local handymen offering their services. If the significance of this little experiment evades you, then you especially absolutely must get Morabito’s book.

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