Observing American behavior since the start of covid, we are a nation of fearful children. Goalposts moved on addressing the illness from flattening the curve to zero deaths. Socially, the revelations were more dramatic. Many Americans became afraid of an aggressive, two week illness that over 99% of the infected survive. People revealed the yeast life they live.
This is a function of a secularized society that has removed all mystical and Christian strands from it. Even the churches that tried to maintain services were standing alone against bigger Christian institutions that dutifully followed government guidance. There was little acceptance that this is the one life we live with children to carry on our names or firm belief that the afterlife awaits them. We desacralized life and in doing so, lost an understanding of death. Even just the possibility of dying was too much of a risk for many.
It is fitting as all totalitarian ideologies will erase competing belief systems, so our progressive leadership class would attack religion and tradition. In his work on Islamic Government, Khomeini touched on the idea that Western nations had left Christian rituals and decorations intact while removing from Christianity all power and influence on political power. Strip the church of power and what need does it serve beyond dress up and a weekly meeting.
The CIA took years to translate a 100 page treatise, and walked into the end of the Shah’s regime backing a man that they believed was a liberal because of radio broadcasts from Paris written by his temporary socialist allies. Khomeini gave power to and wrote of the gharbgzadegi that Iranian philosophers saw across the West that Westerners accepted as natural. Even published analyses of Khomeini’s approach to a potential Islamic Republic miss this criticism of Western society. It gets skipped over because that is the point of our Western governments.
The other piece to this is mitigating regime risk. People who believe in a promised land in the hereafter are a greater risk to sacrifice themselves on this earth against a regime. The Soviet Union (when it was assuming power) and even China today are careful about Christianity because of this mentality. It’s not just the historical precedent of the Taiping Rebellion but the Christian message that begets such rebellions and sacrifice. Jihadists use the promised heaven for martyrs as an effective tool for coaching fighters to become suicide bombers. Hezbollah goes so far as to stress that martyrdom can apply to gunfights on behalf of the Shia. This is an extreme example but the concept holds. Christian culture has historical examples of martyrdom and sacrifice against tyranny. Dietrich Bonhoffer is a 20th century example that is used when the media sees fit.
This is the outcome of a highly secular society. People become afraid of dying because they cannot believe there is an afterlife. This is their one life, and even if it is just streaming videos, takeout food and contained in a 500 square foot pod, they cannot let go. They cannot take a risk. Death is the end, and there’s no destination and there is no coming back. Anyone looking for real rebels against tyrannical surveillance states that escalate physical pressure is going to be hard pressed to find a critical mass to take those risks. That is just what the modern regimes policing billions with tools Stalin would salivate over want.