By Raymond Wolfe
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On November 20, the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) hosted an online seminar about the “totalitarian” implications of enforced isolation. C-Fam is a pro-life, pro-family organization that defends the natural family and the right to life in international institutions.

Austin Ruse, president of C-Fam, was joined by Soviet propaganda expert Stella Morabito, a former CIA analyst who was stationed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

“What this COVID thing is doing is basically putting us each in kind of a vault,” Morabito said. She compared current lockdown measures to social separation tactics used as a “weapon of choice” by Soviet and other communist regimes. “How do you control people? You isolate them. You control their personal relationships,” she said.

Morabito discussed “threat of being socially isolated” as the “greatest tool” of totalitarian governments, referencing calculated solitary confinement of political prisoners in the Soviet Union. In his landmark The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Soviet internment camp survivor, described how “[s]ecurity officers would decide the degree of isolation” for persons “under suspicion.” In certain cases, “while nominally remaining free, a man lost all his personal freedom and was sent off to some isolated area,” he wrote.

Soviet scholar Anne Applebaum also has noted the systematic use of social isolation in Soviet gulags, in which isolation was punishment for “people who disobeyed or who failed to fulfill the norm” or “myriad rules,” like those against excessive “fraternization.”

Enforced seclusion is “all part of the totalitarian mindset,” Morabito said. In a recent article, she further condemned the “social isolation and misery” of COVID measures imposed by “certain power grabbers” that leave us “locked down indefinitely, economically strapped, and demoralized.”

Tens of thousands of medical professionals have voiced similar complaints. The Great Barrington Declaration, which was published only six weeks ago, reports having collected the signatures of over 52,000 doctors and scientists, along with those of more than 638,000 private citizens. The declaration decries the “damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies.” “Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” it warns.

Detrimental effects of social isolation were a top concern of medical practitioners at last month’s second “White Coat Summit” as well. At the event, Dr. Lee Merritt, a former military surgeon trained at the University of Rochester Medical School, stated, “Besides what they’re doing to society as a whole, separating us, isolating us, think about what they’re doing to our children.” “Children need to look at faces to learn how to be a human. Reading faces is part of humanity[.] … [T]his is George Orwell’s boot on a human face forever if we don’t get this off,” Merritt said.

Other medical experts such as Stanford’s Dr. John Ioannidis and Dr. Roger Hodkinson of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada have sounded the alarm against political and psychological dangers of COVID policies like mandatory masking. Hodkinson called masks “utterly useless” and “simply virtue-signaling.” In May, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine admitted as much, saying “that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection.” The authors referred to masks as “talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being

C-Fam’s seminar concluded by emphasizing the enhanced impact of political censorship and identity politics amid extended lockdowns. Morabito said that “in an era of social isolation, when people respond by self-censorship, all they are doing is creating more isolation.”

She described political correctness as “virtual solitary confinement” “designed to induce self-censorship … through the threat of being separated from others.” Morabito continued, “because there is such a monopoly in the mainstream media that enforces this totalitarian mindset that only they can say what is real and what is true.”

As with lockdowns, identity politics and political censorship work to “destabilize individual identity” and “sow hostilities between people so that they cannot relate as real human beings,” she said.

Justifications like “public health” and “equality” may be serving to “cover up a totalitarian agenda,” with enduring ramifications for free association and thought. “People who are used to living in freedom just take that for granted,” Morabito said.

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