What is the greatest danger in 2022? Global warming? Inflation? The pandemic? A major war? My answer is the tyranny of the thought police — because, without the ability to engage in free thought and discussion, solutions to the other problems are unlikely to be found.

The tyranny of the thought police caused the impoverishment and loss of basic liberties of billions of people who were — and many still are — under the yoke of communist leaders for decades. It is a basic characteristic of mankind to try to control the speech and thoughts of others. Those who voluntarily sign on to religious orders or organizations such as the communist party agree to abide by the group’s rules. If people have a choice as to what to believe and say, and when they find themselves in disagreement with the other members or leadership of the group, and if they can voluntarily resign, there is no problem.

But what happens if people find themselves as members of a group without their free consent, and the penalties for disagreement or withdrawal are severe? When Martin Luther expressed his very public disagreement with the Catholic hierarchy, in part, by nailing 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517, he set in motion what would become the Reformation, whose unintended effect was a series of civil wars which ultimately claimed the lives of a third of the population in some parts of Europe.

Infectious disease czar, White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci, proclaimed himself Mr. Science — “I am science” — which seemed to imply that anyone who disagreed with him was anti-science, and would have to deal with the thought police at CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Mr. Science seems unaware that voice recording devices — invented by Thomas Edison and others — have been around for more than a century. Thus the never-ending contradictions in Mr. Science’s pronouncements are there for anyone to listen to. The fact that this arrogant, pompous bureaucrat, who has been a fountain of misinformation and foolish forecasts — resulting in perhaps hundreds of thousands of excess deaths — is still paid attention to by many members of the mainstream press, is a testament to their lack of education, memory and judgment.

The Biden administration has decided to kick out members of the U.S. military who have refused the COVID-19 vaccination — which will cause considerable financial and personal hardship to some of those being forced to quit and will also weaken the U.S. military. This policy has been brought to us by the same geniuses who planned and carried out the “flawless” Afghanistan withdrawal. The troops have been warned that the military thought police will deal harshly with anyone who dares speak the truth about what has and is happening.

It is no surprise that the Chinese thought police have been trying to keep the world in the dark about the origin of COVID-19. But what is equally troubling is that the World Health Organization appears to have been compromised by the Chinese. To date, U.S. government officials, including Dr. Fauci, just-retired NIH director Francis Collins and their colleagues, have succeeded in hiding the details and the extent of the U.S. taxpayer-funded activities in the Wuhan lab. The funding happened over a couple of administrations, so there is tremendous pressure for a continued coverup. How many more new government-funded pandemics will occur under the protections of the thought police?

On April 27, 1986, the Swedes reported a radioactive cloud of unknown origin had appeared over Scandinavia. Through the use of Western satellites and other means, it was quickly determined that the Soviet nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, had exploded the previous day. The Soviets were in denial, but in the face of satellite photos and overwhelming evidence, the Soviets finally admitted there had been an “incident” at Chernobyl — but nothing to worry about because the government was in complete control. It took the fall of the Soviet Union and years for the whole truth to come out. If there had been no Western media to report about the accident in 1986, how long would the coverup have gone on, and how many thousands of additional lives would have been lost?

Despite having “free” and “competitive” media in the U.S., massive and very dangerous coverups go on with the assistance of the thought police. The Russia hoax — an attempt of the Hillary campaign (in cooperation with elements of the FBI, Justice Department and some of the largest U.S. media companies) to falsely portray former President Donald Trump as a Russian agent, almost succeeded in removing him before the election. The country is still waiting for all involved to be held to account.

The thought police have been particularly active on the topic of global warming in that anyone who raises serious questions about various aspects of and contradictions within the science is immediately labeled a “denier.” To point out that the earlier projections of climate disaster turned out to be false — the ice caps, snowstorms and seaside estates are still with us — turn out to be as popular as the child, pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

The greatest danger is that too many in the press, rather than serving as truth seekers, have become the thought police.

• Richard W. Rahn is chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and MCon LLC.

© Copyright 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.