A Threatening Red Sky – Signs of the Creeping Advance of a Totalitarian Impulse. (Part 1)

Oct 4, 2023 by

By Dave Doveton.              (image credit: freepik.com/author/vecstock)

“And in the morning (you say), ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening’. You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” Matthew 16:3 ESV.


Part 1: Alternate reality.

Several highly respected intellectuals, social commentators and historians have pointed to concerning signs of a growing movement among the global elite of western governments to restrict personal freedoms and facilitate more and more forms of control over their citizens. But how can this be compared to totalitarianism – in most people’s eyes, a vicious, cruel, and repressive system?

According to Wikipedia, totalitarianism is “a form of government and a political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual and group opposition to the state and its claims and exercises an extremely high if not complete degree of control and regulation over public and private life”.

Apart from the repression of political opponents, totalitarian regimes exercise complete control over the economy, religious and social institutions, education and often the judiciary. Mechanisms of control include the media, mass surveillance systems and censorship. Freedom of speech is curtailed along with other personal freedoms such as freedom of movement and freedom of association. To ensure compliance, these regimes may also have secret police, weaponize the use of the court system via show trials and incarceration. Ultimately, state sponsored mass murder may also ensue, as happened in Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.

Restrictions on personal freedoms can creep in without much resistance – and in a democratic system. In Germany after the Reichstag fire in February 1933, a decree was signed under which personal freedoms simply evaporated. The decree, inter-alia, ordered “Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association, violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; warrants for house searches; orders for confiscation, as well as restrictions on property, are permissible beyond the legal limits prescribed.”

In short, under a totalitarian system the state controls all human activities – religious, economic, social, and political. The state claims to be ultimate order, thus arrogating to itself ultimate authority over its citizens. Not only does it control all aspects of life, but, as the ultimate authority, it also claims the right to define reality. In 1930’s Germany, Crankshaw[i] notes that the populace surrendered their freedoms because they were willing to reject reality- “the rejection of that reality that includes one’s neighbours”, and the willingness to accept a false abstraction in the form of Nazi racial ideology.

Tyrannical systems are always utopian, but in our case (western civilization) they substitute the transcendent ethical order of the Judeo-Christian for an idealism of their own invention. An example of this is the now widespread acceptance of gender ideology in western nations and the use of it by authorities to define a new ethical order which, if questioned or resisted, will have consequences. In California, for example parents may have their children taken from them if they object to their child’s chosen ‘gender identity’.

One aspect of totalitarian control is this state grab for power over areas of family life – marriage and child rearing – and especially education. Under Marxist-Communist style dictatorships, the state takes the role of authority belonging to the parents. The Marxist writer Alexandra Kollontai describes the priority of the state in the upbringing and education of children – effectively usurping the authority of parents. This was mainstream Stalinist policy. She writes, “Communist society considers the social education of the rising generation to be one of the fundamental aspects of the new life. The old family, narrow and petty, where the parents quarrel and are only interested in their own offspring, is not capable of educating the “new person’…. ‘What responsibilities are left to the parents, when they no longer have to take charge of upbringing and education?”[ii]

These attitudes are spreading. Not long after President Biden declared America’s children to be “all our children”, the South African Minister of Education insisted that the nation’s children were a “state asset”.

In the United States, an ideological battle to impose gender ideology upon children rages with an ever-stronger undercurrent of authoritarianism. TIME magazine recommends “experts” – i.e., LGBTQ activists should be tasked with the education of children about gender, because parents are not qualified and may even be a ‘danger’ to their children![iii]

The British Department for Education’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is a transgender affirming policy that still recognizes parental authority. However, this is not stopping activists. No less a person than Jayne Ozanne – a member of the Church of England General Synod – is an all-out supporter of removing the authority of parents for the moral education of their children. In a Soviet style pronouncement, she declared that “parents are the problem” when dealing with the education of youth around the issues of gender identity.

In a Biblical understanding of reality, the family is the basic unit and the foundation of a healthy society. The biblical laws protected the family and invested it with powers and responsibilities to maintain its healthy functioning. The family (not the state) is the basic foundation of the community, being the source of welfare, property ownership and basic government in society [iv] What we are witnessing is the inversion of that order.

The campaign to impose an anti-reality gender ideology is part of a wider phenomenon. In the court case against Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish MP, Rod Dreher points out that the issue goes deeper than free speech: in her case the freedom to quote the bible. Commenting on the state prosecutor’s arguments, she says, “This is the essence of totalitarianism: the demand to control reality. The Finnish state attempts to outlaw not simply expression it does not like, but facts it finds offensive.”

The mere fact that the state imposes an ideology that is antithetical to the truth shows that the state is acting in a totalitarian manner.  As Dreher explains, “It’s like this: If, in a liberal democracy, the state has the power to declare truth subordinate to ideology, then you live under totalitarianism. It might be a soft totalitarianism—fines for thought criminals like Päivi Räsänen, instead of the gulag—but it is totalitarianism nonetheless.[v]

In Biblical teaching, human identity is biologically defined. The family has as its foundation the marriage of a male and female. It is identified biologically and so too the relationship between parents and children. In the United States a regulatory proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services would eliminate the words “mother,” “father,” “paternity,” and “his” and “her” from childcare-related laws. This follows a proposed law in California that not only threatens the authority of parents over their children, but effectively redefines “parents”.

“… the notion of being a parent has become more and more removed from the simple biological relationship of being the source of half a child’s DNA. And as biology has faded as a stable basis for definition, so a functional definition of “parent” has risen in prominence. Thus now, with psychological categories coming into play, the way is open for “parent” to be defined ideologically by the state. That is what the California bill is, in practice, proposing…. “parenting,” to use the egregious verbal form, becomes a matter of political taste, to be policed by the state.”[vi]

Where the state usurps the authority to define reality, it is usurping ultimate authority – it is, even unknowingly, making a claim to deity. Rushdoony comments on this usurpation of authority by the state, “According to 1 John 3:4, sin is transgression of the law of God, but sin is now seen as transgression of the law of the state. Politicizing sin tells us the state is the new god whose laws must not be transgressed.”[vii]

This assessment is made sharply clearer when we consider the inversion of biblical law by the state, or when the state defines a new moral law antithetical to the truth. Christians are faced with a decision – either to obey God or to obey the state.

Scripture is quite clear about the identity of a state that claims ultimate authority – it is a Babylonian system, and Babylonian systems are apt to creep into God’s Church, corrupting it. That is why the angel of Revelation commands us to resist the system, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” (Rev 18:4 ESV)


[i] Edward Crankshaw, Gestapo: Instrument of Tyranny, Ebbw Vale, Wales: Wren’s Park Publishing, 2002, p246,247.

[ii] Communism and the Family-from Selected Writings of Alexandra Kollontai, Allison & Busby, 1977; translated by Alix Holt.

[iii] https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/pro-lgbt-media-activists-go-into-meltdown-as-pride-month-backlash-grows/

[iv] Joseph Boot, The Mission of God, Wilberforce Publications, LONDON, 2016, p327.

[v] Rod Dreher, https://europeanconservative.com/articles/commentary/we-cannot-say-we-werent-warned/

[vi] https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2023/06/toe-the-government-line-or-lose-your-kids

[vii] Rushdoony, Leviticus, 267-268


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