Miss a day, miss a lot. Subscribe to The Defender's Top News of the Day. It's free.

In an appearance this weekend on “The Kim Iversen Show,” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and journalist Kim Iversen discussed resistance during the pandemic, strategies for rebuilding democracy and the power of fear — and of new technologies — to control dissent.

Iversen called Kennedy, chairman and chief litigation counsel of Children’s Health Defense, “one of the most prominent voices against the authoritarian pandemic response.”

On the subject of dissent, Iversen asked Kennedy what he thought made a heterogeneous group of people, about 30% of the American population, question or resist the official COVID-19 narrative when most people went along with it.

Kennedy pointed to a history of CIA research experiments, called MKUltra, which involved manipulating the human mind.

The most famous of these, he said, was the Milgram experiment, in which psychologist Stanley Milgram studied the willingness of research subjects from all walks of life to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

Sixty-seven percent of people in the experiment were willing, against their better judgment, to cause pain and even potential death to others when ordered to — while 33% of the subjects refused.

“It has struck me many, many times in the last year that we’re all now in the grips of this huge Milgram experiment,” Kennedy said, adding:

“We have a Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is this trusted authority, who’s telling us to do things that we know are wrong — like censor speech, like close all the churches in the country for a year with no scientific evidence, no citation, no public hearings, no public debate … who’s ordering us to put on masks, even though he admitted a week before that masks don’t work, who’s ordering us to close every business in the country — 3.3 million businesses — with no due process, no just compensation, in violation of the Constitution, who’s telling us to get rid of jury trials, the Sixth and Seventh Amendments.”

But in the Constitution, “there is no pandemic exception,” Kennedy said, regardless of the magnitude of a crisis.

There was no exception during malaria and smallpox epidemics that disabled entire armies during the Revolutionary War, or during the Spanish flu in 1918 that killed 50 million people.

Even during the Civil War, which nearly destroyed the country, the Supreme Court refused to let President Lincoln eliminate habeas corpus, Kennedy said.

What happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people consented to have their constitutional rights suspended was new. People gave up these rights, he said, because they were scared.

“Fear is a really potent motivator,” he said. “It’s a potent instrument of totalitarian control.”

In the early 20th century, the global economic outlook was so terrifying that totalitarian regimes were manipulating that fear to take root in much of Europe.

That’s why Franklin Roosevelt made his famous statement that “was the mantra, until the pandemic, of the Democratic Party,” Kennedy said, which was, “‘The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.’”

“Fear is the enemy because it allows totalitarian systems to take control of people and destroy institutions and values. And he [Roosevelt] said, we’re not gonna do that.”

Will the next crisis be even worse? 

Iversen said recent events suggest the tide is changing. For example, some legal battles against the mandates have been successful.

But, she said, she’s still worried. “We actually lost in the long run. They now know how to manipulate us better. They learned through the pandemic. Thirty percent of us just weren’t scared enough,” Iversen said.

Maybe the next crisis will be something worse, she suggested.

Kennedy said he sees real change in how judges are ruling against mandates and other draconian laws. But, he said, there are three key points to bear in mind.

“Number one, any power that a government takes, it will never give back voluntarily … We know that is just a rule, essentially of physics.”

For example, they may now say this emergency is over and people can take off their masks — but they will retain that power so they can impose it again.

He added:

“Another rule is that any power that a government takes, it will ultimately abuse to the maximum extent possible.

“And then the third rule that I would say — nobody ever complied their way out of totalitarian regime rules. So if you think that by obeying these rules, that somehow things are going to get better, or it is going to satiate the need to control you, it’s not. It’s just going to embolden them to do something worse the next time.”

Democracy versus ‘turnkey totalitarianism’

There were other moments in American history when democracy was suppressed, when the economic elite had near-total control and when political polarization was extreme. Yet, people were able to restore democracy, Kennedy said.

But today’s situation is new, he said, because those in power have technologies for human behavioral control that didn’t exist in the past:

“The ambition, the intention of every totalitarian regime in history is to control every aspect of human behavior. Our speech, our thought, our transactions, our movements, everything that we do. But they’ve never been able to do that because nobody, no government, has ever had that reach.

“But today we have facial recognition systems all over the place. We have satellite systems. Bill Gates says his satellite system alone, which is 61,000 satellites, will be able to look at every square inch of the earth 24 hours a day.

“We’re now beginning on the road to adopting digital currencies, which is economic slavery. As soon as that happens, we lose all rights because the government will be able to starve you.”

He gave the examples of the Canadian truckers, who lost access to their bank accounts for protesting, and of the European protests, where millions of people protested COVID-19 mandates, but they never appeared in the U.S. media.

The levels of control over human behavior are greater than ever before, Kennedy said. “It’s what I call a turnkey totalitarianism.”

He added:

“We are kind of in an arms race … We’re trying to educate the public and build our army to restore democracy.

“And they’re racing, at the same time, to put this infrastructure in place that will give them total control to destroy dissent and to disable any kind of insurgency or subversion and any difference with the official government dead narrative and the orthodoxies.”

It’s hard to predict whether, in the face of that control “democracy will have the resiliency to restore those institutions,” he said.

”So what is our best bet, in your opinion, going forward to unravel that, to bring us back to democracy?” Iversen asked.

We need to build “a new model for allowing dissent to blossom, to bloom, to seed, to grow,” Kennedy said, based on a whole new set of institutions, including schools, hospitals and media.

Democracy’s key advantage over totalitarianism, Kennedy said, is that it allows for open debate, so the best ideas can be expressed, nurtured and implemented.

“Once you start doing censorship, you are on the slippery slope to totalitarianism,” he said, adding:

“And one of the things that I’d ask members of the press and people who are supporting censorship is: Can you remember, can you name any time in human history when looking back, when you believe that the censors were the good guys? You know the censors are always pretty much the villains.”

Institutional corruption and the surveillance state

Iversen asked who or what Kennedy thought was the most responsible for everything that happened during the pandemic.

“I mean, do you think it was Fauci or Bill Gates or China or Trump, Biden, Big Pharma, the WHO [World Health Organization]? The WEF [World Economic Forum]? Like, where do you place the majority of your angst and blame for the pandemic response?”

Kennedy said he thinks the problem is “institutional corruption.”

“I think if you remove Anthony Fauci, he’s going to be replaced by another Anthony Fauci,” Kennedy said.

This institutional corruption has a long history.

Dwight D. Eisenhower warned Americans against the emergence of the military-industrial complex, which he said included the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the associated industries, including the scientific bureaucracy.

He said his uncle, John F. Kennedy, died after he refused to put combat troops in Vietnam. His father, Robert Kennedy, ran for president against the war machine and was killed. And when Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke out against the war machine, he was killed.

Each of those deaths, he said, pushed us farther down the road to the military-industrial complex. Then 9/11 “turned America really into the beginnings of a surveillance state. And then COVID completed the task,” Kennedy said.

“So I wouldn’t point to a single person, I’d point to a system that we need to fight, which is the onset of the military-industrial complex, which now owns the press.”

The mainstream media, he said, “is just a propaganda vessel for the military-industrial complex and the pharmaceutical industry.”

“Anderson Cooper’s brought to you by Pfizer. He’s not working for the American people, and he is not working for CNN. He’s working for Pfizer.”

Kennedy added:

“The job of a journalist is to maintain a posture of fierce skepticism and antagonism towards government and government officials to disbelieve everything they say and make them explain it.

“That is the job of a journalist, to speak truth to power.

“[But] now they have become the bullhorn for the powerful … demonizing dissent and vilifying anybody who actually tries to tell the truth.”

He congratulated Iversen “for being an exemplar, a template, a role model for what journalists are supposed to be doing.”

Watch here: