One year ago tomorrow, the President of the United States incited a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the election he handily lost. On that day, five people died; 138 police officers sustained injuries (four would die in the coming months); excrement was smeared on the walls. The rioters racked up millions of dollars in damages. Panic buttons were ripped out of the offices of several members of Congress. A makeshift gallows was erected; chants of "Hang Mike Pence" rang through the air. The President watched all of this on television, ignoring increasingly desperate pleas (including from his own daughter) to call "his people" off.
This is all established fact. Much of it was shown on television screens the world over. Which is to say it never happened. What I've just told you -- and what you've likely seen yourself -- has been variously dismissed as "a tourist visit", as American patriots peacefully protesting a "stolen" election, as a false flag operation spearheaded by BLM and antifa, and ultimately as nothing worth mentioning, let alone investigating.
Two years ago today I first heard about the virus that would soon be called covid-19. We're up to (at least) five and a half million deaths worldwide and counting, including well over eight hundred thousand in the United States alone (30,452 deaths in Canada so far). Besides the deaths, hundreds of thousands of people have been essentially disabled by what is being called "long COVID": a suite of baffling and debilitating symptoms that persist for months (years? forever?) after the patient leaves hospital. The virus has strained world health care very close to a breaking point, with millions of health care professionals simply walking off the job due to burnout and abuse from management and patients, the very people whose lives they are saving. The lockdowns meant to mitigate the virus have taken an untold and unimaginable toll on mental health, financial health, and children's schooling.
The vaccines against this virus, brought into being by the historically unprecedented singleminded focus of millions of minds, should rightly be viewed as modern day miracles. Instead, they've been politicized. About ten percent of Canadians and thirty percent of Americans adamantly refuse to get vaccinated: many more in each country do quietly get their shots but act for all the world as if the vaccine is some vast governmental conspiracy. And they are very loud about it.
We are, at most, five years away from the partial or total collapse (it's impossible to know which) of the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica. If the collapse is total, scientists believe world sea levels would rise by 25 inches in the space of a week. The toll from this would dwarf anything in human history.
Thwaites is only one waiting disaster (and it will happen soon, there is absolutely nothing to be done to stop it). Lake Mead, upon which twenty five million people depend for water and many millions more depend for electricity, is at 34% capacity and falling fast: if current trends hold, the Hoover Dam will cease providing electricity by 2030, triggering a cascading collapse of the power grid in the western United States. I don't need to tell you what happens to Phoenix, Arizona (one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, for some inexplicable reason) when (not if) it loses access to both water and electricity. Grim doesn't even begin to describe it. Perhaps the only saving grace (?!) is that nobody need worry about millions of Phoenicians descending upon their city because they'll all be dead. But then again, "their" city isn't likely to be in much better shape.
But there are still millions who dismiss climate change as a hoax, and probably a billion more who recognize it's happening but don't care on account of how they imagine they'll be dead before it gets really bad. They're wrong: it's getting really bad now, and it will very soon be about as unignorable as the comet in Don't Look Up after it hit Earth's atmosphere. And of course the people who really matter see it as just one more way to make money, or at best, an incentive to make as much money right NOW as possible.
Humans. Ain't we grand?
I want to talk about what links these three things together, because far too much time is spent simply demonizing the people who think T---- won, or that covid-19 is "a cold", or that climate change is a liberal cash grab. I have done more than my share of demonizing of these people myself.
In one strange sense, the conspiracists are right. Not in the sense they think, but there are shadowy forces at work shaping media narratives (always two of them, the better to play one side against the other). There's a very good reason so many people believe government is totally corrupt, independent of any corruption that may or may not actually exist. The reason is that "They" believe that too. To Them, government is corrupt inasmuch as it can't be wholly appropriated.
Who are They, Ken, you tinfoil-hatted nut? Betcha can't tell me who "They" are.
Indeed I can.
The entities doing this are the hyper-wealthy Victor Frankensteins who have created amoral monsters called "corporations" and convinced the most important of the governments they own to call these monsters "people" and give them the rights of people. Or in reality more rights than any number of people.
The extent to which a government can be trusted is inversely proportional to the extent to which it has allowed corporations to infect its operation. That's not to say there aren't upstanding, morally unassailable people high up in (a very few) corporations, nor that there aren't villains aplenty in government all on its own. But companies, the huge ones at any rate, are legally sanctioned mobs, and mobs have minds of their own. The yammering mind of a corpomob has room for only one single character, repeated over and over:
And they chase that character as doggedly as a zombie after brains (which corporations could really use themselves, come to think of it.)
Now, I want to hasten to say I'm not throwing babies out with my bathwater. I still firmly believe a government can be a force for great good in the world: really, one of the larger collective forces we've found for the purpose. And that even with corporate infection, governments can and do good things for their citizens. But when governments are wholly owned by sociopaths who think money is the Life Force? You'd be a fool to think such governments really care about you or anyone like you. Oh, and by the way? When I say "like" you, I mean not just the guy in the next pew but also the Black man you hurled that racial slur at, the gay guy you mocked in high school, "that uppity bitch" at work, and that Muslim guy you secretly think is a terrorist. Those people are just like you and I to the forces running our society off a cliff. We're all poor. Disposable. Supremely unimportant.
I mean, think of ants. Can you tell an ant from its granddaddy or its sister? Of course you can't, they're just ants, you step on them every day without even noticing. That's us. We're all ants to them.
Okay, maybe we're a little bit more than ants. We're definitely sources of entertainment. How much fun it must be to watch the ants slaughter each other over differences you couldn't notice if you tried, but which your media amp up at every opportunity?
There is actually a "Deep State", but it's not some cabal of child-eating Satanists. It is, instead, what John Michael Greer calls "the forces of BAU", for Business As Usual, and they have every bit the unholy grip on world governments that QAnon believes of its delusion. The donor class must be appeased at all costs.
BAU is the reason American hospital patients are called "clients" and treated like criminals. BAU is the reason your grandfather raised a family on a single wage class income (including buying a house) but now it takes three wage earners to even approach his buying power. BAU is why here in Ontario, we are forced to go to work while sick with covid-19. And BAU is behind every form of climate change denial, including some you might not recognize as such. All those commercials exhorting you to do your part? Oh, don't get me wrong, it doesn't hurt. But so long as 100 companies and the U.S, military (which is the military arm of some of those companies) are responsible for 80% of global emissions...whatever you do as an individual is virtually worthless. Climate change isn't a liberal cash grab...but it sure is a cash grab for BAU.
Historically, BAU extracts as much as it can from any society, until one way or another change comes. Either the elite sucks the polity entirely dry -- or there is a revolution.
We are very nearly sucked dry, you know.
I'd ask you, the next time you're confronted with a MAGA type screaming about Jewish space lasers, an antivaxxer who is completely positive the vaccines give you covid, or a guy who can look at twelve hundred people cooking to death and shrug his shoulders....I'd ask you to see all of these people not as monsters, but as victims. And I'd ask you to consider who the real monsters are.