There is nothing insidious in going on right now in Colorado. No one has stopped by our house seeking our personal information. We are just dealing with medical stupidity, people so sure they know what they are doing that they cannot be reasoned with. A reasonably intelligent person cannot pass through medical schooling and get her papers without buying in, that is, the brainwashing is very deep and permanent. Doctors and nurses are the last people who should be in charge of our medical system, but anyone who bucks the system is out the door.
We planned our day yesterday around a visit to Ted’s Montana Grill, our favorite hangout. Ted Turner, the founder, is interesting. He’s a lifelong rebel, but within the constraints of propriety, as he is well-born and bred. I remember an interview he did with Ralph Nader where he felt Ralph had entrapped him and wanted out of the confrontation. He told Ralph that he had kicked the system too, and only gotten broken toes.
We lived in Bozeman, Montana, and out our door in any direction was beautiful open country and hikes and ski trails. One such hike took us through Ted’s acquired land, a large ranch between the highway and public lands and wilderness. It is called the Flying D ranch. It was always memorable, as Ted had dedicated the ranch to raising bison. They grazed all about beautiful meadows. Ted placed no obstacles and allowed passage. He seems, in an entitled sense, public spirited,
(Just a sidebar: During this time Ted was married to Jane Fonda. If ever fingernail and chalkboard hooked up, this was it. She is as headstrong and stupid as any spoiled brat, while he had brains and an equally indomitable spirit. It could not last! But to get to his place on Flying D she had to enter Montana via Gallatin Airport, and thus was often seen by regular people. Her brother Peter, recently departed, owned land in Paradise Valley, near Yellowstone National Park, and just down the road from Bozeman. Thus was this small part of Montana embraced by the fabulously wealthy for a brief time.)
Ted’s Montana Grill serves bison. I don’t order it, but my wife does, and we each look forward to our twice-monthly trips there. Yesterday we incorporated a bike ride on the South Platte River before the meal. That sounds like a country outing, but that ride is on a busy trail in Littleton, with highways and traffic all about. It is not rural or a nature setting. But it is close to Ted’s Montana Grill.
None of this has anything to do with anything. This is a serious ramble. On entering the restaurant, we were asked for a phone number. It was an interface with the old normal, as at times in the past it was so busy there that we give them our number and wander around the shopping center … a table opens up and they call us. Yesterday was not like that. The place was almost empty. The medical Nazis had forced them to distance tables. All staff were wearing masks. We were not given menus, but instead were directed to point our phones at an icon , wherein the menus would appear in our phones.
No need, as we each know our choices. We always order the same thing. As we sat waiting for our food, I wondered why they wanted our phone number. When the waitress stopped by I asked, and she said that if there was a viral outbreak, they would be able to contact us.
Contact us my ass. They would be able to quarantine us. Contact tracing has arrived. I angrily told her that there is not going to be any “outbreak,” and to kindly scratch out that phone number. She said she would. Her eyes darted in the manner of all brainwashed zombies these days. But she did go to the podium where they are taking numbers.
On leaving, we walked by that podium, and sure enough, our number was still on the list. The moronic waitress overruled me. I grabbed the pen and scratched it out, making sure it was permanently illegible.
In the future we will either give them our old Montana phone number, no doubt belonging to someone else, a naughty trick, or this one: 303-328-7448, which can be read as (303)-EAT SHIT. I suggest all to do likewise. No good comes from contact tracing, especially in the absence of any known threat, least of all a mythical virus.
On another note, we made reservations at a motel in Cooke City, Montana, in the coming days, and received the following message from the motel owners, two very nice people who are frightened. I hope it is not a virus that scares them, but frightened patrons. Cooke City is a small community on the edge of Yellowstone National Park that even in normal times is on the edge of bankruptcy. They have to coddle their patrons.
We want you to feel very comfortable during your stay with us. This will be a learning experience for all of us, so please bear with us. If you have not stayed with us before, we the owners XXXX and XXXX do everything at the XXXXXX so we will be very diligent in cleaning as our office and laundry facilities are in our “Home”. We also want to stay Healthy and will be doing our upmost to make you feel safe.
The New Normal Check In:
We will have hand sanitizer outside of the office door for you to use before check-in. We ask that only 1 person from your reservation check in. No more than 1 person in the office at a time. We have Plexiglass up at the check in desk for your protection. There is also hand sanitizer at the check in desk for your use. We are only accepting Credit Cards no cash please.
We are also offering “Contact Less Check In”: We have installed key pad entry to our rooms and if you would like to check in this way please call or e-mail us. We will give you your entry code, charge your credit card and will put your receipt for your stay in your room.
We will not be offering Daily Housekeeping to minimize contact in your rooms. If you need towels or anything just let us know.
I wrote back:
Thank you. We look forward to seeing you. Please be advised we have no virus concerns. You need not disinfect our room. We’ll be fine. There is no danger.
I hope they are in sync with us, that we are all just enablers for blind stupidity these days, the masks that zombies are wearing all saying “I drink Kool Aid.” If not, when we register, we’ll have to give them our 303-328-7448 phone number, in case, you know, if there is, you know, a virus outbreak and they want to run us down and quarantine us.
We’ll be in Yellowstone, and with any luck, will be able to hide behind a bison, one wearing a mask, the new normal, you see.
44 thoughts on “Sunday morning ramblings: The New Normal”
“Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.”
C. G. Jung
The mass is well organized in its individuality? Hm.
I believe it means for the man to be as organized in his individuality as the mass is organized unto itself. Not saying anything about the individuality of the mass.
The man must strive towards a hugely complex and hardened individuality when the masses are themselves so immensely well-organized.
As the masses become so unfathomably complex and well-organized, it becomes that much harder for man to truly be an individual and retain his individuality.
yes…that is precisely what it means. Jung viewed individuation as a lifelong process.
Sounds insidious enough.
Ha – Mark. I have a new phone number -303-EAT SHIT. You, sir, may be on the verge of starting a Nationwide trend. LOL Let’s get this to go viral.
Might want to consider using your local area code.
Contaire – use the same identical number. Actually, I am thinking of the Pierce Brosnan scene from The Thomas Crown Affair where all the guys show up in the museum wearing Bowler hats and the cop says, Sir, what do we do? and his boss says – “Arrest everyone”.
Thanks for the tips MT, had not thought about/ encountered that yet.
MM says the orders (are they still “orders”? idk) are illegal at this point, a bluff, because the state executives only have a short window for emergency measures, and then the legislature would have to take it up. And then, I suspect, it can be challenged on constitutional grounds maybe?
Probably also the legislatures prefer to be “clean” so they can plausibly move whichever way their electorates do. Plus, if you can do it on a bluff, why bother with the rest?
Random point, Miles also said in new paper that the Morgan guy (whose firm Rayshard Brooks had worked for) in Florida had been supporting an increase in minimum wage. Miles said it was not really desired, and might be controlling the opposition.
But I thought, maybe they DO want that… at least temporarily… Because it could be in tandem with the pressure on small businesses of late. These giant corps with their bottomless Fed backstops (or bonds, or connections or whatever) probably could easily stomach $15 minimum, or whatever, while mom and pops on slim margins would be squeezed at least, broken if they’re just hanging on. Especially with the covid effects, etc.
Also also… Whenever you mention Ted’s Montana Grill, it makes me think of the Phil Hendrie bit. Hendrie was (is?) one of the most brilliant radio personalities ever. Speaking of satire and all, as we were a few days ago. He did these character voices, pretending to interview them like it was a straight up talk show, and one was Ted, a sleazy restaranteur. Every time he appeared his theme song would play in this cheesy female vocalist jingle: “Teeed’s…! of Beverly Hi-ills…” Well, you have to hear it I guess…
or is it “restauranteur”
Restaurateur. No ‘n’.
Can you use it in a sentence? Country of origin?
202-DUCK-YOU would also work nicely. Of course, that first exchange digit might ambiguously be read another way. (Maybe that is a working number for the cloak room at the US Senate, I dunno…)
I had always hoped Ted would keep growing Fonda Jane.
Turner should get full credit for putting his money where his mouth is. Population control is his “big thing.” Buffett, Gates, Soros, and yes, Turner all get gold stars for funding U.N. eugenics programs, including World Health Organization population reduction programs that target poor, young women worldwide.
“Brave New World,” indeed.
From the dept. of Things that make me feel like I’ve fallen through the looking glass…
This quote from an article at NakedCapitalism:
“… As governments try to grapple with the resources required to deal with a world where pandemics might prove to be the norm, rather than the exception, hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent on medical research and technology in an effort to ward off public health crises. …”
How on earth can these people say things like that, and nobody bats an eye?? “Might prove to be the norm”? It almost leaves me speechless to respond.
Somehow, we’ve turned a corner in world history, and new viruses are just likely to be popping up on a regular basis from here on out? And he says it like you’re supposed to not bat an eye, just shrug and accept it. Thirty-something comments and nobody brings attention to this bizarre assumption. Did I miss the memo where SOME flimsy rationale for a new era of deadly global viruses was at least proffered? Is it the antibiotic resistance business, is that what this all hinges on? Or are they just brazenly throwing it out there, like it doesn’t need to be explained, because people are in such a PTSD haze from all the psy-ops?
Married my youngest son here at the ranch east of Billings. Happy to say that of the 200 wedding guests not one mask was worn. We hugged, shook hands, and danced well past the sunset. It was like the corona never existed.
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Well done! We need to move back there.
Read this from Robert Gore’s blog, no relation to Al.
“Ninety per cent of masks are ineffective, a hundred percent adversely affect wearers, who are rebreathing their own respiratory waste and affirming mindless group-think.”
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Mark, have you ever considered ending your days outside of the USA. I promise you there are still ways of living in the world today where it is “as if coronavirus does not exist”…and you must know that the USA will remain the most fucked ….they are leading the way to the great “reset”
After all, many North Americans in their 70s up and retire abroad….Pick a country and I might be able to give you some first hand knowledge..
I have thought often about repatriating … Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, even Italy though it seems worse off than the US in terms of being fucked. We have family here, of course, and cannot abandon them.
According to Martin Armstrong, the US will be among the last countries to suffer the effects of The Great Reset. From “The Mid-March Bottom and Rising Civil Unrest,” interview with Cris Sheridan from Financial Sense (June 16, 2020):
Some key points:
Organized attempt to really restructure the world economy
– The Great Reset
– Group of billionaires orchestrated with the WEF out of Davos
– IMF involved, World Bank, European Central Bank
What brought us here
– Central Banks of Europe and Japan have gone into negative interest rates
– Destroyed their bond markets
– Can’t raise rates without blowing up their own balance sheets
Move to eliminate paper currency in Europe
– Forces people to put their money into banks
– Banks then tax everyone
– World Economic Forum supports French economist Thomas Piketty, who focuses on wealth and income inequality (Marxist)
Using virus as excuse to redesign the world economy
– Used it to crash everything. Deliberately trying to bankrupt anything they don’t like… No coal production of electricity in Britain for two months.
Inside sources sold their stocks and their bonds in January. “Usually you flee from stocks and go to the bonds. They know 100 countries now have applied for help from the IMF. You have emerging markets that cannot meet their debt requirements, their asking for suspensions of debt payments. You’ve got municipalities going completely nuts, all these governors [locking people down] and then going ‘oh gee, we lost a lot of revenue.’ Places like Tennessee saying ‘oh, we’ll make that up; we’ll raise property taxes 32%.’ We’re always the scum on the other end that have to deal with this. They make mistakes, we have to pay for them.”
Uprisings economically driven rather than racially driven
“Supreme court on Monday just rejected qualified immunity again. There’s nothing in the constitution whatsoever that justifies any immunity for anybody that works for the government.”
Uprisings wouldn’t take place without 40 million people unemployed
“This is government which has been lying basically to the people ever since World War II. And I call it the collapse of socialism… in that they can’t afford to fund these projects anymore. So, this is where we’re coming at the only way to do this is to confiscate wealth. And this is what Europe is already looking at is confiscating all money… eliminating the paper currency, and by doing this they think they’re going to force the money into the government and then they can just take whatever they want…
This is why I warn people, get out of government bonds, because the other thing that they are pushing, behind the curtain over there, is to convert everything into perpetual bonds. So, they’ll say they haven’t defaulted just you can’t cash them in… Italy did this when they were in trouble; you had 90-day paper, they just convert it to 10-year…”
Italy is not a sovereign currency issuer. They’re more like a US state, they just use the Fed’s (or EU’s) currency.
States/ Euro countries ARE like households. They cannot “print money.”
But the US or EU are sovereign currency issuers. They can print, and don’t need to seize the puny amounts of wealth citizens have, through taxes. They just use taxes to regulate economic flows and stuff like that.
The threat of hyper-inflation from printing is exaggerated. With lots of unemployed, more spending, into the real economy, would just bring them into the workforce. Inflation is more a risk if you have full utilization of labor/ resources.
So this guy’s analysis sounds off to me.
that was my first thought: he has family and that is, in the end,most important. Why go to a place where you will be a fish out of water? Besides, during this whole reset business, to be a foreigner would make you stick out too much.
Nevertheless, I also guessed correctly that if you had considered moving abroad, you probably were thinking mexico peru Ecuador etc. That is the wrong direction though, in my opinion; too many americans down there already. Since coronavirus has shown us so clearly that there already is a one world government, the places to go would be the countries that are most reluctant to play along , and do play along only half heartedly and thus still leave the populace alone to a large degree, and probably will continue to do so. And then of course, you would have to live in the countryside, not the city.
anyway….just thought I would ask….
As for those comments about America being the last to suffer the effects of the great reset, it seems to me you are in gaga land; for sure, America will continue to set the tone for this madness as they have been setting the tone for at least 200 years…
care to names the countries? We kind of lime the idea that places like Ecuador have American Expats, as we would at least be somewhat with our own kind.
I do not believe that you will be with your own kind Mark; The kind of americans that retire south …well, lets just say, my hunch is you will feel quite outcast among retired expats down there. But I do not really know you. Again, my hunch is only that you might be something of a contemporary Edward Abbey…in your attitude toward life and towards people.
I cannot say I have a concrete list in my mind. What I have said about countries reluctantly following along certainly applies to where I have been these last 6 years, in japan, but I have lived the same amount of time in other countries also. The thing is that you would have to be utterly self contained, very strong inside because I would suggest places where there will be no other westerners…none for 100 miles or more. Yes, you would continue to feel like a fish out of water, but it is a very different kind of water; you can float calmly; there would be no external daily aggression against you, and you would be totally accepted as the outsider; As I have recently said on another website, I know what a westerner thinks before they even open their mouth; that is not the case in countries where large minority of the population has not gone to school; think Myanmar, Northern Laos (no longer Cambodia) north Vietnam to name just one area of the world. there are others. I know from first hand experience these governments are just pretending to play along, and it might be a generation or two more before they are really forced to jump on board; similar things can be said for parts of northern Africa, morocco, parts of Africa, and so on. In these kind of countries, physical distance from the power centers still mean something…not like 100 years ago, but still to be 200 kilometers from any international (mega) city can matter enormously.
Anyway, just some of my thoughts as I wonder how people like you who understand the real situation stay right in the middle of it; but then as we agree, family is in a way, everything, especially at 70!! I am here with my family (and 56) and would not leave them. Luckily though they are still infants and if I have to, I can take them away., if need be.
lastly, I was in a rush a few hours ago and apologize for the gaga land comment; it was my short hand way of saying I disagree…intensely disagree because it seems so obvious to me that things are now the worst in the USA…but maybe I do not see it clearly since I have not been in the usa for 30 years…
Not a “contemporary” of Abbey, by any means. He would be 93 if still alive. I enjoyed his writing, his non-fiction at least. His river trips (“Down the River with Henry David”? or something like that, deep and moving) were like putting on comfortable slippers by a fire. He was complicated and contradictory, complaining about population while fathering what – seven kids? Rumor has it he died of the drink, but I don’t know that. I do remember in some of his early work he was a working cowboy and fetching mustangs in New Mexico. A coworker talked about another cowboy doing the same work who died of a heart attack on the job. He said it with regret. There was nothing to regret, according to Ed, who said the alternative was to die in a hospital with tubes sticking out your asshole. He did live up to that part … was hospitalized in his final illness, got up and left, enjoyed a brief recovery, and then died at home. His friends and wife buried him somewhere near Tucson, unmarked grave. They respected his wishes.
I am glad you know about Abbey. I am surprised sometimes that mentioning his name, so few remember him. He was big for me. We have been to Laos, anyway, but not N Vietnam or Myanmar. We were just tourists.
ha ha..what a preposition will do!
I did not say a contemporary OF Abby; I said a contemporary Abbey;
Yes, he was complicated and contradictory.
Show me an intelligent man (or woman) who isn’t.
Abbey was probably, in the end, an asshole, but the kind we would love to be with in moderate doses…
thanks for responding….
And actually, you are living in one of the greatest spots on earth; western usa… I do not miss the USA AT ALL, but I miss the land… immensely…
sent you a response but got lost…somehow?…anyway, I said a contemporary Abbey, not a contemporary OF Abbie.
What a proposition will do.
Yes, he was a complicated and contradictory man, but show me an intelligent man or woman who isn’t.
thanks for responding….
So what does a Westerner do for sustenance in a remote part of the world… Do you have to have savings? Work online? Do some sort of language teaching? Get creative?
Subsistence farming; I feed my family of 4 without much work.
But of course you need the land the house and some cash, even if you live off grid by fire and rainwater as I do. Sounds primitive doesn’t it, but it is anything but. We live cleanly and simply.
Land and house is free; you can find that kind of situation in any country in the world because the world is escaping the countryside and so there are always empty houses and land.
And now for cash. Yes, it can cause problems but if you stay in one place for only a year or three, local opportunities arise;
we live very well on $300 a month. If you do not want to go off grid, you can still live on 800 or less a month…even in japan.
this fourm is not the correct place to go into detail, and I could go into many many pages of detail. If you are really interested you can email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to spend some time and relate to you my experience but only if you are seriously considering moving abroad.
As your question concerned money let me end on this: it is NOT about the money; you do not really need more than a plane ticket and 2 or 3000.
It just depends how bad you want to get out of that machine called USA.
for the truth is I have gone back in these 30 years 3 short very short times, and the machine like feel of America is frightening to me.
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p.s… Concerning the house and land: I do not mean squatting, by the way. The free house and land will be offered to you by the locals; We pay the owner $300 a year to rent his empty uncles house and 2 acres…
The interview is worth listening to, in my opinion, but here’s the actual quote: “I think what you’re going to see is, over the next two years, people are going to realize that the problem is government and that’s what this civil unrest is about. Government debt is going to be worthless and, I’m not talking about the US, the US will be the last to go. Europe is completely fried, it’s done. They can’t even raise interest rates to attract money and so all they can do, from my sources, is that they’re simply going to declare everything a perpetual bond that they don’t have to pay off. Then to fund this agenda they’re just going to print money and that’s what they’re going to control. I’ve been in meetings in Brussels and they were saying, ‘Oh, we have to take away the Euro trading from the British,’ and I said, ‘are you going to take it away from New York and everybody else?’ ‘Well, no, just Britain,’ and I said, ‘What are you trying to create here? The Soviet Union of Europe or what?’ This is unfortunately what you end up with with these elitists; like I said, they just stay in their ivory towers and never take a step outside to see what the real world is like.’”
sorry placed my post below the following one
Nowhere in USA is as safe as anywhere in Europe. Any one can walk around in downtown cities in the middle of the night, and nothing will happen. Fucked as in which terms? Of course people are brainwashed globally, but I think ya don’t realize the extent of brainwashing in USA. It’s absolutely without any comparison, par excellence. As much as the number of firearms per capita. I don’t know if ya were actually extremely lucky while traveling the globe, but very small group of people outside of USA actually like anything classified as USAmerican, especially global policing, warmongering and cowboy-like approach to problem solving.
“Any one can walk around in downtown cities in the middle of the night, and nothing will happen”.
Well, not in Rome I’m afraid. And during the day is also a problem in the subway or in some city areas, but for the rest I totally agree.
Most European people don’t like the american “export of democracy” to other countries.
I’ve been to the States a couple of times, and no offence taken as I appreciate all of you here, but I’d never live there. Or anywhere else at this point.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Italy is perfect at all.
As TIMR was pointing out in a comment we lost our sovreignity to issue currency but we’ll get back there I’m sure, the EU is just a stinking corpse waiting to be buried, Germany is providing the nails for the coffin and we’re looking forward to that.
Their phrase “my mask protects you, your mask protects me” should be amended-
“My mask is too shitty to protect me, if this thing were even real; ergo, you who don’t believe in it, must take Personal Responsibility for MY safety, by wearing a shitty mask of your own.”
Or something like that. Open to other suggestions.
“My shitty mask doesn’t protect me, your shitty mask protects me” might make a nice slogan for the age of idiocracy
In my village just a few people wear a mask at this stage, it’s hot here these days, over 30 degrees Celsius so it’s really hard to keep a damn mask on inside shops. Then you go into town and the nightmare begins again, people wearing masks even while walking on the street. And consider that on the island I live, Sardinia, nothing’s happened, the fake bug has never really hit and caused (fake) dead but there you go.
Haven’t been to a restaurant in ages, won’t start again now, I have my own patio and garden I can have nice lunches and dinners in.
Don’t even know whether I’m going to the beach this year, apparently all is quiet and it’s not like northern Italy where they put fences and other distancing stuff on the beach to separate people off, but still I’ll have to pick the wildest ones where just a few people go (not that many tourists this year are coming over anyway, too much stuff to do and to go through to enter the region, we have a ridiculous governor).
We even have a tracking app in Italy that nearly 3 million morons have downloaded, needless to say I’d rather throw away my old smartphone than do that.
We’re in a time of going along to get along, of demonstrating compliance, of signalling loyalty to the powers that be and belief in their media stories. “We stand with Black Lives Matter.” “We believe in wearing face masks.” “We trust our public health officials.”
There’s a great famous essay by Vaclav Havel, former anti-Soviet dissident then later President of Czechoslovakia, called “the Power of the Powerless.” An excellent read. Here are some of the key parts. This is a longish quote. Sorry for this wordy comment. But I think this essay is highly relevant to this topic and these times.
“The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals?
The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message. Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace. …
Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;’ he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology. …
Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. …
The system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics.
Individuals need not believe all these mystifications, but they must behave as though they did, or they must at least tolerate them in silence, or get along well with those who work with them. For this reason, however, they must live within a lie. They need not accept the lie. It is enough for them to have accepted their life with it and in it. For by this very fact, individuals confirm the system, fulfill the system, make the system, are the system.
Let us now imagine that one day something in our greengrocer snaps and he stops putting up the slogans merely to ingratiate himself. He stops voting in elections he knows are a farce. He begins to say what he really thinks at political meetings. And he even finds the strength in himself to express solidarity with those whom his conscience commands him to support. In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie. He rejects the ritual and breaks the rules of the game. He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth.
The bill is not long in coming. He will be relieved of his post as manager of the shop and transferred to the warehouse. His pay will be reduced. His hopes for a holiday in Bulgaria will evaporate. His children’s access to higher education will be threatened. His superiors will harass him and his fellow workers will wonder about him. Most of those who apply these sanctions, however, will not do so from any authentic inner conviction but simply under pressure from conditions, the same conditions that once pressured the greengrocer to display the official slogans. They will persecute the greengrocer either because it is expected of them, or to demonstrate their loyalty, or simply as part of the general panorama, to which belongs an awareness that this is how situations of this sort are dealt with, that this, in fact, is how things are always done, particularly if one is not to become suspect oneself. The executors, therefore, behave essentially like everyone else, to a greater or lesser degree: as components of the post-totalitarian system, as agents of its automatism, as petty instruments of the social auto-totality.
Thus the power structure, through the agency of those who carry out the sanctions, those anonymous components of the system, will spew the greengrocer from its mouth. The system, through its alienating presence in people, will punish him for his rebellion. It must do so because the logic of its automatism and self-defense dictate it. The greengrocer has not committed a simple, individual offense, isolated in its own uniqueness, but something incomparably more serious. By breaking the rules of the game, he has disrupted the game as such. He has exposed it as a mere game. He has shattered the world of appearances, the fundamental pillar of the system. He has upset the power structure by tearing apart what holds it together. He has demonstrated that living a lie is living a lie. He has broken through the exalted facade of the system and exposed the real, base foundations of power. He has said that the emperor is naked. And because the emperor is in fact naked, something extremely dangerous has happened: by his action, the greengrocer has addressed the world. He has enabled everyone to peer behind the curtain. He has shown everyone that it is possible to live within the truth. Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal. The principle must embrace and permeate everything. There are no terms whatsoever on which it can co-exist with living within the truth, and therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety.
This is understandable: as long as appearance is not confronted with reality, it does not seem to be appearance. As long as living a lie is not confronted with living the truth, the perspective needed to expose its mendacity is lacking. As soon as the alternative appears, however, it threatens the very existence of appearance and living a lie in terms of what they are, both their essence and their all-inclusiveness. And at the same time, it is utterly unimportant how large a space this alternative occupies: its power does not consist in its physical attributes but in the light it casts on those pillars of the system and on its unstable foundations. After all, the greengrocer was a threat to the system not because of any physical or actual power he had, but because his action went beyond itself, because it illuminated its surroundings and, of course, because of the incalculable consequences of that illumination. In the post-totalitarian system, therefore, living within the truth has more than a mere existential dimension (returning humanity to its inherent nature), or a noetic dimension (revealing reality as it is), or a moral dimension (setting an example for others). It also has an unambiguous political dimension. If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else.”
I do not know why this went to moderation CM. The WordPress algorithm acts independently of we who write on the blog. Thanks for the Vaclav essay. Living the truth requires moral courage. Even in Mark Twain’s time he commented that it was a rarity compared to physical courage.
We have our own version of the greengrocer in my neighborhood – a nice immigrant family that felt compelled to plaster BLM support signs on every street-facing window of their two-story home. I could tell from the handwriting on the signs that they had their daughters involved in the sign making. I wondered how they discussed these issues as a family while writing down the names of various black victims of police brutality on their signs.
“Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. …”
So true, Charlie Marr.
To be printed out, put in a frame and hung on every wall.
Ahh…the ol’ virus scare. It was so scary that during this full-blown ‘pandemic’, there was a massive protest over a week ago, with no concerns for ‘social distancing’, and no one, not even Dr. Fauci, making any kind of stink about it.
You are not alone, I assure you. It is an old joke, if you don’t like the way I drive dial 1-800-EAT-SHIT. I live in Florida and usually we are a live-and-let live type, libertarian sense strong even in Democrat controlled communities. But we have went down the rabbit hole in a serious way. I traveled Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho years ago and still want to go back. I also want to go back to Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, and Aruba, but they are also having unwarranted, idiotic collective panic reactions to a virus no more harmful than the influenza virus you may be carrying in your body right now. The land just keeps going on and on up there, and if they keep pissing me off I might find that land all the way up to the Northwest Territory in Canada. I have a passport. So, I guess I’ll be back when the insanity subsides after a wonderful adventure. Hang in there.