THE most depressing thing about the last 17 months is not what our governments have done. I have always expected governments to be corrupt and inept. They are merely acting in character. No, the truly depressing thing about the last 17 months is how people have acted, in particular, my family and friends.
My parents are practising Christians who marched against the Vietnam War and got arrested for protesting at nuclear submarine bases. They raised me to believe that the elites controlled the world and acted through intelligence agencies such as the CIA. They considered it self-evident that such ‘deep state’ actors killed John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. My siblings and I all absorbed the idea that the highest calling in life was to fight the tyranny of the wealthy over the common people.
I took this worldview with me. I sought out friends who appeared to share these values and whose intellects I respected. We spent countless late nights, over great quantities of beer, trying to peer behind the curtain to figure out exactly who ran the show. We went to New York City to participate in a No Nukes demonstration. I remember looking at my friends on the train back home: I thought, ‘We are the people.’ I felt lucky to have such good allies in this world. I was sure that they would stand beside me in the trenches should our country ever be threatened by tyranny.
All that said, I was neither naïve nor overly idealistic. On the contrary, as an adult, I was deeply cynical, at least about worldly institutions. But I had faith in the inherent goodness of people, the durability of common sense, and the wisdom of my friends and family, and my people in general.
In the last year and a half, this faith in humanity has been completely shattered, and that has shaken me to the core.
My parents have drunk deeply at the well of government propaganda. Despite that fact that their son’s business (mine) has been destroyed and their grandchildren’s education and social lives ruined, they cannot bring themselves to utter a peep of protest. They’ve accepted the closing of churches with perfect equanimity, apparently unaware that had the early Christians been so cowardly in their faith, Christianity would never have survived long enough for them to become Christian in the first place. They’ve acquiesced to the sacrifice (‘vaccination’) of children to ‘protect’ the elderly.
When presented with facts and data that contradict the mainstream narrative, my parents and siblings react with real anger. They refuse to discuss any of it. Years ago, even if we disagreed about a topic, we could discuss it without it threatening our relationship. Not any more. They don’t want to hear anything that goes against the media narrative.
As for my group of 20 or so close friends, most of them either ardently support the mainstream narrative or simply can’t be bothered to oppose it. They’ve not only accepted the theft of their most basic freedoms, they defend that theft.
These same guys who used to treat the mainstream media with healthy suspicion now parrot their talking points without a hint of irony. They seem completely unaware that the mainstream media have undergone a drastic transformation in the last five years, changing from sources of information to strident propaganda organs broadcasting a steady narrative of divisive woke talking points designed to split the masses into warring groups, while a tiny elite solidifies their control of the world’s wealth. They’ve gone from deriding the mainstream media as consent-manufacturing organs of the Machine to having a childlike faith in the latest pronouncements of Big Brother.
People I knew to be filled with curiosity and hungry for knowledge now display a kind of allergic reaction to any new information. Faced with something from outside the mainstream narrative, their reaction ranges from annoyance to outrage.
Only three of my close friends have resisted the Covid narrative. We’ve engaged in a running battle with our group about the latest abomination committed in the name of fighting Covid-19, but we’ve made no headway. We’ve finally come to the conclusion that no argument, however clever, and no data set, however telling, would change their minds. They are beyond reach.
We keep falling back on the metaphor of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a 1956 sci-fi film remade in 1978 in which the human race is taken over by an interstellar virus: the people around us look the same as they did, but something is different. They aren’t there any more; the lights have gone out. Where common sense and reason once prevailed, there is now nothing but mindless repetition of talking points from the mainstream media. What happened to these people?
The most depressing thing is the utter shabbiness of the deception that has fooled my friends, family and countrymen. Satan is often portrayed as attractive, urbane and intelligent. It would be natural that people would be taken in by such a beguiling personality. We could forgive people for falling for his blandishments. But to see them fooled by a gang of such third-rate charlatans really boggles the mind. I mean, look at them: that creepy waxy cadaver, Joe Biden; the evil homunculus, Anthony Fauci; that crooked schoolboy, Matt Hancock; and that carefully calculated rumpled act of Boris Johnson. The merest glimpse of any of them sets my bullsh*t alarms ringing.
And the story they’ve swallowed! A few low-budget clips from China of people collapsing in the streets and endlessly recycled shots of lines of ambulances and crowded ICUs. People have completely ignored their own experience. Does this look like a pandemic? Where are the field hospitals crowded with dead and dying? Where are the mass graves? Where are the trucks calling for us to ‘bring out the dead’? Without the internet and mass media, not a soul on earth who would think anything out of the ordinary was happening.
I’ve always attributed to humanity a certain animal intelligence and strength of character. But faced with a third-rate propaganda production delivered by a shoddy cast of charlatans, our most ‘educated’ people have shown all the discernment and mental acuity of the gormless rubes at a professional wrestling match. They’ve given up their most important freedoms and allowed their own children to be tortured, injured and killed without raising a finger in their defence.
The most telling realisation of the last 17 months is this: the mass of people are incredibly easy to propagandise and brainwash. Indeed, they seem to hunger for it, even at the expense of their own lives and those of their children.
I honestly thought we were better people. I thought that common sense, fair play and humanity were our default settings. I didn’t think that sheep-like obedience and cowardice were our deepest traits. But, the last 17 months have disabused me of this belief. And I don’t think I’ll ever recover from that loss.
Now, faced with ever more immersive media and more addictive and manipulative technology, all of it controlled and owned by sociopathic billionaires, I truly despair for our future. I keep thinking of the refrain from Ohio by Neil Young: ‘We are finally on our own.’