Monday, August 8, 2016


     There are days it all seems to be just “too much.” And a number of my DextroSpheric colleagues appear to be succumbing to it.

     Things are bad. Really bad. And a lot of good people have decided to laager up and hope to ride out the worst of the storm:

     I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

     We know things are bad — worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'

     [From Paddy Chayevsky’s screenplay for Network]

     If they hadn’t gotten that bad, there would have never been a Tea Party movement. But there was a Tea Party movement. Where is it today? Have you seen it lately? If not, consider the possibility that those good people, the sort that left their rallies cleaner than they found them, might have become weary and given up, too.

     A friend who owns a large spread on a mountain in the country, well removed from population centers and (from what he’s told me) relatively easy to defend, has suggested with increasing urgency that I purchase the vacant property adjoining his and move there post haste. He’s not the first to make such a suggestion; I’ve been encouraged to adopt such a course several times. (No, not by my current neighbors, thank you.) Given my age and declining health, it’s not something I could do without certain concerns...but I’m considering it nevertheless.

     I’m weary too.

     We’ve been supplied with ample evidence that our political class is determined to maintain its grip on these United States despite any and all resistance. Their assets include the powers of the federal government, its effective control over the state governments, and the collusion of the major media. The intensifying weariness of the private sector – Recovery? What recovery? We’re broke -- is nudging us toward a state of affairs other peoples have endured for centuries:

     “Oh hell, are you going to let that dame talk you into letting the richest country on earth slip through your fingers?” said Cuffy Meigs., leaping to his feet. “It’s a fine time to give up a whole continent—and in exchange for what? For a dinky little state that’s milked dry, anyway! I say ditch Minnesota, but hold onto your transcontinental dragnet. With trouble and riots everywhere, you won’t be able to keep people in line unless you have transportation—troop transportation—unless you hold your soldiers within a few days’ journey of any point on the continent. This is no time to retrench. Don’t get yellow, listening to all that talk. You’ve got the country in your pocket. Just keep it there.”
     “In the long run—“ Mouch started uncertainly,
     “In the long run, we’ll all be dead,” snapped Cuffy Meigs. He was pacing restlessly. “Retrenching, hell! There’s plenty of pickings left in California and Oregon and all those places. What I’ve been thinking is, we ought to think of expanding—the way things are, there’s nobody to stop us, it’s there for the taking—Mexico and Canada, maybe—it ought to be a cinch.”
     Then she saw the answer; she saw the secret premise behind their words. With all of their noisy devotion to the age of science, their hysterically technological jargon, their cyclotrons, their sound rays, these men were moved forward, not by the image of an industrial skyline, but by the vision of that form of existence the industrialists had swept away—the vision of a fat, unhygienic rajah of India, with vacant eyes staring in indolent stupor out of stagnant layers of flesh, with nothing to do but run precious gems through his fingers and, once in a while, stick a knife into the body of a starved, toil-dazed creature, as a claim to a few grains of the creature's rice, then claim it from hundreds of millions of such creatures and thus let the rice gather into gems.

     Say what you will about Ayn Rand’s views on religion; I don’t like them either. She wrote of what she saw developing, in the hope of warning the United States off a course guaranteed to result in disaster. It’s more than possible that she saw the future of this country, should we fail to discipline those who claim the privilege of ruling over us.

     Our problem is that Galt’s Gulch cannot be established on Earth.

     We’re in a bad way. No one dares to challenge Leviathan. The media are firmly on its side. There’s no salvation to be found in elections; the electoral system has been “re-engineered” to guarantee that the elite will “win” over all insurgencies. Thousands of tiny, isolated pockets of good men hunkering down, hoping that anonymity and silence will spare them the attentions of our political parasites, is no solution.

     Trump? Well, as a political kinda-sorta outsider, he could shake things up...if he were permitted to:

     RealTrueNews: "Is it fair to say that Silver is worried?"
     538 Source: "In a panic. Our business model is predicated on making liberals feel better about the election. Right now? It's a disaster."
     RTN: "So what are you doing?"
     538: "Well, we're changing the model for starters. There were a few hours when the server was showing the real projections and while traffic was pretty high, let me tell you, it was a melt-down politically."
     RTN: "What do you mean?"
     538: "Well, Nate's a liberal. No secret there. When he saw what was happening he flipped out. Had us look for bugs--something gone wrong--looking at the feeds. Of course nothing was wrong. Nothing had changed. Then he got on the phone with his people embedded with Q-Pac and Survey Monkey and PPP and all those guys--"
     RTN: "Wait--embedded?"
     538: "Huh? Oh, yeah--it's a big social club. The pollsters all work together. We have a Slack-room that's sharing all kinds of results and skews and all that. That's how we keep it all orderly."
     RTN: "Orderly?"
     538: "Sure--what? You think it's . . . random? Come on. Who do you think pays for the polls? People who want results. You're buying media. It's like ads or . . . I don't know. Like newspaper stories? You pay 30k for a poll of Florida, it says what you want."
     RTN: "But what about on election day?"
     538: "Oh--we drive it. You set the expectations ahead of time. It's called pre-loading. You'd be surprised how we can fine-tune things. Mass belief is powerful. The problem here is (a) not everyone plays nice. Fox is rogue. Rasumssen was . . . bad. They were doing real polling. Also, there's like a game of chicken. At the start of the cycle we do real polling so that everyone knows how they better buy in. This time . . . Trump just caught us by surprise. The impact was so big--it came on so fast--Hillary just collapsed."
     RTN: "What--what happens next?"
     538: "I don't know, man. There are a bunch of smaller groups out there doing real polls. I don't know if anyone can keep this under wraps. They had to talk Silver off the edge of the building yesterday. It was bad."
     RTN: "He was literally going to throw himself out a window?"
     538: "Yeah--he was--well, but we're on the second floor. He was just really pissed. I mean, he got a call from the White House telling him to fix it and shit."
     RTN: "Wow."
     538: "Wow is right."

     But let’s not allow ourselves to view “good news” too optimistically. “Confirmation bias,” don’t y’know. It could be “disinformation,” too. Can you really trust in the veracity of a statement emitted by someone ensconced within the political orbit? And let’s always remember that “It doesn’t matter who votes; it only matters who counts the votes”...and that process is firmly in the hands of the political elite.

     It’s enough to make you weary...maybe weary enough to give up.

     There’s always hope. (I’m a Catholic; we’re expected to maintain that.) But the forces arrayed against us—those who understand and love freedom—are very large, completely ruthless, and disinclined to “play fair.” They control the horizontal and the vertical. They will tell us only what they want us to hear – and they’ve mastered the two most effective techniques for deception:

  1. Tell “just enough” truth – then shut up.
  2. Tell the exact truth and maybe all of it...but tell it so unconvincingly that your audience concludes that you must be lying.

     (Thank you, Robert A. Heinlein.)

     Yesterday, I spoke of the unwisdom of ever trusting in a government or its minions. Individuals earn one another’s trust by their conduct. So also with governments...and dare anyone say that the federal government of these United States has done anything to earn our trust?

     The core of our malaise problem is that things are so far gone that few of us can imagine even the possibility of improvements. I’ve just written 1700 words about the instruments that have created your weariness. I know them well; I battle them, and the weariness they engender, daily.

     If it’s unwise to trust in “our” government, too daunting a task to overthrow it, and impossible (for the moment) to escape it geographically, we must trust one another.

     We must build up the molecules of safety, security, and social harmony: families and the communities they constitute.

     Do you trust your spouse? I hope so. But many married persons don’t. There are a host of reasons, these days. Don’t give him any of them.

     Children are inherently trusting until they realize that they’ve been deceived or betrayed. Accordingly, conserve your child’s trust in you: never lie to him, and never lead him to believe that he will (or might) get something he wants when there’s even a minuscule possibility that he won’t. The first phrase to be excised from your vocabulary is “We’ll see.” To you, that means “The possibility exists.” To him, it means “Yes, I’ll give it to you if you’ll just wait a moment.” Don’t bother to dispute the semantics; children are naturally inclined to hear what they want to hear. (Aren’t you?)

     What about your neighbors? Do you trust them? Would you be willing to leave your neighbor free access to your home while you’re on vacation in a distant place? Time was, that was normal; people left spare keys with neighbors as a matter of course. What about today? Are you willing to let your neighbors know that you’re in violation of some unjust law – say, a law that offers them a bounty for snitching on you? And when you think “my neighbors,” how far from your front door does the phrase reach?

     These are the areas where we can do useful work – work that promises a positive return.

     The above is something of a ramble. I write about what’s on my mind, and for quite a while what’s been uppermost on my mind is this pervasive sense of weariness. It can be beaten; there are no indefeasible enemies. But one must know the proper strategy and tactics.

     Weariness of the sort that impels one to “give up” is best combated with success: i.e., the undertaking of an effort toward a positive end that actually achieves that end. If we can’t control the course of events nationally, or at the state or county level, we have better possibilities close to home.

     I don’t claim to have all the answers. I’m a writer, not a Twenty-First Century Nostradamus. (Besides, he was wrong about a lot of things, too.) But I know what’s possible to men of good will who refuse to accept defeat.

     With that, I shall throw the floor open for comments, suggestions, criticism, and braying laughter.


syd B. said...

I trust my wife more than I trust myself. I can't say that about another being on this planet. Its rather comforting to know that there's at least one person I can rely on, believe and have complete faith in as I navigate through life's challenges each day. As for the rest of society, I'm certain there are good souls out there, but they are becoming more difficult to identify. I find that most people I come into contact with would steal the change out of your pocket, if given the chance. Is this what its like in third world countries? I suspect it is.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up. Reconnect with where you've come from or where you've been. I've become nostalgic for the things of my youth, it's when I found comfort and security. It includes the faith of my youth (Catholicism), yet that too is being destroyed by a non-traditional marxicistic pope (new word?). It helps to stay attached to your past and traditions because this is what they're trying to take away by destroying our history and culture. It's rotting. My success is no longer found in my career/work. I now find it using my hands with things I can still control. As you say, close to home. My ultimate success if my family. My long term goal is to get them through whatever becomes of our country/world in the next few months/years. After that, I'll ride off into the sunset knowing I did my job and fulfilled my purpose when it's over. Some days I want to crawl back inside the "matrix" and unsee all I see today. But I can't. Once you see truth, you can't go back.

daniel_day said...

Your friend in the country is right. Please do it.

Malatrope said...

You need to get out of your urban environs, far enough that you wouldn't see any lights if it were night, find a tree to sit under, and grok the natural world. Feel the sinews of it, smell its perfume, let the warm breeze and the bugs wash over you.

The human world is sick, but the natural one isn't (regardless of what the psychotic psuedo-environmentalists think). Your soul needs a refill. Go find a place to camp for a few days that does not have a motel or resort or a McDonalds within fifty miles. Go ye, and drink!

Anonymous said...

"A friend ... has suggested with increasing urgency that I purchase the vacant property adjoining his and move there post haste."

Do it. Whatever it takes, whomever you need to arm-twist and however weary you now feel. Will your weariness or health improve if you stay put?

I'm in the middle of something similar and I am being overwhelmed by the idiotic demands of the county. Government is corrupt from top to bottom and shows no signs of improving. While this "project" is going to completely drain my resources, in the end it will be worth it. My siblings have already completed their moves and are glad that they did.

I am of the opinion that there is no way we will be able to turn things around in our lifetimes, if ever. I'm your age by the way. So my goal is to get as far away from the crap as I can, WHILE I CAN.

I'm not moving to Galt's Gulch, but it IS where I can escape the coming ugliness and let the rest of the world pass me by.

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."

You blog is a daily must-read for me so thank you!

Linda Fox said...

Fine to have access to a few acres, but I can't honestly recommend a person of senior years uprooting himself from friends and family to live the wilderness life. You mention the safety in isolation - it's also a danger - as we age, we lose the strength to handle what, in the absence of civilization, is a difficult life.

Far better to work to build the community you currently live in. Build up Neighborhood Watch, get to know the younger residents - and their children (if they are untrustworthy, it's better to be informed of that). Secure your perimeter, be prepared to defend your possessions, and have a SMALL escape place, if the SHTF.

Look to Venezula - the decay is likely to be more slow-motion than sudden revolution. If possible, dump the house, and live in a rental - you are less likely to hang on to the end. Ruthlessly weed out non-essential possessions, and stash some of that spare cash in:
- stored food and water purification products
- stores of medications
- gym membership - get in the best shape you can
- generator
- SMALL place in an isolated location - stocked with essentials - make it your new vacation place
- help immediate family with prep, if you can
- portable "cash" - liquor, useful drugs (tylenol with codeine, painkillers, antibiotics), a few dollars in paper money (won't be useful for long, but it will help you in the beginning, when everyone else is attacking the ATMs), filled gas cans.

Keep in mind that this is somewhat unlikely - we are still a fairly stable country, with generally law-abiding citizens. Doesn't hurt to be careful, though.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could afford those few acres and the cost of a suitable house with the necessary emergency water, power, other necessities. How much would it cost 500,000? Besides you'd have to locate such a location, where Idaho, Utah, Wyoming?