Reality isn’t what it used to be. It never really was, but that’s another story. This one isn’t about reality per se. It’s about the War on Reality, the one we’re in the middle of, the war that started when the War on Terror was cancelled in the Summer of 2016. It’s actually an extension and an evolution of the War on Terror, and the War on Populism, and the rollout of the New Normal in 2020 … but that is also another story. I want to focus on the war that is raging currently, on the Internet, in people’s workplaces, homes, among friends and families, and in people’s heads. I’m pretty sure you know the war I’m talking about, regardless of which “side” you feel you are on.
The "no one is safe - until everyone is safe" mantra clearly translates to - "No One is Stupid - Until EVERYONE is Stupid!"
I think I finally understand what Yeats meant by “the worst / Are full of passionate intensity” thanks to this column. And why the best, like you, lack all conviction.
“This is the time of dime-store messiahs, tinpot tyrants, zealots, gurus, hustlers, hosers, scam artists, quacks, snake oil salesmen of every variety, fanatical revolutionary movements, new religions and political parties, and so on.”
It almost makes it worth living through these Apocalyptic times if it inspires incandescent prose like that. You’ve been cast in the role of a lifetime, CJ, and I for one am honored to witness the sparks zinging off your fulgurating mind.
P.S. “Keith Olbermann is no shrieking hatred” > Is “no” supposed to be “now”?
This war has too many fronts, with too many battles on each. Normal people are being eaten alive like this poor crab https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s_zHccAYxQ. Too many criminals to prosecute. We can no longer count on free speech. We can't even count on corporate greed, as companies fire or purposely destroy their brands. The secret to all this is who is rewarding them. Who is rewarding Fox, and its shareholders, for destroying viewership? Who rewarded Budweiser for destroying Lite?? Who is rewarding the women's clothing companies for using male models? That is the secret to all this insanity. Forget "SOROS" -- it's much bigger than him.
You’re beginning to sound a tad like Francis Fukuyama that book of his, The End of History. Panicking perhaps in your own way? I say this because where I live in the Deep South of the USA the values of people down here are pretty much the same, family, community, work and God. I know it probably sounds trite to many, but it’s real.
I am reading this over a coffee in a lovely, tree-shaded cafe playing a melange of global music. We must enjoy our own calm and moments of respite while the culture we thought we knew fades.
Like a Tibetan singing bowl....truth, unadulterated truth. Thank god for your continued existence CJ.
Kind of makes me believe that the Anti-Christ is slouching our way! Foretold long ago. No man could buy or sell without the Mark of the Beast. Exactly like proof of the jab (a mark on a piece of paper or on an app) enabled people to eat in restaurants, fly in airplanes, avoid forced quarantines, and participate in polite society. I now see how the Mark will be enforced to the point of death. Sad to see this in my day. Come Lord Jesus!
Great essay. I'm afraid you are right.
As bleak and dire as your writing may be, I do so enjoy reading the creations of your brilliant mind and wisdom of your heart.
I can’t figure out who pisses me off more. The dullards who believe everything is hunky dory and will endlessly support the current thing until they literally die, or the Trumpers who just can’t let go even after he poisoned the world with Warp Speed and wouldn’t change a thing next time.
A couple of paragraphs in, I thought about posting The Second Coming, and then you went right to it.
I posted it for my small group of friends on FB last week and had a good little time talking poetry. (It prompts you "what's on your mind?"and that was it.)
I think in terms of a Napoleon, and yeah much better to study as history than to live through. I'm about your age but am the kind of person with a shorter than average shelf life (and no children). I've had a more varied and interesting life than most, but now I'm in hedonic coasting mode. (I've outlived many of my friends and heros.) So now it's literature, music, comedy, and beer. ;)
This is one of your best essays. Things may fall apart, but you've pulled your thoughts together well here. Bravo.
Great article! As you allude to, the narratives we’re exposed to are embedded in the social and political control systems. So what’s important is to question prevailing narratives. All the time. And in fact, to adopt a default position of not believing any of it until otherwise proved.
The Mass Media, and other mechanisms by which the ruling class transfers narratives to the human mind, gives us a cultural paradigm which is accepted by Mass Man—giving him a blueprint which he believes is his own creation. Where once he wore outer chains, now he wears mental chains, the existence of which remain oblivious to him. Cold steel on flesh is eminently obvious but men are unaware of the inner chains they carry, all the while bearing the illusion that they are free.
The cultural norms and social institutions presented to mankind are designed to produce obedient workers who lack the critical thinking skills necessary to piece together the truth about the nature of reality— who lack the will to even care. Doing so maintains the corrupt control systems set in place that are designed to maximize profits for the ruling elite. Thankfully for them, an ignorant population doesn’t care about things that truly matter. And they certainly seem not care about the crimes committed by their own governments.
The byproduct of concentrating wealth into the hands of a few is that it keeps the rest of us busy with the basics of survival. We’re appeased by superficial consumerism, alcohol, video games, and streaming services. We’re too exhausted to contemplate how the system actually works, and too bemused to create better conditions for our lives even if we did.
The control system is in place to keep a population ignorant, submissive, confused, fearful, desperate, and distracted. Without it, people might start to see themselves as free and sovereign human beings. Without it, they might collaborate for their collective well-being. And without it, the curtain of deception crumples to the floor.
Despite our potential to be a peaceful, harmonious species, we have come to a point where we, as a people, have passively allowed multinational billion dollar corporations to come to the verge of destroying the planet.
This is a good read, thank you. The capitalist machine serves as the medium which converts difficult to quantify things such as community, trust, positive values, spontaneity, nature — basically the things that make life worth living — into egalitarian flat dystopia. As William S. Burroughs said, "What does the money machine eat? It eats youth, spontaneity, life, beauty, and, above all, it eats creativity. It eats quality and shits quantity."
Re: living in the woods, that's a rear-guard, losing action, as globohomo is doing everything it can to shuffle its non-integrating imported immigrants into rural red areas. You can run, but you can't hide from globohomo...
You quote Yeats, so here's a line from Robinson Jeffers: "when the cities like at the feet of the Beast, the mountains will remain." In other words, Babylons may rise and fall, but there will always be those who turn their backs on the madness, opt-out, and wait for sanity to return. This does not necessitate hiding in a Kaczinsky cabin, merely an acknowledgement that Ozymandian arrogance always winds up in the dust.
Just the fact that a human being can write this says something more profound than we can begin to fathom... and speaks of types of complexity that we haven't even begun to comprehend. How glorious is that? And I think it is glorious.... and gloriously mysterious. In this picture, it's amazing how paradoxical four hundred years of science have managed to become. But what of love? If ideology and love were to coincide, as they obviously, in the most objective sense, should... then what? Thank you C.J. Hopkins. Bloody wonderful as always.
IMO, this is the End Times, maybe the beginning or maybe we missed seeing the beginning and we are further along. The good news is it won't last forever. But it will be so horrible we can't imagine the horrors the world is in for. What is going on is world-wide now. We can see the destruction of civilization everywhere, all around us. Many people refer to Yeats' poem. My Bible-believing pastor refers to it quite a lot. I assume Satan knows his time is nearly up and he is on a tear.