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A Trifecta of Misery
Life in the Face of Hyper-Inflation, Domestic Repression, and Nuclear War
“The word ‘freedom’ was hypocritically put forward by low characters whose politics were a menace and whose only hope was national disunion.”
- Tacitus [Annals, XI.17]
The Era of Disaster
Jeffrey Tucker asked this question recently, and it is very much something to think about. I had actually been doing a pretty good job about not being distressed by current events. As I explained recently, when covid started I totally lost my shit. Honestly though, until the past few weeks I was getting used to waking up to disaster, thriving in a collapsing empire even. Bari Weiss published an article by Suzy Weiss [no idea if they are related] recently about how we’re still living in Kony 2012 which is well worth the read:
And that is absolutely the case, since then we’ve essentially been governed by intentionally generated moral panics for a decade. But I had grown used to it, for a time I was even quite optimistic, as it appeared our ruling class would collapse under the weight of their own stupidity. Further, people are moving due to their political views like never before. I was living with serious hope that this would all come apart in a positive fashion and the interior states would be able to form a new republic. Though people talk about how divided our nation is, the divide is geographic, and the majority of states broadly agree on how to be governed- at least to the extent necessary to provide a working majority in a republican political system. However, now it looks as if one way or another the government will send our lives into [even more] abject misery from which we will not soon escape. Perhaps a reaction can save us and with great effort we can reclaim our freedom and some sort of quality of life, but the prospects are miserable. Instead, we’re more likely to end up with what the Democrats, oligarchs, and policy blob [or do I repeat myself] call “freedom”, which is to say abject and miserable slavery under the yoke of dreadfully cringe and incompetent people.
Ignoring the continuing threat of repressive covid policies [as China brings back lockdowns and reports global record death rates in Hong Kong], we are facing three incredibly serious problems. Just one of these would have been enough to cause a great deal of distress in normal times: Inflation is out of control, there are widespread calls for aggressive action against slight dissent from the anti-enemy mania and calls for war, and we could die slowly or rapidly from nuclear war. It is a difficult time to be an aware and independent-minded person: even worse to hope to have an impact. I have going for me that I am used to thrashing helplessly, but even for me this is a step too far. We have faced the risk or reality of these problems my whole adult life but never to such an extreme degree and all at once.
As a long time Ron Paul fan, I have been worried about inflation since his 2008 campaign, but we are used to the dull whines of a dying empire in this country. When they went crazy with “stimulus” payments and shut down the economy, these lunatics raised the money supply 5x in around 2 years. I want to cry just thinking about it. While these shameless assholes will lie about anything, we all know that inflation harms the poor and empowers the oligarchy. Have you been to the grocery store recently? Of course you have, it’s a horror show every week.
There was a record breaking 20.7% increase in year-on-year global food prices in February. Usually inflation creeps on you but this time the normal consumer can notice drastic changes. I’ve been trying to gain weight, and nutrition shakes jumped a shocking 25% in one week, apparently due to protein prices going up months ago. Allegedly pet food has gone up more slowly but it sure doesn’t seem that way; perhaps its just that pet food being a bigger single item purchase. The consumer price index was up 7.9 in the last year as of February. I don’t need to tell you that gas prices are at record highs- though its true that they are not at record high in ‘inflation adjusted dollars’ that is scarce comfort when inflation is the problem and I cannot afford the rest of the basket of goods. [For non-wonks, in economics a ‘basket of goods’ is a fixed set of commodities which one uses to compare the relative value of things.]
And what is our leadership class doing about it? Propaganda and mind control, basically. As Matt Taibbi explained, we are living in 1984:
Note this particular quote:
“It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours?” - 1984
[I should note, Taibbi inspired me to read 1984 for the first time in 15 years. I tore through it in under 24 hours- incredible text.]
Biden is blaming Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine for inflation. As if we don’t remember three weeks ago [I’m beginning to think the NPCs really don’t.] Even some in the legacy media are pushing back because that really is too big of a lie. Still, plenty are also helping the administration push the narrative. Further, in their complete lack of concern for your well being, they are obsessively sanctioning Russia, which can only possibly make the cost of goods higher. As a cherry on top they’re recklessly giving money to Ukraine which we don’t have and which will come directly out of the value of the dollar. Remember, a vague concept of “freedom” [ie: whatever the policy class wants] is more important than your well being.
Meanwhile, in a “Let Them Eat Cake” moment [we’ll have many of these this depression] Mayor Pete responded to the rise in gas prices by saying people could buy electric vehicles:
Apparently the average electric car costs $60k so obviously this isn’t exactly helpful to the working class.
He ultimately reversed course and said the peasants could take the bus, which is at least genuinely cheaper:
[I have to admit, these videos are relatively less bad than I assumed from the memes, but that’s simply because he talks in a way so as to say as little as possible. I would like to point out for the millionth time that government is the only enterprise which measures success in the amount of money spent.]
One way or another, those record “wage increases” in 2021 don’t look like much. Further, we all know the government lies about the nature and measurement of inflation, and that there are no shortages of problems with the CPI as a tool of calculation. There’s a reason a lot of people don’t trust these numbers.
What you know is that your family is simply getting poorer, you know it, you see it all around you, and none of their lies can make you believe otherwise. I am reminded of a another 1984 quote:
“How could you tell how much of it was lies? It MIGHT be true that the average human being was better off now than he had been before the Revolution. The only evidence to the contrary was the mute protest in your own bones, the instinctive feeling that the conditions you lived in were intolerable and that at some other time they must have been different.” - 1984
People just 10 years younger than me don’t remember the pre-9/11 era. Who knows if my daughter will remember any “good times”- hopefully I can help create some for her. They hope you will forget how it used to be and believe them that it’s always been like that. That has been the messaging strategy for months, as Tucker Carlson deftly explained back in October, when we were still relatively early in the inflation spiral:
“It’s always been like that” will be their message for everything, one of the most Orwellian propaganda strategies possible. But remember, it absolutely has not always been like this, and it will get worse in all the ways. As someone who was poor in the first place, in one way I have less to lose, but in another way I’m far more on the knife’s edge. It is a struggle to feel like trying instead of letting myself fall into the mire, but at least it hasn’t been hard to keep up with the writing as it makes me feel relatively more sane.
I wrote recently about the rising tide of anti-Russia hatred and it is profoundly obvious that this will turn into World War I-style domestic repression. As a long time dissident, now writing about it publicly- but with no meaningful following to protect me- I certainly have plenty to fear here. If you’ve been on social media, you know it has gone insane and that everything is treason. No opinion not broadcast directly from the legacy media is allowed, and you must worship the brave Ukrainians. And history started in February 2022, everything which caused the war is now irrelevant. Everything is treason now [a death penalty offense, by the way.]
Instead of covering the breadth of this issue, I’m going to follow one prominent example of the problem that shows just how severe it is.
Last week, there was this remarkable exchange in Congress:
In short, neocon extraordinaire Victoria Nuland directly admitted to Congress that there are US funded biolabs in Ukraine:
Of course, they immediately denied the very content of this exchange. Acknowledging that it happened is essentially treason to the CNN bots. Who will you believe, the media, or your lying eyes? Now some people have certainly ran rampant with this theory [I hope to write a piece about the biolab issue but haven’t got to it, but note that if it turns out covid came from Ukraine it will be the greatest plot twist ever]. but most people are dealing just in the fact that they exist. What’s more, the US directly said they will blame Russia for any chemical weapons use (they have decided that before the fact) so the most cursory understanding of how these people operate makes it obvious they intend to do an East Ghouta-style false flag to get the devastating war they want so badly.
It needs to be noted that the alleged purpose of these labs is dismantling old Soviet weapons under a funding apparatus known as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. Clearly, once upon a time this did important work, but why, 30 years later, has it continued to expand? How long does this take? Incredibly, Senator Obama played a key role in its expansion, which makes you wonder how far back this thread goes. The big question is if they are Soviet-era weapons, why is it a problem if they fall into Russia’s hands, as Nuland claims it would be? Surely Russia would then already have all of them. [It should be noted, we all always new Soviet weapons were poorly guarded and could be acquired by private parties in the ‘90s, it was a common plot line. Yet every time some Russian gets poisoned with a weird chemical only Putin could have this substance that leads directly back to Putin, as if Russia can’t just put a bullet in someones brain or club them on the head and throw them out the window.]
Most people tried to ignore the labs, but former Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard thought that greater concern was necessary, and for this America’s most cringe presidential loser gave us this gem:
This guy is a sitting Senator constantly praised by the media for his responsibility and he is this incredibly irresponsible. Tulsi released this eminently reasonable video in response:
Note that all she is calling for here is for all parties to agree to a cease-fire near the labs so that any dangerous pathogens can be safely destroyed. This is taking no one’s side, and it is not saying anything which is not a recently admitted fact. The WHO actually publicly stated this position. She makes no claims regarding Ukraine possessing chemical weapons or funding chemical weapons research, her premise is simply that any biolab being breached intentionally or unintentionally during warfare is dangerous [she really is the queen of controversial opinions.]
He doesn’t explain how Tulsi’s position is treason or what lives it might cost. It should be noted that Tulsi Gabbard is an Iraq War veteran who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard after 20 years of service, whereas Mitt Romney took four draft deferments while protesting for the Vietnam War. [Further, he has five strapping sons, none of whom served.] One way or another, Romney feels he is in a position to call Tulsi treasonous and a threat to national security for the above statement.
Of course it isn’t just Tulsi being attacked: the ever endangered Coalition for Reason are all under fire. They are going after Tucker for his characteristic rationality and incisiveness. Treason, they call it. As with Tucker, I would normally avoid caring about The View, but when those hags are telling the housewives people should go to prison for any opposition from the war narrative, it is truly scary times.
[If you haven’t seen it yet, you should watch all of this video, it also covers Gabbard.]
This is not the country we grew up in, though it may be the country our great-great grandparents would remember from the tyranny of Woodrow Wilson. Glenn Greenwald- very used to these accusations himself- wrote an excellent piece detailing just how horrific this all is:
This is absolutely not how you want things to be, but our country has fallen to these depths. It’s a scary place, especially for a contrarian dissident. This is just the beginning. Eugene Debs was imprisoned for opposing entry into WWI before it began; Montana hanged people for truly petty dissidence. How far are we from that point? I had thought we might be saved by our opponents not being energetic or inspiring enough to directly harm us in that way, but I underestimated the banality of evil. They’ve moved the NPCs on from covid and all the dissenters are now a diseased moral atrocity for different reasons.
The ruling class will continue to find ways to marginalize, impoverish, harass, and possibly imprison or kill you while cynically saying it is necessary for the freedom of some thing or some other person. As ever, you will be left to withstand their assaults on your person, your wallet, and your mind. How much propaganda and cognitive dissonance can you withstand? [I don’t say this enough, but our entire society owes Alex Jones an apology- there is absolutely a war on for your mind.]
As the above, and presumably your own observations demonstrate, we are ruled by profoundly depraved and irresponsible people. They have no concern for the future or our well being or the future of humanity generally. It was once well understood that war with Russia absolutely cannot happen due to Russia’s enormous nuclear stockpile. Though I explained I had learned to fear the atomic bomb less, that is the weapon in and of itself relative to my fear of the evil of our rulers. [Anyhow, I was so wrong about if there would be an invasion of Ukraine, so that piece did not age well.]
One of my biggest miscalculations is I didn’t know they could program the NPCs again so easily after such a short period of time. [At least covid is gone for now, numbers finally be damned.] Really, that is my fault as the covid-BLM-covid switch had already occurred, so it was obersvably true that such a thing was possible.
Somehow they have been programmed to not fear nuclear war despite fearing everything else- yet, Putin is still the biggest monster ever for referencing his country’s nuclear defenses. This may take the cake for bad takes from the blue checkmarks:
[This alleged public figure’s account is “protected”, hence the screencap instead of embed, I wonder why.] Firstly, I don’t want to get into a whole thing, but before this Ukraine was barely more free than Russia. This is not like North Korea invading South Korea or something. This is just based on saving the post-WW2 peace and the unipolar world. There are no meaningful safety concerns besides nuclear war for the average America, or non-Ukrainian European for that matter. Further, and perhaps most importanty, we can assume if this man were to be interviewed it would be found that he has little belief in human liberty and instead that stands as a cut out for the “Western liberal order,” or whatever you want to call these people and their power structure.
It is also crucial to note that any person or group has the right to choose “freedom or death”, but there is absolutely no right to impose that risk on the world at large; what’s more, you can be sure very few people who ever made that decision would have found the premise of human extinction acceptable, freedom or no. Even in 1984’s Oceania the regime will ultimately fall, the regime’s claims notwithstanding. Humanity not going extinct should be of prime importance to all humans when dealing with events that could actually cause extinction. [I have long wondered if their belief in catastrophic climate change makes them underplay all other risks as they don’t expect an old age anyway, but I’m pretty sure there’s no point in applying logic to it.]
The great Australian anti-imperialist Caitlin Johnstone has been one of the best voices regarding the ethical concerns and sheer dangers of increasing nuclear brinksmanship. This piece particular impacted me:
She goes into great depth about the irresponsible “diplomacy”, but also into the real risks of nuclear winter. I had played that down, but that was seeing a dichotomy between only a small number of bombs going off and instant death to everyone on Earth. Of the three distressing things which make up my article, nuclear war had bothered me the least both from having grown up with the constant [if usually lower] threat and also the belief it would at least be mercifully quick. But the fact is, I live far enough from a major population center myself and my family are unlikely to be instantly vaporized and much more likely to lead profoundly miserable lives of bare survival until death.
The Coming Time of War
The most distressing part about this is the knowledge that this bad time could soon be remembered as one of the good times. As a millennial I remember life getting much worse following 9/11, the Great Recession, and then covid restrictions. Freedom took a huge hit each time, and thats not to count the relatively less severe bad shit that is always going on. Covid being followed by Ukraine feels like the new plot added in the last few minutes of a TV show’s season to set up the next episode. This culture of crisis is similar to the late Roman Republic, which experienced decades of severe violence, deprivation, and disorder. Like them we are being led into oblivion by cynical men who love nothing more than to use “freedom” to mean “control.”
Unfortunately, the stakes for humanity are much higher, and the incompetence and rapaciousness of the financial and political class are so baked into the system there is no chance of them being fixed by a great man. [And for Trump’s flaws, a morally better man would have been unlikely to get even as far as he did.] It is hard to come to a different conclusion than that some combination of all of these things will collapse civilization. It’s enough to leave me wondering the point of building an audience here, but as I said, writing makes me feel relatively better and perhaps its useful to someone. I see us rapidly approaching a future like Hobbes’ description of a time when lawful authority collapses:
“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no culture [cultivation] of the earth; no navigation, nor use of commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” - Leviathan [I.13.9]
Perhaps it won’t be all that bad, but the economy is collapsing while our most basic liberties are severely attacked and there is daily risk of nuclear war. It is extremely difficult to believe that very bad things aren’t coming.
What can you do? Not much. Try to stay sane. Enjoy your family. Stay in the best shape you can. Stock up an emergency amount of food so you at least have time to make a plan if it falls apart. Enjoy what may be the last of the “good times.” The most important thing is to not let them drive you crazy, which is especially difficult in the face of government by propaganda, moral panic, cognitive dissonance, and gaslighting.
It is my view that the best way to hold it together and maintain perspective is the study of history, and with that I will leave you with a quote from Livy:
“I shall find antiquity a rewarding study, if only because while I am absorbed in it, I shall be able to turn my eyes from the troubles that have so long tormented the modern world…The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see; and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings; fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.” [1.1]
Update: For the most part I’m trying to leave these as originally written, but this is too incredible to not share.
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