Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Lent 2020: The End of All Things

Well, that's pretty much it, folks.

Bowing to the insanity that has engulfed the planet, the Lourdes grotto, a beloved site of healing for countless thousands of faithful for a century and a half, has closed for the first time in its history, because of the draconian public quarantine in France. That's right, a place of miraculous healing has been closed over a virus panic.

And now even more churches are being forced to close their doors to public worship, with many being reduced to live-streaming from empty churches. The churches either can't meet the ever more stringent requirements of limiting how many people can congregate -- what began as gathering limits of 250 have fallen to 25 and now often to 10 -- or can't accommodate the "social distancing" requirements to keep people apart.

In our state, where there have been eight total cases of COVID-19 and zero deaths, of course the sensible thing to do was for our diocese to ban all public Masses. Makes perfect sense. Not an overreaction in the slightest.

Meanwhile, the hardest of the hardcore Catholics, the sedevacantists, have also given in and shut out the public from their churches.

Even the Orthodox churches are capitulating. The churches that stared down the Crusades and the Iron Curtain -- now closing, over a bug that fewer than 100 Americans have died from, that 97% will completely recover from, and that will kill a fraction of the people the flu kills every year.

One diocese closes its churches, then the neighboring one does, then the next neighboring one does. Just like a virus, it spreads, with no hope of containment. Same for so many other things. One restaurant bans dining in, and a thousand more do. One place bans gatherings of more than 10 people, and a million more do. Monkey see, monkey do. Panic and peer pressure say "if they're doing it, I guess I'd better do it too."

That's it. It's done. Even our last remaining beacons of hope are closed. Fear, hype, irrationality, and panic have won. They've reached critical mass. There's no going back.

I always said it would take a serious calamity to expose what our society is really made of. I just never expected the serious calamity to be a media-manufactured mass panic. Isn't it interesting, for example, that water companies are turning the water back on for people so they can wash their hands? That other utilities are suspending turnoffs? That some cities are suspending parking tickets to accommodate people who may be out helping others in need? That jails are letting petty criminals out to reduce crowding? That we're talking about sending every American $1,000? That we can so easily throw nearly $2 trillion to bail out the markets?

The obvious questions these actions raise are why these steps couldn't have been taken before. Why did you ever have to shut off utilities to the poor in the first place? Why did you need to issue parking tickets in the first place? Why did you need to arrest so many people in the first place? Why couldn't we have had universal basic income in the first place? And of course, the big one -- everyone says we can't afford universal healthcare, but the federal government can pull $2 trillion out of thin air to rescue the markets and no one even questions how we're going to pay for it.

Corporations will cry for the rest of the year about how much money they're losing, but don't buy it. Not when CEOs pull down such massive salaries, and certainly not when corporate boards authorize literally tens of billions of dollars of stock buybacks every year. That's money that could be going toward infrastructure improvements, job training, more jobs, better wages, better benefits. Instead, corporations light the money on fire just so their earnings per share will pop up by a few pennies.

Nor should you feel sorry for corporations complaining about their supply chains. If your greed had never led you to decimate our manufacturing base in favor of paying de facto slave labor in China next to nothing, rather than paying someone in America a living wage, you wouldn't be in this mess. Nor would everyone be scraping by in a service economy making crap wages because you pulled the plug on all the good jobs.

The curtain has been pulled back on the fraudulent, predatory rot that our society thrives on.

Certainly, the church has failed us as well, as even the slightest thought of civil disobedience in a time of hysteria and irrationality is apparently beyond the realm of consideration. This from a church whose people in its early days bravely spoke truth to power, even at risk to their own lives. Now? The church just buckles and says OK, whatever you want.

Sorry, Christianity. You've exposed yourself as a fraudulent joke. You have no faith. You have no courage. My Lenten season is officially done.

Critical thought has died in this new viral 9/11. In the days following 9/11, fearful people willingly handed over their liberties in hope of some kind of security -- and we're still living with the results today, in the constant surveillance of our lives made possible by the Patriot Act, and the constant harassment and privacy invasions from low-level TSA flunkies. And of course, there's always the looming menace of Fatherland (i.e., "Homeland") Security. Now here we are, in another age of "whatever makes us safer" -- where medical martial law has free domain to do whatever it wants. People will soon be cheering on the presence of the National Guard throughout the nation's streets.

I long for one leader, somewhere, to push back against this madness. But in an infantilized society that needs safe spaces and trigger warnings, and where "progressive" fascists will cancel you for expressing a contrary opinion or even saying the wrong words, we're unlikely to find one. Instead, we live in a terrified culture that's practically begging for more martial law. "Please, I'm scared. Take more of my freedoms." What can any leader do against such madness?

Indeed, that's why we can only find leaders who cave in to the pressure, which of course only feeds the panic and makes hysterical people even more certain that we're facing something worse than the black plague. "Look, even Trump is saying blah blah blah." Well, of course he is. Because if he told you to start using your common sense and pushed back, you'd probably torch the White House. Because that's how modern witch-hunters roll. They don't hunt actual witches anymore. They just silence people with critical counter-opinions by any means necessary. Think Antifa, the domestic terrorist group that no one, not even the cops, will do anything about. Think all the people who call you a white supremacist right-wing Nazi merely for having an opinion that's not "woke." That's what our society, along with common sense and rational thought, is up against.

Nobody can win in this environment. The propagandists have won, the mob has completely taken over, and the rest of us can only hunker down, try to withstand the onslaught, and pick up the pieces when this is all over.

Dystopia is here. It's no longer the stuff of novels and Hollywood movies. Fiction has become reality.

I've never understood most of society, and why people do the things they do, or why they so willingly do what they're told. I always use seatbelt laws as a good example. Over a period of a few decades, we went from polls showing most people opposed mandatory use, to accepting laws that made failure to buckle up a secondary offense, to then accepting laws that made it a primary offense, to now listening to people scold you for being so irresponsible if you don't wear a seat belt. It always should have been a personal choice. But like the frog in a pot of water that slowly boils to death, we become desensitized to the limits the state places on us, until we end up cheering on those limits and begging for more. The only difference this time is that it didn't take a few decades for the mass capitulation to take place, but just a few short months.

It's scary how it took no time at all to see us revert back to our primal, tribal instincts. Ratings-driven media have pushed us all into our reptilian brains. It seems we've never been any more than a bunch of stupid apes beating our chests at each other. Just look at the chaos at any supermarket for evidence, where people are stocking up like we've just experienced a nuclear winter, idiots get into fights over toilet paper, and even bigger idiots, in true capitalist fashion, are hoarding the TP and reselling it for $50 a pack. And just wait until the global economic depression kicks in, as it inevitably will. All this will look like a walk in the park.

People are ugly. We're seeing just how ugly. It's almost too bad we aren't experiencing a major plague, because it seems this planet could use a good cleansing. I wouldn't miss 99% of the population. Good riddance. People suck. 

In any event, our society will never go back to the way it was, and we can only guess what new permanent restrictions on our lives will come out of this unprecedented time of insanity. At this point, we can only imagine how much worse this episode will be. We've been through ridiculous panics before when people shut off their thinking brains -- think Y2K, or mad cow disease -- but nothing ever approaching this. And the paranoia is only going to ratchet up, until we see people, Soviet-style, turning in their neighbors for walking down the street. (Already, people in California -- where six people out of a population of 40 million have died -- are calling the cops on their coughing neighbors.) Statewide or even nationwide mandatory quarantines and hospitalizations are probably only weeks, if not days, away. The entire United States will become a giant prison. Violence will erupt in response, as the paranoia ratchets up, people think everyone has the plague, . Get ready. It's going to get much uglier out there.

For now, I'll leave some helpful links from the precious few who haven't completely lost their minds. Expect some, if not all, of these pieces to eventually disappear. Truth is always a casualty in times like these, as the authoritarians in charge will inevitably ramp up the censorship.

The emperor has no clothes:

Medical martial law and pandemic panics are nothing new.

From Off-Guardian: Panic Pandemic: Why Are People Who Should Know Better Buying the COVID-19 Hype?

From Unz Review: The Coronavirus Hoax, by Ron Paul. If only this man could have been president.

From VoltaireNet: No Quarantine Has Overcome Disease. (Facebook is already censoring this article as "going against its community standards," though it doesn't say how the article does that.)

From Intellectual Takeout: Coronavirus Mass Hysteria, by Dr. Steven Hotze.

From Spiked: Life Inside the Italian Lockdown

(3/18) From Off-Guardian: COVID-19 Global Lockdown. Kudos to C.J. Hopkins, for his satirical wit that's so welcome right now.

More to come, no doubt.

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