July 19, 2021
Freedom Day in Britain. People in the great outdoors defiantly, peacefully reclaiming their rights and treating the government's beneficence with the contempt it deserves.
There are already signs the respite won't last unless people take responsibility for their own freedom. Ministers played killjoy by announcing vaccine "certificates" will be mandatory for nightclubs and large events, a clear nudge to the young. Let the youth alone.
At least some can think of nights out. The collapse of livelihoods under lockdown has turned other people's minds to desperation. Who thought we'd be talking in the 21st century about survival? What will happen when the furlough money ends? Where is that supposed flood of online job vacancies? Why does school keep sending the children home? Does anyone have a Plan B? This has prompted a lively debate about alternative work arrangements, barter, scrip and other means of transaction and exchange.
Let's talk not of tokens but people. Can we create more goodwill in our socially-distanced world? Can we resist efforts to mold us to value only isolated, individual gratification or handouts from on high?
My own family has split over this. A tone has crept into some voices. Fear has made some of them wary; a touch selfish. It doesn't bode well for future cooperation in the off-grid, below-the-radar, informal economy.
Society has turned into a counting house where wealth is the highest virtue and to stumble financially is to lose social credit. Of those who would help, a falling real income (after inflation) has strung them so thin that they have hocked next month's salary to the bank.
The financialization of every human activity is part of the problem. Another is alienation. Few people work with their hands or even in full command of their senses. They become distant from their own body which is just an expense to clothe, feed and haul to the gym.
This distancing from one's own interest can be measured in other ways: the decline of reading, of reflection upon nature, of feeding the soul.
Few people do jobs that bear direct relevance to their physical and mental sustenance. Most companies produce services that have value only by the arbitrary constructs that society chooses to measure. That's before the Green New Dealers declare "unsustainable" the last remaining occupations that add value to physical matter.
Look closely at The Great Reset-Green New Deal: it provides only for certain industries. Those may be the goods you will be permitted to transact. Much of it concerns swapping one set of energy sources for another, which will require more land (and landfill) and subsidies without adding anything to output. (I will take a look at the Great Reset industrial landscape in a coming newsletter).
On the glad spring morning when a British minister suggested internal passports may be the only way to enter a supermarket, British regulators renewed their attack on the sale of home-grown food.
Confrontation is inevitable. The central banks will shut down any currency system that confronts the interests of the owners (see the eight owners of the Federal Reserve for an indication).
It may be necessary to build a system of exchange for real goods to escape not only the fractional reserve banking system but also the financialized economy on which it rests. Get as close as possible to bricks and mortar, soil and water — and to people. Begin with one or two practical types.
We have to look further than stores of value, like gold and Bitcoin. Their advantage is said by experts to be that they are indifferent to questions of trust, but I think the currency we need to mine is precisely trust. Monetary systems benefit from complexity which sets a high bar in terms of creating a workable alternative to digital currency (this is worth a separate article).
We risk forgetting those practical ethics that enable us to coexist without relying on amoral currencies that harden us to others. We must retain the practical ethos that enables us to coexist without relying on socially-distancing, online networks that cause us to overlook true friends.
Rebuilding trust and friendship is a priority. The most tenuous human acquaintance is more real than a Facebook friend. I very much doubt that the social media model is the right one for human-to-human transactions. It works as a supplement, perhaps, but making it the base for society tears the soul out of existence — and leaves the on-off switch in the hands of Big Tech.
Social media is antithetical to humanity. It de-humanizes and weaponizes the ability to maliciously influence relations, to sway our emotions often beyond our own intent.
We must ask ourselves, when we act, what governs our actions. How do we answer the idea that springs in our mind? How do we know the spontaneous urge is a good one? Who moderates the voice in our head? Do we take guidance from the village elders, from our most competent friend or from our learning or religion?
This topic leads to a steeply-terraced valley of perception for there are differences between people, genders and cultures. It depends on how and what we see, and the inferences we draw from the images that form in our visual cortex — the mind's eye and the eye's mind. This is how we separate allies from acquaintances.
Our primary cultural reference, encountering a stranger on a country road, if we come from a family of remote shepherds, may be to sense a threat. Our first impulse may be to respond in kind. We have in-built tendencies to refer to the in group or the out group. Some, born with an affinity for wide physical social networks, can act as social magnet to the latter. Yet those who take cues from broader networks may be more open to influence operations.
At one time societies saw outside influence not as a strength but a threat to their integrity. Western governments and the military still talk like that. These soldiers and placemen serve a network of corporations, financial institutions and wealthy stakeholder-owners who identify globalism with their wallet. Their little bill-fold soul.
We must reclaim globalization as the brotherhood and sisterhood of peoples who have more in common than we do differences.
I know that I am writing from the perspective of my own Anglo-American culture and those with a different heritage may frown at this precious social ballet. Some venerable cultures have anticipated the centrifugal effects of modern society and have built checks and balances designed to keep social tensions in harmony.
Outsiders, with the fleeting attention span of a self-absorbed tourist, are quick to pass over social mores without examining whence they arose. A society is, at root, only a method for mutual survival while avoiding a greater pitfall.
I once stumbled in conversation with a Kosovan when I challenged the tradition of blood feuds, describing it as an ancient anachronism. He looked at me quizzically for a moment, then put his hand on my arm and said: sometimes that is the only way a people can live together in peace.
We walk a tightrope in daily life with the primary aim of averting falls or danger beyond the village boundary where bandits roam or where neighboring barons eye the livestock. We moderate impulses that would upend social order: untethered hormones or the cocky presumption that someone's dream of utopia tomorrow should trump everybody's well being today.
Hillside shepherds aren't the only ones who should be wary of outlaws. They stalk our streets too. In fact, the favoured habitat of the lesser spotted plunderer is precisely the city and the suburbs. These marauders are far more prevalent in advanced Western nations: they feed where the money is.
The Great Reset deals with this evil by acquiescing in it. Under its plan, governments who became indebted to the Federal Reserve while bailing out the banks should wipe the slate clean by handing over the remaining assets. The bankers and the billionaires instruct that you will own nothing and you will be happy.
The industrial corporations who polluted the skies and the oceans demand subsidies to go "carbon neutral,” outsourcing their responsibility, leaving someone else to clean their mess. The families who own most of the world's oil and gas will continue to hoard those resources, while making us pay for wind and solar. And because wind and solar cannot meet the needs of today's population, our lifestyles must adapt. The world may get to 100 per cent renewable energy but at a cost that is as yet unimaginable.
What brought us to this crossroads is the manipulation of morals to adjust for a deep rot in society. Business schools noticed this when they began to teach courses in ethics: it had little impact on standards in corporate life. If anything, they declined, or more politely, adapted.
They outsourced responsibility for their behaviour — principles, decency, even that antiquated word, standards — to a compliance officer sitting in a corner office. Just like corporations, we individuals did the same.
That is how they are approaching The Great Reset: by compartmentalizing ethics. As a society that bails out others' failed bets while some gamble anew. Governments award no-tender contracts for vaccines and personal protective equipment, technology companies are given carte blanche to invent the future systems of governance with no thought for the role of elected officials. While health becomes a bazaar where the buyer better beware.
Society is melded to the interest of corporations while billionaires play leap frog. Secret societies always offered a “leg up” to their pals but the ethical drought has created an escalator. Their “oaths and proceedings” have swept them into endeavors that no sensible, rational or prudent mind would consider. Government, bureaucracy and the corporate world are shaking hands like the wicked doctor of Württemberg. Isn't that just another word for pursuing the Will bereft of conscience?
The words of the Great Reset have an internal logic and a veneer of justice, if not morality. But in empowering corporations as equal stakeholders with the state, it fortifies a psychopath compelled to prioritize its own benefit and lacking any moral guide.
The state is (theoretically) subject to greater moral oversight but it also arrogates to itself the right to murder and on certain pretexts to set aside its own laws and conventions in order to expropriate or steal. You don’t have to be a libertarian or anarchist to see the state is founded on a monopoly of violence.
The state is only as moral as those in power. It is a dangerous machine. Allied with psychopathic corporations in state-corporatism the certainty of abuse is terrifying, the 20th Century having borne ample proof.
The fundamental transformation of society has not been debated in any public forum. Our legislatures have been sidelined by presidential or prime ministerial decree, teams of psychologists use the media to manipulate the people into action, and the military looms on the outskirts of our cities. Acts are being undertaken that are a violation of humanity by deceitful, even depraved, methods whose outcomes threaten to match or exceed any past tragedy.
What shall we do in return? Shall we respond with the wry wisdom of an Aristophanes or the dread practicality of a Spartan? Can we succeed if we play nice? Is civilization built by compromise with evil or by striking it down? Do leaders arise from the squalor of submission, accumulating points for victimhood, or by raising their eyes to dignity, honor, integrity and freedom?
Let our coin buy more than mere survival, let our currency be defiance and, if necessary, honest vengeance.