Monday, January 24, 2022

Tyranny

If someone had told me 20 years ago that I'd be having a conversation with a friend in early days of 2022 about what to do when the government breaks down, I'd have dismissed them as ludicrous.

But the government has been collapsing most of my lifetime. I didn't see it because I was living it. I wasn't planning for it because I don't think like that. 

The collapse, though, has been in the works since FDR undertook his policies to give US citizens a social safety net, since he denied big business and the very wealthy, and instead acknowledged that every soul deserves, at the least, a little something near the end of life. He called it Social Security, and the government itself has always called it an "entitlement."

Bill Maher, whom I have mostly stopped watching because he (a) makes fun of obese people and (b) is terribly misogynistic, occasionally has a guest I want to see.

Friday night, he interviewed Timothy Snyder, whose book On Tyranny is not one I've read, but one I've read much about.

It was an interview that should have been highly noted. But even Maher himself apparently barely registered it, because I never saw it cross my twitter feed, while another guest's comments about being "over" Covid and the protocols in place for public safety, did.

Here is the interview. It's worth listening to all 10 minutes of it.



They discuss a "business crash" in 2024-2025 (long about 2:53 in the interview). That's concerning. We're already having supply shortages and inflation. What will a "business crash" look like?

"If we stay in this cocoon of The Big Lie," says Snyder, "we're not going to have a country in a few years down the line." (He's talking about the former guy's continual pounding away that Biden is an illegitimate president, and that the former guy had the election stolen from him. The former guy lost. It went through the court system. That should have been the end of it. He attempted a coup.)

This stuff scares me. Why doesn't it scare everyone? There are, apparently, a minority of very loud and powerful people who want the United States of America to fail as a nation. They apparently believe they will have all the power - they will have the guns; they will be able to live like the assholes in that show Yellowstone (which I've only seen a few episodes of, and I don't plan to watch more). They will be able to make their own reality and if my reality interferes with theirs, they will, quite plainly, kill me and get me out of the way.

Snyder goes on to say that he thinks in the weeks between the election of 2024 and the inauguration of 2025, if the former guy runs for office and loses yet still wins because of the changes Republican states have made to election laws, then we will have a major crisis. "The country can break down," he says in the interview above. "I imagine Americans in blue states going to red states and American in red states going to blue states, worrying about what's going to come next."

Americans may have to run to places where they feel safer. "The majority of Americans think we're heading for some kind of collapse," Snyder says.



A 2014 study [note the date - 8 years ago] by Princeton University Professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Professor Benjamin Page concluded, in essence, that the United States is now an oligarchy. Specifically, the authors found that “A proposed policy change with low support among economically elite Americans (one-out-of-five in favour) is adopted only about 18 percent of the time, while a proposed change with high support (four-out-of-five in favour) is adopted about 45 percent of the time.” They also found that “When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose.”

Persistent, dramatic and growing disparities between voter preferences and government policy are radically unsustainable. Sooner or later, a social explosion is liable to occur. In a nation drowning in guns, a mass rebellion against a government beholden to the billionaire class could prove particularly violent and destructive. (Here's the link for this article.)

If other countries are seeing this, what are we seeing from the inside? We're seeing neighbor pitted against neighbor - over masks, for one thing. But is it really masks? No, some consider it control. (It's not control that people have to wear pants or otherwise cover their butt, I note, and I suspect if we'd grown up wearing masks during flu season, no one would be complaining. It's the newness of this that some object to. Change.)

Then there are mass shootings, supply chain issues, climate change, lack of health care, low wages, etc. etc. We may be number one in arms, but when compared to other countries, we are low on the stats when it comes to taking care of one another.

I don't have any answers to what I see as the demise of this nation. I'm just one useless old woman with a little bitty blog that few people read.

I'm probably one of the first people that some people around me would kill off. Useless old women don't stand a chance in the coming days, whether those days are in 2025 or 2030. Nor would it matter what "side" I might be on. There are already so many sides that we're all the enemy of someone, whether we know it or not.

Scary things to think about. Sobering things to think about. And it's not hyperbole to think like this. The signs are everywhere. The stories are no longer confined to fictional books about government overreach, espionage, and overthrowing those in power. We're living these stories now, daily.

And there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

4 comments:

  1. We differ on a lot of political things, but I do tend to believe we are quickly heading nowhere good and rather rapidly as a country. My views are more conservative, but I don't trust ANY political party or politician. I personally tend to believe they are all only concerned with keeping their own particular party in power or regaining said power and with their own little slice of that power. I recommend reading the book "Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse" by Timothy P. Carney. He investigates and presents some very compelling data as to what has gotten us in the mess we are in.

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  2. Cliff and I have been saying for years that we're hosed, and we are just hoping to die before it gets too bad. We feel helpless to do anything about it.

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  3. I don't get why they call Social Security an entitlement when most people pay into it for years before they can get anything out of it. I agree with Stacy. I don't trust any politician or party. What we do have is an emergency stash of food, fuel, water and cash (assuming cash will still be able to be used). A friend's mother said in her later years that if there was some nuclear disaster or the like, she wouldn't run away from it but to it, knowing how difficult life could be as a result and at that point one might be better off dead. I tend to think she had some wisdom in that. I might be tempted to think the same under the right circumstances. I am going to read the book mentioned in this post and the one that Stacy recommended. I couldn't get the video to play and I don't have HBO so I'll have to see if I can find the interview some other way.

    betty

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  4. If it's taken down, it will be for just the reasons you enumerated, a lack of concern for the vast majority of people who have worked all their lives and who have little or nothing to show for it.
    Before anything else happens, I'm sure that there will be an absurd amount of yakking about causes, and side and everything else, until it registers that the elite just sit up on top of their empires getting fatter and richer, consolidating their political reach, while the rest of us just try to make an honest living. I'm reading the book Davos Man, By Peter Goodman. Lord we are in for it.

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