We live in a time when good people, led by emotion and blinded by cognitive overload or willful ignorance, sanction the ideas of corrupt leaders in media and government who are using these good people with their good intentions to advance an oppressive agenda, not only oppressive but also deadly—physically and intellectually.
There have been many such times in history. But thanks to the ability to communicate by way of the internet, which we still have at the moment, perhaps we have the opportunity to create a happy ending rather than simply watch from the sidelines as another great human tragedy unfolds.
The problem is, that even with more information available, once people step into the rapid stream of controlled opinion, which usually happens very early in life, because schooling is one way of keeping people in this stream, they are carried along and see only what passes by alongside, which is tightly controlled, and then often they see only fleeting glimpses of that.
Whatever might be happening in the woods and brush along the shore or further inland is never known to them. It cannot be known while in the stream; this, too, is by design. After all, that is the stream’s purpose, to move quickly, to distract, to drive the narrative, to precipitate a particular action during the fever pitch, then to repeat as many times as necessary to achieve the desired level of control.
This stream seldom cuts deep, seldom lingers. It flows in what could seem a natural course, but it is, after all, man-made. Beneath the surface there are intricate controls designed to manipulate the flow and thus masses of individuals. The stream can usually carry whatever floods in, even unexpectedly. But also by design, it rarely overflows its banks.
This particular stream never flows into the sea. Rather, it is made to reverse course and flow back again, repeating the cycle, ad infinitum. Some who are along for the ride on this stream of opinion, depending upon temperament, will have looked to the left bank for leadership; others to the right.
Both groups will believe they are absolutely correct and well-informed about the world. This, too, is by design. It is a feigned “national conversation,” providing straw-men and women as needed.
Here’s the most ingenious aspect. As the stream reverses course, those who once looked to the left now see what was on the right and those who once looked to the right now see what was on the left.
There may be a slight hesitation at the change but it won’t last long. The stream moves on and opinion flows and there isn’t much time to think, only to react. Of course some traditional names, and terms, and stances are kept consistent, but only as much as necessary to facilitate the charade.
Both groups will continue to believe they have remained steadfast in their values and are absolutely correct and well-informed about the world. Few will find anything amiss. Instead, they will rationalize and justify. Merrily they will roll along.
Some few people never fell or were never pulled into the stream. Others were in it but were thrown out in the occasional flood or, miraculously sensing something amiss, they began swimming across the current.
Perhaps in the dark of night, you, yes you, you there . . . you give a mighty kick and swim for it. You scramble up the bank, bare toes digging into roots for traction. Exhausted, you curl up under the roots of a mighty sycamore.
When you awake, it’s high noon and the sun is warming. You realize you are now aware, aware in a land of genuine, honest intellect and information. At last, the word truth signifies an attempt to describe actual actions, events, and motivations, insofar as they can be determined objectively, with as much information as can possibly be obtained; no longer is there a left version and right version. You breath deeply, freely.
Now you fully realize the stream is there to hide the truth while encouraging people of both general temperaments to believe they have obtained the whole truth from their well-informed sources and thereby can be fully assured they are absolutely correct and solid in holding the opinions they hold. Never mind that they obtained these opinions from their last several hours of viewing their chosen bank of the stream. Finally, you realize that the people who built the stream designed it that way and will do everything possible to sustain its flow and power. Even the sun cannot warm you in this chilling moment.
Returning to work the next day, getting on with life, the difference within you is profound. Those former fellow travelers are still there, smiling, frowning, or in between. The right-bank ones share “their” opinions; the left-bank ones share “theirs.” Their bodies are alive. They can do their jobs. They are still capable of loving each other and bearing children. Sometimes they are funny or kind or sad. Clearly, they are intelligent in every other respect. Some are whizzes at math or programming. Some are excellent writers or accountants. Some enjoy sports. Some love opera. Most have favorite television shows. Some coach soccer or baseball. Everything, everyone is great. Yet everything is wrong. They cannot see.
At times you feel invisible, as though you could wave a hand in front of their faces and they would not see you. But you realize you are sensing the wall in their minds, the wall that forms when one is caught in the stream. Somehow your wall has fallen away and you feel alone, even though you know you are not; for surely it was the distant yet persistent voices of others like you who broke free who helped your own wall to fall away.
Yet you are accustomed to feeling at one with a larger group, to feeling that sense of acceptance and security in knowing you are of the “correct” opinion. It is uncomfortable to be questioning constantly and separated from the flow.
Your instinct when listening to a discussion of current events is to jump up and down screaming, “WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” Instead, you stay silent. Perhaps you smile a little or make an inane remark. Sometimes you shake your head, just a slight bit, as though to say, maybe not. This causes some to eye you suspiciously.
The next week, feeling courageous, you offer just the slightest tidbit of alternative possibility. Really, it is only very slight. But the response is anything but. The right-bank guy smacks it from your hand and calls you a leftist, tree-hugging, Occutard, Israel-hating, Bush-hater. You walk away, not really blaming him. You pick up the tidbit, brush it off, and put it back into your pocket.
Later, you offer the tidbit, with great care, you think, to the left-bank gal. Without hesitation, she shoves it in your face, with violent force, calls you a Nazi, racist, gay-hating, Chick-fil-A-eating, bigoted, reflexive-Obama-hater, and storms away. You sit down, checking to see whether your nose is broken, then fish the tidbit from your coffee mug, lovingly drying it with the sleeve of your shirt which is already spattered with the blood from your nose. But you don’t really blame her either.
Bruised and a little battered but not defeated, you, not the tidbit, the tidbit just is and cannot be injured or feel emotion, you walk home, along the stream bank. You join others like you who gather there from time to time to call out to those carried along by the current and to skip a few tidbits across the surface of the water, hoping someone in the stream will catch one and be called to shore.
In these moments, you feel a kinship and connection to all good people, even, perhaps especially, those still caught in the stream. You believe most of them know or could come to understand the deep human need to live as free individuals. You believe underneath they want it too. Above all, you know freedom and truth are essential to human well-being and that you have to give everything you can to bring these values to predominance.
The most ironic thing of all is that almost everyone in the stream believes he or she is and does live as a free individual. The stream has done its most essential job very well. It has held the word freedom beneath murky waters so long it is distorted beyond recognition.
And those in the stream view this distortion as inevitable and correct. This explains why people have accepted so much government imposition and oppression, even in the United States.
It is true that some may be aware of the loss of freedom and merely go along minimally, as needed, because they wish to be left alone, insofar as possible, not wishing to try to swim against the current, to become exhausted and drown. They prefer the fatigue of endless bureaucracy to death by the system. The believe the system will always win.
But most seem to go along to get along, inevitably fully accepting every imposition, even if they might balk at first, simply because going along is most convenient path, first and foremost, but also, not insignificantly, because it allows them to see themselves as “good and worthy” people living a culturally approved life. They feel like “adults.” They view this acceptance of coercion and intrusion as a form of “maturity.”
Moreover, they get to gossip about the people who aren’t so grown-up. This is a happy sport for many, serving to bolster their views and thereby their self-images. Some adults might even be persuaded to report co-workers, acquaintances, or neighbors who are not compliant and to cheer harsh penalties for those stepping out of line.
The fact that the “transgressions” often cause no harm to others, and might even have done some obvious good, is irrelevant to these people. They have joined the “party.”
These adults never seem to wonder how Mao Tse-tung, Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot, to name a few of the better-known despots, contributed to the often brutal murders of the more than 262,000,000 individual human beings killed by government (Democide), in the twentieth century alone.
This figure, provided by R.J. Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Hawaii, is, to quote him, “six times more individuals than have died in all foreign and internal wars of the century.” As for the number of additional lives deeply disrupted forever by their evil deeds, it must number in the several billions.
There is also blissful ignorance regarding the massive losses in our own country that supposedly were necessary to end slavery. Most adults have no idea that slavery as it predominately existed in the nineteenth century (yes it still exists) was ended, without a prolonged and bloody war, by the British, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Danes, among others.
It even ended without war in some of our own northern states. Here is Thomas J. DiLorenzo in his review of James Powell’s book, Greatest Emancipations: ‘Most Americans have only heard of how slavery was ended in the Southern states and are unaware of how it was ended peacefully in the Northern states and in the rest of the Western Hemisphere during the 19th century. There were no “wars of emancipation” in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, or Illinois, which were all once slave states.”‘
The stream-keepers, eager to preserve the idea that the “civil” war was a noble war and that without “Lincoln’s sacrifice” the American South would still be run by slave labor, manage to overlook the truth again and again.
Of course war was NOT inevitable and we could have ended slavery peacefully. Instead, at least 620,000 individual Americans died, unnecessarily, brother often fighting brother. And the destruction the war caused to psyches and property is incalculable.
But that war wasn’t really about slavery at all. Again, there are many ways slavery could have been brought to an end (yes, even in the South!), peacefully and fairly swiftly. Rather, it was about upholding and then increasing the power of the national, central government and attempting to obliterate the truth that the union of states was entered voluntarily and could be exited voluntarily.
Apparently, no price in human lives or well-being was too great to ensure this increase in power. And apparently, the irony of enslaving people by government force (conscription, confiscation, destruction, taxation) supposedly for the purpose of ending slavery, never occurs to adults in the stream. Especially as a percentage of the population at the time (about 6 million to be equivalent), the number of deaths and the turmoil caused by Lincoln’s war had enormous implications.
Those in the stream are discouraged from delving deeply into any topic that reveals the false narrative they are supposed to accept. Instead, they are encouraged to accept and even to laugh-off even the most offensive bits of truth that happen to break through, as when a member of President Obama’s staff says to graduating high school students and their families in the Washington National Cathedral: “. . . then the 3rd lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Tse-tung and Mother Teresa, not often coupled with each other, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point which is you’re going to make choices, you’re going to challenge, you’re going to say why not. You’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here’s the deal, these are your choices, they’re no one else’s . . .”
They are encouraged to laugh when the governor of North Carolina “jokes” that we should suspend elections: “I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that . . .You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”
While left-bankers hate Bush for the PATRIOT act, they are strangely sanguine about President Obama signing the NDAA without ensuring due process for American citizens and about his overseeing a kill-list for drone strikes that have murdered countless innocent civilians and at least two American citizens. What was that about due process?
The right-bankers in the stream still believe George Bush 41 and 43, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld are honorable men, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
They are blinded to the fact that their leaders, who claim to believe in conservative fiscal policy and self-responsibility, consistently defend corporate welfare and foreign aid, and one way or another, put a lot of tax money into their own pockets (of course the left bank leaders are doing this, too).
The right-bank subscribers buy the line that freedom and conservatism somehow translate into bloated budgets for the defense department. And the left-bankers don’t want to cut spending on anything; the more government, the better, especially if it involves transferring money and power to the United Nations, which they are trained to view as the means to achieving Nirvana.
In reality, there is no genuine left or right bank. The people running the show have carefully designed the stream, through years of trial and error, so that when it reverses course and those within it are looking at the opposite bank to the one they viewed before, few seem to notice any contradictions and continue to believe they are subscribing to a different and superior view than those preferring the other bank. In reality, they are all taking in a re-packaged version of the same basic propaganda, designed to support the same basic agenda.
With this “magical” stream controlling the flow of information and opinion, almost anything can be imposed on people and they will willingly comply, if not now, then tomorrow. The stream includes endless propaganda defending all manner of oppressive practices, including the promotion of substances supposedly designed to enhance health that may in fact be detrimental.
These include questionable vaccines, fluoride, artificial sweeteners, many pharmaceuticals, and some genetically engineered foods. All of these can affect the brain and body—many are neuro-toxic—perhaps not purposefully designed to weaken the will and to break the spirit, but many do have that effect.
They are purposefully pressed on people despite extensive inside knowledge of their toxicity, because of the power and wealth they continually provide to individuals in government and industry who manufacture them or who condone and promote their use.
And, of course, depending upon the particular circumstances, all within the stream are encouraged to view dissenters and even mere questioners as unpatriotic, uninformed, heartless, ignorant, dangerous, crazy, conspiracy-theorists, bigoted, racist or perhaps all of these.
If you are in the stream and reading this (no, not you, my awake friend, I’ll get back to you), which of these labels would you care to give me, the author, in this moment?
What is genuine freedom? It comprises the most benevolent aspects of ancient morality and the values thereby defined. It follows the laws of nature with a recognition of human reason and ability to control actions and will, including cooperating freely with others.
Freedom is, in a nut-shell, the non-aggression principle, the Philosophy of Liberty, the ancient golden rule or Platinum rule. It says, simply, attempt to live so that you do not substantially harm others and you are free to live as you please, and that if you do harm others you must bear the proportional consequences of your harm, at least including restitution.
Freedom is blind to skin color, gender, ethnic origin, sexual preferences (except with respect to children who are ideally protected by their families first, then by their communities); but it never forces associations.
Freedom allows for much and disallows very little. It encourages voluntary association and order; humane treatment of fellow humans and of animals; private ownership and stewardship of property, including tools and weapons of various and many kinds; and responsible behavior with a constant concern for others.
Human civilization blossoms beautifully without government and history proves it.
What freedom does NOT provide is a means for a few to control the many. What everyone in the stream is made to forget is that government IS force. Government IS coercion.
Government (unless we are referring to a truly voluntary arrangement, with unconditional opt-out provisions) is someone else with something to gain by controlling you, something they have not contracted with you to obtain, pointing a gun—metaphorical or otherwise—at your head telling you what to do, or else.
The left-bank answer to this is that we are all born parties to a social contract. And apparently this is a contract with constantly changing terms arbitrarily determined by the most recent group to come to power. And since we are a party to this contract, we must submit to its ever-changing terms or else.
But a real contract requires the agreement of all parties to be valid, thus one could declare the social contract invalid on this basis alone. And from a human rights stand point it is an egregious violation. If people are born free, then they must be free to choose how they contribute, or not, to the greater society.
The attempt to convince people they are born with and must adhere to a social contract is one aspect of the broader effort to perpetuate and grow a government which is for the most part unnecessary.
A close examination of many problems facing our society today will reveal they were caused by government interference in the first place, exacerbated by further interference, and that additional interference is being proposed.
Of course, at each level of interference, the cost increases. And, as more and more people become invested in “solving” the problem, the less likely the problem is to ever be solved, since solving it would put them out of work. Heller’s Catch-22 is ubiquitous when it comes to government.
The keepers of the stream don’t want those traveling life within it to let this thought—that government does more harm than good, in general—into their awareness, ever. For without a deeply rooted, widespread belief in the necessity of government to control the masses, those people who use government to build power and wealth, including vast tracts of land and resources, would lose their control and thus their status and much of their wealth (at least that which was obtained by stealth using government force).
The larger a government grows, the more individuals there are who have a vested interest in maintaining the system as it is or in growing it, because they are benefiting from it—gaining wealth, status, power, and protection.
For a majority of people to realize that the force of government is being used mainly to transfer honestly obtained wealth from hard-working individuals to people in government and to industries using government for protectionist regulation and financial support, and that this transfer really isn’t contributing to helping the poor, helping people stay well, keeping the world clean, or defending our country from attack, would expose the scam.
Federal workers now earn twice as much as the equivalent worker in private industry. Defense contractors earn even more. Where do vast agency budgets really go? What about foreign aid? Pretty soon anyone with a conscience would be making for the shore.
That is why journalists who start out with a conscience and thus are tempted to be honest are heavily pressured by peers and mentors early-on to ignore contradictions and to not ask too many questions of the “wrong” sort. Perhaps they always imagine that later they will find an opportunity to tell the real story.
Meanwhile, they will overlook a lot, and some will engage in all manner of corruption and misrepresentation and even commit misdeeds to maintain the charade in which they live, simply because they get in so deep they cannot imagine turning their backs on the lives they have built, even if that might be the right thing to do.
And some might be afraid for their lives were they to begin speaking the truth and know too much. Do you recall Vince Foster? He wasn’t exactly a journalist but he was about to do an expose, so to speak, of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Those who keep the stream running understand, intuitively or otherwise, that they must persuade you to believe, without any doubt, that unless we have a powerful, centralized, perhaps even world-government in charge, with several charismatic leaders at the helm, the entire earth will dissolve into bloody chaos.
Whatever they do, they must stop you from figuring out they are all superfluous and that they are stealing from you.
At the very least they must convince you that without them to guide the masses, a Chick-fil-A will appear on every corner, Dolly Parton will become president, and segregation will be re-instituted nation-wide (left bank).
Alternatively, Israel will be blown off the face of the map, the Ayatollah will be elected Speaker of the House, and the Pentagon will shrink three cubic feet each day until it disappears entirely (right bank).
Meanwhile, we ignore very real concerns.
At this point, unless you are my friend who climbed out of the stream earlier in this essay, you may be thinking, “Well, what proof do you have? These are respectable people you are talking about, people of vast integrity, public servants.”
Well, I thought I just offered quite a lot of evidence regarding the real condition of things in general. If you need more specifics you can find them. Evidence of all the corruption abounds—it’s just that the really corrupt people running the show never get prosecuted. Gee, I wonder why?
Anyway, just start looking beyond the trees lining the shore, you might be surprised.
Maybe you will join me and my friend and the rest of us very soon. I hope so.
Remember that happy ending I mentioned? I’m pulling for it.
My new friend . . . yes, you, I said I wouldn’t forget you. . .Shall we head for the shore?