For 30 years I have lived in a liberal household in a progressive state. Washington. And for the most part I had thought that this was the correct path to be on since liberalism was such a cornerstone to the western world. I had always believed the news and late night TV’s opinions on politics and the right wing side of the political spectrum. But after this election, after I had saw how wrong the media can be I stopped watching mainstream news outlets and went to find the truth on my own. That’s how I discovered YouTube.
It has always been a platform for music videos or parodies of video games. I had always used it for that reason from time to time but never really got to know the creators that made this platform so ubiquitous. So many unfiltered opinions and perspectives, a true marketplace of diverse ideas, started to validate my skepticism for the “progressive” movement. I was always somewhat against affirmative action, and other identity based quotas since I was always taught to never judge someone by those characteristics. And being gay kind of affirmed that behavior. But I never voiced these opinions since anytime I did I was just told I was being racist and harboring bigoted thoughts. Same with being color blind. That too was racist.
But it was when I started to see articles appear all over the internet demonizing white men. What? When did we start to openly voice racist opinions? It was at this time I realized these were not being taken as opinion articles. They were being seen as fact. As actual news worthy of discussion. So I turned to YouTube. And this is where I saw real people discussing these issues. No filter, no bullshit spin to make it match your prescribed narrative. Just real people telling you how they feel and how they see these events play out. It was this content that showed me what had been omitted from every news outlet. All the stories these past three years, and beyond, was false. Just hyperbole and sensationalism. So I looked harder into WHY they were being so devious.
I discovered what has been driving the large amount of divisive news and political agendas affecting the media and entertainment I consume. The news organizations and entertainment companies I once accepted as some form of truth were taken over by activism and ideologies. And to top it off, they all began producing less content for more money. Especially with video games. It was bothering me that all the stories and characters I grew up with and got to know over time are slowly ending. So many shows, comics, and movies are dripping with politics and censorship. None of it has any real concrete narrative. And it seems to have spread to every other facet of society. As if corporate HR departments had taken control of the current narrative. Something had changed underneath the surface that none of us were really aware of. The Culture War. The next major episode in history had been unfolding before us without raising much concern. But once the small niche known as “geek culture” began to show signs of this politically motivated subversion, the very community that it was trying to manipulate had noticed to a much greater degree than popular culture, thanks to the almost obsessive nature of this particular culture. And one thing we had always taken seriously was the narrative of these stories.
But the story we have told ourselves since we were young seems to have broken down. We have been increasingly adopting rapid change to systems and institutions that have no need for such radical change. It has spread beyond the colleges and now beyond nerd culture to the mainstream. Those same buzz words used for internet advertising analytics had started to permeate the political institutions, giving those in power the justification to assert their ideological control. Society seemed to be on the brink of something unrecognizable, something new, yet it was something… familiar.
Then twenty twenty hit. Covid. Lockdowns. Lunatics banging pots and pans. Masked joggers, masked pizza men; everyone in the park wearing masks; no one masked in a crowd of hundreds watching a hospital ship arrive in New York. A woman beaten by a police officer for refusing to wear a mask in a warehouse store. A man spits in the face of a clerk. Alcohol sales increasing by 70 percent or more, and legal dope available for curbside pickup. Standoffs, the stockpiling of weapons, protests and counter-protests with assault rifles in state capitols. The hospitals not overwhelmed but empty and staff let go. Yellow murder tape across merry-go-rounds. Children, neighbors objects of medium-level suspicion at best. Technology not a stopgap or a substitute but a condition for a new conception of bare life. Packages on doorsteps, dropped by unseen and poorly remunerated agents of the world’s richest man. Children raped on camera. Domestic assault. A hundred thousand defaults piling up in the portfolio of a single regional bank. Suicide. The end of education. The end of employment. The end of political cohesion. The end of truth.
This is what the end of the end of history looks like. We had asked ourselves how it would appear and when. These questions mattered, and not only incidentally. They matter less now as we prepare for what I suspect will be at least a decade of immiseration on a scale unimaginable to at least three generations.
It is important to observe that this has happened because of the lockdown, not even proximately because of the virus for which the median age of death is higher than the American life expectancy. In the last century, the upheavals of the interwar period were the result of a worldwide economic depression, not of a barely remembered pandemic, serious as it might have been. We are not witnessing the long-rumored revenge of nature, but a cyclical and emergent phenomenon created by the human condition’s need for a religious connection to the world. The last 200 years has seen the advent of secularism and the abolishment of religion as a crucial institution, and we are now witnessing the birth of a new secular religion.
Numbers will be sought to explain the world around us. What does it mean to say that the present crisis is somehow twice as bad as that of 2008, that a fifth of the country is out of work, that the only industry now hiring is debt collection? How are we to respond to predictions that over a hundred thousand Americans may die from what sociologists call “deaths of despair”? How can we even begin to make sense of the fact that the consequences of four months will be with us for five times that many years, that a child born today will be a teenager before we return to anything that resembles even externally the precarious equilibrium to which we had been accustomed in January?
This fight for liberty and defense of the enlightenment has never seen such a dire future. It is always possible to insist that we should seek another way, a path of shared work, shared purpose, and shared wealth, as our great-grandparents did long ago. Or are we just being naïve? All the problems — alienation, exploitation, addiction, despair, social ostracization, forced cultural compliance, increasing political correctness, — exacerbated during the lockdown have long been hiding in plain sight. Ain increasingly biased political system that during what we told ourselves were ordinary times could not solve the simplest of challenges, much less address what the president once referred to as “American carnage,” will not rise to the present occasion. Instead Americans will muddle on, looking after ourselves and our families and friends as best we can, helpless in the face of transformations that we will barely notice, while watching our communities burn down in amazement.
Now it seems the pandemic has been halted artificially. What was once empty, silent streets, soon burst into a mosaic of people, thousands marching for what they call, justice. Justice for a man who was murdered at the hands of a New York police officer. Not for the murder itself, but for the very fact that it was a white man that murdered a black man. The video of this tragic event soon hit social media and spread like wild fire. The news cycles shifted abruptly to cover these new events, almost as if the pandemic had never happened. Yet, while thousands hit the streets to protest, the media was still vilifying those who wanted to open the economy back up and return to work. If you wished to protest the lockdown the governmental authorities would step in and fine you, while outlets such as CNN or MSNBC championed the protests for Floyd. And to make matters worse, so called medical experts began to chose ideological sides, clarifying that protesting for social justice was acceptable, but to make a distinction that if you protested the lockdowns, you would be cast as a health risk.
This is where the cyclical nature of history begins to repeat itself. The same ideological fervor that swept Germany and Russia in the early 20th century, has boiled over again in the 21st century within the United States.
The media’s fear inducing propaganda has radicalized regular citizens, while smearing anyone that does not adhere to the new intersectional doctrine. And now our society is primed for an emotional psychotic break. 3 black men have been found hung in trees with no proper explanation. The animosity towards police is spreading outside of large cities, creating an environment with no police response. Riots. Murders. Sexual assaults. Businesses razed across America. All while the media champions the rioters who are inevitably let free because of ideological corruption within the government itself.