Most of my New Year blog posts actually comment in one way or another on how unfit the current situation is to wish for happiness, but this Year, I will take an extra step and actually skip this indecency altogether. It is clear that this Year 2021 will be a miserable, terrible, painful and horrifying one. For many. Maybe for most. Therefore, I present everybody—ourselves—my sorrows and sympathy for the difficult times to come.
An exponential is locally linear and human beings are good at getting accustomed to everything. These two facts together mean that despite the observable reality which we currently live, everybody can still pretend things are going on.
We are now all, and worldwide, under effective house arrest, police have now made a habit of entering people's home to exert violence on family members, mothers in particular as children scream in terror, there are levels of hatred in society, intolerance and manichaeism which I have never known in my lifetime, with an always more powerful conformism that ties even society's most clever and best-educated people to one narrow-minded, single-faced, grossly simplified narrative, outside of which everything is evil.
As symbols of choice from my own background, France is now putting writers in jail—for their writings—and is threatening polemists and even humorists of the same sentence. And as I write, the oldest democracy in the World is making a tragicomic spectacle of its agony with Simpsons characters storming the Capitol at the same time as a woman gets fatally shot close-range in the face.
Democracy is dying... even though it never has been healthy and vigorous in the first place. I have never believed in democracy, as is written all other the place in these pages. I have long time understood this is a scam, a theatre play, the abuse of people's naivety and good-will. At most, I would concede to Churchill's description that it's the worst system, except for the others that have been tried time to time. But it turned out so badly, that it seems nobody wants of it anymore.
I personally grew to be fond of Chouard's random sampling method. The closest form of that to have been actually implemented on a big scale seems to be, actually, royalism: you get lucky or not to have a ruler that is good. Several will not be good but once in a while, one will push things forward. At least there is not this constant inflation of dreadfulness by distillation of the worse type of people to govern others: politicians. As Douglas Adams put it, those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it [...] anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. These are like prostitutes of powers, cunningly deceiving everybody and everything, lying openly, sometimes not even from one day to the next, but from one sentence to the other, getting as much as they can for themselves by lavishly bargaining all the wealth and resources they get access to in a tiny window of time, during which they put the blame on the previous one, and after which they enjoy a ceremonial retirement (or lurking for a comeback). Royalties, in contrast, cannot blame their predecessor without disavowing themselves and since the whole thing is theirs anyway, increasing their prestige, their wealth, means doing so for the country, the people and their posterity. Democracy is that bad that it's not even clear that such an obviously flawed system as royalism is not actually greatly superior. Also, in a democracy, wealth puts you higher than the law. In a monarchy, nobody is higher than the king.
In that regard, Trump's presidency has been noteworthy, at least from a historical perspective. He was clearly not part of the deeper establishment and his administration gave us the chance to see what an outsider could do. That was basically an experience of random sampling: what would someone not part of the mechanism achieve? And lo and behold, although he was mainly a fairly extravagant and outlandish character, if not even grotesque and ridiculous, even though he was a TV showman, a businessman who meddled with everything from real-estate to phoney universities passing by steaks and Miss Universe, he turned out to make a much better job than the professionals of politics, such as Obama, the very charismatic, superb, spot-on actor for the role... one where you get a Nobel prize with one hand and declare war on the other (more military interventions under Obama than his predecessor Bush, although the latter is regarded as the champion of American aggressions). That's how bad democracy is: even a random, out-of-proportion, laughable, eccentric character such as Trump could improve on those who are supposed to do the job.
But this cannot even be argued. Trump is, officially, a disgrace, a monster, an evil, lunatic worthless criminal, who defiled civilization and who must be booed and condemned, then impeached, jailed, exiled and whatnot. Nothing he did is good, whatever that is. All positive outcomes are circumstantial, not his doing and/or not actually good, etc. By writing what I just wrote, I certainly rank as a Trump supporter. That is the type of world we live in. Demonization or endorsement. If you stand against the orthodoxy even in its most exaggerated errands, and even if your opposition is the most innocuous, passive and decorative one, just for the principle, then you become a heretic yourself and a supporter if not an actor of what it stands against which became, by definition, the absolute evil.
In the facts, I have just expressed my dismay at the consensual hatred against someone who, even at a cursory glance, has been much less nocive and disruptive than his predecessors and brought forward interesting and important questions, for instance regarding NATO, globalism or the existence of a deep-state and the nature of popular democracy, or actually achieved several breakthroughs for world peace, such as crossing the North-Korean frontier, or his politics in the Middle-East. In this light, I would personally suspect—because I didn't study the question in details—that he actually outperformed, and to a surprising extent, his predecessors, who are held in high respect despite their favouring wars to peace, escalating the imperialistic American agenda instead of seeking collaborations and equilibrium, who performed as puppet actors instead of deciding as heads of states, who spoke a vacuous, politically-correct, empty politician diatribe as compared to self-styled, personal, sui-generis rhetorics. I also strongly suspect that his successor, Biden, an obvious puppet, will be the vector for a much worse policy (poor man is senile and will be an embarrassment within months of his term, to be quickly replaced by his VP, who will get propelled to the top in a way which she failed to even remotely approach otherwise).
Now one may or may not agree with Trump (I, for instance, disagree with his Middle-East policy), but it's one thing to disagree, it's another to say that what departs from the official line is heretic, criminal and/or crazy. Even if I would disagree irrevocably with everything, I would obviously recognize the immense support and popularity that he gathers in the country, increasing among other things the number of people who voted for him by over 11 million, as compared to Obama who lost over 3.5 million people, despite his Nobel prize, his constant good press and his, indeed, very good performances on the stage. What happened to these people? When one dismisses Trump so violently, what is being said, not only to the 75, but to the extra 11 million?
An interesting consequence of this random-sampling experience—anything but someone from the system—of this Trump parenthesis, has been to reveal some limits of democracy, to betray bits of this scam. The Capitol incident is very telling: nothing serious actually happened there, as was clear even as it was unravelling. I was following it live as the rest of the family was looking at old pictures, and I never for a second thought that something serious was happening. Even the woman shot in the face—which wasn't clear at the time—I took it as someone who broke their teeth from a bad fall and did not think it was of consequence. In fact, looking at the reaction from people around, it seems nobody saw to that anything more dramatic than in any Yellow-vest protest when someone gets to the ground. Had I known then that this woman had just been murdered, I might have thought, for a while, that something was going on. But I haven't even been lured into this false impression, not even for a few seconds. To me the Capitol events represented and still represent nothing. It is revealing that we see so-many describing this as the worst possible attack on American democracy, on the free world, as a coup d'État. Ludicrous.
In contrast, a real attack on "democracy" (on the idea which we have of it) took place in this period of time, namely, the deep-Tech censoring the president of the country in his formal, official address to the nation. I'm not even discussing what the address was about, although even there, taken as a separate problem, I see no justification whatsoever either. He was indeed possibly inflating, but certainly not making up completely, claims of election frauds. And so what? These have been made against him too on the previous occasion. It's impossible at this stage to get an informed idea of the reality one way or the other. The future, history, will tell us, but I would be surprised if no wrongdoing at all took place. I have no strong opinion on the magnitude, and if this is was enough to topple the outcome. It seems clear, however, that the number of oddities and circumstances, including the importance of the mail-in ballots (long-time known and recognized to be problematic and open to frauds), the odd increase of participation, the record popular support for someone with a very long-time faded charisma and whose cognitive abilities are embarrassing even to his closest supporters, friends and family, the number of sworn testimonies reporting irregularities, the sudden guaranteed fool-proof resilience of the system which was 4 years earlier decried as fraudulent, etc., all this is not assuring us that, even though irrelevant, the claims of Trump are not, in fact, actually receivable and justified! To make it worst, if that was at all possible, this censorship naturally took its course of getting tougher with time, to the point that it stroke even his most lukewarm expression of protest, even when he was actually calling for peace, orderly behaviour and condemning violence, surrendering completely and pitifully turning against those who had been ready to throw their personal integrity into his miserable game. I can't imagine of anything he could have said which would not have been censored anyway.
Few of the people who were shocked and trembling to see what was happening in the Capitol—a protest which, for whatever reason, has been tolerated to go farther than the barricades—seem to have experienced, or at least shared, the same feeling when the media were censoring, live, Trump or his representatives. This is where something important, of consequence, happened. There, we have a transition to our post-fake-democratic age, where even the illusion, the appearance of democracy is too much, since it still can allow, by accident, or by fluctuation, a Trump randomly-sampled character to come and not play the rules as written by the puppet master. It seems the system is fed up of even the possibility of alternative or contrasting opinions. We see that increasingly in the taboo that concerns societal questions, such as national [evil] vs federal [blessed] government, conservative [evil] vs progressive [blessed] inclinations, family [evil] vs individualistic [blessed] values, religious [evil] vs transhumanist [blessed] ideals, traditional [evil] vs technological [evil] aspirations, popular [evil] vs elitist [blessed] authority... These used to be themes of discussion, of debate, and since neither one nor the other is entirely good, a blend of the two was a way to progress and improve things. But this is now all one-sided. It seems the power of those who got the upper hand became so powerful, that they do not want to get bothered composing anymore, and don't need to pretend either. So the big farce of democracy is coming to an end, and we are heading, full speed, to one of the worse forms of government to try instead for a while: a type of dictatorship. One that lies on the other side of the political spectrum than those History has been used to so far, but so what? Is it worst to be oppressed for family values than for individualist ones? for religion rather than for atheism? I think there should be no oppression at all. There should be free speech, there should be debates, acceptation and respect of the others' point of view. That's not where we're going. Until we hit the excess of the current escalation, which will bring us back to a more balanced, open and tolerant embracing of the World for a while, we are heading towards a new type of authoritarian rule: think as we do, or be gone.
This even starts to extend beyond mere societal issues, and is now also penetrating the scientific world, which had been, so far, fairly preserved from such excesses. We see that with the ongoing pandemic, the virus and the vaccines. We now live in a world where world-leading scientists are ridiculed, despised, condemned, bullied, in short, demonized, by puppets of the systems (politicians, but also TV anchors, social-media influencers, obscure people with unclear qualifications in remote disciplines, etc.) I've lived in a system where the professor teaching me quantum mechanics was making no secret of his disbelief of the whole theory. Hofstadter recounts how his exposing a paradox of special relativity to Wannier got him the reply that the venerable scientist had never been keen with the theory to start with. Soon it will become heretic to question the then-prevailing interpretation of quantum mechanics, or any scientific result which some authority will impose as indisputable. Failing to do so will make you a conspiracist, a negationist, a charlatan or I don't know what else.
And all this is starting with Trump indeed, the one step outside of the designed road. For the record, this end of democracy as we pretend to know it, I would place at the censorship of the White House press secretary, who's being cut-off after uttering, verbatim, the following:
Here we have the culmination of the deed. We have a statement which everybody should agree with, regardless of your side, your opinion, your stake at the extent or even the reality of election fraud, this is not saying anything but "let's do things right". After saying that, she's been interrupted by the host who complained that:
So here we have it, the paradigm of the new, authoritarian big-Tech consensual conformist governing paradigm:
The idea is along the lines of don't think for yourself, don't listen to what this person—the White House representative making an official statement—has to say, even if it's wrong, exaggerated, just leave it to us to decide for you. And we've decided that no, they have no right to complain about the outcome and possible frauds. Note again that whether there have been frauds or not is not even the issue there. They could blame alien intervention to explain the results, this would not warrant such an intervention. Because nobody can have this power. Even if it is justified here, it won't be on the many other occasions that become, de facto, authorized, justified if not compulsory by this precedent.
Moreover, if you do not back this up, if you do not condemn and despise what you could not have even heard but have been spoonfed instead, beware, you'll be counted as a supporter, an endorser, and become automatically complicit of their wrongdoings, and/or crimes (they decide of the gravity of the offence), and thus will too deserve ostracization, banishment, punition, etc, depending on their arbitrary inclination of the time.
This is the Coup d'État. Not the pathetic (although for some involved, tragic) show at the Capitol.
How could we come to a state of affairs where people see the Capitol as the attack on Democracy, rather than the above, the arbitrary censorship by the Media of even the highest and most official sources. This, in the meantime, naturally evolved into complete censorship, with permanent suppression, on all social media platforms, not only of the president himself, but also of lawyers, generals, etc., even radio hosts! How can it be that people endorse this?
Vonnegut was writing that however bad things will come to be, there will always be music. I actually have always thought myself, however bad things will come to be, there'll always be books, that is, there'll always be Lamartine, Victor Hugo, Orwell, Vonnegut himself... I'm not even speaking of Bernanos, Georghiu or Léon Bloy here. However brainwashed we'll become, however silenced are our contemporaries, censored, banned or distorted are those speaking today, there'll always be, engraved from the past, reminders, incitements, testimonies of freedom, liberty, independence, free-will, free-thoughts, dignity, resistance and, if needed, when needed, revolution.
Except if... except if people don't read books anymore but so-called "threads" on twitter, if their expression limits to 280 characters, and those are, besides, most of the time, a reinforcement of what's been said before, a repeat, not even often a variation, of the same oversimplified litany.