CHANNELING THOREAU AND TWAIN
by channeling George Carlin
by Miles Mathis
What would Thoreau think? That is what keeps running through my head. Henry didn’t think much of people and their “civilization,” but as you look back, you see he didn’t have much to complain about. Relatively speaking, there weren’t many people and there wasn’t much civilization. The population of Massachusetts is now almost 7 million. In Henry’s time it was, what, half a million? Concord had a few thousand people, and was still in the country at that time. Even so, Henry felt squashed by his neighbors and had to run headlong into the woods to find some fresh air. But what got me thinking—and writing—is Henry’s complaining in Walden about the laying of the international telegraph cables. England and the States could now converse instantly; but what, asked Henry, if England and the States had nothing important to say to one another? According to Henry, the last important piece of news out of England was from 1649 (when Charles lost his head, you know). So carpeting the ocean floor with cables was really no more than pollution: something else for the whales and octopi to trip over.
These days we have ten times as many people, but do we make ten times as much worthy news? Do we make any news worth reporting, by the strict standards of Henry? That is a question well worth asking, and one we never ask. More than that, we might look closer to home and ask if we really have anything terribly pressing to report to one another, day to day and person to person. Do we need iphones and blackberries and facebook and youtube and blogs and tweets and an ever growing list of apps? Or is it just a burgeoning pile of plastic pollution, for future worms and centipedes to trip over? It is said that society has become like a huge brain, and I agree: we have become a giant brain composed entirely of connections, of synapses between empty regions. We have become a communal brain that contains no useful information, only a compressed bundle of cables from point to point. To take just the most obvious example: ninety percent of the internet is porn, and the rest is pirated music, fake drugs, and CIA-approved propaganda. Is that really an information explosion, or it is more akin to a rupture? It is the international trivia champion preening himself that he is the world’s smartest person. It is Wikipedia posing as wisdom.
What would Mark Twain think? That is the question you should put to yourself, the question you should write on the mirror in soap, the question you should put on a post-it on the frig, the question you should make your screensaver, the question you should make your ringtone. Mark Twain didn’t think much of people and their soi-disant civilization, but as you look back, you see he didn’t have much to complain about. The current population of Missouri is about 6 million. In Twain’s time, it was, what, half a million? In all the 114 counties of Missouri, there was not one car, one phone, one airplane, one computer, one TV, one superfund site, or one agent of the CIA, FBI, ATF, FEMA, or IRS. Before the civil war, there was no income tax, and after it the tax was 3%. Let us say your total taxes are now on the order of 50%: do you think it was worth the other 47% to buy what you now have? If a man came to your door offering to sell you a phone, a car, a TV, a computer, and a passel of federal agents for the price of those things plus half your yearly income, would you buy? What if this man also agreed to taint your water for free, poison your air, and inject all your food with chemicals? No? Well, what if he promised to sell you pills to address all your new afflictions caused by the taint, the poison, and the chemicals, for only another 15% of your income? No? Well, what if he promised to use your taxes to murder and enslave millions of people all over the world, so that you could spend a bit less for your sneakers and your tainted food and gas for your car? No? Well, what if he promised to create a pile of garbage the size of Texas in the mid-Pacific, for your amusement? What if he promised to kill half the species on Earth, as a pleasant divertissement? What if he promised to fell half the old forests of the world, and send you a few splinters for your coffee table? What if he promised to to give all your children dark circles under their eyes, as a token of their compromised immune systems? What if he promised to take your newborns right out of your arms in the hospital, slice open their feet, mutilate their genitals, secretly catalog their DNA, and immediately pump them full of chemicals, including mercury and industrial-waste fluoride? This last for a mere few thousand dollars extra? The deal just keeps getting sweeter, right?
But I will be told we have made real progress: women can not only vote, they can now watch the Vagina Monologues and collect cats. Ah yes, everything changed in 1920, didn’t it? It is like a dividing line of history. Women, with only their votes, stopped all the wars and generally turned the world into a paradise. It is proof of both the power of women and the power of the vote.
I don’t mean to pick on women. I only mean to point out that they are just as deluded as men. Yes, women are equal to men and men are equal to women: they both generally haven’t got a sliver of a clue about anything. Woman’s intuition is worth precisely as much as man’s intuition: nothing. If human beings really had an intuitive faculty that was functioning on even a vestigial level, we might have avoided the current mess. But they don’t. Intuition would allow individuals without much intelligence or power of reasoning to do the right thing anyway, as it allows very stupid pigeons to fly in the right direction most of the time, and as it allows very unthinking plants to grow toward the Sun. But we just don’t see this with humans and it is best to admit it. Giving women the vote fooled women just as it had men: it made them think they were more powerful, which made them more easy to control. They were so busy patting themselves on the back for electing representatives and petitioning representatives and going to caucuses and writing letters that they forgot to notice that the “representatives” were just two parties of thieves, two families of mobsters. In 90 years, women still haven’t figured this out, and their intuition has been no help. Men are even more dense: they have had the vote for 234 years, and still haven’t noticed that things get worse every year. Men and women both campaign for the leaders that pump their babies full of poisons, and they both put signs in their front yards and on their cars for these “representatives” who have sold them this new world of taint and chemicals and institutionalized suffering. This is a propaganda coup beyond anything Hitler ever dreamed of: it is like the Gestapo convincing Jews to gleefully wear Hitler gimme caps and T-shirts, and to scream “yes we can!” as they straight-arm salute and goose-step toward Auschwitz.
But I will be told we have made real progress: the life-span has increased. Has it? Chief Seattle lived to be 86, without the help of Monsanto or DOW or Union Carbide or Pfizer, and he wasn’t allergic to his tipi or his moccasins or his oak tree. If they hadn’t forced him onto a reservation, he probably would have lived even longer. He was also over six feet tall. Our statistics are always pushed: yes, we are generally taller and more lively than a dead civil-war soldier, but that statistic doesn’t mean much to me. When modern medicine can make me taller and livelier than Chief Seattle, I may take notice.
Even if I am forced to admit that we live longer than Jews in concentration camps, I may point out the possibility that the current Nazis have simply figured out that it is more profitable to keep the prisoners alive. It is more profitable to steal from long-lived victims than from short-lived ones. Smart parasites keep the host alive. The spider does not kill, it stuns. Only when the fly is incapable of providing further nourishment is its carcass tossed aside.
All your toys, your ipods and iphones and all their clever apps, are not signs of your freedom or your power. They are not signs of progress. They are methods of stunning. Every connection you have to the media is like an electrode physically implanted into your brain, preventing you from acting either logically or by any residual intuition. In a word, you ARE controlled. Do not fear the future: the controllers do not require implanted computer chips or stronger drugs or HAARP waves or unmanned police blimps. The program is already nearly perfect. It was already nearly perfect a century ago. These horror stories of chips and waves and blimps and so on are just planted stories, planted to make you think the problem lies in the future, with something they may do. If you are worried about future legislation, you forget to remember all the legislation of the last hundred years.
In fact, the problem is not that the program is getting more sophisticated, but that it is losing its sophistication. Fifty years ago, the population was controlled with so much more finesse, so much less effort and cost. Even Hitler is misunderstood. It is not the sophistication of the German Nazis that stands out, but their lack of it. During the entire 20th century, the US was controlled at much greater levels and to much greater extents than Germany ever was, and the proof of that is in the fact that no one knows it. The most powerful hand is the most invisible hand, and until recently the US hand was much quicker than the eye. Only recently has the hand slowed down to where the eye can follow it. From 1910 to 1980, say, the hand move so quickly and so fluidly that almost no one knew it was there. No one even posed the right questions. The rebels weren’t even rebelling against the right things. The malcontents didn’t know the source. And the masses genuinely thought they were free. If you had told a person in the ’30’s that the Great Depression was done on purpose, for instance, he would not have believed you, even if he were an intellectual, a communist, or an anarchist. He would have most likely used the Great Depression as a sign capitalism didn’t work, and made some long-winded philosophical argument for another form of government. He would not have seen that it was the ultimate working of capitalism, by design; nor would he have imagined that such a scheme could just have easily have been hatched under the auspices of communism or any other ism. He would not have seen that it is not the form of government that matters, as much as the extent of government. To this day, most revolutionaries think a change of form is required, when in fact the form is nearly beside the point. You could create a successful form of government with a porpoise pushing levers by chance in a large aquarium, as long as the extent of that government was limited to maintaining roads and hanging highwaymen.
As another example, if you had told someone in the 1950’s that the “Great War” had been a new crime manufactured to hide previous crimes, he would not have believed you. Most people will not believe me now, despite the hand they can now see. The War was mainly a refattening of the fly, so that the spider could continue to dine. The Great Depression had so impoverished the general fly that there was nothing left to steal from him, no blood left to suck from his veins. What was required was a worldwide infusion, and war has always been the chosen way to bloody up a nation, in more ways than one. A lower population is always richer per capita, and one man can inseminate many women, so the loss of several million young men is little more than collateral damage. Plus, war is a money maker even without any casualties: things have to be bought to wage war, and not just bombs and tanks. People who will pay no more taxes for soup kitchens will pay more taxes to supply canteens and messhalls. People who will pay no more for bums’ britches will pay more for soldiers’ uniforms. With enough phony patriotism, you could milk taxes out of a rock.
By the 1960’s, the control was complete. The entire decade was scripted so well the extras never suspected a thing. We had just enough fake revolution and conflict that it almost seemed real. Hollywood took over DC, and the real war in Vietnam deflected attention away from the fact that life at home had become little more than a movie, staged for one effect or another. Almost nothing you think happened in the ’60’s really happened, and that has been true ever since. TV supplies all the proof you have for everything you think you know, but, assuming you wanted to, how would you check that proof? It is rare that any evidence has been allowed to survive one way or another, but none of the fragments we do have support the given history. That is why more and more of these fragments disappear each year.
Older people will shout at me that they were there! Am I calling them liars? In many cases, yes, I am, since most of them have proved that is what they are. But to the other honest and well-intentioned people, I can only say this: Are you quite certain you were beyond fooling? Smart people are fooled all the time, at public events, in broad daylight, even when they are quite near the action. In assuming that your eyewitness account is worth anything, you are assuming that no one was intending to fool you. You are assuming that events unfolded naturally, with no intent to deceive. You are assuming that accidents were accidents and that everything was as it appeared to be. Do you really want to stand by that assumption? Do you really want to stand there and maintain that level of naivete, to this day? You are now, what, in your 70’s? Do you really still believe that history is something that just happens? Do you really believe that the government is not capable of secrecy or of subterfuge or of planting information or of staging events?
But, as I said, errors were made. The hand became visible, which is why the control can no longer be so subtle. Many seem to think that 911 was done as an excuse for more control at home, but nothing could be further from the truth. 911 was done for two reasons: to propel foreign policy in the middle east and to get rid of unprofitable buildings. If the hand had remained invisible, there would have been no need to spend so much money turning it into an iron fist. It was much more efficient hidden by the white glove. A clueless populace does not have to be held down by force, which is why Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China lacked subtlety. You are not the only one that wants to return to the 70’s: the hand would also like to return to the ’70’s, when it was nearly invisible. 911 was not the pretext for a police state, it was the cause of it. The curtain was pulled back, the mask was torn, and the audience looked back at the projectionist, realizing there was a little man in that room. The man can now maintain his anonymity only by building wider walls and firing on those who come too near.
As proof of this, you only have to consider the timeline. If the police state had been a desideratum of the invisible hand, you would have seen it building from the beginning. It would have been worse in 1970 than in 1960, and worse in 1990 than in 1980. But that is not what we see. Even the Bush neocons had no need of a police state, or they would have begun installing it in 2001. No, we don’t see it until after 911, and if 911 had gone as planned, we still wouldn’t see it. We wouldn’t see it because we wouldn’t need it.
We are told by conspiracy theorists that 911 is the best thing that ever happened to the hand, since it allowed all sorts of new strangleholds, but the opposite is true. 911 is the worst thing that ever happened to the hand, since the old black magic no longer works. Why do you think the hand picked a black man to be President? It was hoping a better front man with a better patter—a man no one would expect to be a face of The Man—would cause the audience to forget the curtain and the torn mask and so on. But it didn’t work. That is why we have seen all the profit taking in the past year: it looks like the perpetual con may be ending, and all the existing chips have to be vacuumed from the table. In other words, steal while the stealing is still possible.
But I think the hand may be unnecessarily panicked. It requires neither a police state nor a binging at the table before the apocalypse. The majority of the audience has already made it clear that it has no desire to revolt, even knowing what it knows. It desires to be re-hypnotized into an easy forgetting. It will be led back to the 90’s with little effort, since, compared to the present, that now seems an idyll. Most people do not really care whether history is true or false, even their own history, even their own memories. They do not care whether the Pacific Ocean is filled rim to rim with garbage, as long as they have a chlorinated pool to swim in. They do not care if the Amazonian rainforests are burned to the last twig, as long as they have a plastic Christmas tree they can erect in the living room. They do not care if their children are stuck full of needles and mutilated and stuffed with chemicals, as long as the little dears are still able to stand upright and recite all the pledges and paternosters. They do not care if their food and water and air is poisoned, as long as the poison is laced with narcotics: they can then fall into a drousy dream-state where they are full of pure intuition, good intentions, people of great hope and progress, just doing what Jesus would do, etc.
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