OK, I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some some bad news.
The good news is mainly for authoritarians who missed all the fun during the War on Terror. The news is … welcome to the War on Death!
Yes, that’s right, global capitalism (a/k/a “the world”) is now at war with Death … which is great news for authoritarians! No more bothersome critical thinking. The time for questioning our leaders is over. It’s time to shut up and follow orders. We’re in a global state of emergency, folks! We’re talking lockdowns, soldiers in the streets, abrogation of our constitutional rights, arbitrary arrests, indefinite detentions, round-the-clock media fear-propaganda … the whole totalitarian megillah!
What, you’re probably asking, is the War on Death? Well … for those who remember the War on Terror, the War on Death is just like that, except this time the evil enemy is Death … or, all right, maybe not exactly like that, but there are a number of striking similarities.
For one thing, just like the War on Terror, we didn’t start it. Death attacked us! There we were, peacefully going about our global capitalist business, quelling a worldwide “populist” rebellion orchestrated by Russian-backed Nazis, when Death attacked us with a coronavirus … more or less exactly the way that the terrorists attacked us in 2001.
And, just like after those terrorist attacks, the world has united and forcefully responded. No, we haven’t invaded Iraq again (well, actually, we did bomb them a little), but we have locked down almost the entire planet, virtually shut down the global economy, and are scaring the masses into a state of unprecedented mass hysteria.
Police are patrolling the streets of Europe, checking people’s “permission-to-go-outside” papers. In the U.K., soldiers are standing by to assist with “protecting possible quarantine zones,” or to “cope with the breakdown of civil society.” Israel is tapping its formerly secret collection of everyone’s mobile phone records to identify people who might be infected, and assorted “others who need to be quarantined.”
Macron (now relieved of his Gilets Jaunes problem!) is ready to “rule by decree” if necessary. California is “prepared to enact martial law.” The U.S. military is “prepared to deploy in support of potential extraordinary missions,” including “quelling civil disturbances.”
The U.S. Department of Justice is asking Congress for the power to detain people indefinitely. The British Parliament is on the brink of passing an emergency “Coronavirus Bill” that will (among other unsettling provisions) grant authorities the power to arrest and indefinitely quarantine anyone they deem a “potentially infectious person” … or, in other words, pretty much anyone they want.
As if that wasn’t dystopian enough, according to a report in Politico:
“Counter-terrorism troops have been redeployed across Italy to beef up police forces throughout Italian cities. Patrol cars are now circulating in every major city in Italy with a monotone male voice warning citizens over a loudspeaker not to leave their residences or risk a ticket. ‘GO BACK INTO YOUR HOMES,’ the voice warns.”
But wait, it gets even better than that. In Missouri, prosecutors have charged an idiot who licked some items at Walmart as a “terrorist.” I kid you not, a Coronavirus Terrorist.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture (if you need more examples, check this Twitter thread).
The point is, the global capitalist empire (for whatever reasons, real or imagined) has turned on the MINDLESS HYSTERIA machine, and dialed it up as high as it goes. People are in full-blown headless chicken mode. No one (or hardly anyone) is thinking, or listening to dissenting opinions, or paying attention to official statistics, or common sense, or anything else that contradicts the War on Death narrative.
The British tabloids are publishing horror stories about “doctors” standing by and helplessly watching as patients slowly suffocate to death. According to such stories, not only are these “doctors” unable to treat roughly 400 patients with any of the UK’s over 8,000 ventilators, but, apparently, patients whose hearts have stopped (and who are therefore unconscious) are also now capable of “dying in agony” with “terror in their eyes.”
According to The New York Times, the Coronapocalypse has begun in Elmhurst, where the authorities have called in the refrigerator trucks to haul away the mountains of corpses, after 13 people who “had tested positive” died (of something) in the course of one day.
The rest of the corporate media are running moment-by-moment deathometer updates, apocalyptic prognostications of the millions or billions who are possibly going to die, and of course the latest on which celebrities have been infected and are clinging to life, or experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, or absolutely no symptoms whatsoever. Greta suspects she might have been infected! Prince Charles! Colton Underwood (whoever that is), Tom Hanks, and even Idris Elba! Just the other night, celebrated playwright Terrence McNally (who was 81, and had a history of lung cancer and COPD) was struck down in the prime of his life!
In short, the authorities have whipped the masses into an orgy of shrieking, white-eyed FEAR of this new, evil, “invisible enemy” that is coming to kill them and their families. Millions of people (now confined in their homes) have taken to the Internet to pump up the hysteria, share totally un-sourced personal accounts of the horrors their therapists’ accountants’ doctors have personally witnessed on the war’s “front lines,” and hunt down any infected persons, or potentially infected persons (or otherwise uncooperative persons) who might have gone outside for some air.
So, that’s the good news for you authoritarians!
For the rest of us … yeah, not so good.
Oh, I almost forgot the bad news. The bad news is … well, the bad news is Death. The bad news is, you are going to die. I’m going to die. We are all going to die. All of us. We are going to die. We are going to die of … well, something. Cancer. A heart attack. A stroke. The flu. Diabetes. Alzheimer’s disease. Possibly a coronavirus. Maybe even this coronavirus.
In fact, a lot of us are dying right now, according to the Internet, around a hundred per minute … which, it goes without saying, is unacceptable, and a tragedy, and something we need to take drastic action to prevent at all costs. We can’t let these Russian dissension sowers, neo-Nazi accelerationists, and coronavirus-sympathizers confuse us. They want to convince us that Death is, yes, scary, and sad, but inevitable, and natural. How utterly heartless and insane is that?!
No, we need to close our minds to that nonsense. People are dying! This is not normal! Death is our enemy! We have to defeat it! We need to hunt down and neutralize Death! Root it out if its hidey hole and hang it like we did with Saddam!
I’m not kidding. There is a war on, people! GloboCap is taking the gloves off again. (You remember what happens when the gloves come off, don’t you?) So get your mind right and get with the program or get ready to face the consequences.
Relax, I’m not referring to all these tanks (2:34 in the NBC video). I’m referring to other consequences. I am not some crazy conspiracy theorist. Plus, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has assured us there’s no cause for concern:
“If and when National Guard or military units are deployed to the streets of L.A., trust me, I’ll let you know.”
See? Everything is perfectly fine. No one is preparing for martial law. Those tanks just returned from the Middle East and are “being sent back home to Texas.” This kind of thing happens all the time. It has nothing to do with the global lockdown.
I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely relieved... for a moment there I thought we were in trouble.
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C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays is published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.