One of the reasons corrupt governments love war so much is that it’s an all-access excuse to do the unthinkable. You can direct it abroad or focus it at home. You can fund and staff foreign battles or you can wage campaigns upon your own people and the potential to grab more power, misbehave more egregiously, and act with even less fiscal restraint presents itself all over from graft to grift to just plain degenerate profligacy.
Need a few zillion dollars to fund defense contractors, cronies, corrupt regimes, and skim a bit for yourselves? No problemo. War is the way to go.
“You’re not an entrepreneur; you’re a want-repreneur.”
Wanna crack down on your own peaceful people and literally make them turn to violent black markets that you can then use to elicit ever more crackdowns? Use the war on drugs to take their rights and property then blame them for the rise of the drug cartels to whom you’re granting oligopoly and price supports.
It goes on and on and we see these forever wars for no gain ratchet ever upward in their budgets as we war on terror, poverty, racism, fantastical “phobias,” claims of privilege, and whomsoever last upset the neocons or the classic backbone of globalist warlord democrats. Half of this charade is making sure you feel constantly attacked so you’ll allow the war-makers to invoke some form of war powers.
This is pointless, fruitless, and dishonest. But it’s also distracting and it’s worth keeping in mind just how good wars are at diverting attention from other matters. They sure let the federales blow massive budget holes and permanent rights destruction by the American people with that most mismonikered legislative atrocity “the Patriot Act” or the ESG that winds up being the tailored tyranny of Evangelical Socialist Grifters.
It’s a tried and true jingo jamboree to shut off critical thinking and criticism, a practice so obvious and blatant that satire about hiring filmmakers to make up wars to cover up scandal and influence the outcome of an election used to be amusing pastiche.
The 1997 classic Wag the Dog was seen as a bit of wickedly fun lampoon at the time but, like the cult classic Idiocracy it seems to get less funny and more prophetic with each passing year. (And seriously, if you have not seen these movies, drop what you are doing and watch them. C’mon, WtD is Dustin Hoffman, DeNiro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson, Denis Leary, and Willie Nelson. You have no idea what you’re missing.)
The quotes are gold, especially Hoffman as Motss, the Hollywood producer hired to make a fake war for TV.
“Look at that! That is a complete fucking fraud, and it looks a hundred percent real. It’s the best work I’ve ever done in my life, because it’s so honest.”
-Stanley Motss, Wag the Dog, (also probably half of DC on any given Wednesday, 2023)
The underlying plot arc of Wag the Dog is creating a for-TV fake war in Albania to mesmerize the public and divert attention away from a presidential sex scandal about to break two weeks before the election. Given the course of recent years, one might be forgiven for asking some pointed questions about life imitating art or perhaps art being mistaken for a “how-to” manual.
You seriously cannot make this stuff up.
Fun fact: only one of these wars starred a comedian.
An enormous number of quite valid questions have been asked about Covid and whether and to what extent the extreme responses and especially the continued emergency and fear of “public places” was driven by great greedy gobs of greasy grimy grifter grabs and/or a desire to have an election that was all but impossible to monitor using any sort of conventional method due to unprecedented levels of essentially unverified mail-in ballots and a pony express of 4,000 mules playing reindeer games.
(At the very least, the argument that “If the richest, most technologically advanced country in the history of countries is claiming it cannot verify voter rolls or count votes, it’s not because they lack the ability, it’s because someone powerful does not want it done” is essentially inarguable.)
Did we get “wag the dogged” with a virus to change an election? I would sure not want to try to prove we didn’t.
But even this is too limiting a question.
How many other tails are currently vibrating the dog that is America to the point where vision blurs?
The useful Idiocracy of fast follower rage junkie NPC’s constitute easy to enroll cadres that will happily believe and espouse any doctrine that gives them power, a claim to righteousness, and the ability to run around being beastly to people is a potent societal stressor.
It’s easy to endlessly flip the lever, send the lightning, and speed the newly invigorated monster tottering down to the nearby village to wreak havoc. Worse, it’s even easier to point at someone you don’t like, yell “monster” and send the villagers to war. But why be on only one side of the mess when you can do both?
Mary Shelley was an optimist.
But do you seriously believe that the ones spinning up these malevolent mobs are actually onside? That they believe this stuff or care? I sure don’t. They lock you down then go get dinner with pals and their hair done. They declare a war on drugs then go get high and make sure their kids never face a lick of consequence for that which would jail yours. They speak of “crooked financiers” then insider trade and bemoan climate change from the heated pools of their 12,000 square-foot beachfront homes one foot above sea level and chortle from private jets as they tell you not to fly.
Woke and global boiling and Covid and the Ukraine and every form of hyper-aggressive inclusivity insanity are not ideologies of belief for elites; they are circuses to dismay, daze, and distract you because pretty much no one can pay attention to what’s really going on when they are watching their daughter get slide-tackled by a 200-pound guy in a sports bra on a high school soccer field or they find out their 3rd grader is being read sexually explicit books by drag queens who give twerking lessons.
They excuse the destruction of economies with “green” and huge budget holes with “war.” They demolish communities with affirmative action and aid dependency, then call it structural racism and the ideas and expressions therein and thereof get ever more strident and outlandish. This is not because many of them are idiots. It’s because they are betting that we are. They are betting that if they keep us sufficiently enraged about absurdities, then they can make us miss the core of the plot.
And it’s not exactly subtle what they would want us to miss. Because this is how empires end. And they know it. They know that an awful lot of people are, in real terms, getting poorer, struggling more, getting second and third jobs to make ends meet. But they are not. They are thriving, growing fat off grift and subsidy, and regulation run riot. They know that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are about to implode unless dire action is taken to lessen costs, but that’s unpopular, so bread and circuses it is!
Send in the clown world.
But the wheels are coming off this charade and perhaps another movie shows us the way.
Don’t Look Up was a half-good political piece that struggled a bit despite copious star power.
It was also a profound exemplar of unwitting self-parody.
It was intended as a schmaltzy allegory of climate change denial wherein a self-absorbed conservative president convinces America “not to look up” to avoid seeing a massive comet coming to annihilate earth. In some small circles, this is how it played and certainly the “awards for adventures in ideological purity” came flooding in from the academy, but for most people, it seemed more like a story about Covid. I heard it over and over again from friends (even very liberal ones) who watched it: “Do these people realize they are making fun of themselves?”
No, they don’t.
They have no idea how absurd they look or how far from center and sanity their tales have drifted and they really have no control over it anymore. As the asteroid of regulatory strangulation, endless corruption, captured agencies and bureaucracy, and death by drowning in deficit-driven debt grows ever more visible to the naked eye, they have little choice than to turn into the fifth season of some telenovela where everyone has amnesia and is about to marry their sister who got abducted by aliens because nothing else provides sufficient distraction.
Honestly, is this really any less absurd than Don’t Look Up?
But that game always implodes and it’s imploding now. They push the antagonism past a breaking point and the illusion of plausibility shatters. They mean to fracture the fragile people and fling them against us as shock troops so we are too busy fighting them to realize that the battle should not be red ants vs black ants but everyone against the guy who keeps shaking the jar.
But that center fails to hold.
As each past folly reaches the point of widespread disbelief,
They will keep coming up with new ones. more provocative ones. So expect broadside after broadside, but they are about out of rope and what they have left, they are coiling around their own necks without realizing it.
Each past stupidity makes the next easier to recognize.
And more and more people wake up.
These “leaders” have made outright dismissal of them and their claims a matter of not just civic consciousness but civic duty.
Ninety percent of escaping this clown world cavalcade is refocusing on the bigger issues and getting out of the fracas-framings induced by teaching people to enrage one another by engendering a sense that all grievance is valid, all outcomes are crisis, and that all of it must be appeased, assuaged, and alleviated without regard to cost.
But this is madness.
Reject the premise and reclaim the frame.
Useful fact: it’s not “denial” either…
Republished from the author’s Substack