Duck! and Gather

Quadruple or Nothing?

Posted on: May 10, 2006

Back in November of 2004, I predicted that a bird flu pandemic would sweep across America leaving a surprising number of deaths in its wake. A year later, in October of 2005, the topic of a bird flu pandemic had reached the top of public consciousness with dire warnings coming from the Bush administration. At that time, I opined that, since the element of surprise was now gone, we were in “double or nothing” territory concerning the complete loss of faith of People in Corporations and Government.

Now, in May of 2006, ABC has run a TV movie illustrating a bird flu pandemic disaster scenario. Reports are coming in that the movie has sparked “mass hysteria” among the public. The Government is now in the position of trying to calm us People, assuring us that the movie represents only an unlikely “worse case scenario”. I say we’re now in quadruple or nothing territory.

Contrast this dynamic with 9/11. For the vast majority of Americans, that event was, more or less, a complete surprise and shock. Many of us still seem unable to grock that event. Witness the 9/11 “conspiracy theorists” who insist or at least suggest that the Bush administration, and in particular Mr. Cheney, collaborated with the “terrorists,” aiding them in their actions.

Consider what such allegations say about the mindset of the “conspiracy” crowd. These are people who simply can’t believe that our American Way of Life is so fragile and that our leaders are so inept that a mere “19 camel jockeys with box cutters and a bit of simulated flight training” could manage, all by themselves, to obliterate two 110-story buildings and dent the Pentagon, all the while eluding the world’s most advanced air force. People who hold such views are true optimists. “Life can’t possibly be that fickle and precarious”, they assume. The suddeness of 9/11 left the door open for this kind of comforting “conspiracy” thinking.

But what about bird flu? For bird flu, this Door of Denial will be firmly closed. Bird flu hasn’t yet even mutated, let alone reached the shores of America. Yet we chubby, befuddled citizenry, unable to distinguish fact from fiction on our insipid television, are now in hysteria. What if this flu really does wreak havoc? We fat and dumb Americans will have no choice but to let go of our child-like faith in Corporations and Government.

“Yes, Virginia, life really is that fickle, and Corporations and Government really are that incompetent.” What will this country look like when a critical mass comes to this realization at the same time?

Did I hear someone say “meltdown”?

3 Responses to "Quadruple or Nothing?"

My wife works for the state health care program, and recently had to attend a seminar on the pandemic bird flu threat. I would suggest that your motto of “self-reliance” be applied to this situation as well… DO NOT expect the state to provide anything for us other than quarentine camps. Consider Colloidal Silver to protect yourself from H5N1.

“Consider what such allegations say about the mindset of the “conspiracy” crowd. These are people who simply can’t believe that our American Way of Life is so fragile and that our leaders are so inept that a mere “19 camel jockeys with box cutters and a bit of simulated flight training” could manage, all by themselves, to obliterate two 110-story buildings and dent the Pentagon, all the while eluding the world’s most advanced air force. People who hold such views are true optimists. “Life can’t possibly be that fickle and precarious”, they assume. The suddeness of 9/11 left the door open for this kind of comforting “conspiracy” thinking.”

Try as I might, I can’t quite fathom what it is you’re trying to say here. Is it that you think people would prefer a version of reality in which omnipotent evil politicians side with evil terrorists, rather than admit that our way of life is fragile (and doomed)? Maybe I’m in a minority, but for many who question the official version of 9/11, it is precisely BECAUSE our way of life is fragile and doomed that a galvanizing event like 9/11 is necessary. And, no, we’re not comforted, either by the conspiracy theory or by the knowledge that we’ve gained by examining the event. For many, myself included, questioning 9/11 led me to question most of what our average citizens accept as normal. After 9/11 I became acutely aware of what living in the center of a crumbling Empire really means.

As for the specifics of the event, it is probably pointless to raise the many contradictions embodied in the government’s conspiracy theory (in the end, it is a question of competing conspiracy theories). I wouldn’t even presume to be definite about What Really Happened. However, I think that author and professor David Ray Griffin has done the best work, both in cataloging the original news reports, and tracking the omissions of the 9/11 commission. Having personally attended a major 9/11 skeptics event I can attest that not everyone is a disinformation agent of the government; some people are just weird, and unfortunately the 9/11 skeptic community draws them like a magnet.

Thanks for the thought-provoking comment Kurt. Yeah, I think you get my meaning. My thought works like this: as babies, we learn to look out at the infinte, confusing world and discern patterns, shapes, and cause-effect. It’s a system for ordering reality. This ordering system that we impose on the world is not the world. It is only a cheap proxy. But at least it lets us get around. This ordering system is informed by our personality, our family, and our culture.

What happens when we suddenly perceive a new stimulus — one that we’ve never perceived before? I believe that the natural human response is to try to fit that new stimulus into the old ordering system. “Well, that new thing must be just like that old thing we saw before.” I think this is what is going on when I hear people talk of “Islamofascism” and harp on WWII in connection with current events in the Mideast. It’s as if such people have only one model in their reality toolkit, and damn it, they’re going to fit that sole model onto any new circumstance that comes along.

Much harder to do is what you and I are doing. That is, both of us are looking at the new stimulus, and questioning our old ordering system. This is captured by the notion that 9/11 revealed the true nature our 1000-year Western empire: fragile and doomed.

This is different from concluding that 9/11 was like other stuff before it. The Right says it was like Pearl Harbor; the Left says it was like Nixon and G. Gordon Liddy and Ollie North. So the Right concludes that we need massive militarization; the Left, that we need an impeachment. Old solutions for old problems.

Me? I think 9/11 was the tip of an iceberg that led me straight to peak oil, bird flu, dollar crisis, blah, blah, blah. I’ve beeen “unemployed for the past 2 1/2 months. Basically taking the summer off. Guess what I’ve been doing? Strolling the beaches? Hiking the hills? Hitting the clubs?

None of the above. I’ve been building our garden and orchard using gravity feed creek water. This time next year, I won’t need to drive my doomed automibile down the hill to my doomed grocery store for my fruits and vegetables (the bulk of my diet). I won’t even need to use my doomed electrical system.

So you see, the problem with waking up to the fickleness of our lives is that it requires difficult changes. Much easier to stay sleeping.

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for the money has gone too far

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