In a time of crisis, whether self-inflicted or naturally occurring, you learn a lot about people in how they react to the crisis. They say pressure reveals character, but in the context of something like this pandemic crackdown, pressure reveals your place in relation to the center of cosmopolitan globalism. Not in a physical sense, but in the economic and cultural sense of it. The closer you are to the center, the more enthusiastic you are for the mandatory shuttering of society.
It is one of those things that transcends politics, in that you see people who normally disagree sharing the same side now. The people involved in political media, for example, are all on-board with the crackdown. In fact, they think it should go on forever, as it gives them something to squabble about in a meaningless way. The people in the vast unproductive sector of the economy, like the media and politics, have no stake in the economy, so this is just another thing to fill their time.
In another sense, the cultural sense, this event has revealed the provincialism of the typical city dweller. It is fair to say that if the hot spot for the virus had been Appalachia, it would barely rate a segment on the cable chat shows. Because the center was New York City, the home of the media centers, it is the only thing worth discussing. The most provincial people on earth live in New York City and media people are some of the dumbest, making for the perfect storm.
For example, the people protesting the crackdown are people with a real stake in society, as in a job and bills to pay. They are not motivated by esoteric debates about political philosophy. They don’t have a walk-in closet full of moral signifiers they use to display their membership in narrow identity groups. They just try to live their lives the best they can under the conditions set for them. The conditions are becoming untenable now, so they are making as much noise as they can about it.
The typical cosmopolitan looks at these protests and just assumes the people doing them are ignorant and confused. “Don’t they know how dangerous it is out there?” the cosmopolitans incredulously demand. The fact is, the protesters know exactly how dangerous it is out there – not very dangerous at all – and they are willing to bet on their own judgement about it. The cosmos, on the other hand, know only what is told to them by the mass media. They let the system decide these things for them.
That is one of those things that does not always turn up when times are easy. If you live in or around an urban center, you grow used to being bossed around. You get used to depending on the system. The Manhattan media employee rides subways, walks past cops and relies on a vast system to supply her with food. She thinks she is tech savvy because she has a lot of cool apps on her iPhone. In reality, she is like an oxpecker living on the rhinovirus of the cosmopolitan system.
In contrast, the guy living in a distant suburb or flyover country spends most of his time away from the state. He depends on the supply chain, like everyone else, to put stuff in the stores, but he works in the supply chain. He has some idea how the stuff magically appears on the shelves. He drives his own car to those stores and has to rely on himself to get it repaired when necessary. His days are not filled with self-actualizing, but rather the mundane tasks of living.
Real or imagined, the person living far away from the epicenter of cosmopolitan globalism has a sense of independence. Government is not a visible part of his everyday existence, so he does not instinctively trust it. The boys and girls living outside the economy, whether on a campus, in a government job or in some corner of the vast, unproductive part of the economy, they trust the system completely. They have to, because it provides so much of what makes up their life.
Who is more deluded about reality is debatable. We may get to find out if the crackdown lasts much longer. Parts of the supply chain are breaking. It will not be long before shelves are empty of essentials. The people sure they can make it without government may get to test that theory. On the other hand, the cosmos living in the urban areas will find out if the system that makes their life possible can protect them. Cosmopolitan globalism is about to enter the blast furnace of reality.
This raises a question, of course. The system imagined for us by our ruling elites is highly urbanized and dominated by the government and its agents. Social credit systems may be run by tech companies, but they do so on behalf of the same people who control government. They imagine the future being a cleaner, glass and steel version of Manhattan, where people are like corpuscles in the system. In such a system, does it make sense to maintain the charade of democracy?
The current crisis gives us a hint. The people constantly yapping about “our democracy” were quick to pull the plug on the primaries. If you’re willing to send cops after people walking on the beach, just to make a point about who decides who can go outside, you’re probably going to have no qualms about ending the voting charade. What’s the point of asking the people when you don’t really care what they think? You can be sure that the urban rubes will go along with it.
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