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Halloween was once a popular holiday in Passaic. Year after year, my neighborhood’s lawns abounded in mock-terrifying October decorations – witches on broomsticks, carved pumpkins on the porches, fantastic spider webs festooning the shrubbery.
This year, though, there were hardly any Halloween decorations on display. And like so many small signs of the way the “pandemic” – in plain language, the deepening police state – is bulldozing away what used to be ordinary expressions of human community, the change troubles me.
I understand it, of course. After all, why should children look forward to an evening’s romp as a witch or goblin while tales of an omnipresent Black Death – exaggerations so wild they once would have made normal people laugh out loud – have become our daily dogma? And if the children aren’t celebrating, why should the rest of us?
But the sense of disquiet remains, unsettling everything I used to hope I knew about the realities of communal life. I cannot get used to the subtle encroachment of fear into every aspect of our collective existence. I cannot accept the slow poisoning of all the interactions between one human being and another by the relentless tide of COVID19 propaganda.
As I walked around an unadorned neighborhood that should have been full of Halloween symbols in that late October season, I began to rage inwardly at the realization that so many parents genuinely believed they were protecting their children when they deprived them of a public celebration, however innocuous.
Trick-or-treating on Halloween? I could see my neighbors shaking their heads and mentally counting up the possibilities of infection. What would have happened if the kids had knocked on someone’s front door and the person who answered it wasn’t wearing a muzzle? Besides, could anyone be absolutely sure that whoever put candy into the kids’ plastic bags had washed his hands before touching the wrappers? Or what if – horror of horrors – he hadn’t even been “vaccinated”?
On a sunny afternoon a few weeks ago, I found myself unexpectedly surrounded by a large crowd of children just released from school. At first it was reassuring to float in an eddy of untroubled human behavior; such moments have become progressively rarer, and therefore more precious, over the last year and a half.
The kids around me strolled, joked and chattered like schoolchildren everywhere. But wasn’t there something wrong with the picture? So inexorable has been the stealthy advance of the corona coup’s “new normal” – even for someone who has struggled to resist it – that it took me several seconds to realize that these children were masked.
Every last one of them had his or her face hidden behind a black muzzle.
Yes, if I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine that things were still as they should be. But opening them again brought back the nightmare reality: here were what should have been children replaced by caricatures – people without faces, conversations without smiles, eyes unaccompanied by mouths.
And the worst of it was that these kids had clearly become so accustomed to this Kafkaesque state of affairs, so indoctrinated in COVID19 hysteria, that they had kept their muzzles on even after leaving the school building where they were required to wear them. For them, terror was now a way of life. The surreal had become normal.
And not only for them. Consider the political reality of the state I live in. For well over a year now, all-cause mortality figures throughout New Jersey have rarely fallen outside ordinary parameters – in other words, there has not been any conceivable grounds for claiming the existence of a medical emergency.
And yet New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, is still ruling as a virtual dictator, wielding “emergency” powers that were legally supposed to expire on April 9 of 2020 – destroying businesses, confining people with illegal quarantines, threatening to muzzle us all (again) at the first sign of resistance – while the state government whose constitution Murphy has pulped for the last 19 months recently mailed out to the citizens, with what I assume was unconscious irony, leaflets explaining how to “vote” for governor on November 2.
Earnest instructions on how to choose a dictator? For anyone who could think clearly, this was a breathtaking insult to every citizen of New Jersey. But as far as I could see, it stimulated no public reaction. How many people here realize, even now, that they’re living under unconstitutional rule? Even Murphy’s Republican challenger did not raise the issue during the campaign.
The same eerie quiet in the face of unprecedented assaults on freedom is the norm almost everywhere. The United States’ Chief Executive has been fuming like a fascist over the latest species of Untermenschen, the I-decline-to-be-a-guinea-pig-for-Big-Pharma variety.
“The unvaccinated,” sneered President Biden barely two months ago, “overcrowd our hospitals, are overrunning the emergency rooms and intensive care units, leaving no room for someone with a heart attack, or [pancreatitis], or cancer.” (Pluck the word “unvaccinated” out of that incendiary lie and insert “Jews” or “immigrants” or “black people,” and imagine how that would have played out at a White House press conference. Alas, no one tried the experiment.)
And as for people who don’t like being forcibly muzzled, the President had a simple message: “Show some respect!”
Maybe Uncle Joe has forgotten this – along with so many other things – but I can remember when candidate Biden displayed his respect for Americans by promising them that federal vaccine mandates would never happen on his watch. Funny how that sort of “respect” didn’t survive the election.
Now that he’s President, Biden has no problem claiming quasi-dictatorial powers to force federal contractors and workers at any company with at least 100 employees to submit to injections of untested drugs.
But liars will be liars, I guess: the same President who assured the public last February that everything would be hunky-dory by Christmas, with “significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear a mask,” now boasts of imposing still more restrictions on Americans’ right to breathe.
“One who trades his horse for a promise ends up with tired feet,” Nikita Khrushchev liked to say. By now, every American ought to be walking on crutches.
But one scours the popular press in vain for some trace of indignation at this cavalcade of lies. On the contrary, the COVID propagandists are praising Biden for his “toughness.”
Maybe it’s my age (I’m approaching 64), but in these days of political repression and intellectual cowardice, when health “experts” advocate medical Russian roulette and “liberals” endorse totalitarianism, I feel the need to mention aloud some of the subtler changes that have undermined my own life since war was declared on humanity in early 2020.
Mind you, I don’t claim that these are the worst consequences of the police-state methods we’ve been facing. I don’t even mean that they’re the ones I think about most. Next to the 34 million people worldwide who have been pushed to the edge of starvation by lockdown policies, they seem positively trivial.
Physical obstructions between people
March and April 2020 witnessed a remarkable flurry of activity throughout my area as banks, drug stores, supermarkets, neighborhood groceries and a host of other retail outfits, large and small, installed barriers to impose some physical distance between customers and cashiers.
Many of those barriers were plastic. A few were plexiglass. But they were all supposed to be temporary; they were there because of what we were told was a medical emergency, not as a permanent means of establishing more separation – and more fear – between people going about their daily lives.
That was a year and a half ago. New Jersey’s unconstitutional “lockdown” ended last summer. Mask “mandates” (also unconstitutional) ended before the beginning of 2021. All the other scare measures promulgated in early 2020 – plastic gloves in stores, constant hand sanitizing, mutual back-turning in elevators – are behind us, at least for the moment.
But those barriers? Every single one of them is still in place. It took mere days to erect them, but now I’m not sure whether I’ll ever see them taken down. What are they for? Clearly they serve no medical purpose.
But as constant reminders of the danger each human being supposedly represents to every other – and as obstacles to any practical sense of solidarity between customers and workers – they’re hard to beat. So there they remain, daily symbols of a cynical war against human community, another successful trick of the freedom-haters.
At first I thought this might be a product of my own impatience – but no, general shortages really have been commonplace for the last year and a half. Consider the case of cleaning fluids.
We all remember how the store shelves emptied when the first government-inspired panic had people running to buy antiseptic cleansers for their kitchen floors and counters back in March 2020. But manufacturers have had plenty of time since then to increase production. Yet, in defiance of the ordinary dynamics of supply and demand, the public’s appetite for cleansers still hasn’t generated an abundant supply.
And it’s not just cleaning liquids that are comparatively scarce. Many types of chicken (I’m told) have been difficult to obtain for months at a time. So are paper towels. Mung beans, formerly almost a staple of mine, now can’t be found even in health food stores.
According to press reports, there is a national shortage of cars – for sale and for rent – and of microchips and test kits, among other things. An article in Atlantic, one of the most committed purveyors of COVID propaganda, has even dubbed the situation “the Everything Shortage.”
Unsurprisingly, popular media have attributed all this to the “pandemic” – an explanation so patently absurd that the propagandists have recently begun to recast the question, claiming that what we’re experiencing is actually something called a “supply chain crisis.”
Even if someone had clearly defined that term (and no one has), and even if national distribution systems could actually be brought to a halt by one moderately serious respiratory virus (and they can’t), anyone tempted to believe the new tale would do well to ponder another national “shortage” that has been touted by large retail corporations for nearly a year now, and which seems to be spreading.
I’m referring to claims about a “national coin shortage” I’ve seen for more than six months at several chain stores in Passaic, where placards instruct customers to make their purchases with credit or debit cards instead of cash. According to press reports, the same warnings are showing up in businesses all over the U.S., so there’s nothing eccentric about my own town in this respect.
But what is it all about? Could the United States really be suffering from a “coin shortage”? Has the national mint broken down? Have we run out of nickel or copper? Are all the mint workers on strike?
Well – no, no, and no. In fact, the simple truth is that there isn’t a “coin shortage” at all; instead, according to the usual media suspects, the real trouble is that “the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the U.S. coin supply chain.”
Ah – there’s that convenient “supply chain” again!
But what does it mean this time? Well, if you believe the pundits, it seems that lots of people have been keeping much of their change at home – which is probably true, but also irrelevant, since that practice surely started long before 2020. Leaping over the objection, however, the pundits assure us that this is the reason that your local supermarket won’t take your cash nowadays.
Got that? Too many people are keeping change in their houses; the ostensible solution is to prevent them from using cash altogether at large stores, a practice that can only further increase the number of loose coins sitting “idle” at home. In other words: we “solve” the problem by creating more of it.
I hate to sound paranoid, but given the obvious absurdity of the argument, doesn’t it seem a lot more likely that claims about a “coin shortage” represent an early push toward the elimination of cash? And that the real goal of such measures is to funnel our economic life into digital transactions that – through the broad medium of credit or debit cards – can easily be monitored and, in the not very distant future, controlled by governments who have already proved their contempt for democracy at every step of the corona coup?
I may not be able to prove that this is the real reason for the “national coin shortage” hoopla – but I can certainly see that the stated reason is false. And plenty of credible observers already believe that discouraging cash is a political strategy, not a practical “remedy.”
Snooping and snitching
Informing on one’s neighbor to the thought police is already pretty much the norm on commercial airliners, where passengers are encouraged to report anyone who dares to attempt normal breathing, even while asleep. (“Look! There’s a secret anti-masker dozing in the seat across the aisle!”)
But the snoop-and-snitch craze seems to be spreading. Now, whole school systems are using commercial software to spy on as many as 23 million U.S. children, monitoring their every keystroke and tracking their internet contacts.
According to a recent press report, while some parents object to this Big Brother-ism, others seem to feel that there’s too little surveillance of their kids, not too much. As for school administrators – many of them see nothing wrong with local bureaucrats doubling as thought police because “I’ve always felt that they [the kids] are already being tracked,” as one school principal phlegmatically put it.
Meanwhile, a recent and typical news story described, without comment, how students and/or parents reported a teacher to the authorities for the crime of being “unvaccinated” – and of having occasionally removed her muzzle while reading aloud to the class.
Sad to say, there was nothing unusual about that.
Hollywood snitches have busied themselves in recent months getting actors fired for expressing the wrong thoughts about such things as mandatory muzzling or manipulated elections. And what’s good for celebrities ought to be good for the rest of us, right?
The trend toward the destruction of privacy – which is the death knell for any democratic system of government – is all the more dangerous because it was gaining ground even before coronavirus hysteria created the perfect culture for its expansion.
“Think of our counterinsurgency wars abroad as so many living laboratories for the undermining of a democratic society at home,” wrote Alfred McCoy, the leading U.S. historian of surveillance and its political consequences, as far back as 2009.
McCoy presciently warned that technology used to repress dissent in, say, Iraq:
has proven remarkably effective in building a technological template that could be just a few tweaks away from creating a domestic surveillance state – with omnipresent cameras, deep data-mining, nano-second biometric identification, and drone aircraft patrolling ‘the homeland.’”
I think of those words every time I’m urged to install proof-of-“vaccination” software on my cell phone. Am I really supposed to believe that such a potentially powerful surveillance tool won’t be put to more intrusive uses?
It’s worth remembering that President George W. Bush tried to organize ordinary citizens into a massive, informal spy network as part of the “war on terror” nearly 20 years ago, while the federal government was compiling “electronic dossiers” on millions of Americans – a system that only got bigger under Barack Obama.
Lying, lying everywhere
I admit there’s nothing new about dishonesty in popular news media. But Marion Renault, writing in The New Republic, may have reached a new low when she recently portrayed the entire state of Alabama as a convocation of lost souls because fewer than 40% of its inhabitants have submitted to COVID19 “vaccines.”
Ms. Renault, who made her descent into that conservative Hades last August, was seeking from the damned an answer to a question that literally brought her to tears: how can we go on feeling compassion for people who don’t want untested, potentially lethal chemicals in their bodies?
Unbiased readers might notice that the word “compassion” drops rather oddly from a woman who repeatedly hurls fact-free anathemas at the “unvaccinated,” of which this one is typical:
By delaying or refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19, a majority of Alabamians have offered up their bodies to host the virus, spread its disease, and incubate its next, potentially more dangerous variant.”
(Whew! I suppose we should be grateful she hasn’t recommended burning at the stake for such dangerous heretics.)
But what is most striking about her hate piece – the work of an avowed unbeliever – is the fire and brimstone of its sermonizing, which repeatedly reaches its most fervently pious pitch as its logic passeth all understanding:
On its own, Covid-19 vaccination is a shield against individuals’ risk of being hospitalized or dying should they make contact with the virus. But millions of individual doses can coalesce into a congregation of immunity that could push SARS-CoV-2 to the margins. “We are protected not so much by our own skin, but by what is beyond it,” writes the essayist Eula Biss. Immunity, she adds, “is a common trust as much as it is a private account.” Vaccination’s most powerful protection is amassed, not allocated. It is an ideal. And it is achieved only when enough individuals decide it’s worth contributing to. “We give up a little freedom to all be safer,” Craig Klugman, a professor of bioethics at DePaul University, told me. The very roots of the word “immunity” reflect this hopeful collectivism: In Latin, munis means a burden, duty, or obligation.
That final sentence, with its abortive Latin exegesis, is an especially blatant howler: it’s true that munis means a “burden” or “duty,” but im-munity means freedom from such a burden, so that the word actually expresses the exact opposite of the “hopeful collectivism” Ms. Renault claims to find in it.
But getting things upside down isn’t the worst of her sins. In keeping with the most sinister tendencies of crisis propaganda, she manipulates language to give an emotional boost to a piece of dangerously irrational incitement. Look again at the sanctimonious rhetoric she deploys to gloss over the fact that the drugs in question don’t hamper transmission of the virus:
“[M]illions of individual doses can coalesce into a congregation of immunity that could push SARS-CoV-2 to the margins…Vaccination’s most powerful protection…is an ideal.”
“Congregation of immunity”? “Push to the margins”? An “ideal”? If Ms. Renault could claim that COVID19 vaccines protect the public by stopping the spread of a particular pathogen, she would say so – in plain words. But she knows the drugs do no such thing.
So, instead, we get tendentious pieties about “congregations” (cue the religious music) being energized to force a deadly adversary over the sideline (go, saints, go!), a religious rhetoric that blurs medical realities in the frisson of forging a new Church Militant. (At another point, Ms. Renault actually goes so far as to describe “herd immunity” – which she wrongly assumes can only result from “vaccination” – as “sanctity.”)
Ms. Renault’s crusading metaphor paves the way for the paragraph’s ultimate lie: “We give up a little freedom to all be safer” – a sentiment that can only shed its totalitarian essence in the context of holy war, where individual sacrifices are rewarded with collective salvation.
Nor does Ms. Renault shrink from still darker ramifications of her holy war analogy. “It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks,” she approvingly quotes from Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. (Ms. Renault calls such bigotry “righteous anger.”) She even finds a “bioethicist at New York University” who insists that “vaccine refusal should be punishable by law.”
First the non-guinea pigs are aliens (not “regular folks”); then they’re literally criminals. Anyone familiar with the logic of holy war can easily imagine the next step. Ms. Renault’s article poses as empirical journalism, but it is really a specimen of jihadist incitement in which the infidels to be eradicated are not Christians or Jews or atheists, but Americans who still value the Bill of Rights.
I’ve singled out this piece not only for its soggy prose – in this respect, it’s no worse than dozens of other COVID diatribes – but to underline the fact that the propagandists’ holy war against anyone who resists coronavirus hysteria is so far advanced that its manifestations seldom even attract notice, let alone public comment.
If Ms. Renault had called down similar anathemas on Muslim immigrants, the entire liberal media would be in a frenzy of righteous indignation. But she can (and does) excoriate people whose actions are protected by the Nuremberg Code as heretics and public enemies – infidels, in a word, whose right even to be pitied (and, by implication, to live) may freely be called into question.
Totalitarianism going mainstream
There have always been people who pine for dictatorship, but before the corona coup such people pullulated mostly at the margins of civilized society. Now they are ubiquitous, expounding their hatred for freedom from liberal media platforms all over the country. At first they attacked people who didn’t cover their faces when illegally ordered to do so.
It didn’t matter that no scientific evidence supported their position, just as it doesn’t matter now that post facto research shows that all the mandatory muzzling didn’t save any lives. The unobstructed human face was a symbol of liberty – so it had to be purged.
The same totalitarian rage soon focused on doctors who tried to care for their COVID19 patients. To take a single example: Dr. Peter McCullough, a physician with impeccable credentials and an impressive list of academic publications, has testified repeatedly about the excellent results of treatments that, he believes, could have prevented 85 percent of COVID19 deaths worldwide.
He was expunged from social media for his trouble.
But on a single day, I read three separate articles lionizing a Michigan doctor who boasted of refusing to give his critically ill COVID patients the treatments they begged him for, instead blaming them for not having submitted to the “vaccines.”
Since when is a doctor who lets his patients die and blames them for their own illness a hero – while another doctor, who is actually saving lives, is rewarded with enforced oblivion? This would have been unthinkable before the corona coup infected the public consciousness. Now it’s hardly worth mentioning.
The totalitarians’ most recent targets are “the unvaccinated.” Along with the exploded myth of “asymptomatic transmission,” the fact-free mantra that COVID19 vaccines are “safe and effective,” and that only moral monsters would dream of refusing them, is perhaps the most palpable single fraud of the whole corona coup.
For one thing, the two professional groups with the most experience of COVID19 – health care professionals and nursing home employees – have consistently been among the most reluctant to be injected with these experimental drugs. For another, the evidence for “vaccination” simply doesn’t add up.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have refused to monitor COVID19 infections in “fully vaccinated” people since May 1 – thus avoiding the exposure of unwelcome facts about the drugs and their effects – but the evidence we have doesn’t demonstrate any significant advantage for the “vaccinated.”
And why would we expect it to, given the figures touted by the propagandists themselves? They once told us that about 345,000 Americans died from COVID19 in all of 2020 – when the “vaccines” were not available to the public. But now they insist that in the first ten months of 2021, while nearly 60% of the U.S. population submitted to the experimental drug regime, a significantly larger number (393,000) succumbed to the same illness.
Yes, the propagandists’ numbers are unreliable to begin with (I’ve stressed that myself in prior articles) – but why can’t they even keep their story straight? They can’t simultaneously hype the Delta-variant-is-killing-us-all fear porn and insist that COVID19 “vaccination” means the end of the outbreak.
Besides, if the totalitarians actually cared about public health, they would be paying at least intermittent attention to the real world that people like me actually inhabit. In fact, they’re too busy poisoning that world to worry about the consequences.
The CDC already admits that “over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the U.S. in the 12-month period ending in May 2020” – the “highest number ever recorded by the CDC.”
And while the U.S. is notoriously laggard in reporting suicide figures, there are already grim adumbrations from other countries about what we can expect. Japan recorded more suicides in a single month – October 2020 – than the official count of COVID19 deaths for the entire calendar year.
For children in Italy, Spain and China, lockdowns have triggered serious increases in the rates of depression and anxiety.
Remember: none of this has been caused by a respiratory virus. It has all been the work of the totalitarians who, while robbing us of a decent human life, are using “vaccines” as an excuse to dehumanize all those who still believe in freedom – and to complete the regimentation and enslavement of all the rest.
Alfred McCoy’s warning about the coming surveillance state, issued more than a decade ago, rings truer now than ever, particularly his suggestion that by 2020, “our America may be unrecognizable – or rather recognizable only as the stuff of dystopian science fiction”:
In a future America, enhanced retinal recognition could be married to omnipresent security cameras as a part of the increasingly routine monitoring of public space…. If that day comes, our cities will be Argus-eyed with countless thousands of digital cameras scanning the faces of passengers at airports, pedestrians on city streets, drivers on highways, ATM customers, mall shoppers, and visitors to any federal facility. One day, hyper-speed software will be able to match those millions upon millions of facial or retinal scans to photos of suspect subversives inside a biometric database…sending anti-subversion SWAT teams scrambling for an arrest or an armed assault.
McCoy wrote all that without even knowing that the corona coup would accelerate the process he feared. Today, a year and a half into the coup, I am living in the first phase of that “future America” – and the experience is bleak.
And it’s personal. I began this essay by remarking on the loss of interest in the Halloween holiday. That’s a small detail in itself. But multiplied by the loss of dozens of holidays and celebrations, by the repeated splintering of family and friends, by the deprivation of embraces or kisses or even friendly handshakes, by the routine covering of our faces, by every instance of fear where there should be comfort, of cruelty where there should be sympathy – multiplied, finally, by the dozens of small insults our spirits must absorb every single day we live in this totalitarian hysteria, even a detail like Halloween trick-or-treating can feel like the difference between sanity and madness.
And if you think the madmen behind this coup intend to spare our children, you’ve got the picture exactly backwards. Children are their primary targets.
As I write this, New York City’s mayor is giving out $100 bribes to any parent willing to have a 5-to-11-year-old son or daughter injected with chemicals whose safety the government specifically refuses to ensure.
Meanwhile, the thousands of babies believed to have been born with congenital syphilis in the US in 2021, and the even larger number expected for 2022 – babies whose suffering and death are entirely preventable – can expect little or no help: the government refuses to appropriate more than a small fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars it is pouring into COVID19 “vaccine” propaganda for medical outreach programs that could save real children from a genuinely deadly disease.
But nothing can stand in the way of the “vaccines” – not even death. Due to staffing shortages “caused by the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate,” 26 fire stations in New York City alone were shut down on October 30.
The next day, a fire in Brooklyn killed a 7-year-old boy. No one in liberal media seemed to mind.
That same day – Halloween – I was invited by my apartment building’s management to participate in “an in-building trick-or-treat event” for children whose parents were too afraid to take them into the street. The last line of the flyer advertising the “event” cautioned, “Masks must be worn when greeting the children and handing out candy.”
Poor kids, I thought.
First, they terrify your parents into keeping you indoors on a night you should be enjoying yourselves outside. Then they see to it that wherever you’re allowed to go, you’ll be met by masks – not playful Halloween masks, but terrifyingly real symbols of the mortal danger the propagandists want you to see in every human being from now on, as you learn to be the frightened slaves of a police state that uses you as pawns in its quest for social atomization and absolute control.
I really wanted to give those victimized children whatever taste of fun it was still in my power to give. But I couldn’t, wouldn’t do that at the price of being an accomplice in their enslavement. Maybe I couldn’t stop the coup. But I could refuse to collaborate.
So I spent Halloween alone in my apartment, mourning for a world in which simple acts of humanity are criminal, and where nothing is safe from the rising tide of oppression that only turns more poisonous as we become desensitized to it.
Michael Lesher is an author, poet and lawyer whose legal work is mostly dedicated to issues connected with domestic abuse and child sexual abuse. His latest nonfiction book is Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., 2014); his first collection of poetry, Surfaces, was published by The High Window in 2019. A memoir of his discovery of Orthodox Judaism as an adult – Turning Back: The Personal Journey of a “Born-Again” Jew – was published in September 2020 by Lincoln Square Books.
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