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Grow Some Balls: A Sour Letter to Establishment Intellectuals
What’s passing for reason is a mix of appearance-only #science and deranged corporatchik mumbo jumbo.
Bring your love!
Bring your good!
All is fuel,
All is food.
Bring your tummy!
Bring your sky!
And ... good bye!
This letter is a word of warning for my people—the city intellectuals—who haven’t somehow noticed that Reason at their altar has been long replaced by an effigy made from scraps of establishment garbage. What’s passing for reason is a mix of appearance-only #science and deranged corporatchik mumbo jumbo.
Have you got no eyes? The situation is dire. I have lived though the ending of the Soviet Union, and I am telling you, what we are dealing with right now is worse, much worse—and no, it is not because of Donald Trump or the virus. The issue is much deeper. We have gotten too complacent, too zealous, too anxiously dependent on being in sync with our echo chamber—the latter being shamelessly manipulated by moneyed interests. What happened to free-form thinking beyond a google search or a conformist New York Times editorial? Is it so hard for an educated American to accept the fact that our entire establishment—the left, the right, and the seemingly radical—is corrupt, egotistical, and unreliable, and that we have somehow turned into a dark cartoon about unsatisfied, underloved, gullible children?
Our imaginary ideal of Law and Order has been long sold to the rats. We are in a free fall of all-encompassing corruption that has permeated all areas of social function, including politics, media, and even science. We are a complacent empire in deep trouble, and our fear of genuine, unbranded dissent makes us complicit. If we continue pretending that the voice of the establishment is the voice of reason, we will go down in history as sorry clowns—just like the pompous Soviet functionaries did.
As it stands now, our state-aligned media has outperformed Pravda at absurdity and lack of coherence (outrageously so when it comes to the pandemic), our corporations are colluding with the state at a warp speed to suck the life out of us in the most profitable way, and the abuse of language has gotten unbearable. As a human being who is thirsty for truth, I can no longer tolerate it. It is as if we fell asleep and woke up inside a slogan generating vortex that consumes our souls and spits out syntactically perfect but otherwise meaningless sentences constructed from words like “progress,” “pandemic,” “public safety,” “social distancing,” “stay home,” and “privilege.”
My dear fellow intellectuals: Grow some balls. Stop trump-escaping everything that you find ugly. I am no Trump supporter by any means but if you are not seeing major flaws in the left establishment narrative about so many important aspects of our lives (from our abysmal foreign policy to Russiagate to this current plague), you are enabling a soul-eating monster, and it’s not the maskless beach-going peasants who are going to take this ship down, it’s you. Yes, you. And I, if I don’t convince myself to fight my own fear and to publish this.
Am I angry? No, I am frustrated. I was exactly like you some years ago, curious, comfortably conformist, and proud of my peer-supported “rational” logic. And even though I may sound mad at you, I actually understand where you come from. In fact, I am feeling extremely conflicted typing this because I am far more interested in timeless philosophy than in social commentary. I want to dance with the world peacefully, to get along with everybody, and to be loved. I don’t believe in “fixing” other people’s views against their will and prefer to simply run away from confrontation. I look for future beauty in every drop of poison, and I love to solve problems in earnest, everybody coming together and having a metaphorical collective orgasm that makes the world sing with the people and celebrate the mystery of life. But I also despise misnomers, and we are in a time when complacency and conformism can be lethal. The villains are eating our brains and using our pride to make us act against our interests and the interests of the future generations! My brethren: I am happy to hold your hand. I am happy to talk and talk and talk. But for fuck’s sake, grow some balls (before everyone’s favorite hero nukes them) and develop some critical thinking. The title of an intellectual is a badge of honor that comes with an existential obligation to be original and to dig deeper than the New York Times.
Oh and another thing. No matter how enthusiastically you kiss the wrinkled buttocks of the machine, it will still eat you! It may promise to spare you and eat your political opponents instead but it will break the promise and eat you, too. To avoid being eaten, you need to try something new, something you may have never been encouraged to do before, something that people usually do only in emergencies. You need to forget your preexisting dogmas and learn about the world like a child, without preconception of prejudice. The beauty of this process might amaze you. You might have been raised to unknowingly repeat the establishment talking points (haven’t we all) but you are of earth and spirit. When you are on your death bed, it’s not the number of your publications or retweets that will matter but your loyalty to truth and your impact on your children.
For instance, here’s one grudge I have. My dear proud people, please stop smugly calling hypotheses that make you uncomfortable “conspiracy theories” without doing in-depth research, which means looking at the data from different sides of the debate. It’s okay to be agnostic. It is okay to change your mind back and forth as you look at new information. It is okay to reject hypotheses based on a thorough investigation—but it is not okay to go, “I know that they are wrong because it’s obvious to any educated person.” That logic is the lazy logic that I remember from my Soviet childhood. It is the logic that went down in flames when the empire fell, and the dissidents were proven sane.
History is full of conspiracies; in fact, a lot of major events take place because somebody gets together with somebody else and makes an effort to promote a preferred outcome. The idealistic “rational” benevolence of a western system has never existed. If we look at history, the American North stood up against slavery largely because the industrialists using hired labor felt sour about competing with the free slave labor used in the South. Similarly, the development of a comfortable middle class after World War II was largely owed to the industrialists’ belief that a population with some free time on their hands and decent spending powers would benefit their bottom line. I am obviously oversimplifying but not by much, and given the track record of our corporatchik establishment, it is far more reasonable to be skeptical of its motives—or its competence, for that matter—than to embrace its benevolence just because some paid-for academics (who are too many to name) and state-influenced journalists (here, here, and here) said we should.
Now, allow me to go on a tangent. A classic example of a falsely labeled conspiracy theory that triggers mandatory eye rolls (from the proud intellectuals, and then back from me—because I happen to have studied the topic) is the 5G discussion. Does the fact that the New York Times keeps pushing out articles about its safety make it so? Well, no. The New York Times has important business partners (like Verizon) and important investors (like Carlos Slim). Have the benefits of smoking for pregnant women, DuPont’s Teflon, Monsanto’s RoundUp, Merck’s Vioxx, nuclear testing performed on treaty land without informed consent, and the famous case of “DDT is good for meeeeee” (more graphic DDT campaigns here and here) taught us nothing? Don’t we know by now that the industry interests have mastered the art of propaganda to perfection? In this case, they have made sure that mentioning this topic at a respectable gathering makes you look like a fool. But there has been in-depth civilian research into negative health impacts of electromagnetic radiation since at least 1980s (I’ve stumbled upon some that research by accident, that’s how I know). Today, there are hundreds if not thousands of legitimate scientists ringing an alarm about potentially disastrous health effects of 5G and calling for in-depth independent safety studies before considering a real-life implementation of the technology—for the sake of our species’ survival—and a tremendous lobbying effort on behalf of the telecom industry to ignore the uncomfortable science and to go right ahead. And while the telecom is mostly interested in money, the push for 5G is also a major area of geopolitical competition (namely, between the U.S. and China). The military folk are terrified of losing that race, and if we know anything about the inner mechanics of modern empires, when the military folk want something, civilian health concerns take a hit. But the New York Times says 5G is safe, whoopeeee. And fine, the military folk do what they always do, and they get carried away—but the intellectuals? What happened to the curiosity? What happened to the parental instincts? Has the machine eaten into you so badly that you no longer can process new information or expose yourself to potentially disturbing narratives even if your choices can potentially impact your children? Please.
Betrayal by the establishment is something I have been thinking about for years, as a result of having lived in the post-soviet space and observing the sadness of the perceived irrelevance that the generation of my grandparents experienced when the Soviet Union fell. They lived their lives bravely, they suffered a lot, they defeated Hitler—and then suddenly, in their old age, they became ideologically irrelevant and helpless in the face of medical cruelty and indifference of the machine. Is history repeating itself?
If the notion of thousands of elderly Americans, somebody’s beloved parents, helplessly dying alone, separated from their families—due to the overall corruption of the establishment, insane scientific fraud, and massive medical mismanagement —doesn’t make you disgusted with the machine and at least a little suspicious, I don’t know what else to say.
The machine is disgusting. Wake up.