Nicola Vanzetti
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The Age of Complacency

How We Become Desensitized to the Bullshit

Every once in a while, there's an event that everyone thinks will shake things up. Whether it's reports of things like concentration camps for illegal immigrants, the leak of the Panama and the Paradise Papers, or even the revelation that the government was spying on all of us, something that conspiracy theorists had been saying (and getting ridiculed for it) for years.

Something that tells us, "No way will the people just accept this happening. Something HAS to be done," like we're about to tear down the Berlin wall and take our freedoms back by force, like this will be the revelation that will make the world change.

And then it never does. 

Illegal immigrants are still getting rounded up by the hundreds and getting put into the camps, the rich assholes who were all part of an enormous, worldwide conspiracy to dodge taxes and hoard wealth are still free, and the government is still listening to your phone calls and spying on you to find out what sort of degenerate pornography you like (all in the name of safety and freedom, of course).

Hell, three of the people named in the Paradise Papers are currently part of the Trump administration (that's Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury; Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce; and Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, by the way). You've also got the Koch brothers and George Soros there, and you won't see those ghouls paying for their crimes.

And these are just the ones we know. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jeff Bezos or Zuckerberg showing up in the next chapter of The Rich Are Fucking Us up the Ass and Making Us Pay for the Lube.

So, why aren't we up in arms about things like this? If this were a book or a movie, this might have been the part where the main character gives a rousing speech to the populace and everyone marches on down to the capital and puts the corrupt government in their place. So why do we just let it happen? I'm not saying to actually march on DC, since I wouldn't like getting shot for sedition either, but we could at least vote them out, as our democratic system is supposed to let us do. 

But we don't really care, do we? Whatever the rich are doing doesn't affect us. We still have bills to pay and children to raise; we can't be bothered to do political activism or investigation when you're not sure if you can put food on the table next week. And that's exactly how the system is designed to work.

We care about what we're told to care about. You can't investigate who or what was dodging taxes or which three-letter agency is reading your emails when you've just come home from your second or third job and need to relax before you pass out. So you turn on your TV and tune in to either CNN or Fox News, depending on where you stand on the left–right spectrum. Fox is yammering about the gender-neutral bathrooms and how the evil liberals are corrupting our children, and CNN is probably talking about the new, wacky Trump scandal because whatever he does is not only news but also entertainment. Hell, you probably only clicked this article because I put his dumb face on it. 

Here's the thing, though. Whatever he's doing doesn't fucking matter. Who cares if he got pissed on by a prostitute? He's still going to gut welfare. Oh, he got help from Putin's Facebook ads to get elected? Guess what: He's still going to pick like three supreme court justices. The mass media feed us the bullshit so we won't notice the actual things that are happening, the actual, real problems that affect us and our lives. And we don't really care about them doing it. The Panama Papers barely lasted a news cycle, and yet we're still hearing about Russia.

The problem is that we haven't really been offered anything different. The true alternatives that could actually change or at least shake up the system have been sedated and trapped into the controlled opposition parties, whether it's the Democrats or Labour or whatever neolib, center-left party you have. Any attempt to get anyone that's more left into power—be it Sanders, Corbyn or any other left-wing politician—is met with fierce opposition from both sides of the media, liberal and conservative. Both Fox News and CNN shat all over Sanders when he was running because he was different and was a threat to the neoliberal/neoconservative order that's running the country. Remember that Obama had the immigrant "detention" camps, too; and Hillary getting elected doesn't mean that the family separations still wouldn't have happened, nor would she have stood up to Israel in a way that Bernie might have. The new-left wave represents a real challenge to the establishment in a way they haven't seen since FDR put his social democratic dick on the table and came up with the New Deal.

So that's why we don't hear about the more pressing issues. We don't hear about the spying or the tax dodging or the killings in Gaza or any sort of actual real-world problems since the people who can fix those problems aren't liked by the people who control us. You expect the billionaires who own CNN or MSNBC to run positive stories about Sanders or Ocasio-Cortez? 

As Assata Shakur said, "No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes if they know that that knowledge will help set you free."

The billionaire class is counting on us staying sedated watching mass media and listening to the talking heads on TV. They're counting on us only paying attention to their curated "scandals" that won't actually ever have any effect. Do something about this. Rise up above their expectations of us. Seek out alternative media—podcasts, independent news, whatever. I recommend Democracy Now and Dr. Richard Wolff's Economy Update. Take control of your own education, of your own information. Don't let the rich fucks who benefit from the current system convince you that the system is good for you too.

People often compare policies to 1984, but I find that, if anything, we're living in Brave New World. Stop taking the Soma.

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The Age of Complacency
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