A buddy of mine — a decent, hard-working professional — is now in fear of losing his job because he may or may not have helped smoke marijuana at a recent party, after having had one drink too many. It seems his employer is instituting a new “employee outreach” (translation: “employee control”) program at his workplace to test for drug use. One’s very livelihood, these days, can hinge on one’s private(!) affairs. My buddy is not a drug freak, criminal or “undesirable” in any way. But, like the crazy general played by George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove, our whole culture appears to be increasingly obsessed with our “precious bodily fluids”!
When kolektiv, or hive, behavior becomes the norm, everybody pees the same: when and where they are told! That’s a fair, brief summation of what can happen when a society’s norm is set so low as to include even the least desirable of that society’s values. Uniformity is required, and even as noble-sounding a word as “equality” takes on evil overtones.
The nature of evil is to lie. To pretend or claim not to be evil is the commonest lie that evil propagates, of course, to lull its victims into complacency. And if 21st-century America isn’t complacent, it will be my great pleasure to ‘fess up that I’ve been wrong! Merely announcing this on TV is not enough to convince me, however.
Once a common “enemy” or “threat” has been singled out, totalitarianism is virtually unavoidable — even if that “enemy” is harmless. Marijuana and its private use by private citizens is an outstanding example. It is harmless, and the decision to use it is clearly a personal one. But those who choose to imbibe it actually dare to have fun — making them the perfect target for the Corporate State. It’s been said that if the Nazis hadn’t had the Jews, they would have had to invent them!
How about you? Are you a casualty of the War on Drugs? Do you believe the content of your character, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, is of less importance than the content of your urine? Do your own countrymen look upon such as you and feel honest-to-gawd threatened? They’ve been trained and behavior-modified to believe what they see and are told on TV, I guess. Disbelieving what they plainly see, they choose to go with the “safe” trend and swallow what they’re told, instead: a smoother, more homogeneous “reality” that they mindlessly, unquestioningly swallow (with a grin, by damn!).
These people are afraid of what they’re ignorant of. Weak, yes; but still, there’s surely hope they might chill out enough to see it and themselves for what they really are. For what they truly are is people, each with a mind and a heart and a spirit. They had to choose between that and the false security the herd provides them here, now, in latter-day America. They chose the temporary “feelgood” of comfortable falsehood; they elected to take the easy, herd way and so — bovinelike — they dully chew their mental cud, rather than aspiring to intellectual challenge.
But the herd is a trap, of course. They’ve become a population of lemmings, and rush, rush, rush, mindlessly they go — hell-bent on self-destruction! It’s a race to chaos and assured annihilation; sweet oblivion; mass, terminal absolution; depopulation control. When people become a kolektiv, a hive, or any other kind of societal unit that gets tight-assed once it’s rigidly entrenched, anything not uniformly the same becomes a “danger.” Behavior modification is a real, albeit evil, psycho-science. There are some truly sick minds out there who think power or money is their right, their personal province, and that having it makes them superior to their fellows. Folly!
They are smart but mean; deviant and twisted, even. They are, in reality, puny and trifling folks who hate everyone and everything else for what they, themselves, are: puny and triflin’!
The common mindset is becoming ever duller, perceiving only dimly, if at all, anything beyond what it is told. Consider what history teaches about the “bread and circuses” dull mindset of ancient Rome. It ended a thousand-year civilization … and led right into the Dark Ages. That, beloveds, is the current direction of latter-day America.
It’s enough to make one weep. My tears for my country are very real and as sad as a cold, drizzlin’ rain on an unmarked grave. The nation of individuals who nurtured me went to the moon and dared dream of the stars! Their technology was primitive compared to what we have now, but we no longer dare to dream dreams not preapproved by the “thought police.” And such dreams, by definition, are the province of those who dream and dare and strain and reach out to do that which they dare dream! Not the dull mindset of the herd, eh? To the herd, indeed, such folks are an anomaly that bears watching! Technology has been twisted into deviant voyeurism, even via videocamera. Video-stalking is still stalking, and if you do not believe me, check out the camera arrays on North Lexington and thereabouts. “Private” surveillance? Hogwash! Smile: You are being watched!
Rigid rules require rigid enforcement, by definition. And rigid enforcement is a line of work sought almost exclusively by those of the thug mindset. Somehow, over decades, we have allowed our society to become a mass experiment in thought control; complete behavior mod to suit our keepers’ whimsy. And if you refuse your assigned role, or even dare to question their “authority,” the penalties are dire.
Legitimate authority derives from the legitimate, informed consent of those governed by it, to paraphrase (and most respectfully indeed!) another great man, Thomas Jefferson. It doesn’t come from fear of loss of job, well-being or freedom.
But just take a look around you. Taxes, fines, fees: Everyone’s in violation of something, it seems, all the time. Consider Asheville’s own multimillion-dollar civic scam: downtown parking. Everybody owes the kolektiv their everything, especially if they have (or may be able to acquire on their own) that which the herd desires, the herd envies — and cannot earn for itself, having surrendered all individual responsibility and initiative.
Freedom has come full circle in a country that threw off the tyranny of corporate/royal England. We had so much freedom here, for so long, that we actually felt guilty and voted it the hell right out of our lives and our reach. Forever? I don’t know. I, myself, believe only God is forever … and I am as fighting mad as ever that my God-given right to be the man I am is under unceasing assault. I am not a drone!
Is not one’s urine private, by definition? So, once, was simple employment in the private sector. People have a right to security in their own pee, for heaven’s sake! Yet threatening one’s livelihood over non-livelihood-related issues has, frighteningly, become a reality. It’s here. Now. It’s all about control. Power for puny, control-minded megalomaniacs.
Free will and free thought are, in truth, the natural enemies of those who’ve voted away their very souls to achieve uniformity and sameness. “Pee here, now” is a capsule description of too much — too damn much –control! And my beloved friend is in danger of losing his job due to the for-real “pot-thought police.”
Note the identical “Aryan” haircuts of the virtual infantry platoon we’ve allowed to replace our local police, both black and white, right here in Asheville. See what I mean?
Can we reverse the accepted order? Surely we must. Put the pee-freaks on the defensive, ’cause you ain’t done nothin’ wrong! Eschew scatological authoritarianism, then go after the rest of the control and power freaks who are turning our once-prized freedoms into the also-rans of history. Don’t pay for their excesses. In the short term, it may cost you more, but the idea of keeping one’s own earnings has a powerful attraction. Others will catch on, if they are shown the way. You have the right to your own earnings!
Our way of life in this place and time is plainly unsustainable and maybe even doomed. What we think of as our Tribe is not! But we (that’s you — yes, you) bunch of colorful thinkers and players, geniuses and idiot savants are the future, and that is right now! Sure it’s a burden, and sometimes one must hump it alone or even love it or someone else enough to let them or it go. Talk about your serious separation anxiety! And there always seems to be another burden awaitin’, for cryin’ out loud! But that’s no reason not to have fun, anyway. So, as I always say, keep on diggin’ it and doin’ it right!
[P. Rodney Personette lives in Asheville, where he is a keen observer of local culture.]