Brave New Normal

So the War on Populism is finally over. Go ahead, take a wild guess who won.

I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t the Russians, or the white supremacists, or the gilets jaunes, or Jeremy Corbyn’s Nazi Death Cult, or the misogynist Bernie Bros, or the MAGA-hat terrorists, or any of the other real or fictional “populist” forces that global capitalism has been waging war on for the last four years.

What? You weren’t aware that global capitalism was fighting a War on Populism? That’s OK, most other folks weren’t. It wasn’t officially announced or anything. It was launched in the summer of 2016, just as the War on Terror was ending, as a sequel to the War on Terror, or a variation on the War on Terror, or continuation of the War on Terror, or … whatever, it doesn’t really matter anymore, because now we’re fighting the War on Death, or the War on Minor Cold-like Symptoms, depending on your age and general state of health.

That’s right, folks, once again, global capitalism (a/k/a “the world”) is under attack by an evil enemy. GloboCap just can’t catch a break. From the moment it defeated communism and became a global ideological hegemon, it has been one evil enemy after another.

No sooner had it celebrated winning the Cold War and started ruthlessly restructuring and privatizing everything than it was savagely attacked by “Islamic terrorists,” and so was forced to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, and kill and torture a lot of people, and destabilize the entire Middle East, and illegally surveil everybody, and … well, you remember the War on Terror.

Then, just as the War on Terror seemed to be finally winding down, and the only terrorists left were the “self-radicalized” terrorists (many of whom weren’t even actual terrorists), and it looked like GloboCap was finally going to be able to finish privatizing and debt-enslaving everything and everyone in peace, wouldn’t you know it, we were attacked again, this time by the global conspiracy of Russian-backed, neo-fascist “populists” that caused the Brexit and elected Trump, and tried to elect Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, and loosed the gilets jaunes on France, and who’ve been threatening the “fabric of Western democracy” with dissension-sowing Facebook memes.

Unfortunately, unlike the War on Terror, the War on Populism didn’t go that well. After four years of fighting, GloboCap (a/k/a the neoliberal Resistance) had … OK, they had snuffed both Corbyn and Sanders, but they had totally blown the Russiagate psyop, and so were looking at four more years of Trump, and Lord knows how many of Johnson in the U.K. (which had actually left the European Union), and the gilets jaunes weren’t going away, and, basically, “populism” was still on the rise (if not in reality, in hearts and minds).

And so, just as the War on Populism had replaced (or redefined) the War on Terror, the War on Death has been officially launched to replace (or redefine) the War on Populism … which means (you guessed it), once again, it’s time to roll out another “brave new normal.”

The character of this brave new normal is, at this point, unmistakably clear … so clear that most people cannot see it, because their minds are not prepared to accept it, so they do not recognize it, though they are looking right at it. Like Dolores in the Westworld series, “it doesn’t look like anything” to them. To the rest of us, it looks rather totalitarian.

In the span of approximately 100 days, the entire global capitalist empire has been transformed into a de facto police state. Constitutional rights have been suspended. Most of us are under house arrest. Police are rounding up anyone not cooperating with the new emergency measures. They are pulling riders off of public transportation, arresting people whose papers aren’t in order, harrassing, beating, intimidating, and arbitrarily detaining anyone they decide is “a danger to public health.”

Authorities are openly threatening to forcibly pull people out of their homes and quarantine them. Cops are hunting down runaway grandmothers. They’re raiding services in churches and synagogues. Citizens are being forced to wear ankle monitors. Families out for a walk are being menaced by robots and Orwellian drones.

Counterterrorism troops have been deployed to deal with non-compliant “rule breakers.” Anyone the U.S. authorities deem to have “intentionally spread the coronavirus” can be arrested and charged as a coronavirus terrorist. Artificial intelligence firms are working with governments to implement systems to log and track our contacts and movements. As a recent Foreign Policy article put it:

“The counterterrorism analogy is useful because it shows the direction of travel of pandemic policy. Imagine a new coronavirus patient is detected. Once he or she tests positive, the government could use cell-phone data to trace everyone he or she has been in close proximity to, perhaps focusing on those people who were in contact for more than a few minutes. Your cell-phone signal could then be used to enforce quarantine decisions. Leave your apartment and the authorities will know. Leave your phone behind and they will call you. Run the battery down and a police car will be at your door in a manner of minutes …”

I could go on, but I think you get the picture, or … well, you either do or you don’t.

And that is the really terrifying part of the War on Death and our “brave new normal” … not so much the totalitarianism. (Anyone who’s been paying attention is not terribly shocked by GloboCap’s decision to implement a global police state. The simulation of democracy is all fine and good, until the unwashed masses start to get unruly, and require a reminder of who’s in charge, which is what we are being treated to currently.)

No, the terrifying part is how millions of people immediately switched off their critical faculties, got into line, and started goose-stepping, and parroting hysterical propaganda, and reporting their neighbors to the police for going outside for a walk or jog (and then sadistically shrieked abuse down at them like the Goodbye Jews Girl in Schindler’s List as they were wrestled to the ground and arrested).

They are out there, right now, on the Internet, millions of these well-meaning fascists, patrolling for signs of the slightest deviation from the official coronavirus narrative, bombarding everyone with meaningless graphs, decontextualized death statistics, X-rays of fibrotic lungs, photos of refrigerated morgue trucks, mass graves, and other sensationalistic horrors intended to short-circuit critical thinking and shut down any and all forms of dissent.

Although undeniably cowardly and sickening, this kind of behavior is also not shocking. Sadly, when you terrorize people enough, the majority will regress to their animal instincts. It isn’t a question of ethics, or politics. It is purely a question of self-preservation. When you cancel the normal structure of society and place everyone in a “state of emergency” … well, it’s like what happens in a troop of chimpanzees when the alpha chimp dies or is killed by a challenger. The other chimps run around hooting and grimacing until it’s clear who the new dominant primate is, then they bend over to demonstrate their submission.

Totalitarians understand this. Sadists and cult leaders understand this. When the people you are dominating get unruly, and start questioning your right to dominate them, you need to fabricate a “state of emergency” and make everyone feel very afraid, so that they turn (or return) to you for protection from whatever evil enemy is out there, threatening the cult, or the Fatherland, or whatever. Then, once they’ve returned to the fold, and stopped questioning your right to dominate them, you can introduce a new set of rules that everybody needs to follow to prevent this kind of thing happening again.

This is obviously what is happening at the moment. But what you probably want to know is … why is it happening? And why is it happening at this precise moment?

Lucky for you, I have a theory.

No, it doesn’t involve Bill Gates, Jared Kushner, the WHO, and a global conspiracy of Chinese Jews defiling our precious bodily fluids with their satanic-alien 5G technology. It’s a little less exciting and more abstract than that (although some of those characters are probably part of it … all right, probably not the Chinese Jews, or the Satanic-Alien Illuminati).

See, I try to focus more on systems (like global capitalism) than on individuals. And on models of power rather than the specific people in power at any given time. Looking at things that way, this global lockdown and our brave new normal makes perfect sense. Stay with me now … this gets kind of heady.

What we are experiencing is a further evolution of the post-ideological model of power that came into being when global capitalism became a global-hegemonic system after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In such a global-hegemonic system, ideology is rendered obsolete. The system has no external enemies, and thus no ideological adversaries. The enemies of a global-hegemonic system by definition can only be internal. Every war becomes an insurgency, a rebellion breaking out within the system, as there is no longer any outside.

As there is no longer any outside (and thus no external ideological adversary), the global-hegemonic system dispenses with ideology entirely. Its ideology becomes “normality.” Any challenge to “normality” is henceforth regarded as an “abnormality,” a “deviation from the norm,” and automatically delegitimized. The system does not need to argue with deviations and abnormalities (as it was forced to argue with opposing ideologies in order to legitimize itself). It simply needs to eliminate them. Opposing ideologies become pathologies … existential threats to the health of the system.

In other words, the global-hegemonic system (i.e., global capitalism) becomes a body, the only body, unopposed from without, but attacked from within by a variety of opponents … terrorists, extremists, populists, whoever. These internal opponents attack the global-hegemonic body much like a disease, like a cancer, an infection, or a virus. And the global-hegemonic body reacts like any other body would.

Is this model starting to sound familiar?

I hope so, because that is what is happening right now. The system (i.e., global capitalism, not a bunch of guys in a room hatching a scheme to sell vaccines) is reacting to the last four years of populist revolt in a predictable manner. GloboCap is attacking the virus that has been attacking its hegemonic body. No, not the coronavirus. A much more destructive and multiplicitous virus … resistance to the hegemony of global capitalism and its post-ideological ideology.

If it isn’t already clear to you yet that this coronavirus in no way warrants the totalitarian emergency measures that have been imposed on most of humanity, it will be become clear in the months ahead. Despite the best efforts of the “health authorities” to count virtually anything as “a Covid-19 death,” the numbers are going to tell the tale. The “experts” are already memory-holing, or recalibrating, or contextualizing, their initial apocalyptic projections. The media are toning down the hysteria. The show isn’t totally over yet, but you can feel it gradually coming to an end.

In any event, whenever it happens, days, weeks, or months from now, GloboCap will dial down the totalitarianism, and let us out, so we can go back to work in whatever remains of the global economy … and won’t we all be so very grateful! There will be massive celebrations in the streets, Italian tenors singing on balconies, chorus lines of dancing nurses! The gilets jaunes will call it quits, the Putin-Nazis will stop with the memes, and Americans will elect Joe Biden president!

Or, all right, maybe not that last part, but, the point is, it will be a brave new normal! People will forget all that populism nonsense, and just be grateful for whatever McJobs they can get to be able to pay the interest on their debts, because, hey … global capitalism isn’t so bad compared to living under house arrest!

And, if not, no problem for GloboCap. They’ll just have to lock us down again, and keep locking us down, over and over, indefinitely, until we get our minds right. I mean, it’s not like we’re going to do anything about it … right? Didn’t we just demonstrate that? Sure, we’ll bitch and moan again, but then they’ll whip out those pictures of mass graves and death trucks, and the graphs, and all those scary projections, and the Blockwart-hotlines will start ringing again, and …

#

CJ Hopkins
April 13, 2020
Photo: Schindler’s List – Amblin Entertainment

CJ Hopkins Summer 2018 thumbnail

DISCLAIMER: The preceding essay is entirely the work of our in-house satirist and self-appointed political pundit, CJ Hopkins, and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Consent Factory, Inc., its staff, or any of its agents, subsidiaries, or assigns. If, for whatever inexplicable reason, you appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to support it, please go to his Patreon page (where you can contribute as little $1 per month), or send your contribution to his PayPal account, so that maybe he’ll stop coming around our offices trying to hit our staff up for money. Alternatively, you could purchase his satirical dystopian novel, Zone 23, or Volume I of his Consent Factory Essays, or any of his subversive stage plays, which won some awards in Great Britain and Australia. If you do not appreciate Mr. Hopkins’ work and would like to write him an abusive email, please feel free to contact him directly.

87 thoughts on “Brave New Normal

  1. “Something changed in the music that trickled from the telescreen. A cracked and jeering note, a yellow note, came into it. And then — perhaps it was not happening, perhaps it was only a memory taking on the semblance of sound — a voice was singing:

    ‘Under the spreading chestnut tree

    I sold you and you sold me –‘

    The tears welled up in his eyes. A passing waiter noticed that his glass was empty and came back with the gin bottle.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

    I think that is the proper quote of how it will end…we will all be so thankful to have been saved from the enemy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Terrifyingly yes. You have a grasp of it I’m working on (eternally) but I hear Baudrillard with the “there is no outside” anymore and Foucault and biopolitics as well. It seems an infectious disease scare is perfect for the elites in the sense that it has the people pitted against each other. You can see us all spending our time fighting against each other, ratting out each other, judging, arguing pro versus anti vaccine. Divide and conquer. When there is no longer an outside, you work on the masses using the same divisive techniques that have worked so well against ‘others’ in the past. That there is a class war going on is lost on folk. Blanks stares is what you get. Our devices further divide and isolate us from a human solidarity. Humanity is being phased out, transhuman its ascendant … .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is the most lucid assesment I came across. I am gratefull to have came across it and had a chance to read it. Unfortunately everyone i forwarded it too was way too dim witted to get it.
        Thank you. Please keep sharing more insights.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. On the other hand…

    “Every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection….If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody”.
    – Etienne De La Boetie, “The Politics of Obedience” (1552)

    “Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and the implicit submission, with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is effected, we shall find, that, as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular”.
    – David Hume, “Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary. Essay 4 : Of The First Principles of Government”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great piece, CJ; thanks so much. The discourse policing almost everywhere else, even the few sites
    that I formerly considered reliable, is suffocating (as planned?).

    TINA’s the message, all around. What a time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ever break a rib? It hurts like hell but the pain makes you laugh, and then it hurts worse. That’s kind of where you went with this post…!
    But as another commenter said, there’s a lot more truth in this than in anything on BBC, CNN, etc etc etc.
    Keep them coming, CJ, we need the laughs even if they’re bitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for shining a bright light on our path into the darkness. Maybe that way we can avoid going down that route.
    Sadly too few keep up the habit of critical thinking, listening to the ones who question the “reality” that is being constructed and scrutinising the decisions of our economic/political master class.
    And those are the few lonely voices watching in horror how we go to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

    Like

  8. Agreed.

    The conceit of the modern leader is to blame the system for their failures and hold the “recalcitrant” individual responsible through expulsion from the organization.
    The individual enjoys no such conceit to blanket their life from the upcoming assault. In fact the unilateral right to violence is just as often reserved to the corporation’s security guards as it is to the State’s policing factions. And so, we find ourselves the world over imprisoned in our homes, intimidated each minute by the news and acting out like unmedicated paranoid schizophrenics against anyone walking around the neighborhood.

    However, the resistance at some point must stop falling for this ruse and name names. Those names will have to held accountable publicly, a demonstration project.

    Or else we wait for people to starve.

    Like

  9. The amoral amoeba in which all have our existence (except for a fortunate few tribes who were isolated enough) and that we call Western Civilization or “GloboCap” in its current configuration/state of evolution, is sensing consciously and subsonsciously that the way ahead is looking tough…increasing pressure on and competition for earth resources and sinks, increasing social disharmony at all scales. The corona pan-panic, an unfortunate train wreck of nature (albeit warped by human activities) and human nature (warped by social media), is going to be dying down soon enough and the post-accident clean-up-recovery will be underway. More shocks similar to it, and not just viruses, will be on the way. Has anything new really been proved by it or learned from it? No, nothing new here, but just yet another warning that the way ahead is filled with instability and uncertainty as we go deeper into the final stages of the global tech+resource paradigm’s collapse. Things happening in the political realm of “the people-vs-the elite” and ideologies/-isms are merely symptomatic or proximate causes and the ultimate causes (geographic, genetic, technological) are working out to bring us into either a new tech+resource paradigm or to a collapse and fall-back to an older, perhaps much, much older one. Hang on for the ride, and consider yourself extremely lucky to have the brilliant wit and insight in the satire of CJ Hopkins to help keep your sanity, or shall we better say, “a much-needed insanity”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The amoral amoeba in which all have our existence (except for a fortunate few tribes who were isolated enough) and that we call Western Civilization or “GloboCap”

      Ah, if only moving people who make suchlike assertions to the East, and those lands of morality, could be made mandatory.
      Mandatory consistency, mandatory accountability for one’s words… it wouldn’t change the world perhaps, but what an improvement to Internet comments sections.

      Like

  10. So what are we going to do about it? Sure the internet is great for instant communication and gathering information but at all we are doing so far is shouting impotently into the abyss as our freedoms and liberties are stripped away.

    Will people in places that aren’t France ever get around to getting off their asses and fighting back in earnest?

    What will it take for pacified burghers in the Anglo Saxon countries to spontaneously stand up and be counted like the yellow vests did in France?

    I don’t find much comfort in only talking about how shitty things are. What’s the point of debunking bullshit and speaking truth to power if we all remain passive and do nothing about it?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ..and here we go:

    To help with those efforts, the Leopoldina researchers say they support the use of smartphone apps to assist in the tracking of infections. In a program similar to efforts in South Korea, where containment of the disease has been very successful, people would “voluntarily provide their GPS data as part of contact tracing efforts,” meaning the app would communicate with other smartphones using Bluetooth technology. This would make it easier to trace people who have come into contact with a newly infected person. Those individuals could then be placed in quarantine..”

    https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/scientific-experts-release-proposals-for-loosening-the-lockdown-a-f6247ecc-0583-45b5-a269-ebf385c1e698

    should be fine™.

    Like

  12. I also look at power structure and systems so I like the bit about the global hegemon viewing itself as normality, and all threats as internal.

    What’s a putin-nazi though?

    Like

  13. Whatever this is, the reality is that half of the shelves are empty at many of the grocery stores. It is about a can of beans and a bag of rice and the least rotten fresh veggies. No time for other stuff as navigating through masked (auto)matons while a few wandering about without masks, picking up boxes, looking at ingredients, and just seem to challenge the imposed reality. No smiles, no samples, all synthetic. standing in line, obediently on little yellow tape six feet apart. The psychological pain of self-isolation is unbearable.

    So far, chimps are mostly well-behaved, may be shell-socked, and probably dazed beyond comprehension, as alphas are not dead but being neutered alive.

    Like

  14. An insightful article. Thank you. A teaspoon of satire helps the painful observation go down the gullet.

    There’s a very good reason why the controllers have to assert their authority now. Time is running out. There’s something ginormous coming down the pike – a real humongous event that’ll affect everyone and everything on the planet. This is the practice run, to get the slaves used to the new normal. The information has been suppressed for decades; going back to the time of Ronnie Raygun who supposedly threatened the Soviets with nuclear war if they dare go public with this. And they have looted the planet to prepare for this event; timing their thievery and blatant debasement of the USD to co-incide as closely with denouement as possible. Watch the Russian troops based overseas. When Putin calls them all back to the motherland (guy has a heart and knows every man wants to be with his family when disaster strikes) then we will have but months left. The Russians know as much as the Americans Zio-nazis and the Vatican. All the top guys in all governments know. Mark my words – watch the Russian troops.

    Like

  15. Commenting here because I’m disgusted with most every other site, for their willful blindness regarding
    the Dreaded Pathogen. ZOMG!!! Mass Graves!!! (nope) Body Bags Stacked High!!! (where?) Wailing Ambulances Getting Closer and Closer!!! (mmm, not here)… has every other damn site been gotten-to?

    yeesh.

    Like

    1. I can’t get a single comment past moderation at naked capitalism anymore. Though they once banned me in 2016 for saying HRC was a carpet muncher. Have you ever read the comments that Yves posts? She comes off as a full of herself, all knowing asshole. I mean she did work for goldman sachs and mckinsey and she’s even better then those people because she now posts links on the harm they do to society. She must be a joy to be around having worked at those places. Anyways i think what bothers me the most is its straight up censorship. Nothing about this virus is known, because the information seems to change weekly, but if you’re pro covid and lockdown she lets you post. If you aren’t she does not. Check out moderate rebels on soundcloud and listen to the interview they did with Pepe Escobar. Interesting for those of us not so certain about this “pandemic”

      Like

      1. Happened to me too. I referred to Strategic culture first as a source which Yves frowned upon stating that she never links to it because some not so upstanding bloggers I guess. I maintained that I rather decide or let decide anyone for themselves and pointed out that a lot of trustworthy journalists publish or republish there. The next thing was disagreeing on her panicked stance re Covid19, and now any post that I try just vanishes.

        The same happened to me at MoA when I dared to criticize the hype and presented very considered counter opinions by specialists in the field.
        The whole shebang – about four posts – just vanished. When sending him an email to politely inquire on what bases and what I might have done wrong…he responded rather high off the horse…

        Like

  16. Another great piece C.J. Thanks. It’s great to see your work being reposted at a number of other sites. I usually encounter your new pieces at OffGuardian, where you are quite clearly appreciated.

    Like

  17. You weren’t aware that global capitalism was fighting a War on Populism? That’s OK, most other folks weren’t.

    Hopkins: when you write sentences like that, are you aware a non-negligible % of readers (and readers of this blog. Don’t let’s consider mainstream-media audience) will take it to mean “right-wing parties were fight a War on Populism?”?
    They have no way to know you correctly imply that the whole “people’s representatives” (i.e.: political parties) spectrum is included in “capitalism”.
    That’s not your fault, it’s because they are, so to speak, not exceptionally observant folks.

    Like

  18. ***CREATIVE EMPATHY: A One-Line Play***

    Character A (who has a cool job which can be done from home and/or adequate resources): Why can’t these bloody deplorables stay at home?

    Character B (bloody deplorable who works in restaurant, or some other “non-essential” service-oriented position requiring contact with public, has very little nest egg and sees his/her tenuous financial position being devastated, perhaps irremediably, by a “lock-down” that strikes any objective, well-informed observer as disproportionate to the casualty-statistics presented by the “pandemic,” which is demonstrably less fatal than the yearly Flu):

    Like

  19. Things are absolutely perfect. One couldn’t imagine a better scenario. The ever-odious lying Covidiot liberals are dug in. They will double down in their campaign to ruin U.S. business, the economy, wreck people’s lives and security. And against them the rising anti-lockdown crowd absolutley peaking in their fury. Who would launch nuclear weapons at CNN if they had the. And all this in the run up to elections. There must be a God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Like

  20. And the Corporate Narrative shifts:

    NYT: Nearly All Patients Hospitalized With Covid-19 Had Chronic Health Issues, Study Finds:

    “A new study of thousands of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the New York City area, the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, has found that nearly all of them had at least one major chronic health condition, and most — 88 percent — had at least two.

    Though earlier research has shown chronic conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes are common risk factors for severe Covid-19, the ubiquity of serious medical conditions in these patients was striking: Only 6 percent of them had no underlying health conditions..”

    yeesh.

    h/t to CJ.. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

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