This past weekend, I traveled to Washington, DC to visit two of my adult children. As time has passed, and especially during the past three years, the federal (and state and local) governments have become even more misfocused, intrusive and destructive. Mark Leibovich’s This Town portrays DC’s phony culture at the big-name level. Jon Stauber’s writings describes the sophisticated, lucrative, but skeevy realm of DC’s public relations/lobbying firms. And as Scott Atlas, Jeffrey Tucker, Debbie Lerman, Thomas Harrington and others have observed, DC’s administrative and biomedical security operatives have conducted themselves contemptibly during Coronamania.
Many bureaucratic entities could be investigated and whistleblowers could reveal thousands of examples of monumental—this is, after all, Washington, DC—federal governmental malfeasance. But a deep dive, a press pass, subpoenas, documentary film-watching or expose-reading aren’t necessary to see that DC is corrupt and dysfunctional. Archaeologists discern much about ancient societies by examining fragments of broken pottery. Similarly, system-wide governmental dysfunction and corruption are facially obvious to a casual observer who visits our nation’s capital for 24 hours; even if he sleeps for 8.
First, everything in DC, especially the real estate, is expensive. Government is the central industry. If our federal government and bureaucracy were not grossly overstaffed, overpaid and overpensioned and overfunded, and if there were not, in addition, a mega para-governmental sector of highly profitable DC Beltway Bandit contractors and consultants and PR and law firms, people wouldn’t flock there to make their fortunes. Thus, office buildings would not continually be added, even though many federal workers have, during the past three years, spent many of their ostensible workdays at home. There would also be much lower demand for housing for government and para-government employees and housing would cost much less.
The DC region isn’t filled with earnest, altruistic, bang-for-buck public servants. Rather, it’s largely populated by government workers with high GS titles and salaries, as well as other affluent opportunists at PR and lobbying firms and NGOs. These special interests lavishly fund political candidates, who, once elected, repay their sponsors with favors. Bureaucrats are sometimes captured by industry funding. When the FDA gets much of its funding from Pharma, and FDA bureaucrats and those in other agencies angle for high-paying jobs in industries they’re supposed to regulate, citizens can’t expect government by the people and for the people.
Fauci emblematizes those who dip big buckets into the wide river of dollars generated by tax revenues and government printing presses. He took over $434,312 in annual salary during Coronamania and is pensioned $414,000/year for lying to and terrorizing a nation. During his 55-year(!) tenure, he also funded much pernicious research. Is there any doubt that the US would have been far better off over the past three years if Fauci, the rest of CDC/NIAID staff, Francis Collins, Debbie Birx, Rochelle Walensky and their ilk had worked at Taco Bell instead? Even during his retirement, Fauci shamelessly doubles down on Covid and “vaccine” lies, which the complicit media has never challenged.
In general, DC has been an occupational magnet for latte-loving, European-vacationing liberals who think that they’re smarter than the proletariat and that governments should increasingly control society; to them, Coronamania was a festival. Much of the political/administrative class sends their kids—if they have any—to private schools in which they won’t have to interact with kids of low-income DC residents. Unsurprisingly, I saw way more maskers—yes, even now— in DC than in New Jersey, where I live.
The hostess of our weekend’s Bethesda Airbnb was a 78 year-old, divorced, current NIH official who brought up “The Pandemic” during the first few sentences she spoke. She also felt compelled to add that she went to a mid-career graduate program at Harvard. I’ve spent much time with many Ivy League degree holders. Many don’t seem especially knowledgeable or open-mindedly analytical. But DC is an especially brand-conscious, insular, tribal culture; far more than elsewhere, Washingtonians define themselves and others by their party affiliations and college pedigrees.
On her fridge, the hostess displayed two large stickers hailing Obama and Biden. Initially, it’s not clear to me what either of those two have done to deserve adulation. Moreover, in what other part of the world do people fasten political candidate stickers to home appliances and leave them there for years? Do bureaucrats work hard? For purposes of comparison, after grinding for 40 years, how many private sector laborers have enough gas left in the tank, as did our hostess, to hold a position until they’re of Fauci-esque ages?
While at her Sunday morning aerobics class, our hostess left out for us on the breakfast table a copy of the Washington Post, a ridiculously biased publication that political junkies consider a sacred text. As throughout the Scamdemic, the stories that day were characteristically agenda-driven and absurd. If “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the Post has done far more than its share to hasten that death.
While in DC, I couldn’t help but notice two relatively new features of daily life that further reveal and symbolize the government-above-all culture there.
As background, those who have been a passenger in my car will tell you I’m a boring driver. I don’t knowingly exceed the speed limit. Nor would I think about texting and driving. I can’t, because I don’t own a mobile phone.
Nonetheless, DC speed limit enforcement even annoys me. Everywhere you go down there—even on the many straight, four lane roads, with very little pedestrian traffic—one sees signs with 30 mph speed limits, “PHOTO ENFORCED.” Conspicuous cameras abound, especially on downhill stretches of road where it’s impossible not to exceed 30 unless you brake. You find yourself with many cars in front of you, all braking downhill at 30, with no pedestrians in sight. Spontaneously, you would do at least 40 and present zero risk to others, as long as you’re not looking at your phone.
Big Brother zealously enforces these far-too-stringent speed limits. My wife, another boring driver, found this out when, shortly after visiting DC without me two months ago, she received a $100 ticket in the mail for slightly exceeding 30 mph with no other cars around. Speed limit enforcement is such a cash cow that the pastor at the church we attended began his sermon by referencing the cameras and the police state milieu that such surveillance engendered. In 1984 (the year, not the book), the pop artist Rockwell sang, “I always feel like…somebody’s watching me.” With DC at the forefront, government and corporate Net snooping are much bigger problems today.
Additionally, while driving through the city with my windows up in the chilly weather, the scent of marijuana from passing cars was distinctly, repeatedly detectable, as it also is in politically-aligned New York City. Somehow, smoke passes out of seemingly sealed vehicles going 30 mph into vehicles with similarly closed windows going almost the same speed. Nanoparticles are elusive.
Given this easy, efficient transmission of herbal vapor, those who believe that masks block viral transmission in person-to-person spaces should reconsider their view. But they won’t because they can’t admit an error. As proof, they’ll point to some unspecified study or other that they haven’t read. Some might even say, “Viral transmission by drivers of passing cars with closed windows is precisely why I wear a mask even when I’m driving alone.” At this point, nothing that a Covid cult member says or does would surprise me.
All that Driving While High also made me think that way too many people are using way too much herb, especially because today’s cultivars are four times stronger than they were thirty years ago. A reasonable person would suspect that THC impairment is much more likely to cause collisions or strike a pedestrian than is someone driving 33 miles per hour on a straight, four-lane road. But facts, consistency and logic have been in short supply throughout the Scamdemic.
Why do police look the other way when multitudes drive high, or text, and penalize those who slightly exceed unreasonably low speed limits? Like much of what governments have done for the past three years, it makes no empirical. public health sense. But weed pacifies people and makes them easy to manipulate. (Though chronic use can also make some, like the teen that shot up the Texas school, psychotic and violent). And because licensing and taxing marijuana enables governments to derive dollars, it’s deemed good.
Throughout the Scamdemic, governments imposed absurd, oppressive restrictions on human activity and mandated experimental, unneeded, unhelpful and injurious shots, ostensibly to save lives. Yet, during that period, no public health official shown on the news said anything about eating better, exercising, or going outside. Nor were you told that new era super-marijuana might be bad for you. Such opprobrium was reserved for ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
The Corona response starkly revealed how phony, illegitimate, and destructive our government has become. As they often do, federal, state and local governments made poor policy to benefit politically favored groups. The Covid overreaction caused the biggest, worst wealth transfer in history. Further, by spending $11 trillion on measures that didn’t help and did cause tremendous harm, the government—including both Trump and Biden and a bipartisan Congress—devalued savings and purchasing power by 17 percent and thus, significantly, permanently impoverished working people. America has a lower percentage of homeowners than ever.
Nonetheless, with the weather warming, one sees many American parents putting their kids in the car and driving them to DC. By making this implicitly righteous and wholesome pilgrimage to the secular Holy Land, they’ll pay tribute to a Leviathan that has abused them badly during the past three years. With patriotism built on such symbols as a wind-rippled red, white and blue flag, marble memorials, a national anthem, various ceremonies and much indoctrination, they still naively see the United States government as honest and honorable.
Typically, government dysfunction and corruption have occurred behind the scenes. The effects of these failings have usually been sufficiently diffuse, and daily life was challenging enough, that such chicanery went unnoticed. But given American governments’ open, audacious dishonesty and crassly abusive actions during the past three years—after all of the propaganda, censorship, blatantly unconstitutional and life-wrecking lockdowns, closures, restrictions and mandates—trust is irretrievably broken for anyone who has paid attention. Any residual American reverence for their government and their capital is delusional and child-like.
Reposted from the author’s Substack