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The Great Game of Let’s Pretend


Two nights ago was supposed to be a night of reckoning and truth. The intrepid and independent journalist Tucker Carlson was to grill Donald Trump, who skipped the GOP debates because he is already the hands-down frontrunner and doesn’t want anything to do with conventional politics. 

Tucker had spent the last three years on Fox correctly denouncing lockdowns, censorship, vaccine mandates, and medical segregation, plus the attacks on American liberty. He certainly knows what’s what. One might have supposed that the issues that tanked the Trump presidency and nearly the whole of American society and liberty would be front and center. Now was the time! 

Oddly, none of it came up in his interview with Trump. The interview answered none of our questions about why Trump did what he did, which not only wrecked the American economy but arguably lost him the election. Even if you think the election was stolen, it was only through the mail-in ballots that the Covid controls unleashed. Tucker drilled down into none of this. It was as if 2020 did not happen at all. 

The simultaneous GOP debate was even worse. Ron DeSantis started with a bang and spoke about lockdowns but the topic fizzled quickly. Following a flurry of pharma ads – indeed the entire event was funded by FDA-approved drug sales – the moderators briefly asked former vice president Mike Pence if he thought his administration bore any responsibility for learning loss because the Trump administration urged school closures. 

Pence – who spent 2020 running cover for Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx – wholly ignored the question and said something else. The topic was never revisited again. 

There was not one word said about tech censorship, the millions displaced and harmed by vaccine mandates, the dictatorial reach of the administrative state, the vast flurry of litigation against everything and everybody, the mass loss of trust in government and media, the foundational attack on the Bill of Rights, or the very real threat that it could happen again. 

On the same day as the debate, we already saw mask mandates being reimposed. But no one spoke about it. 

You surely see what’s going on here. The biggest issues in American life, which everyone experienced with vast tragedy and death all around, and about which everyone knows, are suddenly too sensitive to bring up. It’s something of which multitudes are aware but because all official institutions were involved, all official institutions are quiet about it. As a result, the great reckoning we need for renewal is farther off than ever. 

Meanwhile, we’ve got Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., out there on countless public interviews, as a presidential candidate, saying remarkable things like 1) the CIA in 1963 killed his uncle who was president, 2) the intelligence community works with Big Pharma on gain-of-function research to create and cure new killer viruses, 3) they germ-gamed the lockdowns since 2001, 4) the lockdowns of March 2020 was a coup d’etat against representative democracy, 5) right now we have industry-captured Deep-State agencies that are ruling America who have no regard whatsoever for the US Constitution or the idea of freedom. 

He says all of this without any shyness and with a great deal with knowledge and detail. He provides the receipts. Indeed, he has written several books on these themes. People listen and think “Oh that’s very interesting” and go hear him speak, without any presumption that he stands any chance to be President despite his wild popularity because, essentially, the fix is in. 

Biden has already been selected to get the nomination, which rather demonstrates RFK’s point. Meanwhile, I’ve never once heard any reporter or read any article that challenges him on any of the facts. It’s as if everyone knows that what he is saying is true but we cannot do anything about it anyway. So he is tolerated as a wayward eccentric from a noble lineage but best ignored if we know what’s good for us. 

It’s a very strange time in American political history, no doubt. We have one line of thinking sweeping through the population – which is based on mass incredulity and fury – and then another which is a veneer of normalcy that is slathered on top of our anger by all official institutions, which work hard to keep all these topics out of respectable conversations. Meanwhile, the whole of academic, mainstream social media, major mainstream media, and all of government seems to agree that all these obvious topics are too incendiary to be raised in polite company. 

So everyone in the top layer of this manufactured consent is glad to play along with this great game of pretend. Meanwhile, people are fully aware now that the intelligence community is deeply involved in areas of life we previously thought were independent. And we suspect this is true even of organizations and publications we once thought were more-or-less trustworthy. How else to explain their silence and/or lies on all the crucial issues of our time?

As regards all the institutions that locked down the population just a few years ago, nothing has changed. Sure, there are a few court decisions extant that said they went too far but those are all being challenged and await appeals to the Supreme Court. But while these grueling processes play themselves out, Google, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and all the rest of our formerly free social-media platforms are more brutally censorial than ever. YouTube even announced that it will tolerate no content that contradicts the World Health Organization, which only three years ago recommended to the entire world the lockdowns pioneered by the CCP in Wuhan. 

In the last few days, my own phone has blown up with people terrified of a new lockdown. They worry about leaving the country for fear of new travel restrictions. They worry about new vaccine mandates for their kids in school. They are thinking of moving to Florida and away from the big cities on the coasts where crime worsens by the day and skyscrapers are still mostly empty because workers won’t come back. And the #1 song in the world wails about the cruelty of this new world and how it is sending people to an early death. 

Who would have imagined that a collapse on this level would happen in plain sight and everyone would see it and yet the entirety of the culture planners would in effect impose a fatwa on anyone who speaks about it? 

Certainly I never imagined this scenario. Our whole lives we’ve sung about the “land of the free and the home of the brave” but here we are unfree and not brave. Because of facial-recognition technology, we cannot even hit the streets anymore. That was the real point of the post-January 6 crackdown: to serve as a lesson that if we resist in person, we will be recognized and dealt with severely. 

The silence about the truth is utterly deafening. It’s not just that we aren’t getting answers to our questions; we aren’t even getting questions outside a handful of venues including this one. 

Meanwhile, the highest hopes for saving the country from ruin are being placed in the hands of the very chief executive under whom all this began. And why? Because people believe that he was tricked and betrayed into greenlighting this wreckage even though he has never actually said anything like this. It’s the only hope people have. It’s a thin hope indeed. 

When I first read Orwell’s 1984, it seemed like a dark and implausible fantasy and warning. I never imagined that it was really a reductio ad absurdum of a reality that he saw unfolding before him in the rising totalitarianism of his time. It turns out that he was a prophet of just how corrupt a highly politicized society with overweening bureaucracy can be in practice when careerism trumps courage and the cash nexus spreads the coercive mindset throughout all the commanding heights of the social order. 

We are finding out now. The soundtrack of the end times is not Mahler or Wagner. It is gaming music with dance numbers on TikTok, with darkly distant echoes of a simple country singer in Virginia decrying the rich men north of Richmond. 

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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