Covid and me, but enough about Covid

Some overly earnest Marin ditz went on Forum to warn Krasny and the whole crew (failspawn represent) that, while the Rona lockdowns may be provoking mental health problems in our children and suicide and so forth and so on, “they will never be able to live with themselves,” I think it was, with the knowledge that they may have killed their family elders because they just had to return prematurely to their brick-and-mortar schools. I don’t know for a fact that she was from Marin, but she was totally from Marin, in the same way that little Sierra will definitely feel intense permanent guilt for the statistical possibility that she will hypothetically kill Grandma at a time when the entire general public is also liable to accidentally kill Grandma if we insist on being so selfish as to send her back to a socially engaging institutional environment that has historically kept her from being acutely suicidal on a daily basis.

This comment offers much too consider,,, about Hellth. Our children will, by that scold’s reckoning, definitively and inexorably feel lifelong guilt for harm that they will subjunctively cause by a combination of unknowable, uncontrollable variables and random chance. We need to spare them this inevitable possible psychic harm for their inevitable possible reckless child and adolescent behaviors.

Forum is a forum for many, not just one, to air their morning Perspectives. Mine is that Michael Krasny was too unbiased before that piece of work and would have done better, civically if not conversationally, to cut her off midsentence and change the subject. This is why I have parasocial relationships with the characters who are actually at the controls. Michael State gets paid to monitor his one o’clock rebroadcast of Shitty Arts and Lectures. Am I dropping a check in that collection plate? Not as long as Amazon is! Sure, there’s value in respecting other people’s opinions, in listening respectfully and all that shit, but these are curated conversations, discreetly but to good effects knowable only to those who go to the back of the house to watch the sausage being made in real time. They have producers at the phones to screen out (or, in Rush Limbaugh’s case, screen in) the real nutter butters and abrasives. The producers must have thought that woman had a reasonable Perspective.

The guilt she was promising our troubled young for not hermetically sealing themselves off from the world is conditioned. It’s the result of neurotic, obsessively micromanaging adult authority figures putting chronic pressure on the children in their lives to conform to unreasonable strictures. This pressure commonly crosses the threshold of emotional abuse. Telling children that they’re risking their grandparents’ lives by visiting friends is alarming and distressing. Adults should have an utterly compelling, easily explained reason to dare say such a thing to a child, or even about a child. Otherwise they would never get over the guilt of having distressed the least of these. Right? I heard it on me State Radio.

Different State, alas. Good morning, it’s whine o’clock.

It’s a Brahmin Thing. Why else would I listen to it? That’s quite a way to disappoint Mom and Dad. Traditionally, we pulled it off by not getting into Swarthmore and having to settle for a safety school, maybe one of the Claremonts. These days we’re doing it by killing Grandma. They always wanted us to stay in school. Now they need us to stay out of school. It seems like a reach to accuse us of such things, even as seniors, not mere freshmen.

Oh Lord I’m using words in sentences again, and I’m using them wrong. We’ve been over it before. There is, in fact, an appropriate way to use “reach” and “safety” in a sentence. That sentence is this: “It would have been a good idea for Robert Sanchez to reach for the emergency brake in the interest of passenger and crew safety.” Please. Do you imagine for a second that any of these assholes send their children to good schools? I don’t hear about them filling out applications for Ryerson or Trinity Western!

*Terminal Robert Dziekanski Voice* Must you always write these stories for the shock value? Hey, these are morbid cultural contexts, but they’re about chains of causation that can be traced. They are not prophecies of our young surely experiencing lifelong guilt and grief for possibly theoretically killing their elders with the plague. They’re manslaughter stories, not stories of some poor harried kid getting blamed for a death that may or may not have occurred and may or may not have been the poor young person’s fault. Like, maybe I’ll write some Stephanie Lazarus-series noir, or maybe I’ll write some stories about a cop feeling sad for being on the same bus as a guy who got shot that night.

Fuck. I just heard her on the rebroadcast. Ditz was from Oakland. “No child will ever get over the trauma of knowing that they….” possibly were responsible for possible deaths in their families. As I said above, it’s conditioned guilt. It assumes the most tragic possible means to the worst possible end, in this case in the confidently predicted subjunctve likely fact that the kids will possibly kill their statistically future dead family elders.

“I know it’s hard….” Yeah, social deprivation to the point of suicidality? You don’t say! That sounds like it might be a hardship! It sounds like something a society might want to limit by reintegrating children and adolescents with their peers! We have a growing body of evidence showing pervasive, acute, severe mental illness arising in minors during prolonged social isolation, in a correlation too strong for the isolation not to be causative–let’s be blunt: this is where common sense becomes science–but we can’t send the kids back to school, because if we let them interact with classmates they will statistically murder their grandparents and then feel bad about it.

Most Americans will agree that suicidality is usually a sign of an unsound mind. Many will say it always is. Most of the same Americans will also insist that suicide is a choice. It’s a choice made of free will with an unsound mind. This is horseshit normcore that persists mainly because it goes unchallenged. If the only reason people want to kill themselves is because they’re crazy, it’s illogical to expect them to mindset their own way back to mental health. This isn’t just a case of the down in the dumps. Come the fuck on. If we’re barring the door against assisted suicide for the lucid terminally ill, we’re out of our own minds to expect the acutely agitated to muster the clarity of mind to step back from the ledge as a matter of mindset discipline. We’ve already established that they’re incapable of exercising personal responsibility because they’re insane. Yes, the suicidal should have a better mindset and should try to cultivate one, but they fucking can’t. That’s why they’re suicidal. Sweet Christ on the Cross.

Ah, right, that’s capital punishment. That’s the good stuff we support, as a Christian Nation, doing to our prisoners what the Romans did to Jesus. This isn’t just an American problem; Constantine was pretty pre-American, a guy who would have been all like, dafuq is America, could you cut out the prophetic shit for five minutes. Christian support for the death penalty is an embarrassing example of what happens when a movement of oppressed imperial subjects is elevated into the religion of the imperial oppressors. Hence the paradox of functionally post-Christian countries in Europe abolishing the death penalty, recognizing that if it was a bad thing to do to Jesus it’s plainly a bad thing to do, while the world’s leading extant empire extols executions as godly, as an empire would if it had originally been confederated from colonies whose economies revolved around the discipline of chattel slaves with extra ad hoc Stations of the Cross.

What other passably mainstream strains of political thot blessed this new country? This part’s fun, too. The two other competing strains that stand out are crooks who had goons squat on waterfalls until they could have piss-poor workmen build factories (lately fictionalized for celebration in song) and tyrannical religious busybodies.

All we have to do to build ourselves a nightmare society is pick out some of the worst aspects of each of these models from the buffet of American civics. That there’s a plateful. It does something to explain why we have a woman calling in to a radio show all bent out of shape about how children are bringing upon themselves a lifetime of earthly damnation upon themselves for accidentally infecting their elders with a deadly contagion–as Yaakov Smirnoff says, conscience examines YOU!–in a country with some of the world’s most lavishly funded, overstaffed, ill-disciplined police forces and governments catering to heinous corporate shakedowns.

With any self-reflection as a society we’d be breathing down the necks of our prison, social services, and regulatory agencies to do absolutely everything in their power to stop the spread with voluntary measures individuals would be eager to take, like better occupational and residential conditions, and only THEN trying to figure out how much life-threatening emotional distress our children should sustain to keep their relatives alive. The positive test rates at San Quentin were through the fucking roof. What did we expect, though? Our prisons are crowded and unsanitary. They provide woefully deficient healthcare. No shit they’re incubators.

Empire always comes home, unless it crashes for the night with its mistress in El Cerrito.

These aren’t the only reasons why we’re blaming children for individually infecting and killing their families. To understand it, we must understand the culturing of narcissism via the self-esteem movement and its offshoots. Spare the lasch, spoil the mind. YOU are special. YOU can do anything. YOU can change the world. /Yaakov Smirnoff Voice/ In Post-Soviet America, anyone can do YOU!

Killing Granny would make for quite a change, huh.

What’s odd about this fixation on the child self in these circumstances is that the rest of the country is trying to kill her, too. Rona wants the Honored Citizenry dead. We are all its vessels; it, our master. Junior isn’t the only suspect in this case. There are other actors, JonBenet. Sweet baby girl there are other actors.

Many are grown-ups.

I ain’t sayin they act the part. Ever looked at our governments?

Grown-ass American adults are clueless about first-mover advantages and disadvantages. The children of overbearing helicopter parents are hopeless to reeducate themselves. The luckier ones may start the process in earnest sometime in adolescence; the unlucky never do. Not all fruit of the flying tiger can successfully launch.

The first-mover advantage for neurotics trying to protect their sick or, worse, hypochondriac loved ones is modest to nonexistent. Affluent families with living space to spare are detectably endangered by infected visitors; poor families living in crowded congregate homes are so endangered by immunocompromised working adults that secondhand exposure to school transmission is a distraction from the real threats. There are strong negative feedbacks at play in both cases, too: the affluent can afford better, prompter medical care than the poor can hope to get for free, while poor children enjoy potentially lifesaving health benefits, for themselves and others, from free school meals.

Did I ever mention that Americans’ holistic thinking is shit?

Imaginary first-mover advantages in a cultural milieu of generalized communal narcissism explain many of the stupidest things about mainstream bougie America. There is no perceptible first-mover advantage in the real world to buying an electric car: it’ll be more expensive and suffer from glitches that will be worked out in later, more affordable models. The main first-mover advantages to taking the train instead of driving are less crowded, possibly less delayed trains and avoiding parking and traffic in crowded neighborhoods. A minor one is a greater proportional effect on ridership and farebox revenue, assuming the planning and funding bodies weight these metrics heavily enough for them to make an appreciable difference. Saving the world by not driving is not a first-mover advantage. Get the fuck outta here. It may be helpful for an individual to get into the habit of using transit or biking or walking or whatever, but tens of thousands of your neighbors will be driving over the hill to Tahoe once the storms clear for a day or two regardless of your decision to /New Day Brian Watt Voice/ stop miss riding on BART and get your approval-seeking East Bay ass on BARTTTT. Take the kids out for a day trip. Shit, man; main thing they’re fucking up are the headways. It’s still a sweet-ass ride.

This is how carbon offsets were ever able to find a market. It takes an awfully selective self-esteem to believe that flying to Bali or Cozumel or whatever (it isn’t JUST Americans, mate) does not change the world for the worse but paying a third party to pay a fourth party to pay a fifth to not let a sixth poach a jungle for timber and also the palm oil we need for our “carbon-neutral” biodiesel or whatever feed stock we need for “carbon-neutral” jet fuel will save the world, one individual act of powerfully world-changing virtue at a time.

For the record, I’m still against dawn charters to Cilacap, but hoo boy is there some Anglosphere imperial proxy violence behind the penal archipelago of Nusakambangan, and the individual voter has a rather piss-ass first-mover advantage voting for Gough Whitlam. Her Majesty votes too, you see, through Her Security Services. #StillWithHer. Okay, #NotInScotland, ya dense cunt.

So, yeah, United Fruit–I mean, Chiquita! Ole!–Shit, Sven, they sell that in Hibbing, too, don’tcha know, and only da wurst grocers ever barred da Finns from da store–is a company worth not patronizing, same as whatever we’re calling Standard Oil these days, but your high virtue-signaling is not why. My understanding about my great-grandparents in East Kansas is that this isn’t why they kept gardens. Hey, Swanson, ya need some tomatoes? Well now what’s that got to do with the immorality of driving to the supermarket in Topeka? Can’t see why you’d be looking to save anything but the gas, or maybe your tires, but yours always have more tread than ours.

Shucks. None of this makes any sense.

It warps people’s mind to constantly tell them that they have the power as individuals to change the world. One way or another, it goes to their heads. Some become crudely grandiose. Others turn neurotic, anxious, and self-loathing, convinced that they’ll never measure up to expectations.

This is why the same communities that vomit forth so many condescending know-it-all collegiate (but rarely collegial!) professionals had full-blown epidemics of mental illness on the eve of the shutdowns, as they started their crash course in performative social isolation. It’s rough on everybody exposed to it, but it has an especially powerful warping effect on the young, who are particularly impressionable and dependent on older authority figures for their prosperity, if not their survival.

*****

Believe it. It’s bad. A few years ago my youth minister friend in Maryland met one-on-one with the teens he was mentoring in Howard County and asked them, entirely open-ended, if they thought there was anything they thought they weren’t discussing in their classes and needed to start incorporating. Every one of them immediately said mental health. These kids were living deep enough in the liminal geography between the relative normality of Baltimore and the overpowering abnormality of Washington to have to process additional unwelcome weirdness, including constant ambient exposure to NSA employees, but the pressure to excel was nothing that would have been out of place in Greenwich or Palo Alto.

The subordinate naturally read their superiors better than their superiors read them. This is germane to the downmarket strata of the Trump coalition, among other things the overbearing parents of my friend’s teen mentees are disinclined to consider. I’d say this less confidently if he’d had these conversations in Loudoun or Prince William or some shit of that nature, still not exactly good but on the other hand not situations indicating that the rest of the capital metroplex must immediately be culturally partitioned into Baltimore and the residually Southern parts of Alexandria. There’s something bad happening out past the Patapsco, hun. What the hell’s going on there, hun.

It’s White People, Randol, and I’m afraid that includes PG. How’s that for insight?

You think I’m just shitposting. Huge swathes of Metropolitan Washington (we already have a DMV here in California, tyvm, and the one in Ukiah isn’t half bad) are overloaded with courtiers. Tom Fucking Friedman is basically a courtier for God knows whom above him, the spooks who own the families who own the newspapers or whatever. Jeff Bezos is not in fact a nerd, but he’s some kind of CIA asset; it came in as a help when he decided to buy the Langley Ledger.

The gist of it is, nobody around there below the top stratum, the one that can just be glimpsed from down here on a clear day, lives with anything like freedom of thought. The adults all have to censor any politically incorrect thoughts they harbor. Fuck, Nancy Pelosi toes the same dogshit stupid line because it helps her grift the PMC normies. It’s The Prosperity Gospel, by Lin-Manuel Miranda. They all act like if they stop believing and parroting the unhinged prevailing community understanding of how the world works the world will stop turning and they’ll float away into the void.

Shit, I dunno, maybe you could drop out and get mom and dad to cash your disappointing ass out to Havre de Grace. It’s cheaper than GMU!

As we discussed above, Baltimore is a sphere of its own, but its cultural hinterlands are strangely delineated, like they’ve been gerrymandered: York County is part of Baltimore, but they have to share their airport with Washington. Dredge that in a bowl of Old Bay seasoning and smoke it. As cities go, though, Baltimore is pretty normal. It has its horseshit gentrification, but not to an impressive extreme. It’s a fractal of real communities, rooted in purpose and place, not a summoning swamp for the spirit orbs of a continent’s worth of ghouls.

It’s similar to the Virginian parts of NoVa that way. There’s somewhat less deranged insularity in the politically integrated parts of NoVa, like outer Loudoun, because they’re settled by newcomers with somewhat stronger ties to the real world back home. They’re less of a scrum of social climbers desperate not to alienate some two-bit authority figure or snitch and lose their meal ticket.

As Colby Cosh would say, that’s the part of Toronto that works for a living. It’s a geographical and cultural fringe, fading bit by bit from the imperial center into the near perpihery. The shift is starker to the northeast, where the imperial blob smears up against Baltimore and is brought to a definitive stop. That’s what happens around a city with a working deepwater port, a working railhead, and a working base of heavy industry. There are naturally more people around who can explain what the hell their jobs are. This has salutary effects.

Washington is exactly the deracinated seat of imperial power where officials would issue plague decrees and then get upset with the subjects in public for disobeying them. DC is connected in a sort of node-and-synapse network to an archipelago of equivalently deracinated and sheltered outposts of the imperial center. Pete Buttigieg cares more about K Street than the poor neighborhoods of South Bend. The Beltway teems with mandarins who are aware of San Francisco and Manhattan but clueless about Winchester and the Eastern Shore.

The official shit-flipping at Trump for butting into Covid policy and making a mess of it was never really about competence or reverence for science; it was a retaliatory attack on the bridge-and-tunnel oaf for one-upping the career credentialed on their own turf. It was frankly harmless to blather nonsense about using orthoscopic probes to blast UV light up everyone’s blood vessels when the supreme priest of American medicine orchestrated a campaign of lies about the efficacy of masks and then admitted on the record to lying about herd immunity thresholds to manipulate public opinion on vaccines.

It isn’t Trump’s fans who set the gold standard for medical gullibility here. They didn’t take his bullshit about UV blood disinfection seriously. They were aware that at least some of his public health commentary was entertainment, not advice. They also recognized that he was surrounded by hostile liars engaging him in a pissing match over their superior credentials. They could see through Anthony Fauci, the imperious figurehead who lied about masks through a weeks-long Chernobyl moment provoked by a looming failure of the supply chain (the most charitable explanation) and later tried to play it cute by reassuring America’s children that an imaginary out-of-shape fat old guy was immune to Covid-19. Trump didn’t demand reverence in the midst of his worst performances.

*****

The skeleton key to this mess isn’t reason versus superstition. It’s obedient fealty to credentialed authority figures versus resentment and defiance.

It goes back to the Puritans and the Cavaliers. Two of the major factions still battling for the soul of America were well defined and understood in Britain at the time of first colonial settlement in North America. In parallel with the agitation of the latter-day Cavaliers–a name we might say fits a bit too squarely in the horse’s mouth–and often in tandem with it is a very old-school peasant revolt, in this case against the clerisy. Proles aren’t crazy about the petty aristocratic aims of the provincial bourgeois elements leading the revolt against the Covid restrictions, but the booj are reliable allies in this fight.

An emotionally untethered, grandstanding provincial businesswoman like Lauren Boebert would have less public trust and confidence back home if she weren’t lashing out at enemies she and her poorer, less propertied, less capitalized neighbors have in common. The antics of showboats in small business have limited currency in the provinces. Word gets around if the owners do wrong by their help, and many do. When Beltway swamp critters with terminal degrees start yelling at them for not following doctors’ orders, the coalition alignments shift into something closer to what Our President (Nothing But Respect) calls the rural versus ural.

This shit is about motives, not facts. It’s about process, not outcome. Few antimask zealots would object to sneezing into an elbow as a courtesy to others. Yeah, you cover your fucking mouth when you sneeze or cough. No shit. Don’t be an asshole. The core reason why antimask woowoo has a following is that it’s a dramatic adverse reaction to imperious authority figures who never actually gave a damn about them in the first place. The American medical system is a disaster zone. The provincial know it’s bad. Opposition to the ACA is especially rational and coherent in states whose governments refused to expand Medicaid: another unfunded mandate with burdensome paperwork, thrust down from on high by hostile gods.

There’s simply no getting a critical mass of voters to believe that the same governments crookedly allowing medicine to degenerate into a racketeering cartel Shanghaiing patients and their families into debt bondage at random for quack treatments and drylabbed chart printouts, causing countless deaths and ruining countless surviving victims, is suddenly consumed with deep concern about the wellbeing of ordinary Americans in the face of a new plague. They didn’t give a shit about Vioxx or opioids or the extreme occupational stresses and bad medical care driving workaday Americans to use painkillers or Flint or the tobacco industry’s deadly fraud, but put rich city slickers at risk of a respiratory disease they’re probably healthy enough to weather because other rich city slickers won’t stop traveling overseas to disease hot spots, and suddenly everybody needs to do their part to stop the spread. Suddenly everybody needs to bear the pain. The same city slickers won’t give up their country houses–their refuges–or their on-demand delivery services, but they’re happy to bar the restaurant door to country folk who’ve always done their own grocery shopping, leaving the owners and employees to twist in the wind.

*****

Normie centrists are hopeless to get into the heads of their Rona truther enemies because they’re smugly clueless about the cultural context actually driving the shrillest opposition to their cherished Science. The shutdown orders are a triggering event for the provincial right wing, not a self-contained set of grievances. The metropolitan neoliberal center has, in fact, looted and pillaged many of their communities for profit. The natives have reasons to be up in arms.

These grievances are not secrets. The town goes to hell when they shut the mill down. Yank a tenth or a quarter of the local jobs, including many of the best-paid, and no shit there’s trouble. Occupational conditions and prospects going to hell do much to explain the severity of the opioid epidemic, property and violent crime, housing precarity and homelessness, hunger, and infrastructural decrepitude out in the provinces. In thousands of American communities one factory, one mine, or a cluster of facilitites in a specific industry were the socioeconomic linchpins. Removing them predictably caused ruin.

The provincial dispossessed are in no mood to forgive and forget. Why would they? They’re able to read the ruling class in the imperial center better than their rulers can read them, and they know imperial hostility when they see it. They’ve watched the credentialed centrist wrecking crew stand back and point at them and laugh and sneer while their world, already smaller and more stifling than anything the masters and administrators of this empire can imagine suffering in their own lives, comes crashing down.

Elite demagogues and grifters exploit precarious provincials. Absolute wackjobs like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene move in to bear their standard. What else did the political establishment expect? It refused to represent ordinary Americans; it was too busy robbing them blind. Power abhors a vacuum. They shouldn’t be so whiny about unsavories seizing territory they abandoned in a spirit of open disgust.

They can’t help it, though. They’re too privileged.

*****

The left behind, as they’re known in the Christian press, expect nothng good for themselves from that distant puritanical overclass. This is true across the board: working-class normies, combative local notable Cavaliers pursuing beefs with rival Puritan elites for social control (again, Boebert is a restaurateur), cynical System D hustlers, dropouts of all sorts, the schizoid elements of the welfare underclass. Many such cases!

What’s weirder to them is the apparent extent of the Brahmins’ self-destructiveness on account of Covid. Scandals that find hypocritical officials retiring from their daily health scoldings to mask-free sit-down dinners at fancy restaurants or departure areas for forbidden flights en route to forbidden reunions with their kin–in meatspace, not the eerie ether–are obnoxious but relatable. They show officials to be humanly shitty. Michael Moore lied about not owning stocks, Al Gore flies between his gigantic mansions on private jets, Bill Bennett is a degenerate high-roller, J. Denny Dundiddly, which is both a full sentence and a title of dishonor: These guys are disreputable, but they aren’t WEIRD. They indulge in comprehensible human vices, not performative mental illnesses.

The horrors of the Republican Party today would be sitting ducks for a functioning left-wing party. The true base for the worst hard-right wackjobs is provincial upmarket, not hillbillies crawling around their travel trailers looking for loose change to pay for some heat. We like Uncle Bernie! The rural underclasses aren’t looking to cast their lot with a collection of moralizing hustlers and perverts, let alone with stuffy high church twits like William of Values. It’s a mischaracterization to blame Alabama’s white poor for elevating a mall-cruising piece of gentry trash to the state supreme court and then to the US Senate, or poor Illinoisans or Iowans for sending Coach to Congress. Much of the vote for these seedy characters is always local elites, people whose British counterparts certainly would certainly be above using a scrupulously heterosexual sport of rolling around on the floor and groping other young men as a program of hazing and grooming.

All the same, none of this perversion is a form of alienation from humanity. It’s of the flesh, not just the spirit. It’s nothing like the newly fashionable Brahmin gnosticism for hypochondriacs. They’re shut-ins because they are desperate to mortify the flesh to save it. This is why they have retreated into a reclusive domestic life revolving around contactless deliveries and computer-mediated interactions of pure spirit. They dare not fuck. They dare not even hug.

It does, in fact, rhyme. Stay home if you sicke; come over if you thicke. People out in the provinces notice that postmodern sexual dysfunction is more advanced in the hip cities than it is downhome. The idea of being monogamous because an affair will transmit a deadly respiratory virus to multiple third parties doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense to them as medical advice. They see it as another manifestation of cosmopolitan neurosis. The taint of ritual impurity could come from sex outside one’s pod, or it could come from kids playing outside their pods, or it could come from visiting friends and family in the normal course of normal, healthy relationships, again outside the pod.

No, if I’d meant friends with benefits, I wouldn’t have said family. We don’t use our acronyms the same way here in Bar Harbor, pal. We protect each other against stranger danger by staying home.

We might say that reclusive neurosis is the new Maine Thing for the smart set. People in the rest of the country peer into the SuperZIPs and feel uneasy at how the adults are behaving and how they’e raising their kids. Another cohort of dysfunctional overachievers is about to drop, looking to save the world but really to rule it, or at least to get rich trying. The kids are gonna turn out like shit if they keep being warned that they’ll kill their grandparents with a hug and have to interact with all but members of their own households over screens. It won’t do them any good to live life by videoconference. Big crops of sexually clueless and dysfunctional porn addicts are cumming. Yeah, breeders in American Dork–goodness, I mean American Fork–watch porn, too, because somebody around there has to be driving the Utard consumption stats through the roof, but there’s no reason a person who reads the sports section of the Deseret News every day can’t play some pickup hoops.

*****

The truly fatal mistake the cosmopolitan health scolds make is to meddle yet again, and more disruptively than ever within living memory, in the family lives of people who never wanted a thing to do with their strictures. The feeling in the imperial periphery is that it’s okay for the elites to fuck their own children up with terrible upbringings but they had better not mess with kids whose parents are trying to raise them right and teach them some social skills.

The grievance that the family is under attack is valid. The specifics can be pretty muddleheaded. The LGBT righs movement is at most an oblique attack on the family by way of an important assertion of individual rights against mob attacks and busybodies. Sex education in general, e.g., teaching adolescents about proper condom use and how the hell adult bodies work, is certainly not: venereal disease and the accidental bearing of unsupportable children make family life worse, not better.

These particulars serve as distractions from the very real economic attacks on the family from without. Everybody who’s upset with liberals for corrupting their children with instruction in fornication and godlessness agrees that children are expensive and that it’s a problem. The potential for misdirection is huge, and the right wing takes full cynical advantage of it. This doesn’t negate the proven fact that avowedly center-left Democrats in the neoliberal wrecking crew have spent the last several decades seeing to it that college is a prohibitively expensive necessity for employment. It doesn’t negate what they’ve done to the quality of medical care or what they’ve done to turn life into a fruitless bureaucratic maze.

Family can survive these onslaughts. Individual members may perish, life expectancies may plummet, but a cohesive family may yet muddle through and come out on the other side into God knows what but at least into something. This probably sounds like some kind of Guideposts-ass Chestertonian primer, but it’s absolutely true. The dispersion of my own family all over the country has had disruptive effects on me. It’s given me reason to travel and see some glorious places I would otherwise miss, so I’m not trying to call whine-one-one here, but the socioeconomically disruptive effects of having a dispersed family are worth keeping in mind.

Telling total strangers to uproot themselves and move to the city because there are no jobs left at home–gee, wonder who took them?–is heartless. For the upper and upper middle classes, the uprooting may be a traditional intramural hazing ritual, bad news but very local news. When they put the same pressure on outside communities they’ve dispossessed for profit, it’s an act of war. Trashing the economy trashes the family, and trashing the family trashes the economy. The mutual feedbacks are plain as day. Any fool can see them.

It raises questions about why the elite mainstream is hellbent on doing things that weaken families, communities, and local economies. It makes their antinatalism sound suspect: they’re idiots to neurotically avoid having chidlren of their own, but why in all hell do they have a problem with US for having children?

The precedents for the same elites conspiring to destroy poor and middling communities are countless. It’s perfectly reasonable to suspect that any given campaign they’re running in neighborhoods not at parity with their own is an outside attack. It’s exactly what they always do.

Do they possibly have good reasons for wanting the children of their socioeconomic inferiors to grow up without interacting with loved ones in the flesh? This lockdown shit has been going on for almost a year, with no projected end date. The US government has a long history of chemical and biological experimentation on unwitting citizens. It has a long history of poisoning and killing citizens with chemical and radiological materials, in ways that routinely involved immunosuppression.

Out on the streets and Facebook, the new town square, conspiracy theories circulate about the Rona being programmed with a kill switch that the government will flip once it’s achieved the cull quota. To middle-class normies it sounds batshit crazy, but if it’s science fiction, it isn’t fictional by much. The capacity of the gain-of-function creeps at Fort Detrick to breed strengthened and attenuated strains, in effect contagions and wild vaccines, is without a fucking doubt there. Anthony Fauci is by his own shameless admission a serial liar. Americans who’ve been on the wrong side of American medicine are right to distrust that asshole. We all should. Top infectious disease expert my fat white college-educated ass.

If family is all we have, we should visit our families. If friends are all we have, we should visit our friends. Should these visits be physical? Sure. Why not. The rest of the community is breathing the plague on us, too, forcing “us” to hole up inside like we’re in the path of a hurricane. Should these visits be sexual? It depends on how many of you are Mainers.

Geez, that was gross, Terry. I mean, Jerry, or Larry. For real, though. Every fractal of this thing is broken. It’s up to each of us to repair our little pieces of it. We can start by not traumatizing our children with tall tales about how they’re murdering their grandparents. No, you’re just a kid, not Governor Cuomo.

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