Where do we go from here?
An inflection point has passed. The ratchet has ratcheted. The frogs’ hindlimbs have boiled off and they’re on a plate. We need to use our remaining forelimbs to swim our warmed torsos out of the pot before our pulse is gone and our head is eaten.
"I work remotely," some say. That hasn’t stopped many companies from mandating anyway. And this is just the beginning. Unless "remotely" means a lily pad in the woods.
"I’ll just find another job or become a contractor," some say. There’s no escaping this. France already has mandates at grocery stores; New York, in restaurants. There’s no middle ground. You either live in the real woods in the middle of nowhere and catch fish, or you’re firmly jacked into The Mandate Matrix.
"We’ll write blistering blog posts, record passionate podcasts, type titillating tweets, and convince others," some say. You’re in an echo chamber if you think that’s doing much. Large protests in France, Italy, and New York have accomplished little. The majority is against you and they think they have science and ethics on their side. And they’re in a vindictive mood because they think your flaccid amphibian torso is somehow killing Grandma.
"We’ll vote good people in," some say. Assuming for the sake of argument that elections are fair (ribbit!), tyranny will continue to metastasize between these biannual and quadrennial bursts of hope. You know, the ones that, in the best cases, have just slightly reduced the rate of growth of government.
"We’ll protest the capitols," some say. Welcome to solitary confinement for the heinous crime of knocking over that Federal Chair that no one was sitting in (and that you paid for), Monsieur Froggo.
"Americans have a lot of guns," some say. That’s the government’s dream of a scrumptious appetizer before the frog legs. They want domestic terrorism to be real so that they can accelerate their tyranny.
"We’ll get like-minded people together and buy some land in Idaho and build a farm and barter," some say. And when you need that C-section, or you get necrotizing fasciitis from your infected goats, you’ll scream for a hospital real quick. A hospital that will have mandates, even if those in Idaho might be the last to enforce it. Agrarianism is romantic but difficult, and most of us want modern society, rightly.
"We’ll sue them," some say. The constitution has been better than anything else governments have concocted, but can you seriously look at the last 150 years or so, and say that The Law and The Constitution worked? Just think about the size of government and all that it’s doing. Is it really worth your time and fortune to use lawsuits to slightly delay the inevitable?
"We’ll file for exemptions," some say. The loopholes will dwindle soon enough. Frog, do you not see your hindlimbs on that plate over there? Are you so naïve that you can’t see the water reaching a rolling boil, right there, over your shoulder?
The most pernicious political propaganda is the general omission of the dangers and insatiable lust for power of large governments. Humanity ran as close to experiments as possible in the 20th century: West vs. East Germany, and South vs. North Korea. The conclusion is clear. There is a high correlation between the size of government and the risk of tyranny (not to mention, poverty). It’s literally visible today on a satellite map of the Korean peninsula at night. Yet, here we are, facing down tyranny and socialism is still cool to talk about. Mao Zedong in China and Uncle Joe Stalin in the Soviet Union killed many more than Hitler, yet that’s rarely mentioned. With Hitler, we hear about the anti-semitism, but not that Nazi stands for National Socialism. There is a conflict of interest in the government setting school curricula. Socialism won, globally.
It’s time to stop being naïve. America – and the world – have become socialist and governments want more frog legs, frog torsos, and frog heads. It’s time to admit that idealistic constitutional protections are done. They had a good run and America was a beacon for freedom and made the world prosperous, but we’ve entered the realm of government arbitrariness. There will be beacons in the future, but it’s time to talk about how to survive the coming largely global tyranny: black markets.
When most think of black markets, they think of drugs and violence. That is one type of black market. But in a world of tyrannical government, there’s another type of black market: average people trying to do non-violent, average things to live their life despite government overreach. Black markets are how North Koreans buy enough food. In the Soviet Union, if you weren’t part of the elite, you had to participate in the black market if you wanted to have a decent life. They really should be called white markets. It’s the government that’s forcing the darkness upon us.
Black markets are uncomfortable to most currently comfortable people. We’re used to buying everything in our underwear on Amazon and getting it delivered to our door the next day. In contrast, the black market involves risk, scheming, worrying, lying, unpredictable product quality, and potential prison time, or worse.
Lying seems to be the main hang-up for idealistic people. In general, lying is wrong, but we have to get past this Kantian universalism, and deal with the unfortunately increasing complexity of reality that government is imposing on us. Lies may be justified when you are unreasonably wronged in the first place, as in the case of the mandates. If you open your house door, and government goons say that your wife is under arrest for a victimless crime, they ask if she is home, and your wife is hiding in the attic, you lie (Kant be damned).
So what’s the answer? Cryptocurrency? I might have a frog NFT to sell you, but be wary. Every time you want to use cryptocurrencies, you essentially have to ask permission from a majority who just happen to be benevolent now. You don’t "own" anything. You own a ticket to ask a group of people whether it’s okay to change some numbers on a ledger that they manage. It’s not like cash or gold that can be individually owned and transferred. You need electricity, complex technology, on-ramps and off-ramps with whatever money your job might be giving you, and governments that control key chokepoints on the internet stack that cryptocurrencies use, if not the code of those currencies themselves at some point.
Use cryptocurrencies if you’d like, but this goes much deeper. This sort of black market is all about human connections, relationships, and trust. Whether you’re dealing with your Booster Mandate QR Code dealer with cryptocurrency, cash, silver, or goat milk, that all doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether you trust him or her and whether they trust you.
There won’t be any techno-utopian solution. Creating a cell of freedom that you trust isn’t as simple as joining some website. You can’t just start asking for illegal things because people will either think you’re a cop, or if you’ve entered something so easily, you’re likely in a honey pot.
When possible, avoid doing anything incriminating through computers (including phones). If it’s not already here, it’s not far-fetched to imagine governments simply key-logging and screenshotting all your activity and bypassing any clever technological security you think you might be employing. If you’re meeting to discuss something that’s illegal, agree to both leave your phones at home or in the car. If you can’t immediately meet with someone and you need to talk to them over the internet, don’t use text messages or a phone call. Instead, use the best available technology you’re aware of, but still talk in code. This all sounds crazy, and it’s unlikely any one of us is being directly surveilled (yet), but it’s not far-fetched to think that everything is being recorded and put into some Utah data center. If you’re unlucky to ever lock the Eye of Sauron, they might just be able to perform a database search for everything you’ve ever done with or near your phone or computer.
Increasingly, you’re going to need to ask for help, and for a friend that knows a friend that can get you a thing. Get over your hang up about ideals of freedom. They’re dead, for now, although truth generally wins in the long term. Start building your circle, organizing events, and getting in touch with ancestral intuitions and gut feelings to evaluate whether you can trust someone.
Remember that people running the black market are professionals of deception. This is good because that’s what’s needed for you to get your QR code. They’ve done all the hard work of finding a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist that can get you into the actual databases that you’ll ultimately need to get into. Those fake cards won’t last long. However, these hives of deception are also bad because it’s difficult to figure out who’s a cop. Even people you’ve known for years can be turned. Always talk coyly, in code and allusions.
Be careful out there. Your tasty frog head depends on it.