(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.)
The other big problem I soon discovered with the Thank a Vet program is that it propagates the myth that our military keeps us free. Think back to our childhoods: riding our bikes down to the gravel pit with our Stevens Crackshot .22’s across our backs with a sling, then walking into the little grocery store afterwards to buy some penny candy and nobody calling the police or thinking anything of it. We rode on the floor in the back of the station wagon, or in the front passenger seat of the car and nobody cared if we hooked the seatbelt or not. My dad’s drivers license was just a photoless piece of paper that looked like a fishing license. And nobody confiscated Harry, my pocket knife with the 5” blade, when I boarded the plane to fly home for school after spending the summer with my Grandpa. If our military kept us free, then why weren’t they storming Washington DC and the State Capitols in all the intervening years since my childhood when so many of our rights were legislated away? We’ve lost literally thousands of our freedoms since 1776, and it’s gotten exponentially worse in the past 20 years. How can I buy the argument that our military keeps us free when it’s so crystal clear to me that they don’t?
The Thank a Vet campaign keeps most Americans distracted from having any real discussions about Freedom. Subconsciously people are thinking, “If our military is keeping us free, what’s to discuss? The boogeymen are out there somewhere, not here.” Meanwhile, in real life, our freedoms are rapidly vanishing every time our city councils and state legislatures meet and every time Congress convenes. Too many Americans can’t put two and two together because they’ve bought into the idea that the ONLY way we can lose our freedoms is by some external force that our military is keeping us safe from. Nothing could be further from the truth so we continue to lose our freedoms here at home at an exponentially rapidly increasing pace while we mindlessly stop every vet we see and thank him or her profusely for keeping us free. That propaganda campaign is working very well for individual vets, and I wish them well, but very badly for us as a nation.
The original inspiration for this article came from two posts in SurvivalBlog on 4/10/2020, the Friday before Easter. A comment by Tunnel Rabbit, and the Quote of the Day by Paul Joseph Watson.
Watson’s quote first: “The fact is that the modern implementation of the prison planet has far surpassed even Orwell’s 1984 and…the advertising techniques used to package the propaganda are a little more sophisticated on the surface. Yet…the age-old tactics of manipulation of fear and manufactured consensus are still being used to force humanity into accepting the terms of its own imprisonment…”
Mr. Watson misses one of the more salient points of propaganda/advertising. There is no force involved. You use emotion and push all the right buttons in the intended target’s cerebral cortex and when you get people acting emotionally, they are putty in your hands. You don’t have to force them to do anything, they will be begging for it. Use fear and people will be pleading for you to do whatever it takes to make them feel safe. Manufacture that fear, and you can get away with murder.
And saving the best for last, our hero Tunnel Rabbit commented: “Traveling extensively in my youth was an invaluable education. Returning to the U.S. was a bit of shock. Sometimes I think that I should have never returned as I really never fit in again. I still can’t relate to the narrow-minded and shallow thinking. Knowing the difference, I could see the direction of the U.S. and the world much clearer than others. I knew in the early 1980’s that Asia would become an economic power house because it was planned to happen that way. That Muslims would invade Europe, and the U.S. would become socialist. No one believed me. I see what is happening today as well. I know what it’s like to live in a tyrannical world…and how to adapt.”
Down In Bananaland
I mentioned earlier I had the experience of living under a military dictatorship in South America for a few years during my college days in the 1970s. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Later in life I was able to visit other third-world countries and eventually, in my 40s, quit my high-stress job and spend a year hitchhiking around the world. I had an experience very similar to Tunnel Rabbit’s where I think I learned as much about the United States as I did about the countries I traveled to. I avoided other travelers as much as possible and went native. When people inquired where I was from, I usually asked them to guess. I was dumbfounded that the U.S. was the largest English-speaking country in the world, yet nobody ever guessed that on their first or second guess! What the heck? It usually came up fourth or fifth. It finally occurred to me, duh, that Americans just don’t travel. Which explained a lot.
When Tunnel Rabbit said, “I knew in the early 80’s…” where the world and the U.S. were headed, it wasn’t because he had a crystal ball. After my own experience living under a military dictatorship in my early life, and then later visiting 40+ other countries and seeing how they lived and governed themselves firsthand, I had a whole lot more reference points than I did as an 18-year old, or than your average American today has. So did Tunnel Rabbit when he saw back in the 80’s where we were headed. No crystal ball, just observation and experience.
I returned home with the same feelings that Tunnel Rabbit mentioned, that many Americans are narrow minded and think pretty shallowly. I grew up in a military family, in a largely military neighborhood, believing with all my heart that America was the greatest thing since homemade cinnamon rolls, the last bastion of Freedom on earth, and the world’s big brother to come to any country’s aid if they ever needed help with a bully on the playground. As a young man in South America I had “Yankee go home!” yelled at me so many times I was sincerely puzzled. I got home and I’d see lists of countries ranked by freedom and the U.S. would be 23rd, 47th or 58th on the list. I couldn’t understand it. It must be liberals making these lists or something!
By the time I got home from my year of hitchhiking around the world, it was pretty clear that the rest of the world doesn’t have the high opinion of the United States that we think they have. And we’re not quite as significant to them as I thought we were. And we’re not the bastion of freedom and goodness Americans think we are. Over the next ten years I made three or four business trips to Europe each year and that changed my perspective even more. Europe isn’t a socialist bedlam. In many ways they have more freedoms than Americans do. We tend to hone in on a few areas where they are super-socialist and tend to forget everything else.
Tunnel Rabbit said he didn’t feel like he fit in when he got back from his travels. I didn’t fit in before I left, and fit in even worse when I returned. Then a few years afterward I went from conservative Republican to nutjob libertarian philosopher prepper, so now I just tell people I’m from the planet Jorj and I’m waiting for a part for my spaceship so I can get back home again. That seems to make people feel better.
So what does this article have to do with the storage life of dry beans post-TEOTWAWKI?
My hope is that you would look at propaganda in a new way. That it’s merely advertising, and that all of us, including yourself, are susceptible to it. That doesn’t make you an idiot, or gullible. It just means that you’re human. People who work in advertising/propaganda do so because they have very special skills and talents for it. They know just what buttons to push to manipulate us to believe what they want us to, just as a blacksmith knows exactly what temperature to heat the metal to and how hard to hit it to get it into the exact shape he wants, and just like a pianist, by some method I just can’t begin to grasp, can make all ten fingers dance around a keyboard and produce the most enchanting sounds imaginable. We’re not idiots for being susceptible to propaganda any more than we’re idiots for falling in love with a beautiful hand-forged knife or a beautiful piece of music.
Advertisers and propagandists have their special talent. By being aware of that, and realizing we’re only rarely told the exact truth, we can be better consumers of all information that comes our way. By always asking the question “Cui bono?” we can often figure out who might be benefitting from us believing things a certain way or not. Their agenda may or may not be in our best interest, usually not.
Fear is the single biggest emotion which propagandists use when altering our thinking. Keep that in mind as we move into new territory with the coronavirus, move toward a cashless society, our ever-growing police state, encroachments on our basic civil liberties, the collapsing economy, and the probable financial “Big Reset” of some sort which can’t be too many years into the future. The more we can learn to think out of the box, and to face the ugly truth no matter where it may take us, the better prepared we will be for whatever is coming our way.
I sincerely hope I haven’t offended anyone. That wasn’t my intention. I hope I haven’t come across as holier-than-thou either. I’ve just had some life-changing experiences that have allowed me to see some things that many people don’t get the chance to see and I wanted to share those. For me personally, there’s a great comfort that comes from peeking behind the curtain and understanding how the world really works, in understanding how propaganda is propagated, and knowing the ugly truths about the matrix we inhabit. Accepting these truths makes it easier for me to prepare for the future, and helps me understand how vital it is that I do prepare for the future. Life as we know it won’t continue forever. We’ve already seen amazing evidence of that just in these first few months of 2020.