Yves here. Tom Neuburger discusses the important issue of the real aims for the increase of the surveillance state in Western countries. He posits that it’s due to elites recognizing the potential of the lower orders to turn violently against them. In one sense, that’s already well recognized, witness how many of the super-rich have built highly-secure, meant-to-be-self-sustaining bolt holes in places like New Zealand and discuss among themselves how to assure the loyalty of the private jet pilots they will depend on to get them therem.
However, I beg to differ that climate change will be the trigger for action. Most people do not have the tendency to blame climate change on the rich, even though their refusal to make lifestyle sacrifices is a major contributor to inaction and directly to carbon emissions continuing to rise. Rising inequality is a far more likely spur.
For instance, in 1984, McKinsey sent me to Mexico to help a US company value a potential Mexican acquisition (there was a huge bid-offer gap and they wanted advice on how much it was rational for them to better their proposal). I spent a week in Mexico City. There were only two hotels then considered up to international business standards, and the one I was in was a dump, with worn furniture and fixtures, filthy carpets and poor housekeeping.
I had to take a cab from the central business district to where the McKinsey offices were. I forget the name of the district, but it was low rise and upscale and looked like the sort of area with embassies and diplomatic residences.
It was the first time I ever saw snipers on rooftops (the driver actually pointed them out, I suppose to reassure me if I noticed them that I should not worry). And they were on more than one building. That was an early lesson on the risk of a very wealthy elite: they could not be sure of their personal safety.
Neuburger also asks why the soi-disant left has largely ignored the rise in surveillance and enforcement tools. Bluntly, I see two reasons. One is very few have been or are willing to protest and thus assume because they aren’t the sort of people to make that kind of fuss, the policing apparatus will never be used against them. Second is that many eagerly applaud its construction to use against the deplorables, regardless of the damage to principles of rule of law and privacy. It has become sadly necessary to remind readers of the danger:
The money quote:
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get at the Devil?
Roper: I`d cut down every law in England to do that.
More: Oh! And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you –where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws –man’s laws, not God’s –and if you cut them down –and you’re just the man to do it –d`you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I`d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety`s sake.
By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies
“Disaster researchers call this phenomenon ‘elite panic.’ When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster itself.” https://t.co/A7TlhUNi8b
— David Wallace-Wells (@dwallacewells) September 17, 2023
“When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster.”
I’ll be focusing on this subject in the coming months, as more and more evidence appears that surveillance of the American public is increasing. It’s not just the factof surveillance that’s concerning. The reason they’re doing it is frightening as well.
Consider: Who do you think the NatSec elites are protecting themselves against? Who are they worried about? It’s not, as you may have imagined, those mad Republican others. Many in the NatSec state ARE those “others.”
No, they worry about you.
Why Does the Left Ignore “The Other Coup”?
If you’re a regular reader, you know that one of the sub-themes at God’s Spies is “The other coup,” the one that no one in the mainstream wants to acknowledge. Even those moved strongly to decry the fascist Trumpian party (which certainly exists) and fear the coup it certainly represents, find themselves hard-pressed to decry the other coup, the ongoing one by our National Security State.
Truth be told — and I mean that literally — one reason that some encourage the “other coup” is that the NatSec State is working to benefit them … for the moment, at least.
No one in the establishment wants Trump to be president again, including the CIA. Hell, they didn’t want him to be president the first time around. Sen. Chuck Schumer, speaking in January 2017, after Trump’s election but before his inauguration, made this unforgettable comment:
I’ll cover this briefly here; look for expanded discussion in later work. But to start, consider this, from the (neocon) magazine Commentary. It starts with the tale of an earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska, and public officials fears of what would happen:
North America’s strongest recorded earthquake struck just off the Alaskan coast at 5:36 p.m., on March 27, 1964. The shaking from the magnitude 9.2 quake lasted an unimaginable four and a half minutes. The tectonic forces reshaped Alaska’s coastline and triggered tsunamis that wiped out villages and claimed lives as far south as California. Anchorage, only 75 miles from the epicenter, was devastated. …
The sun set that night on a shattered city. Thousands were homeless. An entire neighborhood of stately homes had tumbled down a bluff as the soil beneath it turned to slurry. …
Almost as soon as the shaking stopped, city officials began worrying about how the populace would respond. … Police quickly deputized a group of volunteers—some of them freshly emerged from those Fourth Avenue bars—as ad hoc officers. The men put on armbands with the word police emblazoned in lipstick—a few were even issued firearms—and off they went to protect the city from the inevitable post-disaster crime wave.
…At the time, most experts believed any major disaster would cause “a mass outbreak of hysterical neurosis among the civilian population,” as social scientist Richard M. Titmuss had put it some years earlier. Shocked by carnage and desperate for food and shelter, people would “behave like frightened and unsatisfied children.” Only firm control by powerful authorities could keep the lid on such dangerous situations.
“Only firm control by powerful authorities” plays right into the hands of powerful authorities who desire firm control.
All the dire predictions turned to dust, as the article details. “Expecting chaos, the sociologists were puzzled to find the residents calmly, almost cheerfully, pitching in to help.”
Before dispatching those casually deputized citizens to keep order in the streets, the Anchorage police chief suspended the search for survivors in damaged buildings. “Arguably, the city was protecting its ruins from looters more conscientiously than it was looking for people trapped in them,” Mooallem writes.
Sounds conscienceless, this behavior; property before people. But that’s pretty much at the core what our government protects.
Disaster researchers call this phenomenon “elite panic.” When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster itself. They clamp down on information, restrict freedom of movement, and devote unnecessary energy to enforcing laws they assume are about to be broken.
If reason one is that the state fears citizen panic during disasters, reason two is that it reasonably fears an overturning of the state during certain disasters. The coming climate crisis is a perfect example.
What’s Special about the Coming Climate Crisis?
Consider the climate crisis that’s about to strike. It’s different from other crises; it’s not an act of God, but an act of man. Someone is at fault, or many someones — in fact, the entire elite class of the United States, aka the property class, those with the most to lose, bear full responsibility.
The solution, to the extent there is one, is obvious: Stop burning fossil fuels for energy, and do it now, whatever “now” means in practice. After all, we’re already in trouble — warming of +1.5° C is coming next year, and the dreaded +2° C is two decades away, even if we cut ourselves off immediately.
What will happen if we don’t cut ourselves off immediately? Something a lot worse, surely. Panic and collapse, surely. And multiple attempts to remove current leaders from power.
The Only Two Choices Left
That day is coming, the day when the public demands change, redress, retribution. How will elites respond? The government, including its National Security arm, will have only two choices, similar to the choices faced by Anchorage, Alaska.
Elites who run the State can:
- Protect the citizens by changing their policy now, or
- Protect themselves and their friends from the wrath of their victims.
Doing the first means abandoning fossil fuels now:
Ending the climate crisis has one simple solution: Stop using fossil fuels
As COP27 unfolds in Egypt, we are hearing about a large array of climate change solutions, ranging from building with carbon-absorbing bamboo and using less plastic to growing more kelp in the oceans to retain its carbon stores and enhance biodiversity. …
However, as climate scientists we believe that they also have the potential to be dangerous distractions, drawing attention away from the three things we absolutely need to do to end the climate crisis: Stop burning coal, stop burning oil and stop burning natural gas.
Ending fossil fuel use is essential to end the climate crisis, and there is no alternative.
Yet can you imagine this government doing that? I can’t:
Industry Calls the Climate Shots in the Biden Administration
JULY 13, 2021
There are many more examples:
Biden Expands Oil Exploration in Bid to Slow Climate Change
JULY 13, 2022
But doing the latter means just what you think it means. To repeat:
When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster.
And that’s why we’ll be covering this story as it evolves, plus the rolling civil warthis tale will be part of. “Controlling the public” means making sure the tools of control are in firmly place ahead of the time they’re needed. We’re watching that now, in my humble opinion. For example:
Why do America’s police need an armored tank?
America’s most in-demand police vehicle is a 10-officer 16,000-pound armored tank that takes bullets like Superman and drives 80 mph. The federal government buys dozens each year for local police departments. Do America’s local police need tanks?
“The Lenco BearCat G3 has option controls for battering rams, winches and even surviving a chemical weapons attack. With military-grade armor and the ability to take repeated hits from bullets up to .50 caliber, it’s most frequently used by police as a rolling shield.”
Stay tuned for more.