Many have already noticed: The U.S. doesn’t feel like the world leader anymore – or even a ‘first world country.’
Bridges, subways, inner cities, everything is crumbling, falling apart. When I used to live in New York City, more than two decades ago, whenever I returned from visiting Japan it was shocking: the US felt like a poor, deprived country, full of problems, misery, of confused and depressed people, homeless individuals. Now, it feels the same way when I return from China.
And it gets much worse. What the West used to accuse the Soviet Union of, is now actually detectable in the United States and the United Kingdom themselves. Surveillance is at every step, these days; in New York, London, Sydney, and even in the countryside. Every move a person makes, every purchase, every computer click, is registered; somewhere, somehow. And this snooping is, mostly, not even illegal.
Speech is controlled by political correctness. Someone behind the scenes decides what is acceptable and what is not, what is desirable or not, and even what is permissible. You make one ‘mistake’ and you are out; barred from jobs in universities, hospitals, media outlets, etc..
In such conditions, humor cannot thrive, and satire dies. Only ‘controlled humor’ is permitted. Everything has to be calculated in advance.
In the West, literature has died, too. And so has philosophy, which has been reduced to a boring, stale and indigestible academic discipline.
While Hollywood and the mass media keep producing, relentlessly, all sorts of highly insulting and stereotypical hogwash, great writers and filmmakers who have something worthwhile to say, have already been silenced. They are only allowed to produce works that humiliate and insult the few decent Americans that still exist. God forbid, they dare to criticize the criminal politicians and Wall Street bankers who are ruining the world on behalf of London, Washington, the Gulf states, and Israel. That would be ‘patronizing’ and ‘racist.’ A great arrangement for the Empire and its servants, isn’t it?
We all know what happens to whistle blowers like Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden. In the West, people are disappearing, getting arrested, and censored. The powers that be control the media, publishing houses, and in the film studios. The Cold War era appears to be have been relatively ‘tolerant’ compared to what is taking place now.
Social media constantly represses ‘uncomfortable’ individuals, ‘unacceptable’ media outlets, and ‘unapproved’ thoughts.
Travel has become a boot camp. This is where they break you. Move through the Western airports and you will encounter the vulgar, insulting ‘securistan.’ Now, you are not just expected to pull down your pants if ordered, or take off your shoes, or submit to full-body pat downs: you are expected to smile, to grin brightly, like an idiot. You are supposed to show how eager, how cooperative you are: to answer, looking straight into the eyes of your tormentors. If you get humiliated, still be polite. If you want to fly, show that you are enjoying this stupid and useless humiliation, administered for one reason: to break you, to make you pathetic and submissive. To teach you where you really belong. Or else. We all know what will happen if you refuse to ‘cooperate’.
Now, ‘they’ will use double-speak to let you know that all this is for your own good. It will not be said, but you would be made to sense it: ‘you are being protected from those scary Third World monsters, madmen, perverts.’ And of course, from Putin, from the Chinese Communists, from the butcher Maduro, from Assad, or from the Iranian Shi’a fanatics.
The regime is fighting for you, it cares for you, it is protecting you.
But, if you live in the UK or the US, the chances are that you are deep in debt, depressed and with no prospects for the future. Maybe your children are hungry. In the US, you cannot afford the medical care. Most likely, you cannot afford housing in your own city. Perhaps you are forced to have two or three jobs.
But at least, you know that your ‘wise leaders’ in the White House, Congress, Pentagon and security agencies, are working day and night, protecting you from countless “terrorists,” from vicious attacks from abroad, and from those evil Chinese and Russians, who are busy building progressive and egalitarian societies.
Except, something does not add up here.
For years and decades, you were told how free you were. And how oppressed and unfree those those no aligned with the West are.
You were told how rich you are, and how miserable “the others” are.
To stop the West’s perpetual enemies, some serious measures had to be applied for North American or European citizens; for your own good. You found yourself at war with little third-world nation states you formerly didn’t know existed.
Few dissidents in the West have been protesting, for decades. No one has been paying much attention to them. Most of them became ‘unemployable’, and were silenced through misery and the inability to pay their basic bills.
But suddenly… something happened…
The Empire’s ambition grew beyond its former agenda of plundering the non-Western parts of the world, exclusively. It moved on to oppress its own well-conditioned, brainwashed and scared Western public with the same spite it had been using on the rest of the world. Well, there are still some essential differences, but the trend is definitely there.
The Western public is not equipped to protect itself, really. The regime knows everything about everybody: it spies on every citizen: where he or she walks, what he or she eats, drives, flies, watches, consumes, reads. There are no secrets, anymore.
You are guilty of political incorrectness? No need to ‘confess’. You are confessing every minute, with each and every computer click, by pressing the remote control button, or by shopping on Amazon.
Is Big Brother watching? Oh no; now there is much more detailed surveillance. Big Brother is watching, recording and analyzing.
General Pinochet of Chile used to brag that without his knowledge, no leaf could ever move. The old, fascist scumbag was bragging; exaggerating. On the other hand, Western rulers say nothing, but they clearly know what they are doing. Without their knowledge, nothing and nobody moves.
Arriving from China or Russia, the first thing that strikes me is how disciplined, obedient and scared, the Europeans and North Americans really are. They subconsciously know that they are being controlled and cannot do anything about it.
When trains get delayed or cancelled, they sheepishly murmur half-audible curses. Their public infrastructure crumbles; they say nothing, remembering the ‘good old days’.
Why is it that I feel hope when I laugh with the people when I’m elsewhere? Johannesburg or Beijing? Why is there so much warmth in the geographically cold cities of Vladivostok or Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka? Why are the people of London, Paris, Long Angeles looking so concerned, so depressed?
Some historically poor countries are on the rise. And the people there show appreciation for tiny improvements. Nothing is more beautiful than optimism.
The West has raped the so-called “third world” for many, long decades; oppressing it, tormenting it, looting it, violating its people. It prevented them from choosing their own governments. Now it has gone overboard: it is attempting to control and to oppress the entire world, including its own citizens.
As various countries all over the world are getting back onto their feet, resisting pressure from Washington, London, Paris and Berlin, people in the West are increasingly getting treated by their governments with the spite that used to be reserved exclusively for the “under-developed nations” (i.e., the nations repressed by the constant wars and manipulation from the Empire).
Clearly, the West’s chickens have come home to roost.
While countries like Russia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Iran and others are kicking over the traces, and most previously rich western empires are now beginning to resemble the “Third World”.
These days, it is very sad being a writer in New York City or in London. Just as it is frightening to be poor. Or being different. All over the world, the roles are being reversed.
The West’s train is running off the rails, and no one is willing to help her.