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black sheep in herd

When opposing a genocide means you’re a Nazi. 

When opposing nuclear brinkmanship means you love Vladimir Putin.

When opposing the looming global conflict with China means you’re a sinister propagandist for “the CCP”.

When opposing the latest imperial escalations against the latest Official Bad Guy always means you’re an appeaser of the Bad Guy and would have opposed fighting Hitler.

When your skepticism toward government and media institutions who have an extensive record of lying and propagandizing means you’re a crazy conspiracy theorist.

When wanting to live in a society where everyone has enough means you’re an evil authoritarian with a despised ideology.

When believing it’s possible to have systems where humans aren’t killing the biosphere and waging insane wars while brandishing Armageddon weapons at each other means you’re a silly little child who doesn’t understand how the real world works.

When these things are happening in your society, it means your society has gone stark raving insane. It means you are surrounded by lunatics, and ruled by madmen. 

When so many mainstream consensus positions fail to get the most basic and obvious moral positions right, and not only fail to get them right but get them completely ass backwards, you are living in a civilization that has gone bat shit crazy.

Our civilization is crazy because the systems which govern it are crazy, and they have to drive all of us crazy to get us to consent to those systems. 

The empire needs us to consent to nonstop warfare and militarism, so it propagandizes us into thinking that these things are normal and anyone who questions them is evil and suspicious. 

The empire needs us to consent to the nonstop exploitation, injustice, ecocide and extraction of its brand of global capitalism, so it propagandizes us into believing these crazy things are normal, and that if you find it difficult to survive under such a system then there must be something wrong with you personally.

The empire needs us to consent to continually expanding surveillance, police militarization, internet censorship and mass-scale psychological manipulation, so it propagandizes us into thinking that anyone who opposes these things is a weird paranoid freak.

Every day our minds are being kicked around by the powerful in a whole host of ways to maintain a dystopia that is a 180-degree reversal of what a healthy civilization should look like, so it’s no wonder that we see so many mental health problems in our society. It’s no wonder we see so many mass shootings in the hub of the empire. It’s no wonder people throw so much of their lives into the vapid escapism and entertainment of mainstream culture instead of engaging politically with this mess.

They need you to be crazy, so they drive you crazy. If they can’t make you crazy, they try to convince you that you’re crazy. If they can’t convince you that you’re crazy, they try to convince everyone else that you’re crazy. Whatever it takes to keep the crazy wheels of their crazy machine rolling forward into dystopia and extinction.

How much respect should you have for such a system? How much loyalty should you have to such an empire? How seriously should you take the mainstream worldviews which regard all this madness as sanity, and regard your sanity as madness? Personally, I find it hard to play along.

Terence McKenna said “The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation.” I think of this quote often. But what we have now that we didn’t have in McKenna’s day is a widespread internet that allows us to find each other and connect with each other in a way that is without precedent.

Sometimes I feel like that’s my main role here: just to be a sane voice calling out through the internet to the others so that we can all be less alone in this lunatic civilization. To be a friend who leans in and whispers, “You’re not crazy. I see it too.”

Because often that’s all people need. In the shadow of an empire that is dedicated to making you crazy and making you think you’re crazy, often all you need is someone to give you the confidence to stand by your convictions and call bullshit what it is. 

If enough of us can find each other and start feeling sufficiently assured of our own sanity to take action, that just might be all it takes to start turning this thing around.


Caitlin Johnstone, an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz or caityjohnstone.medium.com. You can read more about her project HERE. Read her Substack blog. 

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