Notes From the Upside Down VII: The Fog-of-War Clears (to certain extents)
An inquest into the 'intersectionality' of the current two-minute hate (vs. Russia), Climate Change, Covid-19, and Food & Energy Worries
Editorial Note: little over a month ago, I introduced a new posting category to help me order my thoughts on current events that aren’t directly related to my other pieces these days. Tentatively entitled ‘Notes from the Upside Down’, I tried to explore the interrelated nature of our present, however imperfectly these thoughts sounded at the time.
You may re-trace the evolution of my ‘notes’ via the below timeline:
24 Jan.: I called out the ending of the ‘post-war’ era.
6 Feb.: I suggested that one of the end points of all matters Covid-19 was the normalisation of mRNA injections as prerequisites for everyday life.
8 March: the utter bankruptcy—intellectually, politically, and, yes, morally—of the EUroklatura was revealed: anti-Russian sanctions may be a charade, or smokescreen, but the problems of many ‘Western’ countries won’t just disappear because media stops reporting.
20 March: I brought a consideration by Andrey Shitov (which I think is fairly accurate) to your attention showing that Russians may perceive themselves ‘already’ in an existential fight for their survival.
By late March 2022, I think things are falling into enough places to figure out where our world is going, hence the title of the above posting. Before we continue, two words of warning and one appeal to you, my dear readers:
Neither do I mean to suggest the world is going to hell (which, Jean-Paul Sartre reminded us, ‘is the others’) nor do I think that the below ‘proximate guesstimate’ will play out in this particular manner.
Look, I’m a historian typing these posts in the wee hours of early morning before waking up my children. I’m horrified by these thoughts, summarised below, but I’m even more agitated when it comes to the potential future my ‘proximate guesstimate’ entails.
The future, as everyone knows, is notoriously tricky to ‘predict’ (guess). Take the below with many grains of salt, and keep in mind that things may need to be adapted quickly by the powers-that-be due to unforeseen events and developments. As Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) famously held, ‘no battleplan survives contact with the enemy’.
That said, let’s take a look…specifically at the below posting over at the Babylon Bee more than two weeks ago:
A Match Made in Hell: Food Shortages and Big Data
Over the weekend, I happened to follow-up on the whole notion of supply chain problems, specifically the ones that aren’t merely annoying, such as 5-8 weeks delivery time for, say, a refrigerator.
I’m talking about food shortages and how the powers-that-be are reacting to the spectre of people’s lives disrupted not so much merely by inane mandates for this or for that, no, but by supermarket shelves and restaurant offers that aren’t as well-stocked as before.
Now, it’s fair game to call me the spoiled child of late-stage ‘Western’ affluence, but here’s the issue I’d like you to ponder:
Why don’t you venture over to Ice Age Farmer’s recent post (25 March) and watch the short video before reading on? Here’s the gist of the argument:
Now, as Christian over at his website informs his listeners, he put in a FOIA request with the EU, which resulted in the revelation (mentioned in the video, but there’s no link in the show notes) that the EUroklatura is planning to ‘apply’ big data’n’tech to ‘solve’ the food problem.
In other words: your smartphone will soon become your ‘Food Passport’, which patrons may use to buy government-determined amounts of certain goods in grocery stores, provided your ‘Vaxx Status’ allows you to enter the premises.
Note that Ice Age Farmer didn’t provide links to the EU documents, so I did some searching here and there—and while I didn’t find that particular document, I suppose the below will do.
Germany Leads the Way
In a 2016 report entitled ‘Concept [for] Civil Defence’ (Konzeption Zivile Verteidigung), the German Department of the Interior noted the following under section 7.4 Emergency Food Provision (both quotes on p. 47):
Regular food supply takes place via a large number of producers and food traders without special minimum requirements. As long as possible, food is to be supplied by the private sector via the free market.
I first thought of highlighting some parts, but the two entire paragraphs are of utmost importance:
If, in the opinion of the Federal Government, a basic supply of the population via the free market can no longer be guaranteed, the population shall be supplied with essential foodstuffs by means of an orderly production and distribution of foodstuffs through sovereign management of food production and food distribution. The Federal Government may, by issuing legal ordinances [Erlass, i.e., decrees] placed along the food supply chain, issue restrictions on the disposal and distribution of foodstuffs with regard to the cultivation, processing distribution, and sale of food. Furthermore, the competent enforcement authorities [zuständige Vollzugsbehörden] are to be granted interim powers of intervention until the enactment of corresponding legal ordinances. The legal basis for the state's emergency food provision shall be adapted accordingly.
Finally, the population’s resilience is to be strengthened through appropriate governmental measures [geeignete Staatliche Maßnahmen]. The population is urged to keep an individual stockpile of food for a period of ten days, in order to support the to support the state measures through appropriate self-provision.
Now I shall invite you to conduct the following thought experiment: substitute all things related to ‘food’ with all matters Covid-19 and re-read that paragraph.
Here’s how I read this:
The German government—and I harbour no doubt that other ‘Western’ governments have prepared comparable documents—is telling the population that it will break numerous laws, if needs be. In an emergency, we would expect the government to do so, but here’s the rub: the government has been crying ‘fire!’ in a crowded theatre over all matters Covid-19 for 2+ years now, and with every passing day, the justifications given look ever more questionable.
If this time will be different, how would the food shortages emergency be (stage-) managed?
In effect, the German government is telling us that they only need to be ‘the opinion that’ (Ist nach Feststellung…), without any criteria mentioned.
The government furthermore informs its casual readers that it ‘may…issue restrictions on the disposal and distribution of foodstuffs with regard to the cultivation, processing distribution, and sale of food’, which is to say state authorities will impose food rationing.
Getting this system set-up requires at least ten days, if not two weeks, during which the population is quite literally left to itself. I can already see, vividly in front of my eyes, distressed ministers informing the population in somber tones that it would take ‘two weeks’ to organise this system, and that to prevent additional complications, everyone should stay home during this period.
Again, two weeks—why would I claim this seemingly ridiculous period of time? Well, on p. 46 of that same report, we may read that ‘the state’s emergency stockpile guarantees the drinking water supply for the entire population for at least 14 days’. Go figure.
Yet, there’s much more, including the following crucial item:
Section 7.7, cash supply (p. 50-52): banks have to continue working, but ‘there is no obligation for emergency planning beyond any one institution to contribute to the restoration of the entire cash exchange system [zur Wiederherstellung des gesamten Bargeldverkehrs]’. Who, then, is to plan any of this? I’m glad you asked, for the subsequent paragraph holds that ‘according to section 3 of the Federal Bank Act (BBankG), the Bundesbank [Central Bank] shall carry out the processing of payment transactions in Germany’. Yet, the ‘immediate nationwide supply of the population with cash by the cannot be provided by the Bundesbank itself’, which of course requires ‘the unconditional working of IT services and available energy supplies to financial institutions’.
There’s a whole lot more on virtually all topics, from sanitation and waste disposal to, of course, energy supply. In section 7.10 ‘Energy Supply’ (p. 53-57, the below quote at p. 54), we learn the following:
In the event of a generation shortage [which follows supply problems], the Federal Government may issue a decree declaring a crisis situation [Krisenfall] in accordance with the [Energy Security Act]. The Federal Transmission Agency [Bundesnetzagentur]…shall then become the lead agency to determine, on the basis of Electricity Security Ordinances, the essential nature of electricity demand, e.g., by means of closures or the preferential supply to essential facilities. As regards gas supply, corresponding regulations are contained in the [Gas Security Ordinance]. In the specific case of civil defence, the gas supply is to be regulated on the basis of the Economic Security Act [Wirtschaftssicherstellungsgesetz, or WiSiG] and the Gas Distribution Ordinance [Gaslastverteilungs-Verordnung, or GasLastV]. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) acts in this case as the supreme economic authority on the federal level, supported by the state economic ministries as regional authorities. By means of state law [Landesrecht], these powers may be further delegated to lower administrative authorities on the area, district, and municipal levels. These local authorities may issue orders to companies and consumers, to remedy or prevent a threat to public gas supply or to mitigate the effects of supply disruptions.
So, there you have it again: the Federal Government ‘may issue a decree declaring a crisis situation’ to take further steps to implement, in effect, martial law without the requirement of there being an actual war.
The Shape of Things to Come
As the above illustration by the Babylon Bee suggests, I think we’ll soon see these plans turning into reality. Heck, elevated gasoline prices at the pump are already using ‘market mechanisms’ to reduce consumer demand (and mobility), food prices and energy prices are way up, and the Ukrainian mess is fuelling (pun intended) the formation of yet another mass psychosis.
I think that while the more affluent states may get by comparatively better than, say, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, governments will use contingency planning documents such as the one discussed above to declare yet another national emergency.
After 2+ years of all matters Covid-19, I think it’s fair to say that the hesitation on part of the powers-that-be to ‘deem’ the current situation a ‘crisis’ may be very limited. The German planning documents show that governments are willing to end the free market system (‘capitalism’) and bring under state control virtually all the means of subsistence for the overwhelmingly urban-dwelling segments of the population.
Quadrupling Down: Two-Minute Hate, Climate Change, Covid-19, and Food & Energy Worries
The concluding section here are my initial thoughts on the ‘intersections’ of the long-declared ‘climate emergency’, Covid-19, and the above. For more than two decades, climate change hawks have called for ‘WW2-style mobilisation’ to address the looming threats of ‘global warming’.
Of course, such a mobilisation—and in particular the declaration of (de facto) martial law—also requires an enemy: enter Vladimir Putin and all things Russia. The above satire by the Babylon Bee may thus not be an exaggeration, isn’t it?
Now, with the population thoroughly disoriented and cowering in fear of Sars-Cov-2, the Ukrainian mess presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enforce compliance with the most draconian and totalitarian power-grab in human history.
Yes, we’ve seen nation-wide, state-run food distribution systems before, pioneered on an industrial scale during WW1, especially in Germany (whose war economy, by the way, while contracting by about 25% during the 4.5 years of the conflict, served as Lenin’s inspiration for the planned economy of the Soviet Union).
Still, with the advances in data processing and computing power since around 2000, the technical possibilities of implementation are all in place now: contact-tracing allows for tracking of the population, a de facto social scoring system (oh, you used more than your government-allocated share of outside time) can—and will—ensure compliance with the government diktats lest your food-rationing app, to be scanned at supermarket check-out counters, will inform staff that you’re not entitled to buy this or that item for another week.
Finally, while I certainly hope that I’m wrong about all of the above (and then some), it’s certain that we do live in interesting times. Whatever the future holds, there is a very easy way to find out about the above issues—let’s just wait and see how much will come true.
Here’s my couple of suggestions for today:
Stock up on durable foodstuffs, drinking water supplies, and essential medical supplies (but keep in mind that cooking may only be possible intermittently).
Perhaps you’d might not want to donate all old winter clothes to refugees right now.
Keep a moderate amount of cash at home, just in case, as well as try to reduce your direct dependency on online banking systems for buying food.
Flashlights and spare batteries are a good idea, as is keeping your car’s gas tank filled.
Also, I think with energy rationing a distinct possibility, having books and board games around might be a good idea, too.
Finally, be nice to your neighbours: they live next door and you just might need their help.
The only emergency that exists for politicians is the governed not complying enough.
As we are old enough to remember and have personal experience of the USSR and the German Democratic Republic, we also know that there are no real way to fight this short of armed insurrection and then only if significant portions of police and military join in.
So to survive, perhaps even thrive, there a couple of universal methods:
Join the oppressors. It's a better life being the sheepdog than the sheep after all.
Make a lot of sound and fury being oppositional; either stick to your guns and get the Havel treatment, or the Allende treatment.
Escape; there are nations where technological infrastructure is far from up to date with such a system as is proposed here.
Learn the system, then game the system. Outward compliance only as and when enforced, keeping your mind free. (This one works best if one can wrangle a position as overseer of procedural matters, commissar or in logistics and transportation.)
As above, but opt out. Be of no interest to the system. Unprofitable, unexploitable, and generally useless (call it the Svejk option).
If this technological terror they've created would have been available to Frederic the Great, or Willima Pitt, or Atatürk or Magsaysay - they would all have used it. The ability to create technological control is primary to the power of ideology after all: ideology may dirct the how and the semantics of why, but if all you've got is the technology of Sidon 450BC, that sets the level of control. If you have people chipped, always online, wih the chip reposrting position, blood pressure, stress, and so on then that's what you use.
The rest is semantics and rethorics I'm afraid: a civilisation which backs off from technological innovation and implementation... well, look at the arabs and the chinese to se what that means in the longer perspective. Kings of the hill, and fat and lazy and complacent - and then in a few short decades subjugated by what they thought was perpetually uncouth barbarians (us).
However, by opposing mandates such as this, we can expose those politicians and others with a sadistic perosnality, and try to wrestle control of the implementation from then.
It is embarassing to see such plans coming from the German government that has provided proof of its incompetence regarding even local disasters, such as the 2021 floods (in particular, at the river of Ahr, where unfortunately over 100 people died). The woman who was back then the responsible minister at state level (Green party politician Anne Spiegel) did not really care about it on the evening the floods came in (except that she required that messages be gendered - Campingplatzbetreiber*innen, for connoisseurs). Now she is minister for "everything but middle-aged men" in Germany. Your suggestions at the end are reasonable indeed.