I will never forget looking in the eyes of a healthy, employable young man, as he told me he and his family would have to rely on government handouts for foreseeable future. I will never forget the expression on his face.
It was back in Los Angeles last November. County officials had announced that even outdoor dining at restaurants would be forbidden. Like any thinking person who spent 2020 in California, I had already been scandalized to the point of exhaustion. I had watched vandals and looters tear my neighborhood apart. I had heard newscasters sing praise to “the bravery of these protestors,” then solemnly remind law-abiding citizens that they should take care not to spend more than their allotted time outdoors.
I thought I understood already that petty despots like LA Supervisor Sheila Kuehl didn’t care about the people they were putting out of work, would never even lose sleep over the poverty and pain they were inflicting. I had stood in protest outside Kuehl’s house next to heartbroken restauranteurs, heard what they suffered while she gorged herself on takeout somewhere far away. For all the good it did.
But somehow I was still stunned to look at this waiter, this defeated lad, and realize he would have to beg his government for scraps. There was no need for this, no reason for it other than pure spiteful indifference on the part of ruling class authorities. The CDC and the California government have either ignored or outright suppressed the various studies showing the perfect uselessness of lockdown measures. Elites have acted at every moment as if their flailing, incoherent, and wantonly destructive commandments were indisputably necessary and pristinely executed. As if to question this was a sin.
And the cost of it all was not one dollar out of their paychecks, but the whole life of that waiter who stood in front of me that day and told me he would soon be out of work. He had no power, no advocate, just pain. Somehow, this astonished me. My God, I thought, this guy is getting crushed and the people doing it don’t care. How can this be?
But of course it has been, over and over. It’s not as if we weren’t warned. Hear the words of the Prophet Micah, Chapter 3: “You leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel...you hate good and love evil; you tear the skin from my people and the flesh from their bones; you eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin, and break their bones in pieces, chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot.” It is a governing theme of Hebrew Scripture, verging on an obsession: the heart of man will glut itself on evil if given half the chance.
Long before Micah and Isaiah, when the Israelites asked for a king to rule over them, God told them how it would go: “He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.... He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.” That is what it would mean to “become like other nations,” to be ruled by men instead of God. That is the kind of king that men make.
These are ancient truths. People like me, people who read the great old books, are supposed to know them. But I suppose I had not internalized them, not really. I lived so much of my life under the comfortable illusion that power in this country is safely restrained by civic virtue. A lot of us did. If we are still astounded when someone like Gavin Newsom swills down bottles of wine with his crony pals as his vassals languish outside, it is because we think this is something out of the ordinary. We do not realize yet that this is just what people in power do if you let them.
They will continue to be this way, these kings and princes of our nation. They will do their best to spin the “Delta Variant” canard into more lockdowns. They will dare you to notice the irregularities in the New York City mayoral election. Eventually, they will call you a terrorist for doing so. I am not saying they will win all of these fights. But I am saying this is who they are.
The corrupt leaders, the heedless bureaucrats, the sneering media apparatchiks: they are your enemies. They are the oldest enemy any people ever had, and they are not going to be changed or made to see reason. They are going to lie, and cheat, and steal, and eat the flesh of the poor. That is what they are philosophically dedicated to doing. They are not interested in anything else.
And so they must simply be voted out, defied, and exposed. Do not trust them. Do not give them the benefit of the doubt. We are long past that. Now we have to defeat them and everything they stand for, in every state and locality where we can. And, God willing, we have to win.