I’m sorry for going so long without posting.
I didn’t intend to, but for weeks every time I’ve thought of blogging, I’ve been overwhelmed with disgust. If my disgust were only about politics and the current woeful state of the world, I’d blog my way through that. That’s mere business as usual.
Politics and its attendant idiocies, however, are only a minor component of the bile that rises in my soul. The much larger component of my disgust continues to be triggered by the depleted and degraded state of freedom in the minds of so many who ought to be defending it
Wow, how quickly some skeptical libertarians turn into dogmatic statists.
Of course, by not speaking to defend freedom myself for this month or so, maybe I’m guilty, too. I make no claim to being a paragon of virtue; never have, never will.
But I believe that preaching freedom (and skepticism and independent decision-making and tolerance and all the puzzle pieces that make up freedom) to a contemporary audience is vanishingly futile. Right now, freedom is best spoken to those in the future who, beaten down by what’s being created for them today, might hear and understand. People who might, again, be interested in the principles of individual liberty and willing to accept freedom’s risks and rewards
A month or two makes no difference.
Still, it makes a difference to you good people who read and support this blog. So to you I apologize.
Loathing — as in the title of this post — is the wrong word. I don’t loathe anybody, even those most responsible for creating, promoting , and taking advantage of the current panic and economic destruction to gain power over others. Nor do I loathe their legions of useful idiots; neither those burning and looting unchecked, nor those snitching on their neighbors at the drop of a
hat mask. I don’t know many people who do loathe them.
But I had to go for that Hunter Thompson parallel, you know. Words like disgust, despair, contempt, sorrow, dislike, antipathy, nausea, aversion, dejection, discouragement, incomprehension, and complete shock over the mind-bending and rapid-rushing insanity of our age (however true for me and for millions of other sensible folk) just didn’t do it.
Fear, on the other hand (and being the other key word in the title), is exactly the word. Do you feel it, too?
So many different forms of fear. And plenty of fear to go around, plenty for everybody of every political, social, and economic inclination.
Sufficient fears for the business owners being ruined by arbitrary shutdowns.
Fears for millions in third-world countries who might actually starve to death from political and economic folly.
Fears for unemployed workers.
Fears for renters facing eviction, for homeowners who might face even worse ruination than they endured just 12 years ago.
Fears for people who know that free minds and free speech are essential to civilization.
Fears for lovers of history.
Fears for black individuals and communities who see their interests exploited and destroyed under the claim of Black Lives Matter.
Fears of sports fans seeing their cherished diversions disappear into clouds of political correctness.
Fears of parents for the futures of their children.
Fears (however laughable) of politicians who encourage riots in urban neighborhoods and business districts — but who cry like spoiled two-year-olds when the “protests” they support come to their own multi-million dollar neighborhoods.
Fears of smart people who see both the roots and the fruit of the current toxic chaos and fears of not-so-smart people who understand little but see doom ahead — both unable to do a damn thing to halt the juggernaut of tyranny and ruin.
Petty fears. Life shattering fears. No shortage of fears of any kind.
One fear — certainly one that I and people in the prepper world face every day — is of how shockingly fast the panic and ruin of 2020 descended. And how many more such sudden turns we might face.
Oh sure, the groundwork for tyranny and economic disaster has been being laid for decades — more than a century, really. But we got used to the “progress” toward ruin being slow. Each time some new tyrannical power grab has been passed into law or by fiat, we’ve gotten used to jumping up in alarm … then finding out the new Bad Thing was a little less harmful, or at least a little more tolerable, than we feared it would be. And that’s been true since great-grandpa’s day.
Creation of the Federal Reserve? Survivable. Imposition of the income tax on wage-slobs as well as millionaires? Hey, we got by and even enjoyed a new level of prosperity — for a while. Abolition of the last remnants of the gold standard? Not good, but nevertheless the collapse we trumpeted back in 1971 didn’t arrive. Social Security numbers as universal identifiers? Real ID drivers licenses? We survived those and more. Curbs on “dangerous” books (followed by the end of those who published them, like Loompanics and Paladin Press)? Well, even the most dangerous materials are still available if you know where to look. No catastrophic loss. Federal licenses to sell firearms? Federal permission to buy firearms? All these years later guns are still available by the millions.
The ever-promised pandemic and all the apocalyptic horrors it would bring? Didn’t materialize and anyhow, maybe it would mostly hit Africa or China or some godforsaken place like that. Surely resourceful first-worlders like us — the people of science, reason, and progress who conquered smallpox and polio and typhoid and parasites and childhood contagions and whose mundane sewers and hygienic practices perform lifesaving miracles every day — could overcome mere germs, however novel they might be.
Then came 2020.
And we can’t handle a damn thing.
Yes, the groundwork has long been laid. But when the world flipped heels-over-head and landed on its arse this year, it happened that fast. It was as if we’d been tip-toeing along a path strewn with banana peels, thinking that because we’d avoided slipping on them until now, we always would. No need to de-litter that path; we were safe because, well, we’d always been safe. We’d always managed. Then … cosmic freakin’ pratfall. And now we’re sitting on a century’s worth of banana peels and as the embarrassing old TV ad used to say, we’ve fallen and we can’t get up.
Or, as the more recent non-joke goes: “How did you go bankrupt?” “First, slowly. Then very fast.”
Even those who “saw it coming” didn’t see this coming. Even those who knew in theory that things can change in an instant couldn’t have predicted this change, and that instant.
Fear and loathing. A cosmic head-smack and now what do we do?
I’ve put heads together with some of the smartest freedomistas I know and we’ve discovered that, despite decades of our supposed foreknowledge of what was coming, we were unprepared for the specifics and in many big, big ways we don’t know what to do now.
Oh sure, we had toilet paper when other people were scrambling for it. Bet you did, too. But we don’t have answers, particularly about where our lives and those of our loved ones go from the here and now.
One thing we can be pretty sure of: it’s going to get worse, much worse, before it gets better. Civil war? A new Dark Age? A Greater Depression? Revolution? Devolution? Buildings and bridges collapsing? (Yes, for sure, as real knowledge is replaced by magical thinking.) A new burning of “witches”? An apparent recovery followed by a deeper collapse? A global takeover by the foolish, arrogant mastermind billionaires of Davos (who are now openly admitting that’s their aim)? All of the above?
Yet — as usual — here in the hinterlands life goes on. And preps go on. And tribalism goes on, but in our case tribalism comes with pleasant and heartening overtones of neighborliness. Common sense goes on, as does independence. Practicalities go on. Even economic life goes on, despite the best attempts of politicians and bureaucrats to prevent it.
And hopefully some details about the going on part will be in part II of this screed.
I’ve been saving this for the next time you blog because I knows you need it!
Boy howdy, Claire, I feel ya on this screed. For two months now I’ve been up against a blank wall, wondering who I’m even writing my young-adult story for, and how to keep ahead of current bizarre reality enough to maintain what you might call fictional plausibility. Or plausible fictionality.
Loathing, no. Not quite. But I think I do *despise* the smug, self-satisfied, unaccountable bastards who are implementing this march toward totalitarian hell. And the loathing might not be all that far off.
I’m not giving up, nor giving in. Some days I even feel lighthearted enough to do a bit of good writing, and lately that groove is responding better to daily practice.
Still, as you say, it’s damned hard to get a grip on how to make real plans or strategies for next month, let alone next year or next decade.
Great video Comrade X, I think we all feel like those pups at times, and just want to jump into a pile of leaves and roll around. 😎
Claire that was a good, long expression of your thoughts and feelings. There are many things in our lives that concern us; some things we have control over but most things we don’t. We now know that the China Virus is not as lethal as portrayed. Instead of 150,000 people dying from the virus we now find the number is closer to 7,000 (not quite as dangerous as the annual flu deaths of 30,000 to 40,000). We also know that the testing sensitivity was turned way up in order to get the maximum number of people that either had or have remnants of the China Virus. Why? Possibly to scare all the more easily fooled people in this country.
What is happening is that the major city enclaves in the U.S., run by democrats, are breaking down as a result of the constant lawlessness perpetrated by the BLM and Antifa thugs. People are exiting the major cities in droves and moving to the suburbs and countrysides where there is still some normalcy and where laws are enforced and people are protected. That will leave us with boarded up buildings, a reduced infrastructure, and the remaining inhabitants scurrying around trying to stay alive amidst the carnage and mismanagement of these once great urban centers.
If the democrats manage to steel the election, or heaven forbid, they allow Pilosi to become President, then we may see a Civil War take place. We must trust in the Lord and place the issue in His hands…and wait.
Great vid, comrade.
I think when most us thought about TSHTF, we figured one side might be good guys. Not so it turns out. Like most, I am waiting for pitched street battles following either side winning, but far away from a major city. Before we were the frog slowly boiling in ways Claire mentioned, now looks like they are taking us out to roast on a spit over the coals. But ultrinque paratus.
The much larger component of my disgust continues to be triggered by the depleted and degraded state of freedom in the minds of so many who ought to be defending it
Wow, how quickly some skeptical libertarians turn into dogmatic statists.
Truer words are rarely written, the sad thing is, so many think that they’re defending freedom when they are simply empowering an oppressor, not even a new one, just the same one.
This is the way freedom is lost, by well meaning people who are ruled by fear, and the thing is few ever see this in themselves.
Repeat showings of the same footage seem to be historical destiny. I sure hope we’re not a replay of Lebanon in the 1980s.
I just keep thinking things cannot get more muddled and worse. And I just keep getting disappointed by that. It feels as if we are only in the first five minutes of Hollywood Blockbuster Epic (cast of thousands!) that is three hours long.
To be honest I see no reason not to go with ‘loathing’ at this particular time.
I can only try to imagine what good-hearted people inside those cities are dealing with right now. I’m probably 50 miles from the nearest SJW, hundreds from the nearest mob of them. And even I have already gone to Phase II: Decentralization of Resources because in certain increasingly-possible scenarios all a well-stocked larder buys you is a brief place against the wall for hoarding resources that properly belong to da pipples.
Given the lengths I’ve gone to to separate myself from all that bullshit, I find the even theoretical intrusion of these clowns – loathsome, at the very least.
I look forward to your Part 2.
we don’t know what to do now
Don’t interrupt your enemies when they are making a mistake. That mistake is, as you document in this post, increasing the rate of evil too fast for the law-abiding to accept it. Thus I hope Dementia and Kneepads cheat their way to a win. The legislation in the first 100 days will be spectacular.
A global takeover by the foolish, arrogant mastermind billionaires of Davos (who are now openly admitting that’s their aim)?
And this conquering army will be funded by which taxpayers?
In all the crazyness, in all the sturm und drang, there IS light, there IS hope. Today my Daughter gives birth to a new Grandson for me, her first child. I ain’t gonna let ANYBODY get me down today. Tomorrow, that’s tomorrow.
[…] https://www.clairewolfe.com/blog/2020/09/02/fear-and-loathing-in-the-hinterlands/ […]
As do I. There is so much to think on, despair is rampant, and the end is not in sight.
But there is Hope, too.
To stryderoftheuplands – Congratulations to your daughter, Health to her newborn son, and Good Luck to your family.
While it seems a bad time to bring a baby into this world, and I worry about my own granddaughter’s future, still Life will go forward, and there may come an event that will change the direction we’re headed.
But to wait for that event is useless and passive. I am very tired of waiting for (take your pick) vaccine/cure/breakthrough, Trump/Biden/politicians/”experts”, end of rioting, wokeness and cancel culture, and guessing if or when we can “taake off the masks” — literally or figuatively.
Prepping for the area in which we live is all we can do. Even loathing is not worth wasting our energy on. If there is any “fate” involved, it comes from the unexpected, and that’s where each of us can help ourselves — by remaining alert and knowing which way to jump when/if we are faced with our Armageddon.
To what Pat said;
The current SHTF situation is progressing at about the pace I expected, actually a little slower. When the Titanic struck the iceberg, it took HOURS for it to sink. There was actually plenty of time to get to the lifeboats that were available ( excepting steerage, of course ). The panic that set-in screwed things up, of course, but it was still a LONG time between slash and sink.
That said, up until literally THIS WEEK, my immediate family has cruised past the icebergs with nary a scratch. But, while busily self-congratulating and smirking – we ran bow-first into some rocks. We missed the ice, but not the shoals.
The company I work for was bought by another company, and my pay was reduced by 11% in one fell swoop. The indifference to my consternation of that fact is telling. I can read the tea-leaves.
THEN I found out that there is indeed age-discrimination in my profession. 10 Years ago, I had to fend-off companies with a stick, now they don’t call me back – and my resumé is shinier than ever. I queried one headhunter and she said my resumé is “too long.”
And, while thrashing-about hauling as much stuff off the sinking ship before it breaks-up, we lose not one, not two, but THREE cars that we’d been nursing-along forever. Ouch. All had more than 300,000 miles, so we have no right to complain I guess.
Now we hear that this winter we officially enter a “Grand Solar Minimum” akin to the Maunder Minimum, and New England can expect a winter more like the 1700s. Fun.
BUT, all that said. #1 son is gainfully employed at a place that ain’t going away, and he can get as much work as he can stand. #2 daughter will be an RN in 8 months, and already has an offer from the same place as #1 son. #3 son – wellllll….he’s useful, but….hmm. We’ll revisit that later.
We’re literally in the gather-as-much-firewood-as-we-can stage. This 250 year-old house has stood lots of bad winters, and we’ll get to find out what it was REALLY like way-back-when.
We’re making friends with everybody along this road, and we’re rural, so we’re already better off – even as the two Biden signs from brand-new residents pop-up like dandelions.
Congratulations Grandpa on your new, and first, grandchild! No matter what happens in our crazy existence, the cycle of life goes on.
For me it would take more energy to not loathe than to let the loathing flow and let it go. I have too many things going on to have any energy left to fight off the loathing. But I spend zero time or effort focusing on it as long as it isn’t shoved in my face.
If money weren’t necessary I would be doing OK. I’m having daughter trouble– she sees no point in doing anything, and I’m not sure where the nihilism comes from (but I suspect). It’s as though she wants to see me as her enemy these days– but she just turned 13 so I suppose it’s to be expected. Still, I miss having a non-enemy in the house with me. Oh, well… I still have the cats.
I guess I’m lucky to be pretty far removed from most of the trouble. The closest real city is 90 miles away. The local cops know I’m not a problem for anyone and they stay away. My parents both survived the Corona so I no longer have to worry about anyone particularly vulnerable who might catch it. I’m over it anyway– any concern related to the panicdemic, I mean. I mask up if I have to in order to go in some place, but not otherwise. And I don’t go in many paces and have started only going to the post office when it is closed so as to avoid their mask mandate. There hasn’t been any racial strife in this little town, and only a half-hearted sign-waving several weeks ago in the nearest real town. I wasn’t there to see it.
I know this area isn’t a sustainable place to live– no surface water at all, unless it’s just after a big rain, and that doesn’t last long. Little in the way of natural edibles– unless you count the cows in the feedlots and dairies (which, in case of social breakdown, everyone would count them I’m sure). The prickly pear and yucca in my yard would get eaten up pretty fast.
But, whatever happens happens.
Idiocracy cometh? Fruit of government schooling run full rot.
I hear we can read about its product. Available at Amazon and elsewhere; “White Fragility” and “In Defense of Looting” (etc.). Mindless crazy with no future but servitude and ruin.
Not playing. I’m wired optimist. Days melancholy show up, I must push through darkness and keep moving. I’ve practiced before, and in days long past. I’ve obligation to myself and to those I care about. In trying times we might benefit to find what our true community is made of and who it includes. Persevere. I can see no sane alternative. The center can hold.
stryderoftheuplands — Congratulations and enjoy your family’s new life. I fear for all the children of today; may they recreate the freedom we’re losing.
ComradeX — I smiled all the way through that video, then watched it again. I can’t play Twitter videos on my system, but when I other commentors mentioned it was a great dog vid, I found it on YouTube. Not only that, but I found the entire “dognamedstella” account and had a blast watching her. Great day brightener. The very short “Stella the Backup Dancer” was best of all.
And the rest of you — Thanks, especially for giving me some ideas to include in part II.
I’d like to add that I believe few think the current idiocy is any more than remotely about race. The object the useful idiots on the streets serve is to try fracture and fragment the civil connections that allow people of different ideas, goals, and faiths, to still engage productively in a larger social order. A population so weakened will yield even more power to the state. Appeasement is folly. stop.
Congratulations, stryder. I remember that day. My twin grandkids are 9 now (Already? Yikes!), and I hope they’ll see better times.
Fast? Wow! I reminded someone yesterday that January through mid-March, police were among the “Valiant first-responders standing between the population and Covid.” People wore “Back the Blue,” and restaurants were taking them meals.
Locally, in our small town, LEOs are still respected. OTOH our county sheriff and his chief deputy announced their retirement last winter effective 1-1-2021, our city police chief just retired, and our city-county fire department chief just announced his retirement, also 1-1-2021. All have put in their time, and it’s not unexpected, so there’s no real reason to suspect they know something I don’t, but…
I’m slogging my way through “White Fragility,” in “know-your-opponent” mode. It’s difficult, she writes in fruit-loops. How anyone could take that “scholarship” seriously I don’t know. But I
may beam biased.
A global takeover by the foolish, arrogant mastermind billionaires of Davos
Who believe that this time they won’t be the first ones kneeling in the square blindfolded, “confessing” as they wait for a bullet or a rope. I’d suggest the Woke Folk watch “V for Vendetta,” but they’d probably think they’re the ones in the masks, instead of the ones behind the mic.
Sorry, Claire, but I’m gonna hold my nose and v*te. If Trump wins the Democrats will go crazy, but mostly in Blue cities. Whoever replaces Biden, after he’s sworn in, will take the insanity nation-wide.
It’s going to get worse ( a lot worse) before (if?) it gets better. The situation is going to be varying between simmer and low boil until November.
If Trump (and the Repugs) can collect enough votes to overcome the margin of fraud, expect widespread riots in *every* city with a metro population of over a million.
If Biden (and the Dumbocrats) can steal enough votes/control the process sufficiently to allow a claim of victory, expect the “control thumbscrews” to be tightened drastically, with an economic recession/maybe depression as a result, followed by guerilla violence.
“Avoid Crowds”, and don’t let any critical resource be dependent on tech.
Born September 3rd, at 1:13pm and weighing in at 7 pounds, 4 oz. just under 20 inches long. He’s a little trouble maker already. Mother and child are doing well! A little good news is always good. Thanks for the good wishes.
I am a strong believer in individual freedoms. I’m hoping they survive, and have faith that we will win. I do not have faith that it will be comfortable.
Hi Claire, I’m glad to see you read comments, I hope mine makes it through.
A little anecdotal life story: I read “101” in the 90s as a teenager and I’ve never forgot it. I’ve always been something of a “left(?) libertarian” or another poorly-devised term, but nowadays I have absolutely no political home, and have actually been removed from both “left wing” and “right wing” groups. You hit the nail on the head both in this post and the previous one, I think. I am betting you feel like Cassandra, because I know I do.
There are a lot of lies floating around and it concerns me that people are painting things to black/white (or red/blue if you prefer). I’m in one of the cities that is supposedly seeing “warfare”, and I can tell you the reporting is completely bogus, whether from mainstream media or individuals on social media. Political biases completely shape how a situation is viewed, and I am seeing everything from roaming bands of self-described white supremacists to self-described anachro-communists doing actual violence against people’s bodies….however they are a slim minority and do not capture the majority of people, who I would describe as “armchair revolutionaries” with Big Opinions they spout with little personal consequence. It all really has solidified for me the complete artificiality of “us versus them”.
When I am feeling sanguine, I compare the defense of liberties and rights to worldwide literacy. Just a short time ago, being able to read was a rare skill available only to the wealthy and lucky, but nowadays the majority of humans are literate. However, every year there are new babies. None of them can read. The battle to keep people literate is an eternal, never-ending battle, forever, because there will always be new people. However, we don’t say “oh that means we should give up on trying to teach people to read”. It is the same with peace, justice, and liberty — even if we guaranteed freedom and happiness for 100% of humans right this moment, time moves on, and there will be a whole batch of new people we need to fight for. I try to think of this when I get discouraged, and embrace the “fight” as a normal part of human existence. I hope this sounds a bit more Zen than nihilistic, pardon.
Minus political atmosphere, I hope you are well in health and soul. You have impacted lives in a positive way, and hope you will continue to do so, and I thank you for your genuine efforts.
I suppose many do say that confession is good for the soul. 🙂 Good to see you again, Claire.
I am among those who have to work to fight off the actual full-scale loathing. I try to remain focused on the “actually living free” part of all of it, but my word, these are tiresome and dedicated people who are driving the public herd toward stampede.
When I can push past the paralysis of flabbergastery–the simply trying to keep up with the speed of the current race to see who can completely lose his mind the fastest (and by god while making sure you see him doing it, too!)–there is really little of this that is all that surprising. Not good, of course, but hell, we’ve been asking ourselves for years now, how all this continuing accretion of statism hasn’t already kicked off full-scale spicy times, haven’t we?
Seems like the agitprop dickheads may have just finally found their way to get us to the tipping point. It probably doesn’t really matter, in the end, how they did it–I strongly suspect the if there is an answer to the “how”, it will be a depressingly pedestrian answer–but despite that, and given the stakes, it’s hard not to…well, loathe a little bit.
Several things do give me useful hope. One is my own kids, who just plain deserve my best efforts to build the world I want to see for them, even if it’s one day, one person, family, friend, mini-tribe at a time; and even within a larger world that may be fully committed to the destruction of all I hold dear. They deserve to see their father’s honesty and emotion about the state of the world…alongside his dedication to using the time we have to build whatever we can.
And we do. Hundreds of little things that the Chicken Little and Free Shit Army crowds pay no attention to: little skills, little relationships and backchannel partnerships, and so on. Donning the silly masks when we must, and taking note of all the other people who pointedly rip theirs off coming out the door as well, without a word, sometimes with a knowing nod or smile in our direction. Yeah, my kids (ages 5, 9, 11) already understand quite clearly that there is plenty of Teh Stoopid out there, but there are also plenty of people who understand. People who also crave to do a little rebuilding of a better society, without bothering to call it that. We’ve noted that suddenly there are a great many spontaneously-forming little, private groups of people who are (gasp!) communicating directly and without the supervision of their betters, and these are conspicuously free of any judgment of what hygienic choices any of their fellows may make. (It’s like they’re–again, gasp!–respecting each others’ free will!)
This motivates me, and even makes me happy.
I’m painfully aware that in some possible scenarios of What Is To Come, I and/or my loved ones may not live through it. Yeah, it’s true: nobody gets out of life alive, after all. So, we prepare as best we can, we forge our immediate world as we want it to be, and we take comfort in the others we meet who are of the same mind. (Condition Yellow, right?) That’s a life worth living, and that’s what we’re about, tiresome times be damned. And if my time comes sooner rather than later, well, at that point “I aim to misbehave”, and with no regrets.
I’ve been in that dark place, before, where I’ve questioned bringing children into such a world, but that’s not the answer. A free world needs free people to mind their own business in it, and I am motivated to build free people. 🙂
Sometimes it doesn’t have to be so grand, either. I find myself thinking a lot, these days, of a quote I first heard from Butler Shaffer: Carl Jung, from The Undiscovered Self, “…the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual soul.” Jung seems to have a number of such notable observations, and I think they’re worth thinking about and sharing during the trying times.
And for those who like their music both chaotic and beautiful, moody and emotional, introspective and observant, I increasingly think that the group Tool must somehow have known that all this shit was coming, because dang, but a number of their more significant pieces seem to hit squarely and specifically on the mark. (This, from someone who often finds lyrical content in music mostly trivial, if not quite banal.) I find I am frequently using this group to help me manage my steam, sometimes; for example, both “The Grudge” from 2001’s Lateralus, and “7empest” from the most recent 2019 record, provide pretty biting observations–while still looking inward for answers, rather than outward. “Descending”, also from 2019, might be a viable anthem for the fall of the republic. And the one that Claire’s mention of fear made me think of immediately, is the title track of that 2019 release, “Fear Inoculum”. Now that piece right there, goes right straight to the heart of what Claire is talking about; for anyone who hasn’t heard it, whether or not you would consider yourself a Tool fan: consider getting into some headphones and just listen closely. Yes, I do gush a bit about such things, but this is a pretty masterful observation, and jaw-droppingly relevant.
Anyway, I hope others can take heart through the fear porn and creeping statism. We need that. I’m as human as the next guy, and don’t always manage my gorge well, but I’ve had the great good fortune of a wonderful wife and kids, and an exposure to a number of others as well, of all ages, who remind me that it is possible to work on building the world you want, even as we can see things starting to burn.
It helps–and I’ve got to believe it also helps. 🙂
Marxism died on the field in the light of day. But in passing, it birthed in certain Philosophy schools, “Postmodernism”. In its numerous forms, this infected the liberal arts and social “sciences”. It now infects the young, and endangers the West. Climate change and Covid-19 are not more than distraction. Invasion of the body snatchers, or am I ready for the funny farm?