“Freefall” Ethics Reflections: “Is This It?”

British novelist William Golding, whom you probably know best as the author of “Lord of the Flies,” wrote a disturbing novel the year I was born called “Freefall.” It was on the reading list of a literature course I took as a college junior, and though it was easily the least well-known of the novels we studied (and is one of Golding’s least-known books as well), “Freefall” is the one that has most echoed back to me at various times over the decades.

The first-person narrator is a miserable and depressed man, an artist, imprisoned in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II and awaiting torture in a small, dark store room. In fear and isolation, he finds his mind reviewing the minutiae of his life, as he searches for the exact moment when his life went horribly and irretrievably wrong and he lost control. In flashbacks, he constantly stops, sometimes after re-living what seems to be the most trivial event, and asks “Was this it? Was this the moment?’

I thought about “Freefall” once again this morning, as I tried to process a series of absurd and incomprehensible recent occurrences and statements. “Is this it?” I found myself wondering, like Golding’s pathetic hero, “Is this it? Is this the moment The Great Stupid completely obliterates all reason and leaves the United States public wandering around aimlessly moaning like the zombies in ‘The Walking Dead’?”

No, it’s not a particularly momentous chain of events, just one that can’t happen anywhere that has sturdy values, trustworthy leadership, and functioning ethics alarms.

First, as mentioned in the previous post (#6), President Biden announced this week that he had cancer. He doesn’t have cancer, but U.S. voters were manipulated by various unscrupulous and irresponsible agents to elect as the most powerful leader of the world an elderly, mentally-failing lifetime political hack who wasn’t all that capable when he was young and had all of his brain cells firing. Have any previous U.S. Presidents, for any reason, ever stated in public that they had a dread disease they didn’t have? No. I checked. This has never happened before because it is an insane thing to do. Such statements destabilize a government and cause the public anxiety. An anxious public is bad for the country, not there aren’t plenty of actual things going on to be anxious about.

Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Biden really had another dread disease, some variation of the Wuhan virus. This was interesting, because the President, as he tried to twist the public’s many arms and persuade them to get completely vaccinated a while back, had stated as a fact that if they got the shots, they couldn’t be infected. Maybe this was like his cancer announcement, or maybe he really believed that. Who knows?

Joe, we definitely know, “trusts the science,” and his wokism-deranged administration members keep explaining that soaring gas prices are a good thing, because they will eventually force everyone to get incredibly expensive electric cars that our infrastructure won’t support and that most Americans can’t afford. This is all because Joe believes the climate change “science,” which says civilization is doomed if the world doesn’t magically come together and drastically lower its use of carbon-based fuels. The U.S. can’t make a meaningful dent in the scientifically-predicted temperature rise no matter how much it wrecks its own economy, but about half the country allegedly led by Joe somehow thinks it can.

The “science,” meanwhile, has proven less than reliable. Two years ago, Glacier National Park started removing signs like this one that alerted visitors that the park’s famous glaciers would be all gone and melted away by 2020:

Science, you know. Computer models by the same scientists who inspired that sign are convincing Joe to constrict U.S. energy production, requiring him to go to Saudi Arabia, which he had previously declared as evil, to beg for more oil.

How could Biden get the virus, since as President he supposedly receives the best medical attention in the world, and since he was also vaccinated to the hilt? When pressed on the puzzle, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that it didn’t matter how, which is an oddly incurious response. Suspicions rage that Typhoid Mary might have been Vice-President Harris, who, being an idiot, believes in “the science” but who routinely does things like entering a stage masked and then whipping it off to hug her unmasked host.

Well, never mind. Joe’s infection isn’t that much of a mystery after all. Former pandemic response coordinator for President Donald Trump, Dr. Deborah Birx, told “Your World” host Neil Cavuto last week that she “knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection, and I think we overplayed the vaccines, and it made people then worry that it’s not going to protect against severe disease and hospitalization.”

Oh.

Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre dutifully informed reporters that though Joe is infected with a virus that is especially dangerous for elderly people with underlying health problems like cancer (which Joe doesn’t have) and is so serious that the U.S. deliberately wrecked its economy, destroyed business and retarded its children’s education and social development in response to it, that she…

….asked [Biden] if he had a message for the American people. The president said he’s still putting 8+ hours of work a day.

This instantly reminded me of Red China’s news agencies continuing to claim that Chairman Mao, when he was ancient, fat and ailing, was regularly taking long and vigorous swims in the Yangtze River. It also reminded me of President Ulysses S. Grant, whose death on July 23, 1885 I meant to mention here two days ago, working around the clock in a race with death to finish his memoirs  to support his family. Grant did have cancer. The old general held on, writing in pencil,  just long enough to complete the book.

No, I do not believe that Joe is working “8 plus” hours a day.

Finally, this “Freefall” sequence was capped when Yale medical school professor Kimberly Sue, author, MD and PhD, tweeted:

“POTUS working while having COVID infection epitomizes white supremacy urgency in the workplace. Sets a bad example for everyone that he cannot rest. COVID infection is serious, symptoms debilitating for many, and ppl should take time off without working through it.”

That astounding critique, which was quickly (but not quickly enough!) deleted, suggests that the assertion earlier this month by another health official that “urgency” is a “white supremacy” value wasn’t the loony outlier I thought it was. Yale allows someone who thinks such thing indoctrinate its students. President Grant wasn’t being diligent, responsible and courageous to keep working as throat cancer was killing him, he was proving what a racist he was. Joe Biden doesn’t have cancer, almost certainly isn’t working the hours his paid liar dutifully claims he is, but she, black woman that she is, has advanced white supremacy by falsely stating that the President continues to work on the multiple crises his policies have triggered instead of just laying back like a good President of Color would. Or should, or something.

Honestly, I don’t know what the hell is going on. I just know it’s all linked, that when a society becomes this dishonest and stupid the road back is long and perhaps permanently blocked, and that my brain hurts.

Is this it? Is this the moment where the United States lost control of its fate?

12 thoughts on ““Freefall” Ethics Reflections: “Is This It?”

  1. Ah yes. The NFL football head coach or college football head coach who watches film twenty-four hours a day and sleeps in his office and never sees his family. The Wall Street associates who bill eighteen hours a day and shower and sleep at the office. Hilarious myths. While I worked (for a borrower client) at a closing (I even got a Lucite tombstone!) hosted by a Wall Street firm (as lender’s counsel), the associates explained that if they worked in the office until 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. or so, they could take a car home to wherever they lived, Connecticut or wherever, and bill it to the client! Surprise, surprise, they all worked real hard and real late. The place was jammed until around ten and then it would clear out, like magic. And of course, New York is known as a “late to work” town. Hah!

      • Breathtaking, non? From a medical school professor? I thought medical school students and interns were supposed to study and work around the clock for six years or so. They can “chill” and learn everything? Right on!

  2. Oh, please, tell me that Dr. Sue doesn’t freak out in the drive-thru if she doesn’t get her Big Mac Combo Meal in 60 seconds flat.

    But maybe Dr. Sue really does believe that urgency is a symbol of white supremacy. I’m sure she’ll be perfectly okay with the ambulance driver taking his time when she’s carted off to the hospital with a heart attack. Can’t inconvenience all those black and brown motorists on the road, right?

  3. Turning points. History is full of them, although I don’t know what the top 10 would be. In no particular order, some are:

    1. The election of Andrew Jackson, giving birth to the Democratic Party and ending the rich families’ grip on power in the US.

    2. The Battle of Saratoga, bringing France into the Revolutionary War and sealing the doom of the British cause.

    3. The Battle of Midway, destroying most of Japan’s carriers and completing the destruction of her best pilots, making the Pacific unwinnable for the Japanese.

    4. December 27, 1864. Fort Fisher falls before the assault of General Benjamin Butler, closing the Confederacy’s last port and making Union victory just a matter of time.

    5. The Tet offensive hits the news, dooming both LBJ and the US position in Vietnam.

    6. The Reagan/Carter debate, dooming Carter’s reelection bid and delivering the White House to the GOP for 12 years.

    7. The failed coup in the USSR, ending Gorbachev’s premiership and accelerating the dissolution of that superstate.

    8. The assassination of William McKinley, opening the way for Teddy Roosevelt and a decidedly more imperial presidency.

    9. The moon landings.

    10. The Salem witch trials, which ultimately break the power of the Puritans in the US.

    I bet you could name 100 other key terning points.
    Where did the Great Stupid go really wrong? I’m inclined to say it was a perfect storm between COVID, the impeachment, and the death of George Floyd, but, if I had to pick five key turning points for the Great Stupid, starting with the death of George Floyd and going forward I’d have to say:

    1. The ddestruction of Minneapolis’ 3rd precinct, sending the message that the authorities were not serious about stopping the riots from getting out of control.

    2. The AMA embraces protest over social distancing, crippling the nation’s ability to use the restrictions already in place to end the riots and showing a clear double standard.

    3. The church incident in DC, where an ill-advised photo-op coupled with unfair press coverage loses Trump the backing of the military.

    4. Ted Wheeler’s refusal of Federal aid in Portland despite 100 nights of rioting and destruction, making Trump look powerless and sending the clear message that no one had ordinary people’s back.

    5. Congress takes a knee, showing that black grievance trumps all.

    This is going to be a touch set of events to gome back from. It can take the form of the next couple of elections resulting in GOP wins and an attempt to rebalance things, or it can take the form of Civil War 2.0. So far we aren’t there yet, but we could get there quicker than you think

    • Great comment Steve, thanks. I don’t know how I missed this post, I’m 2 days late, but it’s one of Jack’s best. I guess he can’t nominate himself for COTD, but I would.

  4. I’m noticing recently that everyone, and I mean literally everyone, myself included, is on edge. And by “on edge” I mean on the edge of a major mental episode.

    I’ve had three friends, people I’ve known my entire life, people I thought were happy, approach me looking to to talk about topics that I’m glad they talked to me about, but I would never have expected to have talked to them about. A buddy of mine died recently, suicide, and I didn’t get that call… I called another friend to line up a wake, only to have him unload all his problems on me.

    I’m looking at my life…. I have as many friends as I ever did, I’m OK financially, I like my job, and the only thing I can conclude is that the years of toxic media… All disaster all the time, has finally caught up with me…. And literally everyone else.

    And so it’s this indomitable slog to find positivity where you can. We’ll all have different methods. I took up… I shit you not… gardening, it’s legitimately relaxing to put in a whole lot of work on a yard that kind of looks almost good, and being able to stand there and say: I did that.

    It’s the little things.

    • Mrs. OB is an avid gardener. It’s very physically demanding. My favorite college English professor, a super high-powered intellect, much to my surprise, loved to garden. He dug around in his backyard planting flowering plants. He said once there was something really therapeutic about getting down on his hands and knees and digging in the muck. Really surprising. He was not at all physical or athletic, was doubtless obese and smoked like a chimney. And a brainiac. But he enjoyed the physicality of gardening.

  5. Joe barely worked “8 plus” hours a week before he “caught COVID” (I’m not convinced that they didn’t just need an excuse to get him out of the public eye for a while, and a fake COVID diagnosis is the perfect way to do that), and he almost never puts in a full 8-hour day of real, actual work.

    I don’t mind being lied to by my government; that’s what governments do. I do, however, object to blatant, obvious lies that are simply an insult. These aren’t lies they expect you to believe, they’re open statements of contempt. They don’t respect the public enough to concoct reasonable lies, and the outrageousness of the lie is intended to be a challenge. There’s nothing to be gained by claiming this frail octogenarian is such an ass-busting workaholic that he’s putting in overtime while sick. Nobody is going to believe that, so why not just say he’s got a light schedule, is resting and drinking plenty of fluids? Because the contempt is the point. They want to communicate that they’re in charge, and you’d better damn well pretend that what they say is true.

    • Any time the President is not upstairs in the residential suite but is down in his office whether it is watching CNN or taking a nap it is counted as working.

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