Was there really such a year as 2020?
You know how it goes: if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, et cetera...?
Suppose an entire society goes to smithereens, while our media elites stubbornly refuse to notice. What then?
Suppose the reporters and the pundits and the "experts" ignore the coup that has trampled our basic freedoms since last March.
Suppose they all assure us that defending democracy is "anti-science," and preach to us that civil rights (except for Black Lives Matter protests) are nothing but a "death cult."
Suppose, after an "election" conducted mainly in the press, on the basis of a torrent of worthless propaganda, a notorious corporate whore is about to be installed in the White House as carnival-barker-in-chief for scantily-tested vaccines - drugs being peddled by a gang of profiteers who wouldn't even make the stuff until they were promised complete legal immunity for whatever they do to their victims.
Well? Does the murder of our liberties even make a sound?
Was there really such a year as 2020?
In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 2005, the playwright Harold Pinter had this to say about every atrocity concealed by the Western press:
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest.
And so much never happened this past year!
Four-fifths of the United States of America suspended democracy and declared the Bill of Rights obsolete. The United Kingdom unleashed a new sort of "police" - faces masked, truncheons in their paws - to maul peaceful protesters for the crime of breathing. In parts of Australia, it became a criminal offense to tell other people the time and place of a political demonstration. Germany outlawed political protest.
But none of that happened. It wasn't reported in the mainstream press. It was of no interest.
In just over nine months, economies in once-wealthy countries were reduced to ruin. Social media reeled under systematic thought-policing. Following a wave of "executive orders" that shuttered small businesses across the United States, an unprecedented number of Americans began to steal food to survive. In the U.K., UNICEF is distributing food to hungry children for the first time in more than 70 years. Around the world, people in need still can't get medical treatment. Cultural institutions have been shattered. The performing arts have been banned. Singing was deemed a public health risk.
It didn't matter.
This year, for the first time in history, more than 40 governors in the U.S. awarded themselves quasi-dictatorial powers - on the strength of laws hastily designed less than 20 years ago for massive bioterrorism attacks, pressed into service to counter a medical "emergency" that was never an emergency. By the end of 2020, most of the American population was still living under dictatorial rule.
That was of no interest.
Huge numbers of people, in Europe as in America, were placed (without a court order) under virtual house arrest. This was called a protective measure - and it was reported as such, though the practice violated civil-rights rulings going back nearly a century. Tens of millions of people saw their livelihoods snatched from them by officials they never even had the opportunity to confront.
Yes, a handful of states that did not imprison their populations or wreck their economies claimed to have medical results as good as - if not better than - neighboring states that did both. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson went so far as to assert all this on May 5 in the editorial pages of the Washington Post, a main purveyor of coronavirus propaganda. But those claims were never investigated in the mainstream press. They didn't matter.
Now the mega-corporations that supported the "lockdowns" are sucking the life out of the small-business economy that was once the mainstay of the free world. For restaurants, the picture is so bleak that chef and author Edward Lee calls it "the end of the independent restaurant era," and warns that...
we will lose the culture of all of our American cities.... [W]e will become a nation of corporate chain restaurants that will look and taste the same in every city.
Culture is under attack from other directions as well. London's theatres, heirs to one of the proudest dramatic traditions in the world, are closed for the first time in modern history - and whether they will ever open again depends upon the whims of politicians. Musicians and other artists have been devastated by "social distancing" rules that never made any sense and have never been obeyed by the powerful.
That doesn't matter, either.
In respectable society, it can't even be talked about.
[o]ur children should not have to rely on humanitarian charities that are used to operating in war zones and in response to natural disasters.
You'd never guess that the self-righteous Rayner actually supported the economy-wrecking madness that caused this deepening poverty - in fact, back in May, she wanted even stricter police-state tactics than those the government imposed.
Formerly-esteemed scientists tried to tell us that the hype made no sense. "We're falling into a trap of sensationalism," Stanford University's John Ioannidis said as early as March 23. "We have gone into a complete panic state." The interview containing those comments was soon banned by Youtube, even though Ioannidis is universally recognized as "one of the world's foremost epidemiologists."
Prominent scientists who signed the Great Barrington Declaration suffered a similar fate, smeared as fringe elements promoting "craven lunacy" and a "brutal" attempt to "let people die" - in other words, as Nazis.
But that wasn't name-calling. And it wasn't censorship, either - even though Reddit's moderators promptly banned the Declaration. Such facts mustn't be mentioned. Breathe the word "censorship" and you're a right-wing fanatic.
Speaking of fanaticism, though: an 18-year-old American college student is behind bars at this moment in the Cayman Islands. Her crime? Watching - by herself - as her boyfriend competed in his last jet-skiing race of the year, after she had received not one but two negative tests for COVID19. It seems other people attending the race snitched on the woman, resulting in a four-month prison sentence for cutting short a fourteen-day "quarantine" - one that was issued without a court order, of course.
Once upon a time, we would have called those snitches "collaborators," if not "heartless fanatics." Now their actions are praised by newspapers and prosecutors alike: after all, they were protecting the public "health" by putting a young woman in prison.
New vaccines for COVID19 are another way of protecting the public health, of course - they have nothing whatsoever to do with the billions of dollars pharmaceuticals companies are likely to make from selling them.
Never mind that the Food and Drug Administration had to short-circuit its own rules in order to authorize their use. Never mind that the manufacturers had to be promised that "for the next four years, [they] cannot be sued for money damages in court over injuries related to the administration or use" of their new vaccines - a blanket legal immunity that is "very rare," according to a prominent labor attorney. (Oh, and you can't sue the FDA either.)
None of that matters. None of that is of interest.
That's why CNN's "political analyst," Joe Lockhart, could recently insist that the government ought to prevent Tucker Carlson from stating inconvenient facts about those vaccines on his Fox News program. The First Amendment doesn't matter any more, you see. Joe Lockhart says so. He's a representative of a press outlet calling for government censorship of another press outlet - for expressing an opinion he doesn't agree with.
And? Has anyone in the "free press" complained about Lockhart's breathtaking treachery - attacking the Constitution's press protections while handing over a colleague to the Thought Police? Not as far as I know.
Because, you see, none of it happened.
Just like the rest of the coronavirus coup. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening.
It didn't matter that all the recent hysteria about COVID19 "cases" was based on the results of a manifestly unreliable testing procedure. It didn't matter that inexpensive and effective treatment for the disease may already be available, with no serious side effects, from drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. When the highly-credentialed Dr. Pierre Kory tried to interest Congress in the use of these medications - from which no one stands to benefit except those suffering the worst cases of COVID19 - he was the target of an astonishing smear by the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
That was typical of official reaction, though: after a group of physicians announced the promising results of the same drugs on December 4...
no major U.S. media outlets reported [their] pleas for help from the federal government to act... Nor did any representative from the CDC, the NIH or the World Health organization contact them,
according to one of the rare alternative news sources that bothered to report the story.
So the unproven vaccines will roll out everywhere; Big Pharma will get even richer; poor people will be allowed to die. As manufactured claims of rising "case" numbers stoke renewed hysteria, government after government will subject its citizens to further mass house arrests, even though the experience of Belarus - which did not impose "lockdowns" - strongly suggests that the mass-incarceration strategy does more harm than good.
To those in power, all this is of no interest. It didn't matter. It never happened.
And to the rest of us?
That will depend, I suppose, on the steadfastness of people who care more about the truth than about conformity.
Those for whom words still have meaning, and facts still matter.
Those who are not ashamed to touch, nor afraid to stand up.
Those who will not swallow lies nor ingest a fraud.
Those to whom the word "freedom" isn't an insult.
Those are the ones who have truly survived the ghastly year 2020 - and on whom our future depends.
Michael Lesher is an author, poet and lawyer whose legal work is mostly dedicated to issues connected with domestic abuse and child sexual abuse. His book Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities (McFarland & Co., 2014) was the first to focus on sex abuse cover-ups among Orthodox Jews; his first collection of poetry, Surfaces, was published by The High Window in 2019. He is also the author of a memoir of his discovery of Orthodox Judaism as an adult - Turning Back: The Personal Journey of a "Born-Again" Jew - published by Lincoln Square Books.