Facebook has ramped up its efforts to control the flow of information since Biden’s proclamation two weeks ago that it was “killing people” by allowing people to post “misinformation” about Covid-19 and vaccines. Now not even job posts that mention the need for potential employees to be tested or vaccinated can escape the dreaded “Visit the COVID-19 Information Center” banner. It’s gotten to the point where they are no longer just suppressing incorrect facts, but unapproved opinions as well.
Because of this, many people are reaching a point where they consider official disapproval to be a mark of truth. Conspiracy theorists – who have always posted and shared made-up crap under the radar – held this view for years. I suspect that the modern flat Earth movement came into being when someone was talking to their conspiracy theorist buddy and argued that “Not everything the official sources say is necessarily false. Just because they say the Earth is round, that doesn’t mean you can really believe it’s flat.” To which the conspiracy theorist replied, “hold my beer.”
If we can accept the possibility that at least on rare occasions official sources might get something right, then we need to evaluate official claims on the strength of their evidence. Ideally, social media could be a great place for that process. Someone posts a claim, someone asks for evidence, the original poster or someone else posts evidence, someone replies to that with conflicting evidence or pointing out problems with their evidence, and so on, and if we could do this in a civilized manner, we might get closer to the truth. Conversation is necessary for understanding, scrutiny is the source of scientific knowledge, and opposition is the forge of experience.
Scrutiny often dismantles falsehoods, which is why – back in the days when there were lots of conspiracy theory groups on Facebook – they were careful to block any dissenting voices from their page. Rational, evidence-based discussions are the bane of both conspiracy theories and government propaganda, which is why censorship of rational discussions empowers both. Censorship doesn’t hurt conspiracy theories much, what they lose in Facebook traffic to their pages they more than make up for with the strange new credibility the censorship has given them and the “secret hidden knowledge” they can implicitly or explicitly promise.
Social media censorship often decreases the reach of true stories the mainstream media/DNC disagrees with, like the Hunter Biden emails or Covid-19 Wuhan lab-leak theory, but not so much that we haven’t heard of them. The most damage is done to open, skeptical discussion and exchange of intellectually diverse materials and ideas. Conspiracy theories can be marketed as “the video THEY don’t want you to see,” but the truth usually doesn’t get the benefit of that exciting heading.
Facebook censorship empowers not only conspiracy theories, but run-of-the-mill rumors. For example, I recently came across a claim that a conservative boycott of Coca-Cola over their noted support of critical race theory had successfully damaged their business.
This claim could be true, but I was skeptical, if only because of the fact that conservatives are notoriously lousy at following through on boycotts. The top-down control approach to baloney like this is to hide it, make it blurry to the audience, and/or to reduce its reach. But maybe there’s evidence. The rational, decentralized, libertarian approach is to ask for a source, which I did.
Facebook blocked my comment which was asking for a source because social media censorship is designed to prevent all controversial conversations. Any possibility of pointing out the need for a source or trading evidence with the original poster is automatically ruled out.
Of course, social media companies and news organizations are private companies and can legally censor whoever they want, as many libertarians will constantly remind everyone who will listen (though the government’s finger is clearly on the scale at this point). But libertarians should also know better than anyone else that you can’t derive morality from legality. And you can’t derive efficacy or practicality from either.
Rumors, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories about Covid-19 vaccines continue to thrive, despite (or possibly because of) social media’s censorship. But without the censorship, we might have a rational discussion about how necessary the vaccine is for certain populations or the need for mask mandates, and that’s even more unacceptable. Without censorship, we might be able to discuss the issue, to trade evidence, and maybe to convince each other of the right position. Or we might not, as humans often let their emotion override their reason. But it’s better than letting falsehoods go unchallenged by having no discussion at all.
The least productive hobby I’ve ever had was arguing with Conspiracy Theorists in the YouTube comments – particularly the ones claiming that the Jews run the world and might also be reptoid space aliens. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t making any progress. After all, I could find or come up with what I thought was an extensive, logical, and verifiable response to any of their silly arguments. My responses fell on deaf ears, and as a result I eventually swore off all comment section arguments.
Maybe my writing wasn’t as brilliant as I thought it was at the time, but I had no way of knowing that because they never actually responded to my arguments. Usually they either switched to another similarly silly argument or called me a “shill” for whatever company or organization they said was behind the conspiracy. Sometimes they insisted I was Jewish, even when I told them that I unfortunately did not have that honor.
The common catchphrase among the hard-core Conspiracy Theorists was “wake up, people/sheep/sheeple!” or “open your eyes!” There are invisible structures of power and hierarchy that determine how the world really works, you just have to wake up to see them. That’s why hard-core conspiracy theorists sometimes were called and even called themselves “woke,” before the term became more well-known to refer to the newly ascendant critical theory-based movement of the left. And despite their opposition – a result of their cultural differences – woke critical theory has a lot in common with woke conspiracy theory in their epistemology – how they think about knowledge.
There are many theories, accusations, and suggestions that a conspiracy may exist, but a Conspiracy Theory worldview – which I emphasize with a capital C and capital T to set it apart from an ordinary accusation of a crime that involves multiple conspirators – goes beyond that: it interprets every important event or relevant piece of information as constructed by a system of power under an evil conspiratorial group. Any facts or arguments that contradict their theory are interpreted as disinformation from the conspiracy. The person arguing the conspiracy theory is in league with the evil group, and therefore any evidence against their theory is actually evidence that their theory of power is correct. A conspiracy theory, in this sense, is unfalsifiable circular logic, and therefore disconnected from truth and reality. It can’t be disproven, but there are countless reasons to doubt it.
The loosely connected group of dangerous ideas that are overtaking the culture and institutions of the U.S. and Europe, sometimes referred to collectively as “critical theory,” after a part of its academic origins, operates on the same principle, and its advocates are commonly called the “woke,” because they’re supposedly awake to how the world really works, to the networks of power that dominate the world and brainwash all the people who are asleep into disagreeing with their theories.
“Privilege,” most commonly in the form of “white privilege,” “male privilege,” and “cisheteronormative privilege,” is the most widely recognized manifestation of this “network of power” that controls the world. But the term is not widely understood. It does not necessarily mean that one is blessed with relative financial prosperity or in any other way, which is why a white male hobo is “privileged” over Oprah. “Privilege” according to critical theory is about how one person’s way of thinking is privileged, meaning that it controls how both whites and those who have been brainwashed by white colonialism think. There is a white way of thinking that controls the world like the Illuminati.
If you argue against this, that’s evidence of your privilege, and proof of how far we have yet to go to achieve “epistemic justice.” Arguments against white privilege are proof that the arguer is infected by white privilege, and therefore evidence of the existence and dominance of white privilege. Those who believe this are “woke,” because they’re supposedly awake to how the world really works, to the networks of power that dominate the world and brainwash all the people who are asleep into disagreeing with their theories. Once again, we have unfalsifiable circular logic.
There are many people, possibly a majority of Americans, who casually accept the worldview of either Conspiracy Theory or critical theory but haven’t skeptically investigated that worldview’s core or thought about its radical impacts. Such people genuinely believe that these radical worldviews are simple and common-sense assertions: that we should distrust those in power and that we should treat people kindly.
The hardcore activists of each group tend to retreat to one of these moderate positions when someone fights back against core premise of their radical worldview. Hardcore Conspiracy Theorists conflate something perfectly obvious: that bad people sometimes work together, with their theory as a whole: that some evil group rules the world and controls everything. Hardcore critical theorists conflate something perfectly obvious: we should oppose racism and treat everyone with kindness, with their theory as a whole: that all our identities and knowledge are a function of our position relative to oppressive power structures.
Important debates often are derailed in the arguing against terminology phase before they can ever make any progress toward the truth. Sometimes, that’s by design. Some conspiracy theorists will insist “it’s not conspiracy theory, it’s a conspiracy fact,” and claim that the term “conspiracy theory” was invented by the FBI or CIA to discredit those who had learned “the truth.”
There are lots of different names for critical theory/”wokeism,” all of which are “problematic” for some reason or another. It’s not critical race theory, that’s an “academic analytical tool.” It’s not Cultural Marxism because apparently that’s just an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.” What makes it an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory? The anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists sometimes use the phrase, therefore, it doesn’t exist. (For more about the context in which Cultural Marxism naturally exists, see my essay “Autonomy, Power, and the Possible: A Brief Intellectual History“). “Identity politics” is a useful term, but it can refer to political demagoguery on the basis on any identity, while only certain identities are allowed to be elevated in critical theory. The critical theory woke have sometimes been self-identified as Social Justice Warriors or SJW’s, though now it is apparently “unpersoning” to call them that.
I also would prefer eliminating use of the word “theory” in “conspiracy theory,” and in “critical theory,” as the word implies more intellectual rigor in these subjects than actually exists. If it were up to me, we’d call them “conspiracy guessing” and “critical racism.” But if we are ever to discuss a topic, we have to use words as commonly understood and endeavor to clarify when they are potentially ambiguous, and not change the words of meanings to sabotage the possibility of good-faith discussion.
The woke of both sides are adopting an age old understanding of rhetoric that is sometimes held up as a principle of the critical theory approach to knowledge – that terminology can bypass logic, manipulating ethos and pathos. Antifa can’t be fascist, is has anti-fascist right in the name!
Since the days of the ancient Greek Sophists and probably long before, humans have known the importance of controlling the terminology in controlling an argument. For those thinkers who believed there is an underlying reality that humans can access, or that there are universal laws of math and logic, arguments had to be classified in order to separate logic from the other stuff, Aristotle therefore distinguished between the three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos is an appeal to the authority of the arguer and their sources, pathos is an appeal to the emotions of the listener, and logos is the appeal to logic and empirical data – or an attempt to fabricate or confuse it.
The most skilled rhetoricians have always known that ethos and pathos are the most effective ways to influence people, and are maximally effective when disguised as logos.
Ethos works in two ways, we can claim that something is good because Reverend King said it, or we can claim that something must be wrong because Hitler supported it – like neoclassical architecture, vegetarianism, Wagnerian Opera, or motherhood. Some of the most common arguments we encounter on an everyday basis are in the form of a negative ethos, the thought process that says cultural Marxism doesn’t exist because the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists say it does. Some of the “logical fallacies” you may remember if you’ve taken a writing class are ways to categorize illogical uses of ethos: appeal to authority, poisoning the well, genetic fallacy, ad hominem, etc.
The use of ethos has changed as our perception of what constitutes authority has been subverted by the common contemporary mindset. Among conspiracy theorists the sources we would traditionally regard as authorities – scientists, seasoned professionals, articulate thinkers – are regarded as less than worthless. Expertise is a marker of involvement in the conspiracy, and logical, well-reasoned, and evidence-based arguments are sometimes rejected by conspiracy theorists on the basis of the arguer’s expertise. As one flat-Earther told me, “It says the same thing on NASA’s website, so I know it’s fake.”
To reject all arguments from ethos in favor of investigating all claims logically/empirically is the ideal, though it is difficult to actually practice. Conspiracy theorists are notoriously uncritical about their sources (for about a dozen concentrated examples, see my essay “Fact or Famine”) if they come from someone who they already agree with.
Woke critical theory gives an academic gloss to that same age-old mental bias that underlies ethos. Expertise is similarly rejected because of its “problematic history” of “epistemic violence” against marginalized voices. The enlightenment call to go “back to the sources” for evidence is replaced with the call to “elevate colonized/disabled/noncisconforming/fat/etc voices.”
Like conspiracy theorists, they judge arguments not on their merits, but on the hidden agenda the arguer is assumed to be perpetuating. As Alison Bailey, Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Illinois State says, “critical pedagogy regards the claims that students make in response to social-justice issues not as propositions to be assessed for their truth value, but as expressions of power that function to re-inscribe and perpetuate social inequalities.” This is called “Privilege-Preserving Epistemic Pushback,” and people of any race are guilty of it if they disagree with critical theory. (Alison Bailey, “Tracking Privilege-Preserving Epistemic Pushback in Feminist and Critical Race Philosophy Classes,” Hypatica 32, no. 4 (2007), 882.)
Within the critical theory epistemological framework, assertions are no longer about facts or reasoning, they’re about identity. The most important phrase in postmodern rhetoric is “as a.” “As a person of color, as a parent of a disabled person, as a member of the LQBTQIADF community, I am uniquely and exclusively entitled to a point of view on this subject.”
Your identity, of course, gives you your own perspective, but not necessarily your own truth and certainly not your own facts. Even if it were the case that one’s perspective gave them their own truth, it would not follow that their truth is the truth for everyone else, and those outside their perspective but somehow inside their truth can only listen. In critical theory, perspective is a function of narrative, and perspective is the foundation of identity. Because each person’s identity is produced by their perspective, disagreeing – or even failing to actively agree – with their perspective is “denying their personhood.”
These conceptual similarities among the woke explain certain practical similarities that you may have observed in either critical theory or conspiracy theory. For example, when the woke do use evidence, anecdotes are always better than data. Even though black or African Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by someone who shares their skin color than by a white person, activists tell us that they should fear for their lives because of the few videos in which a black suspect is killed by a white cop. Even though repeated epidemiologic studies have not found any association between the MMR vaccination and autism, we’ve all heard that someone we know has a cousin whose kid was diagnosed with autism after receiving a vaccine.
The woke assert a claim to secret knowledge, to have taken the metaphorical “red pill” and to see the invisible power structures of the world and who really controls. It’s like having a claim to magic powers. Yet they often treat those who disagree with them not as merely uninitiated, but as agents of evil. The mainstream cultural power belongs to the critical theory faction, and they are constantly asserting that power against those who somehow commit a thoughtcrime against their worldview. Though Conspiracy Theorists don’t have the same cultural power, they do have a certain influence on those who have them in their audience. Writing this, I know I’ve probably already made a lot of Conspiracy Theorists very angry, and I’m risking accusations of being an agent of Illuminati disinformation. But I hope those who have stuck with me will appreciate my candor in talking about the issue directly rather than patronizingly playing along with ideas I disagree with just to avoid offending a potential audience.
The psychology of hard-core conspiracy theorists is complicated and the psychology of the hard-core critical theory woke is mostly unexplored. Exploring the psychology of the arguer, of course, doesn’t discredit their arguments, but it can be useful in understanding their worldview. Woke theories on both sides allow those who believe them to blame their problems or the complicated issues they see in the world on evil forces like cisheteronormativity, the patriarchy, the Rothschilds, Whiteness, the Illuminati, systemic racism, or the Jews.
Wokeism can act both as a quirk of individual psychology and within a larger community. Communities like this thrive on groupthink and mob psychology, to their adherents constantly fired up. Detecting systemic racism in unlikely spots is a badge of honor for critical theory adherents, just as detecting a conspiracy in ordinary events establishes credibility among conspiracy theorists.
The woke critical theorists also share a feature with conspiracy theorists in that they can seem harmless and goofy most of the time, but have the potential to be dangerous when given power. Power is always dangerous, but responsible people may be humbled by the complexity of the world and difficulty of their job and might exercise some restraint. The woke, however, think that they know how the world works and who they need to destroy to reach utopia. This mentality drove both Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot, as they strove to “free their people” from the people their theories deemed to be oppressors.
There are, of course, prominent differences between Conspiracy Theory and critical theory. For example, because it developed in plain sight on the internet rather than tucked away in the academy, Conspiracy Theory is spoken about in mostly plain English. This makes it easier to try to talk about, while the strange and nebulous language of critical theory makes it very difficult to identify their circular logic.
If you try to argue logically or with data against the woke, they will typically tell you to “educate yourself” by watching really long conspiracy video or reading a dozen articles on Slate or Salon. The difference is we rarely see celebrities issue groveling apologies to Conspiracy Theorists and assurances that now they have “educated” themselves to the harm their words have done. In terms of culture and popular acceptance in different groups, Conspiracy Theory and critical theory are far away.
So can you be awake without being woke? You can distrust or oppose the government without believing every accusation levied against them just as you can oppose racism without believing every accusation of racism. But that means taking upon yourself the task of skeptically evaluating evidence for yourself. If that sounds exhausting, it is.
In a classical Persian poem, an unjust king asks a holy man, “what worship is greater than prayer?” The holy man says, “for you to remain asleep till the midday, that for this one interval you may not afflict mankind.” (Gulistan, Tale XII). If “wokeness” is to afflict mankind, then it might be better to go back to sleep.
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A Response to Helena Kleinlein’s Presentation “Feast or Famine? The Coming Food Shortages”
(Note: This post is responding to a presentation which is available at YouTube via the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu1uU5cL1D0&t=601s. I’ve included timestamps in brackets [ ] to indicate which area in the video my subsequent paragraphs are referring to. I’ve included sources as links in parenthesis at the end of paragraphs to make it simple for the reader to check the sources independently.)
I have to preface this article by saying that I am not arguing against preparedness, any more than someone arguing against the need for living in constant dread of being struck by lightning is therefore arguing against the need for health and life insurance. I believe that the modern and ancient revelations warn us to be prepared spiritually and temporally for a wide range of potential disasters and that most of us, including myself, could and should do better in that regard. But Helena Kleinlien’s presentation uses preparedness as a jumping-off point for spreading all kinds of falsehoods. It goes from beautiful scriptures like Isaiah 41:13 to malicious accusations and blatantly dishonest pseudoscience.
To be clear, I do not think Kleinlein is being deliberately dishonest, I think she is uncritically repeating any and every argument on the internet that she thinks supports her conclusion. Her conclusion that we should have food storage as part of our emergency preparedness measures is correct, but in in her zeal to demonstrate the need for preparedness she departs from the words of the prophets and turns to the words of internet hoaxers about ten minutes into the presentation. This is what I’ll be arguing against, and hopefully in doing so I can cut away all the nonsense and untrue conspiracy theories while leaving the core of truth intact.
[10:00] I hate having to start with climate because I feel like it’s a topic most of us, including myself, have gotten bored with. But it’s important to bear with me, because this is the point at which either Kleinlein or her source begins to get tricky. Based on what she says and on that citation at the bottom of those two slides, NASA appears to be saying that we are heading into a “grand solar minimum.” They actually say the exact opposite. Scientists, including those at NASA, were telling us we’re moving into another solar minimum, but not into another “grand solar minimum,” which are two different things. The solar minimum is the lowest point the sun’s 11-year cycle. The solar minimum they said was coming has now occurred, taking place in 2020 and into 2021, which may partially explain some of the unusually cold weather in certain areas last winter. (https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2953/there-is-no-impending-mini-ice-age/)
The “grand solar minimum” is not as predictable as the typical solar minimum. This chart from NASA gives a good idea of what a grand solar minimum is vs. a regular solar minimum caused by the sun’s cycle. The low points that happened every 11 years are just solar minimums, while the minimum that remained low for about 50 years back in the 17th century is the grand solar minimum, or “Maunder Minimum.” It also helps to look at the scale: the low point of the grand solar minimum in the 17th century and the known highest maximum in the 1960s have only a 0.17% difference in total solar iridescence between the two. Looking at this data, there’s nothing to suggest we’re headed for something like the previous grand solar minimum. That small uptick at the end of one of the dips is where we’re currently at right now. (https://climate.nasa.gov/internal_resources/1994/)
The quote that the “grand solar minimum will have much more impact on the environment than anything we puny humans can do” is not from a scientist, it’s from a political opinion blog. This, of course, does not mean that it can’t be true, but it does mean we need some kind of data or model to back it up, something that American Thinker doesn’t provide. NASA’s GISS General Circulation Model predicts that if we enter a new grand solar minimum in this century it will decrease the Earth’s average surface temperature by about 0.3 degrees Celsius, not taking into account possible warming due to atmospheric effects. All else being equal, this would take global average temperature back to its 1990s level, not into a catastrophic freeze. (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20020049982/downloads/20020049982.pdf)
[12:15] We are in a drought in 2021, particularly in the southwest US, and some of that is probably attributable to the solar minimum (but not the grand solar minimum, which hasn’t happened yet and may not happen at all any time soon). But decreased solar iridescence can cause a decrease in condensation, which leads to a decrease in later precipitation. There are probably other causes as well, and as with most crises, government mismanagement is usually finding a way to make things worse. But if it is due to this current solar minimum, we can expect conditions to improve next year as solar activity increases, just as thousands of other severe droughts throughout history eventually came to an end.
[13:35] The locusts in East Africa were a problem last year, and are continuing to be so into this year, but it’s a complete lie that they have destroyed “almost 100% of crops in East Africa.” Based on data from Ethiopia and Sudan, the two largest countries in East Africa, cereal production went down in Ethiopia just 4.6% from 2019 to 2020, while cereal production actually went up by 11.8% in Sudan from 2019 to 2020. But there is a reason we’re seeing these locust plagues in the least agriculturally advanced countries in the world: they have less access to pesticides. This has, undoubtedly, affected certain farmers far more than others, and those most affected should be in our prayers. (http://www.fao.org/giews/countrybrief/country.jsp?code=eth) (http://www.fao.org/giews/countrybrief/country.jsp?code=sdn)
Kleinlein says that “Experts believe bees are dying for two main reasons… Bee killing pesticides, neonics and The proliferation of GMO plants.” This is simply not true. The primary killer of bees is the invasive parasitic varroa mite. Bee nutrition is a problem as well, but not due to GMO plants, which provide the same, or in some cases more, nutrition than conventional plants. The primary reason for bee malnutrition is monoculture, which means a smaller variety of nearby crops for bees to harvest nutrition from. Pesticides only accounted for 6.1% of colony stressors in April-June 2020, the most recent quarter for which data is available, while pests and parasites accounted for 54.4%. (https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/rn301137d/nc5819380/t148g6070/hcny0820.pdf)
Of course, planting flowers or vegetables is good for honeybee nutrition, but there’s no reason they should be from heirloom seeds. If you’re interested in beekeeping as a hobby and/or to help the bee population, that’s great! It sounds both interesting and beneficial for your family and your community. But you should do the research and get the proper equipment, as just keeping a bee house is your yard is likely to attract wasps or hornets, which actually prey on honeybees.
[16:55] Kleinlein doesn’t provide a source for the claim about cocoa supplies, but all the sources I found say the opposite. The International Cocoa Organization “estimated the 2020/21 world cocoa surplus at 165 thousand tonnes, up from a previous forecast of 102 thousand tonnes.” This is corroborated by the predictions in the futures market, as a continuous contract is down 9.47% YTD (look up the symbol CC00 on any financial database for the most current price). (http://www.foresightcsi.com/files/Cocoa%20Monthly%20Report.pdf)
[17:25] On the “Global Food Supply” slide, Kleinlein’s source (the Reuters article) doesn’t remotely say what she claims. I even checked the Internet Archive to make sure that the page hasn’t somehow been changed and it hasn’t. Seriously, just look at her source on this one. I don’t think she did. It doesn’t actually mention Brazil or China, but it does say the opposite of what she claims regarding Ukrainian food exports. Only Russia, according to her source, was proposing limiting their grain exports, but they are not “refusing to allow the world market to draw their crops” as Kleinlein claims. (https://web.archive.org/web/20200329052817/https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-trade-food-factbox-idUSKBN21D2TU)
As the largest country in the world with an economy that largely focuses on exports of manufactured goods, China is naturally a large food importer, the second largest in the world after the US. But they are also an exporter of foods, primarily of vegetables, and that has not changed as a result of the pandemic. Contrary to what Kleinlein says about China “not exporting food at all,” Chinese food exports actually increased in 2020 and are on track to increase again in 2021. (https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/agrifood-exports-of-china.html)
[18:40] It’s correct that there’s no nationalized food stockpile (though there are various food reserves held by FEMA, the DoD, and the National Guard), but the Church has never told us that we should expect the government to take care of our food in times of feast or famine. Food storage is a family responsibility, to be supplemented by the community via the Bishops as necessary. Even outside the Church, any free people should consider food to be the responsibility of each family, with neighbors and charitable organizations like the Red Cross there to help those in emergency need. But emergency preparedness was never the purpose of the Commodity Credit Corporation Inventory (the so-called “emergency food pantry”). The CCC was created by Roosevelt as part of the New Deal to buy and sell agricultural products to raise or lower prices. Like the Federal Reserve, it’s not an emergency reserve, it’s a tool for the Feds to fix prices based on their political concerns.
[18:55] It is a bad year for spring wheat and a lot of other crops because of the drought. But Kleinlein misreads this graph, as the purple line on the bottom is the 2017 spring wheat season. 2021 is just that blue dot on the left, because the 2021 spring wheat season just began. This chart measures growing conditions, not harvest yields, and the states where spring wheat is grown are all in Severe (D2) to Exceptional (D4) drought conditions this year. 2017 was also a drought year in the Northwest, which is why we see a low line that year, too. (https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/)
Even in a drought year, growing conditions vary by crop and region, as they do every year, which is why we prepare for droughts with crop insurance to mitigate financial risk among our farmers, a network of imports from other regions to keep food available, and personal food storage as a last resort or just to help insure against price increases and panic buying.
[20:45] There are a lot of potentially disastrous government schemes to combat climate change, though the adoption of alternative meat/protein sources is not a threat to our food supply. If “lab grown meat” becomes the norm it will mean an additional potential food source that isn’t reliant on large amounts of land or at risk to diseases and pests. It’s unlikely these will be adopted anytime soon as the developing world is still reliant on meat. But if the political left attempts to ban or impose a sin tax against meat, which they might try in five to fifteen years, anyone with an inclination toward liberty should fight against it.
[26:00] Yes, you should grow what your family likes to eat. But the only way to control the nutrients in the soil is chemistry. And modern farmers use chemistry to measure the levels of nutrients in their soil and use fertilizers to supplement nutrient levels when needed.
[27:30] The most serious threats to human life and prosperity come from the government. The most serious famines of the 20th century were not caused by natural factors, but by the Stalinist and Maoist regimes. Even in the US, the Supreme Court has ruled in Wickard v Filburn (1941) that Congress can ban or limit certain farmers from growing their own crops to feed their own animals.
The Holodomor was a government-imposed famine created by the Stalinist Soviet regime against the citizens of Ukraine. Food was seized as a part of the communist collectivization efforts, leading to the deaths of around four million Ukrainians and five million others under the Soviet thumb in 1932 and 1933. The Ukrainians who had stored food were called “Kulaks,” and often deported or killed by the Stalinist enforcers. That’s why I advocate including a few rifles as part of any preparedness plan. The mindset of collectivization and the tearing-down of those perceived as “hoarders” is an inherent part of socialist thinking, which is why we should always be on guard against this mindset. These are the stakes in the war of ideas against Marxism. But this is not what the “30 by 30” scheme is all about, and when we cry wolf in cases like this, we undermine the position of freedom and reason.
Increasing protected lands as part of this scheme could be very economically detrimental, but not a significant threat to cropland, which constitutes about 17% of land use in the US. Most of that would come out of Forest-use land, 28% of US land use, and rangeland, 29% of US land use. That’s what makes this plan especially ridiculous, it will replace actively managed forest with wild forest and call that conservation. It’s true that Nebraska is over 97 percent privately owned. But it happens to be the state with the 6th smallest amount of Federal land in the country. While in Nebraska and Maine Federal land is only 1.1% of total area, in Nevada, Utah, and Idaho it’s 84.9%, 64.9%, and 61.6%, respectively. In total, Federal lands already constitute about 28% of total area of the US, though some of that area is used as rangeland and forest. (https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/DataFiles/52096/Summary_Table_1_major_uses_of_land_by_region_and_state_2012.xls?v=8340) (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42346.pdf)
[29:00] None of Kleinlein’s gross errors should discount the need to be prepared for disaster, even if it’s not an “end of the world” type disaster. Food storage, water filtration systems, power self-sufficiency, and evacuation preparedness measures could make all the difference in an event like the recent Texas blackouts, a natural disaster, a particularly bad series of droughts, or a pandemic so severe it requires a total lockdown and cuts off the food supply. Preparedness is a matter of insurance, of hoping for the best but readying for the worst, and it’s also a matter of following revelation from and trusting in the Lord.
[30:10] Kissinger is a really bad guy, but there’s no evidence he actually said this. Kissinger is a Machiavellian, he sees everything in terms of power and manipulation, but this picture/quote is from a conspiracy theory blog. Various versions of this same quote have circulated among conspiracy theorists for years and has been attributed to people and groups ranging from the Freemasons to secret Nazis to the Jewish banking conspiracy.
[31:22] The World Economic Forum advocates some terrible policies, but that doesn’t mean they’re part of a secret combination. It’s also important to understand what they actually are: they’re not a World Government or a secret super-bank or anything like that. They’re an advocacy group/think tank that has a meeting of academics and activists in Switzerland every year and then publishes a bunch of articles that range from interesting to stupid to borderline dystopian. And like any center-left group, they see every crisis and world event as an opportunity to “reimagine” the global economy along more “socially democratic” lines.
[32:18] I agree that we don’t need to “transform” our food system, but if our food system is in as much danger and decline as Kleinlein claimed it was in the first half of the video, why does she ask why we need to transform it? Shouldn’t we want to transform it if it isreally in decline?
[33:06] The phrase “dominant global entity” appears nowhere in the “Reset the Table” plan as she alleges in her list of points, which have been deceptively modified from the Rockefeller Foundation’s plan by Keinlein or her source. Part 1 of the plan is actually to “Create an integrated nutrition security system” (page 9). They break that down into three specifics: “1. Strengthen nutrition benefit programs to ensure children and families are fed. 2. Invest public and private funding in school food programs as anchors of community feeding. 3. Expand Food is Medicine.” Once again, we have some proposals that are practically and economically dubious but are clearly not advocating collectivizing the food supply under a global secret combination. You can look at the other two parts of the Rockefeller Foundation’s plan (Pages 12 and 14) to see more examples of how Kleinlein or her source is grossly misrepresenting the admittedly lousy plan. But like the WEF, the Rockefeller Foundation is a think tank, which means that, like most think tanks, they regularly issue extreme recommendations that are mostly ignored by political bodies. (https://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/RF-Reset-the-Table-FULL-PAPER_July-28_FINAL.pdf)
[33:15] This slide even says the date of the tweet at the bottom of the image. It’s in 2016, 4 years before the WEF’s “Great Reset” plan or the pandemic that prompted it. It’s another one of the 8 predictions they made back in 2016, saying that “all products will have become services” by 2030. This is prediction of a future where, for example, people will no longer own cars, they’ll rent self-driving cars for short trips. This kind of prediction is extrapolating on the trend of things we used to purchase becoming subscriptions. For example, we used to buy movies, now we subscribe to Netflix or Disney+. Even now, weird subscription schemes are popping up for everything from clothes to meals. They’re predicting that trend will expand to almost everything by 2030. While it doesn’t seem like a very likely prediction, it’s probably more likely than the WEF announcing their evil plan to take over the government and ban all property in 2030.
[34:00] The Federal Reserve has been the most destructive force in our economic life for the last hundred years, but a “Federal Reserve Funded Financial Institution” is not a special thing, all banks in the US can be funded by the Federal Reserve. When the Federal Reserve issues money, they do it by purchasing Corporate Bond ETFs, meaning essentially that a corporation is getting a loan from the Federal Reserve Bank. BlackRock has been selling those bonds to the Federal Reserve using the money from those bond purchases to purchase land and homes, which they have an advantage in doing because of the low interest rates at which the Fed purchases their bonds.
It’s important to note that BlackRock is an asset manager. This means that the $9 Trillion dollars they manage is not their money, it’s money they manage for their clients, often in the forms of ordinary people’s IRA and 401k accounts. They also process transactions when the Fed buys other ETFs, like those of Vanguard or Fidelity. It doesn’t require any corruption on BlackRock or Vanguard’s part to hurt the economy, it’s the naturally destructive result of the Federal Reserve holding interest rates artificially low during economic expansion.
[35:40] What is a bigger threat to our liberty? Is it Bill Gates buying farmland, or is the atrocious ideas that are overtaking our culture? Did Moroni see Ted Turner owning ranches in Montana, or did he see the new system of thinking, the “critical theory” of anti-rationality, racicalized thinking, and rejection of facts that is indoctrinated in the schools, enforced in intellectual circles, and shouted from the mountaintops of social media?
[36:35] As I demonstrated earlier, food production is not being reduced, it is growing (Note that the “Armstrong Economics” she quotes is not an economics journal, but a conspiracy theory blog). This means the time to stockpile is now. But there’s no “we” about it. It’s not the “global decision makers” job to stockpile for you. As long as there is any semblance of freedom in this world, it’s up to individuals and families to stockpile for themselves and for churches and charities to stockpile for expected shortfalls. “Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.” But not if she expects the federal government and “global leaders” to do it for her.
After all this, Kleinlein gets into the section about food and water preparedness, which I’m certainly not going to argue with. She leaves out fuel and power, which the recent Texas blackouts showed might be the thing we need most, but that’s fair enough as power preparedness requires a large initial investment and involves a lot of technical details. Personal water filtration should be a part of every preparedness kit and kept in every car as well, but I’ll defer to her expertise on food supplies.
Faith has no room for fear. The faith of a Saint is not in how bleak the future is and how terrible and ignorant the rest of the world is compared to us. We should not take comfort in self-satisfied claims to secret knowledge, but in the comforter, the Holy Ghost. Our faith is not in our ability to “crack the code,” “see the signs,” or “connect the dots,” our faith is in Jesus Christ.
I welcome any corrections or clarifications on any of these points, and given the amount of sources I’ve looked through and back-of-the-envelope calculations I’ve had to do in writing this response, I am open to the possibility of my own errors. I’m less open to accusations that I am in cahoots with BlackRock, the Illuminati, the Rothschilds, the World Economic Forum, the Israelis, the Gates Foundation, or the Brady Bunch. I received an important insight from my sister while writing this article, which I thank her for and use with her permission, though I cannot confirm or deny her affiliation with the Illuminati. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Top image: The collectivization of food by Soviet forces as part of the Holodomor, 1933.