The Lockdown as a Symptom of Cant


The Corona Virus is a natural event; you are not to blame for it; and you will eventually catch it. You will probably give it to somebody else. But that's okay; nobody's perfect. It's like the rain; it's out there, and you'll get cold from it.

Ah! But we are perfect! So let us hide away so that we do not cause anyone else any trouble. Other people are perfect too!

Against Cant

This is the last time I will formally write about the Corona Virus. It’s wrong for me to do so because I see too clearly the madness of this situation, and because others do not see it, and so I seem to be mad. And I would prefer not to have to say unpleasant things.

We pretend to be rational, and full of heart and good feelings for one another, as a society. People can be heard on every street corner to exclaim: ‘Yes, I like living here.. because of the people!’, or ‘My colleague said he was not bothered about dying. It made me so sad to hear it, because he is worth so much! Every life is special, so valuable.’

But we are not rational or ‘caring’; anyone who believes that people who say these kinds of thing are being truthful is the kind of person who deserves being Locked Down. But such people welcome being locked down, and the police state and the imprisonment which that means! Society for the past 40 years has grown gradually more lying and self-deceiving about itself, so that, like a man of the Eighteenth century angry with the supposed Age of Enlightenment, I will use an Eighteenth Century term for the real disease of our society: we suffer from believing in our own Cant. And the consequences of our self-deception are exactly this Corona Virus situation.

Since the 1980s, our belief in false things and the expression of false things has made us more and more full of cant; and today, we lock ourselves into our homes so that the cant will be proven to be true, though it remains simply Cant. We need to protect others from ourselves, and so we lock down; but the motive behind it all is fake emotion.

Today, every man and his dog thinks that all life and every person is sacred; but this belief is not true at all; by far and away, the most important person on Earth is your own self. This is so in every way conceivable. Sadistic tests during the War proved this when, opening up gas chambers at concentration camps in Poland, the victims were found to have formed a pyramid, each man trying to get on top of the other, to catch the last sniff of air at the top of the oven. When your own life is in danger, almost nothing will stop you pushing the next man down. The same thing prevails in common life, but it is rarely spoken of. It may even be illegal to do so in an age of cant.

And so, it is not thought proper to say this out loud today. Because it is only proper to express yourself in canting terms: ‘Every life is sacred and special; I just want to help others out all the time.’ This sentiment is an example of cant. But it is a modest and commonplace example; other examples are less benign.

It is because of this kind of sentiment that we have the lockdown and the shutting down of vast areas of the economy and society as a whole. Today’s response to a bit of flu is, to try to stop living.

It doesn’t affect me. I have been alone most of my life. I avoid people, as a rule, anyway. Before I met my current partner, the only time I went to somebody else’s house for a ‘gathering’ was Christmas. And I have had neither men nor women for friends for about twenty-five years, more or less; and not for lack of trying. As a matter of fact, I experience British people as distant and cold; in a common place way, we don’t actually care for each other very much at all.

I am healthy, and want nothing more than to meet my Maker, when the time is right. I have always sought out unpleasant employments which must go on despite viruses, and so, in summary, I’m personally okay with both the lockdown, and with the Virus.

I have never, however, felt easy with the rising tide of generation-old liberalistic, valueless cant in Great Britain; and now, it seems to me, its day has come. Because everyone actually believes that every life matters, and because everyone believes that everyone must be free to be what they want, without any sort of threat – because of this we have not only locked up each other’s mouths, but we have even locked each other up, literally; confining everyone to their own little aimless canting bubble.

People ask how we get past the Corona Virus, and what society will be like after it. The only way beyond this voluntary shutting of mouths and of all doors is to start telling the truth. Which I try to do below.

For a start, criticising the government is okay. But asking them for help is beyond the pale. The purpose of a government is to defend the territorially defined State’s members from external enemies, and, from internal violence. These two things (and the second one is questionable) are the justification of the State and its ultimate purpose. If the state is now involved in policing a flu, then it is because people are so aimless and full of heartfelt cant that they have lost any sense of purpose and self-determination. It is not the government’s job to cure you of an illness.

Further, because people are looking for the State and the government to give them purpose and guidance in this time, the State has deployed the only things it can truly control: the Police and the Army. Which are now about making sure that you stay indoors.

Second, you get the government you deserve. Despite appearances, neither Boris Johnson, nor any of the others are particularly posh or unusual people. Matt Hancock, for instance, nominally in charge of Health in the UK, was born and raised about five miles from here, in Farndon. He went to school at the Kings School in Chester; his mother was a minor entrepreneur in the dotcom bubble period. What Matt Hancock particularly aims to do is to win the next election for his Party, and to do exactly what You tell him to do. So, when there is a lockdown in this more or less democratic country, it is because You wanted it.

In summary, complaining about the government is traditional, and a way of getting over the fact that there are a few people with power, and we are not of them. Complaining is okay; but complaining too much will get you locked down, because the State simply can’t help you with this matter, except by involving the Police.

But, I concede, my advice won’t be heard. This is a country where it is allowed to live until extreme and pointless old age, usually in a sort of stinking prison (old people’s home) alongside other mentally and physically enfeebled people, because we have come to believe that every life, and every minute of it (for human beings at least) has infinite value.

To get a picture of the depths of the lying cant in which we have become involved, think of Black Lives Matter, which came into public consciousness again this year. The purpose of this almost universally welcomed group is to put forward the interests of black people in the UK and the USA. I can only speak of the UK on this matter. Everyone knows the story, so let us not spend too long on it.

Black people are supposed to feel unwelcome in Britain. If we put aside the cant and tell the truth, we can allow that being black is an obvious sign that you, or your parents, are not a native of Britain. Black people came to Britain less than seventy years ago, with a handful of exceptions. It is going to take the majority of people in Britain (who objected to the immigration at the time, and still do, for the most part) a long time to get used to this. It is true, a white immigrant will find it easier to ‘fit in’, but this is the fault of our animal and simplifying instincts, which see in a familiar and similar form and colour something which must have other similar and familiar characteristics. The rest is cant.

But the BLM people, and the cant which supports that movement, will adduce slavery in the past as an underlying grievance; black people deserve recompense and special treatment. But we do not care to remember that British people were living in the same or sometimes worse conditions during the era of slavery. It was typical until 150 years ago in Britain for families to send their infants and the women also, into coal mines, factories, and other death traps, as a matter of course. They lived in slums rotten through with cholera, sewage, and all kinds of fumes, so that, in London for instance, the average age at which people died in the early Nineteenth Century was twenty-seven years old. The reason that black slaves were used in the Americas is that they were easy to buy and transport, and there were not enough British or European people to settle those places and work uncomplainingly at a thankless task until an early death – because they were already doing that at home. But as I have said before, historically speaking, and today, no lives matter. My country does not need this kind of cant or these BLM legal demands, because any of us who are really decent (and without cant) recognise friends in decent people, regardless of the initial problem of difference of skin colour.

And yet, the influence of the fake, false idea that black people in Britain both entirely belong here, and are owed a great apology – from history and State (things which cannot apologise) – on behalf of people who are long dead (impossible to achieve), goes on, in an age full of heart, and full of cant.

There are a great many examples of the same kind of irrational, pointless heart-wringing rubbish, all boiling up as a smog of cant, which has now resulted in the lockdown.

For instance, the plangent and urgent, or even threatening demands for new laws on behalf of homosexuals, transsexuals, non-binaries, and an irritatingly over-theorised and sincerely believed in pile of different types of person, all of it wrapped up in cant and cant which is believed in. Any decent person will try not to make fun or make a victim of a slightly queer man, or a manly woman. This is how it has been in the past. We simply did not speak of it. On the other hand, for the past few years, we have the repellent ‘gay pride’ marches. You will say that this is unkind, or, worse in our canting times, illegal for me to say this. It might be illegal to object to these spectacular events today. Who knows?

So let me explain: what is objectionable is that a ‘gay’ person makes an open display of their sexuality; it is only a step up from making an actual display of sexuality, as I see it. What is decent and what is traditional in sexual matters is to keep it private and where possible to regularise it with marriage. But it has seemed to me that open, badge wearing homosexuality and its cognates is associated with making sex public, and with promiscuity. A parade of promiscuous sex-making, in our streets.. and the cant which goes along with it disgusts me.

Women’s rights are by no means outside the pall of cant which has come to rest like a winding sheet all over Great Britain. The idea that women are no different from men is hardly worth discussion. They are different, and sometimes they are the same. There is no way to establish the truth of this matter, and the rest is simple cant. Men and women’s places and roles were established, so that they have become what they are today, over thousands of years of starvation, struggle, copulation, death, and extermination in war. What got the race through these limitless ages was simply what worked. Namely, that women must give birth, and men must work and band together with each other (excluding the women) if the tribe, or even the state, was to survive.

If we live in an age where there is less struggle and less need for male tribalism, and male dominance in religious and ritual matters, then we are lucky. And yet, with ease, apparently, comes cant. And so, it has been necessary to put rich women head to head with rich men in the media, in business, and the rest, so that the canting idea of women’s equality can be seen to be true. Meanwhile, anyone who cared to look saw that, during the rise of women’s equality in its demand for positions of power, in national government politics, in business – during that rise and the co-temporal blindness to history and facts which went with it, the majority of women and men were being paid, as a whole, less and less year on year. But the cant of the women being equal was enough to hide this reality.

But there is cant like this everywhere. Every soldier, even soldiers (!) deserved to live when they encounter combat, and it is common to hold public enquiries and to blame government officials for their deaths.

I can barely speak of the vast abyss which separates our views of our society as progressive and fair, one which is heading into an unknown and gorgeous future on the one hand; and, on the other, the catastrophic and irreversible rape of the Earth and its fauna and flora, on the other. When considering our recent good feelings for one another, also consider the vast fields full of warehouses stuffed with chained and brutalised animals of all kinds which are found secreted away, in all parts of the world. These places of infinite torture are what sustain the new human race, and keep it going. Industrialised hatching and murder of animal livestock.

As for the actual condition of people and their golden age, which we seem as a godless and Liberal society to be aiming at, almost within reach, consider the use of prescription and illegal drugs today. People aren’t happy with themselves; they hate their life. Humans never were happy, so let it be. But don’t let me hear some drugged up person, with chronic depression, buoyed up with narcotics, boast and thrill themselves with good sentiments and cant about how ‘everyone is special’. These are words not only without a basis in fact, but the actual negative image of reality.

Despite the cant about how everyone matters, there are absolutely too many people, with too much luxury and complacency. And nobody wants to sacrifice themselves for the planet or the animal kingdom (naturally enough), and nobody can let go of their house, their car, their easy job (and they are mostly pointless jobs in our age, in addition to being easy (i.e., involving no physical labour)). And so, it is all going to end in a gigantic collapse of the ecology, relatively soon. But the cant about the main thing being women’s equality, or black lives, or gay marriage, and the pointless, liberal and godless sanctity of every human freedom and every human life goes on.

Beyond all this cant, these myths, the real power of the world, namely global capital markets, goes on. An inhuman force, waiting until the lockdown will be lifted, eventually, and after a needless amount of time. And when it is lifted, the debts will have to be paid.

Now, because all hierarchies are now questioned: there are no natives, nobody born to rule; because there is no male or female; and because there is no risk worth taking which will cost any life, it seems to me likely that the future for Britain is not likely to happen. This virus signals the final end of our country. The state will be bankrupt, and there is no class of people left beneath us who will carry out the reckless task of working their fingers to the bone to repay our debts. There is no future.

The working class are more or less in charge of Britain, today. This means, since we are all working class, that we are in charge of ourselves. Witness the snitching and surveillance of each other which is now encouraged.

Simone Weil somewhere points out that human kind is born and destined always to be a slave race. In order to achieve anything, there needs to be a caste of rulers, and, the more removed from the common people the rulers are, the more miraculous the results of their decisions. Great magnificent things happened in history when the boss made utterly unrealistic demands, and the lower orders, forced into things they never dreamt of attempting, achieved the impossible.

I saw a comment on a Facebook page the other day, in which an old timer pointed out that modern England would not have won at Waterloo, what with the facemask wearing, and the general rat-like hiding from and carrying the flu virus. Johnny Mercer (a former officer, and sitting MP) is supposed to have responded rudely, in the ‘who cares?’ attitude of a modern officer.

Amidst the completely unquestioned respect of hierarchy, the deference of the lower orders, and the casual and simply fortunate birth into wealth and moderate education which characterised the age of the Duke of Wellington, men were ordered to, and did, stand stock still while cannon balls flew at them and blew them apart. Wellington and his kind, and his men, went home to build and carry out an almost sacred physical labour of creation of railways across the entire span of England and Wales, in a couple of decades. Nothing like that can happen today; instead, there is cant about how every life matters, and to save life we must do nothing; we live among the ruins.

Incidentally, hear the bleating of people when they are forced to let their children out of the house these days. One almost suspects that the only people who don’t matter today are the children. But then, they generally do not form movements, or make a moaning and canting their most pure aim in life, so they have no place in this age.

I hope that we have understood a little better why there is now a lock down in Britain, and what we might do to ourselves to ensure it comes to an end. For the hard of hearing amongst us: could we spend more time apart from each other, and spend more time alone, without luxuries, and recognise that we are not special in the least; stop pretending to be good when we are not (because we are not good); stop demanding that the government intervene – because they will send the Police and the Army; and cease from encouraging lost and stupid causes such as LGBQT; and, above all, tell the truth.

Christ called the self-righteous and canting placeholders of the law ‘hypocrites’, angrily denouncing them for pretending to be good while harbouring a total inner emptiness.

Those who know me, forgive me for saying some of these obviously true, but unpleasant things.

Design Jason Powell, 2020.