I know, and have said, that one of the things I appreciate the most about America is how law abiding we are.
I’ve written in the past about the transformative experience of realizing no one stole Christmas decorations from yards, followed by realizing how few yards had even a nominal picket fence. Mind you, I still don’t feel okay without a fence, and when I’ve lived in a house with one, I obsessed about closing gates, since it seemed to me an open gate was an invitation to entry.
Now, when I was a kid in Portugal, the only well defended houses — eight foot walls, broken glass on top — were those more than a hundred years old, dating back to the Napoleonic wars or the civil war.
BUT there were no yards without walls. My parents’ garden wall was maybe four feet high, and made of stone, but behind it was an hedge that went up another 2 feet. Not insurmountable. Coming home to find gates locked, and having forgotten the keys (or perhaps our parents thought we were home. Whistles innocently) both my brother and I showed that the wall was entirely surmountable, and in stealth as well. Of course we also showed you could jump between the terrace and the balcony. And I was somewhat better at pulling up the blinds from the outside, and defeating the window lock. (Prompting my brother to tell me, in pride, that I could make a living as a second story woman. BTW we were usually together and not doing anything wrong, though often something temporarily “illegal” in the sense that we’d break curfew to go to book meetings and book fairs [curfews were often only for thirty and under, since the authorities feared civil unrest.])
These days my parents’ garden walls are eight feet tall, and the pipes someone might use to climb into the house are girded in razor wire. Also, the house is a series of compartments, each of them separated from the other with doors as strong as a bank vault’s.
Note the progression. It’s not inevitable. And it’s not just “oh, times have changed.” The question is WHY times have changed.
Portugal has an history of shrugging its shoulders at laws, and of thinking laws apply to other people only (never to the individual talking about how we need MORE laws.) Hence why no yard decorations were safe, and people had at least nominal walls to signal “this is mine. No trespassing.”
However, keep in mind those nominal walls used to WORK, which means there was some respect for private property, just not the same as in the US. I.e. people weren’t respecting the law that said “if it belongs to someone else don’t take it” but the wall that said “the individual will protect his things.”
The underlying lack of respect for central authority might have its roots in the deep past of the culture — I really wish I could abide a degree in anthropology in the current climate, because one of the things I REALLY want to know (and perhaps we all NEED to know) is how long deep-culture survives. Something like the subconscious of the collective culture — where every new invader brought his new and nonsensical “laws” and “orders” and sometimes the only way to survive was to cock a snook at them.
On the other hand, perhaps it’s all the near-disturbances, starting with the Napoleonic invasions and the civil war, and then the deposition of the king, and then anarchists (of the left kind) trying to govern and bankrupting the country, followed by national socialism, international socialism of various flavors, and then the EU mad-hatter take over. I noticed by the way a brief flash of more respect for the laws, when the EU took Portugal in, followed by things going rapidly to hell with no coming back, and lately accelerating to insanity. (OUTSIDE touristic areas. Things seem to be safer in touristic areas. Possibly because again, while cocking a snook at unreasonable rules the locals are not insane and realize where the bread is buttered and which orifice the golden eggs eject from.)
Which brings us to the circumstances under which a culture remains as law abiding as possible while shrugging its shoulders at insanity. (BTW in another proof that Portugal is a mystery even to me, they meekly obey EU laws on stuff like “no selling of homemade foods at fairs” while the walls climb higher because crime is out of control, and traffic laws become AT BEST traffic suggestions.)
I’m sure there was a period of rebellion against national socialist laws when they first came in but I wasn’t born. And I think my parents weren’t born either (I’m fuzzy on the dates, and too sleepy to go look them up.) HOWEVER I remember the transition of national to international socialism, in my early teens, and its own sets of bizarre laws which, as always when statists take over the economy and dictate who can work and who can eat involved massive economic disruptions. (Even when it’s just a trade off between statists, you know?)
So I remember stuff like when all bakeries closed because there was only ONE baker’s union, and it decreed general strike. … so everyone and their cousins started a lively trade in black market yeast, and a lot of women learned to make bread. But wait, there’s more. After a couple of weeks, everyone knew which doors to knock at and what the knock was, and they’d sell you bread they made, out the backdoor. Some of these people were actually bakers, going in and working the bakeries at weird hours, then bringing the bread home to sell.
Other such things went on. People whose business had been seized worked at home,a nnd you could buy their stuff, if you knew the sign and countersign (which was a LARP sensation :-P).
In fact after a while, as people got used to the disruptions, things adjusted around them, and reshaped, and life went on.
Practically anyone who has lived under tyranny has stories like that. Without the black market, the USSR wouldn’t have lasted 10 years. (And would have managed to starve even more people.)
There seems to be some switch amid even the most law abiding people that goes “The government/authorities are trying to kill me. I’m not going to die.”
Our government/authorities are completely unaware of this, btw, partly because they grew up in a culture of almost German respect for the law. Partly because the parts of the government that are at war with us have been taught a bunch of shit that just ain’t so about how the world works and how much other countries respect law. They’re not precisely stupid, but they are as ignorant of humanity as though they’d been raised by aliens. (Are Marxists human? Inside the head, where the Marxist software runs, I mean? I don’t know. And neither do you. We also still haven’t found the Martian fever that will salvage the human while destroying the parasite controlling him.)
So when they set about destroying the economy — partly because they hate OrangeManBad, partly because they hate US with a purple passion, for being “ungovernable” and refusing to cooperate with their dreams of socialism — they have no clue what they’re unleashing.
But we should know. We should become aware of it. We should become aware of it if ONLY because this might be a dress rehearsal, if they manage to steal the election in November (and don’t think they won’t. Most people are like infants in their denial of the massive levels of fraud.) But also because frankly, it’s time they realized their schemes aren’t going to work. They need their nose shoved in. They need a demonstration as to why they’re playing a dangerous game. Before they go too far.
So lay in your plans on how to survive their economic blow designed to make sure that only the big corporations (largely under their control) survive this.
What your plan is, depends on who you are. I know that already hair stylists are doing house calls, and thereby cocking a snook at the closure orders while not calling the kind of fire on them that open defiance would do.
The rest of us? Well… I’m a fairly useless woman, who can’t do much but tell stories. But I’m studying ways to start other part time businesses (yes, in my copious spare time) simply to raise the unicorn fist aloft and scream “We will do better than we did before. And also you’re not the boss of us. You never were.”
I don’t know your circumstances, or your place. However, start laying in your plans (Oh, and the person who can and has time to program, please ping me in email again. Have talked to husband. We might be able to start …. something to sell books online right now without infringing on your amazon sales. Later…. well. Later getting around blocks might be helpful.) Start getting ready to move. Not in a violent way (there are other boxes we can resort to, still) but in ways that denies their primary object of destroying us economically.
In fact, because we’re us, and not Portuguese with its long inheritance of dysfunctionality, let’s do this in an American way: Bigger, Better, More in Your Face and Unabashedly.
Let’s make sure we come out of this better off than we ever were. Each of us and all of us.
Be fearless, be innovative be — despite them — prosperous.
Be not afraid.
Go be productive.