by James Corbett
June 20, 2021
As you probably heard me announce at the end of last week's New World Next Week, I'm going to be taking a couple of weeks off to get caught up on some of the website administration, get a head start on some of the projects I'm working on for the latter half of the year, and . . . something else . . . uhhh, what was it again? Oh, right. Rest. Yeah, almost forgot about that. (On that note, I will have one more #SolutionsWatch coming out in the next couple of days . . .)
So how will you all occupy yourselves in my absence? Don't worry, I come prepared. It's summer time, after all, when we all pack the family in the car and head off to the packed beaches with all the other mask-less, socially close, non-quarantined, free human families and read books while the kids play in the ocean, right? Right.
So here's some light summer reading for you. Bring a highlighter and take notes. There will be a quiz when I get back, class! (joke)
Where Are We Now? The Epidemic as Politics by Giorgio Agamben (purchase)
I'm very grateful for having stumbled across Giorgio Agamben's writing last year. It was his remarkably concise essay on "Biosecurity and Politics" that helped me to articulate the dangers of the new biosecurity paradigm and, in a sense, led to my formulation of COVID-911. This slim edition (it could be read in a single extended sitting if you were motivated to do so) collects the English translations of Agamben's main writings and interviews about the current crisis. There were points during reading when I wondered if I should just highlight the entire book. Well worth your time if you are interested in the nexus of philosophy and politics in this everlasting "state of emergency."
Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber (text)
None of the absolutist and reductionist definitions of money that are produced by the dogmatists in the various monetary camps (goldbugs, crypto maximalists, MMTers, government-issued fiat proponents of various stripes) are ultimately satisfactory, and this hefty tome on monetary history and social anthropology helps to explain why. It is refreshing to see some of the old myths about monetary history debunked with actual data (no, there was no mythical era of barter before money was "invented"), and it is equally refreshing to see a nuanced and detailed account of the various functions that money simultaneously serves without that account being dumbed down and shoehorned into the service of one or another monetary orthodoxy. No, I do not agree with all of the positions or causes Graeber advocated during his life, but the vitriol that mention of this book evokes from various dogmatists only speaks in favour of this wide-ranging and multi-faceted look at the actual origins of debt-based money.
Hate Inc. by Matt Taibi (purchase)
Yes, Matt Taibi is a known 9/11 liar whose over-rehearsed Hunter S. Thompson-wannabe routine can be tiresome, but Hate Inc. is an occasionally insightful peek at how the sausage is made in the internet-age political journalism industry. This book offers one of the most cogent explanations of the establishment media's role in dividing and conquering the American public over the past few decades that I've read. Taibbi fetishizes the myth of journalistic objectivity a little too much to really become self-aware (even including a sickening homage to Walter "Voice of the Bohemian Grove Owl" Cronkite), but with those caveats in mind this book is well worth the time of those who are interested in the subject of the media's role in leading us to the doorstep of total civilizational collapse.
Essays by George Orwell (text)
If you are a Corbett Reporteer you have by now read and re-read Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, those mundane works of straightforward non-fiction by George Orwell that seem inescapable reference points for the world we are living in today. But, as Bernard Crick writes in his introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Orwell's collected essays, "What do they know of Orwell who only Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four know?" From "Why I Write" to "Shooting An Elephant" to "Politics and the English Language" to various reflections on literature and politics and society, Orwell's essays are, for the most part, as insightful and timeless as his most famous novels, and equally worth the time and attention of serious students of the 20th century.
Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens (text)
Still not convinced that Orwell was a profoundly important writer, not just for the 20th century but even now in the 21st century? This slim volume from the irascible Christopher Hitchens should help. This is not a run-of-the-mill biography or work of literary appreciation; rather, it elucidates and explains the strange position that Orwell occupies in political history, simultaneously praised and kept at arms length by leftists and rightists alike. The whole study of Orwell as a man who stood up to tyranny (political consequences be damned) is interesting—especially when read as an invitation by Hitchens for future biographers to cast himself in the same light—but Hitchens' placement of Orwell's work in a 21st century context and his reaffirmation of its ongoing importance and relevance is at times genuinely stirring.
The Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase (text)
If you did read Orwell's essay on "Politics and the English Language" cited above (and if you didn't, shame on you!) then you may have caught Orwell's passing reference to "Stuart Chase" at the end of that treatise. And, if you're like me, you may have glossed over that reference a dozen times before bothering to look it up. And again, if you're like me, you would have been delighted to discover at the other end of that rabbit hole Chase's tome on how language is used to deceive us. If you're interested in the nexus of language and political philosophy, then this is the book for you. And if you're still interested, then go back and listen (or re-listen) to the Corbett Report podcast that this book inspired (Episode 357 – Language is a Weapon) after you're done reading.
The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe (text)
There is a roughly 80-year cycle of crisis, rebirth, growth and collapse that reliably predicts periods of stability and chaos in the prevailing world order. If your BS detector tells you to dismiss this as woo-woo lunacy, then it's time to adjust your BS detector. Strauss and Howe's generational theory of recurring cycles in history not only reliably "hindcasts" the previous crises and defining events in American history, but their 1997 prediction that the early 2000s would see the country enter a new cycle of unravelling culminating in a 2020s crisis is unfolding with uncanny accuracy. This should not be surprising; there is nothing mystical about this theory. The observation of the stages of life that each generation is in during each major crisis and how this influences their behaviour in future stages of life is just common sense once it is laid out, and helps us to understand why these cycles recur so predictably. Yes, the authors' prediction of the specific form the crisis would take during our era sounds ridiculous in hindsight, but this nonetheless remains a very important book for students of history and those seeking to understand how we arrived at this moment of crisis.
Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order (purchase) by Patrick Wood
I'm sure you've read Patrick Wood's seminal treatise on technocracy, Technocracy Rising, if only because I have interviewed Wood about the book and recommended it in Another 25 Books You Should Read. And if those are the criteria by which you choose which books to read, then you should read this one, since I have also interviewed Wood about this book and I am recommending it right here. More seriously, you should read this book because it fleshes out some of the key concepts of technocracy, the ideology of the elitists for the 21st century. From a discussion of the 1974 Foreign Affairs article from which the book derives its name to an examination of China's role in the unfolding technocratic world order to the place of digital currency in the globalist control system, this book provides important insights into the plans that the technocrats have in store for humanity.
A State of Fear: How the UK Weaponized Fear by Laura Dodsworth (purchase)
Amidst the tumult of all the crazy stories that have played out in the newswires over the past eighteen months, you may be forgiven for not seeing (or not paying sufficient attention to) this particular doozy: the UK government openly admits that they tried to scare the public into complying with their lockdowns and COVID mandates. More specifically, members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) have confessed that the group's tactics of using fear-based messaging to scare the public into submission "smacks of totalitariansism" and is "not an ethical stance for any modern government." If you have the sneaking submission that there's more to this story than what was furtively reported on in the MSM, then you'll want to read this book. Dodsworth's timely treatise goes through the history of UK government efforts to psychologically manipulate its citizens and connects the various dots between government COVID mandates, SPI-B's fear-based messaging, and seemingly "independent" campaigns designed to induce paranoia and panic over coronavirus amongst the general public.
Count Down by Dr. Shanna Swan (purchase)
Perhaps you saw the recent headlines pointing out that "Most couples may have to use assisted reproduction by 2045." Even if you somehow missed that reporting—which featured quotes from Dr. Swan based on her research for this book—you'll already know the main thesis of Count Down from my work on demographic winter and the underpopulation crisis (in contrast to the overpopulation myth). In short, modern manufacturing processes have flooded the developed world in endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) over the past half century and the demonstrable decline in human fertility in that same period is the alarming result. Of course there are economic and societal reasons for declining birth rates, but Dr. Swan marshals a raft of scientific evidence to show that EDCs and other chemical products are ravaging the human population, not only undermining our ability to reproduce but also contributing to the rise in "gender fluidity." This book is a great one to share with all of those who think "they're turning the frickin' frogs gay" is just a meme. Even more importantly, it ends with practical tips about what products to avoid and what changes to make in order to reduce your exposure to these harmful compounds.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (text)
Oh, OK. You got me. Maybe this list is a bit too heavy and serious for some light summer beach reading. So if you want an enjoyable read that will pick you up during the summer doldrums, then why not peruse a copy of this classic from that master of light Victorian comedy, Thomas Hardy? Always one to put a smile on his reader's face, Hardy turns the adventures of Michael Henchard—who bumbles his way through a series of wacky events to become the mayor of Casterbridge in Hardy's fictional "Wessex"—into a light-hearted tale that will surely leave you buzzing with delight. What could make for a better beachside companion than this feel-good tome? (I sincerely apologize to anyone who takes this paragraph at face value. Now you'll excuse me while I go cackle ominously at the thought of someone picking this book up in the hopes of reading a breezy summer comedy.)
OK, well, that'll probably keep you busy for a week or two, right? But maybe not! If not, then please do share your own summer reading suggestions in the comments below.
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