By Allan Stevo
We credit Thomas Edison in 1879 with creating the incandescent lightbulb. That bulb was made of glass enclosed platina wire contacts delivering electricity to a carbon filament within a vacuum tube.
By the time I was a child, many decades later, the thing had been perfected. And the joy of cozying up to a loved one before bed, in my pajamas in a cushy chair in the corner of the frontroom under the warm glow of the reading lamp’s incandescent lightbulb remains with me. One click of the four-position rotary switch and it came on. A second click and it got brighter. A third click and it got brighter yet. And a fourth click turned it off.
I suppose I’m not the only person with warm memories like that of incandescent bulbs.
Imagine the amount of work over those many decades that went into making that lightbulb the perfect warm glow. The right filament, the right proportion of silicon to soda in the glass, the right frosting on the bulb, the right mixture of gasses inside. A tungsten filament, low pressure inert argon, and kaolin clay electrostatically deposited in a powder layer on the interior of the bulb all came together in a modern marvel that the world knew nothing of just a century prior.
The first of those mass-produced lightbulbs may have taken ten or even one hundred million dollars to make and decades of work from thousands of scientists globally. The ones we bought were probably a dime a piece or maybe a quarter.
And then the environmentalists got a foothold in the executive branch, in Congress, and even in a few state legislatures, and the environmental movement, in a move that had nothing to do with the environment, came for those perfectly made lightbulbs.
In the name of saving a sliver of cost in a home electric bill, a toxic mercury-containing hunk of junk with a flimsy ballast on it was what we were all supposed to screw into our reading lamps. They cost a fortune, but were supposed to save bigly on energy, which never seemed to pan out.
The green-hued glow of the thing made everything around it feel like the dystopian future was here, and instead of the instantaneous lightbulb, that was so simple and quick you never had to think about it when you flicked the switch, you suddenly had a bulb that “warmed up” for its first two to eight minutes of use, and might even buzz, a detail you might not stop thinking about until you normalized the low standards that someone wanted to foist on you in this seemingly minor area of life.
They don’t work as well, they cost more, and they give people migraines.
The simple, elegant efficiency of the free market incandescent lightbulb was replaced by this hunk of bulk that evokes the notion of Dr. Frankenstein being given a pocket protector and a Department of Energy lab and asked to redesign the most awful looking fluorescent bulb for residential use that he could.
The things really suck.
If you’ve ever been to Slovakia or to Serbia or to Hungary or the Ukraine, post-communism, and you know the language well enough to pass for a local, you get a darn rude surprise. Many of the shopkeepers yell at you. Big grocery stores or little bodegas, you are sure to be barked at in at least half the encounters you have. In a communist economy, the customer is always wrong. He who controls the distribution of goods is always right.
That attitude trickled down through society from the domestic politburo, and their handlers in Moscow, all the way down the layers to the local shopkeeper who kept the best goods for those closest to him, or as a way to barter with others. That was a way to profit during communism. Being a good shopkeeper who always put the customer first didn’t get you very far.
Since corona communism has begun, I’ve found myself getting barked at by iulian-faced grocery clerks who would have never imagined doing such a thing prior to the Ides of March 2020.
The baby carrots are suddenly misshapen and three times the size. The cheese is suddenly just a little moldy. The selection is suddenly sparse. The sack of potatoes is just a little more likely to have some kind of rot in it. Many things at the grocery store are suddenly a little off, so many that I don’t even bother returning them anymore, because I’d be lugging back half of my shopping cart. I just cut off the bad and recognize that I need to prepare for a little lower quality when I shop.
Those who don’t experience this, I believe, are those who don’t have an eye for quality. Across the American supply chain something is a little off.
No more. I vow to stop standing for the low standards in my life. Even if I do have to lug half a grocery cart back, I will do exactly that. I vow to start returning those low quality groceries and to not accede to the low standards of the dystopian future that is being laid out for me.
I vow to stop the lies of omission that I tell with my silence.
Will you do the same?
It’s not out of nostalgia that I write this. I write this out of a sense of reason and evidence for how these aspects of a less communist past were superior. Nostalgia is a romanticized longing for the past devoid of reason and evidence. This liberal boomer adoration of Cuba is nostalgia:
If you travel down to Cuba you get to see the quaint used car museum that passes for daily life and that so many baby boomer American liberals identify as a positive enough aspect to justify Cuban communism. It feels old-timey and right to them.
If you can look beyond the facade of the beautiful cars imported from Detroit in the 1940s and 1950s, you see the misery of a nation that has been unable to import new cars for more than half a century and have had to keep their cars running with homemade putty and wire hangers.
The cars speak to the extreme wealth that Cuba once enjoyed. They also speak to the extreme destitution it has known since communists came to power. But it leads one to ask what is wrong with America that those amazing vehicles from the 1940s and 1950s have given way to the ugly pieces of junk that many drive now in the US: the compact fluorescent lightbulb of cars.
Ralph Nader used to sound reasonable to some as he talked about how he sued carmakers until they designed the fun out of their cars and designed safety into their cars. Now the guy sounds like a total loon when you think of where that safety obsession, health obsession, litigation eager American liberal calling for reasonable regulation has led us.
It’s led us to a world where fun is denounced. Misbehavior is met with terror. Uptightness is demanded of all. And if you don’t follow the program you might lose your job or your house or your family or your website or who knows what.
It’s the death of America and replacement by a bunch of killjoys who claim control in order to protect us from life.
Protection from life is the denial of liberty.
And we must call it what it is in order to understand it. It is collectivism, it is communism, it is Marxism, and it is also Puritanism. The white ladies aren’t the Karens. That’s a racist take on the meme.
Memetics is the study of viral ideas. A meme is a viral idea. The one who wants to snitch on another out of a puritanical sense of self-righteousness is the Karen. Sure, lots of those are childless white ladies. But they are also old men, young men, young women, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, atheist, devout, secular, native-born and fresh-off-the-boat, Anglo and Slav alike.
Today I watched a video of an angry hip gay young black man, Karlos Dillard, terrorizing an angry straight middle-aged white woman, so far only known as Seattle Karen. She was likely once the bigger Karen, but today he is the Karen. He wanted to snitch on her to social media and ruin her life, because he could, and he did.
The Frankenstein social justice movement she and many liberals like her have helped build has turned on her. And now she’s screaming for help (watch the video, she’s literally screaming in terror for two minutes, but I’m not sure who is left to help her or to care about her.
The one or two men she may have divorced won’t help. They are busy working to live up to their part of the divorce decree that leaves them a hobbled man and helps cover her car payments, in exchange for getting to see his kids three or four times a month. There’s no chivalric white knight who will come along. She helped kill chivalry. There’s no remaining sense of decency or tradition that will help protect her as a member of the fairer sex. She did her part in killing those. I can’t imagine the Proud Boys wanting to rally to her defense.
Every opportunity to prevent this moment in history has been offered up for decades and rejected as patriarchal and oppressive, which is easier to say in stable times. Here we are at a crisis point. “Crisis” — from the Greek word for crossroads — an opportunity to make a decision. In this moment of crisis, what will each individual decide?
Mary Shelley, who woke Marxist-feminist college professors armed with the weapon of critical theory claim as their own, wove the tale of Dr. Frankenstein in a mountain chalet in 1816. There’s poetic justice that the monster chased Victor Frankenstein to the ends of the earth. A moment of reckoning is here for some of those who helped forge the coalition of the oppressed and propagandized the left with the identity politics of the aggrieved. There’s poetic justice in that. Like Dr Frankenstein, when you’ve put so much of yourself into something, you can’t just walk away from it so easily.
But I can.
And you can.
The most vital component is to refuse to comply with their nonsense anymore. You don’t have to make non-compliance your life goal, but if you can make honesty a little more central to your interactions and disobedience, a little more a part of your daily life, I bet you’ll be surprised by how quickly these monsters and bullies will leave you alone.
Get your incandescent lightbulbs, rent your mustang, use the words you want when you want, throw the garbage in any receptacle you please, fly whatever flag you want, tell the mouthy “front line worker” that he better watch his tone, give your child the medicine you want and only the medicine you want, the milk you want, the food you want, wear whatever hat you want, say the prayers you want when you want and where you want, speak your mind truthfully as much as you want, stop writing those checks to your cowardly minister who closed the church, and only apologize in life when you’ve violated key moral principles, not when some snowflake starts melting.
Push back on every one of the thousand paper cuts.
One of the great things about the United States is that so many of us complain vocally about “first world problems,” we act “entitled” to a high quality of treatment as customers, and many of us exercise the “privilege” to demand the highest standards of everyone around us. Only a bum would want you to act any differently. And if you get enough generations of bums running your country, you end up with the miserable experience — known so dearly to every Slovak, still, three decades after the end of communism — of walking into a shop and getting barked at by the person waiting on you.
Will you agree to stop the neglect being impressed upon you in your own life?
When society comes to its senses, it will be people like us who will have conserved an idea of what sanity looks like among healthy human interactions. The Remnant.
And if people like us shift too far from that, there will be no sanity to return to, because no one will have held the line of common sense ideas that form the dribs and drabs of natural law that we have come to know: innocent until proven guilty, right to bear arms, right to defense of oneself AND one’s property, freedom of peaceable assembly, freedom from search and seizure, right to free expression, right not to be looted by a band of thugs, whether they call themselves government or not, right to worship freely, right to use your sense of reason instead of being a brainwashed sheep.
Those who violate your rights are the ones who are invited to apologize for their immoral behavior. Not you. Not ever. Not for exercising your God-given rights that exist because you are a human being made in the likeness of God. I pray you never forget that.
The niggling communism must end.
Who’s with me?