This is an individual project.

I just finished reading “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century,” by Timothy Snyder.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Because sooner if not later there’s going to be a terrorist event and you’re gonna lose all your personal rights. That’s how they do it, especially Putin. Under the guise of keeping you safe, you sacrifice the freedom you think you’re fighting for. Like when the Reichstag burned up and Hitler used that as an excuse to declare a governmental emergency, which lasted for twelve years, until the end of World War II. It can happen here. It’s happened in Russia. Where Putin blew up/burned up his own establishments and then under the guise of keeping people safe got a stranglehold on power. Because never underestimate people’s fear.

It’s making them act like sheep today.

Most people are afraid to speak up, for fear of standing out, for fear of being ridiculed, they just want to get along. And Victor Klemperer’s friends slowly became Nazis, one by one, because it felt right, kinda like the internet bubble back in the year 2000. Remember when we heard it was a new economy and the old rules just did not apply? But they still do, they always do, the bubble burst and it turns out managed funds do worse than index funds, did you see Warren Buffett’s pronouncement the other week? He said that rich people don’t want to put their money in index funds, which outperform hedge funds, because they believe they’re special and entitled to special treatment, what the hoi polloi uses they can’t, they’re entitled to something better.

But the point is less about elites than conventional wisdom. Which has been wrong time and again. Even the pollsters. What bugs me about all of them, including Nate Silver, is they just can’t admit they’re wrong. They point to statistics saying that Hillary still won the popular vote as justification for their veracity and sanity, but they missed the major point. It was about who won the election, not statistics. But ain’t that America, where no one wants to admit they’re wrong and take another path.

Now the reason I read “On Tyranny” is because I got an e-mail from Jesse Kornbluth. We all have sources we trust implicitly, whose advice we take, or at least check out and judge for ourselves. You can see what Jesse had to say about Snyder’s book here:

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
Timothy Snyder
By Jesse Kornbluth

And Snyder can’t write and he hates the internet but he’s a cogent thinker and a Yale professor and his twenty lessons are good starting points.

But let’s go to the internet.

Because it parallels what’s going on in our society today.

When people decry Spotify/streaming, are they any different from the white working men and women who were left behind in the new economy? Hell, they hate Daniel Ek more than they hate Spotify, they consider Ek an interloper, who became a billionaire on their backs.

Forget that theft was rampant before Spotify.

But we’ve got endless reports of acts saying they got puny royalties from streaming services. Old paragons of truth like David Crosby decry streaming, which is just plain sad. Because we live in a global economy and if you want to shut the doors and make America great again, you’re denying the fact that it wasn’t so great to begin with. You needed a record company to be in the game, only a few could compete. Do we live in an era of chaos? Absolutely! But you must march into the future, you cannot live in the past.

But the point is the whole music industry doesn’t want to believe in facts, wants to jet back to the past, and do you think it’s any different in government? Look at yourself first, question your own principles. Then see the world through a different lens.

And the power of the individual cannot be underestimated. And artists can reach more people than politicians, especially musicians, who rule the social media our world runs upon. But rather than speak truth, they’d rather collaborate with established hitmakers and churn out stuff that’s indecipherable from what came before.

Snyder says we must be students of history. Knowing that the future is gonna come.

But no one wants to remember yesterday, unless they’re looking through rose-colored glasses.

Yesterday was an era where artists said no. They left money on the table, their credibility was key. Now they want to be brands, and to tell you the truth I trust BMW and Amazon more than any artist, a whole bunch of corporations, they do their job better. I mean what is the job of an artist? To make money? To anesthetize the public?

So I vacillate between thinking it’s business as usual and believing we’re at a tipping point and everything’s up for grabs.

And I know you do too, unless you’re e-mailing me fake Breitbart stories accusing me of not covering the other side.

My e-mail was blowing up on Friday wondering when I was gonna write about Obama’s conspiracy. Huh? I checked the NYT and the WSJ…nothing. But on Breitbart, those pesky Democrats were wreaking havoc, we have to be saved from their ineptitude that pushed our nation to the brink.


While you’re at it, read Tony Blair’s piece in the NYT today, quite cogent and reasonably insightful:

Tony Blair: Against Populism, the Center Must Hold

But the point is it comes down to you and me.

Snyder tells us to turn off the screens and read books, fat chance, but his point that TV news is a reality show bouncing from one headline to the next, with no investigation beneath the surface, is true.

But he asks us to be members of society, to forge tight-knit bonds that will help us endure the coming shocks.

I just don’t feel like anybody in the arts is doing anything. Other than making statements at awards shows.

Hell, there’s no truth in the Oscars themselves. Asking us who didn’t see the movies to tune in and watch the film industry laud the flicks.

But where is the movie with truth? Certainly not in a special effects comic book show.

As for records… Music is the most truthful medium of all. But we’ve abdicated that power in search of the almighty dollar.

Interesting times we live in.

But one thing’s for sure, if we sleep we’re gonna lose.

And right now, despite all the hoopla, too many people are sleeping.

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