The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Rise of the Guillotine

There was a time when almost no one would have put forward anything like the below, today, guillotine references are routine.

Back in the 2000s, I spent a fair bit of effort advocating for policies to help the majority of Americans and Westerners by pointing out to the wealthy and powerful that, historically, sometimes oppression ends very very badly. This effort failed abysmally, as have other similar efforts, sometimes by the brighter and more forward looking of our inbred overlords.

Fast forward to today, and these sorts of images are everywhere. What was once verbotten, because the Terror is taught to everyone to be the worst thing possible and the French Revolution as the bad revolution (as opposed to the American revolution, which was supposedly good, unless you were a slave or a native).

The terror was, well, a TERROR. The revolution did not last, but the vast majority of those who ruled pre-revolutionary France did, indeed, die. When the allies won, despite their attempts, the Bourbon restoration was a failure. The people necessary to have made it a success, were, simply, dead.

As I have noted a few times here, the Terror was less terrible than the millenium of oppression that came before it. For those who need the point spelled out in angry detail, Mark Twain has you covered.

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At any rate, Western elites have continued this process. Huge swathes outside the core of Paris are, I am told, essentially third-world slums. Vast numbers of Americans have been driven into poverty and homelessness and huge tent cities spring up, and then are cleared by police in the most punitive way possible (destroying homeless peoples’ possessions), but then spring up again, because what the hell are they supposed to do?

The middle and even the lower upper class lives in terror of falling out of their comfortable spot into the lower class or homelessness. Covid has vastly enriched the already rich and about triple decimated small businesses, while throwing further millions into poverty.

Americans are now willing to vote for men on horseback types, Trump proved that, even if he was a fake, a blowhard and essentially incompetent at anything but campaigning (which he was very, very good at, and if he hadn’t fumbled Covid, I am confident he would have been re-elected).

People are tired. Younger generations like the Millenials and Zoomers have never seen good times, and even X-ers only got a whiff of them, with most never having been part of them. The dotcom boom was short, and passed a lot of people by entirely. Same with boomlets like the Massachussets miracle.

The standard way to deal with the hoi polloi is to split them into groups and make them compete with each other. Our elites have dutifully run this playbook, and sometimes even very well, but as there is less and less upward mobility, less and less chance of being one of the blessed few (mobility has collapsed), this becomes harder and harder to pull off. People stop thinking they’ll ever get ahead, stop seeing the guy or gal next to them as the problem and look up towards the top to see who’s really oppressing them.

Add in the joy of climate change added to normal imperial decay and generational economic cycles and you have a triple whammy slouching down that road, baring its thousand mouths dripping with blood.

There was a possibility for a gentle revolution. For a sweet, kind, caring redistribution of wealth; a gentle and careful breakup of power and wealth, leaving the wealthy still rich, but not obscenely so, still powerful but not an oligarchy.

If that was going to happen, Corbyn would be Prime Minister (instead of virtually thrown out of the party, as Labor leader Starmer continues his purge of the left), and Sanders would likewise be President. Everything necessary was done to make sure neither of those things would happen, that the gentle revolution would die aborning. There will be no rebirth of the great society of the post war period, with environmental protection and equality for women and minorities added.

This being so, there will either be a steady state police-surveillance state, abetted by modern company store serfdom, keeping people in eternal debt and despair, or there will be revolution. That revolution may come from the right, or from the left. If it comes from the right, the oligarchs will mostly be okay, a few stupid ones will be made examples of (as Putin did with Russia’s oligarchs), the others will bow, patronage will go to the half of the poor willing to kill the other half, and life will continue.

If it comes from the left, well, the rich are right, that’s the real danger. At best they will lose everything, at worse, well, those guillotine memes tell you their fate. Machiavelli understood this, and he was right. When you hurt a man you must destroy him entirely: He must have no power left at all, or he will take vengeance. The left cannot tolerate oligarchs or anyone who was willing to work for them who does not jump to the left’s side immediately as the revolution begins.

Hopefully, it won’t be a Terror, but it may be, and it may be because people are terrified already and they want their overlords to feel what they have felt, to know despair and fear and hopelessness. They want revenge, and indeed, something that is close to justice, because their overlords, as Covid has demonstrated, have been killing them and impoverishing them for money for a couple generations now.

The guillotine is a symbol of the fact that the powerful aren’t always the only ones who may inflict terror.

If our elites were in any way wise, they would back down, but they are not, and so the guillotine will rise ever higher in our collective consciousness until, perhaps, it reaps its bloody harvest once again.




Schools and Covid


The Emotional Logic Of Covid Denial


  1. Stirling S Newberry

    “the hoi polloi”

    hoi polloi = the many
    the hoi polloi = the the many

    Just say hoi polloi, it is simpler, grammatically correct, and shorter.

  2. trhys

    “the hoi polloi”

    This reminds me of Vonnegut’s notion that the high prices that are paid for art is a conspiracy of the rich to make poor folks feel stupid.

  3. S Brennan

    Guillotines? C’mon Ian, the “left” calls for the disarmament of itself. Anybody who supports Biden/Harris [and by extension, the preceding monarchs, Clinton/Bush/Obama] is a creature of Versailles, except for the powdered wig, a Louis XVI loyalist.

    Neodemocrats/”liberals” particular interest in seizing rifles, which are rarely used in homicides, less than~2% [and not pistols] is supported enthusiastically by uppermost class. Ever wonder why the fascination with rifles when they account for the smallest portion of firearm violence? It’s fascinating to watch “thought leaders” pull this off, teaching it is better to beg for scraps than have the means to demand a rough approximation of justice…and the means to resist tyranny in a meaningful manner.

    About 8,000 Nazi soldiers died in the Warsaw uprising, imagine how many would have died had the Jews had rifles. The Nazis lost a division in Crete, the Cretans had rifles and made the Germans pay throughout the war. And before the Germans, Crete was the first of Greece to free itself of Muslim occupation. I’d explain to the clueless the importance of rifles over pistols but, I know it’s not worth it here.

    Although, with the likely return of Neodemocrats and their brand of neocolonialism/Gilded-age-economism for the next 12 years the comment section should empty out until 2024…when we, again will be “minded” to the point that voting for neocolonialism/Gilded-age-economism is the only option.

    And Ian,

    Trump may have been unable to govern but, we’ll never know, as his competence was never tested, he wasn’t allowed to govern…just as surely as Corbyn wasn’t.

    The fascist tactics employed by Neodemocrats, 3-Letter-Agencies and .001%-owned-media against Trump, which was fully supported by the American “leftist” – “liberals” – “progressives” [and here], will be the template for the foreseeable future. A very dark future lies ahead, far too many have embraced evil to turn back now, generally only cataclysm can end such cultural declines. But “leftist” – “liberals” – “progressives” [and here] can take comfort, they’ll have their Neodemocrats, Biden/Harris/Clinton/Bush/Obamas to cling to. Nothing will be allowed to take their place.

    But for the Hate-America-First crowd the thought of a cataclysm brings joy to their hearts, like spoiled children, only when they get what they want will they realize this ship was worth saving. However imperfect Trump is/was, the unending predictions/narratives/lies offered up here have proven entirely false, not one of them withstood the test of time.

  4. Willy

    It’s like we have this great train being pulled constantly rightward by rich and powerful locomotives. The Republican cars are becoming more fascist while the Democrat cars more conservative-austere. And some want to attack the caboose for all this.

  5. kråke

    “…till, perhaps, it reaps its bloody harvest once again.”

    One hopes. No. One demands.


    Misericorde: n. A dagger which in mediaeval warfare was used by the foot soldier to remind an unhorsed knight that he was mortal.

  6. Mark Pontin

    Let it come down.

  7. Plague Species

    Not just the caboose, Willy, but the caboose they unhitched and left at the last junction — Petticoat Junction.

    Thank god McDonald was never able to govern. If he had been allowed, we would all be dead right now because Trump is completely incapable of governing anything. Hell, he can’t even govern himself so how do you expect he could govern a nation let alone a nation as once-prominent as America even if he was allowed?. Instead, they let him pull some of the few remaining supports out from under this House of Cards. Biden and crew will pull the last of them and down it comes. For good. What will replace it is anyone’s guess, but it won’t be pretty as if it ever was.

    I’d like a guillotine instead of the vaccine, thank you very much. The day the wealthy elite are purged from the realm is a day for sh*t-faced celebration. A day that will live not in infamy but instead famy. A day that will replace Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween and the 4th of July combined. The celebration will be a week-long tradition consistently reinforced so the wealthy elite never rise from the ashes of their demise again.

  8. Plague Species

    Speaking of powdered wigs, Trump has a powdered wig. His powder of choice is turmeric, apparently. For its medicinal properties, I suppose. Modi bequeathed McDonald a lifetime’s supply of the wonder root the last time they met. Such good friends. It’s a beautiful thing.

  9. It has been said ~ before starting a journey of revenge dig two graves.

    On the other hand, you might make a killing on pitchfork futures but that won’t keep the mob from using them on you. These things, if the history that only repeats to those paying attention is any guide, have a tendency to get out of hand. The French get the most traffic but I don’t think the Russian should be overlooked, a literal example of the hollowing out of the state, where enough of the middle-class bourgeois were killed off to set the country back economically for a couple generations. WWII was as important to the soviet industrialization and economic recovery as it was to the west. Nor should we attribute either to “American” idealism. That, with its solution to the “Indian Problem” and birthing the Klu Klux Klan, had later, greater influence elsewhere.

    Touched lightly on this in the past, with everyone all het up over revolution though none with a solution to what’s on the other side. I fear it is an inevitability. Hungry people do hungry things.

  10. S Brennan

    “the unending predictions/narratives/lies offered up here have proven entirely false, not one of them withstood the test of time.”

    Yeah, Willy, yeah Plague-Spec, yeah 10-Feathers…where’s Hugh and NR..sleeping in[?]..yeah..yeah..loved your Trump and [insert name to blacklist here] are Russian Spy stories and all the rest the rest of the stuff you pulled from out of your butt-holes and threw onto this comment section. Good to see the creatures of Versailles going about their busybodyness, keeping the world safe for monarchs.

    Fun to watch you guys; having failed to correctly predict anything in the future and rather than correct yourselves, you press on with “well if this would have happened, then this would have happened”. A particular brand of bullshit that can’t be disproven because the conjecture lies in the unhappened past, truly the work of today’s Louis XVI loyalist.

  11. Stirling S Newberry

    “This reminds me of Vonnegut’s notion that the high prices that are paid for art is a conspiracy of the rich to make poor folks feel stupid.”

    They are a conspiracy of the artists to make the rich seem wasteful.

  12. Willy

    Apparently, the caboose cannot be utterly destroyed enough.

    Here’s a few quotes from Rick Wiles, anti-Semitic Christian minister, Trump supporter, and S Brennan’s favorite liar:

    “The Democrats, the news media—if the leftists, if scientists, professors have been working secretly with the Chinese Communist Party, then line ’em up against the wall and shoot them. That’s what you do with them.”

    “However he (Trump) leaves, there’s gonna be violence in America. I believe there are people in this country, veterans, there are cowboys, mountain men, I mean guys that know how to fight, and they’re going to make a decision that people who did this to Donald Trump are not gonna get away with it.”

    “The Trump supporters are going to hunt them (the Democrats) down.”

  13. Ché Pasa

    Sing along, children:

    “We got the guillotine, you better run…”

    Trouble is, everyone thinks of themselves as “we” these days, no?

  14. Plague Species

    In answer to your question Ché and in the spirit of the French Revolution, oui.

    Colbert gets paid tens of millions of dollars for that and for sucking Obama’s c*ck before an audience of millions — I, for the zinger at least, instead get spit on.

  15. S Brennan

    Willy, since I use my real name here and you claim that Rick Wiles is my “favorite liar” when you say: “a few quotes from Rick Wiles…S Brennan’s favorite liar”

    Do you evidence/proof of your defamatory claim? If so, please produce, if not retract your libel.

    For the decent people here, until Willy accused me just now I had no idea of who Rick Wiles is, obviously, defamation is what Willy’s form of argument and since it is against civil in the US to knowingly libel somebody I ask Ian, if no retraction is forthcoming from Willy, to ban Willy from posting.

    “Libel and slander are forms of defamation, which is an untrue statement presented as fact and intended to damage a person’s character or reputation. Libel is a defamatory statement made in writing, while slander is a defamatory statement that is spoken.”

  16. Hugh

    I used to say, looking at our ruling classes, so many lamp posts going to waste. BTW the last person in France executed by guillotine was a murderer in 1977.

    Trump’ personality disorder determined his murderous ongoing botch of the Covid crisis just as it has his embarrassing non-stop whiny sore loser response to the election or his emerging “pardon all my crooked family and cronies: FU all. Look at me, look at me, look at me.” If he weren’t so fat and lazy, he would run naked through the White House just for the attention. And think how lame and broken some of his supporters are that they are cheering a guy who has killed 275,000 Americans and is now up to killing nearly a 9/11 of us A DAY.

    As Ian has pointed out, therein lies the rub. There are a lot of Americans who have gotten so turned inside out over the last 45 years that their idea of rebellion is to cheer their oppressors no matter how ridiculous, how big of pieces of human excrement those oppressors are.

  17. Hugh

    Yeah, Willy, SB’s favorite liar is clearly Trump.

  18. BlizzardOfOzzz

    This post does feel like a bit of a throwback. The left now supports the globalist megacorps, deep state, and globalist oligarchs, as long as they put a gay flag in their logos.

    There is a conspicuous lack of a target in the OP photo. Whom, exactly, are these people wanting to guillotine? I think I can guess …

  19. Hugh

    Trump supports the globalist megacorps, deep state, and globalist oligarchs, as long as they put a Trump flag in their logos.

    Fixed that for you.

  20. Astrid

    One of the comforts of our age is Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast. Really puts things in perspective for me.

    When my in-laws talk about how allegedly crazy the late sixties were in Detroit, I have to muzzle my retort that they have no idea what crazy is. Ditto my coworkers (all of them nice and well intentioned people) talking about how rotten 2020 is, I muzzle a strong desire to tell them that this will be considered a normal and rather peaceful year in the coming decades. Pandora’s box released hope, so we gotta cling to that while we can.

  21. Ten Bears

    Revenge of course can take many forms: Recklessness and ruin, cowardice and capture, a short temper, thin skin, an overly sensitive sense of self-worth.

    Recklessness is a mob emotion, cowardice is to be the mob, we’ve ample evidence of that all around all the time, these days. People doing stuff they wouldn’t do alone. Or out in the real world.

    Give it a rest Gabby, go yap up someone else’s tree.

    The sound you don’t hear is this old Oregon Buckaroo, Logger/Hippie/Biker… Vietnam veteran jackin’ a round into my well oiled AR. You just keep thinkin’ you’ve got the corner on firepower. You just keep thinkin’ that.

  22. Eric Anderson

    “If our elites were in any way wise, they would back down, but they are not, and so the guillotine will rise ever higher in our collective consciousness till, perhaps, it reaps its bloody harvest once again.”

    This is a great sentence. But, I’m hanging up on the ‘collective consciousness’ part. I think we leftists may characteristically fall prey to idealizing both what it means to be ‘collective’ and ‘conscious’ these days.

    Just feels like a bunch of ids huddled behind their electronic soma of choice.

    The revolution will only be televised for the rich — because it won’t occur until the hoi polloi can’t afford them.

  23. sleepy

    S. Brennan—

    “Libel and slander are forms of defamation, which is an untrue statement presented as fact and intended to damage a person’s character or reputation. Libel is a defamatory statement made in writing, while slander is a defamatory statement that is spoken.”

    Libel or slander requires one to show their reputation was thereby damaged, a requirement that IMHO you would have difficulty establishing.

  24. S Brennan

    Libel or slander requires one to show their reputation was thereby damaged, a requirement that IMHO you would have difficulty establishing

    says a first time poster…who posts anonymously.

  25. Hugh

    Yeah, sleepy, I bet you aren’t Sino-Hungarian either. Good point though.

  26. capelin

    The guillotine was in use by those in power in europe for hundreds of years before the french revolution.

    The fact that it was used to effect by one ground-up revolution is not a reason to celebrate it’s existence or use. Capital punishment is overwhelmingly a tool of the state and an enemy of the people.

    I look at that picture and I see kids learning to suspend empathy and go with the mob, rather than overthrow their oppressors, and I wonder about why _that kid is not like the others.

    Given the general inability (or more likely, general lack of desire) of “the left” to analyze their way out of a wet paper biden-bag, I hold little hope for them actually gaining power and doing things differently. Too much skilled infrastructure dedicated to that not happening.

    Still, ya gotta give it a go.

  27. Eric Anderson

    It’s never a good idea to throw around terms of art you don’t ‘really’ know.
    The term of art best suited for Willy’s slight is that he’s attempted to portray you in a ‘false light’.

    That’ll be $200.00*

    *legal disclaimer
    just kidding

  28. Willy

    S Brennan,

    So how do you know that I wasn’t implying that you simply enjoy studying liars?

    Now, between us, the first person to call anybody a liar was you, when I questioned your comment about Tulsi Gabbard, on a comment thread a long time ago. Though it was just a quibble, with no criticism intended, you’ve decided to call me a liar ever since. You even frequently link to that comment thread, as “proof” that I’m a liar, though to this day I still don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    Then I mentioned that your Tulsi supported Biden over Trump and had a consistent record of advocating for “sensible gun control”. I reminded you that hydroxychloroquine was considered controversial by medical experts, that solar is now considered superior to coal for energy, and that not only does Trump slam anything “left”, he’s seen as a likely sociopath by many experts, especially after his “fraud” donation grift. Apparently this soured our relationship.

    Still, I really don’t think I’m wrong about any of that stuff.

    So why would you worry about using the name “S Brennan”? When I Googled that name all I could find were pictures of a crazy old man waving his cane at clouds. Why would you ever assume that we’d think this to be you?

  29. sleepy

    No, not a first time poster though a very infrequent one. And considering there are probably several million individuals named “S Brennan” in the English speaking world, as a practxale matter your handle is as anonymous as mine.

  30. Chiron

    I don’t see a “revolution” or anything like it happening in this decade, maybe after 2030 when a full generational change takes place, this is gonna be the Boomers last decade in power and they will keep things going until they reach the grave.

  31. Hugh

    Chiron, 2030 is also a pivotal year in climate change and having full on programs up and running to mitigate it (not looking real likely).

  32. Ten Bears

    Pivotal in that by 2030 it’ll be too late to do anything about it.

    Almost too late now.

  33. Lex

    There will be no revolution of reckoning in the US. We’re too fat and too lazy and too spoon fed the propaganda that passes for our history. Hell, it wasn’t just slaves and natives who lost the American “revolution”. The vast majority of whites in early America were poor tenant farmers who didn’t benefit at all from the oligarchy trimmed with the bunting of Rome that was the new government. Almost all of this country still believes the founders were men far wiser than their age rather than the same type of people still running the show today. Whole forests have been felled to excuse their small-mindedness and brutality. Even the mainstream left attempts to comfort itself with how distraught the founders would be seeing the country today. Jefferson would be writing for Breitbart and Washington was a sleezy real estate speculator. The “merchants” for whom the constitution was written so that they might get the interests on the bonds they issued to fund the aristocracy’s war against the mother country were nothing more than colonial Wall Street.

    No, we’ll go meekly into the demise of our empire and the hollowing of the state. The guns won’t be used against the forces of tyranny but against neighbors and former friends. We’ll fall like Rome, with the rich retreating to estates and the poor being left to beg for a job on the estate or die in the streets. And to the end, the majority will believe it’s right and good because anything else might be an affront to the founders and the myth of the nation.

  34. Plague Species

    Biden, Bubba, Bush and Barack agreeing to perform publicity stunt to pretend to receive the vaccine is all the proof you need that the vaccine will be deleterious to your health. Remember Barack with the Flint water? He urged Detroit residents, nay black people, to drink lead-contaminated water because “officials” assured it was safe. You don’t have to be an anti-immunization nutjob to know this doesn’t smell the sniff test. This shit has not been properly tested and peer reviewed and mRNA has never been used en masse heretofore so its many potential effects and implications, or lack thereof, are pure conjecture. Safety assurances considering that are a pathetic and insulting dark humor joke.

    …there you go, and you know, generally I have not been doing stunts here, but, you know….

    His entire political career has been a stunt. In fact, his entire existence since CIA peeps lead double lives, and sometimes triple and quadruple lives.

    Love that dirty water — love that untested vaccine.

    Look at that album cover per the link. It applies to today as much as did so many decades prior.

    There Is A Storm Comin’

    Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go?


  35. Chicago Clubs

    Big lol at swinging your dick around about posting under your “real name” when you use a first initial last name that could belong to any one of probably a hundred thousand people.

  36. anon y'mouse

    the problem may be that most people who employ the symbol do not mean metaphorically, as a statement of power.

    there’s no need to take their lives. just banish them to their Hamptons and usurp their power over us.

    but on that day, i will be playing this song-

  37. Ten Bears

    So, uhhmmm … Truman faked getting the polio vaccine?

    Not that I necessarily disagree. There’s actually a bone of contention in my house right now: the spousal unit is all het up to get that shot as soon as possible, but I just don’t think it’s a magic bean. Setting aside my near life-long policy of avoiding vaccines along with chemicals, drugs, estrogens, insecticides et al, we’re not taking one rushed to market under these conditions. I have a thirteen year old autistic grandson, I watched it happen; we can wait a bit, see if it doesn’t turn folks into zombies. Or kill ’em more painfully than the trump-flu.

    Doesn’t change the fact if a bunch of exceptionalized, snot-nosed middle-school yard petulant bitches had just put a foking mask on we probably could have nipped it in the bud.

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