Plebs are needed.
The first hurdle is showing up.
Caesar II was a computer game I used to play all the time. You built cities, and if you built at a rate not tuned to growth, amidst the tinny background noise you heard “Plebs are needed!”
Over and over, plebs are needed! plebs are needed! plebs are needed! You can get a taste of it from the video below. (The comments section of the video is worth a read.)
Truth is, plebs really are needed.
For some people, though, it’s less about them being needed, and more about them needing to know they’re plebs. Know your place, and all.
Dr. Naomi Wolf wrote an interesting article detailing her experience these past two years. What caught my eye was her reference to “Zoom culture,” that class of people who was able to maintain their living working from home virtually, and perhaps supported draconian lockdowns and mandates because it didn’t affect them as much as it did people who couldn’t stock a grocery store shelf in their pajamas via Zoom.
Several weeks ago, Tucker Carlson had a clip in which he was making the point that after two years of following the party line and leading people further into lies, the medical establishment had pretty much lost all trust many people had in them. Looking at the camera, he bemoaned that this would probably lead to people avoiding the doctor at all cost, and we’d have thousands of Americans huddled at home treating a broken leg with CBD oil rather than go to a hospital. (I don’t have his exact quote, but you get the idea).
Not that I went to a doctor much ever, anyway, but this is my exact plan. I don’t know who told Carlson.
If you meld that distrust (and planned avoidance) of doctors with the concept of a “Zoom class,” and work backwards to try to figure out how someone would get that mashup, it might look like this blog post I wrote on November 2, 2020. Here is an excerpt.
The Plebes Make A Stand
That meeting was probably the most plebeian I've ever felt in my life.
People took off work early to get a place in line to speak. Some had to stay outside of the building in the cold because of limited seating. There had been a public health meeting that was moved to a large room earlier in the week, but we were told by the mayor the state prohibited them from moving the main city meeting. I wonder, with all of the emergency powers and the abilities to reduce room capacity and public attendance, if those same emergency powers couldn't work the other way, for the people, just once, and couldn't move the venue?
We lined up so close in the tiniest hallway, some standing up the staircase. There were about 25 of us, the air was hot, and I could smell a mix of bad breath. Once the doors were opened to get into the meeting room, we had to sit six a ridiculous six feet apart. We'd already been stacked on each other for half an hour. The deed was done. But nothing stops safety theater.
The meeting was opened with the pledge of allegiance, with the word liberty right there for the world to hear. Those on the Zoom call didn't have to say that dirty word, though. It was the people in the room, standing with hand over heart, that spoke it out loud.
Only two doctors came to speak. One breezed in at the last moment and left, but kudos to them for coming. All of the rest of our health experts, a very long slate of medical personnel, came down from Mt. Olympus to visit us via Zoom. They performed a completely perfect choreographed dance of refuting what each person had to say by listing their medical degrees, claiming ownership of over 150 studies that said we were wrong, informing us we were improperly exercising the Christian faith, and reassuring us that this was a complicated topic and we lay folk were probably not really able to understand it.
"You could've done that too!" Mayor Bakken sharply scolded a man who finally pointed out this strange separation of Zoom experts and hallway covidized citizens.
Yes, I suppose if all of the public knew of the link to join, if they all had computers and the know-how to hop on Zoom, and if they thought for one moment that the natural state of things didn't require their physical presence to put pressure on leadership because our words would be ignored, sure. We could've done it. I'm sure the older military veteran who spoke has a sweet MacBook and internet setup at home, adept at hopping on Zoom.
I joke, but it really wasn't.
Several of us were texting each other quietly. We were shocked at the blatant visual of people coming up to speak at the podium passionately about why they didn't want a mask mandate to be followed by a medical professional who seemed either angry or patronizing, all following party line.
The mask mandate crowd wouldn't even come to the meeting, for the most part.
One doctor was allowed to speak twice, to rebut the accusation of what it meant that they couldn't even be bothered to come. The public sitting there wasn't allowed this same opportunity.
One man sitting in the meeting room, stocky with a flannel shirt, came up and was very blunt. He pointed out that there seemed to be this idea that if you don't have a post-secondary degree, you could be disregarded. He then said he had a post-secondary degree, and his daughter was a respiratory therapist.
The anger was only intensified by what seemed like a tightly planned shut down of public comment by lining up doctors to assure leaders they could disregard the folks at the podium. Not so much with proof and numbers—it was the public who came locked and loaded with charts, printouts, numbers, and data. No, the medical professionals did it by a pure appeal to authority. They never left the talking points. Not a one of them.
"You must trust us because we just know better than these people" was the gist of their argument.
The experts, sitting comfy and safe in their homes.
The plebes, waiting packed in a hallway for a chance to speak for three minutes and three minutes only.
Every once in a while one of them would forget to mute themselves and you could hear them try to rebut, just for a moment, a person at the podium. They were truly loaded in the queue just to shoot the people's comments down.
I think, hearing members from our medical community confused and angry and disgusted by all the talk of personal liberty, was the biggest moment of gestalt for me.
All of this, the whole setup, of realizing you're getting played, that all your effort was already dismissed before you got into that room and that a plan for shooting it down through public farce had already been arranged and was set to put into motion—that made people even more angry than the mask mandate itself.
The doctors on Zoom never got scolded. They were, either by lack of physical presence or who they are, treated with graciousness and allowance. I can't say that was always the case for some in the room.
It was truly a moment I won't forget.
You filthy virus-laden idiots who don't know what's good for you. We'll show you. We'll protect you from yourself. We're going to scold you for talking about personal liberty. You're just not smart enough to understand what you're talking about. So stop talking.
I cannot reiterate enough how the public came with notes. They came with data. They came with research. They came ready. While we waited for the meeting to start, I saw many of them with pens in hand, going over their notes in their laps. These were not idiots. And the next day, many of them who were business owners were targeted online by nasty people.
We had the information. And then the experts provide very little of the sort, just emotion and authority and incredibly ingratiating tones, as if we were patients in their office, trying to tell them what was going on and they, nodding their heads with an eye on the clock and a glance at the nurse filling out the digital health record, proceeding with their planned treatment plan regardless of what we were trying to communicate to them about our bodies.
Dr. Mateo, who at least spoke plainly without the emotional manipulation that turned medical devices into a gauge on how well you loved your neighbor, admitted that when it came to the hierarchy of data and information, expert opinion was at the bottom.
And yet, their words carried so much weight that they didn't even have to be physically present.
That silly computer game was correct; plebs are needed. They are necessary, not a barely tolerable annoyance. They cast the vote and pay the tax, but must they show up and make things inconvenient at public meetings and in front of capitol buildings and honking their horn?
Without plebs, there is no garbage pickup, no harvest, no delivery, no butchered meat in the store. But even more than the work of their hands which requires them to show up to work, they are physically present. They win, in the long run, for
How long, I wonder, does it take for someone who exists in Zoom culture to become as two-dimensional as the screen they appear on? All life, all interaction, all knowledge, filtered through a screen. Two senses at most, a ghost in the machine.
Plebs are always needed, because they physically show up. They have to, or they have no voice.