Micropsychia and Megalomania vs. Your Plans

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Recent events have reminded me of a short piece by the late John Lewis. He warned Americans over a decade ago about a type of mentality which is on full display across the country, in the form of the universal, indefinite lockdowns that have ruined or are imperiling the livelihoods of millions of Americans.

In 2006, John Lewis described an army, of little dictators, which was already too powerful then. He stated in part:

Plans and whims are fundamentally incompatible. (Image by Sven Mieke, via Unsplash, license.)
Their names are friendly; their power immense. One I knew, "Jim," had final say over whether a 42-story office building in a major city could open. Another, "Marty," said he did not care that his failure to read a blueprint had cost a small business $10,000 -- "that don't matter" were his words. Another, an inspector named "CJ" (the initials have been changed to protect his victims) was asked whether building requirements had changed "in his town"; he said, "I haven't decided. I'll let you know." Another, "Frank," showed up smelly and unshaven at the final inspection of a new high-tech manufacturing plant, and delayed its opening for three days pending a test of the fire alarm system's batteries.

Some personalize everything. "I ain't gonna allow it," I heard one decree, as he told a contractor to tear down a stone chimney and start over because the hearth was an inch too narrow. Another told me, "I ain't lettin' no more cottages be converted to year-round use. There's too many now," as he slapped a red tag on my neighbor's door. Once I was doing a project at a very remote site, which took hours to get to, including a boat trip. An official said, to my face, that he'd require our technicians to return as often as he saw fit: "Not everyone can work in my town." Another made similar demands at a major state university; his son was our competitor, and had lost the bid.

These Little Dictators have the power of government guns to enforce their decisions. To avoid their wrath, a productive individual must suppress his rational judgment, and go by the rules they enforce. They are enemies of independent thought and comrades of conformity. Their whims and their rules coercively substitute for reality in the minds of their victims.
It is disturbing enough that so many of these people are in charge. In many cases, the lockdowns have crossed the line from blunt actions taken in panic at a time of crisis to blatant attempts to widen government control over our daily lives.

And it is worse that these little dictators seem to enjoy some popular support. This morning, I read in a news report that someone blamed businessmen for not planning on the sudden, unnecessary, and arbitrarily long shuttering of their doors. That's thoughtless and unempathetic on a par with telling a reasonably prudent gunshot victim that he's an idiot for not wearing a bulletproof vest all the time.

Except that it's worse, because presumably that wouldn't come with a whitewashing of the crime. What Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, and countless other less-prominent little dictators are doing is wrong.

Americans need to rediscover their old suspicion of government, and fast. Until we place government back on a short leash, our best-laid plans will remain increasingly at the mercy of small-souled people who don't give a tinker's dam about our lives, are clueless about living, and are more than happy to treat our lives as playthings.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hey Gus,

I agree 100%. This has been a nightmare. After losing my father, and my IT job, I made the decision to begrudgingly return to Illinois. I was working two jobs to help finance my move. My second job at a national retail chain has been furloughed, and I'm pissed. I was counting on that job to tie me over until I find an IT job. Now I have no income; and don't know when that will change. The whole situation is becoming a ridiculous farce.

I'm noticing two camps: those getting paychecks, and those who no longer are getting checks. I have to continually remind people that their financial health is secure, whereas mine and others isn't. That's when a deep silence comes. This is something these mini-tyrants don;t understand. They are devoid of wisdom, and common sense. There is absolutely no logic in extending this "stay at home" nonsense until May 30. The state is finally admitting the majority of Wuhan Virus cases are from nursing homes. I'm glad to see people are protesting this madness. My concern is people will not understand the deeper meaning of all this, by continuing to support politicians who believe government can solve EVERY human issue. When crisis occurs, the politicos will feel the need to treat everyone like helpless children.

Bookish Babe

PS: Let's not forget about the inept, duplicitous media not giving us pertinent information. But doing everything to undermine the economy.

Gus Van Horn said...


I am sorry to hear about your predicament.

As we already know and many (currently) in the with-checks camp may eventually find out, there is no guarantee of remaining in that camp for long, or for the money being able to buy things for long.

My daughter has more than once now asked my wife to turn off the news (which I would never normally watch) because "Dad yells at the television set," when it is on. She watches it only because she is a busy medical professional and is otherwise not that interested in current events. And yes, she has had a pay cut because of the asinine restrictions on "elective" procedures at her hospital. Fortunately, that restriction has been lifted. Hopefully, the hospital recovers.

As they used to say in Russia, which the media idiolized when it was communist, "There is no truth in the news and no news in the truth." That's bad enough, but I find the whole way everything is presented to be insipid and blatantly complicit with the worst instincts of our worst politicians. I usually leave the room if I can when it is on.

Good luck, and I hope things change soon in Illinois.


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gs, you write, "As they used to say in Russia, which the media idiolized when it was communist, 'There is no truth in the news and no news in the truth.'"

True, but it's a little more pointed than that. In Russian, "truth" is Pravda and "news" is Izvestiya, the name of the major newspaper of record under the Soviets. The saying was, "There's no news in Pravda and no truth in Izvestiya," with the overtones of the meanings of the papers' names.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for the reminder.

Dinwar said...

"When crisis occurs, the politicos will feel the need to treat everyone like helpless children."

I've been saying for a long time that socialism is basically a confession of being stuck as a child. When an adult faces difficulty they say "What can I do to overcome this?" When a child faces difficulty, they run to Mommy and Daddy to fix it. In children this is often fine--a child doesn't have the skills to, for example, handle a bully at school or a sliced finger. Adults are supposed to be able to handle our own lives, though; running to Mommy and Daddy Government is a confession that one has never grown up. And saying "The government should do X!" is little different from a child stamping his feet and screaming "I want it!" If an adult wants something done, they do it!

The politicos feel that they can treat us like children because, sadly, far too many of us ARE children. They're merely giving us what the majority of us want.

Gus Van Horn said...


You bring to my mind a joke I told to a friend in conversation recently: "Wouldn't it be great if there were a country somewhere that I could go to, where I could do whatever I wanted to as long as it didn't harm anyone else? I'd move there."

It seems like the very idea, much less seeing it as a good or even realistic thing, is completely alien to a significant and growing portion of the public.