Today is the day that communism came to an end. It was autumn 1989. Momentous things were taking place in the world. The Berlin Wall had fallen. The people of the Eastern Bloc had succeeded at getting to the West through Hungary. The firm line between east and west was wavering. The situation was moving away from the course that Warsaw Pact communist governments had charted: that their populations must remain captive within the borders of the Communist Bloc. It was unclear whether this social contagion for freedom would spread into Czechoslovakia. But then November 17, 1989, arrived, a day etched in history. This was Students Day, a legal holiday. Everything had to close under government fiat. People were off school and off work.
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Today is the day that communism came to an end.
It was autumn 1989. Momentous things were taking place in the world.
The Berlin Wall had fallen. The people of the Eastern Bloc had succeeded at getting to the West through Hungary. The firm line between east and west was wavering. The situation was moving away from the course that Warsaw Pact communist governments had charted: that their populations must remain captive within the borders of the Communist Bloc.
It was unclear whether this social contagion for freedom would spread into Czechoslovakia.
But then November 17, 1989, arrived, a day etched in history. This was Students Day, a legal holiday. Everything had to close under government fiat. People were off school and off work. But some folks were agitated about prior government actions which many saw as abuses.
When the government gave the people of Czechoslovakia that day off, it was like a match to tinder. The small flame grew into a big one.
It was a revolution noted for its bloodlessness. The Velvet Revolution, we call it today, leaning on what the Czechs called it. People, for as far as the eye could see, gathered in a giant square in Prague and called for the ouster of their government.
In the face of the idea that saying the wrong words politically could be toxic to one’s health, much like in America today, some did not resort to speaking words against their government. They merely pulled their keys out of their pockets and jingled them.
The message was clear.
Imagine tens of thousands of people jingling their keys at once.
Imagine the horror that would fill you, as a member of the communist government, looking out the window at a crowd, visible as far as the eye could see, and knowing that this delicate sound being made by each individual, growing into a horrifying sound in unison, called for your ouster.
What could a government minister, sitting at their desk, overlooking the square, even have imagined that sound to have been the first time it arose?
How ominous. How threatening. How deeply horrifying it must have been to peer out that window. The day of reckoning had finally arrived.
At that moment, a question was answered for them: “What is the last thought that goes through a tyrant’s head?” That is the thought that flashed through theirs as they realized what that sound was: reckoning. It had finally arrived. Were the government ministers thinking those thoughts as the keys jingled below them?
They would not longer be allowed to steal an election. They would not longer be allowed to imprison people for speaking unpopular beliefs. They would not longer be allowed to move members of a politically undesirable class out of their homes in the middle of the night and to move members of a politically preferred class into that same home in the morning.
With the jingling of keys, the horror show that was Czechoslovak communism — that started in 1948 with force, threats, assassinations, and stolen elections — would not continue. That’s what the jingling of keys meant.
Before year’s end, it would continue no more.
If they knew what the Czechoslovaks of 1989 knew, I wonder how the Czechoslovaks of 1948 might have behaved differently, as shows of force by common thugs, both on the street and in official roles, and stolen elections stole their country from them in 1948 and instituted communism in their land.
At the heart of this behavior, this jingling of keys, is an ability contained within each of us.
The ability to be obedient or disobedient.
The ability to be compliant or non-compliant.
I will cooperate with you, but I will not comply.
The people jingled those keys, those people did a few other things, and soon it was clear, the writing was on the wall.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia no longer had a compliant population on their hands.
The Americans were surely involved, as quietly as possible. The Soviets were surely involved, quite publicly and also behind the scenes. That topic of foreign intervention is largely distraction, for it came down to this: the powers-that-be no longer had a compliant population on their hands.
In fact, quite to the contrary, that population made it known that they were going to be non-compliant and disobedient.
That’s what the jingling of keys said. They weren’t going to sit non-compliantly in their lives quietly and surreptitiously, just the way the government wanted dissent handled. No, they were going to be inconvenient to the narrative and gather in a public square to announce their non-compliance, through the deeply symbolic jingling of keys.
Could any kangaroo court judge convict thousands of people for happening into a square and jingling keys? Could any military force appear to shoot and kill people jingling keys? Unlikely. At least, not at that moment in time and in that country.
At such a point, it is up to the governmental leadership of a country to decide how much pain the leadership wants to endure. That is one of the only remaining variables at such a moment. Their days are surely numbered, for you can’t govern a people who refuse to be governed by you.
The disparity in numbers is just too great.
One of the great hopes of artificial intelligence in the hands of the present-day technocratic class is that AI will even out those disparities and allow computers at the hands of technocrats to be programmed to control and “govern,” a population that doesn’t want to be governed.
If they succeed, this will be a first in human history, in which outnumbering, outgunning, and outmaneuvering a tyrannical entity does not do the trick.
We are in the early stages of American totalitarianism. This could become our 1948. Will Americans need to experience 41 years of communism to finally feel non-compliant? If so, what comes next will be so much worse than anything that ever took place in the former communist lands. The tools in the hands of the technocrats are so much more total than the very effective and far more manual tools that the communists of the last century had at their disposal.
Friends, we are at a pivotal moment in history. We, who are lucky enough to live in this moment are being called on to rise up and play a role in this great epic that is about to play out.
Welcome to the epic that other generations could only have dreamt of. You think the Revolutionary War was special? Or that World War 2 was special? This moment, is the most special moment in all of American history. It is not on a battlefield. It is not in a foreign land. It is in our minds, in our hearts, and in our homes.
Before so many of our clergy became such whiners, a pope once wrote: “Let us thank God that He makes us live among the present problems. It is no longer permitted to anyone to be mediocre.”
What a joy it is to be able to be a free man living in the United States and around the globe in the year 2020 and to see so many other free people hidden in plain sight, looking for the right leadership, the right impetus, the right reason, upon which to focus their energies.
The victors will be remembered as George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons of this day. Perhaps it will go beyond that. They may even be remembered as the Gilgameshes, Beowulfs, and Arthurs of this day — mythologized in tales of good and evil long remembered far after many of the details fade away.
I don’t know why I spent years of my life in Slovakia studying Czechoslovak communism and traveling Central and Eastern Europe taking in every morsel of that period that I could. It’s what I needed to do. Because of that strange obsession, I realize now that I see this moment in history so clearly, with a clarity I otherwise could not have. 2020 may be our 1948.
In will be exactly that, if that is not prevented from happening.
There is much happening in the world and a great deal of distraction, which may lead some to ask “With so much happening in the world, where must that energy first be focussed?” The battlefield is in our minds, in our hearts, and in our homes. Those places must first be defended and won. The impact of the non-compliance from there will be immeasurable. To step out and jingle some keys, to tune out the propaganda, to remove a mask, to live free, these will be natural to that person who has defended his mind, his heart, and his home.
You need not rise to this moment. I need not. We can pretend that everything is fine and to acquiesce to the new normal. We humans are very adaptable. Life today can be much like life yesterday. If you choose to ignore the turning point, there may not ever be a moment where it suddenly impacts your life. With such a choice, only with years of retrospect will you be able to see that moment.
There will be a point of no return though, where everything that has supported your free existence will have so degraded that you will not be able to find freedom except in the most contorted of ways.
Once you and many around you have ignored all the facts of how oppressive the institutions in your life plan to be, and openly state that they plan to do so, and you are left standing far beyond a point of no return, writers like Victor Frankl can offer insight on how to be happy even inside a World War II concentration camp. In free times Frankl’s story is amazing. In less free times, the powers-that-be might declare Man’s Search for Meaning useful required reading in the USSA, right along with your daily dose of Soma.
Perhaps that can be prevented.
Focusing on a turning point, seeking the turning point, being ready to act decisively at that turning point, this is the thing that heroes are made of.
Left unchecked, this only gets worse.
That can’t be repeated too many times. That is the reality of the situation we find ourselves in.
That is the story of the Century of the Great State (1917-2016), marked by the time from the Russian Revolution to the death of Fidel Castro: left unchecked, it only gets worse.
How will you decide?
Allan Stevo’s new book “Face Masks in One Lesson” launches today, November 17, 2020, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other platforms in electronic and print format. It debuts at an introductory price of $10 for the upcoming week before increasing to $21.99. The book presents a field-tested, individualized path for face mask non-compliance, based on the experiences of thousands over the course of 2020. It is the greatest available tool for those who vow to never again be forced into compliantly wearing a mask. Bulk copies are available by writing [email protected]