This Ends Sooner If We All Comply. Sound Eerily Familiar?
During crisis and national emergencies, we are instructed that if we follow certain course of action, the crisis abates earlier. In part one of our series Rationed State: Victory Gardens we compare propaganda from earlier crisis to the COVID pandemic, and ask where does this lead us. This article illustrates our points further.
“It’s Up To You”, US Department of Agriculture, 1943. Please watch before reading.
War on Poverty, War on Crime, War on Terror, and War on an Invisible Enemy. We have a lexicon that evokes feelings of patriotism, and this is by design. People flock to victors, and war analogies are a means to jump start activity in a people, and saying these slogans rally people to leadership. For many WW II and FDR represent the quintessential example of leadership calling upon patriotism to focus a society towards great ends.
As you see in the clip above, all facets of American society were called upon to rally to the cause of supporting US war efforts. This meant supplying food to soldiers as well as to allies. This also meant a huge impact on food supplies which had been severely hampered by the protracted Depression. Rather than create discontent, propaganda slogans appeared, along with media that reinforced that sacrifice for the common cause of winning the war would bring the troops home sooner, ending the conflict sooner. To compensate for supply chain impacts, a campaign to encourage Americans to grow their own essential food supplies was promptly initiated. Victory Gardens were born.
But look at the mechanism employed: do your part, endure the shortages, follow the imperatives and the crisis will end all the sooner.
Sound familiar? In 2020 President Trump declared an emergency, like many preceding presidents taking a page from FDR, that we were at war with an invisible enemy, the Wuhan virus. Enemy identified. The war slogans are a prompt for you subconscious to conjure some of these very images you saw in the video above. But unfortunately others stepped in and the mission and steps to achieve the mission were co-opted, almost immediately.
The sacrifice for this crisis was your ability to move about and even show your face. Quarantines were ordered, and a slogan was created to help comfort us. “15 Days To Flatten the Curve”. “Mask up to protect loved ones” soon followed as a secondary edict, and out of a sense of altruism supporting the common good, people complied. Analogies to past national crisis were also prevalent, and these pacified the outcries for loss of freedom.
But note, we were not allowed to rely on our own ingenuity during this emergency. Instead, we were encouraged by social media mavens and man-bros who donned masks in the profiles to hunker down and wait for dispensation from the experts. Reinforce the common cause of the collective good. Don’t trade stories with relatives, rely only on approved sources for information. Indeed, doctors, traditionally trained as scientists in their daily functions, were discouraged from exercising observation and experimentation to attempt to alleviate severe symptoms. Coritcosteroids which help prevent the lungs from being overwhelmed, standard for all other allergic reactions, were decried as unscientific for the COVID cytokine storm. No preventative treatments were allowed.
Where will this debilitation, in the guise of patriotism, lead us? In Part Two of Rationed State we will attempt to answer.