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How So Many Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nukes

Social psychosis is widespread.  In the words of the British psychiatrist, R. D. Laing, “The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man.” He was not referring to raving, drooling, hitting-your-head-against-the-wall lunacy but a taken-for-granted acceptance of a world long teetering […]

Social psychosis is widespread.  In the words of the British psychiatrist, R. D. Laing, “The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man.”

He was not referring to raving, drooling, hitting-your-head-against-the-wall lunacy but a taken-for-granted acceptance of a world long teetering on the edge of nuclear extinction, to take the most extreme example, but surely only one of many.  The insouciant acceptance and support of psychotic rulers who promote first-strike nuclear war is very common.  First strike nuclear policy is United States policy.

I recently wrote an article about the dangers of the fourteen U.S. Trident submarines.  These subs constantly cruise under the oceans carrying 3,360 nuclear warheads equivalent to 134,400 Hiroshima bombs.  All are on first strike triggers.  And, of course, these are supplemented by all the land and air based nukes.  My point was not very complicated: now that the United States government has abrogated all nuclear weapons treaties and continues to escalate its war against Russia in Ukraine, we are closer to nuclear annihilation than ever before.

This conclusion is shared by many esteemed thinkers such as the late Daniel Ellsberg who died  on June 16, 2023 and whose 2017 book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, makes clear that nuclear war, waged intentionally or by mistake or accident, is very possible. In the months before he died, he warned that this is now especially true with the situation in Ukraine and the U.S. provocations against China.

The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal recently addressed the UN Security Council on the danger of U.S. actions in Ukraine and asked:

Will we see another Douma deception, but this time in Zaporizhzhia?

Why are we doing this? Why are we tempting nuclear annihilation by flooding Ukraine with advanced weapons and sabotaging negotiations at every turn?

Finian Cunningham has just raised the specter of a thermonuclear catastrophe initiated by a U.S./Ukrainian false flag attack on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant.

So my article was in no way unusual, except for my concentration on the Trident submarines.

When, against my better judgment, I read some commentators’ responses to my piece at a few websites where my article was posted, I was taken aback when I read the following [all emphases are mine]:

  • Like many other boomers, Edward J Curtin Jr is caught up in ‘nuclear terror’ … whereas on 4chan you see that a large portion of the young generation has come to accept the massive evidence that Hiroshima & Nagasaki were chemically firebombed like Tokyo, and ‘nuclear weapons’ most likely do not exist at all. The 10 alleged ‘nuclear powers’ have had reasons to hoax together, just like the global collusion on ‘covid’ & ‘vaccines’.
  • So, the point is? Subs with nukes have been cruising around the world’s oceans for over 60 years, back to the time when they tried to scare us with the Cuban missile crisis. I was on a fast attack sub during the Vietnam war, friend of mine got boomer duty, which is what they call the ones that carry the missiles. They’re there for show, they aren’t going to use them. Yes, they should be banned internationally, just in case. But as with the Nuremberg trials and principles, that’s not nearly enough. We’re going to need to create our own New World Order
  • This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

        I vote for the bang!

  • The nuke is exaggerated. Reality is that too many will survive a nuclear WWIII.
    There will still be too many useless eaters and psychos left in the underground bunkers no matter how many nukes we drop. Like Chernobyl it will only develop to paradises for animals, natives and homeless on food stamps, while we the exceptionals will suffer from an underground life for 50 years without seeing natural light . A global virus and for double insurance a coupled vaxx, will be a much more effective tool to clean the filth and double shareholders profit..,
  • Dear Ed the sea monsters about as real as nukes.
  • Another one of the “elites” hoaxes.

To hear that there are no nuclear weapons and never were; to learn that some in their embrace of nihilism hope for a nuclear holocaust; to read that nuclear weapons are never going to be used because they only exist for show – well, this at least confirmed my suspicion that many who comment on articles are either bonkers or trolls or both.  Some probably have nothing better to do than inform writers how wrong they are.  It frightened me.  It made me wonder how many of the millions of silent ones think similarly or have come to embrace hopelessness as a way of life – the feeling that they have no power because that has been drilled into them from birth.  I have long thought that cultural normality can be understood as the use of one’s freedom to create a prison, a cell in which one can convince oneself that one is safe because the authorities have established a sacred umbrella to protect one from an apocalyptic hard rain that they never think is going to fall.

The Pew Research Center recently surveyed the American public on their sixteen greatest fears.  Nuclear war was not one them.  It was as if nuclear weapons did not exist, as if they have been buried in the cellar of public awareness.  As if Mad Magazine’s  Alfred E. Newman’s motto was the national motto: “What? Me worry?”  No doubt more Americans are aware of the gross public spectacle of Joey Chestnut stuffing his mouth with sixty-five hot dogs in ten minutes than they are of the Biden administration’s insane escalation toward nuclear war in Ukraine.  We live in Guy Debord’s “Society of the Spectacle.”

Although he was writing years ago, Ronald Laing’s words sound ironically prescient today after so many years of endless propaganda, the destruction of human experience resulting in destructive behavior, and the relentless diminishment of human beings to the status of machines:

At this moment in history, we are all caught in the hell of frenetic passivity. We find ourselves threatened by extermination that will be reciprocal, that no one wishes, that everyone fears, that may just happen to us ‘because’ no one knows how to stop it. There is one possibility of doing so if we can understand the structure of this alienation of ourselves from our experience, our experience from our deeds, our deeds from human authorship. Everyone will be carrying out orders. Where do they come from? Always from elsewhere. Is it still possible to reconstitute our destiny out of the hellish and inhuman fatality?

That is the key question now that more than fifty years have elapsed since Laing penned those words in his now classic book, The Politics of Experience (isbn.nu)He said then, which is exponentially truer today, that “machines are already becoming better at communicating with each other than human beings with each other.”  Talking about deep things has become passé for so many.

If we don’t start worrying and unlove the machines, we are doomed sooner or later.  Sooner is probable.  Nuclear weapons are very real.  They are poised and ready to fly.  If we continue to live in denial of the madness of those who provoke their use while calmly promoting first-strike policies as the U.S. government does, we are worse than fools.  We are suicidal.

As Daniel Ellsberg told us, “Don’t wait ‘till the bombs are actually falling.”  That will be too late.  There is no doubt that before a nuclear war can happen, we must go insane, normally so.

Let’s make the few protest voices in the wilderness the cries of hundreds of millions:

End nuclear weapons now before they end us.

Stop escalating the war in Ukraine now.

Make peace with Russia and China now.

“There is such a thing as being too late,” Martin Luther King, Jr. told us on April 4, 1967, one year to the day before he was assassinated in a U.S. government plot.

“We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.”


This content originally appeared on Dissident Voice and was authored by Edward Curtin.


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