No Way Out
I know there are many people out there who don't watch the daily drivel emanating from their 72 inch HD boob tubes. I don't blame them. Most of the shows on TV are dumbed down to the level of their audience of government educated zombies. The facebooking, twittering, texting, instagraming generation is too shallow, too self-consumed, and too intellectually lazy to connect the dots, understand symbolism or learn moral lessons from well written thought-provoking TV shows. But there have been a few exceptions over the last few years. Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and Walking Dead are intelligent, brilliantly scripted, morally ambiguous, psychologically stimulating TV shows challenging your understanding of how the world really works.
The Walking Dead is much more than a gory, mindless, teenage zombie flick. Personally, I find myself interpreting the imagery, metaphorical storylines, and morality lessons of Walking Dead within the larger context of cultural, political, and social decay rapidly consuming our society today. I don't pretend to know the thought process or intent of the writers, but I see plot parallels symbolizing current day issues plaguing our empire of debt. Their mid-season opener was one of the most intense shocking episodes of the entire series. It was titled No Way Out, as the main characters appeared to be trapped in a no win situation with long odds and little hope of surviving.
From my vantage point I see four explicit types of characters inhabiting the world of the Walking Dead. There are the infected mindless zombies roaming the countryside in search of flesh to consume. They are oblivious to the world around them, unable to think, feel, or act human. They can be distracted and led in different directions by loud noises or other diversions. Then there are the still human zombies inhabiting the walled city of Alexandria who are sentient, thinking, frightened men and women, not prepared to face the harsh reality of an unfair brutal world and the consequences of not fighting the forces of evil. They cower behind their walls and hope for the best.
There are bands of nomadic lawless gangs wandering the barren countryside, living off the scraps left behind by civilization and taking what they want through brute force. They abandoned any sense of morality as the world spun out of control. Killing innocent people to achieve their ends is fair game in their survivalist worldview. They see anarchy as an opportunity to loot, steal, murder and disrespect the rights of others.
Anarchy is essentially the absence of institutional coercion. It doesn't mean chaos, with human beings automatically becoming bandits and murderers. Humans cooperate, trade, exercise personal responsibility and create social order without the dictates of a government ruler. What binds society together are not thousands of overbearing laws and a ruthless police state, it's basically peer pressure, moral suasion, and social censure. We interact with other humans every day, without some higher authority dictating how it should be done.
The cohort of decent men and women trudging through the southern regions of a fallen America experience horrific scenes, but maintain their humanity despite anarchy. The main characters (Rick, Daryl, Michone, Carol, Carl, Glenn and Maggie) approach every day with their eyes wide open. In a setting where there is no government, no enforceable laws, no police, and no higher authority to provide guidance on how to approach every dangerous situation and ethical dilemma, they choose the honorable path.
As the crumbling remnants of a once mighty nuclear superpower decays, this tight knit group of heavily armed citizens rely upon their guile, intelligence, courage, and moral backbone to try and rebuild a new society. They are honorable, bold and resolute as they fight the ravenous brain dead zombies and the malicious roving mobs swarming over the apocalyptic terrain, while attempting to turn the cowering cowards of Alexandria into courageous patriots who see the world as it is rather than as they wish it to be. In a catastrophic situation where all governmental functions are non-existent it is those who are physically prepared, self-sufficient, mentally strong, heavily armed and able to deal with dire circumstances through the lens of reality, who will survive.
The No Way Out episode opens in the midst of a horrifying crisis within the bigger ongoing crisis. The village of Alexandria had successfully walled off their community from the outside world and had grown soft as they failed to grasp the nature of their perilous circumstances. They passively believed walls would always protect them; weapons were barbaric and unnecessary; and preparing for an adverse turn in conditions was pointless. But misfortune and a threat to their very survival did arrive. They were attacked by a band of murdering thieves and bad luck befell their community when their wall was breached. Their lack of preparation, inability to utilize firearms, and absence of courage to confront the dangerous threats, left them helpless in the face of a life or death situation.
The two types of zombies inhabiting the world of the Walking Dead represent two distinctive types of people populating our country today, as we relentlessly meander towards our own rendezvous with destiny. Our country is already disintegrating, as unpayable debt, endemic corruption, military overreach, civic decay, and moral degeneration coalesce to insure a societal collapse. It's not a matter of if, but when. The zombies are unaware and apathetic, as their inability to think critically has left them trapped in an "all is well" paradigm peddled by their government keepers and their corporate fascist benefactors.
The American zombies resembling the infected mindless variety from Walking Dead inhabit the urban ghettos, semi-rural trailer parks, and putrefying suburban enclaves across the land. They probably constitute close to 50% of the population and continue to multiply. They are uneducated due to the dreadful government run public education system and the bad life choices of those who brought them into this world. They feed off the public welfare system, incapable or unwilling to work for a living. They are easily distracted by their iGadgets, 600 cable channels, sporting events, the latest fashions and hero worship. They don't read books, participate in civic affairs, create cohesive communities, or think for themselves. The aimlessly shuffle through their wretched lives taking what they can and being herded by those in control. As society collapses they will panic, burn their dilapidated hovels to the ground and quickly die off, with no government to sustain them.
The next category of zombies populating America today is much like the people of Alexandria in the show. They are educated, employed, middle to upper middle class, living in suburban single family homes and townhouses, afraid of guns, trusting of authority, and are trapped in a web of normalcy bias. They've already forgotten the 2008 global financial crisis and believe their politician leaders that adding $70 trillion of global debt since 2008 has actually cured a disease caused by excessive unpayable debt. Since a further disaster has not materialized thus far, they convince themselves it will never occur. Therefore, they take no precautionary measures to prepare for any type of disaster, whether it is financial, societal, or related to their personal safety.
Despite clear warnings of a global conflagration already underway, these humanoid zombies optimistically believe everything will turn out for the best. The more aware among these zombies have an uncomfortable feeling about the state of affairs, as they know in their gut we are headed towards disaster. This cognitive dissonance makes them uneasy, so they purposefully avoid or disregard information that would confirm their worst fears. These zombies drive super-sized SUVs, shuttle their kids to soccer games, live in McMansions, commute to high rise office towers where they push paper, watch mainstream media, believe gun control will make them safer, and still think voting for hand-picked corporate candidates will make a difference.
They lack the intellectual curiosity to question the existing social order. They lack the courage to confront their oppressors, corrupt government, malevolent banking cabal, or corporate media mouthpieces spreading lies for the ruling oligarchy. They are completely unprepared for a world where processed toxic foodstuff isn't plentiful and easily accessible at their local Wally World; ATM machines don't spit out $20 bills on command; energy isn't cheap, plentiful and accessible; and they are no longer protected from bad guys by government thugs. In a societal collapse their lack of self-sufficiency, firearms training and mental toughness to deal with a dreadful reality will result in most losing their lives. A segment of this zombie population can be salvaged if they can be convinced of the jeopardy in which they have been placed. With proper leadership and example to follow, the courage to resist and survive can be regained.
The nomadic lawless gangs committing acts of aggression against the well-intentioned decent survivors of the collapse know they are acting in a criminal manner, don't care, and rationalize their psychotic disregard for moral standards because there is no institutional authority to stop them from raping, pillaging and murdering. I liken this segment to the criminal sociopathic Wall Street bankers; bought off crooked political class; government apparatchiks and surveillance state thugs; corporate fascists; military industrial complex; shadowy string pulling billionaires; propaganda spewing corporate media; and the leeches who suckle off this evil prototype. This gang of lawless psychopaths has no concern for the greater good or their fellow man. Their only objective is to pillage the remaining wealth of the nation, with no concern for laws, regulations, morality, decency, or the victims of their ravenous sacking of America. They are the real enemy.
Lastly, we have the self-reliant, courageous, disciplined characters that represent the last best hope for humanity in the apocalyptic world of the Walking Dead. Despite the catastrophic circumstances they face on a daily basis, they never lose their integrity or their humanity. Kindness, generosity, intelligence, adaptability, and situational awareness complement their courageousness and willingness to use whatever means necessary to survive. A common thread among the main characters is their ability to utilize weapons, think strategically, act as a team, and approach every situation in a realistic, resolute mode. They choose to not deny reality. Lying to yourself about the desperateness of your situation does you no good. They choose living over despair and death.
The people represented in our society by Rick, Daryl and their motley crew of freedom loving patriots is the gun clingers referred to by Obama in 2008:
"They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
They are also derogatorily referred to in the corporate media as preppers, gun nuts, survivalists, right wing extremists, and potential domestic terrorists. Ron Paul supporters, Christian conservatives and anyone believing strongly in the 2nd Amendment is considered suspect by those in power. DHS is spying on them, the IRS is harassing them, the liberal media scorns them, and the president wants to disarm them. It is the hard working, self-reliant, morally upstanding, gun owning citizens of this country who have been screwed by the onslaught of illegal immigrants, the Wall Street owned Federal Reserve, and the corporate fascists who have written the laws and trade legislation which has enriched them while destroying the working middle class.
Wall Street/K Street oligarchs have financialized every aspect of our society, gutted the productive industries, indebted our grandchildren to the tune of $200 trillion, and destroyed the jobs needed to sustain our nation. The frantic efforts of the Federal Reserve, their minions in NYC & DC, and the propaganda press to prop up this hollowed out carcass of a country are failing. The debt is too vast; the corruption too entrenched; the vital systems too damaged; populace too apathetic and distracted by bread and circuses; and leaders too feckless to do what it would take to save the country.
When it all falls apart, it will be the small minority of gun clinging men and women who know what needs to be done and will do it. These people only represent a small percentage of society. They will do the heavy lifting during the coming crisis, because they have retained their moral compass, believe in the Constitution, and don't need Big Brother and thousands of heavy handed laws to do what's right. There is good and evil in this world. Bad people will need to be dealt with brutally and swiftly. The approximately 40 million households with a gun owner are our last line of defense against a government losing control, zombie hordes that will rampage when the EBT deposits stop, and the unprepared normalcy bias infected multitudes. It will require courage, endurance, and community team work to survive the perils ahead in order to rebuild our once great nation. A coercive overbearing bloated government will not be part of the solution.
In the meantime, there are lessons to be learned from the No Way Out episode. Rick and a group of the main characters needed to disguise themselves as flesh eating zombies in order to secure the weapons they needed to fight off the mindless voracious hordes overrunning their community. Until the SHTF moment descends upon our country, those whose eyes are open to the imminent threats will need to blend in with the iGadget addicted masses, while continuing to prepare, build supplies, accumulate weapons and ammunition, and becoming more proficient in using those weapons. They will need to stay under the radar of the corporate fascist military surveillance state until it crumbles in a heap of diseased debris. When the vast majority have been brought up to believe the only boundaries are those exerted through force by the authorities, and that governmental power disappears, the bad people take whatever they want, by force, unless good people fight back.
When their plan to blend in with the zombies goes awry due to fear and hesitation by some of the Alexandrians, loss of life ensues and Rick's son Carl is shot in the eye. This event creates a turning point in the battle between the immense throng of zombies and the minority of fanatical freedom lovers. Rick goes rogue and single-handedly begins taking on the thousands of voracious zombies in a display of rage and retribution for his son's life threatening injuries. Sometimes a single act of defiance can change the course of history.
When Rick dashes outside and begins to fight the zombies he has no concern for his own safety. His act of boldness and bravery leads his clan of fearless troops to enter the fray and kill even more zombies. Even the formerly passive priest Gabriel and the cowardly Eugene take up arms and battle the forces of evil. But, the most uplifting occurrence is seeing the previously weak willed inhabitants of Alexandria become inspired by Rick's courage and valor to find their nerve and finally fight for their community. They didn't fight for their country or because they were commanded to, but for their fellow man. They were still vastly outnumbered, but Daryl's intelligence and understanding of the situation led him to implement an audacious strategy to lure the brain dead zombies to a fiery demise. His astuteness saved the day, proving the majority does not always win and the good people can prevail.
The lesson I deduced from this chapter of the Walking Dead is one of hope. The authorities pulling the strings of our increasingly mentally infected country prefer mindless, non-thinking, easily manipulated zombies so they can retain their power, control, and strip mining wealth operation. We only exist for the benefit of the state. Society does not have to be built for the benefit of an essentially criminal organization - the coercive state. There is nothing in human nature that makes it impossible to create a community of people that respect each other's natural rights and follow accepted moral standards for working out differences. There will always be a few criminals and sociopaths to deal with, but the community can self-police and rid themselves of these vermin. These are the people who usually gravitate to and flourish within a government police state.
When the ongoing crisis worsens over the next few years, with government collapsing under the weight of debt and corruption, societal implosion results in civil chaos, and economic calamity befalls the nation, the brain dead zombie class will have no hope. It will require a tireless minority to prevail. We will need men and women to step up and lead through example. There is a segment of the sentient zombie class who can be awoken from their self-induced stupor by an irate few who set brushfires of freedom in their hearts and souls. The odds of a few rag tag farmers defeating the greatest military power on earth were virtually impossible in the 1770s . But through noble citizen leadership, fortitude while facing extreme adversity, and courage in the face of death, a minority of good people prevailed.
At the end of the episode, Rick finally sees a way out. As Carl lies unconscious in bed Rick tells him he underestimated the Alexandrians and vows to rebuild the community. They rose to the challenge. Rick adds that for the first time since before waking up in the hospital in King County, he feels truly hopeful for the future. "I want to show you the new world," he says. Carl's fingers grip Rick's hand. The immediate future is bleak, but there is hope. The country and our future will be determined by those who are most prepared and willing to do whatever it takes to reinstitute the principles upon which this country was built. There is a way out. Are you prepared?
"It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." - Samuel Adams