The Coronavirus Is Not the Plague: The Plague Is US

“Two categories of propaganda must be distinguished.  The first strives to create a permanent disposition in its objects and constantly needs to be reinforced.  Its goal is to make the masses ‘available,’ by working spells upon them and exercising a kind of fascination.  The second category involves the creation of a sort of temporary impulsiveness in its objects.  It operates by simple pressure and is often contradictory (since contradictory mass movement are sometimes necessary).”  – Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society

The French-Algerian writer Albert Camus’ great 1947 novel, The Plague, is a warning to us today, but a warning in disguise.  When he died sixty years ago at the young age of forty-six, he had already written The Stranger, The Fall, and The Plague, and had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The outward story of The Plague revolves around a malignant disease that breaks out in a town that is quarantined when the authorities issue a state of emergency.  After first denying that they have a problem, the people gradually panic and feel painfully isolated.  Death fear runs rampant, much like today with the coronavirus. The authorities declare martial law as they warn that the situation is dire, people must be careful of associating, especially in groups, and they better obey orders or very many will die.  So the town is cordoned off.

Before this happens and the first signs that something is amiss emerge, the citizens of the town of Oran, Algeria remain oblivious, for they “work hard, but solely with the object of getting rich.”  Bored by their habits, heavily drugging themselves with drink, and watching many movies to distract themselves, they failed to grasp the significance of “the squelchy roundness of a still-warm body” of the plague-bearing rats that emerge from their underworld to die in their streets.  “It was as if the earth on which our houses stood were being purged of their secret humors; thrusting up to the surface the abscesses and pus-clots that had been forming in its entrails.”  To them the plague is “unthinkable,” an abstraction, until all their denials are swept aside as the truth emerges from the sewers and their neighbors and families die from the disease.

“Stupidity has a way of getting its way;” the narrator, Dr. Rieux tells us, “as we should see if we were not always so wrapped up in ourselves …. plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.”

The American people are wrapped up in themselves.  Nor do they recognize the true rats.  They are easily surprised; fooled would be a better word.

Camus uses a physical plague to disguise his real subject, which is the way people react when they are physically trapped by human rats who demand they obey orders and stay physically and mentally compliant as their freedom is taken from them.

The Plague is an allegorical depiction of the German occupation of France during World War II.  Camus had lived through that experience as a member of the French Resistance.  He was a writer and editor of the underground Resistance newspaper Combat, and with his artist’s touch he later made The Plague a revelatory read for today, especially for citizens of the United States, the greatest purveyor of the plague of violence in the world.

We are all infected with the soul-destroying evil that our leaders have loosed upon the world, a plague of killing that is now hidden behind the coronavirus fear that is being used to institute tight government controls that many will come to rue in the months ahead, just as happened after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Coronavirus is a perfect cover-story for the occupation of the public’s mind by a propaganda apparatus that has grown even more devious over the past 19 years.

Ask yourself: Where is the news about U.S. military operations in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia, etc.?  There is none in the corporate mainstream media, and little in the alternative media as well.  Have those operations ceased?  Of course not.  It’s just that the news about them, little that it was, has disappeared.

Now it is all about us and the coronavirus panic.  It is about how many of us might die. It is about stocking toilet paper.  For the rich, it is about getting to their second or third houses where they can isolate themselves in splendor. As I write, 150 or so Americans are said to have died of Covid-19, and by the time you will read this the number will have climbed, but the number will be minuscule compared to the number of people in the U.S.A. and those numbers will be full of contradictions that few comprehend unless, rather than reacting in fear, they did some comprehensive research.

But arguments are quite useless in a time of panic when people are consumed with fear and just react.

For we live in plague time, and the plague lives in us. But to most Americans, Covid-19 is the plague, because the government and media have said it is.  Like the inhabitants of Oran, the United States is “peopled with sleep walkers,” pseudo-innocents, who are “chiefly aware of what ruffled the normal tenor of their lives or affected their interests.”  That their own government, no matter what political party is in power (both working for “deep-state,” elite interests led by the organized criminals of the CIA), is the disseminator of a world-wide plague of virulent violence, must be denied and divorced from consensus reality.

That these same forces would use the fear of disease to cow the population should be no surprise for those who have come to realize the truth of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the anthrax attacks that followed, both of which were used to justify the endless “wars on terror” that have killed so many around the world. It is a shock for so many people who can’t countenance the thought that their own government could possibly be implicated in the death of thousands of U.S. citizens and the release of the deadly anthrax, which we know came from a U.S. lab and was carried out by a group of inside government perpetrators.

When it comes to the plague-stricken deaths visited on millions around the world for decades by the American government, this must be denied by diverting attention to partisan presidential politics, and now the coronavirus that engenders fear, loathing, and a child-like tendency to believe Big Brother.  The true plague, the bedrock of a nation continually waging wars through various means – i.e. bombs and economic and medical sanctions, etc. – against the world, disappears from consciousness.  As U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albrecht said to 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl in 1996 when Stahl asked her if the U.S. sanctions on Iraq that had resulted in the death of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it: “We think the price is worth it.”

For “decent folks must be allowed to sleep at night,” says the character Tarrou sarcastically; he is a man who has lost his ability to “sleep well” since he witnessed a man’s execution where the “bullets make a hole into which you could thrust your fist.”  He awakens to the realization that he “had an indirect hand in the deaths of thousands of people.”  He loses any peace he had and vows to resist the plague in every way he can.  “For many years I’ve been ashamed,” he says, “mortally ashamed, of having been, even with the best intentions, even at many removes, a murderer in my turn.”

The rats are dying in the streets. They are our rats, diseased by us. They have emerged from the underworld of a nation plagued by its denial.  Unconscious evil bubbles up.  We are an infected people. Worry and irritation – “these are not feelings with which to confront plague.” But we don’t seem ashamed of our complicity in our government’s crimes around the world.  For decades we have elected leaders who have killed millions, while business went on as usual. The killing didn’t touch us. As Camus said, “We fornicated and read the papers.”  He knew better. He warned us:

It’s a wearying business being plague-stricken.  But it’s still more wearying to refuse to be it. That’s why everybody in the world looks so tired; everyone is more or less sick of plague. But that is why some of us, those who want to get the plague out of their systems, feel such desperate weariness.

Yet the fight against the plague must go on.  Tarrou puts it thus:

All I maintain is that on this earth there are pestilences and there are victims, and it’s up to us, as far possible, not to join forces with the pestilences. That may sound simple to the point of childishness; I can’t judge if it’s simple, but I know it’s true. You see, I’d heard such quantities of arguments, which very nearly turned my head, and turned other people’s heads enough to make them approve of murder; and I’d come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clear-cut language.  So I resolved always to speak – and to act – quite clearly, as this was the only way of setting myself on the right track.

These days, I keep thinking of an incident that occurred when I was a young investigator of sexually transmitted diseases, working for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare through the Public Health Service as an epidemiologist.  My job was to track down sexually transmitted diseases by finding links of sexual contacts. One day I went to interview and take a blood sample from a poor woman who had been named as a sexual contact.  I knocked on her door on the third or fourth floor of a walkup apartment building.  She looked through the peep hole and asked who it was and I told her my name and what government agency I represented. I could tell she was very wary, but she opened the door. She stood there naked, a very heavy woman of perhaps 300 pounds. She nonchalantly welcomed me in and I followed her as she padded down the hall where she took a housecoat off a hook and put it on.

There is, as you know, an old tale by Hans Christian Anderson called “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Although the emperor parades around naked, the adults make believe he is clothed.  Only a child sees the obvious. I was a 23-years-old naïve young man at the time of this unforgettable incident, but it echoes in my mind as a reminder to myself that perhaps that woman was unconsciously teaching me a lesson in disguise.  The year was 1967, and when I went out to get into my government car with federal license plates, a white man in a white shirt in a white car in a poor black neighborhood, a hail of bricks rained down toward me and the car from the roof opposite.  I quickly jumped in and fled as the ghettos were exploding. Soon the National Guard would be called out to occupy them.

Intuition tells me that although the emperor has no clothes and a vast PSYOPS occupation is now underway, too many are too grown-up to see it.

It’s an old story continually updated.  Like The Plague.





21 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Is Not the Plague: The Plague Is US”

  1. Dear Mr. Curtin
    About two months ago, my previous professor recommended an essay you have written called, ‘The USA’s Doll House: A vast tapestry of lies and illusions. I owe my professor a whole lot of gratitude for introducing your writings to me. For so many years, I always felt that nobody can understand the socio-political knowledge I present in conversations with colleagues and friends, which has led to distancing myself from others. In other words and specific to your aforementioned essay, whilst it not just validated what I had in mind and kept for decades, but relieved to know now that I am not ‘making up’ things! Thank you!
    With best wishes

    1. Hi Gina, that
      I am glad to start my day hearing from you and learning something I have written has made your life better. You surely were not making things up; the others were. Or let’s say they believed the propaganda that so many people do. It’s so widespread. That essay will be the opening chapter of my upcoming book, due out in the mid to late summ to er, entitled Seeing in Dark Times. Maybe he will find some writing there that is supportive, or here at this site. Pax, Ed

      1. Thanks for your immediate response, Ed! I hope I didn’t wake you up! I’m sorry if I did…
        Well, yes. As a Filipino born, I have witnessed weird behaviours of some Americans during the Vietnam war, but since it occurred in my childhood, I didn’t even realised they were abusive until sometime in 1980 when I volunteered working with Vietnamese refugees and listened to their narratives.
        Two years after this experience, I came to Austria and live here since. So I have learned so much about the socio-political history of Europe which I found not a bit better than the US. Europe’s historical context regarding its extensive colonization of the world which were rather brutal and beyond inequality is worth considering I think in order to understand why we are where we are today.
        I admire courageous and intelligent people like you who speaks the truth and in so doing represents the minds of other academics. Whilst it is not easy in Europe to write the way you do, please keep at it and perhaps one day, we’ll be as courageous as you. I’m looking forward to your new book in summer. Thank you for now.

  2. I read The Plague many years ago, and now understand that I read it at very superficial level.

    My initial literary take on the current CV panic was to reject what I viewed as an obvious Camus analogy – NYT reported that it was on the bestsellers list -and to invoke Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”.

    After your wonderful piece, I now see both works are relevant. THANK YOU!

  3. Disinformation is the plaque of the mind that runs rampant in our media driven society. Edward you are part of the cure. Thanks and keep at it.

    Wm Virgil

  4. Great article, Ed!

    Re “a child-like tendency to believe Big Brother.” Some people, eg Rolf Hefti the author of “The Mammogram Myth” (who has a background in sociology), have called this ‘the authority syndrome’ or something like ‘the running back to mamma and papa syndrome’ as this behavior is most obvious when FEAR has been instilled in the public mind.

    The corrupt criminal overlords of corporate medicine, such as the cancer industry, have scarred women for decades into getting their regular mammograms via fear-mongering PR messages (propaganda) to get women do what they want them to do.

    With the fabricated coronavirus scare the criminal rulers use a virus and allied propaganda to frighten the ever naive and ignorant general public, most of which will then gladly comply with the criminal manipulators’ demands. It works every time, whether someone’s formally uneducated or formally educated.

  5. Well, I’m home reading: The Goodness Field …a guidebook for proactive nonviolence.
    I’ve been experiencing social distancing ,for many years ,as the unspeakable is responded to with marginaling . A healing is there also as I fight my own demons …in this process to connect with the greater good and truth. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Terri. I too am reading The Goodness Field and am grateful for it. Yes, many of us have been marginalized for years and so social distancing is nothing new. But let’s continue to speak the unspeakable in faith and hope. Pax, Ed

  6. Thanks, Ed.

    I’d like to comment on one of the underlying themes of your essay, as I understood it to be, which is the idea that this is an orchestrated event. If this is the latest form of shock therapy, as I think you’re suggesting, (and it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that it is), what is the end goal?

    As is obvious to many, the corporate state, including the Wall Street banks, control all of the wealth. They wage war for private profit whenever and wherever they want. They use systems of control, including debt, mass entertainment, and political theater, to divert the public’s attention. They control all of the news media.

    As history demonstrates, each false flag event has a desired outcome. In this instance, and at the risk of sounding naive, what more do they want?

    Is this the trigger needed to wage war on China, for instance? Is it a desperate attempt to destroy Social Security by reducing the payroll tax? Are they enacting mechanisms of control in preparation for the certain chaos that will erupt in response to extreme global heating?

    Or, am I trying to understand events that perhaps can’t be rationalized?

    1. Hi Charles, I think it is a combination of the above that has been evolving over the years with this virus being used as the latest. The super-super rich never have enough wealth or control because at bottom they are nihilists. They love money and hate life and want to extinguish life and love wherever they find it. I don’t think you are rationalizing what can’t be rationalized. In many ways it is quite obvious, just as it is when the emperor has no clothes. Pax, Ed

      1. The rich are addicted to power, and the nature of addiction is to always want more. It’s like the thirst of those lost at sea for more sea water to drink — it can never satisfy the unnatural thirst that more of it actually causes. These people have a certain form of insanity; do not expect some reasonable explanation for their behavior — they are simply mad with craving for power.

  7. Wonderful writing as usual–actually this almost made me cry. And Camus’ “The Plague” is an apt comparison–boy are we complicit in so many things. And blind.
    It is funny how everything except the virus has disappeared from most media. I don’t think we’re too grown up to see the bullshI*t, (except in the sense of the fairytale), but rather, too infantile. I’m amazed at how many people I know are almost relishing the fear and the restrictions, as if it’s some kind of apocalyptic movie starring them. And I have to say it’s contagious–not the virus, but the panic and confusion and being herded this way and that to whatever authority talks the loudest looking for “answers.” And asking the wrong questions and trusting media outlets we allegedly used to know were liars.
    But that’s why you have to keep writing! You’re helping us (if I can use the collective pronoun) see a little clearer. I won’t say keep out the rats, b/c I like rattus rats. (Not so much the human kind). So, thank you!

    1. Thanks, Lorie. You aptly describe something that is happening: the sense that many very bored people are feeling more alive now that they feel they are starring in life the movie. It similar to what Walker Percy said about hurricances: that people are never more alive than when hurricanes strike. Pax, ED

  8. “The true plague, the bedrock of a nation continually waging wars through various means – i.e. bombs and economic and medical sanctions, etc. – against the world, disappears from consciousness.” & “Intuition tells me that although the emperor has no clothes and a vast PSYOPS occupation is now underway, too many are too grown-up to see it.” – Sadly Ed this seems to be the situation in a nutshell.

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