Power & Market

Word of the Day: Performative

The western media are, above all, phraseologists. Managing massive vertically integrated “states” requires the controlled and targeted use of repetitive government approved language, propaganda, jingoism, repeated phrases to channel thought and energy.

We’ve seen a lot of “performative” progressivism in recent years – Black Lives Matter and reparations from the Civil War, incessant genderology above the fold, Trump Derangement Syndrome, tomato soup weilding environmental activism, and DEI departments in every company, corporate board, and investment portfolio.

Each of these has consumed and wasted the mental, spiritual, and physical energy of millions of people. Thankfully all are fading in their usefulness to the state. Yet these performative movements were handmaid to the exercise in global martial law enforced by the energetic collusion of international organizations, powerful governments, and the military biowarfare complex starting in 2020.

Covid theater has not faded in usefulness, and many lessons were learned. Performative was the word, and the rule, of the day during the last Covid era. Masks and PCR tests were scientifically meaningless, but required to “show” loyalty and to demonstrate “trust.” Experimental gene therapies were applied en masse not only without scientific data collection, but with a mule-headed and criminal refusal by the state to even look at data on vaccine impacts being pushed up from the field like an artesian spring! An average fourth grader doing a science project would have been required to collect more data than the FDA and CDC ever asked for in this untested medical mandate across billions of human test subjects.

Instead of collecting and analyzing actual health data, governments were far more interested in identifying and punishing martial law violators and tracking down fake vaccination credentials. Covid demonstrated the performative nature of government medicine, and confirms its real purpose – to test systems of martial law, to increase and accustom citizenry in many countries to obedience and mass surveillance, and to practice targeted debanking, minority isolation and fine tuning state propaganda for efficiency and maneuverability. WHO knows.

In turn, and logically, we now see the Western way of war is becoming publicly performative. Western media – which is to say government media – is actively describing the current wars of western interest – both Ukraine and Israel – in performative terms, and as performative acts. When Iran retaliated against Israel’s strike on the Iranian embassy in Damascus on the evening of April 14, it was almost immediately described as “performative.” The Israeli response on April 19th, again, characterized as purely performative – with neither of these military attacks being considered as actually destructive, and all entirely cosmetic, fundamentally without cause or effect. We are treated to military and diplomatic relations and actions as the direct equivalent of drag queen makeup and Covid masking.

Makeup and masking of whole populations on command, street riots and protests developed and utilized by government agencies, for government purposes, even gender shape-shifting as federal policy – all of these share the quality of being more performative than populist, more staged than spontaneous, ahistorical and anti-heroic.

Performative US-supported genocides and potential global global wars serve Washington because they aid and feed domestic propaganda, enrich the ruling class, and create economic and security crises that only the existing government can save us from. “We must never let them forget how much they need us!

The imminent starvation of 2.3 million Gazans and the US-funded destruction of 90% of buildings throughout Gaza, including all the colleges and schools, most housing, religious structures, and hospitals is a sad and disgusting reality. Direct murder of Palestinians in Gaza, and in the West Bank and northern occupied territories is 100% irreconcilable with the stated US government goal of a real Palestinian state – yet we fund the former and veto the latter. This reality speaks to the utter indefensibility and blatant hypocrisy of the US government, and the massive unsustainable waste and misuse of US defense capability and budget. Conversely, the effectiveness of the Houthi Red Sea ship disruption, the unification of Israel’s enemies and their military effectiveness, the shallowness and cowardice of the vaunted IDF, all of this must remain top secret.

What better tool to calm the West – in a US election year – than the soothing language of war as merely performative, entertainment, under control, scripted and choreographed?

How frightening it must be for Washington, London, Paris and Berlin to witness the calm, measured, capable long-term security strategies of Russia and Iran, in both cases backed deeply and organically by their respective populations.

The people are increasingly catching glimpses of the very real wars our governments are subsidizing and promoting. We are starting to see the ugly, deadly, unfair and uncouth, expensive, tragic and unpredictable – and therefore our Western capitals must use words like performative to describe it. These are today’s lies from the oligarchies that run the governments of the West. Meanwhile, as they evaluate their own interests, they hope and pray that more money will be spent on weapons, arms and defense consultants – and are very worried that the people have already realized War is a Racket.

When we hear government media describe state mass murder and bombing as performative, we can know three things. Past performative crises are regularly created by the state to manipulate us, divide us and grow centralized power. If war is performative, we are led by devils and being directly lied to by the devil’s emissary, the state. Lastly, the solution to the problem is to stop buying tickets. Drop the curtain down midway through the act, and deny our attention and applause for any government performance. If a response is warranted, it must be only contempt and ridicule.

Like every person ever born – I was born lucky, in a time of great promise. One of my childhood luxuries, one shared with many baby boomers who today do more than their fair share of enabling the state, was watching Star Trek. The 23rd episode of the first season was called “A Taste of Armageddon.” Its theme was performative war, and it foretold both neutron bombs and Israel’s present day use of targeting software Lavender and Where’s Daddy.

In the episode, the performative war that had been going on for generations is ended, replaced by real and costly bloody war, and the important impetus that real war brings to diplomatic and rational human efforts to avoid it, and to end it. Can we end the US performative wars in Ukraine, Gaza and Iran, and presumably in the South China Sea and Taiwan? Do we really need a new Dr Spock to understand and disapprove of what is happening to us, or a new Captain Kirk to blow up the computers running the performative war? I think not. The catharsis that Americans desperately need requires only our understanding, and our disapproval. Then, in a myriad of ways, all of us have all we need to simply pull the plug on dramatic, performative war and the inhuman governments that drive them.

Originally published at LewRockwell.com.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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