Guest Post: America Is Plunging Into Kafka's Nightmare

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog,

There is a certain level of dishonesty in the common study of history. We look back at the tyrannies of the past, the monstrous governments, the devastating wars and the unimaginable crimes, and we wonder how it could have been possible. How could the people of that particular generation let such atrocities come to pass? Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t they protest? Why didn’t they fight back?

We wonder all of this as we absorb the lists of dates, names and actions in books written by other men who memorized other lists of dates, names and actions. We are taught to study and wonder without ever actually applying the lessons of the past to the developments of today. We are conditioned to assert our own narrow spin on yesterday, instead of placing ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors or recognizing that their struggles remain our struggles. The modern method of viewing history detaches us from it, making it seem distant, alien or surreal.

Perhaps many societies fail to prepare or act in the face of tyranny because they had forgotten their own histories, making the demise of their culture appear so schizophrenic they would not believe what their eyes were telling them.

Often, the only way to grasp the more complete truth of the present is to examine it through the lens of the absurd. Sadly, our Nation, our culture and most of the world around us have become so backward, ugly, feeble and twisted that the only adequate comparison is to the nightmares of surrealists.

When I examine recent U.S. legislation, the exposure of classified documents, and the openly admitted criminality of political leadership, I am consistently reminded of Franz Kafka’s The Trial.

Kafka was a self-styled socialist back in the days when socialism was thought to be the next revolutionary movement for the downtrodden masses. It was, of course, controlled opposition created by global elitists attempting to exploit the natural rebellious tendencies of the general public within a false paradigm — using the masses to achieve greater power for a select few, while making the people think that they had won. It is ironic that Kafka would write The Trial, one of the greatest condemnations of totalitarian surveillance society, while at the same time supporting the socialist political vehicle that would eventually be used to implement unrelenting bureaucratic despotism.

The Trial is commonly labeled a “surrealist” piece of fiction, but I wonder now if it was actually far more literal than the academics of the past actually gave it credit for. The problem is that most of America, and much of the Western world, has forgotten what it is like to experience true danger and true suffering. We read about it now and watch movies about it like it’s entertainment, but few people have the slightest inkling how to deal with the real thing. We don’t even know how to recognize it. Because of this, Americans tend to pay more attention to fictional representations of tyranny rather than legitimate tyranny taking place right under their noses.

With that sad fact in mind, watch this clip from Orson Welles’ cinematic version of The Trial. See if you recognize your own world in this work of "fantasy":

The main character of The Trial, Josef K., finds his apartment invaded by police in the early hours of the morning. Josef responds with anger but also fear, attempting to defend his character without actually understanding the nature of the police visit. The police answer his questions with more accusatory questions, only later warning him that he is being watched and that he is under arrest. The police do not, however, take him immediately into custody; nor do they ever tell him what his crime was. It is implied, in fact, that Josef is not allowed to know what he is being charged with.

This episode in The Trial has been played out in the real world over and over again, from the Soviet Cheka, to Adolf Hitler’s SS and Brownshirts, to Benito Mussolini’s Organization for Vigilance and Repression of Anti-Fascism (OVRA), to the German Stasi, to Mao Zedong’s Central Security Bureau, etc. In the United States, the culture of surveillance and intrusion has (for now) taken a more subtle approach through the use of technology. We do not yet have agents physically rummaging through all our homes and asking for our papers (though we are not far away from this). Rather, we have the National Security Agency, which rummages through our electronic communications while using our own computer cameras and cellphones to watch us, listen to us and track us. All of this, mind you, is done on a massive scale without warrant.

We have the Authorization for Use of Military Force and the National Defense Authorization Act, which give the President the centralized authority to detain and even kill those Americans designated as “enemy combatants” without trial, without due process and without public oversight.

Our government now uses secret evidence to charge citizens with crimes they are not allowed to discuss with the public on the argument that to do so would “threaten national security.” That’s right; the government can arrest you or assassinate you based on evidence they never have to disclose to you, your family, your lawyer or the citizenry.

In the U.S. today, the kind of establishment terror Kafka imagined is indeed a reality. We are not on the verge of a total surveillance state, we are there. It exists. And if we do not accept that this is our social condition, there may be no historians tomorrow to look back on our era and wonder: “Why didn’t they do something? Why didn’t they fight back?”

The revelations brought by Edward Snowden on the NSA and its PRISM mass surveillance program are still only partially understood by the public. Even many self-proclaimed “cypherpunks” and “techno-warriors” don’t really grasp the pervasiveness of the all-seeing NSA eye. Recent documents leaked to German news source Der Spiegel by Snowden reveal an Internet almost completely dominated by the NSA, where even total encryption would be a mere temporary stopgap, according to tech researcher and journalist Jacob Appelbaum. The TAO group, sanctioned by the NSA, has been using technologies for years that startle even the most avid tech experts. To make matters worse, many of the intrusive mechanisms have been implemented — likely with the direct aid of American software and computer companies.

With NSA access to the backbone or core of the Internet, there is no digital privacy anywhere. The cypherpunks lost the war for the Web a long time ago, and they don’t seem to know it yet.

Beyond the undeniable prevalence of government surveillance, what would our American Kafkaesque experience be like without kangaroo courts designed to defend the criminal establishment instead of the victimized population? The latest Federal court decision on the NSA’s methods is that they are perfectly legal and “necessary” to protect Americans from national security threats. If you are a student of Constitutional law, this decision truly boggles the mind.

One of the most powerful incidents in The Trial is Josef’s speech to his court of accusers. In this moment, Josef argues with concrete logic and impassioned reason. His position is supported with beautifully crafted merit and truth. But what he does not realize is that the court he is trying to convince does not exist to discover the truth. The court is a sideshow, a piece of elaborate theater. The participants are there to make Josef, and the society at large, feel as though justice has been given a fair chance. Josef’s pleas are met with fake cheers, scripted jeers and even engineered distractions. Finally, he comes to understand that the system’s purpose is to destroy him. Everything else is an illusion.

The Web cannot be made free or private from within; our courts cannot be made fair and just from within; neither political party can be forced to represent the common man from within; and our government cannot be made honest or transparent from within. To play games of activism within establishment dominated systems is to play make-believe within a surrealist nightmare; a piece of “Alice in Wonderland” political quackery. Like the audience at Josef’s trial, the elites simply laugh at such activists, or feign applause, while continuing forever with the same corruption and the criminal status quo.

America has long presented itself as the ultimate alternative to the torturous mechanisms of oligarchs; and a long time ago, it was certainly a noble effort. However, our heritage of liberty — the faint memory of it — is all that’s left today.  There is a contingent of men and women in our country, millions of us, that steward over this memory and seek to make whole once again, but the road ahead is long, with struggles beyond all reckoning.

Some people may ask how this could have occurred. How did we become the monster we were supposed to fight against? What happened to the good side and the bad side? Have they become exactly the same?

Those of us who have looked beyond the standardized veil of history know that this is not by accident. Those of us who decipher the surreal know that there is a method to the madness and an ultimate goal. To explain further, I leave you with another piece of fiction, a clip from the British TV series “The Prisoner.” While not written by Kafka, it was definitely inspired by him. It carries a message I would have liked to have warned him about concerning the disturbing path of duality, the mask with multiple faces that tyranny uses to subvert and enslave...


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FredFlintstone's picture

Damn, I was drawn in by what I thought was "We look back at the trannies of the past".

Skateboarder's picture

Sauron's all-seeing eye does not rest. The orc is an extension of Sauron's will to eliminate all that lives. The question is - what is the ring, and where is mount doom!?

Ranger_Will's picture

For all you Twilight Zone fans: Another good one would be one of my favorite episodes:

"The Obsolete Man"

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Indeed Mr. Will....Rod Sterling nails it: The State..."It has one Iron Rule, logic is an enemy and truth is a menace"! It could not be displayed more clearly and directly as it is in Washington! Indeed, it will and quite literally is "destroying human freedom"!!!

Also, Mr. Wordsworth declares to the State: "You cannot erase God with an edict"! Classic! The horror of Statists in Washington are working feverishly, night and day, to eliminate all of our basic freedoms, all of this to become their property! This is the insanity and the knot that those of us that love our individual freedom and liberties are feeling in our gut! We don't "fit their formuli"! Absolutely damn right!!!!

X_mloclaM's picture

Just a few corrections, as these DO matter, just as your writings do:

"cypherpunks” and “techno-warriors” don’t really grasp the pervasiveness of the all-seeing NSA eye.

Yes they do, it is their motivator

"Recent documents leaked to German news source Der Spiegel by Snowden reveal an Internet almost completely dominated by the NSA, where even total encryption would be a mere temporary stopgap"

Correct, it's a mere temporary stop-gap, and 'almost' is correct, and other products can easily obviate what is admitted as still-unbreakable math: such as encrypted talk over Wifi ala silent circle can be picked up with other exploits in concurrently running software to gain access, still allowing for a hot mic, and of course the good old fashioned local mic, for bad guys. Since that's the admitted case, then say for most, but not for the 'punks' with such exclusivity, such as:

"With NSA access to the backbone or core of the Internet, there is no digital privacy anywhere. The cypherpunks lost the war for the Web a long time ago, and they don’t seem to know it yet."

Why be a defeatist when you know you are wrong, it exists in limited space for the few. Either pay for it, or design your laptop or mobile device to start each time with new, one-off linux instances, where communication is done over the backbone encrypted. Turn off other radios (ie to the mobile carriers). Game over for websites that do not function over Tor for "digital privacy", at least phone calls can remain secure--as for losing the war, it's founded in P2P resource sharing, the idea--internet. Thus it isn't lost in that the network exists as an oligopoly who sold-out, with back and front doors, so why not use the same radi ofrequencies to talk with one another's devices, pass along 3rd party requests to the extent one volunteers, and re-create the very same hosted, served, content with a new means of routing and resolving addresses--mesh protocols. Then, no backbone to tap, to voice to meek, and transaction centralization of the bitcoin mongerers has a chance with freedom of communication and press selectiong protocols and, ultimately not only MONETARY SUPPLY, but the ideas of deflation. What better than to impose an arbitrary cap, call THAT free-market suppky of money, N see if the moronsll implant the fukrr


runningman18's picture

The techno-geeks don't have a clue.  They all think they are going to wage some kind of cypher-war on the elites and take them down.  It's delusional given the NSA dominance of the web which Snowden revealed.  If they really want to change things, they are going to have to pick up a rifle and stop playing with their computers.

TeamDepends's picture

This is precisely the reason we never considered, not even for an instant, leaving the US.  If freedom is not worth fighting for, then step willingly into your shackles.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

"instead of placing ourselves in the shoes of our ancestors or recognizing that their struggles remain our struggles."

This my friends, is the best and most accurate way to study history. Concordant methods, together with chronological event history is nice, however to get the real story is to understand the culture and the people of that time that made it (rolled around in it so to speak). Cultural anthropologists/historians for the most part bring light to anyone that studies both ancient and relatively recent history.

mrs's picture

Critical mass of enlightenment will melt the evil. Sorry for sloppy analogy - forget the details.

satoshi101's picture

The government doesn't trust the people, and the government is better armed.


The last civil-war was the same as today the south wanted to free themselves from the assholes,

Slavery was a ruse, Lincoln didn't give a fuck about slaves.

The south had wealth and cotton, and didn't want North to control and fuck them, so the south seceded, the North completely destroyed the south, and then carpet bagged them  when done.

The next reset 'civil war' will be the same, the FEMA camps are already in place the 'confederates' are already in the data-base,

Sadly the next civil-war will only make the WASH-DC assholes more powerful,


ERGO ... In summary the only salvation is to live in a FREE COUNTRY.


jballz's picture

learn some history dumbfuck

ratpack1968's picture

Try including some facts, or at least opinions, with your response before calling someone a dumbfuck. Otherwise you come across as a dumbfuck too.  The real truth of history dies with the times, we are left with only interpretations.  Though slavery, and the spread of slavery in the west, was a central issue of the Civil War the real crux of it was indeed states rights. Tariffs played a big role in it - the industrialized North supported tariffs and the South with the (immoral) advantage of free labor supported free trade.  Just follow the money. Northern industrialists and the politicans they owned regained control over Congress in 1860. Tariffs were immediately raised to give advantage to the northern factories. It is arged that the issue of slavery was used the catalyst (sideshow) to give moral purpose to the mission and break the back of the South.  The emancipation proclamation was an important turning point in our history, but instead of rightfully freeing a race of people they they laid the path to making us all slaves to a corrupt corporatocracy run by ruthless psychopaths.


satoshi101's picture

WOW most excellent dude, ... most excellent ...

That's why when somebody asks you when did the USA Go full RETARD ASSHOLE, it was not the FED in 1910, it was Lincoln in 1865, Lincoln was a fucking NAZI asshole that made all citizens slaves,

Post Lincoln the USA became "United Slavery Amalgamated", the black-man, became a debt slave and the white man too.

Fucking god-damn brilliant, emancipation proclamation my ass.

ratpack1968's picture

With all due respect - your rhetoric comes across in a "redneck" sort of way. I think you're general thesis holds some water but, with this audience, the argument needs to be presented with a little more tact. Just saying... 


fonestar's picture

Why do you use a handle like that and then advise people that dried rice is the superior currency?

rubiconsolutions's picture

@satoshi - you are right on. Lincoln, worst president ever. Or at least tied with Wilson. He was a tyrant. And no statesman. A statesman would not have overseen the deaths of 800,000 of his own citizens. He was admired by Karl Marx (click here) for his efforts so that should tell you quite a lot.

MSimon's picture

Jefferson Davis - worst President ever. Or at least tied with Wilson. He was a tyrant.  And no statesman. A statesman would not have overseen the deaths of 800,000 of his own citizens.


Civil Liberties in the Confederacy

TeamDepends's picture

And this FREE COUNTRY is where?

satoshi101's picture

Anywhere but the USA, or UK is a 'free country', ... shit I just said it, anywhere on the USA shit-list is 'free' that makes IRAN, N-KOREA, and Iraq free. Anywhere in the IRS black-list means its a free country. Any country not sucking Uncle Sam's NUT-SACK is a free country.

RKDS's picture

You can say that Lincoln didn't care about slavery but you can't change the fact that an economy which relies on slavery is sick.  Flash forward 150 years and is there any question that our economy, totally dependent on Chinese and Mexican slavery, is sick?

TheReplacement's picture

Who attacked Fort Sumter?

It seems to me that the South seceded and then started the war.  The south did this why? 

How can the south start the war and not be responsible for all the dead?

Why does it matter what Lincoln's motivations were when he freed the slaves?

Why did the south even keep slaves in the 1860s - humans treated like livestock for working, raping, and beating? 

What kind of good, free men sign on to create a nation of freemen and yet treat others as chattel? 

ScotlandTheBrave's picture

To the Victor goes the spoils...and the writing of history.

What you will not read in history books is that Lincoln supported the right to succession prior to winning the Presidency with significantly less than half of the popular vote. In fact he wasn't too concerned with it until the Northeastern patricians raised hell with him because all of a sudden southern ports declaired themselves to be be free trade ports. The northern patricians who were heavily invested in manufacturing and keeping protective tarriffs in place to keep their bottom lines padded had a hissy fit. After Lincoln was convinced of his "error," he dispatched Federal supply ships with troops to secure Federal forts in the main trading ports in the southern states. This was perceived by the southern states as a act of war, plain and simple because up to that time it was Constitutionally understood that any state could succeed if it so choose since the Federal government was created by the states. Indeed, prior to 1861 several Northern states had threatened to succeed themselves over the issue of the imposition of tarriffs - they wanted them higher. Always follow the money.  Guess which merchants imported all of those slaves into the south? Ship building was NOT a budding business in the south. Northern patricians owned the businesses that built the slave ships and imported the slaves and when that business dried up after importation of new slaves was outlawed, they sought to control the rising southern aristocracy by crushing it financially. Why not simply buy all of slaves held and set them free, it sure would have been a lot cheaper? If you want to crush someone financially, you certainly are not going to give them the cash to survive and possibly compete with you in another way!

Follow the money and always remember the victor writes the history books.

Say What Again's picture

Of course Josef K was guilty.  We all know that he killed that girl in the shower with violent thrusting actions from a sharp knife, as directed by his deviant mother in the rocking chair. 

So these cops had every right to follow their hunch.  By barging in on Josef, they averted other horrible crimes.  An ounce of prevention is worth so much more than the 4th amendment, right?

It all makes sense to me.


NoDebt's picture

"However, our heritage of liberty — the faint memory of it — is all that’s left today.  There is a contingent of men and women in our country, millions of us, that steward over this memory and seek to make whole once again, but the road ahead is long, with struggles beyond all reckoning."

Indeed.  I am one of those men.

Nobody said this was going to be easy or happen in a straight line.  The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.  We haven't been vigilant for quite some time.  Most have just begun to feel it's effects, though they can't quite put their finger on where the pain is coming from yet.  Authoritarianism is in it's ascendancy, not it's decline.  We are far FAR from bringing the idea of personal freedom and responsibility back into vogue as anything other than empty political rhetoric.

This will get much worse before it gets better.

i_call_you_my_base's picture

"This will get much worse before it gets better."

Your optimism is showing.

NoDebt's picture

Thank you for recognizing that IS optimism.  I dare say, it's REAL hope, not that weak gruel politicians peddle as such.

If I gave you the pessimistic version it would look like this:  End of the day, nobody is going to stand up for liberty and the pursuit of happiness because it's messy and, quite frankly, too much trouble (in short, it scares people).  All that I stand for, all that the founders of our country stood for will become nothing but a footnote in history.  A great but fleeting idea that was abandoned for the REAL human status quo of despotic kings and emperors ruling over billions as they see fit, in the name of efficiency and "the greater good of society" which is neither great nor good.

THAT is pessimism.  The day I believe that, I'll exit stage left, quietly and with little fanfare.  Somehow, I can't completely drive from myself the thought that real liberty deserves to be preserved and defended.  For sure, it's going "underground" for a while.  Maybe a long while.  But being completely eradicated from the face of the Earth?  No.  Sorry.  Not while I'm around.  Not while my children and (hopefully) their children are around.


i_call_you_my_base's picture

I respect your opinion and writing. But I disagree with you on your point. The idea that fighting is only worth it if there is a chance you'll win is part of the problem and is why so many do nothing. When it comes to doing what's right, we all need to be prepared to lose. Because that in itself is a form of freedom. It's freedom of action from one's own flawed gauge. If all of our actions are weighed against efficacy, no one will do anything.

NoDebt's picture

Not sure how you got that this fight is only worth it if there's a chance of victory from what I wrote.  Nobody knows what the chances of victory are here.  Stand for something or fall for anything.  No guarantees.

Optimusprime's picture

We admire Galadriel, who "fought the long defeat" with courage and nobility.

tarsubil's picture

Freedom and liberty don't need to be preserved. They are not the invention of man. Neither does anyone need to worry about preserving gravity when someone jumps or a rocket is launched into space.

Kobe Beef's picture

You might need to clarify how two abstract nouns describing subjective evaluations of human activity are equivalent to an empirical observation of physical reality. As presented, your argument does not stand on its own merits.

DaddyO's picture

Very well said!

I agree that things have slipped for possibly three generations. I call it Generational Amnesia. We are only 2 generations from the Great Depression and yet we are right back at the door step of the next great drpression except this time tryanny is barking loudly.

I pray that a great awakening will begin to occur and halt this preciptious decline we find ourselves lurching towards.


mrs's picture

Not quite - the Boomers and their prodgeny are a lost cause - but there is GenX - which still remembers and was not spoiled rotten. 

GetZeeGold's picture



Here's your trophy....cause you're just so special.

RabbitChow's picture

No, boomers are old.  But remember there are plenty of them that went through Vietnam.  Gen X is the lost cause -- a generation that wants eerything handed to them, won't work hard because it's too stressful, and start every new job by taking a few weeks of leave.  At least the Millenials have some of it right -- workd hard, pull together, benefits for not just themselves.

fedupwhiteguy's picture

genxers are the progeny of the boomers. and the genxers are referred to as the "slacker" generation. what have you been reading?

mrs's picture

What sort of freak or banker gave this a thumbs down? A slave - since the condemned do not do their own dirty work.

Spanky's picture



A boomer that's spoken out and acted on the very things you decry for more years than he cares to remember. I've watched the astroturf green in every field of honest endeavor for many long years...

All you're doing is creating generational antagonism. Are many boomers propagandized? Yes. Were you? Then wake them up!

Yenbot's picture

Right behind the Bench is a torture chamber with refrigeration, stress position benches and shackles. Underneath is a dungeon, again conveniently refrigerated. Beyond lies a gulag archipelago, the largest on Earth. Yes, this is America today. You can serve on a Jury and never notice it. And your odds of enjoying a stay in the Gulag? Better than winning the Lottery.

Spanky's picture

Believe it or not, this was the America of yesteryear as well -- only slightly better concealed. Esp. where our intelligence company supported our industrial companies. The bankers and corporatists grew fat over many years, not just the last few. Considering that everything we've visited upon foreign shores for the past one hundred years is blowing back, it seems a fitting, even poetic justice...

Who says god does not have a sense of humor?

We built upon their backs, enslaving countless brown-skinned peoples in the process, the world's greatest military power and police state. And it's masters now turn it on us. Surprise, surprise.

DeliciousSteak's picture

The problem is that most of America, and much of the Western world, has forgotten what it is like to experience true danger and true suffering. We read about it now and watch movies about it like it’s entertainment, but few people have the slightest inkling how to deal with the real thing.


I wouldn't call it a problem when things are so good that danger and suffering are absent. Life is good, life is beautiful. 99% of people reading this guest post have not experienced "true danger and true suffering", and never will. They will go through their lives with their stomach full, a roof over their heads and a car on the driveway. And, as was written in the OP, they entertain themselves with horror stories about fall of society, about the endless possibilities of danger and suffering, without ever having to deal with it.

While the national socialist party were running rampant, dealing with enemies internal and external, life was good for the average German. Until their infrastructure was firebombed by an external enemy and starvation killed millions, that is.

runningman18's picture

You sound like one of the people the author is talking about - totally ignorant of the reality all around you.

Things are not good.  The nation is falling apart, economically, socially, and politically.  People entertain themselves with horror stories of the past so they don't have to acknowledge the terrors of the present.  That is the surrealism of America today.  And I'm sure the average Jewish German or gypsy or political dissident was not so fond of the national socialist party.  

IridiumRebel's picture

His post foments the analogous similarities of Nazi Germany and modern day America. The Nazi advance was stopped by multiple nations. What will happen to us?

Yes_Questions's picture



a complete FAIL on the part of TPTB in goading us again to their war


one could hope

Spungo's picture

"His post foments the analogous similarities of Nazi Germany and modern day America. The Nazi advance was stopped by multiple nations. What will happen to us?"

The same as usual - Russia. Napoleon's army was destroyed in Russia. Hitler's army was destroyed in Russia. America's army will be destroyed in Russia. 
"The German army in fighting Russia is like an elephant attacking a host of ants. The elephant will kill thousands, perhaps even millions, of ants, but in the end their numbers will overcome him, and he will be eaten to the bone."

Dr. Acula's picture

Here's a different explanation for Germany's defeat:

"a country like Germany was badly mistaken in the assumption that it could conquer with synthetic gasoline, synthetic rubber, Ersatz textiles and Ersatz fats. In both World Wars Germany was in the position of the tailor fighting against the man who supplies him with bread. With all their brutality the Nazis could not alter this fact." - Ludwig von Mises, Human Action p. 830

satoshi101's picture

The USA is a island, and post coming civil-war, the USA will return to its former glory as the world prison colony, most likely over-seen by the NWO, ... remember everything of value has already been removed from the USA.