A Graduation Message For A Tyrannical Age

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.” - Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people.

They will find themselves overtaxed, burdened with excessive college debt, and struggling to find worthwhile employment in a debt-ridden economy on the brink of implosion. Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state. They will be the subjects of a military empire constantly waging war against shadowy enemies and government agents armed to the teeth ready and able to lock down the country at a moment’s notice.

As such, they will find themselves forced to march in lockstep with a government that no longer exists to serve the people but which demands they be obedient slaves or suffer the consequences.

It’s a dismal prospect, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, we who should have known better failed to guard against such a future.

Worse, we neglected to maintain our freedoms or provide our young people with the tools necessary to survive, let alone succeed, in the impersonal jungle that is modern America.

We brought them into homes fractured by divorce, distracted by mindless entertainment, and obsessed with the pursuit of materialism. We institutionalized them in daycares and afterschool programs, substituting time with teachers and childcare workers for parental involvement. We turned them into test-takers instead of thinkers and automatons instead of activists.

We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well—where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings.

No, we haven’t done this generation any favors.

Based on the current political climate, things could very well get much worse before they ever take a turn for the better. Here are a few pieces of advice that will hopefully help those coming of age today survive the perils of the journey that awaits:

Be an individual. For all of its claims to champion the individual, American culture advocates a stark conformity which, as John F. Kennedy warned, is “the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.” Worry less about fitting in with the rest of the world and instead, as Henry David Thoreau urged, become “a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade, but of thought.”

Learn your rights. We’re losing our freedoms for one simple reason: most of us don’t know anything about our freedoms. At a minimum, anyone who has graduated from high school, let alone college, should know the Bill of Rights backwards and forwards. However, the average young person, let alone citizen, has very little knowledge of their rights for the simple reason that the schools no longer teach them. So grab a copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and study them at home. And when the time comes, stand up for your rights before it’s too late.

Speak truth to power. Don’t be naive about those in positions of authority. As James Madison, who wrote our Bill of Rights, observed, “All men having power ought to be distrusted.” We must learn the lessons of history. People in power, more often than not, abuse that power. To maintain our freedoms, this will mean challenging government officials whenever they exceed the bounds of their office.

Resist all things that numb you. Don’t measure your worth by what you own or earn. Likewise, don’t become mindless consumers unaware of the world around you. Resist all things that numb you, put you to sleep or help you “cope” with so-called reality. Those who establish the rules and laws that govern society’s actions desire compliant subjects. However, as George Orwell warned, “Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they rebelled, they cannot become conscious.” It is these conscious individuals who change the world for the better.

Don’t let technology turn you into zombies. Technology anesthetizes us to the all-too-real tragedies that surround us. Techno-gadgets are merely distractions from what’s really going on in America and around the world. As a result, we’ve begun mimicking the inhuman technology that surrounds us and have lost our humanity. We’ve become sleepwalkers. If you’re going to make a difference in the world, you’re going to have to pull the earbuds out, turn off the cell phones and spend much less time viewing screens. 

Help others. We all have a calling in life. And I believe it boils down to one thing: You are here on this planet to help other people. In fact, none of us can exist very long without help from others. If we’re going to see any positive change for freedom, then we must change our view of what it means to be human and regain a sense of what it means to love and help one another. That will mean gaining the courage to stand up for the oppressed.

Give voice to moral outrage. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” There is no shortage of issues on which to take a stand. For instance, on any given night, over half a million people in the U.S. are homeless, and half of them are elderly. There are 46 million Americans living at or below the poverty line, and 16 million children living in households without adequate access to food. Congress creates, on average, more than 50 new criminal laws each year. With more than 2 million Americans in prison, and close to 7 million adults in correctional care, the United States has the largest prison population in the world. At least 2.7 million children in the United States have at least one parent in prison. At least 400 to 500 innocent people are killed by police officers every year. Americans are now eight times more likely to die in a police confrontation than they are to be killed by a terrorist. On an average day in America, over 100 Americans have their homes raided by SWAT teams. It costs the American taxpayer $52.6 billion every year to be spied on by the government intelligence agencies tasked with surveillance, data collection, counterintelligence and covert activities. All the while, since 9/11, the U.S. has spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and police the rest of the world. This is an egregious affront to anyone who believes in freedom.

Cultivate spirituality, reject materialism and put people first. When the things that matter most have been subordinated to materialism, we have lost our moral compass. We must change our values to reflect something more meaningful than technology, materialism and politics. Standing at the pulpit of the Riverside Church in New York City in April 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. urged his listeners:

[W]e as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motive and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

Pitch in and do your part to make the world a better place. Don’t rely on someone else to do the heavy lifting for you. Don’t wait around for someone else to fix what ails you, your community or nation. As Gandhi urged: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Say no to war. Addressing the graduates at Binghampton Central High School in 1968, at a time when the country was waging war “on different fields, on different levels, and with different weapons,” Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling declared:

Too many wars are fought almost as if by rote. Too many wars are fought out of sloganry, out of battle hymns, out of aged, musty appeals to patriotism that went out with knighthood and moats. Love your country because it is eminently worthy of your affection. Respect it because it deserves your respect. Be loyal to it because it cannot survive without your loyalty. But do not accept the shedding of blood as a natural function or a prescribed way of history—even if history points this up by its repetition. That men die for causes does not necessarily sanctify that cause. And that men are maimed and torn to pieces every fifteen and twenty years does not immortalize or deify the act of war... find another means that does not come with the killing of your fellow-man.

Finally, prepare yourselves for what lies ahead. The demons of our age—some of whom disguise themselves as politicians—delight in fomenting violence, sowing distrust and prejudice, and persuading the public to support tyranny disguised as patriotism. Overcoming the evils of our age will require more than intellect and activism. It will require decency, morality, goodness, truth and toughness. As Serling concluded in his remarks to the graduating class of 1968:

Toughness is the singular quality most required of you... we have left you a world far more botched than the one that was left to us... Part of your challenge is to seek out truth, to come up with a point of view not dictated to you by anyone, be he a congressman, even a minister... Are you tough enough to take the divisiveness of this land of ours, the fact that everything is polarized, black and white, this or that, absolutely right or absolutely wrong. This is one of the challenges. Be prepared to seek out the middle ground ... that wondrous and very difficult-to-find Valhalla where man can look to both sides and see the errant truths that exist on both sides. If you must swing left or you must swing right—respect the other side. Honor the motives that come from the other side. Argue, debate, rebut—but don't close those wondrous minds of yours to opposition. In their eyes, you're the opposition. And ultimately ... ultimately—you end divisiveness by compromise. And so long as men walk and breathe—there must be compromise...


Are you tough enough to face one of the uglier stains upon the fabric of our democracy—prejudice? It's the basic root of most evil. It's a part of the sickness of man. And it's a part of man's admission, his constant sick admission, that to exist he must find a scapegoat. To explain away his own deficiencies—he must try to find someone who he believes more deficient... Make your judgment of your fellow-man on what he says and what he believes and the way he acts. Be tough enough, please, to live with prejudice and give battle to it. It warps, it poisons, it distorts and it is self-destructive. It has fallout worse than a bomb ... and worst of all it cheapens and demeans anyone who permits himself the luxury of hating.”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the only way we’ll ever achieve change in this country is for the American people to finally say “enough is enough” and fight for the things that truly matter. 

It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your political ideology is. If you have something to say, speak up. Get active, and if need be, pick up a picket sign and get in the streets. And when civil liberties are violated, don’t remain silent about it.

Wake up, stand up, and make your activism count for something more than politics.

You are the true guardians of the galaxy.

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Entourage's picture

Only a libertarian future holds the possibility for success.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

I read that whole article and no where did it say whether I should get the 70" extra hi def 4K Tee Vee or not.

Mtnrunnr's picture

The erosion of American society started with that boob tube. Bastardization and distillation of culture designed to distract, pacify and terrorize the public.

Syrin's picture

It will never happen.   The millenials are pushing for tyranny.

political_proxy's picture

Likely war will eliminate many of them. As to when, well you be the judge...

SolidAssets's picture

she was a waitress in a cocktail bar now she owns a jet... http://bit.ly/2jdTzrM

tmosley's picture

>Those coming of age today will face some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people.

>I don't understand the horrors of total war

Author engaging in hyperbole here at the very least. He's also short sighted. Those coming of age today will have things easier than any generation in history, thanks to the coming technological singularity. Millenials just got fucked by their parents, but at least get to live, unlike the members of untold numbers of prior generations, especially those from pre-industrial times. They will also get to enjoy the unlimited fruits of pervasive AI.

I still think we are on track for AGI by the end of the year, though we may not know about it until sometime next year. It will almost certainly be the team at Deepmind that does it (they might leave Google to do it, though). Just pray they don't do something stupid, like using it to "punch Nazis".

DeepFriedLizards's picture

Except for this we bullshit?

"No, we haven’t done this generation any favors" and "Say no to war."

We have no say on either of these issues.  .gov and the MIC have made our voices useless. Don't lay that shit on We the people.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

I used to be of this mentality. I then came to the conclusion too many mouth breathers want free shit from the state ad infinitum. 

Given the freedoms the libertarianism affords them -- they'll put in place yet another big brother government to take from the producers and give to those that do nothing. 

No my dear ZH friend, if we hope for a better future the immediate future is a future of authoritarianism; fascism should you like. 

Perhaps in the distant future you're correct -- but western society needs a strongman that thinks like we do that isn't scared about the mass execution of snowflakes, SJWs and other undesirables. 

I know it isn't a pleasant reality -- but it's the truth. 

tmosley's picture

You are confusing libertarianism with democracy. Freedom can't lead to tyranny. Irresponsible voting can.

If you end woman's suffrage, or voting by nonwhites, or only allow landowners to vote, or only allow those willing to pay a fairly substantial poll tax to vote, the left would be vaporized instantly. The new two party system would likely be between conservatives and libertarians.

Ace006's picture

Brilliant observation on irresponsible voting. I mean it. The West quested after the universal franchise like Sir Gallahad did walkabout to find the Holy Grail. The price was high.

Interesting point too about the difference between liberty and democracy. But I think it's where libertarians go wrong. 25% will always try to get over and righteous liberty-loving people can have disputes. Government here we come.

Ace006's picture

Liberals are incapable of solving the problems that flow inexorably from liberalism. I mean utterly incapable.

Ixnay on the executions deal, however. It's enough to demand responsibility and have zero tolerance for today's insanity.

Remember the kid who keyed a car in Singapore? A perfect solution was readily at hand. Saggin' and baggin' would disappear over night. Flash mobs? AntiFa scum? It is to laugh. Chaotic, hellish prisons? Watch the video about Russia's Black Dolphin prison. Now that is penology.

Would you be an illegal immigrant, dear girl? Back over the border for you in three days.

meditate_vigorously's picture

Libertarian is indistinguishable form a Bolshevik.

tmosley's picture

Only in the mind of a peanut.

Sanity Bear's picture

> Only a libertarian future holds the possibility for success.

Perhaps so, but we'll have to fight anarchists pretending to be libertarians and trying to derail the project into Hobbesean tyranny, every step of the way.

Captain Chlamydia's picture

Be a good person 
Be generous and share what you have 
Accept your mistakes 
Apologize for misunderstandings 
Listen to what others have to say 
Develop opinions about facts 
Learn a trade, work hard, excel 
but don't be a dick about it. 

Forge relationships, be a good friend 
Recognize yourself in others 
Accept compliments humbly 
Give people compliments everyday 
Feel empathy for others around you 
being sympathetic is a virtue 
but don't be a dick about it. 

Become a good partner 
be loyal and trustworthy 
responsibility is noble 
love is about the effort you put in 
stimulate the growth of one another 
stay true to yourself 
but don't be a dick about it. 

Raise a beautiful family 
Be a loving and nurturing parent 
Spend time playing with your kids 
Allow your children to make mistakes 
Inspire your offspring to be unique 
Instill life lessons and a sense of morality 
Give instruction and be proud 
But don’t be a dick about it. 

Make judgements 
Don’t be judgemental 
Be honest not brutal 
Don’t lie but learn how to 
Shade the truth when needed 
But don’t be a dick about it. 

Develop a dynamic taste in music 
Ripen your palate for fine foods 
Sharpen your eyes to detect art 
Nurture a sense of independence 
Enjoy going to a movie alone 
Learn how to be patient 
Say please and thank you 
Mean what you say 
Do what you mean 
And just please, 
regardless of whatever 
happens to you in life 
please just don’t 
be a dick about it.


The Don’t Be a Dick About It Doctrines 

Ace006's picture

Bring on the (even more) open borders and the dancing jockstraps.

quasi_verbatim's picture

Pentagonia, the successor state to America, will take care of all this for you.

Bank_sters's picture

Now what?

Well, if you want any chance of paying back those  usurius loans with interest, shut up and do what your told. 

shovelhead's picture

Good idea.

I'll pencil this in my 'things to do' calendar. Okay... I got 'become a child of the universe' marked down for next Thursday.

WarPony's picture

Here, I'll hold your beer.

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

Fucked be you - Yoda

Lost in translation's picture

Coming up next: national mobilization.

"Defeat the Eurasian Menace!" the recruiting poster read...

PitBullsRule's picture

Sometimes you're just fucked.

Cordeezy's picture

I fear what the world will be like in 200 years. We are dealing with problems our ancestors didn't consider 200 years ago yet we live in comfort by comparison to them. 200 years from now will our descendants be able to say the same? How long will the game last? When the board is tipped over what will happen?


in4mayshun's picture

In 200 years Mankind, left to their own devices, will surely be extinct. Hopefully the "Man" upstairs will step in long before that and right the ship. Otherwise we most certainly are screwed.

Ace006's picture

He is utterly indifferent to the trials and tribulations of humans. Settng things right is what He's always going to do "later."

Much later.

swampmanlives's picture

Our descendants will be fighting in intergalactic battles against the Greys.

Md4's picture

"As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the only way we’ll ever achieve change in this country is for the American people to finally say “enough is enough” and fight for the things that truly matter"

Oh, they've said, "enough is enough" alright.

It's the enough of "what" that's at issue.

Neither side wants the "what" the other is about.

We aren't simply at odds.

We are simply different.

Different is the difference.

Number 9's picture
A Graduation Message For A Tyrannical Age

keep your fvkin head down

trust no one

get what you can and get out


it is all an illusion and a lie

stfu and never talk to the police

government is the problem

if ever arrested stfu and get a lawyer quick

30 caliber is minimum

processed food is poisoned

buy used

live a minimalist life

stay away from doctors

never tell the truth to power

it is truly dog eat dog

don't be a schmuck

live for the moment and fvk the future.

To thine own self be true



swampmanlives's picture

You say to get a lawyer but to stay away from doctors? I guess that bump on my skin that gets bigger every month will go away on its own? Maybe represent yourself in the court?

Dude-dude's picture

"Their privacy will be eviscerated by the surveillance state."

-will be- ?  That turned me off from the rest of the article, but I had to share this one.

cheech_wizard's picture

My suggestion... apply for welfare and food stamps.

Standard Disclaimer: Hasten the demise.

VWAndy's picture

 The stall. Cuz eveybody should try the humble pie. Really its not bad. Fills the soul.

Silver Savior's picture

Get silver and gold if you can't afford it get a bunch of credit cards. Live in a hippie van to save the most money. Don't listen to conservatives, If you go to Starbucks get the drip coffee it's cheaper. Live large and prosper!

Vageling's picture

Guardians of the galaxy. With my therapy dog and - and my personal favorite - "brain massage music".

Yea... I'm not feeling it. 

Poppy Burner's picture

I think you'll find that those young conformists are almost unanimously supportive of the: police, troops, msm, two-party system; Hollywood, multinational corporations, fiat money and banking.

I have zero sympathy for their self-inflicted consequences.

gespiri's picture

T2....the rise of the machines.  Coming to a city near you.

Hikikomori's picture

"some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered by young people." - funniest thing I've read this year.  Greater than the Civil War?  World War I/II?  The Great Depression?


I suppose your phone running out of charge is a pretty great obstacle.

Reaper's picture

The Hippie Heaven created is morphing into a barren wasteland, wherein the newly released sheeple lambs will learn despair. Nature was never fair. Egalitarian equality was only possible with all dragged to the lowest level.

Rejoice, Nature is just. You'll all equally fail.

bshirley1968's picture

"We allowed them to languish in schools which not only look like prisons but function like prisons, as well—where conformity is the rule and freedom is the exception. We made them easy prey for our corporate overlords, while instilling in them the values of a celebrity-obsessed, technology-driven culture devoid of any true spirituality. And we taught them to believe that the pursuit of their own personal happiness trumped all other virtues, including any empathy whatsoever for their fellow human beings."

No.  You sent them to commie school that taught them NOTHING about being a true American, that Lincoln was our greatest president,  that the government is always right and to be trusted above all else, that the police are your friends, that we can't survive without big brother......getting bigger.  They taught them that they are just a higher form of animal so when they have animal urges it us only natural......survival of the fittest.....bullshit.  They taught them that there are no absolutes.........cause 2+2=5......and there is no God or consequences for ones actions.......unless the State says so.  They taught them that man is his own god to decide for himself what is right or wrong.  They taught them that what is right or wrong DEPENDS on the situation.  That if a woman wants to kill the baby inside her.......for whatever reason.......it is her right.  That it is NORMAL for a man to get naked with another man.  That if it feels good do it.  That what makes us happy is most important.  And then they elected the little darlings to be the "legislators" and those legislators put the best and brightest from the schools of commie, animalistic,  relativism, on the benches as judges, and the ones that didn't want to go into law became teachers of the next generation.

And we saw last year the latest APEX of this "educational" system when the attorney general stood before national news and said, "If a man self determines he is a woman, then he is a woman.  That is a fact."  Anyone that wonders what went wrong or what is wrong in this country is a blind fool.

InnVestuhrr's picture

a government can suck only if the society, ie a majority of the people, suck

Ace006's picture

Did I miss the part about white people needing to wake the flock up?

I was inspired by the MLK quote though. That goes without saying.

swampmanlives's picture

Considering that Whites are a minority relative to the world's population, there is nothing they can do.