Thursday, November 26, 2020

Black Friday … and more restrictions

If today is Thanksgiving in the USA, and I think it is (fourth Thursday in November), then tomorrow will be Black Friday—if it hasn't been outlawed by some politician's executive order, that is.

Black Friday 2018

France started to have a Black Friday a few years ago, too—even though there is no Thanksgiving to precede or motivate it (only a few countries have holidays akin to Thanksgiving). That doesn't keep merchants in the French Republic from imitating the lucrative American tradition of Black Friday itself. The French even promote "Black Friday week," which seems like an oxymoron to me.

Black Friday didn't really work last year, though. I can't remember the exact crisis—demonstrations, or strikes, or alleged terror attacks, or what—but it fizzled. And this year the police state doesn't permit it. There's talk of deferring it to December 4, but since the government commandments change every day, nobody knows for certain, even the politicians who roll the official dice to set policy.

Today, in fact—like every day lately, it seems—a new and larger batch of rules and regulations has been announced by the government.
The rules are the usual arbitrary hodgepodge of logically inconsistent mandates and exceptions, without any scientific basis. I haven't been able to find a written list of all of them. They change every 24 hours or so, so I suppose nobody has time to write them down. Perhaps the idea is to condition the population to stop expecting transparency, documentation, or due process—just shut up and do as you're told.
I understand religious services will soon be permitted again, but they will be limited to 30 participants, irrespective of the size of the place of worship. And ski resorts will soon be allowed to reopen … but ski lifts must remain closed, effectively bankrupting any resort that opens. At the same time, driving schools will be allowed to reopen, even though that involves several people riding together inside a car. Bars and restaurants remain closed, but restaurants may be able to open soon. Police forms are still required in order to go outside. Businesses must now maintain a safety zone of eight square meters around each customer, which corresponds to a distance of about five feet. People are now allowed to go for a walk of three hours within a 20-kilometer radius, instead of one hour within a 1000-meter radius. A curfew will still be in effect from 9 PM to,7 AM. And so on.

The government is also considering forced detention of anyone who tests positive for the Deadly Virus. And I would not be surprised if it decided to force everyone to get vaccinated, once a hastily-built vaccine becomes available (the government has denied this, but it has already made a great many U-turns so far). Let's hope the mortality of the vaccine is as low as that of the virus.
The trend towards oppression is not limited to measures linked to the Deadly Virus, nor is it limited to France. It looks like the incoming administration in the USA has big plans for many oppressive measures of its own, for instance. It's happening everywhere. It's spooky.

Going beyond the DV, the French government is still trying to push through legislation that would make it illegal to publish photos of police officers on duty—and this despite a very recent incident of shocking police brutality caught on surveillance video. It's a huge erosion of freedom of speech. Some are also seriously suggesting that the country's constitution be set aside to deal with the alleged crises.

One observer has remarked that France has been in a state of emergency for one reason or another—terrorism, Deadly Virus, etc.—for three of the past five years.

I've been reading about how, back in the early 20th century, Germans legally and willingly replaced their democracy with a dictator in the person of Adolf Hitler; and the parallels between those days and what I'm seeing today are numerous and worrisome.

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