Looking back on 2020, it seems to have been a (soft) war year. That makes it special for Americans who haven't really experienced a true war-time situation. (Perhaps 1968 was as close as we got during my lifetime.)
I keep trying to latch onto the most fundamental characteristic of the war-time experience, even though it is a better idea to explain anything by looking for a conjunction of multiple causes, instead of obsessing over one, all-important cause.
It is tempting to claim 'evil-ization' as the true defining characteristic of war. Thomas Fleming did a good job of explaining evil-izaton before the American War Between the States in his "A Disease in the Public Mind."
But now I am ready to declare something else as the defining characteristic of war, soft-war, coup detats, or kultur-kampfs. Recall the old saying that 'Truth is the first casualty in War.'
During 2020, censorship became a part of the MSM, google, corporate advertising, and the rest of the Establishment. That is an important change from the past.
So why bother to pay any attention to the 'News?' Why waste time on the internet?
Why bother to discuss current events with other people? They can become excited or angry when discussing 'their' opinions. That is a strange thing, since 'their' opinions are just the lies and spin they have been permitted to see on a censored television or internet. Of course the individual re-tells the lies and spin in their own words, but that hardly makes it the individual's own ideas or opinions.
Thus I find myself pulling in my thoughts to a smaller mental universe. General thoughts and discussions seem useless. I only care about things I can actually see or touch.
If I touch this or that, will it bite me? Will so-and-so give me a fine or arrest me? That is all that counts. Day to day survival. (I dimly recall a television commercial, circa 1970, where a uniform and jackboots tells a guy on a train, "Papers, please.")
I walk through grocery stores without even making eye contact with people, let alone saying 'hello.' Obviously there is no point in smiling. If someone says something to me, I will reply pleasantly with one-to-three words. But I won't make eye contact or initiate conversation. All I want to do is avoid people, arguments, or any other kind of unpleasantness.
Is this defeatism? Or realism?-- an acknowledgement that the Powers-That-Be are pursuing their own agenda for their own benefit, while puny little me can do nothing more than avoid contact with harm today and here.
Let's say that it is defeatism and I should concentrate on something more cheerful and positive. One example of that is to subscribe to Glenn Greenwald's articles.
Another idea is almost a modern reincarnation of Gandhi-ism: a helpless, puny individual actually has a vast potential of power. They simply have to sign off from the internet news or the television.