As the world is changing at a faster pace than ever, it’s time to get rid of the instilled-in limiting beliefs that are and will increasingly be major drags upon your freedom, productivity, wealth, personal growth, and your general level of well-being.
For the first time in the last few thousand years, ordinary people have a shot at near-complete personal sovereignty. Don’t squander this opportunity by holding on to the instilled-in limited beliefs designed to enslave you.
Indoctrination has long been a strategy of the ruling class to control and exploit people. If they can instill certain beliefs in the minds of the commoners that serve the interests of the ruling class, people become ripe for exploitation and they will self-limit for a lifetime without threatening the status quo. So far, the ruling classes have been spectacularly successful at doing this.
Once a belief that serves the interests of the ruling class is successfully instilled in the minds of ordinary people, they become not only easier to exploit but also cheaper to control.
Their best strategy is to indoctrinate children because children don’t have fully developed reasoning faculties yet and they’re ready to believe whatever adults tell them. Moreover, childhood beliefs, once formed, are incredibly hard to shake off and stay with the person usually for a lifetime regardless of how nonsensical or self-sabotaging they are.
Beliefs are so powerful that unsuspecting masses of people will even die serving the interests of the elites, evidenced by hundreds of millions of people who died fighting the ruling elites’ wars.
Look also at all the brazen theft and corruption going on around the world to see how flawlessly their strategy works. They steal, steal, and steal more with impunity to hoard wealth while the debt-enslaved masses settle for scraps, if that.
Humans are an irrational bunch. Most people hold on to their self-immolating beliefs for a lifetime even when those beliefs are serving others rather than one’s self. They’ll even defend those self-harming beliefs when challenged because they’ve been invested in them for a lifetime.
Your goal is to not be like most people to avoid ending up miserable like most people. Keep an open mind and don’t fear ditching beliefs that limit you, for a fault confessed is half redressed.
Never be afraid of the truth. When you know the truth you can make it work in your favor. If you refuse to acknowledge the truth, it works against you.
The universe rewards us for understanding it and punishes us for not understanding it. When we understand the universe, our plans work and we feel good. Conversely, if we try to fly by jumping off a cliff and flapping our arms, the universe will kill us.
— Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart
With that being said, here are the 5 instilled-in limiting beliefs that will keep you down in the 2020s and onwards:
1. Citizenship Duties
Your citizenship duties were instilled in your impressionable mind at school when you were a defenseless kid.
Citizenship indoctrination is so powerful that hundreds of millions of citizens of various countries died and continue to die in wars in which they had no personal stake. Soldiers in 20th-century wars believed they were dying for the noble cause of their loyalty to their nation when in reality they were dying for the interests of the elite ruling class whose kids never die in wars.
Likewise, if people weren’t indoctrinated with citizenship duties, they would realize that they never consented to the taxes they pay. They’d ask why they aren’t even allowed to negotiate their taxes.
People brainwashed with citizenship duties don’t stop to question why they’re paying exorbitant taxes with little in return. They don’t question why they are being sent to the other end of the world to die for other people’s wars. If they did, they’d be harder and more expensive to control and the system of exploitation would be impossible to maintain.
A simple cost-benefit analysis would inform them that the costs of citizenship (dying in wars, paying exorbitant taxes, etc.) massively outweigh the benefits they receive in return for their compliance with their citizenship duties.
Ruling classes have always found it expedient to indoctrinate the population with certain beliefs to facilitate the exercise of power. Beliefs vary from era to era but the goal is the same: to control and exploit the population. During the Middle Ages, it was chivalry. Today it’s citizenship.
Here’s what James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg wrote in their book The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transition to the Information Age (published in 1997) about the parallels between medieval chivalry and citizenship:
The honor of the medieval knight and the duty of the conscript soldier served parallel functions.
The medieval man was bound by oaths to individuals and the Church in much the way that moderns are bound by citizenship to the nation-state.
Violating an oath was the medieval equivalent of treason. People in late-medieval times went to extremes to avoid violating oaths, just as millions of modern citizens went to extremes in the World Wars, charging machine-gun nests to fulfill their duties as citizens.
Both chivalry and citizenship added an extra dimension to the simple calculus that would otherwise deter unindoctrinated human beings from going onto a battlefield and staying there when the going got rough.
Chivalry and citizenship both led people to kill and to risk death.
Only demanding and exaggerated values that are strongly reinforced by leading institutions can serve that function.
In warfare, the most useful value systems induce people to behave in ways that short-term rational calculation would rule out. No organization could mobilize military power effectively if the individuals it sent into battle felt free to calculate where their own best advantage lay, and join in the fight or run away accordingly.
What of the more common conditions of warfare, which are neither so attractive that they would pass the scrutiny of cost-benefit analysis nor so desperate that they afford no way out?
It is here that concepts like chivalry and citizenship are important contributors to the successful use of military power. Long before a battle begins, predominant organizations must convince individuals that upholding certain duties to the lord, or the nation-state, are more important than life itself. The myths and rationalizations that societies employ to encourage risk-taking on the battlefield are a key part of their military prowess.
They also predict that citizenship will go the way of chivalry. Just like chivalry disappeared when the medieval era ended, citizenship will end with the end of the Industrial Age.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last few decades, you probably have figured out that the government is not your friend.
It’s been an especially shocking revelation for the citizens of developed Western nations that the ruling elites hate the people of their country. There is an air of gloom, a mourning for the dying Western civilization.
Nevertheless, the indoctrination is so strong that even after seeing ample evidence of greed, corruption, unscrupulousness, and outright hatred of the rulers of the nation against their citizens, many people stubbornly remain determined to maintain their loyalty to the system.
The reality is that the nation-state is crumbling. Endemic corruption and moral decline, as well as a general mood of gloom, are the signal features of a dying system.
By the end of the fifteenth century, the Church was not only as corrupt as the nation-state today; it was also a major drag on economic growth.
The end of the fifteenth century was a time of disillusion, confusion, pessimism, and despair. A time much like now.
— James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg
Just like chivalric oaths of the medieval period look ludicrous to us from the vantage point of the 21st century, future generations will find ludicrous the sacrifices contemporary citizens made in the name of loyalty to their nations.
Holding on to your antiquated citizenship duties has dire consequences. Many people who have the means to move their businesses to a place with less predatory taxation refuse to do so only to continue to pay exorbitant taxes which cost them a fortune. Why continue investing in a dying system only to further enrich people who hate you? It’s an emotional stance that makes zero economical sense.
Moving your business to a low-tax jurisdiction is a lot more profitable than “stay and fight” and keep on enriching a corrupt ruling class.
The sensible thing to do at this point is to prepare for your exit before the whole edifice comes crumbling down.
The current degeneration seen in Western nations isn’t the cause but a symptom of the decline. The decline of the West is about the changes in computer technology which decreased and will continue to decrease the returns to violence which the nation-state benefited from due to its success at monopolizing violence.
As the welfare states of the West are losing their power and relevance, the ruling class will get even more ruthless and violent against their citizens because they seek to preserve their accustomed privileges.
For example, they’ve already been taking measures to prevent their citizens from leaving. If you want to keep up with what they’re up to, check out the great Andrew Henderson of the Nomad Capitalist who has been documenting the barriers Western governments keep erecting to prevent their citizens from leaving as well as the ways to go, in his words, “where you are treated best”. As Western governments get more and more desperate, expect them to make it harder and harder for their citizens to leave.
While nation-state governments are bound to eventually fail at keeping their productive citizens in the country, they’ll do their best to erect more barriers to leaving in the meantime because more and more productive people will want to leave. Here’s what James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg wrote in 1997:
The state has grown used to treating its taxpayers as a farmer treats his cows, keeping them in a field to be milked. Soon, the cows will have wings.
With a choice of domiciles, only the most patriotic or stupid will continue to reside in high-tax countries.
For this reason, it is to be expected that one or more nation-states will undertake covert action to subvert the appeal of transience.
Travel could be effectively discouraged by biological warfare, such as the outbreak of a deadly epidemic.
This could not only discourage the desire to travel, it could also give jurisdictions throughout the globe an excuse to seal their borders and limit immigration.
Makes a lot more sense in 2021, eh?
It’s your duty to understand what consequences a changing world will spawn so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones accordingly and seek to improve your living conditions.
De-program yourself from the indoctrination of citizenship duties so that you not only can resist exploitation but you also can thrive in the future, emancipated from the shackles of a predatory government.
Never forget. The truth serves those who acknowledge it and punishes those who don’t.
Humans have an innate willingness to make up for the gap between the known and the unknown with belief.
In the past, religion fulfilled this duty but since science has been remarkably successful in recent centuries at unveiling many secrets of the universe, people have been increasingly relying on science instead of religion. On the surface, this is a sensible position to hold but it becomes a major problem when religious dogma is replaced by scientific dogma.
While science has uncovered a lot of secrets and dispelled plenty of religious myths, there are still a lot of unknowns yet to be discovered. There’s still a massive gap between the known and the unknown, hence, a silly notion that “believing in science” emerged which leaves gullible people vulnerable to the manipulation of ill-intentioned people who hide their nefarious agenda behind the veil of science.
It never dawns on science believers that it’s an oxymoron to “believe” in science. The modus operandi of science is “questioning”, which has nothing to do with belief. An unquestioned belief in science led to scientists becoming the new clergy, as in questioning them at our times almost amounts to blasphemy.
While “believe in science” might be a new slogan, ill-intentioned agents’ exploitation of the public’s propensity to “believe in science” is hardly new.
For example, eugenicists of the early 20th century used science as a pretext to advance their racist, genocidal agenda. They took Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and warped it to allege that their racist theories are backed by science, although nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s how the ideas of the prominent eugenicist Lothrop Stoddard (whose theories were later deemed too closely aligned with those of the Nazis) were mentioned in The Great Gatsby, a still-popular classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald published in 1925:
Civilization’s going to pieces,” broke out Tom violently. “I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read ‘The Rise of the Colored Empires’ by this man Goddard?”
“Why, no,” I answered, rather surprised by his tone.
“Well, it’s a fine book, and everybody ought to read it. The idea is if we don’t look out the white race will be—will be utterly submerged. It’s all scientific stuff; it’s been proved.
About a century later, humanity is suffering from the dogma of “believing in science” in the midst of a pandemic. While the agendas might vary, the exploitation of people’s propensity to believe in science with no-questions-asked is nothing new.
Nowadays, an unquestioning belief in science is demanded and exploited to advance the agendas of supposedly anti-racist wokeists, which goes to show that while the guise can oscillate between the polar ends of racism and anti-racism, “science” can be used as a pretext to exercise power for the benefit of the ruling class even if means ruining the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Science is neutral and objective. It can be used to invent penicillin but it can also be used to invent atomic bombs. It has some answers but it’s currently light-years away from having all the answers.
Blind science worship brings with it the danger of manipulation by nefarious agents who already killed or maimed hundreds of millions of people by using science as a pretext. Don’t leap on every idea just because it’s claimed that “science” says so.
If science can be politicized (and we’ve all seen that it can), it can also be corrupted. And it did get corrupted.
Never forget that scientists are humans who are subject to the same incentives as other human beings. They can be corrupted by the promise of money and other benefits. They can lie when it suits them just as other humans do. They can be decorated as “scientists” by nefarious institutions while their practices have nothing to do with scientific methods. Even their honest and beneficial work might be deliberately misinterpreted and marketed as such by malevolent propagandists.
Science is subject to questioning, skepticism, and scrutiny. It has nothing to do with belief. You must question and verify before you make sure you’re not making a mistake. Belief should be out of the equation.
During the last 50 years, citizens of the wealthy Western welfare states, especially the citizens of Northern American countries, were crushed under an ever-increasing income inequality. Income inequality is so severe in America that, as of this writing, it’s reported that the top 1% of Americans have about 16 times more wealth than the bottom 50%.
It’s no coincidence that a culture of victimhood emerged during the same 50-year period, which is continuing to expand in proportion to the wealth gap that also keeps expanding. Here’s why:
A “welfare state” is only possible as long as the state has the power to redistribute the nation’s income. The advances in computer technology weakened the capacity of wealthy Western welfare states to collect taxes and redistribute income. As a result, the rich got richer and everyone else got poorer.
As their capacity to redistribute income eroded and the wealth gap widened, governments sought to shift the blame on societal structures to shield themselves from the fury of 90+% of the population who found themselves on the wrong side of income inequality. History informs us that severe levels of income inequality have always been a major spark to social unrest.
Afraid of an uprising targeted at them, Western governments designated many social groups of people as official victims, “oppressed” by “dead white males of European descent.” They encouraged groups of people to view themselves as weak, marginalized, and oppressed in order to distract these people from the real forces behind the increasing wealth gap.
This was a clever move to divert the anger of impoverished people from the ruling class to imaginary oppressors. They successfully convinced subcultures of people (blacks, women, gays, etc.) to blame the “rigged social structure” for their deteriorating socioeconomic status.
Other centralized institutions were quick to co-opt the victimhood narrative (a.k.a. Wokeness) since they desperately wanted to preserve the massive privileges they’ve been enjoying. Improvements in computer technology and the ascent of the internet created an increasing pressure of decentralization over the once-powerful institutions of the nation-state. Schools and universities, media companies, major corporations, philanthropic organizations, courts, the government bureaucracy, and even churches held on to victimhood ideology (Wokeism) in a hail-mary attempt to retain their power and relevance.
Since the real beneficiaries of the weakening nation-state have been the ultra-rich who seized control of the government, rich and greedy corporations have poured in massive private funding to fan the flames of the victimhood narrative and continue to do so at an increasing pace while getting even richer in the process and the income gap keeps widening.
In the meantime, they also erected “hate speech” shields to censor their critics in order to protect their privileges in the guise of protecting the oppressed classes. Understandably, they don’t want the people to awaken to their corporations’ plundering of the country and end up on the receiving end of violence in case the people revolt.
No wonder why all of these pretentious “attempts” to restore social justice, in complete unison by every power center in the nation, can’t stop the impoverishment of the masses and the income gap keeps widening. The reality is that these institutions couldn’t care less about the people. All they care about is preserving their privileges while at the same time trying to avoid being the targets of a social revolt by dismantling class unity, destroying the nuclear family structure, and pitting people against each other.
Income inequality and social injustice aren’t the results of dead (or alive) white males oppressing other groups in society. The real reason is that the weakening of the nation-state crippled its power to redistribute income and gave way to an oligarchy with massive levels of corruption.
Decentralization of institutions would improve the living conditions of the public but since decentralization also means prevailing institutions becoming irrelevant, they’re fighting it with all their might. Look at how they’re scrambling to press down the decentralized digital currency Bitcoin.
Buying into this nefarious victimhood propaganda and believing you’re a victim has deleterious consequences.
You’ll not only waste your life railing against an imaginary enemy who’s not responsible for your troubles in life but you’ll also do nothing to improve yourself and your socioeconomic status.
Victim mentality weakens you by viewing yourself as powerless against the injustices of life. Beliefs are powerful. If you believe yourself to be a victim, you’ll not only succumb to defeatism but you’ll also self-sabotage as the vision of a successful self is a direct affront to your beliefs.
Unfortunately, even if you don’t belong to one of the designated “oppressed” subgroups in society or you refuse to buy into the victimhood narrative, you’re not isolated from the dangers spawned by victimhood propaganda.
You might find yourself in violent situations in social protests or riots. Or you might genuinely think you’re an oppressor while you’re not, that you somehow have to redress the grievances of your “oppressed” compatriots, which would be a colossal waste of time and a source of needless guilt.
The victimhood narrative attracts a lot of people partly because it absolves them of the responsibility for their station in life. Yes, the world is unfair and filled to the brim with corruption but people who are the beneficiaries of corruption are the ones who are propagating the victimhood narrative in the first place.
As we’ve already talked about, corruption is a symptom of a dying system. If we’re lucky, modern politics as we know of is going to die off in a near enough future that we’ll be able to witness.
If you don’t buy into the victim narrative, you’re miles ahead of anyone who does but you’re not completely immune to the dangers it brings with it and the social turmoil that will inevitably come with the death of politics.
When the welfare state collapses, its ability to redistribute income will entirely collapse with it so expect a lot of angry people who’ve been the beneficiaries of distributed income and will find themselves left out in the cold with no one to redress their grievances. Make sure you stay out of trouble and preferably be in a place where you can be away from centers of violence.
Fret not even if you’re disadvantaged by the current socio-economic structure. As the information economy keeps booming, it will increasingly become possible for a lot of competitive, qualified individuals to make a living in the information economy regardless of their race, gender, country of birth, educational credentials, etc.
For example, if you’ve managed to develop a software program that solves a problem, no one will know or care whether you’re black, white, Asian, gay, transsexual, male, female, short, tall, bald, handsome, beautiful, ugly, a high-school dropout, a college graduate, etc. Not that you should care but the opinions of others about you will matter less and less.
Refuse to buy into the victimhood propaganda, stay out of trouble, rely only on yourself, keep improving, and be competitive and productive. That’s how you win.
4. God Is Watching You At All Times
The inexorable decline of the West led to a great deal of despair in Western populations. 1
The collapse of morality, fragmentation of the social fabric, and widespread corruption among all the prevailing institutions of the Western nation-states created an air of gloom while the ruling elites responded by amping up despotism, censorship, and antagonism against the population.
What escapes most people’s awareness is that the advancements in computer technology are increasingly making it possible to live a life free of government oppression. Today’s rampant, widespread government corruption is the harbinger of a transformation to come. Don’t be discouraged that things seem to be getting worse in the West. Things always get worse before they get better.
As is the case today (hence the calls for “draining the swamp”), a similar air of gloom was prevalent when the Roman Empire was about to collapse. The Medieval Church (the dominant institution of the Middle Ages) was also replete with corruption as the medieval society was dying.
But the collapse of the Roman Empire improved the living conditions of the public and technological developments that led to the collapse of the Medieval Church also led human society to eventually transform into an industrial era of heightened living standards.
Now, thanks to the advancements in computer technology, we’re are at the brink of another transformation where for the first time in recent history, personal sovereignty and individual autonomy detached from government tyranny is increasingly becoming a possibility.
Politics, as we know of, is increasingly losing its relevance and the decline of the West will give way to better systems and jurisdictions free of government despotism. Some people are already doing it but more and more people will continue to manage to escape the shackles of politics — an opportunity that didn’t exist for previous generations.
Since the people of today and their parents and grandparents haven’t seen any other way of life than that of a citizen in a nation-state, they can’t imagine a life without politics controlling the flow and allocation of resources.
Most people today look at the awful state of the world and are understandably pessimistic about the future. When the times are bad, humans increasingly turn to religion and God. In the case of the West, Christianity is on the rise.
While I have no ill feelings against those who turn to religion who could very well be enjoying personal benefits from it, I think one aspect of Christian (and of other Abrahamic religions) belief that “God is watching you at all times” will be a major impediment to individual autonomy, creativity, and productivity that will increasingly be crucial in the coming age of personal sovereignty.
Let me explain.
A similar air of gloom to that of today was present in George Orwell’s prophetic novel 1984. George Orwell’s 1984, which was published in 1949, is highly popular nowadays for accurately predicting the horrors of a surveillance state, a.k.a Big Brother.
Orwell was convinced that the nation-state governments’ success at completely monopolizing power would eventually lead to mass surveillance that leaves little room for a citizen for personal autonomy and self-respect.
Humans are terrified of surveillance and for good reason. Surveillance is an exercise of power seeking to control, dominate, and subjugate the individual. It’s a powerful tool to extract complete conformity, obedience, and submission out of the individual.
As Glenn Greenwald (a brilliant journalist who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for breaking the Edward Snowden story that revealed the widespread secret surveillance by the NSA) puts it in his TED Talk entitled “Why Privacy Matters”; “mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind.”
When we know we are being watched or can be watched at any time by an entity who has power over us, our behaviors change dramatically. We self-regulate and render ourselves completely harmless and compliant for the fear of being judged and even punished.
We become not someone we want to be but someone who the entity that has power over us wants us to be. All our edges are rasped until we become like everyone else. Our freedom, independence, autonomy, and creativity are all but crippled.
As the age of the nation-state is coming to a close and the big government is losing its power, creative and productive individuals will enjoy increasing levels of independence from government tyranny.
At the brink of this once in a millennium opportunity of personal sovereignty, the submissive belief that “God is watching you at all times”, a fear of God’s surveillance, will undermine your potential.
In fact, when surfing the web, I regularly witness the loss of creativity that submission to religious dogma leads to. Expectedly, the decline of Western civilization led to a lot of anguish for many of the citizens of Western countries, especially Americans.
I’ve followed a lot of online discussions about the decline of the West and religious people often make it immediately obvious that they’re confined to a belief system that cripples their creativity. Even if they correctly diagnose the elements of the decline, the solutions they offer or anticipate always revolve around God (or Jesus for that matter).
While it’s not hard to see why relinquishing your personal power to an imaginary omnipotent being limits your creativity and even weakens you, it’s understandable that many people turn to religion and God when there no longer exists a reliable authority figure or institution to turn to when times are bad. For generations, humans have been so accustomed to being subordinated to an authority that they can’t imagine a life of personal sovereignty.
However, although submission to a reliable authority figure offers an illusion of some kind of safety, relinquishing your personal power to an authority massively subtracts from your ability to solve your problems. Willingly submitting yourself to a set of dogmatic beliefs that severely limit the range of your behavioral options is self-sabotage. It amounts to squandering a golden opportunity of a looming age of personal sovereignty that wasn’t available to previous generations — to finally have a shot at thriving by your personal agency, autonomy, independence, and freedom from oppression.
Conformism, obedience, and compliance, on the other hand, are great ways to be mediocre and miserable like everyone else. Quietly accepting that you’re being surveilled at all times and rendering yourself an eager subject to the scrutiny of a higher power is no better than self-flagellation. Even if exists only in your mind, surveillance destroys your free-thinking and creativity; qualities which you direly need in the age of personal sovereignty.
As the central institutions are increasingly being decentralized, there will soon remain no power centers to rely on. Complete self-reliance not only will be possible, but it will also be a necessity. You’ll have no one but yourself to rely on and you’ll need that free-thinking along with creativity and exploration.
Conformity is the last thing you want. You want freedom and independence. Surveillance constrains you within the narrow boundaries of dogma which impairs your ability to compete against others who are free, independent, creative, and autonomous.
Declare your complete sovereignty by refusing to submit to any and all systems of surveillance.
I’ve written extensively on how a sense of entitlement doesn’t square with adulthood where I’ve also argued that self-entitled people are drawn to politics because politics is an arena where resource allocations of massive scale take place.
At the height of their power, wealthy Western welfare states had the supreme capacity to redistribute the nation’s income in whichever fashion benefited them the most. In such a political environment, entitlement can be a paying proposition if you are able to extract a share of the money that the government collects as tax.
Political propaganda has the power to instill a sense of entitlement in the populace’s minds since governments have the power to redistribute income and people have an innate propensity to believe they deserve whatever benefits are promised or given to them. In democratic systems, part of a politician’s chance of getting elected relies on their ability to convince enough people that they’re entitled to a share of income collectively generated by the entire nation.
However, the changes in megapolitical conditions, especially the improvements in computer technology wreaked havoc on the governments’ ability to extract resources (collect taxes.) As their ability to extract resources dwindles, so do the resources they can redistribute.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was falsely interpreted as a triumph of the Western welfare state system but in reality, the Soviet system was merely the first casualty of the nation-state model.
The western model of the nation-state survived longer because it allowed private property ownership which generated more taxable resources for the government to extract. The Soviet system and the Western nation-state system are fundamentally the same systems, not the diametric opposite of each other. The former’s collapse is a precursor to the collapse of the latter.
As democratic governments are losing their power and the centers of control and production are increasingly dissolving into decentralization, entitlement will no longer be a paying proposition for there will be no authority left to redistribute the nation’s income.
In the upcoming years, self-reliant, productive individuals will command the resources they create. It’s possible that these people will be compassionate and share the resources they accumulate with the have-nots or maybe they’ll keep all their gains to themselves.
A better idea than to be entitled to their compassion which may or not happen is to be a self-reliant, sovereign person.
Be sure to read:
- How to Be a Superior Man, Chapter 1: What Makes a Man a Superior Man
- 5 Surprising Ways You Are Unsuspectingly Sabotaging Yourself
- How Not To Take Things Personally
- Do You Really Take Responsibility For Your Life?
- America’s Tailspin: How Meritocracy Killed the American Dream
- How Corporate Greed Destroyed the People of America (and Sparked the Civil Unrest of 2020)