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John Whitehead's Commentary

Apocalypse Now: The Government’s Use of Controlled Chaos to Maintain Power [SHORT]

John Whitehead

Will 2024 be the year the Deep State’s exercise in controlled chaos finally gives way to an apocalyptic dismantling of our constitutional republic, or what’s left of it?

All the signs seem to point in this direction.

For years now, the government has been pushing us to the brink of a national nervous breakdown.

This breakdown—triggered by polarizing circus politics, media-fed mass hysteria, militarization and militainment (the selling of war and violence as entertainment), a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness in the face of growing corruption, the government’s alienation from its populace, and an economy that has much of the population struggling to get by—has manifested itself in the polarized, manipulated mayhem, madness and tyranny that is life in the American police state today.

Why is the Deep State engineering this societal madness? What’s in it for the government?

What is playing out before us is a chilling lesson in social engineering that keeps the populace fixated on circus politics and conveniently timed spectacles, distracted from focusing too closely on the government’s power grabs, and incapable of standing united in defense of our freedoms.

It’s not conspiratorial.

It’s a power play.

Rod Serling, the creator of the Twilight Zone, understood the dynamics behind this power play.

In the Twilight Zone episode, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” Serling imagined a world in which the powers-that-be carry out a social experiment to see how long it would take before the members of a small American neighborhood, frightened by a sudden loss of electric power and caught up in fears of the unknown, will transform into an irrational mob and turn on each other.

It doesn’t take long at all.

Likewise, in Netflix’s apocalyptic thriller Leave the World Behind (produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s studio), unexplained crises lead to a technological blackout that leaves the populace disconnected, disoriented, isolated, suspicious, and under attack from mysterious ailments and each other.

As one of Leave the World’s characters speculates, the culprit behind the escalating catastrophes, which range from WiFi outages and mysterious health ailments to cities under siege from rogue forces, may be the result of a military campaign intended to destabilize a nation by forcing people to turn against each other.

It’s really not so far-flung a scenario when you consider some of the many ways the government already has the ability to manufacture crises in order to sow fear, fuel hysteria, destabilize the nation and institute martial law.

We must never forget that the government no longer exists to serve its people, protect their liberties and ensure their happiness.

Rather, “we the people” are the unfortunate victims of the diabolical machinations of a make-works program carried out on an epic scale whose only purpose is to keep the powers-that-be permanently (and profitably) employed.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls.

Almost every tyranny being perpetrated by the U.S. government against the citizenry—purportedly to keep us safe and the nation secure—has come about as a result of some threat manufactured in one way or another by our own government.

Think about it: Cyberwarfare. Terrorism. Bio-chemical attacks. The nuclear arms race. Surveillance. The drug wars. Domestic extremism. The COVID-19 pandemic.

In almost every instance, the U.S. government has in its typical Machiavellian fashion sown the seeds of terror domestically and internationally in order to expand its own totalitarian powers.

Consider that this very same government has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests—GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, etc.—and used it against us, to track, trap and control us.

Are you getting the picture yet?

The U.S. government isn’t protecting us from threats to our freedoms.

The U.S. government is creating the threats to our freedoms.

It’s telling that in Leave the World Behind, before disaster strikes, the main characters—on their way to a family vacation—are utterly oblivious, connected to their electronic devices and insulated from each other and the world around them. Adding to the disconnect, the family’s teen daughter, Rose, is fixated on binge-watching episodes of Friends, even as the world falls apart around them. As TV critic Jen Chaney explains, the sitcom’s presence in the story “underlines how human beings crave escapism at the expense of embracing the actual present, a different way of ‘leaving the world behind.’

We’re in a similar escapist bubble, suffering from a “crisis of the now,” which keeps us distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from reality.

Yet in addition to being distracted by our electronic devices and diverted by bread-and-circus entertainment spectacles, we are also being polarized by political theater, which aims to keep us divided and at war with each other.

This is the underlying cautionary tale of Leave the World Behind and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”: we are being manipulated by forces beyond our control.

A popular meme circulating a while back described it this way:

“If you catch 100 red fire ants as well as 100 large black ants, and put them in a jar, at first, nothing will happen. However, if you violently shake the jar and dump them back on the ground the ants will fight until they eventually kill each other. The thing is, the red ants think the black ants are the enemy and vice versa, when in reality, the real enemy is the person who shook the jar. This is exactly what’s happening in society today. Liberal vs. Conservative. Black vs. White. Pro Mask vs. Anti Mask. The real question we need to be asking ourselves is who’s shaking the jar ... and why?”

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, the government has never stopped shaking the jar.

WC: 1061


Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His most recent books are the best-selling Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the award-winning A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and a debut dystopian fiction novel, The Erik Blair Diaries. Whitehead can be contacted at Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at

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