Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Self Defense Mechanisms and Why Life in America Has Gone to Hell

I want to write something that I think will be received by most Americans like my article on Lew Rockwell (LRC) entitled, "America is Bankrupt." According to Lew, that was the #2 most read article on LRC in 2005. It was roundly criticized by many Americans and even got me death threats.

Now, over 6 years years later it doesn't raise an eyebrow. I predicted the future. In fact, things are even worse than I could have imagined.


Today's article is another one ABOUT how bad life in the USA has become for the average person.

I went to America a few months ago to see my deathly ill father. I didn't want to go to America. I have really come to dislike going to that place.

Why do I dislike going to America? Well, there's something very wrong about that country. From the moment you land at the airport - I always land at Los Angeles International (LAX) - there's a tension in the air. I can't put my finger on it exactly but it seems like a racial tension. It certainly got worse after the Los Angeles riots of the early 1990's after the LA police beat up Rodney King.

Most Americans realize that America is an extremely messed up place and they will talk about it and openly complain about it amongst themselves but they will take umbrage with you if you, as an outsider, bring it up. 

People may know that their kid is an idiot but they don't like it if you say so.... 

America is one royally screwed up place. Though most Americans recognize that fact, many are in serious denial or think that it is "still the best in the world." Americans are so used to being treated like third-class citizens that they fail to comprehend what has happened to them and their country. Americans are so jaded that they think it is normal to be yelled at by police or at the airport and treated like cattle. They think that this kind of behavior is normal.

Well, it is not. It's bizarre and uniquely American.

Why don't Americans recognize how bad that country has become? I suppose it's kind of like the frog in the slowly boiling water: The sh*t has been hitting the fan so slowly that Americans cannot see what kind of a crappy third-world country that place has become.

The biggest reason I dislike that place are the police and the airport. You know, when you go to any other civilized country in the world (That excludes all War mongering NATO nations, I reckon), and leave, they don't ask you to strip down naked and take off your shoes like the USA does. They don't ask that you go through an X-ray machine like the USA does.

The last time I went to a foreign country, besides the USA, I went to Hong Kong. Weird, those Chinese. Those people are polite and they are actually pleased that you come to visit. They are polite and kind to you. They treat you with respect. What's their problem? I have the same problems whenever I visited any other country in Eastern Asia or Oceania: The border and customs officials were polite and seemed happy to have me and my wife and children visit.

Odd balls, aren't they? I mean, who wouldn't think a guy who looks like a white  American with his Japanese wife and 6-year-old son and two teenage daughters with their Gucci bags aren't terrorists with bombs strapped to themselves under their clothing ready to suicide themselves for the freedom of designerbagistan? 

The USA? The immigration agent looks at my USA passport, his lips curl at the corners and he often barks in a foul attitude,

"What is your purpose in visiting the USA?"

"Uh, duh! Hello. I have an US passport! I am an American." I think, "I have a US passport. Is this Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union? Do you have the right to ask me where I am going and why I am here?" (of course I don't not verbalize what I am thinking).

And that brings me to an interesting thing I heard from an American woman the other day. We were talking about this very same subject. She said that she recently went back to New York and was surprised because people were "nicer" than she remembered them being. She had been living in Japan since the year 2000.

I asked her to explain what she meant by "people being 'nicer'."

She said that wherever she went, to stores or shops, it seemed that people were friendlier and more polite than she remembered. She said that when she was at a coffee shop, whenever customers walked in, they would always say a very polite "good morning" to the clerks and staff.

She's right. American people do this. I've noticed it too. It is much more pronounced than it used to be before 9/11. In fact, I have pondered about this and why it happens as I love to watch people and, in my amateur views on humanity and social behavior, reason why people act the way they do.

When I was in the USA a few months ago, I saw this very same behavior by people in many places I went. It has been becoming more and more pronounced as the US police state grows and crime grows along with it. 

I didn't usually notice these overly friendly salutations at chain restaurants such as a McDonald's or fried chicken establishments or at large, very crowded restaurants. (I did, though, notice many security cameras at a McDonald's that I stopped at to get a cup of coffee off the 101 freeway heading back to LAX). I noticed this sort of overly friendly greetings and gestures at small restaurants like corner donut shops, liquor stores or out of the way mom & pop coffee shops in the neighborhood.... You know, the kinds of places that didn't have wide security apparatus and cameras like the famous chain restaurants that did or the large restaurants that were heavy with customer traffic, those were the kinds of places whereby customers would walk in (seemingly somewhat nervous) and give out a hearty "Good morning!" 

I noticed this sort of behavior by customers at these small shops. 

"Now, I wondered, "why are people acting so overly friendly? Isn't it strange?" 

I did some very surface research about crime in my home county and found that more than 10% of all felonies were robbery (with 85% being assault)... When it came to property offenses, over 1/3 were theft.

Perhaps my image is wrong, but it seems to me that robberies of these little corner shops and mom and pop restaurants are far more prevalent than robberies of big chain restaurants and establishments that are full of customers. Low traffic and poor security seem to me to make an easier target.

So, how does this abnormally high amount of extremely friendly greeting work as a self-defense mechanism? It dawned on me at a coffee shop in Oxnard, California.

I walked in. The shop clerks looked at me. They were a Vietnamese couple. Nice folks. I quietly said, "Good morning." I made my order. After me, several others came in. They all gave out a very loud "Good morning!" (It seemed too loud, in fact)... Everyone did this as they filed in and out of the shop. I sat down and enjoyed my coffee at one of the two tables available.

One after another, people came in with a very loud, "Good morning to you!" "How are you today?" etc. Nevertheless, there was that tension in the air. The same one I always felt at LAX. If you always lived in Southern California, you'd probably never notice it. But if you lived outside of the USA, this tension is very heavy and like soup in the air; it is a very heavy fog. 

Hmmm? The tension is in the air. The people all greet in a loud, yet mechanical way. "What is the reason?" I thought....  

Then it dawned on me. 

I believe that this excessively friendly greeting and attitude was a method of self-defense. When these people walk into an establishment like the ones described above, they say a hearty (exaggeratedly friendly) "Good morning!" 

The true meaning of this greeting is not, de facto "Good morning!" it actually means, "Don't worry about me. I am a safe person and mean you no harm. I just want to come and go about my business."

The greeting disarms people and allows them not to worry and can give them a chance to relax... Like I said, I believe it is a defense mechanism.

It is just one more reason why the USA has gone to hell in a handbasket. People must now announce their intentions in coded language to others to show that they mean no harm. It used to be the other way around; people expected others to be civil; that was normal and a matter of course.

It used to be that it was normal behavior that everyone was not a criminal and only criminals announced their intentions upon entering and establishment by way of saying something like, "This is a robbery! Put your hands up!" Now, in 2011 USA, normal people must disarm others by announcing that they are not criminals by overtly loud salutations.

Many Americans will scoff at this idea (like they scoffed at my 2005 article). But, deny it as you wish, it is pretty difficult for any human being to shut off their basic human survival mechanism regardless of what country they are living in.

In today's USA it is necessary to let others know that you have no ill-intentions. It used to be obvious and common that people had no ill-intentions towards others... In today's USA? One never knows. 

In today's USA you must broadcast your intentions. It is a bizarre and sad state of affairs.

I can't possibly be the only person who sees this. I think it is even more prominent after a long absence. Opinions?


Andy "In Japan" said...

Like Mike, I live in Japan and fly through LAX oftentimes when I visit America. I can verify that the hostile environment starts at the airport.

Last April at LAX the goon used a command voice to demand "what were you doing in Japan". Was I supposed to chronicle each and every day for him? I told him I didn't understand the question and asked if there was something specific. He asked if I was bringing anything with me. I felt like saying "no, the clothes you see really aren't here, the bag I am carrying is a figment of your imagination", but instead I answered "yes". He demands "what are you carrying". I look at my hand and think that I am not carrying anything.

Last year the LAX passport goon starts using command voice on my then 8 year old daughter. This passport photo doesn't look like you he sneers (trying to frighten her)..."take off your hat"..."look here" all in a command voice on a jet lagged 8 year old.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Good Morning observation.

I myself don't do mornings well and Never say Good Morning. However; I do say "Hello" the same way you described Good Morning.

It's very much been on the increase.

It Is a defense mechanism and it feels very strange knowing about it now.

It's all kind of like an analog modem dialing up. Everyone's robotic.

- clark

Anonymous said...

I agree. I've got to get out of this place before it kills me. Portland used to be fine but now it feels like Los Angeles and I don't dig it at all (I left so. cal. in 98)... Someone broke into my car in the garage 6 weeks ago and stole my car stereo... That just 2 months after I got it installed. Fix it? Why? Someone is just gonna steal the stereo again. Welcome to America 2011~12.

The SHTF. You ready?

Rick said...

It is interesting what you observe about americans hating on america, but do not like it when people from other countries hate on america, I think it is because deep down many of those people want to leave America, but cannot. I am one of those people. Pretty soon(if a republican gets elected president) they will build a border fence caging us all in. I have been trying to move to Japan for years and the only option I have is to marry a Japanese woman. I love japanese woman however it is hard to meet them over the internet, so likely I will have to ten thousand dollars going over on a tourist visa and trying to find one while i am there. interesting fact too: Japan has working holiday visa agreements with many european, south american, canada, AUS, NZ, and 1st world asian countries, yet does not have it with the USA. This is because the USA does not do working holiday programs. The USA has exported its horrible immigration policy all over the world in order for its ordinary worker bee citizens inside. No adays you can only move out of USA if you have relatives in other countries or are a rich man.

diego.a said...

How you deal with death threats? Do you simply ignore them?

I agree with this article. However, Scott Heiferman (Meetup CEO) decided to work at McDonald's and his experience was different. Maybe it depends on what part of the city you go to (Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc.):

"i expected to be specifically, officially instructed to smile and make customers feel like a welcomed guest. well, as any patron of a manhattan mcdonald's knows, there ain't much feel-good from the counter staff. my co-workers were downright rude to customers. i got funny looks from my co-workers when i was friendly with customers. they must not have seen the logo or tagline or website."

Anonymous said...

My guess is that greeting everyone is simply habit.

As an anecdotal story, I worked at Target, they were paranoid about Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has "greeters" who as the name implies, simply greet customers. Target didn't have "greeters" but recommended that every employee greet customers. First, because it had the surprising effect of cutting down shoplifting a significant percentage, something like 20-30%. Second, because it opened the door for conversation, which made it more likely to buy something.

Anonymous said...

The last time I visited the USA it was en route to Hawaii. Had to change at SF airport. I was travelling with a friend.

At Immigration, when they took my friend's fingerprint, he asked "how long do they stay on file?" The answer: "If you don't like it you can get on the next plane".

On the return leg, again at SF airport, my friend was selected for a shake down. This was 4 years ago, so none of the strip-down humiliation then. He asked "What are you going to do?". He may have raised his hands, palms out in a defensive gesture. The security personnel immediately called something like "I need some help here!". A colleague sprinted towards them, hand on his gun. Turned out to be just a scan with a hand-held metal detector.

There was also the insolence thinly disguised as politeness and the total lack of a sense of humour by the airport check-in desk staff. The rudeness of the lady who called me back from the check-in queue to check my bag. She was not at her station when we joined the queue.

There was the repetitive announcement "The threat level has been raised to orange". I understood that it had been at "orange" level for some months or even years. Surely it would make more sense to say "The threat level remains at orange"? Just there to try to keep you afraid I suppose.

Land of the free?

Wake up.

Anonymous said...

Instead of viewing 99.99% of the public, it appears that they view 99.99% of the public as criminals, or at best potential criminals.

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