Republic of Jesters

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Exposition Reel #3 – Repeats Itself

“Scott Freer’s adaptability and keen senses to the always changing business climate was uncanny,” Mark Fable continues. “If anyone could pull America out of its gas prices crisis, it was him.

“But there was some time until the party could actually be elected. The party had formed right after a federal election because they were dissatisfied with the results, as were many Americans.” There’s plenty of truth to this statement. The 2016 election had seen the lowest voter turnout in the past one hundred years. Somewhere around 27% of the population bothered to show up at the polls. This was likely due to the fact that on the very same day, everyone was waiting in-line for the release of a new consumer electronic, the phone/MP3 player/hand sized computer/game console/calculator/everything digital, the ARTifact.[1] The following day, when the news was released that only 27% of eligible voters actually voted, a large proportion of the 73% that didn’t vote voiced their complaints about the election and the low voter turnout. They used their ARTifact’s to type responses on online news sources, saying things such as, ‘They should have held it on another day’ or ‘There wasn’t enough parking at the polling station.’

Some conspiracy theorists argue that Scott Freer, who owns a majority of the shares in Cygnus Media, strategically choose to release the product on that specific date in order to make a low voter turnout, thus making everyone upset that a government would form with such a low percent of citizens actually approving of it. This would then lead to the popularity of a new party that severely critiqued the existing system. But that’s just what conspiracy theorists say, who believes them anyways?

“This gave the RAFP enough time to gain popularity and build up a strong voter base. Media sources[2] told the story of Scott B. Freer and his many accomplishments. People were eager to support such a distinguished man and their curiosity in a new way of governing was getting the best of them.”

This section of the film shows Scott Freer shaking hands and kissing babies. He was a big-man, around 6’ 3” and 230 lbs, with a black pompadour which showed signs of graying, and a smile filled with perfectly straight and exceptionally white teeth. He wasn’t terrifically attractive, mind you he was forty-six at the time and his looks had been waning for a number of years, but he had an appearance and confidence that was very trustworthy. Conscious of JFK beating out Nixon largely due to his appearance, Freer knew that image, confidence, and rhetoric would go a long way so he made sure that he was always looking his best and talking smooth.

“When 2020 finally came around, the RAFP had garnered enough attention to have a shot at the federal election that would be held later on in the year. The wedge issue for the election was gas prices and the RAFP had a pleasing answer. Since the RAFP was all for reducing government, the RAFP told the voters that they would severely reduce gas prices by doing away with fuel taxes.” This portion of the video is accompanied by a mute montage of Scott Freer speeches. He is depicted as a master orator with several cheering crowd shots to back this up.

“The government, according to the RAFP, was to me minimized, therefore, it wouldn’t need the revenue that fuel taxes provided. There was no loop hole or fibbing in this solution. Americans knew that the RAFP could deliver their promise, so when it came to voting day, the RAFP won the election by a landslide.”

At this point, viewers who knew anything about the United States’ political history would ask: what happened to the Republicans? What happened to the Democrats? How did a minor party win an election in a two-party system? The answer: the other parties’ solution to the gas dilemma was too complicated for the average 21st century American to understand. So ultimately, their voter bases fell like a 19th century flying machine. There were other factors, such as rednecks who were all about that freedom thing or fiscal conservatives who used to vote Republican but were becoming enthusiastic about the RAFP’s plan to lower corporate taxes; however, the gas crises overshadowed any other issue. Even religious conservatives who were upset about Scott Freer’s morally questionable past adopted the RAFP because they thought that lowering gas prices was more important than righteousness and all that. As for former Democrat voters, equality and social programs were still on their minds, but gas prices certainly occupied a larger portion of their consciousness. Even filling up a hybrid vehicle was getting expensive, so hell, it was time to put FDR, JFK, education, the environment, and health care on the back burner.

The film now shows clips of the newly elected president’s inauguration speech. A majority of the speech was Freer rehashing the platform that got him elected. He talks about his goal in eliminating fuel taxes; how the RAFP plans to abolish any laws that hinder individual, and more importantly, corporate freedoms; and how they plan to reduce government at a municipal, state, and federal level. Scott Freer also quotes his idol, Senator Goldwater, a number of times. Among the quotes:

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them.”

“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Scott Freer also has a number of his own things to say. The most quotable being:

“It is important for the elected president of the freest country in the world to uphold and fight for the most worthy of freedoms. Freedom is a state of mind. My answer to how we can stabilize this state of mind is by stopping a burgeoning government from lobotomizing our freedoms.”

“The backbone of America is the corporations who have built it. Hampering them with an infinite amount of taxes will only lead them away from the very country that nourished them.”

“Every American has the right to become a millionaire. I am a millionaire and never have I been ashamed of it. The way I became a millionaire was through the free market.[3] What we need to do, as a country, is put more faith in the free market for it is our gateway to becoming millionaires.”

“There are no such things as misfortunes, just misgivings. One of my greatest misgivings is giving money to the government via taxes. I can’t control what they do with that money, but they can control what I do with my money. Sounds very unfortunate, doesn’t it.”

“Now that the RAFP were in power, their first order of business was to change the name of the country in order to reflect what they stood for. Thus, the United States of America became the Republic of America and the star spangled banner was given a facelift.”

The film shows an animation of the all too familiar stars and stripes flag undergoing a transition. The thirteen strips don’t undergo a change, but the top right corner seems to dissolve. The one-eyed pyramid is placed in the middle of the flag but soon after a rattlesnake coils its way up the pyramid where it reaches its final resting place. The snake looks proud, almost as if the snake has conquered the pyramid. Finally, the words ‘DONT TREAD ON ME’ appear in blue ink along the white stripe that’s second to last. “The stripes represent the thirteen colonies which had rebelled against the British Monarchy; the pyramid represents the federal government; the rattlesnake represents the triumph of the individual over government; and the slogan represents American’s freedom from persecution.” All the trainees have already learned about this nearly a hundred times before, but the film director must’ve thought that there was no harm in repeating it once more.

“Next, the RAFP had to fulfill their campaign promise so they cut fuel taxes. When Americans saw gas prices dwindle overnight, they knew they had made the right choice.” There’s a shot of a gas station where all the pumps are clear of vehicles and the price sign reads ‘856 9/10,’ then a shot of the same gas station filled with cars while the sign reads ‘479 9/10.’ To the skeptical viewer, this part would be obvious propaganda. If the price were to be cut that drastically, that would mean that fuel taxes were approximately 44% of the price of gas. In reality, the RAFP could only cut gas prices 10-15% depending on the State. Motorists were expecting more of a change and were pretty upset when they realized that the new party couldn’t meet their demands. However, Scott Freer eventually calmed the masses by using his silver-tongue. The blame was put on the extraction, production, transportation, sales, and labor that got oil from the ground and into one’s car. Scott Freer told Americans, ‘We have done all that we can about the gas prices. Our next step is to change legislature so that Americans can have more yet live cheaper. This will help all of us deal with the gas prices that don’t seem to go down.’

“The next step that the RAFP took was to reduce government so that people would pay fewer taxes. A number of Government-owned corporations were privatized and a series of government funded programs were axed. By and large, this greatly diminished taxation.”

A montage now shows a number of former public services that are now fashioning corporate logos. There’s a fire-truck with a sports league logo, a garbage truck with an office supplies distributor logo, a school with a fast-food franchise logo, and so on. Any doubtful viewer could look into the taxation issue and see that taxes had just been replaced with another word. ‘Fee’ and ‘tax’ were analogous, yet Americans favored the former because at least it rhymed with ‘free.’ If you wanted your garbage picked up, you would have to pay a garbage man and dump fee. If you wanted to drive on a road, you would have to pay a fee at the toll booth. Your house wasn’t going to put itself out, so you would have to pay your monthly fireman fee in order for them to do anything about it. And if your house didn’t start on fire that month, well great, the Cygnus Football League will have a little extra money to throw at its star receiver. That’s the way it was, nevertheless, people generally liked this system more because they controlled where their money went and at least they weren’t paying taxes.

“The Freedom Party’s next major decision was to abolish the Sherman Antitrust Act,” continues the narrator. “This law, which was passed in 1890, was outdated and irrelevant to American society of the 21st century. Something had to be done about it. Scott Freer stood true to his ‘freedom over intervention’ outlook and decided that the Sherman Act denied certain freedoms, so the Act was repealed. This ushered in a number of new business opportunities for Americans.”

So far the film has been chalked full of minute fibs, but this one is an upfront fabrication. The Sherman Act was originally passed to keep companies from owning stock in other companies which could eventually lead to monopolies. But Scott Freer, wanting to dominate a couple of the industries that he was involved in, decided that it was best for him to repeal the law. There wasn’t too much of an outcry over this decision because for one thing, Scott and his RAFP minions were big time players in the major media corporations, and for another, monopolies weren’t feared like they used to be. Most people associated the word ‘monopoly’ with a cute little millionaire with a monocle and a handful of funny money, so naturally, people were desensitized to the concept and treated it as a novelty. Ironically, monopolies harm competition, the very aspect that drives capitalism and the free market. And it’s well publicized how much faith Scott Freer puts in the free market.

Anyways, ‘new business opportunities’ actually decreased after the law was abolished because industries were rapidly being dominated by their top competitor’s. This in turn discouraged anyone from trying to enter a market because they knew they would be squashed within weeks. The only new business opportunities to be found were for companies that had already been well established. A corporation would buy out its industry’s competitors, and when an industry was completely dominated by a corporation, this corporation would then want to break into other industries. This cascaded to the point where only a handful of corporations were left: Capstone Enterprise in the consumer electronics, railroad, and trucking industries; Apical Associated in mining, media, and agriculture; Alpha Co. in oil, dairy, and education; CephaloCorp in waste removal, adult entertainment, and publishing; Pioneer Limited in construction, imprisonment, law, and hospitality; and finally, Premier Syndicate in textiles, entertainment, and retail. Eventually, only two remained, Alpha Co. and CephaloCorp, where they met a stalemate because they both had an equal amount of endowment. Ultimately, they decided to merge, thus Alpha Corp. was formed.

“The RAFP’s early legislature had averted any risks of an economic disaster,” exclaims Mark Fable. “Their big decisions had been beneficial to the average American, so the party had been trusted enough to give Scott Freer another term as President. However, things could not always go on the way they were. The world just couldn’t curb its oil consumption, and by 2026, there was another gas crisis.”

Notice how the movie makers blame the world for this issue. Americans, which is a term that is practically synonymous with ‘motorists,’ had to play at least a minor role in all of this.

“At this point in history, the population of the Republic of America was largely spread out.”

Finally, the skeptical viewer can agree on one thing. America had undergone almost 80 years of unchecked suburbanization, so there’s no wonder that it was ‘largely spread out.’ Private automobiles, and later on telecommuting, made the distance to work unimportant, thus city-centers were no longer significant. Where city centers expanded upwards to the sky and offered high densities, the new way was to build towards the horizon and keep densities as low as possible. Unconnected, one-to-two storey homes in suburbs and sprawling shopping centers with adequate parking seemed to do the trick. In all, the concrete jungle had morphed into a never ending asphalt prairie.

“This made things difficult for getting products to consumers because the transportation fee would be incredibly high. Also, since so many products were petroleum based, the manufacturing and selling of these products would soon be nonexistent. This would cause a disaster to the American economy. Everything was entwined with the oil industry, and since there were no remaining oil reserves in America and foreign deposits were rapidly being exhausting, some big decisions for America’s future would have to be made.

“The big decision that came was the Restructuring of the American economy. Scott Freer knew that the only way for the Republic to exist in an ordered form, with its citizens having access to food, shelter, and water, would mean that society would have to undergo a massive makeover. At the heart of this makeover was agriculture.

“Agriculture had been the foundation of all societies, yet at the time, only 3-4% of Americans were employed in agricultural industry. This was largely due to the fact that America’s agricultural industry was heavily mechanized. Manual labour was long ago replaced by machines, where one machine could do the work of dozens of men, therefore making it inefficient to have a high portion of people employed in agriculture.”

The video now shows a combine shredding down a wheat field and regurgitating wheat into a dump truck that’s moving beside it.

“However, these machines were mainly fueled by oil products, so once there was no more oil, there would be no more food collected. Scott Freer, using his multi-faceted expertise, realized that the only way to stop a complete economic collapse where every American would starve would be to employee more people in the agricultural sector. These would be the Americans who were going to lose their jobs in the manufacturing and service sectors, and these people would replace the machines that were going to lack fuel. This was the focal point of Restructuring and gave birth to the Alpha Corp. Homestead.”

One of the most dominant countries in the history of the world reverting back to an agrarian society was an unusual ordeal, at its surface, but it was just another case of history repeating itself. Post-consumerism was synonymous with pre-Industrial. A popular economic model of the time stated that countries tend to go from a primary sector based economy (ie. farming) to a secondary (ie. manufacturing) then on to tertiary (ie. retail). America had followed this path of economic succession, but it eventually hit a point where it could no longer proceed, so its future looked remarkably like its past. If only the creator of the model could have witnessed a societal collapse, then they would’ve factored this next step into their theory.

Come to think of it, it’s strange that they hadn’t witnessed a collapse. Just like the species that have inhabited the Earth throughout its long and turbulent history, 99.9% of societies have gone extinct. Many societies in the past, which had cities and artisans and merchants and all that, followed the same route of America; they fell from grace. They had to revert back to the agrarian past, or maybe even hunter-gather, that they thought they were far beyond. It’s a kick to the societal groin, but it’s inevitable.

“Across the country, Homesteads were rapidly built to accommodate the people who would soon be working for them. The Homesteads took their location into account, deciding which crop was suitable for the climate and how many people would be needed to work them. Also, the Homesteads were conveniently located near rail lines so that transportation of the harvest to other Homesteads and the few remaining cities would be simple and save on energy.”

The film tends to skip over what inspired the Homesteads. The policy actually gets its inspiration from some unlikely historical movements; ones that Scott Freer would certainly be ashamed to admit. Among them are the collective farms of the Soviet Union, the agricultural production cooperatives in communist Cuba, the send-down policy during China’s Cultural Revolution, and the back-to-the-land movement that was popular during the counterculture of the 1960s.

However, the most surprising of all the inspirations, and the most controversial, was the agrarian utopia that the Khmer Rouge had planned for Cambodia. During the mid to late 1970s, The Khmer Rouge attempted to create a classless, agricultural based society that was void of any foreign influence. Pol Pot, who was one of the regimes leaders, boasted that in order for the Khmer Rouge to fulfill this goal, Cambodia would only need to have one-to-two million people, whereas the rest of the population was disposable.[4] The reasoning behind all of this was that a smaller, more rural population was easier for the Khmer Rouge to control.

In this fashion, people have speculated that Scott Freer must have thought that if America was rapidly ruralized he would be able to retain power and the population could be easily surveilled by the Alpha Corp. Security department. Scott Freer’s plan, however, didn’t involve the murder of millions of innocent people, so maybe it’s unfair to say that the Homesteads drew heavy influence from the Khmer Rouge.

Whatever the case, it’s strange that these influences all come from movements that were in defiance of the free market. But all these said inspirations are just creations from the minds of conspiracy theorists. They aren’t necessarily true, and nobody can prove it.

“The Republic of America’s economy was transitioning into a solely domestic economy,” continues the narrator. “The Homesteads made it so America wouldn’t need to import or export any products. Everything was produced by Americans, and consumed by Americans.”[5]

The video shows a group of Homestead workers enjoying a meal at their Homestead’s cafeteria. They are all in good spirits, giving off the impression that they’re happy with the way things are.

The next shot is of Mark Fable in the brightly lit room with his fancy suit on. “I hope this video gave you a perspective on how the agricultural based system came to be and how important Restructuring was for the Republic. The RAFP and Alpha Corp., in conjecture, organized this system so that Americans, such as you, would not starve. This is why public relations is so important to this nation. Employees of public relations are vital to America because they are the ones who help the system run smoothly without experiencing any threats, such as widespread hunger. I now congratulate you all for working your way up to this position. Be the best that you may be, for PR, for Alpha Corp., and for the Republic of America.”

The film now runs the credits. This is David’s cue to turn on the lights and turn off the projector. The trainees aren’t too happy about the former. They lift their heads out of their arm cradles, rub their eyes with their fists and stare blankly at David Dunlop who is now at the front of the class. Some of them go out of their way to display their boredom by letting out obvious yawns while stretching their arms out towards the ceiling.

“I know, I know, the movie is dry at times,” said David, “but I find it very informative. Particularly the ending speech. It really justifies the job we’re doing here, putting it in a large scale context and all. Do any of you have any questions about the film?”

The room goes silent. It’s almost lunch time and if anyone blurts out a question, it’s going to stall the trainees from getting to the cafeteria. They have all sized up David by now, knowing that he will probably go off into a monolog if anyone takes him up on his request.

After a few awkward seconds, David finally pipes in. “Alright then, you guys are all dismissed. Get a lot of rest for tomorrow though, for it is going to be your big day. We are going to be discussing your duties and showing you how to do them. Ciao.”

[1] Created by Cygnus Media out of Techton, New Mexico.

[2] Which Scott Freer, no surprise, had been a shareholder.

[3] Scott Freer left out the part about him being born into wealth and getting a leg up on life because of his father’s intervention.

[4] Cambodia had an estimated population of 7.3 million at this time.

[5] This statement is true, but it forgets to mention the reason why this case had arisen. Simply enough, the world was sick of America, so it had to stay self-contained. An old joke says it all: “Knock, Knock,” “Who’s there?” “America.” “America who?” “You know, America, the country that saved the world in two World Wars, kick-started the post-war global economy and stopped the spread of…” At this point the door answer shuts the door on America’s face and goes inside. Particular variants of the joke also add a third person who asks, “Who was that?” “Oh, just some solicitor who’s trying to save his old way of life.”

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