Howard Beale Was Right.  But We Still Don’t Know What to Do.

In the 1976 movie Network, Peter Finch plays network news anchor Howard Beale.  And after a late-night voice in his head orders him to preach a revelation to his tv audience he makes the following speech on air.

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’

The audience responds in untold myriads by doing exactly what he says.  They stick their heads out the window and start screaming ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’

This scene in the movie is viscerally inspiring.  It struck a nerve in 1976 and it strikes maybe a more painful nerve today.  Everything that Howard Beale said in 1976 is even worse today.  Things are not just bad or crazy.  They’re demonic.  The government and the media and industry are actively conspiring, not just to ruin us but to exterminate us.

But in the next line Beale says, ’Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis.’

But guess what?  They never figured out what to do.  In the real world it had to wait until 1980 when America kicked Jimmy Carter out of the White House and Ronald Reagan began to address some of those things.  And we tried to do something similar in 2016 when we elected Donald Trump.

But guess what?  The Left got mad as hell and burned down America in the George Floyd riots and locked us in our shrinking homes during the COVID scamdemic.  Then they rigged the 2020 elections and we’re worse off than we were in 2016.

Maybe the only value in doing what Beale said to do is finding out we’re not alone.  Maybe that’s what the internet is, a giant street where everybody can stick their heads out the window and shout into the air.  But it doesn’t solve the real problem.  And that problem is that we’ve been dispossessed.  In the last forty-five years they took the country away from us.  All the levers of power are in their hands.  Fake news, fake elections, fake presidents, fake laws, fake government, fake religion, fake law, fake justice.

What it will take is someone, somewhere calling together a convention of whatever’s left of the Americans who don’t want to be harvested and deciding once and for all if we have what it takes to make a stand.  They will have to figure out what they can do that can’t be undone.  Then they’ll have to stick by their guns when the Left in all its manifestations comes for them.  If they’ve figured it correctly, they’ll have come up with a winning strategy that won’t be rolled back and use that as a foundation on which to increase their scope of control.  Suppose all the red states from South Carolina to Texas and north to Montana put together a platform of laws that will solve illegal immigration in all their states.  Think of the impact of that alone.  And what if they enact real welfare reform.  And how about ending urban gang violence?  With a united effort they could build their own law enforcement network like the FBI was supposed to be and make us free and put the bad guys away.

But before any of that happens someone with more guts and more power than anyone we’ve seen so far is going to have to say, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

And it’s beginning to look like that someone is going to have to be a Caesar.  Or it will be no one.