The issues related to The Shutdown are put to bed until January – when they’ll need to be revisited and hashed out again. We started getting nervous about how we as a nation would function and how we would derive the services (once taken for granted) to keep us a civilized place. We wondered how we would be able to survive without becoming homeless, bankrupt, hungry. How were we to send messages, ship goods, have our streets and rubbish handled, and many other things.
Then there was the matter of passports and clearances, licenses issued, and enforcement of laws. We take it for granted that there is a government and all of those matters will be handled by government.
But Wall Street kept ticking along as though there was full faith and credit even when we, as a population, did not see it. Of course! We could fall back to our fundamentalism and simply do these things for ourselves rather than wait on our parent government to supply the hand to empower.
There are two series on television that propose to show us what will happen when government dissolves and leaves us at our own means. Those shows are “Revolution” and “Under the Dome.” These both portray civilization devolving into savagery and warfare for the sake of waging war and killing. Few can trust anyone else. Deals are struck, but it’s a matter of what happens when the parties leave the room as to the endurance of the deal. Enforcement of the terms is a matter of who wins the next skirmish or battle.
Throughout all of the experiences of the citizens, no one is concerned about the simple things that make Life endurable. Who is making soap? Although they keep writing messages on sheets of paper and making signs, there’s no thought to how after 20 or more years that paper is still being produced, let alone ink for writing or sign making. No one is concerned about making new clothing, even though what existed 20 years ago has probably rotted by our introduction to the landscape. And what about toilet paper? Of course, for some reason there’s ample foliage so leaves are available.
Who is developing the chemicals to make medicines for the many health ailments? But then, in a land where it’s a matter of survival of the fittest, perhaps there is no longer a need for medicines. As cheap as life is is the times of these places, perhaps all those with ailments and disabilities were executed so they wouldn’t get in the way.
On Revolution, there is still heavy use of bullets. We’re not told how casings and powder are being produced in order to make new bullets. We’re not told how new guns are being manufactured. They’re just there and waiting to be used with abandon.
Some of the warriors have made bows and arrows. It’s unclear how they have time to craft new ones. There’s nothing that’s telling us how they’re putting together the implements to make knives. And although they are living in very complex structures, we’re not given privy to how stone and mortar is being ground and formed to make building blocks and new buildings. Nor are we shown how these people are felling trees and refining the lumber to make planks and building pieces.
Cooking implements must be around. But no one seems to be focused on making them. No one, in fact, seems to be focused on the exchange of money or goods at all.
It isn’t clear who is manufacturing the uniforms and shoes nor how they’re getting the needles to make them. But maybe Rumpelstiltskin is among their numbers and he manufactures these things on their behalf.
They only focus on the power. That seems to be the gasoline for everything in either of our fictional settings and during The Shutdown. Power is the sole focus. Who has it determines what is done, who does it, and who is held in check until they learn to siphon it or steal it. Woe to those who have none or so little that it barely matters to anyone.
Are these two shows telling us what to expect in January and each next iteration of The Shutdown? It appears we will forget about all forms of commerce and will live by less than fundamental means.