Be Suspicious Of Everyone Who Habitually Defends The Powerful From The Weak

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readJul 30, 2018

Teenage Palestinian civil rights icon Ahed Tamimi has been released from an Israeli prison today. Viral images of Tamimi standing up to the Israeli armed forces who’ve brutalized her family have made her a powerful symbol of the greater Palestinian struggle for justice against a vastly more powerful oppressor.

The Palestinian issue is not complicated, and it is not difficult to see who is in the wrong in the debate about it. Anyone who says otherwise is advocating for the powerful against the disempowered.

In addition to being an extremely well-funded military and nuclear power whose immense network of allies includes the United States, which has the most deadly military force the world has ever seen, the Israeli government also enjoys support from virtually all mainstream political and media voices in the western world. And what do the Palestinians have? Kites. Kites and rocks.

There is a very clear and undeniable power discrepancy here. Generally speaking, whenever you see people loudly and habitually advocating for the powerful side of a power discrepancy, they are showing you that they are servants of power. Their interest is not in truth, justice or compassion, but in helping power maintain itself. Being aware of this gives you a very useful tool for navigating a confusing media landscape that is immersed in propaganda, spin, and disinformation.

This applies across the board. When you see anyone advocating on behalf of the US empire against the latest Official Bad Guy Nation, when you see them advocating on behalf of the plutocrat-owned mass media machine against alternative media outlets, when you see them advocating on behalf of the Pentagon, the CIA and the Democratic Party against Julian Assange, when you see them advocating on behalf of fossil fuel companies against indigenous protesters, when you see them advocating on behalf of America’s increasingly militarized police force against unarmed black men, when you see them advocating on behalf of the wealthy against the poor, when you see them advocating on behalf of the status quo against activists and organizations pushing for change, they are giving you valuable information about themselves.

So watch them. Keep track of who makes a habit of advancing narratives which favor the powerful side of any power discrepancy, and apply a level of distrust to them in proportion to the extent to which they do so.

It is as true now as it was in medieval times that the best way to get ahead in the world is to get on the good graces of the lords and royalty; the only thing that’s changed is what lords and royalty look like. Now the most powerful forces in the world are western plutocrats, and the way to get on their good graces is to support the political/military/intelligence establishment upon which they have built their corporate empires and the momentum of that establishment’s agendas.

The last thing power needs is more defenders, and the last thing the world needs is more defenders of the powerful. It is self-evident that anyone who habitually defends power is a servant of power, and that while they may be employing a sound personal strategy by staying on the king’s good side, they’re not a very good source of information. If you can see this basic, common sense fact, then the process of sorting out the good sources of information from the bad ones for yourself becomes very simple. Just follow these three basic steps:

Step 1: Look at the various conflicts and disputes in the world and, by your own research, assess which side has more power, influence, and/or military might. This can get a little weird since empowered sides often attempt to paint themselves as the poor widdle victim in order to keep people from seeing the power dynamics clearly, but power discrepancies are easy to spot once you start looking for them.

Step 2: Note which political and media voices defend the side of power, and how consistently they do so. The ones who advocate for the powerful against the weak most often are the ones whose versions of reality you should most reject and distrust. The less a particular voice advocates on the behalf of the powerful across the board in each observable instance, the more useful and trustworthy a source of information it is.

Step 3: Use this to get a big-picture understanding of where the advocates for power are and how they tend to behave. Once you’ve got a clear picture of this you can see the defenders of power as effectively one solid group, and you can watch it and describe how its different parts behave and how they help each other almost like you’re observing the movements of an organism.

Once you’ve got this down, understanding what’s happening in the world becomes much less confusing. You know which way’s up and which way’s down, you know who you can and cannot trust to give you information that isn’t skewed by a self-serving desire to get on the king’s good side, so new events are easier to understand and interpret for yourself. Then you’re much less fooled by the sycophants and lackeys, and much better equipped to help others see clearly as well.


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