People Believe In Russiagate Because They Lack Self-Awareness

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readNov 21, 2017

I recently watched a former Hillary Clinton aide trying to prove in front of his large social media audience that the Sanders supporter who was arguing with him was actually a Russian bot using an improvised Turing test.

This is the new normal.

Remember last year when Rep. Adam Schiff accused Fox’s Tucker Carlson of “carrying water for the Kremlin” for asking questions about the Russian hacking narrative and we couldn’t believe our ears? This is just standard behavior now. Democrats have been so deeply saturated in toxic Russia hysteria that you routinely see political discourse stopped dead in its tracks by accusations of someone being a Russian bot or Kremlin agent. They’ve been propagandized into thinking it’s normal, so they don’t think twice about leveling that obnoxious, conversation-ending accusation with no evidence whatsoever in order to shut down anyone who questions their assertions.

A former Daily Show producer recently tried to kick off a smear campaign against Redacted Tonight for being “Russian propaganda”, then started accusing everyone who objected to this oafish behavior of being “paid people and bots”. She was so locked into the establishment echo chamber that she could not understand how people could possibly take issue with what she was doing, asking in a (since deleted) post how her McCarthyite smears were even a controversial take.

This stuff happens constantly now, and people lacking any amount of self-awareness think it’s perfectly normal and healthy. For everyone else, it looks like Children of the Corn.

Besides the world-threatening new cold war escalations it’s being used to manufacture support for, the most grating thing about all this Russia hysteria has been watching our friends and loved ones succumb to it. How is it not obvious to them that we’re being manipulated into an agenda that neoconservatives have been advancing for decades? How does it not bother them that every single new “bombshell” revelation turns out to be riddled with plot holes and not at all what the media pundits tell us it is? How do they not remember the lead-up to the Iraq invasion 15 years ago?

These are not stupid people. Not all of them, anyway. Many of them are very well-read, academically accomplished individuals with sharp intellects and good problem-solving skills. How are they missing this simple, glaring fact that’s so obvious to us?

The answer is that their problem isn’t a lack of intelligence, it’s a lack of self-awareness. You can have a PhD and an exceptionally high IQ, but if you haven’t done enough rigorous self-reflection in your life, you often won’t have enough awareness of your own mental processes to be able to tell the difference between agendaless information and ham-fisted attempts to manipulate you. If you haven’t worked to become stringently honest with yourself, you won’t know the difference between an egoically comfortable worldview you’ve been given and an honest perception of what’s really going on. If you haven’t ever questioned your own narratives about what you are, what life is, and what’s really going on here, you won’t question the narratives you’re being given by confident-sounding pundits with assertive voices.

People who’ve taken time to pick apart their own inner bullshit see right through the establishment Russia narrative as clear as day. The manipulations stand out like a black fly on a white sheet of paper. When you get relentlessly real with yourself, you are intimately familiar with the ways your ego tries to manipulate the world around it, pulling people in, pushing them out, trying to control, striving for approval, trying to manipulate people’s perceptions of you, and trying to find comfortable worldviews for oneself. The conceptual self-structure humans tend to develop in early childhood serves the sole function of working to manipulate and control life for its own protection, comfort and security, so if you’ve spent time watching these egoic flailings you know how they tend to behave.

If you’ve never gotten real with yourself in this way, it doesn’t matter how much knowledge you’ve amassed or how adept at problem-solving your gray matter is — you will not have enough insight to be able to notice when propagandists are working to manipulate what you think. If you’re surrounded by screens full of talking heads all pumping you full of data about Russia infiltrating the highest levels of your nation’s government and taking over the world, it doesn’t show up on your personal radar as the fumbling attempts of a failing empire trying to manufacture support for escalations with a rival power structure, it just shows up as data. If there’s the appearance of a wide consensus among all that data, it shows up as fact.

This is why there’s so much dissonance between the people who see this and the people who don’t. People without any personal insight see a virtual consensus in all the data they’re presented with, so anyone disagreeing with that consensus must have ulterior motives which are opposed to truth. People with some awareness of how thought works and why humans do what they do get as frustrated as somebody trying to point out something red to a friend who is unknowingly colorblind.

I point this out not to get my like-minded readers patting one another on the back for being so woke, but to draw attention to a difficult dynamic we keep encountering when trying to interact with our fellow human beings. The establishment manipulators divide us all up at every opportunity, and the frustrations which flare up between people who see through the bullshit and those who don’t are a perfect way of doing that. With a little more awareness on this dynamic, we can have more compassion and understanding for our intelligent friends and family who can’t see what we’re pointing to through no fault of their own, and not waste energy on strangers on the internet who are literally incapable of getting it.

More importantly, I point this out because people who see this clearly are constantly being shouted down and bullied into silence. It’s important to be aware that those who try to silence you on this matter are indeed as blind as they seem, so there’s no need to let it get to you. The escalations between the US and Russia benefit nobody besides possibly a few ruling elites who stand to profit from a complex geopolitical power grab, and they imperil every living organism on earth.

Keep screaming about this, and don’t waste your energy pushing back against pure myopic inertia. Trust your inner truth-finder, and keep speaking. There are many whose eyes are just on the cusp of seeing this disgusting psyop for what it is, and they’ll hear you. Bit by bit we’ll nudge people over the edge, and eventually we’ll hit enough of a critical mass for the whole western world to realize how pervasively they’ve been lied to by unelected rulers they didn’t even know they had. In that moment, a new world will become possible.


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