Revolution Is Racist. Populism Is Sexist. Economic Justice Is Homophobic.
Hague fugitive George W Bush was trending yesterday after drawing accolades from amnesiac liberals everywhere for a speech he gave condemning Trumpism and Russia. The DNC has just held a surprise purge of progressives from its ranks, replacing them with reliably corrupt establishment stalwarts like Donna Brazile. Bernie Sanders has bowed out of his scheduled Women’s Conference speech following outraged cries of sexism from fake feminists and demands that he be replaced with a drone-bombing, Wall Street-coddling female politician like Hillary Clinton.
Get used to this. This is the new normal.
Two years ago journalist Max Blumenthal predicted that “Trump’s true role is expanding political space on the far-right, making the militarists and racists who roundly condemn him seem moderate,” and we see today that this is exactly how he’s being used. After their failed attempt to use Trump’s far-right following to make his fanatically neoconservative opponent look electable in 2016, they simply shifted to using the exact same tactic for 2020. This is less about getting a more presentable face in the White House than it is about herding rank-and-file Americans into supporting the neoliberal neoconservative power structure represented by what is hilariously known as America’s political “center”.
The amount of success they’ve been having in paralyzing the left with this tactic means that you will only see more of this going forward. Big scary boogiemen like Trump will be used to frighten mainstream America into the arms of the “centrists”, who will magnanimously offer protection from racism, sexism, and an assortment of bigoted-phobias in exchange for allegiance to the US war machine and rapacious plutocratic exploitation. Anyone who refuses to play along with this manipulation will be accused of bigotry and privilege in various ways.
This will happen. It won’t be blatant, it won’t be sudden, and it won’t happen in any uniform way, but it will happen. In various ways, everyone to the left of John McCain will be guilted, manipulated and bullied into supporting the warmongering, CIA-loving, corporate crony McCarthyist establishment faction of the Democratic party.
And, unless something huge changes very soon in the way people look at these things, enough of them will buy it. Even many well-meaning individuals on the far left who are aware they’re being manipulated will get snagged on some aspect of the relentless deluge of propaganda eventually; if they’re not sucked into supporting the machine they’ll be rendered impotent by sectarian infighting against fellow lefties who react differently to the manipulations.
Those of us on the political left are going to have to find a way to deal with the fact that opposing the establishment machine will inevitably result in withering accusations of a litany of -isms and -phobias because of these manipulations, and we’re going to have to figure out how to do that without alienating the disadvantaged groups who are hurt by the status quo worse than anyone else.
But that won’t be enough. It’s all well and good to talk about “rejecting identity politics”, but if all we do is reject the worldview that has made accusations of privilege and bigotry such effective tools of establishment manipulation, they’ll just figure out how to manipulate whatever worldview we replace that one with. Identity politics is indeed a great way to cajole a large percentage of the population into supporting agendas that the ruling elites care about (economic injustice, war, surveillance, media propaganda, etc.) in exchange for agendas that the ruling elites don’t care about (pro-choice, anti-racism, marriage equality, etc.), but ultimately it’s just one of many possible collars that the propagandists can attach leashes to.
As we’ve discussed previously, propaganda as we understand it today has been a developing science for about a hundred years. Think about how much innovation has happened in other fields over the last century, and you get a feel for how much these powerful manipulators have developed their craft during that time. That’s how advanced the establishment propagandists are. That’s how much of a head start they have as we begin to figure this thing out.
For this reason, it’s not enough for us to change what we think; we’re going to have to change how we think as well. As long as we can be manipulated, they will find ways of manipulating us. If we’re ever to beat the people who wield the immense power of the establishment propaganda machine, we will have to find some way to become more difficult to manipulate.
I am speaking about a total transformation in humanity’s relationship with thought. I know that sounds like a far-fetched and idealistic suggestion, but I just don’t think we’ll be able to survive as a species if it doesn’t happen. The best case scenario if this doesn’t happen is an Orwellian future dominated by the elites who control AI technology which will make the current propaganda machine look like child’s play, and the worst case scenario is extinction via nuclear holocaust or climate chaos. All of these things are pressing concerns right now, and we’ll probably have our answer as to what our fate will be within a generation or two. We are at evolve-or-die time.
If we’re to evolve, this will necessarily entail an overall shift in our species’ relationship with thought and belief. Propaganda works by constructing a pro-establishment narrative that the human mind can be duped into imbuing with the power of belief via sympathy and frequent authoritative repetition. If we’re to evolve to a point where propaganda no longer works on us, we’ll have to transcend this insidious mental habit of believing thoughts instead of using them as tools for our benefit.
If we can use our ingenuity as a species and our unprecedented ability to network and share information to find some way to make this shift happen, we will become very difficult to manipulate, and therefore impossible to effectively propagandize, and therefore impossible to manipulate into supporting the rule of oligarchic tyrants. This would usher in a new era where a true collaborative anarchy (a word which literally means nothing other than “without rulers”) would become possible for us. An era where political ideologies become meaningless, since we’d be naturally inclined to collaborate toward everyone’s benefit.
This would be possible because the aforementioned mental habit of imbuing thoughts with belief is the same tendency which makes it impossible for humans to be content with enough. When we’re lugging around a ton of believed thoughts about “me” and “mine” and “others” and “world”, believed thoughts which revolve around an ego who needs to be protected and secured against a hostile world, there’s an insatiable sense of lack, and an interminable fear of losing safety and security. These egoic mental habits are what lead people to fight, to be greedy, to be manipulated into supporting war and injustice because those people over there are trying to harm you or take what’s yours.
Believed mental narrative is the primary obstacle to overthrowing the unelected power establishment which has loosely centralized itself in the United States. It’s also the primary obstacle to happiness and contentment.
Everyone has had a glimpse of this possibility in themselves, however faint. Maybe in the wake of some deep personal trauma, maybe in the space between sleeping and waking, maybe that one time you tried psilocybin mushrooms in the eighties, maybe in a moment of deep contemplation, maybe when you got really “in the zone” during sports or art, or maybe in some spontaneous moment of stillness that took you by surprise. Everyone’s seen a glimmer of this possibility at some point, but they usually get lost in the ruckus of life or dismiss it as some insignificant anomaly and forget about it. That’s what’s real, though. That’s what’s true. That’s the part of you that can lead us home.
After watching the repeating patterns of human behavior and the trajectory that those patterns have got us on, I cannot imagine our species having a worthwhile future on this planet unless this shift takes place on a global scale fairly soon. I don’t know how it can happen. I do know that seven and a half billion human brains increasingly interconnected by the internet has never, ever happened before. Anything is possible. We can wake up together.
Just putting this idea out there for Team Human. I love every last one of you.
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