Trump Has Been Neutered, But We Can Still Beat The Deep State

There’s a lot going on in progressive politics today. Everyone’s either talking about the French elections or the drama between the Sanders wing and the establishment Dems and how that’s dancing with the ridiculous “unity tour” they’re trying to force into viability through sheer ham-fisted insistence, but I dunno. I can’t really get it up for those fights right now. I think the battle lines have been and continue to be radically re-drawn over the course of the month of April, and those old struggles have lost a lot of significance.

I haven’t seen this getting much attention, but President Trump recently said that he’d be “okay” with the Justice Department taking steps to arrest Julian Assange. Not only that, but Trump reportedly told the Associated Press that he did not even know that such a plan was in the works until the reporter asked him about it, despite its having been an international headline all day.

You could not ask for a clearer sign that Trump has been absorbed by the deep state than this. Whatever his intentions were when he was sworn in, Trump has plainly been taken to the veterinarian by America’s unelected power establishment and is now sitting in the backyard wearing a cone collar and wondering where his balls went. The less perceptive Trumpsters are refusing to see this, claiming that Trump is just playing “3-D chess” by suddenly kowtowing to the globalist agenda at every turn in order to astonish everyone with some sort of super-advanced maneuver, blissfully unaware that they are repeating verbatim what the less perceptive progressives were saying early on in the Obama administration when it became clear to everyone else that they’d just elected another neoliberal oligarchic crony like Bush. Don’t believe me? Take a quick peek at this clip from 2010:

So for anyone who’d bet the house on Trump being the guy to turn this thing around, I’m sorry, but that is not in the cards. I was secretly hoping he’d be able to stand up to the plutocrats, intelligence community, military-industrial complex and defense officials who comprise the deep state as well, but as soon as the corporate media started cheering for his capitulation to the neocons with his missile strikes in Syria that hope officially left the building.

I still have hope though. An abundance of it, as a matter of fact. All this has done is ensure the transformation of the illusory left vs. right battle into a very real struggle between the deep state and the steadily-increasing number of people who are becoming aware of it and opposing it.

Take heart. It only seems hopeless if you look at this from the point of view of playing the deep state’s game by the deep state’s rules. If you’re thinking in terms of political parties and elections and campaign finance and blah blah blah, then of course it’s going to look hopeless, and it’s designed to look that way. The political establishment went to great lengths to paint Hillary Clinton as “inevitable” using their corporate media mouthpieces in the lead-ups to both the primaries and the general election, because they know it’s a powerful tool for dissuading any resistance to their agenda. But she still lost, and the deep state is as beatable as Hillary. We just have to stop playing their game by their rules.

It happens that the powerful oligarchs who control US affairs have a small gap in their armor: it is entirely held together by media propaganda, and the internet is making that house of cards increasingly difficult to maintain. 2016 saw the establishment lose control of the narrative for the first time ever as a direct result of WikiLeaks, alternative media and social media waging a relentless campaign against them, and there’s no reason we can’t keep hitting them in the same place again and again and again until they come crashing to the ground like the proverbial Goliath.

To quote Chomsky, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” America’s ruling elites figured out that all they need to do in order to ensure that they remain in power is find a way to rigidly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, and in the corporate media they found a way. By establishing and manipulating a corporatist system of government, the oligarchs have succeeded in consolidating virtually all media into five extremely powerful corporations, which they’ve used to set up a very narrow spectrum of acceptable opinion wherein anyone who has a problem with the current system is either ridiculed, attacked or ignored, but those who merely quibble over the minor details of their neoliberal nightmare are both allowed and encouraged to tear one another to shreds.

It’s a brilliant system, really. In the past, ruling elites needed to torture people to death in the town square in order to force the compliance of the masses, but that caused rebellions and ensured short-lived dynasties — gruelling oppression takes a tremendous amount of energy and can easily end in an unpleasant transaction with the business end of a guillotine blade. By using mass media to manipulate people into consenting to a ridiculous one-party system where you get to cast votes for two functionally identical corporatists but bash each other into a pulp over which one is better, the oligarchs have been able to obtain far more power than the kings and emperors of yore could have ever imagined, and for a fraction of the work.

This system of oppression, though lucrative and efficient, has two glaring weaknesses:
1) It depends on the media in a world where media is getting more and more difficult to control. They can manipulate Google searches and Facebook algorithms all they like, but minds are connecting in a way they’ve never been able to before and internet culture is evolving and changing at far too rapid a pace now for any back-room think tank to have any hope of keeping up with, and on far too large a scale for any monolithic narrative to have any hope of dominance.
2) It depends on the illusion of freedom. Some people respond to point #1 by saying “So they’ll kill the internet!” No they won’t. They can’t. That will not happen. If they did that they’d be doing our job for us by shattering the illusion of freedom, in which case their only option is trying to revert back to the old town square mutilations model of control in a nation of 319 million humans and at least one gun per capita. Taking America’s internet would be harder than taking its guns, and they can’t take Americans’ guns for the same reason they can’t take their internet. Without the illusion of freedom, it’s just hundreds of millions of heavily armed and extremely angry primates having their way with anyone who’s stupid enough to try and fight that. The economy crashes, the nation is balkanized, and the oligarchs lose their kingdom. Will not happen.

So we really have free rein to go absolutely ape shit on these bastards in an all-out media war. There’s literally nothing incentivizing us not to. They cannot stop us, and as long as we keep fighting they cannot win, because they built an Achilles’ heel into their own system. We can win this thing easily, and without firing a shot — all we have to do is break the spell of the establishment narrative. Being relentlessly, unapologetically outspoken. Refusing to be shamed into silence by the cognitive livestock who remain under the establishment’s spell. Sticking up for each other when they try to shout us down and mock us. Speaking everywhere at every opportunity, with strangers on the bus, with social media, with blogs, with videos, with any TV show that’s stupid enough to give us ten seconds of camera time. Pointing out the massive plot holes and easily-refuted lies the corporate media tries to circulate. Anything to keep shaking people awake and shatter the illusion of normalcy they’ve worked so hard to lull everyone into.

The only thing holding us back is our fear of embarrassment. That’s actually what binds the reactive sheep together — they don’t want to look foolish so they parrot what they think everyone else is saying. But all it’s going to take is a tipping point of people telling the truth, and then the truth will become the thing they parrot. We just have to be the loudest voice in the room and our unison will be natural because what we say is true. Lies are a lot of work because you have to keep reinforcing them and keep making sure everyone is saying them. We don’t have that problem though. We are united in our narrative not by loyalty or embarrassment, but by our love of the simplicity and honesty of just pointing at the emperor and describing how we see his clothes.

Don’t let the spell of inevitability trick you into despondency. It didn’t work with Hillary and it’s not going to work in the long run ever again, but here’s the thing: it was the strongest spell they have. It’s their first line of defense and we’ve already breached it. There is no inevitability. We can effect change. We know now that anything can happen, and that it probably will. Let’s keep going. The cracks are beginning to show.

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I write about the end of illusions.

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