Monday, August 10, 2020

propaganda never sleeps

Propaganda and outright lying are part and parcel of the modern world. There never was a golden age in which politicians didn’t lie. There never was a golden age in which journalists were courageous advocates for the truth. From the beginnings of democracy politicians have lied. Mass media always was propaganda. Newspapers in the 19th century were as politically biased as mass media outlets of today.

What has changed is that politics has expanded to encompass the whole of life. The weather is a political issue. If you remark that yesterday was warm for this time of year you are making a political statement. Sex is political. Sexual attraction is political. If you remarks that a young woman has a nice figure you’re making a political statement (and you’re oppressing women). Marriage is political. If you’re unwise enough to reassure a young woman that one day she’ll find the right man to marry you’re making a political statement (and you’re being a heteronormative oppressor). If, God forbid, you make a remark about women giving birth you’re making a political statement (men can give birth too, bigot). Biology is political. Science is political. Medicine is political. Religion is political. Everything is political.

Which means there is more propaganda than ever before.

Most people understand this but most people are extremely reluctant to admit that their own side engages in propaganda. Liberals are convinced that propaganda is something  that conservatives do and conservatives obsess over what they see as liberal propaganda in the media while being unwilling to admit that their side uses propaganda as well. 

The far right obsesses over propaganda in the mainstream media while being unwilling to admit that the right-wing alternative media is all propaganda as well.

As far as COVID-19 is concerned just about everything that both the pro-lockdown and anti-lockdown factions say is little more than propaganda but neither side will admit it. The same goes for climate change. And immigration. 

If the subject is Russia or China then again both the pro and con cases are almost entirely propaganda. It’s also safe to say that if Islam or the Catholic Church is being discussed the discussion will in fact be nothing more than both sides presenting their own propaganda.

The most important thing you have to keep always in mind is that your own side is lying to you as well. Your political enemies are certainly indulging in propaganda, but so are your political allies. If there’s an election in the offing you can certainly assume that the candidate you dislike will be lying, but the candidate you favour will be lying as well. 

Since everything is now political it naturally follows that every story in the media will be a mixture of lies, distortions, exaggerations and misinformation. It makes no difference whether it’s a right-wing or a left-wing media outlet or whether it’s the mainstream media or the alternative media.

It’s depressing, but all you can is to cultivate a healthy scepticism. Whatever is being said you have to ask yourself whether the person saying it has a political agenda (which is almost certainly the case) and if so what that agenda is.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

new ways of looking at class in the modern world

It’s an article of faith for the modern Right that class no longer matters. Curiously enough that view is mostly shared by the modern Left (or at the least the entity that today calls itself the Left). That the Right and the Left agree that there is no class struggle any more is not surprising since the modern Left and Right share almost identical views on economic matters.

The idea that society is divided into the exploiters and the exploited still persists on the Left, but they insist that this no longer has anything to do with class. We’re told that society is no longer divided along class lines but along racial and ethnic lines. Whites are the exploiters and non-whites are the exploited. Feminists on the other hand insist that men are the exploiters and women the exploited. There’s also the newly fashionable idea the the exploiters are those who cling to outdated gender binary ideas (such as the notion that people are divided into men and women).

Another curiosity of the modern world is that the far Right to a large extent shares these views, the only difference being that they think it’s whites and men who are the exploited.

The truth of course is that class warfare is still with us, but the old-fashioned Marxist view of class really is outdated.

Michael Lind has come up with some theories that are interesting attempts to grapple with the new realities. His blog post The Double Horseshoe Theory of Class Politics is pleasingly brief and clear and it’s worth a read.

Friday, July 31, 2020

how malleable are our beliefs?

Exactly how malleable are our beliefs? It’s not so much a question of changing people’s political opinions. That seems to be very easy. In the past half century we’ve seen extraordinary, and extraordinarily rapid, changes in the population’s views on various political and social issues. Political positions that enjoyed almost no support at all a couple of decades ago (such as homosexual marriage) now enjoy majority support. And among the young, overwhelming support.

Immigration was very unpopular a few decades ago. Today it has sufficient support that immigration restrictionism has become a non-viable political position.

Political positions that were considered to be open to some debate, such as climate change, are no longer open to question. Among the young climate change is absolutely unquestioned. 

But to what extent have beliefs really changed? Are people simply conforming to these dominant ideologies because they’re too scared to disagree? Or because it’s easier and more socially advantageous to conform outwardly? Have people’s core beliefs actually changed?

Perhaps we should look to history. In 1520 England was a Catholic country. A hundred years later the English were rabidly and hysterically anti-Catholic. Was this a sincere abandonment of one religious conviction for another? Was it, despite the anti-Catholic hysteria, mostly superficial? In fact was the hysteria a sign of over-compensation? 

One interesting recent sign is the rabid Sinophobia that has emerged in Australia in the past few months. Anti-racism is the dominant ideology in Australia as it is throughout the Anglosphere but now that anti-Chinese racism is not merely socially acceptable but approved by the government and the media Australians seem to be enthusiastically embracing it. 

So is anti-racism merely a superficial change in belief?

Is the widespread belief in open borders merely superficial? If the government and the media suddenly started pushing anti-immigration rhetoric would the population simply go along and become ardent immigration restrictionists? If the government and the media suddenly announced that climate change was nonsense would people become ardent climate change sceptics?

A couple of months ago hardly anyone in Australia was wearing masks. The government and the media had told them that masks don’t work. Now the government and the media are telling people that masks not only work, they’re essential. And suddenly Australians are willing to accept the idea of compulsory mask-wearing.

There’s also the popular belief on the Right that there are millions of secret Trump voters who are unwilling to admit to pollsters that they intend to vote for Trump. But, so the right-wing theory goes, despite trailing badly in the polls Trump is going to win easily. Is this theory correct? Are millions of people outwardly conforming to anti-Trumpism while being secret MAGA hat-wearers? In a few months we’ll know the answer to that question, which may provide some clues as to the answers to the other questions I’ve posed.

Is it possible that political opinions are so malleable that public opinion really can turn on a dime?

Is it also possible that most people don’t really have strong political opinions? That they merely outwardly conform to whatever beliefs make life easy?

Sunday, July 19, 2020

COVID-19 not all bad news

Even the darkest cloud has a silver lining. One very very good thing could come out of the COVID-19 situation - it could be a disaster for universities.

In Australia universities are closing campuses and laying off thousands of staff. This is the best news for Australia in decades. With any luck some universities will shut down for good. And a lot of academics will end up on the dole. 

A university education is only beneficial for a very small proportion of the population, probably 10% at most. For anyone else it is not merely useless but actively harmful. Our universities are churning out immense numbers of graduates, most of whom we simply don’t need. There is nothing more dangerous to a society than excess university graduates. They become a serious social problem. They swell the ranks of political activism and are a threat to the very survival of our civilisation.

It’s not just the graduates with Mickey Mouse degrees in gender studies or women’s studies. The single most dangerous thing for any society is a surplus of lawyers and we already have a massive over-supply of lawyers. Most university business courses are only marginally less useless than gender studies courses. And how many economists do we actually need?

And of course there are the pseudo-sciences, such as anthropology and climate science. 

Not that I’m cruel or vindictive. I would like to see those now useless academics offered retraining so that they can become useful members of society. They could be taught valuable skills. Like digging ditches, waitressing, truck-driving.

My one great fear is that idiotic governments will bail the universities out. This needs to be resisted. The universities should be allowed to die. If our society is to survive they must be allowed to die.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

social media and the cultural Revolution

If you look at western society in the 1990s there were obviously some problems. There was a lot of feminist craziness. The unholy alliance between Big Business and Big Government was becoming more and more of a threat. There was however no real reason to believe that western civilisation was on the brink of chaos and complete madness. The problems seemed survivable.

Now we have chaos and complete madness. Something has changed. And that something is social media. Other factors have been at work but the truly devastating factor has been social media.

Social media is the big one because it's the thing that turned SJWs from a minor irritation into a grave threat to civilisation. It gave SJWs a weapon with which they could destroy people's lives and force corporations to toe the SJW line. It transformed SJWs from marginalised nutters into an immensely formidable organised power bloc. It has made SJWs/Wokesters into a force capable of carrying through the most radical Cultural Revolution in history.

The problem is that social media is inherently bad. You can't have good social media. All social media is damaging. Bringing the social media giants under some sort of control (forcing them to operate as public utilities for example) might help marginally but social media is by its very nature socially destructive.

Since it seems very unlikely that social media can be destroyed then at the very least it needs to be brought to heel.

Social media is the oxygen that allows SJWs and Wokeists to survive and thrive and multiply.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

de Gaulle quotes

“Since a politician never believes what he says, he is surprised when others believe him.” - Charles de Gaulle

“In order to be the master, the politician poses as the servant.” - Charles de Gaulle

“You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.” - Charles de Gaulle

“In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.” - Charles de Gaulle

“No country without an atom bomb could properly consider itself independent.” - Charles de Gaulle

Friday, June 26, 2020

the past must be destroyed

Many on the Right seem to be assuming that the current efforts to tear down statues of Dead White Guys are motivated by anti-white hatred. I’m no at all sure that that is what is really going on. For one thing the most enthusiastic statue-topplers seem to be young whites.

I think the real hatred is aimed at the past. One thing I've noticed about the politically correct/Woke crowd is their extreme hostility to the past. The past is seen as something that is incredibly threatening and frightening because to younger people it's so inexplicable. How could people in the past not have realised that homosexuality is awesome? How could they not have realised that Girls Can Do Anything? How could those people in the past have thought that being a slut was wrong? Those people must have been evil.

What we're seeing is Year Zero stuff. Destroy the past. The past was evil. Destroy everything old. 

The obsession with Dead White Guys is really a symptom of a fear and horror of everything that happened before the 1990s. In fact even the 1990s was pretty evil. The Enlightenment began with the election of Obama.

Attacking the beliefs, values, institutions and culture of the past has alway been popular with would-be revolutionaries (the Woke crowd are actually not revolutionaries but useful idiots of the ruing class but they think they’re revolutionaries). In fact even in the ancient world it was common enough for what we now call regime change to be accompanied by attacks on everything associated with the previous regime/dynasty. Destroying statues was by no means unheard of. In fact it’s a traditional method of letting the old regime know that it’s now powerless.

The current wave of statue-toppling seems to be a case of one mostly white ideological group attacking the symbols of a rival mostly white ideological group.

Also bear in mind that the Great Awokening is a Children's Revolution. When I say children, many of these children are now in their thirties but they're still children. Mom and Dad are so evil and stupid they think men can't have babies! They think women can't have penises! Mom and Dad need to be sent to be re-educated.