Matricular Living: The Ethics & Aesthetics of Westworld/Jordan Peterson on the Reign of the Oedipal Mother

westworld-matrix

I recorded a conversation before Christmas about #Pizzagate & trauma for Always Record, with S.J. Anderson, Alex Fulton, and Dennis M. Koch, “Beyond the Pale King Kill,” which you can listen to here. Towards the end of the two and a half hour conversation, Alex brings up Westworld, which I had only started to watch at the time and was quite optimistic about. Later the bubble burst.

I posted a few thoughts on Faceborg about the show before leaving that psychic swamp:

What happens when you keep twisting a narrative? It snaps.

Westworld got more & more like Lost. I had my doubts throughout, but it wasn’t till the last episode that I felt “slimed.” Not just the Dr Who level of staging but how the whole thing seemed to be, after all, just setting the stage for “robots massacre humans” celebratory finale. Still, the whole thing would make an interesting case study for entertainment media as delivery device for transhumanist ideologies. It even has the line “A little trauma can be illuminating.”

Alex Fulton responded at Faceborg that: “these shows are carrier-waves for things that are completely unintended by their creators, so they carry differing, even contradictory agendas.” I replied:

I wonder what that (how much a product serves as a carrier for unintended meanings) depends on, exactly? How coldly and calculatingly it is designed and controlled to prevent that from happening (my beef with Kubrick?), to prevent the unexpected from emerging? Westworld definitely had its moments; it seemed to be the product of a committee of writers trying to convey as many ideas & intellectual propositions as they could fit into the show, without a unifying vision (no controlling intelligence). Hence in the end it felt to me more like a commercial (propaganda) than a work of art. & what it was selling, as far as I can tell, was [the perennial American trope:] violence as a means for transcendence.

More recently, I had an an email exchange about it with the author Peter Watts, who blogged favorably about the show here. My email to Peter:

I just read your review of Westworld. It gave me pause as I was about to reach out to you, & here’s why: my wife & I really enjoyed the first few episodes, so much so we stopped watching till the season was up & then watched the whole run over Christmas. By the end, our bubble had burst and we came away with a distinctly sour impression.
My reasons for disliking it were both aesthetic and ethical. Actually I found it hit-&-miss throughout, but it wasn’t till the last episode that it really jumped the android for me in both regards. Aesthetically, I can sum up my disappointment with this: what happens when a plot just keeps on twisting? It snaps. By the end, the show had for me lost all dramatic coherence or relevance – all human meaning – in favor of cerebral gymnastics, cheesy action, and the usual glorification of violence, only now with a still queasier twist by promoting violence within an “initiatory” context of bringing about heightened states of (self) awareness. This is where my ethical objections began, as the show revealed itself (to my trained eye) as transhumanist traumagenesis propaganda, as explored, & I like to think exposed, in Prisoner of Infinity.

I hate to show up just to be the rain on someone’s parade (movies & TV shows are great dividers), & so I wasn’t going to write about this, at all. But then my wife said, “He’s a scientist, he can’t let personal investment interfere with the quest for truth.” So here it is. (My email I mean, not Truth. Well maybe both.)

Peter responded:

Yeah, you raise interesting issues. Obviously I come down on a different side of them than you do, but maybe that’s just because we got to the series from different starting points.

I had kind of an inverse reaction to yours over the whole plot-twisting thing; I was increasingly lost until the later episodes, when the whole dual-timeline clicked into place. At that point everything snapped into focus, and I was impressed that the producers actually had enough faith in their audience to demand patience prior to payoff. I did think at first that maybe that whole conceit was more gimmick than dramatic necessity– hell, why not just throw in text cards between scenes so we know up front we’re dealing with two different segments of the timeline?– but on second thought I think they made the right call. The revelation that William = Man in Black was a punchline best delayed. (And hell, gimmicky or not, I don’t think “Memento” would have been nearly as good either, if they’d played the timeline right way around.)

I’ve never heard of “transhumanist traumagenesis”, so I can’t comment on that score. All I know is that one of the most intriguing theories of consciousness I’ve ever come across (the PRISM model I mentioned on the blog post) hinges on the internal conflict of stressed bodies; it’s not well known in the pop-sci sense but it’s peer-reviewed and legit and well-thought-out (and spookily reminiscent of Herbert’s gom jabbar in Dune). The elements that you saw as promoting violence struck me as evidence these guys had actually done their science homework, which is virtually unheard of for a popular TV show. Also it doesn’t hurt (see what I did there?) that suffering-towards-sapience carries a lot of intrinsic dramatic potential.

On a more fundamental level, I think we disagree about the role of ethics in critique. Ideally I think such discussions should be ethics-free, because the line between ethics and ideology is so damn blurry. I’ve lapsed in this position myself– I ranted on the ‘crawl about “Interstellar”‘s odious We weren’t meant to save the Earth, we were meant to fuck it over, jump ship, and stick our roomies with the bill theme (although for the sake of honesty I did have to admit to an uncomfortable parallel between my attitude and that of the anti-abortion crowd). But for the most part, I’m a firm believer in following the data, and fuck the ideological consequences.  For example, the genre is full of refugees from the other side of campus who shit all over basic biology because they think it conflicts with their chosen ideology; I’ve seen people decry the use of neutral descriptive words like “male” and “female” as “dehumanising”. I once wrote a story one reviewer literally threw across the room for it’s inherent misogyny– even though the story was told from the POV of a semiautonomous military drone, and contained no human characters of any gender whatsoever. So when someone criticizes a work because it doesn’t make logical sense, or because it’s badly written, or because it’s inconsistent in the way it makes its points, I’m cool with that. But if the critique boils down to “ethically objectionable” — i.e., this show presents a viewpoint I disagree with— my response is generally suck it up, dude.

Perhaps I’ve been lucky in that most of the shows that I personally find ethically disagreeable are also logically inconsistent and poorly argued. I can shit on the show for failing to make its case, which means I can dismiss its philosophical viewpoint as unviable (again, see my take on the deeply-flawed “Interstellar”).  I don’t know how I’d react if (for example) someone produced a work of fiction that compellingly and unassailably made a case for racism.  I hope I could accept it on its merits, but you never know. They repugnance of the bottom line might overwhelm my desire to follow the data wherever it led.  As someone wise once said: as a (former) scientist, I can’t let personal investment interfere with the quest for truth.

At any rate, circling back to Westworld, We Have Sapience; so perhaps the need for traumatic transcendence has passed. I’m expecting that Season 2 will deal more with the conflict between the newly-liberated theme park and the world beyond. Time will tell.

And yeah, of course your wife’s right. Arguing about stuff is what we do here. Life would be a lot more boring otherwise.

 ***
The ethical/aesthetical question is a great topic for discussion . . .  Briefly stated for me it’s all one, because my ethical objection is to mixing ideology with aesthetics, which makes it propaganda. So I am equally put off by entertainment with a neo-liberal, anti-racist (or whatever) message as by (much rarer) neofascist, racist (or whatever) messaging. All ideologies are IMO equally deleterious (since it’s really only one ideology with many guises: witness the increasingly fascistic flavor of neo-liberalism).

Generally, I’d say there’s a fairly reliable correlation between the degree of ethical subterfuge (ideology-baggage) and the absence of aesthetic value, i.e., the more something acts as an ideological delivery device, the less value it has as art/entertainment (to me personally, obviously not to the corporations, think tanks, & secret societies doing the propagandizing).

I work hard to separate ethics from ideology by basing the former on psychological fact, not on sentimental preference; hence my objection to child sexual abuse is not moral but pragmatic, based on data about the observable effects of it.

Traumagenesis & transhumanism, that was the main thesis of Prisoner of Infinity, but since I think you only read snippets, you may have missed it? Simply stated, it is the erroneous principal that, since awakening (the emergence sentience, self-awareness, etc) is, perhaps invariably, a painful process, ergo inflicting pain on organisms will bring about awakening.

Urm… nope.

This is a logical fallacy that leads to some horrendous breaches of ethical behaviors, in fact to an entire culture based on what I termed traumagenesis, social engineering via traumatization, all the way back to the Greeks with their pederasted prodigies….

There’s a kernel of truth in it, which is what makes it so persistent and so pernicious, IMO.

People who have been trauma-engineered (which would include many, I would say probably all, leading cultural figures) are naturally going to lack affective empathy and so their “genius” will be top-heavy, intellect-based, ideas driven, machinelike, and fundamentally anti-human/dehumanizing (the primary effect of sexual abuse); to some degree, this will be reflected also in the aesthetically barren narratives they generate, or at least, there will be some observable correlation between the two “lacks.”

That’s my disappointment with WW, in a not-so tidy nutshell…. As a counterpoint I’d offer the very human, and much maligned, True Detective 2nd season. Which was all about the tragic effects of traumagenesis culture.

***

dolores

I recently watched Jordan Peterson talking to Joe Rogen about the “anti-racial training” programs now, becoming mandatory throughout various institutions (inc. Canadian legal system, apparently). Peterson argues that a) they are based on wholly faulty pseudo-science/psychology and b) have been shown to have the opposite to the intended effect, namely, they increase any latent racist (or “racist”) tendencies which they are designed to “correct.” This is something I’ve written about in more general terms recently, and of course been excoriated for, eg: https://auticulture.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/vicious-circles-angry-squares-pedophilia-scapegoating-taboo-social-control-part-one/

Peterson defines ideology as “pathological over-simplification” and refers to the social justice warrior type (SJW) as thriving on feelings of “unearned moral superiority.” Nothing is too trivial for SJW’s to condemn and attack, because it allows them to avoid dealing with actual problems.

He also refers to this prevailing ideological possession as “the reign of the Oedipal mother,” which I think is right on point. It’s a matrix built by the mollycoddled mother-bonded (primary trauma of unhealthy/incestuous maternal attachment).

Peterson describes SJW’s as filled with “resentment at the burden of being” and seeking revenge for every last disagreeable aspect of their existence. This includes (the ultimate enemy of wounded feelings) facts, such as the unalterable aspects of biological and psychic reality. Here is where neo-liberalism intersects with transhumanism and both are revealed as not merely deranged but fundamentally anti-human & dehumanizing.

Full interview (170 mins):

Gold Nuggets version (52 mins):

Two minute highlight:

44 thoughts on “Matricular Living: The Ethics & Aesthetics of Westworld/Jordan Peterson on the Reign of the Oedipal Mother

  1. There’s a good deal of British cultural and class aesthetic patrolling entertainment creativity in this analysis. That is how it should be, the world can’t just be American though it is fast approaching such a complete saturation. The age old dilemma of which culture is more traumatised than the other persists. Jasun is a Virgilian English Gentleman with 18th Century style ethical twists and turns thrown in whilst his opposite number is an Homeric gunslinger. Each has a particular advantage and interest in each other’s torment plus suspicion enough to oscillate thinking into Ibsenesque confrontational misunderstanding. Who is ahead in the game? ‘Answers are inevitably complex, rooted in part in the twin classical inheritance of the ruthless, Greek, Achillean hero, who burns and destroys without thought to his own welfare; and the Roman Virgilian hero, who is in many ways a schematic opposite of the Greek. He is Civic where the Greek is ragingly individual. He serves the state, not his own self-driven destiny. He too must use violence but his violence is limited and proportionate. He conforms and conserves where Achilles dislocates and destroys. Like Cicinnatus, called to save Rome in her hour of crisis, the Roman hero returns, after he has performed his task, to the farm and the plough from which the needs of the state had summoned him.’ (Men of Honour: Adam Nicholson). No trauma, no drama; cosmic fuel, cruel and heroic.

    • That there are un- or anti-American sentiments in my comments you are probably right (tho True Detective is also US show). That my position is in service of the State is weirdly ironic, I guess by State you mean social collective, tho I;d say the State is the very antithesis of the collective, which is maybe why US State propaganda movies choose lone, maverick heroes to represent it. The State is always totalitarian dictatorship so I’d say your Greek hero secretly serves that by serving his own individual drives, being as they are what the State has instilled in him by trauma? Kind of what True Detective 2 is about, in fact.

      As for no trauma no drama, this is true enough, yet also the reverse in a way, traumatized people cannot act in any but compulsive unconscious ways and so are like empty vessels fueled by poisons. Thinking of Beckett’s Godot now, that a representation of human condition that was true might represent a kind of stasis or paralysis? Westworld was just too dramatic to be emotionally engaging in the end, like a video game. The more melo-drama, the less we feel the suffering that drives it? It becomes all about the actions that keep suffering at bay.

      Wouldn’t it be great to see a drama about a man in a room willing to do nothing?

      • Re: a drama about a man willing to do nothing, I read Bartleby, the Scrivener when I was working a soul-killing temp job at an insurance company in the exact location in lower Manhattan where the story took place 150 years prior. I have never related to anything in my life more than Bartleby steadfastly repeating, “I would prefer not to.” It perfectly summed up my reaction at the time to that job. Bartleby is an absurdist hero.

  2. Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/16/post-truth-named-2016-word-of-the-year-by-oxford-dictionaries/?utm_term=.0a134633ff1e

    Oxford Dictionaries has selected “post-truth” as 2016’s international word of the year, after the contentious “Brexit” referendum and an equally divisive U.S. presidential election caused usage of the adjective to skyrocket, according to the Oxford University Press.

    The dictionary defines “post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

    In this case, the “post-” prefix doesn’t mean “after” so much as it implies an atmosphere in which a notion is irrelevant — but then again, who says you have to take our word for it anymore?

    […]

    “Post-truth” was selected after Oxford’s dictionary editors noted a roughly 2,000 percent increase in its usage over 2015 — it was appearing with far more frequency in news articles and on social media in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

    The first spike came in June, driven by the rhetoric leading up to Britain’s European Union referendum, Oxford Dictionaries President Casper Grathwohl said in a statement.

    “Post-truth” usage spiked again in July after Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination.

    “It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse,” Grathwohl said. “Fueled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.”

    “Post-truth” was selected as the 2016 word of the year even before results of the election were known, said Katherine Martin, the head of U.S. dictionaries for Oxford University Press.

    “We choose words that are going to highlight the interplay between our words and our culture,” Martin said. The final word of the year is meant to be one that captures the “ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance.”

    The Washington Post’s own Fact Checker blog, which published 314 fact checks of the candidates who ran for president during the 2016 election cycle, has noted that “in many ways, it was an unbalanced race” — but didn’t go so far as to endorse the term “post-truth.”

    “I have never been a fan of the word ‘post-truth,’ since it’s a facile way to describe basic human behavior since the first words were spoken,” The Fact Checker’s Glenn Kessler said in an email. “People have always been swayed by emotions and personal beliefs. As fact checkers, we give people the factual information and context for statements made by politicians. What people do with those facts is up to them.”

    [..]
    For what it’s worth, “post-truth” is not to be confused with “truthiness,” a subtly different term popularized by Stephen Colbert more than a decade ago that described the phenomenon of “believing something that feels true, even if it isn’t supported by fact.”

    “Now I’m sure some of the word police, the ‘wordinistas’ over at Webster’s, are gonna to say, hey, that’s not a word,” said Colbert in the 2005 segment that introduced the word. “Well, anybody who knows me know that I’m no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They’re elitist! Constantly telling us what is or isn’t true. or what did or didn’t happen.”

    At the time, Colbert was still playing an exaggerated caricature of a conservative political-show host.

    “Who’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914?!” he continued in the segment. “If I want to say it happened in 1941, that’s my right. I don’t trust books. They’re all fact, no heart.”

    Merriam-Webster made “truthiness” its 2006 word of the year.

    And if anything, the rise of truthiness cleared the path for “post-truth,” as in: “In a post-truth world, truthiness is all that matters.”

    “Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time,” said Grathwohl, the Oxford Dictionaries president.

    Each year, the Oxford staff selects hundreds of words, then narrows that list down through discussions about “what words are going to best highlight the ways in which the English lexicon is changing in response to current events,” said Martin, Oxford’s head of U.S. dictionaries.

    This year, the shortlist included “adulting” (often packaged into the phrase “adulting so hard,” as in, “I’m adulting so hard that I bought a leaf blower and increased my contribution to my 401(k) retirement savings plan”) and hygge, which refers to a “comfortable conviviality and feeling of contentment” central to Danish culture.

    “Post-truth” also beat out finalist “alt-right,” a shortening of “alternative right” defined by Oxford as “an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.”

    Use of “alt-right” in 2016 has increased dramatically as well, in large part because of Trump’s ties to prominent alt-right figures such as Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News who was just named Trump’s chief White House strategist.

    This year’s discussion “was a bit more serious and somber … than it has been in some other years,” Martin said.

    • That’s it, we have wandered into utter subjectivity. Solipsism, narcissism, up our own arse. ‘It’s true because I say so.’

  3. “‘It’s true because I say so.’”

    “So I am equally put off by entertainment with a neo-liberal, anti-racist (or whatever) message as by (much rarer) neofascist, racist (or whatever) messaging.”

    While it’s definitely arguable which flavor of messaging is “much rarer” (and by “much rarer” do you mean currently, or in totality?) I think it’s also important to note that just because some group or ideologue, etc, may have hijacked and wildly distorted the realities behind their various messaging does not mean that there is no validity or worth to deeply exploring the subjects they have hijacked. On the contrary, it kind of demands it. When racism and racist ideologies dominate, which I would argue has been the case for far longer and with much deeper and more widespread consequences for everyone than the so-called SJWs, then the subject of race and the origins of racism must be explored, and vice versa. It doesn’t much matter if people get triggered and their existing biases strengthen. The sun keeps shining.

    • In fact I think both forms of ideological belief and resultant messaging feed into each other and bounce off of one another, suggesting that they are really a single ideology that adapts and adopts new masks. Suppression of truth/soul wherever it threatens to emerge is the unconscious purpose of this ideology, which isn’t an ideology so much as a psychological strategy, an internal guardian that cares nothing at all for social ideals or question of race, sex, gender, or orientation but only for control of the other at whatever cost and by whatever means necessary. Racism so-called is one of countless means to the same end, just as anti-racism so-called in its present form is another means to the exact same end. Indeed if the SJW wished to fan the flames of intolerance for minorities they are going about it in precisely the right way. There’s a big clue in this.

  4. I agree with those statements 100%. I was going to hint at that clue as well. The “System” hinges on a pressure valve, and opposing ideologies are dynamic gauges that both propel it and let it know when to adjust itself in order to better achieve its nebulous goal, if there even is such a thing (suppression of truth/soul, or…?). However, in the case of anti-racism (which is just a cog in a larger social engineering mechanism), this is a phenomenon that has only been with us for thirty years or so. It certainly was not what propelled the civil rights movement. that was a combination of experienced reality and embedded components of the larger and older ideology that birthed both racism and, perhaps ironically, modern democracy, among other things (i.e. certain recent totalitarian ideologies, capitalism, etc). I’d say this preceding ideology can be identified as the Superiority Complex, the belief that any one thing can be objectively classified as superior to any other, or vice versa. This feeds into the SJW agenda in the form of what you classify as “unearned moral superiority” (as if there were an objective opposite, or earned moral superiority).

    None of this means that the newer emerging ideology does not have components or motivations that carry intrinsic value. It’s only when those motivations stagnate into dogma that a collective of ideas degenerates into an ideology anyhow. The older superiority complex ideology, on the other hand, is essentially bereft of essence, having been dragged through so many permutations that it is now easily seen as the husk that it is, and all of the motivations have been thoroughly exposed and broken down into their constituent components. That’s not to say that it’s not still seductive, it is, in permutations, but it does demonstrate, to me, a lack of imagination in those who are drawn to it. And thus we arrive at SJWs. One hand washes, or in this case soils, the other.

    Still, it is a jack move, and in hijacking the processes that could dismantle the previously prevailing ideology, the system ensures its continuance. In order to thrive under the previous era you generally had to suppress vast portions of your own humanity (there’s a better word, but…). The processes that gave birth to SJWs challenged this necessity, and in many ways still do. The blame cannot be solely on the SJW movement. Those who resist it by reverting to the old ideology are at least as culpable, and I’d argue they were far more culpable, in the same way you wouldn’t hold a child to the same standards as a mature adult. We already know the old core is rotten. We move back towards it out of laziness.

    But I’m ranting, and what do I know anyway?

    • I’d say this preceding ideology can be identified as the Superiority Complex, the belief that any one thing can be objectively classified as superior to any other, or vice versa.

      Interesting, as I almost included some lines in this post about how there was a difference between a feeling of superiority and the fact of it. My point was that conscious behavior is generally superior, practically speaking, to unconscious behavior insofar as the latter usually leads to all sorts of undesired consequences, whereas with the former, we tend to get the results we mean to get because we are acting and communicating with integrity (in the technical sense of that word).

      I can look back on my behaviors of 20 years ago and see how unconscious they were compared to now and know that my behaviors are superior to then, insofar as I am more conscious than I was then. Ditto, I can see ways in which other people may be acting unconsciously based on having seen those behaviors in myself and be able to recognize them in others. And so I have a “superior” perspective to said person (I can see something they can’t). This is different from a feeling of superiority, because the latter entails a value judgment that somehow I am better than this person simply because I am more conscious in certain ways; this becomes even more untrue if I translate that into feeling superior as compared to feeling more compassion for them (as a responsible adult feels for a child or an animal, say). My point here is that superiority shouldn’t be equated only with arrogance or condescension (a Complex) but also with practical facts (some plumbers are better than others, and if you want the job done right you don’t just hire a representative of the minority group you feel sentimentally attached to championing).

      I recently got an email about the inherent “racism” in Theosophy and Steiner-ism around the belief that the black race was the only race not from the stars, i.e., indigenous to the earth. It struck me that this could only be considered racist if it was coupled with a value judgment about stellar origin being superior to earthly origin, which of course is entirely arbitrary and itself based on a bias (for sky over ground) that’s evidence of some sort of ego-complex that has to equate polarities with good/evil or superior/inferior. So we tend to miss the forest for the trees with these issues: we see the prejudicial speck in our brother’s eye and not the beam in our own.

      Certainly the blame can’t be laid at the SJW movements door, any more than you blame a computer for the virus that causes it to destroy all your files. They are only acting out the madness that’s been put in them. But we can hold ourselves accountable for our refusal to see and admit to our complicity with the madness that possesses us. That takes a certain . . . je ne sais quoi. . . sanity?

  5. I was just reading up on the Groucho Club, and some of the escapades of your brother.. I don’t think I’ve seen you mention the Groucho.. unless I’ve not been looking hard enough.

      • … But have you invited him thrice ? !

        Jordan certainly kind of looks like and sounds like and feels like an “aspie”-kind-of-guy (duh!) who would most probably be quite at home in Auticulture-land / The Liminalist-land. Is that too politically incorrect / insensitive for me to say out loud … pointing to the fact, IMO, that he is a spectrum-ite? Please don’t send the SJW’s after me.

        I enjoyed the few posted lectures that he did on Jung and depth-psychology:

      • A message for those who are looking forward to 2017.

        Jordan Peterson: The West is in grave danger of losing its way. The negative consequences of this can hardly be overstated. A close reading of 20th century history indicates as nothing else can the horrors that accompany loss of faith in the idea of the individual (= Christ, the Divine man). It is only the individual after all who suffers. The group does not suffer. Only those who compose it that the reality of the individual must be regarded as primary, that suffering is to be regarded seriously. Without such regard there can be no motivation to reduce suffering and therefore no respite. Instead the production of individual suffering can and has and will be again rationalized and justified for its supposed benefits for the future and the group. … We will dissolve and be lost. It is time for each of us to consciously realize what the great symbolic stories of the past insisted on. That we are all sons and daughters of the Divine Logos, Consciousness Itself, bearers of Its Light, and that we must act in accordance with that great central fact – lest all hell breaks loose. This means above all to tell the truth and to care for one another starting at the level of the individual and preceding from that out to broader reaches of society itself. The alternative as these same stories have always insisted is the more permanent instantiation of the horror that we already saw manifest in multiple forms in the last bloody terrible century. We need to wake up – individual man and woman alike. We need to do it now. Each of us must take the world on our shoulders insofar we are capable of that and adopt individual responsibility for the horrors and suffering this existence entails. In that we will find the meaning without which live is merely the suffering that breeds first resentment and then the desire for vengeance and destruction. … So in the coming year plan to make yourself a better person. Fix what you can. Start now. There is something right in front of you demanding repair, calling out to your conscience if you would only attend to it. Start small. As you master the process you can safely and competently expand your reach. You will then be able to fix bigger things instead of making them worse with the arrogance of your ignorance. If you do this there will be less pointless and unnecessary suffering and the world will be a better place. That’s meaning and purpose enough. Happy New Year and best wishes to you all.

  6. Also interesting, as when discussing this in a conversation at home it became immediately apparent that I had to define the parameters of “superiority” much in the same way you did here. Superiority, without value judgements, can be applied to specifics, relative to another specific position. I would still emphasize that it only exists in specific contexts, and not objectively/universally, and even then it can be hazy. For instance, when we were younger our minds may not have been as aware as they are now, but our bodies were more capable. And your superior plumber may have a wider knowledge of pipes and greater general success at unclogging them, but the inferior one may have a kinder demeanor, smaller hands and a more pronounced intuition for a subset of specific problems that may elude the wiser, more proficient and mildly abrasive plumber. There is always an expansion and a contraction. Either way, there is probably an exception to every rule, and the exceptions may eventually replace the rule in every context.

    “I recently got an email about the inherent “racism” in Theosophy and Steiner-ism around the belief that the black race was the only race not from the stars, i.e., indigenous to the earth.”

    This is funny to me for a few reasons (no snark). Kind of a tangent, but why are any races from the stars? Presumably because the person who believes this thinks they that since ancient cultures wrote or spoke about it in their histories (or left exotic artifacts that could be interpreted in this way) then there must be some truth to it. There is virtually no other evidence than this, and much of what is available, including the commentary on historical traditions and documents, is pure fantasy. So there is no reason to believe any race is from (non-earth) space other than some vague, and probably misinterpreted kernel from some ancient culture that stated something like “our gods came from the stars and made us” by mating with the women or molding them from clay or forming them from dust or trees or whatever. The idea is usually then that this race still carries the star seed within them (with varying degrees of Superiority Engineering), which may enable them to be smarter, stronger, more spiritual, etc. Yet, nearly every culture that exists, that we are aware of, has told some similar story at some point in their history, including many of both the 3000 or so ethnic groups in Africa and the 87 or so ethnic groups in Europe. 3000 is a larger number than 87, though both are significant sums as far as testimonies are concerned. To deny Africans their (fabled) place among the stars, yet grant it to every other race, even though when taken out of context and broken down to key components many of the origin stories for each group are virtually identical, does seem at least a little curious. I would question the motivation of a person that decided 87 overrules and thus excludes 3000, especially when so few, if any, from either set historically claim any such exclusivity. On top of that, “the earth is already in space…” and the sun is already a star. So without even getting too deep into sky vs ground bias, white flight, lofty occult pronouncements about earths “baseness” and etc, the premise is already questionable. But if a philosophy states that one race is “childish” and another is “decadent” and another “degenerated” (and all are black, yellow or red) then you might expect these kinds of exclusions, and you might even label them as “racist”, especially when the race that the author happens to belong to is described in positively glowing terms as a “mature” and “ascending race”.

    In other words, the beef is not necessarily with one specific example, but with a pronounced trend that permeates a body of philosophy that is reliant on classifying “superiority” and establishing hierarchy in some way. I think that such a goal inherently leads to these kinds of convolutions and contortions. Granted, this may not be the aim or even the result of such a philosophy, and there may be numerous additional evolving factors that may modify a persons ultimate appraisal of it upon further reading, but it is very easy to see how someone sensitive to such topics might choose another path altogether. In this case it seems to me like people are bending over backwards to ignore the glaring beam in their brother’s eye, while deflecting in order to point out the speck in the Other’s. However:

    “we can hold ourselves accountable for our refusal to see and admit to our complicity with the madness that possesses us.”

    I do know that much. But this is something that actually has to be done, there is no escape. We either look at it honestly, or it continues to look through us. And that’s all of us.

    • I suspect were agreeing but approaching from different angles. My point (I think) was that any inherent “racism” in the “blacks are aboriginal and whites from the stars” narrative was already present in the assumption that coming from the stars was superior to coming from the earth. In other words, that the need to juxtapose oneself with an other in such a way as to make oneself feel superior predates and trumps racism and can be traced through every last emanation of human culture, to one degree or another (since culture is made out of artifacts left by humans wishing to establish their existence in some way superior to the animals, or whatever).

      With the case of the plumber, it does require qualification: if your main or even sole objective is to get your pipes fixed, then there is probably an empirical gauge for superiority of one plumber over another that’s roughly as reliable as, say Newton’s law of gravity, i.e., the inept plumber has fucked it up every time so far, and the proficient one has done a good job every time so far. It still doesn’t mean it will play out that way for you, but it’s reasonable to make a selection on that basis and to say, “This plumber is better than that one, based on their records,” without being called a bigot or a reductionist or whatever.

      I reject relativism in general, on principle, because usually it’s not applied with such skill and nuance as you apply it, but in god-awful sentimental ways so that pieces of shit-art get lauded for their goodly intentions, while solid works get excoriated because of changing social sensitivities. Or crappy artists get promoted because they are of the right persecuted minority class while anything by white males is dismissed regardless of its value because white males are the oppressor class, and so on.

      • It definitely does seem we’re coming at the same point from different angles, but we always have! I do want to address your last point first, as it’s most indicative of the different angles we’re approaching from. In some ways, what you are saying here sounds, to me, much like some of the pronouncements of SJWs do to both of us (that anything by white males is being dismissed en masse regardless of the value of the work just because they are white males). To me, excluding 95% of people of color from the daily value discourse, while including 5% and over-hyping 2.5%, is very different from excluding 30% of white people, while including 70% and over-hyping 40%. I think it’s perceived in this way because we see the things that make us uncomfortable more than we see the things that don’t. In my world, as I see things, there is no shortage at all of celebration of white males, unless by shortage you mean something other than total monopoly. You have the occasional celebration of the output of people of color (some of which is indeed condescending, some of which seems genuine, and most of it often directed towards women of color, or men of color that in some way are either less threatening to white men, or more threatening to black men and women, as in the case of some genocidal rappers… or buffoons, since people are generally stupid and frequently judge the worth of millions based on the actions of one or two).

        There is, however, a tempering trend regarding how some white males are appraised, especially those whose time has come and gone, or those who seem loathe to relinquish any stranglehold they may imagine themselves having on intrinsic artistic or creative validity.

        Whereas Other voices used to be denigrated and mocked (publicly) by the culture at large, now there is a space opening up for those Others (you could say the culture is opening and softening…). Some resist this, and then lament any criticism of this resistance. They fail to see how this bias is the thing that’s rendering them obsolete, and not necessarily a concerted effort to destroy them specifically and to replace them with brown people, or whatever the fear is. While there is a shrill minority of voices that are openly calling for that sort of thing, clinging to that shrill minority as representative of everyone else is dishonest at best (even if this is the goal of tptb, which I do not believe, it is not what is in the conscious minds of the people, so arguing from that perspective is fruitless).

        I genuinely used to think people were trolling, that they knew damn well the truth about race in the west, and that they knew they thought they were naturally superior and had a god- (or alien-) given right to subjugate and rule the lower races. I thought they knew damn well there was no white genocide, and nothing anywhere near the conscious, concerted and systematic efforts carried out by generations past to subjugate or eradicate “lower” races for the advancement and protection of the white race was happening to them.

        Now, I’m not so sure in some cases. I still think a large contingent of people now called white supremacists are trolls, and they know they are trolls, but I think there is a subset, possibly even a majority, that is unaware of this. In other words, the propaganda, and the stormfront bots that disseminated much of it, started working, and the customizable, almost tribal nature of the once wild and open internet is actually sealing large swaths of people off into their own manageable little compartments, complete with hashtags and mascots and all of the resultant mythology that comes part and parcel with most subcultures. Trump tweeting out that 81% of white murder victims were killed by black males (the number is actually 15%, to 8% the other way around) was kind of a turning point for me. He seems to have genuinely thought that was true. That is a statistic that is plausible to this subculture. In a world where, by-and-large, most homicide is committed inter-racially, these people have splintered off into their own sub-world, a world haunted by the black boogeymen, Kali-worshipers with illegal guns (or by the feminists with boyish purple hair, funny glasses and a yearly supply of 50% vouchers at the Abortionplex).

        There was also the hilarious episode with Bill O’Reilly, stating that “the left wants power taken away from the white establishment” as if that was some mystery that he figured out. Yes, disenfranchised people will often find their situation distasteful. And you can’t say their awareness is an illusion if you are defending their continued disenfranchisement and acknowledging that there is a white establishment that holds all of the power. Well, you can, but that wouldn’t make any sense.

        I guess my ultimate question is this: If you recognize the influence of this power complex, which I know you do, then how do you rectify that with your own responses to what you *seem* to perceive as the deliberate obsoletion of the Heterosexual White Male, the original seat of power in the West (or do you feel the need to)? This is not a troll question, I have similar thoughts about the feminization of the Black Man, but I also have a number of misgivings about those thoughts, and I sometimes find it difficult to maintain a sense of reconciliation, and revisit those thoughts. Though it does occur I often forget the train of thought that led me there. I’m wondering if there’s a similarity with you, because you have a focus on mother-bonded males, and while I do not identify as such (as I’m very independent, though I have a great relationship with my mother) pops wasn’t around (the stereotype is real!!! I must question my entire essence and the value of my race!!!) and that does leave a void, though I filled it in other ways as a youth (more stereotypes!!! argh!!!).

      • A few anecdotes:

        In another city I no longer inhabit, I owned a house that had periodic plumbing problems. I used the same plumbing business because a colleague had recommended them, and they seemed reasonably good, although I think they were a bit on the expensive side. At one point I had to have a pipe replaced underneath the kitchen sink (now I can’t remember why). A few weeks later I found water gushing out from the cabinet underneath. I called the same plumber, they replaced the unit, and told me they were not charging me because the original installation had been faulty. (I hadn’t blamed them for the problem, I just noted the emergency and asked them to come right away.) I continued to use them even after I moved away from that city and was keeping the house as a rental property (thank the gods that I finally sold it). Anyway, if there is a moral to this story, “superior” isn’t always about the obvious (replacing a pipe in a flawless manner). Sometimes it goes a long way if you can admit that you made a mistake.

        Re: theosophy. I know quite a lot about it, having grown up with it. For it, I have mostly contempt.

  7. To be clear, the anti-white sentiments that I encounter and hear about come almost wholly from white people (AFAIK, & though they might reject that designation!).

    Eg: http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15684&hilit=abolish+the+white+race a thread at a liberalist forum supposedly attempting to expose the structures of oppression and power abuse that has gone mostly unchallenged.

    I don’t have a street-level experience of anti-white-male sentiments (unless you count having “Gringo” shouted at you in Latin America, which I suppose we ought to). I grant you it may seem very different, even worlds apart, from the sort of overt oppression that minorities have suffered over the centuries, or so we are told, and though Jordan Peterson might disagree, (and at this point, might be right).

    I think I did address your question already, in some sense. I don’t really acknowledge that Heterosexual White Male = the original seat of power in the West, and certainly not “Patriarchy.” It may be an ideological hegemony, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually being propagated by HWMs, any more than trans-rights are being pushed exclusively, or even primarily by “trans people (whatever they are). My guess is that it’s been the same hidden set of rulers since time immemorial and they may not be male, white, or heterosexual (or even human), for all I know.

    As I tried to argue last time, I see the oppression as much wider and deeper than any group power structure or ideology. Identifying elite power with white males is similar to identifying it with Jews, IMO. It may be true at one level, but as you point out with the plumber example, there are so many other variables that to reduce it to just one and use that as the measure means that we create a “group” and a dynamic based on our own prejudices and confirmation biases, etc, just as IMO, the “alt-right” has been created partially by frothing faux Leftists and mostly by hidden factions with unknown affiliations and long-term goals. & created in such a way that, as you say, it’s impossible to even say how real it is, never mind how much of a threat.

    Same applies to trans-people; I have little sense about the trans-individuals involved, but a quite strong one about the corporate-and-beyond agendas that are exploiting both them and the phenomenon, a phenomenon which IMO is being mostly created via these agendas, not by individuals (or at least not those who are supposedly having their interests served…)

    And so on… Bit rushed as I wanted to get this off before backing away from the keyboard for the night.

  8. I have a few more anecdotes/reactions in no particular logical order.

    Re: “alt-right” fears of “white genocide”. Well, obviously this is a mix of trolls and idiots, but I will describe one line of thinking that I buy into, partially (acknowledging the fact that whites complaining about so-called “white genocide” routinely ignore the history of race in the US, as well as the present day experience of a majority blacks in the US). The argument goes, among the more erudite “dark enlightenment” folks, that empirical evidence demonstrates that trust varies inversely with racial heterogeneity. (Trust can indeed be measured, using the methods of behavioral economics, and has been compared across various different societies.) Or, rather, a closer look at the evidence reveals that trust varies inversely with *cultural* heterogeneity. This is for obvious reasons: shared values, language, experience, etc., contribute to greater trust. The conclusion: if you want to restore any hope of an integrated society with dense social networks (as opposed to our increasingly atomized and alienated society), then one must promote racial homogeneity. I have a couple problems with this. The first is that cultural homogeneity can do the same trick: for example, make everybody Christian, and the problems caused by racial heterogeneity will fade into the background. You see this actually with whites in America: there was a time when the specific European country your ancestors came from mattered quite a bit; nowdays, most American whites won’t meaningfully distinguish Irish ancestry from German from Italian. (Joosians are a whole other matter, though.) The second, more important, issue is that this line of thinking nostalgically hails back to a mythical time (1950s?) when all was well in the world. Well, sure, there were good times for some people, but those good times never last. Just look at the last 1000 years of history and you’ll see what I mean. There is no mythical blessed realm in this plane of existence. Still, I’d rather have less alienation, and if it takes uniform Christianity to do the trick, I’d take that over a race war.

    As for the charms of racial homogeneity: I’m mixed-race, and thus an outsider to both of my parent cultures. I belong to nobody. It’s mostly a painful experience, but it does have the value of granting me an independent perspective [ the fruits of which, dear readers, you benefit now 🙂 ]

    Another thing I’ll say about race and “SJW”s is that the diversity programs now flooding the corporate and academic world, promoted by the left side of the aisle, are largely counter-productive. My partner tried to get one of the classes he teaches to certify as satisfying his college’s diversity course requirements. He did this in good faith, put a lot of effort into it, only to have his efforts casually dismissed (“Good luck with your new course!” was the only reply he got.) What has become clear (and I predicted all along), the whole diversity thing was a power grab, a way for a certain few individuals to increase their power on campus. Had nothing at all to do with furthering the stated goals of the program (goals he agrees with, being a gay man married to a mixed-race gay man). On my own, different, campus, I see similar dynamics, although they are more subtle: the mixed bag of diversity initiatives serve as opportunities for various people to achieve administrative fulfillment (although perhaps with good underlying intentions), or for some, more cynically, they are a pragmatic means to adding more tenure-lines to their respective programs. Most intelligent people can see through all this BS, and the ultimate result is to breed resentment. Just the opposite of these programs’ stated goals.
     
    And, finally, re: abolishing the white race on RI. That place is funny. Most of the “white race abolishioners” are white, as far as I can tell. The voices of actual minorities (e.g. a mixed-race gay guy) count for nothing, if they don’t conform to the marxoid/neo-liberal perspective that is increasingly dominating that little island of insanity.

    • I’s way more interested in the narratives that are (pre)designed to get us all to think of our fellow human creatures in terms of “black” or “white”, ethnically speaking. Thar lies the snare (sin) that is ever re-set in these types of conversations.

      I have very black and white views about the various cultural “placements” ( on a social-scale) of my fellow human creatures, but definitely not in terms of ethnicity / ancestral-cultural heritage … although it certainly used to be an issue for me. I used to be ashamed for being “white” until I realized that I wasn’t white at all … not even a little bit. (And I’m definitely no “black” either.). Cancelled that program (and still cancel it every day) … the program that is the beginning-point of the core social engineering of our times … and humanity began (and begins every day) to return, eventually.

      The types at RI seem to be big into keeping the black and white thing alive and forever at odds, ethnically speaking. Surely a mix of conscious and unconscious agents in that regard, as always on/in the internetz.

      • @Page: ugh, the whole white/black thing is nauseating after awhile, from either side. It does no good to drone on about “white privilege”, other than acknowledging that it is a real thing and then moving past it. In the words of Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?” Well, no we can’t, because there are always people who seek to increase their personal sphere of power by exploiting dichotomies such as black/white. The only solution (from what I can see) is to resist any dichotomy and acknowledge each individual for his or her full humanity. This can only be done on an individual, one-at-a-time basis. This makes it hard to adapt this idea to the level of policy, which necessarily sees only populations, and uses the calculus of populations (statistics) as its essential epistemology. There’s no way out with our current reductionist worldview.

        And RI (to beat a dead horse) is, for the most part, stuck in that reductionist worldview. I don’t think it was always that way.

      • oh dear. There seems to be a communication gap, or something, going on here. At least I got an “ugh” out of you.

  9. “White privilege” and Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize for what? Because he’s half white? Or because he’s brought peace to the world?

    In the PBS documentary, Cavemen to Kings, it speaks of the wonderful history of Greece. Of course, they fail to mention the wide spread sexual perversion set in place thousands of years ago. Yet, when BBC, ITV, PBS, etc. ever mention the Vikings, it’s always with a huge dose of ‘Oh those Barbarians!’

    The mainstream narrative is hugely anti-German/Scandinavian. The white/black narrative is magnified by using a blonde/blue-eyed male as the villain (Putin is a good example) and a black male playing the good guy (take Obama) and this same story-line plays out in most Hollywood productions.

  10. @yevaud:

    This can only be done on an individual, one-at-a-time basis. This makes it hard to adapt this idea to the level of policy, which necessarily sees only populations, and uses the calculus of populations (statistics) as its essential epistemology. There’s no way out with our current reductionist worldview.

    Whenever a big subject like race comes up, I am reminded once again of the gulf between opinions I may hold and my actual experience and any corresponding need to hold an opinion about the subject, at all. Many of my opinions about race and other pet SJW subjects are only so strong as a reaction against the presumption of right-attitude = knowledge on the part of the SJWs, et. al. In other words, I don’t *know* if racial integration (e.g.) is ipso facto a good thing, but since I am told that it is and that I am: a) wrong; b) racist, if I suggest otherwise, this intensifies my doubt that it IS, ipso facto, “good.” This can then translate into an emotional belief that it is NOT a good thing. Yet, at an individual, moment to moment basis, in my own experience of it, I have nothing at all against it (although I *might* personally prefer living in a white neighborhood); and since I am neither dictating national policies nor in any way involved in shaping them, what I think at a more general, sociological, or philosophic level isn’t really that important, especially since my ideas on it are so half-baked anyway (as ill-in-formed by Theosophy, say, as by sentimental liberal rhetoric.).

    Simply put, it interests me how we are conditioned to develop opinions that are firm, sweeping, and potentially violent (divisive) in proportion to how essentially uninformed they are. It reminds me of a line I quote in Prisoner of Infinity: belief is only possible where there is a lack of understanding.

    No communication gap, I think. We are agreeing, yes?

    Yeah, Page took your empathic ugh for a reactive one, I think. Evidence of how divisive the subject is that we see disagreement even when there’s none?

  11. We’ve all been strangely quiet around here since the US inauguration, especially since we all kind of erupted with commentary after the election. People seem depressed and I feel the same way. I got in an argument with a friend and coworker yesterday. He thinks the accusations that Russia hacked our election are true, and I think they are a red herring thrown out by the neoliberal Democratic party elite to try to deflect from the fact that their strategies and policies failed so miserably, both in practice the last eight years in office and in the election results. I think their incredibly irresponsible reaction to losing power proves they were unfit to hold it, and we truly were presented with a no-win situation with the two garbage candidates of the major parties. I feel like I’m in in the middle of some kind of nightmare struggle between modern day Guelphs and Ghibellines, or just between two crime families, whose agendas have nothing to do with me or my needs or concerns. Even the nuttiest conspiracy theories no longer feel imaginative enough to me, reality has overtaken them. Jasun, I’d love it if you would write your take on “alternative facts.” That phrase keeps ringing in my head. It seems to sum up the reality TV dimension of this new era we are embarking upon.

    • I’ve also noted the quiet, and the depression also. I’ve been trying to be cheerful and optimistic, somewhere along these lines: Trump’s supporters include advcoates of some legitimately deplorable positions (racism, etc.), but they have real economic concerns, and abominations such as the TPP are objectively evil; thus, while I may find Trump’s initial acts as POTUS somewhat distasteful or concerning, perhaps they are simply needed course-corrections? Maybe it will all result in a better America??

      *However*, I am finding it harder and harder to mantain this open cheer and hope, especially with the recent disastrous proposition to tax Mexican imports 10-20%. It really is starting to feel like Trump is as random and vengeful as the neoliberal fake-news folks are making him out to be. That’s not exactly a surprise (we were all warned), but it does deepen the sense of despair.

      “Even the nuttiest conspiracy theories no longer feel imaginative enough to me, reality has overtaken them.” I read this out loud to my partner, we both laughed.

  12. Here’s a place keeper while I think some more about this/ Or maybe we can do a podcast about it?

    The motive behind the post-truth hoax

    The first thing to be said about our post-truth moment is that it is complete bullshit that we are having a post-truth moment. The idea that somehow, uniquely in the last year, American politicians and propagandists have started lying systematically, ignores the entirety of American history. The idea of ‘post-truth’ is generated from a completely scewball, neo-liberal view of American history – and, indeed, of world history – in which America was not the country that declared its independence because the British weren’t killing enough Indians, and that incorporated slavery in the constitution. It is not the nation of Jim Crow, the Sand River massacre, the long war between labor and capital in which unions were attacked by national guards as a regular thing. It is not the America that dropped two atom bombs and proceeded to test nuclear weapons above ground for more than a decade, with the official scientific community, colluding with the executive branch, lying through its teeth about the mortal dangers of fallout – which a scientific committee in 2006, hobbled by the congressional requirement that it only consider Iodine isotopes, decided was probably the cause of at least 200,000 thyroid cancers. It is not the America of bogus drug laws, enforced with exemplary racism, that took back many of the promises of the Civil Rights era.

    Instead, it is disneyland, where a perpetually cool tinkerbell, who knows the latest euphemisms, is a little burst of rainbow. In other words, post-truth analysis is based on a lie. The lie is called American exceptionalism, or various phrases of that type. Once you begin with a view of American history that can only be held by a member of the upper class (a class that is overwhelmingly white), who has distinct views about helping the “poor” (a sociological category that has its roots in charity) while despising the working class (which is a sociological category that has its roots in socio-economic struggle), you will quickly miss and misinterpret the American grain.

    The post-truth meme was created in order to be scolded, and provide a soapbox for editorial lecturing. In reality, the lies of Trump are simply easier to spot. Trump has not bothered to find collaborators in the mainstream press, those willing volunteers who like to weave glamor around our monarchs – hence the awe evoked by so piddling a figue as George Bush. This is, I think, a huge mistake. But it isn’t some troubling new facet of our society. There is no post-truthiness, and its hour has not struck. I don’t want to use the occasion of clueless sex offender Trump to tell liberal seeming white lies about our country. That would be missing the moment.

    Posted by Roger Gathman at 2:59 PM http://limitedinc.blogspot.de

    Also this:

    How To Spot A Media Psy-Op
    17 Jan 2017 Caitlin Johnstone
    http://www.newslogue.com/debate/277/CaitlinJohnstone

  13. From the article I linked to:

    This psy-op is designed to forcefully marry two unrelated ideas in the minds of the audience for the benefit of the political establishment. Half a year after the Iraq invasion, a poll by USA Today found that 70 percent of Americans still believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. This wasn’t because reporters were directly saying this; they never could have gotten away with such blatant falsehoods. What they could get away with was consistently making sure they mentioned Saddam Hussein in the same breath as the September 11th attacks over and over again, and I remember them doing this frequently. They’d mention the “intelligence” which said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and then they’d say something about the possibility of another attack similar to 9/11. They did this on purpose as part of corporate media’s well-documented participation in manufacturing consent for the invasion, and it worked.

    A recent YouGov poll found that 50 percent of Hillary Clinton voters believe that the Russian government tampered with vote tallies to help Donald Trump win the presidential election. This is because media outlets, nearly all of which are owned by just five powerful companies in the US, have been deliberately using phrases like “election hacking” and “hacked the election” instead of phrases like “hacked the DNC emails” or “spearphishing John Podesta’s emails” which would have been an infinitely more accurate reflection of the actual substance of their reports. People were tricked into marrying those two ideas, and now half the Democrats you meet will likely believe that Putin was involved in hacking actual election booths or vote tallies.

    A few days ago we saw the same thing when Donald Trump lashed out at Rep. John Lewis for saying he didn’t consider him a legitimate President; the overwhelming majority of the headlines from liberal corporate media used words like “civil rights hero” and “civil rights icon” when referring to Lewis and “attack” and “smear” when referring to Trump’s response to him. In reality Trump was just returning fire initiated by a Congressman in the opposing party, but I guarantee you there are millions of Americans who now think of Trump as someone who attacks civil rights leaders because he hates civil rights, for the same exact reason people think Russia hacked polling booths and thought Saddam was responsible for 9/11.

    http://www.newslogue.com/debate/277/CaitlinJohnstone

  14. Trump has been sued twice for discrimination. I do not find it hard to imagine he hates civil rights. The Russian spy linked to the leaked documents that allege Trump likes being pissed on by prostitutes turned up dead in his car at the end of last year. Those docs also indicated that Trump was extremely anti-black. Tom Arnold also claims he has seen Trump, on camera, saying very racist and hateful things. For a brief period in my childhood I found myself surrounded by very rich Italian and Jewish Americans (most blonde-haired and blue-eyed) and they were extremely racist, even as children (and not in a way that children might naturally be wary of someone different, which I don’t fully believe anyway, but in a way that, upon reflection, indicated an obvious influence beyond their years). So it is not a stretch to me to imagine that man whose father was apparently in the KKK might harbor extreme racist views. He did tweet out, insanely, that 85% of all white people murdered were killed at the hands of black people. He thought that made sense to retweet. He did call Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals (“some of them are good people”), and, again, he was sued twice for blatantly discriminatory practices.

    I say all that to say this: I think Trump’s own personal history is enough to make “millions of Americans who now think of Trump as someone who attacks civil rights leaders because he hates civil rights.”

    While I would never defend the media as a beacon of truth, there is a noticeable difference in the way in which truth is entirely disregarded by the current administration. In the past, the smoke would not always be thousands of miles away from the fire (or entirely non-existent) when the PTB addressed it (they would at least manufacture a fake fire, or some smoke, before screaming about it). I’m also puzzled by the references to Jim Crow, slavery, and the Native American genocide. When those things were happening the power structure was for the most part brutally honest about their opinions on the subject. Only with the distance of time did they try to obscure the extent of their depravity. A similar thing occurred during WWII, where whole countries would feign innocence regarding their genocidal tendencies, even though all too many had previously been fine with watching people shot dead in the streets for the crime of…nothing.

    The situation now is different, and the comparison seems dishonest, ironically. Whereas in the past, when blatant lying did occur, it was usually to cover up the results of official actions, or the fallout of official policies. Now, it is purely to stroke the ego of the so-called commander-in-chief. Many of the horrific things they are doing are done in the open. The lies fly directly in the face of all publicly available data, for instance, Trump’s insistence that violent crime is on the rise everywhere, or that two people were murdered during Obama’s speech in Chicago (didn’t happen) or that violent crime is sky-rocketing in Philadelphia, when it is in fact doing the opposite. The media themselves is blame for a lot of this perception, because if it bleeds it leads, but again, instead of blatant lies, they rely on a more subtle manipulation. For instance, Chicago murders have actually been steadily declining, just look at the numbers. Only in the last two years was there an upwards trend (as opposed to the occasional spike), and only after three or four previous years of media hype. I wrote a longer breakdown of this, but decided to reserve that for elsewhere, and condense it to a TL;DR:

    Trump says violence in Chicago is up, when it is not, at all. Trump ignores this data entirely, as admitting he is wrong would be too painful. The MSM in the form of Fox News, Trump’s major ally, continues to play along, as they have been the main force behind this false narrative for the better part of 8 years (“We’re losing! We’re losing everything!”). O’Reilly does a piece on Chicago violence, which is spiking due to demolished projects, closed schools, increased police activity (draconian and unconstitutional gang sweeps that lock up gang-leaders, fathers, etc, under enhanced sentencing, leading to truce instability and broken homes, which leads to gangs splitting into smaller factions, which leads to an increase in violence) and media hype. O’Reilly ignores all this and suggests tougher policing and longer sentences, and his guest Horace Cooper, suggests that Trump send in the feds and says: “I don’t know another word besides ‘carnage’ to describe the devastation that’s been taking place.” Trump is watching. While the O’Reilly Factor is still airing, Trump tweets, using the exact numbers aired in the O’Reilly segment: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”

    In other words, the right-wing media created a false narrative about rising violence and the cause (some of the fathers are in jail because the police put them there for knowing other people with the same tattoos, some are dead because police shot them or got them shot, some are dead due to actual gang violence and some are in jail for the commission of actual crimes). And Trump is following their lead, rather than the other way around.

    The difference is not a hoax.

    I wanted to respond to the other comments from the last week or so, and to some misconceptions about my questions (my own fault), but time escaped me, and I do not know how productive it would be to revisit. It is what it is and it ain’t what it ain’t and that’s for each of us to figure out on our own, I guess.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s